There once was a young seminarian starting out on his journey toward the priesthood. He was a bit of a know-it-all, and wanted to be the best at everything he did. He heard about a very holy monk who was considered a spiritual master in regard to prayer and contemplation.
The seminarian sought him out, and asked the old monk to teach him all of his secrets for prayer. The monk sent him away. The seminarian was stubborn and returned again soon, asking again to learn his secrets to prayer. The monk told him to come back in one week.
When he arrived the next week, the monk took him out behind the monastery to a body of water. He still hadn’t said a word. As they entered into the water up just past their waist, the seminarian grew impatient with the monk, who was still silent.
All of a sudden the monk grabbed the seminarian and held his head under the water. The seminarian struggled and thrashed about, but with the strength of an ox the old monk held him under the water. As the monk let go of him, he came up gasping for breath, embarrassed, angry, and confused. The monk looked at him and said, ‘Until you pray with the same desperation that you have for air, you have not prayed.’
Prayer is as important to our soul as air is to our body! We need prayer to stay connected to the God who created us with a plan in mind.
Heavenly Father, thank you for granting to me every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. I claim the riches in Christ Jesus over my life today. I bring the blood of Christ once more over my spirit, soul, and body, over my heart, mind and will. I put on the full armor of God – the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel, helmet of salvation; I take up the shield of faith and sword of the Spirit, and I choose to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of your might, to pray at all times in the Spirit. In Jesus name, amen.
Jesus, thank you for your angels. I summon them in the name of Jesus Christ and instruct them to destroy all that is raised against me and against my family, to establish your Kingdom over us, to guard us day and night. I ask you to send forth your Spirit to raise up prayer and intercession for me and my household. I now call forth the kingdom of God throughout my home, my family, my household, my kingdom and domain in the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving all glory and honor and thanks to him. In Jesus’ name, amen.
God, please accept my worship.
Let my song be lifted high.
When I focus on what’s difficult in my life,
help me remember the times
you’ve renewed my strength and joy,
carried me when I couldn’t walk.
When my foundation felt unstable
You were always my solid rock.
Increase my understanding,
in the darkness let it be my light.
Give me the same breath to sing in the valley
that I breathe when I sing the heights.
One hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the thing to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”
Deuteronomy 1:8 “Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.”
The fox missed out on the grapes because he gave up. I encourage you this week not to give up. Do not allow struggles and challenges in life to keep you from serving and following God. How desperate are you for the things of God?
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”
KEEP ASKING! KEEP SEEKING! KEEP KNOCKING!
Heavenly Father, I pray that a spirit of boldness and determination will arise in each of us today. I pray that every challenge we face will be used as an opportunity for Your power and glory to be revealed. I pray that spiritual eyes and ears will be open to the fact that we are not alone. You will never leave us or forsake us, and you will cause us to triumph. Loving Father, I pray for those who might feel like giving up. I ask that You will encourage and strengthen them as only You can, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
At church this past Sunday the song “One Thing Remains” by Jesus Culture was played. I had never heard this song before, but as we sang it and the music became softer, and the voices louder, but oh so soft, I was moved by the lyrics. As the lyrics state “It overwhelms and satisfies my soul” that God’s love for me, and for you, never fails, never gives up and never runs out. No matter what we do, no matter how many times we stray, God’s love is there.
Heavenly Father, I come into your presence so aware of my human frailty and yet overwhelmed by your love for me. I thank you that there is nothing that I might walk through where your love cannot reach me. If I climb the highest mountain or find myself in the darkest valley of my life, you are there. I pray that today you come into my heart and teach me to love you more. Help me to rest in that love that asks nothing more than the simple trusting heart of a child. In Jesus name I pray, Amen
“One Thing Remains” by Jesus Culture
Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One thing… Remains (repeat)
On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains
Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me (3x)
In death, In life, I’m confident and
covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can
separate my heart from Your great love
At the end of the longer version , while the band is playing, singer Chris Quilala, starts praising God in his own words:
“Your love never fails me
Your grace never fails me
Your grace never fails
His love never fails
His presence never fails
His mercy never fails
Your kindness is never-ending
Your grace is never-ending
Your faithfulness is never-ending
Your love is never-ending
Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.
Lord, I come before you today knowing that all power is in Your hand. I know that you are the Lord and that you care for your people. Right now, my beautiful wife and her sisters are struggling with a difficult trial. I can see they are trying hard to not let their strength falter, and Lord, I know that you have all of the strength that they need.
I pray that you will reach down and touch them right now wherever they are at this moment. Let your presence fill the room where they are and let them feel an extra portion of your strength that can help them to get through this day.
They need you now, Lord, and I thank you in advance for meeting them where they are and shoring up their strength during this difficult time.
Heavenly Father, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.
Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.
Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.
Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.
