Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thinking About Prayer

This afternoon Vicki and I went to Ava Maria to see the Oratory and while there to pray. This is such a beautiful setting and a great place for a time of prayer. As I was praying I realized that most all my personal prayers now begin with Lord help my house to sell. While that is a big source of pressure in our life I suddenly felt guilty if I started to pray that way at the Oratory. So I quickly decided to put that further down my list.

However, as I prayed I keep moving the house down the list and was sort of shocked at how many important things I needed to talk to God about. But, I had allowed one need to overshadow all the other things, things that in reality are more important.

Over the years I've had times when I worked with greater faithfulness in terms of prayer. I've used a prayer journal at times with effectiveness. Today taught me again the importance of writing down not just the needs of others but the personal things we need to remember in prayer. We are forgetful by nature. We are forgetful due to our hectic lives. We are forgetful because we let one particular need or stress crowd out other needs of equal or greater importance. God wanted me to talk to him about more aspects of my life than a house.

Let me encourage you to maintain a written prayer list for the issues and needs within your personal life.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lessons from the Olympics

I'm not totally sure why but I have really enjoyed these winter Olympics. Certainly having Lin Bochette in my congregation has helped raise my awareness but I think there is something more.

I've been amazed at the life story of so many of the Olympians. Many of these young people have come to these games by overcoming amazing difficulties and life circumstances. While some have overcome injuries others have overcome injuries to their inner self. It has been so uplifting to hear the stories of rising above real personal failures and destructive behavior. They did the hard work of changing their lives.

There is no better place to see personal transformation modeled in sports than the Olympics. It embodies what the Olympic spirit is all about. It's not about just gold medals but about participating and doing all you can to be your best.

These stories that make up the winter games have inspired me. If we choose to do the work there is nothing we cannot rise above. We can live lives, not of perfection, but ones that pay the price to be our best and strive for greater excellence.

This is the lesson Paul taught (Philippians 3:12-14) I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fear and facing difficulties

Well even after all these years as a Christian and the 365 times the Bible tells me to not be afraid I still face fear. I think we all to one degree or another deal with "what if". For me right now its been the weight of carrying our home in PA with what at the moment seems like no end in sight. Yesterday we discovered we really do have a furnace problem and the workers were there for repairs. So, here comes another bill. With that simple example consider this:

Fear is really a trust issue with God. Will things turn out to be ok. Fear says well maybe not this time. I experience that apprehension even though God's track record in my life has been 100%. Through all the ups and downs I can look back and see the faithfulness of God. He never did things like I would have wanted but how he has cared for me has been for the best. Yet even with this track record we still face fear.

Now there really is no assurance that things will always work out. In fact, God is not there in our life just to fix stuff. We all forget that and we choose not to think about the Godly people for whom this life turned out to be a disaster.

God's purpose is not fixing my life but fixing me, developing who I am and then getting me home. I focus on this life but God's focus is what is beyond this life. The longer I live the less I know what beyond this life means and I don't really need to know. The bottom line issue of eternity and trust is found in the words of Christ, that inform me that where He is I will also be. I can some that up to mean that one day I will finally get home and then and only then it will all be ok.

I am still worried and fearful this morning about my home sale and other things. But, one thing I do have peace about is that I know God will see me home. I could not get there on my own but I'm sure He will get me there.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What's Coming

I really have nothing to post today. I attended a Interfaith Leadership Seminar today in Naples. Dr. Amy-Jill Levine Professor of New Testament Studies from Vanderbilt University was the speaker. I enjoyed her very much and it was a change of pace day for me. In coming days I hope to share with you devotional thoughts, insights into scripture and also share some of my favorite reading. This at least gets the blog up and running.