All I Can Do

Sometimes, all I can do is pray.

And today is one of those days. I can’t really tell you why, but today is filled with much prayer. For me, for my wife, for my daughter, and several other key people in my life.

Nothing is wrong. I’m not making a major change in my life. I’m not getting out of ministry. If anything, after last week at Pepperdine and their lectures, I’m more inspired and rejuvinated in my ministry efforts. Getting OUT of ministry is indeed the last thing on my mind at the time.

No one is sick, at least no one in my immediate family. Sure there are sick people that I am praying for, but I am confident God has them under His loving care.

God, in His infinite wisdom, created us with a need to have relationships, both with Him and with others. Recently, I have learned what it is like to be alone. Even though it was on just a temporary basis, I realized that I have come a long way in my life. Back in 2001-2003 I lived alone. I was a bachelor in Houston TX, doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I didn’t have any restrictions in my life. If I wanted to go to McDonald’s at 2 a.m., I could have done so. If I wanted to go on vacation over the weekend to Mt. Rushmore, I could have.

But you could not pay me any sum of money to go back to that life. Sure, it was fun. Yes, I cherish those times with the students and friends and teachers in my life.

However, there were 2 key components missing in my life at that time. God, and my family.

Okay, let me rephrase that. God wasn’t missing. God was and is always there for me. I just treated him as an afterthought. I went through the motions. God was a part of my life, but was not my life. I didn’t think of Him much outside of my lesson plans to teach Bible, putting together chapel for Westbury, or the trips to the church building. At that time of my life, God was just there, and that was about it.

The other key component missing was my wife, and now here recently I have learned – my daughter, Josie. Sure, I had friends there, and my day was occupied by my students, but I had no real relationships. I bounced around from group to group, never allowing myself to get too terrbily close to anyone.

Fast forward a few years to present day. I think God puts us in our own personal deserts at certain times, so we will be forced to take a step in a different direction, hopefully being towards Him. My steps toward having a closer, more intimate relationship with God, came about as a result from the other relationship in my life – Kristen. To take it a step further, it went even farther when Josie came along.

Being forced to be by myself this past week caused me to gravitate towards God a bit more. Its amazing how it really is true that when you shut up for a bit, and allow God to speak, that He actually has some really good things to say.

And now, all I can do is pray, for without prayer, I do not have God in my life. Without God in my life, all other relationships I have just don’t mean as much. Without God in my life, my career, my lifestyle, my passion and drive is gone. Without God, the miracle of my daughter being born into my life disappears. Without God, there would be nothing, so all I can do is pray, and let him be a part of my life.

And I pray that you will allow Him to be part of yours as well. All I can do is pray that you will see that. All I can do for you is pray. All that I am, all that I have, all that I will be is because of Him.

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Rediscovering MY Focus

You will notice that I have not made a post in several weeks now.  I have basically taken a sabbatical from all things that were distracting me from my ministry at hand.  We have had a lot going on here over the past 6 weeks or so, and I needed to focus my attention on those things rather than spend time blogging.  I have missed doing this, and plan on getting back in the swing of things.

I have been reminded over the past few days that God is my comforter, my provider, my friend and shepherd.  This week, some dear friends of ours that are part of our family at West University lost their twins due to complications to their pregnancy.  She was 17 weeks along, and I have been aching and grieving over the past few days.  Its been hard to get into much of anything this week.

I can’t help but draw so many parallels to this event.  First, it makes me even more appreciate for my wife and my daughter.  It makes me want to hug them, love them, pray for them, and give them what they need even more than I have been doing.

It also helps me think about how God must grieve when he loses one of us.  I’m drawn naturally to the parable of the lost sheep, and how the shepherd went out to rescue the one sheep.  How important are we to God that He would do this?  He doesn’t want to lose any of us, but sadly, He does.  When we start to see ourselves slipping from the grips of God, its not because God’s strength to hold us up has gone, but our desire to be held up is waning.  I look to God for strength, and pray that He will provide it so I am not lost.

A few verses that have helped me regain my focus this week after this event:

Psalm 18:2
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 27:4-5
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 11:25-30
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.