The “Fast” Way To God

One of the most difficult spiritual disciplines is fasting. There is a semi-well known TV preacher who starts every year leading his church in a 21-day fast. He claims that’s why his church is thriving and has grown into a mega church. I’m not sure about that but I do know that a biblical fast can be beneficial to the believer. Not necessarily to grow a church congregation, but to grow you spiritually.

Fasting takes incredible discipline. It is not a diet and not something you enter into lightly. This isn’t a weight loss plan but a way to adjust your priority back to God.

The most important part of fasting is your motive. You’d better have a pure motive if you are going to voluntarily go without food. I was taught in the church that fasting was a way to get God’s attention and to change His mind. This isn’t a good plan to get your way. Fasting is getting your attention on God. Too many people get this backwards. You can’t make God do anything even with fasting. Fasting is how you align yourself with God.

Do you have to go without food to do a fast? Some people say they are going to “fast” TV or social media. That really isn’t a biblical fast but those actions are still good things to do. There are, however, different ways to fast. Most think they you have to go totally without food for a specific time. Certainly this is the ideal method of fasting but you can also do a partial fast or do without some of your favorite foods. There is also a “Daniel fast” which Daniel did in the Old Testament where he only ate fruits and vegetables. (Daniel 1:12) I wouldn’t recommend the extreme fast where you go 40 days without food AND water. We aren’t Jesus and it could be detrimental to your health to be that ambitious.

So how long should you fast? The preacher I mentioned earlier traditionally calls for a 21-day fast. That’s a pretty good length of time. Be very careful trying a 40-day fast. That one is pretty brutal. A 3-day fast is pretty reasonable. The type and length of time is between you and God.

That’s another important thing about a fast. It’s personal. Don’t brag about it. You will defeat the whole purpose of fasting if you advertise it to get attention or sympathy. (Matthew 6:17-18) It is important to let your household know of your intentions to fast so they will know why you aren’t eating or the change to your routine.

When you decide to go on a fast, this is when people will come out of nowhere to offer to buy your lunch or your favorite restaurant will have a special on your favorite meal. Once when I was in the middle of a 3-day fast, that was when someone in my house decided it was a good time to bake some chocolate chip cookies. This is why it is one of the most difficult spiritual disciplines.

Now I am not an expert on fasting and definitely not someone who can brag about being good at it. I have had some limited success but I have also failed and have had false starts many times. It isn’t easy and it’s not fun.

Do you HAVE to fast? No. It’s not a commandment or requirement to get to heaven however, it is important and something we all should do.

Here are some tips I have learned about fasting:

  • Don’t jump into a fast. Don’t immediately decide you’re going without food tomorrow. Work your way into it gradually. I suggest starting with one meal and working your way to your goal.
  • Do something else when you normally would eat. Usually this is a good time to pray, read your Bible or meditate on God. Don’t sit and think about being hungry and missing the meal.
  • Allow your body to adjust. You will probably get a headache when you begin your fast. Hang in there. Let your body adjust to the change.
  • Don’t advertise your fast. Bragging about fasting will cancel out your sacrifice.
  • Drink more water. More water intake will help with your headaches and help with the hunger.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you give into food. Regroup yourself mentally and start again.
  • Don’t feel guilty if you have any health issues and can’t physically fast. If you legitimately can’t fast, God understands.
  • Gradually end your fast. Don’t have a buffet right away. Once after I fasted I decided I was have Hardee’s for breakfast. Big mistake. It made me sick.
  • Leave the results to God. Don’t be focused on fasting changing God, let it change you.

If there is one thing I can leave with you is fasting isn’t to change God’s mind, it is to change you and help you to focus on Him. Certainly fasting can produce results but don’t just be consumed with the results. God will honor your sacrifice but He also sees your motives. Fast for the right reasons and when you stomach growls due to lack of food let that be praises going up to God.

