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Conversation with God Freedom Healing Joy Ministry Worship

What Does it Mean?

What does it mean when someone has been healed or set free and you see them light up? Is it just gladness for their improvement? Gladness, yes. Being lit up? Might it mean more?

What does it mean when they have Holy Spirit? In biblical terms, in the Greek, they have experienced sozo. Which can mean that they have been healed, set free, even saved. Does that mean all of these or only one of these things? I wonder….

Maybe they just have Holy Spirit on them, helping them heal or be set free. Could be. Like the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures, they have Holy Spirit on them just for a bit? Or in them? I wonder…and I do not know, yet.

So I will watch. If after being set free and being healed, they stay lit up with Holy Spirit evident in their lives over a period of time, there is a greater chance that they have Holy Spirit in them and not just on them for a brief time. Meaning it is more likely that they have been saved. I wonder, as I watch for such things, what will I discover and see before me that is obvious? I do not know, and I wonder.

I do know this for a certainty. God is more merciful than we are. God loves more and better than we do. And I do know this: God’s theology is wider, more inclusive and more generous than the theology of we human beings.

And so, I wonder. I will ask our Lord. I will listen. And I will watch people who have received ministry with wonderful success. I will see Fruit of Holy Spirit, or not. I will see obvious evidence of Holy Spirit in them, or not.

And I do not know what will become obvious.

Even if it’s only some ministered to who have such evidence of Holy Spirit, and not all or even most, I will rejoice.

And if I cannot identify any with certainty and confidence that they have Holy Spirit…what will I do? I will rejoice!

For our Lord has saved many of us. Has ministered to many of us. And Jesus is still Immanuel, God with us. And he is coming! Hallelujah!

Categories
Conversation with God Discipleship Hearing God Holy Spirit Joy Learning Ministry Miracles

Rest and Dream

Rest and dream. Be inspired. Like Jesus.

Artwork by Greg Olson

Pause. Just rest and watch the sky.

Categories
Conversation with God Getting Help Prayer Tribulation

An Outrageous Command

2Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials.‡ 3Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].‡

4And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4, The Amplified Study Bible, eBook. Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

This command just isn’t natural. It isn’t natural to rejoice whenever you fall into various trials. It isn’t even natural to be able to do this. Only by faith and with the help of Holy Spirit, can you do this.

Rest in Jesus. Faith is easy.

Ask for such faith and receive it. Ask for wisdom, receive it, and act on the wisdom you receive.

Read on in James 1 if you need help with receiving such wisdom; the directions are clear. Follow the directions our Lord has given us.

What I write here is sharp and to the point. There is no softening of what I call for you to do. Your life is much better when you are doing this. You are not being pampered: go do this.

Your life will change!

Categories
Conversation with God Joy Prayer

Do You Seek Joy?

The day began with thick clouds and fog but as the sun rose they parted to reveal the peaks of the Continetal Divide. It was an absolutely glorious spring morning in Moraine Park.

You want more joy—most of us do!

What you seek, look for, and are alert for – you will find more of.

Old survival habits have conditioned us to look for danger, problems and difficulties. It is good to be alert for such.

AND when we look for reasons for joy, we can have more joy. Today!

This is an important reason so much prayer begins with praise and thanksgiving. Done sincerely, joy increases. Give thanks for a few things in your life, now – and notice what you experience!

So pray for joy. Pray for more joy! Receive more joy by faith – habitually.

Praying for joy and experiencing joy is a valuable part of the normal Christian life. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”, Philippians 4:4, NASB.

And – there are practical benefits to joy: when full of joy, it is easier to hear God. Easier to have a two-way conversation: prayer!

When you are full of joy, it is easier to experience the Presence of God.

When you are full of joy, it is easier to experience being full of Holy Spirit.

And when you are full of joy, Holy Spirit and you can powerfully change the surrounding atmosphere. You can transform the atmosphere so others can experience more of the Presence of God, be more easily full of Holy Spirit, more easily hear God and pray well. Miracles happen more often in such an atmosphere.

Follow Holy Spirit, and experience more of the Fruit of the Spirit. Including joy! Experience more of the Kingdom of God, and experience more righteousness, joy and peace.

Practice joy! One of the more important spiritual disciplines – and this can transform your life. You can be contagious with joy and help transform the lives of people in your sphere of influence. Your ministry is often more powerful and effective when done joyfully.

So pray for joy. Pray for more joy! Receive more joy by faith – habitually.

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Conversation with God Prayer Prayer Targets

A Discovery that Surprised, Amazed, and Made me Glad

Yes, we believe in prayer.

