Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Witnessing to Disaster Stricken

Witnessing to Disaster Stricken by Keith Cook

"In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears." 2 Samuel 22:7

With all the news about storms and disasters looming over parts of our nation, I thought it would be good to look at how to minister in times like this. Servants of Jesus Christ must be able to go to where the people are and must arrive prepared to minister to people who find themselves in many unique and often difficult situations. As you seek to be led by the Spirit you will find yourself needing to arrive prepared to minister and comfort real people with real problems. Here are some simple suggestions for ministering to hurting people.

1. Be Alert - Pay attention to outward signs of neglect, abuse, need, or problems. Long before the physical storms have come many emotional and physical storms have already hit. Be alert to old scars that God may show you and help at that point of need also.

2. Don't Play God - Don't run ahead of God, or try to fix all their problems in the flesh. Hear from God and follow His direction. Guard your heart and emotions. Do not let circumstances or emotions direct you. Let God. Meeting one need in Jesus name is better than not meeting any. Christ is in control and will use the entire body of Christ to help.

3. Focus On First Things First - Focus on one physical need and one spiritual need at a time. People with enormous needs can be overwhelmed with too many options at one time. They may be in emotional and physical shock. Work on basic needs first or the most vocal need they may be expressing. Their desire for knowledge and information should be a primary concern. Assure them they are as safe as they possibly could be and that God is directing their recovery, not just you or the authorities.

4. Get Real Help - Don't get in over your head. It is not a sin to use professionals and agencies that will provide total ministry.  Letting the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Samaritans Purse, local hospitals, police, or even another ministry meet a need is just as spiritual and needed as going it alone. Together we all can get more done than by ourselves!

5. Do not judge them or on the other hand condone any of their past actions or problems. You just speak a word about Jesus or meet a need. People come unglued during times of crisis. They yell at their children, strike out at caregivers, curse God, and do and say things they normally would never do or say. Just love them. Care for them. Comfort them. God has given you a healing salve to pour on their life. Pour!

6. Make Sure You Minister - If God has placed you in this situation you are there to minister to them. Be bold and sensitive at the same time. Do not neglect the spiritual duty you have to bring Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to the situation. Human resources alone cannot solve their problems. While God did not bring this disaster to them He can lead them through it. You are there as a Christian minister. Share Christ, not humanism. Share the love of Jesus, not the philosophy of man. God has a plan for their life - they, like everyone, have sinned against God - Jesus is God's way to salvation - come to Christ and let Him be the savior they need.

7. Be Realistic - Expect difficulties, expect abuse, confrontations, questions, misjudging your motives, and for them to even be suspicious. Because of the abuse of the press and media at attacking the church and para-church groups, many in our culture think all Christians are out to get money from them or abuse them. Everyone will not accept your love and help. Some, who desperately need your assistance, will walk on by because of preconceived ideas they have about you or the church. With that in mind it is important to share Christ and the work of the Lord in a casual way. Never push your faith on anyone. Look for natural and spirit directed doors of opportunity. Divine appointments are obvious and never result in confusion.

8. Be Spiritually Prepared - Know what you believe and what the Bible has to say about sin, love, forgiveness, tragedy, addictions, hope, recovery, reconciliation, and the consequences of sin and not getting right with God. When Christ leads you in a conversation it is good to have resources stored up in your heart and mind. You get spiritually prepared when you take time to study the Word of God, read Christian materials and books, search out Christian internet sites, go to Christian seminars and lectures, and spend time in prayer. Ask questions, read, research, dig deep. You are a representative of King Jesus!

9. Be Smart - If you are sharing as a member of a church group or outreach team remember to stay close to your group. In any kind of helping hand or spiritual counseling situation do not get in a situation where you are alone with strangers or are in a dangerous situation. Remember you are under a covering of that local church or ministry and do not neglect their rules and instructions. Thinking you are hearing from God and breaking rules and instructions doesn't honor Christ. Ask for permission to not follow normal guidelines and suggestions. Use your God given resources of experience, leadership, Lordship, and partnership to direct you in all you do.

