Constant Prayer

It’s difficult to live a life where everyone is irritable. At my house we sometimes fly into righteous rages that burn hot long after any of us remembers exactly how the fire started. It becomes anger fueled by anger.

And because we don’t remember, we dredge up anything else that we can remember. Forgiveness disappears; even old forgiveness. We use language like, “You Always . . .” or, “You Never . . .” Our words stick like darts on impact, but it’s okay because they deserve it, we think. They need to learn, we think. (more…)

Published in: on July 25, 2011 at 9:20 AM  Comments (4)  

What Sin Remains

I never deserved this thing that God did for me; this thing that nobody believes.  I know I didn’t deserve it, because I know who I was before.  I’ve done terrible things.  I’ve hurt people. Hurt myself.  Hurt the ones I love.  And those were just the things that I was brave enough to actually get done.  I had a heart to do much worse.  I was a sinner.  There was no good in me.

Am I different now?    (more…)

Paideuo

When I was just out of High School, I lived with my mother and teenage sister in a small apartment.  I often remember those days as a time of stagnant sadness, watching as profound depression slowly crushed my mother.  I call it profound because this wasn’t the kind of depression that’s fashionable these days, the kind that you only notice after the pills make you feel better.  No, this was the kind of depression that usually ends very badly.

This depression was defeat on all levels.  It was loneliness that stretched into the future like a curving tunnel with no end in sight.  It was failure and self-doubt and fear and humiliation.  This was suffering that scraped out her insides until she became hollow; it sent her scrambling into the shadows to hide.  She became a puppet that smiled when it was time to smile and slept when it was time to sleep.

Seeing her like that probably should have broken my heart. (more…)

Thy Will Be Done

I recently read a blog post written by a man named Jerry Hillyer.  The entry was titled, “An Expanded Prayer Vision.”  In it, Hillyer writes:

“It’s Time to confess and repent and fast and posture ourselves properly before a righteous and holy God. It’s time for the men of the Church, like Daniel, to search the Scripture and know and understand what God wants us to pray.  Enough prayers for better days and sunshine. Enough prayers that are meaningless and mundane. Let’s pray prayers that shake heaven so that heaven will shake us. Let’s get serious about prayer that announces to the Lord of Hosts: We Welcome Your Intervention.”

That article gave me a new perspective on prayer and intercession and “Thy will be done.”  It forced me to see my own prayer life in a cold and brutally honest light, and it left me feeling raw but refreshed . . . as if dead flesh had been scrubbed away so that true healing could begin. (more…)

Published in: on December 29, 2009 at 12:59 PM  Comments (1)  
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The Sinner’s Prayer

This Halloween, my wife and I took our son to an event called Judgment House.  It’s an outreach aimed at the seasonal “haunted house” set, and it packs a powerful gospel message.

At the heart of Judgment House is a play.  Theatre style.  However, instead of sitting in a seat while actors do their work on stage, Judgment House asks you to walk from scene to scene while actors play out the drama right in front of you and around you.  Even behind you.  The story is different every year, but it always has the same blunt and honest themes . . . freedom of choice, death and judgment, reward and punishment. 

Frankly, Judgment House is about someone going to Hell, and that is a concept you don’t often hear from the pulpit these days. (more…)

Does God Exist?

Imagine a scenario where you are suddenly presented with absolute proof that God exists.  The proof isn’t the type that can be reproduced in a lab or recorded in a scientific journal; it’s experiential proof that is clear and undeniable … but only to you.  

The mind of the Natural man (atheist) will buck and resist imagining such a thing, but I’m asking you to try anyway.  Take yourself, with all of the things that you “know” about evolution and cosmology, and imagine that the Christian God revealed himself to you in an undeniable way.

How would such a thing change your life?  What would happen to all the knowledge that a minute ago seemed to so clearly disprove God?  I can tell you exactly what would happen, because it happened to me. (more…)

Blessings on Back-Order

A man I know is struggling to quit smoking, and recently he asked me what I did to break the habit a year ago.  More specifically, he asked me if I prayed a lot.  Bang, I thought, there’s the million dollar question.

What I said to him was, “Yeah, I prayed a lot,” but secretly I knew that he wasn’t just asking me if I prayed.  To me he seemed to be asking if God answered my prayers, because I suspected that he felt like God wasn’t answering his own.    

The people I know don’t usually talk about the vast majority of our prayers that just seem to vanish into the air like smoke.  Instead, we rejoice together over the blessings that we ask for and receive, and we keep on praying for the ones that got back-ordered.  I think we do that because believing in a Blessing Backlog or Celestial Delayed Shipment gives us hope when the alternative seems to be that maybe God doesn’t answer all our prayers. (more…)

Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 1:56 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Weight of Words Unsaid

I called myself a Christian long before I became a “believer.”  Back then, I doubted most of the fundamentals of Christianity, but I believed in Jesus and that seemed like enough.

During some of that time, my brother Thom was alive and still the greatest friend I ever had.  He called himself an atheist, but he was also a reasonable man and even though I never shared the Gospel with him, I expected he’d come to his senses eventually.  After all, we were young and when you are young, life is long.

Then he caught a disease that occurs so rarely that it never rated a catchy nickname like Lupus or Legionnaires.  It was tough, this disease; it worked on him like an aging prizefighter.  No flashy razzle-dazzle, just an efficient relentless beating until Thom grew so weak even the cure would kill him. (more…)