Archive for the ‘ Prayer ’ Category

Reliving Responses to Christmas: Temple Knights

Back in the first year of this blog, I did a short Christmas series, beginning with this post, and then this post and this post and this post.
Shall we relive the memories? Okay!


We have now looked at how Jesus’ parents, the Innkeeper, and some shepherds responded to the birth of Christ. Today, some prayer warriors meet the infant (and this will be longer, because the passage is 20 verses long):

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 2:21-40

These are two people who have spent the majority of their lives praying. One lived a very righteous life, and the other secluded herself in the Temple to pray continuously.

Simeon “was waiting for the consolation of Israel,” and to see “the Lord’s Christ.” His entire life was about waiting on the Lord – God’s humble servant, if you will. His entire life was dedicated to glorifying God.

Anna went from tragedy – losing her husband relatively early – into a life dedicated to God, 24/7 prayer and fasting. She never left the Temple, so her social life must have been rather limited.

Something fascinating about these two is that the moment they saw the baby Jesus they knew they were looking upon the face of the one who could save Israel and all of humanity. It was instantaneous. Further, this little baby had not even done anything of note (of which they knew, such as the immaculate conception … the virgin conceiving a child without physical interaction with a man), yet Simeon and Anna were ready to die. As Simeon said, “you now dismiss your servant in peace.” He knew he would not die without having seen the Lord’s Christ, and he was content – nay, overjoyed! – to have seen this tiny baby.

Sometimes, when reading this story from Jesus’ infancy, I hear Anna start singing “Let’s Here It for the Boy” when seeing Jesus! Silly, I know, but it at least helps me grasp her excitement!

Do you get excited about the Lord’s Salvation? Can you contain your excitement about all the things God has done and will do? Are you prepared for His Encore, the Second Coming? Are you able to discern His presence? Would you have been able to recognize the child as the Savior of the world? Will you recognize Him when He returns?

We do not necessarily have to hide ourselves away in a temple or monastery to pray 24/7, and we certainly do not have to be perfectly righteous in our own right. Christ took care of that part through His death and resurrection. We do have to be willing servants. I have to be. You have to be.

Being the Wheat with Ignatius of Antioch

Long for the wisdom of God, and begin feeding that longing at Proverbial Thought!

Continuing on with prayers from the Saints in history, I turn us now to Ignatius of Antioch.

It seems clear that Ignatius based this prayer on the words of Jesus from John 12:23-26 (ESV):

And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

May we become those who do not consider our lives of any worth apart from the Lord, indeed, that our lives are entirely in the hands of our God and Savior!

I am the wheat of God,
and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts,
that I may be found the pure bread of God.
I long after the Lord,
the Son of the true God and Father, Jesus Christ.
Him I seek, who died for us and rose again.
I am eager to die for the sake of Christ.
My love has been crucified,
and there is no fire in me that loves anything.
But there is living water springing up in me,
and it says to me inwardly:
“Come to the Father.”

Ignatius of Antioch, ~35-110

Being Thine with John Wesley

Let Wisdom use your life, and learn where to start with Proverbial Thought!

Regardless of where you stand in the theological and soteriological spectrum, John Wesley was an amazing man of God.

He helped, through this prayer, to remind us of Paul’s words:

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV

May we all learn to submit ourselves completely to God’s perfect will!

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

1755, John Wesley

500 and Counting

I realized after publishing my Groundhog Day post that it was my 500th post on this blog!

I think it rather fitting that on such a milestone, God let me share the first steps to receiving the Gospel message.

Excellent.

Father, help me to remain a faithful servant and witness for your glory. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to always point our fallen world to the sacrifice and resurrection of your Son, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Amen.

Terrorized People – Still Watching

Do not forget Proverbial Thought. I wrote the one for today, and I think it applies to this post, as well!

By now you may have heard that yesterday afternoon, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, bombs were exploded. At the time I write this, there are three confirmed dead and at least 144 injured.

