Tag: justice

Apr 3 Our laws are Your laws

Father, I am amazed by how much of the moral code You gave in Torah (the first five books of the Bible) is represented in our legal system today.

JohnAdamsQuote585The last several days’ readings are filled with issues represented in our country’s legal code.   Standards are set for maintaining property lines, fair measures in trade, witnesses being necessary rather than relying on hearsay testimony, determination of false testimony and punishing it.  It is not merely causing a death, but consideration of motivation behind the act that is judged; whether there is “malice aforethought.”

You deal with property law when passing an inheritance, capital punishment, homeowner’s liability, divorce, charging interest on loans and how to handle collateral.  In all Your determinations You call for justice to all, and for mercy in the care for the underprivileged and marginalized.

Our second president and signer of the Constitution, John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Our constitutional and legal values came from the Bible.  You knew, way back then, what our society would need today.  And provided for it.

Even beyond our country’s laws is Your law of sin and death.  And when I fail and sin, You have made a way of placing me back in right standing with You.  You took upon Yourself the penalty of my sin, and paid my debt.

But for those who do not accept Your payment, there will be a reckoning.   If they refuse Your gift, they will spend eternity separated from You.  They will be held accountable for the decision they make, whether to accept You as God, or reject You.

Thank You for being a just law-giver.  Strengthen me to turn away from sin and obey the laws You’ve given us. Bring our country back to a godly moral standard.

Thank You Father, that You who judge, are just. Amen

Deuteronomy 17:1-25:16

 

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Mar 22 Can I get a Witness?

case-law-677940_640Lord what a seemingly complex system You dictated to the Israelites for justice.

You have told us before that the shedding of innocent blood pollutes the land, and that the blood has a voice.

You heard the voice of Abel’s blood calling to You from the ground and confronted Cain.   Here, one who kills with intent is a murderer and is to be put to death by the blood avenger.  The blood avenger is the male relative closest to the one who was murdered.  He is to avenge the blood that was wrongly taken.

If there is a question about the motive, whether there was intention to kill or not, the one who killed can flee to a City of Refuge to stand trial, and be safe there from the blood avenger.  At the trial, no one is to be put to death on the testimony of less that two witnesses.

Today, we call a ”witness” to testify as to what they “saw.”  However, they have no way of judging the intent, or what was in the mind of the person accused.

But in the Hebrew culture, one teaching suggests that a “witness” is one who has already

  • confronted the potentially guilty party,
  • explained to them what they were doing is wrong,
  • and the penalty they will bear if they proceed.

Thus, they can testify that the accused was aware that what they were doing was wrong, and that they had been warned of the penalty.  If the accused proceeded with the act, it was with volition and intent.

Father, I pray You would send witnesses into my life if I begin to stray down a path leading to sin.  Stop me in my tracks and confront me with the realization of where I am headed, so I can turn around before it’s too late.

Numbers 35:1-34

Feb 18 Living A to Z

ffzjspuwc_i-diomari-madularaFather, help me embody the alphabetical list of traits in this Psalm.

In his old age David gives us instructions for living.  Of course the Hebrew alephbet goes from Aleph to Tav, not A to Z, but what was true then is still true now.

It’s hard to see evil people prosper knowing that the wrong they do causes harm to others.  And when they seem to be getting away with it, I wonder where Your justice is.

But as David says, “like the grass, they will soon wither.”  And I must wait on Your justice, which will come.  My responsibility is to do what You have told me to do and live how You have shown me to live.  This is what I am accountable for.

As I trust in You Lord, help me do good to others whenever it is within my power to do so.  Let me find my delight in You, and not be envious of others’ ill-gotten gain.

Help me commit my way to You so I look to You for guidance and direction and not toward my own selfish gain.  Several times I’ve been in circumstances where I was wronged and had a defensible position to press for my rights. I did not speak out because I trusted in You to fight for my cause.

It was hard to do, but You did not fail me.  In time the truth came to light without my having to say a word.  You defended me and my rightness was made even more evident because it was not me who spoke out.

