“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
It’s a dangerous prayer to pray, but one we all need to pray. To ask God to search us, come back with anything that offends Him, and then listen to His response would unnerve any of us. When is the last time you’ve asked Him to do that? Perhaps He will reveal unforgiveness toward someone. He may reveal anger or jealousy or apathy. Ask Him.
The promise that we found in this passage is that once God reveals to us what ways offend Him, He will lead us along the path of everlasting life. This doesn’t refer to eternity like heaven. This is about a journey with God in the here and now. Sin brings death. God wants life for us.
Prayer: Ask God to search you. Ask God to test you. Ask God to reveal anything that harms your relationship with Him and others. Then, trust God to set you on a path that brings life to yourself and others.
“I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.”
When is the last time you have paused to recount all the great works that God has brought about in your life? We are quick to cry out to Him in times of trouble. We might even say “Thank You” once we are beyond an obstacle or struggle.
But, that word “ponder” sticks out to me. It jabs at me. When is the last time you and I have stopped long enough to ponder? In the world we live, we are often distracted. We don’t take time to ponder anything, because the tyranny of the urgent drags us away.
Take some time today where you can turn off the phone, the email, the distractions, and just ponder the great works of God!
Pray: Lord Jesus, bring to remembrance what You have done. Bring to mind those things that I’ve forgotten or pushed away because I’ve just been too busy. Forgive me where I have forgotten the works you have done. Remind me daily of your goodness to me!
1When the LORD brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,
it was like a dream!
2We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
"What amazing things the LORD has done for them."
3Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us!
4Restore our fortunes, LORD,
as streams renew the desert.
5Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
6They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.
Have you ever felt like you just can’t get past something? You feel so stuck, and you’ve tried many different ways to become unstuck. Maybe you are struggling with a sin issue, a trust issue with God, or struggling to forgive someone.
All those things result in bondage. In the above passage, the Israelites had been in bondage and exile for many years. Their sin had caused God’s judgment to be on them and allowed them to be taken captive. After several decades, God allowed them to return to Jerusalem. As they are returning, they are weeping with joy and filled with laughter.
I’m struck by verses 5 and 6 today. Read those over again and look at them intently. What is it that moves you? What is it that breaks your heart? God’s promise is that He will place shouts of joy in us when we plant with tears. Pray for our children’s ministry today and particularly Trunk or Treat that will happen on October 31. Ask God to do a great work in our children’s ministry and help that ministry thrive!
“When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me. I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. Then I pray to you, O Lord, I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.”
Are you overwhelmed? I know I can get there in a hurry. While you may not have enemies setting traps for you, we all face an enemy named Satan. He consistently and incessantly sets traps for you and for me.
Sometimes, when we are overwhelmed, we can feel like we are all alone. It accentuates our aloneness when we are overwhelmed. It’s like everyone else is going on with their life, while yours is falling apart. It can make us bitter and feel like nobody else cares.
Regardless of whether anyone gives you a passing thought, God does. He is your only source of refuge. While it is significant that others can help carry your burdens, God is to be our refuge.
In order for God to be our own refuge, He may allow overwhelming circumstances to come into your life where you learn that He is your only help.
Pray and ask God to reveal to you where you haven’t allowed Him to be your refuge. If you are feeling overwhelmed, pour out your heart to Him, and ask Him to be your refuge. Ask His forgiveness for where you have allowed others or your possessions to be your refuge.
1 Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.
What is it you are doing today in your own power? Maybe it is something that has an excellent and pure intention behind it, but are you anxious about it? We can wear ourselves out leaving God out of the equation.
God is not saying that we won’t work hard. He is just reiterating that He is the God OF work! Each of you is called to a task/job/career. Those can change over time, but God’s calling in whatever area you may be in should be totally yielded to Him. After all, who wants to labor in vain? That sounds so depressing.
Take some time today to pray to the God of work and ask Him to help you focus on what He is doing. Ask Him to help you finish the work that He places in front of you. Ask Him to interrupt your life at any moment when you aren’t doing the work He put in front of you. This is also our day for Trunk or Treat. Pray that God is the one in total control of tonight’s event!
“I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.”
There are two ways you can take this passage. The first is that God is this ultra overboard God who watches you incessantly and intrusively. He just is waiting for you to mess up or to hover over you so that you obey Him no matter what.
The second way of looking at this passage is from the vantage point of a loving, near God. There’s a vast difference between someone who is stalking and someone who dotes. The stalker is there out of suspicion. The one who dotes is there to lavish their love.
Prayer: Thank God for His presence with you. Thank Him that you are never alone! Ask Him to reveal where He “dotes” and loves you.
Psalms 141:3 (NLTSE)
“Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.”
Perhaps this is a prayer that is needed every day! While I could spend some time expounding on this verse, I think it is best just to let this one speak for itself. Take some time to really pray this prayer!
Prayer: Jesus, where am I failing with guarding my mouth? Am I currently involved in gossip rather than encouraging others? Am I using my mouth to help things move forward in your Kingdom, or is my mouth being used to cause harm in your Kingdom?