I love to turn the Word of God into a prayer. Here's today's musings:
I am challenged by the strong love that Paul feels towards his spiritual children. He can hardly bear the separation. He thinks of them constantly, always remembering them in his prayers.
I am not that loving. I am not that caring. Even though I love my children, and my spiritual children, it is easy for me to build walls of self-protection when there's been little contact. I put up my bricks and mortar to protect myself rather than reaching out selflessly to see how they're doing.
Forgive me, Lord. Help me to die to self, to bear the pain of separation without ascribing any motives. Help me to suffer gladly on behalf of my loved ones. Teach me to pour myself into the lives of those You have assigned to me - children and grandchildren, friends and family - even online friends that I've never met in real life. Help me to remember that each one is made in Your image, that each encounter is an opportunity to love and serve in the name of Jesus. May my desire be to establish others in their faith, and to exhort them to press on in Christ.
The tempter is real. He hates You. He hates your Son. Consequently, he hates those who have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus. He wants to trip us up, to cause us to fall into the pit of depression and despair. We must not be ignorant of his schemes. We must resist and stand firm, knowing that even though our human eyes see destruction, You are in control, and will bring beauty from ashes.
When I see evidence of faith and love in my children, it gives me great comfort in spite of the affliction and distress of my life. I LIVE when I see them stand firm in the Lord. I rejoice when I hear them speak of their love for You, my God, and Your ways. This brings joy.
I pray that we, as parents, as friends, will have opportunity to supply what is lacking in their faith. As iron sharpens iron, may we influence others for Christ, just as they do the same for us.
Lord, direct us. Help us to serve wholeheartedly. May our children increase and about in love for one another and for all. May they have a heart to serve, to glorify Your name, to reach out to others. Establish our hearts blameless in holiness before You, oh God my Father, so that we can rejoice at the coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.