Saturday, September 01, 2007

Desolate sanctuary

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Daniel 10, 11, 12; Psalm 119:49-72

Daniel 9:17-19 (NIV)

[Daniel prayed]: “Now, our God, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay because your city and your people bear your Name.”

Good morning!

Daniel’s prayers are powerful. He had such a strong relationship with the Lord, it is no wonder Daniel could understand and interpret dreams and see the visions of God. How I long to apply the lessons learned from the life example of this special man of God.

There is no doubt that Daniel knew God hears and answers his every prayer. Where does that kind of confidence come from? Do you ever wonder whether the Lord is hearing you? Many people become discouraged in prayer because they do not see the answer immediately. Some prayers take a lifetime to answer, and there are many prayers that may not be resolved in our lifetime. For instance, look at how long the faithful have prayed for Christ’s second coming. He is coming again, as Scripture promises - there is no doubt of it. The time seems near, and yet, God’s timing is not our timing. His perfect plan will be revealed when He chooses. And for those of us who are anxiously waiting to see Him again, sometimes we wonder, “Why not now?” Generations have pondered the same thing. Some people have even tried to pinpoint the day and hour of Christ’s return. Jesus himself said that no one would know the day or hour of His coming. He instructed the believers to be ready, to keep their lamps lit, and to pray, watch and wait. This is just one example of a prayer that has not yet been fulfilled.

I have asked God the question, “Why me, Lord?” Have you ever asked God why something has happened in your life? Maybe you’ve suffered some sort of abuse as a child. Someone you loved and trusted left you after promising they would stay with you forever. Maybe you’ve lost a parent or child or grandchild to death and the grief has been so overwhelming, you couldn’t help but ask God why He would allow this. Illnesses, injuries, and unplanned, sudden tragedies leave us asking God, “Why me?” Sometimes God reveals His answer to us immediately, and sometimes His answer takes years to discover. We can become stubborn and hard of hearing when God reveals His answer to us and it is not what we really want to hear. Have you ever ignored the voice of the Lord when His answer was not the one you expected to hear? I asked a big “why me” question that continued for almost forty-one years. Bad things happen to good people, and sometimes bad things happen to innocent little children. I wondered and waited, stewed and steamed about something that hurt me deeply when I was a kid. It wasn’t until our grandson Jett came to live with us for a short time in 2004 that I finally began to understand “why me.” We have a very special bond. Jett and I understand each other and that makes our relationship unique. Had I not had personal life experience to draw from, I would have not had the sensitivity and camaraderie with this precious one of God. I imagine Jett and I will always be close knit, simply because of one shared experience forty-one years apart in time. God answered my why question when He gave me this precious little boy to love.

Daniel never beat around the bush when it came to confessing sin. He made it the centerpiece of every conversation. Daniel put himself in the place of his people. He asked God to look with favor upon His desolate sanctuary. There are times when I feel like a desolate sanctuary, empty and dark, filled with shame and wondering if this pain will ever end. When we daily confess our sin, it’s like sloughing off the dry skin that blocks our pores from breathing every time we bathe. It is a spiritual cleansing, opening ourselves up to the healing power and grace of God. Think about confessing your sin every time you shower. It is a visual for what you are ridding yourself of spiritually – the dirt and grime that keeps you from feeling clean and redeemed. Like a child begging for a handout from the bank of Mom and Dad, sometimes we get in such a hurry to ask God for the things we want that we forget to ask Him for the most important thing of all – His forgiveness. We must come before the Lord in perfect humility, knowing He is the only One who has the power to redeem us for everlasting life.

Take a closer look at the prayers of Daniel today. If you are feeling like a desolate sanctuary, step into the shower of God’s grace and love. Confess your sin, and ask Him for the forgiveness you so desperately need. He hears and answers every prayer you pray. Sometimes the answer is immediate. Many prayers take years before we see the end result. We may never know some of the answers to our prayers in this life. Trust God in all things, no matter what your circumstance, knowing He knows your heart, hears your cries for help, and answers your every prayer.

It is time to come clean and offer the Lord your whole heart. Won’t you join me in prayer today?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: a cleansing shower of grace and mercy from above. Like Daniel, we can confess our sin and ask for redemption, knowing God hears and answers our every prayer. God takes the desolate sanctuary in each of us and revives it for Kingdom work. Are you willing to allow Him to clean up your life, once and for all?


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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