I’d do almost anything for my mom if I know she really needs my help. If an emergency comes up, I’ll take off from work and drive 100 miles to go be with her at the drop of a hat. She’s family and I love her. And I’ll do just about anything to help my family when they’re in serious need.
As an unmarried, only child, my physical family is pretty small. But, as a child of God, my family is ginormous. God asks us to live life together as a family and share and help one another as need arises. Unfortunately, either I often don’t see the needs of my family, or my family doesn’t express their needs to me. But, I know various people in my family are hurting and needing help. How can I better realize their needs and help them in both practical ways and lifting them in prayer? I want to grow in this area.
Last week my mom had several physical needs and I took off several days from work to help her and be at her side. About the same time, I learned of 3 families at church who had deaths of close friends and family. And I also learned about 2 marriages that were going through some pretty rough times. Normally I’d probably say a quick prayer for these situations, but this past week God has somewhat broken me over these hurts and needs. I’ve actually spent many different times praying and crying over these hurts and needs of my ‘family’ members. It’s been an eye and heart opening experience to be broken by these hurts. I want to continue to grow in noticing and helping my family.
Lord, continue to work in my life so that I’m broken when my family is broken. Help me to notice when my family is hurting and broken. Help me to grow in my willingness and passion in practically praying and assisting when my family needs help. And, continue to lift up and strengthen these 6 groups of people in my family. I especially ask you to bless these 2 troubled marriages, as well as 2 others that came to mind tonight. Touch them in a mighty and miraculous way as only you can!
I was telling a friend just last night (or maybe the night before) about an opportunity that I felt like I’d missed out on. I ran into an aquaintance last week that I hadn’t seen in several months. We were making small talk and he asked something about my church. Afterwards I realized that I think he was opening the door to me inviting him to church or to take the conversation a bit deeper. So, I was commenting to my friend that I felt like I’d blown the opportunity that God had placed before me — in fact I didn’t even recognize the opportunity till after it had passed. Yeah, I’m slow.
Well today I’m out to lunch with my coworkers and I see this same aquaintance come walking into the restaurant. We eventually make eye contact across the crowded room and exchange friendly waves. So, after lunch I went over and said hello again. I think I said something about it was odd to run into him again so soon. Then I took off back to work. Like I said… I’m slow.
So, tonight as I’m thinking about my day it hits me… God crossed our paths again today for some reason. Maybe it was for me to open the door a bit more with this guy. Or maybe it was just so I’d start to recognize opportunities that He puts in my day. Whatever the reason, God’s funny that way. He orchestrated my day and this other guy’s day so that we’d run into each other, just a day after I’d realized the first meeting was a God opportunity. God is funny.
Well, I’m pretty sure I’ll take advantage of the opportunity if I run into this guy again in the next few days. But, the bigger question is… How can I better recognize God opportunities when they show up?
This is the third part in my series on 5 life lessons that I learned from Labor Day weekend in 2005, while volunteering with efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
It was the end of our first day working at the River Centre shelter. We’d driven through the night the day before and I was now working on only about 6 hours sleep for the past 48 hours. I was exhausted and at the end of my rope. But, we now had a 5 year old boy latched onto us who needed some love and attention.
His mother had left the shelter that morning around 10a and he didn’t know where his mom was. It was now about 9 hours later and we didn’t want to leave this boy alone. I’d already sent most of our team off to find the place where we were supposed to be sleeping, but now after searching for his mom for about 90 minutes I was at the end of what I could handle.
In selfish desperation, I said a short prayer…
Lord, if there’s any way possible, it’d sure be nice if this boy’s mother could show up here in the next couple of minutes.
Literally about 90 seconds later I see 2 women walking in and this boy going to them. It was the boy’s mother and aunt. God had answered my simple prayer. I couldn’t believe it. The timing was just too weird to not have been God’s personal response to me.
So, why do I tend to only turn to God and ask for his help as a last resort? Why do I think I have to solve things on my own and exhaust all other resources, before turning to God? It’s either that I don’t trust him, or I’m too proud to feel like I need his help. Either option is stupid.
Lord, help me to come to you with my daily needs. Help me to trust and depend on you in both the little and big stuff of life. Without you I’m not all that hot, and I need your help.
Do you have any stories of when God answered a really simple prayer of yours? Do you have trouble asking for help with the simpler needs in your life?
This is the first part in my series on 5 life lessons that I learned from Labor Day weekend in 2005, while volunteering with efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
On that Monday and Tuesday I served in a temporary data center for a 6,000 person shelter that had been setup at the River Centre in Baton Rouge, LA. As a computer guru and web application developer, I knew that a few technology tweaks could make this data processing much more useful. It was frustrating to be there and know that something better could be done.
Then on the drive back to Illinois on Wednesday, we were listening to a Steel on Steel podcast and they were talking about how technology could possibly solve our oil shortage. I was like, “Yeah… technology can solve any problem.”
Then, suddenly, I realized what I was saying. I really did tend to think that technology can fix any problem. Technology is amazing. It can solve starvation, resource scarcity, data analysis, recovery from natural disasters, etc. It can literally save people. Or can it? Can technology fix all our problems? I sure tend to think it can if we can just wrap our minds around a solution.
I realized that much of the time I look to technology to fix us, instead of God. The world’s core problems can only be solved by God. My deepest problems can only be made right by God’s miraculous touch.
If I don’t watch myself, I start to worship technology, rather than the one who created order to our world and gave us the left and right parts of our brains in order to develop and apply technology to our worlds.
Lord, help me to rely only on you and realize daily that technology is something you created for us to use to glorify you.
How do you tend to worship technology? What else do you worship instead of God? Politics? Wealth?
At the beginning of this year I tried to post a series of blogs about what I learned in 2007. I never did get past the first post, because I quickly realized that I didn’t really grasp yet what I’d learned in 2007. It’s often hard to look at your recent past and fully understand what you’re in the process of learning.
But, tonight I was reminded of a huge thing I learned during Labor Day weekend in 2005. That was the weekend following disaster in the Gulf Coast, known as Hurricane Katrina. As I was thinking about this one lesson that I learned that particular weekend, I realized that there were some other lessons I learned that weekend. And each of these were really huge, significant lessons that have shaped my life since then.
So, this is an introduction to 5 key lessons that I learned from the weekend after Hurricane Katrina. Read about my 5 lessons here over the next few days:
- Techno Savior
- A Little Less Action, and a Lot More Talk
- Pray Tell What?
- It’s Safer Driving from the Back Seat
- Shouldn’t This Be Less Fun?
One of the habits that I want to develop is documenting my life lessons and glimpses of when I’m certain God showed me something. These lessons from this one weekend are just that.
How do you remember when you learn a life lesson? How far after an experience do you typically need to be to understand what that experience has taught you?