Tag Archives: Prayer

My favorite Bible reading / prayer / memorization routine

There is nothing like reading a chapter of the Bible in the morning and a chapter at night, along with some study notes.  I did that the first time I read through the Bible back in 1996 and it was life-changing.  Hey, God’s word does what it promises.  Who knew?

While I’ve never stopped reading completely, I’ve had different patterns over the years, usually just once a day.  But late last year I started back with the twice a day routine and I don’t think I’ll ever stop.  It is just the perfect set of bookends for the day.

I don’t try to get through the entire Bible in a year.  Nothing wrong with that, of course.  I’ve done it before, and even listened to it over just a few months when I’d play it in the car regularly.  The pace I’m on now is a “read the Bible in 20 months” plan.

I’ve always loved the chronological approach, but I do like a mix of Old and New Testament as well.  But I think my favorite will be this plan I came across in Logos, where you cycle through 7 different books.  Currently I’m going through a few chapters each of Genesis, Ruth, Psalms, Job, Isaiah, Matthew and 1 Corinthians.  It is a great mix, where every day or two I’m reading from a different book.

For prayer, I made a personal translation of the Valley of Vision Puritan prayers, where I converted them from old English poetry form to contemporary prose.  I read one a day. (I wish I could get it published, as it is so much more accessible than the original, but the copyright owners didn’t even respond to my request.)

I also just started using the PrayerMate prayer app, which is an easy way to keep track of various prayer categories.

Finally, I love the Bible Memory app.  I cycle through a batch of verses at least once a day, sometimes more often.  When I come across a new verse or passage I add it to the list.  Whenever I am bored or distracted I am inclined to reach for my phone to do something.  But having taken off social media apps, I now go to the Bible Memory app and do a few verses instead.  Aside from being a great part of your devotional time, it is helpful if you are out waiting for something like an oil change or whatever.  It really redeems the time.

And while I am not good at memorizing, this app has helped me memorize so many more verses, passages and even whole chapters than I ever thought possible.  My challenge is not to just go through them and not think about them.  For example, I’ve gone through Jude so many times that I can recite it without thinking about it, so I need to challenge myself to slow down and meditate on what it says.

So that’s it.  Morning: Prayer, then reading a chapter of the Bible and the accompanying study notes, then some memory verses.  Evening: Another chapter.  And perhaps more memory verses at breaks during the day.

I love this routine and its results.  Your mileage may vary.

Some people are busier than ever during this pandemic, but others have lots of time on their hands.  For the latter, this is a great time to establish good habits in this area.  If you can’t do it now, when will you?

And remember that even if you are very busy, you can listen to the word of God on audio – for free!  Redeem your commute!  Each chapter is only about 4 minutes, so you’ll be surprised at how much ground you can cover.  Of course you can’t look at study notes and such, but the word of God is what really matters.  And if you get distracted there is always the rewind button.

And if you still say you don’t have time, ask yourself how much entertainment you consume each day, and why God designed the world in such a way that you never have time for his daily bread.

Be blessed!

The “still, small voice” was a real voice

The “still small voice” Bible passage is often misinterpreted.   It pertains to the Prophet Elijah after his amazing victory over the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel.  He has run away to avoid the wrath of Jezebel and is hiding in a cave. The portion in bold is used to rationalize mystical practices or “nudges” that God allegedly communicates to us, often in the area of decision making.

But read the passage carefully and you’ll see something that should be obvious: The “low whisper” or the “still small voice” (King James version) wasn’t an illustration of a mystical communication.  It was an audible statement.  Note the extended conversation and message that follows.

1 Kings 19:9–18 There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

This article provides some good background and commentary (sorry, link no longer exists):

Elijah’s Mt. Horeb experience, when he heard “a sound of sheer silence”(1 Kings 19:12, NRSV), stimulated in the church a tradition of desert spirituality which pursues solitude in order to experience the divine. Practitioners of lectio divina (i.e., reading sacred things) also desire such encounters. They say: “When we read the Scriptures we should try to imitate the prophet Elijah. We should allow ourselves to become women and men who are able to listen for the still, small voice of God (I Kings 19:12); the ‘faint murmuring sound’ which is God’s word for us, God’s voice touching our hearts. This gentle listening is an ‘atunement’ to the presence of God . . . .”[1] About Elijah’s experience of hearing God’s “still small voice”(KJV, NKJV) questions arise. Does 1 Kings 19:12 endorse contemplative spirituality? Was the prophet’s encounter with God in the cave on Mt. Horeb/Sinai a mystical “atunement”?

