Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sweet Hour

With Bibles in hand, a friend and I sat down to pray. Back and forth, we shared praise for our Lord Jesus, confession of our sin, thanksgiving for His blessings, and requests for our needs and the needs of others. The time that was so hard to set aside slipped by quickly as the words of our heart interwoven with the Word of His heart flowed forth through the power of the Holy Spirit. Encouraged, comforted, strengthened, we arose with new hope in God and His promise to hear His people when they pray. And now, Lord, I pray that it will not be so long before we gather again to talk with You, for the the prayers of the saints are like sweet smelling incense to a Father longing to hear from His children. (Revelation 5:8)

Monday, July 28, 2008

First Things

My sister suggested that my husband and I attend an infant CPR class since we adopted a baby this past December. The class began with a video drama of a baby who had stopped breathing. The tears began to roll as I envisioned something like this happening to our daughter. Later, when we were reviewing the steps of action in case of this emergency, the teacher asked, "What's the first thing you should do?" The answer she was looking for was "Make sure the scene is safe." The answer I know to be true is "pray to the Only One who can help." Yes, it was a good idea to participate in this class, and we were thankful to have been equipped with the information. But, the first thing I'll do is cry out to Jesus. "You brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help." (Psalm 22:9-11)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Begging Earnestly

Opportunities abound for us as Christians to allocate the money God has given us in ways that bring glory to His Name. Last night we were given the awesome privilege of partnering with others as senders for a young couple on their way to East Asia with Campus Crusade. How often, though, do we avoid those that we know who are fundraising? Or come up with excuses as to why we can't help? Or begrudingly write a check to silence our conscience? Lord, as we hear of God's work by faithful servants, let us be eager to give! "For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, begging earnestly for the favor ot taking part in the relief of the saints..." (2 Corinthians 8:3)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Misplaced Hope

I have a way of putting my hope in people. I expect them to live up to my expectations. Then, just when I'm getting used to their competency, they let me down. While wallowing in one of these moments of unmet demands, I received a note in the mail from a friend. Across the top she had written this verse: "I am the One you should fear and respect. I am the holy God, the Lord All-Powerful!" (Isaiah 8:13) Lord, forgive me for trusting in others to satisfy instead of looking to You. Forgive me for neglecting to be mindful of my own utter sinfulness. You are the One I should fear and respect! You are the holy God, the Lord All-Powerful!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Watermelon Seeds

From the window, I saw two young mormon missionaries approaching the front door. A friend was over visiting with me and the baby, and I asked her if she wanted to spend some time with them, and she excitedly said, "Yes!" So, what began as a conversation at an open door on a 90 degree plus day, ended sitting around a patio table eating watermelon and sharing Jesus. The more vocal of the two emphatically insisted that he would never change his mind about what he believed. "Oh, but do you remember the story of Lydia in Acts? God opened her heart to believe, and if He so chose, He could have you to believe what we are saying to you right now!" And we waited to see if it just might happen, but not this day. After praying with them, they were off to their next home, but we will continue to pray. Seeds were planted; Lord, please grow them. (1 Corinthians 3:7)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Christian Contentment

The morning routine was broken by a phone call; my father had died suddenly of a heart attack. Though many years ago, I still remember the shock, confusion, and grief of that day. At any moment, the ordinary can be interrupted by what we perceive as bad news, and we are faced with decisions, responses. A puritan pastor, Jeremiah Burroughs, once offered this description of Christian contentment: that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition. Lord, I desire to be well skilled in the mystery of Christian contentment, that I may say with Paul, "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." (Philippians 4:11)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Two Wills

The Bible teaches that God has two wills: His will of command and His will of decree. His will of command is all that He has told us in His Word to do; His will of decree is everything that actually happens. What He has commanded to happen isn't always what He has decreed to happen. For example, He commands that we not murder. However, He decreed that Christ be murdered that His plan for the redemption of His people be fulfilled. We are always to work toward obedience to His will of command, as we accept the day to day happenings as His will of decree. This teaching has helped me in so many ways and is worthy of great thought and reflection. Lord, I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wrong Assumptions

