Tag Archives: Love

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.

 

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DO WHAT YOU KNOW IS RIGHT.031618

KIDS PLAYING.031618

In Romans 1:19-20, Paul talks about how God has put the knowledge of Himself in men’s hearts; to the point that they cannot deny that God exists.  They are without excuse.  They will have to acknowledge Jesus as Lord on ‘that Day’.  Reminds me of times when my kids were young, maybe 10 and up, what church people used to call the ‘age of accountability’, when kids really did know right from wrong.

Once in a while, they’d get to go skating, or to the mall for a party, where they’d be largely unsupervised for an hour or two; they’d even have a little spending money to buy a coke or some popcorn, or play a video game.  Kinda exciting, get a little buzz doing new things they hadn’t done much; meet kids they didn’t know.  There would be adults around, but not enough for close supervision; like at the movies, or at the swimming pool, or at the park.

 

I’d usually tell them, “I just want you to do what you know is right.”  It was positively amazing.  I think God must’ve put those words in my mouth.  Sometimes they would even groan.  They’d say, “Don’t saaaay that; now we can’t have any fun.”  Continue reading

When I was in prison, you visited Me.

prison guard with keys outside dark prison cell

Hi, This is Tex.  My calling is discipleship: knowing, being, making and teaching others to make disciples for Jesus.  A big part of being a disciple is in being involved with “extra-church” activities, where you develop relationships with people who are NOT your garden variety church-goers.  Prison ministry is one of those activities.  I’ve been involved in prison ministry for about 16 years now, and the Holy Spirit moves in prisons in a way He hardly ever moves in traditional church.  Below is a letter from Jim, a brother of mine in the Jubilee Prison Ministry.  This story is about a prison ministry weekend that happened a few weeks ago near Houston.

I have been serving in prison on Jubilee or Kairos weekends for 17 years.  Many of you have supported my efforts over the years  (thank you!) and have often asked me what happens on these weekends.  So I thought you might enjoy the following story – I’m a CFO, cynic and pessimist but this story is miraculous (or very close to it).

I was the leader of Jubilee #1 at the Scott unit in Angleton 3 weeks ago.  One of my jobs was to assign the 25 or so talks to our volunteers.  Most of the Scott #1 volunteers were new, so I didn’t know them – so had little insight to help assign the right talk to the “right” person.  So I asked God to somehow intervene as I made “random” talk assignments.  I assigned the “Forgiving Others” talk to Joseph, one of 3 volunteers who came from San Antonio to serve.  Joseph is a relatively new Christian, and is also an ex offender, so when he heard about Jubilee he believed God had called him  and agreed to participate.  Our weekend started early Friday morning.  Joseph’s talk occurred Saturday afternoon.  Here is a summary of his talk:

“My little brother was murdered on April 1st.   I was very close to him, and was unbelievably upset, angry and full of hatred at the man who killed him.  I started planning my revenge – when, where and how I was going to kill the man who murdered my little brother.   But then I agreed to serve on this Jubilee weekend.  Continue reading

A Dog in the Woods.010115

Last night about 9:00 PM we took the dogs for a walk.  We have two 6 month old rat terriers, a boy and a girl, Ragnar and Lagartha (aka Gertie).  Often our teen-age son Ian and I walk them.  Actually we run them.  I hold the dogs, straining at the leash; Ian runs down the street a block or two; then turns and calls them; I let go of the leashes and they run as fast as they can to Ian.  They love Ian and he loves them back, just as much.  These are the first dogs we have had since Ian has been old enough to remember.  They are truly his companions. ‘Course Gaye and I love them too, but not near as much as Ian.

So last night we did our routine til we were maybe 6 blocks down the street and then we turned back and did it again on the way home.  When we were maybe 2 or 3 houses from home, Ragnar got loose and ran for our back yard.  Ian chased him, but “Rags” beat him to the trees along the creek in back of our house and went exploring.  Usually when one of the dogs gets loose, he’ll run for a minute or two and then come back to the other dog.  But this time Rags didn’t come right away, so I gave Ian my cell phone/flash light so he could search the woods.

Well, he searched and searched but no luck.  Ian was getting desperate.  He was hollering at the top of his lungs, loud and long, “RAAAAAG-NAAAAAR” over and over.

Pretty soon I started saying, “Don’t holler so loud.  He’ll come back soon.  He doesn’t want to stay outside in the dark all night any more than you want him to.  He’ll get lonely in a few minutes and come.”

But he didn’t come.  We walked all around in the woods looking.  We went down the street to the place where you could go in the woods from the other end.  All the time hollering “Raaaag-Naaaar”.  But you could tell Ian was getting really worried, and I was getting a little concerned myself.  As I listened to Ian, I could tell he was getting scared Rags wasn’t coming back.  What if something had happened to him? Maybe the leash got caught and he got hung up in the bushes.  Maybe he fell in the creek and couldn’t get out.  Maybe he’d crossed the creek and couldn’t get back.

I started praying, “Lord, please let Rags come back.  Please don’t let anything happen to him.  Please help Ian not be scared.”  And every time I’d see Ian, I’d say, “It’s going to be OK;  he’ll be back soon.”  But I was beginning to wonder myself.

Finally we went to the back of the back yard, where he first ran away, and I said to Ian.  “We’re just going to have to wait. Come on and sit down on the back porch with Gertie, and see what happens.”  When we reached the porch, Ian sat down and petted Gertie; and I said to Ian, “Maybe we should pray.”  By this time he was crying, because he was so worried about Rags.

Ian said, “Sit down here and pray with me.”

I said, “You pray,” but he asked me to go first.  So I prayed, “Please Lord, let Rags come home.  Don’t let him get hurt.  Don’t let him get lost so he can’t figure out how to get home.  Thank you for answering these prayers.”

Then Ian prayed, “Dear Lord, please let Rags come home.  Please work everything out for good for all of us.  Do Your will.  We’re trusting You to take care of all of us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

We got up.  I said I was going to bed.  I said Rags would come back soon and everything would be OK.  Ian went back outside the back fence to look for Rags one last time.  I was in the garage by this time, but I could still hear and I heard my wife say, “He found him.”

When I went back out, Ian says, “I just wanted to look one last time; and when I got the edge of the trees, I could see him coming out.”

“Thank God! ‘, I said, “Just goes to show you how God answers prayers.  Praise the Lord!”  We all stood in the yard and hugged ole Rags.  We were very glad that the lost had been found.  We all went in thinking about how God takes care of us, if we’ll just ask Him.  It reminded me of that verse in Luke, where it says that God will answer your prayers, and speedily too, if we’ll only trust him.  It was a perfect example of how God’s care meets a boy’s trust.  Praise the Lord from Whom all blessings flow!

It’s amazing how you can learn such good lessons from such a simple story. Prov. 3:5-6 Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

PS A day or two later, we realized we’d lost Rags’ leash that night.  I went searching and found the leash, tangled up in some limbs.  The other end led down a hole.  I pulled on the leash pretty hard and out came the harness.  Looks like Rags was trapped in the hole, so we couldn’t hear him whine or bark, but he was able to wriggle free at almost exactly the same time we were praying.  I don’t know about y’all, but that sounds like God.