Thursday, December 05, 2013
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25(NIV)
I know I’m in trouble when I start changing the font on my computer. Usually I resort to this tactic when I am procrastinating on a project or having trouble getting started. I’ll decide that the real problem is I’m bored with the typeface I’ve been using, and it’s well nigh time for a change. Or I’ll convince myself that the current font is totally inappropriate for the subject I’m addressing and then kill an hour or so finding just the right font that will inspire me.
Of course I know that this is a game I’m playing with myself, that sooner or later I have to stop messing around and get down to the business at hand. It’s something I tend to do in my prayer life as well. I have trouble getting started sometimes, trying to figure out how to formulate what I want to pray for rather than just saying it, as if God will judge me on my prayer font rather than what’s in my heart.
I’ll put off what I really need to share with Him because I’m afraid to commit to the prayer, as if completely revealing my desires and feelings means letting go of things I don’t want to let go of, giving them to God when I really want to hang on for dear life. So I fool around with my spiritual typeface rather than getting down to business.
But God is infinitely patient. He knows what’s in my heart, even when I don’t or when I’m not ready to face it. He is infinitely tolerant of my prayerful procrastinations and will wait until I am finally ready to get honest, get real.
Lord, even after all these years, I still sometimes have trouble getting started with You. Silly, right? But when I am finally willing to hand You my burdens, Your arms are always outstretched.
By Edward Grinnan
This article is excerpted from Daily Guideposts 2014.
Friday, November 29, 2013
I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had
just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an
hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one-tontruck
refused to start .
While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited
me in to meet his family . As we walked toward the front door, he paused
briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both
When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His face
was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his
wife a kiss.
Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity
got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do
'Oh, that's my trouble tree,' he replied 'I know I can't help having
troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't
belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them
up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of
them.Then in the morning I pick them up again.' 'Funny thing is,'he
smiled,' when I come out in the morning to pick 'em up,there aren't
nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.'
Life may not be the party we hoped for,
but while we are here we might as well dance.
We all Need a Tree!
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Our Father is intimately acquainted with what is weighing most heavily on our minds at this very moment.
By Karen Barber, Alpharetta, Georgia
“Your Father knows what you need before you ask.” Matthew 6:8
God knows that we need all of the basics—food, shelter, clothing, family, love, healthy bodies and meaningful work. God is able to differentiate between what we truly need and the unnecessary, things that we want because we think they’ll make us happy.
In this Scripture Jesus seems to imply that God grasps our future needs, things we don’t yet know we lack because we haven’t yet faced the challenges that will point out to us how much we’re in need. But most gloriously, this phrase is a declaration of God’s thorough and intimate knowledge of us. It means that our Father is intimately acquainted with our personalities, our pasts, our current life situations and what’s weighing most heavily on our minds at this very moment.
The psalmist says it so eloquently, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (Psalm 139:1–6)
Think about what you see as one of your greatest unmet needs right now. Speak with your Father about it, beginning with your thankfulness that He already knows what you need even better than you do. Then claim the following in prayer:
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31–33)
This article is excerpted from Daily Talks with God.
Thursday, November 07, 2013
She was afraid of heights and didn't know how she'd be able to help her husband reshingle the roof. But God gave her a new point of view.
By Dianne Neal Matthews, West Jordan, Utah
Roofing was not my thing. Not with my fear of heights. But my husband, Richard, needed help reshingling and, thanks to delays in getting the materials, our son had gone back to college by the time we started.
That bright, sunny morning I stood at the kitchen sink praying. Lord, I’ll never be able to help Richard if you don’t give me the power to overcome my fear.
For days I’d searched for courage in the Bible. I read about David, who battled Goliath. And Gideon, who led a small army of Israelites against the Midians on God’s command. Both men faced a job that seemed impossible and came out as heroes. I just needed to fix a roof!
“It’s time!” Richard called through the kitchen window.
I took a deep breath and followed him to the old wooden ladder propped against the house. He steadied it for me. My hands shook as I pulled myself up. My stomach felt queasy. I can’t do this, I thought, moving up another rung. I’ll never be able to do this. My whole body trembled.
When I reached the roof I crawled a few feet, keeping my eyes fixed on the old shingles below me. Anything to keep from seeing how high up I was. But I couldn’t stay on my hands and knees forever.
Ever so slowly I got my feet underneath me. Ever so slowly I stood up. Wow! In that moment, everything changed. I gazed out over the tops of the maple trees in our backyard, their leaves just starting to turn with the end of summer.
Beyond them were sprawling cornfields. Small white clouds dotted the bright blue sky before me. And I was part of it all up here. It was like seeing the world from God’s eyes. There was no fear, only a feeling of peace and awe at the beauty of this brand-new perspective.
Behind me, Richard climbed up on the roof with his toolbox. He stared at me in surprise.
“What are we waiting for?” I said. “Let’s get to work
While reading this, I thought-this is what we need to do-get a different perspective on things - let us find that place where we can make things come to life as we search for that "miracle" to help us in our weight loss journey!
Thursday, October 31, 2013
So when do we pray for God's will? When to relinquish?
By Rick Hamlin, New York, New York
Each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer is worthy of a book, but the one that catches me, the hardest to live by and accept is “Thy will be done.” For me, it only comes after a battle of wills, that point of surrender. You can’t really be helped by anyone unless you acknowledge your need. I can get so defensive when I hear criticism that I’m unable to listen to the good in the critique.
Same thing happens spiritually. If God knows what I need better than I know myself, why put up so much resistance? The old adage (not to be found anywhere in the Bible) “God helps those who help themselves” is true... until it’s not true.
We can sail through a dozen trials until we hit a wall. God’s right there to lend a hand but usually we’re so stubborn—or at least I am—that we’re not willing to reach out and grasp it. We get so used to punching the wall, our hands balled into fists, that we don’t know how to relax and accept the helping hand. Have you ever watched someone parallel park?
I can look out from my bedroom window down to the street below, a God’s-eye view. I’ll see a car pull out, a car behind waiting to take its place. The driver will check to see if there’s enough room. “You’ve got at least a foot at either end,” I want to shout. I watch the driver pull forward and back up, turning the steering wheel. Some drivers are great at it. Others are miserable even with plenty of extra space, rolling up over the curb, bumping the car in front. From my exalted position I can see exactly what they need to do. “Turn now!” I’ve been known to say. If they’d only listen. If they’d only hear.
I suspect I’m often like those hapless drivers. “It’s good to remember that not even the Master Shepherd can lead if the sheep have not this trust and insist on running ahead of him or taking side paths or just stubbornly refusing to follow him,” wrote Catherine Marshall in her Guideposts story “The Prayer of Relinquishment.”
So when do we say “Thy will be done?” When to relinquish? Apparently all the time. At least if we follow the guidance of the Lord’s Prayer. It’s there up towards the front of the prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
This article is excerpted from 10 Prayers You Can’t Live Without: How to Talk to God About Anything.
I don't know about you, but giving up that power to Him is difficult. Like the author, I struggle with it daily but pray that he is never giving up on me-I am a work in progress. How are you doing??
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