Stuck in a rut.


People are funny, we get into such ruts; predictable in all we say and do. “Stuck in a rut” is an idiom that means a boring lifestyle that never changes. We are just creatures of habit, we fall in comfort zones and stay there. This is ever so true of our prayer life.

Do you know what certain people will say when called on to pray? You know some that will start the same way every time, using the same key phrases. Some even say the same phrase over and over throughout their prayer. Creatures of habit, stuck in a rut and comfortable. If we talked to each other this way we would soon find ourselves alone. Sometimes I think we must bore The Lord to tears.

Praying is talking to God in conversation. You can talk to Him anytime and about anything. I had a woman tell me her husband was so spiritual because he prayed three times a day. I told her as Christians we can pray unceasingly. In other words, we are open in communication 24/7, talking and listening, always an open line with our Lord. If Christians keep a right fellowship with their Heavenly Father through prayer and reading His Word they can pray unceasingly.

So how should we pray? The model prayer, or Disciples Prayer, in Matthew 6:5-13 is a good way to learn how to Pray (talk) with The Lord. (This passage of scripture is often called The Lord’s Prayer but, that’s actually in John 17.) the model prayer: No repetitions here. 1) acknowledge Him 2) praise Him 3) thank Him 4) seek forgiveness from Him 5) intercede for others 6) Pray in Jesus’ name. The Lord gave us a very good model to learn to pray and it’s sad so many simply use it as a recital piece only.

Praying should be intentional, like you mean it, not a recitation, habit or duty. It helps me to visualize as I pray.. “Lord, I need the wisdom of Solomon, or the courage of Daniel.” I have prayer lists, but I don’t pray from top to bottom, or even all at one time. The Lord will bring them to mind throughout the day, often awakening me in the middle of the night and laying them on my heart. It took me a long time to learn not to simply “pray the list”. When you are in a fluid conversation with The Lord, the Holy Spirit will bring to mind those on your list in need throughout the day.

Prayer is a gift from God, allowing us to communicate freely. Sadly, we often abuse the privilege and misuse the gift.

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Rooted


The other day I wrote down this thought on my Mom2Mom Christian Parenting FB page:

“With God all variables are just possibilities in the scenario.” ~ Renee’ …. I am going to continue to think on this thought He has given me …. I think there’s a blog entry in there 😀

It is true.  All the variables in our lives are possibilities in God’s hands … to mold us and shape us into His perfect plan for us.  We have a habit of messing things up.  We try to “plant” ourselves where and how we think we should be at any given time.   We make our lives comfortable and God has to make us uncomfortable to get us back where we need to be.

Life has a way of redirecting the “streams” that feed us.  Sometimes we end up in a “desert” place.  Circumstances can make it seem that the “water” has redirected out of reach, or gone underground too deep to reach.  That is when and where we find out how we are rooted.

The Redwood trees are the grandest trees, towering above all others.  Yet their root system is shallow and should not support the mighty trees. The secret to their strength is that they tie in with their fellow Redwood trees and are linked together in an underground system.  They are strong from the little seedling to the oldest tree in the forest.  They share their roots, their nourishment.  The ones furthermost from the streams and lakes are nourished through shared roots by the ones near water.

As Christians, we connect with our family and fellow Christians through churches and prayer groups.  We support and nourish each other.  We are never alone.  We intercede in prayer for each other.  We encourage and lift each other up even if the circumstances we are going through have left us feeling like we are way out in the desert.  God uses the variables in our lives as possibilities to make us strong if we allow Him to use them.  He will bring  fellow Christians along side us to aid in our trials as well as in our growth.

