Monday, November 30, 2015

7 Ways a Christian’s Mindfulness Helps Their Prayer Life

MINDFULNESS is really just a different name for prayer, from my viewpoint. But mindfulness as prayer focuses on God, and the things of God, to the exclusion of all other things.
Mindfulness in prayer is simply the subsumption of the self into the larger, wider expanses of God. As we engage in this type of prayer we have all our consciousness, focus, awareness and senses subsumed into Someone big enough to swallow us whole in joy.
Seven ways of doing this:
1.      Find yourself lost in his Word. Easy to do. Open the Bible up. Any page. Think of a key word, theme or phrase (for instance, “joy” or “grace”) and search this holy Word without the help of a dictionary or concordance (commonly found in devotional Bibles). Jot down on some paper the verses, phrases and words that elicit an excited response for having found something. Don’t be particular. Just note down what might be close… the effect is your focus is being sharpened. Allow God to speak to you through the discoveries you’re making. Remove yourself from any role other than to be the listener/the learner.
2.      Find yourself something in nature. The wind — a lovely wafting breeze — is perfect. Let your mind empty as you focus on that breeze as it titillates the hairs on your arms. Allow your mind to float into a gentle and accepting silence. See how long it takes before a distraction interrupts this prayer’s therapeutic flow. Then go back to the breeze. (Try rainfall and snowfall as well; a storm outside; ocean or forest sounds.)
3.      Find yourself in a queue. Instead of being annoyed, hurried of heart and mind, and frustrated, no matter the hurry you’re actually in, simply stop yourself in your soul. Smile. Halt every internal process of thought and feeling. Bring to the awareness the state of breathing… slowly. Smile, for breath. The persons in front of you, and the persons behind… each is a human being, made in the image of God, loved by God, precious in his sight, and forever worthy of his love in Jesus Christ. Think how beautiful it is to be in the company of those God loves — disregarding whether they’ve yet accepted salvation yet or not. There, you find yourself in prayer!
4.      Find yourself in sadness, loneliness, fear or emptiness. This is an all-too-common experience. Mindfulness of prayer was made for such a time as this. This is the Grand Avenue of learning — only in the vacuousness of our humanity, devoid of the self, can God fill. As tears roll down the cheek, allow your head to tilt backward, looking upward toward heaven, and be prepared, mentally, to experience something new of God. If it’s a numbing silence we experience, do not fret, because God is ministering silently to our soul, first and foremost. Be mindfully prayerful of your soul and its indelibly inherent connectedness to God. Nothing in this life, not even death, can separate us from God.
5.      Find yourself swept up in glory. Yes, pondering a death — your very own. Nothing morbid, just realistic. Pondering gets us mindful (prayerful) around what glory is like — the most fascinating of all thoughts possible, surely. Death is not the end. It’s an eternal beginning. Be swept up into heaven for a moment. Allow your conception of God’s angels to minister to you. Or, ponder someone else’s death — a loved one. Ponder how that reality changes how you think and your intentionality of relationship… what can be said and done now before we part company on this earth?
6.      Find yourself giving nothing, receiving him. We spend a lot of our lives giving. Many of us give what God never required us to give. We work in our strength never understanding we left dependence on God long ago. So sit. So stand. Be still. Focus on receiving something from God that’s eternally yours — him of his very self! Let him minister to you, in those lonely fissures you’re not even aware of. Let him bring to you a precious gift you had no previous idea you needed. And now you do need it — and now you’re thankful for the Spirit’s wisdom to know what we can never know until it’s revealed.
7.      Find yourself enjoying thought of enjoyment. Enjoyment is a power we may partake of even when we don’t have it. We know what it’s like, presumably. Think through your history, and come to rest in one moment of it — an enjoyable moment. There, take God. No, God was already there! Go back there and be with God — the two of you — as he experienced that moment with you that you weren’t even aware of — draw into your senses how wonderful God is to journey every moment with you. Your mind has taken you back here for a purpose, for a reason. What is he saying beyond words? Perhaps it could be for your pure enjoyment that you’re brought back. So enjoy. Take the moment given as a gift. Smile. And be thankful.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Friday, November 27, 2015

