Categories
Authentic New Testament Solutions

Healing Devotions: Day 4

Today’s Scripture: This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Confession: I am a new person in Christ Jesus. I am different than I was before. I have the life of God in me, the very nature of God, and the ability of God. Darkness has no place in me. I am a child of the light.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Jesus still heals today in order to fulfil his covenant.

No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said (Psalm 89:34).

As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one (Luke 4:40).

Healing was for all in those days, and Christ the healer has never changed.

When people don’t know God wants them well, they have a tendency to accept sicknesses and diseases.. This is why the New Testament demonstrates for us the importance of preaching healing.

Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city(Acts 8:6-8).

Peter preached Christ to the cripple (Acts 3:6), to the multitudes (Acts 5:14-16), and to Aeneas (Acts 9:34). All were healed.

While they were at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been born that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed. So Paul called to him in a loud voice, ‘Stand up!’ And the man jumped to his feet and started walking (Acts 14:8-10).

I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26b).

And then he (Jesus) told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned’ (Mark 16:15).

Jesus came and told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authoirty in heaven and on earth, Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the command I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).

The fact that God wants us well is part of the good news of the gospel. That is why we preach this throughout the world. Physical healing is part of the gospel, and healing is for all. A careful study of the Scriptures will show that God has declared that his will includes healing for his children. He has declared himself to be the healer of his people.

Many believe in devine healing, but have no personal knowledge of Jesus as the healer of our bodies. They see that others are divinely healed, but question whether God will heal them in answer to prayer or not. God need not give any special revelation of his will when he has plainly given his revealed will in the Bible.

The Scriptures are clear: God wants us well. And the evidence is clear, sometimes God heals instantly, other times he heals over time, sometimes he uses natural law, and other times he works through the care of a doctor or nurse. All of these methods reveal that God wants us well, even while we are here on the Earth. We in the West tend to rely more on medical science than on divine healing, yet regardless of the delivery mechanism for healing, the fact is, God wants us well. Thus we have a responsibility to take care of our emotions, minds, and bodies, and to care for others,  praying and serving, so others can be better off as well.

He (God) said, ‘If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptiuans; for I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26).

 

Categories
Authentic New Testament Solutions

Healing Devotions: Day 3

Today’s Scripture: Yes, I (Jesus) am the vine; you are the branches . . . if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted (John 15:5a, 7)!

Confession: I have been born-again and am being continually filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches me God’s Word, and God’s Word teaches me about the Holy Spirit. We abide together. My life is empowered by Christ, and is directed by God’s Word. As a result, as my life is in harmony with God, I pray God’s will. And when I pray God’s will, my prayers are always answered.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Healing Scriptures

Uncertainty Corrected

We need not pray “if it be your will” when praying for the sick, because the Bible makes it clear that God wants us well. Mark 1:41 records Jesus setting the record straight, it was his will to heal, which is why Christians world-wide devote themselves to people being well, whether through nutrition, exercise, supernatual intervention, medical science, or simply loving care. Everyone who effectively works for us to be as healthy as possible is aligned with God’s overall purpose.

. . . Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be healed’ (Mark 1:41b)!

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake.He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9).

Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven (James 5:14-15).

Numbers 20 tells us about the children of Israel becoming impatient. They began to complain against their leaders. As a result, poisonous snakes began biting people, killing them. After asking God for help, God instructed Moses to make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. Everyone who was bitten could simply look at the replica of the snake on the pole lived. The Bible says in vs. 9,

So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed.

The bronze snake on the pole is a type of Christ. When we have poison in our lives, we can repent and look to Christ and be healed.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

. . . and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them (Matthew 12:15b).

They begged him to let the sick touch at lease the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed (Matthew 14:36).

Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone (Luke 6:19).

That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick (Matthew 8:16-17).

Christ is still healing the sick, in order to fulfill the prophet’s words from Isaiah 53:4-5 and referred to by Jesus in Matthew 8:16-17. When these verses use “our” or “we,” it includes YOU!

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed (Isaiah 53:4-5).

That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, ‘He took our sickness and removed our diseases’ (Matthew 8:16-17).

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Pastor Ted Haggard, DD, CHBC, is a Bible teacher with an emphasis on New Testament solutions to the human condition. His Bible teaching is informed by biblical scholarship, Choice Theory (Glasser), Attachment Theory (Johnson), and Behavioral Studies using DISC (Rohm).

