Monthly Archives: October 2009
How many emails do you receive on any given day? And how many are filtered immediately to your SPAM or “junk email” file? Plus, there’s a whole handful of email forwards telling you to pass on the information to at least 7 friends in the next 30 seconds. Even after the filters do their work, most of my inbox is still junk.
While deleting several buckets of emails today I was reminded of all the useless garbage we hear within our day.
- the “need” to be skinnier
- the drive to be the best at all you do
- the desire for more material items
While watching Home Makeover last night my daughter said “I want a new house for Christmas!” Somehow this girl is missing the whole point of the show. Is our house old? YES! In need of a makeover? YES! Are we in a dire situation like the folks featured on the show? NO!
As I’m typing this I see her “Santa Claws” list (yes, that’s how she spelled it!) for the numerous new WebKinz that she’s hoping to obtain this Christmas. Our children are growing up in a “me” centered “more” world and we’re on the front lines battling for their souls!
But quite honestly, she’s not the only one in this house with a wish list. You should hear my thought patterns. Lately, they are very focused on my pant size. I’ve spent so much time in the library trying to find the new trick to change my diet plan. In front of me are my workout plans for the week and the daytimer holding me accountable.
That’s why I want a SPAM filter for my heart. Church on Sunday isn’t going to cut it. I need to surround myself with Christ’s truth lest the junk mail win the day.
Just now I added an agenda item to my calendar – Devotion. I know if I don’t put it in it will never happen. I’m not a morning person. So when I get up – I just go. But I can become an afternoon person! It’s my only “quiet” time throughout the day. I pray that God will bless that time richly so that I will desire to come back for more throughout the days this week.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Call it a heavenly SPAM alert!
Week Four in the book Passionate Prayer is entitled “Promises for Your Life of Prayer.” For me, it has been so helpful to review the promises of God in His Word and use them in prayer.
- God promises to respond to our prayers – Ps 34:17
- God promises to reveal things that we do not know through prayer – Jer 33:3
- God promises to do good in our lives – Matt 7:11
- God promises to help us in our prayers - Romans 8:26
- God promises to offer peace through prayer and thanksgiving – Phil 4:6-7
Take a look at these passages and comment on which promise in prayer God is working out in your life.
If you have posted about prayer, let us know and link up! Those of you reading the comments, please take a look at the other bloggers too when you get a chance!
Blessings in prayer this Tuesday!
(For the record, my writing will be posted as often as possible. Bloggers you’ve heard “content is king.” But we all know consistency is key. So for those of you who are regulars, I apologize for my lack of posting lately. For this season, I choose to have content with less consistency. Some weeks it will mean 1 or 2 posts while other weeks will be every day. Just wanted to let you know!)
The phrase “end of self” has come up a lot in my life lately.
I’ve come to the end of myself when
- dealing with my health and depression
- trying to raise my daughters
- coping with the demands of life
When my girlfriend used the same phrase “end of self” to describe how she was feeling the other day I knew God was on to something. Without Christ in your life where do you turn when you come to the end of yourself? And those of us with Christ can make some of the same mistakes too. We can chose alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, isolation, anger, etc… to deal with the pain. Unfortunately after the quick high you remain the same – at the end of yourself with no where else to turn.
As much as God isn’t happy with our pain, I believe that He does His best work when we find ourselves at the end.
Here’s two examples from Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians.
We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was… It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it… As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees… At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness… the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
So how do you practically live at the end of yourself with the belief that God’s grace is enough?
Honestly, I don’t know. But these strategies may help:
- spend time reading the Bible
- devote quiet unhurried time listening to God
- surround yourself with others who do the same
Have you seen your end? What is helping you today?
I know many of you have seen this illustration used in the past. However, THIS one is different! It’s MY church – and MY sign. Check it out! You’ll also catch a glimpse of preacher-hubby…AKA Pastor Marc! If you don’t have time to watch the whole sermon fast forward to the end when he pulls out his sign. It’s very powerful
Stepping to the microphone I close my eyes and breathe.
The music builds. I hear my cue.
My voice soars in devotion to the King.
It feels good – on key and from the heart.
I open my eyes and scan the congregation. Are they engaged? They seem disconnected. Is it me? My voice? The song?
Instantly the devotion drops and the performance begins.
The song ends and I take my seat. I open the pew bible to Matthew 6.
Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in the battle between humbleness and confidence.
I suppose it all goes back to intention.
What were Jesus’ intentions in His public ministry?
…the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:15-16
I’m not for sure I could be that disciplined. If the crowds were coming out to see me, would I check my intentions at the door – or would I plunge into popularity head first?
But Jesus knew the source of His strength. He knew He needed to step away in private to refresh and refuel and not rely on His human nature.
