Tag: Israel

Jan 24 Speak a blessing

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Holy Father, here You depict another way I desire to be like Israel: speaking words of blessing over his sons and grandsons.

I pray that my words would be a blessing to my children.

So many times, I open my mouth before I speak, and the result is not a blessing.

Father, train me in the ability to speak the truth in love. Set a watch over my mouth to stop unthinking or hurtful words before they are spoken, and damage is done. For once spoken, words cannot be unheard.

I believe You must have revealed to Israel what to say to each son, where to put his hands for the blessing, even as he intentionally switched his hands to bless Joseph’s sons. This was not according to the tradition of the time. Neither was the blessing where he gave Judah leadership of the house of Israel and Joseph the double portion. Those both should have been passed to the oldest.

Oh Lord, let me be so close to You that I also hear what You are telling me and let me be obedient even if it goes against the traditions of man or of the times.

One way I can bless my children is by using Your very words. Today I pray these words for my sons by inserting their names:

 “O Lord, answer _______ when he is in distress;” (place in his heart the desire to call out to You, and let him hear Your voice above all else going on in his life) “may the name of the God of Jacob protect _______.” (protect his life, his health, his relationships, his mind, his emotions, his spirit, his work, his comings, his goings)

“May You send _______ help from Your sanctuary” (where You sit enthroned and have angels to be Your messengers and do Your bidding) “and grant him support from Zion. “

“Would You give _______ the desire of his heart” (and remove any desires that would take him away from You) “and make all his plans succeed.” (as You direct his steps)

 “We will shout for joy when _______ is victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God!” Amen !

When his work was done, Israel “drew his feet up into his bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Israel finished the work You sent him to do.

Knowing what awaits me as a believer, I so desire to be with You rather than in the dimness of this earth. Do not let me outstay my usefulness to You. Please don’t leave me here one minute beyond what is necessary. I want to do and be all You have sent me here for. And bless all those cross my path.  Amen 

Genesis 48:1-49:33; Psalm 20:1-2,4-5

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Jan 23 What a ride! Here I am

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O Lord, I think of all You allowed Jacob (renamed Israel) to go through, and I wonder how difficult his life must have been. He was a twin, compared from birth to a brother who was very different from him.

His father chose a favorite son, not him. His mother schemed for him to receive his father’s blessing, resulting in his exile from home to a place far away.

He worked happily for seven years to earn a bride, but was deceived on his wedding night with a different woman. He worked another seven years and still had nothing to call his own.

Then, things started coming together. He gains large flocks, gets away from his manipulative father-in-law, reconciles with his brother, returns to his father, has many children, including two sons by his beloved wife Rachel. But then she dies in childbirth. And later, her older son is taken from him, presumed dead. His life falls apart again. Talk about ups and downs!

My life has had its ups and downs. There have been times of delirious joy as well as disappointment and sorrow. I feel sometimes as if I am barely able to get up for a new day. And I have Your Holy Spirit in me from whom I can draw strength! I have scriptures I can read to be encouraged. I have praise music I can play or sit at the piano and sing.

How did Jacob do it? How did Israel get through one more day of grieving his beloved wife Rachel, missing his son Joseph; managing his large family with misbehaving sons Simeon, Reuben, Judah and Levi; all in a day and time of famine, with hunger and need all around him?

Yet when You called him in a time of famine, to relocate to a foreign land, he still didn’t give up. Whatever You had in store for him, he simply answered “Here I am”.

O God, help me be that resilient.

Help me get through dark times and be ready to say “Here I am” when You call. Help me hear Your voice above whatever else is going on in my life. Tune my ears so I will hear You and recognize Your call.

Lord, let me hear clearly, and be obedient to all You reveal to me. Open my ears to the message of Your words that bring personal meaning and conviction to my life.

Prune away any misunderstanding I have been living by. Cut away the dead and unproductive parts. Revive me and make me fruitful again. I long to honor and glorify You.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”

How can I do any less?

Genesis 46:2 (and Jacob’s life); Psalm 19:1

Nov 9 The Shepherd’s Rod

shepherd rodFather, I can see a pattern in Your treatment of Your people.  You revealed Yourself to them in Egypt and told them to “get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt.”  And although You delivered them, they continued to worship a golden calf.  Yet You did not destroy them, “for the sake of Your Name”.

In the desert they rebelled again, but You did not pour out Your wrath, “for the sake of Your Name.”  Then their children, who You led and protected in the desert, rebelled, not following You; but, “for the sake of Your Name” You preserved them.

Generations later, the nation of Israel continued to defile itself, and You acted to “disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries.”  However, You would not let them inquire of You, and spoke only through Ezekiel the Prophet.

It was always Your purpose that they would be Your people and You would be their God.  And Your judgment of them was just, as they “passed under Your rod.”

Father, I come now, to seek You, to inquire of You.  There are so many things in my life that I need Your wisdom about, Your guidance, Your direction.  I need Your strength to bear up under the challenges, and Your peace to sustain me through them.

