When It Is Not Well

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Well, honestly I’ve spent much of this year riding the roller coaster from discouragement, uncertainty, anger, and pain to hope, optimism and faith and back around again. The most recent instance has just been another circumstance which brought pain and worry.

A few days ago, I’d looked up Bible verses about worry and anxiety and was punched in the gut with Philippians 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I am always thankful for God’s grace when a verse like that lays me out flat. While I pray often, I also fail regularly to “not be anxious.”

The following day, I really didn’t want my worries and fears to consume all my thoughts as they had been doing. As I brought all of that to the Lord in prayer that morning, many things ran through my head. My need to repent and confess of my sins of worry, and control and fear was a large part of it, and it was in that time of prayer I finally realized all those were symptoms of having placed my faith in myself regarding the situation rather than placing it in God. Again, ouch.

Continue reading

The Word: Psalm 32

I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately and given that today was communion Sunday when we remember the forgiveness we Christians have been shown by God, this Psalm seems like the perfect thing to share today.

Psalm 32

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Blessed in the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through the groaning all day long.

Ford day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

I acknowledged by sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity;

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.

You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you will my eye upon you.

Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.

Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

IDOP 2016

Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).

Hebrews 13:1-3 states, “Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.”

Continue reading

How A Longer Commute Strengthened My Prayer Life

7633664078_8212c46e2a_zSometimes God uses annoying things to bring us closer to Him. In fact, when I think about it, he probably uses those things much more than things we’re happy about. He’s certainly used disappointment, pain and frustration to improve my character over the years and to remind me of his own grace and faithfulness.

In any case, a few years ago my employer’s office relocated much further from my home. Suddenly my pleasant 20-30 minute commute was an hour, each way. Spending two hours each day on the road became a huge routine loss of time and reduction in what I could accomplish day to day.

Initially, I started listening to podcasts like Fighting for the Faith in the car so that it wasn’t a total waste of time. At some point I realized that if I spent time in prayer while driving it would ensure that I was praying regularly and get me focused on Jesus before starting my work day. Listening to a few hymns, worship songs or most recently old gospel music and then praying the rest of my drive has been so beneficial for my relationship with Jesus and certainly kept my mind and heart more regularly fixed on the cross and the gospel than it would have otherwise been.

It also had the added benefit of cutting down on my frustration with other drivers. No small feat considering DC consistently ranks at or near the top for the worst drivers in the nation.

7 Ways Prayer is Worship by Paul David Tripp

I rarely use devotional books. I really don’t see the point of most of them and if I’m going to attempt to read something daily, I want it to be the Bible itself. That being said, Paul David Tripp’s devotional New Morning Mercies is actually quite good and on occasion I read a daily entry or two.

The entry for Sept. 13, was focused on how prayer is a form of worship it included these seven statements which I found helpful:

  1. Pray acknowledges God’s existence
  2. Prayer bows to God’s glory
  3. Prayer submits to God’s plan
  4. Prayer confesses allegiance to God’s kingdom
  5. Prayer rests in God’s provision
  6. Prayer celebrates God’s grace
  7. Prayer commits to God’s work

Don’t Miss List: Olympics, Sudan, Russia and Incredible Iceland video

RefugeeTeamRio

HRW Talks about the Olympics Refugee Team

The Rio Olympics are just days away and I just found out there is a team of refugees competing together. Their presence will highlight the massive and ongoing world refugee crisis. Human Rights Watch has a dispatch.

Michelle Lesley Tackles the Question: What is Contemplative Prayer?

She also tackles the follow up: is it biblical? The short answer is no, but check out her response here.

Infographic to help explain the Sudan/South Sudan history and conflict

Faith & Forced Migration has an explainer on Sudan and South Sudan, their history and some information on the recurring conflicts. Continue reading

The Word: Psalm 61

Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me dwell in your tent forever!
    Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah
For you, O God, have heard my vows;
    you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

 Prolong the life of the king;
    may his years endure to all generations!
 May he be enthroned forever before God;
    appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!

 So will I ever sing praises to your name,
    as I perform my vows day after day.

Psalm 61 ESV