Happy New Year 2012!
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the LORD helped us.” - 1 Samuel 7:12
Father, we thank You for the new hope that comes with the new year - we thank You for all of 2011, with all of its triumphs and failures, and we pray that as we reflect on the past year, we will not be so distracted by everything that went wrong, but celebrate in all that You have done. Your provision was perfectly enough in 2011, and we trust that it will be perfectly enough in 2012.
As 2011 draws to a close and we welcome 2012 with open arms, may You bring us to our knees before You and cry out for an anointing of love to carry us through the new year. Oh Lord, You have called us to do many things for Your kingdom, and we need so much grace to faithfully endure testing and trial. We receive in faith that when the word was spoken over us to do Your good work, all the resources we need were released from heaven. Through it all, may You constantly remind us that we are already Your beloved who do not need to earn Your love through our works; as Your lovers, we yearn to share in Your heart for seeing Your glory fill every corner of the earth, and we desire to offer our lives in order for that to pass.
May You open our ears to hear both the bold fullness of Your voice in the bright light of day and Your faintest whispers that softly call to us in the night - we don’t want to miss any of it. We don’t want to miss Your glory, we don’t want to be blinded by pride and vanity. Instead, We want You to take us from glory to glory, and be so steeped in humility that we, ultimately, become like You.
Father, I declare that 2012 is a year of renewed prayer - a year that, with your grace, will give people the burning desire, sustained passion, and means to establish 24/7 prayer rooms in our colleges and universities. I cry out for our educational institutions to recognize and turn to You; may our campuses be transformed into chambers of love, obedience, and worship. Consecrate our campuses now, Father, and set aside a place where believers can gather from all around the school and intercede for the Holy Spirit to rest upon every single body. May our prayer rooms be places where heaven and earth meet, may they be places where the supernatural become the natural, may they be a place that gives unto the global harvest of souls. Make Your home in our houses of prayer; I yearn for You to break in. Your provision is always enough. Possess the nations and cities through our prayer rooms, give us a heart to pray even more fervently not just for our own schools but for the world, and especially Israel. Bring about personal transformation, equip the saints to do Your good work and spread the gospel, break addictions, restore purity to its rightful place, and awaken us to our true heavenly identities. May our prayer rooms, no matter how small or large they are in the natural, birth great movements of Love that are committed to carrying Your justice to the ends of the earth through all mountains of society and influence.
As You so hotly pursue our hearts, may we be given tongues and hearts of fire to lead our students and faculty into deeper communion with You. May they see their sin for what it is and realize that they are lost without You - I pray that they realize they NEED You with all of their being. Convict them of sin and bring them out of it, so that they can enjoy eternity with You. O, You are the grandest of all Lovers! Your heart aches for 100% of our hearts, our thoughts, our actions, our dreams, our visions; and I pray with all of my heart that we surrender all to You! There is simply no time to waste!
Our lives - our little lives - will You take them and transform them? Will You breathe into us new life and commission us into the world as Your light-bearers? Move us closer to Your heart; there is no better place to be.
What kinds of things will 2012 bring, Lord? What kinds of things should we be preparing for? In such times of shaking, give us clarity to discern what is from You and what is not. Give us the discernment to test every word and every prophecy so that we can differentiate between Your prophets and false ones. As we get closer and closer to Your second coming, give us the sensitivity to know where You stand in the great spiritual war for souls. We only want to stand with You.
Hallelujah, and praise be to Your name forever!! Amen.
A Love Letter
To my Dearest,
How can I express my affections for you today? Your love fiercely grips my heart in a way that is different from yesterday, and I just can’t seem to leave Your presence. Every day you fill me anew, every day you fill me afresh. You are everywhere around me; I carry Your promises of hope and joy deep in my heart wherever I go. Your love is as consistent as the sunrise, enveloping me so that I can feel Your warmth even in the coldest of nights. No amount of words from my lips can ever express the way my heart beats wildly for You in the presence of Your majesty, overwhelmed by Your glorious light and beauty. Your eyes burn so passionately for me, and I cannot force this frail body to stand any longer. It can only bow in reverence, for You are my King, now and forever. At times, I feel like I can’t even breathe when I am near you, because you literally leave me breathless. O God, not even the angels can praise You enough!