This and other blogs by Pastor Ted Haggard are available at http://www.tedhaggardblog.com as a ministry of St. James Church. If you would like to strengthen the ministry of St. James Church and Pastor Ted Haggard by giving, please use the “give” tab at http://www.saintjameschurch.com.

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Authentic New Testament Solutions

Healing Devotions: Day 2

Today’s Scripture: For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ (Acts 17:28).

Confession: In him I live . . . and move . . . and exist in power. In him I live a rich and satisfying life! I am his child. I am God’s property. I am his representative. What a vast storehouse of power he placed in me! In Christ my Savior and Lord I have life . . . energy . . . healing . . . and strength for impossible tasks!

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

COVID-19: In the world today, disease and sickness are claiming a terrible toll on human lives. In spite of the fact that medical science is demonstrating its greatest achievements, disease persists to ravage human lives all over the world.

The tragedy is that these sicknesses and diseases affect the bodies of thousands of people, while too many stand by with little more than words of sympanthy and pity, assuring the sufferer that it must be God’s will; that it will work out for the best; that God is teaching us some lessson in humity; that possibly it is God’s chastisement; or that by it, we are being drawn closer to him who often works his will in our lives through sickness. These are lies.

We Christians do not have to be sick, any more than we need to be sinful. It is always God’s desire to heal us, which is why we stand with our doctors, nurses, and anyone else who is fighting sickness and disease. God wants us well, and he uses a variety of tools to help us be better off. In Heaven, there is no sickness or disease, so when we pray, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven, we could use my paraphrase, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, in our earthen vessels as it is in Heaven.
Scriptures on Healing

Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant (Hebrews 9:14-15).

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins – and not only our sins but the sins fo all the world (1 John 1-2).

Note: There is no better way to know the will of God than by reading the gospels, which record the teachings and the works of Christ. Jesus was the physical expression of the Father’s will. His life was both a revelation and a manifestation of the unchanging love and will of God. He acted out the will of God for all of us to see.

Then I (Jesus) said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God – as is written about me in the Scriptures (Hebrews 10:7).

For I (Jesus) have come down from Heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will (John 6:38).

Note: After a three year study by a commission appointed by the Episcopalian Church, they reported:

“The healing of Jesus was done as a revelation of God’s will for humanity. . . No longer can the church pray for the sick with that faith-destroying phrase, If it be your will.”

Only one place in the Bible was Jesus ever asked if it was his will to heal. In Mark 1:40-41 the Bible says,

A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. ‘If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,’ he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said, ‘Be healed!

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Pastor Ted Haggard, DD, CHBC, is a Bible teacher with an emphasis on New Testament solutions to the human condition. His Bible teaching is informed by biblical scholarship, Choice Theory (Glasser), Attachment Theory (Johnson), and Behavioral Studies using DISC (Rohm).

This and other blogs by Pastor Ted Haggard are available at http://www.tedhaggardblog.com as a ministry of St. James Church. If you would like to strengthen the ministry of St. James Church and Pastor Ted Haggard by giving, please use the “give” tab at http://www.saintjameschurch.com.

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Authentic New Testament Solutions

Healing Devotions: Day 1

Today’s Scripture: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

Confession: I believe in my heart Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe he was raised from the dead for my justification. I confess him as my Lord and Savior. Jesus is my Lord. He is dominating my life. He is guiding me. He is leading me.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Scriptures on Healing:

He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death (Psalm 107:20).

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believers – the Jew first and also the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body (Proverbs 4: 20-22).

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs (Matthew 5:3).

You must serve only the Lord your God. If you do, I will bless you with food and water, and I will protect you from illness. There will be no miscarriages or infertility in your land, and I will give you long, full lives (Exodus 23:25-26).

If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptiuans; for I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26).

. . . it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7).

God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through (Numbers 23:19)?

Praise the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses (1 Kings 8:56).

Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven (Psalm 119:89).

I (God) will certainly carry out all my plans (Jeremiah 1:12b).

I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26b).

When God brought his people out of Egypt, there were approximately 3,000,000 of them. None of them were weak because of God’s Word being strong among them. Note the two Scriptures below and let them strengthen your confidence in God:

That night the people of Israel left Rameses and started for Succoth. There were about 600,000 men plus all the women and children (Exodus 12:37).

The Lord brought his people out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold; and not one among the tribes of Israel even stumbled (Psalm 105:37).

. . . I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism (Acts 10:34).

