Prayers for the Parched: Let Me Hear Your Voice

The Voice of the Lord is over the waters.  it is powerful and majestic

The Voice of the Lord is over the waters. it is powerful and majestic

Psalm 29:3-5,7,11  “The voice of the Lord is over t he waters, the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.  The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.  The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.  The voice of t he Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.  The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blessed his people with peace.”

 

Let me hear your voice

How sweet is the sound of a message directly from you

My ears are sharpened with my obedience

My heart is turned toward you by the world’s cry for love

My mind is open because of its renewal as it chooses life over every contrary thought

let your words be like seed in the fertile ground of my soul

let your truths take root to the soles of my feet so i may walk in they ways

Attune my focus to hear you

Even as you rush by like the wind, redirect this vessel so my sails can catch the wind and sail by your guidance

As I continue to search your work, illumine and highlight your scriptures as appropriate, for my daily walk and for my life purposes

I seek your counsel in all my decisions

I lift my finger to the wind of your Holy Spirit

I come into thy presence longing to hear from you

Thank you for communicating with me

Even in your silences there is grace while I adjust

Bring me to that peaceful state of calm

Let me hear your voice in the stillness


What is Quantum Entanglement?

Wedding Rings are symbols of two people being married.  Let the Quantum Entanglement begin

Wedding Rings are symbols of two people being married. Let the Quantum Entanglement begin

We had a  professional physicist and his wife over for dinner the other night.  Our conversation covered our Silicon Valley neck of the woods and other galaxies.  He introduced to us the concept of Quantum Entanglement.  First he asked us if we knew what it was?  My husband offered the answer, “Marriage.”

Quantum Entanglement is the process where two or more particles become entangled and they behave as one and the same.  Any changes to one is instantaneously and identically impact the other entangled particles, even when they are a universe apart.  The technology exposes solar radiation to photons divided by prisms.  The photoelectric effect translates to the matter that it is directed at.

My husband was not the first person that thought of quantum entangement as marriage.  Jonathon Keats offered marriages in New York City in 2011 at the AC Institute to couples who wanted to add a quantum element to their wedding ceremony.

Loosely for long term marriages, some couples do take on the  traits of one another.  I’m not sure this is quantum entanglement at work or not.  For christian marriages, God is invited to come into their marriages.  To the marriages that takes it seriously, they have invited the  God of the universe who is Light and Life to come into the center of their love and give it a fresh infusion of God’s everlasting love every day.  For the committed Christian, one life long goal is to become more Christ-like.  If both people are working on this, it is natural that they will be reflecting more of Christ’s love toward each other and towards others.


Prayers for the Parched: Praying for Strength

The Lion - a picture of strength and power

The Lion – a picture of strength and power

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

We often pray for God to give us or someone else strength.  This prayer is the expanded version of that prayer.

I ask for…

strength of character

strength of will

strength of affection

strength of judgment

strength of ideals

strength of achievement

With the might of your Spirit, grant us

strength to go on

strength to focus

strength to do the will of God

strength to wait

strength to be still and know you

strength to submit to you

strength to submit to people to whom we are under authority

strength to be humble

strength to love

strength to choose life at every decision point

strength to act

strength to move forward


Day 7 of the Hostage Crisis – A Mouse in the House

Hostage Criisis Day 7 - a Mouse in the House

Hostage Criisis Day 7 – a Mouse in the House

We are in Day 7 of a Hostage Crisis in our house.  My husband and I feel like the hostages of a rodent holed up on one room of our house.  It happens to be my den and writing area, so it’s extra annoying.  I discovered this creature by seeing it come round the bend of my dining room very early one morning and I screamed.  It ran for the den and I shut the door thinking it would be easier to catch this guy if it was a more limited space.

We laid out two traditional Victor wood traps with peanut butter and cheese for two days and two nights.  Maybe he wasn’t happy that the sell-by date was almost expired.  No catch.  Then I went to the local Hardware store and bought two glue traps.  I got the lecture to be sure and be nice by checking on this every 4 hours so that the mouse wouldn’t die a miserable death too slowly.  Okay.  It’s been 5 days and our critter isn’t even curious.  We leave out 5 traps every day and every night.  We must have a very intelligent critter.

Then I talked to a missionary friend who shared her successful technique from Uganda.  We brought a garbage can into the room part way under the desk and set up a long cardboard piece with food at the end.  It was supposed to inch out to the food on top of the cardboard and then the mouse’s own weight was suppose to make it and the cardboard fall into the garbage can.  This did not work.

We wondered how it could survive so long without food or water in the room.  We learned online that small rodents can live longer than a camel without water.  This lesson wasn’t encouraging.  It seemed to be living on cardboard and wires.  Our phone land lines need to be replaced.  I had removed my computer already.  We had taped over the holes where the critter was trying to dig through the wall where the wires came out of the floor.

We did a search with a broom handle of the entire room and could not find it on Day 6.  We thought it might have escaped.  That night, pictures from on top of the desk hutch fell off the top shelf waking us up and letting us know that it had not escaped.  Where does it get it’s energy?

