Today’s Readings: click here – Psalm 86:11-17; Genesis 16:1-15; Revelation 2:1-7 (to open the scripture links – hover over, right click, open hyperlink)
Much of this passage of Psalm 86 delivers me back to the early days of my faith walk. So new, so inquisitive, yearning for something new, so willing to change, such similar words were what came from my heart and out of my mouth as I prayed for my relationship with Jesus to take hold of me.
11Teach me Your way, O Lord, I will walk and live in Your truth;
Direct my heart to fear Your name, [with awe-inspired reverence and submissive wonder].
And giving thanks all the while.
12I will give thanks and praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
And will glorify Your name forevermore.
Ever so piercingly, I could feel my heart change and transform as I began to trust and know Jesus more intimately with my whole-being. The more I searched, the more my eyes were unveiled to see his goodness all around me.
13For great is Your lovingkindness and graciousness toward me;
And You have rescued my life from the depths of Sheol [from death].
Knowing who He is, helped me see clearly, His LOVE that was like no other.
15But You, O Lord, are a God [who protects and is] merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.
16 Turn to me, and be gracious to me; Grant Your strength [Your might and the power to resist temptation] to Your servant, And save the son of Your handmaid.
My demons and foes were before me, as I sought God’s sovereign salvation and witnessed a transformation so rooted in Jesus’ that all I desired was for others to less of me and more of Him.
17Show me a sign of [Your] goodwill,
That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed,
Because You, O Lord, helped and comforted me.
And through the years, we are always a work on progress, ever changing, seeking comfort, peace, patience, with steadfast bold prayer and earnest supplication.
In today’s Genesis passage, we read about Abram and Sarai. Sarai not being able to bear children, she gives her mistress slave to Abram as a wife to bear children, an heir, for Abram. Why? She didn’t trust God in His promise that should would conceive a child, an heir to Abram’s heritage. So she took matters in her own hands, to make sure that a child would be born to her husband, no matter what was at stake. She couldn’t wait for God to come to the rescue. Sometimes, we too do the same thing. Perhaps, not in this fashion, but in our lives, how often do we read scripture and know full well in our hearts that God will prevail, yet we take thing upon our own strength and petition to get things done, NOW. And then… BACKFIRE. If only we should have waited on God. His timing is always perfect. Now we have to seek forgiveness, repent and start the waiting process all over. It’s never effortless to be patient, to trust in things we cannot see, to understand God’s plan and will for us, to do good over evil, to choose wisely, and seek wisdom, that is why we need to know God’s word intently, and to pray persistently with boldness. This way of thinking and acting eradicates the efforts we put on ourselves to take action of our own plan.
And now, the Revelation passage. A book that has in someways intimidated and terrified me, bringing on a sense of panic in a stream of assurance, all at the same time. For example, the fact that this passage points to fading faith.
4But I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me]. 5 So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; otherwise, I will visit you and remove your lampstand (the church, its impact) from its place—unless you repent.
Faith, that over time, dwindles, clouds over, or pushed aside while we work on our own agendas. This frightens me, because when I read it today, I feel a sense guilt, as I think back of how my heart was on such fire and desire to know Jesus more and more, and to change a little bit everyday. Did I lose that ‘first love’? I’d like to say not, but I think with anything new, that newness wears and fades through time. I want that FIRE and NEWNESS to remain and that can only happen when I sense a stagnant faith and seek the Holy Spirit to wash me clean and rekindle that fire within me. This, by no means, is an easy approach. We have to stay faithful and on-task every moment of everyday, never letting our guard down. We do this by knowing we do not walk this journey alone and that in our weakness we are made strong through Christ.
Phew, that was a lot… so much great stuff in today’s readings.
Give thanks and praise. Be patient, give it ALL to God. Rekindle your faith today! Pick up your bible, let God’s word speak to you and let your prayers be heard.
Enjoy a few songs – let them speak to your heart this day.
Prayer: Lord, we pray, asking that you fill our hearts with your goodness and love, that we would remember we are created on purpose, for a purpose. Rekindle in us everyday, your fire of faith and renew our spirt to align with your word and great works. We pray this mighty and heartfelt prayer in our Savior Jesus’ name. AMEN!