Category Archives: Prayer

Hearts That are Bowed

The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty,

for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled),

for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty and all the oaks of Bashan,

for all the towering mountains and all the high hills,

for every lofty tower and every fortified wall,

for every trading ship and every stately vessel.

The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled;

the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear. (Is 2:12-18)

This passage talks about a day that is coming when man will be totally humbled, and God alone will be exalted.  Today we call this the “The Day of the Lord.”
On one hand, the Day of the Lord is Judgment Day.  Romans 14 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'” (Romans 14:9b-10)

And Romans 14 refers to Isaiah 45, when God proclaims,  “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.  By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.'”

But I think there is more to the Day of the Lord.  This chapter we’re reading in Isaiah starts with, “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.”

The time of humbling will not just happen at Judgment Day, it is a part of the “Last Days.”  What does it says will happen in the Last Days?  The Lord will be exalted.  It’s the same theme.

And man will find humility.  The beginning of the chapter goes on to read:  “Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’”

People will no longer follow their own ways.  They will look to God to be taught how to live.

Today, I believe we are living in the Last Days.  I believe that it is a time when people can see the uselessness of their idols and their empty way of life, and seek God instead.

Why do they seek God more at this time more than they had in the past?  Because of Jesus.  Look at this parallel passage in Philippians:

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:9-11

There’s something incredible in the story of Jesus.  It alone has the power to put us on our knees.

We see his humility.  We see our sinfulness, in comparison to his example.  We see how he took the punishment that should have been ours.  We see how he loved the least, the sinners. We see his power, his miracles.  We see the astounding work of resurrection from the dead.  We see his words, which resonate more with us than anything else on earth.  We see forgiveness, and salvation for our own souls.  We see value, and everything we esteemed pales in comparison.

Under the force of Jesus’s example, we can humble ourselves.

Or we can continue to be caught up in the conceit of our our lives, and be humbled on Judgment Day.

Lately people in our church have been going through some serious stuff!!  So my friend Marisha decided to have a few of us over to pray last Thursday.

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We got on our knees and made fervent petitions to our Father.  It felt good to be on my knees, abject before the All High.  I wanted to kneel lower, and lower still, to be nothing, to put myself completely in God’s hands.

 

Since then, when I find myself awake in the middle of the night, my thoughts racing, I remember and picture myself being yet again on my knees, completely humble before the Lord.

It helps my heart like nothing else.

We are in the Last Days, and the Day of the Lord is coming.  Let us remember to live with hearts that are bowed.

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Filed under Humility, Isaiah, Prayer, Uncategorized

The Best Resolution for the New Year

When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.  As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

“What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.  Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”  Mark 9:14-19

As I face 2018, I confess that I am in a bit of a funk.

I had the most wonderful Christmas.  The highlight of it was that my son and daughter in law surprised me and showed up at my door Christmas Eve.  I didn’t think that I would be able to see them.  But they came, and my whole family got to be together for the holiday.  I was beyond ecstatic.  Here are a few scenes —

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My husband and son grilling Christmas steaks.

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But now I feel like my grandson after we took him to a the small town of Valley’s Christmas celebration.  He rode the merry go round.  He saw Santa.  He slid down the slide bunches of times, and jumped in several bouncy houses.

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But when it was time to go, he got an attitude and kicked the ground.

He wanted to do more.

I want more — more time with my children, more ways for God to work.  I know it’s ungrateful, and I am so awed and thankful for the many things God has done.

But now I am facing the year ahead with a feeling of insufficiency.  There are things my heart is looking for in the new year that I feel totally inadequate to help bring about.

Today’s reading is perfect for this, because it gives me my answer.   The disciples were also feeling totally inadequate.  They couldn’t heal the boy.  I didn’t include the scriptures for whole story, but Jesus did drive out the evil spirit from the boy, and at the end, when his disciples asked him why they couldn’t drive it out, he said, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (Mark 9:29)

This year, things will only be accomplished by prayer.  This doesn’t just mean intense prayer, or prolonged prayer, although these are good.  But Jesus healed the boy in an instant, not with many words.

His disciples were stymied, because they had previously been able to drive out many evil spirits.  (Mark 6:13)  So there was something they were missing here, and Jesus said the missing ingredient was prayer, but not just any prayer.  It had to be the kind of prayer that was deep and daily, the kind that would bring them into a more faithful and powerful relationship with God.