Fasting is a fast way to get back to God. If you have lost your focus or need to get a closer relationship with God, fasting will help bring you back.

He’s A Wonderful Life

baby jesusThis time of year you will often hear the religious folks say that “Jesus is the reason for the season” but you wouldn’t think it if you have been out in the world over the last few days.  The stores, the traffic and all of the holiday activity makes that notion a bit hazy.

Now that all the shopping, parties and rushing around is over, we have a day to catch our breath. Take a time out from the world. Some of you are enjoying watching children open their presents while you spend time with you family.  It is a day to reflect and maybe think about this day.

The excitement from watching the results of us buying gifts for others arrives and soon it will be over in a flash after weeks of anticipation.  The gifts that were open under the tree will eventually lose its excitement and our days will find its way back to the routine of our lives.  We are reminded that the gifts aren’t what makes us happy but it is the relationships with the people we care about that last.

In spite of the evidence we see, the birth of Jesus is the reason we have Christmas. No, it isn’t his actual birth date and there has been a lot of pagan rituals mixed in over the years but the birth of Jesus over 2,000 years ago was the most significant birth in the history of the world. Of course today people get so easily offended if you say anything about Him or wish someone a Merry Christmas.

That’s crazy. The birth of Jesus shouldn’t offend anyone. The problem is the people who try to sell Jesus or push their version of Him on people.

You can have a relationship with Jesus without having to be super religious. Sadly too many religious folks give Him a bad rap. Don’t be turned off by the crazies. You don’t have to act weird to have a relationship with Him.  He wants to have a relationship with us.

A relationship with Jesus Christ is the gift that many fail to open but can be the greatest gift of all. I won’t lie to you, your problems won’t be over but it will be different. I can’t possibly convince you with my words, you have to experience it yourself.

My own life has revolved around the church and being taught about Christ. It has just been the past ten years that my relationship with Him has changed and evolved into a more personal experience rather than the emotional cheerleader experience of the previous years. I have found a God that you don’t have to yell and scream (or speak in tongues) at to get His attention.  It has been a gamechanger for me.  I like this version of Jesus much better and He is more like the one I read about in the Bible.  No, my life hasn’t been perfect and I haven’t always done the right thing but life with Christ has been wonderful for me. His grace and mercy has helped me through the many ups and downs and twists and turns in my life.

The birth of Jesus is a gift to us from God.  2 Corinthians 9:15 says “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.”

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Would Jesus Wear A Jesus Tie?

Ever been around someone who is extreme or gung ho about Jesus? Yep, I can see your eyerolling right now.

I have recently been around someone like this and it’s annoying.

I have no problem with someone being excited about their relationship with Jesus but some folks take it a bit too far. Believe me, I have been around people who were the extreme before and would take any conversation and direct it back to talking about the Bible or Jesus. It’s just too much. I have also seen people who get wound up about their Jesus experience and later when they had a situation where God wasn’t as good to them all the time that they flamed out.

There needs to be a proper balance in one’s relationship with Christ. Let’s don’t embarrass Him and make His work even more difficult than it already is. I can tell you that it does more harm than good to be all gung-ho about your Jesus experience.

I worked with a lady once who wore an assortment of Jesus pins, played an audio Bible or preaching in her office all the time and was just all out there about her religion. People would go out of their way to avoid her. She also had a rotten attitude. She was difficult to deal with. Now what good did all those Jesus pins and preaching do?

I was in a meeting recently when I looked across the room to see someone wearing a tie with John 3:16 all over it. Is that really necessary? How is that “witnessing”? It is unbelievable how these folks are clueless as to the effect they are having on others. In their minds, they think it is a “tool” for witnessing to others. They think if they show Jesus or advertise Him in some way that they will come to Him. I hate to tell you but it repels people and having the opposite effect.

The thing that speaks to people isn’t that you wearing Jesus pins or ties. It is how you live. People look at your life, not your Jesus billboards. Let’s just stop this nonsense and just be a good person. Be a person with integrity. Do the right thing and treat others fairly.

