Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Childhood Friend Goes To God

     When I was a child, my best friend was a girl who lived across the street from me.  I can still remember the endless days Janet and I spent together in childhood games.  We rode our bikes, jumped on pogo sticks, and climbed trees together.  As we aged and became young adults, we remained friends and consulted with each other as we prepared for adulthood.  Although she was a year younger, I always respected her for her wisdom as well as her loving heart and I always felt honored to call her a friend.
     As time and circumstance would have it, Janet and I drifted apart and sadly it has been almost 45 years since I last saw her.  She became a teacher for young children and was loved by one and all.  From what I hear now, she never lost that beautiful heart of hers.  She entered her retirement less than a year ago and spent most of her time showing that heart to all those around her.  Sadly, four days ago on the 16th of March, that heart gave out and she left this world.  My greatest regret is the space and time that came between us but I am consoled by the fact that she was a wonderful person who no doubt will now be in God's house for all of eternity.  I will see her again and I expect to shed tears of joy at that reunion.  Until then my dear friend Janet, I will miss you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Preparing Yourself to Hear God

     So often when I talk to people, they tell me they listen and listen for God's answers to their prayers but never hear His answer.  I, too, have been in the same situation and wondered why He was not answering which often led to concern, fear, and even doubt.  Then came a day of revelation when God made me realize what I was doing wrong. I was listening but I was not hearing.  I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting in God's answers to me.  Maybe I was expecting a booming voice in the eastern sky, a trance like effect and His voice clear in my own head, or immediate understanding of what His answer was.  What I have learned is very different from what I expected. 
     Most people pray the hardest and the most fervently when they are distraught because of a problem in their  lives.  The very stress they feel often clouds or blocks their ability to discern Gods presence, love, and answers.  It's best to start with acknowledging His presence and using that very presence to clear your mind and make yourself accepting of His will.  Put the what I call "high speech" behind you and talk to Him with your heart in your every day language.  When I see a friend I have not seen in a good while, I don't say to him "It is good to see thee my brethren.  Thou hast been separate from me for too long".  I usually say something more like "Hey buddy.  Man it's good to see ya".  While I do praise God with reverence, when it gets into the actual meat of the prayer, I talk to Him as if He is not only my Heavenly Father but also my friend.  Doing so allows me to relax and talk to Him openly and unabashedly with my heart.  Once you relax and open your heart to pray, it is also much more open to hear. 
     While you are praying, also concentrate on your given situation or problem.  Try to think for yourself (although it may be less for yourself than you might think) what steps you might take to solve your dilemma. Ask God and yourself "What is the right thing to do?"  Don't stop until you can completely grasp the action you must take that you truly believe is the right thing, the right road, the right action.  Once you decide on the right action to be taken, you will feel some relief from your stress.  Guess what!  God just answered your prayer.
     Is all this true all the time.  Of course not.  Too often we let our own egos talk and decide for us rather than God.  The trick here is to take action but at the same time, keep God in the forefront of your mind and be accepting of the fact that He may alter your path at any given time.  Be open to that in the event you may have erred in your discernment.  As long as you keep you heart, mind, and soul focused on Him and His guidance, as well as doing that which you believe to be right, He will guide you and show you the true path.  You will be ready and able to hear Him.