Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

SHAKE, RATTLE and ROLL

Written by Les Dahl on November 1st, 2016. Posted in Peace, Sage's Scroll

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“I will shake heaven and earth…”   Haggai 2:6

We had no plans to leave Jamaica. Living in paradise is not always easy, remedy but our roots had grown 31 years deep. So the gnawing sense that Father was asking us to move back to Canada felt uneasy. None of us readily breaks out of our comfort zone.

But change was blowing in the wind, sale and the words of Haggai were echoing around the world in the mouths of present-day prophets: “I will shake heaven and earth…”

Interesting how we distance ourselves from the “Word.”  We’re sure He’s talking to someone else, not us. Little did we realize that we were heading for some shaking and rattling to get us rolling! 

One of the first lessons we had to learn was to let go. Not easy, because the response is counter-intuitive. Instinctively, when our status quo is threatened we tighten our grip on the things that give us security.

But when God starts shaking things up, the only safe response is to let it go. We need not fear for He watches over us to catch us if we slip. His intention is to break loose things that impede our moving forward.

One of dangers in life is that we too easily become comfortable and complacent. The demonstration of peace, hope and well-being is displaced by the mundane. The light and joy within dim. We trudge from day to day.

In His mercy, God shakes us out of our death spiral so we can break into abounding life. “I’ve come to ignite you with a spectacular display of life,” Jesus said. (John 10:10)

But we must choose. Either our relationship with God stays in a familiar rut or we pluck up courage to face reality. I chose the latter.

“Who are You? Show me something about You that I’ve not known. Tell me some things You share only with Your closest friends.” I’m desperate.

His answer is immediate and simple, “Okay, but first you’ll have to get rid of some old notions about Me. And we will dialogue differently from what you’re used to—what you call ‘pray.’  Are you up for that?”

“Second, you’ll need to change the way you engage with My Word (the Bible). You can’t just read it casually or even dutifully. You must anticipate as you read, listen for my faint whisper as I speak to you. Focus your full attention or you’ll miss it.”

“Each morning I will give you a sword.  With it you can chop through every circumstance you encounter and defeat the enemy waiting on your path to ambush you—that old snake who still hisses in your ear, “Did God really say that? You don’t really believe that, do you?”

“Third, I’m going to assay your faith, or lack of it. I will uncover the cancerous anxiety, doubt and unbelief embedded in you. You believe I exist as Creator and King of the Universe—that’s faith. But I’m bringing you to trustliving with the awareness that I am an intimate part of your life and that every single thing that happens is for your good.”

“My objective is to instill in you what John expressed when he wrote, “We have this confidence toward Him: we know that He hears us when we ask, and therefore we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)

“One last thing. This is no quick fix, it’s a process. At times it will feel like open heart surgery. Sometimes it will feel like you’re going through hell. Don’t stop! Even when you feel like it—don’t quit!”

“There is a through…you will make it through, I’ll see to that. And there is an other side…I’m talking here-and-now, in-your-lifetime; and it’s beyond what you can imagine. Are you up for it?”

My choice is clear…

Shalom

7 Morning Rituals That Set Us on Track for a Great Day

Written by Les Dahl on December 29th, 2015. Posted in Health, Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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Rituals. We think we can do without them but quite the opposite is true. Athletes create rituals to prepare physically and mentally for top performance. The right morning rituals set us on track for a great day, empowered to handle pressure and stress.

Why are rituals important?

We are creatures of habit. What renders our best endeavor ineffective is poor habits or lack of habits all together.

Steven Covey observed, “There are three constants in life; change, choice and principles.” His clarion call is for all who desire true success and meaning in life, “We must be principle-centered in all areas of life.”  This is theme of his best-known book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. (*)

Habits require discipline, a quality that runs contrary to human nature. Habits are cultivated with grit—diligent resolve and sustained effort. Rituals can be effective in creating habits.

A ritual is “a series of action or type of behavior followed regularly and invariably.”  Although rituals are usually thought of as religious ceremony, the idea aptly describes the kind of application required to set us on track for consistently great days.

 

7 Morning Rituals That Set Us on Track for a Great Day

Morning rituals are similar to pre-race warm ups. Their purpose is to ready our body, soul and spirit for a great day—at work and at home.

 

1. a glass of lime water

As soon after arising, drink a glass of lime water. This somewhat unusual ritual is first because its greatest benefits are derived on an empty stomach. 

 

2. prayer and meditation

Prayer is my personal conversation with my Father. Some mornings I have a topic in mind selected from a ‘menu’ of print-outs—personalized Psalms and Scriptures that express my thoughts and feelings. Other mornings I intuitively sense a topic that Father has selected for consideration.

Meditation is mindful reflection. Moments of silence while praying allow my mind to be infused with the Father’s thoughts contained in the Psalm or Scripture selected. Attentive listening allows His ‘still, small voice’ to instruct me.

This ritual is an expression of personal relationship not religious duty. It’s objective is to nurture a sense of connection with the Creator of the Universe. Thus empowered, I am ready for a great day.