Help me be still before You and wait patiently.  Even when I feel I’m justified in fighting.  Being “still” here means don’t move and don’t make a noise.  So help me not make a move without Your direction, and not rant or rave or carry on.

Remind me that prayer is a mighty weapon.   Help me pray for myself, the situation, and for my enemies to come to a saving knowledge of You, and stop their evil ways.

Help me turn away from anger and wrath.  One kind of anger boils over into uncontrolled lashing out.  Another kind seethes, simmering under the surface plotting and planning revenge, building up, until the perceived hurt is blown out of proportion.

Both of these responses are damaging to me.  I need to remember that vengeance is Yours, not mine.

Following these instructions will allow me to live in peace.  Meekness is not weakness.  But it is power under control.  Help me live a Holy Spirit-controlled life.  Amen

Psalm 37:1-11

Jan 15 His eye is on the sparrow

sparrow

Oh God my Father, I too, sometimes have days where I feel like the Psalmist David who writes this prayer for help in trouble. He sings his troubles to You O Lord, as he writes this to his chief musician.

Like David, I also pour out my heart to You, Oh God. There are circumstances in my life where I feel You have turned away from me, hidden Your face from me. I cannot see You, or feel Your presence and do not know when You will act.

I pray and call out for You to make it right: for healing, for restoration, for vindication, for strength, for wisdom, for justice. I can think of challenges, troubles, where I need each of these; and You know them too, because You know all things.

There are places in my life of such hurt and frustration. They cause sorrow to fill my heart. I feel as if I have fought a battle and my enemies have defeated me. My strength is gone.

I cry out for You to hear me, to come to me, and lift me up. Almighty God, do not let my enemies have the victory. Do not let them say they have vanquished me with rejoicing in their camp.

Even facing all this, I trust wholeheartedly in Your mercy. I know that my salvation is sure. All else pales in the light of Your love and care for me. Whatever happens to me here on earth, I know my future in eternity is secure in You.

So I will sing to You. I will lift up Your Holy Name. I will rejoice abundantly because of what You have done for me. You know the number of hairs on my head, and that is a number that changes daily! Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from Your will.

I trust in Your will completely. I trust the plans that You have for me, to prosper me and not to harm me; plans to give me a hope and a future. So in You will I rest. Amen

Psalm 13: 1-6; Jeremiah 29:11

Nov 28 Santa or Sovereign

christmas-1808549_640

Father, so much of the world looks for a god who is like Santa Clause.

They want someone who is happy, always smiling, and will give them whatever they ask for.  They like to speak of love for everyone and unending tolerance.  But You are a Holy God.  And because of that You will have justice for all or there would be love for none.

King Belshazzar was judged by You, and You removed him from his position of power and took his life.  You judged Your angels, and threw them into hell to await final judgment.  You judged Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed the cities and the evil people who lived there.  And You judged the ancient world when You sent the great flood, saving only eight people to continue mankind.

The Psalmist thought it was time for You to act against the evil people of his day.  They are described as evil-minded, wicked, arrogant, ones who have divided loyalties and violated Your instructions.

And in the hundreds of years since then, there has been so much injustice and evil done in the world, it is hard to believe You will hold off judgment much longer.

But Father, You know how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.”  “You are my refuge and my shield; Your Word is my source of hope.”  You will “sustain me”, “rescue”, “deal with me with unfailing love”, and “give me discernment.”   

As is the psalmist, I am instructed and strengthened by You, I will “obey the commands of My God”, “meditate continually on Your decrees”, and “understand Your laws.”  For truly “I am Your servant…I tremble in fear of You; I stand in awe of Your regulations.”

I believe Your teachings that there will come a day when You will reign over all the earth; and a final judgment will be handed down by Your righteous hand.

