Tag Archives: prayer

Judges 9-11; Psalms 17; Luke 23

“The Israelites were in great distress. Finally, they cried out to the Lord for help, saying, “We have sinned against you because we have abandoned you as our God and have served the images of Baal.” The Lord replied, “Did I not rescue you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites? When they oppressed you, you cried out to me for help, and I rescued you. Yet you have abandoned me and served other gods. So I will not rescue you anymore. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen! Let them rescue you in your hour of distress!” But the Israelites pleaded with the Lord and said,”We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.” Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord. And he was grieved by their misery.” Judges 10:9-16 NLT

What other gods am I following? Sometimes good things can turn into idols if I am not careful.  Before I know it my focus is on them and off of the one who graciously gives them to me.

“As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women.” Luke 23:26-27 NLT

I reflect on the things in my life that have over-shadowed the cross.

“But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.” Luke 23:49 NLT

The women followed Jesus all the way to the cross.  “The more we follow Jesus, the more we fall in love with Him, want to obey Him, experience life with Him, and become a beacon of light to others through Him.  Will following Him be inconvenient? Maybe.  Will it cost us in ways that stretch us? Sometimes.  Does it force us to live life with a less self-centered outlook? Yes.  Does living to follow Jesus at every turn bring joy that we can’t get any other way? Absolutely.  Following Him is the very thing our souls were created to do.  And it is the most daily way to discover our purpose in life.” (Embraced Devotional, Lysa TerKeurst)

“As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed.” Luke 23:55 NLT

They wanted to be near him.

“I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you. I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms 17:4-8 NLT

Dear Father, please forgive me for putting other things before you. Thank you for your grace and mercy. For your presence.  To you be the glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Joshua 18-21; Psalm 15; Luke 18

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:1-8 (ESV)

When God wants to teach us something, he will provide many occasions for us to take what he is teaching us and put it into practice. You can’t miss the subject. It will be in sermons you hear, the devotionals you read, and the verses you are studying in the bible. My lesson for this season is prayer and talking to God about all my concerns. I realized this recently when I had an issue with a neighbor. There was an infringement on the property of this neighbor that was causing me great concern. I fretted, got angry, mumbled to myself, and worried. Week after week the neighbor was not doing anything to correct this issue so I finally wrote to the HOA about it. As soon as I mailed the letter, I felt great conviction but I wasn’t sure why. I spoke with a trusted friend and she said, “I don’t know what else you could have done. I’m sure you prayed about it!” ZING! Therein was the answer. I hadn’t prayed about it! I was trying to fight this battle on my own. The conviction was the Holy Spirit reminding me, once again, that I need to take everything to God.

I thought about how often I take it upon myself to act without consulting God (shared in a previous posting)! I need to be like the widow and constantly take my requests to him. God is going to judge fairly in every situation. I can trust him to either solve my problem or direct me as to how I should take care of it. Perhaps writing a letter to the HOA was not the best solution. Maybe something is going on with the neighbor I know nothing about—but God does! I read through this parable and asked myself, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” about myself. Oh, I have faith for the big things, but the little day-to-day mundane things I don’t think to share with him. I want to have unshakeable faith and that has to include believing he cares about everything.

Two years ago I lost my best friend. We had been through so much together. She was my “go to” person to share my joys and dump my frustrations on. I had one of those days recently when I missed having a “best friend” and cried out to God in prayer. I sensed my answer to be “you need to make Jesus your best friend.” One of my other friends would call that a V-8 bop to the head! I still had a best friend, someone who knows me and loves me, and cares about what kind of day I had. I just didn’t have enough faith to include him. I couldn’t help but remember some words to the old hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus (Joseph M. Scriven, 1855). “Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer!”

Heavenly Father, thank you for never giving up on me. You continue to teach me even when I don’t get it right. I can see how all you want is to have a relationship with me. Jesus, you want to be my best friend. No one knows me better than you, no one else loves me unconditionally. You are sovereign yet accessible. Oh Lord Jesus, when you come, I want you to find many filled with faith! I want others to know you and your goodness. Give me opportunities to share!   In your name I pray, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Numbers 30-33; Psalms 35; Luke 3

“These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord. And these are their journeys according to the starting points: They departed from the Ramesus in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day of the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians” Numbers 33:1-3 NKJV

The Israelites were on their way to the Promised Land.  I imagine Moses writing about their struggles, hardships, faith or lack there of.  “They departed”…What old ways am I still holding onto that could be leaving me stuck? I think about times that I can get complacent. I read over my journal entries and my hope is renewed over God’s faithfulness. Sometimes I have to look back to be able to move forward.

“Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, And stand up for my help. Also draw out the spear, And stop those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” Psalms 35:1-3 NKJV

David cried out to God to make right the wrongs committed against him. Things that could have hindered him, he gave to God instead and found freedom.

“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation. All my bones shall say, “Lord, who is like You, Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?” Psalms 35:9&10 NKJV

As I prepare my heart for Easter, I pray that I would be filled with wonder over what Jesus did for me.

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled. And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight. And the rough places smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Luke 3:4-6 NKJV

Dear Father, thank you for the victory I have in you. I pray for others who don’t know you, to know how much you love them. Enough to die on the cross for their sins. Thank you that you will complete the work you started in me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Numbers 19-21; Colossians 4

She was a mom of three. She devoted herself to home tasks, which later left her feeling helpless after his trespass and abandonment. The home, a prison. Her children, shackles. Outside her window, a perceived freedom of women climbing corporate ladders–she faced having the electricity shut off; broke and broken. It was too much. She felt hopeless.

***

Another woman was recovering during a time that felt like a life sentence. The nurses were wardens and the rules were constricting, restricting punishments. She felt all freedoms had been stripped away. Every day was punctuated by offense, oppression, complaint. The days ticked past. She praised the Lord for what he’d done in the past, but she was unable to praise him in the present for the meal, the care, the provision. She felt trapped, like she was in prison.

***

I was tasked with duties without warning. A lifelong obligation. A tethering, and sometimes too heavy–the bombardment of negativity, of opposition, of uncertainty. I fought against my own complaint, but sometimes, and sometimes often, I still complained. I fought against bitterness, and when I felt its squeeze, I cried out–oh, not this heart, Lord.  I remembered Paul. I thought of his chains.

Remember my chains. (Colossians 4:18b, NLT)

If he could find understanding and purpose in the worst of circumstances, could I find them in mine?

If I let him, could God use my circumstance to speak the Gospel? Could he use this circumstance to demonstrate his glory and goodness and sovereignty? What the enemy uses to break and beat down, could my God use to build upon and make new? Where an enemy declares an end, could God pronounce a beginning?

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (Colossians 4:2-6, NLT)

Nothing is a surprise to my God, however it may surprise me. These things he knew before time. Tasks prepared in advance. Yes. Don’t let me miss it–that sometimes ministry is in the middle of mess and misery. For Paul, he was literally a prisoner in a prison, but for others, it’s circumstance that feels hopeless, punitive, imprisoning, endless.

17 And say to Archippus, “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.” (Colossians 4:17, NLT)

Archippus, did you? Did you carry out the ministry the Lord gave you?

Lord Jesus, you have been with me every step of this journey, and you know how hard it’s been. You know how desperately I begged to quit from the pressure. And whether the job was heaped upon, handed over, appointed–you knew. And you intend(ed) it for my good and your glory. May it be so. Fixing my eyes on you, author and perfecter of faith. You can bring beauty from ashes.

May God’s grace be with you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Leviticus 12-14; Psalm 111; Hebrews 5

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:7-10) NIV

When I am struggling with a problem, why is it prayer is not always the first solution that pops into my head? Depending on the situation, my first reaction might be an emotional outburst of some kind, or a plan of attack for what I am going to do to solve the problem, or I might take the phone a friend option.  Prayer is such a smarter choice!

Jesus example was to go to his father for everything. We are told of the times he got up early in the morning to spend time with God. I believe these verses give us some insight into that special time they shared in prayer.  Out of compassion, he would tearfully cry out for the needs of the people.  He would commune with his father waiting for direction, and then, out of reverent submission, he would go about his day doing only what his father told him to do.

Over the years of my journey with God, I have realized something about prayer. First, it aligns my position with God.  I am recognizing his power and I am giving him control and Lordship over my life.  The second thing is that I am asking him into my situation and I don’t have to try to figure things out alone.  He knows of my struggles and knows the solution.  Having tried to do life on my own for so many years, reaching out to him has eased the burden of fear.  The time we share together in prayer is what fills my soul.