 

3. physical exercise

For a working person, time is a premium, especially at the start of a day. The objective of physical exercise as a morning ritual is to awaken the muscles and blood flow. It is not intended to be a workout in the gym!

An effective, time-efficient exercise program is 10BX (10 Basic Exercises for Women) and 5BX (5 Basic Exercises for Men). These daily routines can be completed in 12 minutes with amazing results. Neither require any equipment. 

 

4. breakfast with the family

This may well be the hardest to execute of our morning rituals. To get everyone together in a happy frame of mind around the breakfast table is no easy feat. In fact, for some it is a miracle. Nevertheless, today more than ever we need to war for the unity and well-being of our family.

 

5. high-energy nutrition

Food is the fuel in our tank. Some foods, like whole foods and fruit, are high-octane energy fuel that prime us for a great day. Others, like refined carbohydrates, processed foods and added sugars, are energy-sucking sludge-producing fuels to be avoided. Choosing good food, especially at the start of our day is a vital ritual. Dr. Georgia Ede’s well-balanced approach to health and nutrition issues provides helpful guidelines. 

 

6. coffee or tea

Caffeine is a controversial issue with ‘research’ cited for and against. Moderation and common sense are the key. My morning preference is tea, but I can enjoy a good brew of coffee, too.

Organo Gold is a new coffee that my family has come to enjoy because of the added boost called ganoderma. It’s like adding ‘STP’ to the gasoline in your car. A cup of Organo Gold coffee is especially good at mid-afternoon when you need a pick-me-up. 

 

7. one for the road

Commuting to work can be ‘dead time’ or it can be a final ‘warm up’ ahead of a great day. One of my life coaching clients uses the one-hour drive to work for her private conversation with the Father.

It’s like having Him riding in the passenger seat!” she says.

She also uses the time to establish inner calm using the 5-minute Meditation”, a free app.

This young professional, whose job can be very stressful, has a lot more great days since her morning routine has become her daily ritual.

 

Question: Does your morning routine set you on track for a great day?

 

(*) Disclosure: As an affiliate of Amazon, I receive a commission from purchases made through this website.

 

 

 

 

 

S.M.A.R.T. PRAYING

Written by Les Dahl on June 8th, 2015. Posted in Uncategorized

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Nothing empowers faith like answered prayer. Conversely, nothing erodes faith like hope deferred—when you’ve prayed and prayed but just can’t get a breakthrough. I’ve been in both places.

We are finally experiencing breakthroughs. They come after a very long, dry season in which the heavens seemed like impenetrable brass. Several factors come to mind as I ask, “What changed?” One is that we are praying S.M.A.R.T.-er!

Goals are targets we aim at. They help us see beyond present circumstances and envision results which improve our lot. Goals empower us to convert obstacles into stepping stones that carry us forward toward our desired end.

Certain kinds of praying are like setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. The parallel can help us understand the Apostle Paul’s advice: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

S.M.A.R.T. PRAYING

S – SPECIFIC

One day I sat down and listed on a piece of paper all the things we needed to move out of our frustrating circumstances into greater peace and prosperity. As one thing after another came to mind I added it to my list—not all items were material things. These were not nice-to-have items if we could afford them; these were items we really needed but just couldn’t afford.

Like a new fridge.

Our old one quit on Christmas morning, after 19 years of faithful service. That left us with Rebekah’s small fridge—perfectly adequate for her when she worked at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay, but hardly big enough for a family of 3 adults and 2 growing children!

After every member of the family added items, we huddled around the paper, each stretching a hand to touch the list, and we “let our requests be known to God”, ending with an exuberant “Amen!” Like a basketball team getting ready to get back into the game after a time out.

We posted the list in a spot where we would be reminded daily of our specific prayer targets. Whenever we looked at the items on the list, we expressed thanks to the Almighty for His provision.

M – MEASURABLE

The progress of our faith was clearly measurable because our requests were very specific. If our prayer requests are not specific, how will we know if and when the prayers are answered? We would know our prayer was answered when a brand new fridge stood in the spot left vacant by the defunct one.

We reviewed our list day after day, revising anything that was vague until we had identified exactly what we were praying for. Interestingly, as our targets became more specific and measurable, our faith became more focused and gathered momentum.

A – ACTION

The Apostle James writes, “Faith without action is no faith at all!” (James 2:26 paraphrased) Our faith came alive with action! We went in search of fridges to determine exactly what make, size and price suited our needs. We discussed what we needed to do to position ourselves to receive the Almighty’s answer. We examined our hearts for limiting beliefs and lingering doubt. We took note of Scriptures that strengthened our confidence. Answers to prayer are the result of an active partnership with God. We made sure our part of the deal was covered.

R – RELEVANT

Mountain-moving faith is activated when the target of our prayer is relevant. Relevance is defined by the Kingdom and purposes of God. Jesus taught, “Put God’s Kingdom priorities first, and He will see to it that all your needs are met.” (Matthew 6:33 paraphrased) That does not mean that only big, earth-shaking requests matter. Little things matter to God! A prayer request is relevant when the answer moves the team—in this case, our family—forward and into a better position to bless others.

