Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Serenity Prayer (Acceptance)

“…to accept the things I cannot change…”

Many times I feel like a toddler in an adult body.  Prone to fits and tantrums.  I recall watching an interaction between a little boy and his mother at a store.  I cannot recall if it was candy or a toy, but I do recall how desperately he wanted it.  First he asked his mother in a pretty straight forward manner, “Can I have this?”  His mother looked distracted so he said again with a little more emphasis, “CAN I HAVE THIS?”  His mother looked down and said a simple “No”  Which was immediately followed by a loud shrill, “PLEEEAASSE!”  The word was neither pleasing nor magical.  Wonder why they call it the magic words?  This continued on for what seem a very long time.  Most likely it was just a minute or two, but I am sure that it was an eternity for this little boy’s mother.  To her credit she did not give in, but boy did he make her pay for it.  I could still hear the little boy screaming as they exited the store. 

In my own spirit I have been the mother having to calm another soul that is screaming out about the injustice of a life that does not give them his or her desires.  However, if I am honest I find myself more often playing the role of the little boy.  Screaming out to anyone who will listen why I deserve what I desire.  To my shame I sometimes take this heart attitude to my prayer life with God.  I tell God what is fair for me to have or not to have and then with a shrill “please” I say Amen.  When my prayers are not answered I do not reflect on passages like , “You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires (James 4:3).”  Instead I like a spoiled little boy threaten to take my ball and go home, because I do not want to play anymore. 

Contrast that with this prayer heart, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39  God is not so cold so as to be completely unaware or insensitive to our doubts or struggles.  He can hear them when we pray for those things that trouble us.  On the other hand this attitude ought to be in us that call ourselves mature in Christ.  That we (like Christ) say “Yet not as I will, but as You will.”  You see at some point we have to come to a place of acceptance of things as they are and return our confidence to God that our present circumstances has not caught Him unaware.  He continues to have a plan and purpose, even when we or someone else is the cause of suffering in our lives. 

Let us move to acceptance that God may produce a good work in our lives.  

Serenity Prayer

“GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”

Over the next several newsletters I am going to write about the “Serenity Prayer.”

God is the giver of all good things.  If you are like me though I struggle with the notion that God would allow things into my life that cannot change or better yet will not change.  If God is sovereign (which He is) then what in the world is he doing?  It is during these times though that I also come to realize that even though God is on His throne in heaven He is not on the throne of my heart.  I would rather have a deity that fulfilled my desires than to try to grow and understand what I can through unchanging circumstances.  This realization comes quickly if I let it.

“God, grant me the serenity…”  In quietness I can discover God’s abiding Spirit in my life.  He was there all the time but my complaining seemed to drown out the still small voice. 

Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still.
Psalm 4:4 (HCSB)

How does God move a troubled heart to serenity?  Do not sin, reflection, and being still.  Sin will get in the way of God’s work.  Sin will magnify and give life to many more anxieties than it will ever quiet.  Do not sin.  Reflection is a lost art.  We long to be told or entertained, but rarely do we reflect.  Take time to meditate not on what troubles you, but on God and His truth.  Finally be still.  Now I struggle with keeping my focus so being still mentally is not an easy task, but it is fruitful when I am able to do it. 

Now that I am in a place that God can grant me serenity what do I do next?  Acceptance; More on that next week.

God Bless You All


The Blame Game

Sermon preached on February 17, 2013: Personal Responsiblity
There is a game is the most popular game in the whole world.  It has no pieces, board, cards, or moving parts.  It does not require a game controller, yet it is extremely popular with children, youth, and adults alike.  It is free and can be found being played in every home around the world.  It does not need to be translated into other languages because it is universal and come in one’s native language.  People keep playing it in spite of the fact that when you play it you lose in some way.  The name of the game?  It is called the “blame  game.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Personal Responsiblity

13 No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. 14 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. James 1:13-15 (HCSB)
Why are we as humans so adverse to personal responsibility? It would seem that we tend to blame everything under the sun for our moral shortcomings. Christians will do this to greater or lesser degree than any other non-believer. That leads me to believe that it is embedded in the human psyche.