I desire nothing but You; You are the reason I breathe, the reason I live, the reason I dream. I want to be closer friends with You. Will You take me there? Will You take me to deeper levels of intimacy? Will You take me beyond what I can see in the natural and show me the heavenly? Will You share with me Your heart? I want to know You more.
O most extravagant of Lovers, even if not a single more prophecy was uttered, a word released, or a miracle witnessed in my life, I choose You. Even in the driest of seasons when I cannot hear You, the truth remains that You are good, just as You were before the beginning of all creation.
What is this feeling in my chest, that which will explode in my body if it is not freely released like a song throughout the nations? You love your people, You love the nations, and Your desire is for them. Have Your way with them, Lord - may they all finally return to the true Shepherd.
Your fire is raging all around, burning every wicked thing in sight and refining Your beloved. May we all tremble and fall under Your glory, for You are coming soon once and for all. May every knee bow down and proclaim You as Savior, for when that day of deliverance comes, none will be able to escape Your judgment. Father, at that most glorious hour, I want to be like the wise virgins who knew to put oil in their lamps, who knew to have an intimate relationship with you as they went to meet the bridegroom. Mold me and shape me into the woman You desire me to be; I am forever Yours.
I thank You for all that You are and for all that You have done… my soul is restless until it finds its home in You. May my life give You all the glory, and may there be no fear of persecution or hardship, for perfect love casts out all fear. You are my perfect Love, a lamb without blemish or defect. I love You with all of my heart, strength, soul, and mind… You’re the greatest Daddy in the whole entire world.
Yours forever and a day,
Arise, shine, for your light has come
When we start to realize that more than we want to be made beautiful, God wants to make us beautiful; more than we want to receive revelation, God wants to give us revelation; and more than we want to walk in His power, God wants to give us His power, our prayers begin to radically change.
We stop begging and pleading with God, because when we do, we are assuming that we have more mercy than Him. We are no longer spiritual beggars and slaves, but righteous sons and daughters in the kingdom. We no longer strive for more of His attention, because we know that we have already captured it all. We no longer pray faithless prayers where we are unsure of His goodness, especially when we pray for healings, signs, and creative miracles. By faith, we know that His character and His nature all point to the assurance that He loves us without measure, and that He does desire for His children to prophecy, heal the sick, and raise the dead!
Instead of praying such powerless prayers, we move into a place of holy intercession, where we make bold declarations from the authority that was given to us by none other than Jesus Himself over ourselves, our friends and family, our campuses, our cities, and our nations. No longer are our prayers steeped in timidity, fear, and powerlessness, but in peace, joy, and righteousness. God’s heart IS for the nations. We can’t compromise that truth in our hearts and dream of only small things. Like those with child-like faith, we are meant to dream BIG things that seem absolutely impossible without God’s hand over them. Once we understand God’s heart, and that it wills for our prosperity and for us to do greater things than Jesus for the advancement of the kingdom here on earth, we will start to seem a little crazy to people. But God’s eyes are roaming to and fro from the earth, looking for His laid-down lovers who are willing to sacrifice anything and everything, including earthly reputation, prestige, and comfort, because to them, to die is to gain. In the middle of darkness, He is looking for the radical ones whose voices shout all the louder, “Here am I. Send me!” Will the world hear the resounding echoes of these voices from all corners of the earth and tremble at the sheer weight of its majesty? When will the fellowship of believers finally emerge in power as one body and in one voice for those enveloped in darkness? The children in North Korea, those caught in the sex slave trade, and countless others suffering from all sorts of human rights violations need a Savior to pierce as dazzling light through this darkness. The amazing truth is, we are the light carriers. Our body is a temple that houses the Holy Spirit. We simply cannot afford to be selfish with our lives anymore and keep this good news only to ourselves. Set your minds on things of heaven, not on the things of earth.
The Lord is raising up and sending out those who thought they were too weak to bring change upon the seven mountains of society, and He is humbling those who thought they could bring change relying on their own strength. He yearns for the kingdom culture to invade not just government or religion or the arts, but also in the way His people relate to one another, believers and non-believers alike. Princes and princesses of His royal army do not discriminate based on earthly status or wealth. We are to honor and love the children, the elders, the beggars, the wealthy. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
Some are called to be full-time intercessors, some are called to be legislators, some are called to be artists, some are called to be pastors, and the list goes on and on. But no matter what, we are all called to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us. Through our unique gifts, it is the Father’s desire that we use them for good, not evil. We are of a royal priesthood now. Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
Autumn is my favorite season ever because it is such a reflective, quiet, and peaceful time. When the leaves start to turn into different colors and fall on the ground, I love watching the warm autumn breeze pick them right up and swirl them around in the air as if they are dancing together… it is such a testament to Christ’s beauty! We are like the helpless and fragile leaves that can fall at the slightest touch, and He, who is invisible to the eye, courts us and lifts us up again. How He loves!