I need Your patience where I need to wait, and Your boldness where I need to act.  I want to see where You would have me join You in Your work so I do not spend my energy on fruitless endeavors.

My part in this is to be sure my life is rid of idols.  I will examine my actions, my attitudes, my relationships, to be sure nothing and no one is stealing my passion to live for You.   I want to “pass under Your rod” for Your inspection and loving care.

This is the same rod of which the Psalmist wrote “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”

A shepherd uses his rod for many things.  One is to have the sheep pass under it.  It is a way of counting to be sure every sheep is where it should be and accounted for.

It is also a way of inspecting them.  As each sheep passes, the shepherd looks to see that each is well fed, rested, and not ill.   As the rod parts their hair, inspection is made of the skin for wounds, parasites, anything that would indicate a need for further care.

Father, I am a sheep of Your pasture.  Inspect me.  Look for any sign of weakness or disease in me.  When so, heal me and I will be healed.

Strengthen me with Your Word and with Your presence.

Be sure that I am where I am supposed to be.

I too, am called by Your Name.  So I desire to live in obedience so that Your Name will be preserved and honored.  Father, let my life glorify Your name.  Amen

Ezekiel 20:1-38

Sept 22 Hope in the darkness

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O Father, these are some of the verses that have come to me in the darkest times.  Times when I truly thought there was no hope.  Times when I was at the end of all I could think to do to save myself from what appeared to be dire and dark circumstances that I believed held no happy ending.

These words are spoken by Your prophet Isaiah who is telling how it will be when the judgment of Israel is over

“You are the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth!  You will not grow tired or weary…You give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak…those who hope in You will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.”

What hope that gave me Father – because I was weary and weak.  But because I know You as my Savior, I believed that these verses were true of me.  It’s like You were speaking right into my heart then, and often since.

You were promising to give me Your strength and power.  You promised to renew my strength.  When I felt like I could not take one more step, You empowered me to “walk and not grow faint”.

You told me “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my Righteous Right Hand.”

And even more than that, You sang it to me.  I could hear a melody in Your words.  It became a theme that I could sing to myself over and over – Your words of encouragement and empowerment.  I still sing them today.

Thank You Father, that Your Word, written down so long ago, has power and influence and still speaks right now.  And not just to me, but to any and all who will seek You there.

And these words of Paul – I love them and have prayed them over and over again for myself, my family, and my loved ones.  I pray them now, again Father, for everyone reading this prayer:

“I give thanks for each reader, remembering you in my prayers, asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know [1] the hope to which He has called you, [2] the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people [that’s us], and [3] His incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Father, let these words of comfort and empowerment breathe life and hope to all who need to hear them.

When the evil one whispers “you’ve failed again, there’s no hope”, Let them know what it means to “not fear” and “not be dismayed.”   Give us victory!  Amen

Isaiah 40:28-31; 41:9-16; Ephesians 1:15-23

June 19 Your Word, Your Spirit, Your Voice

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Father, how amazing that You sent Your Word through prophets to the kings of Israel to give them direction, instruction, correction, even advice on successful battle plans! You sent specific word to Ahab to determine that he should fight against the thirty-three kings and their armies and chariots assembled. You told him who should lead the attack, when, and who would win!

I often wish there were such easily discernable ways I could hear from You. If only You would send me an email, or write across the sky to inform me about decisions or concerns I face.

And then I realize – You have written me a letter! It’s Your Holy Word. If I take the time to read it, often, things become clear. If I had never read the Bible, I wouldn’t know that in it, You have already included instructions for godly, moral living.

You have already made Yourself very clear on many topics that relate to me today. Instead of hearing of and memorizing only scattered verses, I need to feed myself, and know the entirety of what You have to say to me.

So, reading Your word is a start. Studying it for a deeper understanding is also important. Then connecting the dots to how what You have said impacts my life, is crucial. Some Bible study methods have big words for this: observation, interpretation, application. Very simply, it is asking: What are You saying? What does it mean? What does it mean to me?

A big part of the burden to hear from You, then, is on me to listen to what You have already said. But to help me even more, You have given me, and every believer, the Holy Spirit. Part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to help me understand, apply, and live by what Your Word says to me. I need to pay attention to what it is telling me, and be obedient, not ignore, discard, or drown out what I hear.

Thank You that I can hear from You just as specifically as those who heard the prophets speak. You have given me so much more to help me in knowing You and understanding You

Thank You for Your Word.

Thank You for the Holy Spirit.

Help me make reading and studying Your Word a priority for my time and energy.

Do not let me quench the Holy Spirit.

And thank You that I can even talk to You personally in prayer. And know that You hear me. And trust that You’ll answer. What an awesome God! Amen

I Kings 20:1-22

 

 

June 16 God is my King

Oh Father, Israel suffered through king after king who “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”   I marvel at how patient You were in not wiping them all from the face of the earth – the kings and all the people who followed them into idolatry.

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But You were teaching them that earthly kings can never be what You would had been for them. The people asked for an earthly king to be like the other nations around them, when You had been their Protector, their Guide, their Deliverer.

