Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: We Need You

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Today was not a good day. You slept through your alarm and didn’t have enough time for your morning prayer and scripture reading. You rushed through washing your face and brushing your teeth but spent the next twenty minutes in front of your closet trying to decide what to wear, because despite it being Fall, it’s still 80 degrees and humid outside. On top of that, there’s a steady mist, which is only going to give you a bad hair day, after all the time you spent doing your hair the night before (the reason you went to bed late and didn’t hear your alarm).

You curse yourself for not having enough clothes; you wear the same five outfits every week. You can’t find your favorite flats, which you’ve worn right down to the ground. All your other shoes are so old their talking back to you, and the two good pairs you do have are too big; they constantly slip off your heels, making them next to impossible to walk in. Half of the pants you own hang off you like on coat hangers because you recently lost weight. Not a bad thing, but you haven’t spent money on a new wardrobe in years. Budget is tight. There’s always another bill to pay, another family member to bail out of a bind.

When you finally put on something that looks halfway decent and style your hair to the best of your ability, you enter the kitchen to prepare your lunch only to discover you didn’t wash the dishes. The entire front of your house reeks of last night’s dinner: fish. You still have two more days before garbage collection, but your trash is already overflowing. You try to make a sandwich, but your cheese is molded. The milk in your soup has separated. You want to make a smoothie, but that would mean one more dish you have to clean, and you’re already late for work. You decided you’ll just buy lunch from the cafeteria, hoping they’re serving something good and not too expensive.

You go back to your closet for one last desperate search for those flats, give up and put on wedges that have seen better days. Outside, the humid air slaps you right in the face. You can already feel your hair lifting. You get in your car and all the windows are foggy, but you don’t have time to clear them, so you just put the car in gear and go.

On the highway, you’re caught behind the slowest moving truck EVER! When you turn into the complex, the parking lot is full, you have to park in the very back, which means you’ll have to walk, the last thing you want to do, given that your shoes are one sticky sidewalk away from talking too. As you search for a parking space, the SUV coming from the opposite end drives in the center of the lane as if it’s the only car in the lot, forcing you to nearly hit the parked cars to your right just to get out of its way. You try your hardest not to curse the woman driving it, but the frustration has been building. You let the word slip out.

When you’re finally parked, you sit in your car, turn on the radio, try to pull yourself together before going into the office, but then a song about suicide comes on, so you shut everything off, stomp down the concrete, grumble your “good mornings” to passersby. You finally get to your desk, and the weight of the next eight hours sinks on top of you; you burst into tears, echos of the song still playing in your mind; “I just wanna die today. I just wanna die.”

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

We’ve all had bad days like this. Maybe not as specific, but we can definitely empathize with someone who wishes they could crawl back into bed and start the day over. How do you react when everything that could go wrong does go wrong? Do you get emotional and cry? Do you fold into yourself and isolate yourself from others? More importantly, do you stop going to God and instead try to handle things on your own?

I think we’ve all been guilty, at some point, of turning away from God when we needed Him the most, even if we were just having a bad day. But Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth,” and in the following verse, “he hears their cry and saves them” (v. 19b). Stress comes with life, whether it’s stress over the news today, stress over all the things you have to get done, or stress over the feeling that you have nothing to show for your time here on earth. Jesus promises that if you come to Him, rely on Him, lay everything down on Him, He will relieve you of that stress, He will save you from the burdens that weigh you down.

Most of us are familiar with Isaiah 40:31, which says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (KJV). Another word for “wait” is “hope in” or “trust.” Put you’re hope and trust in God, that He would turn your bad day into a good one, that He would give you the strength to finish this day with a smile on your face, despite the way it started. Don’t let the troubles of life come up and choke His comforting word out of you (Matthew 13:22). As 1 Peter 5:7 says, He cares for you, so don’t turn away from Him, give Him a chance to comfort you when the walls seem to be closing in. You may feel alone now, but Jesus promises, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)

God Bless.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, we need you. We can’t make it a day in this life without you always near. You said in your word that if we call on you, you will answer. So we seek refuge in you, for you are our rock and fortress, the source of our salvation, in whom we trust. Forgive us for believing we can handle the trials of life on our own, for you said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” We cast all our anxieties on you, knowing that you care for us, and that by your power, we are made strong, even on days when we feel weakest. So we give you all the glory, honor, and praise for being an ever-present help in times of trouble. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

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Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to Recognize the Power in Our Praise

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

How often do you praise and worship God? Is it every day? Is it every Sunday in church? Is it Sunday in church only if the choir is singing your favorite song? For many of us, it’s the latter, and while there’s nothing wrong with being moved by music, we’ve got to get into the habit of praising God in all circumstances.

