How Long Has it Been Since You Prayed This Prayer?

Today  we had missionaries visit our church. They came to bring a report about what they’d been doing on the mission field where they serve. When asked what specific pray we could be praying for them they had a quick answer.

You might imagine they asked that we pray for protection. Maybe they wanted us to pray for their finances or the current projects they were working to accomplish. But that’s not what they asked for.

Do you pray on a regular basis?  Do you ask God to meet your needs? There isn’t a thing wrong with that. He tells us to pray for what we need and he will provide for us.

Do you pray for the needs of your friends, your community and the events happening in the world? That’s good too. God tells us to pray for those around us.

While all of those prayers are absolutely in line with what God has said we should pray, there is another prayer that is perhaps even more important than any of those. And actually, if we prayed this prayer, we would be addressing all those other prayer needs at the same time.

What is this prayer? What did these missionaries ask for when the request was for specific, personal prayer? Without hesitation, they asked this.

“Pray that God will use my life.”

Period.  Nothing more.

How long has it been since you simply asked God to use your life? No restrictions, no directions about HOW He chooses to use it. Just the offering of your life for His service.

1 Peter 4:11  Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (NASB)

God Doesn’t Play Jenga

Have you ever played the game called Jenga? It consists of a set of 54 small boards or sticks of wood. The pieces are stacked in rows of 3 with each layer placed at a right angle to the previous layer. The stack of sticks is quite stable when you are finished.

Jenga

The name Jenga comes from a Swahili word meaning “to build.” The object of the game is to remove sticks from lower levels and place them carefully on top to create a new layer without collapsing the entire tower. Each time a player removes a stick it compromises the stability of the original structure. Eventually the tower can’t stand anymore stress and comes tumbling down in a heap of rubble. Game over.

I was thinking about that game and comparing it to how God builds our lives. He starts with each layer and carefully puts each new stick in exactly the right order and position. He is building something that will last for eternity.

Unfortunately, sometimes we are not content to let God do the building. We see the sticks and they each have labels. One says “finances”, another says “marriage.” Others say “relationships,” “health,” and “career.” We think we know what our own needs are better than anyone else.

We may look at that tower that God is making with the priorities in our lives and we can be tempted to start making decisions about where He has placed each one. We start taking out sticks and placing them on top. We start deciding for ourselves which things go where and what importance they hold. And all the while, we are weakening the structure that God has designed.

Psalm 127:1  Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. (NASB)

Best to let the Father do the building and not try to play Jenga with Him. He knows exactly where to place each piece and His creation will never collapse. Trust Him with your life and you will be amazed at what He will do!

Are You Dazzled?

When was the last time you allowed God to dazzle you? He wants to. His creation is just waiting to WOW you and show you His glory.

The word dazzle is an interesting one. Webster’s dictionary defines it this way:

1  to lose clear vision especially from looking at bright light

2  to shine brilliantly or to arouse admiration by an impressive display

We know from 1 John 1:5 that “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” I find it interesting that if we combine the definition with the scripture that we end up with something along these lines:

“To lose clear vision (of everything else) from looking at a bright light (God). “

God wants us to be so overwhelmed with His light that we lose sight of all else. He wants to shine so brilliantly that we are in awe. He wants to display His glory for all to see.

He uses His creation to show us His glory. If you have visited the Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains, Hawaii or Niagara Falls, you have probably been dazzled by God for a time. When you were standing there looking at what God designed I doubt that you were thinking about your to-do list. And I doubt that you could be in any of those places and stretch out your arms and say “Look at me, see how amazing I am?” You may have been fortunate to be able to say anything! Sometimes God’s wonders leave us speechless.

You don’t have to drive miles from your home to find something God has created that is amazing. Look at your own hand. Or look at your child or grandchild. You have some amazing things within reach of where you sit right now. Allow God to dazzle you!

How long has it been since you were dazzled by God? He has much to show you! Ask Him to show you His Glory. Ask Him to dazzle you today.

Job 37:22  So also, golden splendor comes from the mountain of God. He is clothed in dazzling splendor. (NLT)

My If List

checklistWP_20150705_16_34_51_ProDo you have an “if” list? I do. It’s that list of conditions in my head that prevents me from serving God right now, right where I am.

With the resources I already have.

I hear the debate going on in my head. If I had more money, I could give more. If my kids would just be responsible, then I’d have more time to devote to God. If my husband would get that job then we could…

The list goes on and on. Other’s lists would be different than mine. Their lists might contain things like, if I could only find the right husband, if I could live in that city, if I could live in that house or neighborhood, if only my health would improve, if…if…if…

When we fill our “if” list we build up road blocks that prevent us from being effective for God. We find ourselves just waiting for the perfect conditions and THEN we can do what God is calling us to do. What we are really doing is stalling and finding excuses that keep us in our safe, predictable lives. Until all the conditions we have listed are met, we feel justified in waiting. After all, doesn’t the scripture say “wait on the Lord?”

But of course, waiting on the Lord and procrastination are not the same thing. One is a directive from the Lord not to run ahead of him. The other is our own inclination to drag our feet. We need to land somewhere in the middle. Willing to pause and let God lead but not to sit down and do nothing until we decide the conditions are right. Frankly, if you are walking close to the Lord, He will have you doing things you never thought you would do and in the most unlikely circumstances.

So perhaps it’s time we looked honestly and closely at our own lists. Are there ideals that we need to dispel? Things we need to let go of?

What’s on your “if” list? Are you willing to tear up that list of distractions and move forward with the Lord? There’s no time like the present.

 

Psalm 119:60   I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandment.(ESV)

 

Proverbs 3:28   Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you. (ESV)