Processing pain using the Immanuel approach

September 9, 2014

It is a simple exercise, you simply say, “Lord, help me to perceive you,” then when you see where he is, you say, “Lord, help me to perceive you more clearly.”

Then you quiet yourself and enjoy being with him. After all, Jesus is always with us, even if we do not believe in him, so the sense that we are alone is a matter of our perception, not reality. He is there. With me. With you. All the time.

The other night I was watching a DVD with my family when a memory flooded back—losing my new red bike to my brother. Before you conclude that my parents are heartless, let me explain. I was the second of five children and had received a new bike, a rarity, for my birthday. I eyed the shiny wheels and frame and my heart sang.

Then a few months (or was it years?) later my older sister got a new bike for her birthday, so all the bikes bumped down the peaking order: I got her old one, a used blue heavy thing with fat, slow tires and my bike went to my younger brother. I remember well the sting, the sense of outrage. It was, after all, my bike!

So I prayed silently, Lord help me to perceive you. All at once I saw Jesus in the garage with us kids, he was sad, too. He understood. Then I saw myself on the red bike, my bike, and was astonished to see my arms and legs akimbo. Was I that big? Was the bike so small? In the next scene, Jesus and I were racing down the hill that was our driveway, side by side shooting out on to the street then cutting right then left over to the dead end where we kids often rode. The dead end! I had forgotten that the side street did not go through when I was young, but there it was! We were laughing out loud, ear-spilting grins plastered on our faces.

Where there had been sadness, now there was only peace and joy. I laid back, resting my head against the back of the chair, as my body relaxed and the tension and pain flowed out of me. There is nothing like connecting with Jesus to restore the soul.

But what if, when we ask Jesus to help us perceive him, we feel shame or anger?
I’ve seen this over and over again in my office when I ask someone to picture Jesus standing in front of them and then next thing I know they are sobbing. “I feel so unworthy,” they say. Or, “I feel so angry! Where was he when I was being abused? I cried out to him and he did not rescue me!”

The answer is ironically to turn to the very one you are angry with, to tell Jesus just how you feel. Once you vent, then ask him for his point of view. Listen with your heart. Ask him to help you identify any barriers and ask him what he wants you to know. He is very good at uncovering the lies that block our relationship with him.

We were meant to live in joy. The kind of joy that comes when we know we are the apple of someone’s eye. Jesus’ eye! Feeling blocked? Confused? Angry? Check out ways to connect to him such as Theophostic Prayer Ministry or the Immanuel Apporach here: Theophostic.com, especially the recording of a live session, or read my article in Charisma (http://www.charismamag.com/site-archives/511-features/inner-healing/2412-hope-for-the-wounded-soul-) Or go to http://www.immanuelapproach.com/ for more on the Immanuel approach.


Advice on relationship: How do I reach my friend who believes in God but not Jesus?

November 25, 2013

I recently heard a few questions from students that I thought I would try to answer

One girl asked, “How do I help my friend who believes in God in a general sort of way but does not know Jesus?”

We were made to have an intimate relationship with our creator and when we don’t we don’t know what we are missing!  I would encourage you to share, when it seems natural, your own interactions with God. What happens when he touches you? What happens when you pray for someone and they are healed? You can also share stories from the lives of others, but your own stores are the most powerful as people tend to give more credence to the stories of people they know.  You can also share what you believe, namely that there is a personal God who cares about her but that many people do not realize that he requires something of them.  What does he require?  That we face reality about who we are and who he is. This is not a friendship or a partnership. He is not Santa Claus giving gifts to the good. He is the giver. He gives us all the good things we have, even our very breath. We must acknowledge that all that we have comes from God and recognize that we need to be saved, we need him to save us.  Our job is to receive, to not delude ourselves into thinking that we can do it on our own.

While you share, don’t forget to pray for her.

Other things you can do:

Ask her if she would like to experience the presence of God.  If she says, yes, then lay hands on her and pray for her. Ask her to breath deeply and slowly and be aware of her body. Ask what she is feeling. Many people feel warmth, tingling, a lightening of the load, a sense of trust that all will be okay.  If she is able to feel his presence you might want to ask God, “Is there anything you want her to know?”

Watch Billy Graham’s videos with her and ask he what she thinks. They are on YouTube and lay out the Gospel in a very compelling manner.

Wait for a crisis in her life and love and pray for her through it.  Everyone faces a crisis at some point and sadly people are often abandoned in a crisis by family and friend who are overwhelmed by what is happening. You can be the one to stay connected, listen and love.

We can’t fix other people but we can love them as Jesus did!

I hope that helps


Only Grace and Mercy

February 28, 2013

Recently, while praying, God told me, There is no justice on earth, only grace and mercy.  

Then he gave me this picture:

I am a small child standing at the register of a tiny old-fashioned store. There is only one register; I am standing in front of it, the door on my right. A small wrinkled man is at the till. He is giving me the wrong change. I point this out to him and he refuses to consider that he might be wrong. Jesus is standing behind me with a gold coin the size of an apple. The coin is for me.  Not for good behavior but because Jesus wants to give it to me, because he can. Jesus does not want me to quibble about the five cents (even if I am right) because he has a gold coin for me.  Part of me feels angry. I want the clerk to acknowledge that he, not me, has made a mistake.  I feel a childish pride about my ability to do mental math. But Jesus is asking me to be like Him.  He explains that almost no one on earth is willing to own all his/her faults—including me.  Jesus stays relational, stays connected with us anyway even though he sees clearly the sin we are unwilling to fully own.

The scene replays over and over. I know that as soon as I am done paying for my small purchase Jesus and I are going to go spend the day together. We are both anticipating the day with joy. The gold coin will abundantly supply all we need. But Jesus is not in a hurry. He is not impatient. He is gently coaching me, gently teaching me and he will not be hurried. At first I am angry with the clerk but Jesus leans over my shoulder and urges me to see into the clerk’s heart. Soon I am able to see the man with compassion but as we replay the scene again, the clerk gets meaner. At one point he spits on me. But Jesus is watching, quietly urging me to look into the heart of this hurting man and not take offense or even argue. It hurts. I want to be right. But all I have to do is turn to Jesus and he wraps me in his arms and comforts me. In the last replay, the man refuses to serve me at all, but by now I am not taking the offense personally, I understand in a deep and grounded way that this is not about me. I am not troubled because I know the clerk is in pain, otherwise he would not act like this.  I see into his heart and feel compassion. He is not being the person he was made to be and this is tragic.  I am simply able to glance back at Jesus who is standing so close behind me that I feel His warm breathe and presence of His strong body beneath his robes.  Our eyes meet as I turn my head. I see how proud He is of me and I smile.  I understand that nothing is more important than being like Him. Pleasing Him. Making Him proud. He sees into our hearts and knows every sin, wounds, and blind spot that fouls our soul. But He never uses that to lord over us or despise us or make us feel less than Him. He sees us with compassion. Even though he can see into the darkest most hidden recesses of our hearts, he does not expose us. He receives what we are able to own and acknowledge and is proud of our small victories.