Please, Lord

3024e395ac2b9db1b490bc9e10fe0b78.jpgThen Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord“Please Lord, remember how I have walked before You faithfully and wholeheartedly and have done what pleases You.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (2 Kings 20:2-3)

God remembers. Asking Him to remember is more about us than Him. It’s us recalling what we’ve done and how we’ve trusted Him (or not) and acknowledging that He knows everything about us in the past, present, and future. It’s our humility and boldness in His presence. And it’s an essential part of our faith.

Spend some time with God today, recalling your journey with Him, settling into His presence in the present, and trusting Him with the future.

Give it all to Him. Give yourself to Him.

God Alone

daily-image-022813Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord:

Lord God of Israel who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are God—You alone—of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth. Listen closely, Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, Lord, and see. Hear the words that Sennacherib has sent to mock the living God. Lord, it is true that the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but made by human hands—wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. Now, Lord our God, please save us from his hand so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God—You alone. (2 Kings 19:15-19)

No matter what, God alone is God.

No matter the frustrations, trials, pain, suffering, grief, betrayal, or anything else. He alone is God.

That’s difficult to fathom at times. I want to try to explain everything within His perspective and will. But I can’t. First, it doesn’t all make sense. I don’t understand how everything fits together. Second, if I could completely understand everything about Him and His perspective and creation, what would that say about Him…and me?

I don’t know why one person dies while another person lives. I don’t know why one person suffers physically, another suffers emotionally, and another seems to skate through life relatively unscathed. I don’t know why some people lash out at others yet are the first ones to cry foul when something similar happens to them. I don’t know why being called to a humble, higher road is exhausting and feels unfair at times even though it is also the most rewarding. I just don’t know.

But I know God. And I trust Him. And I am thankful for Him.

The Right and Wrong of It

imagesHe did what was right in the Lord’s sight, but not like his ancestor David. He did everything his father Joash had done. Yet the high places were not taken away, and the people continued sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. (2 Kings 14:3-4)

Just because we continue what’s right doesn’t mean we get rid of what’s wrong. Both are important. Submission must be toward fully right, yet it is always a process.

Make a move today.

We Like What We Like

problem-with-idols-the_std_t_nvHowever, they would not listen but continued practicing their former customs. These nations feared the Lord but also served their idols. (2 Kings 17:40-41a)

Yes.

That’s us today.

Even those who acknowledge God and even try to follow Him well also like their own comfort zones, looking to and trusting their own idols of their lives, of culture, of this time or place.

Listen to yourself today. What do you focus on even more than God? What do you trust, perhaps more than Him? Who do you immediately run to? What do you prefer to do in your own strength? How do you rely on yourself or others more than Him?

Be honest. Until you are, you will not change and grow as God intends.

Sight and Blindness

girl_covering_eyes-300x199 Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the Lord opened the servant’s eyes. He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

When the Arameans came against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Please strike this nation with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness, according to Elisha’s word. Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will take you to the man you’re looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. When they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open these men’s eyes and let them see.” So the Lord opened their eyes. They looked and discovered they were in Samaria. (2 Kings 6:17-20)

God opens our eyes, and He blinds us to what He doesn’t want us to see. But it is always for His purpose, not ours. We don’t get to see when we want and turn aside when we don’t. And visual sight is not the only sight He gives us or takes away. We can trust Him to highlight or downplay what is around us. We can trust Him to guide our journeys in His wisdom so that we share in His wisdom and experience His presence. But we can also put on our own blinders or put something under a microscope He doesn’t intend for us to miss or focus on in a season or situation.

Let Him open your eyes or blind you today. He will likely do both.

To Seek and Surrender

imagesOne day Elisha went to Shunem. A prominent woman who lived there persuaded him to eat some food. So whenever he passed by, he stopped there to eat. Then she said to her husband, “I know that the one who often passes by here is a holy man of God, so let’s make a small room upstairs and put a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp there for him. Whenever he comes, he can stay there.” (2 Kings 4:8-10)

Holiness shows. People won’t always be able to identify exactly what it is that sets someone apart. They might say things like, “She is just so calm and has a peace about her even during chaos,” or “I’m not sure what sets him apart, but there’s something different that draws me to wonder more.” Of course, not everyone wants to know more or get closer. Sometimes the evidence of God’s presence in someone’s life repels them, because they simply aren’t in the place where they want to welcome God yet.

But when someone is curious and receptive, he or she extends hospitality. It shows an open and generous heart, searching for God’s presence. Hospitality shares life. So does holiness.

Holiness isn’t perfection; it’s humble growth. It’s the process of faith. It’s the result of faith, the evidence of faith. It is what purposes and drives faith as well as what faith develops. It is a goal and a motivation toward the goal. It is what we choose and how we surrender. Seek it, and surrender to it.