Pragmatic Communion

pragmatic living in the presence of God

two minutes with God: 1 Samuel 14:8-10

a Quote:
“Is it possible you have been fleecing your divine moments rather than seizing them? That you’ve said to God, “I’m not doing anything, risking anything, or going anywhere until You give me a sign? Have you chosen to live in safety, comfort and convenience, justifying this lifestyle because God hasn’t called you to a different life? Is your justification for living a low-risk life the absence of a sign to live differently?”
Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment
by Erwin Raphael McManus

my Prayer:
Lord, please help me to remember that striving to step out into a new ministry doesn’t mean I have to abandon my current work. I can use the time you’ve given me more efficiently, I can change what I do with my discretionary time, deciding against the pointless idleness that masquerades as rest and pursuing my passion instead.

Please help me to choose activities during rest that are truly restorative, not mind-numbing and time-sucking.

Please help me say no to the lesser things to make room for the greater things, even when those lesser things seem “good.” Please help me to be a better steward of my time and resources.

Please help me to make wise financial decisions so I can use the revenue from my current work to support my ministry. Lord please illuminate my next step as I navigate the unknown future. Please prompt me to TAKE a step instead of letting my feet grow roots from indecision and fear.

the Word:
Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.”
1 Samuel 14:8-10(NIV)

the lyric.
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
What can stand against?
Our God
by Chris Tomlin


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

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December 7, 2010 Posted by | bible, books, christian living, devotions, music, prayer, two minutes with God | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

two minutes with God: Romans 8:37-39

a Quote:
“. . . somehow he [Paul] had the faith to believe that these “things” – surely not good in themselves – could nevertheless be used by God to accomplish good.

Confidence like that can go a long way towards solving discouragement over a ministry that never quite works out in the way we wish.”
Grace Notes: Daily Readings with a Fellow Pilgrim and
Church: Why Bother?
by Philip Yancey

my Prayer:
Lord, help me to see through your eyes. Through your perspective. I struggle with myopic vision every. single. day. Please help me to see objectively and to remember that you can do anything, without limitation.

Please help me to remember that when you ask me to put my weight against a boulder, it doesn’t mean I’ve failed if I don’t move it even one inch. It may be that Your will is for me to hold it steady, which from my point of view feels and looks like inaction. Please help me to be content in my obedience even when you don’t allow me to see the results of that obedience. Please help me to remember that you can take any offering I bring – no matter how flawed or weak or small – and use it to accomplish your purposes.

the Word:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)

the lyric.
“And this is my prayer in the battle, when triumph is still on it’s way. I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ, so firm on His promise I’ll stand.”
Desert Song
by Hillsong United (Live)


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

two minutes with God: Psalm 103:7-12

a Quote:
“Over the years Moses has learned something so sweet and strange and mysterious that only one word can begin to capture it: grace, God’s free, undeserved gift. He has learned that God loves him despite his failures, with a pure, stubborn, everlasting love. After more than a century of life, Moses has given up trying to figure out what God sees in him. Or sees in the rest of the Hebrews for that matter. He just accepts it and gives thanks.”
The Bible Jesus Read
by Philip Yancey

my Prayer:
Lord, thank you for Your grace. Thank you for showing me a small glimpse of Your unconditional love through the blessing of my children. My gratitude overwhelms me and I’m compelled to respond in the only ways I know how: Through praise and service and faithful stewardship of these and all the undeserved gifts you’ve given me.

Thank you for the joy of praise. Please equip me for Your service and illuminate the next step you want me to take. And please Lord, help me to be consistent as I strive to be a good steward; with my finances, the use of my time and talents, the nurturing of my family and most of all, my relationship with You.

the Word:
He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:7-12 (NIV)

the lyric.
“I know You’ve cast my sin as far as the east is from the west, and I stand before You now as though I’ve never sinned”
East to West
by Casting Crowns


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

November 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

two minutes with God: Proverbs 25:11

a Quote:
“You are a guardian of the human spirit. You have the power to manipulate and coerce if you want to. You can avoid and ignore if you choose. But can also ennoble and inspire. You can lift up and appeal to all that is good and honorable and holy. You can remind fallible and finite people around you that they hold their lives and calling as a sacred trust, that their best efforts matter, that their worst failures will be one day redeemed.”
Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them
by John Ortberg

my Prayer:
Lord, please allow me to deliver messages of truth from you. Please send me to lift up those who are being discouraged and lied to by the enemy. Please use me right where I am to trample those lies. I pray for discernment so that I will be confident in the prompting of your Holy Spirit. Please equip me for this service and bless my intentions by keeping me out of your way. I pray not only for opportunities to deliver your messages, but I pray that I will get the messages right and not contaminate them by my own finite reasoning and self-focused will.

