Today is a big day in our nation and I join the prayers of many who are praying for a peaceful transition. We, as Christians are called to support our leaders – all of our leaders – with our prayers and to live peacefully and to work towards the prosperity of the place where we have been set to live.
It’s a big day for me as I will be having that little procedure on my knee and while I often complain that if I just knew what was going to be happening to me on a given day I would feel so much better, it turns out that knowing what is most likely going to happen sometimes is still a little scary.
Sometimes the known is still fraught with unknowns and so as I write this tonight before heading to bed, I am thankful for the prayers of many and the peace that carries me.
There are so many who are facing health treatments, surgeries, chemo…along with financial strains, school tensions, anxiety and depression to name a few. While the events that are happening tomorrow in Washington D.C. are historical and bathed in some seriously conflicting and polar reactions, the stuff of every day life under your roof and mine is no less of interest to our God. My heart is filled with your names and faces as we lift you continually throughout each day.
So may the same God that watches over the affairs of the White House, watch over your house, my house and the houses of people all over the world. May He be honored and glorified across this earth that He made and loved enough to send His Son to save. May He refine us and draw us all to Him today and every day.
His mercies are new every morning. They never run out. He is faithful.
Be blessed and rejoice in the God of Hope for He has poured His love into us <3
But the differences that the events of 2020 have made in our lives that have caused us some sorrow, grief, loss and anxiety have also sharpened our vision to the things we have that we are so grateful for.
We have become, hopefully, more compassionate for those who are struggling and we have been able to put some wider parameters around what we consider to be a hassle and have gained new perspective on how some things are just inconveniences and we can deal with them.
As we continue to work through the passages of 1 Thessalonians, today I settle on a sweet way for us to pray for each other that Paul teaches in his letter.
Now may our God and Father Himself and our Lord Jesus prepare the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love grow more and multiply for each other and for all people so that you will love others as we love you. May your hearts be made strong so that you will be holy and without fault before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with His holy ones.
1 Thessalonians 3: 11-13
This speaks to me in a time when I see very few of the people I call my family in Christ.
It has been nine months since our world stopped and we went into isolation. While Russ and I have made the decision to attend our church service as provided with masking and social distancing and limited numbers, each week we sit in little pockets of whatever pew space is available.
I see some friends off in other pews and we wave. But there are so many faces I miss seeing. I miss the gathering there in the sanctuary. I miss getting together with friends and family and seeing their entire face and hugging. I miss seeing the entire facial expression behind a conversation I am having with someone.
So I understand this prayer for God to make a way for us to be together again.
And as the world seems to be growing harder and more bitter about the state we are in (literally and figuratively depending on your current “state” of residence), I love how Paul teaches me to pray for our love to grow more and more.
Not just for our love to grow and multiply for other believers, but for all people. As we have become isolated, it is becoming easier to ignore any hardening of the spiritual arteries. When we don’t have to exchange casual conversation with people we disagree with, we don’t realize how cold our hearts are growing towards others.
With the banter of ideologies and political views going on, we can silence those we don’t want to hear from…but are we praying for them? Is our love increasing for those who do not know Jesus? When we pray for believers, are we asking God to help make them holy? Are we remembering that Christ will return and all masks of all kinds will be removed?
All hearts and motives will be revealed.
Let us not grow weary in the meantime. Nor should we grow numb.
Let’s pray for our leaders, whoever they are. Let’s speak kindly to and about others. Let’s remember the prayers of Scripture that guide our hearts to pray God’s heart.
A grey one here on the prairie and we have experienced basically all four seasons this week.
I finished the book of Luke in my annual walk through the Bible today. As I read the most detailed account in the Gospels of Jesus’ final days on earth, I was struck by the plotting and anger of the pharisees against Him. So much energy expended by them to trap Him. So much angst and frustration in their pursuit of eliminating Him. So much calculating and scheming on their part, so much focus and peace on His.
In Chapter 20 they ask Him a question and when He responds with a different question, they enter into a debate amongst themselves and theorize about how to answer in a way that will still prove Him wrong but not upset the crowd or mar their stand on the popular side of things. They can’t answer truthfully or honestly because they chose image over integrity.
As I read through this Gospel I was struck from beginning to end at how much anger Jesus stirred up just sharing the Good News of the Kingdom being at hand and calling for repentance and faith to believe God through the prophets. Come to think of it, the prophets all stirred up a fair amount of wrath and anger. And why?
Why, with all that was going on in and around to oppress the Jews, did the one who came to proclaim freedom become the one they got so angry with?
I know in our day and age people inside and outside the Church like to call out the pharisee spirit of Christians, but why are we missing the anger towards Christ and His Church that comes from those who operate from the laws of men and not the laws of God?
When Christians are attacked and mocked and laughed at, why do we hang our heads and say apologetically that we could have done better? Yes, if we have acted in ways that are not biblical, if we have not truly understood and applied the teachings of Christ, we should be corrected. But when we are simply living out what we have read and learned from Christ’s teachings and we are viciously held up to scorn and ridicule and basically tried and convicted for being the worst kind of person…well…we can only look to the example of Christ on trial by the Chief Priest and Sanhedrin and on and on and realize what is happening.
If Christianity is really as foolish and trivial as many in our culture seem to think it is, why do such big guns come out to limit the work of those who are faith – based? Because the truth is Jesus is who He claimed to be and the enemy of God knows it and incites this anger and division. He also loves it when we, as believers, join in the fray.
I noticed Pilate said repeatedly that the evidence they had presented against Christ was bogus. He even declared Herod found no valid case against Him for any crime since he had returned him to Jerusalem. Yet the mob was incited and the insanity of releasing someone who was a known criminal in exchange for an innocent man happened.
And the only one who had the right and the power to stop the whole charade remained silent, calm and surrendered.
Where are you and I in this story? I hope steadfastly by the side of Jesus Christ.
All the shouting and shenanigans and deceptions and intrigue of 2020 and the years leading up to it, and the fruit that has been sown by injustices and hypocrisies and power struggles from the very beginning should bring us quietly to our knees. In humility and with a sincere heart of faith, we can lift our hands to the One who went before us and we can seek direction and guidance for how to live justly and to love mercy as He did.
Prayer is a powerful tool for us in these days.
If you live locally there are two opportunities to join with others in prayer this weekend and one national event to participate in:
Saturday morning there is March for Peace. Gathering at the court house at 8 AM with a 9 AM start time, the march will proceed to the Civic Center where there will be a time of prayer for Peace.
Sunday afternoon at 3:30 PM there will be prayer gatherings led by members of FCC at the following places in our community:
Illini Park in Warrensburg
Fairview Park Decatur West End
Forsyth Park in Forsyth
Prairie Park in Argenta
Fletcher Park in Argenta
The Block 1541 N Church St in Decatur
And finally, there has been a call for a day of prayer and fasting throughout our country on Sunday.
In the midst of the all the snarky stuff going on, please take Him at His word.
If My people…the ones who bear MY NAME…will humble themselves, pray and seek My face…and turn from their evil ways (still talking about His people here…not the world at large..just His people)…Then, when they do this, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 my paraphrase
This was a specific promise to God’s people regarding Solomon’s prayer for Israel, but this is God’s heart and He is faithful and consistent with His promises.
Hope to see you at one or more of the prayer events.