Father, until that day, keep me safe within Your Word.  And keep me faithful to You, like Daniel.  Amen

Daniel 5:1-31; II Peter 2:1-10; Psalm 119:113-128

Oct 9 Evidence of belief

hammer-802296_640Father, Jeremiah saw wicked people prospering and called for their demise.  You answered saying their end was coming.

I see much the same today.  People who have denied You and live their lives for fame, power or profit are indeed prospering.

My society elevates them rather than calling for righteousness.  And every day the time approaches when You will uproot and destroy them.

So how do I choose to live in these times?  I will remember that You have chosen me.  You have set me apart.  So I will not seek the things society promotes.  But will seek to be like the believers at the church at Thessalonica.  Paul said of them: “Your faith has become known everywhere”.   Father, let me live a life that these words will be true of me also.

Many years ago, a Sunday School teacher was telling about believers who were being persecuted in another country.  And she asked, ‘If you were on trial today, would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?’  That really stuck with me.  Help me live in a way that my faith in You is evident without a doubt.

Like the Thessalonians, let me also show “[my] work produced by faith, [my] labor prompted by love, and [my] endurance inspired by hope in [my] Lord Jesus Christ.”  Show me how to work alongside You, not just look for anything I can do to stay busy.  Let me see where You are working, and join You in a faithful labor of love.   Let my hope in You inspire and hearten me to continue in whatever task You show me.

The Thessalonians were inspired to endure hardship and trials by the hope that You would return to earth soon.  I too am encouraged to be steady in my faith, believing that the time is nearing when You will return to earth, bringing eternal rewards.  Thank You that Your Word is true.  Thank You that Your justice is right.  And that in Your Sovereignty and Authority, You are righteous!  Amen

Jeremiah 12:1-17, I Thessalonians 1-2:8

Apr 3 Your laws are our laws

JohnAdamsQuote585

Father, I am amazed by how much of the moral code You gave in Torah (the first five books of the Bible) is represented in our legal system today. The last several days’ readings are filled with issues represented in our country’s legal code.   Standards are set for maintaining property lines, fair measures in trade, witnesses being necessary rather than relying on hearsay testimony, determination of false testimony and punishing it. It is not merely causing a death, consideration of motivation behind the act that is judged, whether there is ‘malice aforethought’.

You deal with property law when passing an inheritance, capital punishment, homeowner’s liability, divorce, charging interest on loans and how to handle collateral. In all Your determinations You call for justice to all, and for mercy in the care for the underprivileged and marginalized.

Our second president and signer of the Constitution, John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Our constitutional and legal values came from the Bible. You knew, way back then, what our society would need today. And provided for it.

But beyond our country’s laws is Your law of sin and death. And when I fail and sin, You have made a way of placing me back in right standing with You. You took upon Yourself the penalty of my sin, and paid my debt.

But for those who do not accept Your payment, there will be a reckoning.  If they refuse Your gift, they will spend eternity separated from You. They will be held accountable for the decision they make, whether to accept You as God, or reject You.

Thank You for being a just law-giver.  Strengthen me to turn away from sin and obey the laws You’ve given us. Bring our country back to a godly moral standard. Thank You Father, that You who judge, are just. Amen

Deuteronomy 17:1-25:16

Mar 22 Can I get a witness?

case-law-677940_640

Lord what a seemingly complex system You dictated to the Israelites for justice.

You have told us before that the shedding of innocent blood pollutes the land, and that the blood has a voice. You heard the voice of Abel’s blood calling to You from the ground and confronted Cain.   Here, one who kills with intent is a murderer and is to be put to death by the blood avenger. The blood avenger is the male relative closest to the one who was murdered. He is to avenge the blood that was wrongly taken.

If there is a question about the motive, whether there was intention, the one who killed can flee to a City of Refuge to stand trial, and be safe there from the blood avenger. At the trial, no one is to be put to death on the testimony of less that two witnesses.

