Saturday, September 15, 2012



                      Random Thoughts on Prayer

Simply to say prayers is not praying...
Confession and penitence are its threshold
Adoration its sanctuary
Presence, vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine.
                                                                                          * C.S. Lewis

For some it is simply sloth, it is easier to pray on whim and impulse than to apprentice oneself to the master.                                                                               * Eugene Peterson

Who can know the lifespan of a prayer?
                                            Aunt Vera

It does seem an incredible thing that such guilty nothings should have the power to move the arm that moves the world.                                                                * Charles Spurgeon

The broken down, sinful, ragamuffins of Israel flocked to Jesus (for prayer). They tore apart roofs, climbed trees and formed huge crowds to see him.             * James Bryan Smith

Intercession is not the breathing out of pious wishes,  its aim is to bring down Gods blessing through believing, persevering prayer.                                            *Andrew Murray

If God commands me , unfit as I may be, I will creep to the footstool of grace, and since He says pray without ceasing, though my words fail me and my heart itself will wander,  yet will I stammer out the wishes of my hungering soul and say; O God, at least teach me to pray and help me to prevail with you.
                                                                                          * charles Spurgeon


I cannot tell why there should come to me
A thought of someone miles and years away,
In swift insistence on the memory,
Unless there is a need that I should pray.

Perhaps just then my friend has fiercer fight,
A more appalling weakness, a decay
Of courage, darkness, some lost sense of right;
And so, in case he needs my prayers I pray.
                      Rosalind Goforth

                               Pray without ceasing...for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ.                          
                                                          *Paul; 1 thessalonians 5:17-18

Challenge; Think of the last thing you prayed about--were you devoted to your desire or God?
                                                                  * Oswald Chambers

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Aaron and Mary

I need an Aaron. Someone to be my voice. Someone to temper my words and reflect my heart. Someone to deliver the goods.
You need a Mary. Someone to be your prayer warrior. Someone to stand in the gap. Someone to cheer you on.

You need a jonathan. Someone to be your friend. Someone true. Someone to lend a shoulder and an ear.
I need a David. Someone to encourage. Someone strong. Someone with a heart after Gods.

I need a John.  Someone to stop and soak it in when I want to jump headfirst into the tomb.
You need a Peter.  Someone to run when you can only crawl.  Someone to lead when you lag.


I got an Adam. You got an Eve... submission vs. seduction

You got a Rahab.  I got a Jeremiah... prostitute vs. prophet.

I got an Abraham.  You got a Thomas..... disciple vs. doubter.

You got a Job.  I got an Esther ....oppression vs. obedience.

I got a Judas.  You got a Hosea....betrayal vs. bride.

                         We got a Saviour  He got a sinner.....


                              Yep, life isn't fair.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Loaves

                They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves...
                                                                       Mark 6:52

Loaves can keep us from seeing the Lord in the eye of our storms.

"Loaves!"   I have a lot of loaves in my life... A LOT.

For instance,  I will never understand the brutality of war, the rape of a child, the ravages of cancer or the torment of a darkened and depressed mind that slips silently into suicide.

Why must a sojourning heart wait a lifetime to dock at the shore of its soul mate--after it's too late?
Why didn't you spare my mothers' life?

How can such tragedy exist under an omnipotent and supposedly loving God when all it would take to prevent any of this would be the wave of His hand or a word from His mouth?  I don't get it.

"If there is no God, why is there so much good?  If there is a God, why is there so much evil?"*

As the story goes, the disciples had just finished feeding the five thousand and been sent ahead by Jesus to the other side of the lake. To Bethsaida.   Scripture tells us they departed in the evening, so I'm going to guess that would be sometime between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.
When the disciples reached the middle of the lake they began to experience high winds that caused them to strain against the oars.  Where was Jesus in all this?  Praying!   From the safety of high ground and dry land!  Watching the whole ordeal! And apparently it wasn't until the  fourth  watch, which in Roman time was between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m., that Jesus finally decided to pay his respects to his friends.That's a minimum of 10 hours of struggle before Jesus appeared,unrecognized by them and walking on water.   He quieted the storm and  They were amazed,  for they had not understood about the loaves.   

