If you are receiving this message you are one of the people who signed up to receive my blog by email. WordPress has been a great place for me to grow as a writer, and my readers have increased over the past year beyond my wildest dreams, but things change, and we have moved to a wordpress.org hosted site at Hostgator, so we can add new features for our readers who follow our ministry. Please go to our website and sign up for our email service there to get my blogs. Thanks for following me! Hope to see you sign up soon and get your feedback on the new site. God Bless!
For some reason prayer has become something I am very interested in understanding over the last year. I have had the privilege of being taught by some people who I would consider prayer warriors. These people have taught me a lot about prayer, but I have begun to wonder at a deeper level what is actually heard by God, and how really should we be doing this thing we call prayer.
The real question I have in my mind that I can’t grasp the significance of is corporate prayer. Every weekend tons of people are involved in corporate prayer. I meet with two groups each week to pray, but I am beginning to wonder about how effective it really is for what we pray about. We seem to use God like an eternal slot machine that is there to provide us with requests for whatever we deem necessary for our lives. Jesus doesn’t seem to address this message but once in scripture; actually, He seems to discount the corporate prayer thing. So is it just for show when a preacher prays on TV, radio or within his own congregation? For some of them I am sure their hearts are in the right place, but for others not so much, so are we doing what Jesus actually instructed us to do?
I am not just bashing the establishment. People ask me to pray for them all of the time. Sometimes I remember, but many times I have forgotten to do it. Then I lie to them when they ask have you been praying for me. Oh Yea! Every day I have been praying for you. Sound familiar? I hate to admit that part, but it is true. I am not doing this anymore.
I have also seen a prayer chain of people (locked hands) with super strong faith heal someone who was really sick. It was amazing, but most people don’t believe it can happen, so it doesn’t happen much. They accuse you of being psycho to keep you in line. This part is sad because it seems to be something that we have the power to do if we just believe in it.
Prayer is really confusing. How do you do it? What is really effective?
I decided to go to the source.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This then is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”-Jesus
Why in the room (closet)? Why such few words? If God already knows, why bother?
Because he wants a relationship with you, He wants you to listen to Him. He wants your trust. I get it now God, “Just listen, Son”! Trust my will for your life.
I would love to hear your feedback on prayer. Thanks for reading my stuff!
I don’t know if others struggle with this or not, but here it goes. I swear some days I can literally smell God’s presence in my life. Things are clicking, my clients are listening and acting and all seems right with the world. I love these kinds of days; sometimes, they may turn into weeks and months. It seems easier to see God’s fingerprints everywhere. I love the feeling of knowing God is with me.
Then there are the times when I swear I question the existence of God. How could you let this happen? Are you really up there? I prayed ferociously for this to happen and it didn’t. I literally get so pissed at God I don’t speak to him, or pray. These messages that enter my head like this are just too hard for me to understand, and it doesn’t make sense for me to try so hard to please you. Sound familiar? I wonder if God is up there thinking, “I wish Mike would just chill out; relief is coming.”
It is hard to admit that I think I have bipolar faith. I wish I were further along, but I am not. I have to be honest about my relationship with God before I can begin to grow. I can look through the years and see the times I trusted him to come through for me, and He did. Why is it so hard to trust?
I was reading in Psalms the other day, when a couple of statements made me feel so much better about where I am. Many of the Psalms were written by David, and if you look at a couple of verses here you can see that David wrestled with God too:
Psalm 23: 1-4 (A Psalm of David)
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul,
he guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake,
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death.
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me,
your rod and your staff,
They comfort me.
Psalm 13: 1-2 (A Psalm of David)
How long , O’Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
That makes me feel better about my faith. If David struggles; then it is okay for me to struggle, and God still loves me. He even loves me when I deny He is there. But today I sing his praises because I feel his presence. Thanks for reading my stuff; hope it helps your faith to grow.
I was reading a girl’s blog this week and she was asking the question, “Where have all the men gone in Christianity?” Isn’t there anything else to talk about? I am really tired of the habitual man bashing that goes on inside of the world we call Christianity. It is like everything in modern society is some man’s fault. Enough is enough. The problem is greed, but I’ll save that for a different blog. If you haven’t figured out life with men is just messy. It is never going to be easy, so we need to invite the tough men back into Christianity. I am going to let you in on a little secret about a man (My Buddy) that I admire, and has discipled me personally over the last ten years. I think he is a real man. This is a list of some of his behaviors and characteristics.
1. He probably drinks more than most people do, because he always has wine with his friends.
2. He is frequently seen hanging out with prostitutes.
3. He is constantly out with his friends, and he is never at home.
4. His friends are not the best of characters either; most folks don’t like them.
5. He has a pretty bad temper at times, and is always starting arguments.
6. His parents weren’t very wealthy.
7. He is always mooching money off of other people, and women pay for everything He does.
Now how many Christians would allow this man to teach your children? He is my mentor. You see the real problem is that there are plenty of men out there, and they are doing great things, but they are not welcome in churches or in modern Christianity. I doubt he would be either; the man above is Jesus! If you are interested in the specific scripture references for each line Item I will be glad to email them to you. You will have to ask!!!
The world has asked us as men to become something that Jesus never asked us to become, WIMPS!
As I walked by my two dogs this morning on the way to get my first cup of coffee, I was reminded of what people say about dogs; that they show unconditional love. Now quite a few of you that read my blog know my dog Smiley, and you know how loving he is to others. He is as close to unconditional love as I know, and after a couple of swallows of coffee I began to think about love. I don’t know why my mind works the way it does, but I begin to ponder the definition of unconditional love. We all seem to want it. It seems to be this grandiose platform that if you reach it then life will be good. Everyone longs to be loved deeply in their soul, but is this desire for unconditional love real? I don’t think it is!
