Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October 1 "Our Thoughts Revealed" Luke 1, 2

Your prayer is heard, Zacharias.  Luke 1:13.  And my tears fall.  Double Mercy.  Being a priest carrying out his work.  Finding himself in the twilight years.  And an answer comes.  You know, we moved to the city where we live, and disaster fell again.  And our God, Who ever lives to make intercession for every one of us, stepped into our lives.  And He has taken care of me these past six years beyond imagining.  Things like t.h.i.s. doesn't happen in the U.S.  It happens through prayers.

“Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  Luke 2:35.  Hearts revealed.  All I can deal with this day is my own stuff.  I bump up against the sins of others all day long.  What will I do with what stirs within?  This Merciful God visits us all to turn the hearts of working-too-hard fathers and busy stay-at-home moms and tech-driven students and tornado toddlers.  Turning us all right side up.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, it was called the "Silent Years" waiting for You to speak, to show.  But You are never silent.  No, always moving in surrendered lives.  Father, we stop to give up control of what we hold too tightly.  Make us praying people like Zacharias.

PHOTO:  A new chapter for every one of us.  May we see Your Double Mercy.  May we hear Your humbled Word.

September 30 "Have We Robbed God?" Malachi 1, 2, 3, 4

Disturbing questions here.
Do we ask the same questions today?

How have you loved us, God, cause we don't see it.
How have we polluted you, God, cause we don't know.
How have we wearied you with our words, God.
How do we really return to you.
How have we robbed you.
How have we spoken against you.

If we really understand the sin in our hearts, we wouldn't be asking these questions. We are guilty. And it is covered. And God pursues us even in the midst of our sins. So return and repent. For there is a First Coming of Baby Jesus that we know---and a Second Coming of Christ, burning like an oven, where all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. Malachi 4:1

But you. Fear His Name.
The Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. Mal. 4:2
And you will be like Jerusalem dancing once again.
Leaping like calves from the stall.
The Great Day is just Around the Corner.
That's what Malachi said.
And the Lord goes silent for a few hundred years.
Now, we have no prophets.
We have the sacred scriptures, the Living Word.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Dear Father, As we close the Old Testament, would you shed your Light on what we have read.  Bring to mind and heart.  Make sense of this life ours.  Come Lord Jesus!

PHOTO:  The Sun of Righteousness.  Photo of the Sun taken at my favorite spot in the wide world.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 29 "Seeds of Tears" Nehemiah 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 Psalm 126

"Remember me, O my God, for good." Nehemiah 13:31
It's just too good to be true.  A surprising deliverance of God's people out of such terrible distress.  Most likely the author of Psalm 126 is Ezra himself according to commentaries.  They have just experienced what is penned as the "most remarkable captivity" in history to date. 

Psalm 126
The Song of Ascents---repeated twice cause it is doubly good.
A Calling to be thankful and it can be applied to our own lives.  Psalm 126:3.
The harps hanging from the willow trees are pulled down.
"Providence pipes to them, and they dance."  M. Henry
A turning again.  And the people "thought ourselves like men that dream."
Mouths filled with laughter.
Tongues slipping out singing.
Hearts full vent to joy.
Glory to God.
And some rejoicing is with trembling,
for they bear on the sleeve of their hearts the "grievances that were yet to be redressed."
We are changed in a twinkling of an eye.
Yet, we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
For no change is overnight news.
May all of us who have been left behind in the wake of Providence,
may we turn again to God to perfect our salvation. 

"The beginnings of mercy are encouragements to us to pray for the completing of it."
Come Lord Jesus.
The tears themselves are the seeds we must sow.
Sow in tears; reap in joy.
"Those who sow in the tears of godly sorrow shall reap in the joy of a sealed pardon and a settled peace."  M. Henry

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Wherever we find ourselves today, O God, have mercy on our sin-sick souls.  And may Your mercy be the beginning of great encouragement today that You are present completing our salvation for each of us.  Do Your Perfect Work.  May we sow the tears we've launched.  May we reap the joy we know not. 

PHOTO:  You do feel small when your shadow reaches out to the ocean.  It's a big world out there.  And it's a big deal with a captivity is marked in history.  Here is one that turned lives around.  Beginnings of mercy.  Come Lord Jesus!