My husband’s business associate said that 30 minutes in there with a cat and it would be a dead mouse.  Is it possible to rent a cat for one hour?  We tested our friendship with one family to see if they would let us borrow their cat for an afternoon.  They said their cat wasn’t the commando type and usually cowered under a box when a strange entity was anywhere near their backyard.  So that possibility didn’t exactly pan out.  The offered their two teenage boys to come over and hunt it down.  We really don’t want to adopt a cat just for this purpose.

Meanwhile, we have a shovel and boom perched by the door to the room with hangers underneath the door on a string which we jiggle when we hear it scratching at the door.  The moving hangers have deterred the attack on the door and removed all hope (and signs of scratching) of exit.

My Home Group is studying the character of King David 1 Samuel.  The people say that Saul killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands.  And we can’t catch a single rodent.  My devotional verse for the day is, “God is…a very present help in time of trouble”  Psalm 46:1.  So I’m adding prayer as an additional source of help.  I hope this qualifies as trouble and not just nuisance.

I know this critter is supposed the be the hostage.  But it now requires two people just to enter and exit the den to print a document or access files, because I’m not going in there alone!  What’s next?  Steak and Hollandaise sauce?  Ideas welcome.


Is Forgiving Cold-Turkey Possible?

Endless Ripples of Forgiveness

Endless Ripples of Forgiveness

Sometimes it’s easy to forgive people.  Sometimes the process can take time.  Some people quit smoking cold-turkey, and other chew nicotine gum for years.  It all depends.  If possible, it’s best to get in the habit of forgiving people, and even forgiving ourselves.  There may be consequences to the action points that require the process of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a choice that sometimes needs to be remade daily.  Let’s consider the process of forgiveness:

1.  Be prepared to recommit to your decision to forgive as may times as thoughts of unforgiveness pop into your head.

2.  Keep releasing the bitterness, regret and thoughts of revenge.  Then ask Jesus what He has for you in exchange.  I once forgave someone and God gave me the word “freedom” in exchange.  From there on out, I focused on wanting the freedom of a new chapter in life free from thoughts of the person I was choosing to forgive.  Freedom is better.

3.  Release the toxic emotions to God as they surface, and give Him the difficult people to deal with as He chooses. This lightens our burden by staying in unforgiveness, and allows us to move away from the negative hooks of the memory.  It leaves them with themselves and their need for change.  Maybe they will learn to call on God.

4.  Realize that the decision to forgive is immediate, and allow yourself your need to heal from the person/incident in good time.  Think of it as similar to salvation which is immediate and yet the path of sanctification unfolds over time.

5.  Living a life free from the burden of resentment and toxicity of unforgiveness is a choice followed by a series of choices.  It gets easier with time as forgiveness becomes a habit.

Paul writes in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”  As we are forgiven by Christ, it is our turn to “forgive each other, just as God forgave us.”  Ephesians 4:32


Faithfulness is the Key to Success

Jesus was amazed at the faith of a Roman Centurion

Jesus was amazed at the faith of a Roman Centurion

People always want to know what the key to success is.  How does God look at success?  Most people think success is all about economic advancement.  Being economically successful is nice and comes with lots of benefits, as well as fun creature comforts.

Have you ever wondered how God looks at a life and deems it successful?  I’m not sure I have the answer.  The Bible does tell us what impressed Jesus while he was on earth.  This answer is found in Matthew 8:10.   “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!”  NLT Strong faith impresses God.

What impresses you?  Do you look at famous people and wish you were like them?  Are you impressed by movie stars, politicians, or corporate success stories? Pastors posit that you can tell a lot about people by what impresses them.  Jesus was impressed when He saw faith.  Where have you seen great faith exerted?  Who do you know that has great faith?  Are you impressed by them?  Would Jesus be amazed by them?

If God were to ask us our three greatest moments of exemplary faith in our lives, do you know what you would present to him?  Would it be faith in a sports team winning a pennant race?  Would it be faith that a stock value would increase?  Would it be faith that someone is about to get healed?  Would it be faith that God would answer your prayer?  Would it be faith that your government would pay a monthly stipend?  God places a high value on our faith.  How impressive do you think Jesus would find your faith level if He were to ask you over dinner tonight?

 


Love on San Francisco Muni Bus Route 45

 

Linda Wilson-Allen drives SF Muni Bus Route 45

Linda Wilson-Allen drives SF Muni Bus Route 45

On Sunday, my church Menlo Park Presbyterian asked a San Francisco Municipal bus driver to come bless our church.  Our Pastor John Ortberg had read about Linda Wilson-Allen on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle the previous week.  The article highlighted how she genuinely cared about the people on her route, knew them by name, waited for them, helped the elderly load their groceries on the bus, and greeted all people with warm friendly smiles.  The writer of the article wondered what made her so different.  In an interview, she said she started her day at 2:30 am on her knees praying to God to be more loving.  She gives love and the people love her back.  She routinely receives gifts from her riders, including scarves to keep her warm in the cold and wet seasons.