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:1-3; NKJV

When we praise and worship God, we invite Him into the atmosphere to dwell among us. Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” James 4:8 says, ” Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Moreover, God says in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” When we praise God and call on His name, not only does He show up, but He shows out. The power of God is made manifest right in that very place.

There are many examples of this in the Bible. One includes the fall or Jericho in the book of Joshua. God instructed the Israelites to march around the city six days, but on the seventh day they were to march seven times, with the priests blowing on the trumpets. At the sound of the long trumpet blast, the army was to give a loud shout. I’d like to think it was loud shout of praise and honor to God, who would deliver the city into their hands. And that’s exactly what He did.

“When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.” Joshua 6:20; NIV

Jericho was a fortified city, securely walled up; no one could get in or out. And yet, at the army’s shout to God in heaven, the walls came crashing down, showing God’s great and mighty power we could never understand.

Another example comes in 2 Chronicles 20. The armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir had united to attack Judah. Fearful of the ensuing bloodbath, King Jehoshaphat gathered all the people Judah to assemble together and seek help from God, for this was a “great multitude” that was coming for them. Jehoshaphat began his prayer saying, “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?” (2 Chronicles 20:5). He recognized the great power of God and understood that only by His power could they win this battle.

God responded saying, “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15). And the people fell and worshiped Him. The next morning they continued to sing and praise, and God went out against the armies and turned them on each other so that when the people of Judah arrived at the place of battle, all they saw were dead bodies!

“Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.” 2 Chronicles 20:22-23; NKJV

The people of Judah didn’t even have to fight. All they had to do was stand still and watch the power of God at work!

Skipping ahead to the New Testament in Acts 16. Paul and Silas are imprisoned for casting out a spirit from a fortune-telling slave girl and preaching the gospel. But they don’t wallow in their own self-pity for being in prison. Instead, they live what is spoken in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” And once again, the power of God was made manifest.

“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” Acts 16:25-26; NKJV

But notice that Paul and Silas don’t immediately escape, although they have ample opportunity. Instead, they take this moment to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the jailer, who has just witnessed this unbelievable miracle, and to his entire household. And that night, because of the power of God that came down through Silas and Paul’s praise, the jailer and his entire household were saved.

Are you seeing the power of God at work in your praise? Are obstacles in your path being torn down? Are the people who mean to do you harm falling away without you having to lift a finger? Have you been set free from unfortunate circumstances or situations that have kept you feeling imprisoned (ex. a bad relationship, addiction to drugs or alcohol, etc.)? Most importantly, are people around you receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ and turning their lives around?

Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Don’t let that power of the Holy Spirit sit dormant. Alone, we are very limited in what we can do, but Ephesians 3:20 says that God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” So don’t bottle up that power inside you. Unleash it through your praise.

God Bless.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9; NIV

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to recognize the power in our praise. Without you, nothing is possible, but with you, all things are possible, for with your power, we can pull down strongholds; with your power, our enemies are defeated; with your power, chains are broken; and with your power, salvation is brought to all who believe in the name of Jesus. There is nothing too hard for you. So we will praise you with our whole soul. We will bless your holy name. We call on you and invite you in to reveal great and mighty things beyond our understanding. To you be all the glory, in Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Give us the Strength to Resist the Devil

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

How much power does the devil have over your life? If you truly know who you are in Christ, you know the answer to that question is none.

Despite having this knowledge, we often allow the lies of the enemy to get into our heads, disrupt our peace and take control of our lives. Maybe you’ve experienced setbacks this week—a flat tire that made you late for an important meeting at work, you lost power in your home after a bad storm and the food in the refrigerator went bad, you learned that your teenage daughter is pregnant and you didn’t even know she was having sex. Did you blame the devil?  Maybe you did something you know had no business doing—you cursed out an insensitive friend on Facebook, you drank alcohol when you know you’re trying to get clean, you lied about your criminal history on a job application. Did you say, “The devil made me do it”?

In Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People, we learned that nothing Satan does is outside of God’s knowledge and control.  We also know that God gave us the freewill to choose our own path—righteousness and reward, or evil and destruction—He doesn’t force us one way or the other. With that in mind, and knowing also that the devil is nothing but a creation of God (Isaiah 54:16), why then do we continue to blame the devil for every bad thing that happens? We are essentially saying that he has more power than God.

And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:18-19; NKJV

We have the power over the devil. Nothing he does can harm us unless we allow it. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on the full armor of God—the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God—that we may stand firm against the devil’s tricks and schemes.

James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” That word resist means to violently oppose. Don’t let that devil get in your head and tell you your sins aren’t forgiven when the word of God says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). Don’t let him convince you that you’ve lost your salvation because of one mistake when you know that “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Ask God to forgive you for whatever that mistake was, and continue to move forward (1 John 1:9). You know the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44), so why do you listen to him? Why do you argue with him? Simply call on the name of the Lord, and he will scatter.

Finish this week triumphant, knowing that you are a child of the Most High and that the devil will never take what Jesus has already paid the price for.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us the strength to resist the devil and his schemes. We know that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against us in judgement we shall condemn. We call on your name when tempted by the enemy, and we rely on your word to help us through, for without you nothing is possible, but through Christ we can do all things. We put our faith and trust in you and thank you for the power given us by the Holy Spirit to stand our ground against the enemy, knowing that we fight from the victory you have already won. We give you all the glory and honor and praise. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

 

Originally published June 21, 2017

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Teach Us to Lead by Example

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

So often it is easier for us to condemn others for their shortcomings rather than commend them for their successes, and the people we love to criticize the most are those who are put in charge. From our bosses at work, to our ministry leaders, to our children’s school teachers. Not even the president of the United States is safe from bad-mouthing constituents. There’s a difference between constructive criticism, which is given to help someone improve, and complaining, which is what most of us do when we talk about people in leadership.

How often do you complain about your leaders? Before you pass judgement on someone for their poor leadership skills, ask yourself, How am I being a good leader in my community? At some point in life, every one of us will have the opportunity to lead, whether it is as head of a household, captain of a team project, or lead driver in the neighborhood carpool. It is our responsibility to lead justly and fairly and to set a positive example for all those under us. The best way to learn how to be a better leader is by following the word of God.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” Matthew 23:15; NIV

In His seven woes to the teachers of the law and the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-38), Jesus rebukes the Jewish leaders for their hypocrisy. These so-called “leaders” did everything but lead the people. They didn’t practice what they preached, they condemned others while they themselves were sinful, they manipulated the law to fit their own selfish needs, and worst of all, their poor leadership steered the people away from the promise of the kingdom.

These “religious leaders” called themselves children of God (John 8:41), and yet when God wrapped Himself in flesh and came down to earth to walk with and save His people, they wanted to kill Him! They were more concerned about themselves and continuing in their evil practices than they were the people, and a leader who doesn’t care about the people is a leader no one needs.

So now that we know what a good leader is not, how does the Bible describe for us the ideal leader? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” As leaders, we should be examples of Christ. How are we exemplifying Christ in the way we lead? What are we doing to ultimately bring all the glory and honor back to God in heaven?

Christ calls us the light of the world in Matthew 5:14, and light isn’t corrupted by darkness but is mounted up to provide light to all around it. Likewise, we should have nothing to do with darkness (evil, sinful, selfish practices), but be that light that draws people to Christ. Further, Paul says in Romans 13:14 to “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” We should clothe ourselves in light. As Ephesians 5:8-9 says, we are light in the Lord, and the fruit of that light “consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth,” qualities of a good, godly leader.

“For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'” Acts 13:47

Are people still going to talk about you? Of course. Do we not still express our grievances against the president, even when he does something commendable? As such, people will always talk about you, whether you are doing good or evil, more so when you’re a follower of Christ. But as written in 1 Peter 3:17, it is better to suffer for doing good than evil, and those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ will eventually be put to shame for their slander (v. 16).

So continue to be that good leader God has called you to be. Walk in His Spirit, exemplifying its fruit— love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)—and avoid all hypocrisy as described in Matthew 23. Lead people back to Christ by being His example, and while you’re at it, try not to be so critical of your own leaders. Remember, the Bible says judge not lest you be judged.

