If you are like me, you want the best for your children/grandchildren. You have dreams for them and pray for them. You try to point them in the right direction and teach them. You want them to avoid the mistakes you made but want them to learn from mistakes that they will make. You want them to be happy, healthy, and successful. Above all, you want them to know peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. But we know this is all out of our hands, and thus we pray and entrust them to our Father’s hands.
The following prayer is from a father’s heart entrusting his children to the Father…
Father God, I pray that my children:
- Will learn their ABCs and develop a love for reading.
- Will learn to play a musical instrument and appreciate the arts.
- Will know right from wrong and live morally upright lives.
- Will respect everyone and serve the needs of others.
- Will be humble yet be willing to boldly take a stand when called upon.
- Will be a lifelong learner and a seeker of wisdom.
- Will seek to know and love the heart of a person.
- Will appreciate the simple things and not lose their child-like wonder.
- Will not lose their sense of humor and never be afraid to cry.
- Will know that I will always love them no matter what they do.
- Will know that You will always love them no matter what they do.
- Will learn to forgive and forget.
- Will value in-person relationships over social media relationships.
- Will love, value and respect themselves.
- Will strive to know Jesus and live out loud in his name.
- Will be comfortable in their skin and know they are beautiful in Your eyes.
- Will pray, pray and then pray some more.
- Will seek Your will for their lives and listen to Your voice.
- Will know, crave and desire Your Word.
- Will know that I will always be there for them.
- Will know who they are and whose they are – a sinner redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
- Will know that I will always pray for them.
All that I hope for and all that I wish are nothing but a father’s dream.
But all that they are and all that they will be is in Your hands, Father God.
And so I raise this prayer to You,
And entrust them to Your sovereign care.
I pray this prayer, in the name Jesus, the Lord and Savior I pray they know.
The following prayer initially grew out of frustration of how I perceive many people – including many in the Church – responding to this pandemic. I see people attacking each other on social media and others spreading misinformation. I hear conversations of people fixated on this virus. I have seen this pandemic bring out the worst in people.
Yes, this world is steeped in sin and thus it is subject to decay and death. Yes, Satan is prowling round looking for someone to devour. Yes, nothing we do here will save us. Our only hope is Jesus, who died for our sins and rose from the grave to give us the hope of the resurrection and peace with God, yet many are still not at ease.
You see, the problem is that the gods of this world are being threatened and their subjects are rising up in an effort to defend these gods. Yes, even people who claim Jesus as their Lord are going to battle for these gods. It’s as if Jesus is not enough. Really?!? People need to stop and trust God and Him alone. They need to let these gods go and watch our sovereign God do a new thing. We need to take a step back and trust Jesus. And so I wrote this prayer. I, for one – with the help from God – refuse to fall prey to Satan’s schemes.
Let us pray…
I praise You for:
Your power and might,
Your grace and mercy,
Your love and healing.
I praise You for:
Your tender care,
Your outstretched arms,
I praise You for Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.
Oh God, I am Yours, and therefore:
I refuse to dwell on what I cannot do but rather embrace what You are doing.
I refuse to point my finger of blame but rather raise my hands of worship to You.
I refuse to lament the loss of “normal” but rather wait expectantly the transformation You are bringing.
I refuse to live in fear but rather live joyfully in You.
I refuse to cling to “what we have always done” but rather embrace new beginnings.
I refuse to be self-absorbed but rather pursue the welfare of others.
I refuse to dwell in anything and anyone but You.
Oh God, my Fortress and Shield,
Keep my eyes on You.
In Jesus name I pray,
The following is the opening to the sermon that I am preaching tomorrow, May 10, on John 14:1-11. The worship live stream will start at 9:30 AM (PST) on our YouTube channel (Living Word Lutheran Church – Graham, WA)
Fear has a way of rendering people paralyzed – unable to think clearly or make smart, rational decisions. When everything safe around you is threatened, the natural reaction is embedded deep in the primal part of our brain. It is the fight or flight response. We instinctively either, fight for the safe place we have – trying to restore order – or we retreat and search for another safe place. We do this without thinking or planning or evaluation. In a lot of ways this is a gift from God that enables self-preservation. For example, if I were to encounter one of those “murder hornets” that are supposedly here in Washington, I am not going to evaluate too long whether I should retreat or not. But sometimes this fight or flight response becomes a hinderance to common sense. For example, there are people in Washington holding “COVID-19 parties” – purposely exposing themselves to get it out of the way so they can return to their safe place sooner. Truth be told, there is no science to this and thus not safe for the public. And then, this fight or flight response often gets in the way of trusting God – refusing to believe or accept His promises – thus Jesus’ commands in John 14.
Yes, our safe places have been threatened, but God is still sovereign. And so, let us hear the Good News in John 14 so we can stop fighting or flighting (is that even a word?) and start trusting. Let us pray…
You are my stronghold,
And You are my life.
You are my fortress,
And You are my light.
Now I may have strife,
And I may have pain.
But faith in my Lord,
I will have much gain.
In You there’s no fear,
For You are my peace.
In You there’s no death.
My life will not cease.
So to You I will run.
In You I will stay.
For You I will live,
To You I will pray.
The waves are monstrous,
The wind is fierce,
And my feeble little boat is no match for this storm.
I try and try, but I make no head way.
