Meeting God In “Thin Places”

One of my favorite places to go with my wife was Cochem in Germany. Over a millennium ago, men founded this town. Though today’s atmosphere was probably created more by the Chamber of Commerce than by history, when you’re there you feel like you step back hundreds of years in time.

Phyllis and I accidentally discovered it in 1988 as we wandered alongside the Moselle River, driving up from nearby Luxembourg. Friends had offered to watch the kids so we could get away. We spent the night in a bed and breakfast in Cochem, and the next day went to see the Eltz castle in the forest northeast of town.

The little boy and the historian in me fell in love and Phyllis and I went back several other times, creating vivid memories together—the night of the festival with all the oom-pa-pa music, and the people in old German costumes, for example.

Funny, but we often connect places with good times or bad times. That is a good place for me. A really good place.

 

Cochem, Germany

Morning Places

I’m a bit like that about the place where I read my Bible and pray in the morning. Just like some Christians are attached to a certain pew, I like to meet the Lord at a spot where I have memories.

At the moment it’s the back deck of our house (it’s really the back porch but I said “deck” so that you younger readers would know what I’m talking about). Before I get my work day gets started,  I love to sit out there. The quietness soothes me. Note, “quietness,” still includes birds singing and crickets cricketing. We’ve got a couple of Robins who think they own the place and we are their renters.

The day has intruded on the night; the sunshine is fresh and soft and I can get centered with God for what’s ahead. Continue reading

The Remarkable Connection Between Praying and Sneezing


Pray-ers are a lot like sneezers—there are all kinds.

For instance, some sneezers are “blast-a-hole-in-the-wall” sneezers. There’s no art. Just suck in a week’s worth of air and “Ahhhhhhhh-CHOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Woe be to the person who steps between this sneezer and the wall.

The air current from the sneeze registers about seven on the Richter scale.
If all you want to do is expel whatever is tickling your nose, I guess this is okay. It’s not pretty. If others aren’t expecting it, you may give them a heart attack, but hey, it works.
Some folks pray like this. No art, just get it out. When they pray the rafters rumble, the windows rattle and dust floats down from the ceiling. If Jesus had prayed like these folks when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter, James and John wouldn’t have slept instead of praying.
Sleeping would have been impossible.
Other sneezers are much more artful. Instead of trying for the big bang, they aim for style and understatement. “Ah-choo!” they squeak and daintily dab at their nose with a handkerchief.
And some folks pray like this. They want to express themselves in a sophisticated fashion so they seem to pray with one pinky in the air, like cultured people used to drink tea in the pre-Starbucks world. Continue reading

Why God Refuses To Say “No” To You

yes

The French language has a peculiarity that I like. Often when the answer is, “Yes!” they don’t just say one “yes” in response but “Oui, oui!” (Yes, yes!) Sometimes even “oui, oui, oui!”

So, if your wife looks at you menacingly and asks you if you remembered to do what she asked you to, you can respond, “Oui, oui!” Otherwise you can slap your head and say, “Ah, I forgot!” (You probably won’t slap it as hard as she would have).

The Lord must be French because He has a tendency to answer, “Yes, yes!”

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:19-21, NKJV)

We’ve all heard it preached, “God always answers. Sometimes it’s ‘yes,’ sometimes it’s ‘no’, and sometimes it’s, ‘wait.'”

I beg to differ, and you can disagree with me if you wish. But, if I’m asking in faith something God has promised his response is, “Oui! Oui!”

I hear you rumbling out there, “Now hang on David. Don’t you remember that Paul asked three times that a ‘thorn in the flesh’ be taken away from Him and God said, ‘no.'”

Did God say, “No” ? Continue reading

Can You Save Up Prayers for a Rainy Day?

worship1

I love to have thoughts I‘ve never had before–most of the time anyway. And in 63 years I’ve thought a lot of thoughts. I had a new one the other day but I’m not sure it’s right.

Before and after my wife’s recent surgery, hundreds or (probably) thousands of friends and family prayed for her. Normally, I think that one person praying in faith would have done the job, so it seems to me there ought to be a surplus of prayers stored up somewhere.

“Wouldn’t it be great,” I asked my wife, “If every time we had a need now, we could just take some prayers out of that prayer stockpile that was left over? Wouldn’t even have to pray ourselves. Just open up the door to the storeroom, take out a few prayers and “voila”—problem over.” Continue reading

Sleepy Peter

The podcast at the end of the article is called: Lion Honey

I’m glad Peter is in the Bible. It’s like I have my own personal representative who did a lot of the same dumb stuff I do. He’s always getting his ears boxed verbally.

Take praying for instance.

Jesus wanted his close friends Peter, James, and John to stick with Him while He prayed before His final trial, but, alas,

“He came back and found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, ‘Simon, you went to sleep on me? Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don’t enter the danger zone without even knowing it. Don’t be naive. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.’” (Mark 14:37, 38 The Message)

Peter was good at sleeping when he should have been praying. Some time later, God’s enemies pitched Peter into prison for preaching. The next day they were going to kill him. That night the church was awake and calling on God. And Peter? When the angel came with a blaze of light to rescue him, he was putting up z’s, so the heavenly visitor had to strike him on the side to wake him up (kind of like my wife does when I snore too loudly).

Lucky for him the Church was interceding.

I wonder how many calamities I’ve been spared because people prayed for me?

Prayer doesn’t seem like such a big thing but it is horribly important. Jesus won the battle of the Cross in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His ordeal as he agonized in prayer. He longed for his best friends to struggle alongside him but there they were, laid out, mouth open … “zzzzzzzsnarksnork!”

They simply didn’t realize how desperate the situation was. Jesus knew that His whole story was coming to a head. He saw the enemy at the gate. He knew that contact with His Father through prayer would give Him the strength to win the most important battle that history had ever known.

But his friends didn’t pray with Him. When the storm broke they were reduced to an ineffective sword swing (Peter was aiming for a fellow’s head and got his ear), and ran for their lives after they had pledged loudly shortly before that, “Me, Lord? Ain’t no way I’ll ever deny you! No, no. Not me!”

Notice here: prayer didn’t get Jesus out of the problem. It got Him through the problem. We have the idea that if we just pray enough we’ll be spared the hard things of life. That does work sometimes, but often God doesn’t change the situation. He changes us so that we are victorious in the situation. We don’t simply receive answers–we grow.

We receive strength to win when we pray.

So wake up Peter (and David) and get on those knees. Prayer really is making a difference.
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Think!

Dreams will never be realized without risks.
Love will never be experienced without exposure.
You can’t even help another person without risking being hurt yourself.
(Mountain Wings Devotional, www.mountainwings.com)