We Do Just Ask Thee, Teach Us to Pray

We keep learning how to pray more effectively.

Here are three techniques we often see done by Christians we respect, some who have been praying a long time:

  • Use “thee,” “thou” and “thy.”  If the King James English was good enough for the Apostles, it’s good enough for you!  The burning bush voice spoke that way—we have that on good Hollywood movie authority.  Speaking archaic like that will escort you into praying mode because it wouldn’t get you anywhere else.
  • Now, throw in as many “just” phrases as you can.  “We just thank you for your blessings.”  “We just ask this.”  It will make your prayer sound … well, more just.
  • One final touch:  Supersize those “just” phrases by preceding them with “do.”  “We do just ask” and “we do just praise you.”  Do this and how can your prayers not sound like impressive deep do-do.

OK, Jesus said we are His friends, and you would never talk that way with a friend. They’d think you were a religious nut! So what? You pray in your room with the door shut.

The real beauty of these simple techniques is for when you pray in public and you can sound like you’re really praying up a righteous storm.

What? You think we should talk normal to God, who knows our thoughts, rather than go into some kind of practiced praying mode?

God is so merciful, He seems to listen anyway, but He might have an easier time figuring out what we’re trying to say!

I do just think thee might be onto something.

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I Was in Prison & You Visited Me

The drive in today was an eyeful of all colorful Colorado has to offer.   A stunningly beautiful day that springs us alive and free!   Three different times deer and antelope graze in an open field along the highway.

Up ahead the prison complex nestles right below majestic peaks standing as snow-covered guards.   Yet even in the outside yard, because of high walls, the prisoners never get a peek.

A line of seven cars waits for the 8:30 a.m. opening.   At the parking lot, a cacophony overhead turned out to be a flock of geese flying north in formation.

Before locking the car, time to double check you have everything correct.   Bring only one car key and driver’s license.   Leave everything else locked in the car.

Inside you must know your license plate number.   Or you will have to go all the way back out and retrieve it.

All set.   Deep breath.   Try to look confident as you walk to the first closed gate near the 30 foot guard tower.   Pause to read all the warning signs. Yes, you are not wearing green or brown clothes or anything suggestive in the slightest.   A momentary twinge of alarm that the sign warns against gray sweatpants but it should be okay, you’re wearing gray dress slacks.

The aluminum gate clanks open.   No sign of reaction from the guard tower so on to the second gate.   It opens and you enter double doors.   Fill out a form.   Hand it to the desk clerk.

Then through the metal detector.   Everybody beeps it so you get a noninvasive pat down.   All staff smile, seem happy and treat you courteously—but you can see they mean business if challenged.

A mother carrying a one-year infant must go back out and change the toddler’s shirt to a non-offending color.

Into the last stop with a Sergeant.   She takes your key, license and paperwork.   She has power to let you into the visiting room.

“Did you call for an appointment?”   Oops.   That was a new rule, and I forgot to call!

“Normally I would deny you and send you away.   But it’s slow today so I’ll ask the desk clerk to make you an appointment.”

Thank you!

Into the visiting room.   Two rows reserved only for visitors to walk down and two rows on the other side of little tables for prisoners to walk down and sit.   At the end of a row they can meet for a hug or kiss, and anybody caught up in the excitement and venturing out of their row gets sharply reprimanded. Visitors’ eyes are on the far door where prisoners enter.    To the right are five phone-window setups like in the movies but nobody uses them.

Visitors are highly encouraged—but not demanded—to have money to buy snacks for the prisoners and the alluring smell of junk food is hard to ignore if your prisoner has character and doesn’t want any.

At a certain time a lockdown takes place and you are locked in as well!   Try to look calm as you go on chatting.   By noon the prison guards will have wand-searched under your vehicle so you are free to leave.

After several hours of wonderful talk, with a brother in Christ who waits for Isaiah 42:7 to be fulfilled for him, he goes back down his aisle and through the door, and you go back down your aisle to the controlling Sergeant.

You thank her again for mercifully letting you in without the required appointment.   You thank the desk clerk for volunteering to do the adlibbed paperwork.   Take your key and license.   Nobody pays attention as the metal detector beeps on your way out.

Thank God the two doors clank open!   You drive away, careful to stick to the 20 mph limit so you can make your escape.

More honking geese.   The deer still graze.   A sigh of relief.

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The Theory of Everything–Revealed

Just finished watching the new movie about Stephen Hawking yearning to find the “Theory of Everything – the one simple, elegant equation that explains everything.”

Hawking noted that the theory of everything would explain the purpose for life—Who are we?  Why are we here?

