John Knox and Prayer

Today is Wednesday (Hump Day), May 2, 2018. Day 21,965.

11 days until Mother’s Day.

Lou Gramm (Foreigner), turns 68 today. He said, “I gave my life to Christ about 1991.” BrainyQuote I remember him singing with John Schlitt on one of the Petra Praise albums, back in the nineties.

The word for today is palindrome, a noun which means, “a word, verse, or sentence or a number that reads the same backward or forward. “Madam I’m Adam.” is one. “A car, a man, a maraca” is another. Obviously, punctuation is not regarded.

The Red Sox lost to the Royals, 7-6, in thirteen innings. Very discouraging. The “best” team is having so much trouble with one of the worst teams. I guess that is typical, though. The Yankees won, so the Sox are two games up in the AL East. They are tied with the D-backs for the best MLB record.

The Rangers had a good outing against Cleveland, beating them 8-6, after Kela gave up a game-tying grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Rangers really need a closer. Unfortunately, pitching has never been high on Jon-boy’s radar. The Rangers remain in last place, eight games behind the Astros.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.
LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 
You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah. 
You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. 
Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us! 
Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? 
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 
Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. 
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. 
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. 
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. 
Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. 
Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. 
Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way. 

Psalm 85

This is a beautiful Psalm, in my opinion. I wish I could hear the music that went with it. “Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.” Then the plea to hear what God will say, because “he will speak peace to his people.” There is the encouragement to “not turn back to folly.” That is always a danger. I experience that danger on a regular basis. Sometimes, I fail. But God always speaks peace to me and restores my soul, just as Psalm 23 describes.

The sheer poetry of verses 10-11 has always been attractive to me. “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.”

I’m running behind, this morning, but I have to share this, nonetheless.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25

In today’s Daily Guideposts, writer Debbie Macomber shares a story about John Knox, the “founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.” On his deathbed, he asked his wife to read Scripture to him. As she read, she noticed that he began to pray out loud, “his voice growing slower and dimmer. Then, as he prayed for those he loved, his spirit slipped from his body and joined Jesus in heaven.” What a testimony!

Like Debbie, I have struggled with prayer, over the years. I have had bouts of strong prayer activity, then stretches where I hardly pray at all. I am shamed by the latter. Sometimes, I write prayers, such as at the end of this daily blog. Lately, I try to have ongoing conversations with God throughout the day.

John Knox was a powerful pray-er, and he died praying. As Debbie says, “This is what I want for my relationship with God, a life of prayer that is so engrained that communication with Him is simply part of my every thought and deed. And when it comes time for me to leave this earth, I want it to be with a prayer on my lips.”

Amen!

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Jeremiah 33:3
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

Father, keep me in prayer. I have begun to reach out for prayer requests again. Lead me to pray more and more for people every day. You brought me into intercession a few years ago. Help me to return to that mode of life and stay in it, to the praise of your glorious grace, and for your great name’s sake!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

He Will Speak Peace To His People

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is rib-tickling, which means, “very amusing; funny or hilarious: a book of rib-tickling stories.

Today is Let It Go Day. I like this one. “Let It Go Day is the perfect occasion to stop wasting your energy on negative feelings from the past and instead focus on building yourself a positive future.” Are you holding on to something that is unhealthy for you? Just let it go. I know . . . it’s not that easy.

We wound up not having Anchor last night. Too many people were pulled in too many different directions. Some were on vacation, and some just couldn’t be there for whatever reasons, and I’m not questioning or judging those reasons. (See yesterday’s reading.) I waited at the host home for ten or fifteen minutes, just to be sure no one was coming, and then headed on back home. The sad thing was that S decided she wanted to come with us, last night.

The Rangers got a win, last night, to split the two game series with the Reds. They are off tonight, and begin a series with the Red Sox tomorrow. I’m not hopeful about the Red Sox winning any of those games. They have lost three consecutive games, and are 3-7 in their last ten. Not sure what’s going on. Last night, they were ahead 6-4 going into the eighth inning, and wound up losing 8-6. They are two games behind the Orioles, now, but the Boo Jays are only a half game behind them.

Today is Thursday, or “pre-Friday.” Not much else to say about it.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.

Psalm 85:8-13

Sometimes, Peterson is so eloquent that I dare not paraphrase his words.

“The great attributes of God (steadfast love, faithfulness, righteousness, peace), thinned by our faint imaginations into bloodless abstractions, are given personal vitality by acts of God: ‘And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory . . . full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).”

“I want, O God, every truth you announce to become an experience in which I am conscious of meeting another in love and touching another in compassion, even as you met and touched so many in Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.”

