Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

Being Honest with God

January 24, 2016

“O Lord, how long will you forget me?  Forever?  How long will you look the other way?  How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?  How long will my enemy have the upper hand?  Psalm 13:1,2

David was expressing something like exasperation to God, and it was almost exasperation with God.  He had been suffering, being cornered by enemies who sought to destroy him, and he was not seeing any action on God’s part.  He had a certain daring.  He dared complain to God, and yet he felt safe enough to do so.  God could have destroyed him.  God had punished the complainers among his people in the past.  But God didn’t punish David.  God actually called David “a man after my own heart.”  What was the difference?

David wasn’t taking God for granted.  He didn’t lack faith in God.  In this same psalm David said “But I trust in your unfailing love.  I will rejoice because you have rescued me.” (Verse 5)  David was just tired, heartbroken, and longing for some reassurance from the Lord, some movement on his behalf that would give him some hope.  He wasn’t distrusting God, but just being honest with God.

Sometimes it feels wonderful to just unburden ourselves, talking about our problems with someone who will listen without condemnation.  God knows how we are made, and He doesn’t mind at all that we ventilate our emotions before Him.   He is pleased that we trust Him like that.  It is good for us to be honest about our feelings, not acting as though we have to play some holy pretend game before God.  It is good for us to unburden ourselves to the only one who can do anything to help us.  And it is good when we then tell God we are willing to do what He wants.  It is good when we tell Him we trust Him to work out our problems for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28)

Asking

January 20, 2016

“Ask, and you will be given what you ask for.  Seek, and you will find.  Knock, and the door will be opened.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Anyone who seeks, finds.  If only you will knock, the door will open.  If a child asks his father for a loaf of bread will he be given a stone instead?  If he asks for fish, will he be given a poisonour snake?  Of course not!  And if you hardhearted sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won’t  your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask him for them?”  Matthew 7:7-11

In this episode, Jesus taught that our Heavenly Father is like a very loving earthly parent, but even better.  First of all, He likes to be asked for what we need.  Unlike earthly parents, God already knows what we need.  What then would be the purpose of asking?  Asking indicates trust on our part–trust that we have been heard, and trust that we will be given a loving answer to our requests.  That trust is a type of praise that brings God glory (it reflects all His goodness, love and beauty).  Jesus taught that everyone who asks will receive an answer, and everyone who seeks answers will be given something.  Jesus said that if we knocked we would be answered.  God never has a busy signal.  We never get the runaround.  We never will find God absent when we knock.  We will get an answer.   The answer might not always be exactly what we asked.  Think about parents.  They don’t always give their child what it asks for, because many of a child’s choices are foolish.  But as parents, even less than perfect parents do acknowledge the child’s request and give something good.  If a baby asks for something it can choke on, the parent distracts it with something else they know it likes.  If a child asks for something foolish or dangerous, the parent gives something better.  Sometimes it is necessary to wait for an answer, because someone or something  isn’t ready for the answer yet.  God will never give anything that would hurt us no matter how much we think we want it.  There was a song once about thanking God for unanswered prayer.  According to the lyrics, the young man had prayed for a certain girl to become his wife, but years later upon seeing her again, and then looking at the wife he had, he was glad God hadn’t answered the original prayer.  His actual wife was a much better match for him for a lifetime.

Yoga, Prayer and the difference.

January 6, 2012

“Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way.  With Yoga we become aware of how and where we are restricted—in body, mind and heart—and how gradually to open and release these blockages.  As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed.  We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves.  Our lives begin to flow—or we begin to flow more in our lives.”    quote by Cybele Tomlinson.

 I read this quote today on the facebook page of a friend who has been going through a lot of soul searching.  It sounds good, but its really so very, very limited.  Its ultimately all about self, and no one else.  The human condition is such that we are limited and we are lonely.  We can’t solve our problems all alone.   Our problems with our loneliness and limitedness can’t be solved by a limited, lonely self.  Someone once quipped they couldn’t run from their problems because “wherever I go, there I am.”  The self is so constant it becomes a pain.  “Otherness” is as necessary to us as the air we breathe.  Its not so much whats in us that prevents us living a full and whole life, its the need for more than what is in us.  We have to open up.

