Tag: rebellion

Nov 10 Let Your Light shine through us and overcome the Darkness

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Father, I wonder if You see in my country what You saw in the rebellion and idolatry of Israel and Judah.

The list You make certainly seems familiar.  Of Israel You said she treated parents with contempt, oppressed and mistreated the defenseless, despised what is holy and desecrated the Sabbath, liars, murderers, idolaters, lewd, lustful, immoral, kill for bribes, extort unjust gain, commit robbery; all while forgetting You.  This list looks like the television line up for today’s entertainment!

Your judgment will be just on my country too.

But one thing was missing from Israel.  “You looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before You in the gap on behalf of the land so You would not have to destroy it, but You found no one.”

Father, I believe many today hear the call to build up the wall around our country.  It has been torn down by our sin and our turning from You.  But many are praying for the revival and healing of our country.  We cry out, distressed over the idolatry, over the evil that has taken root here.

We see that what is evil has been called good, and that our leaders and role models have fallen and led us away from You.  Father, I am grieved that my generation has exalted self over You.  And that we have allowed our freedoms to warp our sense of right and wrong.

Father, I pray for Your mercy and for Your healing.  Let Your light overcome the darkness that is covering this land.

I stand in the gap of the broken wall as a guard, sounding the alarm; that the time is late.  And the people need to awaken to the truth.  Your Truth.  And turn away from the evil that entices us.

Father, You have made a way for each person to be reconciled to You.  Sacrifices do not need to be made daily in a temple any longer.  You made the perfect sacrifice, once, for all.

Father, let those of us who pray for our country be enough.  See us, and do not destroy.  Let our fate be different from that of Israel.  Let there be spiritual revival in my country and in its people!  Amen

Ezekiel 22:1-31; Hebrews 10:1-17

Nov 8 May the Truth set us free

usa-1491734_640Father, as I read this section of Psalm 106, I fear that I personally, and my country, have together made the same mistakes Your people made in the desert.  They were not satisfied with the life You gave them; even the miracles You performed!  You delivered them from the hand of the enemy who had relegated them to slavery for generations, and then was set on destroying them.

In the wilderness at Meribah where You brought water from a rock for them to drink, they rebelled against Moses and Your provision.  They forgot that You had done something so mighty as parting the Red Sea for them, and delivering them from the hand of Pharaoh and his army.

Instead, they focused on their fleshly desires, doubting You could quench their thirst.

I too, sometimes focus on my own desires rather than the great blessings You have already worked in my life.  And I too respond with whining instead of faith.

When they came into the Promised Land, they “mingled with the nations and adopted their customs.”  I fear I have done the same by participating in the social customs of my times.   I and my country, have mingled godly beliefs with the socially acceptable values of the times.

What You call sin is no longer looked upon as sin.  People today seem to have no concept of what is right and wrong, and so no self-governing set of morals that direct or protect them.

Many things in my culture take the place of passion for You.  Sports teams, fame, money, power, shopping, alcohol and drugs, status, cars, beauty, youth: so many things have become idols in the lives of so many, even believers.

“They sacrificed their sons and daughters to false gods.  They shed innocent blood…” Father, I grieve over the number of babies who have been sacrificed on the altar of “choice” and “convenience.”  This land is desecrated by their blood.   And it defiles the people involved because of the act of taking a life.

But it also exacts a price they often pay in long-term emotional and psychological damage, not to mention the spiritual battle that they have lost in giving over ground to the enemy.

Yet, You “took note of their distress when You heard their cry…and out of Your great love You relented.”

Father, I am in distress and I cry out to You: for my personal sin and for the sin of my country.  Forgive, Lord.

I acknowledge and agree with You that I and my country have acted in rebellion in going our own way without following the path You set before us. And that my country and I have participated in social customs and values that have become a snare to us, even to the point of idolatry.

Lord I turn away from anything that seeks to take Your place in my life.  Forgive us for focusing on the flesh over the spiritual.

“Save us Lord our God…that we may give thanks to Your Holy name and glory in Your praise.  Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Let all the people say, ‘Amen!’”

Psalm 106:32-48

Sept 8 Consequences

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What a loving Father You are.  You instruct gently, and spell out exactly, what the truth is.  You teach Your children how to do what will bring them the greatest rewardYou remind them: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.”

 You spell out the rewards and the consequences over and over again.  When they become disobedient, You send others, prophets, to remind them and warn them off the destructive path and back onto the path of blessing.