Incredibly God has revealed it in His Bible.  Not to the brilliant scholars and physicists.  God said He has hidden it from the wise and revealed it unto babes “that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:29).  OK, I’ve never been mistaken for brilliance except for that one nasty sunburn, but I wouldn’t mind being considered a babe.

Enough wishful thinking, here’s the theory of everything that needs only a very small chalkboard:  God is reproducing Himself.

That might not look like an equation such as E=MC2, but that purpose directed how God and the Word planned everything before the foundation of the world (John 1), how they prepared the perfect home and environment where to raise their kids (Genesis 1), how they provide education and nurturing for their family (Ephesians 4:12), and the vision for the kids once they are changed into powerful spirit beings (1 Corinthians 15) and are ready to leave the nest to “plant the heavens” (Isaiah 51:16) or whatever pleasures God has at His right hand forevermore (Psalm 16:11)!

Hawking argues that the universe is boundless with no beginning of time.  He’s mixing up the universe with God.   God who is reproducing Himself.

That’s where we become more than just an insignificant blip in brief time and ever-expanding space.  We are born to become glorified sons and daughters (Hebrews 2:10)!   In God’s family and kingdom with a boundless future!

The God family will be what’s important, not a theory or equation.  God, not a god particle.  The Holy Spirit will always be the ultimate power.

Truly this does change everything.

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FUN FACT: The closest I come to being a cosmologist is standing out here in the bog looking up at the heavens. Gazing at soaring birds overhead is my idea of hawking!   I see the glory of God and marvel like David: “What is man that You are mindful of him” (Psalm 8:4)?   In Hebrews 2:8 Paul adds that “all things are going to be put under our feet.”   Some Bible versions translate “all things” as the universe!   Now we’re talking Hawking’s language!

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Good News & Bad News

Your tests show you have only 24 hours to live.

Ouch! What’s the good news?

That was the good news. The bad news is that I forgot to call you yesterday!

And we laugh because sometimes life feels this way!

God commissions His people:

Good News: “And this gospel [“good news”] of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations …” (Matthew 24:14).

Bad News: “Cry aloud, spare now; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1-2).

Media studies show we’re bombarded with 17 negative news reports for every good one.   The magic ratio should be five positive to one negative.  That’s one reason we see so much suffering in the world.

But here’s a bigger one:

Good News: One of God’s best gifts is free moral agency.

Bad News: We make too many bad choices.

How will it all end?

Good News:  “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15).   No more crying.   No more tears.   No more pain.   Truth wins.   Good wins.   Love wins.   We win.   God family and kingdom forevermore.

Bad News: There will be none.

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FUN FACT: Good News: I got invited over for dessert. Bad News:  The host said they’re having chocolate moose!

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Good Advice Will Leave You Twitterpated

**  “Thumper, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Wow, my left hind hoof’s a-thumpin’ and I’m all twitterpated! And I don’t even use Twitter!

**  “And speaking the truth …”

”Boy, did you hear what so-and-so did …”

**  “And speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

Never mind.

**  Doubt, fear, anxiety, human reason

You’re on your own with that last one!  Doubt, fear and anxiety are three enemies of faith and I don’t want anything to  do with them.  They are cast out by faith, love and trust.

**  “Whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there is any virtue and anything praiseworthy, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

That’s what my wife Mary wants me to think about.  Those words are very precious to her because they were the last ones her mother uttered to her when she felt her last touch.

At our wedding 25 years ago, I wrote a special song for Mary and sang it to her at the reception. The chorus was from Php. 4:8 and I called the song “Thinking of You.”

OK, forget about trying to come up with a post. This sounds like a good love note!

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FUN FACT: It’s next to impossible for a moose to write a good love note.   “You drive me wild” — everybody says that. “Your face is so elongated and heavy” — we like it like that but hardly sounds romantic. “You stand out from the herd” — sounds promising but hey, we all do. “I love you.” Let’s go with that!   Now where am I going to find a pen and paper out here …

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Game Called on Account of Errors

Opening game of the new season!   Fans are streaming through the gates.  And what a storied tradition drives this contest: the common belief that this is the only day of salvation and God and Satan are engaged in a frantic frenzied slugfest over souls won or lost before the last at bat.

While we wait for the first pitch, Pew Research scores Christianity as currently the world’s largest religion at 2.2 billion, equaling 31.4% of world population. That leaves Satan with a winning 68.6%

Pregame analysts predict that for 2050, the number of Christians will climb to 2.9 billion but still equal about 31% of world population.   Doesn’t look so good for the home team, sports fans—Satan still winning with 69%! And there’s more than first place at stake here!

Nephesh Stadium is rocking today! Get your program! Get your hotdogs! Stomp and clap!