That is what we need: deep and daily prayer.

We need to pray with listening ears, so that God will give us wonderful sustaining insights. “I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.”  (Ps 16:7)

We need to pray so that our faith is strengthened, by putting our requests before God and waiting in thankful expectation.  (Ps 5:3, Phil 4:6)

We need to pray so that we will remain in Christ, close to his power, just as he remained close to God.   “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  John 15:7

And much more.  What are the ways you will deepen your prayer life in 2018?

There are daunting things we will face in the coming year.  Will we be an unbelieving generation?  Or will we be able to face them with a strong faithful relationship with God?

“This kind can only come out with prayer.”  That’s the only way we can face the challenges to come.  That’s the only way to deal with our feelings of insufficiency.  That’s the New Year’s resolution we need.

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Filed under Faith, Mark, Prayer, Self Worth

Quiet Time, July 7, 2016

Sisters, let’s do something different today.  Let’s have a quiet time together.

First, let’s thank God for the gifts he gave us yesterday.  I keep a gratitude journal and try to write in it every day. I have over 1850 entries right now.  It really helps me keep the positive in perspective.

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My gratitude journal, part of my quiet time.

Father, I thank you so much for having more energy yesterday, after struggling with a urinary tract infection in days prior.  I thank you for the rain that sluiced down upon my poor dry yard and flowers. Thank you for the lovely purple Mexican poppies facing me this morning.  Thank you for the great talk I had with Jessica, and the adorable pictures she sent me of little Josiah. Thank you for Mitchell and Lorena coming over last night, and the laughs we shared, and the spiritual encouragement we gave each other, and for their friendship. (I’ll stop here in the interest of time.)

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Now, tell God what you are grateful for…..

Next, let’s pray by breathing in the Spirit and breathing out sin. I heard someone mention this technique, and it is a great thing to do throughout the day.  Everyone knows meditation is helpful.  Classic meditation is focusing on your breaths.  So let’s focus on taking spiritual breaths.

Breathe in the first fruit of the Spirit, which is love.  Feel God’s amazing love for you, how much he cares about each detail of your life.  Breathe out all of your animosity, the bad attitudes towards others, the resentments, and so on.

Breathe in God’s joy.  Picture him in the heavens, rejoicing over all of his splendid creation.  Picture him looking with joy at all the people who have given their lives to him and serve him.  Now breathe out your angst.  Breathe out the things that brings you down.

Breathe in peace.  I envision a vast shining network of threads stretching over the earth, and God controls them all.  He is the grand orchestrater.  Nothing escapes his will.  He will accomplish his purpose.  Breathe out all of your inner turmoil.  Put your worries in God’s hands.

Breathe in patience.  Remember that God is long suffering with us, slow to anger.  His patience is like a tempering force in the universe.  Breathe out all your impatience, the frustration over the things you want to change.

Breathe in kindness.  Feel God’s good will towards you. Remember the blessings he gives, even though you don’t deserve them.  Breathe out the unkind thoughts you have towards others.

Breathe in goodness.  God is light.  In him there is no darkness at all.  When you pray, you are surrounded by his goodness on every side.  Breathe out anything that is rancid in your thoughts and character.

Breathe in faithfulness.  If you are a disciple, God is totally committed to you. He will always do right be you.  But God is also committed to each person, because they are his beloved creation that he watches over.  Breathe out all your doubts and your wishi-washiness.

Breathe in gentleness.  Know that God practices such restraint.  We are his children and he treats us with a careful loving hand.  Breathe out all of your harshness.

Breathe in self control.  Feel God strengthening you to serve him in the right ways today.  Breathe out all of your laziness and lack of commitment.

That was wonderful!!  Now let’s petition God and go down our prayer lists.  I’m including prayers for the REACH conference and the people who are traveling.  I’m praying that my return to health will continue, and that I won’t have any complications.  I am especially praying that we can find someone who can be our campus minister.  If we found someone at REACH, that would be awesome!!

Pray now…..

Next, let’s look at the Bible.  I’ve been studying Malachi, and I’m almost done.  Here is Malachi 4:1–

Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.

This verse talks about a judgement day that is coming.  This can be the fall of Jerusalem.  It can also be the final judgement.