If Jesus, being true God, needed to stop and spend time with His Father, how much more should we being made in His likeness? (Genesis 5)
Catherine Martin writes in Passionate Prayer “The time you spend with God in private will make you who you are in public.” She continues “Your life of prayer is the secret to faithful service to God, wisdom in ministry, and power in living.”
My ministry continues with full intention on remaining humble in prayer, but confident in Christ’s work through my life.
Does this mean we can’t be bold in our public life? Absolutely not! The more quiet time you spend with Him, the more “microphone time” He’ll expect of you!
Can’t wait to hear what God’s placed on your heart in regards to prayer today. Please link up in the comments!
I’m staring at a blank page and feeling the same inside. blank. numb. disengaged.
Yet, at the same time there’s so much emotion. When too much emotion floods, do you ever shut down? I do.
On occasion it’s healthy. But too much numbness causes more pain later.
I need a moment.
Here’s a look at my focus verse for tomorrow’s talk on prayer: Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 6:1
The blog-o-sphere such an amazing entity. I found a kindred spirit on the other side of the world who has had similar experiences, writes beautifully and shared his heart without fear of condemnation. Here’s a piece of a recent post…
While suffering from depression back in the 1990s I was painfully aware that I had become a broken, shattered person, a shadow of who I had been.
From my diary, 10th April 1990:
I once saw a spider that only had four legs,
The poor thing had lost the others somehow.
Yet the spider, a creature of instinct, did not even know,
It just kept struggling, vaguely aware something was wrong,
But not knowing what it was exactly.
That’s how I feel.
How many times a day are you on your cell phone, your land-line or even email? It would be hard to count how many times I use a tool to contact another person throughout the day.
The one thing needed, no matter how you call, remains the same… do you have the number?
In the book Passionate Prayer, author Catherine Martin writes that Jeremiah 33:3 is often named God’s phone number.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (NIV)
Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. (MSG)
Catherine goes on to say that God invites us to SPECIFIC and EXPECTANT prayer.
How can you get specific with God today? Can you get anymore personal with your Savior? Do you find yourself holding anything back from His control?
It’s amazing how many times God shows me something new in prayer – unsearchable things… and as The Message phrases it – things I would not have seen without God.
Every promise spoken in the Word will always hold true – He will answer you. You can count on it. God wants you to expect His response – to believe in it whole-heartedly
This Lord – our Holy God – wants to hear from you today. He’s standing by, waiting to take your call! You will not hear an answering machine or those annoying automatic help lines. The One, true God is ready. You have His number. What are you waiting for?
Sometimes the best conversations happen on a car ride. Do you agree?
“Mom, is that a needle on the ambulance?”
“It looks like a needle honey. But I believe it’s a snake. Snakes are sometimes used in signs – “
“Oh, yeah, I know all about that Mom. The ambulance must be a Christian. We’ve been reading about Moses and the people in the desert. They were complaining so God sent poisonous snakes. But Moses prayed because so many people were dying. So God told Moses to pick up a snake and put it on a stick. The people who looked at the snake lived.”
“That’s (almost) right sweetheart!”
“Yeah, I pretty much know it all now.”
I’m not lying… that exact conversation happened yesterday between me and my older daughter who is 8 yrs old and “knows it all”. She also informed me of why Moses wasn’t allowed into the promised land. But I’ll save that story for another day.
They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. Numbers 21:4-9
Now, before you get mad at God for sending snakes, know this – God loves His people. He rescued them from slavery. He caused enemies to fall into His people’s weak hands. All they had to do was follow His way. Although, not easy, God proved time and time again that He could be trusted. But, just like you and me, His people grew impatient and strayed from His law. Also, rest assured, God sent a sacrifice once and for all through Jesus. No more snakes!
So what’s the lesson here?
- Have a childlike faith?
- Follow God’s law?
- Don’t complain against God?
- Only drive behind “Christian ambulances”?
No, I think the real lesson here is God listens and prayer works.
But why do we often find ourselves looking at the snakes in our life and complaining instead of running directly to Him for a cure?
In the days before Jesus there was a barrier between God and His people. God’s people needed a sacrifice, a priest, or a leader to present themselves before God.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrew 10:19-22
What’s the cure for our lives?
- Have confidence that God listens.
- Jesus is your ticket to enter into God’s presence.
- Run to God with your heart wide open.
- Be assured that your faith has purpose.
Lord, we are weak. We don’t have what it takes. Please give us confidence, not in our own abilities, but in Jesus’ sacrifice. Grant us faith that goes beyond what we can explain with words. For those of us that have a hard time understanding, give us an extra measure of your grace and assurance that we are simply loved by an awesome God. Amen.
–>Bloggers – please link up your prayer post anytime this week! Question: would you like me to put Mr Linky on the sticky post up above for the entire month? Then everytime you post on prayer you can come over and link up all month long? Or would you prefer to link up via comments on my Tuesday posts as we’ve done in the past?