Please, God.

A child’s prayer: “Dear God, maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they each had their own rooms. It works out OK with me and my brother.”

Last week one of our granddaughters had a medical emergency. I’ll tell you, no matter where you are in your relationship with God, this is one of those times you approach Him with all the vigor you can muster. The prayer might not sound pretty or sophisticated, but it’s real. “God, I’m worried. God, we need answers. God, give the doctors insight. God… help.” The second half of James 5:16 says, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Some translations replace “effective” with “fervent.” That’s the kind of prayer you utter when you really want to get God’s attention. God, this morning I was praying, but right now, I’m PRAYING!
In broad strokes, when I think about our relationship with God, I consider understanding God by reading the bible, and communicating with God by prayer. God makes it clear that our attitude toward Him needs to be one of contrition and honesty. If there is anything standing in the way of our relationship with God we need to get it out in the open. Sometimes that means sharing it with a brother or sister you trust. You could also tell a group of believers you meet with on a regular basis that you have a struggle you need prayer for. Use wisdom deciding how much to share, and with whom. In the same way secrets stand in the way of our personal relationships, refusing to bring issues to God and stubbornly refusing to give up stuff we know God doesn’t approve of will cause our relationship with Him to go cold. Over and over the Bible admonishes us to take our sins, our needs, and our praise to God, who welcomes us as His children.

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5:13-16 NASB

God, show me everything I am
the things I won’t look at,
the things you can’t stand.
Encourage in my life
what sings
of your glory and praise
that I’ll reflect your blessings
the rest of my days.

©Joel Tipple 2/29/2020

Dashboard Crisis

I’ve a confession to make. It’s embarrassing, but here goes… First, are you familiar with the game of peek-a-boo? It’s a little exercise we all play with babies to teach object permanence. The fun comes when you hide something like your face or a toy from a baby and then quickly uncover it. They’re surprised and delighted when they learn things aren’t gone forever just because they are out of view. Have you ever considered that we all continue this game with ourselves many many years later? Long after our brains have supposedly developed to a much higher level, we choose to hide things from ourselves we would rather not see. And so, on to my confession. We’re all familiar with the warning lights on the dashboards of our vehicles. Lots of other electronic devices have similar lights and sounds to get our attention. They tell us when it’s time to deal with various electronic or mechanical issues that arise from time to time. Sometimes the warnings are simple reminders to perform some sort of regular maintenance. If we ignore some warnings, or put off dealing with an issue for too long, a relatively easy and cheap fix can graduate all the way to hard and expensive.

Confession? Oh yeah, well, like I said, it’s embarrassing. I’d like to think I rely primarily on common sense. But, if you’re like me you’re probably a little selective in your use of that particular attribute. You may think your portion of brain power and experience is enough to see you through just about anything. But, whether you’re willing to admit it or not, there’s most likely some stuff you would just rather not look at. Now, to use myself as exhibit A, this one time I abandoned my good sense by choosing to ignore a light on my car’s dashboard. Hey, in my defense, I’d already spent a bunch of money dealing with the various issues it could be. However, the light refused to stay out for long, and so, since I was still able to go down the road, I eventually gave up and did something that makes me embarrassed to think about it, even though years have passed. What did I do? I took a little piece of electrical tape and covered up the light.
Problem solved.
Out of sight, out of mind.
What light?

Now that was silly, right? I guess one of the reasons we can chuckle is that we’ve either known or heard of someone who has actually covered up a warning light. We hope things turn out all right in those instances and I don’t recall being stranded on the side of the road due to my own foolishness. But what about when the problems we cover up start out small and get bigger? What about when the signs we ignore relate to bigger issues regarding ourselves or others? When God reveals to us large or small issues, we need to act on them. If we need help, it’s up to us to ask for it. Far too often we give up on ourselves because we think our challenges are too great. It’s not cliche to say nothing is too big for God. One thing I know for sure… He will surprise you.

And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.
Mark 4:24 ESV

Increase what I can see,
so I can see need.
Increase what I can hear,
so I can hear your voice.
Increase what I can feel,
so I never grow callus.
Increase my sense of smell,
so I know your Spirit’s fragrance.
Increase my sense of taste
so I know good food for me.
Increase my awareness,
so your harvest will be increased.

© Joel Tipple 10/5/2019