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Stuck in a rut.


People are funny, we get into such ruts; predictable in all we say and do. “Stuck in a rut” is an idiom that means a boring lifestyle that never changes. We are just creatures of habit, we fall in comfort zones and stay there. This is ever so true of our prayer life.

Do you know what certain people will say when called on to pray? You know some that will start the same way every time, using the same key phrases. Some even say the same phrase over and over throughout their prayer. Creatures of habit, stuck in a rut and comfortable. If we talked to each other this way we would soon find ourselves alone. Sometimes I think we must bore The Lord to tears.

Praying is talking to God in conversation. You can talk to Him anytime and about anything. I had a woman tell me her husband was so spiritual because he prayed three times a day. I told her as Christians we can pray unceasingly. In other words, we are open in communication 24/7, talking and listening, always an open line with our Lord. If Christians keep a right fellowship with their Heavenly Father through prayer and reading His Word they can pray unceasingly.

So how should we pray? The model prayer, or Disciples Prayer, in Matthew 6:5-13 is a good way to learn how to Pray (talk) with The Lord. (This passage of scripture is often called The Lord’s Prayer but, that’s actually in John 17.) the model prayer: No repetitions here. 1) acknowledge Him 2) praise Him 3) thank Him 4) seek forgiveness from Him 5) intercede for others 6) Pray in Jesus’ name. The Lord gave us a very good model to learn to pray and it’s sad so many simply use it as a recital piece only.

Praying should be intentional, like you mean it, not a recitation, habit or duty. It helps me to visualize as I pray.. “Lord, I need the wisdom of Solomon, or the courage of Daniel.” I have prayer lists, but I don’t pray from top to bottom, or even all at one time. The Lord will bring them to mind throughout the day, often awakening me in the middle of the night and laying them on my heart. It took me a long time to learn not to simply “pray the list”. When you are in a fluid conversation with The Lord, the Holy Spirit will bring to mind those on your list in need throughout the day.

Prayer is a gift from God, allowing us to communicate freely. Sadly, we often abuse the privilege and misuse the gift.

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John 3:27 (NASB) “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

God’s peace is with us, it never leaves. We leave it; worrying and fretting, stewing and distrusting. Do not ask Him to give you peace about a situation or circumstances. He does not use His peace as a compass or directional guide. Instead, seek Him in prayer and in His word:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

We all know when we are uneasy over something, it doesn’t feel quite right. That’s the tug of the Holy Spirit, the One He left to be your guide.

John14:15-16; 25-26

16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [a]Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

When you are at peace with Him, in the peace He left you, then His path is straight and clear, and that is when you have “peace over a decision”.

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What kind of books do you like?  How about movies? Like music genres, people like different types of entertainment in their books and movies.  But, one thing most people like is a good ending. Let’s face it, we want good to win, the good guy to win the girl, all the problems solved. You know how you hate it when something is left undone, unsaid, loose ends? All the questions have to be answered, the problems solved. the-rest-of-the-story

Many of my readers may not remember a radio classic and evening news commentator, Paul Harvey (click his name to hear his 1965 Rest of the Story on America).  He was famous for “The Rest Of The Story”.   So many times we get ‘blurbs’ of everyday events unaware of what “The Rest Of The Story” was.  He told the details with such detail and interest that he kept you hanging on until the end.

Sometimes our lives get going so fast that we are constant “blurbs” and nowadays, “bytes”.  The rest of the story is lost on those around us.  No one knows what our story is and sadly many do not care.  Sometimes you feel you’re in a romance novel, sometimes a travel adventure.  Often you’re in a mystery and sadly sometimes a tragic melodrama.  Our books are written day by  day, the story line going who knows where.  Characters come and go, tension mounts, tragedy enters or high adventure.  Your heart rates goes up and down and you wonder if the roller coaster will ever end.  You want the story to end happily ever after like your story books of your childhood.  You would be okay with everything no matter what if you could just get a peek at the end, to know that everything turns out all right.

Well, you know that if you’re a Christian.  You do not have to get impatient with the twist and turns.  You may not know the ending but, you know that it ends all right. You KNOW the Author.  He’s the Author and the finisher of your faith.  Sit back and trust in the end and don’t miss a second of the story worrying about how things are going to turn out or what is going to happen next.

Jeremiah 29:11(NASB)For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

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Everyone has a favorite daydream.  Some of us have several.  One of my favorites is I have all the money I need to fly some very special friends to my favorite spot.   I call them and tell them to drop everything, grab their purse and ID and head for the airport where a ticket will be waiting for them.  A limo will meet them at the airport and bring them to the beach house that has all the amenities they could want.  They will not need bags, they will shop for everything they need.  I take them to all the best places to eat.  There is room service to clean for them daily.  We will laugh and enjoy all kinds of fun together.  I have planned a whole week to be stress free.   I hired people to stay at their home and take care of the love one they are the caregiver for, so they have no concerns while they are gone.daydream-2

Sigh.  If only right?  I had a teacher (and I am sure my mom and others as well) that always said, “if wishes were horses, beggars could ride.”  It is a wonderful daydream.  But, you know one day that is exactly what is going to happen with these ladies.  And it will not be for just one week, it will be for eternity.  One day, they will get that call.  They will take no bags, they will have no worries and leave no concerns.  They are all Christians.  In Heaven, they will have all they need.  You cannot take anything from here so no bags are needed.  There will be joy and laughter, and every need will be met.

