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Stuff Christians Like Experiencing God through Prayer Day 2: Two Questions about Spiritual Disciplines Day 3: How Often Should We Pray Day 4: Where Should We Pray
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reviewed The Pastor: A Memoir. March 11, 2011
The Pastor: A Memoir
In The Pastor, Eugene H. Peterson tells "the story of my formation as a pastor and how the vocation of pastor formed me." Peterson is best known as author of The Message, his "translation" of the Bible into "American words and metaphors and syntax." He recently completed a five-volume series--   "conversations"--about spiritual theology. And he has …
reviewed Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered .... March 02, 2011
Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of
As my wife and I raise our toddler son, we notice that he responds better to affirmation than to correction. If we affirm his behavior as good and praise him for it, he increasingly behaves in the desired way. However, if he hears "No" too often, he tunes us out.      According to Sam Crabtree, "Affirmation is the purpose of the universe--specifically, affirmation …
reviewed Stuff Christians Like. October 29, 2010
Stuff Christians Like
A few years ago there was a little blog entitled "Stuff White People Like". That little blog exploded in popularity and the blogger became the author of a book of the same name. One way to measure the popularity of "Stuff White People Like" is to count how many copycat blogs were started as a result. There's probably a "Stuff (fill in the blank) People Like" blog …
reviewed Day 30: The Crooked Timber of Humanity. September 30, 2010
Day 30: The Crooked Timber of Humanity
Reflecting on Adam and Eve’s original sin, Paul writes, “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). Death refers to physical mortality and spiritual inability. Not only will we stop breathing one day, but without God’s power, we are presently incapable of becoming the people God wants …
reviewed Day 29: Original Sin. September 29, 2010
Day 29: Original Sin
The fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). It brings us to the core problem of the human condition—sin. What is sin? Why does it require God’s forgiveness? A look at Adam and Eve’s original sin (Gen. 3:1–24) answers both questions. According to Genesis 1–2, …
reviewed Day 28: Praying Day by Day. September 28, 2010
Day 28: Praying Day by Day
Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” (Matt. 6:10). Notice the time markers: “today” and “daily.” Throughout his ministry, Jesus was concerned that his disciples learn to follow him and love God on a twenty-four hour basis. Consider this random sample of statements from the Gospels: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow …
reviewed Day 27: Growing Up through Prayer. September 27, 2010
Day 27: Growing Up through Prayer
God always answers our prayers. We have looked at “Yes,” “No,” and “Wait.” Now let’s look at “Grow up!” In James 4:1–3, we read: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. …
reviewed Day 26: Being Patient with God. September 27, 2010
Day 26: Being Patient with God
One of my favorite biblical books is Revelation. And one of its most curious scenes takes place in 6:9–11. John writes: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants …
reviewed Day 25: When God Says, "No". September 27, 2010
Day 25: When God Says,
God does not always answer our prayers affirmatively.  Sometimes he says, “No!” When he does, he has our best interests at heart. Even God’s negative is positive for us. Paul’s life provides an example of this. We are accustomed to thinking of Paul as Christ’s ambassador par excellence, so we forget how controversial he was in his own day. A vocal minority of …
reviewed Day 24: God Always Answers Our Prayers. September 24, 2010
Day 24: God Always Answers Our Prayers
God always answers our prayers, but not necessarily in the way we want him to. He has our best interests in mind. So, sometimes he says “Yes,” sometimes “No,” sometimes “Wait,” and sometimes—frankly—“Grow up!” Over the next four days, we will look at each of these answers. Today, let’s look at “Yes!” James 5:13–18 …
reviewed Day 23: Ask God for Anything. September 23, 2010
Day 23: Ask God for Anything
Jesus taught us to ask God that our needs be met, our sins forgiven, and our souls protected. Every request we make of God for ourselves falls under one of these three headings. We can ask God for anything. Anything? Health, wealth, and happiness? Yes! Love, acceptance, forgiveness? Of course! A luxury car, a million-dollar home, expensive clothing and jewelry? Sure! God invites us to ask him for …
reviewed Day 22: Heavenly Concerns and Earthly.... September 22, 2010
Day 22: Heavenly Concerns and Earthly Requests
The first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer deal with God, the last three with us. The transition between them is jarring. From the heights of God’s name, kingdom, and will, we descend to the depths of our need for bread, forgiveness, and protection. The request for bread seems especially out of place. Why did Jesus teach us to mix such an earthly concern with otherwise heavenly requests? …
reviewed Day 21: Which Side Are You On?. September 21, 2010
Day 21: Which Side Are You On?
When we pray, “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10), a conundrum arises. God’s kingdom will come and his will be done whether we pray for them or not. So why do we pray for them? The answer, I think, is this: Jesus wants us to choose sides, and praying for God’s kingdom and will is the way to do so. Now, the call to choose sides …
reviewed Day 20: Resident Aliens. September 20, 2010
Day 20: Resident Aliens
When we pray, we as God for his will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” This will take place instantly, totally, and irrevocably when Jesus returns. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:51–54: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the …
reviewed Day 19: Discerning the Details. September 20, 2010
Day 19: Discerning the Details
God’s will for our lives centers on salvation, sanctification, and service. They constitute his general will. But we want to know God’s specific will: What should we do for a living? Where should we buy a house? Whom should we marry? How do we discern God’s will in the details of our lives? When we pray, how do we hear God’s voice leading us? Before I answer these questions, …
reviewed Day 18: God Has a Will for Your Life. September 20, 2010
Day 18: God Has a Will for Your Life
We live between Jesus’ first and second comings. Our lifetime is characterized by the conflict of the kingdoms—God’s and the world’s. God is sure to emerge victorious from this conflict, but our destiny is a matter of choice. When we pray, “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we choose our destiny. We align ourselves with God’s kingdom. We choose …
reviewed Day 17: The Past, Present, and Future.... September 20, 2010
Day 17: The Past, Present, and Future Kingdom
God’s kingdom is the heartfelt longing of every person who desires relief from the world’s misery. Whether that misery is sin or sickness, immorality or mortality, supernatural oppression or natural disaster, God’s kingdom is the only cure. When is it coming? In first-century Palestine, faithful Jews longed for God’s kingdom. Not only did they desire salvation from sin, …
reviewed Day 15: God Is Our King. September 20, 2010
Day 15: God Is Our King
God is our Father. He is also our King. Both images suggest something important about God. The first suggests parental care. So, when we pray, we focus on God’s powerful love for us. But the second image suggests political authority—the moral right and the actual power to rule us. It suggests that God has a right to expect our obedience and that we have a duty to serve him. Consequently, …
reviewed Day 16: Kingdoms in Conflict. September 20, 2010
Day 16: Kingdoms in Conflict
When we pray, “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10), our prayer is urgent. God does not reign on earth. His will is not done here. And it shows. Several Christmases ago, my mother gave me a copy of a nineteenth-century lithograph by William Strutt. In the background, a city lies in smoking ruins. But in the foreground, a toddler leads a procession …
reviewed Day 14: Focus on God's Powerful Love .... September 14, 2010
Day 14: Focus on God's Powerful Love for You
In our devotions so far, we have examined the meaning and importance of the words our heavenly Father. They describe the Divine Person we pray to and hint at his character and absolute power. We pray to such a God because he is willing and able to answer us. But what should we ask for first? Too often, we begin our prayers with a perfunctory nod to God and then immediately get down to more important …
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