Friday, September 10, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Power of Prayer

It has been awhile since I've written a post. It seems we think about things less when things are going well. Lately, though, I've been thinking quite a bit about the power of prayer. I am a firm believer that prayer works. I fully believe that God loves us, and knows every fleeting thought in our minds. When you focus these thoughts into prayer, and talk to God about your needs, He will always take care of you. Let me use my own experiences as an example. I had ended a relationship where God was not important. More than that, He was completely shut out. After it was over, I found that without God I am just an empty shell, wandering with no real purpose. I began to pray for God to fill me with his Spirit, to let His light and love shine through me and onto those around me, for my life to follow the path laid out for me. I made this the focus of my life. Every day, I felt the shell of my body being filled with this amazing "wholeness." Love and light began to feel like tangible things, emanating from my core. Being unemployed, the next step was to find a job. At this point I had put in somewhere around 80 applications over the course of several months, and had gotten no response. I began to pray about it, and within the next two days I was contacted by 7 prospective employers. If I know anything, I know this: that there is nothing so wondrous as the presence of God in my life.

'Have faith in God,' Jesus answered. 'I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:22-24

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Once Was Lost...

There is one phrase that really annoys me: "You just have to find yourself." I admit, I am guilty as charged of uttering this myself, but simply as a cliche when I had nothing else to say. Perhaps that it why it bothers me. It's a cliche. What does it really mean to "find yourself?"

If you have to find yourself, it implies that the essence of who you are is lost. This leads to the question, what is the essence of who you are? We can discover this by examining your priorities. There are some who are only concerned with worldly gains and pleasures: Making money, feeling good, being content. My brother gave me a good litmus test. Think of the 5 things that are most important for you to do in your lifetime. When you look at this list, how many things are just for your own temporary happiness rather than your eternal well being? The material things of this world are perishable, and everything has an expiration date. If you concern ourselves with only these things that won't last, then you surely are lost.

Jesus spoke numerous times about finding what is lost. These people were losing coins, sheep, even sons. Each of these have basically the same point, though. If we are lost, He will come looking for us. Let me repeat this: If we are lost He will come looking for us. Perhaps this is the root of what bothers me about trying to find yourself. It is not I who is finding myself, it is Christ finding me. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. Luke 19:10 If you focus yourselves on your role in the Body of Christ rather than your gains in the material world, you then find yourself with a solid and eternal purpose.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote about "finding yourself," not in a self-serving worldly way, but rather in a way that serves the will of God.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Note

The other day I was discussing my last blog with my mom. We were reminiscing, talking about that time in our lives, when she mentioned she was surprised I hadn't mentioned the note. "What note?" I asked. "Don't you remember?" my mom responded, "The note you found after her funeral." It hit me like a wave. How could I have forgotten?

I really struggled with her death. At the funeral, I felt the preacher was looking mostly at me, the one hysterically crying in the front row. Not too long afterwards, I was trying to grapple both with the loss as well as moving away from home to attend college. I was going through my backpack, and in one of the front pockets I found a folded piece of paper. I unfolded it, and immediately recognized her bubbly handwriting. On the paper was written a simple sentence, but it was enough to cause me to fall to my knees.

"Everything will be alright."

How is this possible? I thought. Logic told me this hadn't been recently placed there, but I couldn't recall ever seeing it before that point. The words echoed in my mind. Everything will be alright. Reassurance, when I needed it most.

Now, as I face struggles in my life I never imagined, I have to cling to this simple phrase. Everything will be alright. Have faith. Trust. I may feel like I'm free falling, but I will not hit ground. These four words, given to me as a profound gift in a dark hour of my life, hold immeasurable truth and comfort. No matter what troubles befall me, everything will be alright.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Music has an uncanny ability to reach deep down into us and pull up emotions we thought were long past laid to rest. Certain songs firmly affix themselves to memories, and have the power to place us back in that experience. For me, this song is "Shine" by Collective Soul.

In 2001, as a senior in high school, my best friend died in a car accident. My mother and I drove to the funeral together, and as we were approaching the church "Shine" came on the radio. Up to this point I had liked the song simply because I thought it was catchy. Now, with my friend on my mind, the words struck a new chord with me:

"Give me a word, give me a sign,
show me where to look and tell me what will I find
Lay me on the ground and fly me in the sky,
show me where to look and tell me what will I find

Oh, Heaven let your light shine down.....

Love is in the water, love is in the air,
show me where to look - tell me will love be there
Teach me how to speak, teach me how to share,
show me where to look - tell me will love be there

Oh, Heaven let your light shine down.....

I'm gonna let it shine, I'm gonna let it shine
Heaven let your light shine on me"

In that moment, I knew God's light was shining on me. I felt that assurance that she was in Heaven, shining brightly and surrounded by unconditional love. I thought about all she'd taught me during our time together; how to love, to speak, and to share; and prayed that I would continue in these lessons.

I do not seek out this song, and I have never bought a copy. Perhaps it is nothing but coincidence, but it always seems to find me when I least expect it, but need it the most. When this song comes on, as it did this morning on my drive to work, I pause to reflect on the promise of Heaven though God's love, how He continues to work through my life, and my friend who is shining down on me.

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever. - Daniel 12:3

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Purpose

What's the purpose, what's the point? This is the underlying question. This is my journey to make this discovery, the chronicle of my thoughts and discoveries, both significant and fleeting. Every experience in my life is an opportunity to learn, grow, or correct something. God has given each of us our own journey, our own uniquely designed path. Here is mine.

My path is not always straight, and it is not always paved. There are rough patches, steep slopes, distracting billboards and messages, and confusing intersections. Navigating this road by myself would be a nightmare. Left to travel down the road myself I would be uncertain where to go, and unsure of my destination. Thankfully, I have been given both a map and a driver! My map is the Bible, and my driver is God. He knows the road better than I do, He designed it. Is it not better to resign myself to the passenger seat?