Never gets any easier

Sunset, Boca Ciega Bay 22 Nov 2021. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

We will be heading to the airport in a few hours to return to PA after spending the week with my mom for Thanksgiving. It never gets any easier to depart from my mom. Even though my mom, God willing, has a flight to come to PA on Dec 10, departing never gets any easier.

Maybe it’s age or life events but this departing impresses on me even more to: A tell people in my sphere of influence how much I love them because none of us are guaranteed tomorrow; B thank God for believers who if I don’t see again in this life, I will see in heaven; C share Jesus with urgency as I may not see them again.

Life is precious. Relationships while messy and painful are a gift. As the Christmas season has descended on us yet again, may we remember Jesus. May we remember who He is and what He has done. May we remember this life never gets any easier; therefore, cling to Jesus, share Him and enjoy time with others while we are still here.

Lord God, thank You and praise You for time with my mom, Nathan and PQ. Thank You Lord for the gift of family. Lord God, as new variants emerge, may we cling to You, may we hold onto You knowing that You NEVER change. You are constant; You are stable. Lord God, thank You for my mom’s salvation, thank You for Nathan’s salvation, thank You for the salvation of other believers. Thank You Lord for my salvation. Lord God, for the reader who does not know Jesus, Lord may today be the day of repentance and salvation for this reader. Remind us Lord this world is NOT our home. Remind us Lord You do not call us to an easy road, but a narrow road. Lord God, while this life isn’t getting any easier, thank You that we are NOT alone! Thank You Holy Trinity for being our Guide, Light, Path and Help. Lord God, thank You for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

For anyone who is interested, Nathan did dabble in the salt life fishing off my mom’s pier!

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn
Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Thanksgiving 2021

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;

make known his deeds among the peoples!

Sing to him, sing praises to him;

tell of all his wondrous works!

Glory in his holy name;

let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!

Seek the Lord and his strength;

seek his presence continually!

1 Chronicles 16:8-11 ESV

I thank God continually for the encouragement, love and support that I receive from y’all. I am thankful for each and every reader of this blog and it is with all the love and joy within me that I say, “Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! I love y’all very much!”

Lord God, thank You and praise You for all the ways that You bless us, provide for us and care for us! Lord God, may we NEVER stop thanking and praising You! Lord God, even in the midst of pain, adversity and trials, may we seek Your goodness in the land of the living. May we seek to thank and glorify You with the time that You have given us.

Lord God, for the reader who is far from Christ may today be the day of salvation. May today be the day where this reader is reconciled to Yourself by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord God, for those of us who are in Christ thank You and praise You that we are a new creation! Thank You and praise You that we are not who we once were! Thank You Holy Spirit for convicting us, pointing out our need for Jesus and for sealing us. Thank You Jesus for Your death, burial, resurrection and ascension that for all who believe in You by grace through faith are reconciled to God the Father. Father God, thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You Father God for this reader. Thank You Jesus for the opportunity to pray in Your Name for this reader. Holy Spirit thank You for this reader, lead and guide this reader today. Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Spirit may we thank You and glorify You not just today but in all our days.

Thank You Lord that when we thank and praise You our perspective changes and we focus on You and not ourselves. For those who will be with unsaved friends and loved ones today, use us Lord, guide our speech to witness to Your goodness today. Lord God, thank You and praise You again for this reader! Guide this reader today. Lord, may this reader’s heart overflow with praise and thanksgiving for You! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen and Amen.

Mid November 2021 Prayer

Lord God, it is heavy on my heart to pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Lord God, prepare us not only for persecution but to be martyred for our faith in Christ. Lord God, while You are in the heart changing business when I read Your Word, I do not read there will be a great revival or a great spiritual awakening in the end times. Rather, I read there will be persecution and martyrdom.

Lord God, I know persecution and martyrdom are very real realities for my brothers and sisters all over the world. Lord God, help them to hold fast, stand firm and remember that You are Faithful and Just. Lord God, thank You that nothing that we suffer for You is ever in vain. Even if we do not understand why things are happening now, help us to be reminded there will be a day when we will see things more clearly. Lord God, help us to learn from those who have been persecuted and martyred. May we hide their stories in our hearts to encourage us in trying and difficult times.

Lord God, prepare us and guide us. Lord God, may believers never forget that nothing belongs to us. Not our lives, bodies nor resources, they are all Yours and You call us to steward what You have entrusted to us well. Prepare us to serve You faithfully in a world that is becoming more and more morally and ethically bankrupt, corrupt and void. Lord, may we fear You more than people.