The thing that concerns me with this verse is that arrogance is put on the same scale as being a wicked evil doer whose fate is to be set on fire.  Let’s watch ourselves.  I just finished a quick read through Matthew, listing all the passages that dealt with sin.  There really aren’t that many things Jesus condemned as sin.  But a major one is pride.  He talks about not doing things for show, to be seen.  This verse sums up his attitude:

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.  Matt 23:12

Let’s examine ourselves and think of how we exalt ourselves.  Do we think we’re better than others?  “No!” we proclaim.  But as I thought about it more, I realize that I make a thousand little judgements through the day and look down on the way people dress and conduct their lives.  There’s just something about trying to be my best for God that makes me look at others and decide they aren’t doing what they should do.

Reading Romans 14 helps me in this. Here are a few highlights: “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. . . Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. . . . You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”

There is much more I could say on this, but read it for yourself.  We must somehow balance calling one another to righteousness with forbearance.  We must be humble, because we are ALL SINNERS!!!   I love what Guy Hammond, a minister who struggles with same sex attraction, says about this:  “Love the sinner.  Hate our own sin.”

Okay, moving on.  This verse in Malachi echos a theme found elsewhere in the Bible.  Look at Isaiah 5:24: “Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

And check out what John the Baptist said:  “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.  I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Matt 3:11-12

Yikes!  John talks about a side of Jesus we don’t want to think about.  It is a great reminder that Jesus isn’t all soft compassion and fluff.  He also expects people to toe the line, and will help execute judgement on those who don’t.

There have been a lot of fires lately.  Here is one in the Kern River Valley in California on June 24.

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Credit: Michael Cuffe

The fire was especially bad because the area is so dry.  Notice the words God uses for those who will be burned up — stubble, straw, dry grass, chaff. All of these refer to dry, useless vegetation.

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Aftermath of Kern fire

So what should be our goal?  To be like the tree planted by water that always drinks in God! “But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.” (Ps 1:2-3a)  When we prayed earlier, didn’t you feel strengthened and enriched?  Didn’t your brittle coarse attitudes fade away?

And this is what God says next in Malachi 4. “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.

When we seek God, when we follow Jesus, we feel better.  We are healed.  We leap for joy!!

Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, quoted part of this verse when he prophesied about his son:

“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”  Luke 1:78

Thank you, God, for these wonderful verses.  Thank you that they give us direction in our lives.  Thank you that so much peace and encouragement can be found in you.  Thank you that you sent your son to give us hope and a way to be closer to you.  Help us to be humble.  Forgive us of our pride.  Help us to be serious about sin.  Help us to always come to you, the SOURCE.  May we walk with strength and joy today. May all of this be always and only for your glory.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Malachi, Prayer, Quiet Times, Spirit, Uncategorized

How I’m Keeping Watch

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert ! You do not know when that time will come.  It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.  If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ”  Mar 13:32-37

As I get older, I find that it gets more difficult to stay alert.  I feel dull.  I don’t have the same energy level.

For instance, yesterday a young sister, Misha, told me the story of the time in her life when she was studying the Bible.  One night her apartment was broken into, and she was so upset.  Her friend who was studying the Bible with her, whom she hadn’t known long, came right over and supported her for several hours.  It made such a difference in Misha’s life that someone she didn’t even know that well would care so much about her.

As I heard this story, I thought, “That’s what we need to do.  I want to do that.  But I feel tired and dull.  These days I often let those kinds of opportunities to love and serve my friends slip through my fingers because I am not alert.”

So how do we stay alert when life is so distracting, and our energy levels wane?  I think one major way is to pray.  For the last few days I have REALLY been praying.  I’ve felt like my kids needed extra prayer — there’s a lot going on in their lives — so I decided that I wasn’t going to eat or drink anything but water in the mornings until I had a great focused prayer time.  It has made such a difference.

I am remembering that the best time in prayer is after the first 15 or 20 minutes, when I’ve gone through all of my prayer requests for everyone.  Then I start to be more quiet and listen to God.  Then my heart starts to remember what is really important to God.  (And it’s not my agenda!)  Then I find peace and inspiration.  I have a better perspective on life and my day to come.  I’m even re-energized!

