Cross-Reference Living

Have you ever felt like your enemies are oppressing you? Or that your situation is only getting worse, with no end in sight? David did. In Psalm 64 he makes a complaint against God, but as is often the case, the psalm that began hopeless ends with hope and joy!

How did David do that? How can we do this?

I think David had an intimate knowledge of God and the scriptures to help him on this journey, and we can do the same, if we will cross reference our situation and our thoughts with God’s words.

Below is a table. On the left are the verses from Psalm 64. On the right are corresponding verses to show how to use God’s word to combat these types of thoughts. To move us from hopeless to hopeful. Practice this type of thinking this week to help you through your problems and pains.

 

Psalm 64 Cross References
v.1a – Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; Mt. 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

 

Heb. 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

 

1 Jn. 5:14-15  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

v. 1b – protect my life from the threat of the enemy. Isa. 54:17 no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

 

Jn. 10:27-29 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

 

Prov. 2:7-9 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.

 

v. 2- Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
from the plots of evildoers.
Gen. 15:1 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

 

Ps. 34:16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.

 

Rom 8: 37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

v. 3 – They sharpen their tongues like swords
and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
James 3:6-12 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

 

Eph. 6:10-13 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

v. 4 – They shoot from ambush at the innocent;
they shoot suddenly, without fear.

 

Eph. 6:14-17 – Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

 

v. 5-6a – They encourage each other in evil plans,
they talk about hiding their snares;
they say, “Who will see it?”
They plot injustice and say,
“We have devised a perfect plan!”
Rom. 1:18-21, 28-32 – The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

 

v. 6b – Surely the human mind and heart are cunning. Jer. 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

10 “I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”

 

v. 7-8 But God will shoot them with his arrows;
they will suddenly be struck down.
He will turn their own tongues against them
and bring them to ruin;
all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
Ps. 108:13 With God we will gain the victory,
and he will trample down our enemies.

 

1 Jn. 5:4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

 

 

v. 9 –  All people will fear;
they will proclaim the works of God
and ponder what he has done.
Romans 14:11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

 

Php. 2:9-11 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

v. 10 – The righteous will rejoice in the Lord
and take refuge in him;
all the upright in heart will glory in him!
Php. 4:4-6 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

 

Lk. 10:20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

 

1 Thess. 5:16 Rejoice always.

 

Rev. 4:8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”

 

 

Neuroscience and Jesus


This is my dog, Hobbes. And he barks.

A lot.

A car goes by. My dog barks. A neighbor walks past our house. My dog barks. The mailman drives past. My dog (cliché that he is) barks. And heaven help the little Girl Scout who rings the doorbell. The only threat she poses is to my wallet, and I am convinced that if dogs could understand the joy of chocolate, Hobbes would stand on his hind legs, put on a pair of reading glasses, and write her a check himself for a truckload of Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties.

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Quick Thoughts: Suddenly 

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

Mal. 3:1 

Whether it is waiting in line at the amusement park or for our company to announce who will be included in this round of layoffs, waiting is never an easy thing to do . I suppose that is because waiting is mostly passive in nature. There’s not much to do when we wait, except take a long look at the ceiling, inhale deeply, and sigh. After a while our imagination begins to pose hypotheticals to us. Mostly it’s the brain’s way of saying, “I’m bored,” and if we could treat our mind like the 7-year-old ADHD child that it is, we would be ok. But when we begin to believe the stories about the monsters being true, we forget that God is a preparing God as well as a God of the suddenly.
I cannot presume what phase you may be in right now, and I know God seems to take His time with a lot of His plans and promises; but without the suddenly occurring, God’s preparations are muted. Imagine how poorly we would understand Him as Creator without the suddenly of “Let there be light.” How He could not have been fully realized as Savior with the suddenly of His resurrection. Or how He would not be clearly seen as King of Kings without the suddenly of His return.

Behind every moment of suddenly is a season of preparation. Those may be long, dry days for you but they are not without promise. They are not without hope. And they do not have to be without action. 

Just as a farmer tills the soil, plants the seed, and irrigates the land, so we too can actively join God in His work as we wait for the harvest of His preparations to arrive. Your role may seem insignificant now, but you cannot anticipate a bounty if you will not go out into the fields. 

So pray to God. Actively seek His moment of suddenly. It is out there. It is waiting for you. Like the dawn, it will not be there. 

