Monthly Archives: August 2011

Praying at the Wrong Altar

Have you ever wondered if you’re praying at the right altar? Have you ever thought that there’s no need to pray at all?

You may be praying and not know it. How?

Traditional prayer is a solemn request for help or a giving of thanks to God.  Somewhere along the line,  prayer can become about something other than God.  Have you ever caught yourself thinking that science (medical or otherwise), money, or a  relationship might save you, make your life easier, or ‘complete you’.  That, too, is prayer, but it leaves God out.

That kind of prayer sneaks up on you. You’re not aware of it in the sense of  traditional prayer – as in talking to God. Pain, fear, anger, weakness, and impatience all make it easy to put your faith in something other than God, and not be aware of it.

Have you ever said something like one of the following:

  • “If I could just find the right doctor, one who will understand my problem(s) and treat them, my health will improve.”
  • “If I could just get the right medication, I would feel better.”
  • “If I could just get that promotion,  our money problems would be over, and I would be happy.”
  • “If I won the lottery, I’d never worry again.”
  • “If I could just be in a relationship with ‘X’, I would be happy.”

I was going through a particularly hard time physically, and I was impatient and weak. I went to my doctor, who is also a friend of mine,  for help.  She is a wise woman and a Christian.  She said to me, “You have far too much faith in the medical system. It’s run by people, and people are flawed. Eventually, you’re luck will run out.”

It was then that I realized I had been praying at the wrong altar. I had left God out of the equation.  I was blessed enough to have a friend who was kind enough to point that out.

If you don’t feel healthy, wealthy, or complete, maybe you should pray at the right altar. Pray to God.

James 5:13-14 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Have you ever prayed at the wrong altar?

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Wisdom and Wishes

Back In TimeDo you ever wish you could go back in time knowing what you know now?

Maybe not so much during the  teenage years, but, as time goes on,  life makes more sense.  With each passing year, life’s lessons become more apparent. That’s not to say there aren’t challenges ahead, but experience usually gives birth to wisdom, or at least it should.

It’s human nature to second guess ourselves. That’s how different we are from God. Ever wonder if God sits around going, “Gee, I wish I’d done that differently.” I do, but that’s a whole ‘nother post. The point is, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. That’s where faith comes in. The Bible defines the importance of faith in Proverbs:

Proverbs 3:1-9 1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your pathsstraight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;

There’s so much packed into that short passage that it boggles the mind.

“Keep my commandments…for they will prolong your life..and bring you prosperity”

God’s commandments are not for God – they’re for us. Like a parent speaking to a child, he’s giving us guidelines that steer us away from destruction.

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you…write them on..your heart”

Tragedy ensues when faith is lost. Faith tells us to keep going when logic tells us to quit.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”

The worst mistakes I’ve ever made is when I didn’t seek God’s council first.

“In all ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight”

Straightening out the path is in the doing, not the thinking. Acknowledge the Lord, praise him, and he will keep your path straight.

“This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones”

Faith holds both body and spirit together. Think not? Visit someone who has lost faith. It’s not just the soul that withers. The body soon follows.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth”

Isn’t it strange how the stock-market, a lottery ticket,  or some get-rich-quick scheme seems a better place to put money than with God? I’m not talking about televangelists who fly around in jets. I’m talking about tithing to your local home Church. Doing God’s work requires funding. God only asks for 10%. Tithing requires faith that God will work in the lives of the congregation, the Church, and those who benefit from the money. With faith, taking a chance on God is a sure thing.

Faith goes against common sense, until you get older. Then, it makes more sense than anything else. Faith keeps us alive. Truly alive.

Here’s to cultivating faith today.

The Nicest Love Note You Can Ever Write

The last few weeks have been rough to say the least.  In the course of the last month, I have had a Lupus Flare, Shingles, Hay-Fever, and a nasty 48 hour virus. Things have not been fun at the Kinsey Home. I have not been beautiful. As a matter of fact, I was covered in shingles (tiny blisters that burn like fire), had a runny nose (from hay-fever), my joints were red and swollen (from Lupus), and extremely pale from the war going on inside my body. To add insult to injury, I went to get my hair done, so I would feel better about myself. There was an accident with the treatment put into my hair, so my hair looked like Guy Fieri on a really bad day. Beautiful is not something I felt…at all.

During this time, I attended a writer’s conference and did not know I had shingles. I thought I was just being a weenie about my Lupus Flare. In addition, I was catching up my blog, looking into a new Church, getting some blog posts updated, and working to update my social-network. Add to that, my son was having a bit of a crisis, and I felt that I could do nothing to help him.

Beautiful is not what I felt at all, and my next doctor visit echoed that. My doctor said, “What is wrong with you? You have to slow down. You have to rest, and by that I mean going to get a glass of water is enough exercise until you improve.”

Take an overachiever with a health crisis, add in a pinch of idiocy, a teaspoon of low self-esteem, with a dash of despair, stir – and you have a recipe for disaster.

At my lowest point, I woke up in a stupor one morning, wondering why I bothered with my blog posts at all, stumbled to the bathroom, and found this note on my mirror:

The green haze you see below the note is my tie-dyed t-shirt.

Another note said, “Get some rest.”

I cried. I thanked my husband. I prayed. And, I rested.

My husband knew exactly what to say at just the right time. That’s priceless.

If you have such a person in your life, call and thank them today.  If your relationship doesn’t work so well, and you need more love, just say so. Find a way to get to that place where you both care more about one-another than you do yourself.  Strive to stay in that spot where you know you are loved, and your spouse knows you love them. How do you do this? Remember who is in control.

PS. If you’re contemplating marriage, are married (happily or unhappily), or are looking for a life partner, please get a copy of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It works best if you BOTH read it. I have to say it’s helped me understand the language of love more than any other self-help book I’ve read so far. It even helps me with people I’m not married to – like extended family members.