Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1 Pet. 2:13-17
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior. 1 Tim. 2:1-3
Dear heavenly Father, these Scriptures convict me—they expose my unbelief, my lack of prayer and my bad attitude. I stand convicted of how little I’ve prayed for our past presidents and how very little I pray with faith for our sitting president. Forgive me, and by the power of the gospel, give me a better attitude.
I confess, I’ve been more of a cynic than your servant with respect to supporting our government. I haven’t been living with the confidence that you set up and sit down kings, presidents, premiers, and governors at your bidding. At times, I’ve been more irritated by the Oval Office than comforted by the occupied throne of heaven.
In many …
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and pleas before his God. Dan. 6:10-11
Heavenly Father, I’m so drawn to the heart which beat in Daniel’s breast—a heart filled with faith, not fear. He was much more committed to your eternal glory than to his personal survival—much more take up with the occupied throne of heaven than with an escape plan out of Babylon.
Daniel had just learned of a decree that anybody praying to any other god or man but King Darius would become lions’ lunch. So what did he do? The same thing he’d been doing for decades in Babylon. The windows were open, his knees were bent, his gaze was set, and even before he asked you for help, he offered you thanks. He was neither paranoid nor presumptuous, but most definitely at peace.
What freedom, what beauty, what intimacy with you this aging son and servant of yours enjoyed. But why am I surprised? Haven’t you promised, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. …
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Rev. 7:9-10
Dear heavenly Father, on this “national day of prayer,” it’s easy to think of several things to bring before your throne of grace, with joy and gratitude. First of all, I praise you for heavenly citizenship. Thank you for making me a citizen of the only unshakable kingdom—the kingdom of God. Though this standing in grace came freely to me, it cost you the life of your beloved Son, Jesus. Thanks be to God for this “indescribable gift.”
Already reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords, we eagerly await Jesus’ return, by which all evil will be eradicated and the transformation of all things will be complete—including a renewed and whole me. I can barely imagine the day when, not only will I never be tempted to sin again, I will be unable to sin forever. That Day cannot come one day too soon!
Secondly, as broken as our country is, I’m very thankful to be an American citizen, Father. I praise you for the many freedoms we still enjoy and the multiplied privileges that go with being …
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, And he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” Dan. 4:34-35
Almighty Father, I need to “bookmark” this passage and return to it often, even daily, for it doesn’t just tell the conversion story of a pagan King; it’s the ongoing story of my distractible heart. Pundits, social-media soothsayers and side-walk prophets abound, all clamoring for our attention. But we’re never more sane than when we raise our eyes toward heaven and focus our gaze on you. Navel gazing, circumstance watching and daily news fixating never serve us well.
”At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it (Rev. 4:2). Father, help us to see and understand the glorious implications of the occupied throne of heaven, and the peace that comes from savoring your uncontested perpetual enthronement. Your dominion is the only eternal dominion. November elections and political insurrections; the world economy and temperature instability; earthquakes and oil leaks; multiplied conspiracies and grassroots rebellions… …
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 Pet. 2:13-17
King Jesus, what but the gospel can explain the change in Peter’s life, from being a reactionary antagonist to an engaged citizen? The same disciple who nervously tried to protect you by cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant (John 18:10-11), who then fearfully fled into the night and denied you three times—this same disciple calls us to fear only God and to live as model citizens in our broken world filled with broken kings, governors, and authorities. Only the truth and power of the gospel can explain his movement from fear and frenzy to faith and freedom.
Lord Jesus—you who reattached Malchus’s ear(Luke 22:51) and who could’ve dispatched “more than twelve legions of angels” to humble the political forces of the day (Matt. 26:53), give us the freedom and courage we need to be politically sane and honorable citizens. We want to “silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1 Pet. 2:15) rather than give our neighbors …
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Ps. 46:10-11
Sovereign Father, whenever I hear the command, “Be still,” I have to remind myself that you’re not telling us to sit still, but to be still; and there’s a world and a gospel of difference between the two. Sometimes I can be sitting perfectly still but my mind and heart race all over the place, and my hands reach for something to hold onto—something to either stabilize or anesthetize me in a world I cannot control.
I can will my way into a seat, but nothing but the gospel can bring my racing thoughts into captivity; nothing but grace can center my wondering and wandering heart; nothing but your love can fill my hands or heart with an anchor of real peace and hope.
When I am still, I remember that you are God and nothing and no one else is. That’s the best news of this or any day. You have no competition—counterfeits, but no competition. There are demigods, semi-gods, wannabe gods, but only you are God.
Kings and nations aren’t god; for one day you will be exalted among all the nations. The nations are like tiny droplets in your big bucket (Isa. 40:15). You laugh real loud when the nations gather against you, to conspire your overthrow and replacement (Psalm 2). Storms and environmental …
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3
Gracious and sovereign Father, this one small passage is like a Trojan Horse of glory, reminding us we’re not ruled by our silly whims, but your perfect will. Indeed providence, not happenstance, controls all of history; not tyrant kings, but your enthroned Son; not mere possibilities, but your inviolate promises. There’s never been one anxious moment in heaven or a need for a plan B. O, the freedom and joy this brings us. Hallelujah, many times over!
We begin our day reflecting on the central storyline which unfolds in your Word, connecting all of history and revealing your generous heart. To do so is not merely a great delight but a critical discipline, Father, for many other narratives compete for our hearts, days, energy and resources.
We praise you for making these all-encompassing promises to a non-suspecting pagan, Abram—promises you alone can keep. Indeed, from beginning to end, your story is a story of sovereign grace and covenant splendor.
Father, thank you for the promise of the land. It began in the Garden of …
At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” Daniel 4:34-35
Almighty Father, I need to “bookmark” this passage and return to it often, for it doesn’t just tell the conversion story of a pagan King, it’s the ongoing story of my heart. We’re never more sane than when we raise our eyes towards heaven and focus our attention on you. Navel gazing, circumstance watching and daily-news fixating never serve us well.
Father, help us to understand the glorious implications of your perpetual enthronement. Your dominion as the only eternal dominion. November elections and political insurrections; the world economy and temperature instability; earthquakes and oil leaks; multiplied conspiracies and conservative tea parties don’t affect your reign one micro-bit for one nanosecond.
For your kingdom endures from generation to generation. There never has been, nor will there ever be any nervous sweat, furrowed brows or anxious pacing in heaven; not one moment of consternation or vexation in the corridors of paradise; no need for a plan B to emerge from the Big Boardroom.
Father, you …
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Dear Jesus, as this day begins, many of us are facing big decisions. We need the wisdom, guidance and peace you alone can give. It’s a joy to come before your throne of grace confident of your audience, grateful for your advocacy, and resting in your authority.
Indeed, Jesus, you’re an engaged Shepherd not an absentee landlord. Even as we make plans in our hearts, you are actively ordering our steps (Proverbs 16:9). O, the freedom and peace this brings. You are the Lord who “opens doors no one can shut” (Revelation 3:8). And the converse is just as true; you also shut doors no one can open. Our future isn’t tied to making the right decisions but with trusting the right Lord.
Because of your great love for us in the gospel, we’re learning to trust you with all the stuff in our hearts—with our longings, fears, hurts and dreams. To acknowledge you in all of our ways isn’t to make you Lord, but to recognize and to rest in your Lordship. We can no more make you Lord of something than we can make water wet or chocolate good. You are who you are, Jesus, Hallelujah! So in surrender to the occupied throne of heaven, we anticipate straight paths as we move ahead into these difficult decisions.