2 Corinthians, 2 Samuel, 2 Timothy, Deuteronomy, Praise Prompt, Prayer Prompt

7.9.19 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Context in the Bible


PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• One of the quickest ways to get me on a soapbox is to use Scripture out of context.
It is crazy-easy to cherry pick words from the Bible and use them to build an argument.
But without context, it’s like picking a novel off the shelf, randomly flipping to the middle, and using the first sentence you read as a way, to sum up, the whole book.
If you land on the sentence, “She told the waiter that she wanted extra ice in her coke,” and you use that define the whole book, chances are REALLY good that you’ve missed a key plot point.
The problem is that when people read the Bible, they have to understand that while every word is ordained by God in His Holy Word, it doesn’t mean He condoned every action that is written.
For example, 2 Samuel 13 includes the story of David’s daughter Tamar who was raped by her half-brother Amnon.
I can assure you that God does not condone rape, but this story is included in Scripture.
Similarly, we can’t make the mistake of applying our social norms to the social norms of a time and culture very different from ours.
Their environment and way of life were different.
What we can focus on is people because people don’t change.
The people of the Bible experienced love, pain, sorrow, regret, laughter, joy, hunger, sleepiness, and the full range of emotions and feelings that we have today.
We also have to recognize there’s a difference between the old Covenant versus the new Covenant and recognize Jesus’ role in that new Covenant.
And at the heart of the Bible, the primary reason we read it, is to know God.
It’s His love letter to people.
Is 2 Timothy 3:16-17, it says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Then, in 2 Corinthians 2:13a CSB, it says, “We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit…”
The word of God is designed to instruct us.
But it’s more than just reading words on a page and maybe occasionally marking certain passages with a highlighter.
We need to pray as we read.
Let the Holy Spirit teach us.
We can’t let human interpretation and assumptions dictate the Word of God.
His Holy Spirit is called a Counselor for a reason…
He can and will guide everyone who seeks with a sincere heart (Deuteronomy 4:29).
Today, as you pray, thank the Holy Spirit for His willingness to guide you and teach you through God’s Word.
Thank God for the promise that whoever sincerely seeks Him will find Him.
And ask the Holy Spirit to help you view the Bible not as a book of words, but as a way to know and understand God, His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

2 Samuel, Nahum, Praise Prompt, Prayer Prompt, Revelation

7.8.19 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Deliverance and Our First Love


PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• With few exceptions, the term “deliver” rings with excitement and possibilities.
The delivery of a baby is met with joy and happiness…
And on the other end of the spectrum of extremes, the delivery of a pizza may bring its own brand of happiness.
(Especially when you’re on the verge of “hangry!”)
Everyone enjoys a moment of elation when they find their recent Amazon order has delivered and in December, the drivers of FedEx, UPS, and the USPS all enjoy an upswing in their popularity as they make their deliveries.
We get excited about these things.
In 2 Samuel 22, David wrote a song about being delivered.
Consider the first stanza of the song found in verses 2-4 ESV.
“He said, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.’”
This song was about how God delivered David from Saul who was relentlessly pursuing him in an attempt to kill him.
It’s not likely that you are being chased by an angry king, but you do have an enemy who wants to destroy you.
Satan has despised mankind since he first tempted Eve with fruit in the garden.
He may lure us under the pretense of friendliness, but there is no friendship with the enemy of God.
And God, in His infinite love for humanity, offers us deliverance.
The cross is the symbol of complete delivery from sin, addiction, poor choices, disappointments, hurt, anger, regret, shame, discouragement, hopelessness, and the list goes on culminating in the ultimate deliverance—delivery from eternal punishment in hell.
After we accept Jesus as our Savior, we recognize His deliverance, but time has a way of dulling the joy of that exciting moment.
Jesus spoke these words to the church at Ephesus, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4 ESV).
Jesus, our Deliverer, should be our first love and if we go back to David’s song in 2 Samuel, we find the answer to return to our first love—“I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.”
When we keep praise for our Deliverer on our lips and in our hearts, we are able to stay focused on our first love—The One who redeemed and delivered us with His own blood.
Today, as you pray, give praise to the Savior who is worthy of all praise.
Thank Him for delivering you.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you stay focused on your first love and to not take the delivery from your sins for granted.

