Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

If it hasn’t happened to you, it will.

Hackers are on the rampage. FaceBook posts, emails, tweets are compromised. Safe “share” posts have lewd images hidden in them, or links that illegally access your profile. Banks, hospitals, even government entities are not immuned. It seems there is no firewall strong enough.

Our souls are not immuned to being hacked, either.  Call him what you will…the devil, the evil one, satan, the father of lies. He leans in and whispers into our brains –interrupting our thoughts and warping around blessings.

You aren’t strong enough to resist.  

You’ll never achieve that goal.

You don’t serve God’s favor.

God has walked away because He’s mad at you.

You’ll never get back in His good graces after this.

Everyone does it, it’s not so bad. 

The Bible is outdated. That verse doesn’t matter anymore in today’s world.

 

And the worst of all.…I’m a good Christian. Nothing big can tempt me.

C.S. Lewis said in his book, Mere Christianity, “A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.”

….When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  John 8:44b

This hacker know the places where our “firewall” is the weakest.  He knows what words to say that will crack our will and get to us emotionally. Then He wiggles in with a negative suggestion and clouds our positive viewpoint. Soon, like a virus, it begins to affect all of our thoughts and actions, even our prayers or desire to pray. Step by step, we become more and more vulnerable to his wiles. Trust me, as soon as you begin to do God’s will, this hacker will show up. Big time!  You got it wrong. God didn’t mean for you to take this on. That’s why this is so hard. You misunderstood.

Where is your firewall the most vulnerable?  How can you make sure your soul is “unhack-able”? Paul shared the algorithm two millennia ago: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer  (Romans 12:12).   Jesus used Scripture to keep Satan from seeping into his thoughts while he was in the wilderness being tested. (Matthew 4:1-11) Remaining joyful and counting your blessings no matter your feelings at the moment keeps your attitude up and running. (Philippians 4:6)

Prayer is the best defense against becoming compromised. Scripture is the best method to detect hacked messages, and a joy-filled attitude that knows without a doubt that God is faithful, true and loves you is the best way to have uninterrupted power.

 

Read Full Post »

wool-1142177_640You want to pull it, but you know you shouldn’t. That dangling thread on the seam of your clothes is bugging you. Does that describe your life?

I looked down and saw it. Arghh. Now would everyone see it? Would it snag on things through the day?  A broken strand of thread dangled out of the seam. And I was running late.

Do I pull it? Is it worth the risk unraveling the whole hem?

Tape it? Most likely it wouldn’t hold very long.

Snip it? A temporary fix, but that wouldn’t solve the issue of the broken thread unraveling again. I knew the integrity of the stitch had been compromised. But it might give me time to deal with it later…when I get the chance.

Things in our lives can feel as if they are starting to unravel. What we have carefully hemmed together is starting to tear. What do we do about it?  Do we yank at the problem to get rid of it quickly and take the chance of it all falling apart? If we tug, it might reveal more and more that has become untied.

Do we tape it and hide the issue from others, hoping it will stay beneath the surface. Then go one about our business as if it is fixed?

Or do we snip at it each time it appears, never really investing the time to dealing with it properly?

Do we rush to discard that piece of clothing, put on something else, and toss it in the to-be-meded pile?

Or do we actually stop, take time to tie it, stitch it back, and secure it so it doesn’t happen anymore?

I once heard that a day knotted with prayer at both ends won’t unravel. Paul says it this way:

The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope. I Colossians 1:5 (MSG)

When something snags in our lives, we need to deal with that equilibrist-1831016_640dangling thread lest it unravel us. Hope, bolstered by prayer, is the best way to re-anchor our faith.  We need to allow our Lord to be the needle which can guide the wayward thread and knot it so it doesn’t affect the rest of the hem that is our life.

That may mean stopping what we are doing in order to handle it. It may involve a few pricks of our conscience as His needle deals with the transgression, anger or guilt. Perhaps it will cause us to halt in our tracks and not go further until we are sure it is dealt with properly.

But unless it is resolved correctly, that dangling thread tickling our conscience will bother us over and over until we are forced to deal with it. And by that time, the things hemming our lives might be starting to unravel enough that it shows.

Read Full Post »

low-batteryMy tablet gave me a soft beep-beep. A warning came on the screen. Low battery. Time to plug it into the charger. If only our spirits came with such a warning…perhaps they do.

I hate for my phone or my tablet’s battery to get low. What if it dies just when I need it most? So I have made a habit of plugging them in when I get home each night. Usually. I forgot last night, and got the warning signal today. Oops.

