A Prayer for Wisdom

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I thank You My God that You know all things, even making the concept of time.

I can’t see the future, so I ask that You guide us, lead us, and help us to make the right decisions. In our following You, guide our steps, teach us wisdom.

You know that we are not perfect, and yet neither are we stone. We are Your people so give us wisdom, Lord God Almighty, as we trust in You.

Amen and amen. 

     

Prayer Poem and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

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Friday Focus – God and Nature

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“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…..”

Psalm 42: 1, 2a

Many of us have been to the beach and received the calm and peace of ocean waves finding their rhythm. Or we have walked through a cool mountain forest listening, to water gently falling over rocks soothing our minds and hearts, as birdsong lifts our spirits.

And yet as people of faith we know that God made everything. We need to be careful to not confuse the created with the One who is the Creator. Can we say that nature brings us healing? Or that there is peace in nature? I believe we can and without offending God.

We know that doctors, nurses, counselors, and medicines help us in tremendous ways. On many different levels they can bring healing and even peace. So, in the same way God can use nature as a balm for easing our wounds.

I remember one poem I wrote about cherry blossoms caused a reaction and a negative response from a “Christian” who challenged my theology. To be honest I think he misjudged the poem because he could not see into the deeper meaning, that spring can free us from being discouraged, and from the oppression many of us can feel during the difficult weather of winter. But that’s ok, because I’m not always right about everything!

Some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen though are from nature. They include my children being born, and before that – my wife walking down the aisle on our wedding day. I was stunned.

And yes, I love my wife more than words can tell. It’s ok to say that. In fact, God works through her to minister to me in so many different, and beautiful ways.

And that’s what God does, with nature. He has blessed us for sure.

I wish you peace.

    

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

 

 

Thunder and Lightning

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“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’

Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid…..’”

Exodus 20: 18-20a

So is the God of the Old Testament somehow different from the God of the New Testament? My Mom used to say, God was always angry in the “Old” Testament but He is loving and kind in the “New” Testament.

But let’s think about the context for these verses. God was giving the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions! He was working with a group of people and establishing them as a people that should be different, than the other people around them.

His people were told to not worship idols, to not commit adultery, to not sacrifice their children to idols. Yes, unfortunately there was human sacrifice in other nations. God’s people were to be different, but in a positive way. So, in a sense God was “laying down the law.”

Now in the times of the Messiah, there were quite a few cases of his blasting away at the hypocrites! He often called them, snakes, vipers, serpents! And remember the time he chased the money changers (people making a profit at the Temple) with a whip? Look out!

My point is God did not change, but the context of His interactions with us humans did. God is the same yesterday, today and forever! Yes, God is loving, kind and forgiving. And yet He is also holy, mighty – far above the heavens, and all powerful too.

Lord God, as we follow You, help us to have a balanced view of Your holiness and Your love. Thank You My God that we don’t have to afraid of the thunder and lightning, and that we can pray to You, with humble hearts as we seek to do Your will.

We praise You, and may You forever be praised!

Amen.

     

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

Teach Me Your Way

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“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;

give me and undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;

I will glorify your name forever. For great

is your love toward me……”

Psalm 86: 11-13a

Here we see the Psalmist with a humble heart, praising and beseeching the Lord God. The Psalms so often flow easily in a beautiful way, the words seeming to speak directly into our hearts. We can often ask ourselves quietly – is my heart like this? Am I this humble?

Part of our walk of faith is asking God to teach us. In our prayer times, as we read the Scriptures, God can guide us, teach us really – about His ways. This is such a beautiful part of our relationship with Him.

And when this verse speaks of an undivided heart, this means we will have a heart for God instead of our own selfish ways, or the ways of the world that would lead us astray. Another way of saying this is He does not want us to have one foot in heaven, and one foot in hell!

Now does this mean we have to be absolutely perfect, in every way? No!! Only God is perfect. But look again at the heart of the Psalmist in these verses. Can you describe it in one word, or in one phrase? How about the word “humble”? Or the phrase “a heart that loves God”? And there it is – the key to us following Him.

Lord God Almighty – King of the Universe we praise You and thank You for working in our hearts and lives. We love You God, teach us Your ways, help us in every way to have undivided hearts.

Amen, and amen.

 

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

Listening and Doing

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“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

James 1:22-24

Here the Book of James challenges us to follow after the Lord God! Have you ever read something, then forgotten all about it and you don’t remember what it says? I have!

If we don’t practice our faith by following and applying the Scriptures to our lives, watch out. We can even wind up deceiving ourselves, believing we are “ok” with God, when in reality we are not.

When I was growing up as a boy, one of the things that kept me away from the faith, was people saying they were believers, and they were actually hypocrites! Our house on Sunday mornings, usually meant some of the most horrendous fights would take place, between my mother and stepfather, all while getting ready to go to church!

I was like, no thank you! And some confuse “Churchianity” (going to church) with having faith and loving God. My wife grew up in a church where you could do whatever you wanted Saturday night, including getting drunk and having wild parties, as long as you were in your seat for church on Sunday morning. No thank you!

My heart now is to follow Him, being pleasing to Him!

Heavenly Father thank you for leading us and guiding us through the Scriptures! Help us to follow You, by doing and not just listening to Your words. Amen and Amen!

P.S. I really love the Book of James!

