Shoot…I did it again!

I’ve just blogged for 3 days on the immense value in starting your day with prayer which, itself, starts with sitting quietly and soaking without words.  Just consciously inviting the presence of the Lord.  I KNOW…yep…I ABSOLUTELY KNOW that it is a mistake to look at my email (or leave on the audible notifier)….or, anything else distracting.  This post comes immediately after doing it again!  Let’s talk about that:

What is sooooo hard about quietness?  How do we – practically speaking – turn the corner on this dilemma?  Can we “connect” with the Lord, anyway?  Or, do we just hope things are better tomorrow and live with a film of grey guilt over today?

Living with guilt until tomorrow is never the answer.

Let me ask you a question: When you get a flat tire, do you respond in frustration by getting a screw driver and putting a hole in the rest of the tires?  No, you don’t.  No matter how frustrated you are, you proceed to get the tire fixed.

It’s the same solution for “spiritual errors.”  Fix the “tire.”  Do something about it right there right then, if possible.

If you meant to start your day with a time of quietly waiting on the Lord — and instead — you realize you’ve let distractions rule your mind…even the good ones…stop!  Turn you heart to the Lord.  Fix the tire by simply connecting with Him in a few moments of worship.  Thank Him that He will never leave or forsake you.  Enjoy even a few moments in the confidence that you are moving forward in your journey of communion with Jesus.

There’s a joke for golfers that says, “As long as the last shot was closer to the green, it was a successful shot.”

Lighten up, my friend, and keep moving forward….even if only by inches.  It will get better if your heart is set on the goal.  Your new habit pattern of seeking God will get stronger!

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Soaking Without The Word? (Before You Pray…3)

The title, “Before You Pray” actually reveals our mindset about prayer.  In truth, the silence “beforehand” is part of the whole…a facet of prayer, not something done before praying.  Yet, the “soaking silence” is not the whole, either.

When my Mom used to make home made bread, she would say things like, “You kneed the dough until it feels right.”  I guess she had become accustomed, through trial and error, how the dough felt when it was the perfect consistency.

Well, oddly enough, you get more and more used to “when it feels right” to move from stillness to reading and meditating on a scripture portion. I especially like using the Psalms because they are “heart literature.” I often make them “first person” and say them in praise to God.  I will sometimes simply read until a phrase sticks out.  I’ll stop….read it again…turn it over in my mind…and “listen” intuitively to it.  Those “stand out phrases” I find to often be God speaking specifically to me.

Another way I use the scriptures is by taking a verse or two and “Reading it, Writing it, Singing it, Saying it, and Praying it.”  Then there’s simply the practice of reading a Bible passage gently and slowly several times. The passage itself is not as important as the savoring of each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the “still, small voice” of a word or phrase that somehow speaks to you.

There is an important time for diligently researching and studying the Word of God.  I believe those times are vital to faith.  But, the practice of coming to the Lord in silence and quiet (or with simple music) followed by a “quietness” of including and praying through the scriptures is a practice that is essential to spiritual development of the Christ Follower.

Gary

P.S.  I also am one of those tongues talkers and I saturate my prayer times praying in the spirit. 🙂

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Jesus and Me (Before You Pray…2)

What is prayer…really?  Actually, it’s many things.  One of the most important descriptions I’ve discovered is that it’s “Jesus and Me.”  It’s the nurturing of a personal relationship with Him.  In fact, to me, that is the form of prayer that is first and foremost in my life.

With many people, prayer is primarily saying, “Thankyou” for food at meals.  It is also an opportunity to ask God to answer a requested need.  But, prayer is so much more. As a matter of fact, one of it’s primary purposes is to nurture personal relationship with Jesus.

Personal relationship with spouses, family, and friends includes the ability to simply sit quietly in each other’s presence without having to say much if anything at all.  My wife and I enjoy being in the same room together, sometimes each reading, other times watching a favorite T.V. program.  Being together and sensing each other’s presence has deep value in the nurturing of love and companionship.

That may sound a bit strange as it relates to prayer and spiritual nourishment.  However, it is of more practical help than many imagine.  Just learning to be quiet and confident together.  Most of us give too little acknowledgment of the “little things” that add together to make our relationship with the Lord powerful.

In my next post I want to ask the very important question, “Soaking Without The Word?”  There is no true powerful prayer in it’s fullness without the Scriptures as illumination and final authority.

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Before You Pray…

When I talk to God, I have a hard time quieting down.  It’s difficult to not be interrupted by all kinds of good things that invade my thinking.  Good stuff that is not necessarily – at that moment – important God things distract me.  And…I just betcha you know what I’m talking about.  God said, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Personally, I’ve discovered that quieting myself is essential to “knowing” Him.  Quieting myself is essential to “making contact” in a way that feels alive and personal.

I heard a man named Vance Havner (a great teacher) say, “Mark it down.  Good is the worst enemy of best.”  I’ve found that to be true over and over again.  Personally, I like to fix a cup of coffee.  Go to my computer.  Look for some good peaceful music, and with a pad of paper (or some kind of task list on my computer desk top) sit quietly, sip my coffee, and just sit there peacefully and quietly.  Frankly, it is essential to do this either early in the morning, or in the evening just before going to bed.  The reason is because early in the morning, busy-ness has not yet started, and later at night you know there is nothing more you are responsible for until the next day.  Your mind “justifies” a lack of tasking at those moments.

