Category Archives: Uncategorized

Prayer of Submission

Father,

I am waiting for you to call my name. My soul longs to hear your voice, to hear your words. I thirst for the moment that your powerful and mighty arms are wrapped around me forever. I hunger for the day that I begin to spend forever with you -when my pain of today isn’t even a memory and the joy of tomorrow refreshes itself for eternity. I will wait here for you to call, kneeling in the shadow of the Cross. Until that day comes Father, I am yours to be used. I surrender. I have met you at the door post. I am no longer my own. Whatever life you give me, I will live through your Son. Your victory has been gained. I praise you for the rolled back tomb.

I don’t understand why you love me. I don’t understand why you wait for me. Amidst the confusion and questions raging in my mind, my soul has found your peace. You have been calling. And though I often didn’t listen, you remained. How can I repay such love? How can I thank you for such mercy? A thousand lifetimes would not be enough. So I offer you everything I have. Please use me. I am yours. Amen.

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The Truth of the Matter

God often uses events and people in our lives to reveal His eternal truths to us. Sometimes it’s the first time we’ve seen it. It might be a Truth that we’ve been shown before, but because of life we had forgotten. And sometimes, unfortunately, it’s a truth we had chosen to ignore because it was inconvenience. Every time we exchange the Truth for something else because it scared us or was inconvenient, or because we just couldn’t deal with it at that moment, we create some tough consequences. Andy Stanley recently shared these thoughts. Give them your consideration for a moment.

If you believe that every time something bad happens that it’s God punishing you, then you’ll never trust your heavenly father.

If you believe that your religious routine or the way you approach God keeps Him happy then you will never have a personal relationship with Him.

If you believe that you have to have all the answers to every question before you can trust God then you will never keep a true faith.

If you believe that God heals all illnesses then you will live with a deep sense of disappointment and betrayal.

If you believe that complete, not strings attached forgiveness, is beyond your grasp then you will never have peace in your life.

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Better Prayers

When I decided to blog part of my prayers during this brief season of 21 for 21, I really thought it would be easy and would just take a few extra minutes of my time. Boy was I wrong. For obvious reasons, I don’t want to post the private part of my prayers (about other people). So that leaves the stuff about me personally and then whatever is left on my heart. What I’ve learned is that sometimes there’s not much left on my heart after I have prayed through my list and those few specific things in my life. That worries me some. I don’t want my time with God to become dry and redundant. He deserves better, I need better.

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A Prayer of Praise to the Almighty

Sometimes praying from scriptures is a powerful way to tell God just how awesome and powerful He is!

O Lord, my Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority—the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents.

O Lord, my Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Taken from Psalms 8 (NLT)

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A Prayer for Better Sight

Father,

Give me your eyes . . .

so that I can see that the person who was cutting people off on the road, might just be a single mom who worked hard all that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

so that I can see that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is just be worried 17-year-old kid who’s trying desperately to find acceptance and love where he has previously only found rejection and ridicule.

so I can see that the man in the dirty and disheveled clothes who’s asking for money isn’t a lazy or worthless person; he’s a slave to addictions that I can only imagine in my worst nightmares.

so I can see that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisle and blocking my way are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

so I can see all the people around me everyday that are hurting and need to know you and your Son so that they can know peace in this life, hope for a better tomorrow, unending joy and the safety found only in your arms.

Father, please give me your eyes so I can see how you see.

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The Problem with Gates

When I was a kid we lived in a neighborhood that was in a larger neighborhood that was full of gated communities. I guess you say we lived in the least desirable part of the most desirable area. Not sure what that means exactly. We weren’t rich, we barely hung on to middle class. In fact, I would bet that if my parents had it to do all over again they would have saved their tax bill and lived someplace else. But anyways . . .

I remember always driving past the gates. I didn’t envy the people who lived behind them. I don’t even recall ever wishing to live behind those gates with them. But I was always curious. There was always the allure of the unknown. What was it like behind the gate?

