Friday, April 30, 2010
8:41 "In the future, foreigners who do not belong to your people Israel will hear of you. They will come from distant lands because of your name, 42 for they will hear of your great name and your strong hand and your powerful arm. And when they pray toward this Temple, 43 then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you. In this way, all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do. They, too, will know that this Temple I have built honors your name. ... 60 Then people all over the earth will know that the Lord alone is God and there is no other.
Heavenly Father, I pray that my life will be a testimony of your Name. May my body be a pure and holy temple, filled with the presence of your Holy Spirit, and may you be honored as I live a life of sacrifice to you. I pray that other people will be able to see and experience the love of Jesus Christ through me, so that all nations may know you and experience your goodness and love. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
In spite of my immaturity and general knuckleheadedness, the Lord has kindly given me favor with my new employers, and they have approved my request for start-up resources! Praise the Lord! This seems to me simply one more powerful confirmation that the Lord is guiding us to El Paso. I was praying this morning that the Lord will give Brandi and me a clear vision of the ministry that He has for us there.
Heavenly Father, you are so kind, and your love never fails. Lord, you are so gracious, in spite of my immaturity and hard heart. Lord, may I be softened to listen attentively to your voice, and may I move in harmony with your Holy Spirit. Your Word says, "To whom much is given, much is expected." Lord, may I be faithful with the resources you have given, and would you please bless my efforts to leverage them for your Kingdom. I pray that I will be focused on Eternity according to your perfect will. May you be pleased with me. I am your servant, may it be unto me according to your Word. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
3:5 That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, "What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!" ... 7 "Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn't know his way around. ... 9 Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?" ...
4:29 God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. 30 In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt. ... 33 He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish. 34 And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.
I feel like Solomon: too young and unqualified to be a professor. But I know that the Lord has given me this position so that I can be an example of Christ's love and teach the truths of physical and spiritual realities.
Heavenly Father, I know that you have given me talents and gifts to be used for your glory. Please deliver me from fear, and give me a powerful ministry in the science and engineering communities. Please give me knowledge and understanding, and may I be humble so that people will be drawn to you. Lord, may I be used by you to show others the Love of God in Christ. Please use me to touch the Nations that have never heard about your Love. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Last night we specifically thanked the Lord for Beau sleeping well recently, and we asked the Lord to let Beau sleep well and to give us good rest. We also prayed that the Lord would give us good dreams that honor Him. Well, Beau woke up with uncharacteristic screaming about 3am and wouldn't go back to sleep, so Brandi tried to feed him and ended up sleeping on the couch. And I had a wicked, evil dream about vampires. So, how is this "prayer" thing supposed to work again?
I guess that's what I get for reading the parable about the persistent widow last night.
Heavenly Father, I am really confused, and it is difficult for me to believe that you answer my prayers. I know that we are supposed to grow through testing, but to do the very opposite of what we ask for is a little steep, don't you think. Can you please give us a boost? I feel like I'm running a treadmill into the ground. I need your strength, Lord. I need your life to flow through me, because this weak, selfish, and prideful flesh is driving me crazy. Lord, please be gracious to us. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, and I am trying to believe.
Monday, April 26, 2010
King David committed a sin of pride by counting his army, and the Lord punished Israel for it. (This is a picture of Adam and the rest of humanity, respectively.)
What will it cost to follow Christ? The price is your life. This includes time, money, and energy - paid every single day.
Also, this passage gives a beautiful picture of Christ and His Ultimate Sacrifice: the consequences of sin is a plague of death, but because of the Sacrifice outside of Jerusalem, the plague is stopped.
Heavenly Father, may I grow more into the image of Christ today, and may I be a genuine disciple of Christ. Thank you for the sacrifice of Christ so that I can be reconciled to you. May my life be spent serving you and leading others to know your grace and mercy. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Friday, April 23, 2010
King David committed adultery and murder. Then his son Amnon raped his daughter Tamar. Then his son Absolom murdered Amnon in revenge. King David didn't ever deal with any of this stuff, so it just kept growing underneath. So when Absolom incited a coupe and attacked King David's loyal army, Absolom was killed. It's too bad that it didn't end there; King Solomon got mixed up with a bunch of women and tore up the nation of Israel, even worse off than his father David.
If sin is not dealt with (i.e., acknowledged, confessed, repented, and replaced by righteousness and virtue), then it cascades and magnifies, in your own life and in subsequent generations.
Heavenly Father, please deliver me from evil. Lord, please expose the wicked desires of my heart and mind so that I can confess, repent, and experience your healing Life to transform me more into Christ. Please show me how I can begin to discipline and instruct my son in a Life abiding in you. Lord, I need you! I am so far from you! Please save me, and save my family! I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible:
14:14 All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.
