Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes


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The default setting is: Pray

I have often wondered how when Jesus is so amazing – his life, his power, his wisdom – and yet most of my life I have struggled to spend time with him in prayer. I want to enjoy him, but my own brain and experience seems to keep me at a distance. It’s also easier to do things for God than to partner with Jesus and to spend the time needed in prayer.

Guilt. Shame. Hard work. Failure. Boredom. These are the words that often accompany the description of my life in prayer, maybe you Continue reading

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How can you make space for more joy in your life?

   This is your invitation to enjoy Jesus.  Now I suspect that some people might react to this statement with questions or even shock – how could I enjoy Jesus.  Serving sounds easy, worshiping is understandable but enjoying?  This is the journey that we will take together through the season of Lent.  A journey of discovering God as lovesick over us and of enjoying Jesus, the great bridegroom.

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What is Lent?

     Imagine that your mom is making your favourite meal for you.  She’s spent time this week shopping and planning and she’s spent all day in the kitchen baking and cooking and thinking of you with every dish she’s preparing.  Now imagine that on your way to this feast, you stop off at McDonalds and have a Super-sized Big Mac Combo and a milkshake.  As amazing as that might sound, it’s garbage compared to what your mom prepared and when you show up to eat, you aren’t even going to be hungry.  Who of us would do this (at least intentionally)?  No, if someone is making us a special meal, we want to come to the feast hungry.

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Is there a point to waiting?

Dear friend,

As we prayed last night for the end of your season of waiting I thought that perhaps this is a bigger topic I need to reflect on.  Yours is just one of many stories of waiting that I’ve come across lately.  It seems that the Lord allows us to go through something and then uses it to bring help to others.  I also feel like my brief encounter with intense waiting has given me confidence that God is present in waiting.

write down what God has promised

Write down what God has promised

 Every season is a season of waiting

I walked into the post office to see if anything had arrived for us from Belgium.  It had been our 2 weeks stretched into 5 with no firm end, just empty promises.  Now Rosenort is a small town’s small town, you can’t go anywhere anonymously.

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A final thought on my career in prayer

Last night as I scrolled through my Facebook page I came across a disturbing post.  When I woke up this morning I was still thinking about it and began to think, “What can I do about this?”  Can I visit this person, should I start a class, should I get some friends and go do some prayer ministry?  Do, do, do, do!  It sounds like a song, but it’s not a heavenly song.

Prayer: A Holy OccupationThe Holy Spirit then reminded me of what I’ve been writing – that prayer is the greater work.  When Jesus said that we would do greater works than this, he meant that we’d have unfettered access to the throne room of heaven.  We can know his hear heartbeat and ask anything in confidence and we can know that he answers our prayer.

So now the test.  Will I take a short 5 second prayer (which counts) or will I dig in in confidence, boldness, patience and power like I’ve been encouraged to do?  Will I start my prayer with a bold declaration of who God is and stay in the place of prayer until breakthrough.  Sounds exhausting!  And what if the situation doesn’t change?  What if I don’t feel anything?  How long should I stay there?

“Pray because you have a Father, not because it quietens you, and give Him time to answer.”

“The only way to keep right is to watch and pray.  Prayer on any other basis than that on which it is placed in the New Testament is stupid, and the basis of prayer is not human earnestness, not human need, not the human will, it is redemption, and its living centre is a personal Holy Spirit.”

“Waiting means standing under, in active strength, enduring till the answer comes.”

