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How God Sees Us


SUNDAY, September 11

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Some seasons of our stories and lives are challenging. What amplifies the difficulties of those seasons is when individuals decide to tell us things like, “We aren’t,” “Think again,” “Do you really believe that’s possible?” Such statements reflect how the world sees us, not how God sees us.

When we read the story of Jeremiah, we see that God came to him to lay out the wonderful plans for his life (vv. 4-5). Imagine you’re Jeremiah, with limiting thoughts of “I’m not able, capable, or ready to be used by you, God” (v. 6). Maybe along the way, someone has said those words about you. 

In contrast, we see throughout Scripture that God is not interested what has been said about our capabilities and capacities. He is far more concerned with our dependence on him. When God calls us to something we can’t see in ourselves, we believe his voice, rather than the untrue noise around us. Then, and only then, can we fulfill God’s call on our lives.

Heavenly Father, today we choose to listen to the voice that calls us to your work over the limiting voices of this world. We seek to see ourselves as you do. Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: GRANDPARENTS

 

 

Just As We Are


MONDAY, September 12
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

Growing up, I often remember attempting to fool my parents about something I was trying to get away with—usually stealing cookies out of the cookie jar. But when my parents discovered what I was doing, they would say, “We don’t know what you are up to, but God does.” Ouch. 

“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me” (v. 1). When we read David’s words in Psalm 139, we see this truth. From morning to night. Beginning to end. Cradle to grave. God knows everything about every single one of our lives. 

Our first reaction might be to run and hide. (I mean, Adam and Eve did.) But what if God’s knowledge of the intimate details of our lives was more comforting than conflicting? 

The God who knows every detail of our lives allows us the freedom to approach him without fear. As followers of Jesus, we can bring our whole selves, knowing that he already knows and loves us just as we are. Even when our hand is in the cookie jar.

God, today we come before you with our fear, faithfully acknowledging that everything we bring has already been forgiven. May we draw near to you just as we are. Amen.

 

Over My Head


TUESDAY, September 13
Psalm 71:1-6

 

 

Sometimes in life we find ourselves in circumstances that cause us to say, “I’m in over my head.” It might be when we have swum too far out in the lake, overspent our checking account, navigating a family crisis, or find ourselves struggling in a job we never wanted in the first place. 

What is our next move? Do we attempt to figure out our circumstances on our own? Attempt to resolve our overwhelming tension by our own ability? Or is there another option? 

“For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth” (v. 5, NIV), the psalmist writes. We receive this invitation to take refuge in God because he is more reliable than anything else, no matter our circumstances. If today you face something that is causing you to say, “I’m in over my head,” know and trust that God is a refuge ready for you.

Dear God, I might not want to admit it, but I need your strength and pro-tection. Will you join me at this moment as I humbly depend on you? Amen.

 

PRAYER FOCUS: YOUTH PASTORS AND COUNSELORS

 

 

A New Normal


WEDNESDAY, September 14
Luke 13:10-13

Have you ever known someone living with such chronic pain or illness that it has become their normal way of life? Do you wonder what encouragement there is to offer them?

Perhaps the woman in this passage felt like she had been abandoned by God. Perhaps she believed nothing would ever change or that the rest of her life would include the same suffering she’d experienced for the past 18 years. Then she meets a rabbi who is in the business of changing lives. 

Today, may our prayers be for the people in our life who desperately need to encounter Jesus’s unexpected and unlikely freedom that would lead them to give uncommon praise to God. Jesus does the unexpected (healing the woman) in an unlikely place (the synagogue on the Sabbath), resulting in a surprising response (she straightened up immediately, praising God). 

At this moment, God, I pray that you will do what only you can do on behalf of the person in my heart. You know their pain. Give me the words to encourage them and provide the wholistic healing that only you can. Amen.

 

Breaking Down Barriers


THURSDAY, September 15
Luke 13:14-17

Sometimes people do things we don’t want them to do. Children ignoring their chores. Co-workers conducting meetings that feel like a waste of time. Spouses not making the bed the right way. Grocery shoppers cutting us in line. How do we respond? Angry. Frustrated. Coarse. Rigid.

In yesterday’s passage, Jesus healed a woman in a way that appalled the religious leaders of the synagogue. One leader was angry because it wasn’t done according to his expectations and religious system. 

Are there moments when we want God to do the miraculous, but only under our rule and regulations? It is in our broken nature to offer our demands and expectations instead of allowing him to intervene on his terms and plans. 

Today, whatever we are prayerfully asking God, let us release our expectations so that when he does what only he can do, we can rejoice at the wonderful things he did (v. 17).

Lord, give me the ability to let go of the expectations I place on you. Soften my heart and do what you already have plans for. Amen.

 

 

PRAYER FOCUS: FARMERS AS THEY HARVEST CROPS

 

 

Take Action


FRIDAY, September 16
Isaiah 58:9b-14

At times, the world we live in may feel full of too many problems, crises, pandemics, wars, global pains, and political tensions for us to believe anything could change. It all seems like too much. 

Yet in today’s text from the prophet Isaiah (who is living in his own pains, problems, and political tensions), we see a glimmer of guidance. The prophet Isaiah implores his community to engage in serving, even though it might break the mold of their expectations.

What if we decided to lay down our expectations of how the world should be made right and do what we can with God, who has blessed us by giving him room? Maybe it would result in us being faithful and making room for God to do the rest. 

Today, Lord, we acknowledge the grave tensions in this world that go beyond our understanding, even though we are willing to do what we have been blessed to do for your beloved children. Amen.

 

Making Margin


SATURDAY, September 17
Psalm 103:1-8

How much margin do you have in your life?

We all have experienced when life gets inordinately full and healthy rhythms tend to be forgotten, including how we allow room to hear God. The noise of the calendar can become louder than the voice of God. 

That’s why David’s reflection in Psalm 103 is essential for us to hear. He says, “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (vv. 1-5, NIV).

David invites us to make margin to praise the Lord, no matter what our calendar might reflect. Why? Because our Lord is worthy of all our praise every day. Let us create more space to give praise and worship to God, no matter what our day brings.

Gracious God, today we recognize there might need to be a shift in our spiritual rhythms. We commit our day to worship you above our busyness so that all the glory may go to you. Amen. 

 

PRAYER FOCUS: AN END TO HUNGER

About the Author

  • Erik Anderson

    I am an ordained Covenant pastor, currently serving as the director of events for the Evangelical Covenant Church. I am married to my incredible wife, Jessa, and together we are parents to our incomparable daughter, Nosipho. As a family, we love adventures, overly competitive game nights, dance parties, and each week we try to discover who makes the best tacos in the Twin Cities. As a third-generation Covenant pastor, I consider it an honor to serve our denomination in this role.

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