Wednesday 6/12 ~ God loves to answer prayer

The scripture for today, June 12 (6/12), is Luke 6:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Silver Cover-KINDLE-thumbnail“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountain side to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

How in the world did Jesus think of enough things to say that he could pray all night? Most of us on a good day only manage a 5-minute prayer. The next verse says that the next morning he selected his twelve apostles. Aha! He had a list. He had probably spent at least half an hour each praying about them by name, as well as about others he was considering. Jesus knew what his apostles would be facing someday. Which ones would be loyal enough, stubborn enough, strong-willed enough to someday in the future endure persecution, torture, and martyrdom for him?

Who do you pray for by name? Do you have a prayer list? How about opening the newspaper and praying for all those people in the news ~ perpetrators, victims, causes, governments, situations? Or everyone you work with? Or everyone your children go to school with? Or all their teachers and administrators? Or the clerks in the stores you go to regularly? Or members of an organization you belong to? Or every member of your congregation? What about countries where people become Christians at risk of their freedom and even their lives?

There are always people in need of prayer. And one of the joys of such a prayer life is now and then telling people whom you know that they are in your prayers; or writing a note to someone who is a stranger to you telling them that you pray for them.

Some people have never heard their names in prayer. Some people have never even been told that someone prays for them.

God loves to answer prayer. Do you love prayer?

 

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Tuesday 6/11 ~ A very sick friend

The scripture for today, June 11 (6/11), is Job 6:11 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 2-DreamMaker-cover-kindle-new-thumbnail“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects that I should be patient?”

Many people use the expression, “patience of Job.” But he had on-and-off patience, for he was very sick. By descriptions he gave of himself ~ sores, rancid breath, low voice, partial blindness, skin turned hard and black, bloating, nightmares, extreme pain, unrecognized by his closest friends ~ some believe he had a grotesque form of elephantiasis leprosy.

What did he need from his friends? He surely didn’t get it, for they spent their time trying to prove that he had sinned and God was right to be punishing him. His reply? “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?” (Job 16:2f).

So how do you comfort someone who feels utterly hopeless? You certainly do not put the blame on them, nor do you tell them it’s “all in your head’ or to “snap out of it”. You can share times when we felt hopeless. You can weep with them. You can hold their hand. You can sit with them in silence. You can pray aloud for them. (Some people have never heard their name mentioned in a prayer.)

And you need to let them talk. Sometimes they will say things they don’t mean in the long run, but at that brief moment, they do. Or sometimes they need to talk through things they are unsure about. They may even say contradictory things.

At one time Job said, “Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household….God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me” (16:7f). But another time he said, “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth….I myself will see him with my own eyes ~ I and not another. How my heart yearns within me” (19:25f).

Do you have a very sick friend?  Let your heart yearn with them.

 

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Sunday 6/9 ~ Satan loses. You win.

The scripture for today, June 9 (6/9), is Job 6:9-8 found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Pearls Cover-Palms-300dpi-Thumbnail“Oh that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off!”

Job was suffering terribly. The Bible says he had sores all over his body. There were other symptoms listed elsewhere in Job that indicate he had a form of leprosy. Now he just wanted to die.

When you get into a life problem that seems hopeless, do you just give up and say, “God, I can’t go on like this. Just take my life right now. It’s too hard. I can’t do it anymore”?

God knows what you are going through. God knows that Satan is attacking you. When things are desperately low, your job is just to hang on. It often takes God time to shift around a lot of other people’s lives in order to alleviate your pain.

Remember, God hurts just as much when you suffer as when he watched his own Son suffer on the cross. His Son’s suffering accomplished something wonderful for others. So too, someday your suffering will somehow in some way accomplish something good. And ultimately, just by surviving, Satan loses and God wins.

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Saturday 6/8 ~ Have I died with Christ?

The scripture for today, June 8 (6/8), is Romans 6:8 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Acts of the Apostles-Cover-Thumbnail“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”

We all want to live with Christ, but how do we die with him? Earlier in this same chapter, God inspired the writer to say this: “We died to sin….don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead…we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:2-4).

So, just as Christ did a physical action to die for you, you do a physical action to die with him. And just as Christ’s physical death overcame spiritual death, so your physical action overcomes your spiritual death. Then you are born again, or as this verse says, you “live a new life”

Some say this is water salvation. But it is no more water salvation than the cross was wood salvation. You live in a physical world and God has us sometimes do physical things in order to obtain a spiritual outcome. Your singing praise songs is a physical thing, but it is no less spiritual in its outcome. Your eating the Lord’s Supper is a physical thing, but it is no less spiritual in its outcome.

Have you died with Christ?

 

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Friday 6/7 ~ May the hardened see God in me

The scripture for today, June 7 (6/7), is Ephesians 6:7 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Serve whole-heartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.”

00-LUKE-KINDLE Cover-ThumbnailGod had just previously said that you were to obey your earthly master (boss). But, as hard as you try, sometimes what you may be told to do is very hard to do, especially if your boss is rude, or someone was promoted ahead of you, or you feel like s/he is being a “slave driver.”

At times like those, do what is asked of you anyway, knowing you are really doing it for God. The next verse says, “because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.”

What you do as an employee in a difficult situation does not go unnoticed. God sees and God will reward you.

Thank you, God enthroned above the earth. You have given me the privilege of showing to the world the superiority of your way in breaking down barriers and building up lives. Your way enters the curious minds of even the most hardened hearts and makes them wonder if you are right after all. Your way rises up from my heart and soars to hills, the mountains, the moon, the stars, the very cosmos. May the hardened see you in me.

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