1 Thessalonians, 2 Samuel, Ephesians, Praise Prompt, Prayer Prompt

3.8.19 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Praise & Deliverance


PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Today is our 731st daily Praise & Prayer Prompt which means that today, we’re officially starting Year 3.
I’m so grateful to have all of you with me as we have spent two full years talking about prayer and the praiseworthiness of God every morning!
Today, our signature verse is 2 Samuel 22:50, “For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to your name.”
This comes from David’s Song of Deliverance, which details how God delivered David from the hands of King Saul.
It’s a beautiful prayer of praise to the one and only almighty God!
We may not experience the fear of literally running for our lives, but we do have an enemy.
An enemy who wants to destroy us even more than Saul wanted to kill David.
While Satan knows he cannot separate God’s children from salvation, he uses weapons of discouragement, anger, bitterness, pride, addiction, and hopelessness as his tools to prevent us from sharing the Gospel and keep us from fellowship with Jesus Christ.
The fight is real, Friends.
And it’s an ongoing, daily attack.
Satan is relentless and he knows his time is short.
Our job is to put on the Armor of God every day (Ephesians 6:10-18) and our weapon is constant prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
It’s a matter of being ever-mindful of the Holy Spirit and staying in constant communication with Him.
Today, as you pray, thank God for His deliverance and salvation.
Acknowledge His worthiness to be praised.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be focused on Him in all you do, and to help you in the ongoing battle against our enemy.

2 Samuel, John, Praise Prompt, Prayer Prompt, Proverbs

12.29.18 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Friends Turned Family


PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I’m an only child but I’ve been blessed to have many good friends.
Some of whom are so close, that the term “friend” is not really appropriate.
They are family.
One of my very oldest and dearest friends-made-family is home from Indiana and today, I get to see her for lunch (and as you can see by my timestamp vs the time MGFL is usually posted… I’ve seriously overslept)!
Amy and I go back to the 8th grade.
She has been with me for…
Hang on, gotta do the math…
70% of my life.
And her whole family has become my adopted family; and my family has become theirs.
I love these people.
The Bible speaks of close friends.
Before he was king, David’s BFF was Jonathan and in 2 Samuel 1:26, David referred to Jonathan as a brother.
Then Jesus Himself surrounded Himself with friends who were disciples, telling them, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Today, as you pray, thank God for the family we make through friendship.
Thank Him for the joy that comes from knowing friends who love you and know you like family.

2 Samuel, Ephesians, John, Luke, Praise Prompt, Prayer Prompt

12.3.19 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Feeling Like an Outcast


PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Sometimes, we all feel like an outcast.
Sometimes, it’s all in our own imagination…
Sometimes, it’s a feeling we get after doing something we shouldn’t have…
And sometimes, we are legitimately in situations where right or wrong, we are excluded by the people around us.
Whatever the circumstances, feeling like an outcast isn’t a fun place to be.
I was reading this morning when I came across 2 Samuel 14:14b ESV, “But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.”
These words were spoken to David by a woman who had been sent to him to convince him that he needed to bring his son, Absolom, out of exile.
Backstory here – Absolom had run off to another country a few years earlier after he murdered his brother, Amnon (who raped their sister, Tamar).
The woman’s words to David were profound, even out of the context of the story.
We are ALL outcasts.
When Adam and Eve fell to temptation and contaminated the whole human race with sin, we were all automatically outcast from a relationship with a Holy and perfect God.
But God, in His immeasurable love for us, had a plan.
A plan for redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
So though our sin condemns us to exile from God, when we accept the gift of salvation that Jesus offers, we are restored…
Brought back from our banishment…
Not because we’ve done anything to deserve it, but because our Redeemer lives and because He loves us (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Today, as you pray, thank God for His plan to restore us to fellowship with Him.
Thank Jesus for His willingness to be the perfect sacrifice so that we will never have to be an outcast again.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be a living testimony for other who need to be reminded that God has a plan; that you were once lost, but now you’re found (Luke 15:24)…
To show others that redemption and restoration are free for the taking for anyone who believes.

