Monday, August 26, 2013

When You Can't Pray . . . Give Thanks

I once heard of a little boy who refused to say his evening prayers one night; not out of defiance, but simply because he couldn’t think of anything he wanted.   

He didn’t see much point in praying when there wasn’t anything to ask for.

When his mother heard his dilemma, she suggested he give thanks for all the things he had instead. 

So the little boy got on his knees and thanked the Lord for everything he could think of – from his favorite toy to the fact he wasn’t blind like the boy down the street.

His evening prayers were longer that night, because he was thankful for more than he wanted.

We often have the opposite dilemma.

We find it hard to pray; not because we don’t have anything to ask for, but because we're too disheartened to pray.

Our prayers seem to hit a stone ceiling; our prayers go unanswered for years; or we simply don’t receive the peace we used to enjoy in times of prayer.

But maybe we can’t pray, because we’ve forgotten to be thankful.

Like this little boy, what if we took some time and turned our prayers into words of only thanks?

When you pray today, don’t ask for one single thing.
            JUST give thanks.
While you drive to work, list one thing after another you’re grateful for.
            And thank the Lord ONLY.

When you have a few quiet moments, think of things you know are gifts.
            And ONLY thank the Lord.

When you can’t pray . . . give thanks.

Your prayers might be longer than usual, because you find yourself thankful for more than you want.

With thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Phil. 4:6,7

Related Posts: Thank Who?
10 Times More

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

Monday, August 19, 2013

What Are You Looking At?

As you read these words, take a look at what’s behind you.

Don’t take your eyes off this post. Just look behind you and keep reading.

Unless you stopped reading and turned around to look, my guess is you’re still looking at this post.

It’s a proven fact.  We can only see what we’re looking at. And we can’t look at two things at once.

The Psalmist once said,
“Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD;
for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.” – Psalm 25:15

He had figured it out.

As long as he was looking to the Lord, he couldn’t see the net at his feet. If he looked at the net, his natural inclination was to try to untangle it himself.

The Psalmist learned that he could only look one place at a time.

When he looked to the Lord, the Lord did the untangling he couldn’t do himself.

What are you looking at?

The tangled mess at your feet?

Or the only One who can do the untangling?

We can only look at one thing at a time.  

Let’s look to the Lord.

And turn our anxious looks away from what we can’t untangle on our own.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Is Anything Too Hard for God?

"And God called the dry land Earth,
and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas.
And God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:10)

Cannon Beach, Oregon

"Whatever the LORD pleases He does,
In heaven and earth,
In the seas and in all deep places." (Psalm 135:6)

"The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters,
than the mighty waves of the sea." (Psalm 93:4)

"Happy is he . . . whose hope is in the LORD his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them." (Psalm 146:5,6)

"Then the word of the LORD came . . . 'Behold, I am the LORD,
the God of all flesh.
Is there anything too hard for me?" (Jeremiah 32:27)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth
by Your great power and outstretched arm.
There is nothing too hard for You." (Jeremiah 32:17)

Monday, August 5, 2013

God of the Very Good

Not long ago, I picked up some colored pencils and a Bible; sat down; opened to Genesis; and started underlining all the subjects and verbs.

All God did, I’m underlining in green; all man did, I underline in brown.

Have you ever read Genesis 1 and 2 and felt like doing what God did on Day 7, and just rest?

Because that’s what I’ve felt like doing ever since I started this exercise.

In Genesis 1, man isn’t on the scene yet, so every subject and verb is God alone doing all the work.

                God created.
                God said.
                God moved.
                God saw.
                God made.
                God called.        
                God placed.
                God blessed.

The chapter ends with God looking at all He had done.

And it was very good.

When man shows up on the scene in chapter 2, he names the animals.

But then, God puts him to sleep.

While man slept, God worked on his behalf.

God formed Eve.
God brought her to Adam.

Man slept.
God worked.

And it was very good.

Man takes things into his own hands in chapter 3.

He messes things up.

But God still worked.

Only now, His work was to intervene in a broken world that was no longer very good.

            God spoke to the man, to the woman, and to the serpent.
God made garments for Adam and his wife. . . and clothed them.
As I make my way through Genesis, I see the same thing happening over and over. 
Man works. Man messes up.
He tries and fails.
He sins and stumbles.
He steps in where he should have stayed out.

But I also see God still at work.
                God remembered Noah.
                God established His covenant.
                God appeared to Abram.

And, today, He’s still at work.

We work. We mess up.
We try and fail.
We sin and stumble.
We step in where we should stay out.

But God still works all things—even the “broken-world” sort of things—for good (Romans 8:28).

Rest in the remembrance that God does just fine without us.

Just like He did long ago when He spoke.
He made.
He moved.
He worked.

And it was very good.