Thursday, February 16, 2012

Answered Prayers...

What if God answered all of the prayers you prayed today with a "yes" - what would happen?  I do not remember when I first heard that question.  I would give the person credit...but I am sure he or she heard it from someone else too.  

What if God said "yes" to your prayers?  Would the Kingdom of God have grown and reclaimed captives from the kingdom of darkness thanks to your prayers today?  Would people you know have confessed sin and reconciled with another?  Would the hungry have been fed?  Would the abused have found relief?  Would addictions have been broken?  Would the forgotten have found love and acceptance?  Or, would you have gotten a better parking spot at the mall?  Would you have found your lost keys a bit quicker?  Would you have gotten a better score on that exam?  Would...

All of my girls are asleep right now (Melissa - wife; Ellei - 3yrs & 4mo; Charis - 8.5mo).  I am usually not a night owl.  In many ways (some may disagree with this, but) I could be...yet I know sleep is important for me; so quite often I go to bed earlier even if I am wide awake.

Not long ago I spent time praying over all of them - my girls.  I will not go into a great amount of detail, but the largest portion of my prayer included them to a) have an accurate view of God as Father, to b) be sure of who they are "in Christ", and to c) be truly conformed and guided by the Holy Spirit.  Why those things?

Before I answer "a" let me say this.  All parents wound their children - in some way.  There is not a person alive who has not, in some way shape or form, left their home environment "unscathed".  I should also add that the overwhelming majority of the time (though I may be heartbroken to learn the truth) the wounding is unintentional.  The truth is hurt and wounded people hurt and wound others.  It is a vicious cycle.

So why pray my girls have an accurate view of God as Father?  Among other things this will help them to run to Him instead of from Him.  It will help them rest in His love, grace, and acceptance rather than think they have to perform to earn His approval.  It will help them to trust Him - even when life does not make sense.  I know I am flawed, and while I hope my love toward Ellei and Charis (leaving my main "girl" - Melissa, my wife - aside for a moment) will help them to understand God on some level, I do not want my failures to hinder them from truly knowing God as Father (or slanting their view of Him as Father).

Why pray for them to know who they are "in Christ"?  Because being "in Christ" is what truly matters.  In Him we have forgiveness, acceptance, access to the Father, and Spiritual Gifts (to name a few).  When one is sure of being "in Christ", it becomes their identity.  An identity will tell a person know what to do.  I trust knowing who they are "in Christ" will keep my girls from being shaped by the world - which will only let them down, or worse...

Why pray for them to be truly conformed and guided by the Holy Spirit?  Because apart from the Holy Spirit we can do nothing for the Kingdom of God.  Apart from the Holy Spirit a person seeking to live for God is likely among the most miserable people on the face of the planet.  I want my girls to be full of joy as they serve their King...their the power of His Holy Spirit.  

There are more reasons for praying those three things; I may flesh them out more later.  Yet I also know I am in need for a continual reality check in relation to God as Father and my identity "in Christ" as I am transformed by the Spirit for His glory.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Unsure...Confused...Pressure... Disappointed...Resting

If you frequent this page there is no need to state the obvious - but I will - I am sporadic with my posts.  By the way, I am typing this on the I hope there is coherency to what you will read.  But I have reflected some on why I am so sporadic.

#1) I am often unsure of myself.  I certainly do not want to put something "out there" that is inaccurate.  I want to be thorough and develop a point, but yet not be cumbersome and lose people.  Where is the balance?  Can I do this?

#2) I am confused by my motives.  A "loose goal" of mine is to be a published author.  In order to do this I need to write, a lot, and blogging is a way to accomplish this.  Yet why do I want to publish?  Is this a desire God has given me?  Is this a desire I have for selfish reasons?  Would "my material" be of help to people and further the Kingdom of God?

#3) I put pressure on myself.  E.g., I go through periods of struggling to simply read the Bible.  I struggle because if I am reading I think, "I need to make use of my time," so I want to trace a theme, etc.  While this can be can also lead to paralysis (for me) because, "what theme?".  In relation to blogging I have thought, "Seriously, I posted two weeks ago now...I need to post something..."  Then comes...

#4) I am disappointed in myself.  This is a killer for me.  Why not simply read and enjoy the Bible or a book?  Why think I need to publish another post?  I can even be disappointed that I am disappointed in myself.  This leads to...

I have recently learned, both more fully and for the first time, that I am at my best when the pressure is off.  You will notice #'s 1-4 start with "I".  The overwhelming majority of the time any "pressure" I feel comes from me.  I may expand on this later...  Yet does God want me to feel pressure?  Or does God want me to rest and live pressure free as I trust in His grace?

When I rest in His grace I am most free.  I am free to think, free to create, free to have the Holy Spirit say "Hey, look at this" as I read in the Bible (or anything), free to enjoy nature, free to enjoy time with others instead of thinking of a myriad of other things I could be doing.  In short I am free to be the person He created me to who realizes a personal need for grace and lives a life shaped by it.  

In summary - my sporadicism is because of my immaturity.  Thankfully God is bigger than that.