Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘pray’

Relationship

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. ~~~ Jeremiah 31:31-34

Today’s reading is full of promise – and personal accountability. After the diaspora,  God is going to restore Israel and Judah to the land of Canaan where He planted them in the first place.

This is to be a new covenant, not the same one He made with Abraham, nor the one He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.

This covenant is no longer about ritual and sacrifice. It is about knowing Him. Each person is to have a personal relationship with Him.

They will all know me from the least of them to the greatest.

And He promises forgiveness, no longer remembering their sins. The descendants of Israel will only cease to be a nation in the eyes of the Lord if all the other things He created vanish from His sight. This means He has decreed Israel to be a nation in perpetuity.

The rest of us are wild shoots, grafted onto the cultivated plant. In effect, we are part of Israel and Judah – by God’s grace. Let us never forget the root that nourishes us. Let us remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Father, God,

We thank You for the grace with which you bestow Your blessings upon all those who believe in You. We are grateful for Your sending us Your Son that we might be reconciled to You. And we thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit through Whom we can know You better, more intimately.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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Whosoever

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. ~~ John 3:16-17 (KJV)

Whosoever is the critical word in this passage. It is all encompassing. It excludes no one. It means any one at all.

That includes the child that you cannot seem to control, the co-worker who is undermining your reputation with the boss, the cranky neighbor who threatened to kill your dog if it barks one more time past 9:00 pm.

It also includes those who incite to riot, those who would destroy our society, those who plot against our nation.

For God so loved the world…

All the world, every whosoever in it, good, bad, or indifferent.

God loves them, every one individually. So if we are to be sons and daughters of God, we need to love them as well.

What?! You mean I must love this person I can’t stand to be in the same room with?  How do I do that?

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. ~~ Matthew 5:44-45 (KJV)

See also Luke 6:27-29

Things happen when a believing person prays. They may not be the things we thought would happen, but changes do come about.

The first thing that happens when we pray for someone is that we are changed.We begin to see this person with the eyes of the Father. Any anger and resentment we have against that person diminishes until it disappears.

Whether the person we pray for changes is not our business. Once we pray for that person, the results are in the hands of God.

God is a “whosoever” God. He excludes no one.  Each one excludes himself by disbelief.’

Father, God,

Help us to see all the whosoevers in this world as You see them, through Your eyes of love. Grant that we may pray for them to be wooed back into your family. Give us the grace to rejoice over the prodigal returned.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

 

Giving Thanks

2 Samuel 22:50 (NKJV)
Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.

Psalm 18:49 (NKJV)
Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.

Living in central Kansas, I am accustomed to seeing the hand of the Lord in things of nature. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets begin and end our days. The single petal of a rose exhibits wondrous veining and subtlety as well as exuding exotic fragrance. Myriad shades of green, gold, amber and russet clothe the trees of autumn.

Within 24 hours this week we have had blizzards, tornadoes and earthquakes.  Things are never dull.

Our headlines scream of terror and tragedy perpetrated by an enemy who wishes to subjugate the entire world to a religious extremism.

And yet, we are enjoined:

Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – First Thessalonians 5:16 -18 (NKJV)

Rejoice? When we have an enemy who can strike, serpent-like, from any place at any time. Yes! We rejoice that nothing surprises our God. He is before us, behind us, and around us. This world is not all there is.

Pray? Pray constantly. Brother Lawrence practiced the presence of God, communing with Him constantly no matter what chore occupied his hands. If we are aware of the presence of God with us at all times, there is no terror. God is in control, and we can trust Him with our lives and the lives of those we love.

Give thanks? Yes! We are thankful that nothing surprises our God. He knew our last breath before we took the first one. He is with us, around us, within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. He is our security, our source, our present and our future. We have much for which to be thankful.

