Drawing in the net

I cannot count how many times I’ve heard a sermon or lecture or seminar speaker talk about the idea of “drawing in the net.” It has to do with becoming a fisher of men. Even the story of Jesus telling his disciples to throw their nets on the other side of the boat and filling their nets to breaking includes this concept in most church school lessons.

Now, think about this…

I came out to my car a few cold mornings ago and after buckling my seat belt felt something strange against my skin. I had gotten into a spider web as I entered my car. I swiped it away and drove off to start my day. The next day, the same thing: I get in my car and feel the spider web on my arm. Then the next day the same thing.

I finally realize that the spider is IN my car and making webs at night on my steering wheel! I can’t find him so I just wipe off the web and go on my way. This goes on for days, but with an amazing difference: the webs are getting smaller and have more gaps in the design. The construction gets thinner and the gaps get greater until finally one morning I find no web at all.

A few days later I am getting some materials out of my car, and I see it: a tiny dead spider. He must have starved to death. He didn’t realize he was spinning his web in an area where no food existed. No flies or ants were going to be trapped in his web for dinner. So he kept working away, finding no food, not knowing why, and finally dying.

If someone had only told him: cast your web (net) on the OUTSIDE of the car! There is food there. You can feed there. There is abundance there.

The fishermen in the Bible weren’t fishing for converts…they were fishing for food. And Jesus showed them where the abundance was: believing.

If your net isn’t full, if you can’t get your daily bread, if you aren’t receiving blessings, then maybe you should try another location. Stop spending all you effort in a place where there is no bread. Stop acclimating yourself to a life without abundance. Stop telling yourself that zero blessings is normal.

There are blessings all around you if you cast your net…

and BELIEVE.

For a handy little book on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.org 

Published in: on November 14, 2013 at 4:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The World Needs a “Day of Prayer”

In his resignation speech, the Pope said he wondered if “The Lord was sleeping” throughout the trials and distresses of the Catholic Church recently. He no doubt experienced what most of us experience–the silence of God. Although Psalm 121 teaches “He who watches over Israel slumbers not, nor does he sleep,” it is easy to feel ignored sometimes. We all need a Day of Prayer.

That’s why a day for prayer seems so important now, because so many people feel ignored that unbelief is on a rapid rise. But I do know this–prayers are answered. But many today just don’t bother. They might pray once or twice and then give up. “Pray without ceasing,” Paul writes. It is the habit of prayer, or more accurately, the habit of FAITH, that moves mountains, not a knee-jerk, slot machine style of asking.

I advise beginners to start with the simple Lord’s Prayer. Once you understand its simplicity, you can use the framework for all of your daily prayers. Once you start, it becomes a habit. A habit of believing.

For a good little e-book on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on February 27, 2013 at 12:38 pm  Comments (1)  
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Imagine there’s no heaven…

When I was a teen, I could not understand why John Lennon’s great song Imagine could create such a stir. It was, I was later informed, a subtle introduction to atheism. Just imagine–no heaven, no afterlife, no judgement, no judge, no need for a savior, no Jesus…nothing that most baby boomers had been raised to believe.

Now, thirty years later, we hear that the fastest growing religious group in America is the “Nones.” These are the people who, when asked about matters of faith and religious affiliation in surveys and censuses, select the answer “none.” More and more people are simply dismissing ideas of a supreme being, higher power, faith, etc.

While many people appear to be newly interested in things spiritual, they are not interested at all in an all-powerful, all-knowing, father-figure on a throne away off in “heaven” somewhere. NPR recently ran a series on the “nones” discussing everything from young believers/non-believers to how atheists grieve. One person in the interview, and I’m not quoting here, just gisting, said that her husband who was killed in an accident was not in a better place, but was in the ground.

When I read this, I Thessalonians 4:13 came immediately to mind: But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, about those who have died, so you will not grieve, as those who have no hope. And even though Paul is speaking about death, I also would add that we should not grieve as those who have no hope in life, future, finances, health, God’s will…anything.

I have to agree with the Psalmist: In you oh Lord have I put my hope. (Ps 71)

And the more I pray, the more hope I have.

Go see: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on January 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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King of Israel

On my morning commute during the holiday season, I listen to Christmas carols. With the exception of some new R&B almost-quasi-emotive-christmas-ish-sounding song from the last few years I know nearly every Christmas song there is. Whether pop, jazz standard, ancient carol, up to and including the Kinks “Father Christmas,” I can sing along.

This morning I was singing “The First Noel” along with some new pop star and actually admiring how heart-felt it all seemed. Then I sang the words “Born is the King of Israel” and suddenly felt distracted. There is no king in Israel. A president, yes, but no king. There is no pharaoh in Egypt,either. There is a president in Syria and also much political strife and killing, but no king.

The last King of Israel was a guy named Hoshea who ascended to the throne by killing his predecessor and who surrendered his throne to the Assyrians when Israel was conquered in c. 728 BC. Israel remained a non-nation until 1968 or so. Since then the strife continues, wars threaten, unrest is the daily bread, but no king.

Even when Jesus was born and eventually proclaimed King by the prophets, priests, and followers, it was not official. Jealous rulers, both church and state, vowed to silence him and squash this kingdom, even if it was only a spiritual kingdom.

It makes me ask–“Who would I have been?” Would I have been his defender, his supporter? Would I have made my aim the promotion of his teachings, a propagator of the faith? Or would I have simply gone on my way, ignoring one more in a long line of rabble-rousers, knowing what his end would be, knowing that if I ignore him, he’ll go away.

I hope somehow, one of these Christmases, we’ll remember Jesus. Whether we remember him as a king, babe in a manger, prophet, teacher, whatever, will not matter as long as we remember him. And maybe, with a little practice, we will recall, and perhaps reclaim, his true mission–to be King of Israel and Savior of the World.

