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Do You Pray All The Time?

Thursday, April 13, 2017 by Ron Carlson

Brother in Christ,

Do you pray all the time?

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB)

Over the years 1 Thessaonians 5:17 has been one of the most challenging verses in the Bible. I used to wonder how in the world such a thing was possible. In our busy culture, how can you and I really pray all the time.

Part of the stumbling block for me was having to undo my preconceived notions of what prayer is. Growing up, I witnessed prayer demonstrated in a very formal way. In church, we would join our pastor reading liturgical prayers. At home, we said our traditional mealtime prayers together. At night, we would say the Lord’s Prayer together. These were all wonderful and appreciated demonstrations of prayer to me.As I grew older and developed a more personal prayer life, I also learned about getting alone in a quiet place to talk with God. Again, that was another beneficial aspect of prayer, but like the formal prayers, neither discipline was something I could do without ceasing. Sooner or later I had to get up and get on with my day. So, that still left me wondering how to live out this verse.

“Pray continually.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV)

Over the last several years, the Lord, in His great mercy, has shown me how this verse can be lived out. I call it real-time prayer. What do I mean by that? The Lord is teaching me to talk with Him all the time, in all my everyday endeavors. In other words, to pray without ceasing is to talk with Him about what is happening all the time at that time. It’s anything but formal, but it’s a life changer.

For example, “I’m about to meet this man, Lord. I have a tough time knowing what to say to him. What is going on with him right now? Give me your wisdom on how to relate to him." On the best days, I’m asking the Lord about each decision and encounter.  On my not so good days, I don’t invite Him along at all. It’s a learning process, but what a joy it is to know our God wants to be asked into each moment of each day.

My wife will tell you some of the best prayer revelations she’s ever had have come with her eyes open while she’s driving. In a very real way, God has opened her eyes at times like that, as Lin learns to pray without ceasing.

Our God wants you to talk with Him. Not just formally, not just when you are alone, but He wants you to discover the joy of learning how to….

“Pray all the time.” (1 Thess 5:17  The Message)

It’s one of the great ways our loving God wants to get to know you and have you get to know Him…in real time.

Ron

Is Your Marriage Perfect?

Thursday, June 22, 2017 by Ron Carlson


The struggle is a common one. A spouse sees the shortcomings, personality flaws, and unmet expectations in their mate and decides this can’t be the person God intended for them. So, they decide to hunt for a perfect match. A friend did just that, but after being remarried said, “All I did was trade one set of problems for another.” Even those of us who have a godly loving spouse will tell you since two imperfect people that are involved, there’s no such thing as a perfect match. So, where’s the encouraging, inspirational, and uplifting message in all this? For starters, Jesus will reward the ones who love, even when they aren’t loved back in a way they’d like.

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Do You Know Where You Belong?

Thursday, June 15, 2017 by Ron Carlson

There’s been a lot of news coverage and controversy over who should be allowed to stay in this country. With this turmoil has come fear and confusion. Those who don’t possess the proper proof of citizenship can be told they don’t belong and quickly sent away. Even though we may be legal citizens of this country, as followers of Jesus we, also, can feel we don’t belong. Maybe that's how we should feel.

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Have You Ever Been Unreachable?

Thursday, June 8, 2017 by Ron Carlson

My cell phone went dead this morning. As I was texting someone my screen just went black. I pressed buttons, plugged in the charger, pressed more buttons and finally realized I was just going to have to accept it. For now, I was unreachable. It was an uneasy feeling. What if someone needed to reach me? What if people were sending me texts and wondering why I wasn’t responding? I hustled off to my cell phone provider to get this fixed. But to add to my frustration, when I arrived at 9:00 am, the store was closed. It didn’t open until 10:00 am…HOW COULD THEY NOT OPEN UNTIL 10:00 am? While I waited impatiently for the open sign to turn on, the thought came to me…have I ever felt God was unreachable?

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Are You A Criticizer?

Thursday, June 1, 2017 by Ron Carlson

I was sitting around with some fellow soccer players the other night and started paying attention to the ratio of positive versus negative comments about other people. It didn’t seem to matter whose name came up, the words said about them were easily 90 percent critical. It made me wonder, what’s my ratio of positive to negative statements about others. Do I tend to focus on other people’s positive attributes or their shortcomings? And if I focus on their shortcomings, do I justify it by thinking, I’m just being a truthful observer?

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How Do You Define Courage?

Thursday, May 25, 2017 by Ron Carlson

Here’s a definition of the word…” the ability to do something that frightens one.”

We saw a prime example of courage at our recent men’s retreat. During one of our gatherings a man from our church told more than 180 guys about his decades long struggle with sexual addiction. He talked about how it started in middle school and continued to build to the point of damaging his self-worth and his relationship with his wife. He was fighting a private war, but he knew it wasn’t a secret to God.

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What Do You Think About Yourself?

Friday, May 12, 2017 by Ron Carlson

Chances are you don’t need critics to tell you, you don’t measure up. Certainly, others have some influence about your thoughts of self. In fact, your self-esteem may have suffered severely from verbal abuse by a person of influence in your life. For the most part though, our self-talk takes precedence as chief evaluator and that voice can be harsh. We need to be careful here because our living God says our thoughts about ourselves determine our feelings and those feelings end up determining how we act.

 

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What Type Of Man Are You Going To Be Today?

Thursday, May 4, 2017 by Ron Carlson

You and I are boys by birth, but we have to choose to become a man. Dr. Joe Martin believes we can choose one of five options.

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Are You A Thank You Type?

Thursday, April 27, 2017 by Ron Carlson

If your parents were like mine, you grew up learning the importance of saying thank you. With that as part of my upbringing though, I’ve noticed my reaction is on the judgmental side when my wife or I do something for someone and they say…absolutely nothing. Okay, it’s a prideful thing I know, but it still irritates me. Is it really that hard to say “thank you?”

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How Do You Treat A Person Experiencing Disability?

Thursday, April 20, 2017 by Ron Carlson

This week our staff attended a disability/inclusion training facilitated by two of our church members. One of them experiences blindness, the other is a mother of a child who experiences Down syndrome. They did a wonderful job explaining what it’s like to attend church. While these two are working through the challenges, they told us many others feel they can’t worship at church. These families experiencing disability either feel too embarrassed or unaccepted. It’s a sad but common reality. Yet these are people Jesus calls us to serve and love.

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Do You Pray All The Time?

Thursday, April 13, 2017 by Ron Carlson

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB)

Over the years 1 Thessaonians 5:17 has been one of the most challenging verses in the Bible. I used to wonder how in the world such a thing was possible. In our busy culture, how can you and I really pray all the time.

Read More »



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