Over & over through out scripture, God teaches us, especially in times of troubles, to listen for His instruction & obey as an act of faith. This likely means we must first clear away distractions & let God write our to-do list. Jesus offered up a small amount of food & praised God for multiplying it to feed thousands (in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John). Lord, I lift up the food You graciously provide to me. I praise Your blessing of it satisfies all who are hungry, thank You our Great Giving Father!
How did the woman who had bled for twelve years, suffering under the care of many doctors (& spending all she had), how did she come to know: 'If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." (Mark 5:28)? According to Jewish Law, anything or anyone she touched became unclean, but because Jesus came to fulfill the law, he cleansed her. Jesus gave her the instruction she needed to heal. He knew she would touch Him before it happened.
After Peter ASKED Him to, Jesus told Peter to "Come" walk on the stormy sea to Him (Matthew 14:25-33). Obviously, it was not that walking was difficult for Peter. The tricky part was believing he could walk on a non-solid substance in the midst of a storm! This story tells me that when the Lord says "Come" I might be called to do an something I already know how to do within a context that seems impossible. This type of act of faith, I have been practicing when my energy is extremely low or scattered or when a feeling of overwhelm tries to take over. Rather than elaborate plans, God knows these acts of faith often need to be very simple, such as raising my arms up & reciting a health confession: "This is my comfort in my affliction, that Thy word has revived me" (Psalm 119:50).
When Jesus healed people, He often gave them a simple instruction:
"Bring the boy here to me." (Matthew 17:17)
When praying for healing, I encourage myself & those I am praying for to listen for an instruction from the Lord. It may be a very simply action (yet still often requires great faith, like "walking on water"). The receiving of an instruction is not about testing the Lord or "testing out" His healing. By listening, we are practicing & honing our ability to hear God! & act-ivating our faith, healing & discipleship, amen!
This seven minute animation (Retelling the Good Story) is where I got the two art images above. This video is a beautiful artistic version of two Gospel stories told from a First Nations cultural perspective. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)
Thank You Father for giving us Your word. May everyone hear the word of the Lord & give ear to the instruction of our God (1:10). Guide each of us to cease evil, learn to do good & seek justice (1:16-17). Thank You for taking our sins as scarlet & making them as white as snow (1:18). Urge us Lord, our rulers & companions also, to be righteous in Your eyes (1:23 & 26). To all who forsake the Lord, I command their hearts & minds open to You, so that they shall not come to an end (1:28). Oh God, without You as our living water, even a strong man will become tinder, his work also a spark (1:31).
Thank You God for teaching us concerning Your ways so that we may walk in Your paths (2:3). Nation no longer lifts up sword against nation. Never again do we learn war! Praise God, we walk in the light of the Lord (2:4-5). Our pride & loftiness is humbled, You are exalted & idols completely vanish (2:17-18), praise the Lord!
In You, we do not oppress each other but we uplift & lovingly guide each other to You (3:5) through speech & actions that are for & not against You (3:8). Thank You dear God for providing shade from the heat & a refuge from storms (4:6).
Give us strength & courage to stop with truth, those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood & sin as if with cart ropes (5:18). Thank You God for straightening out any confusion among us about what is evil & what is good (5:20). Keep us relying on You instead of being wise in our own eyes & clever in our own sight (5:21). Thank You for bringing us to work together to establish Your peace & light in the darkness & distress of this land (5:30).
Lord, we see You with our eyes, hear You with our ears, understand You with our hearts & return to You, the lost & sick & we are healed (6:10). In Your word, You tell us: "Take care, be calm, have no fear & do not be fainthearted ..."(7:4). Almighty Father, You gave us a sign! A virgin bore a son & she called His name Immanuel. Praise the Lord, He knows to refuse evil & choose good (7:14-15).
Dear God, Thank You for being with us (8:10). You tell us that we are not to fear what the world fears or be in dread of it (8:12). You shall be our fear then You shall become a sanctuary (8:13-14). Commit Your work of good & truth among all mediums & spiritists to consult You rather than the dead on behalf of the living (8:19).
Thank You Father for making all people who walk in darkness see a great light (9:2) & for breaking the yoke of their burden (9:4). I pray that the government rest's well on the shoulders of Your Son, our Lord Jesus, who was given to us. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace, praise the Lord that there is no end to the increase of Your government or of peace (9:6-7).
