Friday, May 29, 2009

Prayer attitude in suffering

A woman who is in her 30's and who is reaching the end of her life has a wonderful video here:

One statement she made that may be a quote from someone else (I'm not sure) is:
"God allows in his wisdom what He could prevent by his power."

This is helpful for me. Also helpful for me is Paul Miller's statement that God is weaving a larger story (see post for may 20th on this--)and that I have 2 approaches to a praying life:


Blaming OR



So my goal, of course , is to be in the story that God is weaving and bowing before God with the pieces of my life. And praying in the way I should--having the right attitude.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seize the Day? or Seize His garment

I like this thought!! VERY MUCH!

"If you try to seize the day, the day will eventually break you. Seize the corner of his garment and don't let go until he blesses you. He will reshape the day." (Paul Miller)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

God is weaving our individual stories

I found this to be a great way to look at my life and to look at hard times in my life. God is truly beautiful.

Paul Miller talks about the fact that God is weaving a story with our lives...We need to look for the Storyteller. Look for his hand and then pray in light of what you are seeing. Stay in the story. Don't shut down when it goes the wrong way.

Sometimes when we say "God is silent", what's really going on is that he hasn't told the story the way we wanted it told. He will be silent when we want him to fill in the blanks of the story we are creating. But with his own stories, the ones we live in, he is seldom silent".

"When confronted with suffering that won't go away or with even a minor problem, we instinctively focus on what is missing, such as the lost coats and the betrayal in Joseph's story, not on the Master's hand. Often when you think everything has gone wrong, it's just that you're in the middle of a story. If you watch the stories God is weaving in your life, you, like Joseph, will begin to see the patterns. You'll become a poet, sensitive to your Father's voice."

Every one has their desert

I like what Paul Miller says about the desert place in our lives:

"God takes everyone he loves through a desert. It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden. Here's how it works.

The first thing that happens is we slowly give up the fight. Our wills are broken by the reality of our circumstances. The things that brought us life gradually die. Our idols die for lack of food......

The still, dry air of the desert brings the sense of helplessness that is so crucial to the spirit of prayer. You come face-to-face with your inability to live, to have joy, to do anything of lasting worth. Life is crushing you.

Suffering burns away the false selves created by cynicism or pride or lust. You stop caring about what people think of you. The desert is God's best hope for the creation of an authentic self.

Desert life sanctifies you. You have no idea you are changing........
The desert becomes a window to the heart of God. He finally gets your attention because he's the only game in town....................Without realizing it, you have learned to pray continuously. The clear, fresh water of God's presence that you discover in the desert becomes a well inside your own heart.
The best gift of the desert is God's presence."

I have found this to be very very true in my life. ....and in the lives of my friends. God really uses these deserts (and he sometimes literally and figuratively did so with Jacob, Moses, Jesus, Daniel etc). It is amazing how God can drive us to Himself.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

one point in our praying

Paul Miller states,

"But the point of prayer is shifting control from you to God. Moreover, doesn't the Father want all of us to become more like his Son."

"Now imagine if I were like Jesus, dependent on my heavenly Father for wisdom, grace, and courage---wisdom to know how to interact with my son, grace to do it without a demanding spirit, and the courage to actually do it."

I think this is part of what it means to abide in Christ---praying in every situation in dependence upon Him---shifting my control to Him.

What do you think?

Friday, May 15, 2009

beauty as we age--Dostoyevsky

I love this quote from Dostoyevshy's "Brothers Karamoazov " --about old age

" .....the fiery blood of youth gives way to the gentle serenity of old age. I bless the rising sun each day, and my heart sings to it as of old, but now I love its setting even more, its long slanting rays and the quiet, gentle, tender memories that come with them, the dear images from the whole of my long and blessed life---and over it all Divine Truth, tender, reconciling, and all-forgiving! My life is drawing to a close. I know that, I feel it. But I also feel every day that is left to me how my earthly life is already in touch with a new, infinite, unknown but fast-approaching future life, the anticipation of which sets my soul trembling with rapture, my mind glowing , and my heart weeping with joy....."

Friday, May 8, 2009

God's goal for our lives when involved in problems

I like this thought by Paul Tripp--

"We tend to be shortsighted and self-absorbed. We forget that God's primary goal is not changing our situations and relationships so that we can be happy, but changing us through our situations and relationships so that we will be holy."

His goal is that we have the joy of knowing Him better.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Help for my anxieties--lectio devina!

Lately I have become anxious---I don't know all of the causes for this. There are different things going on in my life that can make me anxious....but I was wondering why I keep letting my heart become gripped with fear.

This week as I have been talking to friends and reading a book on "A Praying Life" by Paul Miller, I have realized some of the causes for this grip of anxiety taking over my heart.

First of all in my prayer life I stopped praying with and through scripture. Paul Miller says this was a habit called lectio divina which was developed by the early church. "By praying slowly through a portion of Scripture, I was allowing Scripture to shape my heart."

I used to do this every day. I used to write Scripture on 4 by 6 index cards that came in a spiral binding. I would write the Word of God that spoke to me in my devotions, or perhaps that I heard preached, or taught and then I would pray slowly over the verses. Beth Moore has a book that gives some guidance and practice in this area. ANYWAYS I now realize I need to get back to this practice.

Secondly I have seen my need to drop being cynical--(which sometimes happens--and I pull away with a stoic attitude), and to be like a Child. I like what Miller says on this when he discusses how he was praying through Psalm 23 --"Both the child and the cynic walk through the valley of the shadow of death. The cynic focuses on the darkness; the child focuses on the Shepherd." I have been focusing on the darkness, and not the Shepherd. I know, when I reflect on past trials that have been very difficult trials, there is the time when the Shepherd's presence is so powerful that as Miller says , the cynicism simply vanishes.

So right now---I need to work on praying through Scripture. I need to become more childlike. And last of all I need to be super frequent in my prayers as soon as I realize I am becoming anxious.

Last of all--spending time with my fellow acountability friends really helped to restore my peace! Thank the Lord for Christian fellowship.

Friday, May 1, 2009

How business can tie in with simplicity

I am reading a good book by Paul E. Miller on , "A Praying Life". I think this paragraph has helped me see how business and simplicity can go together....I have often thought about how busy Jesus' life was and tried to reconcile that with trying to live a simple life.

"The quest for a contemplative life can actually be self-absorbed, focused on my quiet and me. If we love people and have the power to help, then we are going to be busy. Learning to pray doesn't offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart. In the midst of outer busyness we can develop an inner quiet. Because we are less hectic on the inside, we have a greater capacity to love... and thus to be busy, which in turn drives us even more into a life of prayer. By spending time with our Father in prayer, we integrate our lives with his, with what he is doing in us. Our lives become more coherent. They feel calmer, more ordered, even in the midst of confusion and pressure." THIS WAS VERY HELPFUL AND I CAN SEE THAT is TRUE WITH THE WAY JESUS LIVED....IN THINKING OF SIMPLICITY ...THIS IS THE ONLY WAY I CAN TIE IT IN WITH A BUSY LIFE.