Monday, April 26, 2004

The line (4/26/04)

The fasting and prayer topic for this Wednesday involves elements of worry, control, responsibility, and ultimately - trust in God. You may be thinking that sounds like a strange topic but after you read the e-mail exchange below, you'll understand better. This e-maill exchange was sent to me by a friend I've had for many years now. He is on our fasting and prayer list. This e-mail conversation happened between him and one of his close friends.

One side note - the names have been changed to protect the sterile :-)

Fred: Barney, can I have the name of the doctor that did your "snip snip" surgery?
Barney: So, are you finally willing to do it or is Wilma finally willing to let you? I highly recommend this guy. Good skill and good Christian. (doctor's info was attached).
Fred: I think Wilma is now fine with the idea.
Barney: I know that it is not 100% effective. But, it sure is nice not worrying about it anymore.
Fred: Can you not worry knowing it isn't 100% effective?
Barney: You know me. I can not worry about a lot of things. (my own note on this - "Barney" is very good at optimism and not worrying about the future).
Fred: Yea, but another kid at this point in my life, THAT makes me worry.
Barney: Yea, I know, but God's in control. I kind of feel that I have done my part and do not need to do anymore. If He wants me to have another kid, He can. But, He will have to work for it. I'm not suppose to worry, and He will not give me more than I can handle. Then again, I can handle all things through Christ so that is not much comfort… :)
Fred: You still wear seatbelts don't you?
Barney: That's exactly the point. I don't have a roll cage or wear a helmet. I don't even have air bags. It's that whole walking a line thing. You just got to do what you're suppose to and not worry about the rest. What you're suppose to do and what I am suppose to do are probably two different things. I don't view 0,1,2,3, or more methods of birth control to be wrong. The potential dangers I see related to this topic are fear, worry, disobedience, and control. Its another one of those tough lines to walk between trust and control.

It really is walking a line. If we fall on the control side, we run the risk of working too hard to get to our goals without stopping to make sure they are God's goals for us. The other side is to use "trusting in God" as an excuse for inaction. You've probably heard the story of the man who lost his job. He sat around the house doing nothing. His attitude was "God will find me a job if he wants me to work".

So, whatever you want to call this topic, please pray for it this Wednesday.

Have a great week and a great fast.
Your brother,

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Marriages (4/13/04)

Does your marriage need prayer? Do you know a marriage that needs prayer? Go back and answer "yes" to both if you didn't already. The fact is, every marriage needs prayer. It isn't easy bringing two selfish, prideful, imperfect people together into perfect harmony for ever and ever… Disagreements occur - money, children, parenting, sex, division of labor, and on and on. And that's just inside the house. Think of all the negative influences outside the house. It's hard to keep a biblical view of marriage when the worldly view can be so different.

John 15:5 says "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

In marriage, two of these branches become one. Yet, they need to stay connected to the vine in order to live and grow.

A couple quick questions to ponder:
1. Are you expecting your spouse to fulfill all your needs?
2. Are you loving your spouse the way you want to be loved?
3. Is Christ the vine of your marriage?

Even if you're not married, please pray this Wednesday for all those who are married. Let's pray that marriages be full of Acceptance, flexibility, forgiveness, appreciation, affection, and joy. Let's pray for healing in marriages that need it.

Have a great week and a great fast.
Your brother,

Monday, April 5, 2004

Our reactions (4/5/04)

In our daily lives, we are "wronged" by others. Co-workers, our spouse, our kids, friends, the guy in traffic, complete strangers, etc. It's our reactions to these "wrongs" that we are praying for this Wednesday. To be more specific, the topic for this week is - praying before we react. Said another way - making prayer our first reaction.

On a personal note, I need this topic as bad as anyone. Overall, I'm a pretty laid-back person. However, my instant reaction is not always "turn the other cheek". For instance, I've been thinking about this topic since last Wednesday and I was even discussing it with a couple of you at service yesterday. As such, you would think it would be top-of-mind for me. Yet, yesterday afternoon, I became quite angry with my oldest son when he failed to call after sleeping over at a friends house. It was very surreal - verbally I was letting him have it while inside, a part of me was saying "you know, you really should stop and pray about this before you react".

I'm just guessing you can all think of similar situations. Situations where, if you could go back and do it again, you would react very differently. A while back, I heard a pastor put it this way - "We all carry around a bucket of water in one hand and a bucket of feul in the other. When someone throws a flame at us, it's our choice as to which bucket we throw on it." If we pause for a second and say a quick prayer, we will make the right decision.

Have a great week and a great fast.
Your brother,