“God does not enjoy the strength of a horse or man, He is pleased with those who respect him, with those who trust His love.” It is easy to get our eyes on the strength of our resources (the horse) and our own physical, mental and even spiritual abilities. What does it take to refocus our attention on honoring God and trusting in His unfailing love? Where are you tempted to take pleasure in your own strength? – In humility I rely on your strength O God; I will honor You and trust in Your loving-kindness to me. 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.
The Voice of a doubter. “How can I be sure of this?” Zechariah stands in a holy place, in the Presence of God and doubts the word of God in his life. Surely this is the apex of pride and distrust of God. Do you ever doubt the word of God in your life? Why do we seek assurances and what might this reveal about us? How does this story end (Luke 1:20, 67ff). – Father, may I be more inclined toward trust and obedience than my questions and my surety in life. Amen.
“They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” The preaching of the early church brought on resistance and persecution, largely because of the claim that Jesus was alive. What made this a foundational truth for Jesus’ followers? Do we proclaim in Jesus the resurrection of the dead today, or are people more disturbed by other things we are talking about? O Holy Spirit, let our proclamation be faithful to true Christian testimony first and foremost.
“And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” The power of the
resurrected Christ is bringing everything under his control. This has great implications for us body, mind, and spirit. How does Jesus’ resurrection power help me live out faith in my body? Is this transformational power just about the future or is it meant to change my life now too? Transform me by Your power O God!
“Let both of them grow together until the harvest…” Preoccupation of leaders with perfection and “weeding out” those who are not on board with the current vision is
not a healthy approach. The Master is not ambivalent about the problem of weeds; he is patient to see the problem solved later, in a way that benefits the growth of the young wheat. How has my preoccupation with “weeds” hurt my leadership and ministry with the “wheat”? Forgive me, O Father, and help me to wait with You. Amen.
|“He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…” Salvation involves “washing,” “rebirth,” and “renewal,” Christian leaders live with the wonderful truth that both in their own lives and in the lives of those we lead change and transformation is possible. Where do I see God’s renewal in my life these days? Who may I think is beyond hope, that God might transform this New Year? – Save us Lord Jesus: wash, rebirth, renew us by the power of the Holy Spirit this year. Amen|
|MERRY CHRISTMAS! “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son…He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.” Jesus, born, growing, living, loving, dying, trusting in his Father; this is how God speaks. This is how he reveals who he is to those whom he loves. Open our eyes, open our ears, open our hearts; that we may know You perfectly in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.|
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Those who pray this prayer stand with Jesus in Gethsemane knowing that to choose God’s will and live God’s way on earth may not bring about all the results that we anticipate or find easy. We are asking God to supply all we need to be faithful through the circumstances we face, with the hope of God’s full deliverance and redemption of the world. As we live for you in the world, Lord Jesus, grant all that we need to live for you in the world.