It could be the start of a great conversation.

For a great little workbook on prayer, go see:  www.therealprayer.com

Asteroid Near Miss was Real

I am not an alarmist, but yesterday’s close shave with an asteroid was concerning. I have always believed that if anything was headed our way, NASA or someone would know about it in time to prevent a collision.

We only knew about this asteroid for 48 hours before it flew by us inside the moon’s orbit. Yes, that’s right, it came closer to us than our own moon!

A newfound asteroid gave Earth a close shave early today, zipping between our planet and the moon just two days after astronomers first spotted it. -msnbc.msn.com

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50165912/ns/technology_and_science-space/

If this had happened today when all of the numerophiles were counting cosmic digits and their effects on our lives, I would have truly been given pause. As it is, this thing passed close enough that if it had swung even a few degrees, catastrophic devastation would have almost certainly resulted.

I am going to have to rethink my faith in science and technology. I’m also going to spend some time contemplating the phrase “Thy will,” (and things like mercy, providence, protection!) While it is easy just to shrug it off and say “Ok, ok–so we missed one!” it is another thing altogether to think about saying “We missed THE one!”

Time to pray…

For a great little book on prayer, go see www.therealprayer.com

Published in: on December 12, 2012 at 8:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Noah’s Ark found (again)

A group of explorers has claimed that there is a 99.9% cahnce that the massive structure underneath the snow on Mt Ararat in Turkey is what’s left of the famous Noah’s Ark. I remember a similar find back in the 70’s, but the Turkish government wouldn’t let the finders be the keepers. In spite of the  strange fact that a ship could be found this high in the mountains, many are more interested in the banter between the touters and doubters than in any possibility of truth.

Is it the ark? Who knows? Whether a person is a believer or not, finding a huge wooden ship this high in the mountains from 5000 years ago is still quite a find! Unfortunately, however, this find is tied to a story which is in the Bible which has of late become a fashionable target for slamming and ridicule. Just think: If this vessel had been found independent of any religious reference at all, it would be on the cover of National Geographic.  Instead, it is simply comment fodder for news blogs.

Believers can never let any late-term discovery turn into an attempt at validation for their faith. You either believe or not–ark or not. The kingdom is ever and always the creator’s. We are just along for the journey and not to wage some kind of belief battle with doubters. Everyone must find their own way in their own time. Just like you did.

For an easy to understand prayer guide, visit: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on April 27, 2010 at 2:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Good Friday Prayer

Many aeons ago, the one who taught us to pray saying “Our Father…” was killed for, among other things, teaching us to pray. With Jesus’ method, one could sidestep the legalisms and go-betweens and speak directly to the Creator. Spiritual independence!? What would that do for the organized business of religion?

What if everyone suddenly had believed him? What if folks prayed without ceasing, believing every word of every prayer was heard and heeded? What if they practiced their faith-making-them-whole on a daily basis? What if they then taught it to their children, and on to the next generation? What if believers gathered to celebrate their abundant life in true gratitude rather than in fear of punishment if they did not?

And what if each Friday we remembered that original Good Friday when Christ lay in the tomb, silenced for a few days because he was so intent on teaching us the truth that the only way to shut him was to crucify him? And what if the anticipation of the Sunday to come when he would prove the truth by returning from the dead was so real to us that we could not be silenced? What if we prayed Thy will, and meant it?

What a Good Friday that would be!

For an easy to use study on The Lord’s Prayer, visit www.therealprayer.org .

As it is in Heaven.

As I have written before, my first sight of the Earth from space made me begin to wonder about heaven from an early age. Since it could not be seen from space hovering above the Earth I couldn’t imagine where it could be. “By this time,” I reasoned, “it must be pretty full, not to mention all the angels and such.” Why could I not see it?

Since those days, Heaven with an upper case H has been rightly translated as the heavens and implies more than a huge mansion with an imposing figure sitting on a throne. While I still believe in the Creator which we pretty much universally refer to as “God,” I have discovered that my child-like Sunday School image is primarily the greatest hindrance to my faith.

We seem to be both physical and spiritual, and it is from the spiritual side of ourselves that we can get to know this creator who inhabits the heavens. In this place the creator’s will is what existence is all about, and those thoughts and words are reality. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are seeking an experience where that spiritual reality in the heavens becomes our reality on earth(see previous blog entry.)

Seeing the creator’s spiritual will unfold in our physical lives here and now is the ultimate experience for us. That alone is worth seeking daily in prayer.

An e-workbook for the Lord’s Prayer is available from: www.therealprayer.com

Published in: on May 6, 2009 at 7:53 am  Comments Off on As it is in Heaven.  
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On Earth

When we ask for the Creator’s will to be done, we mean here and now, in our experience, not in some allegorical, theoretical sense. If we ask for something in a prayer, how do we know when it’s been answered? It happens! Many people in traditional religious circles recite the mantra: “God answers in three ways– Yes; No; or Wait.” Well I maintain that “No” is not an answer.

If Jesus’ words are to be believed when he said “I came that they (we) might have life, and have it more abundantly,” we must expect real things to happen. A simplistic “Well my name wasn’t in the obituaries today, I guess that’s a blessing,” is not anything out of the ordinary. But we must realize that that which we call a miracle should be ordinary as well!

If “Thy will” is that I should have a more abundant life, and my life is far from abundant, something is wrong. We have the Creator’s word on it that abundance is the thing willed. Not pie-in-the-sky-in-the-sweet-by-and-by, but life–here–now–On Earth.

Check out an easy to use e-workbook on the Lord’s Prayer. It’s at www.therealprayer.com

Published in: on May 1, 2009 at 7:18 am  Comments Off on On Earth  
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