Friday, January 18, 2008

Thank God

James E. Bibbons was quoted as saying, "If a matter is not serious enough to pray about, then it is not serious enough to worry about - and if it is serious enough to pray about, and we have prayed about it, then there is no need to worry about it."

When I was little and had a nightmare, I would lay paralyzed in my bed and yell for my mom or dad to come rescue me. I guess I was too afraid of the ankle monster that lived under my bed to try and make the dash to their room. Once they came in, turned on the light and listened to what my dream was about, I was able to settle back down and get to sleep. Most times, unless I was really sick, I would never have the bad dream again.

When I think about all the problems people face and the worries that keep them up at night, I have to ask if they've prayed about it. Sometimes they'd say that God has enough on his plate to deal with. (That would be like saying that you never talked to your father because you figured he had enough on his plate what with work and bills. That's another blog.)

Sometimes they'll answer, "Yes, I was up all night on my knees, petitioning God, begging for Him to take care of it." And yet, there is still no peace and the worry lines grow deeper in their brows.
Looking at Phlippians 4:6-7, Paul exhorts the church to "be anxious for nothing"--don't worry. Easier said than done. Then he instructs them how to do that. "in everything by prayer and supplication"...ok, we're doing that too. "...with thanksgiving..." Ah HA! Did you notice that word--thanksgiving. Sure you can pray and petition, beg and bargain but to pray like it's already done and thank God for it? Now that's a trip of faith, isn't it?

Now look at the rest of the verse...there's a condition that goes hand in hand when you pray "with thanksgiving". Check it out, "And the peace of God...will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." There's the reward my friend, peace of mind. You want to sleep at night but your worries are building nightmares in your bedroom? Praying with thanksgiving is a flashlight to those dark corners of worry. When you pray, thank God like He's already accomplished the job. Most times He already has, we just don't know about it yet.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Back in high school we had spirit week to celebrate homecoming. Each day would be a special day to show your spirit: Nerd day, Black and gold day, Hat day, 50's day and Inside-Out day. All week the excitement would build. Then at Friday's pep rally we welcomed our homecoming football champions. (Go Bobcats!)

My favorite day was 50's day. Another fun "spirit day" was Inside-Out day, where students wore all their clothing inside-out. Proudly we walked from class to class with all our tags flapping in the wind--as well as pockets, lining and seams.

With one glance you knew exactly how the clothing was sewn together. It was obvious when it was nicely made or a home-ec experiment gone horribly wrong. Pockets would be visible and people would ask about gum or lunch money you thought you had hidden away. A finer detail was whether or not the fabric was printed on one side, or if the color was woven into the fabric. Then there were a few class pests who would try to rip your shirt tag out. Their goal was to snag as many Hang Ten or Ocean Pacific labels they could get.

In 2008, my church is encouraging members to turn their faith inside out. I thought for a moment what that would look like. Could it be as obvious as wearing your shirt inside-out?

Certainly an inside-out faith would prove how we were put together. How are your seams? Are they torn and in need of mending? Or do they need to be taken in a bit by the Master Tailor? Are you hiding anything in the dark pockets of your life? Time to empty them out! An inside-out faith would also prove whether or not it was a real your faith one-sided, or is it woven into the fabric of life? And finally, what about that tag flapping in the wind? If satan tries to "rip out" your tag, will he find "made in heaven" or a counterfeit faith that never quite measures up under pressure?

Are you ready to show your Spirit? If you are not a member of a church family, I would encourage you to find a solid church to belong to. Seek Christ this year. 2008 could be the year of Jesus' homecoming...the ultimate pep rally!

"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil {man} out of the evil {treasure} brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart." Luke 6:45