Heavenly Father, you have made a way for us through Jesus Christ. You have offered forgiveness, healing, and true life to those who come to you by grace through faith. Lor,d, my life is like water spilled on the ground, may I spend it wisely by investing in your Kingdom. I love you, and I want to serve you. Please purify me so that I may be a vessel that you use to dispense yourself into others. Please use me to take your Gospel to the nations, and please bless the persecuted Saints around the world. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I think one of the character elements that made King David a "man after God's own heart" was that he was sensitive to conviction of sin, and he repented immediately. It is important that we realize how often we fail Him, and that as we continually seek Him, we need to readily apologize for mistakes and immediately resume the pursuit of Christ.
I am trying to seek the Lord through this job opportunity. There are so many factors that "line up" that lead us to believe that this is His will for us. I am now praying for humility and blessing as I go into negotiations for salary and start-up. I do not want to be greedy; I want to trust the Lord's favor and blessing.
Heavenly Father, you have been so good and kind to me; I believe that you will continue to bless me. Lord, may I bless others with what you have blessed me. I pray that I will be a blessing to others so that they will see your goodness and kindness and then bless you. Please keep me from evil, and grow my desire to know you and experience your presence. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
David's kindness to Mephibosheth is one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament. Mephibosheth was the crippled son of Jonathan. I think that it is a beautiful picture of Our Heavenly King's fulfillment to our ancestor Abraham to adopt us crippled humans into His family. He provides for us so graciously.
Yesterday afternoon, I received a job offer for a professorship at the University of Texas at El Paso. I believe that the Lord has provided this position, and I believe that He is growing my family's enthusiasm for this position. He is so kind to provide a job for me and provide for my family. And He is so gracious to provide a position with such influence that I can leverage for advancing His Kingdom.
One of the Brothers that I have tremendous respect for, Bob Gorham, shared with me something he learned when he was selected for a special committee at our church. He said that at almost every challenge, the Devil will tempt us with fear and pride. First, he will try to convince us that we are not able to accomplish the task that the Lord has called us to. Of course, this is a perversion of the truth - we can't accomplish it on our own, but by the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through us, we will accomplish the task for His Glory. Second, he will try to convince us that we are hot stuff and that we deserve the prestige. Of course, this is a perversion of the truth - we are valuable because God made us in His image and spent His Son's life to save us from sin and death.
I think it was the pride of entitlement, and maybe some laziness, that got David in trouble with Bathsheba. If he had obeyed Deuteronomy 17:16-20, then he probably wouldn't have ended up in the mess he got himself into.
Heavenly Father, you have been so kind to me. I am simply a crippled child, but you gave shown me mercy and grace to invite me to dine with you at your table. May I always live in your presence and serve you with joy and love. Please guide me, Lord. I trust in you and not in my own understanding, so please direct my steps. Please deliver me from fear, laziness, and pride. May I have faith and hope in your salvation, diligence to seek you and do your will, and humility before you and others. May your name be praised among the nations. I love you, Lord, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday, April 19, 2010
David was bringing up the Ark of the LORD to Jerusalem, but the oxen towing the cart stumbled, and a guy died because he tried to stabilize the Ark. (By the way, the Ark was designed to be transported by priests with poles through the rings on the sides of the Ark, not by a cart. If they had simply obeyed the Lord, then the Uzzah wouldn't have died.) So, David was scared and left the Ark there.
6:11 The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household.What a blessing it is to be in the presence of the LORD! I am reminded of the first part of Psalm 24:
1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,Heavenly Father, please clean my hands and purify my heart. Lord, I pray that you are the only thing that I desire. Lord, I want to be in your presence; I want to abide in you, and you in me. Please anoint me with your presence and use me to bring honor to your self. Please show me your face and let me dwell in your house forever. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.
3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Praise the Lord! Beau slept through the night! He slept almost eight hours! This is the longest block of sleep for Brandi since before Beau was born. I am so thankful to the Lord for answering our prayers!
As I grow more frustrated with the tedious details of finishing my academic degree and searching for a job, this verse really stuck out to me this morning:
2:1 After this, David asked the Lord, "Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?"It seems obvious to me that David should have gone straight to work establishing his kingdom since King Saul just died, and Samuel had anointed David as king many years before. But David still sought the Lord's will and timing. I think in the 15 years between David's anointing and Saul's death, David had learned a principle of waiting on the Lord and trusting Him to accomplish His will.
"Yes," the Lord replied.
Then David asked, "Which town should I go to?"
"To Hebron," the Lord answered.
Indeed, I need to learn this lesson and put my trust in the Lord and wait on His timing.
