Back in December 2012, my friend Dai Sup Han asked me to present short devotional thoughts at the beginning of the Saturday morning prayer calls for Prayer Surge Now. We had met in 2007, when he was in Washington, DC, with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) and I was serving in the Army at the Pentagon. Dai Sup started Prayer Surge the following year, and in 2009, after I returned from a tour of duty in Iraq, he asked me to be part of the team. Ever since then, I’ve been helping facilitate the Saturday morning conference calls at 7:30 Eastern time. That’s easy enough for me, living on the East Coast of the US, but we have faithful saints calling in from California and Alaska, which means its not even daylight yet where they live! Since Dai Sup lived in California at the time, it made sense to ask for help in getting the calls started each week. That’s the reason for his request to me, and I was glad to accept.
Well, maybe not entirely glad. Honored, yes, but somewhat anxious. This was a tremendous responsibility: helping seasoned prayer warriors get set for several hours of serious intercession by presenting brief observations from the Word of God. That would be a big enough challenge if we were all part of the same church, or even part of the same denomination, but we aren’t. That’s the beauty and the strength of this prayer ministry Dai Sup has been called to assemble; participants come from a wide cross section of the Christian community. We are Evangelicals, Charismatics, Lutherans, nondenominational Christians, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Roots followers of Yeshua, and more. The only thing we really have in common is that we’re all disciples of Christ, regardless whether we call Him Jesus or Yeshua. Given that diversity of doctrinal views and other beliefs, the margin for error in presenting a unifying devotional teaching was very small. Particularly since the Lord was moving me down a path of learning about His Torah (Law) and its applicability to all His people through all time. Nevertheless, my friend had asked me to help, and apparently he trusted me enough to do the right thing. It seemed that the Lord confirmed this, so with fear and trepidation I agreed to Dai Sup’s request.
What happened after that was another period of tremendous growth in my walk with Yeshua and with my brothers and sisters. I was able to share what I was learning about the Appointed Times (Feasts) of the Lord, the Sabbath, and much more, putting it all into a context that was understandable to my Christian friends. Somewhere along the way, I learned to do this in a non-threatening way, and in a way that really did unite rather than divide. That was God’s doing. If left to my own devices, it might have been a different story. Thus, as always, to God be the glory. He is the one Who helped us all understand our unity even in the midst of different understanding of the scriptures. It helped that we had already been praying together for years. After all, it’s very hard to be angry at someone if you’re praying with and for them. Oh, and I learned something else along the way: we’re not really that far apart in what we understand from scripture. We’re expecting and praying for much the same thing (Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done . . . ), although we use different words and have different expectations of how we get there.
I think that’s why my friends at Prayer Surge have asked repeatedly where they could find these Saturday devotions to share them with others. Well, it’s finally happened. I’m honored and humbled once again to say yes to my friends’ request. And there is still fear and trepidation – but if God has come through up to now, why should I doubt that He will come through again, to the glory of His great Name?
- Heroic, Hopeful, or Wishful Thinking? April 11, 2021. It’s easy to be optimistic in the good times, or even in the moderately bad times, but what about when the world as we know it is coming to an end?
- Just Let Me Go Home, April 4, 2021. Sometimes life can get so hard that we’re ready for our Creator to take us home. But what do we really mean by that? And what does He hear when we cry out that way?
- What Love Is, March 21, 2021. We all want to experience love, but do we really know what it is? And if we don’t know what it is, how can we give it – or receive it?
- We Are Coming, But Are We Staying? March 14, 2021. The Parable of the Sower seems easy enough to understand until we actually have to live it out. Oddly enough, most people probably have no idea they are living out that parable on a daily basis – not only in their individual lives, but in their families, congregations, ministries, and communities.
- Praying For Babylon, March 7, 2021. It’s easy to pray for those in authority when they are good to us, but how do we pray for those we don’t like, or who do us harm? Or is there an obligation to pray for them at all?
