Tuesday, September 11, 2012
As we respectfully honor the 11th anniversary of September 11th, 2001, arguably the greatest attack and offense of war on American soil, our hearts unite in a special way today with families who are forever impacted by that event. I am writing about families of civilian occupants of the airplanes used on that tragic day, the buildings (New York City & the Pentagon) attacked, selfless first-responder firemen, police officers, and other emergency personnel, as well as military lives lost in wars which have come about as a result. We must spend some time in prayerful memory for those lives. Far too often, and even including me as write at this moment, we fail to fully grasp the width and depth of that event's impact.
Freedom isn't free, as a matter of fact I believe it has the greatest price tag anything could possess, life. No greater cost was paid for ultimate freedom than Jesus Christ giving His life away in death for you and me. This morning I had the chance to get out of bed on my own accord at about 5:00 AM, gather myself and what little wit I possess at such early hours, and choose to meet a group of about 30+ friends for and hour or so of intense basketball games. Some of these friends are some young men in their teenage years whom I admire. The amazing contrast and reality check for me is at the age they are, and in my life in those late teenage years I was being awaken at about the same time of the early morning by the sounds of surface-to-surface missiles being launched at the direction of my home. Unlike today, back then and some 20+ years ago I was forced to awaken into instant alertness or to determine whether there was a need to take cover from a bomb falling upon my head, as well as those of family members. Many lives were lost because of the reality and existence of evil and sin in the heart of men, and for the cost of peace and relative freedom which currently exist in my home country today.
While our hearts unite with families affected by the losses of men and women that have come about as a result of September 11th, 2001 and the many tears and emotional struggles we have not seen or those we have, we must remember the reality that We Also Serve: A Family Goes to War. We must recognize the impact of war on the American family and all others involved including the enemies, not merely by the death of a soldier, but the impact absence during deployment, the political discourse for and against war which ensues within families causing separations, and many more effects. I got the chance to pick up my three year old son from pre-school today and we wrestled on the living room floor very affectionately until we fell asleep (him lying on my chest) together. He told his mom a few moments later that sleeping on daddy was very comfortable. Many will never get that opportunity as adults or children because they have been robbed of that opportunity by the evil causes of war and events such as September 11th, 2001.
We Also Serve: A Family Goes to War is a book written by Nanette Sagastume who was a guest on a recent episode of my BlogTalkRadio show, The Firstborn Son Show. Please take a moment and listen to the interview and enlighten yourself.
Friday, May 4, 2012
In recent weeks I have struggled with a bit of disconnection spiritually with God the Father. It is not that I am not frequently opening my bible, but instead there is a funny feeling because I lack the sense of a pull into deeper fellowship with Christ that one gets from a deeper, intense, and personally specific ongoing topical or book of the bible study. Honestly, on multiple days of the week I am involved in various rich bible study times with the book of Daniel (men's discipleship group), facilitating a phenomenal biblical leadership series (www.transferablecrosstraining.org/leadership.aspx), facilitating an awesome marriage group (Love & Respect), and so forth. But nothing beats direct, purposeful, intimate, consistent, and intense one-on-one time with God, hence my comment.
Then comes the National Day of Prayer, which I willingly prefer to embrace as the National Week (if not month) of Prayer, but who asked me for my opinion right? All around the country on this day, Christians are gathering to petition God the father that He protects and guards the land, its leaders, and so many other aspects of our existence. It is my personal and primary hope that we pursue this discussion first and foremost by each individual from the origination of self, to family, community, city, state...right on up to the president of this great nation, as well as the impacts beyond these borders. But what is our attitude and approach to an effective prayer, and prayer life? In my introspective time, the Lord took me to the book of Luke, chapter 18 (Luke 18).
I believe the Lord through the writings of Dr. Luke uses several parables and incidents to help us examine our manner of approach in prayer. I do not intend to explain it all to you, instead I will hint at my impression and take-away from the passage. However, I will strongly advise you to read the scripture and make note of what the living words of the bible speaks to your specific situation. As I said earlier, mine was a place of a bit of a lack of intimate and intense personal connection. What has yours been, or what is yours?
Approach & Attitude to Prayer in Luke 18:
- Luke 18:1-8 - Persistence (Do you feel you've prayed for the same thing too long (years)?)
- Luke 18:9-14 - Reject Arrogance, Approach in Humility
- Luke 18: 15-17 - Assume a child-like trust in God (blind and innocent faith)
- Luke 18: 18-26 - Let go of earthly possession or prayer; God will infuse heavenly treasures
- Luke 18:28-30 - Understand & Know that God "PROMISES" better returns
- Luke 18:31-34 - Be assured of His promises which is never dependent on your understanding
- Luke 18:35-43 - Persistence re-emphasized; but be sure to give glory where due
I pray this blog gives you a greater insight, examination and authenticity to your prayer life than you have ever taken before. More importantly, I pray the scriptures will empower us all to a more powerful utterance of prayer for our families, cultures, and nations.