And then it will. Radiant and awe-inspiring and beautiful. 

The Lord that you desire will come, breaking out against the night. There will be no more preparations, for He will suddenly be here.

Remember What You Have

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November 10, 2016.

3:43 p.m.

My phone notifies me that my wife has texted me. I am finishing up an appointment with a client and think to myself, “Ok. I’ll call when we’re done.”

3:44 p.m.

My wife calls me on my phone. I decline the call. Whatever she needs is obviously urgent. I begin to hurry my session to a close.

3:45 p.m.

She calls back a second time. This is our signal for 911. I excuse myself from my meeting and answer the call.

“Hello.”

“Mark! You need to leave. Right.  Now. Luke and his friends were crossing the street near the bus stop and have been hit by a pickup. The police say they need a parent on the scene.”

Images of a lifeless, bloody body laying on the ground cloud my mind, making it hard to catch my breath.

“Mark?”

“I’m on it,” I exclaim, rushing out the door with only a brief explanation to my client and our receptionists.

Twenty minutes later I arrive at the scene. The police have gone. The paramedics have left, and a call to my son tells me that he is now at home.

When I walk into the house, I find him sitting at his computer, eating a Pop-Tart.

“Why are you home early,” he asks.

I raise my eyebrows. “Uhhh. Because you were hit by a truck?”

“I’m okay, Dad,” he says. “Really. It’s not that big a deal.” He points to a small abrasion on his wrist that is about an inch in length.

He tells me that he and two of his friends decided to go to the park near our house after getting off of the bus. As they were crossing the street, they noticed a pickup truck stopped at the stop sign facing them. Initially, they waited for him to go, but when he remained stopped, they decided it was safe to cross. However, once they were halfway into the street, the truck began to make his right-hand turn and hit all three of them. My son saw the truck coming and jumped back enough to only be clipped by the vehicle’s side mirror. One of his friends, though, suffered a bruised rib, and the other had two fractured wrists.

I hug my son and breathe a sigh of relief.

Later that night I tell my wife, “You never realize how quickly your life can take a left turn into hell.”

She nuzzles herself into me on the couch and begins a refrain that we will take turns repeating for the rest of the evening: “I’m just so thankful. It could have been much, much worse.”

A week and a half later I am still chilled at the idea of what could have happened, and I find myself randomly thanking God for His protection and grace.

It is a gift I do not deserve. No amount of good deeds could have been exchanged for the life of my son. He is of infinite value and I am a man of limited resources. If God were to weigh me on the scales of justice, I would always be found wanting. And I am acutely aware that there are others in the world who have not been as fortunate as I, so I cannot claim that some cosmic “fairness” is owed to me.  I can only express appreciation and gratitude for being allowed to have my boy, first as a life loaned to me from God and now as a life spared.

But that is the nature of thankfulness, I suppose. One cannot appreciate what he has unless he juxtaposes it against the tragedy of its potential loss. And it is this juxtaposition that lays the foundation for the joy in whatever we have. This is as true for children as it is for jobs, marriages, finances, health, or lessons learned through life.

Too often we forget to measure the breadth and depth of our blessings and falsely presume that they will endure continually. But everything we love, everyone we treasure, every possession we hold dear can vanish in an instant. Everything in life, even life itself, melts away like the morning dew, and if we do not acutely attune ourselves to the transient nature of all our blessings, we will fail to be thankful for what we have been given. Nor will we recognize how God abundantly displays His goodness in our lives.

This holiday season, before you carve the turkey and watch the football game, take time to walk around the house. Reflect on how far you have come over the years. Enjoy how the crisp autumn air has gradually wrapped each tree in thin brown paper. Have a conversation with each person who is at your home. Revisit your favorite memories. Tell a story or two. Laugh with each other.

What is here today can be gone tomorrow.

Remember what you have. And be thankful.

 

 

Have Faith in God


When I awoke yesterday for work, an old hymn began playing through my head. I could only remember the chorus, but it was a good reminder to put my hope in God, not any one man or woman. Remember this truth, whether you are pleased with the election results or not. Our prayers are to be for God and His will, not for a person and their politics. Red or Blue, all of us should pray for our leaders and for God’s will be done. All of us should Have Faith in God. Therefore, I offer the following hymn. The lyrics are below.

Have faith in God when your pathway is lonely; 
He sees and knows all the way you have trod. 
Never alone are the least of His children; 
Have faith in God, have faith in God. 