- So Many Chickens, February 21, 2021. Choosing life rather than death sounds simple enough. Who would have a problem making such an obvious choice? But is it really that simple when the choice we make concerns the intrinsic value of another human being – especially when that person is someone whose value may be questionable in our eyes?
- Only Following Orders?, February 14, 2021. It is said that evil triumphs when good men do nothing. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that evil triumphs when good people get so caught up in the business of life that they stop pursuing righteousness. So if they are not pursuing righteousness, what are they pursuing? And what slips by while they’re not looking?
- The Trial of Not Knowing, February 7, 2021. The hardest part of any trial may not be the trial itself, but waiting for it to begin.
- Justice On The Right Terms, January 24, 2021. We all want to see right prevail. Or do we? Maybe what we really want is to see right prevail as we define it.
- Defiance, Or Definition?, January 17, 2021. Where do we draw the line between obedience and defiance to authority? Maybe that is not the right question. Maybe it’s more a matter of who – and whose – we understand ourselves to be.
- Our Shenandoah Moment, January 10, 2021. No matter how diligently we try to avoid controversy and hard choices, eventually they overtake us. It is another paradox of life that even refusing to choose one way or another often means to have made a choice, and in so doing to endure even greater harm. This is not new. Our ancestors going back to the beginning have dealt with hard decisions. What can their choices teach us?
- An Eternal Catch-22, January 3, 2021. Life is one grand paradox. To enjoy life to its fullest, we have to live within the boundaries our Creator established, even if those boundaries displease us. Going beyond those boundaries to grasp more of life brings very disagreeable consequences, but what happens when we stay within those boundaries even when they are constricting, unpleasant, and painful?
- He Ain’t Heavy, December 27, 2020. How fractured is humanity? The Scripture record says we have been fighting one another from the very beginning. Will we ever get over that and be at peace with one another? Yes, that is our Creator’s promise. However, He also gives us responsibility to work toward that promise. Oh yes, we do need His help to get there, but if we don’t put forth the effort, how will we even begin the journey?
- By Many Or By Few, December 20, 2020. Most people just want to live in peace, but there are always a few who want to take that peace from them. Why do the majority let them do it? Maybe because they don’t think there is a need to do anything about the evil in their midst until circumstances get so bad that they have to do something about it. Apparently this is a common thread of our shared humanity. So how do we change it – or should we even try?
- Our Part of the Story, December 13, 2020. We live in the present, but we are linked inextricably with those who have come before – just as those who come after are linked with us. What do we remember of our fathers and mothers of old? Do we want our sons and daughters to remember us in the same way?
- A Question of Lineage, December 6, 2020. There is merit to living in the moment. After all, we don’t want to miss out on what is right in front of us. However, if we do not understand how we came to that moment, then we might miss something even more important.
- Courage, Or Obedience? November 29, 2020. Courage is always desirable, but it can be dangerous if recklessly pursued. If our God exhorts us to be strong and of good courage, then maybe we should learn how to cultivate the kind of courage He would find admirable.
- What Happens When Good People Sleep, November 22, 2020. Everyone wants to be a good citizen and a good neighbor, or at least that’s what we should want. But is that enough? Perhaps there is more to living out our Kingdom calling than simply trying to avoid evil.
- Citizen Soldiers of Heaven, November 15, 2020. Our Messiah won a decisive victory at the cross, but He did not call us to lay down our arms. In fact, He said He had come to bring a sword to the earth, not peace. How can this be? This is another paradox, but the answer becomes clear when we understand the type of warfare He call and equips us to wage.
- The Nuts and Bolts of Victory, November 8, 2020. The enemy of our souls is relentless, and his attacks seem never to cease. It’s a weary struggle. How do we win? Or, more appropriately, how do we avoid losing?
- When I’m 84, November 1, 2020. Somewhere in our journey of life, we will encounter others who are growing old. How should we treat them? This is important seeing that eventually others will be asking the same question about us.
