Archives for the month of: July, 2010

Introductory Remarks Regarding the Crisis

“It is my conviction that churches and Christians throughout America are obligated to intercede about the situation. Without God’s miraculous intervention, this crisis has the potential to escalate even more and our way of life could be greatly altered for the next hundred years. With that in mind, I offer the following prayer as a pattern for you and others with whom you might share it.”

– Jim Croft, Derek Prince Ministries

Prayer for Intercession

Father God, we humbly come before You asking for mercy. Your gracious intervention is the only solution for the sea life, inland wildlife estuaries and citizens residing in the Gulf regions of the USA and beyond.

As we come to You in prayer and intercession, we begin by reminding You of Your nature and Your ways. Lord, You are the greatest of environmentalists. You take note of the deaths of seemingly insignificant sparrows (Matt. 10:29). It was You, O God, who wanted to withhold judgment against wicked Nineveh in the days of Jonah, the prophet. You expressed concern not only for Nineveh’s 120,000 inhabitants, but for its livestock as well (Jonah 4:11).

Lord, it was You who commanded the people of ancient Israel to leave the edges of their fields uncultivated in order to provide safe cover and foraging areas for birds and animals. Similarly, you commanded Israel not to make second gleanings of their crops so that food might be available for the poor (Ex. 23:11; Lev. 19:9, 23; Deut. 22:6).

Lord, You have said of Yourself that You do not change. We beseech You now to demonstrate your unchangeable character. O God, have mercy and intervene. Exhibit Your love for the creatures and plant life of the sea by stopping the oil leak. Please protect our shores and inland marshes from further damage. Lord, have mercy on the masses of our citizens who are dependent on the waters and shores of the Gulf for their livelihoods. Please keep them from slipping into the grip of poverty.

Lord God, please prevent the oil spillage from progressing by way of the Gulf Stream around Florida and then north to affect the waters and shores of the Atlantic Coast.

Father, we know that terrible storms have been predicted for this season, storms which could intensify the perils of the oil spill in the Gulf. Father God, You inspired Your Son to still storms. You have not changed, and Jesus is ever the same. Please nullify the effects of those storms and divert any hurricanes so that they do not make landfall in any inhabited locales.

Lord, You are the God of creativity; and You inspire the same in men. Let Your revelations about how to stop the leak, how to purify the waters, and how to cleanse the inland estuaries come to those whom You inspire.

O Lord, You are the loving God who miraculously purifies bitter and poisoned waters on behalf of mankind and animals. You did it for Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness at Marah (Ex. 15:23-26). You did it for Elisha and the inhabitants of Jericho (2 Kings 2:19-22). You directed Moses to cast in a branch of a tree to heal the waters. And You directed Elisha to throw salt into the spring at Jericho. Those instances were under the Old Covenant, and we have a better Covenant, established on better promises (Heb. 8:6).

Through the atoning death of Jesus on a wooden cross, You brought us into Your covenant of grace. Our responses to others are to be seasoned with the salt of graciousness (Col. 4:6). Let it be so with Your response to our intercessions.

Lord, nothing is too difficult for You. Changing water into blood and back again into water was one of Your first signs to the Egyptians that You are the God of all. You empowered Your Son, Jesus, to transform water into wine to satisfy the needs of a family wedding. The livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of families and the lives of innumerable millions of water creatures, animals and plants are at stake in this matter of polluted waters that need to be purified.

O God, we beseech You to intervene with Your mercy. Please transform the waters of the Gulf into a purified state for the glory of Your name. Do it by giving nautical engineers and scientists clever insights. Do it through a miraculous intervention, so that all will know that the solution to this crisis came from You.

But please do it, Lord. And we will give You all honor and praise for doing so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

i have a wonderful mentor who taught a few courses that i took–steve garber.  i love seeing his name on articles and podcasts–i always love what he has to say.  for the most part, he says the same thing in a million different ways.  the purpose of youth and the season of education is to develop a coherent faith that will last throughout life.  when i first heard this, i thought it sounded nice and like a very worthy goal, especially for an educator.  he talks about the joys and sorrows and how living honestly means grappling with these realities, holding them in tension and still relating to God.

recently, i had a stranger ask me about my biggest goal in life.  i couldn’t answer the question on the spot, so i’ve let it roll around in my head the last few days.  i realize that it really is to live a coherent life.  there are so many ups and downs, so many unknowns, so much that enters life stage left unannounced.  the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches are so quick to choke out our faith.  there’s the obvious stuff, but then there’s also monotony.  steve calls it the valley of the daipers–when life is filled with little kids and working day after day and one foot in front of the other.  right now i have so much excitement, so much learning, and growing and travel and new experiences but one day i will settle into a rhythm and not deviate for years.  my question is: will my faith sustain me through the drama of life and the lack of it?  will i be able to praise God when he gives, when he takes and when he’s silent?

tonight i went out with some friends i haven’t seen in a while.  it’s been four years since we really did life together, 3 since we were in close contact.  i’ve seen them in the last year or two, but we got to really reconnect tonight.  i got to hear their stories, really look them in the eyes–it’s so much different than a phone call.  and, after meeting with them all, i’m a little sad.  life caught up with us.  we’re not wide-eyed recent college grads intent on finding shiny new ideas to try on for size.  we’re all adults who are working in careers and buying houses and married and  looking to have kids!   i’m proud of them.  they’ve grown up, but there’s a lot of cynicism that’s creeped in with the sense of settledness.  there’s less spring in their steps.  it’s sad.  i didn’t feel very open tonight so i kept deflecting questions, turning it back to them, but i feel the same way.  there’s less hopeful expectation for the future and more filling in the blanks with the next thing.

i can see this pattern continuing throughout life and it makes me sad.  we’ve all got to grow up.  we work for nonprofits til they lay us off, then we get a job working for a corporate institution.  we learn that our health is not a given and struggle with the loss of innocence that comes with that reality.  we realize that maybe love and sex and commitment aren’t all the same thing and grieve that, looking for ways to move forward in relationships anyway.  we realize that marriage isn’t a magical escape into ultimate fulfillment.

the time with my friends was good and i’m really glad that we could cover so much ground and go deep in just a few hours.  i don’t think i wish i could turn the clock back.  i was just surprised that while i was gone and changing, everyone else was, too.  i don’t know how optimism and faith are tied together.  i want my faith to work in this chapter of my life and the next one and the one after that.  any tips are welcome.  i think it’s time to have coffee with steve again.

this morning i rolled my suitcase to my new local metro, through the airport and onto a tiny regional jet to come home to the farm.  i glanced out the window between taking in swaths of color in Real Simple and beautiful prose in Image journal.  as we left dc, i saw the potomac lined with buildings, mansions, georgetown, then we flew over maryland with its huge clumps of trees and winding developments.  a while later, i glanced down to see more trees and mountains.  then, when i tired of my poetry, i looked out again to see the Midwest.  it rolled out ahead of me in neat squares, carefully drawn boxes of square-mile gray roads, filled in by plots of green and gold, punctuated with red barns and patches of trees.  the rectangles reminded me of mondrian and i laughed as we passed over familiar sights.  the two-lane highway with its large clover leaves and on-ramps marked two formative churches: one with a blue roof, the other sprawling with megachurch grandeur across parkinglots.  we passed a water treatment facility, something with a lot of antennae–noticeable because of the negative space around them, just like anything else.  i felt glad to be home, glad to be moving in on this area with tightly drawn boxes that is open and freer than where i live now.  glad to be back.