Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
This life on earth is like a breath. Before we can know what happened, it’s come to an end. No matter how much effort we put into gaining things for ourselves – possessions, wealth, prestige, pleasure – we leave everything behind in the end. As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.”
As followers of Christ, we should be seeking to prioritize our time in this short existence to use our time in the way God wants us to. Our prayer should mimic the Psalm, asking God to teach us to number our days, that we may know Him more fully and bring about His will. Our desire should be for a heart of wisdom.
Two practical applications for learning to number your days: seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and store up God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11). Make the most of what God’s given you.
———- What changes can you make to the way you use your time in order to make the most of it?
Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
In the world of Christianity, we’ve come to refer to prayer time spent with God as “quiet time,” but in my life there’s very little time that could be qualified as “quiet.” With three little kids running around, it’s not easy to etch out time for a daily devotional time. Waking up earlier is not always an option, because certain kids in my home (who shall remain unnamed) wake up at incredibly early hours. So am I doing this quiet time thing all wrong? Am I less of a Christian if I don’t follow the many people who get up SO early and spend that time dedicated to the Lord?
The thing is, when we boil down time with God to a few minutes first thing in the morning, we do two things: 1) we cause people who don’t do well at that to feel very guilty or like a failure, and 2) we make prayer to our Father into something that can just be checked off of a list. Time with God is so much more than something to get us going in the morning, though it’s a great way to start the day. It’s an ongoing conversation throughout the day with Him.
Reality check: All that said, if we don’t take some time every day to intentionally meet with God, it may never happen at any other time during the day. If you’re like me, that may not mean you do “quiet time” when you first wake up. I’m willing to be that many of you, like me, don’t function at all until the first cup of coffee has been consumed. I spend time with God after I’m capable of processing what I’m reading from His Word and able to communicate coherently in prayer. Maybe that’s not the way everyone does it, but the important thing is that I spend time with my Lord every day.
He’s always got something to say to me, and I’ve always got something to say to Him. It’s time well spent. Better than anything else I could be doing, as a mater of fact. If you don’t take specific time to meet with God daily, will you give it a try? Start today.
53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. – Jonathan Edwards
Are you like me? Do you ever realize that you’re going to God when things are tough but not spending much time with Him when things are going well? I’m not proud of those times, but I also know I’m not alone in doing that.
If I’m completely honest, a lot of times in my life have been that way. Hard times have a way of bringing us to our knees like nothing else. When there’s nothing else and no one else to turn to, we always know we have Jesus as a backup. But He’s so much more than that.
Ephesians 3:14-19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
The love God has shown me and you through Jesus should make us bow down on our knees often, praising Him and giving Him thanks for everything He’s done. If He dwells in our hearts, we should all the more approach Him in love, not just when we need something. Will you resolve with me to spend more time in worship and stop waiting until things are bad to reach out to the Lord?
Colossians 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you
Do you pray for others? Most of us do, but maybe we spend most of our time praying for the needs of others rather than going so far as to give thanks while we pray for them. The example Paul gives in many of his letters is one we should follow.
Who has been a blessing in your life? Who has done something for you that was selfless and kind? Have you thanked God for them? It’s interesting to note that Paul doesn’t specifically say here that he gives thanks for the people he’s praying for, just that he thanks God while he’s praying for them. (Actually, if you read this verse in context, it’s quite the run-on sentence)
Why don’t you try that today? As you pray, when someone comes to mind, thank God. It might be for something that person has done or you might just thank God for what He’s done while that person is on your mind.
There’s never a bad time to give thanks to the Lord. He’s never upset to hear praises given up to Him, whether it’s during a designated prayer time or just some random time during the day. Thank Him for all things, for all He’s done, for all He is, and for the people that He’s placed in your life. Let them know that you thank the Lord when you pray for them. It’s good to hear.
Psalm 31:14-15 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
Do you ever feel like the world is caving in on you? Like there’s no hope in sight? It’s really not hard to find yourself in such a situation. No matter how bad you’ve got it, though, you’ve probably never seen anything like what King David faced.
The Psalms are a great place to look when you need the Lord’s comfort. David wrote many of these works while he was being chased by his enemies (who had been friends), while he was in times of depression, and even when he was torn apart over his own sin. Though he was going through tougher circumstances than you and I will ever have, he looked to the Lord at all times.
If David could say, “I trust in you” while he was running for his life, you and I can trust in Him when we’re having marriage troubles, financial difficulties, or medical issues. If he could look at the problems in front of him and confront them by putting them in God’s hands, saying, “You are my God,” then so can we. We can trust in God at all times to take care of us.