I can tell you that I have never been the kind of person that puts Jesus up in people’s face. If you ask me I will tell you but I am not going to slap you in the face with my John 3:16 tie. Jesus doesn’t expect that from us. Yes, He did say to go into all the world and preach the gospel but He never meant for the gospel to be a sideshow. The world needs more people who are decent and have integrity in how they live. They don’t need another Jesus freak.

Many years ago when I was in the Air Force and serving in a remote location we had this guy that was the extreme. If you asked him about the weather he would turn that conversation into something about God. He was quite difficult to be around. You couldn’t carry on a normal conversation with him ever. He also thought it was his job to knock on my door every Sunday to remind me to go to the chapel. One morning I had enough, I answered the door and told him – in a nice way – that I had grown up in church all my life and really didn’t need him reminding me about going to the chapel. I asked him to live in the real world with the rest of us. He stopped knocking on my door but he continued to live life in the heavenly realm. He was the classic example of people who are “too heavenly minded but no Earthly good.”

We are not clones of Jesus walking around here. We are humans and real people with real problems. We need to relate to people, not scare them off. If you are going to wear your Jesus flair, you’d better live the example of what you are advertising.

When Your Day Gets Screwed Up

Yesterday I discovered a screw in our tire. It changed my entire day. I had plans that were altered by a metal screw on the road.

I didn’t fuss at God about it but I was very frustrated and unhappy about the situation. I am human just like everyone else so I didn’t exactly sing a song.

I really didn’t have time to think, I went into action mode. I changed the tire to the temporary spare and took the tire to the nearest tire store. I had more bad news when I was told that the tire could not be repaired and my other three tires also needed to be replaced. I didn’t have $700 in the budget for new tires. It’s not something you enjoy spending money on. Unless you are a car person, buying tires doesn’t exactly spark joy.

In the hours I had to wait, I had a chance to wind down from action mode and settle my anxieties about the whole thing. I had a chance to be thankful even when it screwed up my day. At least the flat tire didn’t leave us stranded somewhere on the road or result in a dangerous blowout. I was thankful that it didn’t happen to my wife either. Although it screwed up my day, the timing worked out in spite of the inconvenience of it.

It is often difficult to deal with the unexpected things that happen to us. Some folks want to immediately get mad at God. God doesn’t do stuff to us. Sometimes we just simply drive over a screw in the road which was dropped by some construction worker. Stuff happens. I don’t think there is anything spiritual about that.

I’m definitely not the model example of how to handle a screwed up day. My mind is always planning so when something unplanned happens, it temporarily throws me until I can adjust to it. It’s not always easy and I wish I handled these times better.

The Bible tells us not to be anxious about things and let God’s peace rule our hearts and minds. Well, that’s a nice thought and so easy to say when you aren’t going through something. You feel a bit scrambled and unsettled. I don’t think I’m ever going to be the person that is so holy that I can keep a calm attitude with my hands in a praying position when crappy things happen. I do think that the peace eventually settles us down.

So maybe the day didn’t go as planned. Perhaps I can learn something from it. It is certain that I can do a better job tapping into that peace.

When your day gets screwed up, remember that God isn’t mad at you. Do what you can to adjust quickly to the change and realize that there are things which we can’t control. That’s just life. We have to remain grateful in the midst of strife and discontent. No, it isn’t easy but it is certain we will have opportunities that will test us.

Which Way Is The Slant?

When I was growing up in the church I would always hear my dad as well as other preachers in our church talk about “rightly dividing the Word of God”. This always meant understanding what the Bible said about a specific subject and not only take just one Bible verse to base an opinion on.

