Saturday, February 28, 2009

Broken Appliances and the Kingdom of God

After sinking more than $300 into a malfunctioning dryer and rearranging my work schedule four times to meet the repairman, I asked intercessors to pray for a healing miracle for my ornery appliance. I was frustrated, sick of soggy clothes, and my checkbook was smarting. I knew it wasn’t much of a “kingdom” prayer request, but I needed my dryer to work and I sure couldn’t make that happen for myself.

When I emailed a friend for prayer, I added that I was missing my late husband, who had always handled such things. What she prayed in response to my very immediate, temporal, self-interested (but necessary) request floored me. She asked God to be a husband to me. The Holy Spirit had shown her that my greater need--and God’s deep desire--was for me to feel that He cherished me and would care for me as my loving spouse. My friend took my “little answerable” and turned it into a “Thy kingdom come” request that invited God to reign in my heart in ways I deeply needed that day.

My experience illustrates an important prayer principle that brings life, depth, and eternity to our intercession: God wants to reign in our lives and world. So when we pray, we should view our needs and desires within the perspective of His desire--and right--to rule on earth as He does in heaven. The Holy Spirit helps us discern God’s heart as we pray, but here are some examples of what asking Him to reign might look like.

A friend’s daughter is failing her classes. You pray for her to study hard and earn better grades. But what about also asking God to develop her spiritual gifts and passions? Then ask Him to provide all her needs to prepare her to appropriate them in His kingdom.
Your church struggles to pay its mortgage, so you pray that giving will increase. But as you listen for His desires, you realize God is calling you to seek the priorities of His kingdom first (which go beyond paying bills) and depend on Him more radically. So you pray that way.

You’re facing a big presentation at work, so you pray for good ideas, sound preparation, and effective communication. As you consider how God wants to reign in the situation, a particular colleague comes to mind. He’ll be at the meeting, so you ask God to deepen your relationship with him in ways that will advance His kingdom in your colleague’s life.

I still don’t know what will become of my dryer. But my friend’s kingdom prayer did something for my heart that a functioning dryer could never accomplish.
How about you?

What “little answerables” can you expand into prayers that invite God to reign in your world?

by Cynthia Bezek, editor of Pray!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Facing Our Mortality

We all have dreams about the perfect life: a life without pain, sadness, conflict, or war.

The spiritual challenge is to experience glimpses of this perfect life right in the middle of our many struggles. By embracing the reality of our mortal life, we can get in touch with the eternal life that has been sown there.

The apostle Paul expresses this powerfully when he writes: "We are subjected to every kind of hardship, but never distressed; we see no way out but we never despair; we are pursued but never cut off; knocked down, but still have some life in us; always we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus, too, may be visible in our ... mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:8-12).

Only by facing our mortality can we come in touch with the life that transcends death. Our imperfections open for us the vision of the perfect life that God in and through Jesus has promised us.

Henri Nouwen Daily Meditation.

Yes, "We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." 2Corinthians4:10


When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in God.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, 'Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.
Little eyes see a lot.
Each of us--parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher or friend--influence the life of a child.
How will you touch the life of someone today?
--author unknown

