Sunday, November 23, 2014

I Don't Know How To Pray

There are many times that people ask me to pray for this thing or that thing or this person or that person. And many times I have no idea how to pray. There are things I want to say and ask but I really don't know if they are the will of God. Isaiah says that God's ways are not my ways and God's thoughts are not my thoughts...so sometimes this leaves me very uncertain.

However, there are two verses that have brought me much comfort and direction in my prayers over the years...

Rom. 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 

I like these two verses because they describe how I think and feel a lot:

1. I do not know what I "ought to pray for." I know what I would like, but I don't know if it is God's will and plan for that person or situation. You have felt that, haven't you?

2. The Spirit helps me in my weakness. I do not like feeling weak, but this is often the case...especially when it comes to prayer. I love how the Spirit wants to help us.

3. The Spirit intercedes for me. I love this idea. He knows what to pray for in accordance with God's will...and this is really what we want, isn't it?

On the practical side of this or how this works for me: Whenever someone asks me to pray for them or another, I simply pray, "God, you know this person and circumstance. I want your will for them. Holy Spirit, will you please intercede for me and them according to the Father's will? Thank you, in Jesus Name."

So, the next time someone asks you to pray and you do not know what you ought to pray for, ask the Spirit for His help to pray according to God's will in every situation and circumstance.

Monday, September 22, 2014

90 Day Focus



I first heard about the idea of “Focus” from Jeff Henderson, when he introduced me to the “90 Day Focus” from Tommy Newberry and “The 1% Club.” I believe focus is such a big idea in life…daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.

To focus means to…concentrate, to focus one’s thoughts on a central point, to have a point of concentration. Synonyms are: bull’s eye, center, core or target.  So the question is, what will you focus or concentrate on today, this week, this month, and this quarter?

The following are some questions that can help you focus on, “The Big Five” or the things that really matter in your LIFE, MARRIAGE, FAMILY, WORK AND CHURCH.

What would make the next 90 days excellent in these areas?

1. LIFE: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

A.   Heart (Spiritually) – In what ways do you hope to grow in your “Intimacy with God & Jesus” this quarter?

B.    Soul (Emotionally) - What will you do to assure you live full of love, joy, peace and free from anger, guilt, jealousy and other?

C.    Mind (Mentally) - What will you do to renew and sharpen your mind daily?

D.   Strength (Physically) - What are your plans to care for your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit?
  
2. MARRIAGE: Love your wife as Christ loves the Church

A.   What will you do to make sure your spouse knows he/she is the #1 relationship on the planet?

B.    How will you grow as ONE in your spirits, souls and bodies?

C.    What are your financial plans to:

1)    Give generously
2)    Save appropriately,
3)    Invest proportionately and
4)    Spend moderately?

3. FAMILY: Raise a godly generation in your children and grandchildren

A.   What “etched memories” are planned for this next quarter?

B.    What truths or life principles will you teach and model this year for your children?

C.    In what ways will you honor your father, your mother and other family members?

4. WORK: Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord

A.   In what ways will you honor and serve those in authority over you?

B.    What are the top 3 things you would like to see in the next 90 days?

C.    Where should you take the low place and trust God for His appointments and exaltation in His time?

5. CHURCH: Participate with Christ as He builds His Church

A.   Where will you enjoy community with insiders?

B.    Who will you invest and invite in the next 90 days?

C.    Where will you strategically serve in the church this year?
  
Hope these questions stimulate good thinking, conversations and plans.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Apostles Creed

As I was copying 1 Peter 1. 3-4 this morning, some words from the Apostles Creed came into my mind. I use to recite this every Sunday at the American Church in London, when we lived there from 1965-1972.

These words and truths are such a great summary of the Christian faith. Recite this and see how these truths will change your thinking, lift your heart and refocus your attention. Enjoy.

1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

5. The third day he rose again from the dead:

6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:

9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:

10. The forgiveness of sins:

1l. The resurrection of the body:

12. And the life everlasting. Amen.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Wife of Noble Character - Proverbs 31.10-31

Today Debbie and I celebrate our 39th anniversary. As I think of her today, my mind goes to Proverbs 31, which describes a wife of noble character. I love the word noble. It means, “Great; elevated; dignified; being above every thing that can dishonor reputation; exalted; elevated; magnificent; stately; splendid…”

Here are a few thoughts about her from Proverbs:

1.     A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. I love how this speaks of Debbie’s worth…far more than rubies. Do I treat her as someone with great worth? I want to treat her with love, respect, honor and worth for the rest of our lives.

2.     Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. I have full confidence in Debbie. She has earned my trust over and over again. She communicates and has an open and teachable heart when we have differences.

3.     She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. I cannot think of a time when I felt harmed by Debbie. She has brought good to our family all 39 years so far.

4.     She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. Debbie is one of the most diligent women I know and eagerly works with her hands. She is an amazing artist and loves doing business. It has been awesome to see her flourish.

5.     She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. As an artist, she often gets up early and stays up late when she is working on a painting or project. She cares not only for her family but for many other people. She has more energy than most people I know.

6.     In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. Debbie holds a paintbrush in her hand and creates the most amazing works of art. I love seeing God’s gift in her speak to the world.

7.     She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. Debbie has one of the most caring and generous hearts for so many. She cares, not only for our family, but for many poor and needy people. I learn from her heart all the time.

8.     When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Debbie has to wrestle with fear and insecurities about the future, like many other women. Her nature and nurture play into this but she is always calling me to higher ground in terms of wise stewardship and preparation for the future.

9.     Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. I cannot imagine a man who could feel more respect from a woman and wife. Debbie loves and respects me so much and it blows wind in my sails every day. Because of her love and respect, I feel I can go into every day and do battle at the city gate and in the land.

10.  She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. Debbie makes paintings and renderings and murals and sells them. Our friend, Fran Lamattina, called Debbie, “a transactional female.” I love that term as it describes her as an excellent businesswoman.

11.   She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. I love these words and description…strength and dignity…I love Debbie being strong with dignity. She knows how to handle her strength. She uses it with grace, discernment, discretion and proper judgment.

12.  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. I refer to Debbie as my, “Lady of Wisdom.” She is one of the wisest women I know. She seeks the Lord, is prayerful and careful as she offers her wisdom and instruction.

13.  She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Debbie is one of the most diligent people I know. There is no idleness in her. She is constantly watching over all aspects of our home and domain. I feel very safe with her.

14.  Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Debbie has raised four amazing children and I believe they would bless her in spite of all of our differences. I praise her because she is a woman of God who is seeking to walk in all of His ways.

15.  “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Debbie is a woman who fears the LORD. I praise her and give her the reward she has earned. She has worked hard for all of her life to be and become a woman and wife of noble character. I love you Debbie. Thanks for being, MY WIFE!!!