Refresh Friday

We’re exhorted in scripture to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), but have we stopped to think what it means when we persist in prayer? Brief thoughts from Hunter.

Persistence [in prayer] is an act of humility as well as an expression of faith. This attitude is diametrically opposite the popular notion that if we are importunate over a long enough period, God will eventually see the strength of our desire and respond.

Photo credit: advindicate.com

Photo credit: advindicate.com

That is manipulation. It says, “Look at me; Look at Me; LOOK AT ME!” while humility says, “I’m looking to you; I’m looking to You; I’m looking to YOU.” The point? Great faith in God always expresses itself in humble acknowledgment of dependency.

— W. Bingham Hunter, The God Who Hears

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Refresh Friday

For David, God was the center of his hope, the only reliable refuge, the surest strength he could find, and the truest object in which he could place his trust. We can learn from his exhortation and attitude toward God in prayer.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;

    pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.      Selah

— Psalm 62:5-8 ESV; boldface mine

Photo credit: layoutsparks.com

Photo credit: layoutsparks.com

“Human hearts are full of many things: joy, anger, peace, weariness, anxiety, strength, bitterness, trust. To pour out the heart means to pour out not just some but all of these contents before the Lord, the bad along with the good. Would we try to conceal our bitterness from God? Or conversely, would we cling greedily to our joy?

…In prayer, everything in the heart must be poured out to the Lord like a drink offering….True prayer does not consist in flowery language, nor in false humility, nor in pretending to possess any greater faith than we really have, but rather in simply trusting God enough to spill our guts to Him.”

— from The Gospel According to Job, Mike Mason

 —

It is my earnest hope for you, believer, on this day and always, that you will have the same “God-ward” perspective as David and the knowledge that your Heavenly Father cares for all things in your life — nothing is too small, too big, too insignificant, too overwhelming for you to take to Him in prayer.

Psalm 37: A Wise Walk in a Wicked World (Pt. 7)

Psalm 37 is a study in contrasts between the righteous and the wicked. It encourages us to trust in God, devote our lives to Him, and know that He is sovereign. All things will ultimately be resolved by Him, if not immediately then in the final judgment. It’s a content-filled psalm and I’ll be unpacking it in several parts. Enjoy the journey.

Find the whole series in Psalm 37 here.

34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
    and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
    you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
    spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
    though I sought him, he could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
    for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
    the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
    he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.

This section of the Psalm teaches the wicked will meet with their due end and the righteous will live in the peace and refuge of the Lord.

Keeping the Lord’s Ways

David’s ongoing belief was that he would continue to see God working good out in his lifetime as we see from this earlier psalm:

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord! [Ps. 27:13-14 ESV]

We love these verses in Psalm 27 because we so need God’s strength and courage for daily life! We need to remember He will bring His good out of all that we face. Continue reading