How Faith and Wisdom Form Two Sides of Virtue’s Coin

LET’S look at the collocation of two of the worthiest assets in our arsenal for attaining virtue: two sides of the one golden coin, which is a token to be inserted into a full life filled with blessing.
One golden coin,
A token for blessing,
Sides of faith and wisdom,
Each complement the other,
Building resource and resolve,
All for the benefit of God’s Kingdom.
Faith & Wisdom
Faith is the extrovert, wisdom is the introvert, and together they give us the ideal blend of capacity for energies for an ordered state of living.
Faith comes alive when we’re tired of being in the comfort zone. Wisdom is in its element when it’s time to withdraw into one’s study to contemplate. Both are pivotal, and each comes into its own in its momentary season. Blessed is every person who avails themselves to faith when they need to reach out, just as a person needing to be hid with Christ in God is blessed to avail wisdom to their way.
Faith takes risks, is action-oriented, and is prepared to trust.
Wisdom is girded in self-restraint, takes its time to ponder every conceivable possibility, and wishes for the broadest perspective of vision.
Faith, on the other hand, is focused; it sees value in compartmentalising the vision so trust might strip away every interrupting distraction.
Wisdom discerns the way and is waiting for the moment when faith is appropriate.
There are times when ‘faith’ would be foolish, just as there are times when ‘wisdom’ seems too constrained. They call the former blind faith or bad faith. They call the latter paralysing fear.
Faith and wisdom are as well married to each other. And so many couples do epitomise these two essential parts. I’m faith whereas my wife is wisdom, mostly. Yet I know many women who are faith and their husbands are wisdom. It really doesn’t matter who is who. All that matters is the right side of the coin comes uppermost when that virtue is most needed.
Virtue is a blend of both these in appropriate and complementary portion—faith and wisdom. Faith is trust and diligence. Wisdom is discernment and prudence. Faith is courage and hope. Wisdom is understanding and perspective.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Life, Loss, Grief, Longing, Reality, Acceptance

THIS is not an article for the pessimist as much as it’s for the realist. Life is one long series of losses, and until we come to grips with that truth we’ll never make sense of the true Christian life, which is itself a caricature of loss — where loss of self is gain in Christ.
True loss is finally gain,
Because through loss we know,
Though there is incredible pain,
Through it we may inevitably grow.
As we bring our children up in this world — a world promising so much yet delivering so comparatively little — we do really well if we can morph their pessimism or their optimism into a rational realism. This life will not deliver on the promises it tends to make, through the media and popular life. A rational realism will tend to help our young not expect too much of this world.
Most twenty-somethings these days are landing on a dustily barren airstrip far from the promised JFK’s and Heathrow’s that exist on the cusp of a dizzy grandeur of cosmopolitan fantasy.
They’ve arrived to an adulthood that is starkly real, perhaps worse than their darker memories of how they experienced adulthood through their parents. For some, maybe many, though probably not most, adulthood is something that is to be actively avoided. This world is all too real, thank you very much!
Twenty or thirty years ago, or maybe even just ten, it was probably when we entered our 30s that we began to think these things: life is just one long series of losses. Gains come too, but it’s in life’s losses that our attention is grabbed.
The truth is life has always been full of losses. It just seems as though these losses gut us these days, and there’s probably a number of factors at play. We live in an unreal social media world where reality is distorted. Whatever is the flavour of the day goes ‘viral’ and all our attention is absorbed by whatever direction the world is satisfied to direct us.
We have come to think unrealistically. Of course sense would tell us that life is replete with loss; that grieving losses well is as important a competency in the suite of life skills as any is.
But our very post Christendom postmodern lives have lost sight of the fact that life hasn’t changed. Our expectations of life have. Little wonder the world craves the prosperity gospel which doesn’t reflect the real gospel at all. The only ‘gospel’ we can believe in, or convince people of, is the gospel that makes sense to our sense for ‘do good and good will be done to you’. We cannot seem to reconcile that the ‘good’ we do isn’t necessarily returned to us.
We cannot stand to think that a life full of losses is what life’s about.
We don’t deserve that! I’m sorry, really very sorry, (and I speak to myself just as much as anyone) but that’s life.
Where the real gospel comes in is it’s the only way to ‘succeed’ in life — to accept it with the grace only God can give — and to grow to accept grief honestly and courageously; that’s healing.
Life is crammed with experiences to be had of impending loss. This world is as it is. It cannot protect us from losses. But with God we can learn to grieve our losses well. And, I’d suggest, only with God is that possible.
Loss is a nightmare of human proportions,
Reality meeting the state of denial…
“Won’t ever happen to me!”
Well, my friend,
That’s how life is,
And, unfortunately, loss will make us
Interminably see.
Loss is real, it’s categorically all too real.
Only when we’ve lost can we appreciate what, from the beginning, we’ve gained. God has granted us life! And though life seems to promise so much yet deliver so little we ought to be grateful; God has the final word.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Monday, November 23, 2015

