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Showing posts with the label God

Why should I thank God when I'm grieving?

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Dear God of all comfort, Thank you. I'm grieving, but I thank You for everything. Thank you for creating the church, which functions like a family. I can't explain how people I've never met or hardly know can send me a prayer or encouragement, and I instantly feel loved and no longer alone. Thank you for making prayer a way to express grief, joy, fear, and frustration. I don't know why it works, but it does. Thank you for the opportunity to serve You by serving other people. I don't know why loving someone else when I need to be loved fills an emotional hole, but it does. Thank you for growing my faith through trials. I don't completely understand how suffering can produce joy in my life, but I see it happen all the time. Thank you for asking me to be generous. I can't explain how we can give away so much and still pay our bills, but remarkably, it's true. Thank you for a million other blessings--for every sunset, for every flower, for

A Prayer for Knowledge and Faith

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A God who is omniscient is the reason I pray. You create and impart all knowledge, even those who choose to believe You don't exist. I am awed by Your patience and Your grace in allowing each of us to search, resist, or find You as we will. You don't push. You don't cajole. You don't condemn. You just love. You must know that Your love is irresistible to me. Your love persuades me to see You and experience You for who You are, somehow a deity who knows everything about me and yet is not repulsed by me. You aren't afraid that more knowledge of life and science will turn me away from You. Indeed, more knowledge ought to produce more faith. An omniscient God knows that knowledge and faith are congruent and complimentary. You invented science--You designed its intricacies. I'm sure much of science is yet to be discovered. And yet my ignorance doesn't anger You. You smile and wait, like a patient father, for this over-confident human to grasp even a tou

Prayer for Paris

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Jehovah-Rapha, the God of healing-- We ask for your power of love and hope to reign down on France, particularly the families traumatized by Friday's terrorist attack. We know you will bring good from this tragedy, although it's hard to see how. Inspire the Christians in Paris show the love of Jesus to their hurting city. I pray for the world to show support and fraternity to France, to lend aid, and to share the love of God. May this tragedy also draw all of us into closer relationship with You. We ask you to heal hearts, to convict evil-doers. and to help the suffering to search for You. In Jesus' name, Amen. image from  architectboy.com

How to complain the right way

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I know how to complain. You do, too. This isn't fair. I will never dig out of this. Nobody appreciates me. I wish I had nicer things! Why can't I make any more money? I don't have any friends. Why is this happening to me?? It's all really pathetic on paper yet pretty important in our heads and hearts. We want to give credence to our feelings, so we express them to a friend, a spouse, social media, or some unsuspecting car at a stoplight. Does it help? Some. Verbal statements seem more accurate than fleeting thoughts, so it's nice to express how we feel. The hard part comes next--how to be positive. So we give our complaints the respect they deserve, and we speak them out. We're frustrated that God's not doing a better job of meeting our needs, and we don't see any escape routes. In times like these, I turn to the Psalms. David wrote at least 20 specific laments, and he's a doggone good complainer. But here's the interesting thing--D

How to have a good Pity-Party

Some days are meant for pity-parties. I mean it. Some days, you just need to throw something or cry into a pillow because life is too hard. You know how to have a good pity-party. Just let somebody try and stop you. Two boxes of tissues, 2 candy bars, and maybe some uncontrolled behavior. The downside to a pity-party is the aftermath. On top of feeling overwhelmed, pitching a fit provides very temporary relief; it might even reinforce your feelings of desperation. I love reading the book of Job on those occasions when life seems unfair because you can't read about Job's life without feeling a little bit of relief. You just can't. Job had it worse than anybody I know, and it happened in one fell swoop. Talk about unfair. Let me share one of Job's laments with you, so you can feel at least justified in having Biblical tantrum. I must point out one interesting fact, however. What makes this lament usable is that Job is taking his frustration to God. He's really n

How to confess your sin

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Feeling bad about something you've done? That's a good start. It's not enough to gain forgiveness, make it right, or change the behavior, but it's a good starting point. This little explanation below might help you to understand how to confess a sin and get victory over it (in other words, stop doing it again and again!). The whole thing begins when you do something bad (i.e. selfish, unkind, harmful, cruel, debilitating, disrespectful, addictive, etc.). God's standard is holiness, so pretty much that dumps most of our behavior in the unholy category. Event most of the nice things we do, we do with ulterior motive--being nice to others helps our lives function better. But after we do something wrong, the need for confession begins-- 1. You feel guilty. The question to ask yourself is--how does this behavior line up with God's standard? Then you know if the guilt is from God or you mother. (Sometimes they agree on the standard.) If God says it's wron

3 Encouragements on 9/11

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Yesterday I taught a Bible study on learning to praise first when you pray. I mentioned that the focus of my prayers should always be on God rather than me, because when I focus on God's character--his goodness, faithfulness, and grace--only then will I have faith to pray for the things I need. Only then will I have the right perspective and the right motive to pray. Prayer is about sitting in the presence of God, not getting something from Him. I suggested forming prayers of praise around three important components: 1. God’s character—who is He? 2. God’s actions toward you—how does he treat you? 3. God’s history of provision—what has he done for you/others in the past This morning I clicked on the website "Lift Up Your Day" to read an encouraging post by Todd Benkert about 9/11. This was his advice: 1. Remember the character of God 2. Remember the promises of God 3. Remember the works of God Yes! This is why we praise, and this is why we

How to form a prayer of praise

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Praise is a curious and unique activity. Flattery puffs you up. Thankfulness warms you up. But praise makes you look up. Praise provides the groundwork for all prayers, whether requests for deliverance or confession of wrongful actions. Without praise, I all too easily look past God's authority and grace, and I only see the answers I'm hoping I'll get. Without praise, my prayers are nothing more than "Honey-do" lists for the spiritual genie in the sky. Without praise, I lose perspective of whom I am and who God is, the Creator and Sustainer of Life. The Author and Finisher of my faith. The Great I AM. Think on that for a second. (I bet you will begin praising Him!) Choose from this little checklist for suggestions on how to praise God: Describe God's character Affirm God's intentions toward you Express your love for God Count the blessings God is already providing for you Remember God's past faithfulness Express your faith in God, regar