Prayer–Yes, No or Not Now

I was reading through my personal devotions this morning and came across this verse in Job 33:14 (The Message): 

God always answers, one way or another,  even when people don’t recognize his presence.

Think about it.   God always answers.  

God always answers.   He always answers.

Sometimes the answer is yes.

Sometimes the answer is no.

Sometimes the answer is, “My child, I need to do more work in and through you before I can answer that question.”

But God always hears and always answers.

Hold on to that thought……

I am.

Tom

New Year’s Resolutions

I have to admit, I’ve never really liked making New Year’s Resolutions.   So many times, I’ve felt like they are totally unrealistic statements about what we’d like our dream world to be and there is very little that actually blends with the reality that is life.

I’ve read a number of things this year that are changing my perspective about New Year’s resolutions.   Rather than the mindless setting of unrealistic goals that aren’t going to have a chance of succeeding, they are proposing a different outlook on the process……

  • Don’t make unrealistic goals and then set yourself up for failure.   We all fail, we all screw up.   Actually, thanks to Christine Moers, I was able to learn that screwing up can actually be an opportunity for growth and for healing.   So don’t hide failures.
  • Set goals that have more to do with experiencing life, enjoying the times, falling forward when you screw up and deepening relationships.
  • Enjoy the in-between times.   The times that aren’t really bad, aren’t really good but just are.   The waiting times, the times that are often hard for those of us who are very impatient.   Thank you Jeff Goins for that.

My prayer is that 2014 is a year where we all see God, we all see our roles as His people more clearly and that together we make the world a better place – in both small and big ways.

I hope you’ll approach 2014 with a similar outlook.

And may you have a deep, realistic, screwed up, enjoyable and God filled New Year!

Tom

Feel Like You Failed?

From Anne Voskamp: “How in the world do you step hopeful into the next year when you tripped messy through the last year? How do you stand brave with all the smiling rest and ring in the new year when the old year still feels a bit like a millstone around the neck? What if everyone else is making New Year’s resolutions and you just want New You solutions?”  Read the whole post here.

I have a confession to make.   I’m an Elder in my church (no that’s not my confession) and one of my biggest struggles with and at church is that so many people are experiencing pain and struggle – and so few of them are saying anything about it.

Adam and Eve were told that from the time they sinned, the world would be full of struggles and challenges (to put it lightly).    So, feeling like you struggle and trip up and mess up shouldn’t be so unusual.

More from Anne: “We are all going to botch it some days. We all sometimes get the notes wrong. But the song only goes wrong — when we keep thinking back to the wrong notes.”

So, when you look back at 2013 and look forward to 2014, don’t keep thinking about the wrong notes you hit, the mistakes you made, the problems that didn’t get solved.   Instead, fall forward.  Keep pushing forward, keep trying.  Pay attention to the notes you got right.

And, as Dori said in “Finding Nemo,” “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

Tom