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Monthly Archives: October 2017

1 Peter 5:8-9

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.1 Peter 5:8-9

Dear God, it is hard to stay alert. It is hard to think about the things I cannot see. I have a hard enough time just trying to decipher a current situation and what you might be doing through it, but to add on top of it the idea of being continually alert feels almost impossible. 
But that is where your power and Holy Spirit come in, I suppose. That is where community and relationship come in. It is truly not good for man to be alone. I’m learning that more and more. For those who live completely alone…well, I can see that if I were alone and isolated I wouldn’t make nearly as good of decisions as I would with a spouse or roommate/ friend helping me go through life. 
Father, help me to stay continually alert, and help my friends and family who are alone to be in rich community. Love them. Honor them. Give them a vision for their own lives. Guide them through friends, pastors, and family members. Strongly support them. 
In Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen 

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2017 in 1 Peter

 

Ephesians 2:8-10

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.Ephesians 2:8-10 

Dear God, honestly, I’m not sure I have any deep and meaningful thoughts about this passage except to say that Paul is right. I have nothing to boast about, and I totally would boast about how “good” I am if I were given the chance. At least, I would have when I was younger, but now, as someone with a little more life experience and some trials/failures under my belt, I am keenly aware that I have nothing about which I can boast myself. 
One of the things that ends up happening a lot is that I actually have the kind of job where I get a lot more credit for being “good” than o deserve. First, I’m doing what you’ve given me to do, but most importantly, I am a small part of what gets done. Staff, volunteers and donors do much more than I do. Yet, at church yesterday someone kept telling me what good work I do. He was kind, and I just said thank you, but it does get awkward sometimes. 
Father, teach me to point others to you. Be glorified through me. Help me to not only be humble, but vulnerable as well so that others can see something in my weakness that resonates with themselves and gives them hope and encouragement. 
In Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen 

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2017 in Ephesians

 

1 Peter 1:22-25

You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.1 Peter 1:22-25

Dear God, yesterday, I talked about the different ways your word is communicated to us. So how do I communicate that word to others around me?
I was telling a friend yesterday about some people experiencing difficult times who had come across my path recently and how we can tend to build lives that are insulated from seeing others’ pain, and he asked me a convicting question: Did you offer to pray with them? The answer was worse than my response. My response was, “No.” but the real answer is, “Not only did I not offer to pray with them, but I also didn’t pray for them later.” So I didn’t do much to spread your word to them that day. 
Father, there is so much I miss. I’m distracted. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed. I’m sorry for that. So I pray right now for the three women about whom I spoke with my friend. I pray for the people with whom I will come into contact today. Spread your peace and healing into their lives. Share the Good News with them through me. Make me your humble representative. Use me how you will. 
In Jesus’s name I pray,
Amen 

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2017 in 1 Peter

 

Hebrews 4:12-13

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.Hebrews 4:12-13
Dear God, while I think “word of God” CAN refer to Scripture, I think to limit its definition to that in this passage would be to miss the breadth of your power and how you interact with us. What I read in this passage is the ways the Holy Spirit convicts us. 
So what are the ways that you use to reach us? Well, they are limitless, really: Scripture; sermons; reading books, essays, articles, etc.; friends; dreams; and, of course, that still small voice–“What are you doing here, John?” (1 Kings 19:13). The questions I need to continually ask myself are, am I putting myself in position to hear your voice, have I limited the avenues I allow you to use to reach me (isolate from friends, don’t worship you with others (i.e. go to church, etc.)? Am I worshipping you and listening for your still, small voice? Am I bringing my ideas, beliefs, and behaviors to Scripture and testing them against your original word? 
Father, guide me. Make my path straight so that I might find my way into being the most of who you need me to be that I can. In return, I seek only your peace in my life and my over my soul. 
In Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Hebrews

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17 

Dear God, it’s interesting to note that at this point Paul was referring to Old Testament scripture only and didn’t realize that his own letters would one day be considered Scripture. I wonder if that would have scared him a little or made him doubt his statement here. I know he was confident about himself and his place in your church, but I doubt he would have been confident enough to say that his writings should be taken to be Scripture. It’s a reminder that these books were written by real people, and while I believe they are divinely inspired and useful to teach me, the writers probably have more in common with me than I realize. 
But to get to the point of Paul’s message here, Scripture can only be useful if we actually use it and use it effectively. There are many ways to do this. Some just sit down and read it. Some take copious notes. Some participate in Bible study classes that guide them through it. Some read commentaries. And some, like me, use it as a jumping off point to journal prayers to you. 
Father, teach us to use your Scripture to know you and to find the relationship with you that we need. Be glorified in me and speak to me in these times with the words you want me to hear so that I might be the man you need me to be in any given situation. 
In Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen 

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2017 in 2 Timothy

 

Romans 8:14-17

Romans 8:14-17 NIV[14] For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. [15] The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” [16] The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. [17] Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Dear God, I make jokes about “free will” and wanting to ask you one day if you regret that little aspect of our humanity, but I know the alternative is worse. I know that without it we would be the slaves Paul mentions here. Instead, we are your children. 

So what would it be like to be slaves of yours? I can’t even fathom it. I guess it would mean serving a God who controls us through fear. In fact, I think it plays into the theology that a lot of people have about you rewarding Christians for good behavior and punishing for bad behavior. This theory was debunked by Job and so many others thousands of years ago, but I suppose it is hard for humans to separate love and relationships from setting conditions on both. 

Father, I’m not here praying right now for any kind of reward other than relationship. I know that knowing you and loving you is good for me. I know that you are the only rest my soul can find. So I submit to you willingly and freely. Thank you for loving me. 

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen 

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2017 in Romans

 

Jude 18-21

They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.Jude 18-21

Dear God, community and unity. That’s what we need to be about. That’s what I need to be about. Whenever my kids would tell me when they were little that they didn’t want to go to church because they didn’t get anything out of it, I would tell them, “Well, maybe God will have you there for someone else, and church is where that person will find you.”  

I was thinking about it while I was praying with my wife this morning. I have some friends right now who live alone. Some are widowed. Some are separated from their wives or divorced. They are sitting and making life decisions in a vacuum. And in some cases they are making bad decisions. I was also thinking about my own internal struggles and how I don’t think I would do nearly as well if I were didn’t have my wife to be there to help me think through things. I do NOT do well in isolation. 

Father, I worship you today and thank you that you use my wife, my friends, my family, and my coworkers to guide me. Help me to be what you need me to be today. Be glorified in me and though me so that others might find strength, wisdom, and comfort through submission to you. 

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen 

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2017 in Jude