1 Kings, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, Genesis, Isaiah, John, Joshua, Matthew, Ruth

8.18.18 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Lessons From the Genealogy of Jesus


PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• When it comes to reading the Bible, I know few who relish reading the genealogies.
I get it.
Long lists of names, most of which are crazy-hard to pronounce.
If you’re like me, at some point you’ve wondered why those long lists of family records are important to Scripture.
They actually do have a purpose and though they are challenging to get through, they ultimately help point us to our connection to Jesus.
It’s actually kind of fascinating if you get past the list of names.
In Matthew 1:1-17, we read the genealogy of Jesus.
I’m just going to hit the major players here: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Tamar, Rahab, Boaz, Ruth, Jesse, David, Bathsheba, and Solomon.
You’ve undoubtedly heard stories of some or most of these people, but for a quick recap and to add to the genealogy that’s not listed in Matthew…
Abraham was a descendant on Noah (Noah was his 8th great-grandfather)…
Abraham and his wife, Sarah, tried to hurry up God’s promise of a son through Sarah’s servant (Hagar/Ishmael), but in God’s timing, they eventually had Isaac.
From Isaac, came Jacob who tricked his older brother out of his birthright, and with four different women, he had 12 sons who were the foundation for the 12 Tribes of Israel.
Judah was one of those sons and he had a daughter-in-law, Tamar, who married one son…
That guy died without any children, so Judah had his other son marry her…
He died too, and so Judah sent Tamar away with the promise that she could marry his third son when he was old enough.
But he reneged on the promise, so Tamar was a childless widow — a really bad position to be in back in those days.
So when Tamar heard Judah was coming to town, she dressed as a prostitute, slept with her father-in-law, and she and Judah became parents to twin boys.
One of those twins was named Perez, and a few generations later, Rahab was born.
Rahab was the prostitute who helped Joshua out in Jericho.
Rahab’s son was Boaz, the awesome good-guy of the Old Testament who married Ruth.
But Ruth was a Moabite, making her a descendant of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his daughter.
Nevertheless, Ruth and Boaz had a son, Obed, who would have Jesse and ultimately become David’s grandfather.
David was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons and the one Jesse deemed to be the least likely candidate when Samuel showed up looking for the next king of Israel.
David was known as “a man after God’s own heart), yet he wasn’t a squeaky clean guy.
He lusted after another man’s wife (Bathsheba), got her pregnant, then had her husband killed.
He was a murderer and adulterer, yet when he repented, he repented with all his heart.
Then there was Solomon, the second son of David and Bathsheba (she was David’s wife by this point) and he was the son who inherited the throne.
He asked God for wisdom and as a result, enjoyed extraordinary wealth and blessings.
But Solomon allowed himself to be tempted by women and false gods, thus creating a big ‘ole mess in which the kingdom was split apart.
Whew!
Talk about some family drama, right?!
Where’s Dr. Phil for this one??
Yet, Jesus was a descendant of these men and women…
These sinners.
He was related to a host of people who broke every one of the Ten Commandments.
So why is this included in Scripture?
Because no matter what our pasts are, Jesus came to free us, redeem us, and He loves us no matter what.
I read a quote the other week that said, “You will never look into the eyes of a person that God does not love.”
Isn’t that beautiful?
That truth is confirmed in John 3:16-17, which says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
Our family lineage is a part of a large tapestry that showcases God’s love.
It may not look the way we think it should look, but if we take a step back, and look at it from a different perspective, trusting in God’s infinite wisdom, we can see threads of hope.
Love.
Redemption.
Grace.
Mercy.
Jesus’ own genealogy is an incredible example of His ability to bring beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
Today, as you pray, remember you’re not the only one with a past.
The Bible tells story after story of those who have tried to rush God, do their own thing, seek their own agenda, hurt others, told lies, broken promises, and yet, God’s faithfulness endured.
His grace covers it all to those who seek forgiveness.
Thank God for His goodness.
Thank Jesus for His willingness to not only be connected to us despite our sins, but to die to save us from them.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:

  • Genesis 9:18; 11:10-26 (Abraham’s relationship to Noah)
  • Genesis 16:1-16 (Abraham/Hagar/Ishmael)
  • Genesis 21:1-7 (Isaac’s birth)
  • Genesis 25:29-34; 27:1-41 (Jacob and the birthright incident)
  • Genesis 49:1-28 (The 12 Tribes of Israel)
  • Genesis 38:1-30 (Judah and Tamar)
  • Joshua 2:1-24 (Rahab helped Joshua)
  • Ruth 1-4 (Ruth and Boaz)
  • Ruth 1:4 (Ruth as a Moabite)
  • Genesis 19:30-38 (Lot’s incest with his daughters and the beginning of the Moabites)
  • Ruth 4:13-22 (Ruth/Boaz/Obed/Jesse/David)
  • 1 Samuel 16:1-13 (Jesse reluctantly introduced his youngest son David to Samuel)
  • 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22 (David as a man after God’s own heart)
  • 2 Samuel 11-12 and Psalm 51:4 (David’s affair with Bathsheba, her husband’s murder, David’s remorse)
  • 1 Kings 3:1-15 (Solomon’s request for wisdom)
  • 1 Kings 11:1-6 (Solomon’s wives and foreign gods)

