From my friend, MQS:
We all heard it growing up from our mothers: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Come to think of it, I’m not sure that ever properly motivated me to actually clean my room as a kid. (Sorry, mom!)
Thanks to sin, none of us – like petulant children before bedtime – really want to be clean on our own. But thanks to God, we can be.
The notion of cleanliness pervades Scripture, specifically the realization that none of us are clean enough by God’s standards. That’s why a tree-lined bend along the Jordan River is so meaningful. It’s the place recognized as where John baptized his cousin, Jesus.
Jesus’ baptism marked the beginning of His public ministry. On the one hand, it seems strange that Jesus – literally, the Son of God, the Incarnate Word, the Messiah – “needed” to be baptized. But that even He was points to our own need.
Let’s be clear: Baptism isn’t about physical cleanliness, but rather the state of our heart. Just as a dirty room cannot clean itself (another mom-based truism), neither can our dirty hearts. Making our spiritual lives “clean” takes an act of God, as expressed outwardly through baptism.
John Adams once wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” So if we want to clean up government, let’s pray for a cleansing revival of the people.
In a self-governing republic, we cannot bemoan corruption in government and hope someone else will do something about it. It’s up to us, and sometimes we have to start doing the work alone, where we are.
A dirty room won’t clean itself, and neither will a dirty government.
Repentance is a reminder that God loves to heal that which is sick and restore all that is disfigured. If there is no possibility for renewal, then why bother with repentance in the first place? To repent is not only to acknowledge one’s sin and shortcomings, but it is to look ahead with hope and the unshakable belief that God will not leave us as we are but will make us by grace what Jesus is by nature.
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Luke 19:10 – For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
In a recent radio and television program “Turning Point,” Dr. David Jeremiah said he does not believe that the election, the pandemic, or anything else should cause Christians to miss what God has for them or cause them to veer from their God-given purpose. “The world needs Jesus no matter who’s in the White House,” he reminded his listeners. Christians should not get stuck in the turmoil of 2020 but believe that God’s best for their life is still ahead of them.
Dr. Jeremiah wants you to remember how powerful the presence of God is, which helps everyone fulfill their God-given dreams despite the crises America is currently facing. “If we stand firm in God, we can move forward,” he said. “God never intended for us to get blown off course” by things like COVID, election results, or economic downturns. He says believers need to go through what is happening with the guidance of the Lord, not to get stalemated and fail to come out on the other side.
Remember that in Philippians 3:13, the Apostle Paul said, “One thing I do…” He doesn’t say he has a long list of things to do. His focus is to press forward, forgetting the things that are behind him. Make that a singular goal today. Grab hold of God’s hand, and let Him lead you out of being stuck into moving forward with Him.
Dear God in Heaven, thank You for the many illustrations in Your Word on how I am to think and act. Thank You for Dr. Jeremiah’s reminder that Your purposes for the salvation of many have not changed because one person or the other is in the White House. Help me keep my focus on my daily walk with You, for I know that I cannot make it on my own. You are so patient with me as You teach me to press on. Thank You for your constant faithful presence with me. I love You, Father, Amen.
PRAY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP AND HIS ADMINISTRATION
President Trump signed an executive order setting out nine principles for the design, development, acquisition, and use of artificial intelligence in government in an effort to “foster public trust and confidence in the use of AI, and ensure the use of AI protects privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.”
The civil rights division of the Justice Department filed a complaint accusing Facebook of discriminating against U.S. workers by reserving positions for foreigners with temporary H-1B visas as “intentional and widespread violations of the law.”
Pray for President Trump, his advisers, and Cabinet as they deal with matters involving technology and tech companies.
PRAY FOR OUR CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS
Senator Mike Braun of Indiana said President Trump should veto the National Defense Authorization Act if Congress doesn’t remove part of a federal communications law known as Section 230 that effectively shields big tech from content liability.
Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama said he plans to challenge the Electoral College votes when Congress meets January 6 to certify the 2020 presidential election, “because in my judgment we are witness to the largest voter fraud and election theft effort in the history of the United States.”
Pray for Congress and the work they must still complete by year-end.
PRAY FOR OUR JUDICIARY
The Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging an Oregon school district’s policy allowing transgender students to use locker rooms and bathrooms of their choice, as they had already ruled in favor of transgender rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The Supreme Court will decide if victims of anti-Semitic persecution can sue Germany and Hungary for World War II-era crimes, including crimes that occurred internationally, with no American involvement, such as the Holocaust.
Pray for the Supreme Court Justices to have wisdom in deciding which cases to accept or decline to hear.
WARS AND TERRORISM
The U.S. Justice Department has accused two Washington state women of terrorism after a “shunt” was placed on train tracks on at least ten occasions in an act that could cause a train to derail or decouple, endangering the public.
