Gratitude for the Merit of the Age – My Dream on April 26, 14


This dream came to me as a result of my internal (spiritual) goal to choose gratitude over complaint.  I see this effort bearing fruit in my life.
In my dream, I’m visiting Chapman University. I meet the University President, who gives me a tour. I’m telling him about how my Dad worked at the college when I was in 2nd grade. We used to play on campus while waiting for him to get off work. The President shows me around, pointing out all of the improvements made over the years.

It strikes me that countless people were involved in working together to build something wonderful. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for each person who contributed over the years toward making Chapman University what it is today. As the parent of a college student, I realize the magnitude of the blessings conferred on every student by the investments of these predecessors.

I feel that the value of each person’s efforts should be appreciated, from the anonymous groundskeepers and janitors, to the construction workers, and all of the alumni who contributed, from the smallest donation to the largest.

A profound sense of gratitude settles over me. As I wake up I feel the implications of gratitude for all of our predecessors who invested their love and effort, not just in Chapman, but for all institutions, such as my own company, UC Berkeley, Dartmouth, etc., and for all the saints who trod this path before us.

Have you ever noticed?


Complainers are blamers. Complainers don’t take responsibility. It’s always someone else’s fault.

People who step up and take responsibility never complain. They don’t have time to blame anyone. They are too busy fixing things or making things happen.

Playing the blame game is a waste of time. By the time you figure out who to blame a responsible person could have fixed the problem already.

The Paradox of Blessings
Everyone wants to receive blessings. Blessings are the same as wishes on a star, but they come from God. To receive a blessing you have to ask Him first.

God usually says, “OK, take responsibility for . . . this.”
You say, “What? Where’s my blessing?”
Like He didn’t hear you, He repeats, “Take responsibility for . . . this.”

Eventually you say, “Yes,” because He’s God, and your conscience agrees with Him. It’s only after taking responsibility for God’s assignment that you realize, “Hey! I’ve been really blessed by this responsibility.”  (He’s tricky that way.)

Then you feel this awesome gratitude.

So way back in the beginning (Genesis) God gave the first man and woman three awesome blessings.  To be fruitful (mature, responsible and loving sons & daughters). multiply (create wonderful families full of amazing and awesome love), and have dominion over all things on Earth (loving, caring peaceful dominion).

The God does something weird, He asks them to be responsible, not to eat that fruit (before it’s ripe).  But something goes wrong, and they eat that forbidden fruit (before it is ripe).  Suddenly everyone is pointing fingers and blaming each other.  The man, the woman and the serpent.  Instead of the three wonderful blessings, they received three curses.  And humanity has been pointing fingers and blaming each other ever since.

It’s not a failure to communicate, it’s a failure to take responsibility.

Something failed? Someone didn’t take responsibility.

Remember what I said about blaming others being a big waste of time? We have wasted 6,000 years or more on the blame game, and we are still no closer to God’s world of blessings and love than when we started.

God still has those three awesome blessings wrapped up and ready to give to us.  We just have to ask for His blessings, and take responsibility for our lives and for each other.

Stop wasting time on blame.  Ask for your blessings.  Take responsibility.  I dare you.  

God will bless you.

Answered Prayers


Prayer works.

I was getting bored and frustrated with random reading.  There’s too much dystopia in the bookstores these days, don’tcha think. What happens when the lights go out?  Or an asteroid hits the moon? Or the rapture comes and I’m Left Behind?  I get enough dystopia just reading the newspaper every day.

It’s depressing.  Vampires, shmampires. It seems like everyone is trying to write the next The Twilight Series. Yawn.  “What does this have to do with prayer,” you ask? Hold your horses.  I’m getting to that.

I did enjoy Justin Cronin’s The Passage and The Twelve (Book Two of The Passage Trilogy).  It’s quite different from the usual smarmy vampire romance. The characters are interesting and engaging.  Enough interesting things happen and with cliffhangers at the end of every chapter the story keeps rolling along. What will happen in book three I wonder.  (Hurry up Mr. Cronin!)

Now that’s done and I need a new fictional fix.   I’m craving something without vampires for a change.  There’s a certain kind of story that just makes you feel good. Hmmmm.

Here’s my list of feel-good favorites that I turn to when I’m burned out.  Like Mom’s baked macaroni and cheese, they’re comfort food for the brain.
The Hero and the Crown & The Blue Swordby Robin Mckinley.  I can never get enough of these two stories.
Dances With Wolves 
Watership Down
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
Random Harvest, by James Hilton

I found myself standing in front of my bookshelf, looking at this collection.  I wasn’t really in the mood to re-read any of them, but wanted something like them. I prayed a little prayer and it trickled up to heaven. I prayed quietly, so silently that I almost didn’t hear it myself, feeling guilty that I wasn’t praying for something more providential, like ending world hunger, or for an end to human trafficking. (That’s whole ‘nother post.)