In later years I learned that we weren’t exactly “rightly dividing” anything but more like slanting it in the direction of how we felt about something. One example was our church teaching on wearing jewelry. Throughout most of my life we were taught that the Bible was against the wearing of any jewelry – even wedding rings. However, in the 1990s there was a change in that “understanding” about jewelry. When that happened the crap hit the fan and even caused a split in the organization over it. When the church changed its stance on the jewelry my local pastor at the time refused to accept it and was against it. So you had preachers who would slant the jewelry issue in the way that they felt about it personally – not rightly dividing the Word as they liked to say.

Over the years, I have seen how people will slant their interpretations about what the Bible says about various subjects. People will totally astound you with these opinions they have from divorce and remarriage to the Sabbath. It gets a little crazy. I have known preachers who have been rigid against divorce and condemning people to hell over it but when their child got a divorce they changed their slant and were more “enlightened” about the subject. So does God change? Does the Bible change?

That’s why it is so important that we don’t simply accept every word a preacher or teacher at church tells us without studying it for ourselves. Anyone will slant a subject according to their belief but the only true way to rightly divide the Word is to keep an open – not an empty – mind and balance everything out. God doesn’t expect us not to use our brains. That’s what He gave us to use.

I’ve had people who didn’t agree with me to say that I was being deceived. People who don’t agree with you and will say all kinds of junk to sway you to agree with them. You have to be disciplined and level-headed about knowing what God’s Word is saying to you.

People always use 2 Timothy 2:15 that says “Study to show yourself approved” but they always stop there. It continues by telling us to be approved by God. Not a church or preacher. God is the ultimate approval we seek not the personal slant of others.

You can never just take one Bible verse and make a doctrine or religious rule about it. You have to read all the verses before it and verses after it as well as how it was interpreted from its original language. The customs of the times and the people of the time it was written.

It always amazes me about people who will quote the Bible yet they don’t read the Bible or have any understanding of it. You can’t be an expert about God if you don’t know Him or know what He has written in His book.

We all have our unique experiences, frames of reference and education. We have to be careful how we represent what God has said in His Word. We must work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12) seriously so use caution about so-called experts about the Bible.

Ephesians 4:14 warns us about the slant. We shouldn’t be babies about God’s Word and not be swayed by every teaching or how people can scheme us with their craftiness and deceit in their scheming. No, not everyone is trying to scam us but always consider the source of the teaching. There are some smart and educated people out there teaching God’s Word but having degrees in Theology doesn’t make someone an expert if they don’t have a relationship with God themselves.

Watch out for the slant.

You Are Not A Nobody

It’s easy to get lost in a world of billions of people.

One person.That’s all you and I can be.

There are celebrities and professional athletes that standout in the crowd in our world. Most of us don’t. We are the ones who seem invisible to the world around us. We work our jobs and live our lives hoping we have enough paycheck to pay our bills. It’s a routine that I often get tired of doing.

You and I may have times that we feel that we are nobodies. We aren’t rich and we aren’t famous for anything. Honestly I wonder sometimes how some celebrities became famous.

The good news is that our creator says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) That sounds pretty awesome but what does that mean to us? It means that God knows us intimately and personally. There is nothing about us that He doesn’t know. He even knows how many hairs we have on our head. (Luke 12:7) That can sound pretty unsettling that someone can know us that well.

it’s nice to know weren’t aren’t a nobody. He’s even interested in us talking to Him too. I know there are times when my voice either isn’t heard, not important or drowned out by others but God hears us and He’s interested in the details of our lives.

If you aren’t into God or the Bible, you still aren’t a nobody. Who you are is important. We all have the ability to make the world around us a better place. You don’t have to be the worlds’ definition of being a somebody. We can all make or break someone’s day. Being nice isn’t that difficult but it seems to be in short supply.

We may feel lost at times but we can find our direction. Sometimes we have to find our purpose. We all have a purpose for being here. We don’t have to be a nobody. We can be somebody with a purpose.

