PRAYER

My prayers of gratitude and praise should be as frequent , intense and lengthy as my prayers of need and request.

  • Short prayers:
    • Thank you
    • Help
    • I will
    • I’m sorry
    • I won’t
    • I love you
    • Forgive me
    • Use me
    • Protect me

Dear God, don’t let my lack of understanding about you lead to an absence of faith in you, a reduction of love for you, an unwillingness to obey you, hesitancy to share you, and fear to praise you.

* * * * * * * * * 

When Samuel said “Speak, for your servant hears” he was not referring only to physical hearing, but also to a willingness to obey whatever he might hear. Too often my reaction is “Speak, and your servant will consider hearing.” But when that is my attitude I’m really not being a servant, am I?

Good or Best

     Does Satan sometimes influence a Christian to do “good” things? Oddly enough, it seems sometimes the answer is yes. 

     One of Satan’s most successful ploys is to encourage us to do good things which will prevent us from doing the best things that God intends for us. 

          Satan may tempt us to do a religious thing rather than a Christian thing.
          Satan may tempt us to do a church thing rather than serve a neighbor.
          Satan may tempt us to only pray for another person rather than help them while we pray.
          Satan may tempt us to give a cup of cold water rather than explain the path of salvation.

     The allure of the good is strong for several reasons. Such activity is usually socially acceptable and we gain the praise of others for being so generous. Good behavior is less likely to involve a long-term relationship that might be confining. And, of course, good behavior allows us to have warm feelings of self-satisfaction.

     What is the promised reward when we correctly identify, select and carry out the best? We will hear “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)

     How can we know which actions are good, but not the best? James 1:5 promises such wisdom. If we don’t seek this wisdom, we are likely to miss the chance to do the best things by instantly doing every good thing that comes along.

     It is vital that we have an eagerness and willingness to joyfully serve our Master. But before putting our enthusiasm into play, we must seek and find his will. We must allow him to help us correctly identify our assignments. Then He will help us complete them. 

Am I Willing To Wait?

As Christians, most of us have made some sort of dedication pledge giving our lives to God. We have given Him permission to send us and use as as He sees fit.

The servant’s attitude inherent in such a pledge often prompts us to be active in service to others. We act and give in order to relieve the suffering of others and aid in the spread of the gospel throughout the world.

We take seriously the message of the Good Samaritan parable. Our hands, feet, arms and legs are always available to be used by the Father. In moments of peak dedication we might even be willing to wash feet. 

Such activity gives us moments of satisfaction, knowing we are serving God by helping others. We revel in Christ’s words “unto one of the least of these” (Matthew 25:40). We build ministries on “Pure religion….before God…is this, to visit the fatherless and widows (James 1:27).

But are we willing to sit quietly and do nothing if that is what He directs? Are we content to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10)? Do we allow God to give us times of restoration and relaxation so we will be able to serve more effectively later?

God knows when we need to be pulled aside and have our batteries recharged. He knows when we need to sit and study, rather than strive and serve. He knows there are times when we need to rest rather than minister. We need to accept his decision for us to “sit on the bench” until He puts us “back in the game.”

Musings #3

If we allow it, God will use our fears to move us deeper into our faith in Him. Or if we allow it, Satan will use our fears to move us into desperation away from the Father. Faith or desperation. The choice is ours.

**********

I have some difficult and unpleasant lessons to learn, but I have a wonderful Lord to lean on while I learn.

**********

My super hero has a cross, not a cape.

**********

Jesus left the ultimate comfort zone (heaven) to make the ultimate sacrifice (the cross) for me, the ultimate “he doesn’t deserve it.”

**********

Each morning when I ask God “What do you want me to do today” I need search no further than the life of Jesus for my answer.

**********

It is GRACE that causes God’s GREATNESS to become God’s GOODNESS that showers me with blessings I don’t deserve. It is MERCY that causes God’s MAGNIFICENCE to become God’s MIRACLES that protect me from receiving the punishment I do deserve.

How Does My Task Change Me?

When God gives us an assignment (task, opportunity to serve) He is, of course, concerned that we complete it in the most effective manner and on his time schedule. He will guide us so that we are able to do what He has directed. He has promised we will be able to do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13). He will give us the ability and strength necessary to complete the assignment.

However, He is also concerned with the changes that take place in us during the completion of the task. Do we become more cynical, critical and impatient? Does our self-reliance increase while our God-reliance decreases? Do we allow ourselves to become more task-oriented and less people-oriented?

Unfortunately we can sometimes reach the narrow achievement goal He gives us but move farther away from the larger become-like-Christ goal He has for us each day.

If at the end of each assigned task we are not more humble, yielded, kind and pleasant than when we started, we might not hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

I’m glad I serve a God who is concerned with my spiritual growth while I am trying to serve Him.

The Part Of Me I Withhold From God

As God’s children we give Him many things. We give him our intellect as we study his Word and memorize passages of it. We read theological literature and get exposed to the thoughts of religious leaders of the past. We allow Him to shape our minds.

We give Him our money. We tithe, donate to mission offerings, support building programs and contribute to programs that support the homeless and unfortunate of our society. He has access to our money.

We gladly allow Him a reasonable amount of our time. We attend Sunday School and worship services each Sunday. We go to choir practice and prayer breakfasts and home Bible-study groups. God is allowed to guide us during large chunks of our time.

We make our physical strength and abilities available to Him. We spend two Saturdays a year helping out at “Repair and cleanup” day at our church. We help neighbors with yard work and other chores when necessary. We help rebuild homes and churches in hard-hit areas after weather disasters. God can use our hands and feet.

But a part of us that we tend to withhold from Him is our attitude. We balk at allowing Him to control, and maybe change, our feelings and reactions toward church staff, family members, people of other races, those in certain economic levels and members of various political parties or religious groups.

In Mark 2:22 Jesus taught the futility of putting new wine in old wineskins. It may be that our attitudes are the old skins of our day and the new wine is further revelations of Himself that the Holy Spirit cannot show us because of our mental rigidity.

Inflexible attitudes cause us to whine when God expects us to shine. Which of our attitudes are we refusing to yield to Him?

Using My Wealth

God has allowed each of us some amount of earthly wealth. As we decide what to do with it we divide ourselves in one of three categories.

HURTERS

These people use their wealth to hurt other people. Their attitude seems to be “It’s all mine. You can not have or use any of it. In fact, if I can figure out a way, I’ll get a part of yours for myself.” They see people as objects to be used for their own benefit.

HURRIERS

These people are too busy to find ways to use their money for anyone other than themselves. Their attitude is “Life is short. I don’t have time to be concerned about anything except money and what it can buy.” They don’t necessarily want more money, but they have to hurry in their efforts enjoy what they have. They simply do not see or understand the needs of others.

HELPERS

To these folks, wealth is a gift from God. It is intended to be used by his children to benefit others. “What is mine is really ours and I will share it with you when I see your need. How can I help?” They are continually looking for ways to use their wealth to further God’s kingdom.

God will never ask us “How much money do you have” but He will call us to give an account of “Where and how did you get it” and “What are you going to do with it.” We need to be sure He will be pleased with out answers.

**********

When I concentrate on being a friend of God, I am blessed. When I concentrate on being a friend for God, others get blessed, too.

**********

What does God look like?  Anything He wants to, anytime He wants to,  for as long as He wants to.

**********

Because we are future residents of heaven we can get overly-involved in all the details of the place. We talk about gates and lampstands and thrones and living creatures and harps and scrolls. We must remember that the glory of heaven is not in the place that is heaven but in the presence that is in heaven….the presence of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.