. . .

Ironic isn’t it, that the question the Lord repeatedly posed to Elijah contradicts the sense in which contemplative spiritualists mean to understand the “voice.” They use the prophet’s cave experience as a pretext for their retreating into the solitude of their “higher consciousness” to find mystical communion with the divine, but all the while God is asking, “What are you doing here?”

Do not take that passage out of context to rationalize what may not be from God.  Just read what his word really says and use wisdom to guide your decision making.


Here’s much more on the Bible, decision making and hearing from God.

The Bible, Decision Making and Hearing from God from Eternity Matters on Vimeo

Jump start your prayers

prayer2.jpgIf you struggle with how to pray then I encourage you to find a devotional or something to get you started.  I get a daily prayer in my email each day that I really enjoy (click the link to subscribe).  I love how he prays scripture back to God.  It is a great way to get my mind in the right place.

Here’s a sample:

Daily Prayer Day 144

I DRAW NEAR TO YOU, GOD

As I approach Your throne of grace today, I am grateful that You care about the things that concern me and that You want me to offer them up to You.

May I be strong and courageous, being careful to obey Your word; may I not turn from it to the right or to the left, that I may act wisely wherever I go.  (Joshua 1:7)

Take a moment to share your personal needs with God, including your physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual concerns.

THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE

I know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.  (Psalm 83:18)

God placed all things under Christ’s feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.  (Ephesians 1:22-23)

I LISTEN TO YOUR WORDS OF TRUTH

We have known and have believed the love God has for us.  God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.  In this way, love has been perfected among us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears has not been perfected in love.  (1 John 4:16-18)

MY RESPONSE TO YOU, LORD

I will be strong and courageous, being careful to obey Your word; I will not turn from it to the right or to the left, that I may act wisely wherever I go.  (Joshua 1:7)

I want to be above reproach, blameless as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not fond of dishonest gain, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sensible, just, holy, and self-controlled.  (Titus 1:6-8)


Lord, I thank You that You are the Most High over all the earth and that You placed all things under Christ’ feet.  I ask fir the grace to abide in Your love, to obey Your word, and to be above reproach.

An exhaustive list of the verses telling us to listen for messages from God (when praying or otherwise)

[Beginning of list]

  •  

[End of list]

Yep, there aren’t any.  Be cautious of leaders who claim otherwise.  Ask for verses, in context.  That doesn’t mean that God couldn’t speak to you that way, just that it isn’t normative or biblical and that the burden of proof is on the one claiming they did hear from God.  If they quote what He allegedly said to them then they are putting their words on par with the inspired Bible.  It is possible, but that’s quite a claim.

And it means you shouldn’t teach others that they must be doing something wrong if they aren’t “hearing” from God in personalized ways.  Don’t harm the faith of others with non-biblical teachings.  It isn’t loving.

If you want to hear from God, read the Bible.  If you want to hear from him audibly, then read the Bible out loud.  I suggest a deep study of the 31,173 verses He definitely gave us before insisting on a personal bonus revelation.

P.S. Please note that I am not discounting the Holy Spirit in any way.  I love him as I love the Father and the Son and He has unique roles outlined in scripture.  But again, please offer specific verses, in context, if your claim is that the Bible says it is normative to get specific communications from him when praying.

Contemplative prayer: Not contemplative and not biblical prayer

Contemplative prayer is a mystical practice that is making inroads in all sorts of churches. Don’t be taken in by it.  If you really contemplate on scripture and then pray to God, that’s great.  But that isn’t what is meant by contemplative prayer.  It involves repetition of phrases, in opposition to what Jesus taught (Matthew 6:7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”).  It implies that there is formula you can use to “experience” God.

Prayer is the primary way you talk to God, not the primary way He talks to you.  If you want to hear from God, read the Bible.  If you want to audibly hear from God, then read the Bible out loud.  If God communicates to you other ways then that is his prerogative, not his obligation.

Anyone heard of Renovare’?

I was surprised to see a study group on something called Renovare’ being offered at a local church. I scanned the book they are using (The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows) and it looks pretty creepy. Lots of stuff implying that God will reveal special, individualized messages to you in prayer. He could do that, of course, but I’ve read a bit of the Bible and can’t think of a single passage that hints at that being normative or something we can get on demand. The “still, small voice” was audible — and was given to an Old Testament prophet who had just slaughtered a few hundred prophets of Baal after a dramatic showdown. So if you fit that job description, you too can expect audible messages from God!