Even when they are immersed in their sin and being obstinate, You offer them forgiveness and a way back into Your grace and favor.   “Come, let us reason together, says the Lord.  Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Scarlet and crimson are bright and deep shades of red.  Trying to get red wine or a bloodstain out of something is difficult.  And my sin stains me like that.  But You tell me You can cleanse me as white as snow: sparkling, pure, glistening, frosty snow.  You can remove my sin and its stain to make me as white as the softest, purest lamb’s wool!

“But if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”  That is the consequence of disobedience.  Who would choose that?  Who would give up the blessing of Your provision and favor, in order to be devoured by death?

Yet the Israelites did just that, continuing in idolatry.  They turned away from You.  In pursuit of other gods, they continued to make meaningless offerings to You as one of the many “little g” gods they worshipped.  Meaningless because their hearts no longer belonged to You.

And You brought judgment.  Because of Your righteous character, You had to uphold justice and be true to Your Word.    They did not understand until it was too late.

Father, I believe my country has been blessed and protected by You because we trusted in You.  But now, we have turned away as a nation, “resisting and rebelling.“   We no longer honor or even acknowledge You.

And You have sent a warning.  You have sent people who have tried to call America back.  But we have not returned.  We have chosen the path away from You.  And You will bring judgment.

Before it is too late, Father, I pray my nation will turn to You.  Bring us leaders with godly values.  Open our eyes to our sin and give us repentant hearts.  “Come, [America], let us walk in the light of the Lord.”  Amen

Isaiah 1:1-2:22

Mar 10 Fear or Faith

fear-441402_640Ten said No.

Two said Go!

Interesting Lord, that only two of those who went to see the goodness of the land You promised to give the Israelites, had the faith to take You at Your word and go forward to take possession of it.

The other ten saw the goodness, but they also saw the size of those living there.  They could have compared the size of the enemy to the size of their God – who had delivered them from the entire Egyptian Army!  And brought them through the desert!  And who fed them every day, a miraculous food they had never seen, that came from nowhere! And Who was leading them with an awesome pillar of cloud by day and fire by night!

But instead, they focused on themselves.  They compared the size of their perceived “enemy” to their own puny, whiny selves, and were filled with fear and dread.  Even worse, they spread fear, discouragement and rebellion to the people!

What a typical human response.  How many times have I looked at my own circumstances, and figured out that I couldn’t win?  Forgetting that I can call on You as my ally – the One who can do miracles!  The One who keeps His promises!   The One who is faithful to His Word!

Forgive me Lord, for giving up before the battle.  Especially when I haven’t even called on You, trusting in faith, believing that You could and You would make a difference.  Forgive me when I focus on the challenges before me instead of the ally standing beside me!

I desire to be like Caleb and Joshua who said GO!  They compared the size of their enemy not to themselves, but to their Great God!

Let me see Your promises to me for all the blessing they are!  Let me see that the future You have planned for me is exceedingly good.  Lead me into my promised land and help me take it.

Do not let me disobey and rebel.  Do not let my fear get the better of me and keep me away.

Let me realize that when You are with me, there is no protection for the enemy!  Help me take possession of all You have for me.  I want to live in my Promised Land!  Amen

Numbers 14:1-38

Jan 5 I call to You

sky-2667455_640 (1)Psalm 5:3 says “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.”

This has become true as I read Your Word and it becomes the substance of my prayers. So today, I lay myself and my loved ones, one by one before You.

I ask for Your hand to be at work in each of these relationships, and in all our circumstances.

Father, You know what each of us needs better than I do, so I ask for You to work in each of our lives to bring about Your perfect will. In some cases, to break our own will where it is in opposition to Yours and set us back on Your path.

I ask to heal our bodies where there is sickness; to turn our spirits to You where there has been rebellion or going our own way; to soften our hearts so we seek You for help and direction.

Show us how to call out to You where there is disappointment or despair and give us a realization and acknowledgment of the blessings in our lives which come from You.

Where our troubles are the result of bad choices, teach us to learn from them so the experience is not wasted.

Where we are wrestling with spiritual forces, rulers, principalities, authorities, and powers of this dark world and the heavenly realms; destroy them Lord! Declare them guilty O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them and their evil plans from our lives .

I lay our lives at Your feet, knowing that You have the resources, the authority, and the power to achieve even more than I can ask or even imagine. I wait for Your hand to be made visible in the lives of my family and myself so that I can see and rejoice.

