The Empty Chair
SUNDAY, October 16
A man of faith sat quietly with glazed eyes in the hospital waiting room. His hands clenched his cell phone. Although he hadn’t physically moved for hours on end, his soul wandered the paths of the unknown, uncertain future. Although he spoke to his family, loved one, and friends, his heart had been silent unto himself. As he shifted in his seat, he noticed an empty chair next to him. A deep sigh of relief departed his lips as the chair became a fixed focal point for his soul: God is sitting in the empty chair next to me.
Praise God for the empty chair. As the isolation confronts the mind, fatigue compresses the soul and enigma carouses the mind. God is with you here, now.
God, through the unknown future of today, remind me that you are the God of comfort within arm’s reach. Amen.
PRAYER FOCUS: STEWARDSHIP OF THE EARTH
MONDAY, October 17
To say God is at work is a Christian cliche that I presume dates back hundreds of years. The statement is true of course. We need not look far to see God working through people and his creation. Yet cliché jargon has the potential to lose its meaning over time.
The psalm makes clear how the Lord acts. There is no identity fraud of the one who unlocked the prison doors of the incarcerated, brought light to the darkness, or demands love to be an action verb for all eternity.
May we never be uncomfortable naming the specific works of God.
Let us seek renewed action verbs that the Lord reveals to us day by day.
God, make known the ways you reveal yourself. Remind us of the power in your name that beckons action. As we are made in your image, provoke us to act out your love in our lives as well. Amen.
The Great Avenger
TUESDAY, October 18
Amos 6:1, 4-7
God comforts hurting people. God sees and hears the cries that burst from the soul. Through the captivity of the body, mind, and spirit that his creation sings for freedom, God is the great avenger. Those who persecute his creation and mock his image bearers will be put to shame.
Our security is to be securely fixed upon him.
To fix our eyes upon him, we must choose to see how God is working within our lives. There is no need to take matters in our own hands when God holds everything in his. We have a great avenger. He knows your needs. He knows your name.
God, this world will cause immense pain as well as pleasant joys. We live in a sinful, broken world that still reeks of your goodness and mercy. Let us be present within our sufferings and securely fix our eyes upon you. Amen.
PRAYER FOCUS: THE WORK OF PAUL CARLSON PARTNERSHIP
Life Is Complicated
WEDNESDAY, October 19
We make thousands of unconscious decisions on top of the hundreds we make consciously. As complex as life is, I still find myself not knowing what to do at times. Between decisions, I am often lost in which direction I should go that not only affects my life but potentially the lives of others.
Psalm 113 helps makes the decision for me: Give praise. As foreign as that may sound within the context of the decisions I need to make, it is the first one we should make. Praising God provides clarity to the lost in this complicated world. It doesn’t solve or provide answers to life’s questions. But it does give us the solution that is never wrong. Today’s psalm reminds us that the Lord is exalted above all the nations and no one is like him.
Lord, remind me to look for ways to praise your name. Amen.
The Unseen Clock
THURSDAY, October 20
We all have the same 24 hours, no matter our race, upbringing, or life stage. Each day we are granted the same amount of time. Yet how we use that time varies from person to person.
How we live today, matters.
Our lives and decisions have impact on the future. It all counts. It all matters. Notice the actions in today’s passage: both men lived in their present reality, which have effects on their afterlife. Check the text.
Let us make today count with our actions. Physical actions? Sure, if willing and able. And also, our spiritual actions invite a response through physical actions. Let us live on purpose spiritually through Christ by pursing daily fellowship with him.
Our money, riches, and fame can’t save us. The one who can has a name that is above every name: Jesus Christ.
Father, lead us to you in prayer as we communicate from heaven to earth. Amen.
PRAYER FOCUS: FAIRNESS IN OUR LEGAL SYSTEM
FRIDAY, October 21
People must have thought this guy was crazy. According to custom, a leper wasn’t even supposed to be near other people, let alone kneeling and speaking to Jesus! I’m sure this man had very little contact with anyone other than himself.
But Jesus touched him. A touch that brought healing to his mind, body, and soul. A touch that cleansed his life as he pleaded to be made clean.
God is so good. His touch has the power to cleanse us from the doubts of the world. It has the power to wipe clean the thoughts from
the enemy. It has the power to purify both body and soul.
The world needs his touch. We need his touch.
God, touch our lives today right now. Let us feel you deep under our skin as a reminder that you are making all things new. Amen.
Thank You Gift
SATURDAY, October 22
“Then she got up and began to serve him” (v. 15). Peter’s mother-in-law wasn’t feeling well. A fever during that time wasn’t remedied with over-the-counter medicines. I imagine she didn’t feel like doing anything except lie down to subdue the pain. Perhaps even taking naps to allow her body to recover.
But after the fever left her, she got up and began to serve him.
We all have felt that something in our lives needs to be remedied. Physical health, relationships, professional, academia studies, you name it. As we overcome opposition in these areas, often we move onto the next opposition because life seems to give us very short breaks.
But she got up and began to serve him.
God, let us get up and begin serving you. After we overcome ______, we have the example of Peter’s mother-in-law to waste no time and return the favor through acts of service. It’s the least we can do. Amen.
PRAYER FOCUS: CIVILITY IN OUR DAILY DISCOURSE