5 Signs of Falling with the gods Versus Flying with God

LAMENTABLE is the fact of a well-privileged person’s lament over how sad their lives feel to them. Laughable is the state of a person who’s not satisfied with an incredible amount of material ‘blessing’ — laughable if it wasn’t so lamentable. But the more we have the less we tend to appreciate it. And material blessing is no shortcut to spiritual affluence.
The more I’ve been dissatisfied with my life the more I’ve come to realise how the things of God have been pushed aside by gods that are things. But the more God comes in, squeezing out a whole world of gods, the more satisfied I’ve become with nothing; the type of satisfaction that can come only when we fast and make our days devoid of any stimulation whatsoever. Haven’t we grown to love and rely upon stimulation? — The god of interesting things to do.
We have a basic choice in life; to go to our gods and fall or to go with God and fly.
Here’s five signs that we’re falling with gods or flying with God:
1.     The gods must be crazy, and they make us crazy, too. The simple fact here is gods make us crazy in quick time, probably because they themselves are crazy. At no time is it good to be led by the blind (the blind leading the blind). There is an itch we cannot scratch in the addiction that quickly forms in us and makes our lives more and more unmanageable the longer it gets entrenched. A tolerance for a toxic relationship proves the god of tolerating untrustworthy people sends us crazy. When we act in a way that defies our own reason, we stand there incredulous with ourselves. But with God we would never feel like that. Deep in our relationship with God is an imperviousness to personal incredulity — any incredulity with ourselves forces us back into the heart of God. This means that God guides us in a wisdom that protects and provides for our self-perception. With God we tend to learn to run from craziness toward a wisdom that helps.
2.     God makes us think of the end. Whether it’s the end of our life or the end of an activity, starting with the end in mind is just plain wisdom. When we’re motivated by and operate within the vision we have for what’s coming, or for what could be coming, we’re appropriately cautioned by the truth. We tend always to respond in the right way when we know we’ll be held to account. God makes us think of the end, and this is good for us. It makes us fly in our faith.
3.     The gods compete with one another. Too much is too much for us. Too many ‘good’ things tends to reverse the effect of what should be contentment. Too many ‘good’ things breeds frustration, because we cannot control them all — or even one when there are so many distractions of stimulation and interest. We always like to control those things we ought to have control over. But over God we know we have no control. So surrender makes sense. Surrender brings peace. When we have too many things to hold, things get dropped, or we lose balance and fall over.
4.     God helps us to grow. Life means nothing if we’re not challenged to grow. It doesn’t mean we have to endure pain, though it’s a classic irony that God makes good of our suffering when we suffer patiently. Growth is flight through the echelons into the upper stratospheres of human living.
5.     The gods make us insanely dependent, and we come to have no independence. The gods take us nowhere good. Indeed, we know it. As we come to depend on things more than having no dependencies we learn, again, having learned again and again (and again), that the only way to be free of dependencies on things is to be dependent on God alone. Only through faith in the Lord are we afforded many cathartic independences.
It’s good to keep life simple. One God is good, but many gods are tortuous. One God makes us content, but happiness never resides in many.
Trust our lives to the things of God, or the gods of things?
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Purpose, Power, Presence – 3 Answers to Life We All Want

