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.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• In Revelation 22:13, Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
This is a powerful illustration for us to understand the timelessness of Jesus.
Because He is the Son of God, it’s easy to assume that God came first.
But Jesus and God, along with the Holy Spirit, have always been separate and equal parts of the whole Trinity.
One has not existed without the other two.
Jesus, as the Alpha, was present at the beginning of the world’s creation and He will be present at the end of the world.
Genesis 1:26a says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness.’” (Emphasis mine.)
The “our” was a reference to the Trinity, including Jesus.
Jesus emphasized this in John 10:30, when He said, “I and the Father are one.”
Further demonstration of Jesus’ timelessness is found in John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Here, John acknowledged Christ (“the Word”) as being present at the Creation of the world and as the Creator.
It’s impossible to fully wrap our finite brains around this truth and for centuries, people have tried to explain the Trinity through various illustrations…
The egg being the most popular.
The shell, the yolk, and the white are separate but make up one egg.
The problem with this illustration is that while there are three components of the egg, those three can be separated apart from the other two.
God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are always one.
Anyway, this is theology that is way above my head.
But as I was praying this morning, the overwhelming ginormity of God really hit me in a new way.
It’s good to reflect on His bigness and everlasting existence.
Acknowledging it humbles us and helps us revere Him all the more, especially when you consider that He
- created us
- loves us
- died for us
- conquered death for us
- watches over us
- guides us
- wants a relationship with us.
And those seven are just the tip of the iceberg of what He’s done for us.
Friends, you and I are only an infinitesimal fraction of the countless miracles He’s made, and yet…
The Trinity of God/Jesus/Holy Spirit wants to get our attention.
It’s not for His benefit.
God doesn’t need us.
It’s for our benefit because nothing is better than worshipping and praising our King and Savior.
Today, as you pray, reflect on the hugeness of who the Trinity is and the countless ways He’s worked in your life (that you’re aware of).
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with awe of His greatness and to humble your spirit before Him.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Neuschwanstein Castle is a castle in Germany that my husband has toured and loves.
So much so that one of the rooms in our basement is called “The German Room,” and we have several pictures of Neuschwanstein on the wall (plus a suit of armor… and one of Wayne’s drum sets… because, you know, priorities, haha!).
The castle served as the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s ”Sleeping Beauty.”
It is a glorious masterpiece of architecture.
If it weren’t for my significant fear of flying, my husband and I would have probably visited Neuschwanstein by now.
He is itching to go again, but as for me—right now, I’m content to just admire it from half-a-world away.
The castle is iconic and those who have visited it are overwhelmed by the incredible building and glorious vistas that surround it.
But when it comes to magnificence, nothing is of course, more so than God.
His glory is so intense and great that He told Moses, “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (Exodus 33:20).
And in Revelation 21:22, it says, “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
Isn’t that amazing?
God’s glory shines so brightly in heaven that there is no need for sun, moon, or stars.
Though we cannot see God, we can still get a glimpse of His glory.
We see it when we read His word.
We feel it when His Spirit comforts us.
We experience it when we are given His peace.
We see vestiges of it when we look at the world and universe He created.
There are those who make the argument that because you can’t see God, He doesn’t exist.
But those of us who have trusted in Him can see Him!
We may not be able to see His face, but He gives us glimpses of His glorious self through the miracle of His love, grace, and mercy.
And it’s my prayer that those who have yet to see His glory will have the eyes of their hearts opened so they too can view it with awe and wonder.
Today, as you pray, praise God for being so glorious!
Thank Him that though we can’t see Him, we can experience His glory!
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be ever-aware of it.
Pray that more people will see it.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Some days are just depressing.
Whether it’s the weather with a dreary, grey overcast sky, or just a day when we’re struggling with emotions…
There are days when things just feel hopeless.
But hopelessness should never be trusted.
It’s a liar.
Let’s take a look at the worst Saturday in the history of the world.
It was the day after Jesus died on the cross.
The events of Saturday aren’t recorded in the Bible; it was the Sabbath Day.
But the disciples were flesh and blood people with real emotions, so we can make some fairly good assumptions.
If you’ve ever lost a loved one, especially when it was unexpected, you know what I’m talking about.
There’s a surreal feeling that makes you feel like you’re moving through mud.
Everything feels like it’s going in slow motion and the weight of the world feels like it’s on your shoulders.
It seems incomprehensible that life will ever feel normal or that laughter will ever visit your heart again.
And on that Saturday, there were 11 of the 12 disciples who were undoubtedly shell-shocked with grief, remorse, guilt, confusion, hurt, anguish, and a host of other emotions.