“Watch for God’s answer to your prayers, and not only watch, but wait.”
 The task of intercession is to humbly let go of what I think should happen and turn over to God, what he wants to happen.  And so, this morning, I agree in prayer.  You are Almighty God, nothing is too difficult for you.  Step in, make your fame glorious!  Jesus, I love you and I love your name.  Break the power of my friend, bring her dreams of you in the night. Encounter her with healing and salvation.  Bring someone near to her that will faithfully recount your story of love and redemption.  Almighty God, you can do this, you have done this many many times.  Today again. Healing and encounter!
Amen
Here are the Characteristics of a Believer who overcomes in prayer from my reflections with Oswald Chambers.  Hope you enjoyed as much as I have.
Patience: To wait on the Lord
Power: Strength and endurance to pray
Purpose: What is the end of my prayer? What is God desiring to happen because I pray?
Boldness: What has Christ done for me?
Childlikeness: What is my relationship to God looking like?
Communion: When, in my schedule, will I meet with God?
Concentration: Where will I go to meet with God?
Discipline: What is the One thing that God will do through me?
Honesty: What lies am I believing about God, prayer, others?
Faith: Who is God and what is He like?
Work: What is my discipline of regularly throwing my shoulder into the work of prayer?
Communion: Do I long for God’s nearness?  Do I hunger for His holiness?


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Why flog a topic when it’s not necessarily popular (fasting #5)

I often think in lists – things to do, people to see, topics to write about.  As I reflected on why I’ve just spent a month thinking and sharing on the discipline of fasting, I wondered to myself, “Why?”  It isn’t a topic that grows crowds or inspires lots of conversation. Teachers who want to grow big crowds, tell them what they want to hear and make promises that are larger than life.  Teaching on fasting is a bit of a downer compared to other interesting topics.

There are 3 main reasons why I teach on fasting:

  • It’s hard for me.  I don’t like to be hungry but I want desperately to be hungry for God and his provision.  My first reason is to teach myself.
  • There’s a serious lack of good teaching on Biblical fasting (there are some great resources, but not many). Resources I’d recommend include Richard Foster’s Celebration of the Disciplines and www.ihopkc.org – follow the link to resources where there is much written and spoken on fasting).
  • I believe the life following after Jesus is a life of delayed gratification (which includes fasting food).
    • Giving is a fast where I keep less of my money.
    • Sabbath is a fast where I provide for my family on one less day of labour.
    • Abstinence is a fast of sex outside of the marriage relationship.
    • We believe that less with God is infinitely greater than everything without God.

Pray with me today that you and I would be hungry for the things of God. Jesus invited us to look for God’s kingdom first, and to be made right in the way that God makes things right. This is his answer to the worry and stress in our lives because his promise comes with his reward: everything we need to live daily will be included in what we receive.

Jesus I believe you, I will look for you and I will find your resources.  I will follow you and you will be enough for me. Amen.


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Why do evangelists fast? (#1)

Nearly 9 years ago I was introduced to the discipline of fasting and by now I’m a full believer in its effectiveness to change me.  I think that I initially thought that fasting was meant to change God, that I could manipulate God to do what I needed.  Then as I matured, I had ideas about how to get supernatural power and insight through fasting.  Now, after nearly a decade, I realize that it’s just a weak, foolish means to my own deepening in Christ.  Nothing seems to change in fasting but me.  Maybe the heavens are moved and maybe history is changed by my fasting, but the only thing I can be certain of is that I am changed.

In the next number of posts I want to give encouragement and instruction on proper fasting for every believer, but especially for those involved in the work of evangelization and disciple making.  If you feel driven to action, seeing the lost saved, reviving the saved and training them all – you will need to know how to fast.  It’s basic faith – not just for the spiritually mature, and it’s our oxygen – keeping us on the move.  We were made for this!

If you’ve got a story or testimony about fasting in your l life, Share it here to encourage others on this path.

 right now!


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Prayer for regular folks can be enjoyable

Most people consider that prayer is the most important activity of a believer, however, most also consider prayer meetings to be the most terrible meetings that a church runs. I get it and there are many prayer meetings I avoid (sorry to admit it, but it’s true).

Alpha Prayer Guide

This guide, written by the good folks at 24-7prayer.com, is specifically written to help ordinary believers have times of enjoyable prayer. It’s inspirational and practical and this one is free. If you prefer to own a copy with nice binding and a color cover, head over to yourchurchzone.com and order a copy.