“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door…so we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.” The Apostle Paul saw every situation, good or bad, as an opportunity for the message of Christ to go forward. A closed jail door became a door to God’s purposes. Chains became a proof of faith. How do I see the situations of my life? As closed doors or open doors? As part of my purposes or God’s purposes? Let me see all situations through your eyes, O God.
“Hear me, Lord, my plea is just…” The Psalmist is confident the Lord God will answer his prayer (vs. 6) because his prayer does not flow from sin, evil, or violence; rather his prayer comes from a righteousness that follows in the ways of the Lord. Do you think there is prayer that is unjust? How so? Does God hear unjust prayers? Can we confidently pray if we are consciously walking a different way than the way of God? Save us Holy Spirit from faulty religion, presumption, and unjust prayers. Teach us to pray!
“Keep me safe, my God for in you I take refuge.” I’ve been thinking about this simple prayer. Each day many pray for safety for self, family and friends; but it is vastly different from different lips. For some it is just nice words to say in the midst of a wealthy, well supplied life, for many others it is a deep cry for justice, for bread, for God’s intervention in spite of overwhelming odds. What does safety mean for you? Lord Jesus, as I pray for personal safety, let me actively work toward a safe world for all. Amen.
“How long, Lord…How long will you hide your face from me?” Sometimes simple prayers are the best, the most honest, the most desperate for God. In recent weeks, with news stories, social media, and most unsettling events, I find myself quieted before God and crying out with simple prayers. What is your simple prayer today? “Though we do not see You sometimes, cause us to trust in your unfailing love and salvation.”
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry…” Bread is the basic staple of life. Is Jesus the essential, the basic staple of life for you? How is Jesus like bread? What feeds your soul? Are you filled or hungry? – O Bread of Life, feed my deepest hunger.
“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.
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…” God chooses the time. His people come together in one place for His purposes. God’s Spirit empowers. It is so easy for us to want the power of the Spirit for our purposes like Simon (Acts 8:8ff); without a thought for God’s timing and the unity of the body of Christ. How is this a temptation for me? Why is the time and common gathered place essential and prerequisite? Forgive us, Fill us O Lord.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” Often the church focuses on the “gifts of the Spirit” and the abilities to get tasks accomplished with giftedness and excellence over the “fruit of the Spirit” and the character and heart of God’s people. Are the gifts effective outside of the fruit? Why are we tempted in the church to favor gifts? How might this be connected to the original temptation of Adam/Eve? Let the image of Christ himself be formed in me. Amen.
“I am not asking that you take them out of the world, but I ask that you protect them from the evil one.” Jesus prays that his followers will be protected in the world. Do the ministries of the church and we as Christians sometimes favor pulling us away from the world? Are we called to protect ourselves and our family, or is that God’s job? Where do I see myself pulling away from the world? What does Jesus’ prayer call me to today? – Lord Jesus, who prayed for your followers, help us to trust you as we live for you in this world amongst people who need to trust in you. Amen
“For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome, a great King over all the earth.” The Holy Spirit is given to encourage, empower, and embolden the church in its witness to Christ in the world. The Spirit is given to increase the Kingship of God over all the earth. How can we be tempted to take God’s resources to build our own kingdoms rather than His? Is our ministry under the great King? – Forgive us O Lord for building our own kingdoms that give us control; help us to surrender to the true King and Your will and ways. Amen.