One of the books I am reading this week is The Story of a Soul; A New Translation of the Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux.
Two passages seemed to catch my eye, and give me pause to think.
First, on page 151: "It seems hard to lend, hoping to receive nothing; it is much easier to give outright, for once we have given anything away, it no longer belongs to us."
The simplicity of this statement really encouraged me. Some of the most bitter relationships I have had, and have heard about over the years have been because of loaning something to someone; this is especially true when it comes to money.
How freeing that can be, to have someone borrow something, and turning it loose, not knowing if it will ever come back again. Instead of wondering when it will come back, and getting agitated over it not coming back.
In my morning devotions, I am reading Growing Spiritually by E. Stanley Jones. He is currently speaking of resentments, and how debilitating they can become for us.
How quickly we may reduce our resentments by simply giving something away rather than "loaning" it. If we can afford to turn it over to the person to begin with perhaps it is better to just give it.
Secondly, on pages 164 and 165 I read: "The power of prayer is certainly wonderful. One might liken it to a queen who always has free access to the king and can obtain everything she asks.
"It is not necessary to read from a book beautiful prayers composed for our particular need before we can be heard."
"I have not the courage to make myself search for wonderful prayers in books; there are so many of them, and it gives me a headache. In any case, each one seems more beautiful than the one before. As I can't say all of them, and do not know which to choose, I just act like a child who can't read; I tell God, quite simply, all that I want to say, and He always understands
"Prayer, for me, is simply a raising of the heart, a simple glance towards Heaven, an expression of love and gratitude in the midst of trial as well as in times of joy; in a word, it is something noble and supernatural expanding my soul, and uniting it to God"
Wow! That says so much to my heart. Scripture tells us that God looks upon the heart and the intents of our thoughts.
The Isaacs' sing a song that simply says: He understands my tears.
"It's hard to believe He still loves me, knowing how wrong I've been.
"When all I can say is "I'm sorry, when all I can feel is my sin.
"He understands when all I can do is cry He feels the hurt that no one can see down inside.
"And when the words get in the way, I know He still hears, for He understands my tears.
"You may not believe that I'm broken, for all you can see is my smile
"Oh, but He hears the heart that's unspoken
and He gives me strength through each trial.
"He understands when all I can do is cry, He feels the hurt that no one can see down inside
"And when the words get in the way, I know He still hears, for He understands my tears."
Prayer is so much more than looking pious, and saying the correct words.
It even goes beyond asking for something I need.
Jesus said, that our Father knows what we need even before we do.
Seems to me, that we spend a lot of time worrying about a lot of things, when what is really important is being in a loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
When this great nation was conceived, the thoughts of our forefathers was the freedom to love and serve God without any restrictions.
In the early years the villages and towns were constructed around the church edifice.
The teacher was generally the preacher, cuz he was the only one in town who had been educated.
In the navy, both ours and England's, the purser, or the person who kept the financial books was generally the parson, cuz he was the only one that had the education, and was trustworthy.
And look at us today, we are so worried about our mortgage, and having the right clothes and furniture, and we blatantly forget, or ignore God altogether.
We hear the fearful cry, that we cannot live in a theocracy. Sadly, living with God as our king, is more life giving than having a king who wants everything we have.
We generally believe that we want to live forever; or at least as long as it is possible.
I don't want to live here forever! I am looking forward to the day I step out of this life and back into heaven, and find loved ones there, and friends I have never known, who are of the same mind.
My baby died in 1967, and I have had a hole in my heart ever since...I am looking forward to seeing her, and holding her again.
The president of the United States, and the king of England, can never give me the peace of mind and heart that God can.
Why should I bow my knee to an earthly leader, when there is One who created me, and longs for me to be with Him for eternity?