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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rose breasted grosbeak (photo by Doris High)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
(photo by Doris High)

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Today's Scripture text set to music Audio

"Let Us Pray"

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Prayer at altarToday is the "National Day of Prayer" here in the USA.  Our encouragement message goes out to believers in many different countries so we try to write for the spiritual edification of all true believers regardless of where they live.  We are unaware of other countries that might have official national days of prayer as we have here in America.  However I genuinely believe this is a very important day here in the country where God has providentially ordained that I should live out my life here on this earth.

America is in deep trouble and is in need of genuine repentance. Although there is an active remnant of true believers, the vast majority of our population gives little or no attention to God. Our government and court systems increasingly pass laws and policies that will surely lead to persecution for the believers. Our arts and entertainment industry is a cesspool of immorality. Broken marriages and troubled households abound and in recent years a massive effort is being made to drastically redefine what constitutes marriage. Violence fills the land. Our educational system has been very successful at breaking down the moral constraints. Brooksyne and I see this brokenness first hand in our ministry to the workplace, but it's evident to anyone who turns on the news or reads a newspaper. I believe one of the greatest evidences of this escalating trouble is spiritual blindness.

I have often pondered the daily verse and committed it to memory many years ago. It will surely be quoted in many prayer services today.  It is initially expressed as a condition and promise to Solomon during a time of great personal and national consecration as the temple is being dedicated approximately 3,000 years ago.  I believe there is an element to this promise that is unique to Israel as a nation, who as a national people were called by God's Name.

Man kneeling in prayer
The phrase "My people" in the daily verse in its initial application applied to these people and this specific land. Thus I feel there is interpretive error when we view our specific country (wherever we live) as God's land in the same sense as that spoken of in the initial promise.  True believers foundationally hold
heavenly citizenship (far superior to our national citizenship).

Having said that, I believe there is still great application in the condition and promise today.
There is surely a sense that "My people" today  refers to the redeemed in Christ who live throughout the world. 

God requires these conditions of His people:
  • Humble themselves
  • Pray
  • Seek My face
  • Turn from their wicked ways
God promises these blessings for His people:
  • Then will I hear from heaven
  • And will forgive their sin
  • And will heal their land
As God's people we are indeed called to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek His face and to turn from our wicked ways.  Wherever we may live let those of us who love God apply these conditions!  The eternal, unchanging God is still speaking from heaven, forgiving sin, and extending His saving touch to all who look to Him.  Regardless of what happens to America or the land where you live, His promise to the individual who earnestly seeks Him is always bright and good.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father in Heaven, We lift our eyes toward Your Throne, where You reign in righteousness. Your Word assures us that when Your people cry out in sincerity and humility, You will never turn a deaf ear to us. We call upon You now, seeking Your forgiveness and favor.  Look over this fevered landscape and heal us, Lord. Drop knees to the floor and raise eyes to the sky, for we know where our help comes from. Unite these States again in devotion to You, and blur every dividing line. Do not give us over to our sins. Give us, instead, over to passionate prayer that moves Your heart. “May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.”  In the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen

Today's prayer is the same as the one posted on the National Day of Prayer website.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.

"If My People Pray" 2 Chronicles 7:14 from the Integrity Scripture memory series  Audio

"If My People Pray"  Video  by Avalon

Some random notes:

Brooksyne 5/7/09
One year ago today Brooksyne broke her ankle when we were out on  our country walk and it changed her lifestyle for several months. We are so blessed at her full recovery.  I had to get this shot in as I walked upstairs and saw her standing at the computer this morning. Here's a photo of Brooksyne a year ago.

* Today's text brings to mind an incident from Bible College over 30 years ago. Once we had a US congressman from southwest Missouri as our chapel speaker and he referred to the daily verse but mistakenly said 2 Corinthians 7:14 (rather than 2 Chronicles 7:14). We had a very colorful student who came out of an addictive background who had the nickname Hallelujah Frank due to his very expressive worship nature. Hallelujah Frank ran up to the front right after chapel was over to correct the congressmen concerning the mistaken reference, embarrasing the college administrators as I recall, in the brusque way  he handled the congressman's innocent error.

* Yesterday Steve Higgins, a friend from Massachusetts, shared an interesting perspective: "I recently read an article in, of all places, the Boston Globe and the person being interviewed said something I found intriguing. One of the biggest dangers we face in the church today is becoming admirers of Jesus and not followers. Isn’t it great to come to church, pat each other on the back and talk about all of the good things Jesus did? It’s almost to some even in the church that he is just another cult hero. But to be a follower takes commitment. Commitment is something many of us never truly make anymore."

* Our friend Doris High took the outstanding close-up of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak used at the top of today's message. See here for more from her Rose-breasted Grosbeak collection.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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