Father, You have given us so much beauty. It isn’t always time for beauty, there is suffering also, but now is a season of beauty. Each beautiful sight, sound, word, feeling reminds me of Your rest. Beauty transports me to Your rest just like struggle takes me there too. The planets and stars and the universes, the skies and oceans, the forests and deserts, the animals and humans, everything You created has so much beauty that we’re still discovering it. You even allow us to create beautiful things and feel and think beautiful feelings and thoughts. And through living for You, surrendering to You, we even get to be beautiful. Father, in the midst of confusing questions with contradicting answers, there is hope for the answer You will provide. And the answer will be beautiful for its ability to go beyond binary options and instead provide a pursuit worthy of eternity. Thank You. All in Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
What do I hold true
that is a mere assumption
Father, You are love. You made us in Your image, creative and able to love. Father, help us choose love. As we search for balance in the tension of all other areas of life, help us realize love never fails, is always in season, is always the correct response. Love is pure, love is truth. It does not shame or blame. It believes the best in people. It does not hide in the face of fear, but it casts out fear. Love is light and love is life. Love is a meaningful purpose for being. Love is the good news. That You, ruler of the universes, looked on us, Your creation, and said “you are my children”. You sent Yourself to save us, You give of Yourself to guide us. We can never understand this love. Our earthly version of love is so powerful already that we give our whole lives in pursuit of it. And this is just a glimpse of how You love us. Thank You. I love You. All in Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Quiet moments are
In sunshine or in hard rain
where God reaches us
Over and over in these two chapters we see examples of what faith in God looks like. In 17:5-10, we see the introduction to the power of faith, that faith means not being limited by our own small abilities. We also very quickly see that this power of faith does not make our small abilities useless or exempt us from any effort. In 17:11-19, we see that it doesn’t matter who you are, you can bring God glory through your faith. Even if you are the equivalent of a Biblical Samaritan, one of the most hated groups by the Jews of the time.
In 17:20-21, we find out where faith must grow, “…For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Take a moment to read that again and let it sink in. The remaining verses of the chapter outline the commitment required to have the kingdom of God within us. In this kingdom where the world’s measures of success and status do not apply, we cannot look back on the world with longing. In these verses we also see the result of having faith or not. It is uncomfortable to talk about the fact that not everyone will be saved, but what choice does God have if we refuse to let Him rule in our lives? He will not force us. We have to choose.
In 18:1-8 we see God’s end of the deal. He will hear us, always. In 18:9-14 we see that He will forgive us. In the following verses we jump back to how our attitude influences our faith. Faith grows in the heart of people who are as dependent on God as a child is on the adults around them. Secondly, the story of the rich young ruler illustrates that we are powerless to save ourselves, no matter how much we reach the world’s standards of success or how closely we follow the commandments. But then in 18:24-30 we see how God already has our powerlessness taken care of.
Now, for the climax of this whole sequence of passages about faith, we see Jesus point to His ultimate example of faith in 18:31-34. As a man, Jesus could have easily doubted that God would raise him from the dead. As a divine being, he fully knew what was coming and could have called it all off. But in 18:35-43, we see one of many examples of his tender compassion that made him not resist the pain required to save us. In this passage, we see Jesus’ interaction with just one man, so small in the grand scheme of things. So powerless in comparison to God’s might. But this man knows who Jesus is and has faith that He is the Messiah. He asks for his sight and Jesus heals him. And God is glorified.
Hungry for nothing but prayer, you’ve called me here.
Peace in the storm.
The weight on me is imagined;
A distraction from Your strength,
From Your rule, Your power, Your might.
I live in a different kingdom.
I am ruled by Your will, Your grace, Your freedom, not the tasks, demands and pleasures of this world.
Please heal my hardened heart from putting my priorities out of order. Please soften my soul so that I can love strongly and generously. Please focus my mind so I can seek Your face. Please strengthen my body so I can work towards Your purpose. Please give me courage to change. Bring me out of the boat, help me have faith to walk with You. Help me deny myself, take up my cross and follow You. I love You. All in Your will. Amen.
Father. My King, my Savior, my Comforter. The heavens declare Your glory and the sky proclaims the work of Your hands. Help my life be like the sky. Help Your church be like the heavens. Help me get unwound from my uptight brain that can’t let go of things. Help Your church live by the expectations of Your kingdom instead of our own. Help me heal. Please be with others who need healing. Please remind me of Your presence when I am unable to remember it on my own. I love You, Father. Please provide us strength for tomorrow. All in Your Will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Sitting quietly, I feel you coming near. Feel tears burning at the thought of Your grace, Your faithfulness. Because I am not so faithful. I am not so ready to extend grace at every moment. But yet You are so kind to me. So tender and sweet even though You are so powerful. You meet me with comfort and gentleness that I can’t find anywhere else. Father, You are so much bigger than any of the things I think about. You have given me every reason to trust You, and I do. But my trust is small. Help me trust You more. Help me trust in You so much that worldly cares fall away. Thank you for providing me the strength I need to get through everyday but also enough weakness to know that I need to turn to You again tomorrow. Please use me for Your purpose. I love You. All in Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Father, You always find me when I am lost. I weep in the presence of Your graciousness. I come up short, I miss the mark, I get my priorities out of order… over and over. I leave You, in a slow wandering off, and then I turn back to You when I come up empty. I turn back to You hoping that I won’t leave again, but unable to promise it. I want to promise it though. I want to tell You that I will never abandon You or forsake You, but I am not strong enough. I need You. Who am I that You care for me, that You abide in me? How could I possibly forget that You are in me and all around me? How could I possibly forget the world is so much bigger than my version of it? And that in the end, this world is not what’s important. Cleanse me, purify me, create in me a clean heart. Against You and You only have I sinned. Please, Lord, have mercy on me. Please heal my hardened heart, my undisciplined mind, my weary body. Please heal our world. Please heal Your church. Help us join You in Your healing mission. I love You. All in Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Holy Father. All praise, nothing but worship, to Your precious name. Your fullness is all around us, tangible and intangible, in pleasure and in pain. You offer the wholeness we crave, the meaning for our limited amount of time. You offer boundaries and freedom in perfect balance. You offer love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and companionship overflowing. You don’t expect us to be perfect or uniform or anything else, but instead You hope and yearn for us in all things to turn to You. You are always near, waiting for us to turn and come closer to You. We come to You with all that we have, our joys and our pain, our gratitude and our requests, our fears and our hopes, our lament and our praise. And You are with us in all of them. You know them intimately. You listen as we share them. You occupy the space that creates relationship. You make us full of awe as we think that the Eternal Creator and Sustainer of all is here to listen, to guide, to fill us up, to reconcile with us so that we can be in relationship. You are King of my days and all that is in them. I will worship You forever. Please help me live by faith. I love You. All in Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.