How is your prayer life?
I don’t have any hard evidence, but based on circumstantial evidence I think most of us have weak prayer lives. Oh sure, when things get tough we pray, but when things are good we quickly forget to pray.
Needless to say, I struggle in my prayer life and I’m guessing most of you do too. So what do we do to make our prayer lives strong?
First, we have to set aside time to pray. Sure, we need to pray at any time, but we also need to have structured time to pray.
Next, we need some structure for our prayer lives. You might want to determine the areas of your life that you want to pray for. For example, I have divided life into seven areas such as family, financial, spiritual, career and so forth. These areas are broad enough to be be subdivided and envelope everything and everyone you need to pray for.
Finally, you need to just pray. You have to start. It won’t feel natural at first. Nothing usually does. You’re talking with the Creator of the universe. It’s a relationship. It will grow the more time you spend I prayer.
I hope your prayer life is strong now. I hope it’s even stronger in 2016.
How is your prayer life?
Soon it will be the year’s end and a new year will be upon us. Many will be making New Year resolutions and the really ambitious of us will be setting goals. One such goal?
Reading the Bible through.
New Bibles will be received for Christmas. Old Bibles will be opened for the first time in months. All of this activity will be in the pursuit of doing what many think is impossible and others will just find daunting.
The question is what will you do?
In the interest of honesty, I’m terrible at this. My church has been reading the Bible through for the past year, but I’ve not been participating. The reasons are numerous, but one is that so many of the plans don’t fit me.
They might not fit you either. However, let’s not forget the objective: reading God’s word on a regular basis. So, what choices do we have? Let me name a few.
One is to get a 1 Year Bible. These Bibles are designed to give you a daily reading that is pre-made for you. You just have to turn the pages. You don’t have to think too hard about it. You just pull your Bible off the shelf and read every day.
Another is to just print off a reading plan. There are plenty you can find on the Internets. Just Google Bible reading plan and see what you find.
You can also add the YouVersion app to your phone. There are plenty of plans that will take you through the Bible using the device we all carry around with us on a daily basis. Here is one I heard from a pastor years ago. Take the yearly Bible plan and just read the Old Testament part. That’s a pretty stout one.
The bottom line is that you need to find a way to read the Bible that works for you. You can start on January 1, but you don’t have to wait. You can start today.
Let’s do it.
What do you do the day after Thanksgiving?
Many are out shopping early, looking for sales. Others stayed in bed, foregoing the madness.
Many of us are off work another day. We will catch up on a few things around the house or maybe catch some football later this afternoon.
Regardless of what we’re doing let’s keep that thankful attitude we’ve talked about this week. Let’s not let thanksgiving be one day in Nivember each year.
I hope you are spending the day with family, watching parades, eating turkey and, most of all, being thankful for your many blessings. I am certainly thankful for you. Have a fantastic day.
I hinted at it yesterday, but we have to think about how to be thankful in all circumstances.
One of the things we do is at Thanksgiving is think about or list all the reasons we are thankful. I don’t want to minimize or downplay that.
However, this can lead us down a path that we are thankful for all of the good in our lives, leaving out the other circumstances in our lives. So what do we do with what 1 Thessalonians 5:18?
We have to base our thankfulness on something other than all circumstances.
If we base our thanks on events and things in our life, we will be in for a roller coaster ride. And let’s face it, we’ve all ridden that ride through life.
Instead, let’s focus on the One that all of these things cones from. Let’s turn to Him for thanks.
It’s only then that we can transcend all of the circumstances around us and give thanks in all things.
Yesterday I began Thanksgiving Week with this post about why you should be thankful. Today let’s slightly change the question.
When should you be thankful?
It is easy to say that we are always thankful, but let’s be honest. This is a safe place. No judgment. It just isn’t so. We aren’t always thankful.
What, then, does God say about when to be thankful? After all, if we turn to Him to find out why we should be thankful then we should turn to Him for when.
In the same verse that we looked at yesterday, 1 Thessalonaians 5:18, it says that we should be thankful in all circumstances.
That’s tough, isn’t it?
How do you tell someone this week who is struggling with cancer that they are to be thankful?
What do you say to someone who loses their job just before the holidays?
What about a parent who loses their child?
This isn’t easy. It can’t be. What I do believe is that being thankful is a decision and an attitude. It transcends circumstances. Being thankful seems to be based more on our relationship with the Lord than on what is going on around us. After all, Christ died so we can have that relationship. We have every reason to be thankful at all times.
Like I said, this isn’t easy. We lose sight of this among our circumstances. Our challenge going forward is to pause and purposefully be thankful.
It’s Thanksgiving week, so there will be a multitude of posts about thanks this week. Count this one as one of them.
There are many reasons why we should be thankful. We are blessed beyond measure in this world. Most everyone who reads this lives in the United States. You have freedoms that most people in history have not shared with you.
Do you have a car? Most people in the world do not have this luxury. They either walk or ride a bike.
Most of us will eat and overindulge on Thursday. We will eat more in one day than many eat in a month.
There’s another reason to give thanks this week, though. Actually, it’s a reason to be thankful every day.
It’s the will of God.
Yep, it’s right there in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Paul writes to give thanks in all circumstances because it is the will of God in Christ.
Most of us want to know the will of God for our lives. We want to know who to marry, what job to take, or whether we should do this or that. However, we totally forget or ignore the points where He tells us exactly what His will is.
It seems a bit ridiculous to think He would tell us anything else if we aren’t doing the plain things He has already told us, doesn’t it?
So, I am challenging all of us to live a continuous thankful lifestyle. Be thankful every day. Be thankful in all things. Live out God’s will for your life.