Today, we call a ‘witness’ to testify as to what they ‘saw’. However, they have no way of judging the intent, or what was in the mind of the person accused. But in the Hebrew culture, one teaching suggests that a person who is a ‘witness’ is one who had confronted the potentially guilty party, explained to them what they were doing is wrong, and the penalty they will bear if they proceed. Thus, they can testify that the accused was aware that what they were doing was wrong and that they had been warned of the penalty. If the accused proceeded with the act, it was with volition and intent.

Father, I pray You would send witnesses into my life if I begin to stray down a path leading to sin. Stop me in my tracks and confront me with the realization of where I am headed, so I can turn around before it’s too late.

Father, care for me as You care for the land. You “water the land and enrich it abundantly”. In the same way, pour out on me what I need for growth and fruitfulness in my spiritual life. Provide me with the nourishment I need to grow in maturity and grace. You “drench its furrows and level its ridges, softening it with showers, blessing the land and crowning it with bounty and abundance”.   Father, drench me in Your love, even out my rough places, soften my heart where it is hardened. Open my eyes to acknowledge Your bounty and abundance of blessing in my life, and I will shout for joy and sing praises to You. Amen

Numbers 35:1-34; Psalm 65:9-13

Feb 18 Living A to Z

ffzjspuwc_i-diomari-madulara

Father, help me embody the alphabetical list of traits in this Psalm. In his old age David gives us instructions for living. Of course the Hebrew alephbet goes from Aleph to Tav, not A to Z, but what was true then is still true now.

It is hard to see evil people prosper knowing that the wrong they do causes harm to others. And when they seem to be getting away with it, I wonder where Your justice is.   But as David says, “like the grass, they will soon wither”. And I must wait on Your justice, which will come. My responsibility is to do what You have told me to do and live how You have shown me to live. This is what I am accountable for.

As I trust in You Lord, help me do good to others whenever it is within my power to do so. Let me find my delight in You, and not be envious of others’ ill-gotten gain.

Help me commit my way to You so I look to You for guidance and direction and not toward my own selfish gain. Several times I have been in circumstances where I was wronged and had a defensible position to press for my rights. I did not speak out because I trusted in You to fight for my cause. It was hard to do, but You did not fail me. In time the truth came to light without my having to say a word. You defended me and my rightness was made even more evident because it was not me who spoke out.

Help me be still before You and wait patiently. Even when I feel I am justified in fighting. Being “still” here means not to move and not to make a noise. So help me not make a move without Your direction, and not rant or rave or carry on. Remind me that prayer is a mighty weapon.  Help me pray for myself, the situation, and for my enemies to come to a saving knowledge of You, and stop their evil ways.

Help me turn away from anger and wrath. One kind of anger boils over into uncontrolled lashing out. Another kind seethes, simmering under the surface plotting and planning revenge, building up, until the perceived hurt is blown out of proportion. Both of these responses are damaging to me. I need to remember that vengeance is Yours, not mine.

Following these instructions will allow me to live in peace. Meekness is not weakness. But it is power under control. Help me to live a Holy Spirit-controlled life. Amen

Psalm 37:1-11

 

Nov 28 Santa or Sovereign

christmas-1808549_640

Father, so much of the world looks for a god who is like Santa Clause.

They want someone who is happy, always smiling, and will give them whatever they ask for. They like to speak of love for everyone and unending tolerance. But You are a Holy God. And because of that You will have justice for all or there would be love for none.

King Belshazzar was judged by You, and You removed him from his position of power and took his life. You judged Your angels, and threw them into hell to await final judgment. You judged Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed the cities and the evil people who lived there. And You judged the ancient world when You sent the great flood, saving only eight people to continue mankind.

The Psalmist thought it was time for You to act against the evil people of his day. They are described as evil-minded, wicked, arrogant, ones who have divided loyalties and violated Your instructions. And in the hundreds of years since then, there has been so much injustice and evil done in the world, it is hard to believe You will hold off judgment much longer.

But Father, You know how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment”. “You are my refuge and my shield; Your Word is my source of hope.” You will “sustain me”, “rescue”, “deal with me with unfailing love”, and “give me discernment”.  