Jesus, their teacher was dead.
Judas had betrayed Jesus and turned Him over to the authorities before he committed suicide.
Peter had done the unthinkable and denied Christ three times.
The others had scattered and only a few remained for the actual crucifixion (according to the Gospels of Luke and John—women, acquaintances, and the disciple John as told in Luke 23:49 and John 19:26).
The veil at the temple had torn, there had been an earthquake, and dead people had emerged from tombs (Matthew 27:51-53).
It was the day after the worst day in the history of the world.
If ever a day could be defined as hopeless, it was this day.
We know the rest of the story.
And even on our very worst days, it’s the truth that we can still cling to because Sunday was coming.
As the angel told Mary when he told her that she would be the mother of Jesus, despite her virginity, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
And it’s promised in Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
For that reason, we know that there is hope, even on the most hopeless days.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus that His story didn’t end on a Friday.
Thank Him that even on a day that seems hopeless, we can have hope because of what happened next on a Sunday.
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with this truth!
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Yesterday’s headline news was the fire at Notre Dame.
The history nerd in me is beyond sad about it.
I visited the Notre Dame when I was 18 and it was among my most memorable experiences in Europe.
The cathedral’s magnificence and grandeur are so much more impressive in person.
Already rebuilding efforts are being planned and several prominent businessmen have pledged over $300 million for reconstruction.
As horrifying as it was to watch this stunning and historical piece of architecture and beloved landmark burn, it reminded me of a couple of things.
First, the church is not a building.
It’s the people.
Jesus said, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18).
Second, as grand as that building is, it’s nothing to the grandeur we can expect to see in the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21).
But let’s spend some time on the first point.
Doesn’t it break your heart a little that throughout the world, we’re more worried about a building than we are the church—the body of believers?
We are more consumed with rebuilding a building and ensuring the strength and stability of its walls and foundation than we are ensuring the collective strength and stability of the people who make up the church.
This is a wake-up call, Friends.
It’s not about the building, it’s about us.
We are the church.
We should be collectively contributing to what it really means to be the church and our call to fulfill the Great Commission that points others to Jesus.
Buildings can easily be destroyed, as we saw yesterday.
Nothing manmade will last forever.
But what we do as the body of Christ has eternal significance.
Today, as you pray, thank God that the church isn’t a building.
Thank Him that we ARE the church.
Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to do your part.
Remember the truth of Ephesians 2:20-22, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.”
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• This is our third and final day on Psalm 23.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at verses 5 and 6.
Verse 5 says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
David had his fair share of enemies.
But he was a constant model of trusting faith in God.
Let’s compare that verse to Romans 8:31 which says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
What others think of us is none of our business; and since we have God’s salvation and protection, we don’t need to worry about the opinions of others, even those who want to harm us in some way.
This verse shifts from the analogy of sheep and shepherd to that of a friendship.
David had a friendship with God.
Can we say the same about our relationship with Jesus?
Jesus, our Good Shepherd, said in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
We are invited to the table of the King of Kings!
And we know that a king’s table is abundant and overflowing with good things.
Let’s move to the final verse of Psalm 23, verse 6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
David wasn’t perfect, but he was faithful and he trusted God’s forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love!
He trusted, even if he didn’t understand God’s ways.
Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
With that truth, indeed “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Today, as you pray, thank God for the words of comfort and confidence found in Psalm 23.
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the faith to look ahead and not be discouraged by the moment.
Tell Jesus that you want a deeper friendship with Him.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I admit I didn’t pay any attention to the news that there was a super blood wolf moon eclipse this week.
So while others were looking up in awe and wonder, I was sound asleep.
I saw some amazing pictures, though!
One of my dear friends is a professional photographer and she captured some extraordinary pictures of it.
The thing is, whether it is a super moon or a regular moon—it’s a reflection of God’s greatness and creativity.
The same is true of the ocean, trees, flowers, and all of God’s creation.
Our problem is, of course, that we tend to get complacent and we take things for granted.
But in Psalms 33:8, it says, “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!”
These words are a reminder that we are to be filled with amazement at the ingenuity of our great and loving God.
Because no being on earth can do what He has done.
And because of all He’s made and done, we can hold tight to the words of the twenty-four elders described in Revelations, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
Nothing can be made from nothing.
Everything has a creator.
And our world is no exception.
Today, as you pray, consider the amazing, wonderful, all-powerful, living God who made the world and universe in which we live.