We take refuge in You, and in Your mighty power! Spread Your protection over us. Surround us with Your favor as with a shield.

We rejoice in You and we sing for joy! We love Your Name O Lord. Jehovah! Yahweh! Jesus! Messiah! For there is no other name by which we can be saved! Amen

Psalm 5:1-12

Dec 6 Rebellion to Repentance

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“Hear the word of the Lord, you [Americans], because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: ‘There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.   There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.  Because of this the land dries up, and all who live in it waste away;’”

 

Father, as Israel was in its idolatry and rebellion, so is America today.  My heart grieves for the way my country and its people have fallen so far away from the godly, moral values America was founded on.

When I was growing up, I heard older people saying that what one generation tolerates, the next takes to excess.

At the time I was proud to be in a generation who was finding “freedom” in establishing new social norms that were allowing equality between races and genders and socio-economic groups.  But what I have seen is that many of those freedoms were taken advantage of, and prostituted for monetary gain, selfishness, power and corruption.

I see that in my country, there is no faithfulness to You.

Even my freedom to express my spiritual viewpoint is being stifled when it is not ”politically correct.”

The list You gave Hosea of  “cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery” sounds like the description of most of what Americans call entertainment.   Forgive our sin Father, turn the hearts of the American people back to You and bring healing to our land.

You tell me “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken and endures forever.”  Father, I know I will endure forever as I have eternal life with You.  Help me now, in this life, not to be shaken from Your truth and what I know to be right.  Give me strength of faith and of character to walk in obedience to You, not in the way of the world.  Let me be faithful and acknowledge You in my land.

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so You surround Your people both now and forevermore.”

Let me feel You surrounding me, encompassing me Lord: shielding and protecting me, lifting me up.  Thank You that You are faithful to all Your promises.  Amen

Hosea 4:1-3; Psalm 125:1-2

 

 

Nov 10 Let Your light shine through us and overcome the darkness

candles-1645551_640

Father, I wonder if You see in my country what You saw in the rebellion and idolatry of Israel and Judah.

The list You make certainly seems familiar.  Of Israel You said she treated parents with contempt, oppressed and mistreated the defenseless, despised what is holy and desecrated the Sabbath, were liars, murderers, idolaters, lewd, lustful, immoral, killed for bribes, extorted unjust gain, committed robbery; all while forgetting You.  This list looks like the television line up for today’s entertainment!

Your judgment will be just on my country too.

But one thing was missing from Israel.  “You looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before You in the gap on behalf of the land so You would not have to destroy it, but You found no one.”

Father, I believe many today hear the call to build up the wall around our country.  It has been torn down by our sin and our turning from You.  But many are praying for the revival and healing of our country.  We cry out, distressed over the idolatry, over the evil that has taken root here.

We see that what is evil has been called good, and that our leaders and role models have fallen and led us away from You.  Father, I am grieved that my generation has exalted self over You.  And that we have allowed our freedoms to warp our sense of right and wrong.

Father, I pray for Your mercy and for Your healing.  Let Your light overcome the darkness that is covering this land.

I stand in the gap of the broken wall as a guard, sounding the alarm; that the time is late.  And the people need to awaken to the truth.  Your Truth.  And turn away from the evil that entices us.

Father, You have made a way for each person to be reconciled to You.  Sacrifices do not need to be made daily in a temple any longer.  You made the perfect sacrifice, once, for all.

Father, let those of us who pray for our country be enough.  See us, and do not destroy.  Let our fate be different from that of Israel.  Let there be spiritual revival in my country and in its people!  Amen

Ezekiel 22:1-31; Hebrews 10:1-17

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

Nov 3 Nourish me, Use me

Father, I am at a point where I “grieve and lament over the detestable things that are done” in my country.  Part of the problem is that people have been led astray by those who know better, and who should be teaching others what is right.

headinthesand

 

Part of the problem is that those who know, stick their heads in the sand in denial or so they will not be uncomfortable.

And part of the problem is that those who don’t know are not even searching for the truth.

I believe there will come a time when You will respond as You did in Ezekiel’s vision: with judgment.

You had all the people marked who grieved and lamented over the ungodly and detestable things done.  And then You sent “a man clothed in linen” through the city, killing anyone without the mark.

Father, take my head out of the sand!  Show me what I need to know and how to fight against things that are detestable to You.  Don’t let me live just for the sake of being “comfortable.”