- The Insidious Nature of Evil, October 25, 2020. It may be accurate to say that no one in their right mind would commend evil and condemn good. But then, the testimony of human history demonstrates that this happens far more often than we may be comfortable admitting – especially when those calling evil good and good evil also profess to be the people of God.
- A Born Again Creation, October 17, 2020. Transcending our present imperfect reality is a universal longing. The Bible tells us about that transcendence in the context of new birth and resurrection. It is the work of God, but do the people of God have some work to do as well?
- When Is The Kingdom?, October 11, 2020. Everyone wants to see the Kingdom of Heaven come right now, in our day, but is that desire consistent with how God wants His people to live day by day?
- Giving Peace a Chance, October 4, 2020. Is genuine peace truly possible anywhere on earth before Messiah Son of David establishes His kingdom in Zion? Is every announcement of peace merely a deception? Could it be that God intends for His people to be agents of peace even when it seems impossible?
- The Love of Just a Little Bit More, September 26, 2020. Is the love of money really the root of all evil? And if so, where do we get that love – and what do we do about it?
- A House for All the World’s Prayers, September 19, 2020. Our Heavenly Father holds out the promise of redemption to every person. Do we really believe that? Or in our hearts do we consider some more worthy of redemption than others?
- The Price of Revelation, September 12, 2020. Do people share their most intimate thoughts and plans with anyone who asks? No; we prefer to share such things only with close companions who have proven themselves worthy of our trust. Why, then, should we expect our Creator to do differently? Perhaps, instead of asking God what will happen in the future, we should ask Him how we can be worthy of His confidence.
- Aligning With The Right Spirit, September 5, 2020.Everyone goes through seasons of weakness and despair. The question is not how to avoid them, but how to get through them and move on to what our Creator has designed us to do. After all, it’s not just our own destiny at stake, but the destinies of others around us – and sometimes of entire nations.
- Happy Mules, August 29, 2020. God has been revealing Himself for thousands of years. You might think we would all be on the same page by now, with the same understanding and interpretation of scripture. That’s not what we see. There are thousands of unique expressions of faith in the Almighty from the Christian and Jewish sides of the family. Is there some clue in nature that might help us understand why?
- Justice the Right Way, August 22, 2020. It’s not enough to seek justice, and it’s not enough to seek righteousness. We have to seek both, and do so in a spirit of compassion and mercy. But is that just a government thing, or is it something we can do in our daily lives?
- Make Friends in the Way, August 15, 2020. What’s more important: reaching a destination, or getting along with others on the journey?
- Victory in Time, August 09, 2020. Doing what we are trained to do is good. Doing it at the right time is even better – but how do we know?
- Wrestling with a Gospel of Exclusion, August 2, 2020. After a century and a half, Marxists are still very effective at captivating the minds and hearts of millions. Could God’s people learn something from them?
- Brains and Hearts to Choose Life, July 26, 2020. God gives us a choice between life and death. Seems simple, but is it really?
- Pursuing Just Justice, July 19, 2020. God’s people are supposed to seek justice, but if it is sought in the wrong way, is it still justice? And if so, what do we do about that?
- Defiling the Covenant, July 12, 2020. Should we worry about idols to other gods? Or should we be more concerned about the idols in our hearts that keep us divided from our brothers and sisters in our Creator’s covenant?
- Who Are the Poor? July 5, 2020. Why are there so many poor people among us? Who exactly are the poor? Is this a question of wealth, or of faith and obedience?
- Erasing Who We Are, June 28, 2020. What are God’s people to do with the uncomfortable parts of our past?
- The Price of Exclusion, June 21, 2020. Are the people of God the ones preventing the fulfillment of Messiah Yeshua’s high priestly prayer?
- Malice, Charity, and the People of God, June 14, 2020. When God’s people cry out for justice and vindication, they usually see themselves as the victims, but what if they are also the oppressors?
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