Finding Prayer Effective

downloadOver the last 31 days, we have posted a series of missives penned by Andrew Murray in 1898.  Amazingly they coincide quite well with our current needs.  It seems prudent to go another 31 days.  You may have missed one, or there may be another item come to mind when you find yourself on a day.  Join with me.

This will take us into the church season of Lent, which starts on March 6th.  Maybe you will join with me on a fast.  There are several ways to fast and pray.  Here are a few.  Never take a physical fast without talking to a doctor or intimately knowing your physical condition.

  1. Abstain from a food you like.  Candy and cake and donuts and pastries.
  2. Abstain from all starches and sugars.  Potatoes, pasta, bread, sweets.
  3. Abstain from meat.  Go vegetarian.
  4. Soup fast.  Only use liquids.  This will be my chosen fast.
  5. Abstain totally one or two selected days a week.  Maybe Tuesday and Friday can be your fast days.
  6. Abstain totally from food.  I do not recommend this without a review by your doctor first.  And I do not recommend over a week long.  Some fast for five days and then eat on two and then fast again for five days.

Fasting get’s your attention.  It subjects the body to the spirit and brings us in line to God’s voice and will.

Before you fast, get a fix in your mind as to why you are fasting.  Two years ago, I fasted for a child in a threatening condition.  After six weeks on a soup fast, she was healed and is doing great.  It was a specific fast until the answer was delivered.

Maybe you want to fast for a break in career or job or finances or an addiction or a painful habit you wish to break pattern.  Maybe you are seeking God for an answer in a specific situation.

For me, I am going on a soup fast for 31 days for the team at our church to see miracles in their ministry and for a few specific items to be accomplished for others.  I expect the answers will appear before the fast is over, but it is set for a season and I will continue in it for the full 31 days.

Blessings, Pastor Phil

Hope Under Ice

During winter ice, I made a long drive home. The distance is no longer. The ice and fog and tired body made it seem three times longer. Thoughts of tree damage to repair lengthen the drive. A sore hip stretched it into the uncomfortable. But the drive took no longer.

Along the way, the beauty of the ice in the trees painted peace in my heart. Acres and acres of bright, crystal, smooth ice on limbs is soothing. Beauty soothes the soul. During a parked moment on the highway due to construction, I snapped a few beauties.

Romans 15:4 tells me what is written is for building hope. This ice, this journey of faith is an inscription of the Lord on my life’s landscape for patience and comfort. He wrote it into my script for good.

How is He doing that for you? What icy moment is there to bring a work of patience and comfort and a result of hope? An illness? A job blip? A relationship struggle? A car repair? Will you allow Him ability to script hope with it?

The ice is beautiful, treacherous, and brings hope. It melts. The sun shines. Damaged trees will be trimmed. I make it home. And I am stronger for the next storm. Hope rises from the story and experience. It is written on my life. In this world we will have trouble, blip, interference, stoppage, slowdown. There is an icy beauty in each of them. There is a learning to be had. There is hope of the sun that will surely shine.

Let us pray:

Father, your will be done in my life. In my storms teach me patience. Comfort me. Assure me You are with me. Console me. Let me find a sliver of sunshine on a rainy day. Let hope rise stronger with each interference that I might shine like the Son to my world, my family, my friends, and my mirror. In the quiet parked moments, let me see Jesus. Let me see the beauty. Let my soul say, “It is well. Trek on.”

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4 NKJV

New Endings

Morning Moment
This is not a cabin day, but I love my cabin days. The smoke of the chiminea and fresh air along with birds of all colors and sizes stimulate me. My listening opens. The Holy Spirit gets through my cloud.
Today is a clear day; however. I hear His voice quite succinctly. He says, “Seek and you will find. Set a fresh course. Begin a new end.”
Opportunity to begin a new end shouts at us every day. Do you hear it?
Write out the positive proposition of your new end. Who do you propose to be? What will you give up? What will you take up? Who will be on the journey with you?
What loose ends need closure? Have you done a fearless moral inventory lately to breakaway from wrong directions and resolve pains you have given to others?

Let’s Pray
Father, thanks. You have done marvelous works with me. My portion in life is a great one. All You have done for me is good. Cause my mistakes to have crop failure. Let the bad seeds rot in the ground and the good ones flourish.