In Jesus name, I cast away false teachings that try to lead us astray (9:16). Thank you for burning up & dissolving the wickedness within each of us. Consume with fire the briars & thorns that entangle, oppress & hurt us (9:18). Faithful Father, Your hand is still stretched out & we praise You (9:21)! Woe to those who deprive the needy of justice & rob the poor of their rights. Urge us to protect & care for the widows & orphans, Lord (10:2) like You do, as one gathers abandoned eggs, You gather all the earth, (10:14), glory be to God. Blessed is the day we all truly rely on the Lord (10:20) & delight in the fear of the Lord (11:3).
Praise You Father, deciding with fairness for the afflicted of the earth & with the breath of Your lips, slaying the wicked (11:4). We will not hurt or destroy in all Your holy mountain as the earth is filled up with the knowledge of the Lord (11:9). I give thanks to Thee, O Lord; Thine anger is turned away & Thou comforts me (12:1). You are my salvation; I trust & am not afraid. For the Lord God is my strength & song (12:2).
We learn from long ago, in the day of the Lord, when hands fell limp, hearts melted, pains & anguish took hold (13:6-8) & sinners were exterminated from the land (13:9). You punished the world for its evil, the wicked for their iniquity & put an end to the arrogance of the proud (13:11). Mortal man became scarcer than pure gold (13:12) in the day of Your burning anger (13:13).
Blessed is the day Lord, when You give us rest from pain, turmoil & harsh service (14:3). The whole earth is at rest & is quiet, breaking forth into shouts of joy (14:7)! Those who are most helpless, eat & the needy lie down in security (14:30). The afflicted of Your people, find refuge (14:32). Amen! Thank You God for establishing Your throne of loving-kindness (16:5).
I pray that all people have regard for You, their Maker (17:7). Because we know You are God of salvation & the rock of refuge (17:10), the harvest will not be a heap in a day of sickliness & incurable pain (17:11). Thanks be to God for sending a Savior & a Champion to deliver us (19:20). Striking Egypt but healing, they returned to You (19:22).
Your power within me overcomes pain that attempts to seize me. Once so bewildered, I could not hear, so terrified I could not see; mind reeling, horror overwhelming (21:3-4) --No more; it is finished! I've turned up the volume of Your Holy Spirit in me & turn down the volume of my flesh. Pain is gone now in the name of Jesus. Chronic pain & illness have no place in my life. Yes, I want to be well Lord & I'm ready; thank You for healing me, amen!
The earth, polluted by its inhabitants' transgressing laws, violating statutes & breaking everlasting covenants (24:5), has been washed in the curse-breaking blood of Jesus. He has redeemed us & now we work earnestly, cleaning up & stewarding God's creation righteously. Thank you God for swallowing up death for all time & wiping tears away from all faces (25:8). You are our God for whom we waited & now you've saved us. We rejoice & are glad in Your salvation (25:9)!
The steadfast of mind, Thou keeps in perfect peace because he trusts in Thee (26:3). I trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock (26:4). The way of the righteous is smooth (26:7). Indeed my spirit seeks Thee diligently (26:9).
When earth experiences Thy judgements, inhabitants of the world learn righteousness, especially the wicked & everyone perceives the majesty of the Lord (26:9-10). When Your chastising is upon us & we seek Thee in distress, only whispering a prayer (26:16), please have mercy Lord, in just the right amount. For You know each of our hearts better than we know ourselves. Hear the word of the Lord, O scoffers (28:14). The multitude of the ruthless ones are like the chaff which blows away (29:5).
Thank You God for laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed (28:16). Bless You for instructing & teaching us properly (28:26). Your counsel is wonderful & Your wisdom is great (28:29).
Help us not get ourselves into trouble with You Lord pouring over us a spirit of deep sleep, shutting prophets eyes & covering the heads of seers (29:10). Walking in obedience of Your way, with Your healing power, the deaf hear words in a book & out of their darkness, the eyes of the blind, see (29:18). Praise the Lord! Today is the day that the afflicted increase their gladness in the Lord & the needy rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (29:19). All who are intent on doing evil are cut off (29:20), those who err in mind now know the truth & those who criticize, accept instruction (29:24). Woe to those who execute plans that are not Yours & make alliance not of Your Spirit, adding sin to sin (30:1).
