Monday, July 05, 2010


It seemed I’d just begun my 90 day experience when I found myself in the midst of the story of Moses. The Egyptian captivity of God’s “chosen people” had been one of those lingering questions in my mind that I’d never taken the time to contemplate. I thought I was missing something about why the Hebrews had ended up in captivity. Abraham had obeyed, Isaac was faithful, Jacob messed up but seemed to be on good terms with God, and his sons had sold Joseph into slavery, but within that whole story, I find no good reason why the entire nation of Abraham would find itself in such bondage.

I’m not sure the reason is important. Perhaps sometimes in life things happen. Jesus himself did not take any “free passes” or have a divine hand to protect him from the suffering of this world. I wonder if that is what we need to understand. God’s blessing, God’s choosing, is not some special dispensation or ticket to a trouble free life. God’s blessing, first handed down to Abraham was intended to begin redemption of the world. So we don’t get a free pass from suffering.

Jesus said in the gospel of John that “in this world we will have trouble.” The Hebrews found themselves in trouble, and God provided.

The lesson of Moses that is most important to me is the lesson that no matter who I am or where I find myself, my identity is rooted in God. When called by God, Moses asks “Who am I” to lead my people out of Egypt. God’s response—“I am with you.” Moses’ tragedy was this, he did not enter the Promised Land. The reason? He failed to recognize that God was with him and he took matters into his own hands, trusting his own wisdom and experience. This was the failure of the Hebrews he had led from captivity as well. Rather than entering the Promised Land as commanded, they relied on their own experience and understanding of the world, they forgot that they have no identity apart from God and because of this they found themselves wandering.

When I find myself lost and wandering in this life, that is usually the reason. I’ve placed too much faith in myself, and when life gets tough, or the road ahead seems too long or rough for me to travel. So I set out on my own course with no direction, lost and alone. Until I turn and realize—“I am with you.”

Sunday, July 04, 2010

An Independence Day Prayer

Dear God,

We thank you for freedom, and on this day especially, we give thanks for the freedom we enjoy as Americans.  We are reminded that we are Christians first, followers of Jesus above all else, and while we are thankful for the ways that being American make it easy to be a Christian, we are mindful to not fall prey to the ways it is more difficult.

We thank you for men and women of good intent who have built this nation and defended her freedom.  May we take this freedom as a blessing from You and share it with the world.  We also lift up our many errors and mistakes from the past God, and humbly ask your forgiveness for the wrongs committed under the banner of our land under which we celebrate today.  We do not hide from these transgression nor do we ignore them, because we fully trust that in Christ, all wrongs can be turned for the right when your people pray and humbly turn from their ways.

We give you great thanks for the mighty witness of Christian brothers and sisters who continue to claim your name without the benefit of the political, social, or economic freedoms that we enjoy.  We pray for the persecuted Lord and ask that you teach us how to serve them in their struggles.

We celebrate our history and look ahead in hope on this day God.  We pray for our leaders as we move into the future.  President, Congress, courts, and local assemblies--God give them wisdom to do their jobs well.  Give us also the wisdom to do our and to exercise a true freedom.

We come to this day with great joy around the awesome fruits that can grow through the freedom of man.  Give us even greater joy in understanding the even greater fruit that can grow through the freedom of Christ.  We know God that the best of any nation lies beyond the power of any other but you, either to give or take away.  Because of this we pledge our allegiance first to you--

Our Father, who art in heaven
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on Earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us of our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,