Tag: values

July 4 We depend on You

cross-1314136_640O Father, Your people didn’t think that judgment would come. But You sent Pharaoh Neco from Egypt in the west to take Judah’s king in chains and tax and oppress the people. Then Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon in the east came twice to burn Jerusalem and strip the land of the last of its treasures and people.

Your people went into exile, taken from their land, to be prisoners in a foreign place. It was just as You had promised. Your people ignored Your covenant and the prophets You sent and followed their leaders into disobedience and idolatry. And paid the price for their choices.

Father, You give me a choice today. You show me how to live by Your Word. You teach me right from wrong. Your values and morality are clear. But my society lives by a different standard. And most of the people believe You will not judge.

Although You have the greatest love, You also hate sin. And You have said there will come a time for judgment.

I believe that time is nearing. Father, help my nation hear Your warnings and turn back to You. Help me in my own life, make choices that are according to Your Word. Help me not simply make the easiest choices, or the most popular ones; but give me understanding to know how to make the right choices.

Let me live my life for an audience of One: You.

Help me recognize my own sin and turn from it. Strengthen me to do what is right even when it is hard. Let others see that I love You. And that I live my life accordingly.

“Let the kings be wise; and the rulers of the earth be warned. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. And all who take refuge in the Lord will be blessed.” Amen

2 Kings 23:31-35; 24:1-4; 24:8-17; 25:1-22; Psalm 2:1-12

June 29 Standing firm

O Father, how Your heart must ache when Your people choose to turn away from You!

Lincold stand firm

 

You have given me all I need for an abundant life, yet the society I live in, and the one the Israelites lived in, pull people away from You to continually seek after other things.

When the kings over Your people were bad, they worshipped idols in the open, even sacrificing living children by fire.   They fought battles according to their own strength, or bought allies with the treasures from Your Temple.

When the kings were not evil, and led the people back to worship You, they still did not remove the high places and Asherah poles, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

The values and attitudes of their society had become so evil, that this behavior was accepted by even the good kings.  But it was not acceptable by You.  And eventually You sent armies from the east to conquer and capture Your people, taking them into exile.   This was as You had promised.  You outlined their options for blessing and cursing, and they made their choice.

Lord, how often in my life do I allow the ungodly values of my society to sway me, divert me from what You have told me is true?  Often what is evil is accepted as good.  And even the good leaders abide by it as if it were ok.

Do we think as a society that there will be no accounting?  That’s what the Israelites thought.  Didn’t work out so well for them.  And I fear it won’t work out in my times either.

When Your Word spread in Ephesus, people who practiced sorcery burned their scrolls, and idol worshippers stopped buying the silver idols.  As the economic impact increased, so did the opposition!

Society today would also prefer that believers keep their faith to themselves.  When it begins to impact political issues or economic factors, there is friction.

Father, as You have called me to live in the world, You have also separated me, set me apart from it.  Help me understand how to be ”in” the world while being separate from it.  Remind me to question values, holding them up against what Your Word says.  Only then will I know I am on solid ground.

Show me if there is any value or attitude I need to change to be right with You.  And strengthen me to do it; amid, or even against, the pull of society.  Amen

2 Kings 15:17-16:20; Acts 19:13-41

Feb 4 Eternal Priorities

Three words I never want to hear: “Woe to you.”

With these words You gave warning to the Pharisees and called them into account for their actions and deeds.  Even now, it’s so easy to say “I would never be like them!”  I do not want to follow in their footsteps, like judging others while projecting seeming innocence.  So correct me if You see in me what You saw in them.

They had their priorities backwards, saying the gold was more valuable than the temple it was in, and the sacrifice more valuable than the altar it was offered on.

Help me make and keep my priorities straight.  Help me understand the true value of things as they are in Your economy so I do not elevate the profane and dishonor the holy.

Many of the things the world places value on are not truly valuable.  The world sees from a limited, short-term perspective and often places more significance on the created thing, than the Creator Himself.

Help me see things for their eternal value.

I love Your humor when You say they “strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!”  Teach me to see the bigger picture and focus on the important things and not be legalistic over the smaller insignificant ones.

I can get so carried away with the urgent that sometimes I don’t make time for the important things.   Show me how to spend my energy and time on what is significant.