So if God has done it for anyone, he’s willing to do it for you!

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Pastor Ted Haggard, DD, CHBC, is a Bible teacher with an emphasis on New Testament solutions to the human condition. His Bible teaching is informed by biblical scholarship, Choice Theory (Glasser), Attachment Theory (Johnson), and Behavioral Studies using DISC (Rohm).

This and other blogs by Pastor Ted Haggard are available at http://www.tedhaggardblog.com as a ministry of St. James Church. If you would like to strengthen the ministry of St. James Church and Pastor Ted Haggard by giving, please use the “give” tab at http://www.saintjameschurch.com.

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Authentic New Testament Solutions

What Would Jesus Do?

What would Jesus do?” We have all heard that question.

However, few of us understand what it really means.

Even so, we all accept, Jesus is our model FOR human behavior.

For those of you who live near Colorado Springs, that’s what we will be discussing in the seminar you are invited to attend here at St. James Church this Saturday, March 7th, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

It’s the The Jesus Personality Style Seminar.  Registration is $49 for one person, or $79 for you and as many as you want to bring from your family. Your registration fee covers the valuable material we’ll be discussing and that you’ll receive as handouts, plus refreshments, and lunch. I can assure that you will learn about Jesus. You will learn about you. And you will learn why you respond to him the way you do. You will also discover things about his personality that will help you enjoy greater success in representing him to the people you influence.

I am teaching this seminar because I believe that as followers of Christ we need to understand what it means to be like him—to understand him and to understand his personality. And he does have a vivid personality!  We often bog down in trying to understand human behavior, but as Christians, we understand that Jesus gives all of us the model FOR human behavior. (I know, I already said that.)

Armed with the understanding of Jesus’ personality and our own personality, we can begin to understand the personalities of those around us, and how to develop more productive and satisfying relationships with them. These tools can also help us repair those relationships that are currently filled with stress and frustration.

Most importantly, this four-hour seminar will help you better understand how Jesus deliberately lived his life—how he perceived situations as well as the way he responded to them differently in different circumstances. He understood human behavior better than anyone who has ever lived. He was a master at demonstrating how to do the appropriate behavior at the appropriate time for the appropriate reason.

As you learn this information and as you begin to practice this approach to life, you are going to be amazed at the peace and productivity that develops in your own life.

I will never waste your time. I believe that the insights in this seminar will transform your life the way they have transformed mine.

You do not need to pre-register for the seminar. Simply arrive at 4615 Northpark Drive in time for us to start at 10:00. We’ll be excited to see you Saturday.

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Pastor Ted Haggard, DD, CHBC, is a Bible teacher with an emphasis on New Testament solutions to the human condition. His Bible teaching is informed by biblical scholarship, Choice Theory (Glasser), Attachment Theory (Johnson), and Behavioral Studies using DISC (Rohm).

This and other blogs by Pastor Ted Haggard are available at http://www.tedhaggardblog.com as a ministry of St. James Church. If you would like to strengthen the ministry of St. James Church and Pastor Ted Haggard by giving, please use the “give” tab at http://www.saintjameschurch.com.

Categories
Authentic New Testament Solutions

The Power of Emotions

#4 in The Love Series

I just heard an endorsement for socialist Bernie Sanders for president by a free-market capitalist because he met Sanders and liked him. He liked him!?!?!?  So, a man who is a student of history, who seems rational and reasonable, who knows the benefits of free-market capitalism and the devastation socialism can cause, will vote for a socialist because he likes him! Humph! I don’t like it, but it does illustrate the power of emotion over reason.

Another example of the power of emotion over reason is one of the most common prayers ever prayed, “Lord, I’ll never do that again.” But very often the person who prayed that prayer “does it again” because their emotions changed. None of us like that when it happens, but it does illustrate the power of emotion over reason.

Emotions are a strong motivator in all of us, and love can cause some of our strongest emotions. Most social scientists today agree that there are only six innate and universal emotions, and interestingly, none of which are love. They are:

  1. fear,
  2. anger,
  3. happiness or joy,
  4. sadness,
  5. surprise, and
  6. shame.

Each one of these emotions naturally leads to unique actions and unique facial expressions that are able to be interpreted in every culture accurately. But why is love not on the list? It’s because love is not a single emotion. It does not have a distinct facial expression, and it is much more complex than any one emotion.

