Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Scratching the Surface of Prayer

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



    I can't imagine how Mary felt about "having" baby Jesus.

    Having watched the birth of my sons, my reaction has always been the same: "Awesome!...Praise the Lord!...Thank You, thank You, thank You for making me a man, Lord, 'cause ain't no way I could do that!"

    Knowing guys a lot better than women 'cause I'm a guy, there'd be ZPG overnight if God did something out of this world like He did with Mary (VB) and changed a major gender distinction so that guys became responsible for "having" babies.

    I don't think so.

    That would be the last sign of the apocalypse without respect to the Mayans.

    The angel may have told Mary that nothing's impossible with God; but I just don't see guys "having" babies after watching women "have" 'em.

    So except for lifting weights, I've considered women much stronger and tougher than men after watching births.

    Guys may like "making" 'em, but ain't no way they'd exchange roles to "have" 'em.

    And knowing lots of women have more after one, they've gotta be stronger and tougher or totally out of their...

    Again, I can't imagine how Mary felt about "having" baby Jesus.


    Of course, moms can kinda relate to Mary "having" baby Jesus.

    They've been through it.

    Yet, I say moms can "kinda relate" because there was a lot more involved in Jesus coming into this world than childbirth.

    Virgin birth.


    Pregnant without help of the, uh, guy.

    Buuuuuuut if we're gonna say He's almighty as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior, that's no big deal for Him as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior; or as Martin Luther wrote, "The virgin birth was a mere trifle for God.  That God should become man was a greater miracle."


    That's really, uh, unusual.

    So while moms can kinda relate to Mary "having" baby Jesus, there was a lot more swirling around in Mary's mind; which is why Luke says Mary "kept all of these things...pondering them in her heart."

    It was a lot to think about.

    13-16 year old girl gets pregnant miraculously because that's how He decided to incarnate.

    Distant relative of King David.

    Very distant from her perspective as a noble handmaiden yet far removed from nobility.

    Angelic announcement: "You're favored...The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God...Jesus."

    Every color, class, and culture and even celestial beings show up in the barn to acknowledge, applaud, and embrace Him.


    What's up with that?

    Gold and perfume for sure; but myrrh?

    Stuff to embalm the dead?

    How quickly her thoughts must have moved from Isaiah 7, 9, and 11 to 53.

    Yeah, I'd say she pondered.

    We still ponder over it all and we've had over two thousand years to...


    Maybe that's why great saints like Francis, Brother Lawrence, Mother Theresa, and so on followed Mary's lead and pondered in prayer more than followed Simple-Simon-says-put-your-hands-on-your...kinda prescribed prayers.  They were a lot more into just hanging out with God in a tarryin' kinda way than following patterns, formulas, rituals, ceremonies, rubrics, and other religious stuff that only get in the way of developing a relationship with Him.

    Maybe that's why maturing folks ponder "how silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given" rather than rolling and spitting in the aisles like religious psychos on crack.

    Maybe that's why we're told to be still and know He is God.

    Maybe that's why maturing believers like to think of it more as a "silent, holy, night" than a living Christmas tree or sparkle night or...

    Maybe that's why...God picked Mary for the job.

    Maybe she was just young enough to know she hadn't figured it/Him all out yet.

    Maybe she was another example of what her child would grow up to say about why He liked children so much.

    I don't know.

    I'm still scratching the surface of my relationship with God and learning how to pray - see "Scratching the Surface of Prayer" below - and...

    I'm having a hard enough time figuring out how to work out my own salvation than pretend I'm smart enough to tell you how to work out yours.

    All I know is there's a lot more to the story than can be handled in a...

    Paul was right: "Now we see in a mirror dimly; but then...Now I know in part; but then...So faith, hope, and love abide; but the greatest of these is..."

    "For God so loved..."




Blessings and Love!

Scratching the Surface



(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Increasing Intimacy)


Lord, I begin this day in praise and thanks for You as my Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior…

I know I need Your love, forgiveness, mercy, and empowering to be Yours in all things at all times in all places with all people as exemplified in Jesus, explained in the Bible, and enlightened by Your welcomed presence in my life as Holy Spirit…

I want to honor You through behavior confirming my belief in You as my Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior…

As Your guide for our time together this morning, I read the Bible to increase our communion and discover Your will for my life.  I trust You will tell me when to pause and ponder, ingest, and digest; and how to enflesh this morning’s insights, inspirations, and instructions…

Reminded of my need to confess and repent or conform to Your will as exemplified in Jesus and explained in the Bible to be forgiven and restored to Your best intentions for my life, I admit how I have insulted You and injured others by…pledging to change bad behaviors for good behaviors…and expressing gratitude for Your forgiveness that allows me to forgive myself…

I know the fruit/proof/evidence of our relationship – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness/humility, and self-control – are supernatural by-products of our increasing intimacy…

What I say, what I do, and how I appear will honor You and help others increasingly as I am increasingly close to You…

I ask favors – intercessions for others and personal supplications - for…

I prepare for today’s opportunities, ups, downs, detours, distractions, temptations, joys, sorrows, victories, defeats, and challenges according to Ephesians 6:10-20…

I pray as taught by Jesus: “Our Father…”

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Before Meals

Lord, this food is a gift from You; providing pleasure and fuel for life.  I thank You for this food along with everything and everyone that minister to my life; reserving highest praise and thanks for Jesus who inspires confident living and guarantees eternal life.  Thank You for sustaining my body and saving my soul through Jesus in whose name I pray.  Amen.

Evening Prayer

As this day draws to a close, I honor You as my Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior…

I am thankful for today’s experiences and expressions of Your favor…

I am sorry for today’s failures…confessing…repenting…receiving Your forgiveness…

I entrust the past, present, and future to You…

I open the Bible for You to have today’s last word…

I trust Your peace and healing as I end as I began the day…

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

This is only a brief and incomplete guide to prayer.

Intimacy with our Lord increases as we increase intimacy
with Him through worship, prayer, Bible study, fasting,
sacrament, silence, stewardship, and regular
fellowship with His family of faith
uncommonly called the

Are you still looking for a different way to do church?

Are you tired of the SOSO religion?

Are you put off by posers in pews, politics, and pulpits?

Are you searching for something/Someone
real, honest, timely, and true to…?

Try our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main!
(Belvidere, Illinois)

7:20 a.m.
10:00 a.m.

And so much…

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