1 Thessalonians, 2 Samuel, Matthew, Praise Prompt, Prayer Prompt

5.25.18 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Lessons From the Prayer of David


PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Friends, I need you to do me a favor.
Please pull out your Bibles or pull up your Bible app.
Find 2 Samuel 7:18-29.
Will you please read it?
Today’s topic is center around David’s prayer.
The Prophet Nathan had just informed David of God’s plan and promise to build from David a lasting dynasty.
What I love about this prayer is 1) the awe-struck humility of David and 2) David’s focus on God’s greatness rather than his own.
It’s quite long so that’s why I’m not including it, but some of my favorite phrases are:

  • “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”
  • “How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you.”
  • “May your name be honored forever so that everyone will say, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is God over Israel!’”
  • “Your words are truth, and you have promised these good things to your servant.”
  • “…when you grant a blessing to your servant, O Sovereign Lord, it is an eternal blessing!”

So often, our prayers are self-focused.
Y’all have heard me call those a “Heavenly to-do list.”
And I struggle with this!
I have a prayer list I keep that on an app, prayers in my heart, the prayers I see pop up on Facebook… there are so many things we need God’s help with.
But in the middle of our prayer lists is a great, good, generous, loving, caring, almighty God who is bigger than all our requests and worthy of all our praise.
A big takeaway from reading David’s Prayer is he never acknowledged that he felt God’s blessings were deserved.
He started the prayer off with “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”
David was a shepherd.
He had a simple upbringing with a humble heart.
He didn’t let power or money override his humility because He knew that all blessings were a gift from God.
And that knowledge not only made him grateful, but he was in awe that God showed such personal interest in him.
Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:9-13.
And as it demonstrates in the first lines, our prayer priority should be praise to God: “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
My questions to you today… are your prayers shaped in humble awe and reverence to God?
Or are they a checklist?
I admit that too often, my prayers look more like a checklist.
And I think maybe, that’s one of the reasons Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Never stop praying.”
When we keep the prayer lines open as an ongoing dialogue with God, we don’t need to worry about handing over a big list at once.
We can take our time.
Savor His goodness and power and keep the lines of communication open.
And I have to point out one more observation before I wrap it up today.
David’s prayer was written around 1000 BC, give or take a few decades.
Jesus’ instructions to pray arrived a thousand years later and with His arrival, God’s promise to David for was fulfilled.
As a descendant of David, Jesus is our Heavenly King and He will reign forever, thus securing the eternal dynasty.
Today, as you pray, acknowledge God as David did—with humble reverence and gratitude that He cares about you and your life.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray without ceasing and to prioritize your prayers on God’s great goodness before your own to-dos.

2 Corinthians, 2 Samuel, John, Praise Prompt, Psalm

3.10.18 Praise Prompt: The Family Tree of Jesus


PRAISE PROMPT ••• My birthday was in December, but I just ordered my birthday present a couple of weeks ago – AncestryDNA kits for me, my husband, son, and mom!
I’m so excited to get the results and find out how they match up with my genealogy research.
It’s a fascinating exercise – to learn where you come from.
I joke that I don’t have a family tree as much as I have a family twig…
We are a very small family, unlike my husband’s for whom a typical family gathering can be 80+ people.
Whether you know your family roots or not, the Bible has much to say about family.
From how to parent and care for our relatives, all the way to the family of Christians.
In 2 Corinthians 6:18 NLT, it says, “And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
The Apostle Paul was quoting from a promise God made about David in 2 Samuel 7:14.
God said, “Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.” (2 Samuel 7:16).
In verses 18-9, it says, “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, ‘Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And now, Sovereign Lord, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! Do you deal with everyone this way, O Sovereign Lord?’”
We know the branches of David’s family tree include Jesus Himself!
But when David asked the question, “Do you deal with everyone this way, O Sovereign Lord?” the answer is yes!
If we have believed in Jesus as the Son of God, and all He did to save us, we are the adopted sons and daughters of God.
John 1:12 confirms this, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
No matter the state of our earthly family, we can hold tight to God.
David wrote in Psalm 27:10, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”
Today, let’s praise the Father for the opportunity to be grafted onto the family tree of Jesus.
Let’s thank Him for accepting us as His own children, and for loving us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us.

