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Archive for the ‘Prayer Life’ Category

Anyone else like me?

I know whose I am but I often do not live like it. Take for instance, Life.

What is life? Is it just the living, the breathing, and being conscious? Yes, those are necessary in order to sustain life. 

But what is life?

Is life what we do? 

Is life who we are?

What is life?

When I was a younger man I didn’t think of these things. I took them for granted. I was…  therefore I was alive. And if alive then I had life. I never questioned what life actually was/is. So what is life? 

Genesis 1:26-27

¶Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

¶So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 2:7

…then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

So…

All these years I have misunderstood what life was. I was under the delusion that life is about me. It’s actually about God. Just as I have misunderstood the Bible. It’s not the story of man but of God. Man is secondary. Man is the result of the will of God. Life is the result of the will of God. 

John 1:1-4

¶In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Are you beginning to see as I see?

Life is a gift of God. When one speaks of the sanctity of life this is what they are talking about. Life is not man’s to give and therefore it is not man’s to take unless according to God’s Law. 

Obviously I have much to learn about life.

At this point I see my learning is sorely lacking as to what life is and how I should regard it. I have only seen life as a series of circumstances and how they affect me personally. My life has been based on my reactions to the events of life and I haven’t stopped to think on what life is, and where life comes from. Right now I see through a cloudy, dimly lit, out of focus glass. I pray I will grow, mature and begin to see with more, and more clarity. 

Yesterday at church, Pastor Kyle mentioned that when we are in distress and need clarity (at least this is what I got from what he said) we should give thanks in everything, and for everything be thankful. That caused me to think of the most basic thing of all,”Life.” 

Now as scripture says, “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” we see life is literally, God breathed.

Later, in the Garden of Eden, man disobeyed God’s one command and became spiritually dead, becoming separated from Adonai through his sin. Thus Death entered the world. 

And so death reigns from then until now on the physical body. But God had, before creation, prepared for us a sacrificial lamb, without spot to take away our sin and restore us to himself: his son, Jesus, the Christ. 

John 14: 6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the LIFE*. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

(*Emphasis mine)

All of John 14 is Jesus’ witness to the Truth, of himself, and of the Father. 

Our restored life is in Jesus Christ, who is in the Father. 

Again, “life” is a gift from God.

Yet how lightly we esteem it. How flippantly we care for it… how often we neglect and abuse it as if it were our own. 

Anyone else with me?

Do you see what I see?

Do you understand what I’m trying to say?

God has to deal with me in degrees, as with an infant. I have to learn to crawl, and then walk before I can run. In this case I have a small taste of the truth and small understanding about life now. 

So here is something I was given earlier as I was thinking about all of this. How do I start my morning? What is the first thing I do when I wake up?

I reach for my phone.

I check in on the world before I recognize the very one I claim is Sovereign Lord over all Creation, Adonai.

What if I change that?

What if instead of reaching for my phone I would recognize Adonai first and as Kyle said, give thanks. What if a prayer of Thanksgiving was the first thing I do every morning?? How would that affect my day? How would that change my life? My approach to life?

I found this Prayer

Morning Prayer

I give thanks unto You, Adonai, that, in mercy, You have restored my soul within me. Endless is Your compassion; great is Your faithfulness. I thank You, Adonai, for the rest You have given me through the night and for the breath that renews my body and spirit. May I renew my soul with faith in You, Source of all Healing. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who renews daily the work of creation.

Maybe seeing life as less about me, I will appreciate the life I have more… because I will see it for what it really is a gift from God. 

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Have you ever really read the words to the hymns you sing? Read with meditation the words Robert Robinson penned in 1758. 263 years ago, yet still as powerful as the day they were written.(truth is like that you know)

“Come Thou Fount”

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothèd then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

1758
Robert Robinson.

May verse 4 become one of my daily prayers.

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April 2, 2021
It’s been 44 years since dad passed now. This day, Good Friday, marks the 44th Anniversary of his passing. Dad has now been gone as long as he lived. I was planning to write another essay but the words wouldn’t come.  I’m fifty-seven years old now, and I still feel that little boy who took on manhood that day, and remember every emotion of those moments. Today I remember, and I view them in light of what happened to Jesus that first Good Friday.  Because of what Jesus did I have a sure and certain hope of seeing my loved ones, who have gone on before, having professed faith in Christ. As much pain as I felt that Good Friday in 1977, I know it was a momentary affliction in light of eternity, but it still brings tears unbidden.

Ten years ago I wrote this.   Here on the 40th anniversary of my father’s death I will re-post this in memory of that day.

 My father went home on April 8, 1977.  The date has passed, but I always remember it on Good Friday.   It was Good Friday 1977 the day he passed, he was only 44.  I’ll turn 54 this year (the same age as his dad, my grandfather, was when he died)  ten years older than my dad made it.  

 

Tears Unbidden

Why now, why here? Why this way?

More questions and less answers. Instead of growing I seem to be regressing.

What took place those many years ago that haunts me now with these and other questions.

College? No, not far enough back. The memories of college are rife with these same feelings.

High School? No, even then the conflict was raging and the ill-prepared adolescent I was, was already wrestling with the fall-out of the original issues. I know what the two main issues were and can only bring myself to talk about one of them. (The other will have to stay buried for some time to come)

We will start with Easter Weekend, 1977.  I was just a dumb thirteen-year-old kid, what did I know?  But, even now I can see it so clearly. I can hear it in their voices. I don’t understand what they are saying but I hear the panic, so I begin to move.

“Something’s wrong with Don!”

What did they say?

“Donny, something’s wrong with your daddy!”

Daddy, what could be wrong… my feet are already moving in the direction of the commotion.

“What is it?”

I remember voicing those words.

The reply did little to prepare me for what was to follow.

I descended the steps in two, or perhaps three leaps, pushing myself off the door jam as I rounded the corner, through the door that led to the garage. I was in the garage and could see mom on the back of the truck where I had last seen daddy. I ran around the front of the truck and down the passenger side and there he was, lying on the tailgate of the truck. (Until now that has been buried deep in my memory, Why now? In such vivid detail, why?)

His head was facing the passenger side. I could hear mom screaming, “Don! Don!”

The next twenty minutes were an eternity. Alternating between a furious attempt at CPR and utter physical exhaustion. Mom did not know how to do the respirations correctly and my chest compressions were weak attempts to what was necessary. Between the two we only succeeded in making daddy throw up. We kept on until we were completely exhausted.

Later, I was told the blue discoloration of his neck probably meant that it was massive and quick. They told us that he probably never knew what hit him and he probably was dead before he hit the tailgate. They were probably telling us that to make it easier on us; so we would not feel we had not done enough to save him. An attempt to save us from a load of future, self-inflicted guilt. (It didn’t work)

After the Ambulance arrived (it actually took them twenty minutes to get there) and loaded daddy, my mother went with them, I was left to deal with what I had just experienced. I ran outback and across the creek, up the hill a little ways and at stump I knelt to pray. I wanted God to save my daddy’s life. I called out to God to save his life and I begged God to let him live. Even as the words were spilling out of my mouth I knew that God was never going to answer that prayer. I knew my daddy was dead.

For years I have buried the memory of the events of that day. My mind just could not wrap around the reality of my own reality. Ok, so what!? That is part of life. We are all under a death sentence, it’s just a matter of time before the icy fingers of death touch us all. As much as we fear it, avoid it, deny it and disregard it; death is as much a part of the human experience as birth, growth, pain and joy. Yet for all the philosophizing and rationalizing I do, here I stand, the same age as my father when he died, and the memories of that day come rushing over me and I wipe away, tears unbidden. (more…)

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