Bless God that it is so, in repentance & rest we are saved; in quietness & trust is Your strength (30:15). You long to be gracious to us. You wait on high to have compassion on us. For You are a God of justice. How blessed are all those who long for You (30:18). Although Lord, You gave us bread of privation & water of oppression, You, our Teacher no longer hide Yourself. Our eyes behold You, our Teacher & our ears hear a word behind us "This is the way, walk in it" whenever we turn to the right or to the left (30:20-21). We say to graven images "Be gone!" (30:22). Thank you God for binding up the fracture of Your people & healing the bruise You inflicted (30:26). You Lord cause the voice of Your authority to be heard, amen (30:30)!
Your Spirit is poured out upon us from on high (32:15). The work of righteousness is peace & the service of righteousness, quietness & confidence forever (32:17). Blessed are we who sow beside all waters (32:20). God, You are the stability of our times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom & knowledge. The fear of the Lord is our treasure (33:6). Sinners are terrified, Lord. Trembling has seized the godless. "Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?" (33:14). Let us take Your strength, courage & words leading them to Your salvation.
Glory to God that all who walk righteously, speak with sincerity & reject unjust gain (33:15), dwell on the heights. Our refuge is the impregnable rock. Our bread is given & our water is sure (33:16). Lord, You are our judge, our lawgiver, our King & You save us (33:22)! No resident says "I am sick." The people who dwell here are forgiven their iniquity (33:24). We encourage the exhausted & strengthen the feeble (35:3). We say to those with anxious heart: "Take courage, fear not. Behold, God comes with vengeance & saves you." (35:4). The eyes of the blind are opened. The ears of the deaf are unstopped (35:5). The lame leap like a dear. The tongues of those who can not speak, shout for joy (35:6). Thirsty ground springs of water (35:7). This Highway of Holiness is for all who walk this way (35:8). The redeemed walk here (35:9). Gladness & joy are found & sorrow & sighing flee away (35:10).
Thou art God of all kingdoms on earth. Thou has made heaven & earth (37:16). In Your name, we deliver ourselves & others from evil & all kingdoms of earth know that Thou alone, Lord, art God (37:20). You know our sitting down, our going out & our coming in (37:28). Because of our arrogance, You put Your hook in our noses & Your bridle in our lips (37:29).
As Hezekiah prayed, I pray also: "Remember now, O Lord, I beseech Thee. I have walked before Thee in truth, with a whole heart & have done what is good in Thy sight." (38:3). You heard his prayer, saw his tears & behold, You added fifteen years to his life (38:5). Likewise, You heal my body of physical disease making me the long-living, healthy new creation You created me to be! When any of us moan like doves & feel oppressed, be our security (38:14). Restore us to health & let us live (38:16)! Thank You for keeping my soul from the pit of nothingness & casting all my sins behind Thy back (38:17). Thank You Father for these days of peace & truth (39:8). Amen!
Our soul is the place deep within that unites our psyche & spirit with our body. The healing of the soul from sin is the innermost, profound (even pervasive) type of healing we can go through, somewhat like the process of physical birth.
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:5-7
The degree to which sin has invaded one's self, soul healing salvation is self-destructive & as such, makes personal the crucifixion & resurrection of Jesus Christ:
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31)
Many don't understand the need for soul healing and confuse it for other needs. The realization of the need for salvation is not something one person rightly can push upon another. The desire for a free soul: eternal life (knowing God as Jesus Christ), comes from within, hearing His knocking & calling us home.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." (John 6:44)
Purification of the soul is on continuous offer from God Almighty to everyone alive, as the gift of grace through Jesus Christ. Accepting God's gift of redemption means entering into covenant relationship with God & surrendering to His Word & to His Ways:
"...whoever loses their life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:39)
As the Light of the Lord (Holy Spirit) goes to work within an individual's spirit when their soul is saved, full healing of body & mind is activated & nothing can stop it (not even physical death). Even that which seems like an obstacle (e.g. illness) becomes part of one's healing journey. God has a plan & always makes His Ways straight, uplifting us from darkness.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)
I remember laughing out loud, likely through tears, when I read this Bible passage above. Wait a minute, I thought ... Your yoke is easy & Your burden is light? Come now, really ... why then is it so painful?
