Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Lord’

Tweetable Prayers

In Life and Culture on December 19, 2013 at 7:00 am

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We have all been there. In fact it is probably happening right now. You are perusing Facebook and Twitter and then it happens. Someone needs prayer. On my own timeline in the last day or so there were many needs for prayer.

  • A child is sick.
  • A mom has cancer.
  • A dad is having surgery.
  • Kids are having tests.
  • There is a need for moisture/no more frozen moisture.
  • A disaster just happened.

The typical response is “praying”. I have typed it just like you. But do we? Are we really? I have not always and neither have you most likely. Do we just put that because of social media peer pressure? What if you don’t put it and someone asks you about it? Do you not care? Do you not understand the need? So we put it out there. However, are we putting out false hope by typing “praying” but not actually engaging God? Certainly some of you do pray. I just wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just type a prayer…a tweetable prayer. What if there were 160 character prayers that could be helpful? Never fear, here you go.

Sickness – “God please bring your healing hand to this situation. Give wisdom and ability to the Drs and nurses. Give us assurance of your Spirit. Amen.”

Cancer – “God bring pain relief. Give a desire to fight and to eat. Give patience to the family and healing in the body. Build our faith in you. Amen.”

Surgery – “As this surgery approaches, steady the hands and strengthen the mind of the Drs. Give your assurance, presence and peace to the family. Amen”

Weather – “You made the stars and sky. You hold the world in Your hands. As it turns Your breath is the wind.  See our need and meet it please. Amen.”

General – “May the Lord bless and protect you. May He smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. Amen”

Instead of typing “praying”, let us pray!

Raising Kids Like a Boss, Part 2

In Life and Culture on November 13, 2013 at 7:00 am

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Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

— Romans 12:2

I remember the day of birth for each of my children.  I remember holding them in my arms, counting fingers and toes.  I brushed their hair and kissed their heads.  Blondie and Brownie, their names for web purposes, are now 12 and 9.  Much has changed over these past few years.  My wife and I are working hard to do what we discussed yesterday.  However, they are dropped off 5 days a week for 8 hours each day into a culture that is necessary, but difficult.  My kids will go to public school because I want them to be salt and light and I don’t think that happens if I teach them at home.  The trade-off is that they are discovering new things at a rate faster than I would prefer.  They are being washed over by our culture right there in the classroom, the cafeteria, and especially the playground.

How can I help them not be conformed to this world?
How can I help them be transformed so they can know God’s Will and have the ability to do it?

1.  Do NOT let them choose for themselves.  I was standing in line at a fast-food joint the other day watching as a 2-year-old tried to make up their mind about what they would eat.  They were being allowed to choose for themselves what they would eat.  Left to her own devices, Brownie would eat Mac and Cheese every meal.  That is not happening on my watch. I know of one family who attended church regularly.  The father was a leader in the church.  However, they allowed their son to choose for himself about spiritual things.  They did not want to push him.  Now, his life is forever different as an ex-con.  Our kids are not prepared to choose for themselves.  We choose for them and then help them understand why the choice was made.  In this way, you shape them into the ability to make proper choices when they come to a point when you are not around.

2.  Do NOT believe the culture can raise them properly.  A quick review of our culture notes a downward spiral with relation to the Biblical ethic.  Consumerism is on the rise which see a disposable nature in everything.  Now we have starter homes and starter marriages.  Sex used to be inside marriage, now it is a group game on a Friday night.  Life used to be sacred.  Now Euthanasia is on the rise in new ways.  30 years ago boys had no confusion.  Now we have same-sex marriages in 14 states.  With open sexual relationships and now “eye-licking“, we are finding STD’s in eye infections.  Our culture cannot raise our kids properly.  We cannot turn them out and expect them whole when they return.

3.  Do NOT believe we are safe.  Within the Christian community, there has been a thought that everything will be OK.  The problem is that until 30 years ago, most people followed a similar moral and ethic.  Now we have 330 million people in our country and that many ethics and moral codes.  When there are no absolutes, everyone is right.  Of course, no one is right either.  1 out of 5 people consider themselves has having no religious affiliation.  Of those under 29, this rises to 1 of 3.  Our world has changed and we cannot sit back and think otherwise.