This is so in line with what I am experiencing in my life, right now. I had an experience yesterday that I must recount. I was getting aggravated at just about everything (big surprise, right?). Then I was getting discouraged about how it seemed that no one at our church cares about prayer. But at some point, I made myself begin to apply the words and teachings that I have been reading over the past couple of months, of Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, and Richard Foster. I began to consider the fact that I am perpetually walking in the presence of Jesus Christ. Well, technically, the Holy Spirit, I realized later, because Jesus Christ is still in bodily form, sitting at the right hand of the Father. Nevertheless, in whatever incarnation you want to consider, I am constantly in the presence of God. He surrounds me.

Sure, I know with my mind that God is always here. I truly believe the words of Scripture on that. But yesterday, I began to make myself experience that presence. Of course, I have experienced God’s presence before. But what if I walk in that daily? What if I make myself remember, every minute of every day, that the presence of God is with me, around me, in me, in the person of the Holy Spirit? I tell you it made a huge difference yesterday! I began to realize that I don’t need to worry about how many people care about prayer. That’s God’s work, not mine! This is why the yoke of Christ is easy!

The aggravations melted away; the discouragement dissipated. I even felt better, physically! He spoke peace to me!

Father, I thank you for speaking peace to me, yesterday! I ask you to speak the same peace to me, today. I need your peace in my life, constantly. I pray for your Holy Spirit to make himself known to me all day today. Let me walk in the knowledge of your presence throughout this day, that I may experience it fully. Let aggravations cease; let discouragement run away. May your steadfast love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace not be thinned by my faint imagination. Sanctify my imagination, so that it can run in the path of your commands.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

I Have No Right to Judge

“All right everyone, line up alphabetically according to your height.” – Casey Stengel
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is tohubohu. Isn’t that a fun word? It means, “chaos; disorder; confusion.” I work in a place that, at times, seems to be overrun with tohubohu.

Tough choice today. Today is Onion Rings Day, but it’s also Chocolate Eclair Day. I present both, today, so you can make your own choice. Normally, I would choose anything with chocolate in it. But, for some reason, today, the onion rings sound better. Yes, even at 6:00 AM.

Not much to mention about yesterday. Work was fine, I felt pretty good, most of the day. We made soup in the crock pot for dinner. The Rangers lost to the Reds, ending their consecutive series win streak (this was a two game series, so they would have had to sweep to keep the streak going . . . #schedulemakerssmokingcrack)

Today is Wednesday. It’s the fourth Wednesday of June, so we have our Anchor prayer gathering tonight, at 7:00 PM. This means we pick something up on the way home, because we don’t have time to cook.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah.
You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger.
Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us!
Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.

Psalm 85:1-7

Time has an effect on “religion. The skeletal structure of obedience becomes arthritic, and the circulatory system of praise becomes sluggish.” The psalmist’s prayer, “Restore us again . . . revive us again,” moves toward keeping the body of Christ “youthful and responsive to every new mercy and grace in God.”

“O God, when my faith gets overladen with dust, blow it clean with the wind of your Spirit. When my habits of obedience get stiff and rusty, anoint them with the oil of your Spirit. Restore the enthusiasm of my first love for you and the alacrity of my first obedience to you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Undeviating Test

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
Matthew 7:2

This is not a popular verse of Scripture. And many people try to twist it to fit their own ideology, so they can cast judgment on groups that they hate. But this statement of Jesus is brutally honest and “an eternal law of God.” It is not retaliation, it is retribution. “If you have been shrewd in finding out the defects in others, remember that will be exactly the measure given to you. Life serves back in the coin you pay.”

Paul takes it even further in Romans 2 when he says that “the one who criticizes another is guilty of the very same thing.” But here, God is not necessarily looking at the act, he is looking at the possibility within us. I am well aware of what kinds of sins and crimes I am capable of. Much worse than what I have actually committed.

Do we truly believe the statements of the Bible? Do we believe that the things we criticize in others, we are guilty of ourselves? “The reason we see hypocrisy and fraud and unreality in others is because they are all in our own hearts.” Yes, they are there. Does it mean I have been guilty of them in actions? Not necessarily, but probably, at some point in my life. But the grace of God has worked in me to hold my flesh back from sin. “Therefore I have no right to judge.”

The real test . . . the “undeviating test . . .” Who among us would stand before God and say, “‘My God, judge me as I have judged my fellow men?’ We have judged our fellow men as sinners; if God should judge us like that we would be in hell.”

Thanks be to God for his marvelous gift!

