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HOPE! HOPE! HOPE!

THERE IS A PATTERN DEVELOPING. . . A pattern of prayer 1) Paul prays for earthy, simple things like the desire to go see people he loves, and for people to get along with each other. 2) Then we see…

Source: HOPE! HOPE! HOPE!

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Romans 15:5–6
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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We need endurance and encouragement to live in harmony with other people. Notice that harmony means we all don’t sing the same note. Allowing people around us to have differing opinions and viewpoints is essential to living in harmony with each other. But HOW do we do that? The Apostle Paul gives us hint in our verse, “. . .in accord with Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus is the embodiment of pure LOVE*. Living a life of LOVE is only possible if Jesus is living in me and through me. I cannot be in harmony with all the obnoxious, ignorant, angry people around me by myself. Ask Jesus to come into your life. John 3:16.

We also need guidance.

7 SIMPLE EXERCISES FOR LIVING IN HARMONY WITH PEOPLE

1) Try not to escalate in any disagreements. This includes raising your voice, “punching the other person’s buttons,” throwing things, etc. It is fruitless to increase the trouble by loudly using unkind words and blaming others, even though we find that they are wrong, they are to blame, or lying.

2) Agree with the other person as many times as you can. Remember “Fools argue; wise people discuss.”

3) Walk away. Some people are completely incapable of having a calm conversation with you at this time. It is wise to turn around and walk away. Make an appointment with the them (even if it is you spouse) to continue the conversation at another time, even if it’s a social media conversation.

4) Avoid banging people with truth! Respect truth but don’t annoy anybody with it. My grandmother used to tell me “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” You might be technically right. But living a life if LOVE is NOT about being right. It is about loving other people and finding a way to do that.

5) Learn when to speak and when to be silent. You are not comprising you own ideals, truth, and inner peace by not arguing. If in doubt about what to say then listen, really listen to what the other person is saying.

6) Be courteous! We should first of all be courteous to our immediate relatives. The closer people are to us the more we need to use words like, please and thank you. Calm silence, sincerity, and courteous words, whether one is agreeing or disagreeing with others, mark the person who knows how to behave.

7) If you want to be loved, start loving others who need your love. If you want to be respected, you must learn to be respectful to everyone, both young and old, obnoxious and sweet.

We cannot do these things without the help if Jesus. Rely on the Holy Spirit of Jesus to help you deal with toxic people and people who are simply annoying. Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit then you will have the power of God, Himself in your inner person. Our goal is to learn to live a life of LOVE. Using the exercises above will enable us to “with one voice” live the life if LOVE. This is what God wants.

Please let me know if it’s has been helpful to you. Write a comment below.

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Romans 12:12

 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

HOPE! I have very debilitating polymyositis. Every day I go to three polymyositis groups for support, encouragement, and HOPE! Three years ago before I was correctly diagnosed I had no hope and I was also struggling with heart failure. After 5 cardiologists in Dallas who couldn’t diagnose what was wrong with my heart, I gave up and preparing myself to die.

My husband and daughter had other ideas. They found a heart failure clinic in Houston that specializes in weird heart problems. I didn’t want to go. I had severe doctor paranoia. My daughter chewed me up one side and down the other. She told me to get down there no matter how bad I felt. Good daughter. I did go. The doctor in my the Houston Heart Failure Clinic spent 1 ½ hrs with me. Then she took my face in her hands and looking into my eyes said, “I can help you!” I believed her. For the first time in a very long time I had HOPE. Wonderful HOPE!

But what do we do when there seems to be no hope? Let’s see if this verse can help us.

COMPANION VERSE

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This is a power packed verse. I have quoted it, used it in counseling, and I thought I understood it. But when I hit the wall I lost all contact with these truths. How on earth can I rejoice aways? How can a human being “Be anxious for nothing.”? The answer is within the verse. The only way this happens is when we bring it to God. Notice it says that God is near. It may not seem like it but we need to make it an exercise daily to say over and over “God is right here with me. God loves me no matter what.”