One exercise from the book has you read a passage then note any word that “God seems to be emphasizing.” Then you “allow God to reveal to you the significance of this word.” This is bad on many levels. Aside from being un-biblical, it will lead people to think they aren’t really Christian or aren’t as spiritual as others because they don’t get personalized messages from God. Or people will make up some meaning that isn’t there and just fashion a god in their own image. Or they will feel peer pressure to make up something (hey, lying is always good for spiritual growth, right?).

There was lots on lectio divina in the book as well.

Maybe if we just read the 31,173 verses in context and really sought to understand them via normal Bible study techniques we’d be better off. God seemed to be keen on getting what He wanted into the Bible, so perhaps those drawn to lectio divina and Renovare’-type practices should make sure they have all those verses well understood before expecting God to give them something new and personalized.

Roundup

Praying the scriptures is a great idea.  If you aren’t sure what to pray you have 31,173 verses pre-approved by God.  Check out Alysa’s post about praying 1 Peter 5.

Question: Is the intent of the DNC to replace black voters with Hispanic ones, as low-information pets of the party? Interesting analysis by Hillbuzz.

In 2008, Donna Brazile famously declared, during the presidential primaries, that the DNC no longer needed blue collar workers,  rural voters, senior citizens, or gay and Jewish voters, because the coalition they were building of blacks, college-aged first time voters, Hispanics, and women were enough to win national elections.  No one else need apply.

We wonder if Brazile’s candor didn’t leave out part of what’s going on — and that’s actually the DNC’s abandonment of blacks completely, replacing them as pets and dependents with newly imported Mexicans.

. . .

We’ve long believed that Liberal-controlled public schools in cities like Chicago are deliberately kept so terrible that black students never learn the social, academic, or life skills to succeed in life — and are instead kept dependent on the government for their welfare.

New DNA Damage Repair Mechanism Must Have Arisen Early — the workings of DNA are endlessly fascinating, and typically make a mockery of neo-Darwinian evolution.

This conclusion that complexity comes early is often forced on evolutionists, in spite of the evolutionary expectations to the contrary.

Here’s something not to get excited about — the alleged discovery of Noah’s ark.

If it is the Ark, may it wake up the biblical sceptics . . . And if this is just another hoax, it’s no big deal. My salvation isn’t dependent on (or in need of) scientific confirmation of incidents in the Bible, but on my relationship with God. His reality confirms His Word.

Bonus graph:

Learn all about Planned Parenthood from a former clinic director

I encourage you to watch this interview with Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood Director.  She not only makes many excellent points, she does so in a truly winsome and attractive way.

Some highlights:

  • Planned Parenthood isn’t pro-choice, it is pro-abortion.  They counsel against adoptions and use high pressure tactics to get women to have abortions ASAP.
  • They avoid ultrasounds of abortions, even though they are safer.  (What happened to safe, legal and rare?)  Johnson left PP after she saw an abortion on an ultrasound.
  • When Johnson was a counselor, her supervisor got mad when people chose life.
  • Sidewalk counselors save lives!  There are countless stories of people alive today because those counselors made a difference.
  • The church needs to talk about abortion more.  It needs to be a safe place for people who have had abortions.
  • PP plans to do late-term abortions in Houston, but they are not telling people that . . . yet.
  • Protesters make a difference with clinic workers as well.  It is a reminder that what they are doing is wrong.

One of my favorite blogs . . .

 . . . is Hillbuzz, written by a bunch of gay guys in Chicago.  You might be thinking my blog has been hijacked, but never fear.   Do I disagree with them on some matters about human sexuality and God?  Well, duh.  But we have a lot in common and it is good to read different perspectives, and these guys have a lot of important things to say.  And they are funny and much more charitable to Christianity than you’d expect.  I’d trust them way more than theological Liberals whose religion is just Lefty politics in disguise.

Oh, and they are being viciously attacked and threatened by extremists on the Left because they dare to criticize President Obama.  Please pray for their safety, as I do.

Consider this post and a few excerpts below.  Very insightful.

Question: Who will be left to help Haiti once all the Liberals get back to thinking about Oscar season?  

We’re just going to answer this question right now:  Christians.