10. It's A God Thing - Expect God to show up and do a work in the person's life. God will and can work through you to help them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Trust Him to direct your steps and guard your path. Helping others in Jesus name is the ultimate ministry. Jesus was a helper also. He went around meeting needs as He saw them. If you ever need a guide to what to do when helping others look in the Bible and just do what Jesus did!

He went to the people - did not wait for them to come to Him.

He asked probing questions - saw where they really were and what they thought they needed.

He gave them hope as He shared the truth - He spoke to their real needs with insight and love.

He helped them - He always blessed the people by meeting their real needs.

Why not go today and seek the Lord and ask for permission and direction to help those who are suffering right now. If you do not know where to look to offer your assistance begin with your local pastor. You also can contact other Christian ministries who do these kinds of ministries. Our ministry has a whole department called, GoCare, that offers help and hope in Jesus name. Every outreach project we do has a GoCare worker on it to make sure we take the cup of cold water with us as we take the bread of life. May God bless you as you go into all the world for Jesus.

Daily Prayer Focus: Pray for individuals who have been affected by recent storms and floods. Pray for their strength, protection, and safety. Pray for Christian ministries involved in Disaster Relief.

Key Spiritual Aid and Emergency Links

Christian Emergency Network

Samaritan's Purse, Franklin & Billy Graham

Salvation Army

Current Christian News


CBN's Operation Blessing
http://www.ob.org/programs/disaster_relief/tips.asp  (Disaster TIps)

National Hurricane Center

AlertNet from Reuters

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief

Disaster News Network

On The Go's GoCare Ministry

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention & State Health Department Search

FirstGov Protection Information

Department of Homeland Security

How You Can Be Safer

FEMA Preparedness Information

Types of Emergencies -- Preparing for the Unexpected American Red Cross

Neighborhood Watch

National Safety Council
Wire Services and News Channels
http://www.foxnews.com/ (FoxNews)
http://www.foxnews.com/topstories/ (Fox Newswire)
http://www.disasternews.net/ (Disaster News Network)
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wire/ (AP Wire)
http://www.cnn.com/ (CNN)
http://news.google.com/ (Google News)
http://www.reuters.com/ (Reuters)
http://www.upi.com/ (UPI)
http://www.USAToday.com  (USAToday Newspaper)

Please take steps now to prepare for disasters. Important steps include: (courtesy ready.gov)

Making or Updating your Kit
• Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)  
• Non-perishable food  
• Flashlight with extra batteries      
• Battery-powered radio  
• Consider others needs unique to your family, such as diapers, medications, etc. Continue on to www.Ready.gov to learn more.
• Bible (OTG)

Making a Family Plan

• Talk with household members. Make sure everyone knows where to meet and who to call in case you are separated.
• Be prepared to evacuate. Consider where you may go and make a plan for your pets. They are not permitted in most emergency shelters.
• Gather necessary emergency numbers and important papers.
• Prepare to secure your property, such as bringing in outdoor furniture and shutting off utilities. Protect your windows.
• Make sure everyone in your family is prepared to meet the Lord and can share with others how they can know Christ! (OTG)

Being Informed

• The most important thing you can do is follow the instructions of local emergency officials. If you are asked to evacuate, please do so.
• Keep tuned to local radio or television stations for information from emergency officials.

Daily Prayer Focus: Pray for Disaster Relief Efforts across the United States and Around The World. Many across our world are devastated by recent floods, earthquakes, fires, or other natural disasters. Pray for victims that they might find peace, comfort, financial assistance, food, water, and support.  Pray that they might see the Miraculous Hand of God at work in their midst.

On The Go Prayer Focus: Keith Cook, Joan Cook, the U.S.A. Staff, and On The Go Board of Directors, as they add leadership and direction for the ongoing ministries of the Keith Cook Team and On The Go.

Thank you for taking the time to pray for this important division of On The Go Ministries. For more information on any our ministries here at On The Go, you may send your questions to info@onthego.org.

On The Go Daily Devotion for August 30, 2016
Brought to you each day by On The Go Ministries / Keith Cook Team

Copyright (c) 2005, 2016 On The Go Ministries / Keith Cook Team
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