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Is Praying for Open Doors the Equivalent of Playing Clue with God?

photo courtesy of nattavut   Lord, if this is your will, I pray you would open the door. And if it’s not, then please shut the door so no man can open it. Have you ever prayed like that? Don’t worry, I’m not going to make fun of you (because then I would by a hypocrite since I just wrote about not making fun of people in my last post). I just want you to think about the whole “open/shut door” prayer strategy and if it’s really the best way He wants to lead you. When we pray, “God will you please open the door” we usually mean, “God if this works out, I’ll know it was you.” Now, I know that fleeces are in the Bible and I don’t think it’s a sin to put a fleece out, but I do think its problematic when our relationship with our Father is overly dependent on open and shut doors. I know many people like the saying, the Lord works in mysterious ways, but let’s remember that God’s ways have been clearly revealed to us in His Word and by His Spirit. He wants us to know His will for our lives, not constantly stuck in some spiritual maze, riddled with open and shut doors. He wants to lead us in a more personal way. Playing Clue with God I’ve probably said the “if you open the door I’ll walk through it” prayer hundreds of times and here is what I’ve learned. A clearly defined open or shut door is rare. Most the time I end up what I call,...

The Serenity Prayer: Acceptance and Courage

The Serenity Prayer goes like this, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. – Unknown I like this prayer. I first heard it in A.A. meetings and quickly memorized it. When people in the 12 step meetings talked about it they would explain the benefits of accepting things we could not change and “living life on life’s terms”. I learned how to accept people, places and things just the way they were. After embracing a lifestyle of acceptance I experienced a degree of peace that I liked. I still struggled with depression, anxiety, a bipolar disorder and drug cravings  but acceptance became the antidote that brought peace in the midst of all these negative things. I experienced a lot of chaos in my life up until the time I got into AA and this new acceptance mentality was a breath of fresh air. I found out I was a drug addict and suffered from an incurable disease called addiction. I could deny it or accept it. I chose the latter. I learned that although I had a disease, there was a way to live clean and sober. I accepted this new way of living because it was better than what I had known up to that point. Goodbye Acceptance. Hello Courage. I parted ways with acceptance after I was introduced to courage. After I was born again I was healed from the mental disorders and from this “incurable” disease of addiction. I then realized that I had choices. I no longer...

Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good…Really?!

A popular cliché in the church is, “don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” I’ve never liked that saying because when I read the Bible I am instructed to “set my mind on things above and not on things on the earth.” We need to intentionally set our gaze on heaven. We don’t need to worry about being too heavenly minded because most of us naturally think about earthly things. Think about it. In the last 24 hours were your thoughts filled with things found in list one or two? List One – Earthly Things: Bills, money, debt, or budgets. Work, tasks, to-do lists, emails, voice-mails, etc. Doing the dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, and dinner plans. List Two – Heavenly Things: The Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The Word of God. Angels, the Throne Room, the reality of Heaven. Some Clichés We Should Just Throw Out I don’t know what you have been thinking about but most of my thoughts were list one type and no one had to remind me to be earthly minded. Some clichés contain truth and would serve us well if we really believed and acted upon them. But this cliché on the other hand, “don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good,” does not encourage us in the truth and we would be better not to obey it. It does not help us accomplish the goal of “on Earth as it is in Heaven” but instead helps us with our “on Earth as it is in Church” busy work. C.S Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most...

Christian Clichés

A cliché is “an expression so often used that its original power has been drained away.” If you spend any amount of time around church you will hear expressions that are unique to Christians, aka,”Christianese.” Phrases like, “what would Jesus do?” or “don’t worry, God is in control,” and the grand daddy of encourager’s, “everything happens for a reason”. Now there is nothing wrong with clichés but there is a problem when we know all the right things to say but lack the power behind those words. When we look at the person of Jesus we don’t see a man who just smiled a lot and spouted catchy sayings like, “I’m Jesus and I love you.” And we never see Him tell a sick person, “I can’t heal you but know that God is in control and everything happens for a reason.” No, this is not who Jesus is. And as disciples of Jesus Christ our lives should to resemble His. If you want to be more than just a nice person who doesn’t do bad things  then this may be the place for you. My heart for this blog is that we can move beyond cliché Christianity and step into the reality of God in our lives. We are not expected to do this alone and that is why we have the Holy Spirit and each other to help. I’m looking forward to meeting my readers so please feel free to leave comments or send me an email. About Josh MonenJosh is a Christian, entrepreneur and writer from Ridgefield, WA. He's married with three kids: ages 4, 2 and...