While salvation happens the instant we first believe, its effects have our whole lives & beyond (eternity) to penetrate & permeate throughout our being. That God has us for such a long while (forever!) is a very good thing because we humans are very dense & so it can take Light a long time & some pretty intense pain to make its healing ways through us. The Holy Spirit clears us out; all that is not of God must go so He can fill us entirely. Iniquities, infirmities & afflictions - be gone, in Jesus name.
Throughout Jesus' ministry He demonstrated much compassion towards those oppressed by illness; healing all who came to him, even those with little faith! The testimonies of physical healing did such a great work of spreading the "Good News" of Jesus like an underground fire erupting in places & never going out. Jesus healed the sick when He was God-made-flesh on earth & He continues healing people to the present day; we know this because it is written:
“I the LORD do not change. (Malachi 3:6)
Just as salvation can be a sensitive topic in the secular world so to is the topic of physical healing, or "Faith Healing", even among Christians. Why is it that some people heal quickly while other faithful folk remain sick for years, despite much prayer?
It is so important that we be wise to etiquette around the topic of faith healing so as to not create more disappointment (where there is already much suffering) and push people away from ourselves and from God. I know firsthand how devastating it can be to be prayed over so many times & not feel any better physically, it's heartbreaking! I understand more now & there is much faith, joy (& even delight) in the renewing of my mind & softening of my heart, that I want to pass along. So now, here are some of the rules I pledge to live by regarding this topic:
1. Educate others about faith healing and let the understanding & the desire for it come from them (from God within them). When they are ready, they will come to it!
2. Do not assume everyone with a disability/illness wants/requires physical healing. Often people know subconsciously when it is their time to pass on or to remain in the condition they are in. In addition, many people with disabilities do not want to be fixed or cured. Never judge anyone who has "not yet healed" (e.g. as having too little faith etc.). The matter is between that person & God (& me or you, if they allow it).
3. All healing is from God; He made us healing "bio-machines". When praying for healing, rather than use the phrase:
"If it be your will..." (If you are not sure that it is God's will to heal you will you possibly go against God's Will by asking the doctor to figure out what is going wrong, taking medication or getting surgery?);
PRAY (something like): "Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer & healing me, in Jesus name, Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." AMEN!
4. One of the biggest lessons to understanding faith healing comes from this verse (& there are others like it):
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24)
This is where people with chronic illness need Noah's ark & mustard seed moving mountains & the thief on the cross next to Jesus saying "Remember me...", type of faith. Once we've asked for health, we must believe it is so despite possible lingering symptoms. For this is what faith is, believing that which we do not have empirical evidence for. Believing what is not, into reality--not on the basis of new age sayings and positive psychology but on the authority of God & His promises throughout scripture.
This is a huge revelation in that, rather than getting disappointed after prayer & continued symptoms, we can instead take action to cultivate more faith, such as, by making confession: "Jesus is the Lord of my life. Sickness & disease have no power over me." (Charles Capps). Each confession is like lifting weights; it's going to take many repetitions to become stronger & see our "faith muscles" increase. Similarly, it may take many repetitions to see health replace symptoms after years of the brain subconsciously "rehearsing" certain sensations over & over.
Furthermore, there are reasons other than what I've mentioned so far (e.g. timing, faith) as to why one's physical healing may be delayed. I have more to share and will do so in another blog, another time. Thank you for reading & happy healing, amen!
Dear Lord, I pray for us sinners & for those who some might consider the last to ever come to Christ. Not only the naysayers but those whose hearts have completely hardened, crumbled into dust & blown away. Lost souls...but not forever. Only you can restore such deep chasms, re-form dust & soften stone into new flesh ("I will give you a new heart & put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone & give you a heart of flesh." --Ezekiel 36:26).
God, I pray also for all the good & caring people who think God is 'just religious make believe', not possibly true or relevant in "today's world". It takes just a tiny spark of hope (like the possibility of lighting a match) for your flame of warmth, truth & beauty to envelop & bring us evermore fully into your love & understanding. In your sovereignty & justice, I trust in your giving each of us the opportunities ('the matches') we need to step ever closer into your glory, amen.
To move forward, we must first remember Christ. Only in Christ, can we look at our own & others' sins from His purifying eyes & redeeming heart. Made new & holy, forgiven, we forgive & move forward, changed by grace in Christ, amen!