Of course, we could just throw this all out and let their friends help them make choices, television shape their morality, and bury our heads in the sand.  We could.  However, this would be the result:

After Joshua sent the people away, each of the tribes left to take possession of the land allotted to them.  And the Israelites served the Lord  throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the leaders who outlived him—those who had seen all the great things the Lord  had done for Israel. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord , died at the age of 110.  They buried him in the land he had been allocated, at Timnath-serah  in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord  or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. The Israelites did evil in the Lord ’s sight and served the images of Baal.  They abandoned the L ord , the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the Lord .

— Judges 2

 

You Can’t Spell QUIT without U and I

In Commitment on November 11, 2013 at 8:51 am

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I confess.  I have become a fan of Duck Dynasty.  I don’t know how much of that show is scripted, staged, re-enacted, or live but I enjoy it anyway!  One of the favorite sayings of Uncle Si is that you cant spell something without Si.

  • You can’t spell squirrel with Si….
  • You can’t spell strike with Si…
  • You can’t spell stupid with Si…

Here is one for you today:  You can’t spell quit without U and I.  Whenever someone wants to quit they make it about themselves.

  • I can’t
  • I won’t
  • I am too old
  • I am not qualified
  • I am not ready

All of these statements are centered around U and I.  Funny how those two letters are right in the middle of QUIT.  When we focus on our problems, our needs, our issues, and our desires then we will choose to quit.

We quit school.
We quit our family.
We quit our jobs.
We quit our marriages.
We quit tithing.
We quit serving.
We quit attending.
We quit praying.
We quit. reading.

We quit.

The gifts, talents, and abilities you have been given by God are for one task: make disciples of all the nations.  When that is our goal then the focus shifts off of U and I and to God and others.  In the practice of using your gifts and talents we give glory to God and encouragement to others.  There is no quitting for any reason.  There is adjustments that will be made as we mature.  There are adjustments that are made as circumstances and life change us.  Yet, we don’t quit.

4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

The Night the Wipers Died

In Life and Culture on November 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

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A few days ago I noticed my wipers quit.  I tried everything and checked the fuses but they would not work.  I don’t drive this vehicle all that often so I did not worry too much about it.  Yesterday I got in the truck and it was drizzling a little.  Instinctively I turned on the wipers and they worked.  I praised the Lord all the way to town!  After the meeting I was in town for, I got back in the truck and started home.  As they rain increased heavily, I turned on the wipers.

No wipers.

I was on a dark highway in heavy rain with no wipers that worked.  I slowed way down and could make out the side of the road a little.  Two cars were coming from the other direction and this only complicated matters.  At this speed, I thought about someone coming up from behind so I turned on the hazard blinkers.  I eventually made it to the turn onto my rock road when I paused to take this picture.  As you can see, or not see, everything was blurry.

When we quit confession before God and repentance before man our lives become blurry.  Confession and repentance act like wipers for our souls.  Look at what the Psalmist penned,

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man against whom the  Lord  counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.  For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.  I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the  Lord ,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;    as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Just like the windshield became blurry and the road them difficult to navigate, so do our lives when we quit confession and repentance.

When we quit obedience before God our lives become blurry.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;  but his delight is in the law of the  Lord , and on his law he meditates day and night.

There is great blessing for the obedient like a clean and clear windshield when driving.  When we become rebellious our lives become difficult.  Fear will rise.  Anxiety will rise.  You will not be able to see where you are going.  You cannot anticipate because you cannot see that far ahead.

I need to get my wipers fixed on my truck.  I also need to make sure my spiritual wipers work too.  Do yours?

 

Tears of Joy

In Chrisian Life on October 16, 2013 at 10:10 am

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4Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev! 5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 6He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126:4-6

Our gospel work for God can be brutal at times. This verse reassures. Why might we weep?

