Posted on March 12, 2021
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8NIV)
Brimming with influence from Psalm 4, “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” is a popular prayer that has been passed down for generations. Although it’s experienced various changes and additions, the prayer reminds us of our humble state in the world. The Lord is the keeper of our souls. God is the Author of every minute we breathe on this earth.
This popular prayer reminds us to “pray continually,” trusting our souls and our lives into the hands of our Good Father as we sleep each night.
Posted on February 26, 2021
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
I walked hesitantly, unable to see where the pier ended and the river began. The lighthouse was assuredly in the distance, but its presence remained covered by thick fog laying down on the surface. The details of the brightening horizon muddled, and each step became increasingly uneasy. The fog cleared at the end of the pier to reveal the orange sun, making its way up into the sky. The temporary clarity faded as I turned to walk back through the mist.
It’s natural to hesitate when we can’t see. Life during the pandemic has felt like walking though fog. The sun comes up, the days move forward, but everything is unclear, and every step unsteady. When we lose someone we love, the solid standing of our circumstances is shaken.
The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted plans and closed down many daily routines, while others race to relieve front-line workers. It’s been an unprecedented time for many of us. One that will undoubtably mark generations to come. A time saturated with so much uncertainty has the potential to shake the strongest faith. In order to keep our hearts beating in tune with God’s will, we must learn to praise Him through sorrow and pain. Through the unfairness, He is close to the brokenhearted. In our weakness, He is strong. He fights for us. It’s unnatural to rely on anything other than ourselves, but necessary to survive the hurricane-force winds of change that have overturned families, communities, countries, and individual lives. The only way we are able to illuminate dark times is to give all glory up.
Posted on February 22, 2021
“The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” (Psalm 33:5 NIV)
Prejudice, discrimination, human trafficking, corruption, and more run rampant in the world. Media and modern-day conversations overflow with just causes, but heartfelt justice requires a deep look into our sin-soaked souls. To fight with courage and boldness, without judgement, and in love. Christ followers know the mercy we’ve been shown, and the freedom Jesus died to accomplish. His love compels us to live our faith, and heartily pursue justice.
“Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:14)
Both characteristics of God, righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne (Psalm 97:2). He is always fair, always good. Christians are purposed for the pursuit of righteousness. Injustice may seem explainable and fair by worldly standards. But Christ followers are not to sit idly by. God is in charge of all judgement and punishment for sin on this earth (1 Thessalonians 4:6), but we can love others in the name of the gospel by defending godly principles.
The apostle John wrote, “if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1-3). Through Christ’s death, we receive forgiveness for our sins. Rayshawn Graves wrote, “justice was an important part of the early ministry of Jesus. From the Golden Rule to the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus was not afraid for his teaching to have clear implications for social justice.” (“Nothing Less than Justice”)
Posted on February 12, 2021
Prayer is personal. God hears our voice as distinctly as we call out to Him. 1 John 5:14 says,“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” But more important than what we say, is the frequency in which we pray that matters to God.
Paul explicitly tells us that continual prayer is part of God’s will for us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). That’s because continual, committed communication with God is vital for our spiritual growth.
How often do you pray? Is prayer a spiritual discipline you want to grow in? The following fifteen questions touch on four specific aspects of prayer. Use them to take stock of your own prayer life and what you can be doing to strengthen your communication with God.
Posted on February 10, 2021
Life changes moment by moment during a crisis, but God never does. He is sovereign. He is not surprised by crises, and knows what tomorrow will bring. God’s heart is moved by prayer. As our thoughts run rogue alongside ever-changing media reports and exploding social media feeds, the challenge to “take captive every thought” is overwhelming.
Prayer and fasting are critical in a crisis, bringing our minds and hearts back to focus on the One who is always in control, even when our world is reeling. “God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think He should because He loves us, and He knows what is best for us,” wrote Billy Graham. “We see only part of the picture—but God sees the whole. This is why we must seek God’s will when we pray, and not just our own.” Created in His image, each person innately craves a close connection to God. The sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross allows believers to now come directly to God with the pleas of our hearts. We are promised thatprayer is powerful, told to pray continually, and that prayer moves the heart of God.