You paint a striking picture when You describe a cup: clean on the outside but dirty on the inside; or a whitewashed tomb, clean on the outside but full of death on the inside.  You see not only the outward appearance, but see into man’s heart to know him.

Let me be as concerned with being pure and clean on the inside as I am with being presentable on the outside.   Help me be authentic and transparent; so my walk agrees with my talk.  Let me put as much time into developing my character as my wardrobe.

I desire to be all You have created me to be.  But it is so easy to follow the way of the world and look for the easy way – to make a big deal over what the world says is a big deal.  I know that most of the world does not seek You to worship You or follow You.

Broad is the path that leads to destruction.  Help me find that narrow way, and stay on that path: the one that brings joy and not woe.  Amen

Matthew 23:13-39; Matthew 7:13

Nov 27 Your Gifts

“Your divine power has given [me] everything [I] need for a godly life…”  “You have given [me] Your very great and precious promises…”. 

Thank You Father, that I have all that I need:

box-159630_640

 

prayer as a way to hear from and talk to You

Your Word as a guidebook.

the Holy Spirit who reveals spiritual truth to me

 

And You have promised me:

Your eternal love

Your constant presence

Your faithfulness

Your protection

Your provision

All this because You are my personal Savior.

Help me live in the light of these gifts.  And nurture qualities that will lead me to be effective and productive.  Peter tells me these qualities are: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love.  Some of these are the Fruit of the Spirit and will grow in me as I am obedient to Your Spirit’s leading.  Help me embrace opportunities for each of these qualities to grow in my life.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Your Word, the Scriptures, are that light for me.  When I am not sure which option is best, Your Word tells me “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart and lean not on Your own understanding.”

When I feel frustrated with some results, You tell me “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you] will reap a harvest…”  Or when I feel discouraged, alone and depressed, You tell me “I have carried you since your birth…I will continue to be with you and sustain you, even when you have gray hairs.  I will always carry you; I will always sustain you; I will always rescue you.” [paraphrased to personalize]

Your Word helps me see that next step and take it.  Thank You Father, that You care so much for me that even in the darkness of this world and its “wisdom” You have made a way for me to stay on Your path and keep moving ahead safely.  Amen

II Peter 1:1-8; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 46:3-4

 

Nov 24 Help me walk in the light

“Dear friends, I urge you…to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”

Word lamp unto my feet

Father, help me live this kind of life.  I am bombarded every day by media who through advertising and entertainment would have me believe that worldly values and immorality are the only way to be happy.  Many of these skewed values presented would lead me into sin.

Father, if I have embraced these desires, take them away from me.  Let me be so busy enjoying doing good and pleasing You, that I do not even think about, or have time to be involved in ungodly activities.  Bring opportunities to me that will use my gifts and bless others so You will get the credit.  Help me make choices that will honor You.

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority…”  I do not wish to be a doormat for others.  I believe by “submission” You mean power or strength under control.  While in the flesh, Jesus, You had all the power in the world, but it was still “submitted to” or “under the control of” God the Father’s will.

Let me learn humility and submission by Your example.  Give me Your strength, and help me submit it to Your will.

Help me live in submission to the authorities You place in my life.  This would be legal and government officials, those in positions of authority as I work and minister, and those You place in my personal life.

Peter says “you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

Ultimately, I am a sheep, Your sheep.  Father, let me flourish in Your flock, and always be near to and obedient to You, my Shepherd.  Amen

I Peter 2:11-25   

Oct 20 Example of obedience

book-1209805_1920Father, let me learn a lesson and be like the Rekabites.

You instructed Jeremiah to go to them and invite them to do something that was contrary to how they had faithfully chosen to live.  And they refused to do it.

Their forefather had told them “Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine.  Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents…”  And they did it!

You rewarded them for their faithfulness and made them an example to be followed for the people of Judah and Jerusalem.  And for believers today.

It is not that I should never do these specific things, or live in a tent, but that I should be faithful to what You tell me.  Help me “learn this lesson and obey Your words.”

You told Your people to “turn from their wicked ways and reform their actions; do not follow other gods to serve them.”  Father, the world I live in is so very far from Your standards in its values and morality.  Show me if I have any “wicked ways” that need to be changed.