Lately, I’ve been meditating on a really beautiful and eye-opening passage, 2 Kings 4:1-7. It’s a message on the widow’s olive oil, and how Elisha helped in her time of need. Something that really jumped out at me as I was reading and reflecting on the passage was the concept of faith that God illustrates really well here - it was interesting that when Elisha told the widow to ask for many jars from her neighbors, he never told her why. When he gave her this commandment, he never told her that he was just about to perform a miracle, and that she could keep the excess to live off of later.
If it was revealed to the widow exactly what was going to happen from the beginning, I think she would have found every single jar in the village, and perhaps even run over to the next village over to find other empty jars. But Elisha never told her about the miracle that was about to be performed. He just told her these odd, crazy, and strange instructions.
Why did he do this?
Because true biblical faith always costs us something. It costs us our security, and it causes us to move beyond skepticism and act according to the instructions that were set before us. It’s called “taking a step of faith” for a reason! We do not always know exactly where we are going to end up, but the important thing to God is that we have acted on faith. When He tell us, “Go,” He does not always say, “Go, and I will have x, y, and z happen.” Likewise, when Jesus told the servants “Fill the jars with water,” at the wedding in Cana, He did not say, “Fill the jars with water, and it will be turned into wine.”
I firmly believe that this is the mercy of God working in our lives. He allows us to demonstrate our faith by not revealing everything to us at the time. We ask for faith, and He gives us opportunities to be faithful. The measure of our character is not based on the initial nature of our calling, but on whether we receive and act on it through faith. This is clearly demonstrated in the parable of the talents; the master was more interested in whether his servants were able to produce returns with the gold that was entrusted to them than the amount of gold itself. Are we going to accept and act on His call, whether it is to lovingly sacrifice more than the world thinks is wise for our neighbors, completely change our career paths, or leave everything and move to a different corner of the earth, even if we do not have a clear idea of how everything is going to work out?
The good news is that even if we don’t always know exactly what every single aspect of our lives are going to look like, we know that we love and serve a most faithful God. Prophecies aid the process, and even the most amazing ones require faith from the ones who received them. We entrust God with our salvation, and so we must surely trust Him with our relationships, careers, and every other part of our being!
Faith cannot be demonstrated if we know every single detail of the plan. If we knew everything, we would never truly act out on faith. It would just be acting in accordance to what is already known. For example, I have never seen Jesus’ physical body. But I believe He exists, that He once roamed the earth 2000 years ago, and that He died for my sins so that I can have eternal life in heaven with Him. That is faith. However, if a walking, talking, breathing Jesus came into my bedroom, I would definitely believe He exists! But that requires no faith at all whatsoever. According to Hebrews 11:1, faith is “…confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (emphasis added).
Brothers and sisters, the faith that God entrusted to us is so much more exciting than our earthly expectations. We are meant to live adventurous lives on the playing field, not average ones that are left to merely fend for their own on the bench. And the players who play on the field must be willing to take risks from time to time. As Christians, we have won the match. We are playing for the winning team. So why be afraid? Why not take that step of faith?
“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” - Psalm 100:5
Father has been giving me bigger and bigger dreams lately. Dreams to radically change the world, save lives, minister to people of all generations and backgrounds, and love those who are the least loved by the world. Something just clicked in me a couple of days ago, and as I was sitting on the steps of Capitol Hill, I said to Father, “Because of You, I desire to make all of these dreams come true. And with You, I believe I can.”
I have the Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Trinity, living inside of me. How could I then, with Him in me, not be able to change the world for His glory? With this truth, I become more and more baffled at the idea of Christians today who can’t and won’t believe they can be used in a way that can greatly shift the state of the world. Shouldn’t it be much more impossible for His laid down lovers to not make significant and holy impacts on the nations?