We are also privately and secretly too certain that most prayer is too seldom answered. Of course, the word, “never” is so strong that we would not say it out loud. Many of us do not even say it to ourselves.

But there it is, lurking, underneath. The fear of yet more unanswered prayer.

No wonder so few of us are eager to pray! No wonder so many of us hesitate to pray. We have a terrible secret: it too often does no good.

Oh, we have reasons for this. Maybe God isn’t good. Maybe he’s mad at us. Some preachers act like he is. Full of judgement and anger, even. At sin. At how horrible we are. Even though we say otherwise in public, and often we say better than that to ourselves. Maybe we just do not understand his mysterious will nearly enough.

None of that is true. Yet it sure can seem that way!

And whenever we are suffering, our good answer to prayer seems to take too long.

I used to be like this. Then one day, it all changed for me.

I had been keeping track of prayers, so I would not forget. (I get distracted and forget far too easily and often. Including forgetting to pray powerfully for others. I need reminders.) Holy Spirit must have been guiding me, because I did it so well I made a tremendous and surprising discovery.

I used index cards. Kept track of who or what the prayer was for. When I started, and when I stopped. I prayed for three weeks, 21 days, unless asked to continue by another person or by God. I even kept track of what happened. I put Prayer Targets into writing.

Prayer Targets – visible results. Things noticeable. You can see what happened so well that it’s obvious what happened or changed and what did not.

These index cards helped me remember who to pray for, what to pray about. An enormous advantage that makes a difference.

Then it happened. I reviewed my prayer cards, the ones completed and finished. I made a discovery so unexpected, startling and amazing – that it literally transformed my prayer life.

Most of my prayers were answered. Most prayer targets were achieved. Nearly all of them! And quickly, too; even the speed was surprising. I was delighted. And I was surprised!

And I began to wonder how this could be. How is it that so many of my Prayer Targets were noticeably achieved and so quickly and I had somehow not noticed?

So I reviewed how I had prayed. And it slowly dawned on me: I was so concerned for the prayer targets that I was always praying and asking for something new. Something yet undone. Something important.

I was so focused so often on what was yet not accomplished and that seemed so important that I had never noticed how many Prayer Targets achieved – nearly all of them. With such good speed that, by hindsight, was amazing.

Please do this for yourself; discover and verify – most of your Prayer Targets are successful, and quickly. (And if not, find out the reason why! Good Prayer Target results are – dare I say it? Normal!

Big things like a new job or a new place to live would take – once I asked single-mindedly, about two days before the clue or hint came that led to success. Smaller things like headaches or personal problems with someone improved usually within two hours.

And I had never noticed. Not until I kept written records of Prayer Targets that could be noticed and observed.

I have habitually been focused on what’s needed and missing so many successes that I was not noticing or giving thanks for what God has already taken care of for others and for myself.

Not all Prayer Targets are quickly achieved. A small number of them drag on for a long, long time. I have come to suspect that the issue is often a lack of readiness to receive. When we are not ready, Prayer Target success take longer…until we are ready. Which is sometimes much longer than we realize or accept because we are so eager for good success.

Also important is single-minded faith, as described in the first chapter of James. When I or others are double minded, prayer success is not rapid. When double-minded, Prayer Targets are seldom achieved.

Strangely, it can take a year or two before single-mindedness occurs, especially for major changes. At least for me. I think it happens in this way. We are happy with a job or place we have; we were happy for the improvement. We’d asked for it, sought it out. We become comfortable with the way things are – even while we want yet more improvement. We are double minded and not and not yet really ready for change.

Oh! It’s the same issue!! We’re not ready. And when we are ready and single minded, when we ask for good things that God wills, it can then and most often does happen quickly.

God is good. Better than we think. Even better than many of us hope for much of the time. Better than we dare expect, even.

Prove and test this for yourself. Read the first chapter of James. It’s not long, but it sure makes a lot of points that we all need.

Choose noticeable Prayer Targets that allow you to rejoice with certainty when they are met. Do this in writing.

And discover for yourself, as I have – if I can do it you certainly can, too: most Prayer Targets are successfully achieved, and with wonderful speed.

God is good!

Categories
Church Life Conversation with God Discipleship Joy Learning

The Discovery Cycle

Why does joy come so easily in the morning? Because it’s a fresh day, a fresh start. New discoveries are waiting to be made.

In Christian gatherings, new discoveries are made from time to time. New to the people who are present. Then the discoveries are explored.

This is a time of increasing attendance, with more people eager to learn what’s next. To explore and practice what is being learned about.

The Jesus Movement, re-discovery of Holy Spirit, practicing Spiritual Gifts, growing in the use and application of Spiritual Gifts. Prophecy that encourages and edifies and speaks with the passion of a full heart holding back nothing. There have been many more, and thee will be yet more, I promise.

