Calling on God; Waiting for the Answer

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Monday, June 28, 2010 at 10:50 AM

The journal of a person of prayer holds within it petitions offered up by someone who loves the Lord and her family. It was recently opened and within it was found prayers for her children and grandchildren, their needs and her desire for each one. A certain entry in March of 1998 requested a home for one of her children.

No answer sits on the journal side for one.

Two years later in March of 2000 the day arrives when no more entries will be written into this journal; this saint goes on to be with her Lord. Still no answer sits on the March 1998 entry requesting a home for her child; her prayer never answered.

Some ten years later in the spring of 2008 the daughter of this prayer warrior sleeps on a hide-away bed in the living room with her husband and two of her younger children. Her house sits in a form of disrepair needing heating, new plumbing and a new roof to name only a couple of the needed repairs. Few things work as they should. Nine people live in a house of less than a thousand square feet.

The home is a happy but small one; the warrior’s prayers for a home have not been answered.

In May of 2008 an event occurs that no one would have imagined. Unexpectedly and in unlikely form the daughter and her family receive an answer to prayer; a wonderful gift. A home and not just a home but one two times larger than the one she lives in. Not just a home but one with enough rooms for all to have a one, with space enough for an entire family including grandchildren to eat at the table. The heating works, the water flows and the roof doesn’t leak, a home filled with the finest of furnishings; a palace to her family. All a gift from heaven.

Ten years and two months after the prayer journal entry was written, eight years after the saint has been in the presence of God, the prayer is answered and in grand style.

This prayer warrior saint; my mother in law.

Scripturally I cannot find anywhere that tells me God has told her of His grand scheme. How he used Godly people to answer her prayer and did it in such a way as to make it unavoidably a God thing. But in my heart I am sure she knows.

Often in our prayer life we become frustrated with what we see as a failure to answer. But I have found in this journal friendly reminders that there are some aspects of prayer we should always keep in mind and they are as follows:

  1. God has his own time table. We like results quickly; God knows when the time is right. As in the case of this gift God answered the prayer but years after the first prayer was lifted up, I might add knowing Muriel as I did the first prayer was lifted up long before 1998. In the spring of 2008 my father in law said, “It just does not pay giving up waiting on the Lord.” A better truth has never been spoken.
  2. God has his own agenda. He is always at work in the lives of His people. He is busy about shaping relationships and setting things in place. Though we don’t see the big picture He does. Looking back we can see clearly how God set things in motion, how he used people and how he brought glory to Himself, giving hope to a multitude of others through His big plan.
  3. It is not about the house but about our faith. While we focus on the perceived need, God has our spiritual development in mind. His desire is not to give us things but to give us Himself; He wants us to know Him more intimately and He uses each event in our life to build upon our faith and to lead us to trust Him more with each passing day. This takes time and a strategic plan, God has both. His plans never fail.

As I look at God’s blessings (not only the house but a thousand others) I am thankful for people who care enough to really pray and to a God who loves enough to really answer. Each day as I walk the house it is a reminder that God answers prayers; in His time, in His way and His ways are always best.

Thanks, Muriel you would love the place you prayed for!

Scripture: Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. NIV

Colossians 4:2, “Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. The Message

Prayer: Dear Lord, guide us in our faithfulness to pray and never give up. We thank you for those who love us and pray for us; may we follow their example of faith. We praise you for how you answer our prayers in both big and small ways. We thank you for your loving kindness and ask all these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

Field of Dreams

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 12:19 PM

When I first saw the movie Field of Dreams in 1989 it made little sense to me; I just could not figure it out. Over the last 20 years it has not only become a movie with a clear message; it has become one that inspires and reminds me of my own dreams and how to respond to them.

In this movie Ray lives in rural Iowa with his wife Annie and daughter Karin. One day as he walks through his cornfield he hears a voice whisper, “If you build it, he will come” and sees a vision of a baseball field. Ray, who fears of becoming like his father who lacked any spontaneity and with whom he stopped playing catch with at the age of 14, convinces Annie to allow him to plow under a section of corn and build a baseball field in the middle of nowhere.

After a year of nothing happening Ray and Annie had to consider replacing the field with corn to stay afloat financially; but things change at the last moment when Annie sees someone on the field. A player from the past appears, Shoeless Joe Jackson and asks if he can bring others. Ray agrees and in and out of the corn in the outfield comes players from the past to play the game they love. Only Annie, Ray and Karin can see these players, at least at first.

Now through all this time Ray is not making a lot of money, enter the brother in law who is insisting that he sell the farm to him and some investors so he will have a place to live. Mark, the brother in law cannot see the players until one moment during a scuffle and from that moment on changes his mind and insist Ray not sell the farm.

Let me move quickly without turning this into a review of movies from the 80’s. Throughout the movie he hears whispers, one is ‘ease his pain’ which leads him to a recluse writer who eventually ends up disappearing into the corn field behind the outfield with the players. Another voice comes to him that says ‘go the distance’ while at a Boston Red Sox game with the writer.

