Saturday, January 25, 2014

~ "There's a place for us..."

(photo by Celia Darrigo)


And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (Matt 1:35)
 
Even Jesus needed a quite place to pray.  Sometimes, even in our own isolation, we need to get to a place where we CAN pray.  When I was young, in my late teens and early twenties, I would hop in the car and take a ride to the beach (it was only about 3 miles from my house).  In the dead of winter I would drive down there, park my car, get out and sit on the jetty and just talk to God.  I would tell him what was bothering me, tell him what it was I needed and he would listen.  The silence was interrupted only by the crashing waves along the shoreline.  Sometimes I really miss those nights because it was in those moments that I truly felt the presence of God around me.
 
I don't always "feel" his presence around me, but I know that the Holy Spirit is there.  My faith tells me so.  Sometimes I get to a place where I cannot stay focused on my prayer time, where the emotional and physical exhaustion takes over and the prayer that comes out is "God, I just can't right now - please help me".  I am never out of his sight.  He understands and knows that eventually, whatever is going on in my life that is keeping me from focusing, will pass.  It always does.  I don't have to be perfect before him.  My words do not have to be eloquent when I pray.  Sometimes they are fragmented thoughts, at best!  It's how I present myself to him when I pray - humbled and unworthy of all he's done for me.  
 
In those moments when you cannot find the words and you stumble through the prayers you are offering, remember that he knows what it is you want to say.  Don't turn away because you have a few days connected in which you have not been able to offer your prayers and praises in the way you have become accustomed.  Continue to give him what you are able to and, in time, the rest will follow.  As I've said before, he knows your heart - he knows that "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak".  
 
Search out that place that you need to find to be alone with him in prayer.  Let the things that are troubling you fall away.  Put the images of your past to rest and focus on the day ahead of you.  He has a greater plan for you today!  Accept it with the humblest heart you can summon and he will know you have done the very best you can! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

~ "Trinity...not trilogy!!!"

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen. (Matt 28:18-20)
 
Jesus spoke to his disciples and gave them instructions before his ascension.  These three verses are the key to what it is we are supposed to be doing while we wait!  Please note that it doesn't say we are to spend our time playing video games, or clubbing, or glued to the front of a television set.  Those things should be for our "entertainment on occasion", not our way of life!  It seems that many of us do the reverse.  We spend more time watching television, playing our games, going to clubs and movies, shopping for things we don't need, and other assorted things then we spend with the Lord.  
 
"Teach all nations"...we have the opportunity to share the Gospel with many different nationalities and faiths right here in the United States.  This country is a melting pot of races and religions.  We condemn the teachings of some because they do not believe that the Bible is the Word of God.  But what are we doing to enlighten them.  What are we afraid of?  
 
My religion reflects my beliefs, it is not the foundation they are based on.  My beliefs are based on what is written in the Bible (and not just certain parts of it - ALL of it).  There is no one else and there is nothing else - no rule book, no code of conduct, no additional appendices - everything I need to know is there!  Too often my adoration the Holy Trinity was overshadowed by "dos and don'ts" created by mortals.  
 
"Baptizing them"...as John did!  It comes when we can fully accept and understand what we are committing to.  No one can accept Jesus as my Savior on my behalf no more than they could take my place in hell (if that's where I was going).  It's a decision of choice and the conviction of our souls that brings us to the waters of baptism.  Being baptized does not guarantee reserved seating in heaven.  It symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and our desire to be "born again".  It is a commitment we make in the knowledge of the salvation it represents!
 
"Observe all things"...all the teachings of Jesus, all the commands and the life style he's laid before us.  Remember, Satan wants us all.  He can and will use any device necessary to lure us away from what Christ asks of us.  Whether we like them or not, that is what we are commanded to do.
 
"I am with you always"...Nothing we do or don't do goes unnoticed.  Nothing we face is faced alone.  Every breath, ever step, every tear, every outburst of laughter - Jesus is right there with us!  The word is "always" - not "sometimes", not "when you remember to call on me" - he is ALWAYS with us - "even to the end of the world."
 
So get up off your seat and open the book!  When you've successfully opened the book, open your heart.  Allow the Holy Spirit to do the work in you that he needs to do to prepare you for what lies ahead!  It's not guaranteed to be easy (if something is worth having, it's worth working for)...it's guaranteed to be worth it!  Give him the glory he deserves from you.  Sing him the praises of your heart and soul!  Honor him by honoring his commands!  Respect his word by respecting yourself! Allow the living God to live in you!