It’s not easy maintaining a positive attitude when dark clouds seemed stalled over our heads because there’s a lot of bad stuff going on in our lives. While there is a break in the clouds on occasion, mostly it’s overcast. God seems to have spread a gray sheet between Him and us.
Would you agree we all have days like that? Sometimes a number of them in a row. We’re not clinically depressed. We don’t need medication. We don’t need therapy. We just need a break from our unrelenting cloud-shrouded life.
I find when I’m under grey clouds it helps to remember the transient nature of clouds. Even today as I write, the sky overhead can’t seem to make up its mind. Will the clouds be given permission to part so the sun can shine through or will they remain huddled together in a solid mass?
I find I respond two ways to the dark clouds. If I’m already having a “reflecting” kind of day, I might actually prefer clouds. If I’ve planned a day to stay inside and pursue a creative project, I kind of like gray days. I think you know what I mean. There’s something that appeals to us when the sky matches our mood.
It’s like friends.
When we’re in the dumps we usually seek friends we know will try to match our moods in their manner of speech, and choice of words. We don’t need them to act depressed, of course, but we don’t want someone who acts too cheerful either. It feels cold and insensitive.
Sometimes a pep talk is needed but not in a “rah, rah” cheerleader fashion. I try to make sure I act appropriately as well when I’m the one listening. Something I experienced a few years ago brought that home to me.
I was in a meeting at church and I mentioned how fortunate I felt when compared to the rest of the world. One individual, (I learned this later) misconstrued what I said and felt I was saying I was better than other people. I meant my remarks exactly as I spoke them. I guess it’s all how you look at things, glass half-empty or glass half full.
I wasn’t aware that this person was struggling with some serious issues at the time. To someone who wasn’t feeling very blessed himself, my remarks must have felt like cold water splashed in his face. While I would say the same thing again I would be careful to explain what I meant.
I try to remember that while my clouds have moved for the time being, someone else’s clouds have just shown up. I wished he could have seen my past and the clouds that once hovered over me as well or the clouds that are hovering now. But even with the clouds I really did feel blessed. Undeservedly blessed.
But if I’m feeling really down, I don’t want the gray clouds; I want the sun. I want something to interrupt my mood and cheer me up. On those days, I remind myself that clouds, by their very nature eventually move. (Of course, if you live in Michigan as I do, you might have to wait weeks, not days.)
I keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually the sun/Son does break through. My mood gets better. I see things more clearly. It’s just the unrelenting nature of life.
Some days we have to look to the heavens and just wait for the sky to change.
The post, “How to live when the clouds just won’t move” appeared first on faithsighanddiy.com
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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Why we don’t find the time to pray.
Last week I listed a number of reasons we give for not praying. The first one is:
First reason: Not enough time
Obviously, there are all kinds of way to debunk this idea.
Therefore, I am not going to actually address the time issue because we all know we will make time for what is important to us. Besides, I don’t think the lack of time is the real issue any.
It’s what we say but it’s a subterfuge. Do you remember the list?
- Not enough time
- Feelings of inadequacy
- DON’T KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN
- FEEL UNWORTHY
- AFRAID OF INTIMACY WITH GOD
- TOO MANY PAST UNANSWERED PRAYERS
- GOD ALREADY KNOWS
- DON’T FEEL THE EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
- FEEL INTIMIDATED BY OTHERS
Therefore, I think the real issue is more internal. It’s our feelings. So we are going to look at our feelings of inadequacy first. I probably won’t even address the time constraints till the end of this series because honestly? our time constraints are fairly easy to address and are of least importance.
Secondly: Feelings of inadequacy
Anytime we face a challenge of any kind, we always feel inadequate in the beginning. Why we think it would be any different with prayer, I don’t know.
When I first started blogging, I felt totally inadequate and I was. When I faced a big white piece of paper I was supposed to paint on, I felt inadequate. In fact, I can’t think of any skill I’ve ever learned, that I didn’t have feelings of great inadequacy going when beginning it.
Even now when I pray I sometimes feel inadequate.
Why Do We Feel Inadequate?
But why do we feel so inadequate? And if we eliminate our feelings of inadequacy, will we then make more time?
However, I don’t think that’s necessarily true but I do think that we are more apt to make time for any endeavor that we feel we have even a modicum of a chance to succeed.
For example, after I started blogging, each time I sat down at the computer I felt a little more competent. After I put the brush to the paper the first time, the next time was easier. None of this is new to anyone. We all know it’s true.
Of course, sometimes, our feelings of inadequacy stem from the fact that we are talking about God, not some skill we want to learn.
I get that. And in a way, I think that’s a good place to begin.
Who God says we are
You see because God is God, He understands how we might feel inadequate approaching Him. Accordingly, that is why scripture is full of verses where God tells us to come Him. He knows how we feel.
But first, let’s look at who God says we are. This might help you feel more comfortable and less inadequate. It might help us understand why we don’t find the time to pray.
Psalms 139: 13-15
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
How God is like a mother to us
Hosea 11:3-4 God described as a mother
God: “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I who took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them, led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.”
So, from these two verses, we can see how God values us. How He cares for us like a mother. Because, in God’s eyes, we are never so inadequate that we can’t come to Him.
Let’s not confuse our human feelings with God’s. The inadequacy of our feelings is overshadowed by God’s unfathomable desire for communication with us.
So for this week, concentrate on how God sees you as fearfully and wonderfully made. How He loves you as a mother loves her child.
God bless and have a good day.
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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
What is the most important name for God for you?
For many Christians, it’s Father.
