Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Spiritual Peace 3 Seeking God

I have learned a lot about ways to encounter the Holy Spirit over the past few years. Frankly, I never really heard much about prayer and meditation in my youth. The only time prayer was mentioned was "The Sinner's Prayer". 

What a total disaster it was to be ignorant of encountering the Holy Spirit. The emphasis on evangelism is usually great but then we dropped from the radar screen. We are essentially told to live by our own will and ability without the anointing of the Spirit, even though Jesus said, "Without me you can do nothing." 

I am not sure why many Ministers are so poor at teaching and disciple-making. It is basic to the Bible and the Christian life. Maybe because we are obsessed with talking heads. We who came to Christ are to live holy lives on our own. How is that working for you?

Anyway, I have tried to learn how to Seek God in prayer and meditation. When I first started to teach about about it several men attacked me for being a Buddhist! If I am so was Paul!

Meditation is biblical and essential to Seeking God. I am more of a Puritan than a Buddhist! Here are thoughts from the Puritans.

Puritans and Meditation

The scholar Puritan E. Calamy took time to address the need for meditation in the lives of young gentlemen, kings, nobles, great persons, soldiers, generals, captains, learned men, scholars, and women. Other Puritans have stressed meditation's particular usefulness to ministers; this was a typical thought due to its usefulness to many specific functions within this vocation. 

As scholar Tom Webster notes, John Rogers stressed: 'To preach painfully, what preparation is required hereto? What Reading, Meditation, Prayer, Labor of the mind?”

Thomas Taylor said, “To preach effectively, the minister 'must by Study, Prayer and Meditation store himself with things new and old, for a vessel must receive in before power out'."

Yet, primarily, the focus on application of meditation was on the continuing sanctification of each individual

Indeed, Puritan John Ball calls application "the life of Meditation." He relates application closely to the affective aspects of this discipline; he would have been aware of the Scriptural teaching to diligently keep the heart, for from it spring all the issues of life.
It is not a slight thought of the mercies of God which will affect your hearts, but it must be a dwelling on them by meditation. -E. Calamy

We might say that both the Puritans and the Catholics knew how to Seek God.

See my book, Power Christian Thinking for more insights about Renewing the Mind.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Russian Friendships

Despite the conflicts and problems that plague US and Russian relationships today, our personal friendships with the Russian people remain strong and caring. We pray often for our friends and are eager for them to visit us whenever possible.

We were recently visited by a long time friend, Anna and he husband, Nikita. Anna has been coming to the USA since she was a small girl. It began when her mother studied with us back in 1994 just after the USSR collapsed. Now Anna is a college graduate and married.

Anna attended some elementary and high school here and was also given a scholarship to take advanced classes in college. She is a very keen student.

The photo of them was taken before we ate a wonderful dinner prepared by Nikita who is a budding chef. What a smart girl is Anna!

Call or write if you want more personal information on how to pray for Anna, her husband and parents.

Spiritual Peace 3. Prayer is Seeking God

I recently posted about there being three ways to pray.

Seek God
Speak with God
Soak in God's Presence

I covered ways to Seek a God but want to add to my thoughts on that part because it is so important. Seeking God does not require a lot of energy, excitement and activity. In fact, many depressed people and addicts have discovered the importance of Seeking God's Presence when they are down.

I remember a time soon after experiencing a very rough time of having friends attack and destroy me. It was probably the worst time of my life and I became angry, hurt and depressed. During the lowest part of that period I found relief by Seeking God. Through the "Slough of Despondence I was somehow able to encounter God in a very few places.

One was listening to certain music. The Hallelujah Chorus was my favorite. I never failed to connect with The Lord as I listened, wept and cried out to Him for relief. God met me and used scriptures and songs I knew by hear to convict me of my errors and show me why I had opened myself to the betrayal by people I thought cared for me.