We need to remember in our prayers all those affected by this evil.

We must also remember those around the world who deal with terrorism and other acts of violence every day.

May we also remember those in the persecuted Church around the world who also deal with these kinds of things every day.

As an encouragement, I am posting a poem I posted on 09/11/2011 that still applies.

still watching

the bombs exploded
the bullets fired
the damage wrought
cannot be measured
those who walk away
are angry with God
most of them wonder
how He could
let their loved ones go
and leave them there
all of those people
are completely unaware
remember God is watching
all of His children
and He cares for each
no matter where or when
it all fits into
His great Plan
because He loves
this thing called man

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 82.

Loving Father and Lord, let all those affected by the violence and evil of this world feel Your presence today. Not all know You, and many may despise Your Name, but grant everyone affected by loss and pain this week a measure of Your peace and understanding. Help them to grieve. Stretch out Your hand and bring healing to the injured. May they each be drawn closer to You through their pain.

Fill those of us who come into contact with those who are hurting and grieving with compassion, wisdom, mercy, and love, that we may demonstrate Your goodness and hope. Through the violence of this world, may You be glorified as You were through the violence brought against You through the crucifixion. May You also use Your people to offer comfort in their time of need.

We pray these things as Your adopted children through Jesus Christ. Amen.

God Is Good …

… ALL THE TIME!

Here is a friendly reminder to see some of God’s goodness over at Proverbial Thought!

To end the month of February, I am going to keep this short and sweet.

God is amazing and good, all the time.

We may go through struggles, hear upsetting news, deal with pain and loss, but God is still good.

We may be on top of the world and having everything going well, and God is still good.

We must remember Him always. We must praise Him in all things. We must thank Him in all things.

God is a God who deserves our love and admiration, our praise and worship.

All I have to say today is this:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;  his love endures forever.
Psalm 106:1

Weary Rest

I am quite tired.

I have not really had a good break in a while. I have been working in classrooms with autistic children for about six months, and it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. I only have had four weeks off from school in the last two and a half years. My current class is a true test in patience due to human factors, therefore it is more mentally and emotionally taxing than it needs to be. My wife and I volunteer in many areas of our local church and with friends’ ministries. Also, three weeks ago our car kicked the bucket (stopped working), and we have had to deal with that. (We got a vehicle on Thursday night!) One area of my character God is helping me work on is dealing with (my lack of patience with) stupidity in others. Needless to say, I have plenty of opportunities throughout almost every day to work on this!

I am tired.

I know many people understand. I mean, I do not have children of my own, yet! I can only imagine (though I get some experience with the classrooms in which I have worked)!

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Many teach that this refers to our eternal rest in God, that we will suffer in this world and receive rest from all of our pains and troubles in the next world.

This is certainly true. However, I offer another teaching that is out there.

I am tired. I get up everyday, go to work or church or launch straight into homework. I often finish my days (nights) working on homework. I get between five and seven hours of sleep on a good night.

What gets me up every morning?

There is my beautiful wife. She makes every day worth it!

The children in the classroom have a tendency to bring a smile to my face, even when I have to change a smelly pull-up diaper and deal with spit, snot, and pee. They help keep me young!

I get to share the love of Christ with children, teens, young adults, and many other people throughout my week. My life has some meaning!

I even get to drive around in a new(er) vehicle (at the moment)!

None of these really gets me up every morning, though.

My wife and I finish our nightly prayers the same way each night: “Lord, give us Your rest tonight that we might be ready for whatever You have for us tomorrow.”

We do not just mean “let us sleep well.” We give God all of our worries, fears, drama, joys, laughs, and dreams.

He gladly takes our burdens.

Okay, physically I might be pushing it a little. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, my God relieves me and restores me.

Do you give God all of your life? (We can discuss the full implications later, but for this context I mean worries, fears, drama, joys, laughs, and dreams.) Can you give God the weight on your shoulders?