Mar 252011
 

Seriously? What can Twitter and prayer possibly have in common, right? At least two of you are already asking,”So Twitter is what, exactly?” 

According to tweeternet.comTwitter is a social networking and microblogging service that allows you answer the question, “What are you doing?” by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called “tweets”, to your friends.

Whew, okay, What were we talking about? Oh yeah, prayer! Let’s check out some great texts.

pray continually;  1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV

Well, that’s short and to the point.  Need to think a bit about that “continually” concept.

Seven times a day I praise you
   for your righteous laws. Psalm 119:164

Okay, seven is less than “continually”, right?

Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Daniel 6:10

I read online earlier today about a guy who set up future tweets so that he would get one every hour on the hour during the day, prompting him to pray from the Book of Common Prayer. Does that seem stiff and artificial to you? Maybe so, but I applaud his initiative in making prayer a significant part of his day. How many times a day do you pray? One, three, seven, continually, or…none?

Is it important to you to talk to the Father, the Son, the Spirit often? Yes? But do you often find yourself reaching the end of the day without doing so?

We remind ourselves to do all kinds of things-pick up the dry cleaning, get milk, remember our anniversary, things that are important to us. Is prayer important enough to remind ourselves about it?

Does God consider our prayers of lesser value if they are delivered in 140 characters or less? If they come after a prompt from a Post-It or a tweet on a phone?

As a father, I can tell you that I want to hear from my girls any which way. Short or long, timed or spontaneous, I just want to hear their voices and share their day. Does my Heavenly Father love me any less than that?

So, whether you are a tweeter, a blogger, a Post-It poster, or a Sharpie on the palm writer, do what you have to do to keep prayer a regular part of your day.

And as you do that, you will grow closer to the One to Whom you speak, closer to living your days in continual connection, closer to letting Him choose your words and actions to please Him and reflect Him.

Mar 212011
 

Thunk! The splitting maul’s edge slammed into the end of the log, straining to split the grain. I looked down in disgust as the edge penetrated a measly quarter-inch. My older daughter’s boyfriend and I had been splitting wood steadily for the last half hour and making slow progress of it. Sometimes the edge of the maul would simply bounce off the end grain, not penetrating at all. Sometimes a sledgehammer-pounded wedge would get stuck in the twisted wood fibers swirling around a limb.

I stopped for a minute to catch my breath. I reflected on the fact that we were doing something so abnormal to this tree. Something far from its intended purpose.

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. Genesis 1:11 NIV

I looked around at the woods around me. Literally hundreds of trees jutting up into the sky, their thousands and millions of huge limbs, branches and tiny twigs ending in buds just starting to burst with flower and leaf. We talked about the powerful structure: a complicated and far-reaching root system, providing not only stable support for the tree above, but gathering huge quantities of nutrients and water and pulling them ever higher into the trunk for life and growth.  We looked at the rings of fibers, showing years of life.  The needles of the giant pine had gathered energy from the sun, creating new growth and producing life giving oxygen to enrich the atmosphere.

What a wonderful design! And yet, its huge trunk lay on the ground, its decay becoming more and more evident years before it was finally cut  down. As we continued to split large chunks, the bark fell off in sheets, revealing insect damage and riddled with holes from insects and woodpeckers alike. Was this God’s intention that third day when He created this beautiful thing? Was this tree meant to die?

Recently, I wrote about Jesus sealing his commitment to die for us in the very moment He breathed the breath of life into Adam. Was Adam meant to fail and die? No. Yet our loving Creator, knowing that we would walk away from Him, foolishly choosing darkness and death, had a plan in place to recreate us, even before He created Adam!

Was the tree we struggled to split created to die? No! Yet it thrived and provided beauty even in the midst of our damaged and polluted world. Even as it died, it gave of itself, supporting insects and birds.  Falling to the ground, it provides organic material to replenish the soil,  supporting new life from death.

What an intelligent design! What a wonderful Creator! No matter how hard we try to ruin His creation, He still brings life and beauty from death,

whether it is a single pine tree….

…or me.

Mar 062011
 

He had put his best efforts into this latest work of art. Truly, it was his crowning acheivement. The symmetry, the elegance of its design, the sheer beauty of it. He wondered what his father would say.  In spite of his age, he wanted nothing but his father’s approval.

As pleasing as it was in appearance, it’s design was very…unusual. It was, in fact, quite daring. Actually, shocking would be more accurate. He wanted to do his very best for his father. He would even risk his disapproval, yes, even that, if what he had made would please his father.

The cost, well- the cost had been staggering. In fact, he had put his entire inheritance at risk, had incurred a debt so heavy that even he wondered if he could pay it off.

A slight touch here, a subtle change in color blending there. He analyzed the structural details one more time, making careful adjustments, building in even more grace and balance.

He was nearing completion, finally satisfied with his work. Hearing a slight rustle behind him, he rose from his knees, squatting on his heels, not able to tear his attention from the completed work, but wondering, wondering what his father would say.

“Son, you have done so well!”, his father began,”far beyond what anyone expected!”

“Thanks, Dad. I just wanted to make you happy,” he replied without turning around.

“And so I am, but the cost, it is so high!

 “Dad, I know the cost.  Yes, it is high,” he agreed.

“Son, I can hardly bear to think of you paying such a price, just to please me. It could cost you everything!” His father’s voice, sorrowful, yet full of love… and pride in his son.

“Yes, Dad, I know. I choose to finish this, because I love you and because we love this.”

Then, in one quick movement, he stretched over his work….

and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7 NIV.

When Jesus created you, when He created the first human, He knew full well what it would cost Him, not only His life, but separation from His Father! And yet He made you anyway.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. 1 John 3:16 NIV

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