Like my tablet, there are signs that indicate when I am running low on faith.  Perhaps I just don’t feel a s forgiving of others today, or as tolerant of their behavior. Personalities rub me wrong, like a towel dried without softener.  Frustration bubbles into my throat and a sense of anxiety nibbles at my psyche. I find my teeth keep clenching.

Faith, like energy, needs to be replenished. It is used all the time, sometimes more days than others if we are honest,  and I think it can run out if it is not continually renewed. Of course we have an initial faith in God, which prompted us to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, and that I am sure it never runs completely dry once we have the Holy Spirit alive in us.

Am I as diligent about plugging into God as I am plugging in my phone?

I know there are times, like my tablet or phone, I have felt as if I was running on empty.  Dragging through my emptyday, zombie-like, and not due to lack of sleep, I felt drained of energy.  At times like these, I can almost hear a small beep-beep sounding in my soul. “Come back to the charger. Return to my Word. Fill up on my promises and love. Renew your strength. Pray.”

God taps my shoulder in many ways. If you have been reading this blog a while, or have read my book, Experiencing the Present of His Presence, you know His message can come to me in something I’ve spotted in nature, in a household item, a verse in Scripture, words to a hymn…His ways to communicate with us are endless.  I have learned those taps are like the beeps on my tablet. Time to plug back in to the Source. I need God’s power to fill me up again and fuel my faith. Through prayer and study of Scripture, I need to reconnect to the Almighty.

You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God! Psalm 68:35

Prudence dictates I should never let my faith run low, because I don’t know what tomorrow brings. I made need all of the spiritual energy I have inside to make it through that day. But God knows.  As He prompted Joseph in Egypt to store up grain, before the famine hits in the form of an unforeseen tragedy, illness or stressful event, I need to store up my spiritual energy and keep it full, day by day. That comes through reading His Word and prayer.

the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel…   Colossians 1:5

If you are run down, anxious, easily irritated, or short tempered as of late, perhaps the Holy Spirit is prompting you to re-connect to the Word of God. Maybe you need more prayer time to refuel your faith and energize your spiritual life.

After dedicating several hours of God-and-me time to read, reflect and pray in order to to fill you up,  you can stay full if you return to the charger each day. As little as a half hour a day can help to keep that indicator near full.

So go ahead. Plug in.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Okay- I admit it. My cats are driving me NUTS! But God taught me a vital lesson through them.

12359888_1173304076020731_5338883072486770344_nOne is a gorger. He starved as a stray and the Vet thinks his “no longer hungry” switch permanently turned off.  He will eat and eat until he pops…or hack it up.

The other is a grazer. The runt, he always has been passive and easily bullied out of his portion.  He would prefer I guard his bowl for two hours each meal so he can slurp two or three bites, walk away and return later. In the meantime, gorger hovers close by, licking his chops. If I turn my head, he starts to chomp the grazer’s portion down.

The Vet says to pick up the grazer’s bowl after twenty minutes. The cat is just not getting the message, so he meows and meows for me to give him back his food. It breaks my heart.  The gorger cowers when I raise my voice and tell him no, but is not deterred. We are talking about cats after all… Tough love is,well, tough.

I have prayed for over a year for God to change them. I’d love to put food down and they eat when it is presented so we can all go about our day. I would love to be able to go out of town without burdening a close friend or relative with this cat bowl guard duty. Today, God interrupted my prayer. He told me, “Pray for your attitude to change, and leave the rest to me.”

How often do our prayers concentrate on changing someone else?

Perhaps a spouse who seems distant or a child who is headed down the wrong path. A coworker that grates on our nerves or a friend who has wounded us with their selfishness.  We tearfully wear out our knees in pleas. Our tummies knot. We pray again, and again. It is always on the forefront of our minds and we mull over it like a cow chewing on cud. It is the last thought that whirls in our brains before we sleep. God, aren’t you listening? Do something. The anxiousness builds.

Here is truth: It is our attitude we are in charge of changing, not anyone else’s. Be not anxious about your life…Matthew 6:25.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

We cannot will anyone to change. Yes, we can pray for them and leave our concerns at the foot of the cross, and we should.  But perhaps our Lord is calling us to change our attitude about the situation and to give it to Him in exchange for His peace. I read that stress is not trusting God to be in control. I have been stressing over my furry beasts and I am sure they are picking up on my angst.  My kitties are my joy- when did I forget that? When did they become my pain instead? When was the last time I thanked God for them?

Tonight, I will change my prayer.  Is there one you should change as well?

 

Read Full Post »

Our riverThat person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields it fruit in season and whose leaf does nto wither; whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:3)

I spent my summers as a youth at my grandfather’s cabin on the Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill Country. It’s still my favorite place to visit. I always find God’s peaceful presence during a stroll along the riverfront.

Ancient cypress trees line the banks, their roots shooting deep into the river. Their bows tower overhead, a celestial highway for squirrels and a welcome shade from the Texas summer heat. Some of the cypress are bent towards the river in skewed angles, ravished by centuries of pounding floodwaters. Yet, they stand, produce plump fragrant cypress balls, and each spring burst into an array of green which casts dancing shadows along the riverbank. Their trunks expand in circumference and their roots spread to hug the bank in sturdy strength.

When I look at these cypress trees, they bring to mind a strong, firm faith in God that is solidly founded and deeply rooted in His Word, the Living Water. May my faith be that way. When life floods in and pressures me, I might bend, but I won’t break because of the sturdiness of my faith. I want the fruit of my labor to be as fragrant as those cypress balls, and my prayers a sheltering for others from the harshness of this world–just as the cypress limbs are a shade from the hot rays of the summer sun.

However, my circumference, like the cypress tree’s trunk, also seems to be growing with age…that I’d rather not emulate.

Read Full Post »

I was in the zone…typing away, editing as I went, the plot moving along. In the background the washer swished and the dryer tumbled. I’d break to feed a mewing cat, or refill my tumbler with water, and then scoot my chair back to the keyboard.

After a while, a slight wooziness waved over me. I blinked to refocus, only to be interrupted by a deep gurgle in the pit of my torso. Like Seymour the man eating plant, my stomach growled, “Feed me.”  I sighed, pushed back my chair and opened the fridge. Door opened with the frigid air blanketing my face, indecision clouded my brain. I knew not to grab anything junky.  I snatched a carton of fat-free Greek yogurt. Quick, easy to down, no cooking or mess to clean. I spooned it past my lips as I typed. That staved off the hunger for a while, but the sensation returned within a few hours.

Isn’t this often true of our spiritual lives? We are in such a rush, our concentration focuses on the “doing” mode. We forget that, like our bodies, our souls need regular nourishment in order to function.  A deep hunger for God niggles us. At first we ignore it, but it doesn’t  go away. We know a snack such as a faith based show won’t satisfy us. Not even a few Facebook scrolls from Christian friends.

ID-10087293But what to feed it? We flip through a few highlighted verses in our Bibles, scan our bookshelves filled with devotionals and inspirational guides, even stare at the Biblical saying plaques on our walls. We turn on Christian music. Still, the deep aching isn’t quite satisfied.  We need real God-time. And Sunday is days away.

But any time can be stop and pray time. Regular moments with our Father in Heaven can fulfill us and sustain us as we move through our day. From the half hour spent with hands folded, we receive enough strengthening to carry us through whatever we need to accomplish. Our gas tank refills, so to speak.

Reading our Bibles is wonderful. Christian music is great.  But in order to fully digest what we see and hear, we need to take it to the Father and let His Spirit help us absorb it in order to feed our faith in the way we need the most, just as our bodies assimilate the food we swallow.

Spend quality time with God today. Don’t snack now and the as you keep on “doing.” Instead, sit down, relax and devour the full-plated goodness God wishes to provide.That’s the full meal deal. Talk about soul food!

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

for tips, trials and triumph consider getting Squeeze More God-Time Into Your Day.Squeeze cover

Read Full Post »

On my e-reader tablet is a cool app. It is a landscape that changes as the weather does. That is according to a national weather forecasting service. It isn’t always accurate.It is a forecast, a prediction of a likely occurrence. It lets me know when there is a “good chance” of rain or sun or snow, etc in my area of Texas. Click on the link below to view it.

storm-clouds-2-134981298598261vguA few days ago  a tornado watch, then warning was issued. There was one sighted about 50 miles south of my location moving directly east, so I wasn’t in danger. It is hard to predict if and when one will strike. That is why these siren-activated announcements are called watches and warnings.

OH, IF ONLY LIFE WAS THIS WAY.  There is a 50% chance you will be in a car accident. this afternoon, so watch out! Today will be mild and sunny, so anything you worried about will dissipate. Tonight, there is an 80% likelihood you will come down with a cold, so stock up on tissues and meds. BEEP… BEEP….BEEP: This is a warning. You are about to receive a call concerning a death in the family, so prepare yourself now.

Well, perhaps some of us would prefer not to know in advance. It would activate our worry mode. And, these broadcasts are not guarantees.Nor are they 100% accurate. They only give the probabilities of it possibly happening.

However, unlike the weather service, we do have a 100% reliable source. Our Heavenly Father. No need to predict- He already knows. Whatever we go through, whatever is coming, He is there to guide us, shelter us, comfort us or rejoice with us.

That’s an app we can count on each and every day. It’s called trustful prayer.Woman Meditating

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: