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Monthly Archives: September 2017

James 3:13

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 

Dear God, “meekness of wisdom” is a great phrase. Meekness is something that Solomon lost in his wisdom. 

I’ll confess that I often struggle with meekness. In fact, I doubt anyone who knows me would ascribe the word “meek” to me. Even having the audacity to share most of my prayer journals like this one on my blog is not meek. Do I need to perhaps be more meek in my approach? What would that look like given the leadership roles I have in different areas? Who is there in my life who is an example of meekness that I would want to follow?

Father, when I am stressed or going into an intense situation I always sing a little song to my self that I learned (I think at an FCA conference) when I was in high school. I just realized it has the word “meek” in it. I will close this prayer with that song:

Make me a servant, humble and meek

Lord, let me lift up those who are weak

And may the prayer of my heart always be

Make me a servant, make me a servant,

Make me a servant today. 

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen 

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2017 in James

 

Philippians 2:1-4

Philippians 2:1-4 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 

Dear God, I love this exportation from Paul: “…value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” When everyone in a community is doing that then I don’t have to worry about looking out for my own interests because the others will have my back. 

I read a great marriage book about 15 years ago called Sacred Marriage. The subtitle was, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” The author basically took our pursuit of our own happiness through our marriage off of the table and pursued the idea that, even in strife we should submit ourselves to our spouse and let God use the relationship to draw us closer to him. Ultimately, if both spouses are following this philosophy then they will be having their needs met by the other, or the other will encourage their needs being met beyond what they themselves can give. And if one spouse just never submits in that way, outside of things you just can’t live with like emotional/physical abuse and adultery, you can just use that relationship to perfect your own relationship with God. 

Father, make me the husband, family member, boss and friend that I need to be within this spirit. Be glorified through me, but also make me the worshippers of you and the servant of you that you need me to be–for my sake as much as yours. 
In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2017 in Philippians

 

1 Peter 3:8-9

1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 

Dear God, I think it goes in this order: humble, love one another, sympathetic, compassionate, and like-minded. I guess the reason I took the time to put these in order is it struck me as odd that humble is listed last when I think you can’t do any of it without starting with humility. 

When I first saw this admonition to be like-minded I thought of all of the strife in our country now. Relationships on social media have ended over political issues. Divorce rates are high. I have my own issues with different family members where we are not like-minded. I’ve been convinced for years that Satan’s Plan A when it comes to attacking us is through our unity. When Jesus prays for future believers, of all of the things he can pray for, he prays for unity among them. (John 17:20-23

Father, help me to find ways to be like-minded and united with those around me. Let it start with humility on my part. Then let me love others, be sympathetic, and compassionate. And do this so that your love will shine through me and people will be drawn to you. 

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen 

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2017 in 1 Peter

 

Mark 20:22

Matthew 20:22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. 

Dear God, the “My Utmost for His Highest” reading was great today. I don’t always read his commentary when I look at the verse of the day from there, but today I did and I’m glad I did. 

There have been times in my life when I just knew you had made a mistake and now I can look back and see you were doing good things. There are other times when I have been really disappointed in you and felt like you didn’t keep the promises you’ve made and I still haven’t figured out what you are doing. But my faith is in you. 

Father, work all of this together for the good of your will, no matter what it costs me. Of course, I don’t want it to cost me anything. I want to hold onto as much comfort and as mettle stress as possible. But I lay that at your feet and commit to you that no matter what path you have for me to walk I will worship you. 

In Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen 

 

Isaiah 46:4

Isaiah 46:4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. 

Dear God, it feels like the kind of morning where I just need to worship you. It’s not a direct tie, but here is the song that is coming to mind with this passage:

Who can satisfy my soul but you?

Who on earth could comfort me

And love me like you do?

Who could ever be more faithful, true?

I will trust in you, I will trust in you 

My God
There is a Fountain who is a King

Victorious Warrior, and Lord of Everything 

My Rock, my Shelter, my very own

Blessed Redeemer who reigns upon the throne. 

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen 

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2017 in Hymns and Songs, Isaiah

 

Titus 2:2

Titus 2:2 Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.

 

Dear God, first, I’m not sure I’ve ever read this before and considered myself one of the “older men.” I usually identify with the young men in verse six, but I guess we all get older. I’m now realizing that in a church, or even humanity, I am on the older side of the equation. But enough about me and my age.

These instructions are very broad for older men. There are a number of areas in which I should exercise self-control. There are a number of areas to which I need to pay attention so that I can be worthy of respect. And living wisely is about as broad as it gets. But I think that what will drive adherence to these commands is to have a sound faith and couple the faith with love and patience. I need to pursue you. I need to be filled with love and patience for others. But I also need to not let myself be distracted from my highest calling which is to first do all of these things for my wife. She needs to see self control. I need to be worthy of her respect. She needs to see my living wisely. If my faith is sound then it will bless her. And being filled with love and patience for her will be the blessing that you want for her and make her more likely to be filled with love and patience for me.

