Tag Archives: pray

Strange Things

Strange things are happening,
things we fear,
things that seem odd,
events we don’t understand.

What do we do?
Panic?
Worry?
Search the internet
for answers?
See what the newspapers say?

Or do we stand
as God’s people
and wait
for what he is going to do?

We pray,
as every day
for the Kingdom to come
and to be ready when it does
whenever that is.

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Luke 21:25-36 (CEV)

When the Son of Man Appears

25 Strange things will happen to the sun, moon, and stars. The nations on earth will be afraid of the roaring sea and tides, and they won’t know what to do. 26 People will be so frightened that they will faint because of what is happening to the world. Every power in the sky will be shaken.  27 Then the Son of Man will be seen, coming in a cloud with great power and glory. 28 When all of this starts happening, stand up straight and be brave. You will soon be set free.

A Lesson from a Fig Tree

29 Then Jesus told them a story:

When you see a fig tree or any other tree 30 putting out leaves, you know that summer will soon come. 31 So, when you see these things happening, you know that God’s kingdom will soon be here. 32 You can be sure that some of the people of this generation will still be alive when all of this takes place. 33 The sky and the earth won’t last forever, but my words will.

A Warning

34 Don’t spend all of your time thinking about eating or drinking or worrying about life. If you do, the final day will suddenly catch you 35 like a trap. That day will surprise everyone on earth. 36 Watch out and keep praying that you can escape all that is going to happen and that the Son of Man will be pleased with you.

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I’ve Heard

I’ve heard all about you.  Words that I’m never sure are terrifying or heart-warming.  Does my reputation precede me?  Am I notorious?  Or has someone actually been telling someone else nice things about me?  Maybe I shouldn’t feel so guilty!  But it a serious thought.  If someone has heard all about us, what would it be?

Ephesians 1:15-23 (CEV)

Paul’s Prayer

15 I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. 16 So I never stop being grateful for you, as I mention you in my prayers. 17 I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. 18 My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God’s people.

19 I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used 20 when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side in heaven. 21 There Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well.22 God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything. 23 The church is Christ’s body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything.

Paul has heard about the Ephesians.  Good things by the sound of it.  The reputation that precedes them is of their faith and love.  They have done well, and Paul is grateful for them and their witness.

But that doesn’t stop him continuing to pray for them, that they will continue to discover new things about God and the life of faith.

Three thoughts:

  • What might someone have heard about me and my life and faith?  What might they have noticed?
  • However much I might think I know, however well I am perceived, or not, to be doing; there is always more to learn, more to discover of God, that in turn will effect how I live further.
  • do I continue to pray, even for those who seem to have life sorted?

Thank you Lord,
for those who are a shining example
of how to live for you.

Forgive me
when I do not meet that standard,
help me to learn more of you
and let that effect my life.

May I never think
I know everything about you,
and stop listening
and learning,
but always be open
to what you long to teach me

Bargaining With God

Various tv programmes have shown us that haggling is the way to go.  Get a bargain, see what a discount you can get.  On some of the tasks set by Lord Sugar on The Apprentice, it is obligatory to get a reduction in some form or another, or the purchase is not valid.

But what about bargaining with God?  Have you ever indulged in that?  Many of us have.  Abraham does so here – not for himself, but for the people of Sodom.

Gli abitanti di Sodoma provocano l’ira divina
The inhabitants of Sodom provoke the wrath of God

20 The Lord said, “Abraham, I have heard that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are doing all kinds of evil things. 21 Now I am going down to see for myself if those people really are that bad. If they aren’t, I want to know about it.”

22 The men turned and started toward Sodom. But the Lord stayed with Abraham, 23 who asked, “Lord, when you destroy the evil people, are you also going to destroy those who are good? 24 Wouldn’t you spare the city if there are only fifty good people in it? 25 You surely wouldn’t let them be killed when you destroy the evil ones. You are the judge of all the earth, and you do what is right.”

26 The Lord replied, “If I find fifty good people in Sodom, I will save the city to keep them from being killed.”

27 Abraham answered, “I am nothing more than the dust of the earth. Please forgive me, Lord, for daring to speak to you like this. 28 But suppose there are only forty-five good people in Sodom. Would you still wipe out the whole city?”

“If I find forty-five good people,” the Lord replied, “I won’t destroy the city.”

29 “Suppose there are just forty good people?” Abraham asked.

“Even for them,” the Lord replied, “I won’t destroy the city.”

30 Abraham said, “Please don’t be angry, Lord, if I ask you what you will do if there are only thirty good people in the city.”

“If I find thirty,” the Lord replied, “I still won’t destroy it.”

31 Then Abraham said, “I don’t have any right to ask you, Lord, but what would you do if you find only twenty?”

“Because of them, I won’t destroy the city,” was the Lord’s answer.

32 Finally, Abraham said, “Please don’t get angry, Lord, if I speak just once more. Suppose you find only ten good people there.”

“For the sake of ten good people,” the Lord told him, “I still won’t destroy the city.”

The very phrase name of the town, Sodom and its co-accused Gomorrah, has become synonymous with sin and bad living.  But Abraham is concerned for the good who will be destroyed along with the bad.  He wants to save them – and with them the whole city.

God himself can’t believe how badly they are behaving.  He is off to find out the truth, and is perfectly willing to negotiate with Abraham over the number of good people required to save the whole city.  He doesn’t want to see the people destroyed any more than Abraham does, but there comes a point when enough is enough.

Abraham is willing to plead for the people before God.  Is that something we are willing to do?  To intercede on behalf of others – however bad they seem?  That God will see the good and not the bad?  Do we look at how people behave and shake our heads in righteous indignation and superiority?  Or do we pray, passionately and daringly?  Or do we think there is no hope?  Do we care enough to argue with God?

Because we learn from this passage that God is not longing to destroy.  He isn’t waiting for people to slip up to get his opportunity to zap them, because it serves them right.  No God is truly a God of compassion, who really would prefer not to do that.  (Though he is also a God of justice and a some point there is a price to be paid for continual, wilful disobedience and evil)  God wants evil to stop, because he doesn’t want lives to be broken.

The sad fact of it is, as we read on, God could not find even ten good people – and the city was destroyed

This isn’t about drawing lines between good and bad, in which we sit smugly on the “good” side.  This is about pleading for our communities – of which we are a part.

Is there enough goodness in our town to save it?  Are we doing what we can to make it so? Because God too longs for that to be the case.  That our communities are filled with goodness – and that is the responsibility of us all.

Lord,
I want to pray,
to plead,
to cry to you

for the places where things are going so wrong.

Not from self-righteousness,
not from a place of feeling my life is so right,
not from any triumphalism

but from
love,
hope
and assurance of your grace.

I pray for the places my life is wrong.
For the things I do
that make the lives of others more difficult,
for when I know if you look at my life
there is not enough goodness in it.

Restore us Lord,
we pray.
Restore my life,
this community,
each nation
– your world

That when you look,
there will be goodness to see

And may I allow you to let it begin in me