pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Praying for our Leaders

Reading: 1st Timothy 2: 1-7

Verse 1: “I urge that… requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone”.

Paul writes to Timothy, instructing and encouraging the younger leader. In today’s passage the topic is about prayer. At the time of the writing the Romans ruled over the land. One of Rome’s demands was to worship the Emperor. For a monotheistic people who believed in the one true God, this was a difficult request. Instead of worshipping the Emperor, Paul guides the believers to pray “for kings and all those in authority”. He is direct, writing “I urge that… requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone”.

The Romans taxed the people heavily and limited some of their freedoms. For some it may have been hard to pray for the Emperor. Today some disagree with our political leaders because of policies or decisions. Yet Paul’s advice to Timothy is still the practice we should follow. The reason is the same: “so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”. The Romans allowed the Israelites some religious freedoms – temple worship and sacrifices. Maybe this is partly because they were praying for them. We are free to go to church, to worship God, and to practice our religious beliefs. These freedoms remain in place. We are to pray for our leaders to be saved and to know Jesus. Why? So that they too can become Christians? Absolutely. To see the world through eyes of faith alters the choices and decisions made. Love for the least would reshape our care for those living in poverty and without the necessities. How we interact with other nations would change. The idea that “they will know we are Christians by our love” would positively impact our cities, states, nation, and world. This day and every day may we lift our leaders to God’s guidance, direction, and protection.

Prayer: Lord, I lift our mayor, our governor, our president, along with all other elected and appointed leaders, to you today. Lead and guide them in your ways of love, compassion, and justice. Align their thoughts, words, decisions, and actions with your will and your ways. Amen.


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Praise the Lord!

Reading: Psalm 148

Praise certainly is the main idea of Psalm 148!  At the beginning is a general call to praise the Lord.  The  praise quickly begins in the heavens with the angels, moon, stars, and sun.  Each is called to praise God for both their own creation and for their eternal place in God’s creation.  Then the Psalm shifts to the earth and calls all to praise the Lord.  The psalmist calls upon the elements and parts of nature that God stirs to life.  Also called are all of the living creatures and all of humanity – from Kings to children to the old.

All of this leads us to see that in our daily life we should offer our praise.  Our praise should be deeply rooted in our prayer life, letting God know how grateful we are for all He has blessed us with.  Our praise should also shine out through our lives in such a way to bring glory to God in all we do.  Just as all of creation reveals God and is called upon to bring Him praise, so should all of our lives.

The Psalm draws near its end recognizing that God alone is to be exalted.  We are to  worship none other than God.  We are not to worship any other being or any other thing.  But in a world that pushes pleasure, self-satisfaction, and individual preferences, this is tough to do.  To worship Him alone takes discipline, dedication, and effort.  Even with  heaping amounts of these, we cannot obey on our own.

At the very end of the Psalm, it is written that the Lord has raised up a horn which is the “praise of all His saints”.  This strong and mighty King is Jesus, the perfector and witness of our faith.  In Him we find the example of how to live a life of praise that brings glory and praise to God alone.  In Jesus we also find the strength to do what we cannot do on our own.  Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we find guidance, direction, correction to help us follow Jesus’ ways and teachings.  May we join all of creation in praising the Lord!!