Prayer for the Nation

September 23, 2016

This is created from the prayer off the prophet Daniel for his nation, recorded in the book of Daniel 9:1-23.

O Lord, you are a great and awesome God.  You always fulfill your promises of mercy to those who love you and who keep your laws.  But we have sinned so much.  We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands.  We have refused to listen to the words of the prophets and disciples recorded in the bible.  We have refused to listen to the words of Jesus. Again and again, down through the years, you have sent your servants to call us back to obedience.

O Lord, you are righteous, but as for us, we are always shamefaced with sin, just as you see us now, yes, all of us.  The men and women of America, the people of our government, the people of our churches, the people of our neighborhoods, the people of business, medicine and education–all the people have been disloyal to you.  Lord, we are all weighed down with shame for all our sins.

But Lord you are merciful and pardon even those who rebel against you.  We have disobeyed you, and we have suffered all the disasters you warned us about.  We have had crime, broken families, violence, abortion, child abuse, human trafficking, murder, disease, poverty and war.  Every curse written about sinners have all come true, and we still refuse to turn from our sins, confess to you and do what is right.

Though we have sinned so much and are full of wickedness, yet because of all your faithful mercies, please turn away your furious anger from America.  For the sake of our forefathers who founded this nation on Your principles and honored God with their laws, and for the sake of those in this land who love you and have ceaselessly prayed for the redemption of this land, please hear and answer our prayers for forgiveness.  In your mercy, pour out your Holy Spirit on this nation.  Drench us with a spirit of confession and repentance.  Give us the burning desire to please you.  Set our hearts on fire with love for you and compassion for one another.  We plead with you not because we merit help, but because you are so merciful despite our grievous sins.

O Lord hear; O Lord, forgive.  O Lord listen to us and act!  Don’t delay, but for the sake of those who love you and speak for you, and those within our nation who bear your name, forgive, heal and restore us.  Amen.

An Appointment with God

September 22, 2016

A lot of people say they don’t have time to pray or connect with God.  But they make appointments to meet with people.  Then they will ask–how can I connect with God?

To connect with God it helps to let Him talk with you.  One of my favorite ways to study the bible is to do a Red Word study.  In a lot of bibles, the words of Jesus are printed in red.  If I read a passage of Jesus’ words, then I can pray, asking Him what He is saying to me today–how do His words from 2000 years ago connect to my life?  What is he telling me?  What is He asking me to do?  Then I write down these thoughts where I can act upon them.  Sometimes it involves notes to myself in my planner.

The key to getting close to God is giving Him my time.  Just as a marriage can’t thrive when the couple are apart and not connecting, neither can any relationship thrive under those conditions, including my relationship with God.  I need an appointment with God in my planner.  Many people agree its good to give God a 30 minute appointment each day, and some like to give Him an hour.  The most important thing is to be consistent.  Just as I wouldn’t be a “no show” for a client or a friend, I need to never be a “no show” for God.  Some days things happen, but rather than skip my appointment, I need to reschedule it.  I need to get that appointment in that day even if it means staying up late to have that time before bed.

Time with God before bed is good.  Educators advise studying before sleep because what is learned is retained better when followed by sleep.  During sleep our brains cement in what we learned.  So, whatever God is saying to me and whatever I have determined to do in answer to Him will become cemented into my mind by sleep.

The important thing is to give time with God a priority, just as I give sleeping and eating priority.  I need certain things for my body’s health, and I need that time with God for my mental and spiritual health.

Being a Christ Follower

September 9, 2016

When it says Christ is our life, it means we are united with Him in relationship.  It doesn’t just mean we have a ticket to heaven we get to use one day.  It means for us, eternal life begins now!  Jesus wants to walk with us through this life, and He has planned all kinds of exciting things to do together, now and forever.  When you talk to Jesus, imagine he is sitting right next to you–because He is!  And talk to him as you would your very best friend–because He is!  The difference is, He is your best friend AND He has all the power in the world.  He has wonderful plans for you and all His own, AND He loves you more than you can possibly imagine.  He is your God–the object of your adoration, yet He is your constant companion who cares for you.  Meditate on that today, and see if it doesn’t change how you look at everything!

Careful What We Ask For

September 4, 2016

Listening to the wish lists being presented to the presidential candidates this year, they do seem large:  everything from free tuition and medical care, to guaranteed jobs and guaranteed annual income.  The government is supposed to act as arbiter in the great wealth distribution.  The wealth distribution idea sounds wonderful to the great mass who occupy the bottom half of the income scale.  However, we may have erred in choosing to make government our supreme judge and giver of necessities.  As is recorded in I Samuel 8 of the bible, the people wanted a government that would provide for their security–not a God whom they couldn’t see, much less control.  Somehow they thought they would get a better deal with a king and a king’s administration.  They were warned by the prophet that the king would confiscate their wealth in greater and greater amounts, instead rewarding his administrators and allies.  They would also give up their freedom and become slaves to the king.  And God let them have their wish.