Rather than Yoga, prayer opens the heart, mind and emotion to the great Other.  The best part of that is this  Other is the only One who has the power and wisdom to truly help us.  No one understands us like God, for He knows us better than we know ourselves.  As we pour out our hearts in prayer, we not only see ourselves more clearly, but we see answers to what we are seeking.  By opening up to Him, we learn to appreciate and love Him back.  This gives us the energy to love others and to have compassion for them.   “We love because He first loved us.”  I John 4:19

Mexican Summer Salad

July 6, 2011

Mexican Blessing:

Christ the bread of life, come bless our meal, Amen.

Mexican Summer Salad

2 lbs sirloin, sliced thin

1pkg. fajita seasoning (add 2/3 cup water and one Tb olive oil

Marinate meat a couple hours, then cook on a tabletop griddle (I used a George Foreman grill) 

Put cooked beef in a dish, surround with dishes of:

lettuce, shredded cheddar, sliced olives, crushed “hint of lime” tortilla chips, sour cream and homemade pice de gallo (1 tomato finely chopped, 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped, 3 green onions, finely chopped, 2 TB cilantro finely chopped, and juice of one lime.)

Let each person put together their own salad as they like it.  Serve with warm, buttered tortillas if desired, and a glass of Sangria if desired (I buy Yago, don’t make my own).

Enjoy a fine, low carb (well, except for the tortillas) summer meal.

Prayer for my Vocation

March 8, 2011

Lord, I really want your best for my life.  I want to serve you to the very best of my ability.  Mostly, I just want to be where You have called me to be.  I want to be a humble, obedient servant.  I don’t want to look down on any kind of work.  Neither do I want to serve you in a way that doesn’t use all the gifts you’ve given me.  Impress on me Lord whether I am acting from prideful desires.  Impress on me Lord whether I’m acting out of a love of the familiar and don’t want to step out of my comfort zone.  Show me where I’m being selfish and where I’m trying to prop up my own ego.  I open my hands Lord and let go of what I want.  I want what you want for my work.  Not my will Lord, but yours.

God of the Dark Places

March 15, 2010

Sometimes I can hardly stand to read the news.  The wars, rumors of wars, crime, violence and hatred, make everything seem so black.  But it isn’t black to You, is it Lord?  Its as though we’re in a box and the lid is pulled over the top, making it dark for those of us living inside.  But outside the box its daylight and You can be seen.  You won’t let that lid stay on forever.  You’ve set the times for just how long You’ll allow things to stay the way they are.  And the timer is ticking down.

Prayer During Lent

March 12, 2010

Jesus, how incredibly difficult it must have been for you, in your humanity, to face all you did in your earthly ministry.  You faced opposition everywhere you went .  Leadership was waiting for a chance to trip you up, dripping with criticism, sarcasm and hate.  The mob was filled with cynics and skeptics with attitudes ranging from “ho-hum, another populist” to “show us a miracle–impress us!” Much of the mob wanted only something for themselves.  Some was legitimate: people who needed an illness cured, for example.  However, many only wanted someone to take care of them so they could give up the responsibility of taking care of themselves.  And everywhere–sin.  Yet, you served and you loved.  In your divinity you healed.  In your humanity, you got tired, hot, hungry, thirsty and frustrated.  It was a trial beyond our understanding, to have to deal with all our sin all the time.  But you did, until it cost you your life in the most tortuous way of death.  Thank you Jesus for loving like no one has before, or since, or ever will again.  I’m humbled to realize I will never be able to love you as you deserve.  Help me at least begin.

The 45 Minute Solution

March 2, 2010

When confronting “the blues”, dullness, boredom and the like, I was once given a transforming recipe by a mature and wise pastor.  I call it the 45 Minute Solution.

