A Prayer for a Husband — Going Out, Not Knowing Where You’re Going

Read Through the Bible in 2 Years: Proverbs 3:9-10; Genesis 12-13

"Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you." - Genesis 12:1 ESV

Abram, too, finds his way into the Hebrews Hall of Faith, like Abel and Noah that we read about recently.

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." - Hebrews 11:8 ESV

In reading Genesis 12-13, I wanted to either focus on Abram failing to protect his beautiful wife from the advances of the Pharaoh or on Abram choosing to trust God and go out to an unknown land.

But, instead, I’m going to choose Door #3, that in spite of Abram’s great shortcomings, he was God’s chosen man called for a specific purpose. Like Noah, a righteous man, chosen by God for a great purpose who became drunk with wine shortly after surviving the worldwide flood, Abram obeys God in going out to this new place, yet he gives way to fear.

Like we read in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

From Abel to Noah to Abram to Bill and Kim Endraske, each of us have been saved by our faith, not by our works. Yet our faith will lead us to do works of faith, whether in offering good sacrifices, or building big boats, or going out to foreign lands, or writing blogs one-day-at-a-time, may we walk faithfully with our God.

Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the precious gift of faith. You did not choose me because of any deed that I had done. In fact, You cast Your eyes and Your love upon me while I was Your enemy. You called me and chose me and drew me and put faith into me … and all I can say is THANK YOU!

Lord, I pray for my husband to hear You loud and clear. Help him to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid. Help him to resist the temptation to take the easy way out. Father, I pray that You will be faithful to complete the good work that You have begun in him. Direct his steps and protect him from the schemes and lies of the evil one. Give him the strength and wisdom to follow You. Help him to know Your Word and hear Your voice as You lead him.

Father, help us as wives to submit to our husbands, not to fear anything that is frightening. Encourage us to sit daily at Your feet, that we might trust You when life is scary. Help us to keep a careful watch over our mouths and our minds, thinking and speaking the truth in love. Make us godly helpmeets, doing good to our husbands all the days of his life, so that his heart can trust us and he will have no lack of gain.

Lord, we submit to You and Your will for our lives. We will go where you send us, when you send us, trusting that Your ways and thoughts are always better than ours.

In the Good and Sovereign Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

God Disperses the People + Psalm 16

Read Through the Bible in 2 Years: Genesis 11, Psalm 16

Remember when God told Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Well, Noah’s family multiplied, but they didn’t want to spread out to fill the earth. They didn’t want to be dispersed. They wanted to stay in one place and make a name for themselves.

But God …

Like we read yesterday about God’s sovereign purpose and wisdom in the lives of Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, God again carries out His good plan of mankind filling the earth. God confused the people’s language … for their good and His glory!

Can you image how that must have felt to suddenly not be able to communicate with your own family and friends? I’m sure that was very frustrating! It reminds me of the times I’ve spent in China, Hungary, and Russia.

But God …

I’m so thankful that God scattered those first people all over the world, and so thankful that God sovereignly ordained for Christians to be scattered all over the world so people from every tribe and tongue might know and worship Him — we’ll get to that again later but if you can’t wait take a peek at Acts 8:1-4 for a taste of how persecution caused the early believers in Christ to be scattered.

Let’s praise the Lord together from Psalm 16 –

Preserve me, O God. I take refuge in You.

You are my Lord. I have no good apart from You.

Protect us from the dangers and sins or running after other gods.

Lord, You are my chosen portion and my cup.

You hold my lot. You are my inheritance.

Even when things seem bad to me, You are working in my life, bringing good out of the ashes.

I bless You, Lord, for You are the One who gives me counsel.

You are always before me.

Because You are at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Strengthen me to turn to You when I don’t know what to do.

Strengthen me to trust and obey Your every word.

In You my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices.

In You my flesh dwells secure.

In You there is fullness of joy.

In You are pleasures forevermore.

You are my hope and life.

You will not abandon me.

You have made known to me the path of LIFE.

You are all I need.

Be glorified in me.

In the powerful and good Name of Jesus, Amen.

Give Me Jesus

Being Fruitful and Multiplying

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Psalm 14, Genesis 8:1-9:17

"The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." 
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one."
- Psalm 14:1-3
"And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth." - Genesis 9:1

Despite God’s recognition that the “intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” God commanded Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. In fact, God repeated this command a second time. (Genesis 8:21, 9:1, 7)

Note that this command was directed at the men in the family, not the women. Women can’t have babies on their own. We need willing husbands in order to bear children. Both husbands and wives should be willing vessels for the blessings that the Lord wants to send to us.

