Pray Today with Expectation

I am not the  best person when it comes to responding to a text or an email.  I tend to read it, think about responding, get sidetracked, forget that I didn’t immediately respond, and then go back and kick myself when I am reminded that I didn’t respond.  I have also been on the other side of that.  I have texted someone and waited for a response and days later I still haven’t heard a peep.  What makes it frustrating is when it involves responding to something important (like, oh well I don’t know….texting your child to check up on them and getting no response!!! Grrrrr.)  I digress. 

I love how the psalmist says here in vs 3 how he prays and then waits in expectation.  The author prays and lays his concerns before God, but then he waits in expectation knowing that God will hear and respond.  Do we pray the same way?  Do we wait upon God in expectation?  Notice I said “Expectation” and not “demanding”.  God has a right to answer our prayers how He sees fit.  But, with expectation, we know that God hears us and does respond. 

So pray today with expectation.  Now, which emails did I not respond to yet?

Psalm 5:1-3

For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.

1 Listen to my words, Lord,
consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.                                                                                                                                             
3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.

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Pray Today with Expectation

Love is Patient

My wife loves.  How do I know this?  Not only because she tells me so, but because she is patient with me and puts up with a lot of silly things.  This past week, I was watching the Super Bowl (my wife hates football…not dislikes but hates!).  She not only watched the game with me, but when I got up and screamed at the TV and slapped the fireplace (not the smartest move) and then said something about the stupidity of the Atlanta coaching staff (I stand by my comments…who decides to drop back and throw when you are easily in field goal range and a field goal puts the nail in the coffin…ugh! let it go, let it go, let it go).  My wife said nothing but laughed at me (and the consoled me at the end of the game…sob, sob, sob).

Love is patient.  We rarely have patience for the faults of others anymore.  We get mad, scream (sporting events excluded).  Think about the people in your life.  Do you allow room for quirks?  Do you overlook things they do because you love them?  Maybe it’s time we started to live with patient love towards others. 

1 Corinthians 13:4

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

 

Love is Patient

Wrongs We Try to Hide

I once had a friend who while in school was dating two girls at the same time.  For him, it was a dream come true.  He had a girl at one school who he met with during the day, then at night he would meet with this other girl who belonged to the school on the other side of the county.  He was smoooooooth when it came to dealing with them…until one day the girl from the other school decided to surprise him by showing up at his school to drive him home.  To say it was funny watching him squirm when he was talking to one girlfriend when the other came walking up is an understatement.  He had gotten caught!

Eventually all is made known.  That is why it is best to just do what is right and then you don’t have to worry about your wrongs being found out. 

Proverbs 10:9

9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

Wrongs We Try to Hide

Do Your Best

Tom Brady did it again.  By the time you read this, hopefully some time has transpired and we have all calmed down.  Tom Brady is one of the most hated men in professional sports.  Why is that?  Some point to “Deflategate” but let’s be honest and say that it was blown out of proportion (hard for me to admit, but still fun to poke at).  Why is that most dislike Tom Brady?  He is to perfect.  He is a great QB (possibly the GOAT), he is rich, he is married to a supermodel, and he is never in the news for doing something stupid or embarrassing (save “deflategate” but see above comment).  Plus he wins.  The truth is this: “we hate Tom Brady because we ain’t Tom Brady.” 

In our text, what did Able do wrong?  Nothing.  He did everything right.  God accepted his sacrifice.  He was the “Tom Brady” of the book of Genesis.  So Cain killed him.  Why?  Because Cain hated Able “because he ain’t Able.”  He was jealous.

Today, let’s be honest.  How many people do you dislike simply because you are jealous of them?  Do you dislike them simply “because you ain’t them?”  Instead of tearing others down to make yourself feel better, simply rise up and do what you can, the best you can.  That is all you can do, and if you do that…you have no reason to be jealous of anyone else.

Genesis 4:8

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[a] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

 

Do Your Best

Focus on Doing What is Right

Why didn’t God accept Cain’s offering?  Some have speculated that it was because it wasn’t an animal offering, others have speculated that it was because it wasn’t Cain’s best.  We are not told.  What we are told is that Cain didn’t do what was right in God’s eyes and was told that by doing so it would lead to worse things.  (Foreshadowing at its best!)  God says, “Sin is crouching at your door.”

Grievous sins rarely start out as grievous sins.  One doesn’t wake up one day and out of the blue say, “I think I’ll murder someone today” or “It’s a good day for adultery”.  No, instead they begin by going down that path of wrong doing with little decisions to do wrong.  These little decisions lead to more decisions to do wrong, which escalates to the point where you do something you never thought yourself capable of doing. 

So today, focus on doing what is right.  Even if it seems like a small thing to you, remember that small things lead to big things.  Which path do you want to go down?

Genesis 4:1-7

4 Adam[a] made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.[b] She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth[c] a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering-fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

Focus on Doing What is Right

We Try to Cover Our Sins

I am a big man.  I’m not proud of that…just a simple statement of fact.  My waist doesn’t quite fit into a pair of skinny jeans (and is pushing the limits of regular jeans).  I once went on a retreat and we had to use public shower stalls.  This place was kind enough to provide us with towels.  In such cases, I normally bring my clothes with me so that I am not participating in a Ray Steven’s song (Oh yes they call him the streak….).  On this particular day, I had forgotten to bring my clothes.  No bother.  I had the towel that had been provided.  So after drying off,  I stepped out of the shower and I tried to wrap the towel around my waist.  Let’s just say that it needed a few more yards of material!  What I thought would cover me wasn’t quite sufficient and it left a lot to be seen that should not be seen by unexpecting eyes.  I did my best to cover myself, but the towel wasn’t cutting it.

Adam and Eve tried to cover their nakedness with a fig leaf.  They thought it would be sufficient.  It wasn’t.  They were naked.  God knew it, they knew it, I’m sure even the animals knew it (and probably blushed).  They needed something more.  God provided it.  Do you realize that the first sacrifice to cover the nakedness exposed by sin was done by God Himself?  Read on in Genesis 3.  When the leafs wouldn’t cut it, God provided.

Think about how we try to cover our sins.  We try to do good deeds, be a good person, say nice things.  But even with all that…it is nothing more than a fig leaf on a naked body.  But God provides.  He covers our shame with the blood of Christ and He once again restores our dignity as His creation.  Today, stop trying to cover yourself and instead go to Christ and allow Him to cover you with His grace.

Genesis 3:6-7

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

We Try to Cover Our Sins

Seek the Truth

The most dangerous lies that exist are those lies that are mixed with an ounce of truth.  An outright lie can easily be detected and rejected.  A lie that is surrounded by truth can be misleading, misapplied, and misunderstood.  The serpent spoke a lie mingled with an ounce of truth.  He took something God had said, twisted it, changed the wording, Eve then added her own words (you must not touch…making God more restrictive than He was), and the serpent then guided the conversation based on the lie.

We are surrounded by news everyday from all kinds of sources.  It’s amazing how little of it is actually truth and how much of it is a bit of truth surrounded by lies that are meant to deceive, push an agenda, or create hate and discord. 

Today, don’t get caught up in it.  Seek the truth.  Go to the source.  And don’t allow the lies to blind you from the truth of what God has said.

Genesis 3:1-5

The Fall

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 

 

Seek the Truth