His Blessings, Our Curse :: A Guided Prayer

Deuteronomy 11.26-28
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

Reflection: His Blessings, Our Curse :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

The blessings and curses of the law were a consistent theme of Moses’s final messages to the people of Israel. Moses gave instructions for a gigantic visual demonstration as a community learning event that was eventually carried out by Joshua.

Half the tribes would stand on Mount Gerazim and half on Mount Ebal. The tribes on Gerazim would pronounce the blessings that could be theirs if they obeyed. The tribes on Ebal would pronounce the curses if they failed to follow the laws that Moses was leaving them.

May we hear in God’s Word, always the tender love of our father who wants blessings for us.

May we also give thanks for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who became a curse for us. He died to release the curse’s hold on us, then he rose to bring to us the full blessings of life that overflows with good things.

Praise and thank him this week using the prayer below that is based on our readings for today:

His Blessings, Our Curse
Oh, Lord, we are your people.
We are the sheep of your pasture and we need your provision.

Your care for us Lord goes deeper than
The superficial service of hired help.
You are our Good Shepherd who lays down his life for us.
You became a curse for us.
You became sin for us.

We have your blessings today, Lord,
Because you took our curse!
We stand on Gerazim and you stand on Ebal.

If only we would hear your voice today, Lord.
If only we would walk your path of service.
If only we would walk your path of grace.

May we proclaim your salvation day after day and
May we never cease telling of your wonderful deeds.

Let the heavens, the seas, the fields, and the trees resound with praise
As you come to judge the world with equity!

As Israel was to be your instrument in the world, Lord, make us instruments of your grace and truth to others.

Amen!

Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Bless our God, you peoples; make the voice of his praise to be heart;
Who holds our souls in life, and will not allow our feet to slip. — Psalm 66.7-8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Deuteronomy 11 (Listen – 4:38) 
Psalm 95-96 (Listen – 2:37) 

This Weekend’s Readings
Deuteronomy 12 (Listen – 5:11) Psalm 97-98 (Listen – 2:19) 
Deuteronomy 13 (Listen – 3:05) Psalm 99-101 (Listen – 2:48) 

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about Balaam’s Success
No matter what sins or idols we are tempted with, may we approach God humbly, seeking repentance and redemption through Christ.

Read more about The Value of Words
Our purpose at The Park Forum is to produce words that are filled with life, not death.
Words that spur, but do not abuse.
Words that challenge, but lovingly guide.
Words that bless and do not curse.

Thoughtful Trust :: Throwback Thursday

Psalm 94.19
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.

This Bible is a great honeycomb, and it drips with honey. Come and taste its virgin sweetness, O ye whose mouths are full of bitterness ― Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Reflection: Thoughtful Trust :: Throwback Thursday
By Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Godly people are thoughtful people. Indeed it is often a sign of the beginning of grace in a man when he begins to consider. Believing is not the death of thinking, it is the sanctification of it.

Gracious men take much account of their thoughts, and make a conscience of them. Other men are scarcely alarmed in conscience by their actions, unless they happen to commit some glaring crime, but the saint has lost his heart of stone, and his heart of flesh is conscious of God’s displeasure, and trembles at it, when an impure thought has defiled his soul.

Regenerate men have sensitive minds, so that a word wrongly spoken grieves them sorely; and if it should never go so far as a word, and only an evil thought like an unclean bird flits through their mind, they are troubled lest they should have invited or secretly entertained so foul a lodger.

We must, then, look well to our thoughts, and keep our heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. We must watch thought, think upon thought, and pray about thought, and happy shall we be if we can say, in the language of the text, “In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.”

In times when many thoughts assail us, the attributes of God are each one of them the delight of our soul. The gist of the whole matter is this: the way to comfort is the way where God is to be found. Christian, the way for sustenance, strength, hope, and consolation is the way which leads thee to thy God. Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah there is everlasting strength.

