Archive for October, 2009

Praying At Gun Point

I read something this morning and I thought, maybe I need to go back and qualify what I said yesterday.  The post yesterday dealt with focusing on God even in the mundane tasks, giving God the glory for everything we do.  In that way, we will begin to experience God’s presence in all things.  But I think this might be taking that thought a little too far.

As I read this story it made me laugh and still does – my first thought was, “I wonder if this was a pastor?”  But I know that could not be the case because some of the money was left behind.

As for the clerk, what bravery and concern – I am not sure I could have prayed at gun point – could you?

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One of the normal evening rituals at our house is family dinner.  We don’t always get to eat together but we try.  It is the one time of the day we can enjoy being together as a family.  Kristi normally cooks and while she never gets much credit, she is a wonderful cook.  When Kristi cooks, I clean the kitchen.

As I was standing over the sink last night washing dishes, I was reminded of one of my favorite books entitled Practicing The Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was born Nicholas Herman in the early 1600’s.  He joined a Carmelite order of monks as a lay brother and lived out his days in a monastery in the French Lorraine.  In this collection of Lawrence’s writings, he tells of how he learned to experience God’s presence in all circumstances.  In fact, Lawrence said he could sense God’s presence in the kitchen among the pots and pans just as strongly as in the chapel during prayers.

The key to sensing God’s presence, Lawrence found, is in our approach.  Everything we do should be done for God’s glory.  As long as our focus is on pleasing God, then everything we do will take on a new purpose.  A result of this new found focus will be that we will begin to sense God’s presence in everything we do.

Try it this week.  It could brighten your day – it might even change your life!

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It’s Monday

Never fails, when I wake up the day after Sunday, it is Monday.  It comes around every week!  So here we are this morning, it’s Monday again.  For some, Mondays are dreaded days.  But they don’t have to be.  Try this today:

  1. Read this
  2. Then pray that God will open your eyes to people and things around you that should invoke praise
  3. Determine today that you will impact at least one life positively this week
  4. On Tuesday, repeat all of the above – then continue each day in the same fashion.

Have a great week!

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Changing Seasons

Fall Backyard

Fall officially began a couple of weeks ago, and it is in full swing around here now.  The picture above was taken yesterday in my yard.  I love this time of year.  The leaves are turning and the temperatures become very pleasant – brisk mornings and warm afternoons.  Everything is changing – it’s refreshing.

As I drove home from work yesterday, I was noticing all the fall colors and I began to think about the change of seasons.  In most parts of the world, God created four seasons – four distinct climate changes to keep us on our toes.  I really believe God knew that if things stayed the same day in and day out, that we would become complacent, stagnant and bored.

With the changing of seasons, I think we are reminded of at least two things.  The first is that we should guard ourselves against becoming stagnant and bored.   God created us to be alive – to live life and enjoy it – to make a positive impact on those around us.

The other thing we are reminded of is that regardless of where we find ourselves today, tomorrow is a new day full of opportunities.  Just as the seasons change, so can our situations.  There is a lot of hope found in this fact.

Life should be full of hope!  God intended us to live and to do so with hope.

My challenge to you today is to reflect on areas of your life that may need a little change and then take concrete steps to make those changes for the better.

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I read a blog post earlier this week from Glenn Packiam entitled, “Practicing the Wrong Presence.”  (You can link to it here).  In that post, Glenn makes the point that we often say we want to experience God’s presence.  But in reality, God is always present.  You quite possibly have heard me say or read when I have written that we should not think of God’s presence as something that comes and goes.  We don’t “come into the presence of God.”  We should rather think of it as being sensitive to God’s presence.

I love the way Glenn uses the word presence to make this point.  He states that the issue isn’t whether or not God is present with us, but rather whether or not we are present with God.  You see, God will never leave nor forsake us – God is always with us.  The question we need to ask ourselves is “Are we present with God.”

Have you ever been talking to someone and you can tell they are distracted or maybe thinking more about what they are going to say next than actually listening to you.  Doesn’t that drive you crazy (if I have done that to you lately – I apologize!)?  Trying to talk to someone who is not present mentally or emotionally is very frustrating and not very meaningful for either party involved.

Don’t do that to God!

Practice being present to God and to others today – you won’t regret it (and neither will those around you).

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Are You Judgmental?

Are you judgmental?  What a way to start the post today!

The Pray As You Go meditation today is focused on Romans 2:1-4 (you can read it here).  We all judge – the act of comparison of ourselves to others leads us to judge.  But in reality, we are no different than anyone else.  We have all done things we aren’t proud of at some point in our lives.  So Paul tells us that we don’t have an excuse.  We have no right to judge others.

But the real heart of this passage comes in verse 4.  God, who has every right to judge, shows kindness, tolerance and patience to all.  It is this reaction that leads us to a change of heart.

So what can we learn from this passage?  Maybe we should focus more on kindness, tolerance and patience when it comes to relating to others.  I don’t believe that God expects us to turn our backs to injustice, but when it comes to relating to others, the key is to treat them with kindness.  That is how God deals with us, why should we treat others any other way?

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Some days it just doesn’t happen – you know?  No matter how hard we try, some days we just never settle enough to hear from God.  It should never be an excuse but I think rather than beat ourselves up, we should realize that God is near and trying to speak to us regardless of our disposition.

From the outset of this ministry, my intention with this blog has been to be completely transparent with my thoughts.  Sometimes that comes out more raw than polished but you will not find anything but honesty here in these posts.  My blog posts, most of the time, flow directly out of my own personal journey and the insight God gives me through that journey.  But today, I went to the file cabinet in my mind and found the files pretty bare.  Pray for me.

But even in this experience, God is teaching me that we are not going to have a deep, inspirational time with God every morning (or whenever you spend time with God).  The real issue becomes faithfulness and consistency.

So know this today, even on the days that your time with God seems dry and lacking fruitfulness, God is there right beside you.  Stay strong – stay faithful.

May the God of all blessings and mercy shower you today with the peace that you can’t understand.

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