Only one adequate plan has ever appeared in the world, and that is the Christian dispensation.
John Jay - First US Supreme Court Chief Justice
Wednesday's Word: January 2013

Wednesday's Word

Welcome friends, feel free to look around, make comments and whatnot. I'll try and keep this thing updated with interesting pics, stories and other odds & ends. Feel free to criticize, but please share the 'truth in love'. No reason to be purposefully offensive. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Revive Your Prayer Life with CPR

Hello All,

How’s your prayer life? Is it alive and vibrant, providing an ever-present source of hope and strength? Or is it emaciated and lacking any kind of appeal whatsoever? If your prayer life is more in line with the latter description, I hope this helps. Prayer is basically the name we give to (us) communicating with Our Heavenly Father. As basic and simple as it sounds, its importance can’t be overemphasized. To give your prayer life a jolt, emphasize these concepts;

Consistent – I’m not so much talking about getting up early for devotions and a set prayer time although an argument can definitely be made for the impact that can have on strengthening your prayer life. I’m talking about consistency with the Word and Will of God. Christ’s prayer to The Father was consistent with the prayer model He gave the Disciples.

Here’s The Word;

Luke 22:41-42 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Even when He asked if the cup could pass Him by, He stated “Not my will, but Thine.” Consistency will come as we read God’s will as revealed in His word.

Persistent – We’ll have a hard time with persistence when our theology is inconsistent. It’s easy to put too much weight on the idea that God knows what we’re going to ask before we ask, making any true effort seem futile. The above passage from Luke is also recorded in Matthew 25 only there we see The Lord pray and ask three times if there could be another way. The Lord Himself is a good model of persistence. The Lord's Prayer as recorded in Luke 11 is immediately followed by the parable of the man seeking loaves from his neighbor at night. This parable emphasizes how persistence makes the difference. Fact is, there’s a mystery to how our prayers evoke action from God, but God doesn’t lie and James 5:16 is true. We also need to realize that spending time in prayer to God strengthens our spirit beyond the obvious request for a particular answer or blessing.

Resistant – Realize that the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life are ever-present. The World, the flesh and the devil never take a day off. If they can slowly chip away at your resolve to live godly, any advances they can make, place their next advance within closer reach. They seek to dismantle you piece by piece and they're patient as well as persistent. Each time they convince you to trade righteousness through compromise or confusion, they take another step forward. We have to be resistant from becoming like the world and their ability to influence our prayers away from the will of God. I imagine that so many prayers are never answered because we don’t check our motives or realize that our own conduct is hindering them.

Here’s The Word;

James 4:3-4 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Prayer has got to be one of the most important tools we have to affect change in our lives. We can intercede for others and worship Our Father, the God of all Creation. So sad that if we're not careful, our words can be impotent and empty rhetoric - Keep your prayer life vibrant and alive with CPR!

In Him,

Monday, January 14, 2013

Damaged Goods

Hello All,

Last week I put my body through the most strenuous thing I’ve done up to this point in life. A couple of good friends and I hiked 'The Trail Between the Lakes' outside of Pineland, Texas. This is the second year we’ve done it but last year I did about 18 miles and they’d done about 22. This year, I did 26.2(a full marathon) and they did the full 28 mile trail. One thing to remember is I do half of mine alone. We all start off together covering the most distance in the shortest time possible before I turn back to get the car to meet them at the other end of the trail. Last year, I was out of shape and reached just under 9 miles in before I knew I needed as much time to get back to the car before sunset would make the trek substantially more difficult. As much as I enjoy the discussions about History, Politics, Theology and whatever else seems relevant (or funny) at any given time; I really do enjoy the part where we part ways and I “go it alone”. It becomes a self-revealing challenge to stay mentally focused, fighting physical discomfort and moving towards the trail-head. Last year, I believe I had such a revelation as to the trails and trials of life that I was excited about this part of the trip weeks in advance. I hadn’t told the guys about last year's revelations until we were headed toward the trail this year. The moral of last year’s "alone time" was the difference between faith and obedience; Obedience is continuing to put one foot in front of the other in the right direction, faith is knowing there’s an end to the trail.

So this year saw a marked improvement to our performance on the trail and even more so valuable to me, another message from The Lord. Just a few miles into my return hike alone, my anticipation for “what God would teach me” was so strong, I think I may have stopped just short of simply yelling it out “Okay God….whatchu got for me?” And (not long after) in appropriate fashion, here’s what happened: I was on a part of the trail where I basically didn’t see any of the three telltale indicators that keep you on the right track. The sad part of this trail is just as soon as you lose your navigation marks, a frightful feeling of disorientation starts imposing itself upon your sensibilities. Although you know there’s no reason to panic…..wait; you’re in the middle of nowhere in large unfamiliar (densely wooded) area with miles between you and recognizable safety and sunset is approaching…Oh! And two of your good friends are relying on you to be there when they finish….okay, yeah….so maybe there is reason to panic a little. But we trust God and keep it moving. So where was I? Oh yeah, no indicators. So I’m walking side to side, looking through the trees, and I notice a small glimmer on one of the thousands of trees before me. If you remember last year, there are two kinds of signs on the trees. Big yellow ones with arrows which give the most comfort, and then the smaller metallic ones that do about as well because there are more of them than the others. So after getting close to verify what I'm seeing, the “glimmer” is indeed one of the metallic signs. I head in that direction and then it hit me: This was a little metallic sign that had one corner bent. Not all of the signs have this bend. Even as I recall it now, my eyes are starting to tear. Most of the signs are flat, and serve their purpose well. This smaller sign, with its bent edge reflected the Sun, and that’s what kept me on the path when I could see nothing else.

I thought about my situation. I’m going through a divorce. Again. And in the midst of it all – trying and failing, my own sins and imperfections, feeling forsaken and the burden it will be for my children; it really is sad. With all that I know about theology and The Bible and trying to “do it right”, oftentimes, I feel…..just bent - and I've questioned my worth in regards to being used for good purposes. But when I saw that sign, I thought; It’s exactly that “bend” that’s reflecting the Sun to help me stay on the path. Then I thought about Paul who prayed three times that his “thorn in the flesh” be removed. The Lord’s reply to Paul – “My Grace is sufficient for thee”. As I'm walking through this wilderness, all these thoughts are flooding my heart and mind. I’m just shy of a full-fledged cry (Can’t imagine why I held back, wasn’t like there was anyone around to see). But I had surely gotten what I came for and with my heart touched from ‘on High’ I continued on, a little bit changed. If my bends can reflect The Son to help others stay on the path, then I really can’t complain. As Paul said in that same verse of Scripture; Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor 12:9) I realize and praise God that He can and does put damaged goods to good use.

In Him,