Crrrraacck!   At the sound of Louisville wood striking horsehide, those rooting for God’s side leap from their season ticket box seat pews and cheer as they watch a most improbable grand slam clear the left field fence: Doesn’t the Bible say “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31)? Well, James 2:19 says “Even the demons believe—and tremble!” So shouts the beleaguered frocked manager from his dugout pulpit: “One-third of the millions of angels should be counted as Christians!” The scoreboard seems like it dings for eternity trying to tally up all the fallen angels!

This clever tactic caught Satan off guard and he slithers out to home plate to hiss at the ump and dig up dirt on him until the infield swirls like the ‘30s Dust Bowl! Usually it’s humans ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:9). But this time he never saw this no-holds-barred attempt coming to steal not just second base but the whole team in fiery red suits! And clearly, if the ump ruled that they must don the other team’s white outfits, how would you tell the sides apart. Barna has already been analyzing that too many Christians act and think like the non. Looks like game over before the seventh inning stretch!

But don’t count the wily deceiver out yet! Satan’s summoning his bullpen! With all the best lawyers to choose from, out comes the one with the unhittable forkball. He sidewinds up and pitches a summons for the ump to find out how many of the Christians had walked and given their hearts to the Lord.   Sure enough, though it seemed a heartless call, the oblidging ump had to call them legally dead and “out!” at the plate! The scoreboard starts dinging again and tilting to the dark side.

Both teams and their fans scream and threaten to storm the playing field for a real spiritual donnybrook!

“Quiet” boomed the commanding voice like the sound of many waters from His throne on high. Everybody looked up and the irresistible presence was originating from somewhere way up beyond the box seats.   Except the crowd could only hush and look down as the stadium lights turned up like the sun.

“My plan of salvation is right on track to have ‘all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth’” (I Timothy 2:4). “I am the Master Timer in complete control ‘until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved’ (Romans 11:25-26). Nobody can come to me until I decide it’s the right time to draw him” (John 6:44).

Satan knew all this full well and slinks away from Nephesh Park. He knows what nephesh really means and he feels like one! He knows there is no contest. He knows he and his team will be removed by Jesus Christ on a future Day of Atonement.

Suddenly a spotlight on the on-deck circle!   It’s Jesus!  Astride a magnificent white stallion! “I’m coming back soon enough, but for now I want you study into Pentecost, my next holyday coming May 24 (Leviticus 23:9-22). This amazing day teaches about the first fruits and how the Father will call each person to their day of salvation at the perfect time for them.”

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FUN FACT: Out here in the bog is like a beautiful ballpark. But no dome and the glittering lights are real moon and stars! I’m glad God called me “out” here! I like being the only nephesh out here and am happy to not see a soul. I need to stretch enough that I don’t wait for any seventh inning.

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Tomorrow’s No Ordinary Friday

April 10, 2015—Looks like an ordinary Friday.  But actually it’s a day full of incredible history and meaning.

On this day in 1447 BC, or close to it, the Israelites walked through the Red Sea dry shod.  Forty years later, same day, the walls of Jericho came a-tumbling down.

So what is this day?  The Feast of Red Sea Parting?  The Feast of Jericho A-tumbling Down?

No, it’s the seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:15-20). What?   How can a day associated with such awesome miracles be called by food!   The “Battle of the Alamo” is not called the “Battle of Beans, Tortillas and Salsa” (Charles Melear)!

The answer is that Unleavened Bread is about Jesus Christ.  He is the unleavened bread of life (John 6:48).  He uses the symbol of unleavened bread to represent His sinless body (I Cor. 11:24) that was broken for each one of us to receive physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing.   He says that we have to eat His body to have life (John 6:53) and many disciples walked away after this hard saying.  His body is the Church of called-out believers (I Corinthians 12:27).

He causes obstacles to part or fall.

What counts today is the same.  These are the seven Days of Unleavened Bread not the seven Days of Leavened Bread.  Our focus is on Jesus Christ, our unleavened bread of life, who leads us to victory over sin.

We want His mind in us (Philippians. 2:5).  We want His new way of thinking like Caleb had (Numbers 14:24).  We want to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).  Minds on Christ will not be inclined to transgress His law (I John 3:4).

Minds on Jesus Christ and His “sincerity and truth” will not be succumbing to “malice and wickedness,” Paul taught the Corinthians who were keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread (I Corinthians 5:7-8).

No ordinary week because the Feast of Unleavened Bread is special (Lev. 23:2, 6-8).

This Friday is a “high day” (John 19:31)—high on joy and also greatly treasured on high!  Where ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9).

Definitely no ordinary Friday.

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FUN FACTS: Moose can run 35 mph—nonstop for 15 miles. But who says I’m ready to walk with those Israelites all that way from the land of Goshen to Canaan! For 40 years!   Even if my hooves wouldn’t wear out!

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