What are You Praying For?

Today’s reading is Psalm 25.

Alright. I’ve got a tough and challenging question for you. First of all, let me say, if you are praying, I don’t want to say anything to discourage you. I’m super glad you have a habit of prayer. That is awesome. But now that you are praying, I want to challenge you to think about where you focus your prayers. It is true that you are allowed to bring to God whatever is on your heart. Pray for your needs and your wants. Cast all your cares upon God even when you are not sure if God would even care about that or not; lift it up to Him. He is our Abba, our Father, He wants to hear it. But this psalm presents a challenging question to me. Do I ever pray for what was top on this psalmist’s mind? Think about it, he is facing enemies who are violently hateful. And it is true that the psalmist gets around to praying for protection from them. But do you see where his prayer request first focuses? “Make me know your ways, Lord.” “Teach me your paths, Lord.” Lead me in your truth, Lord.” “Teach me, Lord.” How many of your prayers are anchored here? In fact, while the psalmist gets to talking about protection, it is very clear that the psalmist believes the protection comes not simply from God acting in the lives of the enemies. It comes from knowing the way of God. It comes from knowing God’s word and will. God protects us by showing us His path, His way. And, of course, considering Psalm 1, doesn’t that just make sense? Those who know the way of the Lord are like a tree planted by waters, but the way of the wicked perishes. Too often, I just go about studying and trying to figure things out on my own and then expecting God to pick up my messes. Perhaps I should start with, “Lord, make me to know Your way.” How about you?

Today’s reading is Psalm 25.

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Zealous for God

Today’s reading is Acts 22.

In Romans 10:1-2, when Paul prayed for his Jewish brothers and sisters according to the flesh, he explained that they had zeal, but not according to knowledge. He was able to say that because he knew exactly what that was like. In Acts 22:3, he tells the Jewish mob about his own past. He was zealous for God. So zealous that his parents had sought the strictest religious education possible for him. So zealous that he adhered to the Law in the strictest manner possible. And so zealous that he would brook no competition with the Law. The Gospel had no place, neither did its adherents. He was so zealous he was going to do all he could to stamp out the Way. He hunted Christians down. He arrested them. He imprisoned them. He persecuted the Way unto death. And yet the Way overcame Paul. How is it that a man so zealous to stamp out the Way could become its most zealous advocate and ambassador? Because Paul wasn’t zealous for the Law. Paul wasn’t zealous to destroy the church. Paul wasn’t zealous for his reputation. Paul wasn’t zealous for leadership. Paul wasn’t zealous for a following. Paul wasn’t zealous to prove himself. Paul was zealous for God. But he lacked knowledge. When he received the proper knowledge, he didn’t have to change his zeal. That remained the same. His zeal had always been for God. When it was revealed to Him that Jesus was God and Christ’s church was the Way, His zeal for God couldn’t help but lead him to be an ambassador for Jesus and His Way. The question I have to ask is what am I zealous for? If God is my zeal, I may be wrong today, but I won’t be wrong forever. If God is my zeal, my zeal will lead me to God. If God is my zeal, when God reveals Himself to me, I will follow. Of course, if I’m actually zealous for my way, it won’t matter what God does to draw me, I won’t follow. That is how it worked for Paul. That is how it will work for me. That is how it will work for you. For what are you zealous?

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 22.

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I Don’t Get to Know Everything

Today’s reading is Revelation 10.

How frustrating! Is God taunting us? Here are seven thunders that said something, but He doesn’t let us know what. Why even make us aware that the seven thunders sounded? Perhaps because we need to understand 1) God knows what we don’t and 2) we don’t get to know everything. However, do you catch what happens next? The angel announces that in the seventh trumpet the mystery of God would be fulfilled just as he announced to His prophets. That is, the mysteries that benefit us, that help us, that we need to know, we get to know. He reveals those to us. Let’s face it. Whether we like it or not, our human minds cannot handle all that God knows. But our God is a good God and reveals all we need to know. The question isn’t whether we should get to know what was in the thunders, the question is whether we will listen to what God has revealed. What about today? Will you spend more time worrying about what God hasn’t revealed, or more time living by what He has?

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 11.

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Know Jesus

Today’s reading is 2 Peter 1.

Everything we need for life and godliness comes from knowing Jesus. It doesn’t come from society, from entertainment, from television, from popular psychology, from self-help books. I’m not saying there is nothing good or helpful in any of those things, I’m just noting that Peter tells us everything we really need is found in knowing Jesus. This leads to a simple question. What are you doing today to get to know Jesus better?

Monday’s reading is 2 Peter 2.

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God Tells Us What We Need

Today’s reading is Revelation 10.

What about those seven thunders? Don’t you want to know what they said? Does it annoy you like it does me that we don’t get to know? “I must know.” As a wise man once said, “Get used to disappointment.” Here is what we need to remember. God has not hidden anything from us that we need to know. God has given us everything we need to know. We aren’t God. We won’t know everything. We can’t even understand everything. But God loves us and reveals everything we need. Sure, I’d like to know what the seven thunders declared, but I’m satisfied with the seven letters, the seven trumpets, the seven bowls because they teach me what I need to know: Jesus always wins. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 11.

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God Wants Everyone

Today’s reading is 1 Timothy 2.

Here is why it is so important for us to be disciple makers. God wants everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Shockingly, however, He has limited Himself such that people will only learn about the truth and be saved if we get the message out. If people are lost, it is not going to be because of lack of desire on God’s part. Let’s make sure it is not because of lack of truth proclaiming and disciple making on ours. Who can you share the truth with this week?

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Timothy 3.

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More Than Knowledge

Today’s reading is 2 Peter 1.

Okay, I’m going to admit it. There are eight virtues listed on Peter’s list for discipleship maturity. Regrettably, almost everything we do to help disciples grow in congregations focuses on only one of them (maybe two). Our #1 focus is knowledge (with perhaps a secondary on faith, but only as faith comes from knowledge). The problem is we tend to believe if we hand people the right information, they’ll take care of application. However, we need to understand as we are busy making and developing disciples, it takes more than just knowledge. Discipleship doesn’t mean just knowing (or believing) all the right things. Discipleship means becoming more like Jesus in every way. I’ll say it again; I have a long way to go. Praise God, He’s getting me there. How about you?

Monday’s reading is 2 Peter 2.

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