Looking Beyond the Labels We Put on People

Frustrated Driver Photo:  blogs.internetautoguide.com, from an article called "Stupid Drivers of the World"

Frustrated Driver
Photo: blogs.internetautoguide.com, from an article called “Stupid Drivers of the World”

We label people without even thinking about our words.  “What an idiot.  Why would anyone drive like that?”  Or, “What a numbskull.  No one hits a pitch aimed at their feet.”  It seems harmless, until we recognize “that person” as someone we know.  Then we apologize and add, “I didn’t really mean it.”

Assigning wrong names to people as a group, distances us from individuals.  It lumps people into categories and stereotyping that are seldom accurate.  It causes separation and draws line.  Racism is fueled by such labeling.  One day we will all stand before God and be accountable to every word we have spoken.  God has created the exceptions to every group.

When we are labeled, it takes courage to respond well.  The other person may never see the truth.  Their words can not define us.  In the end, it is God’s opinion of us that will matter.  Keep His words about us as the ones that matter.

If we have labeled, people, we can repent.  As a Cleansing Streams Homework assignment, I asked God if there was anyone I had labeled that I needed to repent over.  I felt like heaven produced a computerized multi-page document.  I had to call my brother and apologize for calling him a “dodo bird.”  Even this little childish label needed clearing in the Heavenly Courtroom.

After repenting of everything I could remember I had said, I was far more careful about what I said going forward. Many times I learned people’s behavior was an extension of their upbringing or their training or their experience base.  It wasn’t thought through.  I try to ask God what the underlying root is to be upset with.  It’s usually not the person.  God asks us to have grace with one another and put on love.  Love starts with seeing beyond the labels we put on people.  Colossians 3:12 says, “Put on kindness.”


What is Emergent Streams?

Waterfalls Give Us a Picture of Supernatural Abundant Love

Many Holy Spirit Streams are Coming Together in America for a Waterfall of Love

One of the new terms for people who follow Spirit filled faith ministries is “streams.”  Streams represent apostolic ministries that raise people up to take the “flavor” of that ministry out into their sphere of influence.  A lot of this training is done through schools of ministry.  Some ministries have schools of Supernatural Ministry.  Examples include Bethel Church in Redding (School of Supernatural Ministry), CA, Jubilee Church in San Jose, CA (School of Supernatural Ministry), IHOP University, and International Association of Healing Rooms’ School of Transformation.  Some ministries hold conferences or schedule mission trips to international locations where one can visit for short term time frames or extended seasons.  Kathy Walters does trips to Wales, Global Awakening does mission trips to Brazil, and Aglow International does trips to Israel every year.

Once trained or familiar with a particular style the individual takes the training with them to whatever their sphere of influence is.  The training becomes part of their modis operendi.  People who learn how to heal incorporate healing into their approach to living.  It’s no big deal to pray on the spot when they learn of a need because they experientially know there’s no time or distance in the spiritual realm.  Often they may pray prophetically receiving a picture image, scripture or a phrase from God specifically designed to comfort or bless or speak to the person.  As common and practical as this step is it’s surprising how many people hear of a prayer request and go on their way with good intentions to pray and can forget.

Ministry streams are becoming a way of communicating networks of familiarity and maturity in the same way denominations give a quick picture of foundational points that a church operates from.  Some current stream examples include IHOP in Kansas City (International House of Prayer introducing 24/7 worship that is available by streaming online), Bethel Church in Redding, CA (launching Jesus Culture music and training and sozo ministries), IAHR (International Association of Healing Rooms bringing a parachurch healing ministry to over 3000 communities in the United States) and Global Awakening (another Healing ministry out of Pennsylvania.)


Prayers for the Parched: The Divine Exchange

We give God our sin and He gives us righteousness.  Praise God for Divine Exchange. Photo by www.cripplegate.com

We give God our sin and He gives us righteousness. Praise God for Divine Exchange.
Photo by www.cripplegate.com

The Divine Exchange

How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart is the highways to Zion!  Passing through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring; the early rain covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, every one of them appears before God in Zion.  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob.  Selah. Behold our shield, O God; look upon the face of Your anointed. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:5-9, 11

God,

You are a loving God

Your mercy is from everlasting to everlasting

I worship you, Lord for the work you are doing because you area faithful God

You hear our prayers

You answer our prayers

I praise you because you will remember my sins no more

Jesus,

You created a Divine Exchange

You not only took from me my sins on the cross

You also gave me Your righteousness before God

Your righteousness allows me to have peace

Your peace allows me to have joy

Jesus,

You’re a friend who’s closer than a brother

You are strong and you are my strength

You give me rest for my soul

 

 


Prayers for Business: Thank You for the Opportunity to Produce Wealth

God Provides the Ability to Produce Wealth

God Provides the Ability to Produce Wealth

“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealthy for me.’ But remember that Lord Your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…” Deuteronomy 8:17-18

Prayer: “Lord, Thank you for the opportunity to produce wealth. Thank you for customizing my hands, including my skills and my resume of experience. May they be what are needed for my next position. Thank you for fashioning me for my future purposes. You already know what my future business card will contain. You are holy and good. You are trustworthy and I choose to trust you. I say Thank you. Bless your name.”