1. We weep because of rejection. People might reject the gospel and the resulting reality is eternal death if their mind is not changed.

2. We weep because of relentless opposition. The work itself can take its toll on your body, your family, your marriage, and your job. Yet, when you turned your life over to God, the King, He is now in charge. We weep because the opposition is strong and we are placed in a defiant moment of culture and history.

3. We weep because of replacement. Jesus told the churches that their lamp could be removed or replaced. Many have speculated whether this meant the pastor or the church body. It could be either one or both depending on the severity of the issue. We weep because that process is not easy. We weep because friends and roots have been made.

We are reassured here that though we sow and toil in tears we will harvest in joy. Don’t stop because it is hard. Press on until the job is done.

Do As I Say AND As I Do

In Chrisian Life on September 20, 2013 at 7:53 am

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The moment when my children began to imitate the things I did and say the things I said was fascinating.  On the one hand, it was flattering to see the little monkeys imitate.  On the other hand, hearing some phrases took on a different spin coming out of toddler’s mouths!  I am not a vulgar person, nor do I use coarse language.  However, I do have those phrases such as Tim Hawkins uses in this video.

Most parents use the phrase as some point “Do as I say, not as I do.”  We use this to cover up our shame over our behavior.  The problem is that children quickly follow the approach of Andrew Carnegie in the quote above very early in life.  In fact, it is widely held that each generation is more likely to follow our behavior than our words!  In essence, it has less to do with what I tell them and more to do with what I show them.  Jesus did this.  He certainly told us to do a lot.  However, he backed it up with what He did.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not  prophesy in your name, and cast out demons  in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I  never knew you;  depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Jesus is not as interested in what you say as what you do.  In fact, what you do is suspect at times too.  These people regularly put His quotes on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.  These people regularly wore their Christians shirts (under the robes of course!) and wristbands.  These people regularly attended church (Temple).  These people would help others and everyone knew it.  Certainly, people who do all that are doing the Will of God, right?

Jesus said that all of those public deeds done were useless outside of the will of God.

The Will of God does not begin with right actions or right religion.  The Will of God begins with a right relationship.  Once established, we develop that relationship and go where God takes us.

 

Treasure Map

In Chrisian Life, Direction, Journey on July 22, 2013 at 7:03 am

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I was handed a note the other day that had on it a number and a statement.  It appeared that this one the first of several clues to some “hidden treasure”.  Being taken by the hand, I was led outside to find the next clue.  I walked around the entire front and back yards searching for clues that led to other clues.  I thought Nicolas Cage couldn’t be far away!  Clue after clue came and went and 30 minutes later I found the last clue and treasure.  Had I chosen to ignore I would have missed the joy of the treasure in the end.  I knew the kids had worked hard putting it all together.  Even though I didn’t really want to go through the process, I did it anyway.  I tried to “cheat” the system and think ahead to see if I could skip clues and get to the treasure.  Isn’t that how we are with God and His wisdom?

if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure,
then you will understand the • fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:4-6

Sometimes I don’t like to do the work.  The Bible says that if we seek it then we will find the knowledge of God.  That knowledge provides the answers to the questions you  have.  However, if we never seek for it how can it be found?  If I don’t do the work, then I don’t get the reward.

Sometimes I try to cheat the system.  I know many who try to do this.  Some just go to church while others do not do that much.  Some simply say they believe and post nice trite sayings and images on social media.  Some read in order to stay up with the church folks.  However, when the storms rise on the seas of life, we feel lost, alone, and scared.  Trying to cheat the system does not give us the wisdom and knowledge we need to navigate through the narrow passes and heavy seas.

When I go through the motions I miss the joy.  One time my kids gave me a map and I just ran through it trying to be done.  I missed the joy of the journey with them.  We do this with God also.  We try to rush through Bible reading, give a 2 second prayer at dinner, and hardly pause from social media in church to hear what is going on.  We stay up to late on Saturday’s and run late or skip on Sundays.  We sit there half asleep and wishing we were somewhere else.  We go through the motions and wonder why we do not know how to handle situations we face.  Without God’s wisdom and knowledge we are filled with fear and anxiety.  We deal with regrets because we failed to make the right choices at the right time for the right reasons.

