Encouragement and Prayer:  Hold On To Righteousness! (07/19/21)

Encouragement and Prayer: Hold On To Righteousness! (07/19/21)

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This is the daily devotion from the book, “Holding On and Letting Go” and the companion audio from the July 19, 2021 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

Here is day eleven with an important reminder to hold on to the righteousness you have in Christ and allow it to define your actions.

Hold On To Righteousness

“I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.”
(Job 27:6)

Have you ever had someone ask you to do something that you knew wasn’t right?  How did you respond?  Does your response differ based on how doing so would benefit you?  Why?  How important is righteousness to you?  Why?  How important is righteousness to God?  How will holding on to righteousness in the midst of your chaos give you hope as you look toward the future?

Disaster and chaos can bring out the best in people and it can bring out the worst.  There will always be those who try to take advantage of the hurting and there will often be temptations to take “shortcuts” to recovery.  God’s desire is that we would hold on to righteousness for His Name’s sake.  How we deal with the disasters we face, and how we deal with people during those disasters, will say much to a watching world about the God we claim to serve.  When we hold on to righteousness, we do everything above board and we treat all people openly and fairly.  When I think of disaster and chaos in the Bible there are many examples, but perhaps none as extreme as the story of Job.  Even while lacking the “backstory” that we have regarding the source of the disasters he faced, Job knew that holding on to the righteousness of God was his only hope for the future.  When we hold on to a righteousness that is ours through Jesus Christ, we find that our current disaster doesn’t have to define us or define how we treat others.  It is in the righteousness of Christ that we have hope that extends beyond any chaos that we are experiencing today.

As you pray, ask God to help you to always see and do the things which are right.  Pray that your mind would not be clouded by the fog of chaos as you make decisions each day.  Pray that you would not only know the right things to do, but that you would do them.  Pray that the eternal reward of holding on to righteousness would fill you with hope today.

In prayer,
Tom

Encouragement and Prayer:  Let Go Of Guilt! (07/16/21)

Encouragement and Prayer: Let Go Of Guilt! (07/16/21)

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This is the daily devotion from the book, “Holding On and Letting Go” and the companion audio from the July 16, 2021 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

Here is day ten with an important reminder to not let the enemy take you on a guilt trip for things which are beyond your control.

Let Go Of Guilt

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
(Hebrews 10:22)

How often do you think about the cause of your current chaos?  Why?  Do you feel you need someone to blame when things go wrong?  What happens when the disaster you face isn’t really caused by a person?  How often do you look back in an attempt to see if you could have done anything differently to avoid or lessen the chaos you are in?  How will letting go of guilt in the midst of your chaos give you greater freedom to see beyond the immediate?

Second-guessing is a game that has no winners.  All of us can look back and see things we could have, and even should have, done differently.  Even if we are at fault in some way, holding on to guilt is a dangerous thing that does no good for anyone.  One of my favorite verses says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  When we choose God’s forgiveness, we can let go of the guilt that the enemy wants to haunt us with.  Sometimes the guilt we hold on to isn’t even reasonable, but when there is no one else to blame, we blame our self.  Letting go of guilt doesn’t mean that we ignore anything we may have done, but rather it means we deal with it and move on.  It often feels like the enemy does everything he can to fill us with shame so that we hold on to our guilt.  If there is anything to be ashamed of, we must take care of it appropriately and then fully release it to God.  When we let go of guilt we find that we not only live with greater peace, but we are also better equipped to handle whatever the day brings.

As you pray, ask God to help you identify any guilty feelings that you may have.  Pray that you would see clearly what was your responsibility and what wasn’t so that anything that may need taken care of can be dealt with.  Pray that you would know the sweet peace that comes from God’s grace as you let go of guilt.

In prayer,
Tom

Encouragement and Prayer:  Hold On To Courage! (07/15/21)

Encouragement and Prayer: Hold On To Courage! (07/15/21)

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This is the daily devotion from the book, “Holding On and Letting Go” and the companion audio from the July 15, 2021 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

Here is day nine with an important reminder to keep on keeping on as you hold on to courage.  

Hold On To Courage

“But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”
Hebrews 3:6 (NIV)

What is the greatest difficulty that you have overcome in the past?  What gave you the courage to keep going when things seemed out of control?  How much courage will it take to overcome your current situation?  How can an awareness of God’s faithfulness help you hold on to the courage you need now?

When fear tells us to quit, courage drives us to keep going.  Very few times in life are the obstacles we must face more obvious than in the midst of disaster.  Often times the difference between succumbing to disaster and overcoming it comes down to having the courage to keep on going, and keep on trusting God, no matter what.  For most of us, we don’t think a lot about courage, or fear, until something happens that puts our courage to the test.  In those times when we find many reasons to fear, we are left with a choice — give in to doubt or hold on to courage.  When surrounded by chaos, courage is what allows us to keep moving forward even in the face of our fears.  It can be difficult to look ahead when the present situation seems so dark and overwhelming, but courage will help us see beyond the darkness and into the light that is God’s presence.  As you consider your future, it is important that you keep your gaze lifted beyond the current chaos even as you deal with it on a daily basis.  Knowing that you belong to an eternal family should give you a greater perspective in how to face each day’s struggles with courage.  With Jesus as our example and strength, we hold on to courage in the midst of chaos and find that our fears no longer have control.