Jesus asked  "why" as well,  in the garden,  as he faced imminent suffering and death.
Abba, Father, everything is possible for you...
Essentially Jesus was telling God, I KNOW you can solve this another way. I KNOW you can soothe my agony, alter my fate, change my situation.
God didn't.
More loaves.

I don't know the answers to the hard questions of life. 
I do know, however, that God ordains praise because of our enemies, to silence them.
Somehow praise is a weapon. Praise has a purpose. Praise in afflictions develops completeness.

God,  in his sovereignty,  is over all, through all and in all.  
God has put everything under his feet and that includes your affliction.
God has your storm completely under the auspices of his divine eye and will.

I may not be happy about my affliction, in fact I may be down right angry.  And I certainly won't feel like praying or praising him in the midst of it.  But I will.
There will most definitely be times I won't feel like even reading his word.  But I will.  Even if it's just mechanical lip service I will recite the word, for the word is life,  and I need to read life as much as I need to breathe air.
Gods goal for us is to be holy and complete, to persevere and praise,  therefore:                   

                             I will give thanks in all things,  for this is God's will for me.  

                  I praise you Lord, for you will be revealed and glorified  in my struggles.
                                                                 Exodus 14:4

"If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad." **

We can't just settle for relief, we must seek redemption!  This is the ultimate goal of all man.

**Ruth Stull
 Mark 6:52   Mark 14:36    James 1:2-4   Ephesians 4:6   Psalm 8:6   1 Thessalonians  5:18

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Who Are You, God?

For you have been my hope, 
O Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
Psalm 71:5


As all conscientious parents are wont to do, both my father and mother stood firm in their resolve to constrain me in obeisance to their parental parameters.  And as all rebellious teenagers are born to resist, I was having none of it.  I stormed out of the house, determined not to return.  They can't tell me who to love. They don't understand. They're too strict. 
I'll show them, I threatened, as I left.

I had been walking for miles, rehashing the heated conversation of hours earlier.
By the time I had reached the rural roads on the outskirts of the county, the sun was sinking deeper into the earth, leaving contrails of faded violet and blue streaks across the distant horizon. Night was eminent. The need to find a place to sleep for the night began to increase in urgency, if not in subtle blips of panic. The  barn I was passing seemed a logical place to lodge. I stood and surveyed it for awhile-- fenced in, surrounded by nothing but fields as far as the eye could see and containing a loft that would keep me safe from anything wild below. Problem was, I couldn't muster the courage to hop the fence. I'll just walk a little further, and see if something better lays ahead.
The humiliation of having to return home, after an aborted and admittedly foolish decision to run away, was looming heavy over my heart. But eventually, that's exactly what I did. I seceded  in shame and turned towards home, the security and comfort of my own bed trumping my defiant attitude.
It wasn't long after my U-turn, however, that a car with three teenagers pulled up along side me.  No... I'm not lost.  No... I don't need a ride.  Your what?...born-again Christians? On a driving mission, looking for those who might need to hear the message of salvation?  Whats THAT?  There's a what?... revival at your church to explain?  Apparently they had prayed for God to lead them to someone who might need to hear the gospel message.  Guess I was the answer!
Buoyed by an opportunity to save face, I joined my new friends in the car.   
Here's an answer to the conundrum of avoiding home, I gloated.  And as a bonus, more time away, meant more worry for the folks I'm in!   Serves them right!
First on the evening agenda was a trip back to the home of the older boy. Family, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes were waiting for us and we took our seat around the table.
Much conversation took place over that meal.  I heard in detail what it meant to be a christian that night. It was somehow vaguely familiar to my soul.
God's timing is amazing,  I'm convinced those boys had a dinner hour commitment and I suspect they found me at the 11th hour. I believe we made it back to their home just under the wire.
The intersection of our lives took place at just the right time on the providential calendar of Almighty God.
After supper we headed off to church for the revival...First Assembly of God on New Florissant Road.  I heard the message of salvation for the first time in my life that night, and at the conclusion of the service, was asked if I wanted to make a commitment to become a christian.
Nodding in the affirmative, I was taken to the altar at the front of the church by my three new friends. Acknowledging the bible as the inerrant word of God, I was simply instructed to confess my sins, and acknowledge belief in Jesus' death as the cure for those sins. I did. I was baptized. I returned home a new creation.
Naively thinking my safe return and change in attitude would be enough to placate my parents and avoid grounding,  I quietly slipped into the house. Sauntering quietly into my bedroom, I prepared to round off the day with sleep. With lights off, I waited. Nothing.  NOTHING.  Got away with it!  whew!
But the peace was short lived as my bedroom light switch was forcefully flipped on, revealing my parents outlined menacingly in the door frame as a united front of anger.  Where have you BEEN?!  my father barked.
He expected an argument, not an answer.  I expected a lecture.
But apparently they were so disarmed by my response;  I went to church and have been SAVED,  all they could do was turn around and go to bed.  I still chuckle at the scene.

