Monday, June 28, 2010

The Tenacious Olive Tree

From the 52nd Psalm:

I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God;

I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever.

I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good.

Lord, I realize that olive trees are more than Biblical landscaping. Their symbolism is significant. A tenacious tree, they can live 500 years. They tolerate heat and respond well to pruning…with new growth…branches, attractive foliage and fruit.

Father, cultivate and prune us with truth from your Word…that we may trust solely in your unfailing love…that we may flourish for you…in the Bible’s fertile soil.

We ask this in Christ’s name,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Limitations of Self-help

…all of us have been heavily influenced by the modern worldview, which believes that human reason and effort are able to understand and control the material world without a need for understanding or relying upon God. As a result we are prone to putting our trust in ourselves and in technology to improve our lives, forgetting that it is God who is the Creator and Sustainer…

When Helping Hurts
Steve Corbett, Brian Fikkert

“O Lord, You are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

Lord, we need that reminder from Isaiah. We’re easily seduced by the 21st century prophets of self-help and their popular best sellers.

Indeed, we need help. We all have failures, addictions, compulsions and obsessions, but self-help has serious limitations.

A lasting makeover, an effective rehabilitation, can be achieved only with your Grace. The unmatched counselor is your Holy Spirit. The incomparable book is your Word.

…but we are inclined to seek substitutes.

As Paul told the Corinthians: “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
(2nd Corinthians 5:17)

Father, mold me in the likeness of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Prayer for the Gulf

There’s a harsh line in chapter eighteen of Leviticus. God, speaking through Moses, says: …if you pollute it, the land will vomit you up just as it vomited up the nations that preceded you. (Leviticus 18:28) It brings to mind the Gulf of Mexico oil pollution crisis. Chapter eighteen is mainly about sexual ethics, but this still reads like a creation care warning to me.

Creator God,

I pray for the Gulf of Mexico…that you would heal that great body of water…the marine life, the shoreline, the wildlife and the people affected by the oil well disaster.

Let us confess...
That our technology, our best engineers and scientific minds are inadequate when we disrespect creation…when we cut corners…when profit becomes god rather than goal.

Let us confess…
That we are not the masters of creation, merely dependent stewards.

If only we would act that way.

By your hand, by your power, craft our repair and restoration efforts. Make them sufficient.

The Psalmist tells us:
You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. (Psalm 65:9)

Please Lord, heal the Gulf.

God’s preferred state for the Gulf of Mexico
Sunset from Captiva Island, FL

Pelican photo credit: National Post

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sing for Joy!

Praise to you, Lord, from the 81st Psalm:

“Sing for joy to God our strength…shout aloud…begin the music…”

It’s a song of rejoicing,
But you implore us
To loyalty,
To submission,
To follow your ways.

Three times the Psalmist pleads with us to listen,
“If my people would but listen to me...”

I pray that we will be better listeners,
That we make time for reflection,
Recognize the need for repentance,
And find renewal.

The Psalm concludes with your promise:
“…you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."

Thank you, Father, that in Jesus we have received that
“bread of life” (John 6:35)…and sweet honey from the rock.

But the world is hungry. With whom can we share our bread today? Amen.