Chorus:
Have faith in God, He’s on His throne; 
Have faith in God, He watches o’er His own. 
He cannot fail, He must prevail; 
Have faith in God, have faith in God.

2 Have faith in God when your prayers are unanswered; 
Your earnest plea He will never forget. 
Wait on the Lord trust His Word and be patient; 
Have faith in God, He’ll answer yet. [Chorus] 

3 Have faith in God in your pain and your sorrow; 
His heart is touched with your grief and despair. 
Cast all your cares and your burdens upon Him; 
And leave them there, oh, leave them there. [Chorus]

4 Have faith in God though all else fail about you; 
Have faith in God, He provides for His own. 
He cannot fail though all kingdoms shall perish; 
He rules, He reigns, upon His throne. [Chorus]

Psalms for the Election – Day 7

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As we conclude this 7-day journey for praying for the election, I hope you hold on to God’s call to recalibrate our lives around Him and not our political parties or dogmas. May we live with strength and courage; without fear or discouragement, because we know that the Lord will be us wherever we go.

Have the courage to stand up among the assembly, to be that one person who refuses to bow to the pressures of tyranny, regardless of the threat to your life, wealth, or family. Rest in the truth that your victory does not come in the votes of an electoral college but in God. It is He who pushes back your enemies and gives you victory. Put your faith in Him. He is our only hope.


Read Psalm 46

Identify what God is saying about Himself in this passage. Boil it down into a one or two-word summary (e.g., God is ____ ) and confess that truth back to God, asking Him to reveal Himself in this way through your day and this election cycle.

v. 1 Look at the election. If it has not taken place yet, pray this verse as a declaration of trust that God will protect His people and will not abandon us when trouble occurs. If it has ended, pray this verse as a declaration of faith for the future, regardless of who has been elected President.

v.2-3 State how your security does not depend on the circumstances that have played out in this election. Rather, your security is in God alone. Therefore, you will not fear.

Even if you feel like this election has produced results in which “the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters foam and the mountains quake with their surging,” declare your faith and your trust in God.

v.4-6 Confess that you were not created for this nation that we call America. Rather, you were created for the holy city of God where the Most High dwells. Your residence is within a kingdom that will not fall and where God will always help her survive and thrive. Other nations will come and go. Other kingdoms will fall, because God rules not with a scepter or a sword, but with the power of His spoken word. He is the One who spoke and the earth was created. He is the One who wrapped Himself in flesh to pay the penalty for our sins. He is the One who lifts his voice and the earth melts; who reigns forever and ever and invites the one who wishes to take the free gift of the water of life.

v.7-9 Declare the wonders and the works of the LORD Almighty. Ask God to reveal to you what He has done. In this passage, the Psalmist writes that God has “made wars cease … He breaks the bow and shatters the spears; He burns the shields with fire.”  Take a moment and ask yourself: What

Take a moment and consider the symbolism for our country: What are the “wars” that God has stopped in our country? What “bows and spears” has He broken? What “shields” of the enemy has He “burned with fire?”

v.10 Take a minute. Be still before God and know that He is the Lord. Confess the mighty works of His hands. Declare His greatness among the nations. Exalt Him in all the earth.

v. 11 Reaffirm this truth, regardless of who won the election: “The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Thank each of you who have prayed with me over these last 7 days for the condition and future of our country. May our hearts be continually turned towards God as we seek His face and declare that our trust rests not in man, but in Him.

Blessings on you all.

Psalms for the Election – Day 6

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This year has brought us one of the most divisive elective cycles in recent memory. Many people that I speak to, regardless of political affiliation, are not excited about the choices they have for President. Both candidates have characteristics that could be defined as “unfit,” whether it is in temperament, decision making, morality, unpredictability, criminal behavior, experience, judgment, health, or political vision.  It is in this season that we need to pray for our country more than we do for our political parties. We are a nation off-course and the choice of our leader will make irrevocable changes to the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and moral direction we take as Americans.

Therefore, I would like to invite you to pray with me for our country. Over the next 7 days, I will be making a new post each day. Each post will include a link to a reading from the Psalms and a brief instruction on how to use this reading as a guide for prayer. Let us put aside our desire to see a specific person win the election and have the courage to pray boldly for God to stay his judgment and place in office the man or woman who will lead us to be the country that God desires (and designed) us to be. 