Father, in the world today, and in my country, people “do evil in the eyes of the Lord.” And Your patience continues. Individuals in my country know the truth. You have given us Your Word: the Bible. You have raised up people like Billy Graham who speak Your truth. And You have sent the Holy Spirit to Your believers.

We cannot blame it on our leaders. We are each accountable for what we do with Your Truth.

I choose You as my King. Everything I have comes from You. I trust in Your guidance and protection. I seek Your enlightenment in solutions to difficulties. I want Your will and Your plan for my future, my family, and my country.

Father, would You raise up godly men and women to be leaders of our communities and our countries. Give them strength of character to continue in their godly faith as they govern and rule in Your name. Let it be said of this generation, that they returned to the Lord, and were blessed. Amen

I Kings 15:25–16:34

June 14 Obedience – better than sacrifice

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Father, here there are three examples of people You told specifically what to do. The ones who disobeyed You, paid a terrible price.

1 Rehoboam, Solomon’s son who inherited the kingdom, was given a word by You through Shemaiah. Although it was Rehoboam’s plan to rally the forces and attack Israel, he stopped that plan, obeying Your instruction. All his army went home, safe.

2 Jeroboam had been told at his anointing, that he would be king over ten tribes of Israel, and have a dynasty as enduring as David’s. Jeroboam would rule over all his heart desired IF he would obey Your commands and walk in Your ways, and do what is right in Your eyes.  But he did not. He made golden idols and led the people to worship them instead of You. This led to his downfall and destruction.

3 A man You sent to prophesy against the altar Jeroboam set up, did as You said at first. His prophecies came true. But he was tricked, deceived into stopping to eat and drink where You had told him not to. He paid with his life that day.

Father, help me take seriously what You instruct me to do.

Strengthen me to be obedient – to change my plans if need be, in order to obey. Even if what You tell me goes against what seems to be logical human thought – let me clearly understand what I am to do, and recognize if I am straying from it.

Protect me from those who would deceive or trick me into being led away from Your command.

Help me, through obedience, to stay in Your blessing and in Your will. Amen

I Kings 11:29-39; 12:20-13:34

May 4 Freedom isn’t License

“In those days, Israel had no king and everyone did as he saw fit.”

What a gruesome and shocking act to read about in scripture. Yet this is what it took to wake up the Israelites to how bad things had gotten. I wonder, God, what it will take to wake up the people in my country? We do not have a king. But we have so many freedoms that pretty much everyone does as they see fit.

We take the lives of the old and infirmed and call it mercy. We murder the innocent unborn and call it choice.   We legalize immorality and call it lifestyle. Then our lawmakers vote raises for themselves and we stick our heads back in the sand.

You love the people, O Lord. But bad and wrong decisions abound. We have been misled. Even when You came in person from heaven and testified about heaven, not many believed You. It seems it’s still that way today.

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Father, lead our nation back to You. Return to every believer the joy of their salvation. Bring a Revival of faith to our country that will return godly morality and love for each other as a way of life. Move us forward to be the greatest nation because it is in God we trust!

Regardless, I will sing to You all my life! I will sing songs of praise to You as long as I live! I will meditate on Your Word. Praise the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! Amen

Judges 19:1-20:48; John 3:27-36; Psalm 104:33

Dec 27 A sheep in Your flock

CindySheepFather, the picture You paint for Zechariah of Your people is “the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd”. Many times sheep get themselves into trouble on their own. They wander away, eat what they shouldn’t, become prey for wolves or lions. They get caught in thorns, fall into deep water, or become lost. But no danger is greater than that of not having a good shepherd.

A shepherd provides for his sheep in so many ways. He looks out for them. He prepares good pasture by removing noxious and poisonous weeds before the sheep get there. He makes sure the area has sufficient clean, still water for them to drink. He protects them from predators, and goes after them when they wander off. He carefully examines them to see if they are in need of medicine to keep them healthy and free from parasites. He provides shelter from inclement weather and moves them to new pastures before the grass becomes over-grazed; or to completely new areas when the weather turns too cold.

Israel’s priests and leaders were not being good shepherds to the people. And You pronounced “Woe to the worthless shepherd who deserts the flock!”

But blessed am I – for You are my Good Shepherd! You do not turn me over for slaughter. “You are the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – You remain faithful forever.”!  When I get into trouble, You answer my call and come to my rescue. When I wander, You call me back. I know Your voice because You have called me by name, and I have learned I can trust that voice. You give me the Holy Spirit that speaks to me and warns me away from poisonous things that would make me sick; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You protect me from the evil one who prowls around like a predatory lion looking for someone to devour.
When I get caught in thorny situations, You provide a way of escape. If I will but keep my eyes and ears open for Your leading, I will see the way out. When I fall into deep water, or walk out there on my own, You are with me in the water, and You do not let the flood overtake me. You are my Help! You are my Hope! You are my Good Shepherd. And “I will praise You all my life”. Amen

Zechariah 1:10-11:17; Psalm 146:1-10