We were confident that our request and our motivation for a new fridge qualified for His attention, even though it was a mundane, housekeeping matter. We imagined our loving Father would be rather pleased to give us a new fridge, not just any fridge, but the exact one on our list. We had no idea how this would happen—the price was far beyond our present means.

T. TIME RELATED

I used to think, as many do, that we can impose time limits on God. “Lord, we really need a new fridge, and we’re believing for a miracle by the end of January.” That should give Him enough time, we think to ourselves. It doesn’t work that way!

The Almighty is ready and willing to answer our prayers immediately. As our loving Father, however, He uses prayer to mentor us to greatness. Delayed answers signal there adjustments to be made, lessons to be learned and insights to be gleaned. Father has heard our prayer and is ready with His answer, but either we’re not yet ready or we’re not yet in position to receive it. So, like the good Father that He is, the Almighty patiently takes time to prepare us and move us into position. When the time is right, the answer arrives. He, not we, determines the right time. That’s what “waiting on the Lord”. is about.

In May, six months after our request was made, our new fridge arrived. During the wait, we learned how to make do with the small fridge, we learned invaluable lessons about faith and prayer, and we bonded deeply as a family—we truly became a dynamic team in God’s Kingdom!

The money to pay for the fridge came ‘out of the blue’! (God has a delightful sense of humor!) We gave Rebekah’s fridge to friends who needed a new fridge and had been praying for one. We gave the old fridge to a repairman in the neighboring village. He was delighted.

When we pray S.M.A.R.T., we place ourselves in line for amazing answers that benefit not only us, but others as well. The taste of this kind of answered prayer is addictive. Clearly, the Almighty enjoys the prayer journey as much as we; most of the items on our original list are checked off “Answered!”

Shalom!

Source of image – www.mytimemanagement.com/

 

 

My Son, My Daughter

Written by Les Dahl on November 17th, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized

Boy Praying by David Castillo Dominici

adiposity geneva; font-size: 24px;”>My son, ailment my daughter, decease

The plans I have for you

are for your well-being, prosperity and peace,

not for evil.

I have prepared for you

A FUTURE

more magnificent than you can imagine

and A STEADFAST HOPE

that will pull you through

every obstacle along the way.

Call on me,

pray,

I will hear you.

Put your whole heart in it;

you will find me

and I will restore your good fortune.

Your loving Father,

YAHWEH

Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wishful Thinking or Faith?

Written by Les Dahl on October 25th, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized

Prayer by stockimages

 

What is the difference between faith and wishful thinking?

The dictionary defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something”. Wishful thinking is “feeling or expressing strong desire or hope for something not easily attainable”.

The difference?

Complete trust and confidence vs feeling and strong desire.

But, isn’t feeling and strong desire part of faith?

Most certainly!

Sadly, ‘religion’ conditions us to exercise faith devoid of feeling and strong desire. Jesus referred to that when He said, “You worship Me with your lips, but your heart is far from Me”. (Mark 7:6 paraphrased) Our heart is not in it! Neither feeling nor strong feeling is attached.

Another difference. Wishful thinking sees the object of desire as something not easily attainable. Faith sees the same object with complete confidence, even though, in fact, it may be not easily attainable. Faith, however, dispels limiting beliefs lurking in the inner recesses of the heart, replacing them with complete trust.

How do we transition from wishful thinking which leaves us with unfulfilled pipe dreams to faith which moves mountains?

An important key is prophetic act–a simple action that seeds our mind and heart with confidence that grows, as we nurture it, into the manifestation of the very thing for which we hope.

The following story illustrates.

A severe drought held a small town in a stranglehold. Prayers were lifted toward heaven in hope of rain, but the heavens remained brass.

At a meeting of pastors and lay leaders, an elderly saint announced, “Two things prevent the answer to our prayers, faith and unity. We must urge our congregations to believe. United and sincere, our prayers will be answered.”

The elderly pastor proposed a date at which all the believers in the community would gather for united prayer. “I assure you,” he continued, “if we come together in faith and unity, no one will leave that prayer meeting without getting drenched!”

For the next weeks, sermons, Bible studies and prayer meetings throughout the community focussed on faith and unity.

On the designated day, believers from every denomination gathered on the community field for the special prayer meeting. Anxious faces, haggard from the affects of unbearable drought, turned to the podium as the service commenced.

Anticipation mounted as the elderly pastor rose to address the crowd. His eyes slowly scanned the men, women and children standing before him. A hush settled upon the multitude.

The sage’s countenance fell; he shook his head in dismay. “This will never work,” he muttered. “The rain will not come.”

The stunned crowd watched him turn and slowly leave the stage. In shock, the chairman of the meeting questioned, “But brother, don’t you see all are here united in purpose?”

“No,” sighed the seasoned saint, “It is true, they have all come hoping for the rain; but as I survey the crowd, not one has even brought a raincoat.”

A simple prophetic act initiates the process whereby wishful thinking is transformed into faith. Faith is that attitude in which we are “confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 CJB)