Tanya Tucker sang a song many years ago … “There’s a tree in the backyard that never has been broken by the wind. And the reason it’s still standing is it was strong enough to bend.”  Sometimes storms come and threaten to destroy us.  Our “roots” are strongly anchored, but the winds are threatening to crack and break our limbs and level us to the ground, leaving us useless … just roots with no visible life.   During these storms we need to be bendable.  Rooted, yet strong enough to bend.  Life kicks up some mighty strong winds.  Are we willing to bend as He allows the winds to blow?  Or do we stiffin’ up and fight back, as though we can change the storms of life.  Can you thank Him for the storm … the  rain and wind that ultimately makes you strong?  Do you keep your roots attached during bad weather to your underground network, allowing others to be blessed by interceding on your behalf with Him? Or do you give up and try to go it on your own?

Driving around you pass millions of trees you do not notice, but then there’s that tree you pass that has “character”.  It may be a little bent, or show signs of storm damage, yet it is strong and beautiful, producing fruit or flowers even though it is scarred by life’s storms.  You may even see its roots here and there showing it’s strength in its surroundings.  While other trees will be cut down without opposition,  THAT TREE … it will be considered.  It will be noticed and preserved,  maybe even singled out as a center point for a park.  It has survived, it has character, it is strong.

Today there are all kinds of variables facing you, many harsh.  Will you thank Him, remembering that “all things work together for good”?  Are you going to try to handle it all on your own?  Will you reach out to family, even your children … to fellow Christians and secure your “roots”?  Will you allow the variables to be the possibilities in His hands?

James 1:3 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials..”

Romans 8:38“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Overwhelmed?


He IS carrying ME!

Ever feel overwhelmed?  As a parent when my children were young, there were many times when I just did not know how I could continue on through another day.  The worse years started in 1990 when my oldest brother was in his car wreck that ruined his life for ever; both my parents had open heart surgery and dad had a stroke on the operating table; and I had to deal with my own abnormal tests results.  The girls were 4 and 10, they still needed a mom.  I was so overwhelmed.  I just wanted that year to end.   The following year, 1991, was worse.  Dad died and I was diagnosed with Lupus which resulted in my being in bed more than out some weeks.  Right behind all of this job Phil lost his job and then my middle brother,  Bobby, was killed in a plane crashed.  It seemed like unending years.  During that time my children would become overwhelmed as well with the issues our family were facing, problems at school, and troubles with friends.  Children often do.  We do not think of their problems as huge because we can see the big picture, and many times the outcome down the road,  if they would only be patient and learn from their trials.  Ah, yes, it’s the big picture again.  We are to our children, as God is to us.  He sees and knows, if we would only be patient and willing to learn.

We’ve had many seasons of trials … it seems we cannot do just one tragedy, we have to have them in groups.   It is a shame that God has to re-teach us lessons.  Once again this week I have been overwhelmed.  Phil has been unemployed for over three years, during which time mom died, Victoria was in the tornado, and later her campus accident that left her elbow in three pieces.  NOW … this week the bank is foreclosing on our home and my new 40 hour a week job which includes nights and Saturdays is exhausting me.  There are some other issues as well.  I let the devil start whispering in my ear that all was lost and hopeless; that I was not up to the task God had set before me and that I was pretty much a useless piece of clay.  No, I was not suicidal … but, I was defeated.   Oh, the devil loves to have us defeated.   But, I have friends and loved ones praying for me and I was praying in earnest for mercy as well.  And then He sent friends to me to talk to me,  stand beside me and pray, to lift me up.

As God often does, in the midst of my ‘defeat’, He sent someone for me to help while I was down.  I had a young girl crumbling before me that was overwhelmed.  Like my children, I could see her problems were overwhelming to her, but they would not destroy her.  God put me in “mom” mode.  I had to turn her to the Scriptures I know so well and tell her to stand on His promises.

Isaiah 42:16 “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

I shared these and other scriptures with her as she cried.  I told her nothing is going to enter our life that is going to take away our Faith.  God will provide a way out.  Ours is to be faithful, not to solve.  Ours is to trust and obey and lean on the everlasting arms.  Our burdens are His to carry.  Let Him.

I was preaching to myself.  God’s timing, God’s plan, God’s will be done.  “Keep me leaning on the Everlasting Arms!”.