May 2012


Prayer Focus: Germany

Bible Reading: Proverbs 13-16

Scripture

Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness. (Proverbs 16:31)

Observation

There are countless truths that can be extracted from today’s reading, but this one verse stands out among them, unique and unusual. This is not saying that one’s hair color is, in and of itself, what is important, but rather the process of growing and aging and, presumably, learning. The elderly in most societies (ours is an exception) are held in high esteem, and rightfully so. They have experience, perseverance, and usually wisdom.

Application

I am frequently reminded at how my hair is graying. This is bittersweet. On the one hand, I want to look and feel youthful. On the other hand, I want to obtain wisdom and understanding that can only come from experience. Oh that the gray on my head would truly indicate righteousness…and that I would be a blessing to others, sharing the lessons I have learned with future generations.

Prayer

LORD, I must admit that sometimes I don’t like getting gray…or old. I honestly don’t feel old, but each day I get further from my youth and closer to the grave. I pray that You would fill me with wisdom, understanding, and righteousness that I may love and serve others, add value to their lives, and honor You. I ask You, also, to preserve my energy and health that I may live with passion, vigor, and joy. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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Prayer Focus: Germany

Bible Reading: Proverbs 9-12

Scripture
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

Observation
The most common command in the Bible is “fear not.” some have counted 366 usages of the phrase, one for every day of the year including leap year. There is One that we are to fear, and to do so will result in wisdom and understanding.

Application
In this case, fear is more than a raw emotion or uncontrolled response. Fear is an action. It is a noun, but a proactive one. We must have awe and respect for and actively pursue God, His wisdom, His instruction, and His ways. There are many alleged sources of wisdom in our world, but none can compare to the Source of all truth, the Author of wisdom.

Prayer
LORD, I pray for wisdom and a heart of understanding. I fear and want to know You more today than ever before. Help me fear only You. Thank You for Your Word and the wisdom contained within. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Prayer Focus: Georgia

Bible Reading: Proverbs 5-8

Scripture

With much seductive speech she persuades him;  with her smooth talk she compels him.   Proverbs 7:21 ESV

Does not wisdom call?  Does not understanding raise her voice?  On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; Proverbs 8:1-2 ESV

Observation

The adulteress woman hides in the dark, whispers, seduces and snares many men.

Wisdom stands out in the open during the day at the crossroads of the town and shouts and still men cannot find her.

Application

It doesn’t take much effort to do the wrong thing.  In fact, it seems like we’re always looking for the wrong thing to do and have to be talked into the right to do.  That’s why it’s so easy for “the adulterous woman” to seduce us; she doesn’t have to try very hard.  It also shows how silly it is to ask, “What does God want me to do?”  If we’d stop seeking after our own pleasure we’d probably realize that the right thing to do has been shouting at us trying to get our attention.

Prayer

Lord, it’s so easy to ignore Wisdom and chase after the forbidden fruit.  Open my eyes and guard my heart to always seek wisdom.  In Jesus name, amen!

Prayer Focus: The Gambia

Bible Reading: Proverbs 1-4

Scripture
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Observation

These are my favorite verses in the entire Bible. What a promise!

Application

It’s easy to like or even memorize a verse, but quite another it live it 24/7. I want to trust and submit more, knowing that He is in control and will take care of the rest.

Prayer

LORD, I trust You. Increase my faith. I want You to truly be LORD of everything in my life. I want to hear Your voice and wisdom on every matter in my life. Thank You for being concerned about everything that concerns me, big or small. Thank You for wisdom and guidance. Thank You for these promises. I submit to You this day and ask for Your direction and a heart of understanding. In the Name of the wisest Man ever, Jesus Christ, amen.

Prayer Focus: Gabon

Bible Reading: Song of Solomon 5:2-8:14; Psalm 45

Scripture  
The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me: they took away my cloak,
those watchmen of the walls! –   Song of Solomon 5:7

Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice;  let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies;  let the nations fall beneath your feet.Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.  You love righteousness and hate wickedness;  therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.  All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;  – Psalm 45 3-8

Observation –  What we have here is the depiction of the end of the end.  In Song of Solomon is an admonition that we should not be lazy in our duty to be ready for the Lord.  This is much like the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Mat 25 where the Bridegroom was long in coming and the virgins fell asleep.  When he did come some were low on oil and had to go to buy more oil for their lamps.  While they were gone, the bridegroom came and the wise went in with him to the wedding banquet.  When the ones that went to buy oil returned, the door was closed and they were turned away.

In Psalm 45, we see a depiction of the majesty of Christ during the end times when every knee will bow and every tongue confess…

Application –   Let us be as the wise virgins and continue to work and look for the Lord’s coming.  Truely no man will know the day or hour in which the Lord returns.  Be at the work of the Kingdom and living in the will of the Lord daily.  Let us be ready to go into

Prayer – Lord help us to be ready, help us to not slumber, help us to be about your work.  Thank you for your righteousness and your promise that you will return and your church will be your beloved bride.

Prayer Focus: France

Bible Reading: Song of Solomon 1:1-5:1

Scripture

My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.”  (Song of Solomon 2:10)

Observation

This book of poetry, though expressed as a human love, is really supposed to convey the metaphor of the romance between us as the bride, and Christ as the groom.

Application

To have Christ look on me with affection and call me “darling” and “beautiful” is something that I long to hear.  His is not the love of an infatuated suitor, but one who is fully aware of my failings, my sin, and loves me anyway.

In the Jewish tradition, the groom would go to prepare a place for his bride,  and when the house was ready he would come at a moments notice to whisk the bride away to the wedding banquet.  Jesus deliberately invoked these words in John 14:1-4 as a promise.  One day he will call to his beloved, inviting us to leave the corruption of the world.  He will call us from the clouds to say “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.”

Prayer

Lord, I pray that you find me with oil in my lamp and ready for your summons.  (Mat. 25:1-13)  Even so, come!

Prayer Focus: France

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:89-176

Scripture

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God! (Psalm 119:114-115)

Observation

The psalmist was focused. He knew God was his refuge and shield. He knew the value of the word of God. He did more, though. He thwarted the crowds that tried to distract him and lure him into sin. The New Living Translation says, “Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God.” Amen!

Application

Oh that I would say those words daily, “Get out of my life,” to the lies of our society that bombard us every day through billboards, Facebook, television, movies, the newspaper (on the days that it is published!) and gathering places. The Word of God is such a stark contrast to the depravity of our culture, yet I am often tempted to blend into the politically correct rather than the biblically correct.

Prayer

LORD, I call You LORD, but often You are not. I am sorry. I say that I love Your Word, yet I often ignore it. I am sorry. I want to want You, though other things often look more appealing. I am sorry. I want to have a laser-like focus on You and Your Word and filter out the lies of the world. I need Your help to keep Your commands. Fill me, Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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