I fight and battle but continue to lose ground.
And the storm rages on.
The storm wants to lay claim to this boat –
to bring it down into the deep.
It fights and threatens.
It claws and bites,
and my feeble little boat is no match for this storm.
Jesus, where are you?!?
Wait — you are right here,
in my feeble little boat.
You are right here with me,
as the storm rages on.
Now I am at peace.
Now I can be still and know –
for nothing can touch me
as long as Jesus is in the boat with me –
in this feeble, broken down, little boat.
The storm rages on,
but it will never claim me,
not with Jesus in my boat.
Yes God, You are worthy of all praise and worship.
You are worthy of all glory and honor.
You are worthy.
Oh God, words cannot adequately express how thankful I am that You are a sovereign God – that You are in complete control. We are living in interesting times.
Many are fearful.
Many are confused about how to live.
Many are wondering where You are…
…Holy God, You are right here.
And even though my ways are not Your ways and my thoughts are not Your thoughts, I know that Your ways will not be diverted, slowed down, stopped or hindered in any way. In the end, You will and have won – through Jesus Christ who died and rose for the forgiveness of sins – defeating sin, death and Satan forever. Hold us firm, Father God, in that promise that we may continue to glorify You, now and forever. Amen
The light shining in the darkness.
The anchor in the chaos.
The lifeline in the quicksand.
You are my God and Rock.
Peace in the midst of turmoil.
Mercy in my suffering.
Compassion when all seems lost.
You are my God and Hope.
When the wind and the waves rage.
When the lion lurks in the shadows.
When the enemy fires his arrows.
You are my God and Shield.
I know I am never alone.
For You are my loving Father.
Being Your precious child.
I praise You through Christ my Lord.
To give thanks and praise to You, oh God, is the joy of my heart.
And how can it not be?
You gave me Jesus to redeem me from my sins.
You defeated sin, Satan and the power of death through the cross.
You gave me the hope of everlasting Life through the empty tomb.
You showed incredible love, grace and mercy to an obstinate sinner.
Holy God, You are so worthy of worship and praise. Time and capacity prohibits me from naming all the reasons. But, I look forward to the day when I will have eternity to name the reasons to praise You.
How can one not praise You?
How can one not raise their hands to You?
How can anyone not fall on their knees in worship of You?
It’s because they do not know You – help me to know You more that my praise of You will bring You more and more glory.
Receive my praise – for it is the joy of my heart.
God of abundance – my Creator and generous God. To look around is to see Your kingdom, for all is Yours. Nothing that has been made, or ever will be made, was made outside Your sovereign reign.
You are mighty beyond imagination – the Lord of armies.
You are glorious above all gods – the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
You are rich beyond all measure – more precious than diamonds.
Nothing and no one compares with You.
Holy God I want to know YOU better and better that I may treasure YOU more and more – high above all worldly riches. Show me Your glory in Jesus Christ that I may see and know the storehouse of Your grace and mercy causing me to fall deeper and deeper in love with You. Create in me a clean heart so that nothing my impede Your residence in my heart. You are my treasure and therefore I am rich beyond all measure. To You be all glory, honor and worship through Christ Jesus my Lord, Amen.
The following is the most recent article I submitted to The News Tribune (Tacoma). To God be the glory.
On Sunday, NBA legend, Kobe Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash near Los Angeles. The news caught my attention even though I was never a Lakers fan. You see, there was just something about watching Kobe that produced a sense of awe in how he played. He was a unique individual with a unique talent. He entered the league at the young age of 17 and made an immediate impact – winning 5 championships. His talent was off the charts. His competitive drive inspired a generation. His will to win was unmatched. Following his untimely death on Sunday, people began mourning over Kobe – many of whom had never met him but were inspired by him. Though he made his share of mistakes, people are not soon going to forget the name: Kobe Bryant. But this is just the beginning of my concern for this generation, and I say this with all due respect.
My concern stems from a comment I heard him say in an interview that was aired during a tribute to him on Sunday night. The comment was this: “I gave my heart and soul to the game of basketball.” Let that sink in for a moment. Some may say that there is nothing wrong with that – that he just gave it his all during his career – and that he did. You see, I am not claiming I know the status of his eternity. Only God knows that. I read a blog post that said Kobe was a devout Catholic, but I don’t know his heart. What I am trying to say is that I am concerned about a generation who believes that giving their “heart and soul” to anything of this world is a good thing. I came across a quote on Twitter recently from a respected theologian that said – “If you don’t live for Jesus you will live for something else. Will those things be enough? Will they die for you?” Now let that sink in for a moment. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
I say all of this because, for me, I gave my heart and soul to the one who died for me – Jesus Christ. Why? Because I am a sinner and nothing of this world can save me. No amount of intelligence, money, fame, popularity, prestige or strength matters when death comes calling. And when death does come, it does not discriminate. But, if you belong to Jesus, death is just a doorway: sin, death and the power of Satan have been defeated by Jesus Christ through his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. As a sinner, you are unable to save yourself.
My hope and prayer is that Kobe’s statement was just that – a statement of how hard he played the game. I also pray, that if you have not given your heart and soul to Jesus, that you will look deep within and see the mess that you are, and then see the beauty and grace of Jesus. Give your heart and soul to the One who keeps your heart and soul for all eternity. Amen.