Abba is my favorite name
If you had or have a great earthly father, you want more of the same. If you didn’t, then you want what you missed. I think most of us concentrate on the name of God that best suits our history, our personalty, our dreams and hopes…….It think further that that is in keeping with the concept of the Potter and the Clay. The clay is most comfortable with a certain aspect of the Potter.
Jehovah-Raah is my next favorite
For me, I lean to Father and Omnipresent. I also like attributing Jehovah-Raah because it reminds me of being led. I don’t mind being led by this particular Shepherd.
Furthermore, did you know there are over two hundred and fifty names assigned to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? It takes multiple names to describe them and the work they do.
Here is a list of names ascribed to God. This is from bluetletterbible.com.
- El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
- El Elyon (The Most High God)
- Adonai (Lord, Master)
- Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)
- Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
- Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
- Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
- Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)
- Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)
- Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)
- El Olam (The Everlasting God)
- Elohim (God)
- Qanna (Jealous)
- Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)
- Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)
- Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts)
Quoting from THE NAMES OF GOD BY George W. Knight, “……your understanding will be enriched by their different translations of other names. For example, the KJV’s Daysman as a name for Jesus is rendered Umpire by the NASB and the NRSV, and as Someone to Arbitrate” by the NIV. Thus, the idea suggested by this name is that Jesus serves like a referee or impartial judge who speaks to God the Father on our behalf.”
Today God is:
“Abba, Father,: he said, “everything is possible for you.”
Abba Father is a common name choice
This is one of my favorites for exactly the opposite reason you might think. Because I wasn’t close to my earthly father, it comforts me to know that I haven’t lost out. Therefore, I like referring to God as Father because it feels like all the hugs I didn’t get, all the affirmations I didn’t receive. But as I grew older and had children he turned into a good grandfather for which I’ve always been extremely grateful. I even got a lot of hugs.
It’s good to make peace with your earthly father if you can but it isn’t necessary to enter into a father-child relationship with God.Tweet
However, it’s hard to comprehend a loving father if you didn’t experience it growing up. There’s no frame of reference. So you kind of have to grow into this relationship with your heavenly Father. It took me a while as well. To you I say, let God be that father to you. It worked for me.
Why we pick what we do
I believe that the parent/child relationship role we settle into with God is because that most clearly fits with our history, our personalities, our hopes and our dreams. It’s the attribute we most need. that’s why there are so many names we can concentrate on. And it might change during seasons of our life.
For example, Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals), might be more applicable when we or someone we know is experiencing a serious illness.
It might be really beneficial to pray to God, using one of His names, as a jumping off place. I’m glad I just wrote that because I really do think I just might start doing that.
Further study about the names of God
This wasn’t the post I planned for today. Actually, there was no post planned for today. I decided to revive and rewrite a very old post and now that I have I think I just might make this a series. Even as soon as next week.
I’ve never studied the names of God so shall we do it together?
Have a wonderful day. God bless each of you.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Table of contents
How can we address our reluctance for not praying?
Well, first, we have to look at our excuses. I could call them reasons but they are more than reasons. They are excuses.
Here’s a sampling of excuses people give.
Excuses for our reluctance to pray
- Not enough time
- Feel inadequate
- Don’t know where to begin
- Feel unworthy
- Afraid of intimacy with God
- Too many past unanswered prayers
- God already knows
- Don’t feel the emotional connection
- Feel intimidated by others
There are probably others but I bet they all fit somewhere in one of the above.
But guess what?
I’ve used every one of those excuses and more. But I’ve learned through prayer. Funny, huh?
Letting go of our reluctance to pray
However, it’s like any new skill we want to learn, we learn it by taking that very first leap. Like I did when I jumped off a boat at St. Thomas into the ocean because I wanted to see the coral and tropical fish. I was beyond fear but I so wanted to do it, I simply jumped in. I should add, I can’t swim. Thank goodness I had on swimming fins. That snorkeling excursion is one of the best I have ever had. To see God’s creations under the sea was the most beautiful and ethereal experience I’ve ever had. Such peace, and calm, and quiet.
Prayer is like that.
We jump in and the rest falls into place.
Getting rid of our resistance.
I love Proverbs. In addition to my other Bible reading for the day, I add a Proverbs. Such a wonderful practical book.
One of the main themes of Proverbs is to acquire wisdom and how is that accomplished. Here’s what Proverbs 4: 7 states:
“The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;….”
Seriously, isn’t that a bit confusing? We acquire wisdom by acquiring wisdom. How much sense does that make?
It’s all back to that first step
Just like jumping off that boat knowing I couldn’t swim and had a serious fear of being in water over my heard, that’s what jumping into prayer might well feel like.
But if you remember, I wrote in an earlier post, that learning to pray means we first have to have the desire. But my deep desire to see for myself God’s creation up close and personal overcame my fear.
I jumped. That was my practical expression of my desire. I simply started.
The life jacket of the Holy Spirit protects us against our own excuses
Did I mention that, of course, I was wearing a life jacket. Accordingly, when you sit before God and you begin to pray, you have a life jacket as well. That life jacket is the Holy Spirit which is an equal part of the trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
He is the entity that protects you from your doubts and discouragement. The Holy Spirit is the one that helps you overcome your reluctance to pray and you can count on the fact that the Holy Spirit is always doing that. He wants you to pray.
The second half of the first step
In the light of all the above, for today, just sit.
You can says the words, “Heavenly Father, Dear God”, it doesn’t matter.
Just begin and if you get no further than those few words, that’s OK. It will come.
Next week, we’ll begin looking at those excuses. I will be writing for you as well as for me because the truth is, I still cling to some of them.
The post, “How we can address our reluctance to pray.” appeared first on faithsighandiy.com/underhiswings.