Day 17: “Pray for Governments around the World.”

He’s got the whole world in his hands. He’s got the itty bitty babies in his hands. You may have sung this song as a child – a reminder and promise that whatever comes your way, you can trust a BIG God to take care of it and you.

It’s hard to imagine your personal, intimate God who loves you and cares about everything you’ve brought to him during this time of prayer and fasting is the same One who set the stars in place. Named them too. The Earth orbits the sun by his hand, the same gentle hands that tell the children to come to him.

Poverty, world hunger, climate change, wars, economic failure, corrupt officials, Dictatorships, Communism. The world needs people like YOU, calling up to heaven, petitioning for heaven to come down.

Today, pray for those who are elected to serve our democracy. Elections in both state and federal governments will occur this year. Pray for the right leaders to fulfil the offices required to move our country forward. From local to national, their burdens are heavy and they need wisdom and strength to serve with integrity.

Pray for world leaders and nations divided. Ask for God’s protection and hand upon children less fortunate than yours who live in tumultuous places. You may never visit those lands but from your lips to God’s ears, you can affect them.

Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.”

Romans 13:1-3 (MSG)
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Day 18: “Pray for the World”

pray for the world

Our world is groaning with the sufferings of war. Entire nations are collapsing under corrupt leadership; millions of children starve while we gorge ourselves, gluttonous. Oppression – a word to describe the weight under which some women still live. Natural disasters ravish entire communities and many will never recover.

The list goes on.

If you were born in a first world country with paid work, unlimited food at your fingertips and emergency services just a phone call away, you might find it easy to look past the rest of the world’s problems. Yours is shiny and safe.

People facing economic hardship, fewer opportunities and less freedom are equally loved your Heavenly Father. Remember the less fortunate. Ask Jesus to show up in their lives.

As you continue to fast, pray for peace in the world where it’s absent. Lift up the nations both near and far. Pray for their leaders. And thank God for your many blessings.

“God holds the high centre, he sees and sets the world’s mess right. He decides what is right for us earthlings, gives people their just deserts God’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you’re never sorry you knocked” (Psalm 9:7-10 MSG).

 

Day 17: “Pray for Your Nation”

australiaIf you live in Australia, you love your laid back culture and your mantra when facing a problem is “no worries, mate.” BBQs, beaches and sunshine exemplify your weekend experiences and you bleed Green and Gold. Your nation is peaceful and prosperous for the most part with few world enemies.

You’re blessed.

Remember that your government is in place because God has allowed it. Recognise that no matter what’s going on in politics, which party is in power, or how much housing prices have risen, your God is in control.

He has you where he wants you and expects you to be a good citizen. He loves engaging with your prayers. As you lift up your country today, ask Jesus to bless your elected officials. Ask him to bring peace to your nation and to allow wisdom from above to guide its decisions. Don’t lose sight of your role nor the power of your God. Ask for Christ to be revealed throughout your nation.

And, no matter what the landscape of your life looks like as it relates to your culture and position in your country, learn to embrace it fully and to be content.

“Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am” (Philippians 4:12-13).

Day 14: “Pray for Government Leaders.”

pray-for-rulersIf you’ve been watching any world news, you know we are living in interesting times. Instability in various nations around the world, changes in leadership, and uncertainty seems to be the overriding noise in our ears. Romans 13 reminds us that all authority which exists has been established by God. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to be “good citizens” under that authority.

Part of our civic duty as Christians is to pray for our local, state, national and international leaders. The problems they seek to solve are not black and white. They are complex and varying and we must lift them up and ask God to intervene with his sovereignty and love in every situation. Pray for safety and wisdom. Ask God to help leaders to lead with humility and grace.

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

2015 Fasting, Day Two

Read 1 Kings 4:29-34

King Solomon ruled over all of Israel. He had great success and provision during his reign and was known for his wisdom. 1 Chronicles says God gave him wisdom because he asked for it. He didn’t ask for wealth, possessions, honour or the death of his enemies. He wanted wisdom and knowledge for how to lead the people.

Do you ever feel like you need answers? Or wish that your children would come to you for answers as you watch them struggle to make decisions? We can actually pray and ask God to make us wise like Solomon did. Knowing God has all the answers for us, let’s specifically seek Godly wisdom during our fast.

*This week, we are lifting up Newcastle and Lake Macquarie in prayer in addition to whatever you are personally bringing to God.