O, my Father, how I still struggle with this sin! Not as much as I used to, but it still plagues me. While I don’t tend to “hate” groups of people any more, I still struggle with casting judgment on individuals. Father, strike this plague from my heart! Give me the love of Christ for all people. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth! Help me to put the words of Jesus into practice in my life.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Let It Be

Good morning. It is Thursday, July 23, 2015. Pre-Friday.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is omniferous. This is an adjective, meaning, ” Bearing, carrying, or consisting of all things, or many kinds or sorts of things.” An example sentence is given, from a social work book in 1940: “Gradually..the omniferous services of the family agency began to clarify and integrate.”

Today is Gorgeous Grandma Day. Celebrate the Grandma in your life, today! We celebrate Bonnie Bickley!! (Okay, she’s my mother, but she’s Grandma to Rachel and Stephanie!) Today is also Hot Dog Day, and you can get $1 premium hot dogs all day at Sonic! They should give me a free one for that free advertising!

As usual, there isn’t much to write about on Thursday morning. We got home and watered the lawn (only for about two hours, this time), worked on the pool a little bit (we have the Pastoral Assist Team coming over for a pool party Saturday after church), made chili, and watched Major Crimes, along with a little more than half of So You Think You Can Dance.

Tonight is Christi’s Huddle night. I will check the pool again, and hopefully get in a little practice. Rehearsals start up a week from this coming Monday.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today, I’m reading Genesis 11-13, and Ephesians 6. Genesis 11 tells the story of Babel, along with the lineage leading up to Abram. Terah, Abraham’s father, had already begun taking them to Canaan, but they only got as far as Haran, where they settled. In chapter 12, God calls Abram to leave Haran (at the age of 75), to go to “the land that I will show you.” Abram makes his first mistake by taking Lot, his nephew, with him. Later, Abram goes down to Egypt, because there is a famine in Canaan. There, he pretends that Sarai, his wife, is his sister, because he is afraid the Egyptians will kill him and take her, because she is so beautiful. In chapter 13, Abram and Lot separate, because they have grown too much to stay together. Abram gives Lot first choice, and Lot chooses the lush Jordan valley, which happens to include Sodom and Gomorrah.

Ephesians 6 begins with instructions for children and fathers, and then for slaves and masters. Paul continues with the passage on the armor of God and prayer. Then he gives final greetings.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Ephesians 6:16-20

Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.

Psalm 85:9-13

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead . . .
Philippians 3:13

Today’s reading from Daily Guideposts hit me right between the proverbial eyes. Melody Bonnette Swang writes of a lunch outing with her friend Anne. Her friend told her about struggles to let go of “past failures and actions,” saying that they still haunt her.

Melody could relate to that, wondering if remorse for past mistakes and blunders would ever go away.

Anne shared a story that her pastor shared the week before. At Culver Military Academy in Indiana, they have a tradition at graduation. After each graduate shakes hands with the headmaster, they walk through an iron, arched gate. This signifies their departure from Culver into their future. At then end, the gate is closed behind them, symbolizing that it is impossible for them to go backward into their past life. They are “encouraged to close the gate on mistakes and start fresh.” This is a very “tangible way to begin again.”

As the two friends finished their lunch, they promised to work on letting go of past mistakes. As they left the restaurant through a gate, they noticed a sign that said, “Don’t forget to close the gate.”

I can relate to the conversation that these two friends had. As all of us do, I’m sure, I have plenty of regrets in my life. They haunt me, from time to time, mistakes I have made, opportunities missed, and so on. However, I have to remind myself that those mistakes and missed opportunities are also part of the process of my life that has brought me to where I am today. I have a beautiful wife, two marvelous daughters, and a great son-in-law. If I had made one different decision along the way, how would those things be changed today? The thing is, we can’t afford to waste time worrying about, fretting about, what has gone behind us. Look at the verse from Philippians at the top of this reading. “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead . . .” Yes, straining! Because, sometimes, it is very hard work to move forward!

Isaiah 43:18-19 says, Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

As for the regrets, 1 John 3:20 says, . . . for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

Let us have faith in the power of our God, and do everything we can to forget those regrets and strain toward what lies ahead!

Father, I have had many regrets in my life. What if I had made this decision instead of that decision? What if I had obeyed you at that particular time? What if, what if, what if? I cannot afford to live my life in the “what-ifs.” I pray, by the power of your Spirit, that you help me put those behind me and strain, whatever it takes, toward what lies ahead. This, I believe, falls into the realm of trusting in your “future grace,” that phrase that John Piper coined. I don’t know what you have planned for me, but I can rest assured that it will be good, because you are good. Therefore, remind me, daily, wherein my faith lies. Remind me daily that the past is passed and cannot be changed in any way. Yes, there were lessons to be learned, but not for the purpose of rehashing old mistakes over and over again.

