Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘pray’

The Morning After Effect

In Life and Culture on November 5, 2014 at 9:01 am

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The alarm goes off at 6:30am.  I reach over to turn it off and lay there for a few minutes trying to prepare for the day ahead.  I visit with Jesus and ask for strength for today and hope for tomorrow. I crawl out of bed and shake off the night, going through the morning routine.

  • Dressed
  • Breakfast
  • School
  • Work

Each day is the same, yet this one feels different.  I have encountered days like this before.  They seem to come in regular intervals with some being more critical in nature than others.  Today is the day after elections!

Depending on your bent, you are either very happy or very aggravated.  The ebb and flow of control is certainly becoming more rough and the waves cresting higher with each passing vote.  What do we do the morning after?  How do we respond?  Regardless of how we personally feel about the results there are a few things to consider.  The Psalmist reminds us:

The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases. People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart. The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices. Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin. Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.

Let’s turn this into a series of short prayers for our elected officials.

  1. May the elected allow God to guide them.  May their attitude be such that they realize we live, breathe, and serve not at the pleasure of the people or president but of God.
  2. May the elected understand that their actions have higher consequences than re-election.  May the heart of the official be made strong and pure by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  3. May the official learn the difference in outward religion and inward relations with God.  If they have not, may they come faith in Jesus.  If they have, may their life show His glory.
  4. May the official prepare and plan for the betterment of the constituency more than being reactionary to the polls.

Whether you elected for that person or not, they are now in place and need prayer support.  God help them all who derive such pleasure in politics.  May we more fully understand the need for Pentecost for than political pontificating.

Godly Mothers Do These 3 Things

In Parenting on May 8, 2014 at 6:40 am

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As Mother’s Day approaches many are seen scrambling for the right card or gift.  It’s obvious that we should show our gratitude to Mom.  There are so many things my mother did for me.  While some in the list are unique, most are common for us all.

  • Adopted me
  • Fed me
  • Clothed me
  • Bathed me
  • Bandaged my wounds
  • Drove me around
  • Guided me
  • Disciplined me
  • Hugged me
  • Cheered me on
  • Sat in the rain

Every mom does these things.  Godly Mothers do these 3 things also.

1.  Godly Mothers Pray.  In 1 Samuel 1 we see Hannah praying for God to give a child.  No doubt she prayed for her child later.  Godly mothers pray for their children.  Too often, I hear vague no-point type of prayers.  It’s as if we just want our children to survive the day.  We were made to thrive.  Pray biblical, specific, and bold prayer today.

2.  Godly Mothers Prioritize.  Hannah did not go up to the annual festival because she needed to care for Samuel.  Godly mothers prioritize to meet the needs of their children.  She sacrificed her own needs for the needs of Samuel.  Contrary to popular opinion, getting your child on that tournament team is not critical.  Giving your child everything they want is not critical.  The most important things we can give our children is shelter, sustenance, and spiritual development.  A roof and food are obvious.  Yet, it seems that church is not obvious. A recent study showed that parents of pre-schoolers were getting them to church at a rate of 50% or less.  Prioritize.

3.  Godly Mothers Present.  Hannah made a promise that she would present Samuel to the priest and return Samuel to the Lord.  While this is not a practice used today, how can we present our kids to God.  First, moms will present God to the child.  Show God’s love.  Speak of God’s love.  Act because of God’s love.  Second, moms will present the Gospel to their children.  As a pastor, I have had many opportunities to share the gospel with someone’s child when the parent needs to be the one to do so.  Third, godly mothers will engage the family in good works.

If we would be as aggressive at these three things as we are leisure time, sports, and dieting then the next generation would show more promise!  Faithful parenting is hard work, but it is a fruitful endeavor!

Thinking Outside of Self

In Chrisian Life on April 3, 2014 at 7:50 am

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The Right Thing To Do

As a young boy, I watched my father.  I learned how to be a gentleman from what I saw.  One of the things that I saw consistently was that he held the door for others.  Very rarely did I see him rush through and not let someone go first.  Often there was no “Thank you”, but he still would do it.  It was the right thing to do regardless of the outcome.