Instead, love produces a variety of feelings and emotions depending upon the circumstances. Sometimes it produces a melody of feelings that can knock us off our feet and cause us to throw caution to the wind; other times it makes us feel so violated and betrayed that we want to be hermits the rest of our lives. Love can produce a full spectrum of emotions. When we love, we can be joyful, sad, angry, afraid, surprised, or ashamed – sometimes at the same time. The emotions love produces can swing from passionate lust to murderous anger. This is why some people try to avoid love, and, no doubt, this gives love a bad rap among many.

So, what is love? I believe a simple definition of real love is living for the good of another. For example, we love God, so we live to serve him.  God loves us, he takes care of us. When parents love their children, they live for the good of their children, and when children love their parents, they enjoy making them happy. Some love football, so they adjust their schedules and spending for football. Others love The Church, so they live for the good of their local church. In this process of living for the good of others, we all experience a wide variety of emotions.

The emotions prompted by love powerfully organize and elevate our lives so that we don’t merely exist on this earth, we experience it. They organize our lives by prioritizing our time and influencing how we spend our money. They elevate our lives because when we love, we live for the good of someone or something else. When we’re enjoying healthy, life-giving love, we are not selfish.

Our emotions turn objects into mementos, events into life-long memories, and that one other person into the love of our lives. It’s my emotions that transformed a truck into a loved and cherished machine.

Emotions are more significant to our personal lives and our society than we as rational, reasonable people like to admit. Certainly, the Bible and our faith informs our moral judgments and actions, but I’ve observed that if we believe one thing, but feel another, most of us will often do what we feel, not what we say we believe. Strangely, after doing what we feel, we create a rationale to give the appearance that we had a reason for our actions instead of a simple, “I did it because I wanted to.”

Don’t get me wrong, I know that God is emotional and is sometimes motivated by his emotions as well. A quick read through the Bible reveals that reality. And since we are created in his image and likeness, we too are emotional and are sometimes motivated by our emotions.

But just as God is also reasonable and rational, so we can be reasonable and rational too. How do we mitigate the power of emotion in us so we can also be reasonable and rational? Through healthy, wholesome, long-term life-giving relationships.

Long-term life-giving relationships balance us.

In the biblical creation account, when God formed the universe, the earth, and everything in it, “God saw that it was good” . . .  until he created Adam. And for the first time in biblical history, God expresses displeasure when he says, “It is NOT good for man to be alone” (which is still sooooooo true today). That’s when he created a companion for Adam, a relationship that became a family.

Healthy, long lasting life-giving relationships provide a safe haven for all of us. Both physical and emotional pain are lessened when we are with those we love and those who love us. Marriage, children, churches, civic organizations, and recreational clubs all help civilize us. We are created to function best in groups, corporations, cities, states, and nations. And learning to love and be loved is, in effect, about connecting in a healthy way so that as life happens, good or bad, we are stronger and safer. It’s God’s infinite grace to provide us with the ease and safety that comes from a dependable life partner or a group of faithful friends. It’s what makes life good.

But love relationships aren’t meant only to be joyrides; they produce restorative, balancing emotions that calm and regulate our feelings. We need one another, and in secure relationships, we become the best people we can be.

No doubt, we were created to be together. Our emotions depend on it. 

 


 

This and other blogs by Pastor Ted Haggard are available at http://www.tedhaggardblog.com as a ministry of St. James Church. If you would like to strengthen the ministry of St. James Church and Pastor Ted Haggard by giving, please use the “give” tab at http://www.saintjameschurch.com.

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Authentic New Testament Solutions

Black History Month Prayer Guide

Black History Month is a special time in which we all look into the history of the black community and reflect upon its contributions, heritage, and culture. We believe this is a period that the Lord wants to use to tear down strongholds and make a difference in the spiritual climate of black people globally. We need every believer in Jesus Christ to partner with us in a prayer effort focusing on the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of blacks throughout the world.