If I am being led astray in any area of my life, get my attention and show me how to get back on the path You want me on.  Keep me on a diet of solid spiritual food, so I can be nourished by Your Word daily.

Grow me to maturity in You.   If I am to teach, show me who and how.  Do not let me call evil good; or good, evil.  But strengthen me to speak up for right.  Even in a society that has its values upside down.

Father, You also say to “make known among the nations what You have done.”  So help me know how to speak to unbelievers in a way that reaches them with Your truth.

Lord, I glory in Your Name.  I look to You.  I seek Your face, Your strength, Your blessing, always.  Amen

Ezekiel 9:1-11; Hebrews 5:11-14; Psalm 105:1-6

Sept 8 Consequences

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What a loving Father You are. You instruct gently, and spell out exactly, what the truth is. You teach Your children how to do what will bring them the greatest reward. You remind them: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.”

You spell out the rewards and the consequences over and over again. When they become disobedient, You send others, prophets, to remind them and warn them off the destructive path and back onto the path of blessing.

Even when they are immersed in their sin and being obstinate, You offer them forgiveness and a way back into Your grace and favor.   “Come, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Scarlet and crimson are bright and deep shades of red. Trying to get a red wine stain or a bloodstain out of something is difficult. And my sin stains me like that. But You tell me You can cleanse me as white as snow: sparkling, pure, glistening, frosty snow. You can remove my sin and its stain to make me as white as the softest, purest lamb’s wool!

“But if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” That is the consequence of disobedience. Who would choose that? Who would give up the blessing of Your provision and favor, in order to be devoured by death?

And yet, the Israelites did just that, continuing in idolatry. They turned away from You. In pursuit of other gods, they continued to make meaningless offerings to You as one of the many “little g” gods they worshipped. Meaningless because their hearts did not belong to You any longer.

And You brought judgment. Because of Your righteous character, You had to uphold justice and be true to Your Word.   They did not understand until it was too late.

Father, I believe my country has been blessed and protected by You because we trusted in You. But now, we have turned away as a nation, “resisting and rebelling.“ We no longer honor or even acknowledge You.

You have sent a warning. You have sent people who have tried to call America back. But we have not returned. We have chosen the path away from You. And You will bring judgment.

Before it is too late, Father, I pray my nation will turn to You. Bring us leaders with godly values. Open our eyes to our sin and give us repentant hearts. “Come, [America], let us walk in the light of the Lord.” Amen

Isaiah 1:1-31

July 8 You are our Hope

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Be merciful to me, Lord…O Lord, heal me.” Father, there have been times when not only my body, but my soul have been sick with grief, with fear, with frustration. There are times when I do not understand why such bad things happen to good, seemingly innocent people and children.

Or why tragedies come: floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires. Such devastation is hard to watch as the suffering and loss is personalized by the news reporting teams. And that doesn’t even include man’s inhumanity to man as I hear about shootings and bombings and the violent plans of bloodthirsty men.

As hard as all this is to take in, there are the invisible tragedies as well. These are the spiritual disasters that occur when people are deceived and led away from You into lives of confusion and sin. As I see hate and mistrust grow in my family, community and nation I wonder where it will end. How bad can it get O Lord, before You come and deliver?

I see children rebelling, pulling away from the godly way their parents have raised them. When will they come to their senses Lord?

I see young people swayed into immoral lifestyles by the social tolerances of the day. What one generation has allowed in moderation, the next has taken to excess.

Greed runs rampant. Self is exalted. Consequences are non-existent. But the spiritual cost is beyond measure. While it all looks fun on the outside, many of these people are tortured in their personal life. They are trapped in a web of self-doubt and pain, discontented with life. The more they seek to satisfy ‘self’ the more dissatisfied and confused they are. The further away they get from Your truth, the more lost they are, and unable to even recognize truth.

“How long, O Lord, how long? Turn and deliver; save because of Your unfailing love.”

Your love and deliverance are the only hope.   For my family, my community, my nation. Father, turn the hearts of sons back to fathers. “Open the eyes “ of those who have been drawn away from You, “and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to You, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in You.”