Speak to me of the values You want me to have – in my attitudes, my speech, my thoughts, my relationships, my vote.  Father, I open everything in my life for Your evaluation and Your comment.  I desire to bring it all into alignment with You.

Lord, if there are actions I have taken that need reforming, show me those and how to make them right.  Likewise, if there are actions I have not taken that I need to, move me to be obedient.

I do not want to “follow other gods” or “serve them.”  Show me if there is anything or anyone I have put before You in my life.  Sometimes I may not even realize the significance or influence I am drawn to or led by. So I depend on You to keep me faithful to only You as my God and my Lord.

Thank You for this faithful example, that I don’t remember ever noticing before.  But will remember now.  Amen

Jeremiah 35: 1-19

Jun 29 Standing Firm

Lincold stand firmO Father, how Your heart must ache when Your people choose to turn away from You!

You have given me all I need for an abundant life, yet the society I live in, and the one the Israelites lived in, pull people away from You to continually seek after other things.

When the kings over Your people were bad, they worshipped idols in the open, even sacrificing living children by fire.   They fought battles according to their own strength, or bought allies with the treasures from Your Temple.

When the kings were not evil, and led the people back to worship You, they still did not remove the high places and Asherah poles, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

The values and attitudes of their society had become so evil, that this behavior was accepted by even the good kings.  But it was not acceptable by You.  And eventually You sent armies from the east to conquer and capture Your people, taking them into exile.   This was as You had promised.  You outlined their options for blessing and cursing, and they made their choice.

Lord, how often in my life do I allow the ungodly values of my society to sway me, divert me from what You have told me is true?  Often what is evil is accepted as good.  And even the good leaders abide by it as if it were ok.

Do we think as a society that there will be no accounting?  That’s what the Israelites thought.  Didn’t work out so well for them.  And I fear it won’t work out in my times either.

When Your Word spread in Ephesus, people who practiced sorcery burned their scrolls, and idol worshippers stopped buying the silver idols.  As the economic impact increased, so did the opposition!

Society today would also prefer that believers keep their faith to themselves.  When it begins to impact political issues or economic factors, there is friction.

Father, as You have called me to live in the world, You have also separated me, set me apart from it.  Help me understand how to be ”in” the world while being separate from it.  Remind me to question values, holding them up against what Your Word says.  Only then will I know I am on solid ground.

Show me if there is any value or attitude I need to change to be right with You.  And strengthen me to do it; amid, or even against, the pull of society.  Amen

2 Kings 15:17-16:20; Acts 19:13-41

Nov 25 Live in the light like Daniel

joshua-earle-252222

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are Yours.  You change times and seasons;  You depose kings and raise up others.  You give wisdom to the wise   and knowledge to the discerning.  You reveal deep and hidden things; You know what lies in darkness,  and light dwells with You.  I thank and praise You…”  

Father, these words of Daniel’s are just as true today.  We still praise You!

After all these years of season after season, You are still the One who keeps the world in order.  And after generations of kings, You are still the One who holds their hearts and all power in Your hand.

All wisdom and knowledge are Yours.  Hundreds of years of human advancements and scientific discovery and technology, haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to understanding this amazing universe You created!

Father, Daniel held tightly to his beliefs about You and his convictions about how to live a godly life.  And he did so in the midst of being kidnapped and taken a thousand miles away from home and family.  As a young man it would have been so easy for him to simply go along with whatever his captors pushed on him.  But even far away from family and the worship he knew, he knew that You were with him.

At that time, people worshipped pagan gods who they believed had power and influence over a specific thing like rainfall, crops, fertility or a particular place.   But Daniel knew You were the One True God over all these things.  And that no matter where he was, You were there.

“Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel.”

And You were faithful to Daniel.   You allowed him to be faithful to the ways he had been taught and gave him success.  In addition to this, You gave Daniel and his four friends wisdom and understanding far beyond that of all others.

Father, help me be like Daniel.  Strengthen me to live the way You have taught me, and not give in to the pressures of whatever society offers.  Let me stand out so others will see that I live differently from the pagan ways of my culture.