Dear Lord, I pray for & hold up to you all who are going through hardship; people, land & animals in fires, floods, war, poverty & other oppressive situations. God, thank you for unburdening us especially in times of weakness & trouble by insisting that we submit to you our grievances & wrongdoings & change our ways to your way. May we seek your counsel in all things. Holy spirit, I ask that you be with each person working in law enforcement, government, the judicial & medical systems & cast away from them all evil influences.
Please God bless & protect our farmers dealing with exhaustion, extreme weather, insects & political upheaval. Please lead to salvation & heal those who are suffering with addiction, illness & injury. Lord, help us mend our relationships with each other & with the land you so graciously created & provide to us. Make us much better stewards of our beautiful earth home for many generations to come. I pray all these things in Jesus name, amen!
David's Prayer of Praise ~ Then David praised the Lord ..."O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever & ever! Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory & the majesty....Wealth & honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power & might are in your hand & at your discretion people are made great & given strength....But who am I & who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you & we give you only what you first gave us! We are here for only a moment, visitors & strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace."
I highlight this passage because it reminds me to be grateful & humble knowing that we are all children of God, equal in His sight. And it reminds me to be grateful for all that God has given & done for me instead of grumbling about that which is going badly & not having everything I want. How many times has God spared my life without me having even so much a clue about it!? What can I offer in thanks to God? All of what was first given to me - my life - of course the good parts & yes, I've handed over the bad & ugly parts too. I am an ongoing work in progress being ever-renewed & reformed by Christ.
I acknowledge & am grateful for the privilege of receiving a positive reflection of Christ at an early age. Although I wandered away for quite some time, Christ never left me! I pray dear Lord for all those who have been hurt by people reflecting Christ poorly. Please touch, heal & soften their hearts to you Heavenly Father & correct those who are preaching in your name in ways that are harmful.
I pray dear God that those coming to Christ receive mature, loving support through difficult times, such as when pleading for circumstances to improve & yet they do not. Lord help us be patient & trust that just as we often can not make the problems of our own children go away, you also do not always free us from sorrows & obstacles, often for reasons beyond our understanding. Your grace alone is sufficient. In Jesus name, amen!
The books of Kings & Chronicles have taken me much longer to read through than the Gospels, the beautiful flowing poetry of the Psalms & wisdom oriented books such as Job. These two Bible verses (2 Kings 17:13-14) & writing this blog is inspiring me to look closer at the bigger picture & Biblical time line of events to orient myself. From 1050 to 586 B.C. there were forty-two kings & one queen (Athaliah) ruling over Israel & Judah. Apparently, only seven of them acted in ways that were pleasing to the Lord for some portion of their command!
Evil leadership is not surprising really, given our sinful natures (“As it is written: there is no one righteous, not even one." Romans 3:10). Those 464 years of kings' reign during the ancient world, are they really much different than present day's ruling class? Sadly, maybe not so much. Before the coming & death of Christ, there were many Godly laws - some consensus says there are 613 recorded throughout the old testament. Of these, most people know the moral laws; the ten commandments, (which Jesus summarizes in Mark & Matthew (22:38-39) by pointing out the primacy of 1a. & b.) These instructions from God are woven into our DNA & the fabric of our society yet claiming this is now taboo.
1a). You shall have no other gods before Me.
b). Love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:30-31)
2. You shall not make idols.
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet.
Whether we are kings, pastors or just regular people, past or present, try as we might, no one can keep one hundred percent free from breaking any of these rules & thus committing sin & doing evil in the sight of the Lord. And so out of love for us, God gave us a way of salvation out of the "prison of sin" through His son, the sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the new covenant. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.
I love the simplicity of how the author of "God's Ten Laws" puts it:
"Jesus fulfilled the purpose of the temple, and became the new door through which to come to God. People no longer had to come to the temple and offer sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. Now they would come to the new Temple – Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Shortly after Jesus’ ascension into heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all who would trust in Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 we are told that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit – the place in which He dwells...."