I was not glad to see my part or my sins, but over time even that part of Seeking and Encountering the Holy Spirit Became a blessing.  I was unable to provide the energy I needed to Seek The Lord but the music got through to my heart

My book, The Healing a Release of the Holy Spirit might help you understand our need to connect with God. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Developing Spiritual Peace and Joy 4

Renew Mind Don’t conform to the world’s thinking but be transformed by renewing your mind. RO 12:2

Do not let anxiety overcome you because of life’s problems. Pray and thank God and you will have peace. Think on the things that are true, honorable, pure, right, lovely, a good reputation, excellent, stuff worth our affirmation, and dwell on them mindfully. And practice what you know. Philippians 4: Selected

The long term key to peaceful thinking and joy is developing the mind of Christ. Until I learned about how the brain works I wanted to renew my mind and think like the Bible said, but I was stuck. I was stuck in the old, Stinking Thinking patterns I developed as a child. 

The Bible says, "When I became a mature adult I put away childish things." I desperately wanted to do that but I did not know how. I was determined to think correctly, feel peacefully and show nothing but love, peace and kindness to others. 

I failed miserably. When I failed I had a flood of negative thoughts and ruminations about how bad I was. I would beat myself up and angrily accuse myself of all kinds of bad things. Did that give me peace? NO! Did it teach me how to think like Christ? NO!

When I was head of a Christian in-patient psychiatric unit I discovered that just about every resident was actively thinking like me only worse. The hated themselves. Some had been through tough times of trauma, abandonment and even abuse so they came to the conclusion that no one loved them because they were flawed. 

That is bad enough, but even worse was the fact that THEY AGREED they were trash. So, they treated themselves like trash. As a result, I asked every person one question followed by another.

1. How is God treating you?
Resident: Great! God is good.

2. Are you treating yourself as good as God is treating you?
Resident: That would be wrong. I can't do that. It is pride. 

Read my book, Power Christian Thinking for more insights. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Worse Than Spanking

There are several recent events that have hit the front pages and caused quite a furor. The main even has been about a football player who took a switch to his little boy. The Twitter feeds, TV Talk shows and Sports' shows have focused more on this event than winning and losses.

As a result of photographs and videos the emotional responses of talking heads have been about as reactive
as the father who gave the spanking.

Let me say up front that I think the whipping was wrong and inappropriate. As a father, grandfather and teacher of kids I can understand that we can get angry at a child but we ought never take our rage out on another person. 

But the issues surrounding the event as as clear as the Mississippi River-muddy!

The father has 9 or 10 children by as many women. He is a "baby father" not a father that actually knows and nurtures those children. His abandonment of the children he sired is many times worse than his spanking one with a switch. Don't people realize how destructive sex outside of wedlock is for the children and mothers? 

Is that too radical? Am I wrong? Is spanking, even the kind that can leave welts not much worse than impregnating a woman and leaving her and the child? NO, NO, a thousand times NO!!

Nope! The statistics show conclusively that children who lose or never have a parent are very likely to have serious emotional/addiction/illness problems as youth and adults. In fact, early death is one result. (Look at the enclosed chart for a summary!)

This man is a brute to drop his seed and produce children he never nurtures. If people are to lose their jobs for unethical, immoral, harmful behavior make it abandonment not spanking.

He was too reactive and mean to switch the child but he is murdering the souls of ten children by abandoning them. The welts on the child are visible and sickening but temporary. The trauma caused by a serial sex thief on the unattended children is invisible and life long.

 Spanking will not result in early death! Abandonment will.

See my book Breaking Free on family healing and growth.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Have to Have Spiritual Peace and Joy 3

We have covered Spiritual Basics and Positive Power and today we will share about:

Assertive Approach to God Hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught Psalm 55:2

It is almost impossible to read the Psalms without concluding the writers were very aggressive when asking a God to bless them. There are constant demands for God to hear them, be with them, destroy their enemies, etc. 

I like to suggest that there are three simple ways to pray. 

