Are you sometimes unsatisfied with the quality of your life? Do you want it to be more meaningful? To be more in cync with God’s will? When I’m feeling that frustration, I remember that the less I think about me and the more I think about God, the richer and more significant my life will be. He is the only source of purpose and joy. And he responds when we turn our attention toward him.
With that in mind, I’m reposting one of my poems which I published in a blog in 2016. I’m sharing it now because it’s where my heart is and I’m thinking it may resonate with you as well.
Thinking of Him?
When the lights grow dim Are you thinking of Him? Or is your mind too cluttered With thoughts un-uttered And words unspoken And promises broken?
When the day is at end Do you talk with your Friend? Or are you doing the dishes And pondering wishes And things yet to do E’re the evening is through?
When you woke in your bed Was it His name you said? Or were you thinking of rights And yesterday’s fights And battles to win When the sun comes again?
Our mind is the measure Of what we most treasure. It shows us what holds us And constantly molds us. If we’re centered on Jesus And how He does please us,
The thoughts that disturb us And tend to perturb us Will crumble and cower And lose all their power. Then when the lights grow dim, We’ll be thinking of Him.
“I am trying to be utterly free from everybody, free from my own self, but completely enslaved to the will of God every moment of this day.” – Frank Laubauch
“When your will is God’s will, you will have your will.” – Charles Spurgeon
One time, as I prayed for God to show me his will, his answer was not what I expected. It went something like this in my mind:
My will is for you to get to know me better. My will is for you to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. But, don’t worry. It’s more like “flowing through” than control. I want you to know me so well and to be so aligned with me that operating under the Spirit’s control will be as natural as breathing.
I do not control by force or coercion. I control by uniting my very self to you and, as we become one, my will and your will coincide. Not force, but flow. That’s my will for you.
As I considered this messsage, I realized that we, as God’s children, need to focus on one thing: getting to know him. Some of us have been learning about him for a long time now by reading the Bible, exploring creation, observing his activities in the world, sharing our hearts and lives with him day-by-day, and listening for his response. We all have a long way to go in our journey to knowing God, but everything we’ve learned about him so far should make us more able to give him control – to allow his personality, perceptions, and passion to flow through us every day.
When we do that, we don’t have to ask as often what his will is. The closer we stay to God, the more we are simply living his will day-by-day.
“. . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2
Nehemiah had gone to Jerusalem to oversee rebuiding the walls around the beloved city that had been destroyed by war. While in Israel, he not only rebuilt the walls, but became a leader in their society – teaching how God wanted them to live.
One day the people brought him a problem. Many didn’t have enough to eat and were being taken advantage of by those who sold grains and food. They were going into debt, mortgaging their fields, and selling their children into slavery, just so they could eat.
There had to be a better way! I love what Nehemiah did next. He says, “I took counsel with myself” (Nehemiah 5:7). After that thinking time, he confronted the nobles and officials, demanding they follow God’s way by returning the lands they had taken, stop charging interest, and engaging in fair dealings. Surprisingly, they agreed to do as Nehemiah said.
Do you ever “seek counsel with yourself”? There’s a way to do it that I’ve found quite effective. I sit in a quiet place acknowledging God’s presence and his lordship over me. Then, I begin to talk about the problem, thinking it through out loud with him. I am “seeking counsel with myself”, but doing it in God’s presence. He and I work it through together. Often, the answer to my dilemma becomes clear as my thinking is guided by God.
Sometimes, even before we seek counsel from others, maybe we need to do what Nehemiah did. Often God will help us find an answer or a path – just between the two of us.
“God is already present in my life and all around me; prayer offers the chance to attend and respond to that presence.” – Philip Yancey
After some minor surgery recently, I was disoriented and agitated as I woke from the anesthetic. Nurses were trying to calm me, asking what I was feeling, reassuring me. One nurse turned my face toward hers and said, “Look at me. Everything’s OK.” I was still distressed.
Then, glancing over her shoulder, I saw my husband. His were the eyes I locked in on. His words, almost the same as hers, were the ones I trusted. In the middle of my confusion, his was the voice that connected with my fear and brought peace.