Indeed Ray goes the distance, builds the field, has a chance to play catch with his dad again and ends up restoring more than a few lives along the way, including his own. During the movie he believes that the voice he keeps hearing is that of Joe Jacksons, but at the end of the movie Jackson tells Ray the voice he has heard is his own.

I believe that in each of us God has placed a dream, that in His still small voice he encourages us to follow that dream. That dream is what will give us purpose and add flavor to our lives. For some it is to build homes or practice law, for others it is to buy stocks, feed the homeless or raise children. The list of dreams is endless and the point of this life God gives us is not that we have a dream; we all do, but that we follow it.

As we chase the dream God has set in our heart we need to remember a few things. First is that our dream is not everyone else’s and they may not buy into what your dream is. Don’t be discouraged by that continue to chase what God has purposed in your heart.

Keep in mind also that in each life he will send an Annie that believes in you, that gives you the freedom to chase your dream and encourages you along the way, even if it makes little sense to them. The Annie’s (Ray’s wife) are invaluable in chasing your God given desires, be sure and thank them along the journey.

Just as there are encouragers there are those who have lost sight of their own dream and will discourage you around every corner. They do not believe in you or your dream and their desire is for you to fail. Listen to their legitimate concerns then move on keeping in mind that success or failure does not come from reaching a destination in life but in following the will of God for your life; it is all about the journey.

No matter how old you are today, there is still a dream in your heart, chase it. Perhaps times have gotten hard or things are not working out quite as you planned, don’t stop. More than anything listen for that still small voice of God which gives direction, encouragement and hope to those who follow their dreams. Do what the voice encouraged Ray to do, ‘go the distance’.

Scripture: Ephesians 2:10, “God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.” New Century Version

Prayer: Dear Lord, give us the courage, the strength and the power to follow the dreams you have placed in our hearts. Have us to learn to listen to you and find joy in the journey you have prepared for us. We ask these things in the name of He who loves, Jesus Christ, Amen.

The Best of Intentions

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 8:22 AM

No niece or nephew could have a better aunt to watch their every move than four year old Gracie. She loves to get right in their face, she loves to give them big hugs, she loves to remove and then replace their pacifiers, she loves to follow them and she enjoys patting them on the back. They may not love it so much but she sure does.

The other night her big brother and I were working in the nursery during an event at church, what a team. Anyway Gracie was in there with her nephew and niece. She was very busy getting in her nieces face and we were having to work hard to keep said niece from getting too upset about all the ‘in your face’ attention.

At that moment I said to my son, “Gracie means well; she just does not do well.”

It is here that many of us find ourselves spiritually is it not? We mean well, we want to do what God wants us to do but well, our actions don’t always match that desire.

We like Gracie go about our business and are trying to do the right thing but never take the quite moments to learn from the Lord, or learn from others reaction to us and instead of doing good; we end up finding ourselves in trouble.

It is not that we don’t try to get Gracie corrected it is just that at this stage in her life she is so focused that she does not hear what we are trying to say and so she just keeps on going. Once again this action is exactly how many of us are spiritually; we are so focused on what we want to do, what we think is right(without asking God) that we never listen to God trying to cool our jets or get us to move our attention elsewhere. God’s still small voice gets louder and louder but still we do not stop, we do not hear. With this attitude we simple run in place spiritually.

Here is another part of the action, the reason we try to move Gracie away from the little ones is we are afraid without intending to she might hurt one of them. Trust me, if you know Gracie that is the last thing she wants to do and the look on her face when that happens will tear even the most insensitive up emotionally.

Once again here we find ourselves; the last thing we would ever want to do is hurt someone else. The thought breaks our heart but when we refuse to listen to instruction, refuse to respond to the warning signs and stay the course inevitably that is exactly what we end up doing. This results in one of the worst emotions; regret. We regret the damage we have done to not only ourselves but others.

Gracie is young and just wants to help, she does not know better though we are working with her on it. She does what she does out of love. You might be the same, you might be young and surely you could easily be doing things out of love. It simply could be that God is working with you to improve your life and the relationships in them.

Take some simple steps; slow down and take a look at those around you, how are they responding to your actions. Stop long enough in your daily routine to hear Gods voice, often he can’t get through all the busyness in your life. Then even if it does not seem like something you want to do, if you determine God needs for you to make a change, do it.

When you do this you will move your life from ‘wanting to do well and just not doing it’ to ‘wanting to do well and completing the task!’

Scripture: Romans 7:17-20 “But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.” Seems as though Paul had the same problem as us! The Message by Eugene Peterson

Prayer: Dear Lord, simply help our actions to match our hearts desire to please you. We ask these things in the name of He who gives us the power to overcome, Christ. Amen.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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