Relief agencies in Ethiopia prepared convoys to truck aid into the Tigray region, even as clashes are still reported in a month of war that may have killed thousands and has sent refugees fleeing to Sudan.
Pray for American officials to be vigilant and successful in preventing attempts at domestic terrorism.
FOREIGN INTERESTS AND CONFLICTS
NATO’s secretary general said that China is investing massively in new weapons, and their power holds potential dangers for the transatlantic alliance, coming closer from the Arctic to Africa, by investing in infrastructure.
Iran’s parliament has backed a plan to end nuclear inspections and begin enriching more uranium following the assassination of the chief nuclear scientist, and they have drafted a bill meant to end UN inspections of their nuclear facilities.
Pray for the State Department and Department of Defense as they address hostile foreign nations.
ISRAEL AND THE MIDDLE EAST
Israel’s National Security Council warned that Iran could be planning to attack Israelis and Jewish centers, synagogues, kosher restaurants, and Jewish museums in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kurdish areas in Iraq, and other countries throughout the Middle East and Africa.
Israel’s Benny Gantz-Benjamin Netanyahu governing coalition is falling apart as the Prime Minister refuses to pass a budget and is moving away from their power-sharing deal, thus setting the stage for the fourth election in two years.
Pray for Israel’s leaders and about the rise of anti-Semitism around the globe.
A survey conducted by CNBC shows that small businesses’ confidence plummeted to an all-time low by mid-November linked more to election results and anticipation of more government-imposed restrictions on businesses than to the pandemic itself.
America’s service industry activity slowed to a six-month low in November amid widespread restrictions on businesses in an effort to slow the surging coronavirus, and skepticism about improvement in the winter months.
Pray for those who own businesses of all sizes and the people they employ that are impacted by the reimplemented virus restrictions.
ACROSS THE STATES
The Wisconsin legislature has been working on a proposed plan for COVID-19 relief setting up a $700 million fund to help combat the public health crisis, but not everyone is on board because the plan says it supports local control and then takes it away.
New Jersey lawmakers and advocacy groups announced a new Legislative Disability Caucus with the aim of increasing awareness about a complex system of services that have been eclipsed by the current coronavirus public health crisis.
Pray for state leaders as they attempt to deal with more “normal” issues while still working on the coronavirus disruptions.
The Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18
I spent yesterday serving as an Election Judge. One of the hardest days ever working in this political climate filled with hate and deception. I was cursed at, called names, threatened, and accused of all sorts of things. The leftist agenda is everywhere and their boldness is not lessening.
I'll share a little of what transpired on our zoom call tonight and then we will pray hard against this evil that is threatening us all. Hope you can join us at 6:00pm.
Join Zoom Meeting at this link:
Meeting ID: 896 622 3819
Loving Father, You are so good. We thank You for the many things in our lives which You have already brought us safely through. We acknowledge to You that we are confused about so much that is happening in the world today, and because we are confused, we are also sometimes frightened. We know that when we hold on tightly to You and follow Your leading, fear dissipates and we can find peace. Help us keep ourselves focused on You and on the day of Christ’s return. Hide us in the shelter of Your love in the coming days, for we ask it in the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Philippians 4:5-6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Daniel 10:12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.
2 Cornithians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
ADVENT- DAY 8 - Pointing to Christ
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Where there is no fear, in like manner there is no amendment; where there is no amendment, repentance is of necessity vain, for it lacks the fruit for which God sowed it; that is, man’s salvation.
Have you ever looked at an ancient icon or historic Christian painting and struggled to tell what’s going on? If so, you’re in good company! While appreciating the beauty and reverence of these timeless works, the modern viewer is often left in the dark, unclear on who and what is depicted, and by
extension, how to properly engage and appreciate such artwork. However, there is one figure that can always be easily identified: John the Baptist. How, you may ask? By his finger.
Though commonly remembered for his unique diet and dramatic dress, John the Baptist’s finger is in many ways his most defining feature, for with it he fulfills his primary role in the story of salvation. John points us to Christ, showing us where to go when we are disoriented. He helps us look afresh to Christ when we are confused and cannot see a way forward. In short, he reminds us, often with great passion and urgency, where our focus is meant to be.
In this second week of Advent, we focus on the themes of preparation and repentance. As Isaiah 40:3 reminds us, “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” In the busyness of this holiday season, your focus is likely scattered and pulled in a dozen different directions. Yet into this noise, each year Christians are invited again to tune their hearts to the ancient words of the prophet who proclaimed “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mk. 1:4).
Our Lord is coming. May he find us ready and waiting.
Lifting our elections up to the Lord helps all of us keep the focus on the most important topics as well as softens our hearts to love everyone, even those with whom we may disagree. Believing differently shouldn't stop us from sharing God's love and His Word with others.