As is the psalmist, I am instructed and strengthened by You, I will “obey the commands of My God”, “meditate continually on Your decrees”, and “understand Your laws”. For truly “I am Your servant…I tremble in fear of You; I stand in awe of Your regulations.” I believe Your teachings that there will come a day when You will reign over all the earth; and a final judgment will be handed down by Your righteous hand.

Father, until that day, keep me safe within Your Word. And keep me faithful to You, like Daniel. Amen

Daniel 5:1-31; II Peter 2:1-22; Psalm 119:113-128

Oct 9 Evidence of Belief

Father, Jeremiah saw wicked people prospering and called for their demise. You answered saying their end was coming. I see much the same today. People who have denied You and live their lives for fame, power or profit are indeed prospering. My society elevates them rather than calling for righteousness. And every day the time approaches when You will uproot and destroy them.

hammer-802296_640So how do I choose to live in these times? I will remember that You have chosen me. You have set me apart. So I will not seek the things society promotes. But will seek to be like the believers at the church at Thessalonica. Paul said of them: “Your faith has become known everywhere”.   Father, let me live a life that these words will be true of me also.

Many years ago, a Sunday School teacher was telling about believers who were being persecuted in another country. And she asked, ‘If you were on trial today, would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?’ That really stuck with me. Help me live in a way that my faith in You is evident without a doubt.

Like the Thessalonians, let me also show “[my] work produced by faith, [my] labor prompted by love, and [my] endurance inspired by hope in [my] Lord Jesus Christ.” Show me how to work alongside You, not just look for anything I can do to stay busy. Let me see where You are working, and join You in a faithful labor of love. Let my hope in You inspire and hearten me to continue in whatever task You show me.

The Thessalonians were inspired to endure hardship and trials by the hope that You would return to earth soon. I too am encouraged to be steady in my faith, believing that the time is nearing when You will return to earth, bringing eternal rewards. Thank You that Your Word is true. Thank You that Your justice is right. And that in Your Sovereignty and Authority, You are righteous! Amen

Jeremiah 12:1-17, I Thessalonians 1-2:8

Sept 30 You are my Light

blue-2571965_640

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.”

Father, what a glorious picture You paint of a time when You come to the earth. I have no idea when it will be, whether I will be alive and able to see it first hand, or whether many more generations will pass before it happens. But I believe all will be as You describe.

You give me a picture of what it will be like to give me hope for the future, and to spur me on to live as I should right now. It is hard to see injustice and people being treated badly. But what a promise that one day there will be justice and vindication for all! Father, help me hold on to that hope as I pray for that day to come soon.

In knowing how to live during this time, help me “stand firm in one Spirit, striving together [with other believers] as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way…” In these times there will be troubles, but I have “encouragement from being united with You”. So when I face a challenge, don’t let me run away from my faith in order to meet my needs. Don’t let me compromise my beliefs in order to ‘fit in’ with the prevailing social attitudes. Show me how to draw strength and support from other believers; and how to strengthen and support them.

Father, help me follow Your example, being humble and obedient, thinking of others before myself. Let my motivation be to be more like You, not seeking selfish ambition or vain conceit.

Father, I pray for Your swift return, when “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. Amen

Isaiah 60: 1-62:5; Philippians 1:27-2:18

 

May 16 Praying Your Word

Father, I pray the words of this Psalm for myself, and my loved ones.praying-hands-on-bible

I give You praise!

Blessed am I because I fear You – have an earnest respect for You – and delight in knowing and obeying Your commands. May my children be mighty in the futures You have promised them. May they live uprightly so their generation will be blessed.

Thank You that I possess wealth and riches. Perhaps not as the world recognizes wealth and riches, but as You count them.   And thank You that Your righteousness remains with me forever. Even in the dark times, let me live in Your light as You give me grace and compassion to deal with whatever comes. Let goodness pour into my life. And let me generously pass that goodness on to others. I will seek Your justice in conducting my affairs and act in accordance.

