Archive for the ‘bible’ Category

What’s that some people say, “Rules are meant to be broken?” Uh oh, unless you’re talking about the bible, and then, watch out, the Christian police will make sure you at least follow some of them, but, of course, only the ones that they stick to, at least when someone is watching. And that illustrates the problem with holding the bible up as a rulebook; there isn’t a single person on this earth now or ever, except for at least one, who actually kept all the rules; I take that back, even Jesus broke the rules, but then again, he understood that God isn’t a stickler for the rules but more about love and forgiveness. (more…)

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Recently, I’ve helped, along with a core group of great people, start a ministry at our church. It has been difficult, for me, because I’m typically a shy person, and, yet, extremely rewarding as I witness God’s will fulfilled on a weekly basis. As a group of unique individuals, how do we, as volunteers, succeed in this endeavor when we each bring our own misconceptions, ideals, wants, needs, fears, and anxieties to the group? When you think about all that mishmash of emotions, you might begin to wonder how we can even come close to succeeding. But that would be true if we weren’t all bound by God’s love and guidance, and with his grace we will flourish and fulfill his will.

But that doesn’t just happen easily, and our lives, who we are, what we do, and how we cope, have a chance to interfere with the spirit of God and disrupt what he wants us to do, but, fortunately, there are ways to tackle our issues and bring them to light so that we can work on them. (more…)

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A couple of weeks ago my daughter was telling me about a friend’s situation in life and how she was worried for her. I won’t go into the details, because that’s not the point of this, but needless to say, I told my daughter to pray for her friend. I was surprised to hear my daughter say that she didn’t know how to pray. I had two revelations at that moment. One, obviously I had failed as a parent because my daughter didn’t know how to pray. To be fair, she doesn’t spend that much time with me, but that’s just an excuse; I should have done a better job teaching her how to communicate with our God and Father. Two, I bet many people have no idea how to pray.

I can honestly say that I was lucky and my parents, probably just my mom, but to be fair I can’t rule out my dad, taught me on some level how to pray. I was raised Catholic, so of course most days ended in bed saying the “Our Father,” “Hail Mary”, and other typical Catholic prayers. So I had a good foundation.

But what is prayer really? To me, it’s simply a communication with God. Praying isn’t a complicated process. You talk. God listens. I don’t think it’s meant to be much more than that. Jesus even gave us a blueprint on what we need to say.

This is from Matthew, Chapter 6 (NIV):

9 This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

Jesus prays a lot in the bible. And not just in his solitude moments, but you will also find several passages where the gospels say that he is sort of mumbling to himself before doing something. I believe that he is talking to God at that moment. He doesn’t do so where anyone can hear him, obviously, because it always states that he is mumbling or making a noise. But he might just be saying under his breath, “Hey, Father, let your will be done.”

That’s what I believe Jesus teaches us about prayer. It’s supposed to be simple. Can you imagine when he said here is how you pray and it was just those simple, few lines. People were probably expecting something eloquent, moving, complicated, long, or verbose, but probably not those short simple lines, which summarized is: God you are great, let your will be done, give me something, forgive me, I will forgive others, and help me to be good. I mean that summary is almost as long as what he said to pray.

I bet a lot of people have that misconception about prayer. I’ve heard many people praying out loud (which I don’t partake in, more on that in a little bit), and they just keep going on and on. Lord do this. Father do that. Amen Father. Yes. Lord Father. Father God. They think the prayer has to be long and complicated. It doesn’t. Remember what they taught you in school: KISS. Keep it Simple Stupid.

You’re talking to God. He understands all. He knows all. Tell him what you want. He knows your heart. He knows what you are trying to say. God just wants you to talk to him. He enjoys your company. You can’t mess up. If your toddler says “milk;” you know what he or she is attempting to express. If your dog barks by the door, you know that he wants to go outside. You don’t expect it to be perfect. Neither does God. He loves you more than you can even begin to imagine, and he knows already that we are far from perfect.

I’ve never really told anyone this, but I pray to God all day long. That’s the beauty of having a conversation with God. He can understand what I’m thinking. So if I get angry at someone who cut me off while driving to work, I ask God to help me calm down. If I can’t solve a programming problem, I pray to God, first, to help me calm down, and then, second, to help me discover the solution. When I talk to my kids, I tell God thank you. When I see someone asking for money on the side of the road, I pray to God to comfort them. Maybe it’s because I’m a shy person and I don’t have lots of conversations with people, but I talk to God more than anyone else.

Of course, I also have my longer prayers — the times when I devote more time and soul to the conversation, and a lot of times, those moments aren’t planned, and many times, they occur when something moves me. If I’m driving and I see a beautiful sunset, if I’m sitting in the deer stand or if I hear a favorite song, I will take that moment to reflect and worship God, asking that his will be done, asking for a good raise at work, asking for forgiveness as I tell him those individuals that I forgive, and finally, I ask him to help me be a good person. You don’t have to make time for prayer. As the famous philosopher NIKE always says, “Just do it.” If you were in the car with your best friend and the sunset happened to be stunning, you wouldn’t wait until tomorrow to sit your friend down and tell her how much you liked it or whatever you and your friend discuss. You would just tell them, right then and there.

I know what you’re thinking, “for someone who said keep it simple, you sure went on and on,” but hey, I just want you to understand what Jesus said and practiced when it came to prayer. Prayer is simple, and you just need to do it. See, I could have just typed that sentence, and it states all that you need to know, but I like writing what I think, so I tend to go on and on. And guess what, this was longer. I spilt this into two posts. The second half will be coming soon.

Oh, and what did I tell my daughter about praying for her friend? I simply told her to pray, “God, help my friend and comfort her.”

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