Will you please pray with me?


Read Psalm 43

Identify what God is saying about Himself in this passage. Boil it down into a one or two-word summary (e.g., God is ____ ) and confess that truth back to God, asking Him to reveal Himself in this way through your day and this election cycle.

v.1 Confess how our nation has been unfaithful. What have we called gods that are not gods at all? How have we exchanged our glorious God for worthless cultural, political, and social idols? (Jer. 2:11-12) Who or what are they? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how we use the Name of God to excuse the sins of man? Name them by name. If it helps, revisit the prayer guide for Day 3.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how we use the Name of God to excuse the sins of man? Name them by name. If it helps, revisit the prayer guide for Day 3.

Ask God to raise up the remnant within our country who have not bowed their knees to these false idols. Ask that they stand boldly before the wicked and the oppressors. Ask that God vindicate us and plead our cause against an unfaithful nation. That He rescue us from those who are deceitful and wicked. Ask that God will both hinder and destroy the plans of the wicked. That He will not allow them to flourish. May this be the time for the holy to prosper because God is our stronghold.

v.2  Confess that God alone is our stronghold. Confess that you have felt alone and grieving this week. Confess how you have felt like mourning because you have been oppressed by the enemy. Ask God to intervene on behalf of His Name and not our own. Ask Him to demonstrate through our election how He alone is our stronghold and how He has not rejected us.

v.3 Ask God to send our nation His light and His faithful care. Ask that He open the hearts and minds of all Americans during this election. May we be humbled and as a result pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways so that God’s light and faithful care may lead our nation in the paths that we may go.

Ask that God bring us to His holy mountain, to the place where He dwells.

v. 4 Respond to God by going to Him and surrendering at His altar everything that you have used as a substitute  for joy and delight, instead of God.

Sing praise to God. Let His name and His works be proclaimed through the song that pours out from your lips.

v. 5 Do not let your soul harken back to the worries of this world or the fears of what will happen if the “wrong person” is elected. Put your hope in God. Praise Him alone. Make Him alone your Savior and your God.

If you are finding this difficult, pray boldly for a vision of what a life and a country looks like whose hope is not in God. Ask God to reveal to us that our fears come from trusting in unreliable people or things to sustain or save us, not from Him. Ask that God

Wait. Close your eyes if you have to.

Listen.Ask God to reveal to us that our fears come from trusting in unreliable people or things to sustain or save us, not from Him. Ask that God

What is the image He is giving you? Hold that image in your minds eye? Let yourself feel the depth of the pain that comes from such extreme separation from God. Pray that He will keep our country from such ruin.

Ask God to reveal to us that our fears come from trusting in unreliable people or things to sustain or save us, not from Him. Ask that God break us of our tendency to drift away in fear. May we be a people who will yet praise Him, who trusts only in Him.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Psalms for the Election – Day 5

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This year has brought us one of the most divisive elective cycles in recent memory. Many people that I speak to, regardless of political affiliation, are not excited about the choices they have for President. Both candidates have characteristics that could be defined as “unfit,” whether it is in temperament, decision making, morality, unpredictability, criminal behavior, experience, judgment, health, or political vision.  It is in this season that we need to pray for our country more than we do for our political parties. We are a nation off-course and the choice of our leader will make irrevocable changes to the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and moral direction we take as Americans.

Therefore, I would like to invite you to pray with me for our country. Over the next 7 days, I will be making a new post each day. Each post will include a link to a reading from the Psalms and a brief instruction on how to use this reading as a guide for prayer. Let us put aside our desire to see a specific person win the election and have the courage to pray boldly for God to stay his judgment and place in office the man or woman who will lead us to be the country that God desires (and designed) us to be. 

Will you please pray with me?


Read Psalm 40

Identify what God is saying about Himself in this passage. Boil it down into a one or two-word summary (e.g., God is ____ ) and confess that truth back to God, asking Him to reveal Himself in this way through your day and this election cycle.

Prayer is not always about requests or confession. It often incorporates praise for either what God has done or for what God will do. Today we turn from focusing on our woes as an electorate to do a little preemptive praising. Let us turn towards God today to praise Him for already accomplishing His sovereign purposes on November 8th.

v. 1-3 Praise God the He gave you the ability to wait patiently for Him to act during this election.

Praise Him for turning towards our country and hearing our cry.