Even if we lose our job, consider that God has fired that company as our boss. They will be shaped by the decisions, as much as we are. Either way, God can bless us, teach us, and use us to go where he directs us. If they were wrong they had their chance to grow and be stretched. If they were in obedience with God’s plan, then let us pursue what God’s next opportunity is for us to grow and learn. Choose to trust God, and not panic, along the way. God has multiple ways of meeting our needs in between jobs. If possible, praise God in the midst of confusing circumstances. It is an action choice to trust that God is active in our circumstances. As Deuteronomy say, “Remember that it is the Lord Our God who gives us the ability to produce wealth” Ask Him for the ability to produce wealth. Praise Him for our current jobs, and our current circumstances. Believe that He is going before us creating the perfect place to work. “Thank you Lord.”


Steph’s Recipes: CANNELLINI AND GREEN BEAN SALAD

Cannellini and Grren Bean Salad.   Recipe and Photo from Food and Wine

Cannellini and Grren Bean Salad.
Recipe and Photo from Food and Wine

CANNELLINI AND GREEN BEAN SALAD

This simple and bright-tasting salad, with lots of salty kalamata olives and cilantro is an appealing way to showcase fresh beans.  The salad can be made with dried cannellini beans or, in a pinch, canned white beans.

1 ½ cups dried cannelloni beans (3 ounces), soaked overnight in cold water and drained

1 bay leaf

1 thyme sprig

½ small onion

¾ pound green beans

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup chopped cilantro

½ cup pitted kalamata olives (2 ½ oz.) chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lime wedges, for serving

1.         In a medium saucepan cover the soaked and drained cannellini beans with 2 inches of water.  Add the bay leaf, thyme spring and onion half and bring toa  simmer.  Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water to cover as necessary, until the beans are tender, about 2 hours.  Drain and let cool completely.  Discard the bay leaf, thyme sprig and onion half.

2.         Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the green beans until they are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain the green beans well and spread them out on a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool.  Pat the beans dry with paper towels.  Cut the green beans on the diagonal into 1 inch lengths.

3.         In a large bowl. Combine the olive, oil, fresh lemon juice, chopped cilantro and kalamata olives and season with salt and black pepper.  Fold in the cooked, cooled cannelloni and green beans and season with salt and black pepper.  Serve the Cannellini and Green Bean Salad with the lime wedges.

Make Ahead:  The cooked and cooled cannelloni and green beans can be refrigerated separately, overnight.  Bring the beans back to room temperature before tossing them with the dressing.


Celebrating Communion – Broken in Battle

"Take and Eat. This is My Body Broken for You." Mark 14:22

“Take and Eat. This is My Body Broken for You.” Mark 14:22

“My body, broken in battle

So you could be victorious

Live in the land of freedom”

People in revolutionary war died in battle so I could live in the free land of America.  Men died in battle so I could vote.  Yet, look at how many American citizens don’t vote in general elections.  Look at how many do not know the names of their elected representatives.

Jesus died in the battle of all good and evil on earth so we could walk in relationship with God once again.  Are we communing with God in this relationship?  Are we partaking of what the great sacrifice allows in terms of victory over the enemy?

It’s not about how great our government is currently.  It’s not about how great our churches are currently.  It’s about going back to God’s structures and systems for living.

Our forefathers had supernatural strength beyond their human wisdom to write the constitution. Denominational church fathers created structures for our church institutions that went beyond what they were envisioning for their immediate concerns. This is what happens when we ask of God for His divine guidance and hand in a creative process.  Each has been undermined by the enemy in varying methods.

Yet when we go back to the good tenants and invite them back, we start to pursue God and His purposes on earth. We start to borrow everything good from other countries where they have it right.  We adopt from other church polity where they have it right.  Seeking God for the unification of all that is good…in love…to establish one body, one nation, once church.

It is doable.  Let’s pray.  Lord, teach us to walk in the fullness of victory that your son wrought for us on the cross.  Lord, teach us to walk in the fullness of freedom that our forefathers established for us in The United States of America.


Redeeming the Cost of Caregiving Warriors – Part 2

God uses the Cost of Caregiving to Turn the Tide of Entitlement and Selfishness

God uses the Cost of Caregiving to Turn the Tide of Entitlement and Selfishness

In Part 1, of Redeeming the Cost of Caregiving Warriors, we observed that many people pulled into the role of Caregivers didn’t choose this of their own desire.  The rule often gets thrust onto people who live the closest to ailing parents or who are retired or not currently married with kids.

The sacrifices of caregiving get noted in heaven, even if it seems no one on earth cares.  God does care and there is a value to doing things unto the Lord.  Instead of “I deserve” or “I shouldn’t have to” or “Why should I,” it’s a choice to submit and obey God.