No matter what’s going on in your life, there is hope. There is a Rescuer. The same God who bankrupted heaven to give His only Son as a payment for our redemption is trustworthy and faithful to bring us through our current darkness. Let’s all together say, “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand.” He will hear and He will rescue.
1 John 1:5-10 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
One of the things that can most negatively affect our relationship with God and with other people is unconfessed sin. If we hold onto the idea that we’ve done nothing wrong when in reality we’ve offended God with our thoughts and actions, we’re putting a barrier between Him and ourselves. The same is true when we act as though we’ve not wronged others. We can’t have true fellowship when we’re walking in a lie.
But if we confess our sins to the Lord, He’s not standing by waiting to strike us down with lightning; He’s ready to forgive us and to cleanse us. When we’ve been cleansed by God, we’re then enabled to walk in the light. If we have fellowship with God, we can’t be in the darkness, so it’s also fair to say that if we’re walking in darkness we’re not in fellowship with God.
Where are you right now? Are you walking in the light? Are your relationships reflective of God’s work in you? Or are you in broken relationships with other people and a broken fellowship with God? The good news is that at any time we can turn to Him and admit our sins. He’ll wash us clean with the blood of Christ, just like He took a big eraser and wiped out all of our wrongdoing to give us a fresh start. He wants to do that for us. The Good News is for believers too.
Ephesians 6:19-20 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Do you pray for your pastor and leaders in the church? What about missionaries and charity workers? We ought to be in prayer for anyone and everyone who proclaims the gospel.
The Apostle Paul closes out his section in Ephesians on spiritual warfare by asking the people to pray for him as he proclaims the gospel. It was taking the gospel public that had him in prison, and the last thing he was going to do was give up preaching it. It’s safe to assume that the Ephesians and many other Christians did pray for Paul and that his effectiveness was in large part a result of that.
Your pastor needs prayer as well. It’s not easy to get up before people and preach on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It comes with a lot of spiritual warfare, as does the work of missionaries in the field. They desperately need the support of other believers.
Take time each day to pray for the people that are bringing the Good News to those who have not heard. Pray that God would direct them, protect them, and work through them to reconcile people to Himself.
Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints
It may sound like an easy answer, but when facing spiritual warfare, one of the best tools we have is prayer. Though many of us would say that this is obvious, we still neglect to take advantage of the ability to speak to our Creator.
Most of the time, when we’re in dire circumstances, we turn to just about everything before we resort to praying to our Father who is able to provide all things. The truth is that when we’re depressed, He brings comfort, when we’re worried, He provides peace, when we’re being attacked, He gives protection. There’s no reason to look anywhere else before seeking Him.
Prayer isn’t just a defensive tactic though. In fact, prayer is one of the primary ways to be proactive in spiritual warfare. When we keep alert in prayer, we’re ready and equipped for what comes at us. When we’re aware of God’s direction and we follow Him, we’re sensitive to what He wants us to see.
Keep in contact with the Father and you’ll find yourself where you need to be. Pray at all times.
Luke 11:9-10 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
After Jesus had taught His disciples how they should pray (v.2-4), and that they should pray with perseverance (v.5-8), He tells them that if they ask of God they will receive.
If our earthly fathers know how to give us good things, how much more does our heavenly Father know exactly what we need and how to give it to us? We never have to worry when we pray because the Lord is good and He is capable of providing anything and everything.
Luke’s account of this story does not say that God will give “good things” like Matthew’s (Matthew 7:7-11), but rather that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. What better gift could we ever receive from God but the gift of Himself? He is more than we could ever imagine or think to ask for.
The Lord loves to bless His people. He wants us to ask for all that He has in store for us. In the end, it brings Him glory.
Passage: John 17:1-26
Key verse: John 17:1:24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Before the creation of the world, Jesus was. Before time began, Jesus was. And then, the Eternal One who holds all things in balance did something extraordinary – He stepped into time and took on human flesh. He gave up all the glory of heaven so that we could know God. He gave up many of His rights as God, but one thing He did not give up – His love for us.
While on this earth, Jesus loved His own just as He loved them in heaven. In His last hours, He prayed a beautiful prayer, first for His close followers and then for you and me. He knew He was betrayed, He knew He would die, and He knew that you and I would sin against Him. But He prayed a high priestly prayer for our joy in Him, our unity in Him, our sanctification in Him.
Then Jesus gave us an idea of what salvation is all about. He died that we might be where He is, that we may see His glory and therefore glorify the Father. This was the plan before time began. He’s always loved us, before we even existed. And though we have sinned against Him, He chose to die in our place, taking our sins onto Himself, so that we can experience eternal life with Him. Oh what love He has for us.