“Return to me,” says the LORD of hosts, “and I will return to you.” (Zechariah 1:3)
Thank you for loving the prodigals.
Thank you for your willingness to allow them to make the first move towards relationship with you once again.
Thank you for your patience, being unwilling that anyone should perish.
Thank you for angels.
Thank you for sending people to help and encourage and save them from danger.
Thank you for your promise of rescue. Thank you that you hear our call for help.
Thank you for your exceptional love. Thank you that you leave the obedient ninety-nine to find the one, stray rebel.
Thank you for freedom from fear. Thank you for using trials to teach us great truths and new depths of self-awareness.
And thank you for the stories of your miraculous intervention that we will soon share with the world as we comfort others with the comfort we have received from you.
But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. (Psalm 52:8)
What’s it like to be an olive tree? David compared himself to one. We don’t have olive trees in our region, so I had to do some research to learn what David was talking about. Here are some characteristics of an olive tree. Let’s assess our lives and see if we, too, can affirm ourselves as David did.
- Olive trees are hearty and enjoy a long life. There are olive trees alive today that were alive in Middle Ages.
- They bear fruit as well as oil for soothing, anointing, and enhancing food.
- Olive branches are symbols of peace.
- Olive wood is exceptionally hard wood, and many lovely articles can be made with it. Once an olive tree is no longer fruitful, it can live on for years in the form of useful and beautiful objects that adorn homes.
I am asking you for a long and fruitful life, a life that yields joy for others around me for many years to come. May I offer a balm for pain as well as anointing for power in people’s callings in the Kingdom of God. Make me an agent of peace and reconciliation between races and people of all sorts of backgrounds and beliefs. And when I’m no longer bearing fruit in this world, make me useful to my descendants through the tools I hand down to them – skills, knowledge, wisdom, and, most of all, a genuine love for you and adherence to your Word that gives life.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4 NLT)
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient shall be thy supply
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
~John Rippon 1787
Your word tells me that troubling times are joy-producing because they are productive in terms of my personal growth and character transformation. I’ve never much liked taking my medicine. Sometimes I’d rather be sick. If you say trials are not to be bemoaned but rather, in a sense, celebrated, then that shall be my perspective of this current struggle. So bring on the change of heart through this ordeal. Maximize this challenge for the good of my character. And Lord, return to me the joy of my salvation. Thank you for the outcome of this trial, for you have promised to help me, and by faith I am an overcomer.
In Jesus’ Name Amen
But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there. (Psalm 51:6 NLT)
God appreciates honest people of all ages. There isn’t a stage in one’s life where he tolerates lying. It seems that He doesn’t even give a small kid a pass for lying just because he’s too young to know better. Honesty is something He desires in every human. It would appear that the process of learning honesty and wisdom begins very early indeed.
The verse quoted above might just blow you away as it did me with the amazing capacity of the fetus: God begins teaching wisdom to babies in the womb. Let’s pray for our pre-born philosophers, thinkers, sages, prophets, teachers, pastors, authors, and intellectuals.
If your Word says it, I believe it. You have said that you teach wisdom to pre-born babies. We take that amazing promise and apply it to the children we already love that are incubating in the secret place of their mother’s wombs. Bless these little ones. You have already begun the Pre-born Pre-school for young minds. Teach them wisdom there. Help us, once they are born, to come alongside your teaching and underscore the blessing of honesty and wisdom. Give us grace to teach and train them well. Guard these souls and use them to further your kingdom, to bring light to a dark world, to bring hope to a hopeless world, life to the dying, and the Truth that displaces lies.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. (James 1:5)