“Father, hear my cry for mercy. Accept my prayer.” I long for and wait for the time when all Your enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; and will turn back in sudden disgrace.” And You will be remembered and worshipped as the One True God. In my family. In my nation. In the world. I need, we need Your mercy Father. And Your healing. Thank You that You hear my cry, and answer. Amen

Acts 26:18; Psalm 6:1-10

Dec 6 Rebellion to Repentance

american-flag-1020853_640“Hear the word of the Lord, you [Americans], because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: ‘There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.  There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land dries up, and all who live in it waste away;’”

Father, as Israel was in its idolatry and rebellion, so is America today. My heart grieves for the way my country and its people have fallen so far away from the godly, moral values America was founded on. When I was growing up, I heard older people saying that what one generation tolerates, the next takes to excess. At the time I was proud to be in a generation who was finding ‘freedom’ in establishing new social norms that were allowing equality between races and genders and socio-economic groups. But what I have seen is that many of those freedoms were taken advantage of, and prostituted for monetary gain, selfishness, power and corruption.

I see that in my country, there is no faithfulness to You. That even my freedoms to express my spiritual viewpoint are being stifled when they are not ‘politically correct’. The list You gave Hosea of “cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery” sounds like the description of most of what Americans call ‘entertainment’.  Forgive our sin Father, turn the hearts of the American people back to You and bring healing to our land.

You tell me “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken and endures forever.” Father, I know I will endure forever as I have eternal life with You. Help me now, in this life, not to be shaken from Your truth and what I know to be right. Give me strength of faith and of character to walk in obedience to You, not in the way of the world. Let me be faithful and acknowledge You in my land.

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so You surround Your people both now and forevermore.” Let me feel You surrounding me, encompassing me Lord: shielding and protecting me, lifting me up. Thank You that You are faithful to all Your promises. Amen

Hosea 4:1-3; Psalm 125:1-5

Nov 10 Let Your Light shine through us and overcome the darkness

Father, I wonder if You see in my country what You saw in the rebellion and idolatry of Israel and Judah. The list You make certainly seems familiar. Of Israel You said she treated parents with contempt, oppressed and mistreated the defenseless, despised what is holy and desecrated the Sabbath, liars, murderers, idolaters, lewd, lustful, immoral, kill for bribes, extort unjust gain, commit robbery; all while forgetting You. This list looks like the television line up for today’s entertainment!

So Your judgment will be just on my country too.

candles-1645551_640But one thing was missing from Israel. “You looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before You in the gap on behalf of the land so You would not have to destroy it, but You found no one.” Father, I believe many today hear the call to build up the wall around our country. It has been torn down by our sin and our turning from You. But many are praying for the revival and healing of our country. We cry out, distressed over the idolatry, over the evil that has taken root here.

We see that what is evil has been called good, and that our leaders and role models have fallen and led us away from You. Father, I am grieved that my generation has exalted self over You. And that we have allowed our freedoms to warp our sense of right and wrong. Father, I pray for Your mercy and for Your healing. Let Your light overcome the darkness that is covering this land.

I stand in the gap of the broken wall as a guard, sounding the alarm; that the time is late. And the people need to awaken to the truth. Your Truth. And turn away from the evil that entices us. Father, You have made a way for each person to be reconciled to You. Sacrifices do not need to be made in a temple, daily, any longer. You made the perfect sacrifice, once, for all. Let there be spiritual revival in my country and in its people!

Father, let those of us who pray for our country be enough. See us, and do not destroy. Let our fate be different from that of Israel. Amen

Ezekiel 22:1-31; Hebrews 10:1-17

 

Nov 9 The Shepherd’s Rod

Father, 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”.

shepherd rodIn 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

Nov 8 May the Truth set us free

usa-1491734_640Father, as I read this section of Psalm 106, I fear that I personally, and my country, have together made the same mistakes Your people made in the desert. They were not satisfied with the life You gave them; even the miracles You performed to deliver them from the hand of the enemy who had relegated them to slavery for generations, and then was set on destroying them.

In the wilderness at Meribah where You brought water from a rock for them to drink, they rebelled against Moses and Your provision. They forgot that You had done something so mighty as parting the Red Sea for them, and delivering them from the hand of Pharaoh and his army. Instead, they focused on their fleshly desires, doubting You could quench their thirst. I too, sometimes focus on my own desires rather than the great blessings You have already worked in my life. And I too respond with whining instead of faith.

When they came into the Promised Land, they “mingled with the nations and adopted their customs”. I fear I have done the same by participating in the social customs of my times.   I and my country, have mingled godly beliefs with the socially acceptable values of the times. What You call sin is no longer looked upon as sin. People today seem to have no concept of what is right and wrong, and so no self-governing set of morals that direct or protect them.

