Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders,
but the real danger is wickedness within the city…
It is not an enemy who taunts me—
I could bear that.
It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—
I could have hidden from them.
Instead, it is you—my equal,
my companion and close friend.
What good fellowship we once enjoyed
as we walked together to the house of God. Psalm 55:10, 12-14
We can lock our doors at night against intruders, but sometimes the biggest danger we face is ourselves. We can be our own worst enemies by how we treat each other in our families, being touchy, unforgiving, proud, fault-finding, and simply mean. If the enemy can wear us down from within, all the better for him. Let’s set a standard of righteousness in our relationships within our families and among our friends, giving each other our best and, in return, protecting ourselves from defeat and division.
Give me the capacity to love those closest to me, to never betray them, to remain committed to the relationship and to keep the peace between us. Keep me from contempt and a critical heart. Expand my capacity to forgive, and make me always ready to rejoice in their successes. Protect the relationships within my family and close friends, for they are a gift from you. May our agreement be strong and may our prayers of agreement avail much for the Kingdom of God. May we continually fight for each other’s highest possible good. Teach us to truly love one another.
Give your burdens to the Lord,
and He will take care of you. (Psalm 55:22)
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Anxiety and stress bear down hard on our bodies causing all kinds of potential health challenges. Why? Because we weren’t meant to carry it. We were designed to live stress-free lives by learning to roll our cares over on the One who cares for us.
The first step is trusting God. You can’t delegate something to someone you don’t trust. Trusting God is simple when you know Him. We get to know Him through reading His auto-biography –His Word – and through talking with Him in prayer.
Talk to Him today about the issue in your life that is causing the most duress. Lift it up to Him, literally in your hands. Ask Him to take it. You might have to do this time after time if you find yourself reaching up and grabbing it back. But eventually You will learn to leave it with Him. Confess these promises when you are tempted to worry. Remember, these are promises to those who have made Jesus the Lord (Leader) of their lives! If you haven’t done that, do so today. Just give Him your life and ask Him to do something special with it.
Then keep your ear tuned to His voice! He will offer you wisdom in how to overcome the battle you are facing that is causing anxiety; He gives wisdom to those who ask in faith (see James 1). Pour out your heart to the Lord about the details of your struggle – He knows all about it, so you can be brief, but it is helpful and good to clarify your thoughts through expressing this to Him specifically – sometimes the answers come in the process of articulating your situation in prayer.
I come to you today stressed out, worn out with trouble, and freaked out. You have invited me to hand off these worries to you. As I do, I, Lord, I fully expect You to give me wisdom to deal with this problem step by step from a fear-free stance. [Talk with Him about this situation.]
Thank you for your promise to carry these concerns! Thank you for your promise for wisdom! Thank you, Creator of the Universe, for carrying me.
You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. Each of you must show great respect for your mother and father…I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:2b,3)
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Paul says the commandment to honor our parents comes with a guarantee. As we learn to bring honor to our parents, imperfections and all, then we are promised a good life as well as a lengthy one. Let’s put that promise to the test by being children who often call and write and text and stop by to love, honor, and thank our parents for all they have sacrificed for us.
You are the only Perfect Parent. So often I expect perfection from my earthly parents and am tempted towards criticism and even contempt. This is sin. I repent and ask for your forgiveness and grace. Your commandment to honor my parents carries no caveat, no contingency based on their performance as parents or based on their perfection or imperfection. I am simply to honor them. So I receive your forgiveness for the times I have failed to obey you. This commandment is one of your top ten moral laws, so it obviously carries a great deal of weight in your scheme of things. I do hereby forgive and intentionally forget each and every time they have failed me. I forgive as I have been forgiven. After all, only You are perfect.
“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.