Thursday, June 28, 2007

God's Presence 3 (Making Life Rich)

As I continue in my series on "The Practice of the Presence of God," and the differenece it has made in my life, we move to the "Second Conversation," as he talks with his good friend Joseph de Beaufort. Brother Lawrence talks about what makes his life so rich is that he doesn't seek gifts, but rather seeks God only. For him, just living and doing the chores he was given to do satisfies him in his life. He says that "Sometimes he even wished that he could avoid receiving his reward, so that he would have the pleasure of doing something solely for God."
This thinking has really helped me because it frees me from having to please others. It reminds me that we are created by God for the purpose of being God's children. If we are always trying to please someone else, we will be living to fulfill their expectations for us, instead of living out God's will for our lives!
Brother Lawrence confesses that in trying to continuously converse with God, it took some work. But after a little practice it all became quite easy. Often he would say to God: "Lord, I will never be able to do that if you don't help me." After this prayer he would feel more strength.
I know in my own life, once it became a habit, second nature, to think about God, it was easier to regularly converse with God. I don't even have to think now, because talking to God is just part of my daily routine. I regularly think about God and lift my thoughts, concerns, anxiety, and questions to God.
The only thing Brother Lawrence sought after was to not offend God. This too can be easily forgotten. We make life about ourselves or about others. In doing this we leave God out of the equation. My challenge to you and me is to seek God; make our lives about pleasing God.

Monday, June 25, 2007

God's Presence 2 (Commune with God)

In my last blog I talked about how the book "The Practice of the Presence of God" helped changed my life by helping me to learn how to commune regularly with God. Brother Lawrence, in this book, guides you into some great understanding of how the average Christian can deeply commune with God. By communing with God, we gain spiritual insight that guides us in our every day lives.
But the real key is learning how to abandon our selfish desires, and give ourselves totally to God. Brother Lawrence says: "He sacrificed all of the pleasures in his life to God. But rather than punishing him, God gave him nothing but wholehearted satisfaction." By giving ourselves to God, we can learn how to live for God, and by living for God we gain satisfaction in our lives.
On top of this giving ourselves to God, we need to learn how to be faithful, even in the dry periods. I know that there are ups and downs in our lives and in our faith. In those times when we don't feel close to God, in those times when we don't feel like life is going well, we need to be even more determined to surrender ourselves to God and trust God. By doing this, we will become a more mature Christian, and learn that God is always there with us.
At the end of the first conversation, p. 9, Brother Lawrence says: "When we are willing to accept God's help and guard our souls according to His desires, we may commune with Him whenever we like." I have found great strength in learning to commune with God regularly. I encourage you to see God's help and presence in your lives.
I would love to hear how you have had success or have struggled with this.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

God's Presence

When I was 15 years old I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. This was an important moment in my life; probably the most important moment of my life. But it was actually just the start of the life God had for me. I knew as a Christian God had a plan and purpose for my life. But the challenge was to be in a place where I could sense His presence and His guidance.
Maybe you can relate. Each day of our lives is filled with distractions and temptations and challenges. We wonder where God is in all of it. We struggle to feel God's presence in our lives. And consequently, we make many decisions without God's guidance.
A couple of years after I became a Christian, I was introduced to a book that helped to change my life even more. The book is called "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was a cook at a monastery who learned important lessons through his daily chores. He discovered that he could practice being aware of God's presence in his life in a way that is continuous. By doing this he was able to receive God's loving presence more regularly in his life.
Most often we think that great insight and wisdom comes from those with high degrees and theological training. These thoughts of Brother Lawrence showed me that an average Christian who seeks God can find God and commune deeply with God. Through this book I learned how to be more aware of God's presence in my life, and train myself to be in constant communication with God.
Over my next few blogs I would like to break down some of the wonderful truths I learned from Brother Lawrence. I pray that these thoughts that helped me in my spiritual journey will help you in yours.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Good Day

As I was driving into work this morning, a question came to my mind: "What makes for a good day?" When you get to the end of your day, what allows you to be able to say: "Today was a good day"? Is it that the day went smoothly? Is it that you had everything go the way you wanted? Is it that the day was problem free?
Often times for people, a good day is one that is short on problems, and long on solutions; it is a day where they were able to accomplish what they wanted. A good day is one where the struggles and frustrations were few.
But think about this: How many days are actually like this? I would wager to say that there are very few days like this. So the reality is that we live in a world where we deal with problems, and conflict, and struggles, and frustrations, and heartache. So how can we have a good day in the midst of all of this?
I think the answer lies in our interpretation of the word "good." We have to understand that we can have a "good" day even when things didn't go as planned. We can have a "good" day even when it didn't feel so good. And the reason for this is because of what the Bible tells us in Romans 8:28- "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." God can take even the worst of circumstances and find a way to bring good out of it.
So with this in mind, when we get to the end of the day, it can be a good day because God was with us in all things. It was a good day because we walked with God. It was a good day because we tried to do good through our lives, even in the midst of the bad. It was a good day because we are a child of God, loved by God, and we have God's peace and presence with us.
So I encourage you, when you get to the end of this day, don't make it all about you, make it about God. In this way, I hope that you can find that you have had a good day. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Confidence is important to have in life. But why do so many people struggle to have confidence? What is it that gives us confidence, or takes it away? Where do we place our confidence?
The dictionary tells us that confidence is: "the quality or state of being certain." So confidence comes in the areas in which we feel certain. And yet, are we ever certain all the time? I don't think so. I don't think there is any part of my life where I am always certain. I am confident that I am in the job where I am supposed to be. But there are times when I have doubts. Usually, those times are when things aren't going well; when I fill like I am slipping and falling.
There are many places where we place our confidence. For many people, it is in their family, their job, and/or their own skills. But like I said before, there are things that can happen that can shake your confidence. Maybe you get fired from your job, and then struggle to get another job. You no longer have a job to make you feel worthy. This can happen with our skills as well. How often does a professional athlete go into a slump, and before the slump gets better it usually gets worse, because they have mentally lost their confidence.
I believe there is only one place where we can go for confidence, and that is God. God is the One who created the world, and created each of us. As I've talked about in my last few blogs, God has created us for a purpose and given us a vision. God is the only one who can truly say: "I will never leave you nor fosake you." Hebrews 13:6 says, "So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I wil not be afraid. What can man do to me?'"
In life we can go through many struggles. But when we realize that God is our helper, and that God walks with us in all things, then we can have confidence to know that all will be well in the end. There is nothing in life that can happen to us, that God can' deal with. God will not only help us to get through it, but can bring good out of it (see Romans 8:28).
So, I challenge you to be confident in those things God calls you to. We can overcome our fear and our lack of confidence by drawing on the power and presence of God. Tell me what you think by clicking on the "comments" button below.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Putting it Together

