Monday, August 24, 2009

All I Can Do is Pray

This morning I was reading Romans 15:30, which says: "I appeal to you, brother and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in earnest prayer to God on my behalf." As I read this it made me think of those who say to me: "Pastor, I wish I could do more for the church, but all I can do is pray." All I can do is pray! Why do so many people think that praying is not an effective service to God. Here in Romans 15 the apostle Paul is asking for prayer as he deals with unbelievers in Judea and for his ministry in Jerusalem. Paul believes prayer is powerful and effective. And how about Jesus in the garden of Gethsemene when he takes Peter, James and John to pray with him. And when they fall asleep He says to them in Matthew 26:41- "Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial..." Jesus believes that prayer is important and powerful. So many times in the New Testament we see Jesus taking the time to pray. So my challenge to myself, and all who read this, is that we need to be people who are committed to prayer. Don't let the fact that you can't always see the visible results of prayer keep you from praying. Don't let the thinking that prayer is just a bunch of words keep you from believing. Follow the challenge of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." Let the first words that you say in the morning and the last words before you go to sleep be prayer. I believe that if more people pray more often, and more fervently, they would experience the love and blessings of God more. And if you need prayer, please write your request on the comment section (which goes to my e-mail address first), and I will pray for you. Let us join together in fervent prayer. Tell me what you think. God bless.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How to stay positive

Often times our lives can feel like a tug-of-war. We are being tugged against by so many negative influences in life. There are the expectations that others have of us, there are the responsibilities we have from our spouse, our children, our job. There are the people in the world that are a negative influence. And we are in a spiritual warfare that tugs at us. As the apostle Paul said in the New Testament, Ephesians 6:11-12, "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." How are we to stay positive in this environment around us?
As a minister I regularly have this discussion with people. One of the biggest challenges is the influences we allow in our lives. I am surprised to see how many negative influences people allow into their lives without realizing the draining affect it is having on them. We can limit the contact we have with people who drain us, and demand from us, and who bring us down. We can choose to surround ourselves with people who encourage us, and bless us, and lift us up. This alone will go a long way to helping us be positive.
A second way we can stay positive is to live out our passion. We all are passionate about something; God has created us this way. When we discover our passion and seek to live it out, it is an energizing activity for us. We all want to feel like we are doing something in our lives that makes a difference, and living out our passion makes a difference in our lives and those that we are seeking to help.
Lastly, we stay positive by knowing that the power of God is with us. In the same Ephesians passage it starts out in verse 10 saying: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." We have the power of God with us, and we have the armor of God protecting us. Knowing that God is walking with me and will never leave me gives me great reason to stay positive in my life. Even more, when I serve the Lord I am energized and feel excited about life.
It is important to stay positive. I hope you can implement these thoughts. Blessings.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

If I Were Abraham

(Our topical bloggers topic this week is to pick a Bible character from the Bible, and write from their perspective. My character is Abraham)
Today I am being asked by God to go where God directs me, not knowing where that will be. This is quite a surprising request, since I am used to making the decisions of my own life. To do this, I will have to give up control; I will have to walk by faith. I suppose I have been chosen because I am a person of integrity. This is an honor and a challenge. Will I give myself over to this? I believe I will, since I do want to follow God with my whole heart, mind, and strength.
So off I'm going, me and my family toward Canaan. I'm a little nervous, and excited. Nothing like an adventure, and God will be walking with me. In fact, God has promised to bless me and my family, and has told me I will be a blessing to others. What more could I want with my life? The choice was really to stay where I was at and continue to do the same old things, or to set off on this new venture for God.
Each place I arrive at I stop to give thanks to God. I build an altar to remember that God is with me, and then God speaks to me some more. How wonderful and awesome it is to be guided by God Himself. How humbling to know that I am following the path God has for me. What adventures I will see, and experiences I will encounter. I give it all to God, because I do not know the outcome!
As I wrote this from Abraham's perspective, I realized that all of us are given this charge from God, to go to a land where we know not. We don't know what will happen today, tomorrow, or next week. But if we fcllow the Lord's leading, walking in this adventure, guided by God, God will bless us and allow us to be a blessing. I truly am like Abraham, called to follow God, give glory to God, and live for God. I hope that you feel the same excitement that Abraham felt in his journey.