My three brothers and I were not brought up in church.  My mother, being the only child of a strict catholic family, was constrained to keep the denominational allegiance. My father had an equally solid tie to the protestant persuasion.  Compromise was not an option.  Solution?... No church at all!
In addition, it was drilled into us from an early age, that church attendance and affiliation, were taboo subjects around the grandparents. Breaching that mandate was subject to discipline.  Mum was the word, God was presumed believed in, but never discussed.
I was 12 at the time guilt and conviction convinced my parents to "do something" with the kids. Apparently baptism was the "something", and a trip to John Knox Presbyterian church was put on the calendar.
We were baptized all right, but not much else really came about from the adventure. Church attendance was sporadic, and short lived. Life soon resumed it's previous normalcy. Securing the souls of the children, through baptism, was checked off the spiritual parental duty list. Our parents consciences were now clear.... religion had been instated.
So they thought... But God had a different idea.

Around the age of 8 one night, I started to entertain the notion of God. I wondered, Who are you, God?  It seemed to me, even in my young mind, that He had to be more than church attendance, a denominational affiliation, or even religious tradition.
I began to feel a supernatural compulsion to read my children's bible. A whole whopping 33 pages of it. It took me maybe an hour, but I couldn't wait to share my accomplishment. Bursting into the family room where my parents were peacefully watching television,  I proudly announced my feat. Their response was not an overly enthusiastic one. That's nice Linda, now go back to bed, please.
I suppose in their minds, this was just another ploy of mine to avoid sleep. But I knew something happened that night. God had spoken, and even in my 8 year old heart, I knew it was so.

Around this same time, I also started to have a persistent and uncanny feeling that "someone" was always missing at the dinner table. It was so strong, that I recall numerous times when I would literally pause and count family members...1-2-3-4-5-6.  Yep, we're all here, no one missing. So why do I feel like someone isn't here and should be? Yet even after establishing the presence of all six of us, the vague feeling still didn't abate. It hung heavily in an unsettled place deep inside me.
I wonder now if that "someone" wasn't  Jesus.

Enter my three friends.  Like the visitors of Lot, they came to offer salvation to me with a message of deliverance from God. That night, I discovered what it meant to be a follower of Jesus...

                                The Salvation Message:
                I tell you the truth, you must be born again.
                                              John 3:7

Scriptural references of Salvation:

 Acknowledge the universal, sinful state of ALL man--
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God--there is no one righteous, not one.
 Romans 3 :23, 3:10

Confess and repent of your sins--
 If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:9-10

 If any man be in Christ he is a new creation
2 Corinthians 5:17

There is no magic mathematical formula of words, or patterned prayer, that needs to be recited. Simply present your heart before the master and receive eternal life.
Sometimes even just a simple question can be a prayer, as was my case...Who are you, God?

"You may feel unworthy and unable to pray as you know you should. Accept this heartily and be content to come to God anyway and be blessed in your unworthiness, simply trusting Gods' grace. This is true humility.  Humility is the strength behind great faith. Don't let your littleness hinder your prayers for a moment." *

 May the love of your Father
 be like the lights in the windows of heaven
 that are always on for you.

* Andrew Murray