Sisters, let’s not be like fools who think, say, or live like there is no God. Rather, let us receive with open hands, homes, and wombs the children that the Lord desires for us. As Christians, we should recognize the incredible gift that every child is, whether by adoption or conception.

We must also be fruitful and multiply the kingdom of God by training up our children in the way they should go. As mothers, we can be powerful disciple makers, bringing our children to the throne of God morning, noon, and night. Don’t underestimate the incredible impact of a humble, praying mother.

As my years of child bearing have ended, and this new season of grandmothering has begun, I pray that I’ll continue to live a fruitful, multiplying life – encouraging and serving my children as parents, teaching my grandchildren the ways of the Lord, and making disciples in my everyday life.

How can you lead a fruitful, multiplying life? I’d love to hear your comments.

Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father,

You are a good Father who loves to give good gifts to Your children. Thank you for the precious gift it is to be a mother.

I pray that you would bless each of my children with children in Your perfect timing.

For those who are single, I pray that they will use this time to glorify You with their minds and lives, making the most of these days.

For those who are married and anxiously praying for a child, I pray that You will help them to wait well. I ask You, Lord, to give them children – by conception or adoption – fill their homes with the next generation of disciples of Christ.

For those who are married and in the thick of motherhood, I pray they will learn to cast all their cares on You, fully trusting that You care for them. I pray that You would make them fruitful and multiply and to receive each gift that you have ordained for them. I pray their husbands would desire the gift of children and be faithful servant leaders.

For those empty nesters and grandmothers, I pray they will use their time well, living reverent lives, teaching and serving well the younger women. Make them prayer warriors and arm-lifters and godly examples for those who are following in their footsteps.

In the wonderful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Finding Favor and Success in the Sight of God and Man

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Proverbs 3:1-8; Genesis 6-7

"But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.... Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God." Genesis 6:8, 9b
"Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; 
Bind them around your neck; 
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
Proverbs 3:3-6

Like Abel found favor with God because of his faith, so did Noah. Noah walked with God, therefore he lived a righteous life. Noah had reverent fear of the Lord, therefore he obeyed God and was saved. Like Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”

None of us can live a righteous life on our own. It is only in trusting the Lord that we are able to follow Him.

Think of how Noah must have felt to be told by God to build a boat in the middle of a desert. Think of how he must have faced ridicule. Peter refers to Noah as a “herald of righteousness.” (2 Peter 2:5). Imagine the animosity he must have faced, maybe even from his own family. Don’t forget what we just read about Cain and Abel – Cain hated Abel because Abel’s deeds were righteous (1 John 3:12).

As you read through Genesis, try to remember that these are real people living real lives among real communities not much unlike our own. Yet, we have two things they didn’t have — the Holy Spirit and God’s living, written word in our hands. I pray that the life of Noah will be an example for us of living a righteous life in the midst of a very unrighteous world.

Will you pray with me?

Heavenly Father,

I pray that we would bind steadfast love and faithfulness around our necks and write them on the tablet of our hearts. I pray that we would trust You, Lord, with all of our hearts, leaning not on our own understanding. Help us to acknowledge You in all our ways. Let us not be wise in our own eyes, but rather let us live in reverent fear of the living God, refusing to give way to cowardice and fear of man.

I pray that You will strengthen our husbands that they will walk by faith and not by sight all the days of their lives. Make my husband like Noah who walked with You, Lord, that he might be righteous and blameless. Give him strength to live for You and not for himself. Guard his heart from the fear of man.

I pray, also, for our children. Lord, our children are growing up in the midst of a very wicked generation. I pray that they will shine brightly for You, bringing You glory with their every word and deed. I pray that they will not forget what we have taught them – and that we would be faithful to teach them from their youngest age.

I pray that You would lengthen our days and the days of our children, that we might accomplish all the works that You have given us to do. Add years to our lives, not that we might spend them in wicked, vain pursuits, but that we might bring You more glory and honor and praise.

In the precious name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Learning from the Lives of Cain and Abel

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Genesis 4-5

We don’t really know exactly why God accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s, but I think Hebrews 11:4 gives us some insight.

"By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks." - Hebrews 11:4 ESV

Oftentimes, we want to do what seems right to us, rather than doing what God has said. We think, “What’s wrong with eating the fruit of that tree? It looks fine to me.” Or we think, “Why can’t I give God this fruit, I am a farmer after all?”

Yet, faith trusts God. Faith trusts that what God has said is right. Faith believes that God is good and all-knowing and that all His ways are right.

And like Hebrews 11:6 (explaining more about Abel and other men and women of faith) says,

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him." - Hebrews 11:6

Who are we seeking? Whose reward do we desire? Who are we trying to please? Are we pursuing our own pleasure and comfort or are we pursuing the Lord?