Over the past few months I have been absent for long periods of time on 52 Sundays and my other blog Lincoln & Puppa and I want to take the time today to apologize and explain. First a little backstory, the following is a letter I wrote to my grandson Lincoln last year on Lincoln & Puppa.
I recently wrote to you and explained how in that past few months we experienced 2 great losses in our family, great grandpa Buck passed away on June 28 and great great grandma Laurel passed away on August 7. Now, just as most family members are beginning to adjust and move on with their daily lives, we found out yesterday that great grandma Boo has advanced cancer. The doctors tell us that the cancer has filled 2/3 of her left lung and that the rest of her lung has collapsed. She is only breathing with her right lung. The cancer has also spread to her brain. There is nothing that can be done for her, it’s too far advanced. Next week after some more tests we find out how long she has left.
Great grandma Boo has spent the last few years caring for great grandpa Buck and she may have ignored how she left and probably didn’t go to the doctor when she should have. The news was devastating to your Nana. Her mommy and daddy mean the world to her. It just seems so unfair right now and everyone’s questioning “Why God Why?”. For some in the family, their faith is beginning to waiver.
In the Bible Paul tells us: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Over time that promise has become abbreviated to “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Like many others, I’ve derived comfort from these words, though I know God does not “give” me loss, pain and grief.
Let me stress that this verse does not imply that God won’t let you be stressed beyond what you can bear. Or challenged beyond your ability. Or pushed beyond your threshold.In reality, God gives you more than you can bear all the time. On purpose. It’s only when you can’t bear the load that the strength of Christ kicks in… and He becomes everything you need and more.
Count your blessings, we’re told, but it’s just not in our nature. We’d rather count our problems. Our species survived by reacting instantly to threats, and the ancient humans who stopped to smell the roses made easier targets for predators.
Today, the predators are mostly gone, but we’re still so primed to pay attention to bad news that we tend to ignore what’s going well. As soon as we solve one problem, we take the progress for granted and find a new cause for alarm. Every now and again it doesn’t hurt to take stock of just how good we have it. I urge you to always count your blessings.
I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that there will be good times and there will be bad times in your life. It will be up to you how you deal with the bad times. For me I have learned to be thankful for what I have and not worry about what I don’t have. I’m thankful for every minute I had with great grandpa Buck and great great grandma Laurel. As I have told you before great grandpa Buck was the most influential person in my life, I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for him. We will concentrate on the time we still have with great grandma Boo instead of dwelling on losing her soon.
You have been such a joy in all our lives, I treasure every minute I have with you. Bear with us as we go down this path together again. We will get through this as a family, with much love, understanding, and faith that we will all be together again.
I love you Lincoln, Puppa
After Grandma Boo ( my mother in-law ) went through all the testing and countless doctor appointments, we were told that she had about 3 months left to live, and that treatments would not prolong her life but would make her time left more comfortable. What the doctors didn’t take into account is that Boo is a fighter. She smiled at the doctors and stated that cancer better be ready for a fight, she wasn’t going down easy.
Boo wasn’t supposed to be with us at Christmas;
Boo wasn’t supposed to be with us at St. Patty’s Day;
Easter….not suppose to be there:
Since then there has been other great moments, cookouts, trips to the casino, and lots of family around. Since last year my wife has spent a lot of time up north caring for her mom ( we live 2 1/2 hours away ). Unfortunately in the past few months Boo’s health has steadily declined, cancer is starting to win the battle. My lovely wife travels back and forth constantly, a day or two here to watch our grandson when our daughter has to work. But other than that she is lovingly caring for her mom. Boo, (mom) has told me more than once that Carol is her “Guardian Angel”. I couldn’t agree more.
When I can get away from work I make the 5 hour round trip, even if it’s just for the day, so that I can help comfort her. Mom and I have spent many early mornings in her little kitchen enjoying coffee, talking, and praying together. She knows God has a plan and she is ready for what God has in store for her. She is, and always has been, a strong and brave woman.
So, our days have been quite full the last year and especially the last few months. My plan was to write every other day, to my grandson and on this blog, but God, as always, had a better plan, and that was to care for my family through this difficult time, comfort Boo, and love and support my incredible wife.
We know that time is slipping away and soon God will call Boo home. Until then I pray every day for mom, my family and my wife. Today I share my prayer for my wife;
Lord, when we are infants, you partner with our parents in loving and caring for us. Our loving Boo is now elderly and is fighting a losing battle with cancer and I ask that you partner with your daughter Carol in giving her the same tender loving care. Give her the strength to be fully present for her mother and lovingly tend to her needs and give her the wisdom to take time out to tend to own physical, emotional and spiritual needs as she cares for her. Amen.
“Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness”.
I now look to you, my friends, I ask for your prayers, an encouraging word and understanding during this difficult time.