Tag Archives: obedience

What is a Makes-No-Sense Prayer?

What is a Makes-No-Sense Prayer?

by Violet Nesdoly

The Prophet Jeremiah - Michelangelo

“Jeremiah” – Michelangelo (Sistine Chapel fresco)

And You have said to me, O Lord God, ‘Buy the field for money and take witnesses’!—yet the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 32:25, NKJV).

Has God ever asked you to do something that made no sense?

That was Jeremiah’s situation on this day.

If we look at the context of our reading, we see the incident that sparked his this-makes-no-sense prayer.

God had asked him to buy back the family farm in the village of Anathoth (Jeremiah 32:7) though he was a prisoner in a city surrounded by the Babylonians (Jeremiah 32:2). It was a symbolic gesture—a sort of down payment on the future. It was his act of obedience and faith in God’s words, “Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in the land” – Jeremiah 32:15.

Jeremiah did what God told him to do, but he didn’t understand.

In his prayer, he unburdened himself to God.

  • He starts out with praise – Jeremiah 32:17-19.
  • He recounts how God has been faithful in keeping His promises to Israel – Jeremiah 32:20-22….but…Israel has been unfaithful at every turn and, to Jeremiah’s mind, deserves the fate that seems imminent – Jeremiah 32:23-24.
  • He ends – ‘And you’re asking me to buy land in this place, when the city is on the brink of falling to a foreign power?!’ – my paraphrase of verse 25.

To read the rest of this post please visit Violet’s Blog – and see how this is important for us in our prayer lives.

Violet Nesdoly

Violet freelances in several genres and has been published in a variety of print and online publications.

Her articles, stories, and activities have appeared in Keys for Kids, Devotions for Girls, Devotions for Boys, Clubhouse, Guide, Primary Treasure, Partners, Pockets and others. She has also published two books of poetry and is an avid blogger. She is a member of Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and a professional member of The Word Guild.

HAVE YOU NOT BEEN LISTENING?

Have you not been listening?

by Jan Cox

We have a small malti-poo named Snowball. She is almost two years old. Although I took her to puppy training she was still – what shall I say – less obedient than I wanted. I know she looks innocent in this picture.

This fall we tried out Trick Classes. As she learned to do her tricks, Snowball learned to focus – to watch my eyes, my hands and listen to my voice. She began to pay attention to me. We have more to learn and we will attend intermediate classes in the new year, but I have her attention now.

God wants our attention. In many ways He works to get us to focus on Him. His Word, the Bible, is the best way to learn about Him. Our circumstances, other people and nudges from the Holy Spirit are ways God speaks to us, as well.

But do I LISTEN? My prayer has been, “Help me to focus on You, Lord.” Slowly I can let all the other stuff that floats around in my mind be pushed aside. And then I can LISTEN to His Word.

When I read the Bible I have a notepad to record my thoughts and I underline in my Bible passages that SPEAK to me.

This morning I read from 2 Peter:

“So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love…” (2 Peter 1:5 The Message).

I know I can’t do those things by myself. I know I need to pray for all of those character qualities to manifest themselves in me.

So my personal prayer is:

Lord help me to build a good character, have spiritual understanding and an alert discipline. Build in me passionate patience and reverent wonder. Help me to show warm friendliness and generous love.

Can you see how listening to His Word helps me to apply this to my life?

When I focus; when I become more obedient – I learn, I grow.

As I have Snowball’s attention so now God has my attention. I continue to LISTEN to Him.

“Have you not been paying attention? Have you not been listening?” (Isaiah 40:21-24 The Message).

It is time – as we head towards Christmas – Let us LISTEN to God.

Prayer:

Father, we do desire to be obedient to Your Word. We know we lose focus – forgive us. Help us to learn to LISTEN to Your voice. Open our eyes to see and our ears to hear. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

My Gratitude List for this week. I am counting to 1000 and I am at 767.

  • Wayne is extending the hours between painkillers
  • The auto adjuster is willing to wait for a quote for underwriter for our medical insurance
  • Decision made not to travel to Israel this spring
  • We will go on another trip to Israel another time
  • Getting words of wisdom from Holy Spirit about what to write
  • Learning more about Holy Spirit through Charles Stanley’s book
  • A beautiful card from Carissa – wow!
  • Ideas, ideas and more ideas
  • The Hope of Christ – Hallelujah!
  • A wow story of God’s healing both physical and spiritual
  • How Ann Voskamp’s book is impacting my Bible study group
  • Watching You, Lord, work in people’s lives
  • A wise, loving, understanding Naturopath
  • Ability to learn new skills
  • Patience while dealing with Bell Canada
  • Driving in the rain in a golf cart – in Arizona
  • Seeing rain in the desert
  • Seeing Snowball graduate from Trick Class – with a hat and certificate – too funny!
  • Mom’s cold getting better
  • Kathy’s back getting better
  • Cooler temperatures – actually cold in the desert
  • Fog – in the desert

  • Getting Facebook to work for Under the Cover of Prayer
  • Christmas carols with a band for Sunday service

Contributors

Jan Cox

Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. She also writes at A Better Way. Jan has written a children’s book in which she is also the watercolour illustrator. She hopes to publish it some day.