God Bless.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to lead by example. We want to be your light on this earth, exemplifying the fruit of your Spirit in our everyday lives so that others may glorify you in heaven. You’re word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. So lead us by your word. Direct our paths so that we may shine like light, being imitators of Christ, and leading the lost to salvation. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Teach Us to Be Patient in Our Circumstances

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

“Is it five o’clock yet?” A common question asked around the office throughout the day, meant as a joke, but halfway serious. “Is it time to go home?” “Is it time for lunch?” “Do you think they’ll let us off early?” We aren’t the most patient of workers, are we? Haven’t fully comprehended the term longsuffering, have we?

Most of us can probably think of ten, maybe even twenty, other things we’d rather be doing than staring at a computer screen for eight hours in a gray, windowless office or cubicle, especially if this isn’t the job we want to be—still waiting on God to deliver on that vision—and sometimes our work suffers for our lack of motivation. But always remember, God put you in that position for a reason, whether it’s to prepare you for the next phase, to push you to minister to someone in your office, or to teach you patience.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4; NLT

Make the most of this circumstance, however unpleasant. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” So come to work early and leave late. Make those 100 copies for your boss when he asks. Give positive feedback to your fellow coworkers. Try not to complain as much, but be eager to do your work, going above and beyond expectations every time, knowing that your continued faith will eventually lead to a harvest.

Remember, God tests us with little things first to see if we can handle bigger things later (Matthew 25:21; Luke 16:10). If you’re not being faithful in your minimum wage clerical job now, do you really think He will give you a small business to run? Our eagerness to get ahead is usually what keeps us stagnant. We think in terms of short-term results rather than long-term journeys. But part of the journey involves the actual going through. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before entering the promised land, and according to Deuteronomy 8:2, it was to humble them, to test to know what was in their hearts, if they would keep God’s commands. In what areas of your life is God humbling you? How is He testing you by keeping you in a particular job or circumstance? Are you ready to enter your “promised land” or do you still require more work?

Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” We have to finish this particular assignment God has given us before we can start on the next. We can’t let pride or ambition get in the way of the plans God has already set for us (Jeremiah 29:11). “Many are the plans in a person’s heart,” Proverbs 19:21 says, “but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Likewise, Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Learn how to put your hope and trust in God, and He will bring things into fruition.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.” Psalm 37:7-9; NIV

Galatians 5:22-23 teaches us the fruit of the Spirit, what everyone who is born of the Holy Spirit should be producing in their lives every day; love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Some versions of the Bible uses the word longsuffering in place of forbearance/patience, which basically means to endure in times of hardship or in difficult situations.

Maybe you don’t have the best job, maybe your boss isn’t the nicest, maybe the work you do is tedious or beneath what you think you’re capable of doing, but 1 Peter 2:19-20 says that God is pleased with you when you, conscious of His will, stay the course even in difficult times. Hebrews 10:36 reminds us that after we have done the will of God, then we will receive the promise. If it is His will that you stick it out in your situation just a little while longer, then so so cheerfully. Remember, God is patient with us (2 Peter 3:9), it’s only right that we be patient with Him. So hold steady in your menial job. A change is soon to come.

God Bless.

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7-8

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to be patient in our circumstances. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose. We know that you don’t allow for us to go through certain tests and situations without having and end in place. So we trust you to direct our paths. We promise to endure in our assignment, making the best of our opportunity, striving for excellence, proving ourselves faithful in that which is least. We welcome each new test without groaning but with gladness, knowing that our endurance will lead to spiritual maturity and new, better opportunities to do your will. We thank you for your continued faithfulness and patience with us as we continue to grow and learn. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Keep Us Encouraged

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Sometimes change is scary. Whether it’s a new job, a new home, or a new relationship, we are often hesitant to settle in and get comfortable right away. Doubt may creep in, or fear, remembering past setbacks and mistakes, thinking we’re not good enough or we don’t deserve it. These feelings can often sabotage the good things God has in store for us.

I recently read this encouraging statement on another devotional blog that I follow: “God never sends you where He hasn’t already been.” If this change has been ordained by God, don’t let apprehension prevent you from receiving your blessing or completing the assignment God has given you. Understand that if God is leading you there, He has already prepared the way. He knows exactly what is waiting for you on the other side, and He has determined that you can handle it. And why can’t you handle it, when God is on your side? There’s a popular gospel song that says, “Hold on, don’t quit. God’s on your side. You can handle it. God’s on your side.” Your job is just to trust Him and let Him guide your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6).