Pastor Terry Thomas

Lifting Up Jesus Church

Colorado Springs

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

James 5:16b

Daily Prayer Guide

February:

  1. Pray for black pastors and their churches; ask for more wisdom, unity, and courage. Psalm 133:1-3
  2. Pray for the downfall of false religions and the growth of Christianity in the black community. Ephesians 1:17-19
  3. Pray and thank God for righteousness within our criminal justice system – judges, district attorneys, lawyers, and police. John 8:34-36
  4. Pray for righteous leadership in all areas of society – both national and local leaders, corporate leaders, etc. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
  5. Pray against institutional and unconscious racism. Numbers 12:1-6
  6. Pray for the destruction of the enemy’s power over men, women, and children. Psalm 27:1-14
  7. Pray that families grow in the knowledge of the Lord. Ephesians 1:18-21
  8. Pray that black communities globally respond to the great commission with boldness. Matthew 28:18-20
  9. Pray that men would take responsibility for their homes and families. Ephesians 5:25-26
  10. Pray and thank God for mothers, wives, sisters, and women of all ages. Proverbs 31:10-31
  11. Pray for hopelessness, frustration, and stress to be replaced by hope and peace of mind. Philippians 3:12-21
  12. Pray for grace and mercy for teenagers, and pray against teen pregnancy. Hebrews 4:15-16
  13. Pray for educators and students on all levels – elementary through higher education. Genesis 18:19
  14. Pray against restlessness and anger – which are the cause of many murders. Romans 12:17-18
  15. Pray for the salvation of prisoners. Isaiah 61:1-4
  16. Pray against defeat, and ask for God’s encouragement. Jeremiah 29:11-14
  17. Pray for the unity of the body of Christ. John 17:20-23
  18. Pray for poverty to change into abundance and abundant giving. Luke 6:38
  19. Pray for the expansion of business opportunities. Deuteronomy 8:18
  20. Pray that love, truth, sincerity, and confidence eradicate betrayal, distrust, and deception. John 17:20-23
  21. Pray that destruction and deception be replaced with peace and truth. Psalm 119:127-128
  22. Pray for victory over substance addiction. Isaiah 54:17
  23. Pray for power to overcome even the most severe adversities. 2 Corinthians 1:9-14
  24. Pray that blacks extend forgiveness, like Joseph did to his brothers. Genesis 50:14-21
  25. Pray for stable marriages, and pray against separation and divorce. Ephesians 5:22-33
  26. Pray for God’s direction and purpose in the lives of individuals. Proverbs 3:5-8
  27. Pray that the net worth of blacks begins to increase. Joshua 1:1-8
  28. Pray that racial barriers and walls that separate will be broken down. Philippians 2:1-5
  29. Pray for black pastors to receive spiritual wisdom and insight so that they might grow in their knowledge of God. Ephesians 1:17

 

The Black Prayer Network

P.O. Box 26583

Colorado Springs, CO 80936

TBPN2015@gmail.com

(A pastor friend of mine in Colorado Springs, Pastor Terry Thomas, brought me this prayer calendar. After hearing his heart of love and concern for his family and community, and his sincere request that all of us at St. James Church and those within our sphere of influence join with him in prayer, I decided to share this with you. You may consider printing it out and sharing it with your Christian friends, keeping a copy in your Bible, or distributing copies at your prayer meeting. Obviously, this is a helpful guide any month, not just February. Thank you! Pastor Ted.)


 

This and other blogs by Pastor Ted Haggard are available at http://www.tedhaggardblog.com as a ministry of St. James Church. If you would like to strengthen the ministry of St. James Church and Pastor Ted Haggard by giving, please use the “give” tab at http://www.saintjameschurch.com.

 

Categories
Authentic New Testament Solutions

The Divine Flow

Love Series #3

Job said, “. . .  when God comes near, I cannot see him. When God moves by, I do not see him.” This could be the testimony of thousands of Christians. They want to be used by God, but do not recognize his presence and guidance when it comes. The Lord is so near, yet they don’t perceive him.

I love God’s people and desire to help everyone of them find the best for their lives. And I believe that every believer, regardless of their occupation, can be a minister to others. God wants to use all of his people to serve others. Every one of us are called into ministry.

But very often we don’t recognize God’s Spirit working in our lives to help us minister to others. Most of us are convinced that God will work through someone else to reach the people we care about. But no one has the relationships and the credibility we have to reach the people in our world. We are special. We are called. We are right where we are supposed to be, the age we are supposed to be, and with the relationships we are supposed to have. With that confidence, we can uniquely help the people around us.

You can reach people no one else can reach. God wants to use you to make your specific world a better place. It starts with your sphere of influence. You are God’s instrument.

But how do we know who we are to minister to and how we are to minister to them?

Matthew 14:14 says, Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Matthew 20:34 says, Jesus felt sorry (had compassion) for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.

In Mark 8, Jesus said, I feel sorry (have compassion) for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. After this, he multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed the multitudes.