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” - 1 Peter 2:9
“This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him.” - 2 Timothy 2:11
What kind of God invites His children to die with Him a most victorious death and then live with Him a most triumphant life? Jesus Himself knows how difficult that initial death is, but we are never to forget that we are not alone in it. When Scripture reads that we die with Him, it implies a certain relationship we have with the Lord from the moment we choose to deny ourselves and surrender all we are to Him. Likewise, after we drink that cup of suffering, we are promised a life with Him all the way through eternity that is full of His glory and majesty. In short, Jesus’ single act of His death on the cross opened the door to a divine kind of intimacy that the world cannot ever imitate or replicate!
And so, from the moment we traveled together with Him to that place where our sin, shame, and every unholy thing died and we later emerged as completely new creations so that we can walk forever in the light, we became so intimately bonded to the One we worship in ways we could not even realize spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. With Him, the end of the story is never death, but life. And it’s not just an adequate kind of life where we live just to get through another day, bu a life with Him!. We are spending the rest of our lives with a Lord who is famous for His grace and goes above and beyond our wildest dreams for ourselves, our friends and family, our campuses, our nation, and the world. When saving us from the deepest pits of hell and providing us eternal life seemed enough, we learn how small our understanding of grace was and we become astounded again and again when He chooses to bless us in this earthly life, as well.
Our God is the kind of God who desires deep intimacy with His children in death and in life… It is the only way. Hallelujah!
Total 1 John 4:18 moment today. Hallelujah!
Let light shine out of darkness
As we live out these next few years, I can’t help but feel that the spiritual battles we will face in the future will only get harder. That sounds heavy and daunting, but more and more I realize that this is truth. With every passing second, we are getting nearer to the time when Jesus comes back to establish His kingdom once and for all here on earth. While this is a happy and hopeful time of waiting for the Lord’s disciples, it is a time of panic for the enemy. He will undoubtedly try harder in desperation to corrupt and destroy every new and emerging generation. Our children are being exposed to media that glorifies violence, premarital sex, and promiscuity. Things that were not allowed to be said or seen on TV ten years ago are being said and shown now without much opposition. The sex slave trade is affecting those as young as eleven years old, and in some cases (which is some cases too many), as young as five. It is not uncommon for sex slaves to be raped 7000+ times within three years of being in this trade. Millions around the world go without food or water for days at a time; an average of 25,000 people, most of them children, die every day from hunger-related causes. And while this is all happening, some of the world’s most richest people hold on to their material wealth through corrupt means. Genocide, rape, greed - the list goes on and on. Never before has the world been so dark, so evil, so rebellious. The enemy is targeting our purity and the physical state of our bodies by raping, starving, and killing our people. And if he doesn’t kill us physically, he does so emotionally. He destroys all of our hopes and dreams for the kingdom, and turns our attention instead to things that only defile our hearts.
…But the thing I realized today is that Light always chases out darkness. A candle cannot be hidden if you increase the amount of darkness in a room. In fact, as it gets darker, the candle can only burn brighter. I firmly believe that as the world gets darker, God’s chosen will be more visible and set apart from the world. There will be absolutely no space for the in-between, for the lukewarm. The gap between the number of lukewarm and those truly earnestly seeking Christ is diminishing significantly. And the reason is simple: the world is just making it harder to be Christian. As those with free will, we must decide whether to burn for Him or be a part of the darkness. We are either lights, or we are not; there cannot be any other way. I can’t help but feel that this a time of testing, where our hearts and character are tested by the fire we feel from the world for being Christians. Some won’t be able to handle the increasing heat and back out, but some will come out on the other end victorious. This time of testing I believe we are in makes me think of Gideon and the filtering process God used to select the army that would go against the Midianite army. Those who pass God’s testing now will look like fools to the world, as Gideon’s army did - but God is known for making the weak strong, and the proud foolish. And I for one do NOT want to be left behind. I want to be a part of God’s army.
It will definitely be harder and harder to be Christians in this world as we approach the Second Coming - but I do not mean to say that as discouragement. It only means we must hold on tighter and tighter to Christ. And that’s not a terrible thing! We are blessed to be able to hunger or thirst for Christ at all - it just means that what we are aching and mourning and waiting for Someone that is greater than this whole entire world.
We must burn ferociously for Christ, and I am excited to witness the leaders God will both refine and raise up in these tumultuous times. Where are the world changers? Where are the revivalists? Where are those who are called to bring the light into the darkest places in the world? Where are the intercessors? His laid-down lovers? And those who are simply madly in love with their Savior?
Now is the time.
Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about the concept of hope. It’s a word we often throw around here and there, but I don’t think I’ve appreciated it as much as I do now, especially because so many things are changing within my heart and physical surroundings. It’s not just that I am preparing to move from Jersey and work for a semester rather than going to school this year, but that I am witnessing perhaps even greater transformations within my own soul. As I continue to walk in His light, I see more clearly my weaknesses, including the one in which I oftentimes refuse to have hope because I can’t bring myself to dare wish for anything more than what is in front of me. I realize it’s actually not easy at all to have genuine hope - we must first lay down our pride, become vulnerable, and embrace risk and uncertainty. To really have hope in something or someone - that is most difficult of all.
Hope is everywhere in the Bible, and it astounds me. Mark 5 is one of my favorite passages, and I absolutely love the faith of the woman who was suffering from disease for twelve years. I’m sure she was let down in the past so many times before by doctors and everyone else who could not help her, but she was living a life reflective of the one Paul would call us to years later in Philippians 3. Her child-like faith, and the hope she placed in Jesus is amazing. If she never dared to hope, she would not have been in the crowd to begin with, and would never have been healed. I really believe our hope should be like this, as well. Hope is not birthed from jadedness and apathy after days, months, and even years of mostly failures, setbacks, and disappointment, but from the daily renewal of our mind. It’s like fresh manna, fresh revelation, fresh anointing. Divine hope is never based off from past failures or human experience - it is always new. And this kind of faith, this kind of hope, is always paired with action - this woman chose to be a part of this crowd and battle through the multitudes to be close to Jesus. She fought for Him.
Jesus’ response to this woman’s faith is interesting - although she touched His cloak silently, He could feel power leave Him. Even though He could have just instantly pointed her out from the crowd, He still looked around for her and waited for her to show herself. And that is when He spoke these life-changing words to her: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” I love that Jesus blessed her once she stepped out in front of the crowd and humbled herself before Him. Hope that is satisfied will lead us to testify of His power before the multitudes!
Another favorite story of hope of mine from the Bible is found in John 6. In this famous passage of Jesus feeding thousands with just five loaves of bread and two small fish, some disciples dared to hope, while some saw the situation in front of them and were discouraged immediately. When Jesus tests Philip and asks him where they should buy bread for the people to eat, he basically said that it was hopeless - they would not be able to feed the crowd. However, Andrew interjects here and speaks to Jesus, telling Him that there is a boy with five loaves of bread and two fish. Although he questions how far this food will go to feed so many, I find it fascinating that Andrew brought it up in the first place. After all, they were on a mission to not feed just two people or even ten, but five thousand. It would have been laughable, and even unthinkable, to even mention the boy at all.
I believe that there was a tiny bit of hope in Andrew to even mention this food to Jesus. And most of the time, a tiny bit is all we need.
As I face all types of joy and disappointment in my life, I pray that my hope is untouched, and that is is not subject to past experience. Although I find it so difficult at times, I choose to believe and not fear. We may look like fools to the world, but what are kings compared to the King of kings? May hope in God drive us to seek His face, believe in Him, and be expectant of the future. I say goodbye to old and stale dreams that do not give God the opportunity to show off His infinite glory and power, and I welcome with open arms the heavenly dreams of my Almighty Father. Now, dreaming only those too-small dreams for the kingdom seems like I am insulting the Father’s name in some way because at that moment, I am saying that I am going to rely on my own limited power and strength to achieve this very limited dream. But when we dream and hope for things that are beyond this world and our own might, we have the opportunity to witness God do amazing things through us. And that is when people will know that it was not us and our intellect or knowledge, but God’s.
So brothers and sisters, do not be discouraged if you have been disappointed in the past. Press on. Continue to trust in Him, even if you can’t exactly see where you are going. We wouldn’t need faith if we knew absolutely everything about God’s will at this moment, yes? Don’t be afraid of failure. It only refines us.
Romans 5:2b-5 says this: “…And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.“
Hope in Jesus and His eternal promises, for He is good.
There Comes a Point…
Hebrews 6:1-2 (AMP) “THEREFORE LET us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God, with teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.]”