        

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

His Precepts are Trustworthy

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“The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow

his precepts have good understanding. To him

belongs eternal praise.”

Psalm 111: 7, 10

Isn’t it amazing that what God does, and what he says are so trustworthy? We may not understand everything, but we can trust in His words!

And when we follow Him, He does help us, He does give us understanding, at least to some degree. And the beginning of wisdom is not the discovery of how great we are, it is being in awe of God, and in following Him.

Let me give you a small example. Many, many years ago before sanitary conditions were known to be necessary, doctors would be in the morgue tending to dead bodies, and then go straight to the hospital, to check on live patients. This included conducting surgery without washing their hands! Yuck! So many died due to a lack of cleanliness practices.

But someone did a study, after much contemplation about certain verses in the Old Testament. And they thought maybe they should try washing themselves after touching dead bodies! And sure enough, fewer patients that had surgery died. The cleaner the hands – the healthier the patients! Ain’t that amazing? It wasn’t until later that germs were discovered.

We can trust in God always.

Lord God help us to follow You! And if we do not understand a given situation, help us to trust in You and give those circumstances to You. Only You know all things.

And You are to be praised eternally! Hallelujah, and amen!

      

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

Friday Focus – Prayer

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“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all you heart.” Jeremiah 29: 13

So how much should we pray? Should we pray everyday? I once knew of a pastor that woke his family up at 4:00am everyday so they all could have Bible reading and prayer, for one hour together!

Now I did not know him personally but I’m sure his intentions were good. But we do need to be careful of spiritual burnout! And I hope his children did not grow up resenting their father or his faith.

So back to the question, prayer and meditation are always good. It’s a good habit too, for a daily time set aside. And we can pray during the day as we meet different challenges.

But in our busy schedules that can be difficult. Do not feel condemned though! Simply be consistent.

I once heard it put this way. We enjoy spending time with those we love. And we make time for our loved ones so we can build solid relationships.

Well, the same is true, perhaps even more so, in our relationship with God. Did you know our faith is based on our relationship?

I wish you peace.

   

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

 

He is Faithful to Forgive Us

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“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

I John 1:9

So forgiveness is just a step away. God is so faithful to forgive us when we turn to Him. And you know what? God has always been that way. Ain’t that so cool?

So if God is so forgiving, why do we so easily, condemn others, silently pointing fingers? Sometimes we act as if we are judges, and better than other people!

But we are not better are we? Our brother has a speck in his eye, and we have a plank in our own.

And then there are times we condemn ourselves over and over again, instead of confessing our sins and moving forward.

Yes there are times we need to go to another person to make things right but even then, we need to have right attitudes and make sure our heart is right.

Lord God forgive us for condemning others and even ourselves, instead of seeking and accepting Your forgiveness.

Teach us to turn to You God when we need to. Forgive us our sins and help us daily to move forward.

Amen and amen!

   

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

 

With All Your Heart

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“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul

and with all your strength. These commandments

that I give you today are to be

upon your hearts.”

Deuteronomy 6: 5,6

God has always been concerned about our hearts. We should love Him for who He is and for what He has done in our lives.

And you know what? When we love Him, everything else begins to fall into place. When we love God, we will be very good employees. When we love God, we love our spouses, and we forgive them, and pray for them…… and so on. This is what makes this verse so important. We are told later in the Scriptures it is indeed the Greatest Commandment.

And when we love God, we care about other people, or at least we are supposed to! Which leads us to the Second Greatest Commandment, loving our neighbor as our self. So, it is good to feed the poor, and maybe even work to have policies that help them.

And it’s ok to carry signs in the streets. Among those recently protesting gun violence, I saw one sign with a Scripture on it. We are to love people, not our guns.

And in our country, we sometimes confuse conservatism with loving “what is right”. We must be very careful to love our neighbor and not worship idols.

Lord God, help us to love You with all our hearts, and to love people as ourselves. Only You can do this Lord.

We trust in You and praise You! Amen and amen.

      

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

A Fountain of Life

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“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,

but violence overwhelms the mouth

of the wicked. Hatred stirs up dissension,

but love covers all wrongs.

Proverbs 10: 11, 12

So, are the things we say a fountain of life? Or do we bring others down? Now none of us would believe that we speak of violence, but what happens when we focus on issues like welfare fraud, or people not working, and our tax money wasted? Don’t we become angry? Our hearts can easily become encased with a harshness against the poor. Do we blame them perhaps?

I only ask these questions because I have seen it many times, including on television. A reporter making oh lets say, about $500, 000 dollars a year, doing an investigative story on our tax dollars being misused. And well-meaning people of faith can do the same. Of all people, we should be the givers. We should be the builders with our words. How about a story on the wonderfully amazing good things our tax money can do, like paying for an elderly Grandmother to have food, and medical care?

Now no one wants our tax money wasted, but we should use our talents, our speech to lift people up. We should be sharing life giving encouragement, instead of criticizing others. Ever heard of a music artist called Toby Mac? He has a great song called “Speak Life.” I highly recommend watching it.

And we are to speak of peace and pursue it, not division and strife.

Heavenly Father please lead us in our speech, and in our hearts. May we have right attitudes towards people that may not do, or may not say, the things we agree with. Help us to be the peacemakers, with kind hearts, bringing life to others with the things we say. Help us to be encouragers. Amen Lord God, amen.

      

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible