Morning in the Countryside

I just began reading Joshua and the Children by Joseph F. Girzone and thought I would share the wonderful descriptions in the opening lines:

“Quiet lay upon the meadow like a soft, green blanket.  The sun, a globe of molten gold, shot laser beams across the fields and through the trees, burning away the early morning mist.  The valley began springing to life.  Rusty hinges of cottage doors squeaked open as farmers and factory workers slipped out into the narrow alleys to begin another day.  The air was fresh and cool.  A few friendly voices broke the stillness.  A rooster crowed in the distance.  A lone horse’s hooves and wagon wheels clacked against the stone pavement.  Peace reigned everywhere.  If there were a heaven, its beauty and peace could not surpass the serenity of this countryside.”

Psalm 37:5, 31

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.  The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.”

Psalm 37:5, 31

Bring the Rain

MercyMe’s “Bring the Rain” came on the radio in the car today and these lines really struck me:

“Bring me anything that brings You glory

And I know there’ll be days

When this life brings me pain

But if that’s what it takes to praise You

Jesus, bring the rain.”

What a beautiful confession!

Summary of Max Lucado’s “The Power of a Simple Prayer”

Today I finished Max Lucado’s devotional “The Power of a Simple Prayer.”  Lucado offers his “pocket prayer,” a short, easy-to-remember prayer to use when you can’t find the words to pray.  Here it is:

Father,

You are good.

I need help.  Heal me and forgive me.

They need help.

Thank You.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s take a look at each line of this prayer:

Father,

By addressing God as our Father, we are reminded that we are coming before a God who loves us, who we don’t need to wow with eloquence, before whom we can honestly pour out our hearts.  Just as a child climbs into his daddy’s lap and tells him whatever is on his heart and mind, so we can come before our heavenly Father in prayer.  The power of our prayer is not determined by our style and eloquence, but by the love of our Father.

You are good.

God is a good, good Father, who loves us and is willing to give us what we ask of Him if we ask in true faith.  He is good even when we are not, and He perfects even our weakest, most imperfect prayers.  Because God is good, our prayers are good.

I need help.  Heal me and forgive me.

When we pray this line, we must not only bring our problems to Christ to beseech His help.  We must also bring our sins before Him.  We have to expose ourselves and our sins before God.  We have to expose our wounds to the atmosphere of His grace, so that He can cleanse them and take them away.

They need help.

As we walk through our day with this prayer in our pocket, it is important to include prayers for others.  Just as we have our struggles, we know that each and every other person has their own struggles as well.  Some people have struggles we know about, and others have struggles we will never know.  Some people’s struggles seem huge, and others’ struggles may seem small to us, but every single person that we meet faces their own hurts and painful struggles.  They need help.  Ask God to help them and to heal them if it is His will.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

What a powerful way to end a prayer!  How bold to pray in the name of Jesus, who has unimpeachable authority over all – the rulers of this world, the false religions that try to silence Him, the devil who tried to tempt and kill Him, and even over death!

With this powerful High Priest offering our prayers to God, we can be sure that they are always heard.

 

 

 

Perfection

Always trying to be perfect,

To never let them know

That I have struggles deep inside

I’m too ashamed to show.

 

Always trying to be perfect,

To never let them see

The person I see in the mirror,

A struggling sinner, me.

 

But then my facade begins to tumble

as apart my relationships crumble.

 

Red marks all over my test

Did I really do my best?

 

Mistake after mistake,

I just want to get it right.

Then I hear my heavenly Father’s words,

“You are perfect in My sight.

 

“I sent My Son to die for you,

To cover all your flaws.

I know your sins and frailties,

But I love you for His cause.

 

“So stop reaching for perfection,

You don’t have to play the part.

All that you really need to do

Is seek Me with all your heart.”

Take Your Sins to Christ – Max Lucado

Today I read one of Max Lucado’s devotionals entitled “Take Your Sins to Christ.”  It began with this question:  “When we pray, most of us are able to take our problems to Christ, but what about our sin?”

That made me wonder, why can it be so easy to bring Christ our problems, but so much harder to confess our sins?  I think part of the reason is this:  when we confess our sins, we are placing them upon Christ, our “Sin Bearer,” as Lucado calls Him.  And we know where He has to carry them – to Calvary.  It takes great boldness, then, for us to come before Christ and place these sins upon Him.  How can we feel anything but shame when we know the pain and anguish we are placing upon Him?

Thankfully, we have the comfort that when we pray, we are not coming before someone who is bitter or angry, but before our loving, forgiving Father.

So, bring all your sins to Christ, your Sin Bearer.  This quote from Lucado particularly struck me:  “No sin is too ancient or recent, too evil or insignificant.”  Lay it all upon Him.

Remember God’s promise in Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:  though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

He draws us near to Him, and says to us, “Come.  Bring your sins before Me.  And I will wash them as white as snow.”

Isaiah 55:7 – ” … [Jehovah] will abundantly pardon.”

On Prayer – Quotes from Max Lucado

“Do you ever take a moment to pray but feel like you stumble out of the gate?  Do you have trouble finding the words when it comes time to bow your head?  Remember, the One who hears your prayers is your [Father].  You don’t need to wow Him with eloquence.”

“Just as a happy child cannot mis-hug, the sincere heart cannot mis-pray.”

“If prayer depends on how I pray, I’m sunk.  But if the power of prayer depends on the One who hears the prayer, and if the One who hears the prayer is my [Father], then I have hope.”

Galatians 4:6 – “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”