Category Archives: TIME WITH GOD,

EVERYTHING’S CHANGING.110715

past lifeAt my house we have a 66-year-old husband, a 55-year-old wife, and a 17-year-old son.  Everyone is involved in more than we can say grace over.  And though we have each other; for which we are all very grateful; we daily shake our heads and strain our brains to maintain stability.  Our church got a whole new pastoral staff this summer, and there have been multiple collateral changes.  For one thing our son and I have been involved for several years in a close working relationship with our youth director who’s been here for 11 years and is now, just this month, moving on.  Most of the kids we have worked with for 5-6 years have graduated from high school and gone off to college.  The few that are left are struggling to keep the program together.  As we look to the future, things are shifting. Seems like almost every week there is an announcement of another change in the leadership. Sometimes we almost lose heart.

But not for long.  Do you know that if you trust God, you can have peace in your heart, in spite of all the crazy stuff that’s going on?  Philippians 4:6-7.  Continue reading

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PRAYER AND MEDITATION.102915

Young man holding Bible and praying by windowIt’s sad to say, but a lot of people think prayer is solely about asking for stuff, especially in an emergency.  Even sadder is that a lot of them only pray in an emergency.  Makes for a strained relationship with God, if the only time you talk to Him is when you need something, especially only when you are in dire straits.  I’ve heard a lot of parents say that it makes them sad that their college age kids, or even young adult children, only call them when they need money.  Sounds like the kids don’t really care about having a real relationship with their parents.

But you know, God’s not like that.  He really wants to have a close, personal, dare I say intimate relationship with you.  He already knows all about you anyway.  He’s been looking at your heart.  Why shouldn’t you really let Him in and begin to develop a relationship with Him where you know a lot more about Him.  Get intimately acquainted with God.  For my money, that’s what prayer is, and should be about.

Oh, about meditation.  Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN 6: Daily Quiet Time, Part 1. Bible.102615

Corinthians 13Just for the record, a “Daily Quiet Time”, is a short (maybe 15 minute) time each morning when we focus our attention on talking to, and listening to, God.  It usually begins with reading a Bible verse or two, and a short devotional from some brother or sister or group, concerning our lives and our hearts as Christians, and writing in a journal the main point of the verse and the devotional.  It ends with a period of sitting (or kneeling) alone, in the Presence of God, and thinking about what I’ve read, how it applies to my life and what is happening to me today, and listening for God to tell me what I should do or think about it.  That’s where the revelations come in.  Do you know that verse/passage in Matthew 11:25-28, where Jesus is talking to God, and He says, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have REVEALED them to babes.

I haven’t been having a “daily quiet time” all my life.  I didn’t know what one was, or even hear the expression till about 10 years ago.  I guess I’ve been reading the Bible early in the morning almost every day for maybe 20 years or longer.  Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN 5: Making Jesus Lord.102515

Jesus is Lord LetterpressI’m pretty sure most people in America are not ready to let anyone, even Jesus, be the Lord of their lives.  At least no one besides themselves.  We’re all too focused on me.  But God is constantly moving a person in that direction; to give up himself, to “deny himself; to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus.”  (Luke 9:23)  To “take up your cross” means this: “I am crucified (I died) with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)  Jesus said that verse in Luke to anyone who wanted to be His disciple (his student, his follower).  If you give up yourself, surrender yourself, deny yourself, die to yourself, then you DO make Jesus the Lord of your life, because He comes in to your own heart and body and fills you with His Own Spirit, and He BECOMES the Lord of your Life.  That’s how you make Jesus the Lord of your life.  Actually Jesus is the One who chooses you and then you let Him come in. (John 15:16)   Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN, PART FOUR.102415

Silhouette illustration of a man praying under the lightSURRENDER to JESUS and MAKE HIM THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE (every day)  In some Christian churches you can ‘get saved’ by walking down the aisle at the end of a service and declaring your allegiance (devotion) to Jesus.  Maybe you fill out a card with some personal information.  Then the pastor introduces you to the congregation and they vote you in on the spot and you’re saved. You’re a full member of the Body of Christ.  You’re going to heaven.  What more need be said?  Well . . .where’s the teaching and the understanding and the commitment?

In other churches you’re baptized into the church as an infant, then when you’re around 12 you go through confirmation, with the intention that you learn the basic principles of the faith and then you make a commitment to follow Jesus, with baptism by the clergy, and hopefully of the Holy Spirit.

Clearly either of these systems is dependent on concerted effort by the church community to teach the Bible, to demonstrate the fundamentals of the faith, to show ’em what it feels like to have a personal relationship with the Living God.  It requires all of us having a consistent commitment to Jesus and to our brothers and sisters in the Body. 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

NEED HELP? 072015

Group of passengers on airplaneWhen I was about 50, I figured out God wants me to ‘make disciples’ for Jesus.  What does it mean, ‘make disciples’?  It means two things: [1] tell people what they need to do to have a personal relationship with God, and [2] teach them what they need to do to grow and develop as followers (disciples) of Jesus.  I’m 66 now, and I’m starting to get number ‘2’ down.  I’m really learning to teach people to “observe all things [Jesus] has commanded us.” Matthew 28:19-20. Sometimes we have a real ‘victory in Jesus’ in that area. PTL!

But I still struggle with number ‘1’.  I never quite know what to say to start a conversation about God.  Most of the time I ask questions like ‘Where are you from?’ or ‘What do you like to do?’  Pretty soon you stumble on something you have in common.  Continue reading