1 Chronicles, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, Jeremiah, Prayer Prompt, Psalm

1.14.18 Prayer Prompt: Trusting God

PRAYER PROMPT ••• The future holds many things: fear, uncertainty, and doubt, to name a few. 
It also holds potential joy, but it’s not as natural for us to look at the horizon and see that possibility. 
It’s easier to brace for a traumatic impact rather than run face-first into the unknown. 
King David wrote in Psalm 139:16, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” 
God knew David would be a shepherd who would kill a giant with a slingshot (1 Samuel 17), and that he’d eventually become king of Israel (1 Samuel 16). 
God also knew David would have multiple wives, including Bathsheba whom he began an adulterous affair with while her husband was on the front lines of war (2 Samuel 11). 
God knew David inside out (Psalm 139:13-14). 
The good, the bad, the ugly. 
But He also knew David would have a repentant heart that would seek and follow the will of God (1 Samuel 13:13-14). 
And because of that, before David’s life began, God chose the line of David for the very ancestry of Jesus Christ (1 Chronicles 17:11-14). 
God knew all the details about David’s life well-before David drew his first breath, and David recognized this truth when he penned this Psalm. 
It’s easy for us to see the good that came out of David’s uncertain future when he was nothing but a shepherd. 
But he didn’t. 
He was told he’d be king but had to wait 15 years for it to happen. 
That’s a long time to look at a future, especially when you’ve got the current king looking to kill you (1 Samuel 19)! 
With all that said, David trusted his future to the hands of God, even amid threats, anguish, bad choices, and regret. 
He recognized the sovereignty of God and decided it was okay that he wasn’t sure about the future. 
Because He was sure God was. 
It’s a great example of trust to model our own lives after. 
Today, as you pray, thank God for already knowing what lies beyond the horizon. 
Remind Him that you know He has good plans for you as promised in Jeremiah 29:11. 
Ask Him to help you be patient as He prepares you for the future He already knows.

2 Peter, 2 Samuel, Luke, Matthew, Prayer, Prayer Prompt

6.9.17 Prayer Prompt: Pray. Trust. Wait.

PRAYER PROMPT ••• I love to plan / give gifts, but I hate to wait to give them. 
I attribute it to being born on Christmas Day. 
Since most people have two dates to look forward to (Christmas and their birthday) compared to my one day… well, that’s the only explanation I have about my impulsiveness to either give gifts early or tell what the gift is ahead of time; it drives my family nuts. 
It’s hard to wait on something you’re excited about, especially if you’re like me. 
(Because as much as I love to plan the gift, I don’t like surprises. I tend to forget other people do.) 
When it comes to prayer, many of us are guilty of this. 
We say our heartfelt prayer to God, close with “Amen,” and start watching the clock. 
As capable as God is to snap His fingers and answer our requests, He’s neither a genie, nor is He under any obligation to us. 
On the contrary, we are under obligation to Him! 
But He always answers. 
Sometimes “Yes.” 
Sometimes “No.” 
Sometimes “Wait.” 
I don’t know about you, but the answer “Wait” is sometimes harder than an outright “No!” 
Especially when we know our requests line up with what is scripturally stated as God’s will (i.e., the salvation of a loved one – 2 Peter 3:9). 
The thing about praying is it goes hand-in-hand with trusting. 
And trusting goes hand-in-hand with waiting. 
When we pray, we have to be willing to remember that God IS trustworthy (2 Samuel 7:28). 
And as His children, He loves to bestow gifts on us (Matthew 7:11), but just as a parent, sometimes the “wait” is for our own good. 
But we shouldn’t ask once and walk away; keep talking to God about what’s on your heart, but emphasize His will above your own (Luke 18:1-8 and Luke 22:42). 
At 42 years old, I’m still trying to master the art of waiting. 
I suspect it’s a lesson I’ll be learning all my life, but I trust in God to keep His promises. 
After all, if the faith of a mustard seed is powerful enough to move a mountain (Matthew 17:20), how far will your faith / trust take you? 
Today, as you pray, ask God to help you wait. 
Ask Him to help you trust. 
And as you pray, above all, pray for His will be done.
NOTE: Feel free to comment, but these prayer prompts are meant to be between you and God. Matthew 6:6 — But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.