What A Rush

Not holding a door sounds immaterial in light of today’s issues of finances and family struggles.  However, that simple act speaks volumes about one’s personality and self-involvement.  Are we that important?  Are we in that much of a hurry?  Do other people not matter?  Not holding a door seems trite, but it is important.  Most people might not recognize anymore that there is a problem. We have long forgotten basic manners and considerations of others in our culture.  Each follow their own set of rules and each can hold their own door.  What happens, though, is a sense of individualism leading to spiritual anarchy.  If I believe that I am too important to hold the door for someone else how will I ever stop to let God act?  There are times when each of us need to pause and let God act before we do something stupid.

32 Then David said to Abigail, “Praise to the Lord God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! 33 Your discernment is blessed, and you are blessed. Today you kept me from participating in bloodshed and avenging myself by my own hand. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord God of Israel lives, who prevented me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, Nabal wouldn’t have had any men left by morning light.” 35 Then David accepted what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. See, I have heard what you said and have granted your request.”

1 Samuel 25

First Things First

David was going to avenge the rights and feelings of his men on his own.  As good as David was, he had a penchant for battle.  Distributing evil for evil or good for good was his joy!  However, in this case it seems that God had another lesson for David to learn.  Before he would become King, it was important to realize God is to be considered first.  As Abigail comes and pleads her case before David, he has a choice to make.  Will he rush through this door and go on about his business or would he pause and hold the door for God to go through first?

  • Before going to the local loan facility, hold the door and let God go through first in your finances.
  • Before going to the divorce attorney for advice, hold the door and let God go through first in your marriage.
  • Before blowing up at work, hold the door for God to go through first in your relationships.
  • Before killing yourself because you feel no one cares, hold the door and let God go through first in your heart.
  • Before you finish the bottle, hold the door and let God go through first and bring you rest and peace.

How do we hold the door?

  1. Consider God more important than yourself.
  2. Pause and pray before making decisions.
  3. Follow God through the door.

Later in this chapter we find that God took care of the issue in David’s life.  Nabal died within days of this event.  Sometimes, we simply need to hold the door and let God go through first!

Ratting Out Jesus

In Decisions, Life and Culture on January 10, 2014 at 9:44 am

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The worst possible thing to ever be is a snitch, it seems, depending on who you talk to about the subject.  If you are the one doing wrong then whoever tells on you is the most wretched of creatures.  If you are the one in charge needing to find the culprit then whoever provides reliable information is rewarded.  So, if you are in the know about something you have a choice to make.  To whom will you be loyal?

The people of 1st century Israel were put into a perplexing situation.  Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead…no really.  Check it out here.  The rulers of the time were not happy because they felt they were losing their grip on the people.  So here is what they said:

Meanwhile, the leading priests and Pharisees had publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest him.

In other words, the people were being forced to choose. To whom would they be loyal.  Unfortunately, one of those closest to Jesus is the one who turned Him in to the religious authorities.  Turning in Jesus.  Who would do such a thing?  You and me.  Each time we have a moral/ethical decision to make we either revere or rebel.  We either choose Jesus or turn Him in.  Our cultural jury is watching and listening carefully in order to render a verdict.  Will you stand guilty before them or before God?  Sounds awful right?  We choose God in our heads, but often man in our hearts and hands. What do we do when we must choose loyalties?  How do we go about choosing?  Here are few thoughts.

Who do you respect more?  Essentially, it is not about revere and rebel, though it makes for a great question!  It comes down to respect.  Do you respect your peers more than God?  Do you respect the common man more than God?  Who, when looking at the larger picture, garners more respect?  Often we choose the one we respect more?  Take a look at your history.  Who have you chosen?

Think long-term.  We often choose based on short-term.  We want people to like us now.  We want benefits now.  We want prestige now.  We want chances now.  When we choose based on short-term we get short-term results.  Public opinion is like fashion…trendy.  When you choose to adhere to the court of public opinion you will never find joy.  Just about the time you settle in it changes.  What kind of person do you want to be known as later?  Start today.

Study the matter.  Impulse decisions will wreck your life!  You drank too much and crashed your car.  You had to have that new _______.  Now you’re in debt beyond your ability to pay.   Take time to study the matter.  In encourage you to go old school:  pros/cons and scripture.  Engaging your logic and your faith makes for  a better decision.

Choosing wisely is a result of a careful and thoughtful process.  We are faced with decisions of loyalty everyday.  With each one you are either standing with, or serving up, Jesus.  Which will you be doing today?

Party Cloudy with a Chance of Grace

In Decisions on April 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm

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My kids had ball practice yesterday and it was 75 degrees and sunny. We have prayed for the season to start.  The evenings of ball games and sunflower seeds are quickly approaching and I love this time of year.  Coming out of the winter slump, the ability to stretch our legs and throw a ball is enjoyed by many.

