This is a sad time in Israel’s history. God has done great things for them and still wants to care for them as his chosen people. But when the people do not have a strong leader to shepherd them, they start chasing after other gods and only call on the Lord when they have problems. No one likes friends that only call when they have problems! God does not give up on his people, though. He gives them good leaders when they get desperate. He earnestly desires his people to follow him so that he can bless them.Read More
The other day two of my kids returned from a church youth retreat filled with biblical boldness. They had both, my daughter and son, (an unlikely candidate, in my opinion, for this type of thing) experienced the presence of God in a visceral, tangible way.
As they shared, I realized through their not so subtle hints, that they felt the Christian life of their parents was boring and safe.Read More prayer, fear, obedience
There are times in life when we feel pressed into a corner with no way out. That was the experience of the people of Israel with the Red Sea in front and Pharaoh’s army behind. In those moments there is only one thing to do; scream for help! In Psalm 70 David is pressed by his enemies. His life is hanging by a thread. He needs God’s help, now! David cries to God to rescue him (v 1), to turn the tables on his enemies (vv 2-3), to bless the faithful (v 4) and finally to save him in his needy state (v 5).Read More desperation, prayer, faith, trials
David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), but he was a man who also followed after the “lusts of his flesh,” or as we would say, bodily appetites and sexual desire. Psalm 51 is David’s confession after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and was confronted by Nathan the prophet (see 2 Samuel 11:1- 12:25).Read More prayer, forgiveness, adultery, sex, confession
Hannah has just given up the most precious thing in her life, her miracle son. What does she do next? Is Hannah going to ask God to forgive her but she wants her son back? Is she feeling the sacrifice is just too difficult to make, the promise impossible to keep? Hannah prays, “You make me strong and happy, Lord.” She kept her promise to God. The result is she feels strong and happy! Her entire prayer is one of rejoicing.Read More prayer, thanksgiving, wants
I curled in a fetal position, dark eddies of despair threatening to overtake me. My world was crashing down around me. I gasped out to God for help, for a small measure of peace. Over time, he pulled me from that dark place. But it didn’t come easy. I had to believe God could – and would – take those burdens I carried; I had to believe he was listening.Read More despair, prayer, hope, rest, dépression
Not many of us would be comfortable enough to hold our prayer habits up for public inspection, unless we plan to give a lesson on how to be haphazard, neglectful and disappointed when we pray. Clearly Jesus’ own disciples also felt this way, and their first ‘prayer’ was the humble request, ‘Lord, teach us to pray…’.
Jesus reassures us that we can learn to pray well. He outlines the beautiful balance and order of a thoughtful conversation with God.Read More prayer, maturity, wholeheartedness
In my experience it is only when I am in a state of desperation, like a deer panting for water, that I am able to break through the ceiling of confinement and the restraint that I impose on myself which prevents me going deep with God. The paradox is that I resist the very things God uses to bring me to this point of desperation so I can go deep with him.
As survivalists of the highest order we work to insulate ourselves from all uncertainty be it relational, financial, personal security or healthy wellbeing.Read More control, desperation, prayer, honesty, thirst
My wife and I have taken to playing this little game we call “21 Praises” on days or in moments when we feel down or are struggling. Our lives have been a bit topsy-turvy this past year with housing changes, geographical changes, job changes and becoming empty nesters. It’s not that anything has been really bad but there has been a lot of uncertainty and challenging new beginnings. At times we just find ourselves saying, “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me…until this disaster has passed” (v 1).Read More prayer, praise, thankfulness
Few of us are likely to be a king. The wealth and authority may appeal to us. However, with the wealth and authority come responsibility and challenges. King or not, we do experience life like King David and life is not always easy. We live with the choices that we or others have made. Some of those choices are good. An education usually means a higher income. A wise choice in a spouse means a happy home and family.Read More suffering, prayer, trouble, rock