There are 21 Scriptures in the New Testament that talk about miracles happening through Jesus after he felt a strong, loving emotion toward people. It’s the same with us. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and ask him to fill us with the Holy Spirit, we receive love in our hearts like never before. In other words, we have a greater desire to make the lives of others better. We want to heal those who are sick and give to those in need.

All of my ministry life I’ve watched people be filled with God’s loving Holy Spirit and they always do the same thing: hug people, love people, pray for people, give to people, serve people.

Why is that? It’s because God is love. And when we ask God to take dominance in our lives, love takes over. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are filled with his love.

And just like Jesus was moved by love and compassion toward others, so are we. I call this the divine flow. In the Scriptures listed above, and many others in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Jesus felt love flowing out of his spirit toward others. He followed the flow of that love and ministered to the multitudes. The end result was that the healing love of God brought deliverance and healing to the suffering people of that day. Love directed his life. It led him constantly.

The Devine flow of God’s love in our hearts can move us toward the people God wants us to reach..

2 John 6, quoted here from the Amplified Bible, says,

And what the love consists in is this, that we live and walk in accordance with and guided by his commandments, his orders, ordinances, precepts and teachings. This is the commandment, as ye have heard from the beginning that you continue to walk in love, guided by it and following it.

All of us have had someone come to mind and, when we pick up the phone and call them, or send them an unexpected gift, or visit them, the result is some form of healing. This, I believe is the way we are guided by and follow God—by being guided by and following love.

Let me urge you never to follow hate. Never follow evil thoughts or impulses to get even. Never return evil for evil. Never follow that which is selfish or that which is full of greed and covetousness. These are not of God.

Instead, pay attention to the prompting of the love that is in your spirit. It might be the Holy Spirit guiding you.

I am sure that at some time you have felt God’s love tugging you. God is nearer to you than you may think, and he is directing you through love to share his grace with others.

Don’t miss that blessing. You are experiencing God.

Be guided by love.

Follow love.

God’s love is stifled when we are selfish and mean, unwise or manipulative, lustful, covetous, self-seeking, or deceitful. It doesn’t flow through us when we argue and fight or have ill-will and malice.

Instead, love is living for the good of the other.

Jesus is the perfect example of love, yet he was friendly to some, but not to others; he rebuked some, but not all; and he healed some, but not all. Love is serving others, but it does not mean we are mushy. Love does not make us weak; it gives us strength so we can serve others (see blog #1 in this Love Series).

So, fill up with love by being continually filled with God’s Spirit. Get rid of any bitterness that may be in your heart and avoid strife, filth, darkness, and hurt, and forgive those who have hurt or disappointed you. Think of ways you can gain skills to help you serve people better. This is how you love them. And finally, be open to the flow of God’s love through you, so you can sincerely make life better for others.

Love does lead us, which is why all of us need a secure attachment style (read blog #2 in this Love Series for more explanation of this important idea). When we have a secure attachment style, the love of God can work without hinderance in all of our lives, and we can respond to that love with the wisdom that also comes from God. This is how God will use you as a minister to heal yourself and others. With long-term life-giving relationships and long-term participation in a life-giving church, you’ll gain the wisdom and power to let love direct your life, and you will discover the abundant life God has prepared for you.

Categories
Authentic New Testament Solutions

Attachment: The Key to Love

The Love Series #2

One of the most disheartening experiences of being a local church pastor is observing people who can’t seem to connect with others. As they desperately try to be liked, accepted, and loved, their lack of relational intuition leads to misunderstanding and disappointment. Some mistakenly declare their closeness to others who obviously don’t share their affection. The ones I know are typically sincere Christians who have learned about the importance of supportive relationships, but they don’t relate to others the way other people do. They try, but they just don’t integrate. Often they think they do, but after a while, conflicts begin, and when they leave, feeling rejected, few even notice or care. Actually, it’s worse than that. Healthy people with healthy relational skills are relieved.

This inability to connect with others is often the result of an an attachment difficulty, and many people struggle with this.

Typically, when a new member in a church who unknowingly suffers with a difficulty attaching starts attending, I can spot it. They try to get involved, but soon the developing new relationships appear strained. As time passes, they start to talk about the people in the church with whom they’ve had conflicts, or about those they think have misrepresented them, or challenged them. Sadly, I discover that their family members, if they have them, have seen it before and know that it’s only a matter of time before social difficulties will make church attendance awkward. They also know that their attachment-challenged family member often chooses which church they will attend and they also know, deep inside that something is not right. No doubt before long, they will be motivated to switch churches again. Family members may eventually get tired of this process and find their security elsewhere. This always breaks my heart for the well-intentioned person with the difficulty, as well as for their family.