It’s like the words of Christ that we read in John – “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” – John 12:25-26 ESV

We must not expect that when you’re living for the Lord that the world will love you. In fact, Abel’s life is an example for us. Like John wrote in 1 John 3:12-13 ESV — “We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.”

Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear." - Genesis 4:13 ESV

Were you taken aback when you read this? I was. When I first read this, I thought, “No, Cain, your punishment is much too light. You killed your brother. You deserve to be killed.” (In fact, Genesis 9:6 says just that.)

But as I’ve pondered it more, I see the foreshadowing of Christ bearing our sins, from the largest to the smallest. Cain deserved death for his sin, and though I’ve never murdered anyone physically, I deserve death for my sins, too. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23 ESV

Yet I couldn’t bear the punishment for my sins any more than Cain or anyone else could.

But Christ bore our punishment in our place, that we can be justly forgiven by a just judge.

"[Jesus] committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:22-24 ESV

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father,

We come to You with hearts of thanksgiving for Your grace that You have lavished on us. We confess the hateful thoughts that we have had in our hearts toward men and women created in your image. We confess that we have often been jealous of others – The relationships they have, the talents they have, the possessions they have, even the faith they have. We confess we have often gone our own way rather than trusting Your character and Your Word.

We thank You for Jesus Christ the only perfect sin substitute, the Lamb of God who was slain for the sins of the world, including me.

We humbly ask You to forgive us and cleanse us through the blood of Christ that was shed for us.

Please, Heavenly Father, give us the strength and wisdom that we need to live like Christ – not repaying wrong with wrong, not repaying reviling with reviling, but overcoming evil with good. Help us to entrust ourselves to You, the only one who judges justly. We pray that our lights would shine brightly – even when the world is yelling at us to turn our lights out. May we shine brightly for You.

In the holy and merciful name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Craftiness and Blame-shifting

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Genesis 3

My, how quickly things can change! God creates a very good universe and in steps that crafty, cunning, shrewd snake, the devil.

Like we read in John – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10 ESV). “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44 ESV).

While God speaks for man’s good, the serpent speaks for our harm. Notice that the serpent pursued the woman, not the man. Yet, the man is not exempt from his own responsibility to lead and protect his wife. It says in Genesis 3:6 that Adam was with the woman. Also notice that Adam not only allowed his wife to eat, but he ate with her, too.

And God speaks first to Adam … And then comes the blame-shifting. Adam blames the woman, but also subtly blames God saying, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12) Eve then blames the serpent for her disobedience. (Genesis 3:13)

We need to be careful not to shift blame to other people, our husband, our children, the cashier at the grocery store, the customer service representative on the phone. We need to be careful not to shift blame to our circumstances – I was hungry. I was tired. I’d a long day. It was “that time of the month.”

Those blame-shifting thoughts and words are usually true, yet they are not helpful or humble. Adam and Eve spoke the truth, but their hearts were proud and stubborn.

Instead, let’s accept responsibility for our own sin, confess it to God, and repent of it. Don’t forget that repentance is more than just feeling remorse, feeling sorry that you did something bad. True repentance involves turning away from evil and turning your face toward God.

And when we repent, we can be sure of God’s loving forgiveness. Like we read in 1 John 1:9-10 ESV — “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

There still might be consequences of our sin. Adam and Eve still had to leave the garden. They still had to face death. Yet, God is so gracious and loving – He himself made garments to clothe Adam and Eve, and He will clothe us in pure white garments through faith in Jesus Christ who shed His blood to cleanse us of our sin.

For further study – read Romans 5:12-21; Romans 6:23; Revelation 3:5, 18 and Revelation 19:7-9.

Will you pray with me?

Heavenly Father, We don’t want to be like that crafty snake. We don’t want to be deceivers or blame shifters. Please help us to accept responsibility for our sinful thoughts, attitudes, words and actions.

Thank you for sending Your only son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sin, shedding His blood to pay the price that we could be forgiven.

We confess to You how often we have chosen to follow our own selfish desires instead of following Your clear commands. Please help us to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.

Help us to trust You and lean not on our own understanding, but to acknowledge You in all of our ways. We pray that You would direct our steps in a way that brings You honor and glory, and brings us and those around us good.

It is in the holy and righteous name of Jesus that we pray, Amen

The Gift of Being Created to be a Helper

Read through the Bible in 2 Years: Genesis 1-2

I like to read Genesis one and two together because I see Genesis chapter two as an expansion of the account of the creation of man in chapter 1. There’s so much in these two chapters that I read both of them together, two days in a row.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 

Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." - Genesis 2:18-24 ESV

God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone, so He wanted to give Adam a helper who was fit for him. Not just any helper would do. He didn’t just need the strength of an ox or the beauty of a peacock or the loyalty of a dog. No, Adam needed a suitable helper, designed especially for man, and so God gave him a woman.