Lord God, I pray for this reader. If they do not know Christ I pray that today is the day of salvation. Lord, for the reader who is in Christ I ask that You will calm any anxiety or worry they have about the future.

Lord God, may this reader allow You to prepare them for the future. Thank You and praise You Lord that You are faithful to keep Your promises. Thank You Lord there will be a day when Your people will no longer suffer and we will see You in all Your glory. Lord, help us to be a people who respond well to the challenges that are set before us rather than cowering in fear and trepidation. Holy Trinity, help us to die to self, pick up our cross and follow You. Holy Trinity prepare us for what lies ahead, so that we may glorify You. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Psalm 119:97-104

Mem
97 Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way
(ESV).

The opening line of this stanza exclaims, “oh how I love Your Law!” (v 97a). What is really amazing me about this psalm is how personal, heartfelt and worshipful it is. Because the psalmist loves the Law, he mediates on it all the day (v 97b).

This psalm and especially the above verse humbles me with how much he loves the Lord’s Law. “In Psalm 119 the psalmist does not just learn God’s word, but he loves it. His love for God’s instruction causes him to meditate on it continually (cf. Ps 1:2); and as he contemplates God’s truth, it is assimilated into his life so that he learns it, loves it, and lives it” (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 423).

Dr. Michael Heiser makes an excellent point when he says, “We tend to think of the law as though every one of its 613 commandments [this includes the 10 commandments given in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21] were an oppressive lynchpin in a relationship to Yahweh. We tend to view the law negatively, as though it were given to produce feelings of guilt or to frustrate Israelites with the impossibility of pleasing God. This is misguided…An Israelite would have known that believing was at the heart of right relationship with Yahweh, not mere mechanical observance of a list of do’s and don’ts. For sure some Israelites would have lapsed into this mistaken thinking, particularly after the shock of the exile, but that wasn’t what the law was about” (The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, 2015, p. 163).

The commitment that the psalmist has to the Lord’s commandments makes him wiser than his enemies (v 98a). “Obviously, people attacking the psalmist without reason and/or with deceit ignore both the content of Yhwh’s commands and the promises attached to them. They are stupid. They are ultimately bound to fail” (J. Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament: Psalms 90-150, 2006, p. 418).

Because the Lord’s Word is always with him (v 98b) he has more wisdom (understanding) than all his teachers (v 99a). The psalmist here has caused himself more wisdom because the Lord’s testimonies are his meditation (v 99b). The Word of God NEVER fails to make wise a person who is open, receptive and willing to obey what He says!

In verse 100a the psalmist compares himself to the aged. While it is widely assumed that older individuals have more discernment (understanding) than the young, the psalmist here flips this, stating that he has more discernment than the aged because he keeps the Lord’s precepts (v 100b).

The psalmist holds back his feet from every evil way so that he may keep the Lord’s Word (v 101). He also does not turn to the right or to the left from the rules that the Lord has taught him (v 102). “[The psalmist] always keeps in mind that he is a student in the Lord’s school, and his chief purpose is to stay true to what the Lord has taught him” (Estes, p. 424).

The Lord’s Words are a sweet taste to his mouth, sweeter than honey (v 103). “In biblical times honey was a highly valued delicacy and a rare sweetener, so it is a fitting image for how delectable God’s word is to him. As frequently throughout Psalm 119, God’s word is viewed in terms of delight and enjoyment because to the psalmist it is a sweet delight, not a bitter duty” (Estes, p. 424). Believers today also know how sweet His Words taste in their mouths, which is why they can say along with David, “o taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Ps 34:8).

The psalmist concludes this stanza restating that it is through the Lord’s precepts that he gets discernment; as such, he hates every false way (v 104). The psalmist is able to discern false ways because he knows what the Lord his God requires both from the Law and because of having a personal relationship with Him. “In the light of God’s word, he can see through sin for what it is and where it leads, and this understanding enables him to reject every false way (cf. v. 163). God’s word guards him against making wrong turns that lead to bad consequences” (Estes, p. 424).

Lord God, thank You and praise You for Your Law! Lord God, may we love Your Law like the psalmist. Lord God, may we seek to read and practice Your Word so that we will be wise people! Lord God, wise people seek wise people. May we seek to do life with the wise and not the popular. Lord God, Your Word will cause us to grow if we are actively reading and putting it into practice. Help us to desire Your Word so that we will know how to discern truth from error. Lord God, there is so much error in our world today, help us to be grounded and guarded in Your Truth!

Lord God, help us to keep our feet from moving toward evil. May we stay focused on You and what You have taught us rather than looking to our right and to our left. Lord God, Your Words have the sweetness of life. May we never forget to taste and see that You are good, even in the midst of pain, hardship and suffering. Thank You Lord that You cause Your people who are earnestly seeking You to have wisdom and discernment. Lord God, may we practice common sense; helping us to hate every false way! Lord God, thank You for this reader! May this reader grow in their desire for You. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Psalm 119:89-96

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Lamedh

89  Forever, O Lord, your word 

is firmly fixed in the heavens. 

90  Your faithfulness endures to all generations; 

you have established the earth, and it stands fast. 

91  By your appointment they stand this day, 

for all things are your servants. 

92  If your law had not been my delight, 

I would have perished in my affliction. 

93  I will never forget your precepts, 

for by them you have given me life. 

94  I am yours; save me, 

for I have sought your precepts. 

95  The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, 

but I consider your testimonies. 

96  I have seen a limit to all perfection, 

but your commandment is exceedingly broad (ESV).

The psalmist knows the Lord’s Word is fixed forever in the heavens (v 89). As tumultuous as life here on earth can be, the psalmist knows that the Lord’s Word is secure. “There will never be a time or a place when the Lord’s authoritative word is silenced or thwarted, and this truth is the strong and enduring grounds for the psalmist’s confidence” (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 421).

The psalmist is confident that the Lord’s faithfulness will endure to all generations. And that He has securely established the earth so that it stands fast (v 90). This harkens to God’s people to pray earnestly for His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven (Matt 6:10).

Verse 91 is the most difficult Hebrew verse thus far to translate. “The general sense is that everything in the Lord’s domain is upheld by his authoritative word. In the Lord’s ordered world, everything ultimately serves his purposes, even though the intentions of the actors (such as the wicked who have afflicted the psalmist) may be evil” (Estes, p. 422). Nothing on this earth exists that is not under the Sovereign Hand of God. “All of creation exists because of obedience to God’s word; all of creation, therefore, exists to do his will” (A. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms 90-150 KEL, 2016, p. 541).

The psalmist delighted in the Lord’s law, had he not, he would have perished in his affliction (v 92). “The psalmist confesses that he, too, wants to be included among those who serve the Lord by keeping his “law.” He has found “delight” (see vv. 16, 24, 47, 70, 77, 92, 143, 174) in the “law” (tôrâ “instruction) of the Lord, and this has given him a desire to align his life with the revealed will of the Lord. If he had not found meaning in his experience of “affliction,” he feels that he would have perished. He would have been like a falling star” (W. VanGemeren, Psalms REBC, 2008, p. 876).

The psalmist declares that he will never forget the Lord’s precepts because they are what give him life (v 93). The Lord’s people are always at risk of forgetting His precepts. The psalmist knows “God’s word does him little good if he fails to remember it” (Estes, p. 422). Remember (or not forgetting) God’s Word is a biblical principle that runs from Genesis to Revelation. May the people of God continue to feast on the Word of God so that in times of famine they will know how the Lord instructs them to live.

Since the psalmist is the Lord’s he petitions Him to save him (hiphil, imperative 2ms with 1cs suffix). “‘I am yours’ (lĕkā-ʾănî) indicates that the psalmist accepted a servant’s responsibility and Yhwh accepted a master’s responsibility. Verse 94 appeals for that to continue to be true. One who belongs to Yhwh can appeal to Yhwh to deliver. The line again emphasizes Yhwh’s direct involvement in our lives. Yhwh is not just the deist clockmaker. But part of the basis for expecting Yhwh to behave as if we belong to Yhwh is that we have so behaved” (J. Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament; Psalms 90-150, 2006, p. 416).

In verse 94b the psalmist has sought God’s Word. In verse 95a the wicked lie in wait to destroy the psalmist. Estes notes this form of the verb for wait “often speaks of the righteous waiting for the Lord to intervene in their lives, but here the verb refers to the wicked waiting to do an intentional act of evil (p. 422). God’s people are not immune from the intentional evil acts of the world, the flesh and the devil. As such God’s people need to consider His testimonies (95b).