Christians will be in Haiti helping rebuild that country, working in deplorable conditions, and, frankly, giving every last bit of themselves to rebuild Port-au-Prince and relieve as much suffering as possible.

George Clooney will take his beard back to Italy, or wherever he goes with it (or her, depending on how you want to define that), on his private jet, probably snacking on roast peacock and baby seal, all the while lambasting the rest of the masses for their carbon footprints and general thoughtlessness.

. . .

Liberals don’t build things.  They don’t get their hands dirty.  They just attack people, call them RAAACISTS! when they don’t agree with the Liberal talking points, and then get back into their limousines to ride twelve feet to the red carpet.

More and more we think about the difference between the way we are personally treated by the Left and the Right.  To be blunt, neither extreme likes gays all that much.  Liberals are smart enough to put on a good face about it in public, but behind closed doors they make their jokes, too, and can be far crueler than you could ever imagine.  The Right’s foolish because — and we honestly believe this — conservatives are less prejudiced, reactionary, and hateful than Liberals…but they just don’t know how to do good PR.  Maybe it’s because conservatives are largely quiet, on the whole, and tend to mind their own business…so the random zealots who condemn people like us to fire and brimstone and eternal suffering (what, like having to watch MSNBC?) get more airplay.

As we’ve said before, about the worst thing a Republican ever did to us was tell us they were going to pray for us “to get better”, so we would suddenly one day wake up and be all about Ann Hathaway, and not focused on how last-season her Oscar dress is.

. . .

Remind us why Liberals are so much better than Republicans again, for gays, or for anything else.  While you’re at it, please explain why Christians are so persecuted by the media, and so maligned day in and day out…and yet these people jump into the fray when people need help.

While Liberals wait in the limousine for the best lighting to step out, for their photo op, to tell the cameras how sad they are about things like Haiti.

And how it’s all Bush’s fault.

Wow, gotta love those guys.  Uh, in a totally manly, agape way, of course. Seriously, I’m glad they’ve had some positive interactions with authentic Christians.  I know the media and the Left are relentless with their pathetic-but-effective “homophobe” pejoratives, but the Christians I know (and I know a couple) interact with GLBT folks in the same way described above.

iPhone stuff

Here are some of my favorite uses and applications for my iPhone.  It has been an amazing productivity improvement for me.  If you have an iPhone, what other apps do you use?

One thing I don’t do much on the iPhone is blog.  Anything that requires more than a couple lines of typing is too much. 

I wouldn’t have expected to enjoy reading the Bible and using the prayer list application so much, but for the last couple months I’ve used each 2-3 times per day.  I just pick a chapter then read it in the morning and before bed and often in the middle of the day. 

Features

iPod — Of course, I use the built-in iPod a lot.  I can play Podcasts at 1.5x speed and listen to 2 hours worth of sermons and apologetics shows during my commute (40 min. each way) or just driving around. 

I play music for about an hour a day when working out — a unique mix of pop, rock, contemporary Christian, classical, a little country, Broadway shows, even a couple disco tunes (eek!) — basically anything fast-paced.

The headphones have a built-in microphone and it automatically stops and restarts the music when you take a call.  Very cool.

I like the button that lets you rewind 30 seconds on Podcasts.  They need a 30 second forward button was well.

Email — having work and home email so easily accessible has been huge. 

Phone (duh) — Works seamlessly and easily with the favorites screen, recent call, keypad, Bluetooth, voicemail, etc.  My company has a way to have my office voice mails sent to me via email, so no more checking messages while I’m away.

Notes — I never used this feature much on Outlook but since I always have my iPhone with me it has come in handy for to-do’s and store lists. 

Clock features — seems like basic stuff, but I like how easy it is to program the timer (for naps and stationary biking) and how you can program multiple alarm times then just turn them on or off.

Text messages — I don’t do a lot of texting, but I like how you can save previous texts to save time in selecting a contact.

Voice memos — this has replaced my mini recorder I use when I think of brilliant thoughts for my blog (sarcasm intended).

Contacts — I hardly use that feature.  I find it easier to jump to the Search function to find a contact than to page through the long list.

Camera — I haven’t taken many pictures but it is handy to have it with you all the time.  Haven’t taken any videos.

Applications (free unless otherwise noted)

Kindle for iPhone — In some ways this is better than the real Kindle, since you can use the touch screen.  The screen is smaller, of course. 

