Tag Archives: Father

Prayer for our Kids Day 17 – JOY

joy

“May my children be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

After having my daughter, I went through a short phase of very mild post-partum depression. It was a time of many transitions and I was learning to adjust to many new things. In that time I remember not feeling happy. Once I was able to realize that it was actually depression, I was able to start making the necessary changes to get in a better place. However, I remember reading something about how we all want to have joy but tend to expect it just happen– that one day we will wake up and have joy from there on out. It does not work that way though. Joy is something learned. I had never thought of it like that before so I started praying. I prayed that I would not just “feel happy” like I wanted but that I would experience joy every day. It has been a journey ever since then but Father has been answering my prayer.

Just like Father heard me that day and since then, he hears us now. When we pray over our kids, he hears us and will answer us. Mark 11:24 says, “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe you have received it, it will be yours.” I want my kids to be filled with joy and not happiness; therefore I am going to pray for them to have joy because I know my prayers will be heard. John 11:41a says, “So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me.” What a beautiful confirmation from Jesus that our Father hears us. Since Father always hear us, then lets pray this verse from 1 Thessalonians with a steadfast heart and trust in our Father to work in our children.

Guest Post- Rachel Theobald

B90X- Enjoy Father’s Story

silver amulet of priestly blessingNumbers may as well have been entitled “Rebellion and Grumblings.”

Over and over again, the contrast between Father’s faithfulness and Israel’s faithlessness erupt.

Think of all the stories where the people’s rebellion brought difficulty and  discipline to the newly emancipated slaves:
*Mariam and Aaron’s defiance of Moses leadership.  Mariam’s ensuing leprosy.
*Fussing about Moses and Aaron being in charge and the staff that budded.
*Mannah provided every morning. Because of complaining.
*Quail coming out their noses. See above reason.
*Unbelieving spies not trusting God and 40 years of needless wandering.
*Not having water to drink and Moses struggle with people, caused Moses to sin against God.
*Korahs rebellion.
*Phinehas running a spear through a man and foreign woman for having sex in the camp.  Incidently, a plague did stop after that.
*Balaks hiring of Balaam to curse the Israelites and not able to.

Our friends test God at every level, even while God is providing for their needs.

How often is my ‘grumble-ometer’ totally pegged on overload and Father continues to show himself faithful?  Numbers 14:18-19 says, “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love, and forgiving sin.”

The words we use either bless folks or curse them.  We have learned that it is better to bless, to encourage, to pray for, to forgive, to love, to bring life, and to see success in our selves, relationships, families, and town.  The above picture shows some of our churches favorite scripture.  It is a small silver scroll found in 1979 in the desert of  Israel.  Marked as the most significant archaeological find ever, it dates back to the 7th century BCE.  The paleo-Hebrew scrawl says, “May the Lord bless you and keep you, May the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, May the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace”  Numbers 6:22-24 affectionately called the Priestly Blessing or Aaronic Blessing.

B90X Leviticus Explained

leviticus redrawnOne of the stubbornly enduring habits of the human race is to insist on domesticating God. We are determined to tame him. We figure out ways to harness God to our projects. We try to reduce God to a size that conveniently fits our plans and ambitions and tastes.

But our Scriptures are even more stubborn in telling us that we can’t do it. God cannot be fit into our plans, we must fit into his.  We can’t use God– God is not a tool or appliance or credit card.

“Holy” is the word that sets God apart and above our attempts to enlist him in our wish-fulfillment fantasies or our utopian schemes for making our mark in the world. Holy means that God is alive on God’s terms, alive in a way that exceeds our experience and imagination.  Holy refers to the life burning with an intense purity that transforms everything it touches into itself.

Because the core of all living is God, and God is a holy God, we require much teaching and long training for living in response to God as he is and not as we want him to be.  The book of Leviticus is a narrative pause in the story of our ancestors as they are on their way, saved out of Egypt, to settle in the land of Canaan.  It is a kind of extended time-out of instruction, a detailed and meticulous preparation for living ‘holy’ in a culture that doesn’t have the faintest idea what “holy” is. The moment these people enter Canaan they will be picking their way through a lethal minefield of gods and goddesses that are designed to appeal to our god-fantasies: “Give us what we want when we want it on our own terms.”  What these god-fantasies in fact do is cripple or kill us.  Leviticus is a start at the “much teaching and long training” that continues to be adapted and reworked in every country and culture where God is forming a saved people to live as he created them to live– holy as God is holy.