Caretaking is a choice to give up something now for what God has later in His reward structure.  It’s the choice to invest in His priority plan, even if we don’t feel like our efforts are healing the person, much less ourselves, in the process.  In this choice to obey and do the right thing before God, we are sowing good seeds, both here and in eternity. Again the key is choosing to agree to meet the need and doing it unto the Lord.  When we offer our sacrifice of service up to the Lord, we are investing our sacrifices of caretaking with a cost against the “I’m too busy and too important” to do this myself attitude of our society.

Some people love their relative and want to be there in a difficult time.  Others don’t want to do things for their parents or want it to be a shared responsibility with other siblings, and it’s not.  It’s a high cost, considering the effort to be there physically, economically, relationally, and spiritually.

Please know that what we choose to do in love for God, as called, is used By God in an interesting way to combat the things God wants to combat.  The sacrificial service of committed Christians quite possibly is being used by God as warfare in the heavenlies against the selfish trends in our country.  We may never know.  It could also be accounted for by God and redistributed by God into heavenly currency. Unknowingly, we may be adding additional rooms to our heavenly mansions.

God’s eyes are on his righteous children.  What is being asked of us is being noted in heaven.  God cares about our burdens and sends help to meet the immediate needs.  Keep asking God for His perspective.  He can quiet our hearts and keep us going till He chooses to show us what the divine purpose is to our circumstances.  He can send help in ways we don’t expect.  Keep asking God questions.  Ask new questions.  Ask different questions.  He hears and He answers.  If you need hope, ask Him to send hope.  If you need encouragement, support, prayer, medicine, or help, keep asking. It does matter.  It all matters.  It all has value.  What we go through matters in heaven to God.

Catch t he first part of this story by clicking here Redeeming the Cost of Caregiving Warriors – Part 1.


Prayers for the Parched: Balancing Work and Rest

Balancing Work and Rest Photo:  by JoshWeidmann.com

Balancing Work and Rest Photo: by JoshWeidmann.com

Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Jeremiah 6:16

God,

I praise you for the balance between work and rest

Forgive me when I take on more than you ever asked me to, and get tired

I stand at yet another fork in the road

Which is the good way?

Show me which path, and I will walk in it

I seek your rest for my weary soul

Thank you for being at work in my life even when I am asleep

Jesus, I want to learn of you

You give me relief, refreshment, and recreation for my soul

Thank you for sharing my burdens

Thank you for letting me make decisions with you

Thank you for your input

Holy Spirit, enable me to enjoy my work

And also enable me to enjoy my rest

 


Redeeming the Cost of Caregiving Warriors – Part 1

God uses the Cost of Caregiving to Turn the Tide of Entitlement and Selfishness

God uses the Cost of Caregiving to Turn the Tide of Entitlement and Selfishness

One of the Spiritual Principles of Caregiving relates to sacrifice. The choice to Caregive is a Call to Arms.  When we choose to be Caregiving Warriors, we are at the forefront of the battle lines against the fleshly desires to escape and pass off the responsibility.  We achieve victory in doing the tough thing that has spiritual impact.

Most people get pulled into caregiving.  My friend Frances didn’t exactly sign up to care for her Mom at the current level of care required.  My friend Donna caregives for her mother, even though she resides in an Assisted Living 2 hours away.  I didn’t sign up to care for my bipolar Mom’s extreme episodes after her residential living arrangement threw up their hands about what to do at certain points of the year.

It is a “price” that is paid that takes people away from several other opportunities of their own choosing.  It’s different than taking care of one’s own child.  Taking care of an adult who theoretically should be able to take care of us doesn’t fit the normal range of life expectations.  All too frequently, that adult never was capable of fulfilling the role of parent we needed them to fill in our lives early on.  Yet, their need arises and no one else steps up to the plate.

It could feel like our time isn’t our own anymore and we can’t “get anything done.” Many of us get called into things we don’t want to do.  We feel we “have to do it.” It feels like a burden and comes with a high cost. Often that cost involves writing checks and creating space in our homes. How many offspring who are single have to take care of a parent and the other married siblings seem to be off the hook? Somehow, we have to find peace about this, because it doesn’t do us any good to live in a state of anger and unforgiveness.  That becomes our problem.  So on top of everything else, we have to figure out how to live in a state of “forgiveness.”  In and of itself, this can be a tough challenge.  It gets complicated when dealing with relatives and years of history and repeat patterns.  God knows.  He will keep us steady though the mess.

Continued in Part 2 of  Redeeming the Cost of Caregiving Warriors


Goerge Washington’s Prayer for Guidance

Fireworks Celebrate America's Independence Day

Fireworks Celebrate America’s Independence Day

Happy 4th of July

Following is a prayer of our President George Washington. iBelief.com has the prayer of several of our Presidents posted.  It’s a delightful read.  Here’s George Washington’s Prayer for Guidance

George Washington

A Prayer for Guidance

O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul….

Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends, and kindred.