Settle in and enjoy the process.  This is by far the most rewarding.  Look at what God says for those who settle in and work the map.

Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity
—every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your mind, and knowledge will delight your heart.
11 Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you, 12 rescuing you from the way of evil—

Jesus Thumped

In Chrisian Life on July 15, 2013 at 6:39 am

attitude is everything

Attitude is everything.

This is something I drill into my kids a lot! As a parent I am bombarded with questions that surround what is happening next, or can we do ____ ? My kids have learned that it all depends on attitude. Sometimes I receive a poor attitude or response. In those moments of disrespect or improper attitude they get thumped on the head. We have some young friends who are close to us that have attitude and other issues and they are learning to think before they speak!

I find myself going to God often with the same questions just in a grown-up style.

When will the blessing come?
When will the prayer be answered?
Why did I lose my job?
Why can’t I find someone nice to date?
God can you just “fix” my spouse or children or parents?

Other times I have a bad attitude about things.  I may not like a decision and want to complain or be in a bad mood.  God has His reasons.  The problem is my attitude toward His leadership and position.

These questions and attitudes often come back with the same answer, “Depends on your attitude.” As I read God’s Word it sometimes feels like I get thumped on the head. Consider Romans 14.

5 One person considers one day to be above another day. Someone else considers every day to be the same. Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 Whoever observes the day, observes it for the honor of the Lord. Whoever eats, eats for the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; and whoever does not eat, it is for the Lord that he does not eat it, yet he thanks God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and came to life for this: that He might rule over both the dead and the living. 10 But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the tribunal of God.

I think that many of us want to look at other people rather than ourselves. You or I may believe that a particular activity is acceptable but another follower of Christ does not.  If they are in different churches it is not usually a big deal.  However, when these different beliefs or interpretations are in the same body it can create tension.  Paul wrote to the Romans about these differences.  At that time the differences were about types of meat they could buy in the market or the day observed for worship.

For us today, we find differences also.  Ours are music style, the way we dress, the version of Scripture we use, how often we attend church, the decorations, the seating options and arrangements, the type of church service offered, choirs, praise teams, or even where the piano is on the stage.  All of these items are preferences that we have somehow spiritualized into moral absolutes.  Like the meat and day options in Romans 14, there are people on both sides of every issue saying they are the holier for being on that side of the difference.

Thump.   We, like the Romans get Jesus thumped.

We all stand before God.  Why should we fuss and fight over issues that are preference?  Christ died and rose again that we might have life and freedom .  The root issue is attitude.  Do I think myself holier than someone else?  Do I look down on others?  Do I judge others?  Do I criticize others?  Each should bow the knee before God and seek His Will for life every day.  Are you where you should be?  Are you doing what you should be doing?  Is your attitude in step with Jesus?

 

Psalm 46

In Chrisian Life, Family, Grief, Parenting on May 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

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I felt like I had lost my son.

I sat in the home of a good friend when I received the text message telling me I was needed at home immediately.  My son had gone off the deep end.  For several weeks, he has dealt with severe abdominal pain for which we have no cure to this point.  We have been in and out of ER’s and doctor’s offices with plans and prognostications, but no pain relief.  Most days he sits on the floor in his room building with Lego’s to distract from the pain.  If  he lies down he hurts.  If he eats or doesn’t he hurts.  If does nothing or everything he hurts.  I have argued with doctors.  I have sat up overnight in the ER.  I have held his hand and hugged his neck.

His face was wrinkled up in a mixture of pain, emotion, and tears.  He yelled and screamed uncontrollably as the pain washed over him.  The ability to filter was gone.  Like a liver that is shutting down the toxicity rises.  His emotions are raw, laid open because of the pain.  His face withdrawn and the light in his eyes gone, he balled himself up as tight as possible.  His body seemed so small, wracked by the pain.