Lord, please bring faith-filled encouragers into my own life when I falter and get confused, sidetracked or paralyzed for fear of taking steps outside your will.

the Word:
The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl.
Proverbs 25:11 (NCV)

the lyric.
“But the voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!” The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory” Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.”
The Voice of Truth
by Casting Crowns


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

November 10, 2010 Posted by | bible, books, christian living, devotions, prayer, professional growth, spiritual growth, two minutes with God | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

two minutes with God: 1 Corinthians 2:1-4

(changing from “one minute” to “two minutes.” A little more realistic.)

a Quote:
“. . . joining the church is supposed to make us automatically god-centered and not self-centered people. Consequently, our modern church is filled with many people who look pure, sound pure, and are inwardly sick of themselves, their weaknesses, their frustration, and the lack of reality around them in church. Our non-Christian friends feel either ‘that bunch of nice untroubled people would never understand my problems’ or the more perceptive pagans who know us socially or professionally feel that we Christians are either grossly protected and ignorant about the human situation or are out-and-out hypocrites who will not confess the sins and weaknesses our pagan friends know intuitively to be universal.

. . . by recognizing that all our efforts and enterprises both in and out of the church are tainted to the core with self-centered desires for recognition, power or social acceptance, we can come to God . . . in honest confession and acceptance of His perception and power . . .
The Taste of New Wine
by Keith Miller

my Prayer: Lord, please help me to be humble and authentic, especially in the church. It would be so easy to only allow part of me to be seen by the members of the body of Christ. To allow the few moments I stand on stage every week and sing praises to you to be seen as defining moments of my relationship with you. It would be so easy to allow people to believe that I am aware of your Holy Spirit much more than I really am. But I know how quickly I forget you – time and time again. I know how many times I come back to you, just in the course of one single day. Please, Lord, help me to remember that the church is filled with people who come seeking and striving, not with people who are “done and saved.”

Please help me to serve you – right where I am. Please help me to encourage your saints through humble service, authentic transparency and an awareness that the people right in front of me need you just as much as the people I encounter outside the church.

the Word:
When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:1-4(NIV)

the lyric.
“Take my voice and pour it out. Let it sing the songs of mercy I have found, for I have nothing, I have nothing without You . . . So all the world will see, that I have nothing without You
Nothing Without You
by Bebo Norman


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

September 29, 2010 Posted by | bible, books, christian living, devotions, prayer, service, two minutes with God | Leave a comment

one minute with God: James 1:19

a Quote:
“It is ironic that we try to impress people by saying clever or funny things, yet nothing binds one human being to another more than the sense that they have been deeply, carefully listened to. It is no accident that we speak of paying attention to people; attention is the most valuable currency we have.”
Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them
by John Ortberg

my Prayer:
Lord, help me to listen today. Help me to SEE people you want me to listen to today. Please help me to turn off the auto-pilot I so often find myself operating in and really look people in the eyes. Bless me with patience and empathy today, Lord. Allow me to be an instrument of your unconditional love and to share it authentically with someone else through my silence, patience and eye contact. Help me to hear the real messages behind the words instead just the words – appropriate words, carefully formulated as an expected or proper response.

Please keep my pride in check and help me to remember that I don’t need to try and control how other people perceive me. Help me to be authentic, knowing that not everyone will respond positively to me today. Instead of trying to make sure I don’t look like a fool in front of anyone today, please help me to be real with people, giving you a chance to show someone else that they are not the only one who’s got problems.

the Word: My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak . . .
James 1:19 (NIV)


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

September 8, 2010 Posted by | bible, books, christian living, devotions, prayer, spiritual growth, two minutes with God | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

one minute with God: Jude 1:20-21

a Quote:
“. . . daily prayer and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?”
from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

my Prayer:
Lord, I don’t ever want to drift away from you. I don’t want to ever forget you. And yet, as I pray this so sincerely, I also know, without a shadow of a doubt, that in the not too distant future, I will forget you for an entire day. I will, out of the blue, probably with no definitive cause, go through an entire day without devoting even one moment of thought to you. So I pray that you won’t let me forget for two days in a row. Because it could lead to three. And then I’m the prodigal. Again.

Thank you for your Word. Thank you for my propensity to journal. Thank you for teaching me how to abide. Please help me to stop rambling on and on during my prayer times and abide MORE. Thank you for my love of reading. Thank you for the writers who draw me closer to you through their vulnerability and frankness. Thank you for your Holy Spirit, moving in me to bring me back into fellowship with you when I’ve forgotten you again.