TETHERED TO GOD

Tethered to God

A little while ago we took our grandchildren to their other grandparents. My son-in-law had carefully moved the two car seats from the family car to our truck. It took him quite awhile to get the seats in place. When they were strongly tethered in, we took off.

The drive went well; the children were marvelous. When we arrived at our destination my husband and I took out our grandchildren from their safety seats and gave them to their other grandma. We then started to undo the car seats so they could be returned to their parents. That was the last thing my daughter had said, “Don’t forget to remove the car seats!”

What a job! Tethered they were. As we both pushed, pulled, loosened, tugged, strained and tried not to get frustrated – those seats held firm. I think it took us about 10 minutes to get the two car seats untethered.

That is the type of connection I want with God – I want to be tethered so tightly that nothing can tear me apart from Him. How can I accomplish this?

With the car seats there were various straps that held the seat in place.

So I need to find more than one way to tether myself to God.

First I need to pray, because in prayer He can open the other doors that will keep my relationship strong.

Next I need to be obedient. There are various spiritual disciplines that can help me to be tethered. In each one I need His help. Whether I study, read, go to church, attend Bible studies, write, memorize Scripture, fast, pray in the Spirit, or other disciplines – I must be obedient to do these things.

So prayer and obedience are the two tethers I am relying on.

What are you tethers?

You might also like Grafted.

HOSEA – OBJECT LESSON LIFE

Hosea – Object Lesson Life

by Violet Nesdoly (reprinted with permission)

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Hosea 1:1-21

TO CHEW ON: “When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea:

“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry
and children of harlotry
for the land has committed great harlotry
by departing form the Lord.”
So he went…”( Hosea 1:2,3 NKJV).

Imagine being told to embark on marriage, one of life’s most challenging relationships even in ideal circumstances, knowing your partner has a habit of being unfaithful. That’s what God told Hosea to do — marry a prostitute. He did it without argument.

Later, when children came along (and my Bible’s notes indicate that Hosea may not even have been their father), God told Hosea to name them odd, doom-filled names:

His firstborn son was to be called Jezreel.

It meant “God scatters”, or “God Sows.”

“Jezreel was the name of the place where Jehu had killed 70 sons of Ahab (2 Kings 10:11). As Jehu brought an end to the line of Ahab, so now God will bring an end to the whole dynasty of Israel. By 722 B.C. the northern kingdom and its capital will fall.” – endnotes to Hosea 1:4 New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1144.

(That would be in about 28 years from when Hosea penned this if the date of the book’s writing — 750 B.C. — is accurate.)

His second child, — a daughter — was to be named Lo-Ruhamah.

It meant “No Mercy.” and ‘indicated a lifting of the Lord’s compassion from the rebellious nation” (source as above).

A third child — another son — got the name Lo-Ammi.

It meant “Not My People” and “indicated the end of the relationship  (p. 1145 – source above).

Through all this we never hear a whisper of objection from Hosea. He simply listened and complied. Which tells us at least two things about him:

1. He recognized God’s voice. Why else would a devout man do such outlandish, even morally questionable things?

2. He trusted God and obeyed with a simplicity of heart that is quite beautiful.

God has never asked me to do such things — probably not you either. But, to my shame, I even argue and try to talk Him out of things that make sense, things like finishing a hard job, making contact with certain people, how I spend my time… Oh for Hosea’s jump-to-it attitude whenever God speaks!

PRAYER: Dear God, Hosea’s unquestioning obedience is refreshing to see. Help me to follow that pattern of hearing and immediately obeying. Amen.

MORE: “No religious singles in God’s eyes”

John Piper on Hosea:

“…God made him (Hosea) live the tragedy of Israel’s unfaithfulness by marrying a harlot…. Some Christians who would never dream of marrying a pimp or a prostitute will fall in love with a well-bred unbeliever. But in God’s eyes, everyone who forsakes the Lord is a whore. There are no religious singles in God’s eyes. Everyone is either faithfully married to God or is a prostitute. God made you (not just Israel) for himself. If you get your kicks from somewhere else, you commit great harlotry against God. That was Israel’s condition. And so God took Hosea and said, as it were, “Before I give you a word of judgment and grace, I am going to make you know what it’s like to be married to an unfaithful wife. Go, marry a harlot!” Hosea obeys and has a son. His marriage is an acted-out parable of God’s relation to Israel.”

Read all of “Call Me Husband, Not Baal”

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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Violet Nesdoly

Violet freelances in several genres and has been published in a variety of print and online publications. Her articles, stories, and activities have appeared in Keys for Kids, Devotions for Girls, Devotions for Boys, Clubhouse, Guide, Primary Treasure, Partners, Pockets and others. She has also published two books of poetry and is an avid blogger. She is a member of Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and a professional member of The Word Guild.