June 2012


Prayer Focus: India

Bible Reading: Jonah 1-4

Scripture

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry. (Jonah 2:1-2)

Observation

The wickedness of the land of Nineveh had “come up” before God and he sent his servant Jonah to preach against them.  And what did Jonah do?  He ran away.  In fact, he ran in the opposite direction of Nineveh!  When the boat he was on was in danger of sinking, his guilt compelled him to tell the sailors to pitch him overboard to save themselves. 

They did.   

I think Jonah must have thought that was the end.  I think he realized in a visceral way the truth of Psalm 139:8 “If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”  No matter how far or fast he ran, he couldn’t get away from God’ Spirit.  At some point during those three nights in the belly of the fish,  the other half of the truth in that verse hit him – no matter where he was, GOD WAS STILL THERE.  And in his distress, he called out to Him.

Application

I don’t know about you, where you are in your life, what God has called you to do that frightens you.  I don’t know what you are running from. 

But I do know this:   WE ALL RUN. 

We all get afraid of the things that seem to big for us.  Maybe God isn’t calling you to be a missionary to a hostile and wicked nation.  Maybe he isn’t telling you to preach the truth of His Kingdom to people who might react violently.

Wait… he did.(Mat. 28:16-20)

When I read the story of Jonah, I think of all the times when I’ve come face to face with the big plans God has for me and it seemed too big, and I ran. 

Prayer

Lord, help me to remember that no matter where I go, or how far I’ve run, that you are there.  Help me see that nothing I’ve done  is ever too much or too far away to come back to you.  The enemy likes to camp out and ambush me with lies, he tells me that you don’t really love me enough to take me back – that I’m not worth the effort.  It’s so easy to project my own fears and insecurities on you!  You rescue me from the wicked world I live in and from the wickedness of my own self-hate.  Nothing can stand against your powerful mercy!

I pray for those who read this devotional today who need to know that you love them enough to pursue them.  You are the God of second chances!  It doesn’t always mean that we get out of those plans (it didn’t for Jonah) but it does mean that there is no where we can go that you aren’t there.

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Prayer Focus: India

Bible Reading: 2 Kings 14-15; 2 Chronicles 25-27

Scripture

Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God. (2 Chronicles 27:6)

Observation

This simple sentence speaks volumes about true success in life.

Application

In the midst of one tragic story after another, Jotham is one of the few kings that followed God…and was blessed as a result.

Prayer

LORD, may it be said of me that I walked steadfastly before You. While I don’t consciously seek power and I have no kingdom over which to rule, I do want to grow in influence in order to serve and bless others—at home, at Scio, and beyond. Forgive me for the countless times I do seek power for my own sake, and thank You for Your faithfulness to me, season after season, year after year. I love You, LORD! In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Prayer Focus: India

Bible Reading: 2 Kings 12-13; 2 Chronicles 24

Scripture

Although the Aramean army had come with only a few men, the LORD delivered into their hands a much larger army. Because Judah had forsaken the LORD, the God of their ancestors, judgment was executed on Joash. (2 Chronicles 24:24)

Observation

God is active. It is a myth to think He is just sleeping. He is either for us or against us. You don’t want Him to be against you!

Application

Honor God and He will honor you. The message is so simple, yet generation after generation struggles to obey the LORD, despite a plethora of history demonstrating God’s consistency.

Prayer

LORD, I want to be on Your side…always! In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Prayer Focus: India

Bible Reading: 2 Kings 9-11; 2 Chronicles 22:10-23:21

Scripture

31 When Jehu entered the gate of the palace, she shouted at him, “Have you come in peace, you murderer? You’re just like Zimri, who murdered his master!”  32 Jehu looked up and saw her at the window and shouted, “Who is on my side?” And two or three eunuchs looked out at him.

33 “Throw her down!” Jehu yelled. So they threw her out the window, and her blood spattered against the wall and on the horses. And Jehu trampled her body under his horses’ hooves.
34 Then Jehu went into the palace and ate and drank. Afterward he said, “Someone go and bury this cursed woman, for she is the daughter of a king.”

35 But when they went out to bury her, they found only her skull, her feet, and her hands.

36 When they returned and told Jehu, he stated, “This fulfills the message from the LORD, which he spoke through his servant Elijah from Tishbe: ‘At the plot of land in Jezreel, dogs will eat Jezebel’s body.