If you think dogs show love unconditionally start kicking your dog every time you walk by it, or better yet don’t feed him. I promise over time you will see his love is conditional. He needs food, shelter and water to survive and you must provide that for him. It is conditional. What about the love of a mom for a newborn? I have seen babies crying that couldn’t be soothed, put the best of mom’s into a state of frantic anxiety. I think we long for unconditional love, but it is impossible. We should be looking for greater love.
Is God’s love unconditional? I have believed it is most of my life, but now I don’t even believe that this is true. He watched His son die on the cross for us. I don’t know about you, but that is a huge condition. It cost Him something big time. If conditions are placed on either party then the love is conditional. You see love is about living with conditions (boundaries). It is about sacrificing for others that you love. If you want to learn how to love well, which should be the point of love, follow the lead of Jesus.
“Greater Love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”
The next time someone tells you they want unconditional love. Tell them to give their life away. Love is conditional, but the model for great love is Jesus Christ.
I would love to hear your feedback!!!
We all have blind spots. My son Michael has a tendency to wake up irritated and stay that way most of the day unless someone pulls him out of it. I decided it was time for a father-son talk about this particular piece of his attitude. It didn’t go well until I explained to him that everyone has blind spots, and you needed people around you that you trust to speak into these places in our hearts. Also, ice cream is the ultimate relationship gap prescription for such conversations. Thank God for Dairy Queen. This morning he woke up with a much better attitude about his life. Sometimes we just need to be reminded how good we have it.
I have a blind spot as well. I love writing, but I am really not sure why. There are a lot of people who read my stuff, but for the life of me I can’t figure it out. I just write about what is on my mind, or heart; I also look for God in it. Is He trying to teach me something? He still speaks by the way; you have to listen. For the most part my blog is very much like my journal.
I have hired a marketing company to help me build Eyes of the Heart into something more than what it is today. I see women and men struggling to break free from debt, bad religion, addictions and live a life of purpose and meaning. One of the guys that I am working with asked me, so what does your blog do for your readers? I said, “Well, I don’t know.” So I spent the afternoon yesterday brainstorming, nothing. I think I may have a blind spot. What does it do for my readers? I don’t think I really know.
So today’s blog is about help for me; if you have received anything from reading my blogs, or you would like to tell me why you read them at all I would be grateful. I need feedback for my marketing company, or I would have done better to take a vacation with that money.
Thanks up front from a man who is still trying to find his place in the world, or better yet honing in my skills. Thanks for reading!!!!
I have really learned a lot about my own sexuality over the past 89 days. I have taken a lot of ribbing from my friends that I want name (Gary, Jeff, Ralph, Greg, Lynn etc……) about even doing this abstinence contract. I think they were praying that their wives wouldn’t read my first blog, or more importantly this follow up blog. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot to be proud of as a man for me in this one . Yes, I am a counselor, and yes I counsel people about sex almost every day, but really looking into the depths of the messages in your own sexuality is not a comfortable position. I am sure this blog will not be comfortable for my wife either, but she agreed to let me share some of the messages that we both have about sex after 27 years of being married.
My Own Stuff-Messages to her
1. The first message that I uncovered was that I bargain with my wife so she will have sex with me. (Not good!)
Example: I’ll cut the grass if we can have a little fun tonight. (Sound familiar)
I know there are plenty of men who do this, and there are plenty of women out there that use this technique to get things done that they need done. This sends a horrible message to both people. For the man the message is she doesn’t really want to have sex with me unless I earn it somehow (not for just fun), and for the woman, it is a cheap form of prostitution, and that he really doesn’t care about doing things for me; he only cares about having sex (I am not worth it).
2. My wife confided in me that many times she feels like I only need her for sex.
I think this one hurt me the most, because I need her for so much more than that. I need her to help me raise our children. I need her companionship and love. I need her steadiness because of my crazy rollercoaster mentality about life. She is the balance I need in life. I love her.
3. Any form of physical touch ultimately must lead to sex; so many times she wouldn’t snuggle with me when she really wanted too.
What is really sad about this is that we have snuggled together more in the last 90 days than we have in the last decade. It has been really nice. I have missed out on intimacy I craved so dearly because my love languages are physical touch and affirmation. Can you say, “I shot myself in the foot”.
Cultural Messages-Statements, Insights and Messages
1. I think the saddest thing that I recognized is that men in general still see women as possessions (objects) instead of as people. Men expect sex just because they are married to someone and they don’t do the things they once did while dating their wives. Now some men do, my friend Greg Gearhart is one of the best at this, so don’t blow a gasket, but in general men seem to think they own the women in their lives. When’s the last time a woman killed a man for leaving her?
2. Men allow way too many outside influences to dictate and define their own sexuality. Instead of exploring it with our spouses we try to dictate what we want sexually from our wives; never questioning whether it is right, or do we both enjoy it. You may be surprised. Your wife may have more ideas than you do.
3.Women need to be more honest with their spouses about their own sexuality: past, present, future and the messages from these experiences, because sometimes women project these past experiences into their current world. Get help if you have had traumatic sexual experiences.
4. The media and Hollywood are the worst propagators of Image (object) stereotyping. We just keep giving them money and they keep getting sleazier. Quit supporting their causes. We just don’t want this to change much because Sex sells!
5. For many men, pornography and masturbation to pornography are normal behavior. One man told me that it takes pressure off his relationship with his wife because he doesn’t want sex as much. Are you kidding?
I will never forget what Dr. Doug Rosenau said to me one day in class, “Mike, the biggest problem with most people is that we allow our sexuality to stay stuck in Jr. High”
I can honestly say from this experience my sexuality has matured, and I hope you will work on your own sexuality and enjoy one of the greatest joys God has given us, Sex.
One more thing, don’t email, call or text me this weekend :)