Ask the Holy Spirit to keep wonder and awe fresh on your heart every day so you can be ever-diligent to appreciate God’s magnificent greatness.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• When I was 18, I went to Paris with my literature teacher and a few other girls from school.
Our trip started in England and included Switzerland and Germany, but Paris was my favorite.
I think the Eiffel Tower is beautiful and standing at the top of it, while admiring Paris, and the Seine River remain strong in my memory, even twenty-(mumbling-sounds)-six years later.
It’s fairly common knowledge that the Parisians of the 1880s did not share the modern day perspective about the Eiffel Tower.
It was considered an eye-sore, and an embarrassment on the Parisian landscape.
Built to serve as the gateway to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was scheduled for destruction in 1909.
But flash forward a couple of decades, and the Eiffel Tower was discovered to be helpful with communications.
So it was allowed to stay, and today it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.
All this to say… we can find something in common with the Eiffel Tower.
It doesn’t matter about our pasts or what others have thought about us.
We too were headed for destruction.
But our Almighty God and Great Redeemer had mercy. Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Once we’ve surrendered our life to Christ, and allow the Holy Spirit to live in us, we have a new purpose.
We are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
We have this promise from God Himself.
In Revelations 21:5, it says, “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”
And because God never breaks a promise, we can take Him at His word that He can do new and great things in us and through us—not because we are able, but because through Him, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
Today, as you pray, thank God for His ability to make all things new.
Thank Him that though you were headed for destruction, He saved you through Jesus Christ.
Ask the Holy Spirit to continue making you new every day.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t like snow.
A Southern girl through and through, I lost the novelty of snow after I moved north to Ohio and experienced a few winters up there.
I’m back home in NC now where we don’t know how to drive in it and we aren’t prepared for it.
Of course, many disagree with me.
“It’s pretty, and peaceful, and blah blah blah…”
To me, it’s cold, and wet, and it stresses me out.
And our local meteorologists are calling for it this weekend.
As is always the case when winter weather is predicted, I sincerely hope that our weatherpersons’ slept through winter precipitation class in college and that they really don’t know what they are talking about.
I don’t usually go around wishing for people to fail, but I am praying our meteorologists’ have missed the mark on this one.
(To all you snow-enthusiasts… if we get snow, you are more than welcome to come to my house and take all you want.)
But as I woke up grumbling over the potential forecast, I began to think of another forecast…
One I am excited about…
The return of Jesus Christ.
Our Bible is full of prophecies that were foretold years, decades, centuries, and even millennia before they were fulfilled.
2 Peter 1:19-21 says, “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
And the return of Christ is indeed in the forecast of our future.
But unlike the potential for our weatherman to be wrong, this one is guaranteed.
Jesus said in Revelation 22:7, “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
It’s one of the reasons we are reminded in Matthew 24:36-44 to be diligent and watch for Him.
We don’t know when He will arrive, but the rapture of the church will occur.
The question is, are you prepared?
This isn’t a “run to the store for milk and bread” kind of preparedness, but a sincere understanding of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the grave…
Personally knowing the King of Kings whose birthday we’ll soon celebrate…
Today, as you pray, thank God that He already knows everything — from the accuracy of a winter weather forecast to the return of Jesus Christ our Savior.
Pray for those who need to get ready, and pray for a revival that will renew or replenish your heart’s readiness to meet Jesus face-to-face.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Proverbs 10:4 says, “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”
When you read the verse, your first thought is likely about rich vs. poor; lazy vs. hard-working; or substandard work vs. a great work-ethic.
But this verse has far more to say.
As Christians, part of our responsibility is to diligently seek out God’s truth and develop a personal relationship with Jesus.
We are indwelled by the Holy Spirit from the moment we accept the gift of salvation, and it’s His earnest will that we surrender control of our lives to Him.
But the truth is, you get out what you put in.
If you don’t make time to foster and develop a friendship with Jesus, the best you’ll have is an acquaintanceship… albeit, it’s one-sided.
He already knows you from the inside out (Psalm 139).
He loves you!
He’s a relationship worth investing in, and until Believers go to Heaven, the Holy Bible is our tool.
Coupled with prayer, daily time in the Word strengthens and empowers us.
We have a choice to be spiritually poor or spiritually rich.
In Revelation 3:17, Jesus said, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
We are often blind to our spiritual poverty until we begin to invest our time, and realize how utterly incapable we are without Christ.
But our generous God will lavish spiritual wealth on all those who diligently seek Him.
Today, as you pray, thank our Creator who wants you to know Him on a personal basis.
Thank Him for His love, and willingness to make His children spiritually rich as they trust in Him and lean on Him in all things.