“God bless (insert name). Amen.”
When I pray for someone, sometimes I just don’t know what to say! Especially for someone I haven’t heard from lately and am not updated on their circumstances. And when someone asks how they can pray for me, I usually mention something I’m working on, a health issue or concern for a family member. As important as these are, there must be more important things to ask for those I love.
Paul’s prayers are a great resource. Here are the things he prays for the believers at Colossae and the things he asks them to pray for him:
• A complete understanding of what God wants to do in their lives (1:9)
• Spiritual wisdom from God (1:9)
• To live lives that will honor and please the Lord (1:10)
• To always be doing good, kind things for others (1:10)
• To learn to know God better and better (v. 10)
• To have patience and endurance through God’s power (1:11)
• To have joy (1:11)
• To be thankful for all things, especially spiritual blessings (1:12-14)
a) Rescue from Satan’s kingdom of darkness
b) Membership in Christ’s kingdom of light
c) Freedom purchased by Christ’s blood
d) Forgiveness of sins
• For opportunities to proclaim God’s message (4:3)
• That they will proclaim it clearly and fearlessly (4:4)
These are the things that really matter. What do you suppose would happen if we’d start praying like this for one another?
My younger sister and I used to argue a lot as kids. But I got the upper hand when I convinced her that she had to stop whenever I said, “Final the End!”
This silly memory came to mind the other day when I read the last chapters of the book of Revelation. After all the atrocities, blasphemies, catastrophes, and devastation written in this book are finished, there will finally and forever be an end to all evil! When the abominable “Babylon” is totally wiped out, the earth mourns and all in heaven rejoice (chapters 17-18). Satan and his two puppets are banished forever to the “fiery lake of burning sulfur,” as are those who have give their allegiance to them.
Heaven finally reigns uncontested—and what a celebration! Its citizens will at last participate in breathtaking splendor and joy.
–A dazzling new heaven and earth
–No more tears, pain, or death!
–Water of life, the tree of life
—The throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. (22:3-5)
Where we will be then depends on whom we follow today.
“What have you done?!?!” We chuckle fondly at how our non-native English speaking friend expressed her amazement (which might otherwise be taken as a rebuke) at how my husband had been able to open a door she’d been struggling with. (We would have said it this way: “How did you do that?”)
“What are you doing in the world?” was my own inquiry as a child when I wondered what my mom was doing. Again, a naïve twist on a simple question can prompt one to think more deeply about important issues.
What have I done? What am I doing? Why has God put me where I am now? I may have some plans for today, but I want to remain flexible and see where He takes me. My goal in life is not to find myself but to seek and follow Him and fulfill the higher purposes He has made me for. Why settle for anything less?
Just yesterday we were delighted at how He brought us together with a couple of “strangers” in a public transportation van who actually turned out to be our brother and sister in God’s family. What a delightful time we had, getting acquainted and sharing our God stories. One even turned out to be a good friend of my first-grade teacher and mother of my sister’s high school classmate!
What surprises and opportunities does today hold? Lord, keep my eyes open, teach me, lead me, delight me, and make me a blessing! Fulfill Your purposes in and through me today!
Last night at supper we discussed with our grandchildren (two of which are twins) the birth of twins in the Bible:
Me: When Jacob was born after Esau, what was he doing? (Expected answer: Holding Esau’s heel.)
Simeon: Making soup!
I guess he skipped ahead a few years in his thought process. But it got me to thinking again about the role of the firstborn in the Bible.
Of course, we know that the firstborn got twice the inheritance, and (at least in some cases) a more special blessing. But when it comes right down to it, it seems that non-firstborns may figure more prominently in salvation history and generally in the Old Testament stories. We know that none of the following was a firstborn:
Abel or Seth
As the firstborn in my family, I would love to think of the firstborn being blessed. But I’m more intrigued by the way God turns things topsy-turvy, laying his blessing on men and women “after His own heart”—those who are “friends of God,” regardless of birth order—and a lot of other things.