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.” belief.net
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
of your glory and praise
that I’ll reflect your blessings
the rest of my days.
©Joel Tipple 2/29/2020
Nope, this isn’t a financial post. Although that’s a good subject too. This week I’m writing about change. Okay, timeout. The picture is of a jar of change, and you’re writing about change, but you’re not writing about money? Exactly, and consider reading this an investment. Stop!
If you’re like me, you come home with some extra coins. None of us like standing in line, and the extra time it takes to fish change out can require some patience, both from ourselves and maybe the other folks in line. “Did you say 38 cents? Okay, here’s a quarter, a dime, and three pennies. Wait, I want to use the rest of these pennies. Make that a quarter, a nickel, and one two three four five six seven… Oh, shoot. Do you have a penny?” As Charlie Brown would say, “AAUGH!” Or maybe you just like saving your change. Sort of a rainy day or vacation fund. It all adds up, and voila! One day you have some real money.
But this is about another kind of change, the change God begins in us from the moment we begin to follow Jesus. You may have heard, “God loves you just as you are, but he loves you too much to leave you that way.” While that may be true, the changes he puts us through are not always big ones. He made you, after all, and he knows sometimes the best and most lasting changes we can make are incremental ones. Dropping small habits might represent a few coins. A bigger issue might be worth half a jar! While you may be going through a season of painful change, or a relatively quiet time, it’s worth remembering you never have to go through it alone. Jesus, your advocate, knows you better than you know yourself, and he will see to it that the changes you go through will never “break the bank.”
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
with Jesus Christ,
is not predicated
on our ability
but on surrender
of sin gravity
that holds us down
All glory and honor
to the Spirit
© Joel Tipple 9/21/2019
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
Romans 6:15-18 (ESV)
Am I a slave
held in bondage?
I think not.
But do my actions
support my words?
What evidence have my actions wrought?
Am I there more for my television
than for my family?
Of the myriad of vices available,
which of them defines me?
God offers two choices: sin, which leads to death,
or obedience, which leads to righteousness.
There doesn’t seem to be
a lot of area here that’s gray.
So far as I can tell,
God wants it all,
not just your first thing in the morning,
He wants all day.
© Joel Tipple
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2011