Tag Archives: faith

Is It Okay to Ask For Prayer?

Not only is it okay to ask for prayer, but if we don’t we are not availing ourselves of one of our greatest tools as Children of God. No matter who you are, or how together you think your Christian life is you still have human factors waging war against you all the time. Do you think Billy Graham asks for prayer? What about David Jeremiah or Charles Stanley?

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I think choosing what you want to write about on your blog can be fascinating. Now certainly there are cases when the scope is narrowed, such as when I take on the regular weekly fiction challenges where a photo subject gives you a loose frame. Also, when I post a Flower of the Day photo I have to excuse the furry squirrels from the equation.

But today when I returned from lunch I saw this tag and it sent my metaphorical wheels in my head turning like wild! If I could figure out a way to charge my phone a little every time I took a photo with it I would never have to worry. But it is because I find so many things interesting that I not only want to capture the image, but share the thoughts tied to it.

There is a set of verses in the bible that talks about the “stiff-necked people”. It is Acts 7:51 and while it more accurately relates how stubborn and obstinate folks are when it comes to allowing the Holy Spirit to lead them I cannot help but draw a comparison in my mind to those who do not think prayer is important.

At my church we have frequent occasions where we share the prayer requests on our hearts and minds. Predominantly these are requests relating a need of someone who is not present or is a relation or friend. Just this week I asked for prayer for our friends in Belize, where we do a significant amount of ministry because a potential hurricane was brewing in the Caribbean Sea.

But, on occasion, someone will ask for prayer if they feel the need. Now you must understand as in most churches we are a close-knit group and know quite a lot about each other and feel comfortable sharing our weaknesses or needs. I understand that is not the way everyone is made. some people are private and do not share, even when the need is great.

Leaving the opportunity to be blessed by the prayer of another or a group of others behind is to surrender one of God’s greatest blessings. We are in this mortal life together and need others to survive and thrive. So my answer to the question at the top is YES. I feel it is perfectly acceptable to ask for prayer.

What about you? Will you ask for prayer when you need it? How do you feel when someone prays aloud for you?

 

 

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Totality – How the Solar Eclipse Illustrates being a partial Christian

All across the united States hundreds of millions of people took a trip outside to witness one of nature’s more rare events, a solar eclipse. From Oregon to South Carolina a select few were treated to what is termed “totality” where the entire sun is occluded. While I wish I could have been in the number to witness this, I could not. Perhaps in 2024 when we have another I can do so.

But I want to use this event as an illustration of how you can claim to be a Christian, but be as disappointing as an “almost full eclipse”. For example, look at the pictures below. On the left is the “total solar eclipse. You can see the corona all around the sun where the moon has totally covered its bigger contemporary. But on the right you can see a 95% eclipse, an almost total. Do you notice the difference?

ECLIPSE

To be an effective witness you can not be an almost Christian, or mostly Christian. When you take on that heavy mantle of being a professing Christian in effect you also agree to represent the entire body of Christians living and those who have gone on to their eternal reward. Every word, every deed, every unguarded moment is a potential failing point.

Thankfully God has provided us with grace to cover those moments when our humanness overcomes our practice of Christianity. Christians will inadvertently and sometimes knowingly stumble. We are imperfect creatures with the kind of temptations and desires that can make maintaining the Christian “totality” challenging.

SO as you reflect on the solar eclipse think about how seeing only a partial eclipse can compare to trying to maintain your Christian walk. Do you find yourself lacking in this pursuit? What strategies do you employ to counter those moments.

Before – The 2017 Kindness Challenge

I found Niki, from The Richness of a Simple Life, during this year’s 2017 A to Z Blogging Challenge. If you did not see any of her challenge posts you should click on her blog link and check it out. She has a great perspective and I am happy to connect with another strong Christian online.

Before we begin the seven week 2017 Kindness Challenge Niki has asked that we take some time to put together and intention post. What is that? It is kind of a plan for what we would like to accomplish in the Kindness Challenge. What will be the kindness you will seek to embody? How will you touch others or allow them to touch you?

I find myself in a weird mood as I approach this. I know everyone has a different perspective on kindness, but I want to share this thought. Kindness is not doing something you should do as a matter of politeness or being a positive part of society.

To say thank you is not kindness. To do something after you are instructed is not kindness, at least in my estimation. In order to register on the kindness scale I think your action must be beyond your normal habits.

The kind of example I might give is seeking out the manager of a retail store and telling them what a good job their staff does. Or what a good job they do about keeping their store clean and stocked. Take a buggy in for someone in a parking lot so they don’t have to roll it to the buggy return. You are going in anyway.

Recently there has been some opportunities to send birthday cards to members of my church. I have been selective in who I send to, choosing those who may not receive a card from anyone else. Everyone deserved to feel special on their birthday, so it is a small thing on my part.

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Looking at the seven weeks and themes I can give a better intention of what will be the focus.

  • Week 1 | Self-love
  • Week 2 | Self-compassion
  • Week 3 | Self-acceptance
  • Week 4 | Kindness role model
  • Week 5 | Choosing kindness
  • Week 6 | Kindness without expectation
  • Week 7 | Grateful for kindness

 

I may have trouble with week 1 because as a Christian I feel like self-love is something that can cause issues. This blog is called Living the J.O.Y. Principle, which espouses the idea of Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last. I find the more I focus on Jesus and doing for others the happier I am.