Even knowing this, prayer does not always come naturally to me—yet!  (I am a work in progress.)  There are times when it has to be intentional.  One of the things I’ve been trying to do is praying with someone immediately if they ask for prayer or writing a prayer and sending it in an email or text so they know I followed through.  Then in my quiet time I pray for them again.   There have been some “fervent cries and tears” as God and I have walked through life.  I can’t imagine my life without his presence.

He has paid a full ransom for his people.  He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has! 10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.  All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.  Praise him forever!  (Psalm 111:9-10) NLT

Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for Jesus. He made the way for me to have a relationship with you.  He paid the ransom for me; he rescued me from eternal death.  He is the high priest making intercession on my behalf.  Because of him, my prayers reach you.  The time you spend with me is precious. The lessons you’ve taught me are priceless.  Help me continue to obey you and grow in wisdom.  In Jesus holy name I pray.  Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Exodus 38-40; Hebrews 1

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My wife and I celebrated a little bit earlier in the week.  We attended a Comedy Night sponsored by Focus on the Family.  Leland Klassen is one of my favourite comedians and he did not disappoint.

I still remember the day I gave my heart to Jesus, still one of my favourite memories when it comes to matters of the heart. He promised to be with me always, to never leave me, to guide me and lead me in my life and for His purposes.

Those moments I experienced were usually not as intense as when the children of Israel were crossing the desert, however, His peace was just as reassuring.

 No matter where the people traveled, the Lord was with them. Each day his cloud was over the tent, and each night a fire could be seen in the cloud. – Exodus 40:38   CEV

There is something about giving my heart to Jesus that changed quite a few things in my life – but today I will tell you two of them.

First, there was a change in me from how I viewed life.  I was a mean kid, made my older brother mad and made my younger brother cry.  I was a bully at school. Love has a way of reaching into an angry heart and soothing it.  Jesus gave me eyes like His and I saw things differently and saw the needs of others more clearly.

Secondly, I noticed I was different from others and others noticed I was different than them.  Often people would come up to me and ask me how I stayed happy even when they could see the world against me.  I would gladly tell them of Jesus.

You loved justice
    and hated evil,
and so I, your God,
    have chosen you.
I appointed you
and made you happier
    than any of your friends. – Hebrews 1:9  CEV

It is my prayer today, that as we celebrate with the one we love, that we remember the One who loved us first.  I have found my love for Him is an incredible foundation and reservoir of love for me to give away.

Father, thank you for loving so much and giving so much love that when You asked me to love I had more than enough to give away.  I do thank you so much for my wife.  I love her more than any other person and am so happy that she is part of my life.  Today, as I take a moment to remember the day You became the holder of my heart, my love for You knows no bounds.  How often the English language fails me in expressing my love for You.

Erwin

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Genesis 47-48; Psalm 25; Galatians 3

Joseph has been heavy on my mind–not only because of the readings, I’ve heard his story preached online a lot recently. I consider him, his trials and testing and perseverance in light of a bigger plan.

This weekend marks a year since my father’s death, and a year since my whole world shifted. Joseph likely never imagined the turn of events that one day as he trotted down at his father’s request to check on his brothers at work; I look back in contemplation at a year I never could have imagined.

My focus with Joseph was a list of questions: Did you know your brothers hated you? What were you thinking as they sold you as a slave? What went through your mind when Pharaoh’s wife set you up? And those years in prison–how did you get through each day of wait?

But today, I focus on what God is doing. Certainly, I’ve seen his hand in my own life this past year–even recently, when our dog got loose. She’s been gone several days. I sat on the couch last night under a wave of gratitude for a God who loves me and loves my dog, who has taken a heart-aching situation and used it to open doors to prayers I’d been whispering to connect with others in my community. In the process, he’s sparked a new flame in my heart. He is molding me into someone new.

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust. (Psalm 25:1, NIV)

And this is how I can look back at a hard year, grateful, that his hand has never left mine–in fact, he holds me. He has not forsaken me.

Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? (Galatians 3:4-5, NIV)

Lord, how I’ve learned what little I can control, sometimes not even my own tears. You have taken my head knowledge and moved it into my heart to show me so very personally that you are sovereign and your ways are good. When trials cut deep, you are with me, catching every tear, and working every moment for my good and your glory. Thank you for holding me and my family, and I pray that you’ll bring our dog home to us soon.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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