Don’t know what your purpose is? There is no need to stress out about it. It will find you. Don’t force it or allow someone to tell you what you should do. I was a bit anxious when I was growing up that I had to be a preacher since my father and grandfather were both preachers in the family. I was even named after my grandfather. I tried it but it didn’t feel right. It wasn’t me. Then I realized that the calling to be a preacher wasn’t something that was hereditary. Believe me – it takes a special type of personality to be a preacher. I realized that I did not possess that personality and did not have that calling. I had to be me. I couldn’t be another Milton Sweat or Billy Hooper.

Don’t let people make you feel like a nobody. People are quick to judge and classify you based on outward things such as your job, money, looks, etc. People can only make you feel like a nobody if you let them. Don’t give them the power to do that. You know you. If they really care about you, they would treat you right. Always remember that people’s opinion of you doesn’t mean they are right.

Let people think what they want. Let them underestimate you. Just be you. You can’t be anybody else. Something you say or do can change make an impact on someone’s life. Look for opportunities to do that today.

I’m Not A Christian…I’m A Believer

believerYes, there is a difference.

I was raised in a church/religious home and was told that we were “Christians”.  Tell someone you are a christian and see what kind of reaction you get.  It isn’t a positive response, especially today.

Many years ago when I went with a fanatical group on an Israel tour of the Holyland, our guide told us that people who believe in Jesus over there don’t referred to themselves as “christians” but “believers” because there is a history of bad things with Christians such as the crusades.   He said they were called believers.  I liked that and I have adopted that change in terminology since then.

Honestly Christians have really given God a serious public relations headache.  My wife and I passed a guy recently who was preaching and condemning anyone who walked by.  Yeah, that’s really getting the job done.  I’m really sick of Christian people embarrassing God and making things more difficult for the rest of us who aren’t the weird, radical fringe.

It’s not about a church either.  Been there done that and had the church flag to prove it.

It’s about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  That’s it.  Either you believe in Him or you don’t.  I’m not going to get in your face and yell at you.  I’m not even going to debate you.  If your mind is set against it then what words could I possibly use to convince you?  Really, unless you have a relationship with Christ, how can you possibly know?  This is something you have to experience.  I can’t open my Bible app and read you the thees and thous and hope that some spooky magical spiritual spell will cause you to turn from your heathen ways.

I was in the weirdness of a church for way too many years.  It wasn’t until I left that I was able to remove all the clutter that separated me from a true personal relationship with God.  It wasn’t in the yelling, tongue-speaking or Bible quoting but in the stillness of God’s presence.  It isn’t some Eastern meditation crap either.  It’s discipline to sit still and actually listen to God.  It’s not about asking a bunch of stuff for Him to do either.  I had to unlearn a lot of things I was taught and a lot of things I thought I knew about God to finally find who He is to me.

I’m a believer.  Pure and simple.  If you don’t like it I’m not going to hate you for it.  This is me and who I am.

Church.  I don’t need it.  Shocking I know.  I spent many years doing the church thing and feeling worse when I left then when I walked in.  I’m done with that feeling and not going back to that.  I’m not saying church isn’t important.  Some people need it.  Whatever folks need to survive I am not going to judge.  Some people need a preacher to stand up behind a pulpit to give their interpretation of the Bible.  I have learned that people will slant it the way they want.  That’s human nature.

I believe that God loved this world so much that He sent His son to die for my sins.  Now I can’t explain everything about God.  How can God have a “son” and how the Holy Ghost is a part of this trinity?  Sometimes you just can’t explain everything.  I save the theological debates for people who are into that kind of thing.   I don’t have a doctorate degree in theology.  My only experience is my own and real life.

You can think what you will about all of this but you haven’t walked in my shoes.  No, I’m not perfect and I have sinned.  We all have.  I have done the stone casting before the stones fell back on me.  Christians have a difficult time admitting that they are wrong.

Maybe I’m splitting hairs here with the definitions of Christian and Believer.  To me there is a difference.   When I Google “Christian vs. Believers” there are a lot of folks out there who score the term “Christians” higher on God’s food chain than “Believers”.  I know the difference.  I have lived it.  I want no part of Christian.