APATHY, fatigue and doubting are three common weaknesses in a life that can seem anything but controllable and enjoyable.
We all have these most inbuilt of needs that addresses the above three weaknesses of soul and spirit. We need:
1.      Life Purpose Beyond Apathy
Where there is no vision, the people perish, as one version of Proverbs 29:18 puts it. We need a vision that carries us over the cusp of our apathy — a response to life that’s far less impressed with God than it should be.
Too many of us have learned to be sceptics, doubting God’s integrity to give us a life that means something of significance.
God’s enemy, of course, wants us vanquished of vision. He wants us to live useless and banal lives. Not God, however. He’s got a Kingdom he’s wanting to build through people like us. We’re God’s labourers, precious ever more in his sight.
Life purpose is the eternal flame lit deep within our soul. It’s inextinguishable, but we may feel nothing of its heat. Our core is hot but we may feel cold. We need to believe. We need a vision that helps us believe past the slack indifference of apathy.
2.     Personal Power Beyond Fatigue
Life gets big on us sooner or later and we feel defeated by the insatiable demands on our time and energy. We begin to worry we have the reserves to support this venture that is our life. Scary place. Too true!
If we have no personal power energising us beyond fatigue we likely have no connection with that spark of God’s Spirit that is there, again deeper down seemingly below our reach. It’s amazing what vision can generate as far as energy’s concerned for the plain tasks of living.
Having life purpose — and everyone has this potential within them to connect with — will provide us the power that powers us through fatigue. And still we need to balance life in such a way as to not burn all our energies at once. Vision makes us use our energies — our powers — prudently, diligently, wisely.
3.     God’s Presence Beyond Doubt
God’s Presence will underpin our life purpose, because when we know beyond doubt that God is alive in all of life, and alive in us, we know life makes sense even when it doesn’t seem to.
Encounters with the Holy Spirit are indispensable for our sense of belief. Let’s pray for more of these to occur in our own and in others’ lives!
We all need purpose beyond apathy, power beyond fatigue, and God’s Presence beyond doubt. Purpose powers us through God’s Presence; a trinity of forces of blessing.
Life purpose is the eternal flame lit deep within our soul empowering us beyond any doubt for God’s good blessing.
Purpose beyond apathy,
Powers us through fatigue,
And where God’s Presence is beyond doubt,
This life, yours and mine,
Can only succeed.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Joy in Simplicity, Realness in Pain, Blessed Centricity and Solemn Gain

LIFE is a constant journey filled with experience, some of occasional joy and some of unexpected pain. We’re wisest to consider life a blessing. For that is the truth.
This article, like much of my writing, is for the person who is experiencing unexpected pain. The idea is we can experience joy at any point in life, not just when we’re joyous for a reason — when something truly good has happened or is happening in our lives.
I want to share with you two strategies that work for our overall growth when we’re in periods of pain; such strategies can aid our lives at any time:
1.      Find Joy in Simplicity
Simplicity is found in mindful engagement; when we focus our mind’s intention — all the capacities of our thought — on something worthwhile. And, in this case it’s on the simplicity God’s wired into every existential experience. Like drinking a cup of tea and experiencing it with all our senses. Focus on the heat energy that the hot tea gives through conducting its heat through the tea cup. And focus on the aroma of the tea as it wafts through the steam. As you taste the tea, try and put into words what the taste is like; does it remind you of any memories you have? Is it favourable to the taste? How could the taste be improved? That sort of thing.
If your experience of mindfulness is anything like mine, you could meet God, for God-encounters happen in the ordinary flow and mundane experiences of life.
The enemy of finding uncommon joy in simplicity is most of our lives are far too complex and busy. Pain is an invitation to revise what we’re doing and strip back on less important activities. Through the wisdom of saying no to unnecessary things we entreat simplicity. Truly there is so much of life to be enjoyed if only we can approach life through simplicity. There is much power in saying no to things that don’t add value to our life and other people’s lives.
2.     Be Real in (and About) Pain
Pain is nothing to be afraid of. Of course, none of us like the pain of grief in loss, adjustment, hurt, betrayal, loneliness, etc. But finding moments to be raw and real means we’ll experience the blessed primary emotions, for which God gave for our blessed growth.
Growth of character is a blessed compensation for the pain we endure with realness.
Besides, being real in pain exposes us to cleaner, safer emotions — experiencing the primary emotion of sorrow versus the anger of the secondary emotion for the denial of the primary emotion. Sorrow is safer for everyone and it’s more truthful than anger is; it’s appropriate we feel incredibly sad in and for our pain. Feeling abysmally sad is nothing to be afraid of. But anger has the potential to end very badly.
The final whistle charge is this:
Find joy in simplicity and be real in your pain. For simplicity aids the acceptance of reality and reality you’ll find speaks in simplicity.
Simplicity aids the acceptance of reality. Being real in pain allows reality to speak in powerful simplicity.
There’s joy in simplicity,
Strength for realness in pain,
Head for blessed centricity,
The coming of a solemn gain.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Little Comfort in the Struggle in Times of Despairing