There comes a point in the life of a believer when he or she moves on from the more therapeutic approach of Christianity where it’s all about “yourself” and your needs and your problems (which are all very important) to a much more missional outlook, where He asks you to look instead towards your friends, your family, your campus, the world. There comes a point wherein the question is not so much “what can God for me to today?” but “what can God do for others through me?” And if the believer has learned anything from the Bible, it is that Jesus has not only come to save him or her, but to save the world through Him. So how many times can we afford to lay again the foundations of Christianity in our lives when God clearly calls us to a higher level of maturity? There is simply no time to waste - the harvest is ready for us right at this moment. But again and again we look to ourselves, because we laid these foundations on the shifty sand rather than solid rock. Lay these foundations, these truths, on rock this time, so that it cannot be shaken by the wind, by the enemy’s schemes. Hold fast to these truths, be anointed by the Holy Spirit in all sorts of power, so that you may be equipped to go spread the gospel.
*Quick side note - read the rest of Hebrews 6. It’s pretty amazing. :) There is absolutely so much love and grace that accompanies divine conviction… Thank You, Father, for moving us to love you, for giving us the desire to grow deeper and deeper in Your provision. We want to grow more in intimacy with you today than we did yesterday. Help us to love others and embrace a life that embodies the Great Commission. We join the angels’ song and praise Your name forever and ever. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Day and Night
For the past few weeks, I have really been convicted by the passages in the Bible that call us believers to worship God day and night. In particular, I have been astounded by these two passages:
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8)
But yesterday, I came across this passage and when I read it, it was like reading it for the first time - the Word came alive, and my heart was pounding with conviction and excitement:
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)
This parable is pretty interesting - it teaches us not only to be persistent, but also to “cry out to [God] day and night.” I think oftentimes we give up praying after a certain point - whether it be for revival, for the salvation of our friends and family, or even for spiritual gifts - because we do not see any immediate fruit. Or sometimes, we do not pray at all because in our pride, we do not feel the need to pray when God “knows what we want already.” But here, God clearly tells us that it is okay to be that persistent widow, and to never give up on prayer, on Him. He calls us to pray when we rise in the morning, and when we lie down in our bed to go to sleep in the night. This commandment could not be clearer in the Bible. It’s not one of those cultural “should I follow this commandment that seems to only apply to the people in that time period?” but it is a teaching that lasts forever.
The other interesting part of this parable is the very last verse: “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Will Jesus, in all of His glory and splendor, find those believers here who have been crying out to Him day and night? Because let me tell you, I am NOT going to tell my King at the end of the age that I have given up on Him, that I have not tried to give Him nothing short of my full devotion.
There is so much hope as well - God, the One who has created Justice, the One who IS Just, says that if we are faithful to Him and if we cry out to Him day and night for justice, He will grant it to us… and quickly. Praise God! Lord, help us to be found faithful in You at the end, when nothing else matters but Your kingdom. Thank You for showing us so much justice already here on earth, but we know that we will never fully see Your perfect justice against our adversaries until we join You in heaven. We pray for MORE of Your power, Your justice, Your mercy. Thank You, Lord! Amen.
Today was such a surprise! After three whole days of spring-like weather, I woke up and looked outside my window to see so much snow on the ground, in the air. Out of joy, I couldn’t help but open my window wide and and feel the fresh burst of cool winter air - it was so pretty. And as I watched the snow twirl and and whip around the people walking on College Ave, I felt like truly everything was dancing, breathing, and living for one Person, one God, one Creator.
Everything, absolutely everything, exists for You.
“You have acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” - 1 Samuel 13:13-14
Lord God, I pray that I am a follower keeping to your commands. Help me to obey You when You speak over me. Thank you for the laws you have decreed - Your laws protect me and keep me free from evil, and I thank You for this grace. Day by day, I strive to follow after Your heart. Would You provide me opportunities to do so? Would You refine my heart in Your furnace so that You can wash away all of my impurities? There is nothing that I desire other than to have my heart shaped after Yours. I want my mind and my heart to be like Yours, for You are my eternal Daddy! Mold my heart and use it to serve You and to glorify You. Break my body for the lost sheep; I put my body on the altar.
But Lord God, I have to be honest with You - it’s so hard at times to take up my cross and follow You. And that is why it is so wonderful that when I do feel weary, I hear You say, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Thank You so much for all of Your promises. I take comfort knowing that I rely on Your strength alone, and not on my own.
Father, it is my prayer that Your light shines though my weaknesses. I am so sick of not being a better witness for You. Through my lifestyle, which is conformed to that of Jesus Christ, I pray that people will see You. Let there be kindness in my eyes, cheerfulness in my giving, and humility in my prayers.
In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.