Archive for the ‘Prayer & Meditation’ Tag

Lonely, or Perfect?   Leave a comment

Mark’s first chapter indicates a couple of times that Jesus went to lonely or secluded places.

The first reference is that Jesus got up early and went to the wilderness, arid, a lonely place where he could pray. Morning quiet time is what works best for me. What about you? Any other time of day is far too difficult because my mind has already hit overdrive later and is challenging at best to bring to a crawl for a sound, fulfilling time alone with God. It isn’t impossible, just hard to achieve for me.

Photo by Walid Ahmad on Pexels.com

The other reference is when Jesus was simply trapped in place by large crowds. Of course he had the compassion to heal them all and cast out all of their evil spirits, so he would do so (and I’d say) with great joy. But this was overwhelming for his human capacity, so for any kind of rest or opportunity to spend time in prayer, he had to go to secluded places. Seclusion is an intentional separation where you are either running from something or being forced somewhere not of your own will.

Seclusion has negative connotations. Loneliness can be similar, but in this case, it is an intentional choice. For me it would be to say that each morning when I get up and around and have my cup of coffee that I have my quiet time because it is mandated, a command, an order. If it is something I have to do, my motivation is decreased greatly. If it is something that I want to do, desire comes easily.

Where I go for my quiet time is in the peaceful setting of my home office. I say peaceful simply because early in the morning it is very quiet. I’m literally surrounded by work opportunities but ignore them for this sacred moment. I’m up long before my wife and can read and meditate, using candles to set the mood if I like or low lighting. I’ll read Scripture and poetry and then open my laptop and write in this journal. Often, my prayer itself comes through these moments without the traditional-formal closing of the eyes and bowing of the head. In here, in this time, I am in the arms of God, sipping coffee and enjoying the presence.

It is a lonely place, but I’m anything but alone. That makes it perfect!

Wheelhouse   1 comment

How does God best use you?  I could go on forever about spiritual gifts, their uses and abuses, and how many folks get lost in search of theirs because they won’t accept assistance.  What I am talking about now is your “wheelhouse.”  A wheelhouse is to a baseball batter that one sweet spot where a pitch comes in and you can knock it out of the park every time.  In your experience, what would you call your wheelhouse? Read the rest of this entry »

A Special Anniversary   2 comments

October 11, 1972.  That was the day I knelt next to my father and invited Jesus Christ to become my Savior and Lord.  Today, October 11, 2010, I celebrate 38 years of knowing Jesus personally.  Have I been an ideal disciple or model believer?  Not even close.  Have I become the perfect Pastor having been in His service full-time for the past 11+ years?  Nope.  I’m still learning as I go on all accounts.

What strikes me about today’s anniversary is how this is the first one without the one who led me in that prayer.  Dad is gone, and reflection times seem so much deeper now.  I wish that wasn’t reality, but spiritual discernment is often a branch from the tree of retrospection. Read the rest of this entry »

When God Calls   Leave a comment

Sometimes, God’s call can be confusing.  I was recently invited to be part of a team to go help conduct Christian Ethics conferences in Tanzania, Africa.  My first and relatively immediate response was, “Nope.”  The invitation was reiterated along with information concerning some other invitees – people I know.  I conferred a bit with a couple in particular, but still determined my answer to be “no” because I simply couldn’t afford it and reasoned negative personal circumstances for rationale.

So when the third invitation transpired, something clicked in my mind: Samuel.   He heard the Lord call yet didn’t clearly understand.  Wise Eli told him to go back and listen one more time, then he would find his answer.  I believe this to be what has happened to me.

A third time I considered this invitation, only this time asking the Lord to help me see His heart and not my circumstances.  I called upon wise, prayerful friends to pray for God’s clear answer.  I asked spiritual leadership partners to pray and discuss this and let me know their collective thoughts.  Alas, my clear answer came.

Tanzania, by God’s grace, here I come!

Personal Conversation – Sermon Summary   Leave a comment

Luke 5:15-16.  Real Followers series, pt.4

Believers in Jesus Christ have direct access to the Lord through prayer.  This connection is essential for a vital relationship with God.

Prayer to the soul is much like food to the body.  Our bodies gain energy when they are fed.  The energy lasts for a period of time and then more food is required.  I believe that prayer is the spiritual equivalent.

One aspect of today’s passage is that Jesus sought out “lonely places” for prayer.  When we hear the word lonely, we have a sense of emptiness, absence, even neglect.  Yet what we find as Christians in our “quiet time” should be the polar opposite.  It is here that we find God.  It is here that we experience our primary spiritual feeding time.  There is no loneliness when we are connected with the Lord. Read the rest of this entry »