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8; NIV

This past Sunday, we looked at the relevancy of the Old Testament. What use is it for the average Christian living in today’s world? What I love about the Old Testament is that you can find so many encouraging scriptures within its pages. In Deuteronomy 31:8, Moses appoints Joshua to lead the children of Israel into the promised land. He tells Joshua, not to be fearful of the battles and challenges ahead, for God will be with him, and go before him, and lead him all the way. One of my favorite Old Testament scriptures actually comes in the following book of Joshua, when God Himself reminds Joshua that if he is careful to do everything written in the Book of the Law, i.e. obey God’s commandments, he will find success and prosperity in the land God is giving them. He also encourages Joshua to be strong and courageous, for God will be with him wherever he goes (Joshua 1:8-9). Then of course, we all know Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Psalm 23: 1-6; NKJV

These verses remind us that God is our provider. He takes care of our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs. He protects us from danger. He blesses us, even when our enemies want to curse us and see us fail. He is with us all our days, because as Jeremiah 29:11 says, He has plans for us, plans to prosper us, not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that these Old Testament scriptures only apply to the children of Israel, or that God’s involvement in our lives has changed now that we are under a new covenant. Isaiah 40:8 says that the word of God lasts forever. What He said then still applies now. Don’t limit God in what He can do for you. If He’s done it before, surely He can do it again. Just open your mind to believing that He can, and see His powers at work. Hebrews 13:8 says that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The God of the Old Testament is the same God of today. The only difference is that now it is so much easier for us to come to Him with our concerns (Philippians 4:6-7; Hebrews 4:16).

Jesus said that “whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you” (John 15:16). So ask God for encouragement during this time of change. Ask Him to help you welcome this change with a cheerful and thankful heart, because you know that without Him, you could have never gotten to this point on your own.

God Bless.

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep us encouraged. Help us to rely on the promises in your word during times of change and uncertainty. You promised never to leave us or forsake us. You promised to be with us wherever we go. You promised to strengthen us in times of trouble. You promised to keep us in perfect peace. You promised to sustain us. You promised to give us rest. You promised to comfort us. We know that your word lasts forever, and that it will never return to you void, without accomplishing what you sent it to do. So we hold on to that faith, and we continue to put our trust in you and the promises of your word, in everything we do. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Teach Us Not to Procrastinate

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

How often do you put things off until the last minute? Do you find yourself stressed and overwhelmed because you waited until the day of to prepare for a meeting? Did your boss ask you for an update on a project that’s been collecting dust on your desk for weeks because you thought you had time? Did you miss out on a job opportunity because you forgot to call the interviewer back?

Everyone of us has been guilty of procrastinating one or two assignments only to have them bite us in the end. However, be careful not to make  procrastination a habit, because you will quickly find yourself frazzled, disorganized, forgetful; you’ll most likely be labeled lazy, unreliable, a slacker; and worst of all, God wont’ be able to use you because you’re never “ready” to do His will.

“How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.” Proverbs 6:9-11; NIV

James 4:13-17 warns us not to boast about tomorrow. Verse 14 says, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Why put off until tomorrow when you are perfectly able to do it today? The Bible says that we are like grass, we wither and fade away (Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24), meaning that tomorrow is never promised for us, so we have to be diligent about completing our tasks when we are given them.

While reading these verses, I am reminded of Jesus’ teaching on worry in Matthew 6:25-34. Although this scripture is talking about our day to day earthly needs, I believe it is very relevant to the subject of procrastination. Jesus says, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (v.34). Every day comes with its own set of challenges and tasks and things to do. What often happens with procrastination is that we blindly push things back until tomorrow without considering what is already on tomorrow’s agenda. In the end all we’ve done is given ourselves more things to do, more tasks to stress over finishing when we could have simply done them today and saved ourselves all that trouble.

“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. ” John 4:35

To push it home, James 4:17 says, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” No one wants to fall into the trap of sin. So stop waiting for tomorrow. Get up and do it today. Ephesians 6:15 tells us to have our feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. Always be ready to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone who will listen (1 Peter 3:15), making the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-17). As Jesus said in John 9:4, we must do the works of Him who has called us while it is still day, because soon night is coming, soon there will be no tomorrow. So stop procrastinating and get that work done now!

God Bless.

