Friday, January 25, 2013

Pray with Joy

There are special people that I pray for with joy – my husband, my daughter and son-in-law, my son and daughter-in-law, my father, my sisters and brother and their spouses, my close Christian friends, my pastor. I love praying for them because I love them. But what makes it a joyful activity is that these people and I share the same purpose. As citizens of the Kingdom of God we are committed to spreading the good news. 

Another of my joys is knowing that these people also pray for me – especially my father. I am so blessed to know that he prays for me daily and that God has promised that “the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16) His prayers are comforting because I know that although God has begun a good work in me, it won’t be finished until He returns. In other words, I have a long way to go.

So . . .

If anyone is moved to pray for me, this is what I want them to pray:

That my love (for God and others) will overflow more and more 

That I will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding of God’s ways and His Word

That I will understand what really matters (the Kingdom of God and His righteousness)

That I may live a pure and blameless life until the day of Christ’s return 

That I will always be filled with the fruit of my salvation which is the righteous character produced in my life by Jesus Christ

That I will bring much glory and praise to God

I’ll joyfully pray the same for you.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Search Me O God

I’m going through a period where some of my besetting sins are very apparent to me. There are several ways to respond and none of them are particularly pleasant. My natural response is to “hate” myself. I can really beat myself up over my self-indulgence and my poor attitudes. Or I can pray about them and ask the Lord to forgive me and transform me.

But I can’t hide them from God.

I don’t want to get away from God, but sometimes I wish He’d look the other way. Sometimes I wish I had a little cupboard where I could stuff some stuff until I’m ready to deal with it. The problem with Jesus being the light is that He shines in that cupboard and in all the corners that need sweeping out.

When Jesus is around the darkness shines as bright as day. That means there isn’t any darkness. I don’t have dark corners or private cupboards. He sees all my sins all the time.

So when I am aware of my sins, when I’m overwhelmed by them, I’m comforted by knowing that God is aware of them. He’s the One who has brought them to my consciousness. But He doesn’t do it to chastise me or to make me anxious about them. He does it to lead me on the path to eternal life.

I want to walk on that path. I want God’s light to shine on my life and reveal all the dark, ugly places. So I pray with the Psalmist:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
     test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
     and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139:23-24)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Remain Confident

There’s so much to be afraid of. A man could walk into my grandson’s school and shoot him. The economy could keep getting worse and we won’t have enough to live on when we retire. One of the terrorist groups could get through our defenses and bomb my home. This year a hurricane could hit Myrtle Beach. Someone I love could get cancer (again).

I don’t really sit around worrying about these things. I know God cares for me and will take care of me and those I love.

This Psalm reinforces that. God is our light and our salvation. God’s light is more than being able to see. God’s Light (Jesus) is what saves us. And that salvation is so much more than just knowing I’m going to heaven.

According to the Psalmist:

I don’t need to be afraid; I can be confident even if I’m attacked.

I can live in the house of the Lord where He will hide me when troubles come.

God has called me to fellowship with Him and He will hold me close, even if others abandon me.

He will teach me how to live and lead me along the right path.

These promises aren’t just what I can look forward to in Heaven. I will see His goodness while I’m alive.

All I have to do is wait patiently for Him.

There’s so much I could be afraid of. But there’s no need. The light is shining and He will and does save me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Carefully Determine

For the last few years, when I read the Bible I’ve been asking myself what the scripture tells me about what pleases God. 

That’s exactly what Paul tells the Ephesians to do. They must carefully determine what pleases Him. This instruction follows the reminder that they have moved from the darkness to the light.
At one time, we Christians were full of darkness, but now we have light and must live as people of light.

I believe living in the light is another way of saying that we are being sanctified. Having been forgiven of our sins and justified before the Lord, we are now being transformed into the image of Christ.

Living in the light produces only what is good, right and true. It’s encouraging to know that as I walk in the light that Christ sheds on my way, I will do good things. Or, if you don’t mind the mixed metaphor, I will bear good fruit.

This verse brought to mind Micah 6:8. There’s no doubt about how to walk as people of the light because God has told us what is good. To walk in the light is to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.

And how do we know what is right? We carefully determine what pleases the Lord. There’s a beautiful symmetry in the way God speaks to us in the Bible. It’s full of God’s commands, starting with the Royal Law  to love the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind. That law is expanded on in the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Bible. All we need to know about living in the light is in the Bible.

Jesus is the Light, but His word lights our way. This year, I commit to read the Bible more, and to more carefully look in it for what pleases Him.