Let the light that dwells in You, shine through me.  Amen

Daniel 1:1-2:23

Oct 24 the Answer IS Your Word

bible-1001114_640

Father, what a wonderful list of things to both pursue and stay away from, for my own good!  I love that You say to “flee the evil desires of youth” because not all desires of youth are evil.  Being young doesn’t mean one is evil, just that one might be more susceptible to evil.

When I was younger, it was more important to me to be “right” so I would press my point and become involved in unproductive arguments.  You refer to them as “foolish and stupid.”  I agree, and have since learned the value of a soft word and gentle instruction.

Even so, You share that “…in the last days…people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power…swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth”.  Paul saw this already in his day.  I see it all around me.

It almost seems there is an entire generation described above.  Paul says: “they will not get very far because…their folly will be clear to everyone”.  Unfortunately, with an entire generation behaving like this, it appears as the norm.

Television shows and media portray fathers, police, authority figures as idiots, not worthy of obedience or respect.  More and more our political leaders and sports heroes turn out to be corrupt cheaters.  Some of our children grew up knowing You and were taught Your values, but they have turned away from You in this permissive and deadly society.

But there are many who love You and follow You.  Let them be role models and mentors to this generation and the next.  And let me live a godly life as an example.

I seek and value You and Your characteristics, but sometimes pride and ungratefulness, for example, rear their ugly heads in me.   I have Your Word as my guide.  Your Word is effective for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”   And it will “equip me for every good work.” 

For all of us the answer is in Your Word, and IS Your Word.  Keep it in the forefront of my mind as a guide.  But also let me use it wisely in gently correcting and praying for others.  Father, return this generation of self absorbed, materialistic, pleasure-seeking people to the godly values that will save them.  They have been deceived.

Open their eyes Lord, before it’s too late.  Bring the Prodigal sons and daughters home.  Amen

2 Timothy 2:22-3:17

Oct 20 Example of obedience

book-1209805_1920

Father, let me learn a lesson and be like the Rekabites.

You instructed Jeremiah to go to them and invite them to do something that was contrary to how they had faithfully chosen to live.

Their forefather had told them “Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine.  Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents…”  And they did it!

You rewarded them for their faithfulness and made them an example to be followed for the people of Judah and Jerusalem.  And for believers today.

It is not that I should never do these specific things, or live in a tent, but that I should be faithful to what You tell me.  Help me “learn this lesson and obey Your words”.

You told Your people to “turn from their wicked ways and reform their actions; do not follow other gods to serve them.”  Father, the world I live in is so very far from Your standards in its values and morality.  Show me if I have any “wicked ways” that need to be changed.

Speak to me of the values You want me to have – in my attitudes, my speech, my thoughts, my relationships, my vote.  Father, I open everything in my life for Your evaluation and Your comment.  I desire to bring it all into alignment with You.

Lord, if there are actions I have taken that need reforming, show me those and how to make them right.  Likewise, if there are actions I have not taken that I need to, move me to be obedient.

I do not want to “follow other gods” or “serve them.”  Show me if there is anything or anyone I have put before You in my life.  Sometimes I may not even realize the significance or influence I am drawn to or led by. So I depend on You to keep me faithful to only You as my God and my Lord.

Thank You for this faithful example, that I don’t remember ever noticing before.  But will remember now.  Amen

Jeremiah 35: 1-19

Oct 5 I look to You

Father, my country is so like Your people of old.  Your Name is not honored.  You are ignored, or worse.  You poured out Your judgment on them.  Will You also pour out Your judgment on my nation?

anthony-tori-120173

Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see,   who have ears but do not hear…Should you not fear me, declares the Lord?  Should you not tremble in my presence? ”

Father, draw us back to You – my nation, my family, myself. I proclaim You as my Lord and Savior.  And I see Your warnings in this evil world.

Let “no one deceive me with fine-sounding arguments”.  Do not let me be persuaded to go against what You stand for by some reason of relative morality.  Do not let my values be swayed by society’s sense of right and wrong when they do not agree with Yours.

My roots are in You, let them go down deep and drink in Your strength and wisdom. Let my faith stand strong, unwavering as I live a disciplined life in You. Show me from Your perspective, how to make decisions that will lead me in the way that will honor You.