ANTITHESES of sense mean that many times in life we respond the wrong way. Grumpiness in queues are a good ‘for instance’. We all have times when we’re cranky for what seems like a justifiable reason. But, overall, crankiness is a sign of something a little deeper — an unreconciled sadness deeper below our consciousness.
Irritability in life may be a common symptom for depression, but just as much irritability can be a hidden sign for a soul’s cringing despair.
Despair comes in many forms and many forms fit themselves into the myriad situations and seasons of life. But despair always feels the same when we’re honest.
When honesty meets a sorrowful occasion, for courage has already arrived, despair is felt. How sad that life often rewards courage with feelings of inadequacy and despair.
But courage has caused us to acknowledge of our despair so that our despair might compel us to draw on courage all the more.
But courage in the midst of despair seems a bridge too far. In such moments we need the brooding grace of God’s compassion — a word of comfort to steel our resolve for just another foray.
Consolations for Comfort
Ever important it is that we pay tribute to the despair we feel.
What is real is true, and what is true is right, and what is right won’t shift miraculously. We’re given not only the situation but the strength to endure it. Yet such strength brings us face-to-face with juxtaposing weakness. We hate it. Yet it is.
Take a moment to know how pleased God is with you that you’re facing and not denying such a temerity of tumult.
He who did not bring these things to our door knows we can overcome them, even, and especially even, in our weakness. He knows the limits of our strength, of our dam walls for pain; that they’ve been breached. He knows what we can and cannot handle, yet he is ever with us, especially as we surrender our pitiable strength for his because we do not have what it takes to endure the moment.
Take heart. God is as much proud of us when we buckle under the pressures of daily life and encroaching despair as he is when we’ve ascended his holy mountain.
In God’s economy, to struggle and to fail in the struggling is tantamount to success, for we keep trying. To struggle and to fail, and to fail again and again, is to do life by faith.
The real faith is a struggle. And only in the struggle do we grow.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Filled to the Fullness of the Abundance of the Glory of God

