Pathway’s 40 days of prayer campaign runs from Wednesday, February 14 to Saturday, March 31. Join us as we unite as a church in prayer. Our theme verse for the campaign is 2 Chronicles 7:14. Starting on Wednesday, February 14, join your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as we all pray together at 7:14am and 7:14pm. Devotionals and prayer topics will be posted on FB and on our website on a regular basis. Be sure to let us know what’s on your mind and heart throughout these 40 days by using #PBCPRAY40 wherever you post!
Power tools are awesome. They make everything easier and save us so much time. Having the right tools can make the difference between a dreary day of hard labor or a fun hour of playing with a power drill. When I use my power tools I wonder if the same intoxicating feeling is akin to how Batman feels about his utility belt.
This is the kind of “equipping” that is being prayed for by the writer of Hebrews for the church. We need to pray to have the right power tools—the spiritual gifts, the fruit of the spirit (character), the knowledge of Spirit-inspired scripture, and much more, in order to live for Him and serve others for Him. When we are equipped by God and take advantage of His gifts, we experience the pleasure of a fulfilling life.
Sanctification in Greek is related to the Greek word “holy”. To “sanctify” something or someone means setting apart for special use for God. It is a process of purifying and dedicating ourselves to God.
Contemporary Christianity is at a crossroad where churches and individuals must decide to either assimilate into our culture or face the consequences of going against the majority opinion on sexuality. Yet, all throughout the Bible, God has clearly revealed to us that His people are not to conform to the pattern of this world, but instead to conform into the image of Jesus Christ, and to be holy, set apart, and sanctified. This is our prayer.
What are you thankful for? There’s a classic hymn called “Count Your Blessings”, where the refrain goes:
Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God has done! Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
The Apostle Paul wrote that Christians can always be joyful and thankful no matter what situation we are in because this is God’s desire for us through what Jesus Christ has done for us and the relationship we have with Him. So the next time you are discouraged or depressed, try praying to God and counting your blessings. You will always have at least one thing, the most important thing, to be thankful for—Jesus’ sacrificial love and presence in our lives.
Recently the NYTimes printed an article titled “How an A.I. ‘Cat-and-Mouse Game’ Generates Believable Fake Photos.” It is a story of the incredible advances in Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and the development of computer generated images, audio and video. NVIDIA, the computer chip manufacturer has developed a system that analyzes thousands of pictures of real people and then can render a picture of a non-existent person that looks authentic and real. This system can generate realistic images of horses, cars and many other everyday common objects, and also alter a picture from summer to winter or a horse to a zebra. It is becoming more difficult to discern real from unreal, truth from untruth.
Although it may be hard to see the difference between real and unreal, if we anchor ourselves to the God, YHWH, who created the universe and in whom all truth lies, then we can live in assurance and boldness in His truth. Prayer helps us plumb the depths of God’s wisdom and knowledge and we need as much of it as we can get, particularly as we navigate our lives in a world where it’s becoming harder and harder to distinguish between real and unreal, truth and untruth.
I used to own a rabbit’s foot when I was younger. I think it was a real rabbit’s foot because whenever I rubbed it to bring me good luck, I could feel the texture and the claws which reassured me that it was real and it would help. I was so sure that by rubbing a real rabbit’s foot, I was doing it the right way. I don’t know whatever happened to that rabbit’s foot, but I have a feeling that I threw it away when I finally realized that it couldn’t do anything.
In this passage, Jesus used an accident where some people had died when a building fell on them to displace some misguided Jewish beliefs that misfortune came about because of some wrongdoing. In simple terms, they believed in karma—if you do good then good will follow you, but you will be rewarded with bad if you do evil.
The prayer struggle arises when it seems like God is silent or we hear something from Him that we don’t want to hear. What did I do wrong? What can I do better to get God to hear me? We tend to believe, like the Jewish people did, that we are being punished for some wrongdoing or maybe that we need to be doing something better—like rubbing a rabbit’s foot.
In these moments, we need to remember that it is about a relationship and not performance. The Lord’s prayer begins with, “Our Father” because God is our Father, the perfect Father, who works for the good of those that love Him. He wants to give us good things so trust in that and keep praying.
David is thought to be the author of this Psalm. I imagine him saying these words hiding in the dark recesses of a cave as he was fleeing from King Saul’s threats to kill him. The darkness surrounding him literally and figuratively. It was a dark time living his life on the run with no end in sight. However, despite the endless uncertainty of an unsecure future his heart sings as he sees the light because he remembers that God is His salvation and God has been good to him.
David’s God is our God. Remember that He is our salvation and He is good to us.
“The Bible’s answer is that the human heart is an ‘idol factory’.” (Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods)
This psalm by David is a dangerous one. We can misunderstand it and think that God is some cosmic gum ball machine that dispenses favors and kindness whenever we ask. Because our hearts are ‘idol factories’ the kindness and favor we seek from God are for our own fulfillment, satisfaction or pleasure and in some strange way we rationalize that that is what God desires for us. He wants us to be happy, no?!? So when we don’t get what we want or desire, then it leads us down the path of doubt or despair and maybe, even, eventually to unbelief.
The prayer can also be dangerous because it leads to our death. Let me explain: To delight in the LORD means to delight in who He is and all His ways for He is a perfect King. In order to do this, Jesus says that you must die to yourself and live for Him. The desires of your heart are not for yourself any longer, but rather for God’s kingdom and His Will to be done. This prayer is a dangerous and reckless prayer, which I only recommend if you’re serious about dying to yourself and living for Christ. The struggle in prayer is coming to the place where we are truly delighting in God rather than ourselves.