Are you thrashing about in life today? Not feeling anchored? Distraught? Angry? Worried? Listening to music might help, or taking a walk, or talking with a friend. But often messages from those around us aren’t enough to bring peace. What do we do?
We look over the shoulder of this world to see Jesus. He understands what it’s like to be human, and he’s strong enough to carry our fear or pain. We read from the Gospels to gain confidence in who he is. We pray, knowing he not only listens, but is loving enough to respond – with power or with a quiet voice inside us.
Whatever way we find to turn to Jesus, when we lock our eyes into his, we are able to stop struggling against circumstances or emotional reactions. Peace comes when our trust is placed in the One who knows just what we need. He will take care of us.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
” . . . far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.”
(1 Samuel 12:23a)
Last week, I had a friend ask me to pray for a specific thing to happen in her life. I did. When she called me a few days later, letting me know that our prayers had been answered, I was just as happy as she was and we both gave our thanks to God for his intervention.
I’ve wondered why we ask people to pray for us. Do we think if we have enough voices storming heaven on our behalf, God will be convinced to answer our prayers? I don’t think it really works that way. I believe even one prayer has enough power to move the hand of God. So, then, why do we ask for help in our prayers?
I think the reason is identified for us by Paul when said, “On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:10b-11). Paul certainly would have had God’s listening ear if he had prayed for himself. But here he says he had asked other Christians to pray for him, so they could all thank God when the answer came. The goal is more than accomplishing something for ourselves. It is giving glory to God. And when many pray, many give him praise.
We all have needs. Let’s ask one person, maybe more, to pray for us, so we can all give thanks to God for his answers!
“No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” – Charles Spurgeon
“However many blessings we expect from God, his infinite liberality will always exceed our wishes and our thoughts.” – John Calvin
On a recent trip to a South Asian country, my hustand and I attended worship services in a language we couldn’t understand. What we did understand, though, was the loving hearts of parents who brought us their children, asking that we pray for them. They trusted our prayers would be heard and their children would be blessed.
When Jesus was here on earth, there were mothers and fathers who brought their young ones to him for the same reason. If you are a parent, you understand. Who would not want his/her child to be blessed by God?
I remember, years ago now, sitting in the rocking chair, soothing my babies to sleep and praying over their fuzzy heads that God would bless them. I’m sure many of you have done the same. You know what? We can still bring our children to Jesus for blessing even if they’re not babies anymore
One of my favorite signs of God’s blessing was on his own Son – no longer a child, but all grown up. Can you imagine the joy in Jesus’ heart when he heard from heaven, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased”? As a young man, Jesus was experiencing his father’s blessing because he was was making him proud.
God doesn’t stop blessing us just because we’re grown up. We’re still his kids! So, let’s not stop asking for God to bless our children. And let’s ask him to bless us, too. We never outgrow our need for his goodness toward us.
“Give thanks to him and bless his name! For the Lord is good, his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” – Psalm 100:4b-5
How many times have you had this pseudo-conversation?
“How’s it going?”
Really? Are you sure it’s great? We tend to go through life without really thinking about how it’s going, don’t we? We move from one task to the next, one conversation (digital or personal) to the next, just hoping we’ll get everything done so we can get to bed at a reasonable hour and rise to do it all again tomorrow.
Maybe there’s a better way. What if we took a few minutes at the end of each day to think about the conversations, encounters, actions, reactions, joys, and sorrows of the day? Then we could move on to confessing as sin any thing we did, said, or thought, that didn’t please God. Finally, we could pick one specific thing from the day for which to thank him.
If we practice this, even on occasion, we’ll begin to learn something about ourselves and how we are using our hours and days. There may be some patterns of life we need to change. There may be relationships we need to be less invested in and others we should nurture. There may be an awareness of God leading us in a new direction in our work or our service to him.
The point is to pay attention to our lives. We don’t often have time to do that during the rush of the day. But, before we close our eyes in sleep, maybe a few minutes of reflection would enrich us and give God a chance to take us deeper into him. Let’s really know how it’s going!