Sleep-deprived and fighting a three-headed monster

I had a sleepless night last week.

There were three tough scenarios playing out in my head. There was a work problem, a family concern and a situation that a friend was facing. I couldn’t clear my thoughts.

I was facing this three-headed monster and felt powerless to fight.

After much tossing and turning I got out of bed and tried to analyze these situations on paper.

But the problems looked even more daunting when written down- and I had no idea how to begin unpacking these complex thoughts.

I recalled some great words from the book of Romans that gave some comfort.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26

We have a clear promise. God hears prayer. This verse lets us know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. Even when we don’t know how begin or focus our prayers, God knows our pain….our concern…our hurts.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Prayer is a mighty sword. It’s a protector. It’s a source of comfort. It’s available to us for defense against the concerns of the world.

And we don’t even have to know exactly what to say when we use it.

My prayer this week is to be more mindful of the care that God has for us…and to take my concerns to him immediately.

And please let me know how to pray for you.

God bless.

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Snow Days

Our kids have been out of school for a solid week.

We had ice and snow last Thursday night followed by plunging temperatures.

And before we could recover from the first round, Mother Nature threw a haymaker on Monday. Four more inches of snow overnight….followed by single digit temperatures the rest of the week.

The boys loved it for a couple of days.  Sledding with friends.  Sleeping late. Snowball fights. No homework.  There were also endless requests for hot chocolate.

Life was good.  For a couple of days, at least.  By Monday night, the boys were tired of each other, tired of their friends, tired of the snow and cold temperature.  They were miserable and ready for a return to a routine.  At their very core, these two boys crave discipline and a schedule.

I can relate.

I have snow days in my relationship with Jesus.

There are times when work, family or a life experience can get me distracted from God’s word.  I get busy or preoccupied and focused on what’s happening at the current moment.

It may be an intriguing new project at work or a long week off from work with my family over the holidays.

It’s exciting and new.  And the distraction can get out of my routine of study and reading my Bible.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2

After a while, I sense that something is missing.  I realize that the very thing that gives me strength and keeps me motivated has been neglected. I miss Jesus.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2

In terms of my walk with Jesus, I need a routine.  I’m more focused when I’m intentional about reading the Bible and studying God’s word.  I’m happier when I keep my dedicated time to pray and intentionally reflect on my blessings, needs and requests for others.

Do you have snow days in your spiritual life?

My prayer this weekend will be to avoid the obstacles that keep me from focusing on a walk with Jesus.

And please let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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Anchors

britton track

Britton was chosen by his school to participate in the Knox County Elementary School Track & Field competition.  B’s teacher selected him for the tug-of-war team.  While B is just 10, he’s a solid little guy…with broad shoulders, strong arms and powerful legs.

B was told he would be the “anchor” for the event.  He was happy with this role, as his teacher explained that he would be the critical support at the very end of the line.

The role was simple.  He was told to not let go of the rope- no matter what.  He had to keep moving his feet backward against the opposing pull.  He was instructed to keep the line tight and encourage his teammates to pull with him.

The stabilizer.  The base.  The anchor.

The book of John discusses an anchor that we have available every day- the Holy Spirit.  In chapter 14 Jesus was comforting the disciples.  They were worried about his upcoming persecution and death.  Jesus told the disciples of a counselor that would be present to bring them peace:

All this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  John 14:25-26

When we are distressed and hurting, we only need to pray and ask for help.  It’s there.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26

My prayer this week is for awareness to call upon the Holy Spirit to provide an anchor for my life.  Please let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

Britton dad

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Sand

Spring Break family photo

Our family has spent time on the Gulf Coast of Florida this week.  It’s been a wonderful experience- filled with sunshine, warm temperatures and relaxing activities on the beach.

One of the most amazing sights has been the creativity of our fellow beach visitors.  We’ve seen amazing sand sculptures.  Castles, sharks, mermaids, elaborate starfish…even complete cities made out of beach sand.  The time and effort placed into this beach art was phenomenal.

It was equally disappointing for our boys, however, to see the sand artwork gone each morning.  Impressive and beautiful projects were simply washed away by the tide overnight.

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  Matthew 7:26

As beautiful and ascetically pleasing as the beach can be, sand structures are no match against wind and water.  They are fragile and delicate against the forces of nature.

Aren’t many of our own earthly pursuits similar to the sand structure?  If I could just drive that new truck….if I could achieve that promotion at work…if I could just live in that neighborhood…if I could just get my kids into that school.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  Colossians 3:2

These pursuits are made of sand.  They quickly wither and evaporate.  They are temporary.  I need to focus instead on the pursuit of character.  In the book of Galatians, Paul wrote of another set of traits that we should consider:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

I have to concentrate on those traits that develop Christian character.  Traits that will help me prevail against difficult times.

Let’s commit to two tasks this week.  First, let’s read and meditate on Galatians 5.  Second, please pray for for us to recognize and commit to developing traits with eternal value.  We should do this for one another.

God bless you.  Let me know if I can pray for you.

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