The psalmist ends this stanza in confidence. All human speech, efforts and achievements have a limit; however, the Lord’s Word has no limit because it is exceedingly broad (v 96). “[T]o live for anything other than what the Lord commands is to invite disappointment and defeat” (Estes, p. 423).

Lord God, thank You and praise You that Your Word is firmly fixed and exceedingly broad! Thank You and praise You Lord that You are perfect! In a world that is turning darker and more evil by the day, thank You that You have put a limit on what Your people will suffer. Thank You and praise You Lord that Your Word has no end and that it will not return void. Lord God, You are faithful to Your people. May we never cease to remember how You have been in our midst in the past, so we can live for You in the present, being bold and fearless when facing the future.

Lord God, You truly hold the whole world in Your Hands. Lord God, You have created all people for eternity. Lord, may today be the day of salvation for the reader who is far from You. Lord, as all things are Your servants, may we be instruments for good and not instruments of evil.

Lord, make our desires Your desires so that we will endure in our afflictions. Lord God, thank You that for those of us who are in Christ we can come boldly before Your Throne seeking Your grace, mercy and help when we need it most. Lord God, may we not be surprised by how unbelievers act. May we not be surprised that the world, the flesh and the devil seek to harm us. May our desire for You increase and the things of this world decrease! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

.

Psalm 119:81-88

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Kaph

81  My soul longs for your salvation; 

I hope in your word. 

82  My eyes long for your promise; 

I ask, “When will you comfort me?” 

83  For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, 

yet I have not forgotten your statutes. 

84  How long must your servant endure?7 

When will you judge those who persecute me? 

85  The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; 

they do not live according to your law. 

86  All your commandments are sure; 

they persecute me with falsehood; help me! 

87  They have almost made an end of me on earth, 

but I have not forsaken your precepts. 

88  In your steadfast love give me life, 

that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth. 

ESV

The psalmist begins this stanza stating that his nefesh (soul) is more than just longing for the Lord’s salvation, he is literally wasting away. “Although the psalmist cannot resolve this situation, he is confident that the Lord can rescue him from his plight” (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 420). Even though the psalmist’s strength is failing and he is wasting away he hopes in the Lord’s Word knowing who He is and what He has done before.

While the ESV supplies the word long in verse 82, this would be better translated, my eyes fail. “The eyes reflect his weariness in watching for a sign of God’s answer; so under a prolonged strain of waiting, the psalmist acknowledges that he is worn out” (A. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms 90-150 KEL, 2016, p. 535). In his worn and weary state the psalmist asks the question, “when will you comfort me?”

The psalmist clarifies this question stating that he has become like a wineskin in the smoke (v 83a). Meaning that he is “useless, shriveled, and unattractive because of being blackened with soot” (W. VanGemeren, Psalms REBC, 2008, p. 875). The psalmist here demonstrates that he lives by faith and not by feeling nor sight as he states he hasn’t forgotten His statutes (v 83b). Forgetting the Lord’s statues would only make the psalmist’s situation worse.

In verse 84, “The suffering psalmist asks another question; but his questions are essentially laments (so rhetorical questions). ‘How long must your servant endure?’ means ‘Your servant (I) has been enduring long enough.’ The first half of the verse laments his prolonged endurance. The second is concerned with the cause of his condition ‘When will you execute justice on those who persecute me?'” (Ross, p. 536).

Boice makes a profound observation, “It may be significant in this respect that verse 84 is the first in the psalm to fail to mention the Word of God by one of the [many] synonyms for it. When the psalmist was most down, did he lose sight of God’s Word temporarily?” (J. Boice, Psalms 107-150: An Expositional Commentary, 2005, pp. 1008-1009).

It is the opinion of this author that the psalmist did not lose sight of God’s Word temporarily. In this stanza, as well as in other areas of this psalm he states how when he forgot about the Lord and His Word, life did not go well for him. Rather, this lament (rhetorical questions) is from the depths of his affliction. How can we know this? Because in his next verse the he states how the insolent have dug pitfalls to trip him up and that they do not live according to the Lord’s torah (law, v 85). It is comforting to know “in the Lord’s moral order, [the insolent] will fall into the pits they have dug in their attempt to inflict harm on others” (Estes, p. 421).

