I Saw What You Did There

www.bible.com/1713/1pe.3.12.csb

Call me behind the times, but I’ve recently discovered that this is a thing. I am not sure if it’s a meme or something else. But the “I saw what you did there” phrase is attached to something meme-ish. Yeah, I’m getting old. I probably need to ask a sixteen year-old to explain it to me.

However, the phrase works extremely well for what our verse says this morning. God is very much in this business, for He sees everything. He sees the good that we do and the bad. His eyes are on the righteous but his face is against the wicked. When God sets His face against you, you better watch out. He controls every atom in your body and He wrote the laws of physics, so I would worry.

Listen, God does not owe us anything. There is nothing we can do that can remotely compare to what God has done. God can build galaxies out of nothing. What can you do?

And don’t ever think that just because we can shock someone back to life means we can raise the dead. They are not even close. There is a very short time after someone’s heart stops that it can be viably started again. And if you wait too long, the brain starts to die. We are beautifully and wonderfully made, and we have but a brief time. Enjoy your family while you can. You might need to lose that weight to linger longer.

You might note that inside the verse above, there was a promise. The ears of the Lord hears the prayers of the righteous. Yes she watches over us, and He sees what the wicked does, but He hears the prayers of the righteous. Know this: when you pray, God hears you. God offers a hearing before the Almighty at any time. All you have to do is speak.

I saw what you did there. I hear what you said there. Ought to be a meme about that.

God bless!

Struggle at the Altar

www.bible.com/1713/php.4.6.csb

It’s been a week here at the Meritt household. We had a short trip to Hershey, PA over the weekend and come back into a busy week at the hospital. Our Hospital has been letting go of staff to meet budget constraints so everyone is on their toes. Each wave of layoffs seems to leave a little more devastation in its wake. Like Jesus’s disciples at the Last Supper, we keep asking, “is it I” who’s next?

So that’s cause for some worry. And a whole lot of it. It’s thrown our household into a bit of s funk. And then this verse pops up in our feed. Perfect!

Because it’s exactly what I need to hear this morning. A reminder. Don’t worry about anything. Do you remember the God you serve? Do you remember the vastness of His riches of His grace and mercy, that God rules over all and we are His children? We think we are powerless to change anything, but when have we ever had power that He has not given us, sufficient for His needs?

And how do we receive that power, through prayer, petition, and thanksgiving. We present our requests to God, and He chooses whether to deliver in a time that He in His wisdom seems appropriate. It will never be too late, or too soon. And don’t forget that God weans us from those things that take us away from Him. If your job and your sense of security in that job is taking you away from God, is He not obligated to wean you from that job, so that your security is in Him?

I’ve been in several churches. Pastored them and shepherded them. But I’ve seen this at work in my own life. When life seems good, and my sense of security and joy has been in the success of the church work I was doing, something would happen, and force me back to the altar of prayer. I get conceited sometimes, and think of myself more highly than I ought. God has always made sure to take me down a few notches and remind me of who I am and who He is.

Which is why I find myself in this very humbling role as a Chaplain. It’s not what I want, but it’s what I need at this time in my life. God willing, I will be here until God has something else for me to do. I struggle to be content, but I am getting better at it. Sounds like I need to spend some more time at the altar of prayer. 😁

Well, that’s all for this morning. God bless you and and I hope today will be a great day in the Lord!

Thank You

www.bible.com/72/php.1.3.hcsb

Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers today. And thank you all for taking time to read this blog every day. I appreciate you for making this a part of your day.

Our text today I think is written to one of Paul’s favorite churches, the church at Philippi. I think he had a special place in his heart for this church, for Lydia the seller of purple and the Jailer who was converted overnight. This church was special to him, as was this letter. I have no doubt he means what he says here, that he prayed for this church and her people, many of whom he could picture in his mind as he prayed.

Though I can’t see you, I keep you all in my prayers as well. Have a great day and give mom a hug if you are able.

Spiritual Hygiene

www.bible.com/72/1th.5.17.hcsb

This command from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians is good spiritual hygiene for the Christian. If you are constant in prayer, you will have little time for temptation. As Christians, because we have within us the Holy Spirit, the presence of God is within us constantly. I cannot really understand what that means. Do we comprehend the gift that that is? Never before in the history of man had any people ever been given the promise of their God being present in them. This is the same Spirit if God who hovered over the waters at Creation. That presence swells within us. How could we not be in constant contact with Him?

This command is as much a recognition of our new normal as it is a command. You are always in the Lord’s presence. You always carry His Spirit, not just a portion because God cannot be divided up into little pieces. You carry the presence of God within you at all times. There is no place that you go that God is not already present. You do not need Temple or Church to find the presence of God.