There are three words in this verse for talking to God. 1) PRAYER is just plain talking to God about anything and everything. 2) SUPPLICATION is asking God to do something about it, to help us in the situation. 3) THANKSGIVING is being grateful that God has heard us, that He cares deeply about our situation, and that He loves us far more than we could ever know.

The result of this type of praying is PEACE. This is the reason I lost HOPE was I was NOT doing these things. I was not doing what I knew to do. I call these exercises Hand Holds. Hand Holds are the things we can grab to lift us up out of the hopelessness and depression.

Our verse in Romans tells us to be patient in tribulation. Now that doesn’t seem so impossible. We are armed with help. Notice it says to “…be constant in prayer.” That’s the key! Using these exercises constantly not only results in peace but also guards our heart against future episodes of hopelessness and depression. We need to think of these exercises as tools in our arsenal just like taking antidepressants. Yes! I take antidepressants, too. My body sends out chemical signals that something is wrong. People with chronic illnesses often need more help. People with severe depression also may need extra help. There us NO SHAME in taking antidepressants. You have not failed in your faith. It’s just another means that God can use to help us.

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THIS HAS HELPED YOU

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This is a new project. Actually two new parallel projects. “Transforming Suffering” looks at how suffering can raise us to a new level of awareness, thinking, compassion, understanding, and spirituality. As I was using “All the Prayers of Paul” for my private devotional time, I discovered that his prayers fit in very nicely with how suffering is redemptive and transforming.Redemptive suffering is when you go through a problem or pain for the benefit of others.

I have several very serious medical conditions. Polymyositis is a weakening of my skeletal muscles caused by inflammation. It has weakened my lung muscles to the point that two weeks ago I was transferred by ambulance to Houston Methodist because I quit breathing. They gave me 1000ml of Prednisone infusion every day for 5 days. Now I will receive a home infusion every 3 weeks. I also have a heart problem called dyastolic heart dysfunction. Basically, that is a hardening of the bottom portion of my heart.

I share these things so that you will understand what I am going through as I go through it. Also I want you to know that thus us not an academic exercise. My hope is that you will find help and hope in whatever you are suffering whether sickness, financial, marital, loss if a loved one, , mental illness, or whatever your suffering may be.

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

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https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F260829365%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-fkky8&visual=true&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false

In everyday life, most Christians avoid talking talking about their faith. They freeze up. They don’t know what to say. Or they fear rejection. Or they don’t want to come off as a narrow-minded jerk. The truth is, most people–even most churchgoers–lack a basic understanding in how to naturally bring faith into a real conversation. How […]

via Talking About God Without Being a Jerk — Holy Soup

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THE LORD’S PRAYER as QUICK PRAYERS

The Lord’s Prayer is also called The Model Prayer and for a good reason. It is a quick, easy, foolproof way to pray for any situation, people, disaster, or even the news. Yes. Instead of wringing your hands over what you see and read, you can actually use parts of the Lord’s Prayer for the people and events as you watch them. You can know exactly how to pray for people you love, co-workers, friends, anyone.

HERE IT IS. . . 

 This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven: 

May your holy name be honored; 

may your Kingdom come; 

may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us today the food we need. 

Forgive us the wrongs we have done, 

as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. 

Do not bring us to hard testing, 

but keep us safe from the Evil One.’ 

BREAKING IT DOWN

Let’s take it one section at a time to see how we can use it as a “Quick Prayer.”

1. “Our Father in heaven. . .” When someone is hurting one of the best prayers in the world is to pray that they will experience the love, provision, protection, and deliverance our heavenly Father gives us. These are things fathers do. You can think of others.

PRAYER: Father may (fill in the blank) _________________ experience Your love, provision, protection, and deliverance. May this circumstance cause them to know You are their heavenly Father.

2. “May Your holy name be honored. . .” Now this one is loaded. God’s name is not honored on the earth. People do not see God as the omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (everywhere at the same time), loving caring creator being that he is. Now when you see God, our Lord Jesus and/or Christianity put down, ridiculed, , or under attack you can simply pray this extremely powerful prayer and watch God work.

PRAYER: Father, I pray that You would cause these people to come to know You for who and what You are. Bring circumstances and people into their lives to draw them to know Jesus as their Savior.