Sorry if I rocked your boat about this.  That’s okay, I believe that Jesus can walk on water to pull you back into the boat.

 

When You Have Been Hurt By The Church

Church is supposed to be a safe place. A positive place. A place where you gather with God’s people. There are some good churches out there but unfortunately there are bad ones that hurt people.

If you’ve been hurt by the church, I feel you. I have felt the pain of being burned by a pastor, church leader or fellow believer. It hurts bad. It’s not a hurt you can easily overcome. I recently drove by a church sign that had the message “If you have been hurt by the church we’re sorry”. It was quite an unexpected message on a church sign but I was impressed by the honesty of it.

Having been hurt by the church myself, one of the most important things I can tell you is not to let it affect your relationship with God. Instead of hindering it, let it motivate you. Now, this isn’t easy. I won’t lie about it. It can be difficult to separate God from the church.

The church is made of people and people aren’t perfect. They can disappoint you. Unfortunately we tend to hold church folks to a higher standard than other people and when they fail us, we are dealt a blow. That blow can defeat us if we aren’t careful.

People can be cruel. Yes, even church people. I have had church people fuss at me for sitting in their pew. At another church I greeted people as they entered. I had to deal with some grumpy ones who would complain about anything and some would even complain to me about the pastor.

One important thing I realized about church people is they don’t really know you. They might think they know you but they don’t and they often have their own ideas about you based on the few hours each week you are at church.

If you are to remain faithful to your church you have to be good at forgiving because you will have to do it a lot. You will also have to have a realistic expectation of others. Realize that people fail and will let you down but don’t let it bring you down with it.

If you finally decide to give it up, it doesn’t mean you have to give up God either. I know this goes against what people will tell you but you can still have a relationship with God and not go to church. How is this possible? Discipline. It takes a lot of self-discipline. You have to be personally committed to your relationship with God. It is a PERSONAL experience.

Pastors and church people will make you feel guilty for not going to church. They will use the verse “forsake not assembling yourselves together” but it isn’t a commandment. It does you no good to force church on yourself out of guilt when you’ve been hurt. You don’t need to add more hurt on top of what you already have endured.

If you need church and you have been hurt by it, take a break or visit other churches. Don’t be afraid of taking time to heal. Being hurt by “God’s people” is not to be taken lightly. God understands and He can heal.

if you’ve been hurt by the church, don’t let it jade you. Don’t cast your net of hurt upon all churches. Focus on your personal relationship with God so that is more important than any church.

If you are in the church, don’t guilt trip people who are hurt. Give them some space. Love those who have been hurt. Don’t do it for the motive of getting them back to church, do it out of love for the person.

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8

WAIT!

waitThat’s a four-letter word.  I don’t like it.  Waiting isn’t an easy thing to do when you see the goal you want to reach.  Being still and patient takes a lot of discipline.  I haven’t always been good a waiting.

So what’s up with waiting?  Is it a game that God plays with us?

Many thoughts go through you mind when you are put on hold. Believe me…I  have been in many holding patterns during my lifetime.  In the end, after that waiting has passed and I look back on it I see why I had to wait.  Instead of doing what I thought should be done I usually see how it was better that God worked it out HIS way instead of mine.  I’m sure He gets a good laugh from my plans.

I still don’t like waiting and I never will.

Psalm 27:14 tells us to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

I can love that verse and quote it all day long unless I’m having to live it.   I have to remind myself of past times of waiting.  I also have to caution myself about making things happen or trying to take matters into my own hands.  Hopefully I have learned how I have either messed up or delayed things longer.   Sometimes you just have to do the hard things to get to the end.

I always quote the Apostle Tom Petty (I’m kidding of course) when he sang “The waiting is the hardest part.”   There is no way to describe the feeling when the wait is over and your answer has come.  In our time of instant communication, instant food and instant conveniences, we are not always capable of having a good attitude when we are forced to wait.

