An Amazed Faith :: Worldwide Prayer

Luke 8.25
“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Reflection: An Amazed Faith :: Worldwide Prayer
By John Tillman

We can become complacent about Christ’s nature. The disciples did. Being so close to him—seeing him sweat, and eat, and wearily lie down to sleep in the back of the boat—they often saw only the man. But in the storm, they see him for who he is.

Seeing Jesus truly is always shocking. No matter how great a grasp of the incarnation we think we have, our intellectualism has a hard time grappling with Jesus rebuking the wind and waves. 

A Jesus this powerful is frightening. If he rebukes the wind and waves what about us? 

He might ask us to do…anything. He might send us to save…anyone. He might ask us to give…everything.

This prayer of redemption confesses our position, and expresses wonder and thankfulness that Christ, despite our weak faith, works his redemptive power in our lives.

Prayer for Redemption from Ukraine

God Almighty,

When my mind rejects earthly vanity
And when I raise my soul to you
I tremble and feel joyous.
I see you in awakening nature,
In the stream’s murmur and the mighty ocean’s waves.
You rule all the universe, everything is created by you and is subject to you.

Nobody, nothing can resist you.
Every creature who breaks your laws perishes.
And me? How dare I not obey you,
To seek something of my own.
I sinned, but you loved me, looked for me, found me, forgave me, and adopted me as your child.

I cannot comprehend the depth of your love!
How could you for the sake of someone like me,
Send your son, Jesus Christ?
How could it be that despite my weak faith
Jesus suffered and died and
Gave me the right to unite with you 
And be yours for all eternity?

My precious Jesus,
What a great joy it is to rely on you,
To confide in you,
To love you and to wait for you every day!

Help me, my Lord, to always carry in my body
Your death, so that your life may be revealed
In me daily till we meet with you in Heaven!

*Prayer from Hallowed be Thy Name, L. A. (Tony) Cupit, ed., Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world

Prayer: The Greeting
You have rescued my soul from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living. — Psalm 56.11-12

Today’s Readings
Exodus 5 (Listen – 3:15) 
Luke 8 (Listen – 8:09)

This Weekend’s Readings
Exodus 6 (Listen – 3:56), Luke 9 (Listen – 8:05)
Exodus 7 (Listen – 3:29), Luke 10 (Listen – 5:40)

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 Fear in the Boat :: Readers’ Choice :: TBT
This devotion spoke to me in a moment where I almost forgot where I was. The words reminded me of the faithfulness of Jesus. I pictured myself in that ‘boat’, and Christ showing me who he is, I was on the Rock. — Azikiwe Calhoun

Read more about Faith After the Storm
Jesus asleep on the pillow is a punching bag for our emotions. Asleep, he cannot hear or dispute our complaints, our fears, our version of events. But Jesus standing and rebuking the storm rebukes us as well. “Quiet. Be still.”

A Fight Won with Quietness :: Throwback Thursday

Luke 7.22
Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.

From John:
In this letter, Amy Carmichael encourages a young Christian worker in the spiritual disciplines needed to endure the spiritual opposition that each of us will face when we embrace Jesus as not just a kindly, dead philosopher, but a living savior and Lord who walks with us.

When we learn to walk aware of Christ’s presence, we begin to notice what he wants us to notice, to see what he wants us to see.

Reflection: A Fight Won with Quietness :: Throwback Thursday
By Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)

The fight to which we have been called is not an easy fight. We are touching the very center of the devil’s power and kingdom, and he hates us intensely and fights hard against us. We have no chance at all of winning in this fight unless we are disciplined soldiers, utterly out-and-out and uncompromising, and men and women of prayer.

So first, give much time to quietness. We have to get our help for the most part direct from our God. We are here to help, not to be helped, and we must each one of us learn to walk with God alone and feed on his Word so as to be nourished. Don’t only read and pray—listen. And don’t evade the slightest whisper of guidance that comes. God make you very sensitive, and very obedient.

Fill up the crevices of time with the things that matter most. This will cost something, but it is worth it. “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

No one is of much use who does not truly want to learn what it means to pray and listen and definitely choose the life that is hid with Christ in God.

Keep close, keep close. If you are close you will be keen. Your heart will be set on the things that abide. You will drink of his Spirit and you will thirst for souls even as he thirsts. You will not be attracted by the world that crucified him, but you will love the people in that world who have never seen his beauty and are losing so much more than they know. You will live to share your joy in Him, Nothing else will count for much.

All this will be, if you walk with Him as with a visible companion, from dawn through all the hours till you go to sleep at night.

Prayer: The Greeting
You are my hiding place…you surround me with shouts of deliverance. — Psalm 32.8

Today’s Readings
Exodus 4 (Listen – 4:17) 
Luke 7 (Listen – 7:14)

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 Light for the Next Step
A lamp for our feet forces us to engage with where we are, not look only at distant destinations.

Read more about Occupation of Meditation
As Carmichael implies, meditation is more than just privately “thinking” about God’s word. It is occupation—something that implies action.

Blessing and Woes :: A Guided Prayer

Luke 6.18-19
Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

Reflection: Blessing and Woes :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

Luke’s version of the Beatitudes strike a sharper tone than their setting in Matthew because Luke pairs them with a mirrored set of woes. Where Matthew mentions that we are like the prophets of old when we are treated poorly, Luke adds the woeful warning that when we are treated well, we are like the false prophets of old.

Pray Luke’s Beatitudes through the rest of this week. Hear God speaking to you in both parts of the prayer.

A Prayer of Blessings and Woes

Lord help us press onward through the blessing of being poor, of being hungry, of weeping, of being hated, excluded, insulted, and rejected. There is blessing in the pain of the journey and surpassing joy on the other side.

Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who hunger now,
    for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
        because of the Son of Man.

“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

May we take heed of the woes we are subject to. May we not deny that we are rich, that we are comfortable, that we are well-fed, that we laugh, and are spoken well of. There is comfort now in acclaim, and acceptance, but there is woe and destruction if we turn away from the path of Christ.

But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now,
    for you will go hungry.

Woe to you who laugh now,
    for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
    for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

Prayer: A Reading
Jesus said: “In all truth I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave. Now a slave has no permanent standing in the household, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free.”  —  John 8.34-36

Today’s Readings
Exodus 3 (Listen – 3:59) 
Luke 6 (Listen – 6:46)

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 The Path of the Cross :: A Guided Prayer
God’s way in the world leads to the cross and through the cross to life. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Read more about In The Face of Wonder :: A Guided Prayer
“He has filled the hungry with good things
   but has sent the rich away empty.”
Your power, Holy Spirit, working on behalf of the outcasts and the downtrodden is the beat that our boots must march to.

A Bad Day Fishing

Luke 5.8, 10
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”

Reflection: A Bad Day Fishing
By John Tillman

The Bible describes Peter as a fisherman. But every time we see him fishing in the scriptures he is failing at it. Peter never catches a fish without Christ’s help.

We are not meant to assume from this that Peter was a bad fisherman. Quite the opposite. We are meant to assume that Peter was a good fisherman. These days are recorded because of their uniqueness, not their normalcy. This means that we see Peter fishing on the worst days of his career. 

You learn a lot about people on their worst days. The days when nothing seems to work…when the project loses funding…when despite our best efforts, we came up empty.

Imagine for a moment that all Jesus was there for on his worst day was to solve Peter’s problem. Imagine if Jesus granted him a windfall of a miracle catch, then left Peter there to continue as usual, but now flush with operating capital flopping around on the beach. If we are honest that’s the kind of miracle we want from God. “Just bless what I’m already doing, God. Don’t ask me to change!” 

Peter’s first recorded words to Jesus in response the miracle are “go away.” Peter seems to believe that his sins disqualify him from the financial blessing he has just received and certainly from being a follower of Jesus.

But Jesus didn’t come to bless Peter’s business, he came to change it. Jesus didn’t ask for Peter to tithe a portion of the fish to his ministry, he asked Peter to offer his entire self, business and all to “fish for men.”

Peter is fascinating. He seems prideful at times, yet humble at others. He is outspoken yet hides when confronted. He does lacks the ambition of the Zebedees. But he often takes the initiative, leading other disciples and even attempting to lead Jesus.

Yet he never seems to seek directly for power or control. Perhaps this is precisely why Jesus specifically calls him to strengthen his brothers and places him in a position of leadership. Jesus, instead of solving Peter’s earthly problem made him part of Heaven’s solution to the world’s problem. He wants to do the same with us.

Jesus will show up on our worst days. He is calling us to fish. Peter never catches a fish without Christ’s help. And neither will we. 

Follow him today. Find out how he will direct you to fish.

Prayer: The Request for Presence
Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law.  —  Psalm 119.18

Today’s Readings
Exodus 2 (Listen – 3:18) 
Luke 5 (Listen – 5:04)

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 In the Face of Grief
Peter’s experience on the shore with Jesus after returning to fishing for fish instead of men showed the raw and sensitive reality of his emotional state.

Read more about God of the Weak and Doubtful
Christ did not allow Peter to sink in the waves when his faith was too weak. He will extend his loving hand to you as well. Thank God, that he is the God of the weak and the doubtful.

Our Opportunistic Opponent

Luke 4.13
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Reflection: Our Opportunistic Opponent
By John Tillman

I doubt that the devil has horns. But the problem of considering demonic influence in our world does have two horns on which we can be caught.

On the one hand, we can make too much of Satan. We stumble into dualism when we think of him as an all-powerful, omnipresent evil. When we imagine Satan hiding behind every inconvenience and minor temptation in our world we deny our own propensity to sin and the omnipresent Spirit of God that truly is with us at all times.

On the other hand, we can make too little of Satan. We can consider him and other evil spirits as mere phantoms of psychology. We can try to explain him away as a metaphor of our inward sinfulness—less a dangerous foe and more a delightful fable.

No devil is needed for us to be tempted or tormented. We are sinful, deceiving ourselves, and our world is broken, with sharp edges at every turn to harm us. But we will encounter specific times of spiritual opposition in our lives.

Scripture warns us that Satan desires to thresh us like wheat, that he prowls like a roaring lion, and that he has the power to deceive the elect and to appear as an angel of light.

Satan is a limited, yet dangerous, creature. And as such, he is a creature of opportunity. Jesus went into the wilderness to face temptation head on and Satan made the most of his opportunity.

It is wise to attempt to avoid temptation when possible. But 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.

The disciples, physically present with Jesus, were surrounded by, and succumbed to, temptations of greed, lust for power, anger, vengeance, selfishness, and self-righteousness. That’s leaving out Judas’s betrayal and Peter’s foul mouth.

Temptations are a time for us to come to terms with our limitations and recognize our sinfulness. In times of tempting, when we feel our limitations, there is comfort knowing that our tempter is also limited. His opportunity to torment us will come to an end. By Christ’s mercy we can resist Satan and he will flee. But just as when Satan left Jesus in the wilderness, he is only waiting for an opportune time to return.

Prayer: The Request for Presence
O Lord, watch over us and save us from this generation for ever. — Psalm 12.7

Today’s Readings
Exodus 1(Listen – 2:32) 
Luke 4 (Listen – 5:27)

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 Saved by Mercy
Frodo ‘failed.’…one must face the fact: the power of Evil in the world is not finally resistible by incarnate creatures, however ‘good.’

Read more about Pride and Shortsightedness :: Throwback Thursday
O know your own weakness, the treacherous enemy which you still carry with you, who is ready to open the back-door to the devil!

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