September 28 "Make Sense of This Life of Mine" Nehemiah 8, 9, 10

And the audience was all ears.  Nehemiah 8:3.
All the people gathered as though they were one in the square to read the Book. Nehemiah 8:1.
Like friendly sardines in a can.  Squished to gel as one.
They implored Ezra to read on a soapbox.
From Early Morning sunrise.
To the white hot Midday sun.
Matthew Henry said it was an ordinance of God
to read the Word aloud.
Give sense to it.
Understanding and good sense.
"All that we hear must, however,
be brought to the test of Scripture.
They heard readily and minded every word.
The Word of God demands our attention.
If through carelessness we let much slip in hearing,
there is danger that through forgetfulness
we shall let all slip after hearing."
Matthew Henry

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Oh Father, I want to read the Word of God every day aloud and alive.
Would you give us all good sense to understand.
Help make sense of these lives of ours.

PHOTO:  Early Morning.  The break of dawn.  The soap box.  Ezra stands and speaks and makes sense of this life of ours til the sun settles directly over the square.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September 27 "A Great Work" Nehemiah 6, 7

52 Days.  A daunting task.  But they did it.  We can do what we are called to do when we set our faces like a flint.

And they faced opposition just like we do every day---whether it be the world, the enemy of our souls, or even ourselves.  The people in the town.  Yes.  They wanted to harm and halt. But No. They did not not give in to the stronger, the greater. Follow the called. 

Nehemiah says: “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”  Nehemiah 6:3. Oh to have a holy work ethic. One brick at a time.

And here.  Again.  Nehemiah's 1st application of the day is to his God.  Nehemiah lifted up his heart. Here is a prayer to wrestle well in conflict.  

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, Nehemiah falls face forward to your first.  First application of the day.  May it be for us as well.  Not social media.  Not music.  Not friends.  May we spread the sheets and invite you to sit a while with us.  For You are here.  And we have such "duties" to do; such scandals to face; such temptations to conquer.  This day.  And many more to come.  "Therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.  Every temptation to draw us from duty should quicken us the more to duty."  M. Henry

PHOTO:  52 days of wall building.  May we build our own walls this day.  Walls of strength not to keep others out but to protect and provide for the loved in the city.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

September 26 "Hear This Prayer" Nehemiah 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Cup-bearer to the King of Persia.  Nehemiah lived in luxury.  Wanting for nothing.  The good life.  A place of honor, sitting next to the King. 

He never forgot the suffering of his people.  He heard of it.  He went for it.  He responded to it.
What can I do this day to show kindness to you?  We all have problems---we live with ourselves, we know it.  When a noble reaches down to a commoner, he makes the heart of God glad.  No respecter of persons here.  No big people and little people for Nehemiah.  Just a very big heart for his God.

He inquires about how they are really doing.  Makes me want to go inquire.
And as soon as he hears, he presents his first application to God not man:  Nehemiah 1:4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
“O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people in my life.  And I want to confess my sins and the sins of my children.  We all have sinned against you. With our hands over our mouths, we stand in awe.

PHOTO:  The Great Divide in my life.  I will remember this story of Nehemiah 1 forever.  It's a pivotal point for me.  Another great divide of longing to pray.  Present your 1st application to God not man.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 25 "Make Confession" Ezra 7, 8, 9, 10

This Ezra...
Skilled in the Law of Moses.
The Hand of the Lord his God was on Him.
Ezra 7:6

Yes, the Good Hand of his God was on him.
Ezra 7:9
For Ezra set his heart
to study the Law of the Lord,
and to do it & to teach God's Word in Israel.
Ezra 7:10

Ezra made confessions. Begged forgiveness.
Ezra 10:1
Therein lies the beauty of his obedient life.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, here is a telling story of Your mercy and kindness and love toward the life of this Ezra.  May we apply ourselves to study the Word, to do the Word, to teach the Word.  Help us this day dig deep within to make confession to you for missing the mark.  Oh God, we long for Your Hand on our lives.  Acceptance with peace for what You have gifted our way.  I'm so shaken tonight by my own mess.  Help us find a beautiful hope to press in, press on.

PHOTO: The Word:  Study. Do. Teach. Live. Love.