Wisdom in Giving

Knowing about a need does not mean that we are necessarily meant to meet the need.

But it should cause us to stop and prayerfully request wisdom.

How many times have I missed out on a blessing to help someone?Money-By-Public-Domain-Photos

How many times have I been open handed and frustrated by the results?

In both situations I neglected to pray and ask God what He wanted me to do.
In both situations my focus was on myself and not God.

I need to be reminded daily to Surrender myself to God,  Listen for His direction,  and Obey Him immediately.

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Balaam’s Donkey was very articulate

Balaam’s Donkey was a surprisingly good speaker.OT-045-med

This was amazing because Balaam’s Donkey had never spoken before.

But Balaam’s Donkey had his eyes open. He saw a danger his master was unaware of and reacted.

Balaam’s Donkey had no prior training for this encounter.  But he was available.

What made Balaam’s Donkey so effective was that God was speaking through him.

God can, and will,  speak through us.

Read Numbers 22:21-39

7 Practical Steps to Praying For Others

1. Make an introduction.  Give them your name.  Get theirs and use it often in the next few minutes. praying-hands-1379173656P80

2. Remind them you will keep the conversation confidential – unless they threaten to harm themselves or others.

3. Listen actively.  Restate what you believe to be the issue.

4. Pray simply,  earnestly, with faith and brevity.

5. Thank them for the opportunity to be present and active where God is at work.

6. Let them know you will continue to pray for them.

7. Ask them to update you with how God answers their request. (This is often awesome and thrilling!)

Fear of Praying For Others

For years I worried about praying for others, especially in a public setting.praying-hands-1379173607ePZ

I was afraid I would say the wrong thing or give horrible advice.

My focus was on myself.

I was painfully aware of my limitations and sinfulness.

Yet, as the years have gone by I have begun to look forward to the opportunity to pray for others.

God did not change, but I did.

I began to recognize that it was not about me or my competency.

It was about an individual who reached out in faith longing to connect with God.

And God is faithful to meet us when we earnestly seek him.

I have learned that God is able to accomplish His will and purposes, even when I mess up.

I had a friend who preached the wrong persons funeral. Yet, when he finished the family told him what comfort he had brought to them. Even though he used the wrong person’s name.

My wife often reminds me that if God can speak through a donkey, he can certainly speak through me (and you).

Praying in Anger

The best moment in my life was being angry at God in prayer.clipart-angry-smiley-emoticon-256x256-15f6

It was one of the worst days I had ever experienced.

I got home from work and went immediately for a brisk 4 mile walk.

I was so angry I could barely breathe,  much less talk to my family.

I tried to pray but I was at a loss for words.

I wanted to be respectful and reverential to the one who had saved me.

But it just wasn’t happening.

With every false start at prayer I was becoming more upset.  My anger finally erupted.

I began to tell God how unfair he had been to me.  How I could do a better job at running the world.

And I believed every word that was coming out of my mouth.

I waited for a lightning bolt to strike me.
But instead I felt an overwhelming sense of His love and presence.

It finally dawned on me that I had only verbalized what God already knew.

The only person I was fooling with my pious prayers was myself.

God had always loved me.  His love would not change.

I began to repent of my attitude and experience his grace.

But something inside of me changed that day.

I learned that it is okay to be honest with God and myself.

That He is big enough to handle my anger and my questions.

My God is big enough to handle my accusing,  ungrateful heart and still love me.

But if I had not prayed in anger,  I would never  have experienced the depth of his love for me.

A Quitter’s Prayer

FATHER GOD,

Today,i.quit.04

I Quit
waiting for permission or approval to do the work of ministry.  Because you have called all of your children to be a part of your work.

I Quit
worrying about who will get the credit.  Because it is you alone who deserves the praise.

I Quit
hoping that someone else will see the need and act. Because I am your hands and feet in this world I must act.

I Quit
focusing on my ability.  Because you are able to use me to accomplish your purposes in this world.

Amen.

7 Things You Can Do To Transform Your Church.

1. Invite people who are different than you. 

2. Ask God for wisdom. Study his word.  Apply it to your life daily. 

3. Go visit someone in the hospital.

4. Look for opportunities to build relationships with people outside of church. 

5. Ask God to interrupt your schedule with His plan,  power and provision.

6. Be transparent and acknowledge your struggles in life. The person next to you may think he is the only one failing. 

7. Be known as a force for good in the community.  Feed the homeless.  Teach English as a second language.  Do something.