Somebody upstairs must have been listening. (Maybe Saint Catherine of Alexandria, patron saint of libraries?)  While browsing the online audio book collection of my local I found an available copy of The Hollow Hills (Book 2 of The Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart).

After a quick download on the Overdrive Media Player app, I started listening to it on my commute.  I could tell right away that this would be another of those feel-good favorites. But I really hate to start a series in the middle (pesky spoilers).  Book 1, The Crystal Cave, was not on audio.  Eager to start at the beginning, I checked out a really beat up first edition (1970) hardback from the library.

Yep, it’s an answer to prayer. It’s not even Christmas yet, and God has given me a personalized gift of love, a new book by a new author, custom made for me.

In my devotional this morning I read,
“Without God’s love, there is no way to establish [a foundation for a true family]. Without God’s love, there is no way for us to fulfill the purpose for which we were created. Love is truly the source and wellspring of our life and happiness.”Exposition of the Divine Principle

I have received many answers to prayer over the years. They are usually related to work or mission.  More like a, “Let’s get this job done,” kind of answer (James 2:18); a soldier’s marching orders.  But this answer was special, because it was purely unconditional, from God’s heart of love to my heart.

I want to abide in Your heart of love always,
To be inundated, overcome,
Swept away by that sweet love.
No agenda,
Just Your loving presence.
With every beat of my heart,
Every breath I take.
Every day fresh and new.
Every morning amidst the sparkling dew.
Soak my feet with Your love as I walk barefoot in the grass.
Freshen me and breathe me in,
as I breathe You in
to dwell in the altar of my heart.

Review: The Hidden Hand of God – Remarkable Answered Prayers


The Hidden Hand of God I just finished reading a wonderful book, The Hidden Hand of God – a selection of true stories of prayers answered from Guideposts Magazine. Reading through these stories takes me back thirty seven years to the summer I discovered the real Jesus. I’d been sick that summer and was recovering at the home of an elderly church lady who had been a lifelong subscriber to Guideposts Magazine. While I was recovering, my heavenly prescription was to read one whole issue of Guideposts, one chapter of the New Testament and pray before going to sleep. Many of the stories in this book seemed familiar to me. It is very encouraging and inspiring to read these stories. That summer these stories taught me to hope that my Heaveny Father would also listen to my prayers and answer them. Reading them now they remind me of the many personal experiences I have had over the years of answered prayers. What do you think? Does God answer prayers? Has He answered any of your prayers? Post a comment with your stories or questions.

Praying for Your Enemies


In Matt 5:43-48, Jesus commands us to pray for our enemies.

Love for Enemies
Matt 5:43 (NIV Thinline Bible) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

When you read daily Christian devotionals, they tend to encourage prayer for people who need or deserve prayer, like cancer patients, their doctors, disabled people, stressed out soccer moms or people facing bankruptcy.

Isn’t that like praying for “those who love you”? It is easy to pray for people we love, family, friends, people suffering, homeless or facing difficulty. It feels good to pray for those we love. It grows our hearts in a warm and fuzzy way.

Praying for people like this is surely commendable and we shouldn’t stop. Please don’t stop. If you haven’t started praying, this is a good place to start.

But if we want to take our prayer life to a new level, we should try to pray for our “enemies”. (There is no ‘try’. -Yoda)

It feels counter-intuitive to pray for your enemies. When I first started to pray for “enemies” I gravitated toward more sympathetic, disadvantaged or unjustly treated enemies.

Pray for telemarketers, bill collectors or that insane person who cut you off in traffic this morning. Don’t you think that they might need prayers? I’m sure that telemarketers and bill collectors would appreciate a prayer or two thrown their way. And that wacko driver, there must be a reason that God loves them and wants us to pray for them too.

How do you feel about praying for serious enemies who really need prayers, like suicide bombers or terrorists? Should we pray for them? Or would Jesus have us draw the line there? What do you think?

Do you pray for your enemies?  Who do you pray for?  What do you pray will happen to them or for them?  Post a comment and let me know what you think.  Thanks!

ESV Study Bible [Kindle Edition]
Vemma – Vitamins, Essential Minerals, Mangosteen & Aloe
My Utmost for His Highest – (DELUXE CHRISTIAN CLASSICS)
Praying Dangerously: Daring Prayers for Meaningful Faith
Adventures in Prayer (This is one of my favorite books on prayer!)