Faith to Believe

We all believe in something to some degree. Think about it for a moment. We believe we will wake up in the morning. We believe that the chair we are sitting in will support us. We believe that the sun will come up every day, even if we don’t see it, right? Even if it’s cloudy, or rainy, we know the sun is still there, yes?

It’s the same thing with believing in God. Just because we can’t see Him, doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. Just because things are going a bit rough in our lives, doesn’t mean He doesn’t care. And just because we don’t believe in Him, doesn’t mean He doesn’t believe in us.

Faith is a choice we make. We can either choose to believe that the Word is true or not. We can choose to believe God is working everything for our best, or not. We can choose to have faith, or not.

It really is that simple.

I’m facing something right now that I’ve been battling for years. Yet, I have faith the problem will eventually be solved, the issue will disappear and I will learn something from it. Sometimes I’m a slow learner, what can I say?

What is it that you are facing today, dear one, that you need faith for? Is it a job situation? A health issue? Perhaps a relationship has gone sour for the umpteenth time? Fret not. God is still faithful. He is still working in our lives. And let me give you a hint – each trial we go through, each painful experience, each sickness, is really another opportunity to grow our faith and watch God act. 1 Cor 2:9 says “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived the good things God has prepared for those who believe in Him”.

Today, will you have faith to believe? Will you choose to increase the degree of your faith? Until next time, keep looking up!

Practicing the Presence of God – Part 3

Life is busy, isn’t it? We have a list of things to do a mile long and we go from one thing to the next trying to get it all done. Then there are those things on our minds that we are not even aware at times. Seems someone always wants our attention: our kids, our bosses, our spouse, our friends. All this busyness can lead to anxiety, stress, fatigue and a host of other symptoms.

The mind and the body were not built to handle so much on a daily basis without regular periods of rest, relaxation, and solitude.

People in Jesus’ time had stresses of their own. They had no modern medicine or conveniences such as we have today, and were, for the most part, poor and uneducated. Jesus himself experienced people wanting his time and attention quite regularly. So when things got hectic and the crowds clamored for his attention, what did he do? He went away to be quiet and spend time with the Father in solitude, prayer, and meditation.

As I talked about last time, prayer is an important component to maintaining my peace and connection to God. Being alone with God is the third way to practice the presence of God.

When I make time to be alone and meditate, I clear my mind of all the clutter that has accumulated. I make space to hear God’s voice because I have shut down all the other voices. I’ve been told I think too fast and too much so it is even more imperative for me to slow stop and clear my mind.

How often you do make time alone with the Lord? Do you make it a priority? How has it helped you maintain your connection to Him? Drop me a note and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you and in the meantime, keep looking up!

Practicing the Presence of God – Part 2

One of the signs of a good husband is how often he asks his wife if she needs to talk. He is showing he cares, he is concerned, and he is aware of her needs. He wants to preserve the lines of communication and the intimacy of the relationship.

Having an intimate relationship with God is akin to having an intimate relationship with a spouse or a close friend or relative in some ways. Both require attention, communication, and time to develop.

Prayer is one of the ways I can talk to God. Prayer can be silent or spoken. It helps me to maintain my awareness that God is always with me and that He is concerned about everything I am concerned about.

Scripture exhorts us to “pray unceasingly”. Now I don’t think that means every second of the day, only monks have the time to do that. But I do think we can pray MORE OFTEN. It is a practice just like almost everything else that brings rewards.

How often do you talk to God? Morning, bedtime, once a week at church? If you would like a more intimate relationship, then I would encourage you to spend more time communicating in prayer with the Lord. Talk to Him throughout your day either silently or aloud and then notice how you respond instead of react to the different stresses and challenges in your day.

Love to hear your thoughts on this topic and as always, keep looking up!

Practicing the Presence of God – Part 1

Earlier this week, I talked about our daily habits and how they affect our goals. Well, one of my goals is to have a closer relationship with God. I have been re-reading the small above-named booklet about the conversations of Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite monk who lived in the 17th century. Brother Lawrence lived in continual communication with God, no matter what he was doing.

I have to admit I cannot say that. Granted, I am more “aware” of the presence of God when I am praying, reading the Word, or in church. But, I want to feel like I am in His presence continually.

One way is to speak to Him during the day. I have started the practice of speaking to the Lord the first thing when my eyes open in the morning. I wish him “Good morning” and then I usually chat about the weather, thank him for the sunshine, my health, and ask His plans for me that day. I also try to ask him “Who shall I bless today, Lord?” Then I try to follow up with some songs of praise and worship, time permitting.

Starting off the day by speaking to God puts me in a good frame of mind. It helps remind me that He is always with me, even though I may not “feel” his presence. In reality, it is I who drift from Him, and not vice versa. The distractions of the day, my job, and my emotions, all take my attention away from my Source.

So, if you, too, would like a deeper sense of God’s presence in your life, join me in this simple practice of beginning the first minutes of the day in conversation with the Most Holy One. Write and let me know if you notice a difference in your day. Until next time, keep looking up!

Daily Decisions Do Count

We all have choices to make in this life. Some decisions impact our lives for years to come such as: should I go to college, shall I marry this person, shall I change careers. These weightier decisions deserve a lot of thought as well as prayer.

Thankfully, these major decisions are not too frequent. But what about the many decisions we make on a day to day basis almost without thinking?

Today for example, I chose whether or not to go to the gym, what to eat for the day, what tasks to complete at work, whether I want to watch “Dancing with the Stars” or work on my writing. The small daily decisions I make, over time, do make a difference and the difference is major.

It is my daily choices that determine whether or not I will achieve my goals in life. If I want to maintain a certain weight, my food and exercise choices will help keep me there. If I want to keep my job, the way I spend my time will impact the quality of my work and if I want to have a decent income in retirement, I will need to watch my spending today.

It’s one thing to have faith that my dreams will come to fruition, but I also have to take appropriate action to make them happen. The Bible says “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26).

What decisions did you make today and how much thought did you give to them? Do you have a clear idea of the goals you want to achieve? I know it’s time for me to revisit my goals, how about you? Drop me a note and let me know what goals you want to achieve and remember this passage from proverbs “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). Until next time, keep looking up!

Do You Remember?

Tomorrow is Holy Friday. Many of us have the day off from work. But how many of us will take time to honor the tragic event that happened two thousand years ago? Many of us pause to remember 9/11 but do we stop to remember on Holy Friday, or are we just like everyone else – making plans to go on vacation, getting the yard work done, bustling about our holiday preparations?

As human beings, we all suffer, but I cannot even fathom what Jesus went through that day on the cross; stripped naked, hands and feet pierced by nails, thorns ripping into his skull. Crucifixion was the ultimate shameful death in those days. So shameful in fact, that Roman citizens were not allowed to be crucified.

Yet Jesus endured the shame of the cross for us: his outstretched arms declaring “I love you this much”. The shedding of his blood paid the price for each and every one of our sins so that we could have the freedom, yes, the freedom, to approach a Holy God directly. Have you ever contemplated these facts?

It seems that Easter is just a blip on the calendar to most these days, but personally, it is a solemn reminder of the price that was paid for me to live a life of freedom, forgiveness and love. If you don’t feel free, forgiven or loved, I encourage you to look to Jesus this Holy Friday. No one can give us a more precious gift, but it is our choice to receive it or not.

Until next time, keep looking up and remember, God loves you, forgives you and has set you free!