Help me to let them go, Lord! Help me to find Sally Forth’s “Let Things Be” tree! 🙂

I pray for this day. May we have safe passage to work and home again. I pray for Christi’s day, that it might be another great day of productivity (thank you for the answered prayer of yesterday)! I pray that Stephanie will have a good day today, and that she will be drawn to think of you and your great love. Rain your grace and mercy down on Rachel and Justin, as they do whatever needs to be done, today. And shower my mother with your grace and protection, in whatever she finds herself doing today.

I pray for the ladies’ Huddle that meets tonight, that they might discover more about you and your work in our lives.

Your grace is sufficient.

When the regrets come flowing in, remember that they are often a tool of our enemy, to distract us from the blessings our Father has for us. Leave those things behind and strain forward to what lies ahead. Let it be.

Philippians 3 13

Grace and peace, friends.

Talking To Ourselves

Good morning. It is Wednesday, July 22, 2015. Hump Day.

Three very good choices for word of the day, today. I chose the one from Merriam-Webster, which is octothorpe. Now, I never knew that this thing had another name. I usually refer to it as a “sharp,” or the number sign. Modern culture knows it as a “hashtag.” The definition for octothorpe is simply, “the symbol #.”

Today is Hammock Day. While the idea of relaxing in a hammock between a couple of nice shade trees sounds really nice, it’s really hot in north central Texas, right now, hitting triple digits daily. Perhaps I’ll wait until October. Octothorpe hot.

Our Huddle gathering was pretty good, last night. I did, however, get just a tad awkward at the end, as politics came up, rather, I believe, by accident. I really don’t enjoy political discussions at all, because I don’t see eye-to-eye with most conservative Christians. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. The bulk of the discussion was about how to lead people to be disciples, or pretty much how to lead people to do anything. The shape used is a square, and there are four levels of leadership. 1. I do, you watch. 2. I do, you help. 3. You do, I help. 4. You do, I watch. That’s really a pretty good process for just about anything.

Christi got her bowling in without hurting herself, which is always good. She did have a point where something almost started hurting, but she tweaked things enough to keep it from happening.

Today is a day that we will have time together, this evening. So we will, hopefully, cook something at home (we’re really into soups, these days), and watch a little TV.

The Rangers beat the Rockies 9-0, last night, while the Red Sox blew a lead and lost to the Astros, 8-3. I hate to give up on the Red Sox so early, but they really don’t seem to have it again, this season. They seem to be firmly nestled in last place. How very disappointing.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today, from my Bible reading plan, I’m reading Psalm 8, Genesis 9-10, and Ephesians 5.

The reading from Heart Aflame is Psalm 85:1-8.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.
LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah.
You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger.
Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us!
Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

It has already been stated that the beginning point of prayer is immersion in God’s Word. “We should not decide how to pray based on the experiences and feelings we want. Instead, we should do everything possible to behold our God as he is, and prayer will follow. The more clearly we grasp who God is, the more our prayer is shaped and determined accordingly.”

Contrast these ideas with most modern books on prayer. Most of them are filled with the human element; what conditions have to be met, promises that must be claimed, and things we must do. If we do not immerse ourselves in Scripture, our prayers will not only be “limited and shallow but also untethered from reality.” We will be responding, “not to the real God but to what we wish God and life to be like.” (Emphasis mine) In fact, if we do not immerse ourselves in Scripture, thereby learning who God is, we will create God as we desire him to be. Modern culture desires a God who is loving and forgiving, but ignores his holiness. This is why Western prayers lack the concept of repentance. This is why popular preachers don’t really preach about sin any more. “Without prayer that answers the God of the Bible, we will only be talking to ourselves.”

Father, I would know who you are, therefore, I read your Word. In the days ahead, I will attempt to do more than just read it, but also meditate upon it, ponder it, digest it. I do not desire to simply be talking to myself, or to some imaginary god that I have trumped up. I desire to be praying to you, the God of the universe, creator of all that is, whom I learned from your Word. Teach me, O God! Teach me who you are, that I might respond to you properly. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name! I desperately need you.

I pray for this day, that we might have safe passage to work and back. I ask that Christi might have a good work day, today, free of anxiety. May she get much accomplished today. I also pray for her confidence to be high, not so much in herself and her ability (which is certainly great), but in you, as well, that you will hold her up as she leans on you and your grace. I pray for your grace and mercy to rain down on Stephanie, teaching your way to her. May you fill the lives of Justin and Rachel with your love, especially as Rachel tries to wind down her Master’s degree studies. And I pray that you would surround my mother with your sweetness today, allowing her to bask in who you are.