Seek God

Speak to God

Soak ourselves in and with God.

Today, Seek God. By this I mean learn to assertively ask for the Holy Spirit to be in us and with us in a discernible manner. Scripture is clear that Christians will uniquely have God with them and in them, but by Seeking the manifest presence of the Spirit we are doing everything we can to have experiences with the Spirit that we can feel, hear and find relief. 

This leads me to move from just Speaking to God but asking the Spirit to Speak to us. This must move us from Asking to Meditating. Meditation is a learned skill that requires time, energy and self discipline. Perhaps the biggest challenge is time and focus.

Our lives are filled with interruptions and busyness. Some seem like good actives but Seeking God through meditation can be better.

Meditation usually leads us to Contemplation or "Resting in a God". In a John 15 Jesus says we are to "Abide in the vine for I am the Vine". 

See my book Power Christian Thinking for more on this topic.

Russian Friendships

We are enjoying a visit from Anya, the daughter of a friend in Russia whom we have known for 20 years. She spent months at time in the USA and even attended school here on several occasions.  Anya is a specialist in languages and received a scholarship to study in Iowa.

I have visited with her family in Moscow and shared meals, discussed world issues and had great fellowship.

Anya and Nikita were married recently and she brought him over to visit with her American "families". Nikita is a designer, photographer and cook! He fixed this beautiful meal of Amish Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Idaho Potatoes, and Spices. YUM!!

Pray for our ongoing Russian/American Friendships!

See our web for information how you can support us.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to Have Peace and Joy 2

Last time I posted on developing Spiritual Basics. Today I am posting on

Positive Power Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature not lacking anything. James 1:2-3

My definition of Stinking Thinking is simple: "Any habitual thinking patterns that do not follow this passage. The tendency of some people is to face trials with sadness and pessimism instead of joy. Joy comes from a solid relationship with God's Spirit. It is not just happiness but it can include being happy. 

Stinking Thinking destroys both happiness and joy. It tends to take Adversities as personal attacks by God. Those who confuse God's love with a life free of challenges are likely to feel awful when an adversity arises because the conclude that Giddy is mad at them.

When we trust God we face adversities with joy because we know the love and grace of Hod will take us through the valleys of life. Adversity teaches us perseverance. When we gain perseverance we can be certain maturity is on its way. 

Read one of my books and grow in grace and joy

Sunday, September 21, 2014

How to have Peace and Joy 1

I prefer to teach by using simple acronyms that spell out a message. For Example in a recent series of Posts telling readers how to be miserable, I used the acrostic APART because miser tears us APART!

Starting today I am doing a series on developing peace and joy. My acrostic spells out SPARK because the fruit of the Spirit gives us a spark for life. 

Spiritual Basics
Positive Power
Assertive Approach to God
Renew My Mind
Know God Personally and Experientially 

I will begin with Spiritual Basics When I was a child I spoke as a child, thought as a child and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up I put away those childish things.

One of the keys to spiritual abundance is following the scripture that says we need to "Leave mother and father..." Genesis 2:24

This is not speaking about physically leaving but emotionally and spiritually. So much of my misery came from thinking like my family thought and repeating their errors of Stinking Thinking. 

By leaving home we have an opportunity to discover new ideas and new ways of thinking. For example, I was reared to pray for a support foreign missions. As an adult I was invited to teach and preach in many countries that required me to fly. 

Because of my early training in positive thinking about missions I was eager to go. However, my mother was a prisoner of Stinking Thinking. She was terrified of flying and because of that she did not want me to follow my heart into missions. 

I had to leave those parts of my childish thinking behind. As a result we have established Gospel Equipping Centers in over 100 nations. Had I not left developed the Spiritual Basics of hearing and following God I might have stayed at home where it was safe. 

Get my books on growing up in Christ so you can develop Spiritual Basics also. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Inner Pain and Christianity

Why, when Jesus promised us joy, do so many believers face emotional pain and discomfort? Why is there so much anxiety and depression in the church?