Father, help me to be the man you need me to be today. I’m going to spend a lot of time with a former mentor who has lived the life of Job more than anyone I’ve ever known. Help me to be what he needs today. Help me to be what my immediate and extended family needs. Most of all, help me to be a good worshiper of you.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Titus

 

Psalm 143:10-11

Psalm 143:10-11

10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
11 For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.

 

Dear God, am I being moody or is your Spirit moving in me? There have been times lately when there is just an unsettledness in my own spirit, and then there are moments like this one when I feel energized and ready to take on the world in your name and power. Why is that?

When I first read this passage, the verse I was supposed to read was verse 10, but the first part of verse 11 is what caught my eye: “For the glory of your name…” That’s what it’s all about. But as I think about the first paragraph I instinctively wrote here, I wonder if the part for me today isn’t the second part of verse 10: “May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” I have important work to do at work. I have important work to do at home. I want to do it in my own power, but I cannot. I need you.

Father, may your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. First, let whatever I do be Spirit generated. I don’t want it to be me doing my work in your name, but I want it to be me doing your work in your name. Second, I ask that the Spirit guide me on a path with firm footing. Let me act selflessly and for your glory’s sake. Finally, draw others to yourself through the life that you live through me.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2017 in Psalms

 

John 4:13-14

13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

 

Dear God,  this was the verse from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest today, and I really liked his commentary. Basically, this thesis was, if the Spirit isn’t flowing out of me then there is something wrong with my relationship with you. It either means that you are flowing in and something within me is keeping it from flowing out, or you are not flowing into me at all.

I had a man in my office yesterday with his mother. He was about my age. I’m guessing his mother was about 25 years older. He needed help from our charitable clinic. He had just had a procedure done that kept him from being able to speak well. It wasn’t a great time to have a conversation with him, but I almost did because I noticed a Nazi tattoo on his forearm. I wanted to ask him about it. I wanted to ask him what it meant and why he chose it. I wanted to ask him if he truly believes in the domination of the white race over the others, and, if so, is it because he is insecure. I wanted to ask him how he felt about so many Hispanic people in our office helping him that day, and if it made him uncomfortable. I wanted to ask him if he had personal friends of different races. Did he realize that people with different skin pigmentation are the same regardless? He was in no condition to have that conversation yesterday, but I hope I have an opportunity to have it with him. I would love for your Spirit to flow out of me for him.

Father, I have a full day ahead of me. I don’t know who all I will meet or see, but I pray that your Spirit will flow non only into me, but also through me to others. I pray that the people I encounter today will get a glimpse of you and be drawn to you. I pray that my life will plant seeds in other lives that will find fertile soil. And I pray that you will plant seeds in my life that will find fertile soil as well. I have not arrived. I don’t have it all figured out. Please help me to stay on the path that leads to your glory.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

John 14:25-26

John 14:25-26 “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Dear God, this thing about the Holy Spirit teaching us is interesting because that sure does depend on our interpretation of whatever He is trying to speak to our hearts. 

I think the frustrating part of practicing my theology is that I KNOW that part of my theology has been influenced by errant teaching that has worked its way into Christendom over the last 2,000 years. The problem is that I don’t know which part is wrong. Then there are the influences that humankind’s “wisdom” has over my theology. To be sure, I’ve changed my mind on some things over the last 30 years. Was it the Holy Spirit who changed my mind, or was it the influence of society? Even in my church life, have I fallen victim to bad teaching at any point along the way?

Holy Spirit, be my counselor. Be my teacher. Find a way through the noise and speak to me in a still small voice. But in those quiet times, protect me from my own thoughts and my own rationale and wisdom. Just because I hear something in my silence doesn’t mean it’s from you. Help me to be discerning and hear only your voice. 

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen 

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2017 in John

 

Ruth 4:13-17

Ruth 4:13-17 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. 

Dear God, I never noticed it before, but after the baby is born it all becomes about Naomi and not Ruth. The women saw this baby as her guardian redeemer. I am guessing it’s because Boaz was now culturally obligated to care for Naomi because of the child. Regardless, the passage let’s us in on a secret that there was no way for any of them to know. Yes, you cared about Naomi and Ruth, but you had a special plan for one of Ruth’s great grandsons. 

This reminds me of a song we used to sing in church. It’s all about you. I don’t know where all this is going or how it all works out, but even in the midst of tragedy your eyes are moving to and fro throughout the earth to strongly support those whose hearts are completely yours. The support might not look like we expect or want, and we might never know what you were doing. But stories like this remind us that there is so much more to anything happening around us than we can see. 

Father, help me to faithfully live my day. Help me to help those who need you and help me to care for those around me. Help me to do it not for myself, but for your glory, your plan, and because it is simply what needs to be done. 

In Jesus’ name I pray, 

Amen 

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2017 in Ruth