"A believer’s mission is not to obey the Ten Commandments – that is old covenant thinking and it proved inadequate (which was its purpose). A believer’s mission is to ..."
be moved by the Holy Spirit as described in Ezekiel 36:27 "And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." The difference in these missions is about intent. The new covenant is not about virtue signaling, compliance or works for self gain, rather, it's about love: "Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for entering & reigning over our hearts & letting your Kingdom come through us to Earth as it is in Heaven. Lord, please help me up when I am discouraged about injustice & evil and when I don't see actionable ways Christianity is flourishing. When I'm concerned wondering where & how is your Holy Spirit moving us? When I am blind to the Kingdom's expansion & fortification by your grace, power & glory Lord, please clear my vision & place me safely wherever you want me. Equip me Father with all the fruits of the Spirit I need.
I Lord, do not know much yet about all this but YOU know & I trust you. You are always working your good & divine, almighty plan. Your love holds us steady in Faith & I thank you. Come Holy Spirit, come! Please Lord, banish everything that obstructs the Holy Spirit from fully filling, purifying, refining & moving all Christians to do YOUR will on Earth as it is in Heaven. Lord, I pray that the Holy Spirit moves deeply & undoubtedly into the hearts & lives of those who do not yet know you personally & those who have gone astray. God, please leave the ninety nine to reunite one more lost sheep as you did with me. I pray all this in Jesus precious name. Amen!
"The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings." (1 Kings 3:10-13)
Solomon's request is not for self gain but assists him greatly with serving others in the way God wants him to do. Thank you God for directing me to keep studying & surrendering to your will with all I've got. Your grace is sufficient for me. Your POWER is made perfect in my weakness....
Lord, please continue to fill me with YOUR love & motivation, especially when I don't see the bigger picture or your plan for my life. Where are you carrying me Lord? Why am I so often so tired that my body & brain hurt? Even though the pain is difficult Lord, I trust that out of my situation must come something good or you wouldn't make it so. The good that is coming out of my illness is not personal gain or comfort, rather it is for others who need it more than I do now because I already have the ultimate good, amen!
I am reminded of the preacher, Nick Vujicic's prayer & realization "God, please give me arms & legs. But if you don't give me arms & legs, change my heart; renew my mind..." - "If God doesn't change my circumstance, he's going to use my life to be a miracle for someone else."
If God miraculously gave Nick arms & legs, he wouldn't attract the specific attention that he does nor would he touch as deeply, others with disabilities. Likewise for me, even with less physical energy, God is inspiring a whole lot of prayer & loving through me (probably that's why I am so tired out, phew), amen & praise the Lord!
What does it mean to serve God? Obeying God's commandments & helping those in need, right? What if instead of serving God, we've become overly focused on looking good & doing the right thing? What if instead of actually serving God, we are serving only our own comfort, security, success, happiness for our loved ones, prestige and power, so much so that we forget about God?
What if while serving God, we lose our way, buried within the vast array of technological distractions or fall prey to other addictions? What if we get caught in the frenzy of the times, bowing only to the 'sensible' gods of science, politics & skepticism so obediently that our hearts close in denial of the wisdom of the Word of God? What if instead of serving God - the Breath of Life - with moment by moment praise & devotion, instead we serve the gods of productivity and busyness? How much can God delight & fill us in the last five minutes of fading attention we offer up in prayer and service before drifting off to sleep? Amen.
I love being curious and inspired to learn more about God when I don't understand something in the Bible. In this verse, it says God does not show partiality but yet many other verses say he shows favor. What do these mean and what is the difference?
Here in Isaiah 45:5-8, God confirms that he is it, the one and only:
"I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you (this is favor), though you have not acknowledged me so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me..." (God bestows us strength when we acknowledge that our strength comes from God alone. I sense this is referring especially to spiritual strength as well as physical strength).
"I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things." (This is non partiality)
You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it." (this is just awesomeness)
Another example of non partiality is from Matthew 5:45
"That you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
Psalms 5:12 describes what it feels like to surrender to God's will. God's favor does not guarantee an easy life or material prosperity but God's protection abounds especially through suffering and physical death.
"Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield."
Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds me it really is such a blessing from God to have an awareness of God! Not everyone has this...yet, but everyone is capable of it because God put it into each of us as he formed us. The power of my words in prayer connects the godless with God:
Lord, I pray for those who do not have any sense of you, for those who have been deterred from developing their relationship with you and for those who have turned to other gods instead of you. I pray that you come to each of them, bringing the wisdom, peace and strength of your eternal love and they accept you as the God of gods and Lord of lords in their lives. In Jesus name, Amen.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)