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Showing posts from January, 2014

The Secret to Secret Prayer

How often do we pray without thinking of God at all?Perhaps that is not a problem for you.It seems that the more fervent I desire to be about prayer, the more I realize that what I would call praying is perhaps not praying at all.Indeed, it might be indulging in silence and rest, but no thoughts Godward!
This fact caught me by surprise as I was reading a book about prayer by Anthony Bloom.He made this statement about interceding for others that really made me think about my prayer focus:No, it was not born of God’s presence, of your faith in Him, of your longing for Him, of your awareness of Him; it was born of nothing but your concern for him or her or it [the object of your prayer], not for God.
Yikes, I never thought about my prayers that way.That was until I read that passage.Now I’m seeing it every day.Many of my prayers are not about the One, true, holy, beautiful God, rather about what I want.At other times, I’m lost in prayer—and not in a good way either.
How does God put up wit…

The Prolonged Outcome of Obedience

I rarely like to obey what I feel God is asking of me, especially when it comes to humbling myself and not demanding justice my way.If He asks me to go on a long vacation or enjoy a wonderful prize, I’m eager to obey.

Obedience starts with a mustard seed of faith.I believe that God is good and that He would not ask me to do something that is not good for me, even though I cannot see the goodness of the proposal.My pattern is to get started on obedience reluctantly.I don’t like it one bit, but I do it anyway, just not with all my heart, mind and spirit.That kind of obedience is an invitation for the enemy of my soul to double up efforts to show me the insanity of doing it God’s way.It leaves me open to consider all the myriad of ways I could handle the same situation and leads me to daydreams of the options.That is until I remember that God said NO! to all those possibilities and gave me one direction.
I’m not sure what instant obedience looks like yet, but I can witness to the fact that…

Despising the Shame

Jesus endured the cross by despising the shame of it.He did not allow the reality that God asked Him to submit Himself to the most shameful methods of death in human history to be His own shame.Rather than shame, he felt joy.Hebrews 12:2 describes Jesus’ contradictory experience on the cross of shame:Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

My professor, Dr. Dan Allender said: There is good shame and there is bad shame.The shame we feel over our sinfulness before a holy God is good shame.It drives us to beg for His mercy and helps us enter into the reality of His holiness as best we are able in our finite condition.
Shame has good results.In my most recent travels to the Middle East, I felt safer there than other places.My daughter told me that one reason for that is the shame they feel in their culture.It is shameful to steal.A person no…


Today is Epiphany.On January 6 the church celebrates the Feast of Epiphany.Protestants don’t normally think about it; the Western church attaches Epiphany to the Wise Men who searched out Jesus after His birth.The Eastern church focuses on the baptism of Jesus when He was revealed as the Son of God as the Epiphany.
For me it has become the day that I finally turn off the Christmas lights that have brightened the dark world during the Christmas season.After all the effort to get them up, I hate to take them down right after Christmas.I wait the full twelve days after Christmas until Epiphany to carry out the sad but by now much needed task.After all, I say I put them up partly as my Christmas Greeting to my neighbors.I think they are very tired of them by January.
Of all the events in Jesus’ life that we celebrate, this one may seem the least important.One may wonder why it got priority on the church calendar in light of more important happenings (like the calling of the di…