Each individual can go through such cycles. Entire groups can experience such cycles together.

After a while, what was new to you becomes taken for granted – in a healthy way, it’s becoming a part of your life, now.

You may even become a bit bored. Try not to get stuck or bitter because learning is going so well and freshness is waning.

Not to worry. God has you covered. New discoveries are coming again.

The cycle is always refreshing itself, the cycle of discovery and learning goes on…for eternity!

You get to know who God is more and better. You get to learn your own identity more deeply and in new ways. You get to exercise and learn new gifts, grow more familiar gifts into greater maturity and skill.

Learning and discovery cycles go on…they come, and the newness seems to go. Another one is coming soon. I wonder what this one will be like?

Categories
Conversation with God Joy

Joy is Easy in the Morning

Look at the light of the sunrise. Look at and notice the color and quality of the light. Is not joy easy when you do this, breathing deeply and being glad to be alive?

A fresh day. A new start.

Remember what it was like when you were new to having answered the call from Jesus? Can you see and experience how mornings can be an echo of that? How morning rising resonated with New Life? The more you are willing to notice this – the more joy you will experience.

How much wonder can you be full of? Wondering what will happen today…what you will experience, what today will be like?

When you give thanks for your day and the day to come, your joy will only increase. You can even give thanks right now. Name three to five things you can be thankful for. The more it is an effort, the more joy you will feel after having done this.

Praytalk to God about what you are thankful for. Now listen to what he has to say to you. You connect to God more closely, and you have more joy. The closer you connect to God, the more easily will joy come to you and stay with you.

You can have joy in the morning. Joy is easy in the morning!

This is easy. It’s kind of fun! It sure is better than being joyless!

You can have joy in the morning. Joy is easy in the morning!

Categories
Calling Conversation with God Hearing God Prayer Presence of God Vocation

From Quarantine to Swamp

Dorothea finally got outside after having been in her apartment for months because of the quarantine. She’s been waiting for this! She needed to escape!

Stuck with her two children and her husband, who had become cranky. She’s been feeling responsible for them all and for taking care of them. She needed to do something for herself and to get out on her own. She was feeling desperate!

She drove past some stores, and decided to get away from people, so she kept going. Went out of town and finally stopped at a rest stop. Sat briefly at the picnic table and decided she had to move. So she got up to walk.

Starting walking next to the road and wanted to be even more away from people driving by, so she turned into the woods and started to enjoy the trees. The smell of pine, the texture of bark, the soft ground beneath her feet – captivated her senses. Dorothea felt joy.

And kept walking. And walking. And after a long while, had been walking so much she did not yet even realize that she was lost. She no longer had no idea where she was.

Suddenly she noticed that she was surrounded by trees and by forest which all looked very much the same: she finally realized, she no longer knew where she was or how to get back.

Still glad to be outside, she decided to just keep going. She was trying to get back. Humidity was increasing. The ground was gradually becoming more wet.

Finally, it dawned on Dorothea: she had entered the edge of a swamp. And she was afraid. Panic set in as she knew she was not only lost, she was in danger. Breathing became fast, humidity turned into sweat so heavy it was hard to see. Wet earth pulled at her shoes with a sucking sound when she lifted her feet. And the water became deeper, deeper by quarter inches, but deeper.

Finally, she knew. She was in trouble. She could die here. She turned and turned; if she was lost before and disoriented, she was completely disoriented now.

There is something about disorientation that affects us deeply, strongly, and that is much more strongly than we ever expect.

She tried to catch her breath. To be still. To look and see through the trees something she could recognize. None of it worked, and despite sweating profusely, she was getting cold. It had been getting darker, and she had not noticed. The absence of light coming through the trees was like a dark, heavy wet blanket being thrown over her, and she felt it. Weighed down.

She tried again to orient, to be calm, to see something she could recognize. To slow down…even to just slow down her breathing. Still, none of this was working. The more she tried and failed, the more complete and widespread her panic was becoming.

Desperate, she prayed. Not with good focus, but with urgency and panic. Out loud, she prayed. She heard her voice of desperation…and suddenly realized she had spoken out loud. She was moving into a frenzy.

In the distance she almost heard something, she thought. So she stopped. Listened. She heard it again, a little better this time. She could almost tell that it was a voice. But it was too far away to hear well. Too soft to make out the sounds.

And she realized, suddenly, there were no sounds. It was silence and stillness speaking to her, directly, from inside of her…not from a distance. The delicate whisper-like word she was hearing was Silence and Stillness speaking to her, directly.