I’ve also found a couple of great internet sites with worshipful, “soaking” kind of music.  Soaking.Net and S.W.A.P. You can find some of my favorites by going to my YouTube Channel (The button under my picture above). After I’ve allowed myself 10 or 15 minutes to just “chill” (all the while focusing my heart on God in inner worship), I will then either open my actual bible or go to a bible on the internet (like Crosswalk) usually to a Psalm and slowly read it as a prayer to the Lord.  And, I’ll spend some time just turning the phrases that stand out over and over in my mind.  That simple procedure really helps me get quiet.  You see…it’s not those times that I focus on studying the Word.  Instead it’s that necessary “quieting my mind and heart time” with God.  It’s just sitting in the room with Him.  Often without words.

It’s at those times that I often have those disrupting “good action/responsibility” thoughts.  And, they are usually good things.  But, at that moment, not God things.  So, that is where the pad and pen, or computer task list comes in.  When the thought arrives, I write it down.  And, somehow that takes care of it.  The reason the good thoughts become distracting is because my mind thinks that if I don’t act on them right away, I will forget to do it.  When you write it down, your mind accepts the fact that you’ll have a reminder for later.

It’s so important to have times of Soul Quiet with the Lord.  The more you function that way, the more you’ll ultimately hear Him at other times.  I know it to be true.  I’ve experienced it.

Please comment at the top of this post on “methods” that help you quiet your mind before the Lord.  Also please don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE.  I think you’ll be glad you did.  I’ll we waiting to hear your experiences of successfully quieting yourself before the Lord and how that’s helped your life.  We all learn from each other.  Also select the YouTube button.  It’ll take you to my channel and some of the soaking prayer videos I’ve made.

Gary

Awesome Cemetery Treasure

There’s awesome treasure buried in the soil of our city’s cemeteries.  The fortune I speak of is all of the unfulfilled potential lying beneath each tombstone.  The riches of many men and women’s – boy’s and girl’s – lost possibilities would stagger the imagination.  More specifically consider these – just to name a few:

  • Authors of books that were never written and read
  • Powerful songs that were never composed and sung
  • Great businesses that were never launched
  • Inspired ministries that were never started
  • Great women who died as prostitutes
  • Awesome men who died as drug addicts
  • Multitudes of other potentials

We need to be aware of the thief.  He masquerades in all kinds of forms and thoughts.  His plan is to stop the great potential God has placed in all of us to fulfill the “good works” DNA God has deposited within us. Be encouraged.  Pursue God.  Dream.  Act.  Be Confident to press forward.

What potentials do you believe are buried in the cemetery near you?  At the top of this post is a place to comment.  Please do and add valuable insight to our conversation.   If you haven’t done so, yet, Please subscribe by RSS or email.  Your email address will never be sold.   You may enjoy some great prayer music videos by selecting the YouTube button.

Gary

Where Is Your God???

Where is God?  Why has He left me out in the cold?  There seems to be a promise of better things, but it’s always ahead of me out of reach.

Haven’t we all thought those things?

Here’s the good news.  No, not good news.  Great news!  You see King David was thinking the same thing in Psalm 42:3

He goes on to say twice in that Psalm alone: “Hope In God.” You see, King David had a multitude of experiences where the natural circumstances looked like God had gone on vacation.  The hope was  in the inviting “yellow house” of promises always ahead and just out of reach.  One of those times He said, “I encouraged myself in the Lord my God.”  In fact, search the word, “encourage” in your your bible (or let the great internet tool “Crosswalk.com” help you with that).  You’ll discover renewed courage from just reading some of those verses, yourself.

There are no words of encouragement like God’s Word to help pick up your soul and refresh your courage, today.

You may find hope in other places, but it’s the words of scripture that are your final authority and your lasting encouragement, discernment, and strength.  Don’t try to live your life, today, without them!

What other scriptures or thoughts are helpful to you? Comment by selecting the category at the top of this post. Also, I would love to have you subscribe and/or follow me by selecting the Facebook button under my pic. If you would like to post this as helpful information to your FB friends, you can do so by selecting the FB Share button on the left.  You might even be encouraged by some music videos I’ve made.  Just select my YouTube channel button.  Be encouraged in the Lord, today!

Is The Devil Setting Your Agenda?

Are you letting the devil or God set your daily agenda?  Too many people are busted, disgusted, and paranoid because they are allowing their daily agenda to be set by the devil instead of responding to God.  How do I know?  I’ve been there, done that, and I bought the lousy T-shirt.

If you find the crooked path isn’t getting straighter and if the rough places aren’t getting any smoother, then maybe the devil is setting your daily agenda.  I discovered the difference was in starting the day with either the question, “What if?” or the statement, “What is!”  Now, that’s really easy to write in a blog, and even easier to read and agree with mentally.

However, the key is in consciously putting it to practice.

What if? That is a line of questioning within oneself that normally is negative and fearful.  What if this happens and what if that happens?  When we occupy ourselves primarily with that question, it opens the door to the devil to guide you into reaction, suspicion, doubt, and fear.  We feel responsible to guard ourselves against, and prepare ourselves for all the “what ifs.”

What is! That is a track of thinking that states truths that God has established in Christ about us.  Those statements open the doors of our mind and heart to hear God speak to us words of His wisdom and direction about our day.  It opens the windows for Holy Spirit inspiration.

So…who sets your agenda for you?  Please share in the comments helpful things you have discovered.  Collective wisdom is often good wisdom.  Join the party 🙂  I would also love to have you “subscribe to and/or follow me.  RSS or email are both safe and convenient.  Your email address will never be shared.  Check out my pages on Facebook and Twitter.   All of it is accessible above.  Later:)

Gary