Category Archives: GRATITUDE

PRAYING FOR OTHER PEOPLE.042518

Latin Teenager Praying

My relationship, my spiritual relationship, with God is based on the six great themes of the Bible: love, humility, gratitude, trust, obedience and service; all of which are founded on the underlying concept of surrender.  All the themes, one way or another, are brought to life, they’re empowered by surrender, to God and to other people.  In a supernatural way, this is the attitude of Jesus that flows through us when we surrender to Him.

When I pray, I usually begin by ‘praying through the themes’ one at a time, as they relate to me and my relationship with God.  Every time, I see something new about how I should love God; humble myself before Him; be thankful for all the ways He blesses me; renew my trust in Him as it relates to all my other relationships, my cares and my troubles; confess my failures in obedience and renew my commitment to do His will and not mine, to have His attitude and not mine; and as my act of service, to deny myself, die to myself, and follow (surrender to) Him; so He can use me for His purposes in this world today.

So I was praying for my son today, my youngest son Ian, who is a freshman in college and is going through some major, life-changing events and decisions that will affect him for the rest of his life.  It is a challenging time, but a truly exhilarating time, to be alive in his world.  He has asked me to pray for him, which I am always happy to do.  I do pray for him every day anyway.  Today, I started a new practice, of praying for Ian the way I pray for myself.  It opens all kinds of new doors for me to think about in praying for him; not just about what he should do or not do; but also about all his relationships, with God and with others, that I can meditate on and consider how God is moving and working in Ian’s life and the lives of those around him. (They may need a little prayer too!)

There’s a limited amount of time to ‘really’ pray (like this) for all the people that are close to me; so I think I’ll need to spend more of my ‘unstructured’ time (formerly known as leisure time, ha!), when I’m driving down the road, or waiting in the doctor’s office, or waiting for an appointment, praying in this way for others.  God only knows what the results might be, for them and for me.

 

Advertisements

JUST SAY YES.012516

Yes Pink Squares Burst             I was inspired by a devotional I read last week (01.21.16) by Charles Stanley.  He said, in part, “When we encounter opportunities to serve God, we don’t always respond in the way He desires.” Maybe “our schedule is too busy or we don’t feel qualified.” . . . “You probably never thought of a refusal to serve God as a type of idolatry, but that’s what it is—bowing down to self instead of submitting to Him.” . . . “when we’ve already decided what we can’t do, won’t do, or are ill-equipped to do, then we’re acting by our own will.  That doesn’t work.” . . .”Laying down our excuses is the wisest thing to do when serving the Lord.”  . . . “All He asks is that you say ‘Yes’.”

I say “Glory Hallelujah!!!” to that.  The reason I was so inspired by this message from Rev. Stanley is that it made me think about my experience with a couple of ‘extra-church’ ministries I’m involved with.  In both of these ministries, one called “Walk to Emmaus” and the other called “Kairos Prison Ministry”, the characteristic that is most remarkable, I mean really REMARKABLE, is the willingness of the participants (that is the workers/servants/team-members) to say “Yes!” in serving in whatever way they are called upon to serve.  I’ve worked at several different levels in each of those ministries, and I’ve been truly astounded at how humble, how self-deprecating, the members are.

Whether it’s to lead a meeting, or give a talk, or counsel, or teach, or prepare or serve food, or wash dishes, or carry out the trash, or clean toilets and make beds; or pray; they’re ready to go. And they’re ready to do it voluntarily and with a good attitude.  Makes me think of that line in Phlippians 2:5, “Let this attitude be in you that was also in Christ Jesus!”  They’re “humble and obedient, kind and gentle, never jealous or boastful or proud or rude, never demanding their own way.” (Right out of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7) When you ask them if they’d be willing to do _____; their answer is always “Yes!” with no qualifications.  It really “rang my bell” when I heard Rev. Stanley say that same thing about our attitude about service to, with and for Jesus.  I can truly say that for me, people saying “Yes” to Jesus is the best evidence of the presence of His Holy Spirit in our brothers and sisters in Christ.

YOUR FAITH HAS MADE YOU WHOLE.122715

maladie de peau,visage,peintureLuke 17:11-19: “And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 and they lifted up their voices, and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, ‘Go show yourselves unto the priests.’ And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.’ 19 And he said unto him, ‘Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.’”

Maybe you don’t know about leprosy.  It is a disease that attacks the flesh with great sores that eat away whole hunks of a person’s skin and muscle.  It particularly eats away the fingers and toes, the nose and the ears, and even when one is healed from the leprosy, the remaining effects are obvious.  When the ten lepers were cleansed, the sores dried up and went away, but the effects of the disease were left; the missing digits, the holes in their faces and bodies.  They had to be declared ceremonial clean by the priests.