Today it is 37 degrees and raining.  We have been in a drought…a severe drought.  Churches all over the state have prayed for rain.  The last couple of weeks have provided much-needed moisture but with a freeze warning now in place it is just crazy!  Spring started a month ago!

What’s the problem?  We have prayed for two things to happen.  We just didn’t want them to happen at the same time!  How often does that happen to you?  You have prayed for two things that really do not coexist well and God grants both? God challenges us sometimes with choices.  The wants and needs of our lives can counteract one another.  You pray for more money and a better relationship with your family.  Now a job offer comes but it is out-of-town or travels a lot.  You have prayed for your marriage to strengthen and for your business to flourish.  You have been praying about a relationship and college.  You get answers to both but they are not in same state?  You pray about personal holiness and a job promotion.  The money is awesome but comes with ethical strings.  What happens if you must choose one?  How will you choose?

How do we choose between wants and needs?  How often do we simply try to have it all?  Just like we can’t have rain and baseball together you cannot have your cake and eat it also.  There are choices we must make everyday.  God promises us our needs will be met, not our wants.  It is on us to choose carefully at times what to praise God for what to be frustrated with God for in our prayers.  Here is what you do:

  • Take a breath.
  • Review what is important.
  • Read scripture.
  • Ask God.
  • Choose the need to praise God for today.
  • Ask for grace about the want.

You never know, the sun may break through just in time and God allows both.  You’ll never know until we humble ourselves in the sight of God. Life may be partly cloudy but there is always a chance for grace!

***

Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.  James 4:10

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Mirror Mirror

In Journey on February 28, 2013 at 9:59 am

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Mirror, Mirror, on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?

Who doesn’t remember that line?  The Queen always wanted the mirror to reveal her as the fairest of them all.  However, the reflection was not her own but of Snow White.  Self-image and self-esteem are often defined, unfortunately, by what we see in the mirror.  The best looking can see someone who is fat and ugly.  The ugliest can see beauty.  There are dangers in not seeing reality for what it is in any case.  It is important that we see the proper reflection…our true self.  God has created you in a particular way.  Obviously, the way we treat this gift from God can alter the perfection that God intended.  That is not the discussion today.  In this post, I would like for us to look at who God has recreated us to be.  At our birth we are innocent before God.  We have been “made in His own image” in that our Spirit is at peace with God.  When moral accountability begins so does spiritual accountability.  Sin twists, bends, and disfigures.  Because of this we are no longer suitable to be in God’s presence at death.

There is hope!  Knowing our condition, God sent Jesus.  He did what we could not so that we could be changed.  At the moment of faith, we are made right before God again.  In this right standing we must give honor to the one who did the work.  We did not do anything but Christ did everything.  God looked upon the perfection of His Son coupled with our belief and we are made right.  The apostle Paul would comment in a letter that it was no longer Paul that lived, but Christ that lived within. So when you look in the mirror, we should be reflecting Jesus.  Look beyond, the wrinkles and scars.  Look past the blemishes.  Let Jesus shine through for your benefit and for the benefit of others.

In Hebrews chapter 1 we see the idea that Jesus Christ is the perfect reflection of His father God.  The Son reflects God’s own glory and everything about Him represents God exactly.  If it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives within me, then I should be reflecting Jesus who is the perfect reflection of His Father.

Am I?  Am I really reflecting God?  If I were to ask those around would they be in agreement?  The Mirror wasn’t for the Queen.  What would the mirror of your friends and co-workers reveal?  If you don’t like the answer you believe you would get here are a few tips to help you along:

Choose.  Jesus had to choose what He would follow.  Jesus had to choose His responses.  These decisions are not always easy but are worthwhile.

Communicate.  Jesus stayed in communication with God.  He knew what was desired.  He knew the plan because of the communication that was maintained.  Reading scripture and talking with God are more than tic marks on your daily journey.  They are the lines of communication needed to receive up-to-the-minute notifications.

Capitalize.  Let one victory become the next one.  You cannot eat an elephant more than one bite at a time.  Set small goals that lead to medium goals that lead to larger goals.  You want to win the championship, but today’s game comes first.

Calibrate.  I was always told to make small corrections before making dramatic corrections.  If, at the end of the day, you notice something out of whack then make small corrections to get back in alignment.

Have a great day!!

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