Caution me when I am in danger of going the wrong way, or have taken a wrong turn.  Don’t let any experience be wasted, but help me learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others.

I offer You all thanks and praise, Lord.  You saw the earth when it was formless and void, and in Your mighty power created all I see.  You made light with Your Word, made the mountains and the seas.  You fashioned every bird and fish and animal.

All creation is under Your authority.  You set the limits of the waters of the earth.  Nothing can prevail against You and Your will.  Thank You that You care for me.  That You teach me and love me as Your beloved child.  That You strengthen and uphold me.

You are Lord and I am blessed.   Amen

Jeremiah 5:19-31; Colossians 1:28-2:7

Feb 4 Eternal Priorities

Three words I never want to hear: “Woe to you”. With these words You gave warning to the Pharisees and called them into account for their actions and deeds. Even now, it’s so easy to say “I would never be like them!” I do not want to follow in their footsteps, like judging others while projecting seeming innocence. So correct me if You see in me what You saw in them.

They had their priorities backwards, saying the gold was more valuable than the temple it was in, and the sacrifice more valuable than the altar it was offered on. Help me make and keep my priorities straight. Help me understand the true value of things as they are in Your economy so I do not elevate the profane and dishonor the holy.   Many of the things the world places value on are not truly valuable. The world sees from a limited , short-term perspective and often places more significance on the created thing, than the Creator Himself.   Help me see things for their eternal value.

I love Your humor when You say they “strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Teach me to see the bigger picture and focus on the important things and not be legalistic over the smaller insignificant ones. I can get so carried away with the urgent that sometimes I don’t make time for the important things.   Show me how to spend my energy and time on what is significant.

You paint a striking picture when You describe a cup: clean on the outside but dirty on the inside; or a whitewashed tomb, clean on the outside but full of death on the inside. You see not only the outward appearance, but see into man’s heart to know him. Let me be as concerned with being pure and clean on the inside as I am with being presentable on the outside.  Help me be authentic and transparent; so my walk agrees with my talk. Let me put as much time into developing my character as my wardrobe.

I desire to be all You have created me to be. But it is so easy to follow the way of the world and look for the easy way – to make a big deal over what the world says is a big deal. I know that most of the world does not seek You to worship You or follow You. Broad is the path that leads to destruction. Help me find that narrow way, and stay on that path: the one that brings joy and not woe. Amen

Matthew 23:13-39; Matthew 7:13

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.

headinthesand

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.

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

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. In this vision, 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, not sparing 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. Do not 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. Show me how to teach others by example, or by whatever other means You would have me use.

Lord, 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, I give thanks to You. And I will sing praises to Your Name!   Personally, in the quiet of my own home, and with other believers in worship to You. 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. Father, I glory in Your Name. I look to You. I seek Your face, Your strength, Your blessing, always. Amen

Ezekiel 8:1-9:11; Hebrews 5:11-14; Psalm 105:1-6

Oct 1 You are the strength of my heart

your-righteousness-is-perfect_blog

Father, Isaiah is filled with the vision of Your triumphant return! You bring reward to Your people. You come avenging Your people, righting wrongs done centuries ago and ever since.

 

Even Your people do not deserve Your great salvation, but You will bless the remnant You have chosen and those who call on Your name.

Father, help me keep my eyes on that future. And my focus on You and Your promises, not on what is happening here on earth. Here on earth the wicked seem to be the prosperous. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.”

When I listen to the voice of modern society and how far it has pulled away from You and Your standards, it is easy to wonder if I am still on the right track. I see people who do not worship You who prosper so greatly, with seemingly no consequences. They amass influence and power and become the people who drive my society and its values. And I wonder: Do You see? Do You see what is happening in Your world? The one You created so carefully? So lovingly?

I seek to live according to Your principles, and it brings challenges and trials.

But I will remember Your promises. I trust Your plan. And these Words of Yours strengthen me: “I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel,  and afterward You will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but You?    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail,
  but You are the strength of my heart  and my portion forever.” Whatever the earth can offer is nothing compared to all You have already given me, and have promised me will be my future with You! Thank You! Amen

Isaiah 62:6- 65:25; Psalm 73:1-28