As I have planted my faith in You, I will never be shaken. The world will not make me fall apart. Keep my heart strong even in the face of bad news, so I will not fear. But draw me ever closer to You, who I trust completely.   Because I know that You win in the end, my heart and mind are secure. I know that at the end of the age, when You return, all Your foes will be vanquished, and I will look triumphantly on those foes.

I will send my service and prayers and financial support to the poor, here and around the world. Let Your righteousness done through me, be remembered forever. And my family be remembered honorably. Amen

Psalm 112:1-9

Apr 3 Our laws are Your laws

JohnAdamsQuote585

Father, I am amazed by how much of the moral code You gave in Torah, the first five books of the Bible, is represented in our system of law today. The last several days’ readings are filled with issues represented in our country’s legal code.   Standards are set for maintaining property lines, fair measures in trade, witnesses being necessary rather than relying on hearsay testimony, determination of false testimony and punishing it. It is not merely causing a death, but also taken into consideration is the motivation behind the act that is judged, whether there is ‘malice aforethought’.

You deal with property law when passing an inheritance, capital punishment, homeowner’s liability, divorce, charging interest on loans and how to handle collateral. In all Your determinations You call for justice to all, and for mercy in the care for the underprivileged and marginalized.

Our second president and signer of the Constitution, John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  And the Bible is where these values came from. You knew, way back then, what our society would need today. And provided for it.

Yet even when I fail and disobey these laws, or sin, You have made a way of placing me back in right standing with You. You took upon Yourself the penalty of my sin, and paid my debt.

But for those who do not accept Your payment, there will be a reckoning.   If they refuse Your gift, they will spend eternity separated from You. They will be held accountable for the decision they make, whether to accept You as God, or reject You.

For me, I will give thanks to You. Strengthen me to turn away from sin. Help me love You as I should; and love my neighbor. Show me when I can help my neighbor, and how.   Thank You Father, that You, who judge, are just. Amen

Deuteronomy 17:1-25:16; Luke 10:13-37; Psalm 75:1-10

 

Mar 22 Can I get a witness?

case-law-677940_640Lord what a seemingly complex system You dictated to the Israelites for justice.

You have told us before that the shedding of innocent blood pollutes the land, and that the blood has a voice. You heard the voice of Abel’s blood calling to You from the ground and confronted Cain.   Here, a murderer, one who kills with intent, is to be put to death by the blood avenger. The blood avenger is the male relative closest to the one who was murdered. He is to avenge the blood that was wrongly taken.

If there is question about the motive, whether there was intention, the one who killed can flee to a City of Refuge to stand trial, and be safe there from the blood avenger. At the trial, no one is to be put to death on the testimony of less that two witnesses.

Today, we call a ‘witness’ to testify as to what they ‘saw’. However, they have no way of judging the intent, or what was in the mind of the person accused. But in the Hebrew culture, one teaching suggests that a person who is a ‘witness’ is one who had confronted the potentially guilty party, explained to them what they were doing is wrong, and the penalty they will bear if they proceed. Thus, they can testify that the accused was aware that what they were doing was wrong and that they had been warned of the penalty. If the accused proceeded with the act, it was with volition and intent.
Father, I pray You would send witnesses into my life if I begin to stray down a path leading to sin. Stop me in my tracks and confront me with the realization of where I am headed, so I can turn around before it’s too late.

Father, care for me as You care for the land. You “water the land and enrich it abundantly”. In the same way, pour out on me what I need for growth and fertility in my spiritual life. Provide me with the nourishment I need to grow in maturity and grace. You “drench its furrows and level its ridges, softening it with showers, blessing the land and crowning it with bounty and abundance”.   Father, drench me in Your love, even out my rough places, soften my heart where it is hardened. Open my eyes to acknowledge Your bounty and abundance of blessing in my life, and I will shout for joy and sing praises to You. Amen

Numbers 35:1-34; Psalm 65:9-13