And oh, poor sinner, the same way is open to you. Do not look within for comfort, for you will find none. As well go to the Arctic regions and pierce icebergs to discover warmth, as look to yourselves for consolation. Away, away, away, away from your own thoughts to God’s thoughts; away from your own judgings and weighings, and computations, and speculations, and expectations to the firm promises of a God that cannot lie.

*Excerpt from Medicine For The Distracted by Charles Spurgeon.

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living — Psalm 116.8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Deuteronomy 10 (Listen – 3:12) 
Psalm 94 (Listen – 2:08) 

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about Prayer for Enemies
Prayer is never lost. If it bless not those for whom intercession is made, it shall bless the intercessors. — Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read more about Greed and Envy
The psalmist, is thrown into doubt and pushed to the limits of his understanding by the inequality he sees in the world.

King of My Heart :: Worldwide Prayer

Psalm 92.1-3
It is good to praise the Lord
   and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
   and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
   and the melody of the harp.

Reflection: King of My Heart :: Worldwide Prayer
By John Tillman

The prayers that form the psalms are the emotional heart of our scriptures. It is no mistake that worship is a time of poetry, music, and art.

This simple, poetic prayer from Canada leaves no doubt that our source and supply for life, for freedom, for healing, for guidance, and for strength is in Christ. Christ is our King of Kings and stands with us through whatever we face.

How true it is that our human striving, cannot compete with the life Christ won for us through his death. May we never stop praising him for that. One of the gifts of poetry is brevity and this prayer brings that gift as well.

Prayer for strength from Canada
God of all gods
I tried, you died
King of them all
Stand by my side

King of my heart
You hear my call
Holder of hands
Cushion my fall

Lord of my life
Your strength I seek
Best friend indeed
Guide me, I’m weak

Love of my life
Oh what a treat
Precious Redeemer
Your face to meet

Prayer: The Greeting
You are my hope, O Lord God, my confidence since I was young.
I have been sustained by you ever since I was born; from my mother’s womb you have been my strength; my praise shall be always of you. — Psalm 46.11

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Deuteronomy 9 (Listen – 5:06) 
Psalm 92-93 (Listen – 2:09) 

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about Suffering for Our True Identity
It is not all right to be a Christian. And if we ask why, the answer is a sad one; Christians have given Christianity a bad name.

Read more about Artful Prayers
One of the reasons that the psalms are so engaging to any reader of God’s Word is that they are works of art and carry with them the inherent timelessness that great artworks possess.

Quotations from the Desert

Deuteronomy 8.3
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Psalm 91.11-13
For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
   you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Reflection: Quotations from the Desert
By John Tillman

Jesus and Satan both quote from our readings today during the temptation of Christ.

Satan quotes Psalm 91, telling Christ that the angels would hold him up and would shield him from harm. The words are accurately quoted, and the psalm does claim that God will miraculously aid those he loves. However, the meaning of the verse is twisted.

From the temptations in the garden to the temptations of Jesus and his followers, Satan encourages us to misapply and misinterpret God’s words. In the garden, he says, “Did God really…,” minimizing God’s provision. Standing on top of the Temple, he says God, “will command his angels,” exaggerating God’s provision.

Commenting on Satan’s use of scripture, John Piper wrote, “What makes Satan happy is when he can get Christians to believe that Proverbs 15:6 justifies the accumulation of wealth in a world of hunger; that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 abolishes charity; that Romans 9:16 makes evangelism superfluous.”

It is significant that Satan stops his quotation of the Psalm before the verse about himself: “You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.” He is, after all, speaking to the one destined to do the trampling.

That brings us to Christ’s quotation, in which Moses is reminding the Israelites of the purpose of the manna in the desert. Manna wasn’t a backup plan. Israel’s hunger and God’s provision was a divine plan teaching his children dependence upon God and not the wealth of the land.

Christ and the Israelites weren’t hungry in the desert for no reason. Nor are we.

