“Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” For those of you who follow this weekly blog, forgive me. Over the past few months I have needed a Sabbath from all my work. This blog has been weekly for over 5 years now so I hope a short break was not too much of an inconvenience. As I begin again let me draw your minds and hearts to Jesus’ words. Why was Sabbath made for humans? What need does it fill and how does it rest fill it? How’s your weekly Sabbath going these days? Jesus, thank you that beyond rules to follow, you care for our holistic health and thriving; grant us the Sabbath rest we need. Amen.
“But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry…” Jonah’s displeasure turns to anger, a sign of obsessing on his feelings of displeasure. God, loving and patient with everyone we see throughout the entire book, now turns his loving patience toward the displeased and angry prophet. Good news: God loves us even when we are angry. What are you displeased with these days? Is there something that makes you angry with God? What would it take for you to have an honest encounter with God to address it? Lord, reach out to me with your patient love.
“Rachael weeping for her children…because they are no more.” Christians often stand shocked at the evil of this world. Do not be shocked, embedded in the Christmas story itself is a mass murder to satisfy the threatened king’s power, bruised ego or mental illness. It is in the midst of the suffering and the evil of this world that Jesus comes; “God with us” in and through it all. What shocks me? Am I aware of “God with us” in the midst of all circumstances? – Be with us Lord Jesus we pray. Strengthen and comfort all those who grieve…
“‘How can this be,’ Nicodemus asked. ‘You are Israel’s teacher,’ said Jesus, ‘and you do not understand these things?'” Nicodemus had some blind spots, unknowns, and questions. The image of having all the answers can be a mirage in the desert. What things “do you not understand?” Father, I depend on you; Jesus, free me to admit “I do not know everything:” Spirit, grant me wisdom to understand Your ways and movements of grace.
“We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! We go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless…When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world…” How does Paul’s view of Christian leadership line up with current perspectives? What about my leadership? Help us to follow in your way Lord Jesus.
“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.” The word, “refuge,” is defined as “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.” The Psalmist say, God will be that for his people. What pursuers, dangers, or troubles are you facing in your life right now? What would it take to change your troubles into joy? What would it take to get you to sing? What would you sing? Cause me to rejoice and sing O Lord, as you provide safety and shelter in my life. Amen.
“O Lord…in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.” The Psalmist demonstrates an interesting posture in prayer. I, personally, tend to plead my case by trying to do something about it. The Psalmists commits to watch and see what God will do. What is the difference? What are you pleading these days to God? Are you content to watch and trust him? Help me to watch and wait on you O Lord, let me “take refuge in you and rejoice! Amen.
“I will both lie down and sleep in peace…” There is a confidence, a trust, a gladness that comes from the Psalmists relationship with God that transcends what others are doing and saying knowing God allows him to sleep at night. Do you sleep well? Is something particular keeping you awake at night? Father, there is noise, there is threat, there is injustice, there is wickedness; all that upsets me in body, heart, and soul. Help me to trust you fully and know the peace of rest in Christ and his Spirit. Amen.
“Deliverance belongs to the Lord; may your blessing be on your people.” This general blessing upon all God’s people, comes on the tail end of verses 1-7 where the Psalmist seems to get his own needs met. I’ve always heard to pray for others first, but is it possible to be fully concerned about and pray for others, if we are struggling with adversities that leave us drained? Does God invite us to trust him and bring our needs? What need in your life, if met, would free you to bless others? Lord hear my prayer…Lord bless your people. Amen.
“O kings, be wise; be warned O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling kiss his feet…” Psalm 2 is advice to kings and rulers of this world. Though many my think they have power and control over things, God laughs at their misunderstandings and applications of power. What temptation of power appeals to you? Whether parent, employer, teacher, preacher, or any other kind of authority, how does this Psalm call us to humility under God? Teach us O Lord, that all power in given by you for your purposes alone. Amen.