Father, God,

Help us to take our eyes off the temporal and put them on the eternal. Grant us the grace to see through seeming tragedy to eternal joy. Fill our hearts and mouths with praise and thanksgiving for You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

Self-control Fruit

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5: 19-23 – NIV)

We seem to live in a society today where the motto is “let it all hang out.”  People’s reactions are immediate and emotional when events are not to their liking. We hear angry voices, and see riots, violence and all manner of unrestrained reaction.

But does all this emotional upheaval accomplish anything?  Looking at the recent riots in Ferguson and Baltimore, one would have to conclude that such activity is mainly counter-productive.

If our actions are mainly emotional reaction to an event or a circumstance, we have little control over either the action or the result.

Controlling our emotional reactions so that we can assess the situation calmly will yield a better result in most cases. Controlling our emotional reactions gives us time to think, to pray, to seek the Father’s will in whatever is going on. Praying is the key. When I say praying, I mean not only telling God about the situation, but listening for His answer to our questions about it. When we are obedient to the Holy Spirit, God is responsible for the outcome.

That is a responsibility I gladly yield to Him.

Father, God,

Helps us to control our emotions when bad things happen. Teach us to listen when we pray, Grant us the gift of obedience when we hear your voice.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

 

Prosper In Captivity

Focus verses: Jeremiah 29:1-24

People love to quote Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” What they forget is that these words were written to the faithful remnant of Judah in captivity.

The Lord has told the people that they will remain captive to Nebuchadnezzar for seventy years. Seventy years! That’s enough time for three generations to die. Grandchildren just born will be old when they are allowed to return to Judah. A ten-year-old boy led into captivity will be an old man of eighty with grandchildren and great-grandchildren before they are allowed to return to Judah.

In the meantime, God has told them to carry on the affairs of life, just as if they were in their homeland. They are to build houses, plant gardens, marry, and multiply. Much the same list of duties that He gave Adam in the original garden.

Oh, and one more thing, they are to seek the peace and prosperity of the city into which they have been exiled. They are to pray to the Lord for the city of their exile because if it prospers, they will prosper also.

If you are a child of God, you know that this earth is not your real home. You are here for a season only. Your real home is eternity. How fitting is this passage to where we are and what we need to do and pray for?

The parallel is clear. We are to carry on the affairs of life under the laws of God. We are to marry and multiply, we are to tend fields and wield His authority. Let us not miss what I consider one of the most important points. We are to pray for this world and the citizens thereof – whether they are Christian or not.

You see, God loves all the children He created. He would that all of them should come to a saving knowledge of His Son and the redemption work of the cross of Calvary.

Father, God,

Help us to see that our exile on earth is similar to the exile of Judah in Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Remind us that this is only a temporary home. Keep us faithful in prayer for this hurting world and ready our hearts to be united with You after our exile is finished.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

David’s Prophesy

Focus verses: Psalm 14

Reading this psalm it feels like David had a crystal ball into our world today. The fool says in his heart “there is no God.”

If there is no God, there is no absolute right or wrong. From this we get situation ethics and tolerance of virtually every perversion in the name of diversity. “It’s not right for me, but it may be right for you.” What balderdash!

There are no more two kinds of right than there are two kinds of straight line. A thing is right or it isn’t. A line is straight or it isn’t.

We try God’s patience with our waffling about right and wrong. In fact, we’ve waffled so long that there is no sense of wrong any more. Our society is in complete moral decline. It will take concentrated repentance and prayer to turn this fatal slide around.

But He has promised that if His people repent and pray, He will hear and will heal the land.

Father, God,

Help us to see Your absolutes with clarity. Give us the humility and heart to repent and pray for our nation.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Since the elections are over, we have a large job ahead. The largest of which is to covenant to pray for our new president-elect.

Please join me in reading the following:

http://fireinmybones.com/index.php?col=110508~10%20Ways%20to%20Pray%20for%20Barack%20Obama

And print it out to pray daily for our new administration, remembering always that God is sovereign, that leaders lead according to His will and pleasure.

We are charged in scripture to pray for our leaders. Christian America cannot fail in this endeavor at this important time in our nation’s history.

Grace and peace to you all.