First, spend 15 minutes a day reading the bible.  Ask the Lord to speak to you through the bible, and you can even ask Him what book of the bible to read.  Personally, I like the gospels, epistles and psalms, but I have never read a book of the bible where I didn’t find a little nugget of gold that met my exact needs at that moment.  Just be aware that God will speak to you if you ask Him and your soul is open and willing to hear Him.

Second, spend 15 minutes a day pouring out your heart to God.  Ask Him for everything you need, lay all your burdens before Him, and don’t forget to thank Him for all the ways you have seen Him help you.

Third, spend 15 minutes a day encouraging someone else’s faith, sharing the hope the Lord has given you.  You can do this through spoken or written words.  You can’t encourage someone else without the encouragement strengthening you, too.  As an old proverb says, the fragrance remains on the hand that gives a rose.

Try this for a couple of weeks.  I promise it will be life changing.

Spiritual Blahs

March 1, 2010

In this season of Lent, we take time for introspection.  Just as we take stock of our relationships and our financial condition, we should also take stock of our relationship with the Lord.  If we find, as many of us do, that we have been taking this relationship for granted, then it needs work in the same way a marriage needs work.  Our primary, close relationships fail for lack of intimacy.  We have quit talking to each other, and soon realize we no longer know what is going on with the other person.  Unlike our human relationships, God always knows what is going on with us.  God always loves us unconditionally, and we can hardly expect that of another human being.  However, there is a price to pay for lack of intimacy with God.  I call it the spiritual blahs. 

Have you ever felt that God was far away, and there was no one really listening when you prayed?  Have you felt uninspired, mildly depressed and just, well, dull?  God never changes, but people change.  We change.  Staying too busy for God leaves our souls in the same condition as a plant that has been left in the darkness too long.

What to do?  Well, the cure for human distance is to start talking , and also start listening.  We can, thankfully, go to God anytime  and apologize for putting too many things on our agenda ahead of our time with Him.  We need to take some time to thank Him for all the good things He has been doing in our lives and the lives of those around us.  Then we need to tell Him, openly, honestly, and thoroughly, what is going on in our world and in our head.  He already knows, of course, but He loves to hear us open our hearts to Him.  Then we need to listen.  Sometimes we will  hear some answers in our minds and hearts.  We just “know” its Him.  We just “know”, because its in line with what we have always known about Him, and it is also in line with our best, most Christlike self.  It doesn’t stroke or appeal to our small self– the selfish, cowardly, prideful self.

The other way to listen is to  read scripture till we begin to see a picture of what He is trying to say to us.  Reading the actual words of Jesus is particularly helpful to me, but so is reading psalms and epistles.  Often I will stop and ask, “Jesus, what are you saying to me, and how do you want me to apply this to my life?”  Then being quiet, the thoughts come again.  When I pray like this, I often find things happening in my circumstances, almost as if He created a special opportunity for me to do the thing He is drawing me to do.

When I take time to pray and listen like this, the blahs disappear, and there’s an excitement in day to day living that should be normal for us, and so often is not.

Lord Let Me Be a Paintbrush in Your Hand

February 20, 2010

Lord, let me be a paintbrush in your hand.

Let me be in the bundle of brushes you hold in your hand as you paint your eternal masterpiece.  Let me stay a usable brush; pliable, so that I move as you move, and your colors flow through me. Let me not stiffen against your will either through neglect, carelessness or contrariness.  Keep me filled with the color of your choice and not wander beyond your limits for me, for that will muddy my colors and the colors of those around me.

Lord, grant me glimpses of the beauty you create.  I need an occasional insight to keep me encouraged.  Help me realize I’m too small, too bound and too close to the action to ever see your big picture while I’m down here.  Someday you’ll take me far away where I can see your work in all its loveliness.  Meanwhile, as a brush, I can take no credit for the beauty you’ve created, but I am so happy that you chose to use me.