Good Vibes, Good for Nothin’

I see it on my pages often enough to make me shake my head… people say “Send prayers and good vibes my way” or “Our thoughts and prayers are with you”.

James 5:14-16, Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

That’s what I’m talking about! Pray for me and pray with me!

Ephesians 3:14-18, For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whomevery family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth…

A clear call to pray and clear reasons to do so. Samuel Chadwick said Prayer is the acid test of devotion. Certainly we must pray–for ourselves, for others, for God’s kingdom to come and will to be done in this world.

We should alway be ready to pray, whether in a plea for aid or a shout of thanks.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV Pray without ceasing…

1 Timothy 2:1 ESV First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings…

There are times we don’t know what to pray for, there are times we are so overwhelmed or blinded by life we cannot find the words, there are moments we lack the wisdom and don’t know what to pray…

Romans 8:26-28, Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God…

I am grateful, during those moments my tears are my food, and I am at a loss for words, the Holy Spirit speaks for me!

C.S. Lewis said “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.”

Prayer can change a situation, prayer can shed light on life, prayer can heal, prayer can guide, prayer can change you.
All of this is possible because prayer is a call to God, our Father and The Creator of Heaven and Earth. We shout to our Lord in need, in praise, in guidance, in desperation, in victory–we whisper through our tears and talk to Him about our concerns. In the midst of prayer, God in His glory is at work in us, around us, and through us.

So, yes, pray. Pray!

But your thoughts, your good vibes–while they are a courteous gesture, they equate to nothing more.

Good vibes are a patting the back of a person starving, when they need bread and water.
Your thoughts as the storm approaches, are neither shelter nor fortress.

Good vibes are good for nothing, but prayer has changed history!

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From A Spoon?

I take hold of a raw piece of wood, cut off all the bark, cut it to the shape of a spoon, and carve it. Every spoon is different, in a way, the wood really does decide what it will be.

There are times I look at the spoon and think I want to keep it for myself. I like the grain pattern, the shape, the curve, even the color.

This may sound weird, but I’ve learned about my walk with Christ making wooden spoons.

I stay busy, as I am sure you do. How often do we want to keep our free time for ourselves? Instead of a bible study, meditation, even a theological discussion; I want to watch television, read a book, stare at social media, or depending how stressful the week has been– stare at the wall.

How often do I want to keep that hard earned money for myself?

How often do I want to keep myself, for myself? That wasn’t a typo. Instead of sacrificing for my wife or others I choose the lazy way, the apathetic way, the selfish way.

I never thought I’d say it, but I’ve learned about my walk with Christ–from carving wooden spoons. Hopefully you will too.

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God won’t give you more than you can handle?

As I see people around me hurting and thinking it’s all under control, all I can think–it’s time to squash a fallacy. False teaching has found a home in hospitals, funeral homes, churches, and many of our minds. You have heard it, maybe you’ve said it or even believed it. Now it’s time to think about it. The saying comes in many forms but goes something like this: “God will never give you more than you can handle.” It’s a lie, at the very least a misunderstanding. Let me explain. The misunderstanding comes from:

1 Corinthians10:13, …God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability…

The word to highlight is “tempted” which roots in the Greek peirasmos. As one man said “[peirasmos is] itself colorless and depends upon the context for its specific hue.” When you read the scripture around verse thirteen you’ll find references to idolatry, desiring evil, sexual immortality, the inability to serve two masters, and conscience. All of these address sin, not necessarily circumstance. This is why, when we read the word “tempted” or “temptation” in this verse that is exactly what it is, temptation; not test or trial. Many have gone deeper in reference to this word study but for this discussion we’ll continue on.

To clarify then, God will not allow the temptation you face in life to be so burdensome that you must say “No” to Him and “Yes” to sin. I also want to be clear and say God does not tempt us, see James 1:13. Still, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond the power available in us, our community, and Him; though it is a gruesome battle.

While reading Scripture we find many places that tell us about people socked by circumstance.

1 Samuel 30:1-6, David and his men have lost their families who were burned to death by the Amalekites. In verse six David strengthens himself in the Lord. We could nearly refer to the entire book of Job, the Imprecatory Psalms, the psalms filled with jeremiad, the father in Mark 8:24, or the woman in Luke 8:43. Consider the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, where he speaks of being overwhelmed beyond his ability to endure and he stopped relying on himself and LEARNED to rely only on God who raises the dead.

You could even look at 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, where we find the grace of God is sufficient and the power of God is being made perfect in weakness.

So, we can look at Scripture and life and see that God “gives” us more than we can handle. He allows circumstances and the result of sin to plague our world. In response, it only seems fair to begin to answer why.

When we are overwhelmed, when we are left with the broken pieces of our lives, when we have no words to express where we are…God is there. Jesus Christ has suffered as we suffer, and He cries with us.

Our world is fallen from God, mankind is fallen and sin infects it/us all. The beautiful thing is–God is able to use the brokenness mankind has chosen. When death strikes the ones we love, when sickness drains us or those whom we are closest, when addiction hits someone close to us, when our homes and relationships are broken, it is then we begin to see sin for what it is. In these moments we see sin in a different light, we begin to hate sin more the way God hates it.

In the hardship and through our weakness we become stronger, because God is our strength. Nothing can or will empty, exhaust, bruise, or pinch you quicker than life. The Good News, if you are willing to go to Christ, God is able to fill you back up! Christ is able to bring restoration!

We are certainly encompassed by more than we can handle. However, God wants to use the fire of life to refine us and He wants you to know, even though others mean your pain for evil, God will use it for something beautiful. Through your pain, through those broken pieces; God wants you to be closer to Him, to see differently, and trust Him as He makes something beautiful out of a mess.

1 Peter 5:7 summarized says, Cast your anxieties on God.

So now I want to encourage you to do something–throw your fears, worries, questions, suffering, and pain on Him! Jesus says: Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28), that’s not all He has to say to you…

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