Praying about the oppression around you from the “powers” of the world.


Sometimes the world can seem so out of control. We look at injustice or oppression and it feels  not right. We see systems and “kingdoms” doing bad and we can feel powerless and overwhelmed. Why does it seem in certain situations that evil seems to be winning? Maybe there is hope and a strategy for us in God’s word.

The other day my wife and I were talking about the books of the Bible and we observed that the book of Nahum doesn’t get a lot of press time. When was the last time that you heard a message on this prophet with a small book near the end of the Old Testament? Challenged by this conversation I set out to revisit to see what we could learn about God.

At first glance this book may seem like a terrible book to take someone to who is feeling overwhelmed by the “power” of the world. You might even expect to be more depressed than when you started. Although only three chapters you will be struck by the judgement feel that is poured out throughout.

But then you stop and remember the country or empire that would be experiencing this judgement. It was the evil power of the day. Nineveh would have been the Nazi Germany of the world that heard Nahum’s message. I was listening to a podcast and and the pastor pointed out that they would have been the bully’s of our day.

When we think of injustice or corrupt systems a bully is a good mental picture of what we are experiencing. The bully on the playground gets away with things because no one seems to stand in their way. I think of our brothers and sisters in Christ in areas where Christians are persecuted and the feeling of powerlessness against the “bully” would seem intense.

But Nahum reminds us of a couple things. First Nahum reminds us that the bully is no match for our God. At some point God’s justice will prevail. Nahum teaches us that the systems of this world don’t stand a chance.

Connected with this is the character of our God. As the podcast I was listening to on Nahum pointed out it is a lot like the children’s prayer, “God is great. God is good.” No matter what we see around us we can know that ultimately the good God will be great. Whether in this life or the next wrongs will be made right.

Which leads to one other thing. When we are frustrated with the way the world is working we can bring it to God. That is actually the best place to start. Sometimes we read the Psalms and it is almost uncomfortable to read as they express their frustration and anger with the world around them. But these types of passages are reminders that we are best to bring these things to God and then from that place we can receive instruction from Him on the specific part we are to play in the world around us.

3 Spiritual Benefits of being Physically Tired


We live in a day and age where everyone seems to feel like there, “are not enough hours in the day.” Many feel like a full night of sleep is a waste of time so they don’t. What if the reason that we can’t go without stopping is actually a good thing? What if there are actually spiritual benefits if we look for them? Here are just three that I have been thinking about:

1. It opens us to spiritual opportunities 

I was reading again the story where Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman in John 4. It is a conversation that changes her life and the life of her town. But I love the fact that it says that Jesus was sitting there because He was, “tired from the long walk.” (v. 6) Would we have been there or would we have been pushing on to our next agenda item? Certain ministry opportunities can only happen at a slower pace.

2. It helps you enter into “rest”

I have seen this picture of a t-shirt that says, “Jesus took naps. Be like Jesus. Mark 4:38” Often when I am helping lead a prayer and fasting retreat for pastors I need to remind them of, “the spirituality of a nap.” When we become physically tired we are reminded of the fact that rest is part of the rhythm that God created. We want to push through that in our society but we do that to our own peril. When we forget rest we also miss a great space to enjoy God. One of the benefits of the Israelites going into exile was that the land got to rest. (2 Chronicles 36:21) We can use our physical tiredness to remind us that we were designed to enjoy rest.

3. Reminds us of our humanity 

Part of the challenge of our day is that the world never stops. With the 24 hour news cycle there is always some “crisis” happening somewhere. In our ever moving world we can forget our own humanity. Physical tiredness reminds us of that humanity. And our humanness is something we would be wise not to forget. Nathan Foster, in his great book The Making of An Ordinary Saint, says “grace understands our humanness.” We would do well to understand that too. In a world where it is easy to try and live up to all our friends social media feeds physical tiredness can remind us that we (and they) are simply one person trying to walk out our lives with Jesus.

So maybe today you are feeling tired and need to look at it differently. Slow down and look for the opportunities around you as you slow your pace. Maybe you can let your tiredness remind you that you need to schedule that next vacation. Or maybe you simply need to rest in the fact that you are a human being not a human doing and enjoy God today.