Many things in my culture take the place of passion for You. Sports teams, fame, money, power, shopping, alcohol and drugs, status, cars, beauty, youth: so many things have become idols in the lives of so many, even believers.

“They sacrificed their sons and daughters to false gods. They shed innocent blood…” Father, I grieve over the number of babies who have been sacrificed on the altar of ‘choice’ and ‘convenience’. This land is desecrated by their blood.   And it defiles the people involved because of the act of taking a life. But it also exacts a price they often pay in long-term emotional and psychological damage, not to mention the spiritual battle that they have lost in giving over ground to the enemy.

Yet, You “took note of their distress when You heard their cry…and out of Your great love You relented”. Father, I am in distress and I cry out to You: for my personal sin and for the sin of my country. Forgive, Lord. I acknowledge and agree with You that I and my country have acted in rebellion in going our own way without following the path You set before us. And that my country and I have participated in social customs and values that have become a snare to us, even to the point of idolatry. Lord I turn away from anything that seeks to take Your place in my life. Forgive us for focusing on the flesh over the spiritual.

“Save us Lord our God…that we may give thanks to Your Holy name and glory in Your praise. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, Amen!”

Psalm 106:32-48

Sept 8 Consequences

What a loving Father You are. You instruct gently, and spell out exactly, what the truth is. You teach Your children how to do what will bring them the greatest reward. You remind them: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land”. You spell out the rewards and the consequences over and over again. When they become disobedient, You send others, prophets, to remind them and warn them off the destructive path and back onto the path of blessing

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Even when they are immersed in their sin and being obstinate, You offer them forgiveness and a way back into Your grace and favor.   “Come, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Scarlet and crimson are bright and deep shades of red. Trying to get a red wine stain or a bloodstain out of something is difficult. And my sin stains me like that. But You tell me You can cleanse me as white as snow: sparkling, pure, glistening, frosty snow. You can remove my sin and its stain to make me as white as the softest, purest lamb’s wool!

“But if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” That is the consequence of disobedience. Who would choose that? Who would give up the blessing of Your provision and favor, in order to be devoured by death? And yet, the Israelites did just that, continuing in idolatry. They turned away from You. In pursuit of other gods, they continued to make meaningless offerings to You as one of the many ‘little g gods’ they worshipped. Meaningless because their hearts did not belong to You any longer.

And You brought judgment. Because of Your righteous character, You had to uphold justice and be true to Your Word.   They did not understand until it was too late.

Father, I believe my country has been blessed and protected by You because we trusted in You. But now, we have turned away as a nation, ‘resisting and rebelling’. We no longer honor or even acknowledge You.   You have sent a warning and people who have tried to call America back. But we have not returned. We have chosen the path away from You. And You will bring judgment.

Before it is too late, Father, I pray my nation will turn to You. Bring us leaders with godly values. Open our eyes to our sin and give us repentant hearts. “Come, [America], let us walk in the light of the Lord.” Amen

Isaiah 1:1-2:22

Mar 13 Egypt or wilderness?

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The Israelites. For several hundred years they had not been in charge of their fate and lived as slaves. They never really had the freedom to choose what to do, where to go, or what to eat. And had no time to worship You, or even think about what their future might hold. All they knew: slavery = more of the same.

And while their freedoms had been stripped away, there was a stability and security in what they had. Barring illness or disobedience, they were provided for, albeit to keep them in working condition for the Pharaoh.

So in this newfound freedom after leaving Egypt, when problems rose, like no food or water for two million people, it was a big deal. And they were not prepared to cope. Those things had been provided for them before. And even though their labor had been hard and bitter, it was at least predictable. So during these times, it was so easy for one of them to look back to when there was a bit of security and minimal provision and convince others that what was behind them was preferable to the unknown ahead.

Lord, how many times have I preferred the predictable to the unfamiliar? It takes courage to step out in a new direction, to get up off the couch of complacency.

I go back and forth between disbelief at how the Israelites rebelled against You even in the presence of the observable and awesome miracles; and being able to understand where they were coming from.

Father I pray You would help me be courageous in accepting what comes from Your hand. If it requires change on my part, let me be willing to take the necessary steps without whining and complaining. Remind me of the times in the past when You have rescued, delivered and supported me through difficulties and challenges. Let those memories add to my faith and increase my trust in You.

And I will say, “whenever I am afraid I will trust in You” and “walk before You in the light of life”. Amen

Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 56:3,13