Christ demonstrated that he mastered the lessons of the desert that Israel failed to learn. He demonstrated that he learned the lessons of the Garden that Adam failed to learn. He locked eyes with the serpent upon whose head his heel would soon step down with infinite crushing weight.

Connecting to God’s Word and relying on it for our sustenance, for our source of life, is a consistent theme of scripture and the purpose of spiritual disciplines. In our deserts, we must eat the Word of God and drink the Living Water of Christ. We will be fed with Honey from the Rock.

What we lost in the garden, Christ has regained.
What we failed in the desert, Christ has won.
What we cannot bear, Christ has carried.
What we cannot complete, Christ has finished.

“Lord God Almighty
Came as a preacher man
Fastin’ down in the wilderness
Quotin’ Deuteronomy to the Devil
And then He set His face like a flint
Toward Jerusalem…”

Quoting Deuteronomy to the Devil, Rich Mullins

Prayer: The Request for Presence
Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning, so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.  — Psalm 90.14

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Deuteronomy 8 (Listen – 2:58) 
Psalm 91 (Listen – 1:39)

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about Honey and Grace
Christ pours out, upon those who follow him, extravagant grace that goes beyond a dry court ruling of “not guilty.”

Read more about Our Opportunistic Opponent
Being led by the Spirit does not always lead to comfort. The Spirit will often lead us, as he did Christ, into deserts, alone, through times of testing.

Outward-Focused Rhythms

Psalm 90.14
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
   that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Reflection: Outward-Focused Rhythms
By John Tillman

Morning routines are important and are shaped by the culture surrounding us. Londoners take, on average, 90 minutes to go from waking to walking out the door, while in Shanghai, the average person spends only 9 minutes grooming in the morning.

How we spend our first 59 waking minutes affects the rest of our day. Whether we start with a shower, or a workout, or reading, or a snooze button, the way we start our morning is important.

Our culture desires to maximize this time in monetizable ways. We often look to design habits that make our lives more productive and therefore profitable, but we don’t often design habits that make life more meaningful and therefore more satisfying. One of the reasons we may find our morning routines unfulfilling is that they typically center on ourselves.

Instead of focusing mostly on activities that are forms of self-investment, practicing daily rhythms that are rooted in Christ can take us beyond ourselves.

One way to open ourselves up is by praying for those few may be praying for—the unlovable, the unnoticed, the hurting, the hated. We lean into the love of Christ to supply ourselves with love for the unlovable and the hated. We draw up living water from the well of Christ, to pass on in Jesus’ name, to the hurting. We take hold of Christ’s light of truth, directing its caring spotlight on the unnoticed.

Jesus promised his followers a “rich and satisfying life.” This life only comes, however, to the sheep who learn the voice of Christ, the Good Shepherd. The abundant joy and fulfillment Jesus provides transcends the good days and bad days of life, by helping us transcend our fixation with ourselves.

The psalmists are also focused on being satisfied in God. Psalm 90, a psalm of Moses, pleads with God to “satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love.”

Spiritual rhythms don’t have to be practiced in the morning to be effective. (In fact, we recommend integrating spiritual practices throughout your day.) But spiritual practices flourish when connected to actions that go beyond ourselves.

Scripture reading, prayer, and reflection on the character and nature of God each morning is time well invested. Especially when the actions growing from our faith flow outward, into our community.

Prayer: Refrain for the Morning Lessons
My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and make melody. — Psalm 57:7

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Deuteronomy 7 (Listen – 4:13) 
Psalm 90 (Listen – 2:03)

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about Thoughts and Prayers
The kind of prayer that Paul engages in is fruitful in creating action—good desires and the deeds that follow.

Read more about Occupation of Meditation
The results of true prayer are tangible actions on our part, empowered by God to make a difference in our world.

Spur a spiritual rhythm of refreshment right in your inbox
By joining this email list you are giving us permission to send you devotional emails each weekday and to communicate occasionally regarding other aspects of the ministry.
100% Privacy. We don't spam.