Heavenly Father, I love you, and I trust you. Lord, please help me do what I am supposed to do to stay in your will, but help me sense in my Spirit and mind from your Holy Spirit, how much is too much. Lord, I want to follow you, and I know that is a lot of work, but don't let me get too busy that I miss you. Please reveal yourself to me, and may I grow in loving and trusting you. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Friday, April 16, 2010
It is sad to see such a tragic end to Saul's life. He had so much potential. But he was too focused on the flesh, and not focused on the Spirit.
As I was visiting with my friend Eric yesterday about John 12-13, he caught that 12:24 and 13:34-35 were very significant. He asked, "If Christians believe that the afterlife is forever, and that what happens in this life is so brief compared to eternity, shouldn't all of the Christians be giving away all of their resources beyond what is required for living?" Indeed, but we are too focused on the flesh and temporary things.
Heavenly Father, please open the eyes of my heart Lord. Please let me see you. Let me see you high and lifted up, and shining in your glory. Lord, if I could just catch a glimpse of you, I would be forever changed. And I would stop worrying about the inconsequential details of this life, but focus instead on spiritual matters of eternity. Oh Lord, please soften my heart toward you and your will, and harden my heart against evil. May your name be praised through my life today, and may I be a living example of Christ - a demonstration of the seed that dies to bear much fruit. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Well, Beau only cried for about ten minutes when we put him to bed last night, and then he only cried for about ten minutes when he woke up around 2:00am last night. I went in after a few minutes of him crying and patted him on the chest and stroked his hair the way my dad did mine. I am so thankful to the Lord for answering months of prayers.
It made me think, I wonder if our Heavenly Father lets us "cry it out" sometimes to get us to realize that what we are "crying" about is so vain. I know that God tells us to cast all of our cares upon Him, but I want to grow to the point where I am genuinely broken for the nations more than myself, so that I cry out for Christ and His Kingdom.
Heavenly Father, I love you. Thank you for your patience with me as I continue to grow into the image of Christ. Lord, please deliver me from the distractions of this world, and purify my heart to desire and seek you only. May your name be praised among the nations, and may your Church bring you honor as we share your love with others. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
David did what was right in guarding Nabal's servants and property, yet Nabal was wicked and treated David harshly. David was going to have revenge, but fortunately Nabal's wife Abigail diffused David's anger with diplomacy and gifts. The Lord took care of Nabal directly.
David was still on the run from Saul and his men, who had almost captured David again. But again, David had the opportunity to kill Saul, but he didn't because of his faith in God's Sovereignty:
Heavenly Father, I love you, and I trust you. I know that you are in control, and you have been so kind to provide for me and my family. Thank you that I can trust in you. May your name be praised through my life today. I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Samuel anointed David as King, but Saul was still reigning, so that made it complicated. I guess it wouldn't have been that bad if Saul hadn't have gone nuts and been on a rampage to kill David. So David was forced to run and hide, run and hide, run and hide. Even still, he was faithful to honor Saul as King.
In contrast to the David and Goliath story, this story reminds me that the Lord's timing is very slow sometimes. I think he builds our character a great deal when we are hiding in the caves, waiting for His promises to be fulfilled. This story also reminds me that our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:10-18).
Heavenly Father, I need you. Lord Jesus, I need you. Holy Spirit, I need you. I know that you will carry to completion what you have started, and I know that the road is bumpy. Please help me hang on to you. Lord, please help me patiently wait for you to fulfill your promises in your timing. May your name be praised. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday, April 12, 2010
- Michal lied to save David's life
- Jonathan lied to Saul to find out if Saul really wanted to kill David
- David lied to Ahimelech the priest at Nob and ate the consecrated bread
- David lied to Achish, the king of Gath, acting like he was a crazy man
Heavenly Father, I don't understand this passage of Scripture. Lord, please help me see that you are in control and that I never have to be deceptive when I am following your will. I pray that my conduct will show the character of Christ. I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Friday, April 9, 2010
OK, so King Saul meant well, but he was a knucklehead. Getting scared by the Philistines and his army dissipating, offering the sacrifice instead of waiting on Samuel, cursing his army if anyone ate anything, etc.
But I had a sobering realization: the Scripture explains that teachers will be held to a higher standard, and I wonder just how much of a knucklehead I am regarding the leadership of my Bible study group.
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for being so shortsighted, egocentric, arrogant, and disengaged with my Bible study group. Lord, please forgive me for teaching heresy and being a hypocrite. Lord, please reveal to me what things I need to be delivered from, and please show me how to grow spiritually. I need you Lord, and I feel so far away from you. Please rescue me, anoint me, and use me. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
As I consider and try to seek the Lord's direction regarding the vocation that He is calling me to, these verses make me wonder if I am expecting too much detail in His direction:
It seems like if we please the Lord's moral will, and He gives us a general direction, then the abundant life is the joint creativity of man and sovereign presence of the Lord:
Heavenly Father, I praise you for your sovereign control and orchestration of the details of my life. Lord, thank you for being patient with me. I pray that I will seek to know you and abide in you, and that you will pour your Spirit through me. May I be used for building your Church, for the glory of your Name. Please teach me to fear you and obey you. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Wait, I thought that Israel was supposed to be different (a holy nation), that God was supposed to be their King, and that He would judge them and fight their battles for them. But I'll be danged if we don't do the same thing today; we make the dollar and our flesh king.
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for having any authority other than you. Lord Jesus, thank you for setting apart your Church as a holy people - may we be eager to do what is good. Lord Jesus, you are the Head of the Church, and you are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I pray that my life will honor your Kingship and advance your Kingdom. Holy Spirit, please empower me to be a servant of the King, and please deliver me from my flesh which seeks control. Please strengthen my spirit. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The Israelites were foolish and took the Ark of the LORD to the battlefield because the thought it was a good-luck charm. But God had not told them to do that, so it just got them into a bigger mess.
The Philistines experienced the wrath of God while they kept the Ark of the LORD in captivity, which shows that God's just wrath is not withheld from those who do not approach God on His terms. Sadly, though, even when the Ark was returned to the Israelites, some of the Israelites died when they tried to peek inside the Ark. Even the Israelites forgot how Holy God is:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the blood of Jesus Christ, which washes away my sin and allows me to come into your presence without judgment or condemnation. Thank you for the resurrection of Christ, which gives us victory over sin and death. Lord, please make me a holy man who longs to stay in your presence. Please help me see the holiness of God in the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Yesterday afternoon, Brandi asked me what I was going to do if the Lord doesn't provide the job at UTEP, and I told her about several other opportunities that I could pursue. But, I realized this morning that my fundamental response should be praise. So, this morning as I was walking from the bus stop to my office, I told the Lord that I will praise Him either way, because I know that He is in control, and I know that He is kind to me because of Jesus Christ.
As for my reading this morning, it reminded me of my own experience. Brandi and I tried for nine months before the Lord answered our prayers to bless us with a son. I know that nine months is not that long of a time to wait compared to other people, but it was long enough for us to be broken of our own will and to beg the Lord for His will and His timing. As we wept before the Lord, we told the Lord that we would dedicate our child to Him. So this passage reminds me that I am a steward of this child; he belongs to the Lord. And as I read about Hanah and Samuel, I pray that my son will experience the Lord's presence and know Him like Samuel did:
Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness to me. You have blessed me so richly with salvation in Christ and with my family. Lord, I want to honor you, and I want to be used by you. Lord, please help me be a good father and lead my son to know you and serve you. Please continue to grow him and bless him. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
2:26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.
3:10 And the Lord came and called as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel replied, "Speak, your servant is listening." ... 19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. ... 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh and gave messages to Samuel there at the Tabernacle.
Friday, April 2, 2010
As I read the story of Samson and Delilah, I was initially amazed at his incredible stupidity. How could he even continue his relationship with her after she asked him how to defeat him, and then attempted to defeat him?!
But then I realized that his rational thinking skills were impaired by his attraction and her deceit. And then I wondered, how many things are in my life that I think are fine and enjoyable but are really instruments of deception used by the Enemy to slowly destroy me? How about lust? Or how about enjoying a little alcohol every now and then? Or how about that television show that I like because "it has a good story" but doesn't really honor God? These things are all like Chinese finger traps - you keep getting pulled in further and further, but you just can't seem to back out.
And then - boom! You wake up and realize that you have drifted so far from the Lord, and you are in a world of hurt. Such a gradual slope down that you didn't realize how far you'd gone or how you'd really lost control a long time ago, but you didn't realize it until the wreck.
Heavenly Father, please deliver me from the Enemy's deceptive attractions. Lord, please open my eyes to see the traps of the world, and I pray that I will be so in love with you and drawn to you that I will continue the climb upward - and joyfully! May your name be praised, and may my life be an example of your goodness so that others will see and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice, which delivered me from sin and death. I pray that I will continue to appreciate your sacrifice more and more. Holy Spirit, please give me opportunity to share the Love of God with someone today. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
24 When her son was born, she named him Samson. And the Lord blessed him as he grew up. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he lived in Mahaneh-dan ...
Heavenly Father, thank you for the presence of your Holy Spirit for those who believe in your Son Jesus. Holy Spirit, please stir my spirit and lead me to follow you. Lord, please stir my wife and me together according to your will, that we would be moved by you. I pray that we will be anointed by you to be witnesses of Christ to the nations. Lord, may what we do today be effective for growing the Kingdom. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.