God and Siri

Can Siri help your prayer life?

Huh?  You’re probably thinking, Tom, those teenagers in your house have gotten to you or you’ve lost your marbles.   Well, both of those could be true but they have nothing to do with whether Siri (or Google or Cortana or any of the voice apps out there) can help your prayer life.   I give credit for this idea to Pastor Darrell he shared this in an Elder’s meeting this week.

How often have you had it where you’ve been talking to someone and they said, “you know, next _________ my ________ is having _________ removed and we’re pretty ________ about it.   We’d love it if you could keep that in your prayers.”   Happens a lot – at least a good amount on Sundays at church it does.   And what happens?

We get home, we get busy with our own daily life and that day comes and goes and we totally forget to stop on that day and say, “Hey God, my friend ________ is nervous because her ___________ is having _______________ removed.   Can you give them an extra measure of peace today and can you make sure that all goes well?   I know they’d really appreciate it and I would too.   Thanks God.”

You missed the opportunity.

So, instead, try something else.   While you are still talking to the person, whip out your smart phone and say something like this,  “Hey Siri, remind me something, “   Set it for the lady with the British accent, “What would you like to get reminded about, “Remind me next ________ …….” and tell it all to Siri.   Siri will them remember it and at the right time on the right day, Siri will remind you.

And then the person that needs prayer knows that you will be reminded that they need prayer on that day and that will encourage them.   Oh and there’s this whole thing about the power of prayer.

Try it.   Get Siri involved to improve your prayer life.   I’m going to try it.

TJV

In the Mood?

In the mood to talk to God?

Shouldn’t we always be in the mood?  Eugene Petersen, in “Seeking God’s Face” says this….

“God who speaks and listens, if I waited to feel in the mood, I fear you wouldn’t hear much from me.  I need prayer to keep me freshly aware that I depend on you for everything and that everything I have is a gift from you.”  (pg. 677)

Think about it.   If I waited until I felt in the mood, you wouldn’t hear from me?   Do we really have the audacity to think that we can solve all of our problems without God?   or do we only go to Him when there is a problem?

Either one isn’t good.

But then take it one step further, actually two steps.

“God help me be freshly aware that I depend on you for everything.”  The worship leaders at our church will quite often say something like, “God woke you up today so you could come gather with fellow believers, with fellow strugglers and be in his presence.”   We need to be freshly aware that we depend on God for everything.   Even waking up to go to church or work or school or frankly the kitchen or the garage or…….

“everything I have is a gift from you.”    How often do we actually live that way?

Yeah, me too.

Everything we have is a gift from God.

My wife spent last week in the hospital with a nasty foot infection.   Every one of those nurses, doctors, staff, medicine, tests and more are a gift from God.

May we all be more aware that we need God for everything and that everything we have (not just material – especially not just material) is a gift from God.

And talk to Him like we mean it. 

Because we do?  

I need to mean it more, I’m sure we all do.

TJV

Yes, No, Not Yet, According to My Plan

Prayer – it’s such a difficult thing.    But it shouldn’t be a difficult thing.

It’s a conversation with our God.    It’s a conversation with the one who cares more deeply for us than anyone else.

It’s a conversation with the one who paid the ultimate price to save me.   Not because of what I did, but because of who He is.

But so many times, we turn it into a laundry list.   Please do this, please help with that……..

Psalm 66:20 offers a different view of prayer:

“Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”

God has not rejected our prayers.    As trivial as they might seem, as greedy as they might seem, God doesn’t reject our prayers.

He wants to hear from us.

That doesn’t mean He’s going to give us everything we ask for.   But the line of communication is always open.

Sometimes He will say,  “Yes.”

Sometimes He will say, “No, I have a different plan.”

Sometimes He will say, “Not yet, trust me my child.”

Sometimes He will say, “The answer will come according to my plan and my time, so stay faithful and stay with me.”

The answers aren’t always what we want, but God is always there and will not reject our prayers.

He always listens.

He always cares.

But like our earthly parents, doesn’t give us just what we want – but what we need.

Rest in that comfort that God listens, God hears and God doesn’t reject our prayers.

Tom

Yield to the one who can and will answer all your questions
Yield to the one who can and will answer all your questions

Pray like Abraham?– Today’s Sodom and Gomorrah

Today, I read Genesis 18:20-32 as part of my personal devotions.   A couple of things really hit me about that passage that I want to share with you.

Right now, the world is full of bad news.   Adoption laws appear to be going sideways, terrorists are being truly evil, war is breaking out, innocent people are dying in civilian airplanes, people are committing suicide, political bickering seems to take the place of actually trying to solve problems.   It’s not good and doesn’t appear to be heading in the right direction.   Oh and did I mention the Ebola virus in Africa, the ChikV Virus in Haiti and other illnesses?

In this Bible passage, Abraham is facing a similar challenge.   Sodom and Gomorrah are truly full of bad news, evil and horrible places.    But what does Abraham do?

He boldly goes to our Heavenly Father and begs for mercy on behalf of the people in those towns.    Now he has the privilege of doing it while standing in front of God while walking down the road, but what he’s doing is prayer just like we should be.

And God answers his prayer.   He gets the innocent people out of Sodom and Gomorrah before destroying the cities.

This raises a couple of questions in my head…….

  • Are we bold enough when we pray to our Heavenly Father about places like Iraq, Israel, the Ukraine, the Texas/Mexico border?
  • Are we passionate enough when we pray for healing for those battling emotional and mental illnesses?   And when we pray that people will be more open to talking about those illnesses?

God knows our hearts – but He wants to hear us be passionate about it and He wants to hear that we really care.

Prayer changes things – even when you don’t feel like you can do anything, prayer changes things.

Tom

Roselaure––The Rest of the Story

Thursday night (around midnight), they arrive in Miami. Cheryl and Roselaure are the first ones off the plane and there is an ambulance waiting to take them to Miami Children’s Hospital with lights and sirens going.

She made it but she’s a very sick little girl.

Friday morning, my alarm goes off at 6:00. My phone rings at 6:05. It’s Cheryl, she’s in tears, hasn’t slept for 24 hours and is very worried about RoseLaure. She is also having a hard time getting in touch with RoseLaure’s parents (who are at Miami International Airport with the rest of the parents waiting for RoseLaure’s brother.) So, I called Johnny Carr from Bethany – who flew from Pennsacola to Miami just to be there “in case anyone needed help.” He found the parents and brought one of them (I believe Mom) to the hospital.

Friday night the surgeons did emergency brain surgery on RoseLaure and she was in critical condition. The initial estimate was that it was a relatively rare strain of bacterial meningitis.

On Monday, the doctors told her parents, “You might as well go back home to Indiana. There is a 99% chance that RoseLaure is going to be in a persistent vegetative state for the rest of her life.”

“Gulp.”

So, they took Stevenson (her brother) and went home. But they kept coming back and praying and hoping.

And healing began and 8 months later, we had a Haitian Adoption Reunion and RoseLaure sat on my lap. (More on that next time)

And she was fine. 100% on target for all of her developmental standards.

God is good, all of the time and God used a fast ride down the mountain and the care of many to give this little miracle a chance at a good life.