However, I do realize you must have balance in all things and eventually you will tap yourself out with no input to your own self-development. I suppose that may be a big reason I wanted to take part in this challenge. Plus a challenge with a large quantity of participants provides someone to hold you accountable. We could all use more of that can’t we?

2017 Before Posts

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

The Weekly Photo Challenge is like a mini-lottery game to me. You never know what might pop up as the topic of the week. But unlike the lottery, at least in my experience, there is a winner every time with the Weekly Photo Challenge, you just have to peruse the photo archives.

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I am on the left in my “HOT” weather gear.  

I wanted for years to travel to do mission work with my church. In about 2010 or so I finally got the chance as we traveled to the gulf coast of the United States to work on a church roof that needed to be replaced. I have been to the tourist areas in Florida like Orlando, Saint Augustine and Melbourne, but this was my furthest trip into the western side of Florida.

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In 2012 I joined a team of 10 others on my first international mission trip to Belize. This picture is from Old Belize, the most tourist centered place we visited and it was only for lunch on the way to the airport on the last day. Most of our time was in and around the capital of Belmopan.

alaska I hope to take in the breath taking beauty of our 50th state this fall as my wife and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. There is an ever-growing list of places I want to see and this seems a great starting point.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/wanderlust/

 

Denial – the easy response when you see sin in your life

DenialI know anyone who has ever been alive longer than a couple of years has heard about sin. It is the product of many of this mortal life’s good and bad experiences. Sin comes in many forms. There is purposeful sin, accidental sin, ignorant sin and more. But in the end it is all against God’s instructions for how to live a Christian life. Do you think God hides any of this information? He doesn’t. He puts it out front and center for our consumption. If we do not know its because we don’t care to look for it or ask about it.

What is the first human reaction when we are faced with the thought we may have committed a sin? I think it is denial. We think “oh no, not me!” “I didn’t sin. If so I didn’t mean to.” But if we are honest with ourselves many times we do indeed sin. I have been a Christian for more than thirty years and I still sin way too often. Thankfully my knowledge of the difference between sinful acts and those that aren’t sinful has increased, but the sin nature is still present.

I used to try the denial route. It is easy to deny and try to blame your actions on the situation, the weather, the stock market or anything else. But all this does is prolong your feeling of conviction that comes from wanting to please God with your actions. The best thing you can do when you realize you are sinning is to remove yourself from the situation and confess your sin.

Accept that you are mortal, that sin will always be a challenge and try to learn how to head it off before it gets tis claws in you. Isn’t it better to not have to dive into the denial pool? God loves you, will accept you wherever you are and will change your life, including how you deal with sin, if you will just follow his lead.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/denial/

Go Seek Your Fortune – 03/30/17

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Did you know if you are a Christian you cannot be rich? That is a perception among those without understanding of the teachings of the Holy Bible about submitting to the will of Christ. They wrongly believe if you accept Christ you surrender any chance of success and accumulation of worldly wealth.

I can tell you that is not true. God’s teaching asks us to cheerfully give 10% of what we earn. Cheerfully as in not just tossing a bill in the offering plate as it passes on Sunday morning because everyone is watching. Freely, because we want to honor God and support His ministries. Not to mention the real fact that all of it is His to begin with anyway. What exactly did you create that brings your income? Even if you conjured a new device out of thin air you used raw ingredients crafted with love by the Creator.

Moving on now, we have established it is okay to have some kind of fortune. But, the way you deal with hat fortune is just as important as how you obtain it. Here is a passage from the gospel of Luke that speaks about it.

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?   Luke 16:10-11 NIV
God will bless those He knows will make good use of the blessing. That may not always be in tangible assets. Some of the richest people on earth don’t have a bank account of note. Instead they are using their talents, which also can be considered a fortune to the glory of God.
In my estimation our time on earth is a type of fortune. Each of us has a limited shelf life. From the moment we are born there is a countdown and not making the most of our time is squandering a vast fortune. We should be busy about God’s work, sharing with others about his teachings and salvation. That is why I created this blog. I invite you to click around and see what might catch your attention here.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fortune-2/

Elixir – Finding eternal life

Elixir

Humans have sought the magic of eternal life for centuries. All the way back in 1535 a Spanish explorer and conquistador named Ponce de Leon poked around Florida seeking a magic elixir to prolong his life. Hundreds of millions of dollars flow out of bank accounts every month on creams, lotions, treatments and the promise of  extending the scope of our mortal existence.

But truly none of these mortal offerings will translate into much more than a band aid kind of help. For a lasting kind of change to the possibility of an eternal life you have one solid option: trust in Christ.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 King James Version

There is no doubt why this verse is quoted more often than probably any other verse in the Holy Bible. It is the kind of thing that everyone needs to hear. Notice the keyword whosoever. It does not say the rich, the poor, northerners, southerners, westerners, Americans, Europeans or Africans. There is no qualifier of young or old, black, white or brown. No, God’s promise is to whosoever is willing to take the step. I don’t know about you, but that is my kind of elixir.

The water of life can wash away your sins, those in the past, present and to come. How can that possibly be? Because God is involved and God has already done everything He chooses, is doing so now and will do so in the future. When you follow the teaching of John 3:16, you lock in your reservation in Heaven where eternal life awaits.

How long is eternal life? You can’t measure it in terms the human mind can grasp. Try to think of the worst lecture you ever attended, one you thought would never end. Then imagine the flip side where you never want it to end. That is somewhat like eternal life except it will NEVER end. I choose this as my flavor if elixir.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/elixir/