Someone very close to me once said that meditation was anti-Christian. Their thoughts on this was that meditation is generally associated with far eastern cultures, namely Buddhism. We all know that Buddhist monks can spend years meditating, trying to gain their eternal enlightenment. I can see why people generally associate meditating with anti-Christian thoughts. Did you know that the Bible also speaks of meditating?
My curiosity got the best of me today and I decided to do some research on Christians and meditation. This all started out on a blog post about something called “The Daily Examen” that I read on the Healthy Spirituality blog. (This blog has been added to my blogroll.)
The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience. (from Ignatian Spirituality)
Basically, this is a concept used to meditate on God about your daily life. This religious activity was developed by St. Ignatius Loyola as a means to get very close with God, while sharing all of your highs and lows pertaining to a 24 hour period. After reading about “The Daily Examen”, I began to wonder if meditating was actually against Christian beliefs. I know that there are Catholic monks in the world, but I do not have a clue as to what their spiritual walk is like and if they meditate or not.
This is the beginning to a very simple prayer that I learned as a child. It went something like this: “God is good. God is great. Thank-you Lord for this plate. Amen.” We use to start every meal with this simple prayer. I bring up this old memory because it was brought up to me just the other day. Cassie and I were sitting around the dinner table. We were getting ready to chow down. Elizabeth, the middle child, spoke up and said that we needed to pray before we eat. She is five. Her prayer was a little different, but not much. She said: “God is good. God is great. Thank-you lord for this dinner. Amen.”
It is funny how something so simple can be a huge SIGN for what we need to do. With those simple words, she refreshed my memory of things that I remembered doing as a child. I mentioned that my family is ‘new’ to the Christian faith in a previous post. Elizabeth busted out this simple little message and totally took my breathe away. She is 5. She took the initiative to stop everyone from what they were doing, straightened her back, and said those words. She didn’t care who was listening. She just wanted to thank God for what lay before us. I think many of us could learn a lesson here. Sometimes the simplest of things can provide the most reward.
Elizabeth was thankful for her food. We are thankful that now our family will be praying before each and every meal. She planted a seed that will be growing for years to come. Tonight she made all of us proud. Thank-you Lizabee for letting God work wonders through you and opening up the eyes of all of us! Praise God!
Life List. Cassie has been working towards getting her Professional Photography business off the ground. We have both been praying for this. She has wanted to be a photographer for a very long time. I told her to just get out there and do it. I designed her a website as a present, helped her pick out a professional photo lab, purchased her some business cards and got her going on one of her life’s dreams. We have all the tools in place to give her a go at this dream. Now she just needs some prayers and opportunity to open up to her. We concentrated on those. Two things happened this week. She booked her first PAID photo shoot and also volunteered to be the ‘Go-To’ photographer at church. The church had put a small piece in their weekly bulletin about how they needed a photographer. It took me a total of 5 minutes to hunt down the preacher and offer our services. To my knowledge, this is not a paid job, but it is a job of Christ. Something she can give back to the church that has come to mean so much to us. She is volunteering. My first sentence was ‘Life List’. This refers to my list of things that I would like to do or accomplish during my lifetime. We hear a lot about how church members should be giving back to their churches. How God says that everyone has a gift and it should be used for God’s Will. Cassie is doing that starting within the next couple of weeks. Likewise, I would like to be able to volunteer my own services for a church function. That is going on my lifelist, as well as volunteering at an outside source (United Way or some other organization). This past Sunday, Cassie made me proud. Not only did she stand up and take on this special duty with the church, but she is also excited about the opportunity to be able to do something that she loves. She is definitely some inspiration to me and continues to push me to be the better person I envision.
I mentioned last week that I was starting a Facebook Prayer List. Basically, I am calling out to my friends to see if they need any prayers. If they mention they do, I take time to pray for them. I thought I might get ridiculed for doing this. Some of my friends don’t see things the way that I do. Last week my Facebook request brought in 7 requests for prayer. I think that is pretty good and more than I was expecting. I am hoping to see these numbers pick up in the coming weeks. Maybe..just maybe…this will get some of them thinking about what I am doing and bring the question of God up in their lives.
By the way, if you have read this and need a special prayer, be sure to leave a comment and I will pray for you too.
I recently wrote about God’s Opportunities in my life and about how I was trying to jump on these opportunities as they came to me. This was another week of having my paycheck stretched to the limit. I am sure many of you know that feeling. Going in to Saturday, I had $20 left over. I had to make it till Thursday.
While keeping my mind open for God’s opportunities, I was driving home from church Sunday when I noticed someone had a rather large aquarium sitting by the side of the road with a ‘FREE’ sign attached. I walked up to the house and asked them about it. They said it was in perfect shape, no leaks. This aquarium is 55 gallons. It included the rocks, different fish ornaments, fish food..everything. A few days ago at work I had walked in to a discussion where a few people were talking about purchasing aquariums. I sent out a text message. I got an offer of $20 on it. I had told them the first person to text me back could have it for $20. Bingo. It worked. A few minutes after I accepted the first offer, I got another for $40. This was a test and one meant to see how greedy I would be. Unfortunately I recognized this immediately and stayed true to my word. A friend now has an awesome aquarium for $20, and I was able to make it through my week. That was another opportunity that worked out amazingly well.
I am reaching out to my friends, coworkers, etc. by starting a Prayer List on Facebook. Once a week I will be praying for those that respond. This is just something small that I can do for all of the people that I have come to know who may have a need or special request. Prayer has become a large part of my life and now I am opening myself up to help pray for some of the others and try to show them that prayers can and do come true.
“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities” (Col. 4:5 NET).
I read this scripture today (along with an article, based on this scripture) and it reminded me of my own prayer last night before bed. I prayed that God would open up the doors of opportunity for my family and bless us with his favor. I have given my life back to Christ and look forward to what he has in store for myself and my family. Praying to God also means keeping your eyes and ears open for opportunities that may present themselves and being strong enough to walk through those doors without preconceptions and do God’s will.
You can read the article that inspired this brief moment HERE>>>
We finally got to take the girls to Sunday School. This is the first time that the whole family has been in church since we decided to take the plunge and go ourselves. That was a good feeling and hopefully it will continue to be so.
Isabel and I went over to the community playground the other night. While there, she says,”Is this a school or something?” I answer and explain to her that it was not a school, but rather a church. The church had put up the playground a few months back for neighborhood kids. We happened to get lucky that it was put in right across the street from our house. We make a couple of visits a week and let the girls play. Today Isabel was swinging and I was pushing. I remembered that her mom had told me that Isabel had mentioned wanting to go to church. I said, “I heard that you were wanting to go to church. Why do you want to do that?” She says it is because they do a lot of neat stuff at church.
Over the past few weeks, Cassie and I have been going to various churches trying to find one that we both liked. After Sunday’s service, I think we both agreed that we had finally found one where all of us could be happy, including the kids. This Sunday will be our official first time in a church with the kids. It is quite awesome what prayer and God can do!
This Brief Moment is both in happiness and a Blessing! After three months of struggling, we finally see a light and know that our bills will be all caught back up and on track this week. The struggle has sucked, but we worked really hard to get back on track! That is my blessing for the day. The prayers and work, worked!