Without words out of the stillness she heard. “Stop. Still, be still. Stop and be still” – if the stillness that was speaking so very directly to her were translated into words.

It was soft beyond soft, still beyond stillness. It was Stillness speaking to her without actual words – yet she knew in her deepest being that this was directed directly to her. A sense of accountability was already arising from within her as she began to hear.

“Stop. Still, be still. Stop and be still.”

And she stopped. Became still. Waited, expectantly.

She was realizing, it was coming to her, that she knew which way to turn. Which way to walk. And she had an inner confidence and fortitude that she did not have before. The fear and the lostness were authentic things that she pressed against and resisted now.

One step after another. She did not know where she was was going to, or what it would be like when she got there. Did not know how to get there. But the next step was always clear. Not the one after that, just the next step.

So she walked and walked, into the growing darkness, one step, then another and another step.

Then she saw it. Light! Kept going, almost trudging. She was exhausted. The deep tired that comes after great fear or having been lost and just keeping going on one step at a time.

She saw light coming from a window. Then a cabin. And she noticed that the ground wasn’t wet anymore.

She was home. She knew it. Deep in her bones she felt it and went almost to the door when an older woman stepped outside to greet her with a smile so warm you could bake cookies with it.

The lady took her inside, gave her clean, dry clothes. And she lay down and slept. She knew not for how long.

She woke in the morning light to the sounds of a crackling fire with fresh, dry wood – the fireplace.

The scent of cinnamon tea and something baked filled her nostrils. She was more hungry than a polite person could ever be, and it did not matter. She was given biscuits and tea and she just consumed them.

She told her story and was given answers to questions with no delay, she felt safe. She was surprised how safe she felt. She even told the nice lady this, how wonderfully safe and held she felt inside.

The grandmotherly lady, hearing Dorothea’s name, asked gently and warmly, “Do you know what your name means?” No…I never thought about it, Dorothea said.

The news about her name was surprising.

“Dorothy is a female given name. It comes from Greek Δωροθέα (Dōrothéa) meaning “God’s Gift”, from δῶρον (dōron), “gift”[1] + θεός (theós), “god”.[2] 

Although much less common, there are also male equivalents in English such as “Dory” from the Greek masculine Δωρόθεος (Dōrótheos).

Also, the given names Theodore and Theodora are derived from the same two Greek root words as Dorothy, albeit reversed in order. The name is variously abbreviated to “Dot”, “Dotty” and “Doll”.” From Wikipedia

Dorothea means, “God’s Gift”. Her life had purpose and meaning, and she has a destiny.

The lady told her, you followed Still Small Voice to get here; it was God who directed your steps, one by one. And you heard. And even in the middle of panic and huge fear, you followed…and came here. Of course our Lord takes you to a safe place.

I’ll not tell you more details of how she got home and to her family now, but I will tell you this, instead – which is far better. Without realizing it, she had stepped into a live experience of the Presence of God. She heard his voice, and she followed.

And she knew deep inside that she could always stop and be still and listen, when things were hard. And she would know deep within herself that she would be okay. She would always be okay. Safe. And even rescued, if such were needed.

A lesson you can have in your own heart and in the depths of your inner being. Just stop. Let go of everything else. Be still. Ask.

You will know. God’s help is yours and you have a destiny. So be glad. Even in these times. Especially in these times.

Categories
Conversation with God Jesus's Communication Joy

A Revelation that Jesus Loves You?

When you get this revelation, what do you look like? How are you looking different?

Would you like to know?

Have a personal revelation from Jesus himself that affects you and transforms you and improves your life. Changes how you experience your universe.

You need to know. You hunger for the truth of this deep on the inside.

You can find out. Have a conversation with Jesus and listen. Ask what you hunger to know so that when you hear this from him, there will be no question in your mind.

When Jesus tells you such a thing as this, you know. You know that you know. You feel it in your heart, soul, and the feeling overflows into your body. So much so it changes you.

I wonder who else will notice the changes in you?

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Conversation with God Hearing God Key Article

Voices of God?

How God answers prayer or how he speaks to you is a part of his answer or instruction to you that prepares and equips you to respond. Transforming you to be better able to pray and to act and to get God’s will done. So you can better do your part. And so you grow more and more into his likeness as you gaze upon him.