A partial answer is because the church, for the most part, lacks any way to practically teach its people how to think and relate with health. In fact, so much of the conservative wing is fascinated with misery and fights against anyone that promotes a positive faith.

I am not a big fan of Joel and Victoria Osteen but I have watched a few of their talks on video and I find them to largely be a great source of strength and encouragement. The Osteens are accused of being part of the "Faith Movement" with roots in Hagin and Copeland but I do not see those teachings at all.

I see the practical applications of RO 12:2 and Cognitive Psychology put together in short, snappy talks with a lot of stories and affirmations.

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

This is a positive take on Cognitive Psychology, especially when we put it with PH 4:4 ff

Rejoice in the Lord! Again, I say, REJOICE!

Do not be anxious about anything!

A few weeks ago Mrs. Osteen said something about praising God for our own happiness. It was a clumsy statement that she immediately clarified but many in the misery ministry attacked her by quoting her out of context and without reference to their entire teaching. It was unfair and showed a lack of Christian grace.

What do you think about TV Preachers with a positive message? Are they off base or right on?

Get my take on ways to renew your mind by downloading the PDF of Power Christian Thinking.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Defeating Anxiety

                                My Brain During Anxiety

One of the things that keeps me sane and blessed is listening to great music. I love the Oslo Gospel Choir and The Hillsongs who sing with talent and spirit.

The little girls singing on this You Tube is also terrific.

When I am down and uptight I can usually get through by worshiping, prayer and meditation. Good music assists me greatly.

To Ruminate: Think on the bad stuff and feel self pity

If you want your brain to pour on the stress chemicals thane by all means RUMINATE of RUIN. 

To Meditate: Think on the things of God.

If you want peace and joy, MEDITATE:

Do not let anxiety overcome you because of life’s problems. Pray and thank God and you will have peace. Think on the things that are true, honorable, pure, right, lovely, a good reputation, excellent, stuff worth our affirmation, and dwell on them mindfully. And practice what you know. Philippians 4: Selected Verses

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to be Miserable

Stinking Thinking that leads to Anxiety and Depression

Pessimistic Thinking follows a general path to misery. Unfortunately, it works almost every time. It starts with some sort of Adversity that kicks off my Pessimistic Thinking Patterns.  

Adversity In this world you will have tribulation John 16:33

Pessimism My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer because I am greatly disturbed. Job 20:2   
Pessimism has several components.

Perfectionism, that assumes I could be perfect and should be perfect. 

I end up Personalizing all my Problems by thinking bad things always come to me. I am cursed and tainted! 

I also assume the Problems are Pervasively impacting all of my life and are Permanently a part of me.   
Pessimism leads to Aggravation/Anger. I know that scripture says "Be angry but do not misuse it." Eph 4:26 so I am sinning because I am angry and Anxious!
My anger is either turned inward on myself, which is wrong and sinful or on others which is equally wrong. This brings me to a mind that tends to:

Ruminate How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Psalm 13:2                                                                                                             

After a while, this negative, pessimistic Rumination brings:                  

Self-Trauma You are covetous but can’t get what you want so you quarrel and fight James 4:2 

Want to know more? Want relief? Get my book, Power Christian Thinking for a measly $3.99!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Burned out Christians

Jesus promised peace. Why then are so many of us Christians, including Ministers and Missionaries, suffering from anxiety and depression? Why do we fail at being peaceful? Why are we anxious in violation of the Bible's command not to be anxious? (Now I am anxious because I am anxious and I know my anxiousness is a sin!!! YIKES!)

There are people who call themselves Christian Counselors who approach anxiety and depression with that attitude. If you are anxious you are living in a chronically sinful state. (Well that sure helps me recover!)

Many of these people represent Reformed churches and groups that promote the notion of God's Sovereign Grace. I applaud God's grace and ask for it daily. However, to accuse anxious Christians of living in chronic rebellion is relying on works of the Law not grace.

