Looking Up in Prayer

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Lifting hands to heaven

When I pray sometimes I catch myself going through a formula to determine how effective my prayer will be:

  • Have I been obedient for at least 48 hours?
  • Length of prayer is directly proportional to its effectiveness.
  • Fasting will really increase my chances for a favorable outcome to my petition.

It is funny how I think I can twist God’s arm by doing these things. Don’t get me wrong these spiritual disciplines are good to do, but they are not meant to leverage God––to get Him to do what we want. Instead they are disciplines that get us to a place of humility and dependence upon God.

I propose a different checklist to go through as you approach God with a request:

  • Does God’s love reach to the heaven’s and endure forever?  Psalm 36:5 √
  • Is His compassion new this morning?  Lamentations 3:22-23 √
  • Is God faithful in all that He does?  1 Corinthians 1:9 √

I must remember prayer is all about God, and not about me.

Extraordinary

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The sun shining through the trees…extraordinary!

O LORD make this an extraordinary day.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.  John 10:10

Jesus didn’t come to just save us from evil, He came to give us an abundant extraordinary life.

What makes for an extraordinary life? Living this day to the fullness of God’s blessing. What is God’s blessing? His love for us in Jesus Christ.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  Eph. 1:3

Life is not about fame, or power, or fortune, but living in, and through, and by the love of God.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Eph. 3:17-19

Stop for a moment an let the love God has for you build into a crescendo of joy. For one day of God’s blessing and love, at work in us, and through, and for us is worth a lifetime elsewhere.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;  Psalm 84:10

Pure as Snow

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Beautiful snow, a metaphor for life touched by God’s grace

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Isaiah 1:18

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

My Hope

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Glorious View

Hope gives us life today because it assures us of God’s goodness for our tomorrows.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, Hebrew 6:19

Our hope is this: Jesus Christ in us the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32

Seeing the Forest through the Trees

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Winter’s frosting

Sometimes at church I can’t see the forest (worship of God) for the trees (my mistakes). I feel and act like I am in the old covenant. In the Old Testament, worship had to be done perfect, or the sacrifice was worthless.

Sunday we gathered and the mistakes began to mount. A worship song was sung too high for me and I could not sing without squeaking. I had trouble handling the communion elements (I am clumsy with a little tremor). Someone’s cell phone buzzed. My mind frequently drifted, but Jesus, the New Covenant sacrifice, covered all the short comings, elevating all of us to perfection in worship allowing the Holy Spirit to move in a mighty way.

And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22

The worship was made perfect and acceptable to God, for in Jesus we are made holy and pleasing.

Sometimes

Icicle Ridge winter

Sometimes mountains hide

In everything I should say thank you to God.
But sometimes I slip and say, “Why did you let this happen?”

I can praise Jesus for all He has done for me.
But sometimes I get confused and say, “Why did You do this to me?”

He gives me everything,
But sometimes I get upset over nothing.

One day after all is said and done, I will bow and say,
“The LORD is good, His Love reaches to the heavens, His faithfulness to the skies.” (Psalm 36:5-6)

But my sometimes will be forgiven, forgotten, and be no more.

I Feel Small

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Looking up

Trees sometimes make me feel small. Especially, when I look up and and see them pointing at the sky.

In a similar way, Ephesians 3:17-19 fills me wonder at the immensity of God’s love, and the smallness of my understanding.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

“Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!”
Refrain from “And Can It Be, That I Should Gain?” by Charles Wesley

On This Brand New Day

Brand New Day

A brand new day in the Icicle Canyon

On this brand new day what do I most need?

I need to reaffirm my hope is in the Lord and not myself. With His help I can scale the wall before me.

You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall. Psalm 18:28-29

Along with hope, I need remind myself of God’s faithfulness to His promises (His Word). I can trust in Him.

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

And most of all, I need to rest in His love for me.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

This is what I need. This is what we are given in Jesus. Take a long deep drink of this “Living Water” on this new day.

Hope in Midwinter

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Morning light on a cold day

In the dead of winter, it is the hope of Spring that keeps us going. In the same way, knowing the promises of God, and leaning upon them in our struggles gives us hope, that provides strength to go on.

Remember Your word to Your servant,
for You have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life. Psalm 119:49-50

The Miracle of Snowflakes

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Snowflakes frozen in pond ice

Each snow flake is a unique wonder of God’s creation, no two are alike. Yet, often when we see them float down it starts us thinking about having to shovel snow, or worry about icy roads. Life is like that, we receive many blessings each day, yet our minds are preoccupied by problems and struggles. It is not to say we should not think about difficult issues, it’s just we should not let them be all we think about. For when we fail to praise God for His “snowflakes,” we miss the beauty and wonder in each day.

Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him! Psalm 147:1

He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:4-5

If you like me have difficulty getting past the troubles of each day, then let Psalm 145 through Psalm 150 guide you in praise.