Tuesday Prayer: Burden Bearer

…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 

1 Peter 5:7

Oh Father, today we are so thankful that You do care! You are good, and Your ways are trustworthy. This world continually stirs up anxiety and grief in our hearts. Some days, it seems that evil has the upper hand, and other days, it seems that the whole world works against us and nothing goes our way. 

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 55:22

Yet even in the midst of all of it, You remain perfect and pure; our Rock and our Shield. Thank You that Your word is truth and that You really do work all things for the good of those who love You. Thank You for caring for us as a Father who tenderly looks after His children. 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Today we confess every anxiety and all the burdens and fears we carry. Lord, they are too much for us to bear! We lay them at the foot of the Throne of Grace, casting them on You because You are strong enough to shoulder the burdens we cannot manage; casting them on You because Your grace is sufficient for us and Your power is perfected in our weaknesses and because we trust You. 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me

2 Corinthians 12:9

Thank You for allowing us access through Christ to Your throne where You provide the mercy we need and grace to help us. We confess a never ending need of You!

We need You for every waking moment, for each triumph, and to sustain us through every single tragedy. We need Your strength because ours is too small. We need Your wisdom because we have none in ourselves. And Lord, we need Your mercy for we have fallen short of Your glory. 

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

Romans 3:23-24

Thank You today and every day that in Christ, we can find every single need met in perfection and completeness. To You be the glory, God, for the great things You have done! It’s in the name of Jesus we confess our need and offer our praises, amen. 

Tuesday Prayer: Grace to Help

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:15-16)

Most High God, Maker of heaven and earth and King above all other rulers, we are grateful for the incredible privilege of coming before Your throne of grace. That You offer us mercy and grace to help in time of need is really astonishing. Too often, we go about our busy little days, filling our time with things that are temporary instead of investing deeply in Your Kingdom. Forgive us, Lord, for minds set on this world rather than on You.

Forgive us, too, for each time we’ve taken for granted the benefits of prayer. Covered by the righteousness of our Lord Jesus, we are able to approach Your throne with confidence. Yet sometimes we approach with a sense of entitlement or carelessness. Too often, we present our requests before You as if we are delegating a task list. Other times, we rush about and do not approach at all.

Today, Lord, call us to linger for a while. Help us to be still before Your throne and listen to Your wonderful voice. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, break through to us. Cut through the distractions which rule our minds and pierce any hardness in our hearts. Show us how we ought to walk humbly before You. Show us how to do justice and love kindness – not necessarily in some grandiose and theoretical possibility but in actual acts and words to the people around us. Our families, our friends, our community.

Remove from us the tendency to be caught up in cultural ebbs and flows and instead help us to be anchored to You – the Rock who is higher than we are. May we truly stand firm against the devil’s schemes in day-to-day life, rooted and grounded in Your Word of Truth, living lives surrendered to Your authority, and filled with the joy of knowing and being known by the Almighty God. You are our portion, You are our strength, and You are our motivation. Teach us to live for Your glory in all we do, amen.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
(Lamentations 3:24-25)

On Anger, Racism, and Other Foolishness

And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
(Genesis 4:10)

A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
(Proverbs 18:6-7)

This rainy morning finds me somewhat melancholy. For one, I blew my top at my eldestFight004 yesterday. Although he did not deserve to shoulder the brunt of my wrath, he was the unfortunate person in my path when I reached a tipping point. I took my eyes off the Lord and focused on my problems instead, and I am heartbroken at my own foolish response to my child.

 

I am, however, proud to say that he handled the whole thing with maturity that put me to shame. But today, another problem also grieves my heart: the ridiculous and entirely insane fact of racism. I have never understood this issue. I never will.

In high school, I had the misfortune to be admired by a boy who belonged to a group of Neo-Nazi skinheads; a racist group that existed in my town in the 1990s.  I recall one of his friends handing me some printed material – some preposterous drivel about sending the black people back to Africa and taking back “our” country.

Far from gaining my respect, this nonsense raised a cold fury in my heart. One of my closest – and indeed, one of my only – friends at the time was black. Of all the people in my grade, she was also quite possibly the one I respected the most.

Refusing to be defined by any clique, Miss C was funny, gregarious, and cheerful even when life was hard. When depression eclipsed my heart and I became sullenly withdrawn, often behaving like a complete freak, she still always treated me with a dignity I knew I didn’t deserve. Thus, for some combat boot-wearing child to tell me that she needed to be shipped back to Africa aroused only my contempt.