SPIRITUAL fervour is found within the heights of a heady rock ‘n’ roll church worship, but it’s felt as much within the depths of the ordinary life.
The solemnity of a moment brings home the truth; God is indelibly with us all on this journey — and pure existential cognisance of this fact goes toward a filling; a fullness; a heavenly abundance for which nothing in life could compare. Such is worship. It places us in an incredibly blessed position for which billionaires possibly have no inkling.
What is it like? Can it be described so we can taste it? I think we can explain how it occurs, but it would be a travesty to attempt to put into words what the Sacred Spirit of Revelation has ever hidden from descriptive comprehension.
As the anointing of gratitude toward the experience of even ten minutes of joy attests, being filled to the fullness of the abundance of the Glory of God is a classical experience.
Even one portion of such an experience indwells itself in our memory, and, forever more, that experience is etched into the cast of our soul. I remember my first experience; the audacity of life had taken me into convolutions of grief. At that depth where I literally had no hope if I didn’t have God, the Lord showed himself. I cannot describe what it meant to me that God was faithful in that way — to be taken into his Presence — to be filled to the fullness of the abundance of his Glory.
What is inexplicable is also so overwhelmingly wondrous.
There are always gifts given in such moments of ethereal proximity to God. This first moment I was bathed in the tears of anointing — big, heavy (‘oily’), hot drops — and more of them in heaving splendour than I could contemplate or contain. I wasn’t just emotional beyond control in my grief; I was emotional for what I was feeling as I willingly surrendered my old, now very irrelevant life. Without identity I was free to assume a new one. If we’re at an end of ourselves we do well to do a good job of it, then we let it go. So I was caught up to high heaven in my bedroom. God brought heaven to me in my conscious regard. God had filled me with his Spirit to the emptiest part. Only as I lost all did I gain all.
But I do know that the gift I speak of here is not the only one. There are as many gifts of God’s Presence as God would determine.
The point of being filled to the fullness of the abundance of the glory of God is plain: it proves God is real — awesome and fearsome — one and for all. We may say we believe in God but faith never makes sense until we actually meet him. Then faith comes into its own. We’re ready to step away from safe land to enter an unknown and tremulous journey. And the sojourn into the next world has begun. We will never go back.
Meet God and he becomes real. When God is real in our experience, faith, hope and love are a natural and supernatural outflowing.
Filled to the fullness of the abundance of the glory of God: it’s every believer’s designation and destiny.
God’s fullness was always intended to dwell richly in us. Richly blessed are we when the Spirit’s intention fills us with the fullness of his abundance.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hear, Hear, What to Do When the Enemy Draws Near

WHENEVER we’ve been caught in the headlights of life, stunned like deer, and we’ve been forced in that harrowing moment to backtrack, the devil’s the first one in there — drawing near without invitation — deriding us through poor self-esteem.
“You always do that!”
“Only you’d do such a silly thing!”
“Why do you never learn?”
“Look, they’re laughing at you right now!”
“How are you ever going to recover from this?”
And so on…
These are just a sample of things our inner devil of low self-esteem says when we’ve hit the ground hard. When we’ve repented or we’ve been found wanting, we’re very vulnerable in our weakness to attacks on our person from within.
From within.
These attacks — when the enemy draws near — occur as a response to the new normal that’s really a rehash of an old normal. None of us likes failing. Yet, we’re all susceptible to it. We will all fail. And it’s how we’ve learned to adapt to failing that’s the key here.
At some point we may have adapted very well to failing, from an initial start that was anything like that. Then there are others who’ve adapted well for decades until an inner crisis came where they could no longer.
The key is becoming conscious of what we’re saying to ourselves — often at the unconscious level. This may seem impossible if not illogical.
Where we experience shame for what we’ve done or not done the voice of the enemy will be loud and clear — accusing us of shame we’ve brought on ourselves. God’s will, on the other hand, is to work with what’s shameful and make it an instrument for his glory — a redemptive mindset.
Satan shames us into submission through our negative self-talk, but God shames Satan into submission through his grace.
An experienced grace is the perfect foil for the experience of self-condemnation.
An experienced grace is the inner reality of acceptance in spite of humiliation.
There’s no shame in failure because that’s how we learn; even by repetitive failure. Grace is known and favour is shown when we’re honest about our faults and not so fearful not be feel ashamed.
Shame will always want failure hidden, but grace shames the desire to hide through unqualified fearless acceptance.
There’s no substitute for shame than acceptance. Whoever accepts ‘what is’, even when that’s a shameful event, has the courage of accepting shame in the only way it can be healed.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Stamping Out Fretting Complaint