As you pray, ask God to help you understand the things in your current situation that cause you to be filled with fear.  Pray that you would live with courage from God that helps you to face each day’s fears and keep going.  Pray that you would draw courage from being a part of God’s eternal family.

In prayer,
Tom

Encouragement and Prayer:  Let Go Of Selfishness! (07/14/21)

Encouragement and Prayer: Let Go Of Selfishness! (07/14/21)

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This is the daily devotion from the book, “Holding On and Letting Go” and the companion audio from the July 14, 2021 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

Here is day eight and an important reminder to live a life of generosity as you let go of selfishness.  

Let Go Of  Selfishness

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

How easy is it for you to share?  Does that answer change based on how much of something you feel you have?  Why?  When help arrives in the midst of chaos, would you rather see someone else helped first or yourself?  Why?  If you find something being offered for free, do you take as much as you can or only what you need?  How can looking out for the interests of others help you have hope when in the midst of chaos?

When you lose much, it can be natural to cling to whatever you can manage to obtain.  Selfishness is one of those traits that is often easier to see in others than to see in ourselves.  Many times when a group experiences a disaster together, a camaraderie is developed that makes people open to sharing anything and everything that can be salvaged.  Other times, however, loss can lead us to selfishly cling to things we don’t even have a use for just because we don’t want to let go.  Overcoming chaos means we let go of selfishness and learn that others have needs to be met as well.  Every line has a beginning and an end and while we would probably all prefer to be at the beginning, that is simply not possible.  Letting go of selfishness doesn’t mean we no longer care, but rather now we care about everyone being taken care of and not just our self.  Especially in disaster when relief supplies are often limited, it is important that we let go of selfishness as we gain a shared concern for everyone who is also suffering.  When we don’t know if additional help is coming, it can be very tempting to take all we can whether we need it right now or not.  Letting go of selfishness helps us have hope in the midst of our chaos as we find joy in sharing with others.

As you pray, ask God to help you see any ways of selfishness that may exist in you.  Pray that you would continue to share freely, even in chaotic situations, as you learn to let go of all traces of selfishness.

In prayer,
Tom

Encouragement and Prayer:  Hold On To Instruction! (07/13/21)

Encouragement and Prayer: Hold On To Instruction! (07/13/21)

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This is the daily devotion from the book, “Holding On and Letting Go” and the companion audio from the July 13, 2021 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

Here is day seven and an important reminder to ask God for the wisdom to know and follow good instruction.

Hold On To Instruction

“Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”
Proverbs 4:13 (NIV)

Are you teachable?  How do you know?  What is the difference between being told what to do and being given instruction?  Which do you prefer?  Why?  How difficult is it for you to follow instructions that you don’t like?  Do you do it anyway?  What are some instructions, from God and from others, that you need to hold on to right now that would give you hope in the midst of your chaos?

You’ve probably heard the phrase countless times — “When all else fails, read the instructions.”  Well, when disaster strikes we would do well to consider that all else has failed and it is time to hold on to instruction.  This instruction will take many forms.  The most important in the long-term will be to continue to hold on to instruction from God’s Word.  Yet, even as we do that, there will be instruction that people will offer that can lead us through the chaos and toward a road of recovery.  Caution must be used when we hold on to instruction as not everyone giving instruction will always be doing so with pure and helpful motives.  Nonetheless, through time spent with God, we must seek out wise instruction and hold on to it even as we put it into practice.  You see, practice really is the key to making good use of instruction.  Whether it is the instruction of God’s Word or the instruction from someone who has experienced a disaster similar to what you are going through, it does little good to simply accumulate instruction if we’re not willing to use it.  When you hold on to godly instruction, you will find He sets you on a path of hope in the midst of your chaos.

As you pray, ask God for wisdom to discern between instruction which is good and that which is not.  Pray that you would be active in holding on to instruction as you put it into practice.  Pray for courage to share the instructions you are holding on to when it will help others.

In prayer,
Tom

Encouragement and Prayer:  Let Go Of Worry! (07/12/21)

Encouragement and Prayer: Let Go Of Worry! (07/12/21)

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This is the daily devotion from the book, “Holding On and Letting Go” and the companion audio from the July 12, 2021 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

Here is day six and an important reminder to pay attention to what you can do today and let go of your worry about the things you can do nothing about.

Let Go Of Worry

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

What worries you the most about your current situation?  How would you rate your current level of worry?  Why?  Does your worry focus on what has happened, what might happen, or on what you can do today?  What is the difference?  How will letting go of worry help you to have hope in the midst of your situation of chaos?