Show Me Now Your Way

Exodgracechangeseverythingus 33:13
Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way,
As Moses entered into a grace based relationship with the Father, he sought a fresh understanding. All had been based on obedience and regulation.  He pleaded for God to show Him the Divine Heart and Will and Way.  Do the same.  Seek to know God’s way and will. Laws and regulation are meant to take us to this point.  God wants your heart connected to His heart.  Move from obedience based on duty and requirements and fear into a relationship of obedience based on connection to a Supreme Love from the heart of God to be your friend and do right by you.  He is ready to grow you.

Walking Together

Christ is the cure for loneliness. He connects us. He finds a place for us. That is the work of a church.
There is no reason to walk alone.

In discussion with a group of ministers, each decried working alone at their tasks.  That is odd.  Rarely do I work alone.  Of course, I write alone.  Yet, even in that I have people submit ideas and do research.  Even if I don’t use it, the conversation is good and contributes.

None of us should walk alone.  This morning I am reading responses from legislators across the United States to a quick blurb.  We pray together.  We walk together.  Never alone.  That is just not right.

Ephesians 4:16 NKJV from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love

First Bible

firstbibletitledIn this apartment complex, there is little of faith.  Most of the kids tell us their fathers are in prison.  Many of the others live in a single parent home.  Few have a full house with mom and dad.

Here sits L.  As she received her first bible, she sat down immediately and began to read.  The impact brought me to tears.  Living in a community where churches mark every corner, she had never read the stories of the Lord for herself.  Her excitement was immediate and active.

The stocking is full of wonderful fruits and nuts and a candy cane.  Yet, they mean nothing compared to her joy in receiving the words of God.

L is touching the words of the Lord not just on the page, but in the flesh with those that come to her and teach weekly.  She reads the bible on their face and in their hands and expressed from their hearts.

Thank you, Jesus, for the wonderful opportunity to share You with others.  I weep at the priviledge to serve.

Meet Jesus : Unrelenting

Matthew 8:18: Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. 19: And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20: And Jesus saith unto him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”

21: And another of his disciples said unto him, “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” 22: But Jesus said unto him, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”

Excuse Me: Our human tendency is for excuses.  The opportunities of the moment are quickly passed by for the excuses of a lifetime.  One wanted comforts and a secure destination.  Another wanted to seal the family fortune and let the past generation find finality.  Jesus wanted them that day.  Jesus wants those who will go where there is no promise of a comfortable destination.  Jesus wants those who will go and let the prior generation either come along or resolve life on their own.  Jesus is unrelentingly in motion toward heaven.

 Garbage Man: At breakfast one morning a friend looked into the eyes of another friend.  Piercingly, he declared, “You are the garbage man!”  They had been discussing activities in the community.  The one was talking about going into hard places and developing and disciplining people in this gospel lifestyle.  His friend saw a thread.  The thread was finding struggling situations and bringing those to fruitful fields with tenacity and insight and time and effort.   The thread was taking what others reject and bringing it to full fruit.

 No Throw Aways: Taking what others would throw away and applying strong action is something many avoid.  Jesus embraced it.  It is His  daily bread and unrelenting task.  It meant not having a home at times as most would not follow Him into the hard spots or welcome Him when he came out smelling like a portion of mankind with which they were unfamiliar.  What is not ours and is not familiar looks and smells like garbage.  I remember working in nurseries as a young parent.  Changing my child’s diaper was easy.  Changing the diaper of a friend’s child was horrid.  The smell was unfamiliar.  At times, I would lean over a trash can in case I could not handle it and my stomach might revolt. 

Minister to Minister: This month, be a special blessing to some minister.  For the most part they are “garbage men”.  They take our hurts and pains and help us through to new light and life.  They could use a lift this clergy appreciation month.

 ACT!  Release an excuse that has been keeping you from full commitment to Jesus call on your life.  Think about how you would live if you had no financial attachments or no expectations of tomorrow’s fortune.

 PRAY!  Father, I am so weak.  My strength is small in the challenge of adversity.  Jesus came with no guantees of comfort or family or home.  He thought it not something to be grasped to be resident with You as King of the Universe in heaven.  He left throne and comfort to live among men.  Help me have  His way in me.