This country looks to the government in the way our forefathers looked to God.  We expect government to provide endless security for us, to keep us safe from all threats, and to compensate us for anything that life would take from us.  God may very well turn us over to the government so we will experience what government can do.  We will be taxed more and more heavily, eventually becoming slaves to the government.  We will give up more and more freedom until we become slaves to an oligarchy consisting of government workers, whose main concern is protecting their privilege and making sure it is extended for the foreseeable future.

But

August 14, 2016

An English teacher once taught never to use the word “but”.  She said whatever positive thing you could say would be counteracted if you added “but” and said anything else.  I would hold there is one exception.  When you make a statement, either positive or negative and say “but God”, you know you are going to end up positive, because God trumps everything—all the time.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.”  Zechariah 4:6

Freedom

August 14, 2016

There are people so enamored of freedom, they are unwilling to submit to moral restraints of any kind.  Yet, cultures where people’s moral or religious beliefs inspire them to live by the golden rule (Do to others as you would have them do to you) allow much more freedom.  A lack of cultural morality leads to the sort of chaos and civil unrest that begs a heavy force of law, backed up by heavy handed law enforcement.  This is hardly the outcome those hating restraint were desiring.

Origin of the New Testament

August 14, 2016

Some people write they are troubled by the New Testament of the bible because it is a collection of accounts and letters written by human beings.  What if the whole book were delivered miraculously from Heaven?  Would that make it more acceptable or believable?  It still would rely on human eyewitness accounts to document its arrival.

A Prayer for Our Nation and Its Future

August 13, 2016

Dear Father, we come before you pleading for our nation and its future, because we know you established all the nations and their boundaries, and you hold the future of all in your hands.  We know you are almighty, that you know everything and nothing escapes your attention.  No one can fool you or hide from you.  And you are good.  You work out good for all who love you–ultimate good, even when the package in which your goodness arrives sometimes looks frightening to us.

We know Father that you hold the fate of all nations and all leaders in your hands.  In the bible we are taught “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south.  But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.”  Psalm 75:6-7

We are also reminded “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.  And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”  Daniel 2:20-21.

And we are taught:  “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”  Proverbs 21:1.

We believe these things Father, and so we believe you have chosen our leadership, even if sometimes they are disobedient, rebellious and arrogant before you.  We know you could take away their place if you chose, and you could change their thoughts and hearts if you chose.  Sometimes you are working out purposes we cannot see.  Yet, Lord, we fear leaders who would force us to turn away from your will for us and away from you.  Please do not allow such leaders to have power over us for the temptation to disobey you out of fear of our government might be too great for us.

Father, change our leaders hearts and turn them toward you, but even more change the people of this nation.  We confess we have sinned against you.  We have often looked to our government to solve our problems instead of looking first of all to you for your guidance and your help.  We have sinned in other ways–our violence, our selfishness, our misuse of everything that is good, our sin against your will for family life, our failure to love you as you deserve and our failure to love our neighbor as you have commanded.

Father, please forgive us, and please change us.  Please give us a future and do not destroy our nation.  Change our hearts toward you.  Help us put your first.  Give us new hearts that love you and love others.  Give us the desire, patience and strength to maintain the families you planned for us to have.  Our sin and selfishness have destroyed our families and other relationships.  Because we are so far from you, we have become angry, divided people, blaming others for our woes.  Yet, our separation from you is to blame.  Only when we recognize you, appreciate you, thank you and walk humbly before you, will we let you heal us.  Do what you must to this nation Lord.  Shake us awake, make us aware of what we must change, and give us the strength and wisdom to turn back to you and your ways.

We need you more than ever.  We sense the time is short before you must stop the evil on this earth.  Help us Father.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, name above all names, most powerful name in the universe.  Amen

Finding Your Way

August 13, 2016

“How can I find out what God created me to do?”  Many of us struggle with this issue.  I imagine many of us think God’s plan for our lives is something we have to struggle to find out. In reality God is already working in our lives, planning ahead of time what we are to do and preparing us for it as well.   Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created for a life of good works which God has already prepared for us to do.”   I believe we can rest assured that God will put those opportunities before us that lead us to what He would have us do.  Another clue is what we are talented at doing.  Since God created and awarded all of us with certain talents, they will match what we are to do.  The third thing is what gives us joy.  God is no sadist, and a clue to our calling is the kind of work we love.  It would be rare that God would expect us to make a long term commitment to something we hate doing (it would be only if He changes us first).  So in short, God won’t let us get too far off the track.  If our hearts are in the right place, the place where opportunity for good, our talent and our joy intersect is our “sweet spot” –the place we belong..

The Future

August 2, 2016

A number of pundits have predicted a rocky four years to come.  Everything is being predicted from an economic collapse, to war, to further terrorism, chaos, confusion, a breakdown of law and order, riots, corruption, and so on.

People who believe Jesus know that the way we have been living in this country in no way matches the picture He painted of God’s plan for us.  He also painted a picture of a cosmic battle of good and evil involving spirits and powers that are active yet unseen.  Many believe his predictions of the time of the end are coming true before our eyes.  If judgment falls in the next few years, it will fall first and hardest on our leader.  And I wonder, why would either Trump or Clinton want to be in that place?