The first thing that strikes us as we read Leviticus in this light is that this holy God is actually present with us and virtually every detail of our lives is affected by the presence of this holy God; nothing in us, our relationships, or environment is left out. The second thing is that God provides a way (sacrifices and feasts and Sabbaths) to bring everything in and about us into his holy presence, transformed in the fiery blaze of the holy. It is an awesome thing to come into his presence, and we, like ancient Israel, stand in his presence at every moment (Psalm 139). Our Lord is not dwelling in a tent or house in our neighborhood. But he makes his habitation in us and among us as believers and says, “I am holy, you be holy” (1 Peter 1:16, citing Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7).

Once we realize this, the seemingly endless details and instructions of Leviticus become sign posts of good news to us: God cares that much about the details of our lives, willing everything in and about us into transformation that St. Paul later commended:

So her’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life– your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life– and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you in the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12:1-2).

The above is the introduction to Leviticus in the Message Bible.  How often have I ridiculed and made jokes of the book.  Too many to count.  Instead it is one of Father’s most important bits of instruction on how to live life and He leaves no stone unturned.  Blessings as you plow through.

B90X- Why such disdain for Leviticus?

LeviticusEven some pastors I know have said if they have trouble falling asleep they break out Leviticus.

I’ll admit left to itself, without any understanding of context, it can lack capturing our attention.  Hollywood has so destroyed our ability to read literature any more.

 

Here is what must be known to read Leviticus:
*God is holy.
*God expects his people to be holy.
*God desire to live among his people but has high standards that must be maintained.
*God is serious about holiness.

Look at the word cloud above for the book of Leviticus.  What word and whose name appears more than any other in the book?  The Lord.  He is the most important thing in the whole book.  Not us and not our ideas.

Because God does have a pretty good idea about what it looks like to live with people in harmony.  That lack of harmony is sin.  Sin has consequences.  The cost of those consequences is high and time consuming.  Look at all they had to do to fix the error of their ways.

We have Jesus now.  Our sins are forgiven at the mere awareness of our sin by the Holy Spirit and confession of that sin to Father.  However, we still may have to deal with the consequences of our sin.  Many times our decisions and sins get us in a real pickle.  It destroys a whole bunch of stuff.  That is why the saying, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, cost you more than you are willing to pay, and keep you longer than you are willing to stay” reverberates in my memory.  Sin is ugly. Sin stinks.  Sin is messy.  God hates sin and so should we.

Leviticus contains information given to the Israelites while they were camped in the wilderness by Mount Sinai: instructions regarding management of sacred space (the tabernacle), sacred status (God’s people), and sacred time (in the festivals). These were considered important for maintaining holiness for God’s presence, which was at the center of their lives.  Sacred times must be identified, maintained by the priests, and observed.  Sacred space must be guarded and its holiness preserved.  The status of priests and people must be regulated by specific guidelines so they don’t desecrate God’s presence.  God is holy, and Israel is expected to be holy so his presence can remain in their midst.

Walton, Strauss, Cooper. The Essential Bible Companion. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.

Prayer for our Children Day 2

Prayer for our Children – Day 2 -

“I pray that they may grow in gracegrow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’” (2 Peter 3:18). The second half of this verse says, “To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”  While that isn’t something we can pray over our children I do think it is great to remember… he deserves all glory and our praise each and every moment of every day!
My goal for these 31 days is to speak each days verse out loud for my kids to hear. They pick up on so much and it is important for them to be hearing Father’s words and for me to be instilling his truths into their hearts and minds. Today specifically, I will be praying a little more in detail that I will be an example of Father’s grace to them. That my actions will represent the grace I am shown each day. Also, that I will learn how to teach them who Father is and that they will learn to love him and not just know of him. Also, I love how today’s verse ties into yesterday. Yesterday we prayed for salvation, today we pray that they “grow in knowledge of him”.
I am so thankful for this opportunity to pray as a community of believers for our children. Jesus bless you today!
Guest Post- Rachel Theobald, CRBC