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 

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Published in: on November 14, 2013 at 4:43 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

The Day after the Mayan Apocalypse

As the day draws nearer for fear mongers, I’m already planning for a celebration on the day after December 21, 2012. And the first thing I’ll do is send a copy of this video to my friends:

The video is from NASA, and says it all–enjoy!

Then say a prayer of thanks.

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

Published in: on December 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mayan Apocalypse-End of the World?

In the famous words of Dr. Evil–“How about ‘NO’?” As the end of the final cycle of the Mayan Calendar approaches, the media is beginning to stir the pot a little. After a bit of a hiatus from the chaos of the initial revelation about the Mayan calendar, we are now hearing about believers running to gather on a mountain in France to await the end. Some clever entrepreneur is selling shelters from the cataclysm and many others are telling of suicide scares.

What at first was just a bit of an annoyance for most Christians is quickly becoming an issue with society as a whole. And the more we talk about it the worse it will become. I’ve quoted news sources and even scientists: “Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than four billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012,” NASA researchers write in an apocalypse-debunking FAQ.” (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50202547#.UM0a5-T7KSo)

The final words on the issue come from the final authority on all things cosmic–Christ, who said

“Now concerning that (final) day and hour no one knows–neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son–except the Father only. Matthew 24:36

As I once heard a wise old preacher say “Trust the red letters.” If you’re old enough you’ll know what that means. If you’re not, find an old Bible and look around.

Then pray.

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

Published in: on December 15, 2012 at 8:08 pm  Comments (1)  
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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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12-12-12

Well, today is another of those spooky days when the numbers line up just right and give the superstitious something to fret over. The sun came up just like always here on the east coast and except for overcast skies, it looks just like any other day.

I am actually somewhat relieved. We won’t get another spate of these days until 2101. Which reminds me that before there was a 12-12-2012, there was a 11-11-2011 and a 10-10-2010, all of which we lived through no worse for wear.

I am amazed at how we seem to search for things over which to worry. We brood over, yes even invent things to give our much-needed brain power over to. I have enough legitimate concerns in my life (which do need my energy) than to waste time on the fictitious or trendy.

In fact, the more time I spend in prayer, the fewer of these concern I actually have. When I say “Our Father” and ask for “Thy will,” the rest is just details.

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

Published in: on December 12, 2012 at 8:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Continuous Partial Attention

I recently ran across Linda Stone’s blog site (www.lindastone.net) and was amazed and impressed to read so many things with which I agree. As a teacher and conference leader, the thing that made me want to stand up and shout a hearty YES was this concept of continuous partial attention. The term is used to describe the way we try to text, message, work, eat, and search for meaning in our lives–all at the same time. And we can’t give full attention to anything.

We have so many things to attend to in our busy lives that we have become unable to focus on any one thing for very long. One only has to observe spectators at a ball game, or even a committee meeting, and the emotional chaos that ensues to realize that we are truly sometimes incapable  of controlling our selves.

We have also lost the art of prayer and meditation. Our instructions were to go into our closet, and when we have closed the door, pray. “The one who hears in secret will answer openly.”

Make an effort to reclaim your quiet time in your quiet place.

For a useful prayer guide, go to: www.therealprayer.org

Craigslist (or is it Craig’s List?)

Craigslist has received some bad press of late because of the unfortunate activities of some of its customers.  The premise of Craigslist is sound: create an environment where those seeking can connect with those offering to their mutual benefit. Most ads placed on Craigslist are free, but again, what started out as a good idea has been infiltrated by some bad ideas.

The Lord’s Prayer is somewhat like that. It was touted by Jesus as a way those in need (us) could connect with supply (the creator.) He was pretty clear with the instructions, too. He said “Don’t pray just to be heard by others,” and, “Don’t just pray the same thing the same way again and again.” But as history shows us, we did turn it into the vain repetition he warned us about. Nowadays, those who don’t repeat it week after week don’t use it at all.

Used as a guide, The Lord’s Prayer, or Disciple’s Prayer, is the path to many things. Understanding, abundance, peace, supply, change, all can come if one prays from a faithful heart. Get in the habit of saying this prayer differently so it remains fresh in meaning to you. Easy ideas are at: www.therealprayer.com .

Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 1:50 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 .

and forgive us…

The case for justice largely depends on whether you’re receiving it or dishing it out. The last time I was stopped by traffic police I was far more interested in mercy than justice. And let’s be honest, if mercy and forgiveness were as effective as we wished, judges would simply say to criminals “OK you’re forgiven! Now aren’t you ashamed of yourself? Well, you just go home and feel guilty for a few years and that’ll teach you!”

Guilt is only a motivator if you get caught. That’s why believing that God is always watching you is so important. If he’s not who cares? One of my favorite scenes in a movie is from Oh Brother Where Art Thou? when Delmar gets saved and baptized and proclaims he’s been forgiven of holding up a Piggly Wiggly. Everett reminds him that while he might be “square with the Lord,” the great state of Mississippi takes a different view.

Self accusation, guilt, negative internal dialogue, whatever you choose to call it, it all stands in the way of your being in clear contact with the Father Creator. And it only changes things from your perspective. God was aware before you were that you can sever or “pinch yourself off” from the stream of receiving.  I love what comedian Mark Lowery says about God’s knowledge: “Does it ever occur to you that nothing occurs to God?” He has a solution.

So why do you need forgiveness? Because you have a conscience and you know right from wrong. And because you are spirit traveling around in the flesh you’re going to trespass occasionally. A very expensive sacrifice was made on your behalf to clear the way for you to accept the blessings intended for you.

Accept it and get on with your life.

Want to study the entire prayer? Go to www.therealprayer.org

 

Published in: on November 12, 2009 at 10:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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