Thank you for your stubborn love.

the Word: But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
Jude 1:20-21 (The Message)


This was dual published on my main blog: Pragmatic Compendium blog.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | bible, books, christian living, devotions, prayer, spiritual growth, two minutes with God | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

one minute with God: 1 Corinthians 1:10

a Quote:
“Instead, make it your goal to love those who disagree with you. Go for the love, not the win.”

“We don’t always have to agree to get along. Our verse today says, “Let there be real harmony.” In an orchestra, there’s a big difference between unison and harmony. If all the musicians played in unison all the time, the music would get pretty boring. It’s the harmony that creates beauty in music, with different players playing different instruments and different notes, but all under the same direction of one conductor. The goal of each musician is not to play louder than the others or to finish the piece first; the goal is to ‘be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.‘”
from Better Together: What on Earth Are We Here For? Devotional and Journal edited by Rick Warren

my Prayer:
Lord, please help me find harmony with the cranky person I have to work with today. Please bless me with patience and a calm temperament. Please remind me to pause and respond instead of react when he speaks condescendingly and sarcastically. Thank you for the discernment you’ve already given me. Thank you for showing me that source of crankiness has little to do with the work, and more to do with his fear of losing credibility with our mutual client. Please break down our pride – both of us, so that we can work together, bringing the best of both of our capabilities to solve our client’s problem. Regardless of whether he is a Christian, please open his mind and make him receptive to this idea of combining our knowledge openly with the common goal of serving. Please let my freakish love of harmony cross over from my music to my work today.

the Word: I beg of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so that there won’t be splits in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought at purpose.
1 Corinthians 1:10 (LB)


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

August 27, 2010 Posted by | bible, books, christian living, devotions, patience, prayer, spiritual growth, two minutes with God | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

one minute with God: 1 Corinthians 14:22

a Quote:
We want to know what extraordinary deed we can perform for God sometime in the future – the ephemeral “will of God” that we seek to discover. But it is not the big things we want to do with such bravura but the little things we do every day that constitute His true will. God wants us to practice daily obedience. Such obedience requires attentiveness to God in our present circumstances”

“. . . spiritual grown does not require replacing daily tasks with more “spiritual” duties; rather, it depends on changing our attitude about our mundane work.”

“Routine engenders fortitude in the face of difficulty, gratitude to God for the ordinary blessings of life, love for people whom we are serving, joy in doing a job well done.”
The Will of God as a Way of Life: How to Make Every Decision with Peace and Confidence by Jerry Sittser

my Prayer:
Lord, thank you for my ordinary life. Thank you for the routines that, when I pay attention, are evidence of overwhelming blessing. Loading the dishwasher full of dirty dishes is evidence that my family is well fed. Paying the electric bill is evidence that our home is a provision safety and comfort. The hours I spend driving my children around is necessary because I HAVE two wonderful children. When I pick up my husband’s dry cleaning it shows we are thoughtful of one another after 20 years of marriage. All these, and many other mundane, routine tasks are in my day because of your blessings. Thank you.

Please, Lord, as I pray for you to allow me to serve you more in a faith based speaking ministry, please let me spend my days faithfully serving you right where I am NOW. I’m where I am today because you want me here. Please don’t let me miss opportunities to serve you today because I’m focused on something in the future, which may not even be your will for my life.

the Word:
But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Communion blog.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | bible, books, christian living, devotions, gratitude, prayer, two minutes with God | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

one minute with God: Philippians 2:15

a Quote:
“Moral authority is the credibility you earn by walking your talk. It is the relationship other people see between what you say and what you do, between what you claim to be and what you are . . . There is an alignment between conviction and action, belief and behavior . . .

Nothing compensates for moral authority. No amount of communication skills, wealth, accomplishment, education, talent or position can make up for a lack of moral authority. We all know plenty of people who have those qualities but who exercise no influence over us whatsoever. Why? Because there is a contradiction between what they claim to be and what we perceive them to be.” Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision by Andy Stanley

my Prayer:
Lord, please help me to be blameless today. For even one minute of today. Please help me to represent you well. Please help me to be honorable. Help me to be a woman of my word today, Lord. Please fill me with an awareness of your Holy Spirit and remind me include you in every conversation, every action, every thought. If you are with me every minute, I stand a chance of being blameless. I want to be a credible witness for your grace and glory today. I want to be trustworthy. Please help me.

the Word:
. . . so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
Philippians 2:15 (NIV)


This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

August 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment