May 22, 2015

A Song of Praise

by Bethany

May22

*Editor’s Note: Last week we explored how to fill our prayers with arguments before the Lord. This week, we model prayers that do that.

Lord,

We are tired this morning. Help us. Open our eyes so that we may see wonders in your Word. 

O God. How mighty is your great name! Maker of heaven and earth and the universe. That you should hear our whispers when we are half awake. That you should spend time with us while millions pray. That you should call our feeble flesh the temple of the Holy Spirit. That you should speak to us personally through the Word and Spirit. O God, what condescension! What unutterable mercy to attend to us! Help us believe and feel this truth: that we are your people and that you are our God.

Today, we come together — 4,000 of us who read this devotional daily — and we raise our voices as one, saying with Psalm 75, “We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds.” Yes, we pray that you would give us grace, blessings and favor. For we are a people who need you. Define us as your people and be our God.

We do not ask for your grace, blessings and favor only for our sake; we ask these things for the sake of your great name. When you tied your name to us, your people, you tied your glory and reputation to us. When the nations see how you bless us, they will see how great you are. Therefore, we pray that you give us grace, blessings and favor. That your way may be known on earth. That your saving power may be proclaimed among the nations. Fill us with joy in you. Give us delight in our salvation.

As we consider our nation, Lord, we wonder, “Who are we? Where are we? How did we get here? Where are we going?” We are in a state of confusion. Instead of being a city on a hill, we are a full of infighting and pettiness. 

Sadly, Lord, this is true even for the church. We have accepted relativism and tolerance over truth and virtue. Yet your Word teaches us that only the truth will set us free. Forgive us. Let us cling to truth so that we may receive your grace, blessings and favor. For the sake of your great name.

Amen.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 31 (Listen – 5:52)
Psalms 75-76 (Listen – 2:33)

Arguing with God
Part 5 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

 ___________________________________

This Weekend’s Readings

Saturday: Numbers 32 (Listen – 5:22); Psalm 77 (Listen – 2:12)
Sunday: Numbers 33 (Listen – 4:53); Psalm 78.1-37 (Listen – 3:46)

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ___________________________________

Tags: ,
May 21, 2015

Peace for the Hurting

by Bethany

May21


*Editor’s Note: Last week we explored how to fill our prayers with
arguments before the Lord. This week, we model prayers that do that.

Lord,

Meet with us this morning. Awaken us with a song of praise in our hearts and on our lips. Give us a vision for service in our cities. Incline our hearts to the Word and not to getting gain. Fill us with your Spirit of wisdom, joy and righteousness. Make us happy children, spouses, parents, friends, citizens and colleagues. Bind our hearts to one another and bind our hearts to you through the new covenant that is sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

As we look at the world around us, we see great turmoil. Not only is there confusion in our own country, there is disorder throughout the nations. 

We pray, as the psalmist did in Psalm 74; “Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name. Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long. Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.”

Do not leave your work unfinished. What you have begun, do not fail to complete. You are an unchanging God, who will do in the future what you have done in the past. For you do not turn from your purpose and cannot be thwarted in your design.

Therefore, go before us, as you did with the Hebrews. March through the wilderness and shake the earth. Cause the heavens to pour down rain in abundance. In your goodness, provide for the needy, displaced, homeless, and weak. Make yourself known to them. 

You are a God who cares for victims of violence and oppression. You spread your cloak over refugees and foreigners. For your people were aliens in a land not their own and you sustained them. We were aliens without an inheritance to your promises and you adopted us through Jesus. Therefore, heal your people and use us as your hands and feet.

Amen.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 30 (Listen – 5:52)
Psalm 74 (Listen – 2:34)

Arguing with God
Part 4 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ___________________________________

Tags: ,
May 20, 2015

A Fitness for the Display of Grace

by Bethany

May20

*Editor’s Note: Last week we explored how to fill our prayers with arguments before the Lord. This week, we model prayers that do that.

Lord,

How great is our dilemma! For silence best becomes us in your presence, but love inflames our hearts and causes us to speak. Were we to stay quiet, the stones would cry out; yet if we speak, what shall we say? 

As A.W. Tozer shows in The Knowledge of the Holy, the nearer we approach the throne, the less sure our words become. Teach us to know what we cannot know, for no one – apart from the Spirit – knows the things of God. Yet we yearn to know what cannot be known, to comprehend what is incomprehensible, to touch and taste the unapproachable. Deep calls to deep and we long to return to you. Let faith support us where reason fails.

There is a wall, infinitely high, that separates us from you. Our sin is a great obstacle to knowing and enjoying you. Therefore, have mercy on us this morning. For our iniquity is great. 

Why should you go about doing little things? You are a great God and we are great sinners. For we confess the words of the psalmist in Psalm 73, “Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.” We cannot hide from you. Our sins are laid bare before your eyes.

Yet in our unworthiness, there is opportunity. For there is a fitness in us for the display of your grace. The greatness of our sin makes us perfect platforms for the greatness of your mercy to be displayed. Let the greatness of your love be seen in us. The power with which you restrain yourself is great indeed. 

So we creep down at the foot of your throne, crouching low and crying, as Charles Spurgeon  in Order and Argument in Prayer, “O God, do not break us. We are bruised reeds. Oh! Do not tread on our little lives. They are but as the withering grass. Will you hunt us? Will you come out? Will you watch us? Because we are so little and because the greatness of your mercy can be shown in us even though we are so insignificant, we plead that you would have mercy on us.”

In Jesus, in whose name we plead, we have the final answer to our dilemma. We come to you through his wounds and mediation. In him, your steadfast love is good. Turn to us, according to your abundant mercy. Save us and build up your people so that your name will dwell among us.

Amen.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 29 (Listen – 5:05)
Psalm 73 (Listen – 2:56)

Arguing with God
Part 3 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ___________________________________

Tags: ,
May 19, 2015

God’s Mercy in our Rejection

by Bethany

May19

*Editor’s Note: Last week we explored how to fill our prayers with arguments before the Lord. This week, we model prayers that do that.

Lord,

We confess that we stand in a long line of your people who have rejected your leadership. When the Israelites demanded, “Give us a king to lead us”, you lamented because you wanted to be their king. You even warned them that a king would take their land and resources without solving their problems. 

But they did not listen. Instead, they said, “We want a king! Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” They did not meditate and muse on your promises: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” 

In your great mercy, however, you gave them many good kings who sought your face. Solomon, for example, asked for things that would bless others. He prayed in Psalm 72, “Give the king your justice, O God … May he judge your people with righteousness.” He also prayed for things that would benefit himself: “Long may [the king] live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! … May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun!” 

But he tethered his requests to the great reality of knowing you as the ultimate king: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name forever, may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!” When he asked for blessings, he asked them for the sake of your glory. That by his rule, all people would know that you are king.

Today, we ask you to bless our leaders for the sake of your glory. Give them your justice that they may rule us with righteousness. Give them courage to defend the poor against the oppressor. Give them wisdom to make difficult decisions with limited information. May they be like rain that falls on mown grass, like showers that water the earth. In their days, may the righteous flourish and peace abound. 

Over all of this, however, we pray that they might know you. May they fear you while the sun endures. May they fall down before you. May your name endure forever.

Amen and Amen.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 28 (Listen – 3:51)
Psalm 72 (Listen – 2:21)

Arguing with God
Part 2 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ___________________________________

Tags: ,
May 18, 2015

Enemies of God

by Bethany

May18

*Editor’s Note: Last week we explored how to fill our prayers with arguments before the Lord. This week, we model prayers that do that.

Lord,

When Jesus went to Gethsemane, it was not just human adversaries he was facing – soldiers, guards, even one of his friends turned traitor. “It was the concentration of all those unseen forces that opposed the kingdom of God because they knew it to be the powerful opponents of their own kingdom-dreams,” N.T. Wright observes in The Way of the Lord: Christian Pilgrimage Today.

It was, “the forces of oppression and violence, the unseen pull that makes people fight rather than be reconciled, that makes them choose brutality rather than humanity, tribe rather than world, self rather than God. These forces had opposed Jesus throughout his public career, sometimes shrieking at him from the lips of some poor deranged spirit, sometimes carping at him in the sneers of the religious, sometimes issuing threats against him from the royal palace.”

Today, your enemies are the same. The evil one and his minions mock your great name and blind people from seeing your glory. You are spoken against and demeaned throughout the world. Our culture is full of blasphemy. The evil one taunts your church, saying, “Do not let Christians deceive you, saying the Lord will deliver you. Surely the cross is foolishness.” His ability to spread discord and enmity is great and his manipulation and subtlety is clever.

Therefore, Lord, we pray as the Psalmist prayed in Psalm 71, “May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.” When those who seek injustice are victorious, your justice is trampled upon. When those who seek to wield the weapons of anger and mischief succeed, your peace and prosperity are mocked. Therefore, come into the battle and fight for your people and your name. Shame those who speak against you – even as you call them to know you. Come and show what your bare arm can do!

May all who seek you – even your enemies whose hearts we pray would return to you – rejoice and be glad! Arise and wake up to bless your people so that your name will not be shamed among your revilers. May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” For, in you, we take refuge; let us never be put to shame. For your righteousness reaches the heavens. You have done great things. O God, there is none but thee.

Amen.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 27 (Listen – 3:08)
Psalms 70-71 (Listen – 3:29)

Arguing with God
Part 1 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ___________________________________

Tags: ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 172 other followers