So imagine how much more meaningful it is when you do find that gathering of saints at your church. Whose meaningful encouragement and mutual support only reinforce your awareness that God is present with you.

I want to encourage you today to pray constantly. Talk to Him always. He will never leave you.

God bless!

Alert in Prayer

www.bible.com/72/col.4.2.hcsb

Being the National Day of Prayer, this seems appropriate today. The NDP always sneaks up on me, especially this year being so soon after Easter. I almost always forget to plan for it. Usually I have a 12 to 24 hour prayer chain going on at church, but not so this year. I don’t have that kind of pull where I am now.

This verse does stand by itself in the text of Colossians. It precedes a more general instruction to pray for Paul as he is facing public trials while in prison. We assume this is written while he is in prison in Caesarea (but possibly Rome). Because of this independence in the text, we can treat it by itself.

Paul recommends to these Colossians that they need to decor themselves in prayer. In that, to stay alert in prayer, and to include thanksgiving as part of that alertness. So, being alert for opportunities to be thankful to God.

The idea of being alert in prayer seems an odd juxtaposition. If anything, Prayer takes me away from the concerns of the moment and offers a respite from the pull of the world. I usually close my eyes in prayer. That is not a position of alertness.

So what is Paul talking about here? There a couple of possibilities.

First, that Paul is calling for a posture of alertness while in prayer. To be aware of your surroundings and those around you. Don’t let Prayer be an opportunity to be caught unaware. So, pray with your eyes open.

Second, always be alert for opportunities to pray, especially to be thankful. Make prayer a priority in your daily walk. Pray when you get up and when you lie down and as you go about your daily life. Always be looking for reasons to pray, and pray often.

A possible third may be this: Be aware of when your prayer life is faltering and don’t let prayer get away from you. Always be alert to the condition of your prayer life.

As Christians, we ought to follow this command, for this holds true for all, not just the believers at Collosae. God be with you today as you stay alert in prayer.

Humility Before Our Namesake

www.bible.com/72/2ch.7.14.hcsb

This verse needs little commentary. But let me provide some context. The voice is that of God, speaking to the people of Israel after Solomon has finished offering prayer over the Temple. This response was given to Solomon in a vision (yes, Solomon has seen God personally, something his father had only glimpsed through prophets). The qualifier for the prayers of humility suggested here is that they be made at the Temple. In other words, prayers made at this newly dedicated Temple or toward it, prayers of humility and repentance, are the prayers that this verse refers to specifically. This Temple no longer stands. It is no longer possible to satisfy the technical requirements of this prayer.

Now the promises of this prayer are two-fold. God promises to forgive sin and heal land, the land of Israel. As Christians, we no longer pray at a Temple for forgiveness of sin. We go to the One crucified and call on His name. We are cleansed through His blood. We receive forgiveness of sin by calling in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. As far as the Temple is concerned, Paul says in 1 Cor 3 that we are God’s Temple, the Church that Jesus establishes and upon whom the gates of Hell shall never prevail. We are a Temple that cannot be destroyed, because we are built on better promises. Everywhere we go, we are taking the Temple with us. But our Temple isn’t tied to a particular land, but the world to come. Technically, the promises of this verse do not and cannot apply to us, not if our redemption is through Jesus Christ.

Well, that’s a bummer, isn’t it? Because Christians have been using this verse for years as a point for prayer for our nation in the hope that we would see political and social change. We can still pray for those things, as we do so through 1 Tim 2. I don’t think God’s desire to see men change has diminished. It has only grown as the population of men has grown. Let this verse inspire us, but don’t depend on this verse to save our nation. Is it not nations that are saved, but people. Jesus didn’t die for America, but for her people. He died for you. His blood cleansed you and all who call upon Him. Call upon Him today.

God bless you.

Private Prayer

www.bible.com/72/mat.6.6.hcsb

I wonder if God has had enough of our public prayers? This scripture seems to run counter to popular culture. I run into folks who ask for prayer and seem content to let someone else pray for them. I don’t think that is what this verse is talking about. I think what God is addressing in this text is the kind of prayers said by people who want to be known to their prayers, or their holiness, or some other pretentious piety. I can imagine God is really sick of that kind of praying. To keep us from that temptation He sends us to the closet to keep us out of the spotlight and in the Spirit. God has so much more reserved for those that are earnest in prayer.

This is not a verse to say to keep our faith private. A recent change in language is a freedom of religion to a freedom of worship. The intent is to put our worship behind closed doors, to make our practice of faith private, and many Christians are content to do so. That is a misapplication if this verse. Faith is to be practiced and public. Christians should never have to apologize for being Christians. In fact, we should expect persecution for practicing our faith in the public sphere. And so it goes.

God bless you today!