“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us not to procrastinate. Teach us to always be ready to spread the gospel of your Son Jesus Christ, for no one but you knows the day or hour He will return. Keep us from the sin of procrastination because there is still much work to be done in your kingdom. Give us the strength and motivation to always do your will, never putting our own laziness above what you’ve called us to do, as we strive to be light in this increasingly evil world. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

 

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Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Teach Us to Use Our Time Wisely

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Do  you ever feel like there’s never enough time in the day to complete everything on your to-do list? You’re always scrambling to catch up, but every time one major project is finished, another is slammed right down on your desk to take its place. Try as you might, you can’t seem to get ahead of those burdensome deadlines. Twenty-four hours just isn’t long enough these days.

Today, we live in a fast-paced world, and a lot of us have become busy bodies. Our mindset is always work, work, work, work. We work to eat, we work to pay bills. We wake up in the morning sluggish, gulp down two to three cups of coffee before getting in the car and driving down busy roads and highways, crowded with more sluggish coffee drinkers commuting to work. We spend eight to ten hours in an office working, leaving our seats only to use the bathroom, sometimes holding the need to “go” until the last minute, often eating lunch at our desks. Occasionally we  stay late, using the excuse that we can get more work done no one is around to interrupt, leaving only when the night janitor comes to vacuum. We stop for takeout on the way home because we’re too tired to cook, and when we get home, we bring that same work with us, sometimes even falling asleep on it, dreaming about it. Then we wake up the next morning to do it all over again.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42; NIV

We are too busy. Does any of the work we’re doing amount to anything? When Jesus visits the home of Martha and Mary, Martha distracts herself with endless preparations, running back and forth throughout the house, I can only imagine, like a chicken with its head cut off. Meanwhile, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, listening to His every word. When Martha asks Jesus to make her sister help her, He rebukes her for being so worked up over things that don’t matter.

I’ll admit I’ve been distracted. This week has been full of distractions. From threats of nuclear war, to the horrific acts of terrorism in Charlottesville, VA, to personal matters like work assignments, project deadlines, trying to appease everyone, you name it. I’ve been stressed, I’ve been sleep deprived, my mind has been racing towards everything but what’s important. I had to stop and ask myself one question. Are any of the things I’m worrying over promoting the kingdom of God? If the answer is no, then let them go.

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17

So what are you doing that’s got you so busy, and is it in accordance with God’s will. As I said in Sunday’s post, sometimes you have to sacrifice certain things so that you can be aligned with God’s purposes for your life. It’s a lesson I am still learning as I continue to shed certain “busy works” off my to-do list so that I can dedicate more time to reading and meditating on the Word, praying consistently, and of course, sharing all that I learn here on this forum.

If you are struggling to hear what your assignment is from God, if you are having a hard time understanding His will for your life, look for distractions that could be blocking you from hearing His word. Maybe it’s television, or the news, or social media, or maybe you’re just too busy doing “other” things. As my pastor often says, we should never be too busy for God. And truly, twenty-four hours should be more than enough time to spend at least five minutes of it with God to ask Him what He wills for us to do that day. It all comes down to how we choose to use our time.

Whenever I start to veer off the path God has set for me, it’s usually a sure sign that I need to fast. And a fast doesn’t always have to be not eating food. You can fast your favorite television show, sports, certain kinds of music, Facebook, Twitter, anything that you feel has become a distraction and has drawn you away from sitting at the feet of Jesus.

So what’s got you so busy? Are you more like Martha and less like Mary. I challenge you this week to stop. Stop doing what you’re doing, stop your tireless work, and just listen. Listen for God to speak to you, and hear what He has to say.

God Bless.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to use our time wisely. Help us to do your will rather than focus on busy tasks. Clear our minds and realign our focus. We want to be about your business, Lord. Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We desire to listen and obey. We trust you to guide our footsteps, leaning not unto our own understanding, but acknowledging that you are always in control and that you know exactly where you are taking us. We ask for your peace which transcends all understanding, to guard our hearts and minds in you, that we are never distracted from what’s important by the busyness of life in this world. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to Overcome Our Fears

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

What are you afraid of? For me, it’s bugs, specifically big bugs. This past Sunday, I told you about the terrifying dreams I used to have before I was saved. Well, one of those dreams included being under the control of a giant demonic cockroach. This isn’t the plot from a creepy kids cartoon show, this was an actual dream. I don’t know what I watched on TV that night before going to bed, or what I ate, but I remember waking up in a cold sweat—the house completely dark and deafeningly silent—screaming the name of Jesus. Even then I knew who to call on to save me.

