Prayer is not a convenient device for imposing our will upon God,
or for bending his will to ours, but the prescribed way of subordinating our will to his.
It is by prayer that we seek God’s will, embrace it and align ourselves with it.
Every true prayer is a variation on the theme, “Your will be done.”
~ John Stott
From the community bible reading (CBR) devotional for September 21st had two diverse readings – Job 13 and Revelation 22. The first from Job with his gripping profession: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). This is akin to David saying in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”. Hear the echo in Isaiah 43:2-3, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you pass through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
While we live in this COVID pandemic, we may have contracted a case of the blahs. We may be disoriented and grieving. Like Job, we may feel a bit slayed. Like David, we are walking through a valley. The waters, rivers, and fires of our current life situation are troublesome and threatening. As we read on in Isaiah 43, we hear the gospel-tune that is an antidote to our blahs. God himself serenades us with, “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…”. Those are powerful lyrics – precious, honored, loved. Sing them today… and tomorrow… and tomorrow’s tomorrow… sing them with us, friends.
Oh, Revelation 22, the second part of our daily dive into God’s Word. Well, we’ll let Johnny Cash sing this one to you.
The Early Church Christian social project was a unique kind of human community that defies categories. It had at least five elements:
Multi-racial and multi-ethnic
Highly committed to caring for the poor and marginalized
Non-retaliatory, marked by a commitment to forgiveness
Strongly and practically against abortion and infanticide
Revolutionary regarding the ethics of sex
Each of the five elements was there because Christians sought to submit to biblical authority. They are all commanded. They are just as category-defying and both offensive and attractive today. The first two views (ethnic diversity and caring for the poor) sound “liberal,” and the last two (abortion and sexual ethics) sound “conservative.” But the third element, of course, sounds like no particular party. Churches today are under enormous pressure to jettison the first two or the last two, but to not keep them all. Yet to give up any of them would make Christianity the handmaid of a particular political program and undermine a missionary encounter.