I like reading the Bible on here.  It is so easy to navigate and jump to the study notes.  It automatically synchronizes with your regular Kindle or PC Kindle software.

My Prayer Lists ($3) — This has done a lot for my prayer life.  You can put prayers in different categories and different time configurations (e.g., daily, M-W-F).  You get a new list each day or each time you shake the iPhone. 

With a huge prayer list it is easy to fall into the “can’t win, don’t try” mode where you don’t start because there isn’t enough time to get through it all.  But this way I use it multiple times per day.  It makes me much better at following up as well.  People appreciate it when they know they are “really” on your prayer list.

Logos Bible — great free program that I used multiple times per day until I started reading the Bible with the Kindle iPhone app.

Facebook — makes it very easy to stay up to date and upload pictures.

Google Reader — I can scan blogs and mark the ones I want to refer to later.  Big time saver.

Guitar toolkit ($10) — Tuner and chord finder – very easy to use!  Simplest way to look up chords that I’ve found.

Yelp — great tool for finding restaurants, stores, etc. based on your location.

Photoshop — a simple but useful photo editor. 

Doc To Go ($15) — Pretty slick program that lets you read and write Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.  Not for major editing, of course, but very handy for traveling.  This can make the difference in being able to travel without a laptop.

GPS Drive — It got good reviews but I haven’t used it yet.  Directions are free but voice commands will cost you.  The Maps app is good, too.

Shazam — provides the name of songs you are listening to.  You can be listening to the radio and it will tell you what is playing and let you buy it on iTunes.

SnapTell — sort of like Shazam except for books.  Take a picture of a book cover and it will tell you about it and let you order it.

Chipotle — lets you order and pay online so you just go to the register and pick it up.  Mmmmmmm . . . Chipotle!

My 24 — 24 Hour Fitness app — tells you class times (no benefit for me there) and locations (very handy).

ESPN Sportscenter — easy to keep up with scores

Yahoo! page — I quit using this and just use the ESPN, Weather and Stocks apps to keep up on that sort of thing.

Wikipedia — I’m not a big fan of them for anything remotely controversial, but it can be a handy app.

Dictionary.com — haven’t used it much, but handy to have.

Flixster — Movie theater locations, times and reviews.  Very easy to use for the 3 movies I see per year.

Flashlight — I downloaded this as a joke then actually needed it 30 minutes later when I dropped a nail while hammering something under my desk!

Things the iPhone is missing: Tethering to laptops so they can connect to the Internet and capability to use Adobe Flash Reader and a couple other softwares.

And they need to improve the battery life!  An auto charger is a must for me.  Mine couldn’t make it through a whole day on one charge.

I hope the Droid does well and provides some much needed competition for Apple and AT&T. 

Roundup

Simple and important reminder by Mike that we shouldn’t just pray for people, we should pray with them.

After talking with Shirley for about 5 minutes or so, and as I saw the tears in her eyes, I asked Shirley if I could pray with her. Not simply FOR her, but WITH her. She nodded her head and held her hands to her face, shielding me from her now-falling tears. I prayed a short prayer right there in the restaurant with her, and when I finished she wrapped her arms around me, put her head on my shoulders, and cried. And cried, and cried, and cried. I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing. I just comforted Shirley for those few raw moments. Neither of us seemed to care much about whatever else was going on around us.

Read it all.

It occurred to me that Obama is “That 70’s President,” deftly combining the bad ideas and ineffectiveness of Carter with the ethics and paranoia of Nixon.  Just sayin’.

William Lane Craig debates radical skeptics on the resurrection of Jesus — great apologetics post, as usual, by the Wintery Knight.

Australia considers bill to criminalize free speech by Christians — as I often say, coming soon to a country near you.

Check out some of the sample articles of Salvo, a phenomenal magazine.  Great content and presentation on key issues of day.  I think it targets college aged / 20’s types but could be of interest to anyone.

The abortionist and his #1 foe — Late-term abortionist Larry Carhhart and pro-lifer Troy Newman are analyzed. CNN owes me a new irony meter, because these quotes broke it:

He glances at the poster of [murdered late-term abortionist George] Tiller. “I don’t want his death to be in vain.”

“I have abortion on the front of this building, because I think abortion isn’t a four-letter word. It’s a part of life.”

Tomorrow, just before and after performing abortions, Carhart will pray at the bedside of his patients.

And did I miss it, or did CNN fail to mention the pesky fact about the pro-lifer who was recently murdered?