Verse 86 makes it clear that “in contrast to the arrogant who are unfaithful to God’s instruction (v. 85), the Lord’s commands are true, or reliable. The arrogant speak lies, but the Lord speaks truth. By their lies the wicked do not fight fairly, but the psalmist is confident that the Lord can counter them, so he calls on the Lord to help him” (Estes, p. 421).

The plain meaning of almost made an end of me (v 87) “is that he is almost dead—finished, on this earth. However, to the very end if need be, he affirms his faith: ‘I have not forsaken your precepts'” (Ross, p. 537).

In the first part of verse 88 the psalmist makes an appeal to the Lord to renew his life by His covenant faithfulness (hesed, steadfast love ESV). Why does the psalmist make this appeal? So that he may keep His testimonies. “The purpose of the petition is likewise connected to the covenant: “that I may keep the testimony of your mouth.” The testimony refers to all of God’s instructions, the whole covenant law, which came by direct revelation from God. The psalmist wants to be revived, so that he would be able to keep the covenant fully, without weakness, suffering and distractions due to constant persecution” (Ross, p. 537).

Lord God, as our bodies waste away may we never stop hoping in Your Word. Lord, sometimes our eyes fail us as we wait for Your promise; comfort us by Your Spirit. Lord God, thank You that You have indwelled Your people who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ with Your Holy Spirit. Thank You Lord that You live inside each believer, that You comfort us and that we can come before Your throne boldly receiving Your grace and mercy when we need it most. Lord God, help us to cling to the truth that for the person in Christ, they are not useless. No matter how bleak or grim the situation looks or as helpless as they feel, remind this believer Lord that they have worth and value to You. Use us Lord for Your glory!

Lord, You inspired the psalmist to ask how long he must endure as well as when will You judge those who persecute him. Lord God, give us Your strength to persevere and endure the challenges and trials that we will face. Lord God, prepare us to glorify You when we suffer from the pitfalls of the insolent. Lord, may we never forget Your commandments. May we never forget You desire our obedience. Lord, there are no shortages of lies and attacks from the insolent, help us to not forsake Your precepts. Lord God, may we NEVER forget Your covenant faithfulness. May we never forget that You will never violate Your Name and Covenant. You will never act contrary to who You are.

Lord God, renew our lives so that we may testify about Jesus in this dark, hostile and hurting world. Lord God, renew our minds that we may focus on the things above. Lord God, conform us to You and Your Word. Lord God, may we desire what You desire and not what this world desires. Lord God, thank You for this reader. May this reader be renewed and revived by Your Spirit today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Frost and Light

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn. 3 November 2021.

From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the frost of heaven? (Job 38:29 ESV).

Lord God, help us to never stop marveling at Your Creation. Lord God, when the fears and worries of this life creep in, calm our weary souls with the reminder that the sun rises and sets on Your timetable. The seasons last on Your timetable. As the leaders of nations met to discuss climate change, may believers NEVER forget that Your Hand is in the climate. You are in control and sovereign over all. Whether it is in the form of judgement or consequences for sinful man’s disobedience in caring for Your creation, may we never remove Your Hand from working in and through Your Creation.

Lord, as man seeks to steal Your glory and power through cloud seeding, have mercy on us who know that this is wrong!

Lord God, as Your sun melts the frost, thank You for Your Son melting the frost off our hard hearts. Lord God, help us to shine Your Light in this cold, dark and hostile world. Lord God, thank You NO heart is too hard for Your Son’s Light to penetrate. Lord God, help our hearts to be prepared and guarded yet kind and loving as we live for You.

Thank You Lord that as autumn is here in the north that You are bringing new life to my brothers and sisters south of the equator. Lord God, thank You for this reader. May they feel Your Son shining on them today. Lord God, fill this reader with the Light of Your Presence. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn. 3 November 2021.

November 2021 Prayer

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Lord God, may all that have breath praise You in this new month. Lord God, I pray for my brothers and sisters who are undergoing chemo and radiation this month. Lord God, I ask that You will make the side effects of their treatment as minimal as possible. Lord God, I pray for my brothers and sisters who have covid, may Your Presence be very real to them in this time. Lord God, I pray for my brothers and sisters who are caregivers to have Your strength and peace.

Lord God, in this new month may we seek to be more like Jesus. Lord God, help us to glorify You rather than to glorify ourselves. Lord God, teach us to listen. We can be so quick to react to points of view that we do not agree with rather than listening and giving a rational explanation as why we do not agree. Lord God, may our love for Your Kingdom grow this month. May we be known more for the love that we have for You and for others. Lord God, help us to be salt and light. Help us to read Your Word, never forgetting that the Bible cannot mean what it did not mean to the original author and audience/hearers.