3. “May Your kingdom come. . .” Jesus is teaching us to be active partners with God through prayer. The first word of the “Beatitudes” is a tremendous clue to the nature of the kingdom of heaven. In the Greek language of the New Testament the word for blessed is “makaroi”. It means characterized by the quality or nature of God. When one is indwelt by God and God’s nature is in him, he has the kingdom of God. When we pray this simple phrase, we are inviting God to come into the lives of people and situations (That’s how His kingdom comes). God is waiting for our invitation. He had chosen prayer as one of His tools to work in the world. So, understanding the nature of God is critical to the power of this four word prayer. We find descriptions of His nature in Galatians 5:22-23, John 14-17, James 3:13-18.

Jesus begins to explain the culture and nature of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 5-7. The culture of a country or kingdom is its way of life. What is expected of the citizens? How do they worship? What is the language of the kingdom? How to they speak and act with one another? What are the laws and rules to observe there? Things to carefully consider as we discover the beginnings of Jesus teachings. Get thoroughly familiar with these chapters especially chapter 5 to increase the power of praying these four words.

PRAYER: Father, may Your kingdom come to ______________________.

4. “May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This may come as a shock to you but God’s will is not being done on the earth. Murder, lying, stealing, terrorism, envy, addiction and on and are not God’s will. Can God use sinful people living against His will. Absolutely! We are instructed here to bring God’s will into people and situations where His will is not happening. Remember, sin is never God’s will.

Now here is the beautiful part. . . You do NOT have to know what God’s will is for the people and situations that concern you. You just have to pray for God’s will to be done and let God figure it out. What could be more simple?

PRAYER: Father I pray that Your will would be done in __________________ (Name the people, situations or news item).

5. “Give us this day the food we need.” In the middle of this majestic prayer is the very mundane request for food to stay alive today. I could pontificate (as Chris says) on this all day but there it is. Jesus tells us simply that we can ask our wonderful, loving caring Father for the things we need.

PRAYER: 1. Father I have real needs today (say them). I ask You to supply all my needs.

                  2. Father, ______________ has real needs today. I ask that You supply all

    their needs.

6. “Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.” Oh my! This is scary. Could it be that Jesus is saying that IF I do not forgive other people, God will not forgive me? Yes, indeed that is exactly what Jesus is saying. Notice that these are flat statements with no explanation, theological debate or the sort. As so many say today “It is what it is.”. Psalm 66:8 tells that if we have sin in our hearts, God will not forgive us. Unforgiveness is sin.

Good news! Forgiveness may not be what you think it is. It is simply “letting go.” You do not have to feel warm fuzzies for the person who has wronged you, hurt you, or violated you. You do have to give it up to your Father and let it go. I use hot air balloon to visualize this process. I close my eyes and picture the person I need to forgive. I picture the wrong done to me. The I visualize that person getting into the balloon and see the balloon taking off toward my Heavenly Father. This is a process because once dies not do it, usually. I have to do it over and over until my heart and my mind truly can let it go. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. It’s quicker that way. Romans 8:26

PRAYER: Father, I confess my sin of unforgiveness for ____________(name the people). Help me to just let it go.

7. ‘Do not bring us into hard testing. . . “ Whew! I wish I’d understood this earlier in my life. Testing by God is a fact of life. He will test us to bring out our true character, to strengthen us and give us wisdom. BUT, if I can get alone with God as Jesus did in the wilderness temptations, He will give me His divine perspective on the situation. That’s what Jesus was doing for 39 days. Communing with His Beloved Father about what He was about to undertake for the people of earth. Facing something hard? Get alone with God. Stay there until He gives you peace. My Nazarene parents used to call this “ praying through.”. Whatever you call it, it works. Jesus needed this for strength as a human being to face Satan’s temptations on day 40. We do too.

PRAYER: Father help! I need to be with You. Please help me make time to get alone with you. Help me be prepared for whatever comes into my life.