Lord, before I chase after anything this world has to offer, I first seek YOU and your wisdom. I know no matter what I face, you hold the answers for me. I pray you would speak to me through your word and guide my every step. Also, I lift up the leaders of our city. I pray for our Government officials, school administrations, council members, and anyone with influence in our community. Please guide them. Give them great wisdom as they make decisions that affect the ones they lead. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Fasting Devotion, Day Six

Romans 13:1-6

We all have leaders in our life. Whether our parents, a boss, a teacher, a pastor, they play important roles in guiding us, educating us, and overseeing our progress and work. Leaders have the ability to influence us greatly. We can all remember the coach who believed in us and pushed us to do something we didn’t think possible on the field. I can remember a teacher who told me I was something special and that I could achieve anything I put my mind to. For years, it was her voice that caused me to push through hard times.

Sometimes, we don’t like to listen to authority figures. They can tell us something we may not want to hear. Our pridefulness can avoid input into our lives for fear of feeling weak, needy or ignorant.

God has established all authority figures in their places. Whether good or bad, right or wrong; decisions we like or ones we deem unfair. The great news is that as Christians, we are ultimately submitted to the most competent and absolutely perfect leader, Jesus Christ. If we truly trust him and totally rely on him, then we can handle whatever comes our way in this life.

As we continue our 21 day fast, let us remember and pray for the leaders in our lives. Their jobs aren’t easy. Sometimes they have very heavy burdens and they aren’t able to share publicly the struggles they face. May we always have compassion and grace towards our leaders, respecting and honouring them while trusting God. He ultimately helps us fulfill the plan and purpose for our lives no matter what life brings us.

Dear God, thank you for placing leaders in my life to help guide me. I pray for each of them to know you and to follow your voice as they lead. Strengthen our governmental leadership, civic leaders, bosses, teachers, and pastors. Give them wisdom to make tough decisions and encourage them through the people they lead. May it be a joy and not a burden to fulfill their roles. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Church Matters, Part 2

I am of the mindset that the more healthy churches our country has, the better off we will be both socially and economically. While many people are moving towards the philosophy that the more government intervention we have, the better off we will be, I disagree.

It is absolutely true that we should take care of those less fortunate than ourselves and it is “better to give than to receive.” I believe that is my responsibility as a citizen and Christian!  It is interesting that as our country is increasingly moving toward a more secular model and as our government’s entitlement spending is going up, poverty is actually increasing. More and more people are becoming disenchanted with our politicians who can’t seem to agree on anything (just look at the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street Movements).

This climate provides the perfect chance for more healthy churches to step up and provide solutions for our communities.  The church is the place where people who are broken can become whole, where self-esteem and character can be built, and where every aspect of our lives can be dealt with (not just our pocketbooks).

Believers in the very first church were totally committed to its cause.  As a matter of fact, they sold all of their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need.  They worshipped together, met in homes, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity. Discipleship happened through relationship and a community of believers who were doing life together.  The Bible says that everyday the Lord added to their groups those who were being saved (Acts 2:44-47).

I want to change the perception of the church from irrelevant, boring, and “old-fashioned” to relevant, life-giving, and fun!  Instead of a place to check off our religious “duties,” I want to see churches committed to serving others.  Churches full of loving, generous people who are free from sin and bondage in their own lives.  People who are bold in sharing what Christ has done in their lives.  Churches where young people are being taught they they are our country’s future leaders and that they can make a difference in their world.

Instead of waiting on the government to fix our problems, the church can be the place where the poor can be fed and loved around the clock, not just when the food lines are open. The church is a place where the addicted can be truly set free and the diseased can be healed. People who were once broken can find purpose in using their lives to impact others.

Instead of expecting my taxes will resolve social issues, I want to give more money to my local church that’s making a difference in my community.  Our churches should be the light for a lost and dying world.

I love America.  I believe our democratic capitalist nation is amazing.  I want the government to keep me safe through local police and federal military.  I love our clean air and water and our awesome roads and bridges.  I am so thankful for education for my kids and the freedom I have to express my viewpoint in this blog.

At the end of the day, I wish more Christians would believe that the church can make a significant positive impact on our nations toughest problems.  We, as Christians, need to rise up and come together.  We need to live in freedom and generosity in our own lives so we stop losing credibility with those who say there is no God.  We need to be an example in word, in deed and in conduct of people who embrace children and the elderly.  A people who love the sick and minorities.  A people who walk in humility believing Jesus when He said that the last shall be first.  That true love is to lay down one’s life for another.  To love your neighbor as you love yourself.

The protesters on wall street aren’t going to bring about the change that’s needed.  The government isn’t going to solve our social problems.  We can’t rely on the public school system to educate our youth on how make a difference in our communities.  The local church can and should.

***Disclaimer: this blog post isn’t meant to make light of big problems like economic and healthcare crises or poverty.  My hope is to start a dialogue about how each and every one of us through our local churches can take responsibility to make a difference in our communities.  I welcome your comments!