Here’s one story for today.  I am far from perfect, but I did prayerfully consider what I should do this week.  One thing that came to mind is that Ken and I need to visit his nephew, who is now stationed at Fort Benning.  It took a little bit of being intentional and reaching out, but the result was that last night we took the nephew and his new wife out to dinner.  We had such a wonderful time!!  We saw their lovely new apartment.  We got to know them both, and really enjoyed finding out what great people they are.

It reminded me of how important it is to get out of my routine and make the effort to do the extra things.

That’s what watching and being alert is to me.  It’s praying and keeping my eyes open for opportunities, then praying some more to have the energy and means to take those opportunities!

What does the word “watch” mean literally, in the Greek?  It means to “be awake.”  To me, life is a constant battle of trying to stay awake.  I just keep on wanting to curl up somewhere and get comfortable and check out.  Especially when it’s cold and rainy outside!

Let’s pray, and  allow God to “wake us up” every morning.  He has so many great things to teach us, so many great opportunities for us to take.

The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.  Isa 50:4

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Small Prayers, Powerful Acts!

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In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.  Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” 

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.  “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:20-24

Sometimes we can ask for something small.

Here, Jesus didn’t ask God for something monumental.  He just asked that the fig tree would not bear fruit anymore.  It wasn’t about serving someone else, or saving the world.

It seemed like a personal whim.  One that he actually expected God to address.

Even when he gave an example of what we can ask for in prayer, it wasn’t something productive.  What would be accomplished by a mountain being thrown into the sea?

Maybe sometimes we can trouble God with the little, seemingly insignificant things we want.

Yes, we need to resist egocentricity in our prayers, thinking it’s all about us and what we want.  Yes, our requests must be in line with God’s will.

But as a Father, God wants to give us what we ask for.

Last week I was talking to my son, Max, and he asked for an early birthday present — he needs a couple of shirts because the dress code for his master’s program is business casual.  Now Max is grown.  He seldom asks me for anything.  Do you think, as a mother, I resented or belittled this request?  No, I got online that evening and bought him what he wanted!  I was eager to do so.  That’s what moms love to do.

And I think God’s the same way.

The other thing about this passage that really got me thinking this week is how POWERFULLY Jesus expects us to live as God’s children.

It’s a continuation of a theme that runs through the whole Bible.  God is passionate about His people.  He stands behind them one hundred percent, and wants them to go forward boldly, confident that He is with them.

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Joshua 1:5

Do you not know have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.   Isa 40:21

From into the earth from its farthest corners I called you. I said you are my servant I have chosen you and have not rejected you.  So do not fear for I am with you do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced, for I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.  Isa 41:9-10

And now WE are the chosen people of God!

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his site in love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ . . . Eph 1:4

You did not choose me but I chose you . . .  John 15:16

. . .  the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Romans 8:16

God is behind us just as fiercely as he was for the Israelites — even more so!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him have been called according to his purpose. . . Those he justified he also glorified . . . He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all how will he not also along with him graciously give us all things. . . And all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Selections from Romans 8)

So I’ve started to act more more confidently.

And I have sought to ask God for things and believe that He is my Father, and wants to give me what I ask.

This past Saturday, I spilled water on my laptop keyboard.  At first, I hoped that I could just wipe it off and all would be fine.  But then I saw the white screen of death.  I quickly turned the computer off, and Ken wrestled to get the screws out of my computer so we could dry it out.   They next day I tried to power the computer up.  Nothing.  I took it to the shop.

Did I dare to pray to God to restore my computer, when I had been foolish enough to spill water on it?  Could I believe God would answer this paltry prayer?  That’s what I did.

And two days later, the guy from the shop said he was able to boot my computer up, and it was fine!  It was resurrected from the dead!

So I am fired up with this challenge to be like Jesus, and pray and act powerfully!  I’m starting conversations with people, pushing past obstacles, saying more what’s on my heart.  God made me the way I am for a reason, and it’s time to be the best version of myself!  No shrinking back!

We are God’s children, the apple of His eye, and we need to believe this, and walk with strength.  He is behind us one hundred percent.

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”  Hebrews 13:6

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Begging for the Blind

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.  He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”  He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”  Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.”  Mark 8:22-25

People brought their friend to Jesus.  Imagine if someone had never been able to see.  Wouldn’t you want for them to be able to see the same beauties that you see?  They would be able to function better, work better.