Several weeks ago, I had a rather unpleasant encounter with a huge cockroach. Not as horrifying as the one in my dream years ago but equally as nasty. It was about the size of my index, middle, and ring fingers combined, and I had come to the conclusion that it was an unwelcome guest I had unknowingly brought home with me from work—a chemical company that sells pesticides that have obviously mutated the bugs on site.

I enlisted help to kill it, but all we did was dance and scream and run around. We sprayed bug spray on it, which only made it mad, because then it began to chase us. Finally, I slammed a wicker basket down on top of it, climbed inside and jumped up and down to make sure it was dead, and when we lifted the basket, we still had to finish it off with a fly swatter.

Afterward, we were both very squeamish. And I sat up several hours trying not to think about it before finally falling asleep, thankfully without any nightmares. Later, a thought came to my mind: When God gave man dominion over all the earth and all the birds and fish and animals and critters that crawl about the earth (Genesis 1:26), did He understand just how much bugs, specifically big bugs, give me the creeps?

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19; NKJV

While most of my past fears have been washed away by the blood of Jesus, there’s one that still remains: BUGS. That thorn in my flesh. When Paul received the thorn in his flesh, he begged the Lord three times to remove it. But God said no; “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

When I questioned whether or not God really knew just how afraid I am of bugs, He gave me a similar revelation. What is there to fear when I have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of me? Greater is He who lives in me than he who lives in the world (1 John 4:4). I knew that back when I was unsaved, screaming Jesus’ name. What is there to be afraid of when He has given me the power to tread over serpents and scorpions and overgrown cockroaches, both real and dreamworld demonic? When God gave me dominion over this earth, He knew exactly what He was doing.

That night, battling the giant cockroach, I might have been afraid for a moment, but in the end, God still put that nasty little bug under my feet (Psalm 8:6), and any other nasty little bugs that will follow, natural or spiritual. I have the power to fight them all, because I rely on the One who gives me strength, even in my weaknesses.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to overcome our fears, for you did not give us a Spirit of fear, but one of power through the Holy Spirit. We know that without you we can do nothing, but with you all things are possible. In our weakness, guard us from dangers seen and unseen, give us the strength to stand against the devil and his schemes, to overpower our enemies. We are more than conquers through Christ who loves us. For neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. So we will not be afraid because if God be for us, He is more than the world against us. Thank you, Father, for your love and your mercy and your power, which make us stronger even in our weakness. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: We Are in Awe of Your Work

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

If you’re like me, you’ve just returned from an awesome vacation, and getting back into the routine of work has been, for lack of a better term, hard. Just a week and a half ago, I was on a cruise to Alaska, a terrain still relatively untouched by man. There I got to see the beauty of God’s majestic hand: mighty glaciers, wild animals in their natural habitat, flourishing flora and fauna, the still, clear waters of the inlets and fjords, grand mountains standing tall, high above the clouds. As we stopped at the various sites to snap pictures and bask in the stillness, the peace and quiet, the freshness of the air, there’s was one comment that consistently arose from among the crowd: How can you look at all these great wonders and still say there is no God?

“May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works— he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.” Psalm 104:31-32; NIV

There is a song entitled, “You Alone Are God,” by gospel singer, Marvin Sapp, that I am drawn to when I think about the mighty works of God’s hand. The song opens with these lines: There’s no question of your greatness / No searching of your power / All the wonder of your glory / To you forty years is but one hour.

Seeing the beauty of the natural earth, you can’t help but feel closer to God, to break out into worship. It’s amazing that we have this Great Designer, this Creator of heaven and earth, whose wisdom and power and knowledge know no limit, and yet, He still takes the time to pursue an intimate relationship with each of us. Psalm 8:3-5 says, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

In my mind, I’m still in Alaska, in complete awe, dreaming of one day going back, but I have to remember that I can see God’s touch in everything around me, especially when I look in the mirror, and God’s image and likeness is reflected back at me. We are His creations, just like the mountains, the oceans, the forests, the glaciers, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). So let’s worship Him for His works, both abroad and right here at home.

God Bless.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 19:1-2

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are in awe of your work. In six days you created heaven and earth. Only a fool would say you don’t exist. You are God, the one and true living God, who created the heavens, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, but formed it to be inhabited. You formed us from the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into our nostrils. Mighty are the works of your hands, Lord. We meditate on all your works and all your deeds. What god is great like our God? There is none other than you, and we will forever worship you, in all your power and all your glory. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.