SO THEN, my dear friends, just as you always listen intently, whether you felt anyone was watching or not, continue to work hard in doing God’s will as if God were actually present, knowing he is coming, because you know he is at work in you passively by his will, as you ponder it, and actively by the work he’s doing in and through you. Do everything without murmuring grumbling, which leads to self-deception, so everyone will find you without fault; a blessed child of God above reproach in every way. Don’t be caught fretting, especially when people scheme and appear to succeed, for fretting leads to complaining, and complaining leads to anger, and anger leads to evil. This can never be what God wants from or for you. God will vindicate the injustices done against you. If you respond as you can and should, God will make you shine like the dawn, and you will blaze like the midday sun. Trust God and all will be well. Do all these things that I commend to you this day, and you will shine like the biggest star in the universe for all of heaven to see.
The above paragraph is my paraphrase of a meld of Philippians 2:12-16 and Psalm 37:4-8.
When people seem to get ahead,
And you wonder when justice will come,
Revert to the Lord instead,
And before him let your petition run.
The purpose of prayer of petition — beyond the words of the prayers we pray — is to change our frame of mind, which in turn will transform the emotions we feel.
What good use is complaining, my dear,
If our complaints don’t go to God as prayers?
Our friends may appear to hear,
But it’s really only God who cares.
Complaints are fuel for the right kind of prayer. The problem with complaints when we go horizontal rather than vertical is we get ourselves further away from a response of obedience. The only exception to this is time we make to talk with people who can help us with a process to deal responsibly with our complaints.
Don’t fret when anxiousness reigns,
Look up when life’s in disarray,
For despite your struggles and pains,
God can turn your skies blue from grey.
Look up. Change your perspective. Challenge yourself to believe life’s circumstances will change. Only when we put down a deposit of hope will we have belief enough to search every day for a new day through faith. We must fight for a better day; that’s the designation of our hope.
Discern God’s will and do it,
And your Lord will vindicate you,
Know by this you’re spiritually fit,
By this God will show you as true.
Our chief role is to do God’s will. Discerning that is more than half the battle.
Fretting and complaining give no benefit if we don’t pray and make for change today.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

When Life’s Down, Stand Up, Walk, and Fight

PAIN is something that seems evil, and would be if not for God.
But pain comes attributed as either a ploy of Satan to befuddle us, or as a tool fashioned by circumstances moulded by God. We must resist ideation of the former and embrace ideation of the latter. This is for our own good. If we get it the wrong way around the enemy will squeeze us and deflect our faith, sending us into a spiral of torment. But if we take a circumstance that can’t be changed and trust God to work it around, eventually, then we may well be blessed. May well… It’s by faith we strive to enter the Promised Land.
Why do I write? And why so when it seems I’m in the midst of a battle? It’s because it’s the way I stand up, walk, and fight, in the foray of faith. I love to feel for the way to fight back which is the spiritual resilience of the Spirit’s power to resurrect a crucified situation. Resurrection is the creational and miraculous craft of God bringing hope out of despairing situations by our faith.
Don’t give up when you feel empty,
Don’t fret when you feel numb,
God will turn your life around,
When it’s to him alone you come.
Wherever there are struggles,
Wherever there is pain,
Know that those who love you,
Are there in both sunshine and rain.
When energy’s sapped away,
And you’re blazed as an empty shell,
Do pray to God above,
Do commit ever to tell.
You won’t see your injury,
You cannot see yourself bleed,
But healing that comes from within,
Is what you’ll need to succeed.
Those who sit there with you,
At night or by ever boring day,
Those who love you no matter what,
Are there with you to pray.
Be assured of your divine worthiness,
As you rest in your holy Lord,
Despite your feelings that are crazy,
In him you’re certainly adored.
Shout ‘Hooray’ when darkness seems normal,
When you’re unshakable in the sight of despair,
Because that’s the place of maturity,
That’s the place of faith right there.
The apex of faith as I experience it is a nonchalant acceptance of the reality that’s foisted upon us — never simply a personal attack, but a life situation that couldn’t be otherwise avoided. True faith is the courage to act despite feelings of fear; not denying such feelings but harnessing them in the faith response.
Maybe it’s not until now,
That you’re able enough to see,
God is the one after your own heart,
He wants you to be free.
Sometimes when we’re down we don’t know how to get back up. It doesn’t matter how, all we must do is fight. We’ll find a way to stand.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.