We may never get that get together here on earth, but, one day … oh what a party in Heaven we are going to have and it won’t be a dream.

Revelations 21:4 HCSB “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. “


Fall and football … the games, the cheerleaders, the bands.  I grew up with them, I participated in them and I raised children in them.  Now I live in fantasy … Fantasy Football that is.  Yes, you read that right.  I am in a fantasy football league with my daughters, SIL’s and one of their parents.   I have scored the most points so why am I NOT leading the league?  Because I have also had the most points scored against me.  In other words, on any given game, my opponent has an all time high game.  Actually, I have won the last two weeks … so I am no longer on the bottom rung … I’m climbing.Goal

Life can be like that … on any given day you have everything go wrong.  Everyone around you is having a great day.  However, you may have the garage door break, your AC or heater breaks, the car  breaks down, the stove starts acting up, the house needs paint, or you are running low on food, gas, sanity.  I have friends in all those game plays.  As a Christian you cannot sit on the bench with your head in your hands (unless you’re praying :-D) or run to the locker room.  You have to stay in the game.

Likewise, you are not going to win simply because you stand under the goalpost and wait for the game winning ball.  You have to go to the bench between innings for words from the Coach.  Often you will have to go between every play if you haven’t listened to the Coach and know what to do.  Going to the bench for instructions is always for the best.  “Take a knee” and listen.

Also, while you are in the game, you have to huddle with your fellow players.  You need their support.  (Go to church and Sunday School, Bible Studies, and Life Groups).  You should not play the game by yourself.  The crowd will overwhelm you with their shouts and confuse you.  Tune them out.  Listen only to your coach and team mates.

Stay in the game.  Keep tuned in to the “Coach”, the “Play Maker”.   At the end of the game of life … regardless of penalties, injuries and bad calls, you have won the prize, you have won the game.

Isaiah 40:28-31 NASB  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  29 He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. 30 Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”


As toddlers our girls were spoiled rotten (yeah, I know, they still are).   But, we would tell them they were rotten to the core; stinking and rotting.   Now, when they would tell it back to us it sounded more like … stinkin-in and rottin-in.   Their dad still tells them they are rotten in the toddler terms.

Truthfully, things that are rotting are usually stinking and it is anything but cute.   stinkWhen something stinks, it usually has sat around awhile, soured and rotted.  Unfortunately, many Christians become rotten from sitting around and souring.  They get upset, get discouraged and get down.  Instead of going to their knees, seeking fellowship and prayer partners, they just sit and stew … and stew … and then they sour and after a while they just SMELL.  You would think they would get the message when people start avoiding them.  You can not stand to be around them.  They are sour on the world.  Nothing is going right for them; nothing is going their way.  As the saying goes, “misery loves company” and they want you to be miserable with them.  You just want them to get “washed in the blood” all over again.  All you can do is bathe them in prayer.

2 Corinthians 2:14-15(HCSB) 14 But thanks be to God, who always puts us on displayin Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.15 For to God we are the fragranceof Christ among those who are being saved  and among those who are perishing.”

Hopefully, you are not the one stinkin’.  Each day you make a choice.  You get up and you choose your attitude.    In Matthew 5:3-11 you will find the Beatitudes:

BEatitudes = Attitudes To Be (a previous blog)

 

If you are going to “smell” … smell sweet!

 


Over the summer when I went to pick up my hubby at the airport, I arranged to meet him in baggage claim.   I love to watch people and baggage claim can be quite entertaining.  Baggage claim … oh the stories I could tell.  This trip got me thinking and taking notes for a future blog.

There are SO many bags: baggage claim

  All shapes

  All sizes

  All weights

Some are:

    Worn

    Ugly

    Damaged

    Lost

So I took my notes and tucked them away.  Then, recently,  when our son-in-law returned overseas, one of the bags he was carrying was lost.   According to the airlines, it  never left the airport here.  Weeks have gone by and still they have not found the bag.  The theory is, the tag got torn off on the belt going down from the ticketing area to the sorting area for planes.   Wouldn’t it have been thoughtful for the airport employee to have marked that bag with date, time and belt?  Might have helped … maybe not.  It is still missing weeks later.

So, when our daughter and granddaughters followed weeks later with their baggage, I decided to treat them like I do packages here in the states.  I typed up a LARGE piece of paper stating:  “LUGGAGE DESTINATION” and we laid it on top before closing each bag.  We don’t know if that worked because none got lost.   But, it would be nice to think it would.

Unlike our traveling baggage, we often want to carry our ‘life’s baggage” around daily.    Piling it on day after day until somehow we cannot function at all.    All the regrets, the what ifs, and only ifs … they load us down.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the “baggage tag” were just torn off and lost?   That just doesn’t happen in real life.  It seems to be indelibly marked with our name.  Sometimes we set the “baggage down” but, hold on to the tickets and go back and pick them up later.   We never learn.  The only tag on our baggage, inside and out, should read:  “Return to Jesus”.

Give HIM your tickets and let HIM carry your baggage.

Psalm 55:22 ( NASB) Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Matthew 11:28 (NLT) “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

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