I will always remember my trips to Honduras and Jamaica. They were the only two times I have been outside the U.S. to do mission work. Each trip significantly impacted my life and my faith. One thing that really stood out to me on those trips was the economic disparity of the people. There was no middle class to speak of. There was wealthy, not Bill Gates wealthy,  probably like Mr. Howell (shameless Gilligan’s Island reference) wealthy. And then there was broke. Not broke because we have too much student loan and credit card debt. But broke, as in what are we going to eat for supper broke. One thing that always struck me as odd (especially in Honduras) is that you could never really see too much of the rich people’s homes. You might be able to see past the trees and get a glimpse. Or you might be able to see the roof if it stood taller than the trees. But what you never missed was the gate. It’s been almost ten years since I went to Honduras, but I still remember some of the gates. They were that prominent. I guess they stood out so much because right next to the gate you might be able to find a one room shack that housed a family of five.

No matter where you go in the world, you will find gates. They are literally everywhere.

Every time I read the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), I think about all the gates that I’ve seen in my life. I often wonder about the Lazarus in Jesus’ story. I wonder if he was a real person that Jesus had met at some point. I wonder if he envied the man that lived behind the gate. I wonder if he longed to live behind the gate. I wonder if he daydreamed about what was behind the gate. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t seem like he cared. I imagine, if he were real, that he was most interested in just trying to make it through that day – a lot like many of the people in Honduras.

You know, whether or not you live behind an actual gate, there’s a real danger or threat that we will build real nice and fancy gates in our lives. The Rich Man had both. He lived behind the gate for the same reason most people do – to separate themselves from everyone on the outside. But the worst gate in his life was the one that he built around his heart. Because in the end, while he was able to separate himself from the undesirable Lazarus, he ended up separating himself from God.

Be careful not to live your life behind gates. Because whatever gates you choose to live behind now, God will allow you to keep when it’s time to meet Him.

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Earn the Right

I’m reading through Rick Warren’s, “The Purpose Driven Church” (again), and I came across this passage (p.226-27). It’s in the chapter where he talks about how Jesus attracted such great crowds. One point he misses was the novelty factor. However, he makes some terrific points about Jesus’ ministry strategy. Jesus’ message was clear. He was proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand (Mk 1:15; Matt 4:17).  However, it’s clear that Jesus understood that the message alone wasn’t enough. The message had to be qualified in some way so that the people would first care to hear it and second believe it. Jesus knew this better than anyone. He seems clear that he did this in two ways. First, by performing miracles; so people would recognize (if not accept) his authority (Mk 2:9-10). Second, by showing the people how much he loved them. His love and compassion won them over (Matt 14:14)!

If Jesus saw the need to qualify his message and earn the right to share it, then why in the world would we be any different?! Doesn’t the way we often do “church” seem so much against Jesus’ ministry pattern? Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. So many congregations will hold a Gospel Meeting each year (sometimes even twice a year) and think that, just because they announced the event in their community and paid another preacher to come in and preach, that unbelievers will flock into their building and accept Christ. What puzzles me even more than this is that they will be confused and even upset that no one came! Why would anyone come? It’s past time for the Church to wake up and realize that the 50’s and 60’s are over. Satan has been hard at work winning over our society by changing our culture. We can’t afford to ignore this – peoples souls are at stake. We have to earn the right to share Christ with them by first being Christ to them!

Here’s an excerpt from the passage I referred to:

Because preachers are called to communicate truth, we often mistakenly assume that unbelievers are eager to hear it. But unbelievers aren’t that interested in truth these days. In fact, surveys show that the majority of Americans reject the idea of absolute truth.

Moral relativism is the root of what is wrong with our society. People worry and complain about the rising crime rate, the breakup of the family, and the general decline of our culture, but they don’t realize the cause of it all is that they don’t value truth. Today tolerance is valued more than truth so it is a big mistake for us to think that unbelievers will race to church if we just proclaim, “We have the truth!”  Their reaction will be, “Yeah, so does everybody else.” Proclaimers of truth don’t get much attention in a society that devalues truth. To overcome this, some preachers try to “Yell it like it is.” But preaching louder isn’t the solution.

While most unbelievers aren’t looking for truth, they are looking for relief. This gives us the opportunity to interest them in truth. I’ve found that when I teach a truth that relieves their pain or solves their problem, unbelievers say, “Thanks! What else is true in that book?” Sharing biblical principles that meet a need creates a hunger for more truth.

Very few of the people who came to Jesus were looking for truth; they were looking for relief. So Jesus would meet their felt need, whether it was leprosy, blindness, or a bent back. After their felt needs were met, they were always anxious to know how the truth about this man who had helped them with a problem they couldn’t solve.

 

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