Worry carried to an extreme can result in a paralysis that makes it impossible to see and move beyond your current circumstances.  When surrounded by the unknown of chaos, worry can easily take root in the heart of even the most carefree person.  When disaster forces us to let go of many things we would have rather kept, worrying about what we have left or how we will ever recover seems almost natural and even helpful in some way.  Yet when we give worry a foothold it isn’t long before it takes over and keeps us from seeing the daily steps of recovery that are in front of us.  Worrying about yesterday is a form of second-guessing that does us no good as no amount of worry will let us go back and change what has already happened.  Worrying about tomorrow is just as fruitless because we can’t predict the future, let alone control it.  Today’s worry might have limited usefulness, but only if it motivates us to take the action steps necessary to bring about the change we need.  But even today’s worry must be let go of as we trust God to bring hope into our current situation of chaos.

As you pray, ask God to give you a peace that dispels harmful worry as you trust in Him.  Pray that your concern for today would drive you to a responsiveness to God rather than to a mindset of worry.  Pray that you would know the great hope that God wants to give you as you let go of worry.

In prayer,
Tom

Encouragement and Prayer:  Hold On To What’s Good! (07/09/21)

Encouragement and Prayer: Hold On To What’s Good! (07/09/21)

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This is the daily devotion from the book, “Holding On and Letting Go” and the companion audio from the July 9, 2021 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

Here is day five and an important reminder to look for what is good in life and hold on to it.

Hold On To What Is Good

“Test everything. Hold on to the good.”
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV)

What do you see right now that is good in your life?  In the fog of chaos, how hard do you have to look in order to find something good?  Why?  How does finding the good that God wants you to cling to help you endure your current situation?  What good do you need to hold on to today in order to have hope for tomorrow?

Holding on to what is good can be extremely difficult when the chaos you are in creates such a darkness that seeing any good is nearly impossible.  Yet often times, it is in those very dark hours that even a small glimmer of goodness shines most brightly.  I’m not talking about some sort of Pollyanna “it’s all good” kind of mentality, but rather a trust in a God who is good.  While there may be moments and days when it doesn’t feel like it, God is good and loves His children with an unchanging love.  While it’s not necessarily true that “every cloud has a silver lining”, we know that good often has to be looked for in order to be found.  As you walk through the fog of disaster, take the time to look for good.  Look for it in the surroundings you face every day.  Look for it in the people that gather to help.  Look for it in those who God will bring alongside you to provide hope.  Look for it in yourself.  And most importantly, look for it in God.  When your world looks darkest, don’t let the darkness hide all the good that remains.  When you look for and hold on to the good that God desires for you, He will grow within you a hope in the midst of your current chaos.

As you pray, ask God to help you see beyond the difficulty to find the good that remains.  Pray that you would hold on to the good that you find in life and in people.  Pray for the courage to be the good that others can hold on to in their need.  Pray that you would find hope as you hold on to God’s goodness revealed in a variety of ways.

In prayer,
Tom

Encouragement and Prayer:  Let Go Of Anger! (07/08/21)

Encouragement and Prayer: Let Go Of Anger! (07/08/21)

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This is the daily devotion from the book, “Holding On and Letting Go” and the companion audio from the July 8, 2021 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

Here is day four and an important reminder to check your anger and deal with it in a godly way.

Let Go Of Anger

“‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” 
(Ephesians 4:26-27)

Does the current chaos you are experiencing make you angry?  Should it?  How does anger influence the way you respond to both people and your situation?  Does anger typically cause a good or bad response?  Explain.  How will letting go of anger free you to see your situation more clearly?

Anger is a natural emotion and reaction, especially when faced with unexpected and unreasonable loss.  The problem with anger in the midst of chaos is that it tends to cloud the vision of both our mind and our eyes.  When the Bible says, “in your anger do not sin”, I believe the instruction is to acknowledge our anger and deal with it so that we can let it go before it infects our actions.  While there may be things, circumstances, and even people that you feel you have a right to be angry with, feeding the anger will only make it grow to the point that it adds to the problem.  Letting go of the anger allows us to address the chaos, and even address the cause of the chaos, from a healthy position of resolution rather than hatred.  When we learn to be angry at the right things, we find that we can allow God to use our anger as an internal motivation for us to make changes we need to make.  It is then that we are able to let go of that anger so that we can begin to see hope in the midst of our chaos.  Unresolved and/or unaddressed anger destroys hope and it is in the addressing and resolving of our anger that we find we can let the anger go and allow hope to grow.

As you pray, ask God to help you understand why you feel angry, and specifically who or what you feel angry toward.  Pray that you would not simply attempt to hide the anger, but address it in ways that allow you to let go of it.  Pray that you would know the hope that comes through letting go of anger after it has been dealt with.

In prayer,
Tom