But when that one, a Samaritan, came back, Jesus had a different message for him.  Because he came back to give thanks, He said, “Get up and go home (you don’t have to go to the priests).  Your faith has made you whole.”  I’m thinking He meant, “Because you realize Who it is who healed you, and you gave thanks for the cleansing, your body is restored to wholeness.” (All the fingers and toes and holes grew back, as if he had never been sick.)

And that’s what happens to us, when we truly understand Who heals and Who redeems, and we demonstrate our understanding and our faith by our praise and gratitude, we too are restored to wholeness inside and out.  Like it says in Joel 2:25, “I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten.”

SMALL GROUPS FOR JESUS 2.111015

aerial view of family eating pizza at homeThere are a lot of “small” groups in the world, where people get together on a regular basis.  I’ve been a member of a number of them, such as a foursome for playing golf every week.  You get  to know the guys.  You enjoy their company.  You tell jokes.  You catch up on what’s happening in their world, how they’re getting along with their wives and their kids, their bosses and their employees.  In a lot of cases you are closer to them than some members of their own families. And you have the benefit of a little fresh air and a little exercise. (very little) Maybe you have a beer in the 19th hole.

My mother had a long-standing relationship with a bunch of girls she formerly taught school with.  They’d get together and play bridge every week.  None of them were championship bridge players, but that wasn’t the point.  The reason they got together was to share their lives with each other. When they were down they could call each other on the phone and get a little encouragement.  When they were up they could have a special meeting to celebrate.  You know it’s a great thing to have a husband and some kids to share your life with, but the girls in the bridge club are an indispensible part of a full life too.  There’s just some things you can’t, or don’t want to, share with your husband.  LOL Continue reading

SPEAKING SPANISH IS AN ACT OF LOVE.110815

smiley fashion designer holding tailors scissors and looking at cameraSo I went to the fabric store with my wife yesterday.  I’m telling you, my wife knows more about fabric and fabric stores than most of the people who work there.  She is buds with almost all the little ladies that work in the fabric stores in our area; on a first-name basis, if you know what I mean.  My job was to hold her place in line at the cutting table while she picked out the material and the pattern she needed.  So mostly I just get to watch and listen; maybe put in a little side-bar or two.

There were two ladies working the cutting tables, measuring and cutting the material.  At my table was a grandmother and her late teen granddaughter buying bright picture-pattern fleece material.  The cutting lady was showing them how to do some complicated sewing maneuver.  I said, “This is a great store.  You can buy material and get free sewing lessons.”  We all laughed.  The grandma said, “We need all the help we can get.”

At the other table was a family of Hispanic ladies, an ‘older’ lady (not as old as me, but older than the others), two younger ladies and two or three children.  Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN, PART THREE.102215

Stress Burdens Sticky Notes Reminders for Stressful LifeIn the most recent post on this subject, I discussed that ‘practicing’ Christians follow certain fundamentals in their lives, the way baseball players follow certain fundamentals in playing baseball, and 1] is FOCUS ON GOD EVERY DAY.  I said something like, “Give Him some time and attention”.

Just this week I’ve been reminded that there are a lot of distractions in the world that keep us from (or impede our progress in) building this kind of relationship with Jesus.  I’m talking A LOT of distractions.  Some of them large and threatening, others apparently small and insignificant, but just as distracting.  Many of these are serious problems that require a great deal of time and attention, particularly in the eyes of well-meaning, God-fearing, Bible-believing people.  Things such as the state of our nation; the many astounding changes in our culture regarding sex, marriage, constitutional issues, leadership problems, immigration, liberal vs conservative disputes, and others too numerous to mention.  There are many, many things wrong, and someone just MUST do something about them.  All are legitimate concerns that require attention.

On the next level are all the things that we have to do TODAY!  Depending on what stage of life you’re at right now, Continue reading

YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND.100115

Handsome man playing guitar. Close-up of young man playing acoustic guitar while sitting in front of the window

Been stressed lately.  My main source of income dried up.  Had way too much to do and not enough time to do it all.  Not getting enough rest.  Not enough exercise. Heck, I don’t even have time to talk to my one kid still at home.  He’s too busy too.  Long days and short nights.  Need a little relief.  What can I do?

Well, I can think a little about God.  Max (Lucado) says, “When you’re down, think of all God has done.”  Oswald (Chambers) says, “We think everything should be turned into useful teaching.  In fact, it is to be turned into something better: character.” Charles (Stanley) says, “When you need help, thank God for all He’s done.”  Alistair (Begg) says, “All God has done for us should be saved and remembered, to bring honor and glory to Him.” Wow!

And I can pray and tell God I love Him.  I really do thank Him for things He’s done for me, both long ago and in the last few days.  I’m thinking about how I could use a little relief; a little peace and quiet; a little rest.  Continue reading