8. “Deliver us from evil.” There is a devil. He has demons who work for him. They hate humans. In the movie “The Matrix” evil is represented by “Mr Smith” in a duplicate computer world. He hates humans, really hates humans. At one point he tells Neo “it’s the smell. . .” Now I don’t know if we stink to Satan but the Bible is clear about Satan’s attitude toward us. 1st Peter 5:7. Facing real evil is rare in most people’s lives. Mostly, we face stupid people, incompetent people, selfish people and maybe even a really bad person from time to time. These are handled by the forgiveness principle.

Christians in the Islamic State face real evil. We can see the stark contrast today between just being bad and being evil. The devil and/or his helpers are always involved in real evil. To face it down Peter tells us principal one in spiritual warfare – Humble yourself before God. Satan’s first sin was pride (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28). Pride (self assurance instead of complete and total dependence on God) will destroy you in spiritual warfare. James 4:10. Make no mistake physical wars of this world are based on spiritual warfare. As Child of God you are involved in spiritual warfare whether you like it or not and whether you choose to fight or not. Choosing not to fight leaves you open and defenseless to Satan’s attacks. You will not even recognize that it is a satanic attack on you, your family, friends, or even your country.

Your weapons are weird.

  • Be Spirit Filled. Romans 8
  • Let the fruit of the Spirit of Jesus fill you and control you. Galatians 5:22-23
  • Humble yourself. Rigorously examine your heart and mind for sin and confess it. 1 John 1:9
  • Obey what you know God is telling you to do. John 14:15
  • Know, understand and use the power of The Armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-18
  • PRAY- Spend as much time with God as you can.

PRAYER: Father, I put on the whole armor of God today. I know I can’t do one single thing without You. Fill me so completely with Your Spirit that all the fruits of the Spirit would fill me up and pour out on all around me. Show me the areas of my life in disobedience to You so I may confess them to You. Thank You for loving me so much my dear Father.

Alright, I confess that last one was not so easy or quick. Some things require a bit more effort.

Some Greek manuscripts include the powerful benediction to this prayer “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.”

God is, indeed all powerful, His kingdom will win!

Come join Him!

Love in Jesus,  Kathy

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    Christians saving the world?  Are you kidding?  No!

    Christians are called to join with Christ in His world saving mission.  For many years I have taught a course called “Praying the News.” Often, we watch or read the news and either be angry or very sad about what is going on in the world.  One of the options I use to offer was to simply quit watching the news.  A world “going to hell in a hand basket can get you down even if you are praying for God to come into the situations and people involved in these news items.  This, of course, was moderately helpful but did not capture the big picture.  And it did not move God to intervene in the situation.

    The BIG PICTURE is . . . You can change the world.  You can change the situations you see in the news. Yes! You can!  How?  By inviting God into the situations and people all around you, not only what you see in the news.  God does the changing through you and I.  God saves the world as we pray for Jesus, the Savior, to save and change the people and situations according to His will and His purposes and His plans.  

    God was appalled that there was no intercessor to pray for the situation in Israel in Isaiah 59. Again in Ezekiel 22:30 God is looking for someone to “stand in the gap” so He would not have to destroy Jerusalem.  These are are astounding passages of Scripture.  Why would an omniscient, omnipotent God need us to intercede in situations like these?  Because sovereign God has chosen to do things this way.  Sovereignty means God is the ultimate decision maker.  He does what He choses.  Now, when I accept that fact, the tremendous power of God will pour through me into the world as I pray.
    INTERCEDING FOR THE WORLD – Changes the world

    Start with the people around you, your family, friends, co-workers and all the people who irritate the socks off if you.  Ask God to our out His Spirit on them, help them, ang change them according to His will.  Wait. . .    Wait some more. . .  

    Wait for it.   .   .

    we went to the most gorgeous cave I have ever seen.  It was quite small compared to other caves we’d visited but the formations were breath taking.  At the end of the tour our guide turned out the lights and led us forward into another area of the cave.  When he turned on the lights I fell to my knees in awe.  There in front of me was a perfect butterfly stalagtite formation God had been working on for eons.  I told people that I was claustraphobic but it was awe of the patience of God.  We must wait for God’s timing.  Daniel 10:12

    Next post – Praying the LORD’S PRAYER

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