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‪reck·less /rekləs/ adj. without thinking about the consequences. rash, heedless, impetuous, impulsive, daredevil, audacious, madcap‬

Category: Prayer (page 1 of 2)

Another Day

File Aug 24, 13 52 02

I am sitting at my desk at my office. It is 0624. This is the third day this week I have been in my desk chair before 0630. There is something to be said for getting to work early and accomplishing everything needing to be done before noon.

Over the course of this week, I have spent time considering and thinking through what are the best ways to make the most of the time I have to myself here in the mornings. How can I ensure I get the tasks accomplished, the work done? I could write tons on the need to have a plan, the purpose and genius behind having a task list, the necessity of goals and approaching the day with a strategy or a plan of attack. While all of those things are important and essential, I have found two quick and easy techniques which have helped me structure my day and frame everything needing to be done. I want to share these insights… with the caveat of I don’t always hit this mark myself. But, when I have my day has gone much better from start to finish and my mindset has improved.

  1. Read the Bible. Start the day with God’s word fresh on your mind. See what he has to say to you today. Too often, I view the Bible as just another book to read and I don’t consider what God can be saying to me as I read it each. We should expect every time we read the Bible for God to us it to convict us, teach us, train us, challenge us, and call us to live more like him. If we believe the Bible to be living and active as the book of Hebrews reveals to us it is, then we should expect it to be alive and speak directly into our lives each day. If it is alive, then it should have something to say to me everyday and every time we read it. If we aren’t challenged by the word of God, then maybe we aren’t reading with fresh eyes and a heart willing to be changed and molded into one resembling our creator. Allowing the word of God to speak to us, challenge us and set the tone for who we should be as his children for the day will give our days purpose and meaning as it challenges us to live worthy of the calling he has given us.
  2. Pray to the almighty God. I constantly think of prayer as a one-sided, empty experience. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God actively listens and engages in the dialog with me and you. God asks us to come before him as his children to ask him for the things we need. God desires to hear our prayers and further he desires to answer them… He doesn’t always give us what we want in the same way we as parents don’t always give our children everything they ask for. Sometimes we know better than they do. All the time God knows better than we do. But by starting the day on conversation with him, we have begun to be more aware of his presence in our lives and in everything we do throughout the day. We break down the walls of compartmentalization and allow God to permeate every aspect of our day.

In the hustle and rush of life, it isn’t always easy to set apart time each morning to spend it alone with God. I have come to realize the days that I am able to prioritize and spend time alone with the God who created everything, who was willing to die himself so I could escape the penalty of my disobedience and sin… those days have a better chance of not being screwed up by my selfish, self-centered approach to life.

Wisdom

  

It’s 8:30 on a Friday night and I’m on I-75 in the middle of South Georgia. Why?
I’m heading to north Georgia with two of my independent living youth. We are headed for the culmination of a mentoring program they started on the spring. It feels a little odd to be wrapping up the mentoring program I wasn’t really a part of. But tha s kind of how it goes. 

I have mixed feelings about being away from home this weekend. Without letting the cat out of the bag, there’s a lot going on back in Orlando. Ronda and I are in the midst of praying through a big situation for us. On one hand, I want to be there with her. One the other hand, I’m looking forward to the space and clarity that comes with spending a weekend in the woods. 

I suppose that means this weekend has a twofold purpose for me. To capstone the mentoring program and solidify my place in the lives of these youth as a mentor. And to allow God to speak to and mentor me this weekend. I have high hopes for this weekend. I’m trusting God won’t let me down. He doesn’t usually. 

The Celldweller song ‘The Last Firstborn’ is playing. That song always make me think of the Apostle Paul. He claimed his apostleship cake as one untimely born. I feel that way. Not that I’m an apostle, but that I often wonder about God’s choice to love me and use me to fulfill his purposes. But he does. And I believe this weekend he is going to teach me as much as he teaches these dudes with me. 

In some ways, I really need to hear God speak to me this weekend. I need it more than I have in quite some time. We started a new sermon series at church last week on the book of James. I’ve been reading it this week. In chapter 1, James says any who lacks wisdom should ask God in faith that he give generously to the obedient. That’s where j find myself. Asking for wisdom. Asking for God’s spirit of be upon me and inform my decision-making. I want to be a spirit-filled wise leader of the family and ministry God has trusted me with. 

This seems like a good place to close… God grant me your spirit of wisdom to be a wise leader of the people you have given to me. 

Sleep-Deprived Thoughts and Musings

Sleep is for the WEAKSleep eludes me sometimes.

I begun to realize my life goes in cycles of sleep. It’s been awhile since I’ve had trouble sleeping. Not sure if I could quantify why I haven’t had trouble sleeping until recently.

I wonder if it’s related to stress… although, stress doesn’t seem to explain past experiences with trouble sleeping even it might explain my current stretch of sleep elusion. So, stress maybe the culprit currently but historically it hasn’t been therefore it can’t be the answer.

Anxiety? This doesn’t seem to fit either. I could make a case for higher anxiety currently, but I don’t know if it works historically to explain it.

I suppose it possible I have inadvertently altered my sleep patterns. I’m not staying up particularly later than is ‘normal’ for me. The hang up is, even when I do go to bed I’m unable to sleep. I guess I am starting the going to be process slightly later than normal… but this feels like it would be a waste to head to bed if I’m not going to sleep.

Contentment? Could this be a reason? I feel a fair amount of discontent currently… I don’t know if my discontent and general lack of joy are strong enough to prohibit me from sleeping. It would be hard for me to identify if this reasoning works from a historical perspective. It’s possible. It could make sense. At the same time, it feels as though I have a generally discontented disposition. If I am generally discontented by disposition, then I’m not sure if this explains it due to discontent feeling like a larger over-arching theme in my life not following any sort of cycle.