In case you wondered, I am in a position where I am waiting.  My wife and I both are trying to keep positive during this time of waiting.  I may not show it but I have a lot of mental hand wringing going on in my mind about the situation.  It is a situation where I have absolutely no control and all we can do about it is wait.   It’s in these times I try to remind myself of past experiences.  He’s the same God.  We don’t know what He’s doing or why He’s doing it but obviously there is a reason for it.  My feeling right now is that it has to do with timing.  This situation is also dependent upon other people and God isn’t going to force them to do what they don’t want to do.  Pieces have to be moved around and timing is crucial.

You know I would love just to know what’s going on.  I think that’s what makes waiting so hard.  We don’t see what’s going on or how much longer we have to wait.   I suppose that’s why He’s God and I’m not.

I’m sure Job would have liked to know when his suffering was going to end.  I know that Joseph would have liked to know he would eventually be released from prison.  These guys didn’t have the luxury of knowing the whole story like we do now when we read about them in the Bible.  They simply continued trusting God and believing that He would come through for them.

So I wait.  I wonder what will happen next.  Will we reach the goal or will it be changed to something else?  The unknown is scary.  Having no control over the situation makes me anxious but I take heart and only do what I can do.  That’s all we can do when we are waiting.

If you are waiting on something and feeling anxious, hang in there.  Don’t forget to remind yourself of past experiences when God came through for you.  It’s so easy to focus on what we need now and not what God has done before.   What He has done before helps our faith for what we are going through now.

I never like the waiting part but somehow it always works out.

Waiting To Be Remembered

In the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, Joseph found himself in prison after he had been falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife of rape. When the baker and the butler were in the prison Joseph interpreted their dreams. The baker didn’t have a good result but the butler did. When the butler was restored to his position Joseph had asked to be remembered but he was not and he spent another two years in the prison before he was remembered.

I don’t think we can fully comprehend what he went through because we already know the end of the story. Two years is a long time to be forgotten.

I have spent many times in the forgotten place. Those are some of the hardest times of your life. It is difficult when you are waiting. It doesn’t matter how many times you have gone through this it is just as hard the next time. Experience doesn’t make it any easier.

At this time in my life I am waiting. I hope that I will be remembered. I will have to confess that I am have been discouraged. It is difficult being Joseph in the prison. The hardest thing is to refrain from forcing something to happen. Yes, here we go with that dreaded patience word again. I have already established the fact that I am not very good at waiting but I have also learned how important that patience can be from my own experiences.

I have always heard the cliche that “God is good all the time and all the time God is good”. He is and I don’t dispute that one bit; however, that cliche has always sickened me. Yes, God is good but I’m a little less interested in some Christian cheerleader chant during these forgotten times. When it seems that you are forgotten or your prayers have been forgotten you really don’t want to hear a cliche and it certainly doesn’t seem God is good at the time. I know this doesn’t sound very holy like but I’m being honest. Yes, maybe some people can whistle their way through being in the prison but most of us cannot.

It is hard to continue to go each day without an important prayer going unanswered. Each prayer seems empty. The energy dwindles with each word.

This week I was struggling with the discouragement of being forgotten by God. It seemed that nothing was happening. I was honest to God about what I was feeling. I simply asked for a little encouragement. I didn’t need anything big just a little something to give me a lift. Yesterday, Steven Curtis Chapman released his latest music video for the song “Remember to Remember”. The song reminds us to remember that God had been there when we’ve been on the mountaintops and the times we’ve been in the valleys of our lives. That song hit me right where I needed it. I am often amazed how God can work through a song but He does. No, it wasn’t a huge thing but something I needed and something that will push me on. I may still be in my prison of unanswered prayers but I am not forgotten.

If you are like me, we have to hold on and keep the faith. It isn’t always easy but it is always worth it. Always.