Your grace is sufficient.

Let us not be merely talking to ourselves when we pray, or even worse, a “god” whom we have imagined. May we learn who he is and respond to the God of the Bible in true, authentic prayer.

Grace and peace, friends.

Living As God’s Children

Good morning. It is Friday, August 24, 2012. I want to thank everyone who has been praying for Christi. She is doing better this morning. Time seems to be having a good effect on it. She went to the doctor yesterday, and they determined that nothing is broken, so that’s good news. We’re thinking torn tendon or something like that. They ordered an MRI, but it is not scheduled yet. Christi will be “working from home” today, and continuing to rest the hip/leg. She’s up and has taken a shower, and says that it is definitely better. Please continue to pray for quick healing/recovery.


Today is “National Knife Day.” It’s also “National Waffle Day.” I definitely prefer waffles over knives. However, I have seen some really sharp-looking knives.

Sorry. I couldn’t help it.

On this date in 79, Vesuvius erupted, burying Pompeii and Herculaneum, and killing thousands of people. The cities were never rebuilt and largely forgotten until they were discovered in the 18th century.
On this date in 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced to “20 years to life” for the killing of John Lennon. He continues to serve time in Attica.
On this date in 1970, “B-52s conduct heavy raids along the DMZ.” I don’t think they mean these B-52s.

And on this date in 1814, the British set fire to the White House during the War of 1812. President James Madison and Dolly had already fled to safety (with cupcakes), and the troops allegedly sat down to a meal made with leftovers, using the White House dishes and silver “before ransacking the presidential mansion and setting it ablaze.”
I’m not going to mention Paul Anka’s #1 hit “Having My Baby.” Oops. I just mentioned it. Dang.


In other news, Stephanie has a date Saturday night!


Father, I pray that you show me something of yourself this morning that will further strengthen me and help me live this day looking to your grace.


Today, I’m reading Psalm 85. Another psalm of the “sons of Korah,” this one prays for restoration and revival. It is, at least to me, highlighted by these verses:
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
(6-9)

This beautiful poetry closes out the psalm:
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.

It makes me think of this song. By the way…if you’ve never heard Gungor, you need to. They are brilliant!


My Utmost For His Highest
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Matthew 7:9

Many people seem to think of prayer as if God should hear us regardless of our current state of relationship with him. The illustration used is that of a good child asking for a good thing, according to Chambers. I don’t know about the “good child” part, but at least we can say that the relationship between the child and the father is a good relationship. “Never say it is not God’s will to give you what you ask, don’t sit down and faint, but find out the reason, turn up the index.” Are we rightly related to everyone and everything in our lives? “O Lord, I have been irritable and cross, but I do want spiritual blessings.” Well, that’s not going to happen until we get into “the attitude of a good child.”

Chambers asks, “Have I been asking God to give me money for something I want when there is something I have not paid for?” Ouch. Are we asking for liberty when we are withholding it from someone else? Have we forgiven those who have trespassed against us; have we been kind to people; have we been living as God’s children among our friends and relatives?

“Spiritually we are all good at producing fogs.” I love that statement. “If we turn up the index, we will see very clearly what is wrong–that friendship, that debt, that temper of mind. It is no use praying unless we are living as children of God.” This thought puts more pressure on me to live rightly, as I work out this ministry of intercessory prayer.


Father, I thank you for your faithfulness that springs up from the ground and your righteousness that look down from the sky. I praise you for the beautiful songs that are in the Psalms, given to us to read and pray each day. I pray for restoration and revival for you people. I pray that your children in this world can learn peace. I don’t know why we seem to have such a problem with peace and living as peaceful people.

I pray that your righteousness will go before me and make my footsteps a way. Show me your way, dear Lord. I pray that your Spirit will show me each day where I am not living as your child. Direct my path so that my life will not hinder my prayers. These prayers are important. People are depending on me to pray for them (some don’t even know I’m praying for them…), and I desire for my prayers to be unhindered and effective. Therefore, show me when I am failing to live up to your heart’s desires for my life.

I pray for this day, Lord. I pray that Christi will continue to get better, and that the pain will decrease during this day. May her work day go smoothly as she works from home. I pray for my work day, as well, that it would be smooth, as the majority of this week has been. I pray for Stephanie’s day, too, as she prepares for an interesting weekend.


Our living affects our prayers. We must take heed that we are living as God’s children in this world. It is a delicate balance.

Grace and peace, friends.