Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God. (Psalm 2:2-5 The Message)
I lift up the students in our lives who are starting a new school year. Please grant them teachable hearts, curious minds, energetic spirits, hearty appetites for learning, and souls that are sensitive to the needs of those around them. Tune their ears to the truth – to the knowledge of God, for from You flows all true knowledge.
Increase the capacities of their intellects, Lord. Teach them to reign in and silence all rogue, negative thoughts. Give them faith in You, faith in your promises, hope for their destinies, and a desire to run the race and never give up.
Provide godly friends and healthy influences. May they add to the beauty and joy of their environments and not detract with unwholesome talk or behavior. Give them kindred spirits and make their friendships rich. Teach them the joy of sharing and gratitude.
Spare them from pain and sickness. Grant them Your salvation from disappointment, disadvantage, and the danger that the enemy of their souls seeks to deploy to destroy them.
I want to be an example of virtue to them, and, so, dear Lord, you must transform me by your Word to make me look like You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen
There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. (1 Corinthians 6:16-20 The Message)
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis has some interesting things to say about the pornography of his day:
“You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act—that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?”
― C.S. Lewis
What’s gone wrong with our culture’s sexual appetite? It is void of intimacy, void of true vulnerability, void of commitment, and utterly void of covenant.
After pondering this today, I happened to turn on a Bethel Podcast I had missed from this past July called “The Process of Belonging” by Kris Vallotton. In it, he talks about the “Judas spirit.” Judas made his exit during the last supper just prior to Jesus’ presentation of his new covenant with his disciples. The “Judas spirit” wants the benefits without the inconvenience of commitment, the blessing without the covenant.
It simply doesn’t work that way.
Let’s pray for intimacy in our relationships, our marriages, our churches, and, most importantly, with Jesus Himself!
You placed within me a yearning for relationship, for you love intimacy. You desire close-knit connections between the people in Your family. When I became born again, I became a part of that new family. I belong. Help me to improve my understanding of what that means, of how to grow in my vulnerability with the people in my life, how to grow in my capacity to allow people to know the true me, how to grow in the joyful bonds I experience with kindred friends. Help me to put intimacy in its rightful place, as you have designed. Help us as a culture to rid ourselves of all that is not true intimacy, for it is decimating our capacity for close connection, which is your blessed will for our lives.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for…every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
“Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible…for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
(Genesis 1:26-28 The Message)
God in His great mercy and kindness gave us animals to care for and love. Mark and I have a Golden Retriever named Rhema who we adore. In the one year we have had her, she has taught us so much about God and His love for us.
When I fed her this morning, I sang a little spontaneous song over her, asking God to help her grow in obedience to me as I grow in obedience to Him. It might sound corny, but I do this almost daily. Then I kiss her face, look in her eyes and wonder, “If I love this creature this much, how much must God love me?”
Today is National Dog Day. Let’s pray that these soul-ish creatures in our lives would bring us joy, teach us to love, teach our children responsibility, and bring healing to us and those around us with their unconditional love and faithfulness.
Sometimes when I look in the eyes of my dog, I am struck with the love and beauty you have put into your creation. I am in awe of how much you love me. Please use my dog as a reminder today that with you always at my side; therefore, I do not have a care. With you holding the leash of my life, I am in the best of hands. Pain, problems, stress, and trauma are no longer a primary focus; I have nothing to fear, nothing to dread. I am loved by my beloved Master, my Father God.
…Diligently listen to and obey Me, says the Lord, and bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy (set apart to the worship of God), to do no work on it… (Jeremiah 17:24 Amplified)
Four times in Jeremiah 17 God prohibits his people from carrying a load on the Sabbath. In Hebrew, the word “burden” can mean, “that to which the soul lifts itself up,” – a burden of the soul. We are invited to lay all our burdens down as though they don’t exist. Questions like, “How will we pay our bills next month?” or “How will I navigate this relationship?” evaporate on the Sabbath. In place of worry, we worship. In place of grief, we glorify God. In place of stress, we sing praises.
Should this be something I do one day a week? No! Worry does not please God. It is self-defeating. We are called to make relinquishing worry a part of our daily prayer routine, always giving him our burdens, and allowing Him to carry them. When we worry, we take the concern out of His hands – the only hands capable of fixing what is broken in our lives.
I refuse to carry this load any longer. It is breaking my back, weighing me down, and forcing me into defeat. Please take these burdens, for I trust you to carry them! I trust in you to fix them! I ask for wisdom to do my part and faith to trust you to do yours.
In Jesus’ Name Amen!