Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"The Ministry of Prayer"

My mother will be ninety next year...a hard fact to digest.  I never think of her as old and her mind remains as sharp as ever.

I recently was telling her how significant her contribution was to my life--and literally hundreds of others--through her faithfulness in prayer.  I write a short simple poem about this to her on Sunday afternoon after a long conversation we shared together.

The Ministry of Prayer
(from a grateful son to a praying mother)

The seasons of life
Sometimes seem unfair.
We question our worth
As we seek God in prayer.

And when we approach Him
We find Him there
Imploring us to serve Him
In the ministry of prayer.

The demands of young life
Make such ministry rare.
The priorities of life
May diminish our prayer.

Life often slows down
Less responsibility to share
But a greater opportunity 
To minister in prayer.

Others won't see it
But we really don't care
For the Father above
Sees our ministry of prayer.

I want you to know
The best gift you share
Is your faithfulness to God
In your ministry of prayer.

That's for you mom...


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What is certain?

The only thing certain, we are told is death and taxes.

Even taxes are up for debate, but, sadly, the conversation is only about how much.

Death's place, though a contradiction to our preoccupation with our subconscious presumption that "only the other guy gets cancer", appears entrenched.  Every day we hear of someone we know who has either died or is dying.

But, generally, certainty about life seems to elude us.

How often have we left for work with an agenda in mind only to discover that they tyranny of the urgent has redefined our schedule?

How many well-laid plans have had to be revamped--or scraped--last minute because of unforeseen interruptions?

How frequently have we counted on something or somebody, only, in the end, to be deeply disappointed.  "I thought I could count on him..." is a common lament in the sphere of human relationships.

My life seems terribly uncertain.  I am in a rented house currently for sale.  I have opened a new office where I am unknown.  I attend a large church where I am largely a spectator.  I am discovering the surprises of retirement and relocation almost daily.

Sounds pretty bleak.  And, occasionally, it is unsettling.

Except for the Word.  Especially the Psalms.  Many written by a man, David, whose history reflects the uncertainty of his own life--engaged in battle, hounded by the enemy, betrayed by friends, sabatoged by his own sin.  Still he writes of certainty.

"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree...planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.  They will still bear fruit in old age.  they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The Lord is upright; He is my rock'....."  Psalms 92:12-15

Here's some certain take-aways for me today, following my morning devotions...
1.  Following God is a prescription for my continuing spiritual growth.
2.  Bearing fruit for God is not a function of my age.
3.  Proclaiming God's faithfulness gives certainty to my life.

You can count on death and taxes...


You can count on the certainty of God's Word!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Taking the next step...

Here's a couple of verses I have been mulling over in my mind...

"...a prudent man gives though to his steps..."  Proverbs 14:15

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  Proverbs 16:9

"A man's steps are directed by the Lord..."  Proverbs 20:24

I have a couple of appointments in the next few hours that potentially could give direction to my next steps here in San Luis Obispo County.  I am not afraid because they are only good options, as I see it.  But I am anxious to be certain about taking the best next step.

That's my point of angst often--not the decision between good and bad (I don't always get those right but they are easier to discern), but the decision between good and best.  I guess I am hung up on that Word because we often glibly say "I want God's best for my life", presuming that it will be what I want, or that it will be the easiest path for me to follow.

It's not always so.  Sometimes the next step God directs is not the easiest.  It is not even the one we would choose...except for our conviction that God knows what is best for us--for me.

I want to make a good decision in the next few days.  Taking the next step has reminded me of the importance of prudence and remembering the One who knows best.  

An old television program was called "Father Knows Best".  That works for me.