In fact, many of us have an increase of anxiety after becoming Christians. Why? Because non believers are not attempting to live above sin. They are not trying to be perfect. Far too many believers are deluded into thinking they "should" live as perfectly as Jesus.

No wonder they are filled with the opposite of peace. They increase in anxiety and worry because they are trying to obey the commandments of both the Old Testament and the New. Wow! That is impossible.

Watch my free videos at our web or get some of my books to learn how to stop worrying and start living. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Pain of Compulsive Behavior

One of the most psychologically insightful statements in the Bible is found in Hebrews 12:15.

Make sure no one fails to grasp and embrace the grace of God. If they do, a root of bitterness can spring up and cause difficulties for many people. 

If we live by the Law rather than grace it is inevitable for a Root of Bitterness to sprout up. The seed is perfectionism; the root is bitterness and the fruit is anger, rage, destruction and devastation.

I just read a story in this week's version of World Magazine titled Christian Karma. The bottom line on the author's intention is to awaken us to the dangers of "Serving in order to get something in return such as God's forgiveness and blessings".

In my view, it is almost impossible to serve God with pure grace. Grace in its purest form exists only in the heart of God. My heart is fallen and desperately deceitful, always tend to think I deserve God's favor if I tithe, help the poor and humbly work in the church.

If I dwell on those ideas and miss God's grace it will grow quickly into a Root then a stem and branches with fruits of bitterness. Every burned out Pastor I know has a Root of Legalism that drives him to be driven.

What think ye?

See my books on ministry for more on grace.

Friday, September 5, 2014

What is Addiction?

Today it is popular to use the term "addiction" when we mean we really like some food, beverage, behavior or music. "Oh, man, I am addicted to chocolate!"

or, "I am addicted to following the Chicago Cubs!"

These are not addictions but desires and strong habits. I have posted before on this topic but here goes again. This formula lays out the issue distinctly.

AB = C + D Addictive Behavior Equals Compulsion + Dependency 

We can be Compulsive and not be Addicted: Compulsions are inner drives to repeat a behavior as a way to reduce my inner discomfort.

We can be Dependent but not be Addicted: Dependency is an inner drive to repeat a behavior that gives me a high. 

The Addiction Cycle includes inner drives to reduce pain and increase pleasure. To heal the C + D we need to reduce inner pain and find a positive substitute for the high. 

Inner Healing reduces inner pain
Worship and prayer can increase positive highs

My Breaking Free book tells how to do both.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How Can we Keep Fathers at Home with His Kids?

Implications for Children Abandoned by Fathers 

90% of Homeless were abandoned

90% Runaways were abandoned

85% Behavioral Disorders were abandoned

75% Addicts were abandoned

71% Dropouts were abandoned

85% Prisoners were abandoned

Read my books and watch our videos on building healthy relationships.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cost-Effective Wellness Practices

A lot of people complain about Preachers asking for money too much. "These guys are getting rich by making me feel bad!" some say.

That may be true about some charlatans but of the percent of wealthy Pastors in the 500,000 churches in America  is pretty small. In fact, although Protestant Pastors do not take an oath like Catholic Priests to live in poverty, it seems as though most are just above the poverty line.

It would be wise to look at the benefits to us of church attendance. Then how much it costs on average to get those benefits. The research shows the following differences between attending worship and other health and wellness activities.

Hall also looked at the cost of these three approaches, examining typical gym membership fees, therapy costs from health insurance companies and census data on average household contributions to religious institutions. 

The estimated cost of each year of additional life apparently gained by each method:
  • Regular physical exercise: $4,000
  • Proven therapeutic regimens like good food and such: $10,000
  • Regular religious attendance: $7,000
Each of these activities adds life and wellness to our lives and there is a cost to each. Is a better quantity of life and quality worth the investment? You decide on each category.

Read my books and materials and discover how to live with joy and freedom.