Have I lost the boy who laughed and played?  Have I lost the boy whom I could never fill with enough food?  Have I lost the one who was sweet, tender, kind, and strong? Have I lost the blue-eyed, blonde, light-up-a-room kid?

As I write this, I am reminded of Psalm 46.

1 God is our refuge and strength,a helper who is always found in times of trouble.
2 Therefore we will not be afraid,though the earth trembles
and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil.

God is our refuge.  In Him we can place our trust.  In Him we can find safety and security.  I remember being chased as a child by some older boys.  I raced back on my bike as fast as I could.  Skidding into the front yard I was ecstatic to see Dad standing out there.  I dropped the bike and ran over behind him.  I sat down in his shadow and peeked around.  The other boys had stopped short of the yard.  Seeing my Dad, they decided it was not worth it.  I had found my refuge.  I can find refuge today in my Heavenly Father and so can you.  Whatever you are dealing with today, God can be your refuge.

God is our strength.  God bears our burdens.  He is strong when I am weak.  He is bold when I am fearful.  He is positive when I am hopeless.  As I  prepared to build a small deck behind the house, I researched what to do.  I found out that the ground work and foundation blocks were as critical as the deck planks themselves.  The blocks and beams were what held up the deck that everyone saw.  God is like those blocks and beams.  He bears the weight often in ways no one sees.  He is our blocks and beams so that our lives can shine with beauty and stability.

In true Psalmist fashion, I began with a pitiful position and will end in a praise posture.  Though our lives seem dark now I look to God’s creation and see that it is always darkest before the dawn.  God is able to do that which I cannot understand.  I run to Him as my refuge and strength.  Hope comes from those who trust in God!

My hope is in you Lord.  My strength is in you Lord.  Praise God!

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10

Never Lose Hope

In Faith, News on May 20, 2013 at 9:39 am

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Is hope a simple-minded myth?

In just a 24 hour period Oklahoma experienced record heat, deadly storms, long-tracking tornadoes and an earthquake.  In the past month I read the news about the Boston bombings, talked with someone whose parent is dying and discovered another marriage crumbling.  How do we cope?  How do we handle the stress?  To whom do we turn?  Too often we turn to the couch of a physician, the doctor’s office for pills, the bed of another, or the bottle to ease the pain.  Why wouldn’t we?  A friend of mine drove to a local town demolished by a tornado to sift through the rubble that was his office.  An entire neighborhood is reduced to twisted metal and splintered wood.  Someone planted bombs in a marathon to maim and destroy the lives of hundreds, if not thousands.  The one who has nurtured you your whole life lies in a bed waiting, and possibly planning, on dying.  The marriage that outwardly seems to be so wonderful is rotting from within.  It is no wonder that we pop pills and drink ourselves to that uncaring oblivion.  We must find a way to ease this pain we feel.  We are determined to replace pain with pleasure, hurt with happiness.

Why hope?  It seems to do no good.

I would expect many to feel this way who have never tasted the goodness of God or have been hurt by those who represent God.  Trust and hope are tied together in a neat little package that some wish were separated.  How can I hope for something where there is no trust?  How can I hope the bombings and killings will stop without trust in the government’s ability to handle or control this situation?  How can I hope for healing when I cannot trust that God will do what I want?  How can there be hope in a marriage where trust left years ago?  Is hope is fleeting?  Is hope is failing?  Is hope futile and for the simple-minded?  We realists live above this unnecessary emotion right?  Logic wins in that world, but love loses.

We hope because it raises our vision from today to tomorrow.  We hope because the pain of the past is replaced with a promise of a preferred future.  We hope because down deep we still know that God is bigger than us.  God has our best interests in mind even though our feelings claim fault.  We hope because that is all we have.  Hope brings warmth.  Hope brings vision.  Hope raises the spirit.  Though all else seems to fail, believe there is hope.

Believe.  Hope.  Pray.  Live.

1 Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish: 2 I called to the Lord in my distress,and He answered me. (Jonah 2)

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