Saturday, November 9, 2013

How Should We Pray For Our Leaders?

"Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses.” Joshua 1:16, 17

The Israelites lost their beloved leader Moses just when they were arriving at the border of the land promised to them by God after decades of wandering in the wilderness. They might have been overwhelmed with uncertainty had the Lord not already chosen Moses’ successor Joshua, someone they knew and trusted. The people unanimously accepted his leadership and swore unconditional obedience to him. More importantly, they prayed that the Lord would be with him just as he had been with Moses.

It seems an easy task to ask the Lord to be with leaders who are trusted and have proven themselves godly men and women. The challenge comes when they are not, yet 1 Timothy 2:1-4 instructs us to pray for all men, including (maybe especially) our leaders: “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

The reason we are to pray is not to bend them to our political will but rather that they will be saved and know truth. We pray because when they (and we) are obedient to God, it goes well for us as a nation as God promises in Deuteronomy 28:1-3: “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.”

It's sobering to read through portions of 2 Kings to see what happened when a king turned away from God, and the blessings the nation received when he was obedient. When those in authority do what is right in their own eyes, refusing to recognize the holiness and sovereignty of God, the nation will suffer. Likewise, when a leader is obedient to the Lord the people are at peace, much like the children of Israel were as they prepared to enter the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership.

When we pray for God to be with our leaders we acknowledge that the Lord is ultimately in control and can follow in obedience. This is a prayer that pleases Him.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Faith Over Feeling

"Because of practices invading both the culture and the church that promote experience over doctrine and feeling over faith, Christians might get the idea that they are missing out on something and need "deeper" experiences with God. Although we have a Savior who died for us and we have the scriptures, which are "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3.16, 17), it is being suggested or implied that this is not enough.

Could it be that Christians are not immersing themselves in the study and learning of God's word, and therefore are trying to fill that void with ways to have spiritual experiences? We should remember the power of God's word, and that it is our spiritual nourishment. "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12)."

- Marcia Montenegro

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Test of Faith

"Our loving Father does not wish any child of his to have one moment's anxiety or one unsatisfied need. No matter how great our need may be, no matter how numerous our requirements, if we only "prove him" in the manner he bids us, we shall never have room enough to receive all the blessing he will give (Malachi 3:10).

...Why is it we find it so hard to trust him? Has he ever failed us? Has he not said over and over and over again that he will grant all petitions offered out of a pure heart, "in his name"? "Ask of me"; "Pray"; "Prove me"; "Try me." The Bible is full of answers to prayer - wonderful answers, miraculous answers - and yet somehow our faith fails us, and we dishonour God by distrusting him!"

From The Kneeling Christian by An Unknown Christian

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Treasure of a Different Kind

One of my favorite devotionals is Peace For the Journey by Elaine Olsen. Here is an excerpt that spoke to my heart today:

"Jesus speaks to the pull that exists between temporal wants and eternal fulfillment.  He charges his followers with the "letting go" of the fleeting and with the "cloaking" of the lasting - an enduring purse filled with the unfailing, untouchable, and the indestructible treasures that await our arrival in our final rest.  Indeed, we may not be able to take "it" with us when we go, but we can be certain that "it" is waiting for us when we reach our final destination.

...We may not see the fullness of that inheritance in this day.  Rarely do we feel it and, even less likely, do we ever understand it.  We simply live in the certainty of it, knowing that our faith will soon be made sight.  And when it is, when faith gives way to the glorious rewards of a long and mostly unseen obedience, we will witness the bounty of our deliberate storing.  Only heaven is strong enough, deep enough, wide and completely vast enough to bank that kind of faith.

We may not "count it all joy" now, but we will then, after we make one faithful choice after another, until we realize that every current, spirit-spoken "yes" in our hearts has reaped for us an eternal and resolute "yes" in our Father's." (p. 154-155)