Thursday, August 12, 2010

Do you know what to pray for?

Welcome back fellow seeker. What an exciting message we are going to share today! I'm so glad you are with me on this journey of A Good Bible Study. Let's pray for our time:

Lord, I am being changed from the inside out because of You and I want to shout to the world, "Finally!" I spent so many years trying to get what I wanted from You, and feeling like a failure. Now, I just want to receive whatever You want me to have and guess what? You are giving me exactly what satisfies me! We are hungry, Father. We pray for what You want to give us. Open our hearts and fill us till we are overflowing with Your good gifts. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Questions used to rule my mind. "What does God want from me? What am I supposed to do? How should I react?" Sound familiar?

As I work through The Love Revolution Devotional Workbook and Field Journal, by Joyce Meyer, I realized we all ask these questions, sometimes in earnest, sometimes in anger, sometimes in defeat.

The irony of it all, is that God has told us in a million and one ways what He wants, what He expects, and what He requires from us, in His letter to each of us: the Bible. Let's answer those questions today, once and for all.

Do a search with the term "Define Justice" (or look in your dictionary) and write your answer below:

Have you ever had a disagreement with someone and said, "It's not the _______, it's the principle of the thing?" We all want what is fair, right and balanced, do we not? It offends us to be treated in a manner that seems unfair. We are outraged when we see those who are innocent, underprivileged, or incapacitated, mistreated.

Your heavenly Father feels the same way. Since we are each created in His image, does it surprise you?  We're going to journey to the Old Testament today, in the last few books before the New Testament begins.

Read Micah 6:8 for a very simple, straightforward explanation of what God wants from you. Put your name in place of "O man," which means all mankind.

"He has shown you, ____________, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do ____________, to love ___________, and to walk __________ with your God?" New King James Version.

Is this our human nature? Not really. But all we have to do is ask Him for the strength, courage, and ability to be fair and just, be merciful and kind, and live humbly with God, remembering that all good in us and for us comes from Him. If you still believe there is anything good in you that is of you, and not of God, you are in for a rude awakening.

Not convinced? Ask God to open your eyes to yourself. Go on, if you are sincere, He will. When God showed me probably just a small slice of my selfish nature, I was heartily ashamed and sobbed for more than an hour. You know what else I was? Grateful. I am a better wife and mother for knowing what I am without God's Spirit working in me and empowering my love.

It's a lot easier to be merciful, forgive the failings of the people we love and even those we hate, when we get a good eyeball on the measure that God has been giving us.

Jeremiah 22:16 quotes our Lord describing a man named Josiah and says:
"16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?" declares the LORD." (New International Version)

To defend is to seek justice: right, fair, and balanced treatment. God says to seek right, fair, and balanced treatment for the poor (no matter the cause of their poverty) and the needy. Who do you see around you that is poor in some way? Are they poor financially, or poor in spirit (unhappy)? Who around you is needy? Do they need a ride to the doctor, help in caring for their children, their next meal, or a good home?

This is where our flesh rises up indignantly and justifies our doing nothing by declaring," I can't save everyone. (You can save one.) It's not safe to bring strangers into my home! (You can find out where the homeless shelter is, and pay for a cab ride, or notify a Pastor or social worker of the need.) I don't have enough money for my own family. (You have clothing you no longer wear that can be donated; you have extra garden produce that can go to a food shelf; you have some time you can give to deliver Meals on Wheels.)

And if there is truly not one phone call you can make, one item you can give, one dollar you can spend, one place you can help, you can sincerely pray for the hungry, the needy, the homeless, the poor. Pray for help, pray for resources, pray for a change in their circumstance and in your ability to help.

What does God want? He wants you to care about the situation of those in your field of vision and awareness, and to act. He wants to you to find out who is poor and needy, and to act. That's it. If you know Him, if you believe Jesus came to save all, if you have let Him sacrifice Himself for you, then God says your heart cannot help but feel compassion for the poor, the needy, the widow and the orphan.

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8 (NIV)
It can't get any plainer than that.
Lord, help us to know You so well, that we cannot help but act when we see a need. We pray for wisdom so we know how to act with justice and mercy, and to live humbly before You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Love, Karen

Photo  of people praying in St. Peter's Basilica, by the photoholic. Courtesy of

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