Righteousness exalts a nation And sin is a disgrace to any people." Proverbs 14: 34
I do hope, in my heart, that my blog posts encourage and point you, my friends, to the Lord as so often you, through your letters and comments, encourage me and fill my own emotional and spiritual cup. I want to walk with the Lord in integrity until I see Him face to face and yet my feet are made of clay and I so often fail and I do not write perfectly or live perfectly. So if in any way my imperfect writing offends, please forgive me. But my heart is to serve Him and to be light and encouragement to all I know.
But that is why I am so very grateful to be able to live in His grace and to come into His presence with no guilt and no shame. He gently restores all of us when we sin or fail Him. He encourages us with wisdom and insight from His word and He lets us come to Him with all our worries and fears and issues. So, coming to Him in prayer, we come into His goodness, power, grace and blessing.
I love this verse: "But when the kindness of God our savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our savior, that being justified by His grace, we might be heirs to eternal life." Titus 3:4-7
So, just a few words and scriptures for those who will be praying today. I have been so blessed to travel and live in many parts of the world. It has helped me to understand that God is not American. When I have interacted with so many wonderful people from nations all over the world, my values have been broadened, my convictions expanded and my soul enriched. Though this election for us Americans is going to take place in the next 36 hours, God's eye is on the whole world today and over all the issues in all the nations. Therefore, our prayers and interaction before His throne, must be in light of His transcending purposes in history beyond our own borders. And yet still he listens to us with all of us in our concerns right where we live. It is why I love coming to Him in the spirit of His prayer, "Our Father who art in heaven, Holy is your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." His will encompasses history and all that must happen to accomplish His purposes. So in the spirit of humility, we come to Him in our prayers and seek His will and His grace, knowing that somehow, mysteriously, He allows our prayers to influence issues that take place in the heavenlies. He does listen and He does respond, but thankfully, He is our high priest who prays with us and and alongside us to do His will.
For many years, Clay has used this acronym to guide our family in prayer. We call it the acts of prayer.
A--Adore Him--Coming before Him to put us in the right frame of mind--acknowledging his greatness and power as we come into His presence with our requests. A good place to start is Psalm 145, especially verses 8-21. We take time to praise Him for some of the attributes mentioned here.
C--confess our sin--in this today, our family is coming to Him to humble ourselves before Him asking Him forgiveness for our own sins as well as for those of the church of Christ and also as a nation. The verse I John 1:9 If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Also, Daniel confessing for his whole nation is our model.
T--thanksgiving--This is where we remember what He has done personally to lead us, provide for us, answer our prayers and to be humbly recognizing His great care. Psalm 95:1-3 gives us the pattern.
S--supplication--asking God to hear our requests and to answer what is on our hearts, according to His will. "Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you."
When we come to Him asking for Him to work in our nations, let us ask for Him to bring righteousness--knowing that righteousness exalts a nation--meaning we need to be more careful to live our own lives righteously. When any crisis brings us to fear or when catastrophes happen or when national needs arise, as I see that these issues always put us in the place we should have been all along--before Him. Times of crisis when we cry out to God helps us to understand that we are not in control of our lives and it forces us to cry out to Him. He always wants us to seek Him and to ask for His will--but times like these require it and it puts us in proper perspective. May all of us who believe in all the nations humbly seek his power and grace for our nations and for His power and glory to be more clearly seen.
Finally, may we behave in love and graciousness to all whom we encounter. There are many different opinions held and cherished by Christians all over the world that differ with those of our own. Yet, it is by our love for one another that we will be known. I fear that many allow their differences to be played out in accusations, ungracious name calling, hateful attitudes. Yet, Jesus would have us practice graciousness, humility and compassion.
We have had rousing discussions this weekend in our home with many friends who are in our lives, who differ about all the issues, about how to reach a post-modern culture, about what is really important to the Lord and what is the balance between ideals and grace, passion and redemption. It has been good for me to enter the world of the younger generation and see how they think and to ask what my part is in offering truth in a way that can be understood. I see all of the input I receive from differing points of view as ways that God prepares me to be a better thinker and more insightful into the souls and ways of people and ultimately as a steward of His messages. May He help us all to wield his sword of truth with grace and winsomeness in order to reach all people with His mercy, grace and redemption.
God bless you all today! Sally
PS I have not had time this week to answer my comments, but I have been so blessed to hear from so many of you! I appreciate all who respond. Grace and peace!