A king dies, so David sends a delegation to his son, Hanun, to express sympathy. The nobles of the land, however, quickly assume that David is up to no good. In the minds of these men, what was meant as an act of kindness became an expedition to spy out the country and overthrow it! (1 Chronicles 19:1-3) I can see myself in the nobles, looking for negative motives for what people do. Oh, they're probably doing this because of that. Or, they just did that because we did this. Or, I bet they said that because they really meant this. Forgive me, Lord, for wrong assumptions. Enable me to consider others better than myself, thinking the best of them in all that they do.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Without Hindrance

I recently read a book entitled "When People Are Big And God Is Small." The author, Ed Welch, discusses the universal problem of the fear of man. Welch says that if you don't think you're included in this group, he has one word for you: evangelism. "Have you ever been too timid to share your faith in Christ because others might think you are an irrational fool?" Can anyone deny that they hesitate to proclaim the whole will of God? It is good news, and it may be the only good news that we hold back from others. In contrast, nothing hindered Paul. Nothing held him back. He was not restrained in any way. "Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 28:31) Help us, Lord, to speak the truth in love.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sticking Closer

Entering into relationship with Jesus opens up a new level of friendship. Suddenly, there is someone who is more intimate with us than our own biological family. They have known us since birth; He has known us since before we were born. We are also ushered into the family of Christ wherein we will again find friends that know us more deeply than those with whom we've shared the many years of our childhood. "Sometimes there is a friend, that is nothing akin to us, the bonds of whose esteem and love prove stronger than those of nature, and, when it comes to a trial will do more for us than a brother will." (Matthew Henry) "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Battle Cry

The soldiers were ready for battle. Able-bodied men, they were well-trained and knew how to handle their weapons. But when the fighting began, they cried out to God. We must not rely on our own strength or wealth or intelligence in the wars we face each day. Be ready; be trained, but trust in Him. "They were helped in fighting them, and God handed the Hagrites and all their allies over to them, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in Him." (1 Chronicles 5:20)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Expectant Waiting

A friend mentions a man who has metastatic cancer. It is in his brain and lungs. I say I will pray for him, and I am. But, I often pray without believing that God will heal. It seems impossible, hopeless. The outlook is grim; the doctors aren't encouraging. Thankfully, nothing is too difficult for our God. Heal Joe, Lord, for Your glory! "Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." (Psalm 5:1-3)

Friday, July 4, 2008

True Freedom

Our church participated in a local Fourth of July parade today as a way to shine the light of Christ to our neighbors . We chose for our banner the slogan "Find True Freedom in Jesus." Upon our return home, we received an email from a fellow float-rider, saying "Check out the latest blog post on Desiring God's website." The title is "Real Freedom in Jesus." How encouraging it was to think of all those who have found it, and we pray that the Lord will use this proclamation to set many more free. Yes, if the Son has set you free, you will be free indeed! (John 8:36)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Completely Satisfied

John Piper says, "God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him." Early in my Christian journey, the Lord brought a man named Michael into my life who modeled this truth. Michael loved the Lord Jesus; he spoke of Him with passion and enthusiasm. He knew the Bible and was willing to spend hours discussing it. On the other hand, he didn't own a television, and he didn't talk about television shows. He didn't wear the latest fashions, and I never saw a name brand. Even though he went to a university known for its athletics, he didn't join in the boasting when his team won a big game. (In fact, I didn't even know he had gone to this school for a long time.) He didn't drink alcohol, smoke, or overeat. I definitely got the impression that he had a joy that was greater than anything the world had to offer, and I was drawn to it. God was being glorified through Michael's satisfaction in Him! Oh, Lord, satisfy us this morning with Your unfailing love that we might sing for joy and be glad all our days! (Psalm 90:14)