Observation

For more than 30 years Jezebel got away with murder.  She brought Baal worship to Israel, she had the Lord’s prophets killed and even framed an innocent man so that her husband, the king, could take his vineyard.  She’s become legendary.  Her name has become a byword for evil like Benedict Arnold for traitor.  But her end did come just as the Lord predicted.

Application

Johnny Cash covered a song by Elvis Presley called “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.”  It’s a warning to those, like Jezebel, who feel they are beyond God’s reach and can do whatever they please.  But, no one is beyond God’s reach.  Sooner, or later, God will put an end to them.

Cash saw himself as that man who was running from God.  Thanks to Christian friends who shared the Gospel with him, when God caught up to Johnny, He saved him.

Prayer

Lord, none of us deserve to be saved, but even so, You died and rose again to save us.  Let us remember that with gratitude and share your love, grace and gospel with as many as we can.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: India

Bible Reading: 2 Kings 8:16-29; 2 Chronicles 21:1-22:9

Scripture

Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. (2 Chronicles 21:20)

Observation

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Jehoram ruled for eight years, yet “no one was sorry when he died” (to quote the New Living Translation). He was not even buried in the royal cemetery. What a tragic waste of a life.

Application

I certainly hope people are sorry when I die! This text is a reminder that we must be good stewards of the resources and opportunities that we have been given, whether they be a royal throne, a family, a career, or talents. Ultimately, our success is determined not by the comments at our funeral, but Judgment Day before the Almighty.

Prayer

LORD, I want to honor You with my time, talents, and treasures. I know that each day is a gift. Each conversation is an opportunity to share You with others. You give and take away, and everything that has been given to us can be removed…except Your love. Once again I pray for wisdom and a heart of understanding as I lead Scio, my family, and myself. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Prayer Focus: India

Bible Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-8:15

Scripture  

 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

– 2 Kings 6: 15-19

Observation  – Elisha has always been of my favorite prophets.  And the story above has always been one of my favorite stories about him.  If there were superheroes in the Bible, I think Elisha would have been one.  The above reference shows just one of the gifts that God gave him.  He could see what was really happening around him.  Imagine what it would be like to be able to see the happenings in the realm of angels going on right now right around you.  Elisha knew he wasn’t in danger, God’s army was there.  But Elisha’s servant had no idea what was going on, all he saw was an overwhelming army with chariots and warriors coming to get his master.  He had no idea of Elisha’s security force.

Even then, Elisha could have prayed to wipe out his enemy.  Instead he spared them, gave them food and drink and sent them back to their homeland.

Application –  Wouldn’t it be fantastic to everyday have the vision of Elisha.  To be able to see exactly what the Lord was doing this very minute.  To see the struggle between the forces of the World and that of the Lord.  You know we might not be able to see exactly like Elisha.  But we can see glimpses of what he sees,  we just have to learn to pray like Elisha prayed, and be faithful to God’s will.

Prayer –  Lord help us to pray like Elisha, help us to be so intune with your will that we can see it with our own eyes.  Help us to have the compassion for our enemies, just as Elisha did.  Overall, help us to trust you, like Elisha did, to protect us and guide us.  Thank you Lord for all you do for us, all that you are doing for us, and all that you will do for us…. Amen.

Prayer Focus: India

Bible Reading: 2 Kings 1-4

Scripture

9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.

10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”

11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.

13 Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. (2 Kings 2:9-13)

Observation

Elisha asked for a double portion of the gift – and got it.  He went on to do many miracles, proving that he indeed had Elijah’s mantle.  The Holy Spirit transfers twice the power and effectiveness from Elijah to Elisha after Elijah is taken by the Lord. The bible goes on to record twice as many miracles for Elisha.  

Application

 When I let my imagination sit here in this place and time I wonder what sorts of things went through Elisha’s mind that provoked his request.  We don’t have a peek into his thoughts, only what he did with the power once granted.  I encourage you to go to today’s reading and see what that was. 

The take-away that I have with today’s reading is simple: What has the Holy Spirit gifted us as Jesus was taken up into heaven?  To find the answer to that, go to mark 16:15 where Jesus tells his disciples “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”

Prayer

Lord, give me the courage to be bold, to proclaim your word as I ought.  Your word promises gifts of your Spirit to enable me to do this.  Help me reach for them, help me reach for you!

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