These attachment difficulties may show up in any of our relationships. As children, we all develop attachment styles, and the most recent research has identified the three dominant attachment styles: secure, anxious, and avoidant.

Social psychologists say forty years ago, about 55 percent of the population had a secure attachment style, largely because most families stayed together, extended families lived nearby, and children grew up in secure, wholesome environments. Now, with new social trends in our country, research reports that up to 60 percent of our population suffers from some measure of an attachment challenge, and that number is steadily increasing.

This fact obviously contributes to the development of our entertainment, consumer-oriented churches, transitional Christians who don’t stay in a local church for any length of time, and professing Christians who prefer self-oriented Christianity instead of giving, serving, sacrificial, family-oriented Christianity. People with attachment challenges are self-protective and they have a difficult time connecting in a life-giving way for the long-term.

I embrace the Scriptures that exhort us to love one another and to grow in love. I believe love can be very emotional, but more importantly I believe that love is choosing to live for the good of another. As I’ve observed people struggling to connect to others in a life-giving, empowering way for everyone involved, I’ve increasingly had to encourage people to learn to stay steady whether they are comfortable or uncomfortable with others. I encourage them to learn healthy relationships, to be healers and restorers, rather than accusers and judges. Under the banner of “staying steady,” I’ve seen many who have struggled to develop healthy relationships learn to grow in love and life-giving relationships. It takes time, and it is very difficult for some. But if they try, they can make it. If they don’t, they typically repeat their pattern.

The best, most succinct explanation of attachment styles I know is described by Dr. Sue Johnson in her book, Love Sense. Below is a quote from her book describing the three styles—secure, anxious, and avoidant—so you can identify yourself and perhaps be more understanding of others.

Dr. Johnson says:

Secure, the optimal style, develops naturally when we grow up knowing that we can count on our main caregiver to be accessible and responsive to us. We learn to reach for closeness when we need it, trusting that we will be offered comfort and caring much of the time. This loving contact is a touchstone, helping us to calm ourselves and find our emotional balance. We feel comfortable with closeness and needing others and aren’t consumed by worry that we will be betrayed or abandoned. Our behavior says, in essence, ‘I know I need you and you need me. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s great. So let’s reach out to each other and get close.’

Some of us, however, had early caregivers who were unpredictably or inconsistently responsive, neglectful, or even abusive. As a result, we tend to develop one of two so-called insecure strategies – anxious or avoidant – that automatically turn on when we (or our partners) need connection. If we have an anxious style, our emotions are ramped up; we are inclined to worry that we will be abandoned, and so we habitually seek closeness and ask for proof that we are loved. It’s as if we are saying, “Are you there? Are you? Show me. I can’t be sure. Show me again.’

 If we have an avoidant style, on the other hand, we tend to ramp down our emotions so as to protect ourselves from being vulnerable to, or dependent on, others. We shut down our attachment longings and try to evade real connection. We are apt to see other people as a source of danger, not safety or comfort. Our attitude seems to be ‘I don’t need you to be there for me. I’m fine whatever you do.’

. . . Secure people see themselves as generally competent and worthy of love, and they see others as trustworthy and reliable. They tend to view their relationships as workable and are open to learning about love and loving. In contrast, anxious people tend to idealize others but have strong doubts as to their own value and their basic acceptability as partners. As a result, they obsessively seek approval and the reassurance that they are indeed loveable and not about to be rejected. Avoidant folks, meanwhile, view themselves as worthy of love – at least that is their conscious stance. Any self-doubt tends to be suppressed. They have a negative view of others as inherently unreliable and untrustworthy. Even in their stories and dreams, anxious people portray themselves as apprehensive and unloved, while avoidants see themselves as distant and unfeeling. (From pages 43 and 45 of Love Sense by Dr. Sue Johnson, bold emphasis mine.)

Here is the good news: The Gospel and the body of Christ can help all of us grow out of our attachment difficulties and find health and strength by growing increasingly secure in our relationship with God and others. But the problem is the dysfunctional person often leaves too soon, thinking they’re self-protecting, and rather than being healed, they simply remain in the types of superficial relationships where they don’t feel threatened. It’s very sad because these people miss the healing strength and security that long-term, healthy love relationships provide. I’ve watched it for over 40 years, with increasing frequency. But Christ and staying in a good life-giving Church provides dynamic and effective solutions. The secret is staying steady and being open to the healing power of love. People who have insecure attachment styles can become secure over time. In future blogs, I’ll give you the information needed to help you live in the love God has for you, and to help you grow in loving relationships with others as well.