I truly do feel that so many of the people in the world are blind to the beauties of God and Christ, and following him.  I feel like I have something of infinite worth, something so amazing.  Being with God expands my heart.  The more I know Him, the better it is.  It’s like the best of music, art and nature all wrapped up together.  It’s inspiration that soars and renews every day.

I want so much to somehow open people’s eyes to what Christianity is all about, not just the perfunctory bit of religion they experience.  I think the burden is on me, and I do have it burning in my heart to tell people more somehow, instead of letting them have their space.

But maybe I need to apply this burning desire to BEGGING Jesus to touch them.  “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them,” Jesus said in John 6:44.  Let me groan and plead, even shed tears, for Jesus to enable people to see!  It’s the same as occurred on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:31.  They didn’t recognize Jesus until he opened their eyes.

So anyway, back to the story. Jesus takes the blind man and leads him outside the village.  Why?

One, because it wasn’t about being seen, it wasn’t about getting glory of any kind.  It reminds me of this passage in the Sermon on the Mount:

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  Matt 6:1-3

But doesn’t this healing bring glory to God?  One thing I’ve been working on more is letting my life emphatically declare the reality of God.  Along those lines, it seems like the healing should be shouted from the rooftops, done in plain sight, to declare the power and reality of God.

But our hearts swell so much.  We can’t help but soak in some of the glory for ourselves, just that we are a part of it.

Could I live in complete humility for a day, just doing my acts of righteousness in private, just praising God in my gratitude journal, without anyone ever knowing?  That’s a challenging thought.  It’s something I need to work on more.

Do things in private.  It purifies our hearts.  I am sure that when Jesus took this man outside the village he was free from distractions, and especially free from the temptation to care what people think.  This definitely speaks loud and clear to spending time in seclusion.  We need quiet times.

The last thing I want to address in this story is how Jesus had to try twice to heal the blind man.  Surely he who cast out demons and raised the dead could have healed the blind man on his first attempt.  Was it because the blind man didn’t have enough faith?

Maybe it’s just that sometimes people are healed in stages.  Ken and I were just talking this morning about how God works through processes.

We want so much for our friends to change, for them to see.  But their eyes are opened only gradually.  They have an insight, a break though.  But then it’s just the status quo for awhile.  We ache for them to see more.  But it has to come in time.

Jesus doesn’t freak out that the man hasn’t been healed.  He just tries again.  It’s the same with us.  We keep trying to expose people to the truth, and praying for them.  It may not happen the first time, or the fiftieth time, but the power of Jesus is real.  People’s eyes CAN be opened, they CAN see the boundless beauties of God, and that is worth a thousand passionate prayers.

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Working Out Relationship Through Prayer

relationship with God

One of the most important things about prayer is working out my relationship with God.  Sometimes I shy away from praying about myself.  “Others are more important,” I tell myself.  “I need to focus on their needs.”  And it’s true we don’t want prayer to be a self absorbed exercise.

But I am realizing how vital it is to talk to God about myself, where I am, and wrestle things through WITH HIM.

At house church this week we each shared what personal weaknesses we thought others had to bear with in us.  We all have characteristics that can be an obstacle to our relationships.  The same is true with God.  Prayer can be the time when I get in touch with the weaknesses — my fears, my selfishness, my worries, and so on — that are impediments in my relationship with Him.  It’s a time to open my heart and be honest.  I tell God I want to change, but I’m not sure how.

There is always a response from God, a sense of peace.  There is often insight and guidance. There is definitely a feeling of clearing the air and connection.

If I pray through the Lord’s prayer, one of the hardest parts for me has been the confession of sin.  Usually I can’t think of what to say.  I know I’ve been selfish and prideful, but it’s sort of a large amorphous feeling.  I know I should tell God I’m sorry for what I’ve done wrong, but it doesn’t feel sincere.

Learning to have a conversation with God about what’s going on inside of me is a breakthrough for me.  It’s more organic.  It feels right.

So in prayer, petition is good.  Praise is good.  But it is also the time for me and Him to get stuff straight.  I can’t keep going on without resolving what’s inside.  I need to bring it in the open and talk about it.  I need to find ways to deal with it.  I need to ask for help with it.

This is the stuff of relationships — that real, vulnerable conversation where you find your footing with one another.  I’ve been hiding behind walls.  The more I open myself up, the more things work, and the more my eyes are opened that this is the way they’re supposed to work.

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