If you have ever done a puzzle, you know that it is important to have the picture on the box available to you. The picture helps you to see what the finished outcome will look like. The picture helps to give you perspective about where the pieces go so that they will fit together.
In life, we have the same challenge. Only, people often seek to live their lives without any picture in mind. And so they scramble around to do this or to do that, getting frustrated when the picture is not coming together.
My last 3 blogs have been trying to show how God has purpose and vision for our lives. We saw how our "biblical purpose" is to BE with God and to BE in relationship with God. Out of this relationship, God gives us values for our lives. These values help us to shape who we are and how we live. Also, out of these values we discover God's vision for our lives. We each have a passion in our heart and mind that drives us.
And yet, knowing these things still leaves us short if we don't seek to apply it to our lives. It all comes together when we put it together and begin living it out. So, once you have your vision, you need to start establishing goals that fit within that vision. (For a look at how to set reasonable goals you can see my January 8, 2007 blog, "Setting Goals.")
My vision statement says: "I invest myself in my family, and a church which engages itself in a culturally diverse community, to motivate them to know God, be committed in service, and faithful in character." So, the things I am doing in my life should reflect this statement if I am going to live out the purpose God has for me.
Some of the things that I am doing that fits in this vision, is mentoring people to find and live out their vision, leading our church towards doing ministry to Hispanics in our community, and giving my time to my children to further their growth in life and their relationship with God.
So what do you need to do to know and live out your vision? If you would like some assistance in this please e-mail me at

Thursday, June 07, 2007


For many people, there comes a time when they have to get glasses. This happened to me about 2 years ago. I now need glasses to see clearly when I read. Glasses help to give me clearer vision. Without my glasses, I struggle to see what I need to see.
This is true in life as well. God has a vision for me, and for you. But we will struggle to see this vision clearly until we get spiritual glasses. Spiritual glasses in a sense are that which help us to focus on God's will for our lives. It is the ability to see God's preferable future for our lives.
The Bible tells us that without a vision, the people perish. Vision is what captures us and motivates us. Vision is what our heart yearns to see accomplished. It is not ambition.
There is a difference between ambition and vision. The difference is that ambition leads to drivenness and restlessness. Whereas, vision lived out leads us to peace, power and passion. Vision is the result of surrendering ourselves to God, and letting the dreams God has created in us be lived out.
So, what would you do for the glory of God, if you knew that you would not fail? What are you passionate about? What stirs your blood and bring you excitement? If you search these out, you will discover God's vision for your life. It will come to you as a word picture of what the future will look like when you partner with God. It will be motivating and dynamic. And even more, it will be something that you can only accomplish with God's help.
God has created you with a purpose and a vision (a way to carry out your calling). I encourage you to try to write out a statement that tells of this vision. And then commit it to God and pray each day that God will help you to carry this out.

Monday, June 04, 2007

What Do You Value?

What is it you value in life? Our values aren't something we buy at a store, they are the "assumptions and core convictions that shape our actions and decisions." Most often, they come from the lessons we have learned as we live our life. For example, let's say that you were in a relationship, and maybe you were selfish in that relationship. Through your actions, your relationship ended. You learn the lesson that you need to pay more attention to the other person. You can't just say that you care for that person, you have to show them you care.
Now, it is easy for us to say that we value certain things. Often times, what is at the top of our list for values are things like marriage, children, God, prayer, etc... If you were to make a list, what would be on your list of values? I encourage you, if you haven't done so in your life, to take a moment and make this list of values. Once you have this list, it is important to see if how you are living your life supports what you say that you value.
Let's take another example: You say that you value God in your life. You write this down as a value. Then you look at your life and your schedule to see if this is true. Do you spend time with God (in prayer, going to church, being in Bible study, reading God's word on your own, serving God)? To value our relationship with God, means to take time to nurture that relationship.
Prayer: Through prayer, we have the opportunity to connect with God and listen to the voice of God. Church: Going to church is important because it is the opportunity for us to be with God's people and worship God together as the family of God. (For more on this you can see my blogs "Do We Need to Go to Church?", 3-8-07, and "Can you not go to church and still be in God's will?" 4-29-07). Service: Through our serving God, we are able to fulfill the second great command that Jesus teaches us, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Service is also a way to use the gifts and talents that God has given us.
God has shaped you in a unique way. As you discover how you are shaped, and the passion you have in life, you discover what you value. To fulfill your God given purpose you need to not only understand what you value, but live out those values.
So I pose these questions to you: What do you value? Are you living those values out for God? How can you do a better job at this?
Let me know what you think by clicking on the "comment" button below. Blessings.