Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Prayer for Dad

Recently my daughter, Esther, sent along this "Prayer for Dad" to my wife. It was originally written (save and except for revisions to include references to her dad) by Stormie Omartian. It is very moving to know that people who love me actually pray this way for me. You, in turn, may find it of value for someone you love:

"Lord, I pray that my father will have a reputation that is untarnished. I know that a man is often valued 'by what others say of him' (Proverbs 27:21), so I pray that he will be respected in our town and people will speak highly of him. You've said in Your Word that "a curse wihtout casue shall not alight" (Proverbs 26:2b). I pray that there would never be any reason for bad things to be said of him. Keep him out of legal entanglements. Protect him from lawsuits and criminal proceedings. Deliver him from his enemies, O God. Defend him from those who rise up to do him harm. (Psalms 59:1) In You, O Lord, we put our trust. Let us never be put to shame. (Psalms 71:1) If You are for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

"Your Word says that "a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire." (Matthew 7:18,19) I pray that my father will bear good fruit out of the goodness that is within him, and that he will be known by the good that his does. May the fruits of honesty, trustworthiness, and humility sweetenall of his dealings so that his reputatin will never be spoiled.

"Preserve his life frm the enemy, hide him from the secret counsel of the wicked. Pull him out of any net which has been laid for him (Psalm 31:4). Keep him safe from the evil of gossiping mouths. Where there has been ill spoken of him, touch the lips of those who speak it with Your refining fire. Let the respnsibility of those involved by revealed. Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion who seek to destroy his life; let them be driven backward and brought to dishonour who wish him evil. (Psalms 40:14) May he trust in YUou and not be afraid of what man can do to him. (Psalms 56:11) For You have said whoever believes in You will not be put to shame. (Romans 10:11) Led him, guide him, and be his might fortress and hiding place. May his light so shine before men that they see his good works and glorify You, Lord. (Matthew 5:16)"

Thank you, daughter. Thank you, Lord. May each of my readers enjoy the blessings that this prayer can bring on their own lives.

Until next time,

Ken B. Godevenos

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Genesis 16:10 -- A Promise to Hagar?

Genesis 16:10: Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendents so that they shall be too many to count.”

Wait a minute. Is not this the kind of promise that God made to Abram in Genesis 15:5? And we know that that promise was to come through Abram and Sarai, not Hagar. Yet, God’s Angel is now telling Hagar that her descendents will be “too many to count”.

Hagar was asked to return to her mistress and submit to her authority and we can only assume that she was willing, knowing it was the right thing to do. Now the Angel encourages her in that most difficult task by sharing the mercy God will show her and her offspring for generations to come.

Was God putting less emphasis on His original plan like politicians who change their minds? No. What about His original promise to Abram? It still stands. Was the plan changing? No. Why did God do that? We don’t know. We can only surmise and many have done just that.

I like to think that how God treated Hagar is just one more indication or foretelling of how He planned to treat the world beyond Abram and his seed. One thing we know for sure and that is that Abram could not go to God and complain about the fact that a similar promise was made to Hagar.

None of us have the right to see others get less of a blessing if God so chooses to bless them. God will keep His promises to us, but He has the right to make similar promises and blessings on others, even with fewer conditions attached. That’s a lesson many of us do not easily accept.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hagar; Fleeing: Genesis 16:7-9

Genesis 16:7-9: Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” Then the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.”

Do you ever feel like ‘fleeing’? Hagar did and she fled. When you consider the culture of the day, Hagar had done no wrong in her willingness to be a surrogate mother for her mistress and master. She fled out of fear. She could not flee from God, however. The text says that the “angel of the Lord” found her. Hagar, carrying a child in her womb, fled Abram’s camp and traveled in the hot surrounding desert. Even there, God had arranged for a spring of water to meet her needs and He sent His angel to provide her His guidance.

There is no doubt in my mind that the angel knew exactly where Hagar had come from and where Hagar was going. Think about it. He was sent on a mission to meet up with “Hagar, Sarai’s maid” for that is what he called her. So, as a minimum, he knew where she was coming from. But still, he asks her the question he did. Sometimes before God can help us the way we need to be helped, we need to fully personally recognize and admit the situation we’re in. We need to realize what we have done or where we are in our life. We need to realize that we are beyond our own ability to resolve the situation and that the only One who could help us is God. Hagar answered the question openly and honestly.

Now here’s the most interesting part of these three verses: the Angel gave her advice that I am confident she likely did not want to hear. He told her to do two things. First, return to her mistress. That was bad enough. How could she do that knowing how her mistress felt about her? That was going to be tough. But wait, there’s more. The Angel told her to not only go back to her mistress, but to “submit herself to her mistress’s authority.” Wow. Can you believe it? No way, she would like that.

Is not that often the way God deals with us when we flee. He tells us to go back and then He tells us to submit. “God, that takes a bigger person than me!” No, if Hagar the maid can do it, you and I can do it. And besides, as Christians, we have recognized where we are in our lives. We know we cannot do it alone. God is willing to help and He is the best at what He does. So, now why do we fight that advice. How foolish can that be? Sure, it’s tough medicine but it’s the only thing that will fix the problem properly. And after all, let’s admit it, we knew all along, before God ‘found’ us in our state, that this advice in our case, as in Hagar’s, was in fact exactly what was both needed and right. Funny how things work when you’re dealing with God and His ways.

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