Our pastor called Linda Wilson-Allen and asked her to come bless our church with the ability to show love to everyone we meet on our jobs and in our daily lives.  He asked her to bless us with what she prayed at 2:30 am.  She said she asks God to take out anything in her that doesn’t reflect Him and to fill her with His love for all she meets in her day.  She said she can guarantee God will answer the prayer about taking out anything that doesn’t reflect Him.  Into that place, more of His love can flow in us and through us.  Then she blessed us.  I’ve been thinking of it ever since and asking this for myself every day this week.


Learning from Paul: Nine Blessings from Colossians for Today

Man Praying Asking God for 9 Blessings from Colossians 1

Man Praying Asking God for 9 Blessings from Colossians 1

What exactly is going to happen when we pray? Paul prayed for the Colossians in the first century.  His requests are valuable today to pray for ourselves and other.  Let’s start asking for these same 9 things that can change our lives.   can start looking for in their lives.  We pick up this amazing prayer in Colossians 1:9-14.

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,  in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

Let’s look at how to pray these 9 blessings for ourselves and our families.

“Lord, let us…..

1. Be filled with the full and clear knowledge of God’s will
2. Have all spiritual wisdom concerning the ways and purposes of God
3. Understand and discern spiritual things
4. Walk and live in a manner pleasing to the Lord
5. Bear fruit in every good work
6. Steadily grow and increase in the knowledge of God
7. Be invigorated and strengthened with all power
8. Exercise endurance and patience with joy
9. Give thanks to the Father, having been qualified for our inheritance.

Note:  Prayer from Saint Paul.  Prayer interpretation originated from Bobby Connor.


Hope is an Anchor of Assurance

Hope is the Anchor of Assurance

Hope is the Anchor of Assurance

Most people have a vague sense of hope as sort of a wish list.  The thinking goes like this, “If I do my part, maybe things will work out well.”  And maybe they will.  Maybe they won’t.  At best, this kind of thinking is hopeful wishing.

Christians are sometimes called Believers.  That is, they believe the promises of God in the Bible.  Hebrews 6:19 reads, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”  In previous verses, the writer of Hebrews reminds the readers of God’s promise and fulfillment to Abraham to bless and multiply his seed.  He goes on to point out in verse 18 that it is impossible for God to lie, and we are consoled when we run to God as our refuge in times of trouble.

When God makes a bold commitment in scripture, it is His word.  We can count on it.  Many promises come with overlooked condition statements that start with “If…”  We need to factor these in and not misread a promise.  Galatians 6:9 reads, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”  This promise of reaping positive out of doing good talks about persevering in the doing good part.  Nonetheless it is a promise.  It allows us to move from hoping to knowing.  It becomes an anchor of assurance.  For the believer, hope is divine assurance of things that aren’t here yet.

Prayer:  “Lord show me your hope for my life in your scriptures.”


Blessings Inventory Check List

Time to Check the Blessings Inventory List

Time to Check the Blessings Inventory List

We love to complain about the little things in life. I forgot my cell phone the other day as I left the house.  I was about 15 minutes away by then and didn’t have the luxury of time to go back and get it and go through the traffic again to get to where I was on my way to where I was going.  Calls went unanswered, texts were ignored, and emails unchecked.  It was a long day.  None of this would have mattered before we all had cell phones which was only a few short years ago.  It’s one of t  he many blessings I have and often take for granted.

In the larger scheme of things, we Americans live with many blessings that other people in other parts of the world still aim to achieve.  Here’s a quick checklist to compare with other people in the world:

 

Blessings Inventory

1.     Finances.  Do we have enough to have our basic needs met each day?

2.     Home or Place to Live.  Do we have somewhere to put our head?  Is it safe?

3.    Education.  If you’re reading this you know how to read, and probably write.  Do we have access to education for elementary school?  High School?  College?  Graduate School?

4.     Friends.  Do you have 3 or 4 good friends you can count on?

5.     Spiritual Gifts.  Do you know what your spiritual gifts are?  Are you utilizing them?

6.     Transportation.  Do you have access to public transportation?  Is public transportation available?  Are multiple options available for transportation?  Do you have private transportation available to you, such as a car?

7.    Forgiveness of sin.  Do you know how to get forgiveness of sins?  Do you have access to the peace that comes with forgiveness of sins?

8.     Do you have the Presence of the Holy Spirit?  This comes in the way of comfort, peace, communion with God.

All these things are worth being grateful for–before we worry about the newest model computer or the latest sale at Macys, where to go on vacation, or the newest kind of BBQ to order.  I have had the privilege of visiting many countries, and often seeing the poorer sections of that country.  Poverty is everywhere.  Hunger is everywhere.  Some people are born into these conditions.  Some people live where people make poor decisions that impact those around them.

No matter what the circumstances are that we live with, it could be worse.  It could probably be better.  Are we fully aware of what we  dohave?  It’s time to review, update, and appreciate the things on the Blessing Inventory.