Some examples of the distinct ways God speaks to us, his “Voices”:

  • Fear of Godholy awe establishes your relationship with God correctly. Enables you to hear more and to hear better. To pay deep attention. Aligns your values. Opens your ability to receive wisdom and all gifts from our Lord. Begin, always, with holy awe.
  • Scriptures – Not only teaches us, but gives us the standards by which we can understand and recognize God and his messages. What we receive will not contradict scriptures.
  • Still Small Voice – God asks you to be to be attentive and responsive. You are extra clear who this is from – from I Am (The Lord) – directly to you. (I Am is Yahweh, a personal name for God. Relating directly to you.) God increases, automatically, your experience of your accountability. You are extra certain that the correct answer is, “Yes!”
  • Inner knowingKnowing that you know that you know – providing you with deep inner certainty and even greater confidence. Increasing your ability to act and have great faith that empowers you to step out and risks.
  • Fruit of the SpiritEspecially love. God’s love spills through you to others. For ministry, and to just love, love and love! Equips you to obey the Great Commandment, to love God with all your heart, mind and soul – which is a lot of love! To love others with the same love.
  • Dreams, visions, parablesGod calls you to dig deeper, and to seek actively. Increases your motivation and ability to apply what he says (to the right person, situation or context).
  • Words of Knowledge – Insight into how someone or a situation is. Often analogue (mediated through the right brain), that calls for you to identify correctly a particular ministry target (person, place, etc.) Or pray for the person or situation to Holy Spirit helps you to identify. You get to experience aspects of God’s chosen target. Giving you additional insight.
  • Gift of Wisdom – Enables you to know better how to act and apply with greater wisdom. Tells you what to do with what you know.
  • TranceA trance focuses our attention completely onto what God is showing or telling us. Especially useful when an idea is hard to accept – you know you have received this message.
  • Angels – Angels are messengers. An angel is a messenger. And they can carry the atmosphere of the throne room of God. They are mighty, sometimes huge. Sometimes so much that people receiving a message from an angel will become so weak they cannot stand. Angels communicate great authority. All of this makes our standing on our own authority much less likely. Your attention has been strongly grabbed. So a message of great importance, that carries a lot of weight, that has huge consequences can be communicated without any doubt. We are sure of what we have received.
  • Thoughts in our own mindsEspecially useful to help us identify with those thoughts and impressions as being owned by us. Especially useful when what is important is the message but not the Authority or Author of the message. Seems ordinary and we have little resistance to thoughts that seem to be ours and that indeed may be ours. But which could also be from God.
  • NatureGod’s creation and beauty are for me a reliable context for me to hear God in. And for many other people. God speaks to us through his creation. I can go look at and be in the midst of God’s creation, on purpose, and I will easily hear God and I know it. I am grateful for such grace when I sometimes have too much difficulty hearing God.
  • Beauty and art – When we are inspired by great music, beauty of any kind, great art – opens us to appreciate and receive inspiration.
  • Worship – Opens us to God and what God says much like beauty and art can. Only we are establishing our experience of relationship on purpose. Gratitude and praise make it easier to hear God. Being reminded of previous experiences with God makes it much easier for us to be ready to experience and hear again.
  • Unanswered Prayer – This is surprising, yet unanswered prayer can cause us to investigate our previous prayers and ourselves as we seek additional insight about why.
  • Answered Prayer Causes us to give thanks, be grateful, rejoice. All of which helps us be more ready to hear what God has to say to us. We are prepared and ready to listen and to do as God says.
  • ConscienceCauses us to correct our ways.
  • CorrectionWhen God corrects me, he has my attention and my immediately stronger than normal readiness for me to agree to whatever I am being told to correct. Other people have told me they experience much of the same.
  • Signs & WondersLiterally point to messages from God, such as how much he loves us and wants to do for us. Help us to be exceedingly grateful! At which time a leap in our devotion and determination to relate and respond well to God is more likely to occur.
  • AnimalsAnimals talk to us, and sometimes we hear. Nearly always, we learn. Sometimes God speaks to us through animals – so pay attention and be ready!
  • PeacePeace can be a clear signal of God’s agreement with something, a message or a thought. (Lack of peace may show that there is no agreement from God.) I have a friend who found another place to live that looks wonderful – and who has no peace about it. Which he realized means that at least for now, God is not pointing him in that direction.
  • Coincidences – helps you learn to pay attention to, identify and respond with awe and great attention to Divine Appointments. Increasing your appreciation for and awe of God.
  • Other people – who affirm or inform can be comforting. Confidence building. And especially helps you experience community. Experiencing community with other members of the Body of Christ, especially as you are gathered in His name – gives you an experience of Jesus among you. And more! What few people notice consciously, but experience at least a taste of, is that you are having an experience of communing with and in Trinity. The community of God! You get to share in the communion of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — the family that birthed you anew! Your most genuine family. And this is just a beginning of what will happen….

Pay attention to the distinct ways God speaks to you. Transforming you. Be better prepared and equipped to do as God wants you to do.