The Temptation Trap

Day 174

2 Kings 4:18‐5:27; Acts 15:1‐35; Psalm 141:1‐10; Proverb 17:23

The Temptation Trap

When you are surrounded by corrupt people on every side and when your environment is one which is hostile to the Christian life, it can be very easy to lose conviction and be drawn into sin. This is the situation out of which the psalmist struggles in Psalm 141. He has an urgent need for the sustaining power of God to keep him from falling into the sin of those around him: “O Lord, I call to you; come quickly to me” (v. 1).

The one praying asks God to sustain him in righteousness. “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord … Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers” (v .3-4). The danger of being in the midst of corruption is that we can be corrupted in thought, word and deed. The speaker of this psalm knows that his only hope to keep him from falling into sin is the sustaining power of God. We need to be constantly asking God to sustain us from sin.

The psalmist specifically asks God for a righteous person to be brought into his life and hold him accountable. “Let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – it is oil on my head…” (v. 5). The firm word of accountability is a blessing from God. This man knows that he needs someone in his life who will hold him to his vow to keep God’s standards. Pray that God will send someone into your life to hold you accountable to God’s standards.

The speaker also avoids falling into temptation by maintaining a focus on the Lord. “But my eyes are fixed on you” (v.8). Only by keeping our thoughts and meditations on the Lord and His Word can corruption be avoided. The times when we lose that focus are the times when we will drift into sin.

Prayer: God, you alone can sustain me from sin and corruption. I am weak. Put someone in my life to hold me accountable. Be a powerful presence in my life so that I can stay focused on you.

The Rev. Charlie Holt
The Church of St. John the Divine
Houston, TX

Rise Up, O Lord!

Day 173

2 Kings 3:1‐4:17; Acts 14:8‐28; Psalm 140:1‐13; Proverb 17:22

Rise Up, O Lord!

One of the main concerns of our day is oppression. There are many people, groups, and individuals, across the nation and around the world who are experiencing some form of oppression. Oppression can show itself in the work place, the public sector, the home, etc. It can be racial, gender-based, or social in motivation.

Many voices out in the world proclaim solutions to problems of oppression. The most dominant voice calls the oppressed to overthrow the oppressor. We hear the cries of radical feminists, radical civil rights groups, radical liberation movements: “Break their chains! Rise up, Oh People, in revolt!”

The people of God need not look to themselves for salvation from subjugation. They can look to the Lord to break the chains and bring about justice. The cries of the oppressed in Scripture are like those of Psalm 140: “Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; protect me from men of violence” (v.1 NIV). The people of God should pray as this psalm for the Lord to bring justice on the earth: “I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy” (v.12 NIV). Is your freedom intruded upon by others? Then seek the Lord to right the wrong.

Prayer: Rise up, O Lord, and defend the cause of your people. There are those who seek to destroy dignity and freedom. You have said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay”; then keep your word and bring an end to injustice on this earth.

The Rev. Charlie Holt
The Church of St. John the Divine
Houston, TX

A Plea for Intimacy

Day 172

2 Kings 1:1‐2:25; Acts 13:42‐14:7; Psalm 139:1‐24; Proverbs 17:19‐21

A Plea for Intimacy

When the psalmist had meditated on the absolute knowledge of God, he sent up a plea for intimacy. Prayers like this inevitably bring us into a closer and more intimate union with the holy fire of God’s love.

Prayer: “Search me, O God…”

Lord, may your Holy Spirit travel the expanse of my heart. May you search out my emotional being. Is my heart pure, O Lord? Find the hardness within my heart. Lord, I open myself up to be discovered. Find the secret attitudes and feelings of my heart. I open myself up to you to be found and discovered. Pour your Spirit into my heart. Search me, O God, and know my heart (v.23).

“Test me…”

Lord, my mind is open for your inspection. Search my thought process and thinking. Test the faith of my mind. Does my head trust you? Lord, I am full of anxious thought. My mind is filled with worry and anxiety. My mind is distracted and races far from thoughts and meditations of you. “Test me and know my anxious thoughts” (v.23 NIV).

“See if there is an offensive way in me” (v.24 NIV). 

Father, I am filled with sin. May your full knowledge perceive the imperfections of my soul. May the light of your countenance illumine the impurity of my character. Find the sin in me in my heart and mind, O Lord, for you have searched my heart and tested my thoughts. Lord, “See if there is any offensive way in me.”

Lord, I ask that you would cleanse me of all of these impurities that you have found. If you have found decay in my heart and frail emotion, pour out your Spirit and cleanse me. If you have found impure thoughts, if my thinking is without trust in you, purge me with your burning holy love. Cleanse my mind, Lord. Put to death my fleshly nature, and raise up my soul to a newness of life by the power of your Spirit.

“Lead me in the way everlasting!” (v.24). Guide me on your pilgrimage, Lord.

The Rev. Charlie Holt
The Church of St. John the Divine
Houston, TX