Being a helper is a gift to both the man and the woman. The man needs the woman … And the woman has been given a very important job.

In God’s perfect timing, I’m writing this as I’m visiting my parents hundreds of miles away from my husband. I can assure you, my husband misses me. Yes, he misses me cooking and cleaning for him. Yes, he misses me making his morning coffee. Whether he misses them or not, he needs my little reminders and extra set of hands. But I think he especially misses my company, having to talk to and share life with.

And this is a great blessing! It is good to be needed and missed.

We need to be so careful to not allow our children to take our husband’s place. Children are made from the seed of their father, not from his rib … or yours. Children are created to leave their parents, but husbands and wives are created to become one flesh until they are parted by death.

Sisters, don’t leave your husband in the dust while you’re attending to your babies. Those babies are going to grow up and move away, but your husband will be by your side for the rest of his life. He needs you and you need to be needed. Make sure you keep your children and your husband in their rightful places in your hearts, minds, and lives.

I speak from personal experience – this is hard, but it can be done. Here are a few ideas I’ve learned (and am still learning) over my 28 years of marriage.

  • Schedule regular dates with your husband to keep those flames of friendship burning.
  • Look for something small that you can do to serve your husband every day – make him a cup of coffee or write him a little note or send him a text over lunch.
  • Express to your husband (and others) how grateful you are for him. Let them know how much they mean to you and how much you value them.
  • Keep a careful watch over your thought life. Complaining thoughts turn into complaining attitudes and complaining words. Nothing works more powerfully against your marriage than having a complaining Spirit. When those thoughts (true though they might be) come into your mind, grab hold of them and replace them with the truths of hope and grace found at the foot of the cross.
  • Make praying for your husband a priority. Ask God to bless him and guide him. Check out this video to a wonderful prayer for your husband – from his head to his feet.

Let’s pray now.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You so much for the gift that my husband is. Thank You for making me his helper. Thank You for making him such that he needed me. And thank You for making me fit for him.

Help me to recognize the blessing it is to be needed. I pray that I would make my husband a priority in my life. Help me to do him good and not harm all the days of his life. Help me to submit myself willingly and cheerfully to him, and to trust You, Lord, in the process.

Father, help me not to grow weary of doing good and to trust that in due season I will reap harvest if I do not lose heart.

I pray that You would bless my husband with every spiritual blessing according to the riches of Your glory in Christ Jesus. I pray that You would take care of him physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Give him the strength and wisdom that he needs to lead our family. And give him the humility that he needs to turn to You in his weakness.

In the good and gracious name of Jesus I pray.

Amen.

In the Beginning

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Genesis 1-2

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." - Genesis 1:1 ESV

Before the creation of the heavens and the earth, there was God. God is the creator. He is the only “I am” – The only One who was and is and is to come. Think about that for a minute. In the light of His eternal power, my life and problems look so much more fleeting.

"The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day." - Genesis 1:2-5 ESV

The very first thing that God created in the universe was light. The earth was dark, but God was not dark. Like we just read in 1 John 1:5b ESV, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” God created light before He created the sun and stars. There was day and night, and light and darkness before there was a sun.

At the end of the Bible, in Revelation, we read that in the new city on the new earth, there will be “no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:23 ESV)

"And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so." - Genesis 1:14-15 ESV

Yet God created the sun, moon, and stars. Why? We see three reasons here: He made them to separate the day and night. He made them for signs and seasons and days and years. And he made them to be lights in the darkness of the heavens.

I love the thought that God created time. God gave us a sun and moon and stars to mark days and nights and seasons. How could we count the days until our baby is due or the days until Passover or the Feast of Booths or Christmas if we didn’t have a sun? God is so wise and merciful!

And think of all the miraculous signs that have appeared in the heavens that draw people (including me) to consider God’s existence and power. Like Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

There’s so much I could write about Genesis 1! I’ll add just one more thought that I hope you already noticed, but took me years to pick up on. On days 1, 2, and 3 God created the things (the light, atmosphere, and land) and then on days 4, 5, and 6, He filled them (Heavenly bodies, air and sea creatures, animals and man in the land). God is intentional and orderly.

This revelation also helped me to remember the days of creation. On day one, God separated the light and the dark, and then on day four He put the sun, moon and stars in the heavens. On day two, He separated the water from the sky, and then on day five he filled the air and the water with animals to inhabit them. On day three, God separated the land from the water and then on day six, He put the man and animals on the land.

Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father,

You are the God of light. There is no darkness in You. Our world is indeed so dark, but You sent Your only Begotten Son Jesus, to be the light of the world, to light it up, to draw people to You.

I pray that we would be a city on a hill. I pray that the light of Jesus would shine brightly out of us and point people to you, that we would let our lights done.

I pray that people would see the sun, moon and stars and the intricate, inexplicable beauty of all that You have created and they would know that You are indeed real and good and mighty and eternal.

Father, I pray that our study of Genesis would point us to You, the eternal almighty God.

In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

When Your Children are Walking in Truth

Read through the Bible in 2 Years: 2 John and 3 John

Once again John doesn’t sign his own name, but this time, he’s simply “the elder.” What a sweet title to give himself.

Once again John talks about TRUTH and LOVE – twin pillars on which the gospel rests. Jesus is the truth. The truth abides in the elect and will be with us forever (2 John 2). God’s grace, mercy, and peace will be with us in truth and love. (2 John 3).

"I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father." - 2 John 1:4 ESV
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." - 3 John 1:4 ESV

John rejoiced greatly at the good news that the elder woman’s children were walking in the truth and that his own children were walking in the truth. What greater joy is there? Whether it’s the children I’ve raised in my own house, or children I’ve discipled in the faith, or grown women I’ve walked with and helped them grow, what JOY it is to watch them walk in truth!

Who are you discipling? Who are your children in the faith? Who are you watching grow and walk in truth?

Everyone should have someone who they can pour into. You don’t have to wait until you’re an elder like John. Learn a little, teach a little. The walk is always nicer when you have someone to share it with. You’ll be amazed at how much it blesses YOU, how much JOY you receive, when you’re teaching someone else. How can I help you?

Will you pray with me?

Heavenly Father,

We pray that You will use us to equip the body for the work of ministry. Help us to work together with arms linked as one to grow Your church. Help us to be disciple makers, scattering seeds where we go and helping those little seedlings grow into mighty trees of righteousness that bear much fruit.

We pray for those who are young in their faith and that those elders will come alongside them to encourage them and minister to them. We pray for those who are elders in the faith to not lose heart or quit the fight. Help them to finish the race well, pouring out the last drop of their lives in the service of their king.

We pray for the children that are still in our homes. Lord, strengthen us to strengthen them. Draw them into a living relationship with You that they will walk in truth and love to the glory of Your name.

In the Name of Jesus we pray,

Amen.

True Love

Read Through the Bible in 2 Years: 1 John 3:1 – 5:20

I love reading 1 John just after reading the book of John. I can imagine “the disciple whom Jesus loved” writing this letter – a letter focused on the inseparable themes of truth and love, a letter that is not addressed to any specific person or church and that John did not personally sign his name to. Sounds like John, right? For more on this read my post about John 21.

Did you notice that I reread 1 John 3? I have found that it’s easy for me to forget the context of what is written, so it’s helpful to read the previous chapter, so I can better understand what’s being said. Do you ever do that, too?

John wanted his readers to BELIEVE in Jesus, the Christ, the One who took on flesh and conquered death for us – the ones whom He loved.

John wanted his readers to have CONFIDENCE in God’s love toward us, His children, so that we would be unafraid for that kind of perfect love casts out all fear.

Thank about what you just read in the book of John. Think about all that John had experienced first hand. John had seen Jesus walk on water with his own eyes. John had been an eyewitness to Jesus healing the sick and feeding the 5,000 with a few fish and loaves of bread.

John had heard Jesus teach with his own ears. John heard Jesus teach on the importance of forgiveness and mercy and John had heard Jesus condemn the fake faith of the Pharisees. And John had heard Jesus say, “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:35)

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." - 1 John 4:7-11 ESV

Remember that John is a man with a nature like ours. He isn’t the God-man Jesus Christ. Yes, John had been given a special calling as an apostle. Yes, he had the unique gift of being inspired to write the scriptures. But John battled his flesh just like we do. Think about how hard it must have been for John to love impetuous Peter and former tax collector Matthew.

True love is sacrifice. True love is best expressed in loving the hard-to-love. So next time you’re struggling to love that irritating person at church or that aggravating coworker or disobedient child, remember the truth that God loved us while we were his enemies. This is love.

Let’s pray together,

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your love. Thank You for sending Your only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to live here on earth and to die in my place.

I pray that I will have complete confidence in Your love for me. You have made Your love evident, visible, manifest in sending Your own Son. Help me to love others with the love that You first showed to me.

In the Name of Jesus I pray, Amen.