 


 

This and other blogs by Pastor Ted Haggard are available at the above referenced website as a ministry of St. James Church. If you would like to strengthen the ministry of St. James Church and Pastor Ted Haggard by giving, please use the “give” tab at http://www.saintjameschurch.com.

Categories
Authentic New Testament Solutions

The Value of Love

The Love Series #1

The Value of Love

A teacher who wanted to do her part to avert school shootings asked her students every Friday to make a list of four other students in their class they wanted to sit with the following week and to nominate one student who they thought had been an exceptional classroom citizen. As she looked over the lists, she would take note of which students were never chosen by others, the ones who were left out, rejected, alone, and those who never could think of anyone to request.

Why? Because that observation informed the teacher who may need her attention the most. She was wise enough to know that when people are alone and isolated, it may lead to difficulties in their lives. It might indicate past or current difficulties, and it is certainly a signal of future trouble. This teacher knew that we human beings don’t do our best when we feel alone, but our outlook improves when we are connected to and valued by others.

As a pastor for many years, I’ve been involved with the rejected, the lonely, the depressed, the mentally ill, as well as those who thrive. I’ve watched as people have enjoyed great successes and endured devastating disappointments. And in all of these stages, I’ve concluded that no other experience has more impact on a person’s life—their happiness and health—than success at loving and being loved and feeling valued by oneself and others. Love makes us vulnerable, but it also makes us safe and strong.

Our grandparents knew the life-giving power of long-term loving relationships, and how to develop them. But this generation is experiencing a tsunami of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. We seem in so many ways to be lost in our attempts toward love and commitment, while we exalt emotional independence, self-protection, boundaries, and blame. We’re exhorted to love ourselves first and foremost. We’re becoming distant and dismissive people in spite of our successes in other arenas. People seem to have lost hope in having love relationships. They’re no longer a priority. Some think they don’t have time for them anyway.

We’re in trouble. We have more professional marriage and family counselors than ever before in our history, but often upon discovery, those very professionals have been married multiple times, and their own children are often suffering from anxiety and depression. We have more books written by highly educated professionals and professional educators telling parents and children how to be successful, as those very professionals have often crashed in their personal lives and in their families. That indicates some gaps in their understanding.

We may have lost our way in how to develop healthy relationships, and we’ve minimized the value of doing so.

I believe that we are made in the likeness and image of God, who is three persons in such close relationship with one another that they are one. As a result, we, too, are most natural, healthy, and productive when we are in loving relationships, and we do not function at our best when our relationships are broken, strained, or non-existent.

Bottom line, love is vital to our existence.

From the Scriptures, I have deduced that love is simply living for the good of another. Certainly, love may include compelling emotions and overwhelming feelings, but it is fundamentally logical and understandable. It’s adaptive and functional. Moreover, it’s malleable, repairable, and durable. To me, love makes sense. It can be perceived, felt, known, measured, observed, and grown. What’s most significant is that it gives us direction and helps us find our way.

Since God is love and we are created in his image and likeness, love is a basic survival code, and our brains are created to read and respond to others in order to increase the likelihood of survival as well as other essential tasks with the greatest ease.

In contrast, rejection and abandonment are danger cues that plunge us into real physical pain and discomfort. My experience in my own life and in observing the lives of others is that even the most distressed people can be repaired if they are guided to deal with their emotions and relationships a little differently. The exception would be the truly mentally ill. But if their cognitive abilities are within normal ranges, most people can find healing and satisfaction in life by learning to love and developing themselves so they can be loved.

In conclusion, a stable, loving relationship is the absolute cornerstone of human happiness and well-being. A good relationship is better health insurance than a careful diet and a better anti-aging strategy than taking health supplements. A loving relationship also is the key to creating a family that teaches the skills necessary to support and maintain a civilized society – trust, empathy, and cooperation. Love is the lifeblood of our humanity and our world.

Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35). We all have many ways that we measure our lives. Jesus was exhorting us to measure our lives by our love for ourselves and others.

So the teacher is right: the student that is alone and is not valued by others is in danger. Let’s let the teacher’s wisdom teach us to be intentional in our loving others and in being loved by others. We’re created to do that; we need it.