This quote makes more sense:

What part of wanting to save a baby’s life is so bad that it makes people hate me?
–Troy Newman

The answer is that abortion makes a lot of money for some people and gives a false illusion of sexual freedom and equality for others.

(Hat tip: Theobromophile)

Are abortion proponents smarter than a 2nd-grader? (um, no)

The “still, small voice” was a voice

The Bible passage below is often misinterpreted.  It pertains to the Prophet Elijah after his amazing victory over the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel.  He has run away to avoid the wrath of Jezebel and is hiding in a cave.

1 Kings 12-13 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.  Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

The portion in bold is used to rationalize mystical practices or “nudges” that God allegedly communicate to us, often in the area of decision making.

But read the passage and more and you’ll see something rather obvious: The “gentle whisper” (NIV, above) or the “still small voice” (King James version) wasn’t an illustration of a mystical communication.  It was an audible statement.

This article provides some good background and commentary:

Elijah’s Mt. Horeb experience, when he heard “a sound of sheer silence”(1 Kings 19:12, NRSV), stimulated in the church a tradition of desert spirituality which pursues solitude in order to experience the divine. Practitioners of lectio divina (i.e., reading sacred things) also desire such encounters. They say: “When we read the Scriptures we should try to imitate the prophet Elijah. We should allow ourselves to become women and men who are able to listen for the still, small voice of God (I Kings 19:12); the ‘faint murmuring sound’ which is God’s word for us, God’s voice touching our hearts. This gentle listening is an ‘atunement’ to the presence of God . . . .”[1] About Elijah’s experience of hearing God’s “still small voice”(KJV, NKJV) questions arise. Does 1 Kings 19:12 endorse contemplative spirituality? Was the prophet’s encounter with God in the cave on Mt. Horeb/Sinai a mystical “atunement”?

. . .

Ironic isn’t it, that the question the Lord repeatedly posed to Elijah contradicts the sense in which contemplative spiritualists mean to understand the “voice.” They use the prophet’s cave experience as a pretext for their retreating into the solitude of their “higher consciousness” to find mystical communion with the divine, but all the while God is asking, “What are you doing here?”

Hat tip: Slice of Laodicea

Exploring Christianity – previous installments

cross1.jpg

This is the list of a series of posts I did with a friend. 

Introduction

Part 1 – The Bible

Part 2 – Credibility of the Author(s) – A

Part 3 – Credibility of the Author(s) – B

Part 4 – Hell and More on Hell

Part 5 – Interpreting the Bible or abusing it? – A

Part 6 – Interpreting the Bible or abusing it? – B

Part 7 – Prayer

Part 8 -God’s rules

Part 9 – Open-mindedness

Parenting 101 & the Prison Psychiatrist’s Couch

As we prepare to move our oldest off to a ballet company and to college, I thought about one of my first posts and present it here with a few updates. 

Here is my basic parenting philosophy: If I make any mistakes my kids can always work them out later on the prison psychiatrist’s couch.

Seriously, I highly recommend three books for every parent:

1. The Bible – News flash: The God who created the universe and everything in it had some good advice on parenting. Shocking! I thank God that I got serious about my faith around the time my kids were born. It has made me a much better (though still quite imperfect) parent.

2. Parenting with Love and Logic – Great practical tips on letting your kids learn by natural and logical consequences. This has made our parenting easier and better.  Of course you should protect your kids in age appropriate ways from dangerous situations.  But too many parents spare their kids any consequences such that they don’t learn responsibility.

3. The 5 Love Languages – Learn your kids’ preferences for giving and receiving love. Works wonders for spouses, too! It isn’t psycho-babble. It is an easy read that is full of practical advice on relationships. Everyone I know who has read this got a lot out of it. Like many successful books, this one has a special edition for any subcategory you can imagine – teens, kids, German Shepherds, etc. But the original is a good one-size-fits-all, so when in doubt stick with that.  Most parents love their kids, but this book gave good advice on being more intentional and effective about showing it.

When in doubt, express love in all these ways: Quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service and gifts.

It also contains some truly important advice on not marrying too quickly, because we can all put on a good act for a short period of time when we are in courting mode.

To state the obvious, pray for your kids.  We did this regularly and specifically most of the time — for wisdom, safety, character qualities, potential spouses, etc., and especially that they will come to know Jesus in an authentic and meaningful way.

Being a parent is the most important job you’ll ever have.