Needless to say, that little boy never earned my affection, but he has since earned my pity.  How sad a life to believe oneself superior to another by a mere accident of birth! How wretched to be so lacking in logic as to think white skin gives one a “rightful” claim to a land mass that was originally wrested from a brown-skinned people. How horrible to live so full of hate and darkness.

My response to the Neo-Nazi race propaganda remains the same today as it was when I was a teen. Though we might share a skin color, we emphatically do not share an ideology. If anyone ought to be shipped back anywhere, it is us representatives of a lighter-skinned population – the descendants of land thieves, exploiters, and slave-owners.

Although I am ashamed that these things likely lurk in my ancestral closet, I am not my ancestors. Personally, I agree wholly with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. that each of us ought to be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our epidermis.

Recently, the above-mentioned friend posted on Facebook about several instances of racism she has experienced in her life, some flung out by foolish peers and others perpetrated by authority figures. It grieves me to think of those incidents, and again I admire her that she has never given up hope in the human spirit despite such atrocities.

Then… then I heard about what happened in Virginia. May I state something for the record? As a white woman, I utterly reject any such notion as “white supremacy.”  The very idea of something as arbitrary as pigmentation offering any people group supremacy over another is not only abhorrent, it is entirely illogical.

As if my friend or any other person has any control over the very fact of being born! To hate someone for that is the very paramount of ridiculousness.

Oh, people! Have we still not learned? There is truly only one race among humanity; we are all of the human race. Despite differences in skin color, hair color, eye color, geography,  or intelligence quotient, we are all subject to the same curse of sin. It is sin that breeds such nonsense as racism. It is also sin that bears a grudge and refuses to forgive.

Today, I am sorry for all the atrocities of human nature, for every news headline that demonstrates the truth of words penned so many centuries before: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

I weep for those damaged by racism and hatred; both those who are its victims as well as those whose souls are devoured by such cancerous hatred. I pray for my beautiful nieces whose skin is browner than mine, that they may see the goodness of God more completely because of the evil of mankind. I love that my own children have friends of many colors, shapes, sizes, and nationalities.

I also long for mankind to judge rightly, assessing one another by the content and expression of character rather than arbitrary cosmetic differences. More than that, I hope that we will learn to humbly apply the standard most rigorously to our own sorry selves.

Yet even as I write, I realize that I stand condemned by my own character as evidenced by my childish outburst mere hours ago. It seems that we will need something more than character. As a species, we are in need of grace.

As Ravi Zacharias wrote, “…no matter what part of the world we come from or what strata of society we represent, we must all admit our own shortcoming–that we only feel exonerated when we gauge our level of saintliness in comparison to someone else of lesser esteem.”

My friends and brothers of all colors, we are all of lesser esteem.

The solitary standard by which we may rightly measure our own character or that of another is the perfect standard of holiness – the standard of God Himself expressed in human flesh by the works and person of Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ).

If you are tempted to look down on another person, look up to Him first. He alone offers true grace, for He is the sole owner of holiness and worthy of reverence. The rest of us stand condemned daily by our own, innumerable childish outbursts.

One final plea – as you do look to Him, be certain that you are looking to Him alone. Humanity has perpetrated many evils in His name, all of which will be called to account someday. Beware of discarding the veracity of God because of the fumbling mishandling of sinful humanity.

No matter where you stand on the issue of racism, know that the sinful expression of anger is only foolishness. Even those of us who are victims must be careful of our responses. My rather loud outpouring of fury to my son last night was no less an expression of foolishness than that of the anger-fueled murder of other people in Virginia days ago.

I feel deep sorrow for my angry words, and I feel no less sorrow for the very fact of racism. Yet as I was reminded rather painfully last night, responding in anger only feeds a fire which already rages out of control, damaging all who are caught in its blaze without regard to complicity.

With full understanding that by giving vent to my anger I have played the part of a fool, I leave you with a Proverb as it is translated from the original Hebrew by David H. Stern, a Messianic Jewish scholar:

Don’t answer a fool in terms of his folly, or you will be descending to his level; but answer a fool as his folly deserves so that he won’t think he is wise.

Proverbs 26:3-4, CJSB

My friends, let us no longer act as fools and beasts ruled by our impulses, but let us instead submit in humility to God and allow Him to set us apart for holiness instead, agreeing with His definitions of goodness and truth, imitating His example of perfect love, and shunning evil – especially the evil that lies in our own hearts.

Hands002

(As a side note, all comments on this website are modereated. While America may still play at offering freedom of speech, I do not, nor do I tolerate disrespect. Any useful, respectful, gracious words will published; all hateful comments or angry retorts will be heartily ignored).