It’s not outside the realm of possibility, I have sleep issues because I have conditioned myself to be awake late and therefore I am the cause of my trouble sleeping. While this seems like a potential answer, it doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t think I am conditioning myself to stay up later, I think I stay up later because I can’t sleep.

I’m not any closer to understanding why I have trouble sleeping some times. What I do know is stress, anxiety and contentment are withiny power to change.

Stress… there are countless strategies to reduce or relieve stress from our lives. For me, it’s as simple as running, training, Xbox or taking a few quiet minutes to breathe and collect myself.

Anxiety… this is a little more difficult to quiet. But, through quiet time and prayer even this can be calmed. By realizing there are things I can’t effect change upon. Understanding I can only do what I can do and I can’t do anything more. It isn’t always easy and it doesn’t always go away, but I also don’t have to hopelessly accept it always has to be present.

Contentment… sometimes, faking it is the best way to create it. I don’t have any secret recipe or potion to cause contentment. I have been able to draw a connection between my walk with God and my contentment. The closer I walk, the more contented I am. Sometimes it helps to remember not everyone appreciates sarcasm as much as I do and maybe I should be a little nicer. If I try to manifest kindness and gentleness and self-control, it makes it harder to think about how unhappy I am.

Contentment is about happiness. What do I have to be unhappy about? I live a life full of blessing and privilege.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭3-4‬ NASB)

Never-Ending Shopping List

Give me this, I want that, bless me Lord I pray. 

Grant me what i think I need to make it through the day.
Make me healthy, keep me wealthy, fill in what I miss
On my never-ending shopping list.
I will forever remember this song, I don’t know who wrote or even sang it first. I remember a good friend of the family singing this song somewhere along the way at a church sometime. This what prayer can feel like sometimes, right? 
A never-ending shopping list of things we want, things we feel we are owed or at the very least deserve. Jesus is not Santa Claus. Never has been, and I suspect he never will be. A few years ago, my boys made Christmas humorous for us as a family when they confessed they had prayed to Jesus to work with Santa to bring us a white Christmas. Coincidently, if we were to ever have a white Christmas at our house it would take a monumental miracle that could only come about if Jesus and Santa collaborated. I told them, living in Florida, a white Christmas is likely something we will never see.
I suppose it is possible your prayer time and prayer requests are holier than mine. Could be. But I bet even at times you miss the point of prayer too. We all do. Three reasons: we are human which leads to reason two, we are selfish which is caused by reason three, we are sinners. And we mess everything up… when left to ourselves. It’s kinda what we as humans do.
I’m not setting out here to give you a dissertation on prayer or specifically recite the various appropriate ways Scripture guides us to pray, for what and when and how and why. I simply want to confess to you, I suppose more than anything, I often don’t take full advantage of prayer in a way I should.
I have come to realize I pray way too small. 
I pray in such a way that doesn’t show I trust in a God much bigger than myself. I pray in such a way that doesn’t illustrate I believe God when he tells me to ask and I will receive. 
I don’t know this is terribly a big deal. I mean I have faith in God and trust him in and with my life. I live each day in service to him… so even if I don’t pray the biggest, most bold prayers I still am a follower of his. But it is a big deal because I have three young men God has entrusted to me to teach about him and to teach them how to trust him, to teach them how to be men after his heart. I owe it to them to pray bigger and to pray in a way that demonstrates I believe the almighty creator of the universe is listening to my prayers. Because he is!
Maybe the beginning is to spend more time in prayer myself. To spend more time getting to know my God. Maybe the first steps are to not treat prayer like a shopping list, but instead a relationship built on trust and love. I never want to hear Jesus say to me what he said to the church in Ephesus: ‘you have lost your first love.’ How heartbreaking it would be to hear Jesus say such a thing to you? I can’t imagine the ache inside my heart.
I never want to lose sight of my savior.
I never want to lose my first love.



He receives my prayers: some thoughts on Psalm 6:9

IMG_6135This brief and seemingly unobtrusive statement is nestled in among comments on feeling overwhelmed by both sin in my life and enemies outside of me. Despite everything login on, the storms swirling around and the madness that is life, God hears us. Despite the sin that easily entangles us and trips us up, despite our self-reliance and lack of trust in God as the author and creative of life, God still hears us. He is listening. More than merely listening, he receives our prayers. He hears them and takes them in. He hears them and cuddles them close to his heart. He receives them.
This is significant.
During the tough times of life, it feels as though we are all alone. It feel like there is no one who gets it. No one who can fathom the depths we are in. Not true. Our savior knows. Our savior wants to help. Our savior hears our prayers and receives them. He takes them in. He holds them so he is able to answer them. Like a father who listens intently to his children desiring the best for them, he holds our prayers and answers them in such a way that only he can.
Reminds me oc Christmas. Ronda (my wife) is a great Christmas gift giver. I suck. She listens intently all year long at the numerous things I say I want/need along the way and will strategically pick a few things out of the multitude so at the end of the year, I get an awesome gift I have been wanting. She hears my gifts ideas and receives them into her heart and mind and waits to give them to me when it is appropriate. God is the same way. He listens, he receives and he gives when it is appropriate.
I know, there is much to say about what has been called unanswered prayers. I would argue there is no such thing, just a prayer we didn’t get the answer we wanted. Maybe God said wait, maybe he said no. Those prayers are still unanswered, just not in the ways we wanted. But this feels like a topic for another day.
The LORD has heard my supplication, The LORD receives my prayer. Psalm 6:9
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