Praise Him for lifting us “out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire” and for putting our feet on a rock, for giving us a firm place to stand. Praise Him that this firm place does not reside in anything temporary, such as a man, woman, or political party. Rather, our rock is Christ alone.

Praise God for putting “a new song in our mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Ask that many (both domestically and abroad) will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in Him as well.

v. 4-5 Praise the LORD for the trust that He has given you as you turned your heart towards His desires and not your own in this election. Thank Him for teaching you to not look towards the proud or those who turn aside to false gods/lies.

Enumerate the wonders God has done during this election. Praise Him for accomplishing the things He planned for us. Acknowledge God’s supremacy over man in both deed and character. Confess that none can compare with God and that His works are too many to declare.

v. 6-8 Praise God that He has opened your ears without requiring anything additional from you. He is a transforming God! Thank Him for orienting you towards Himself as you have poured out your heart for the country towards Him.

In response to His work in your lif offer to do whatever He asks of you. Declare your desire to do His will because His law is within your heart.

v. 9-10 Ask Him to fill you with boldness so that, like Jeremiah, you cannot contain the message of His saving acts. Praise Him for empowering you during this election to make His name known. Praise Him that you did not seal your lips or hide God’s righteousness in your heart. Praise Him that although it may be against your nature, He filled your with power so that you do not conceal God’s love and faithfulness from your friends, family, city, state, nation, or world.

v. 11-15 Ask God to continue to be merciful to us as a country and for His love and faithfulness to always protect us. Confess that our nation continues to sin so much that we cannot see and our heart fails because of the weight of the sin. Ask God to save us and to come quickly to help us.

Ask Him to put to shame and confusion all who want to destroy us and to ruin/turn back in disgrace all of our enemies. Praise Him for His faithfulness! “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every  morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23)

v.16-17 Praise God that because He is faithful He does not abandon anyone who seeks Him. Rejoice and be glad in the great work and power of God. “May those who long for [God’s] saving help always say, ‘The LORD is great!’ ”

Confess how infinitesimal you are as a person as well as how small we are as a nation. Confess our needs and our spiritual and moral poverty before God. But praise Him for being our help and our deliverer.

“You are my God, do not delay.”

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

Psalms for the Election – Day 4

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This year has brought us one of the most divisive elective cycles in recent memory. Many people that I speak to, regardless of political affiliation, are not excited about the choices they have for President. Both candidates have characteristics that could be defined as “unfit,” whether it is in temperament, decision making, morality, unpredictability, criminal behavior, experience, judgment, health, or political vision.  It is in this season that we need to pray for our country more than we do for our political parties. We are a nation off-course and the choice of our leader will make irrevocable changes to the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and moral direction we take as Americans.

Therefore, I would like to invite you to pray with me for our country. Over the next 7 days, I will be making a new post each day. Each post will include a link to a reading from the Psalms and a brief instruction on how to use this reading as a guide for prayer. Let us put aside our desire to see a specific person win the election and have the courage to pray boldly for God to stay his judgment and place in office the man or woman who will lead us to be the country that God desires (and designed) us to be. 

Will you please pray with me?


Read Psalm 39

Identify what God is saying about Himself in this passage. Boil it down into a one or two-word summary (e.g., God is ____ ) and confess that truth back to God, asking Him to reveal Himself in this way through your day and this election cycle.

v. 1-2 Ask God to help you guard your ways and to not sin with your tongue. But also ask that you will not remain silent, either with your mouth or with your vote. Ask Him to give you a passion for overcoming evil, instead of withdrawing from it. To keep you from being mute and silent so that your distress does not become worse.

v.3-6 Ask God to give you a passion that burns within you for wisdom. Speak and ask God to make known to you what is the end for this country and the measure of our days. Ask Him to let you know how fleeting we are as a nation!

Confess that regardless of how long we exist on this earth He has made our days as nothing before Him. We are only a few millimeters on the timeline of eternity. We are only a mere breath!

Pause. Think about the significance of this and let this truth impact the anxiety over the election.

Meditate about the significance of this and let this truth impact the anxiety over the election.

Ask God to make our brief days, both as individuals and as a nation, count for something. Admit the futility of heaping up wealth and not knowing who will gather. Ask God to give us a greater purpose than Red or Blue states, political dogma, or social agendas. May we pattern our lives after Him

v. 7-9 Ask God to help us to pattern our lives after Him and to put our hope in Him. Confess your habit of putting your faith and hope in other sources instead of God and ask for forgiveness. Ask God to move us as a nation away from hoping in things or people other than Him.

Ask Him to deliver us from all of our transgressions as a country. To keep us from being the scorn and the reproach of the self-righteous or arrogant nations who have turned from Him.

Ask that if we are silent it be because we are convicted by God or because we are trying to hear His voice. May His hand cover our mouths so that we see our condition as God sees it and we may refrain from speaking or acting foolishly.

v. 10-11 Ask that God remove His scourge from our nation so that we are not overcome by the blow of His hand. Acknowledge that we deserve discipline from Him and ask that our nation will listen to His rebuke and turn from their wicked ways otherwise our wealth will be consumed and our days will be extinguished like a breath.

v.12-13 Pray these last two verses directly to God regarding our nation and ourselves:

“Hear my prayer, Lord,
    listen to my cry for help;
    do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
    a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
    before I depart and am no more.”

Thank God for hearing and answering your prayers.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Psalms for the Election – Day 3

abraham-lincoln-quote-about-americas-destruction

This year has brought us one of the most divisive elective cycles in recent memory. Many people that I speak to, regardless of political affiliation, are not excited about the choices they have for President. Both candidates have characteristics that could be defined as “unfit,” whether it is in temperament, decision making, morality, unpredictability, criminal behavior, experience, judgment, health, or political vision.  It is in this season that we need to pray for our country more than we do for our political parties. We are a nation off-course and the choice of our leader will make irrevocable changes to the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and moral direction we take as Americans.

Therefore, I would like to invite you to pray with me for our country. Over the next 7 days, I will be making a new post each day. Each post will include a link to a reading from the Psalms and a brief instruction on how to use this reading as a guide for prayer. Let us put aside our desire to see a specific person win the election and have the courage to pray boldly for God to place in office the man or woman who will lead us to be the country that God desires (and designed) us to be. 

Will you please pray with me?


Read Psalm 38

Identify what God is saying about Himself in this passage. Boil it down into a one or two-word summary (e.g., God is ____ ) and confess that truth back to God, asking Him to reveal Himself in this way through your day and this election cycle.

This may be a particularly difficult chapter to read and pray, especially in the context of the election and the sins of our nation. Please take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to give you ears that can hear His voice and to soften your heart to what needs to be prayed. If you have never prayed for your nation before, please read Nehemiah 1:5-11. This should provide an example of what needs to be done today. Also, if you need help understanding the difference between iniquity, trespasses, and sins, please read my previous post Iniquity, Trespasses, and Sin.

v. 1-2 Consider how far we have strayed from the LORD as a nation. What grieves you? What feels like arrows have sunk into you when you consider it? Name these things one by one. Ask the LORD to not rebuke us in anger nor discipline us in wrath for these things.

v.3-4 Confess how far we have missed the mark as a country and as a culture.  Admit that we deserve God’s judgment for these things and how we are wasting away. Specify how the health in the bones of this nation is depleted because of our sin.

Confess the condition of our hearts (our iniquities) and how they weigh us down like a heavy burden that is too heavy for us.

v. 5-8 Contemplate how, because they have remained untreated, our nation’s sins have affected us. How infected have our wounds become? Confess the foolishness of America and the anguish it brings to your heart. Allow God to hear your mourning.

v. 9-14 Lay out your longings before God. Come boldly before His throne of grace and ask the desire of your heart for our nation. Outline how our sins have not only hurt us domestically but also internationally. How now our “friends and companions stand aloof…and my nearest kin far off.” How “those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long.” And how our response is “like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth. I have become like a man who does not hear and in whose mouth are no rebukes.”

v .15-17 Confess that we are waiting for the LORD. How we know that only the LORD is our answer! Ask Him to hold us up when our foot slips on the path of recovery and that our enemies will not mock us, which may cause discouragement and relapse. Rather, may they see God working through our country, through our leaders, and through our people so that we may not fall, even in the midst of our national pain.

v.18-22 Confess the condition of our hearts as a people. Ask for forgiveness for our sins. Ask God to protect us, despite how numerous our foes may be and how others may render us evil because we follow after good.

Ask God to not forsake us but to redeem us! Ask Him to give us the fulfillment of His promises. To come quickly to help us. To keep us from destroying ourselves and losing the precious freedoms with which He has blessed us. To be our LORD and our salvation!