Monday, February 23, 2009

Notable Successful Failures

"For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again." Prov 24:16(NKJV)
You have probably read how "Einstein was four years old before he could speak and seven before he could read. Isaac Newton did poorly in grade school. Beethoven's music teacher once said of him, 'As a composer he is hopeless.' When a boy, Thomas Edison's teachers told him he was too stupid to learn anything. F.W. Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21, but his employers wouldn't let him wait on a customer because he 'didn't have enough sense.' A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he had 'no good ideas.' Enrico Caruso's music teacher told him, 'You can't sing. You have no voice at all.' And the director of the Imperial Opera in Vienna told Madame Schumann-Heink that she would never be a singer and advised her to buy a sewing machine. Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college. Werner von Braun flunked ninth-grade algebra. Admiral Richard E. Byrd had been retired from the Navy as 'unfit for service' until he flew over both Poles. Louis Pasteur was rated as 'mediocre' in chemistry when he attended the Royal College. Abraham Lincoln entered the Black Hawk War as a captain and came out as a private. Louisa May Alcott was told by an editor that she could never write anything that had popular appeal. Fred Waring was once rejected for high school chorus. Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade."1
Speaking personally, my father wouldn't allow me to go to high school. I was only 13 when he made me go to work to earn my own way. But through faith in God and sensing his purpose for my life, hard work, and determination I not only graduated from college but also from graduate school. True, I started late, but I made it. You can too.
My advice to one and all is this: Don't allow your past to determine your future. Discover God's purpose for your life and, with his help, give it all you've got.
Remember, failure is an event—not a person. When you stumble and fall (and you will from time to time), don't stay down. Get up, learn from your mistakes, and go on!
Every day for the rest of your life commit and trust your life and way to God and he will be with you every step of the way.
1. Dr. Milton E, Larson, "Humbling Cases for Career Counselors," Phi Delta Kappan, February 1983. Volume LIV, No. 6; 374.
Daily Encounter <:))))><

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Forgiving in the Name of God

We are all wounded people. Who wounds us?

Often those whom we love and those who love us. When we feel rejected, abandoned, abused, manipulated, or violated, it is mostly by people very close to us: our parents, our friends, our spouses, our lovers, our children, our neighbors, our teachers, our pastors.

Those who love us wound us too.

That's the tragedy of our lives. This is what makes forgiveness from the heart so difficult. It is precisely our hearts that are wounded. We cry out, "You, who I expected to be there for me, you have abandoned me. How can I ever forgive you for that?"

Forgiveness often seems impossible, but nothing is impossible for God. The God who lives within us will give us the grace to go beyond our wounded selves and say, "In the Name of God you are forgiven." Let's pray for that grace.

Extract from Henri Nouwen's Daily Meditation.

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." Mat6:14

Healing Our Hearts Through FORGIVENESS

How can we forgive those who do not want to be forgiven?

Our deepest desire is that the forgiveness we offer will be received. This mutuality between giving and receiving is what creates peace and harmony.
But if our condition for giving forgiveness is that it will be received, we seldom will forgive! Forgiving the other is first and foremost an inner movement. It is an act that removes anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge from our hearts and helps us to reclaim our human dignity. We cannot force those we want to forgive into accepting our forgiveness. They might not be able or willing do so. They may not even know or feel that they have wounded us.
The only people we can really change are ourselves. Forgiving others is first and foremost healing our own hearts.

Extract from Henri Nouwen's Daily Meditation.

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the LORD forgave you. " Col3:13

FORGIVENESS - The Way To Freedom

To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, "I no longer hold your offense against you" But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the "offended one." As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.

Extract from Henri Nouwen's Daily Meditation.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Could You Glorify God? (Finishing Chapter)

Actually, these questions are self-contradictory.

Repugnance is not a soft and gentle word. Hating the world needs to be action orientated.

God does not allow any compromising manner.

When you worship the created beings and not the creator God, you will find yourself unable to live the ways God wants you to.

Self-contradictory life is:

Victory comes from obedience to God.

Defeat is the consequence of fighting for own self.

Extracted from Crossroads Publications.
A spiritual life is a life in which our security is based not in any created things, good as they may be, but in God, who is everlasting love.

We probably will never be completely free from our attachment to the temporal world, but if we want to live in that world in a truly free way, we'd better not belong to it.

"You cannot be the slave both of God and of money" (Luke 16:13).

Extracted from Henri Nouwen's Daily Meditation

Friday, February 20, 2009










Saturday, February 14, 2009

Could You Glorify God?

Could you spend God’s money in the wealthy symbol, and then glorify God?

Could you neglect the Aids patient, the poor man and the needy person, and then glorify God?

Could you stretch justice by not according to God’s law, and then glorify God?

Could you evade sacrifice, let go of yourself and the ministry, and then glorify God?

Now, let us ponder and ask ourselves.

Extracted from Crossroads Publications.