Lord God, may Your Word examine us this month. May Your Word permeate our hearts (mind, will and emotions) this month. Lord God, teach us to pray. Teach us to cling to You and not the security and comforts of this life. Lord God, may we never forget there has NEVER been a day when You were not God. You are God and You will always be God.

Lord God, may we seek to grow in gratitude and thankfulness this month. Lord God, may we heed Sarah’s practice and start naming five things we are thankful for each day. Lord God, the more we thank and praise You, the less we will think about ourselves. Lord God, may we say along with John the Baptist, “You must increase and I must decrease.”

Lord God, may we seek Your Glory and Holiness this month. Lord, cause us to desire to grow in holiness this month. Lord God, I am reminded of the words of Jerry Bridges who said, “If you want more victory in your life you need more obedience.” Oh Lord God, help us to be a more obedience people. Help us to desire being agents of mercy rather than agents of discord and disunity. Lord God, impress on us that unity is a hallmark of love. Lord God, help us to be Christ’s ambassadors, a pleasing aroma that brings glory, honor and praise to You.

Lord God, covid has and continues to reveal hearts. For those who are for or against vaccines, in many ways Christians on each side are treating the other side as if they are a wolf and Lord, it is very hard to have a conversation with someone who we think is a wolf. Lord God, as Pastor Keith stated yesterday, “Jesus does not give us permission to become like the wolf.” Lord, teach us how to agree to disagree peaceably with love and respect.

Lord God, help us to grow in spiritual discernment this month. Lord God help us to practice discernment so that we will know how to live as sheep among wolves being wise yet innocent. Lord God, help us to hold everything we read, see and hear up to the Light of Scripture. Help us to encourage others this month; speaking the truth in love. Help us to have mercy and compassion in a godless and morally bankrupt world. Lord God, help us to be a humble people, yet confident and courageous. Lord God, help us to fight distractions and procrastination more this month.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Thank You Lord for the life that You have given them. Lord God, for the reader who does not know Christ I ask boldly that today will be the day of salvation. Lord God, for this reader who has been in Christ for years (and years) I ask that You stir their heart even more for You and Your Word. Lord God, grow this reader to trust You more this month. Lord God, prepare this reader and myself for this new month and prepare this new month for us. Lord God, may we never forget, “Divine guidance comes only to prepared hearts” (Life App Study Bible). Lord God, prepare us to be a witness to the people that You place in our sphere of influence this month and prepare these people for us. In Jesus’s Awesome, Holy, and Victorious Name I pray. Amen.

Fire

Nathan and I are having a fire this evening. There is a family (den) of foxes who live near our neighbor’s shed. So far in a span of 20 minutes two rabbits have met their shrieking demise. I am very sad about this; however, Nathan has no problem telling me, “this is how God intended it!”

Life is costly. Life is in the blood. I am thankful for Jesus’s shed blood for me. I am thankful that I will not know the fire of hell but rather the joy of Heaven.

For the reader who doesn’t know Christ may today be the day of salvation.

Lord God, thank You that these rabbits deaths were quick. Lord, may believers never forget that life is costly and that freedom is not free. Lord God, may we seek You today. Lord, light this reader’s heart on fire for You so that their love for You will be known in this dark and hurting world. Lord, You know this world is burning. Lord, may we take Jude’s admonition to heart, snatching and rescuing people from the fire while there is still time. Lord, thank You for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Baby Striper

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

While this is 39lbs smaller than what Nathan is looking for, a baby fish is better than no fish! No worries, this fish has been set free to grow and mature for the next angler!

Lord God, thank You for the opportunity to fish in the rain. You do not call us to sunny and moderate conditions but You call us to evangelize and disciple in the midst of sinful humanity’s sin and brokenness. Lord God, teach us that what looks small if You are in it can grow beyond what we can even begin to think or comprehend.

Lord God, thank You for this reader! Thank You for their encouragement, support and kindness toward me. Lord God, fill this reader with the Peace of Your Presence. Stir their heart to call others and help others grow in Christ while there is still time. May we keep putting ourselves out in this world as salt and light even though the conditions and climate literally and metaphorically are getting more difficult. Thank You again Lord for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.