Archives For Penn State

We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

“My eyes are on the brokenhearted.”

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34.18)

One day I couldn’t find the remote control, so I looked under the couch cushion. There it was. But something else was there, a crushed grape. Gross, how long had it been there?

Its glossy green no longer ripe, it was now a faded brown. Its plump roundness no longer full, it now lay flat. The grape had been forgotten. What good was it now? It had been crushed.

In Psalm 34.18, the word save means to “remove someone from oppression.” God finds the ones who have lost their color and their shape. The ones who have been forgotten. He finds the ones who are barely recognizable. The ones who don’t seem like much good.

And He delivers them from their oppression. And they become a pleasant fruit, not crushed, but saved. And they bear fruit themselves. Because He saved them.

Pray for the brokenhearted to be saved by God from their oppression.

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We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

“Worship Me alone.”

You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20.3)

In the Bible, 40 is an important number.

God flooded the earth for 40 days and nights. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. The city of Nineveh had 40 days to repent. Jesus prayed and fasted for 40 days before his ministry began. The Holy Spirit came to earth 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection.

Often, the number 40 signaled a new season. For example, a do-over for humanity. Arrival in the Promised Land. Living in obedience to God. The launch of redemption for mankind. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

40 signified the passing of the old and stepping into the new.

Would you agree that Lion Country needs a new season, urgently? Would you agree with 40 days of prayer for PSU?

Another 40: Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days before God gave him the Ten Commandments. It was 40 days of seeking God before God handed down the Ten. One of them was, “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Oh God forgive us. Oh God hear our cry. We are a rebellious people. We have taken up other gods. We need a new season.

Pray for a new season of worshipping God in Lion Country.

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We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

“Worship Me alone.”

You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20.3)

Theologian John Calvin said our hearts are perpetual idol factories. They turn out idols in mass quantities, sometimes making new ones, sometimes updating old ones. It’s the business we know.

That’s because we were made to worship God. But made to worship God, we make idols instead. We settle for easy substitutes.

We worship heroes on the field and the stage. We worship our knowledge and ingenuity. We worship entertainment and consumer goods.

We worship at the stadium or on the road, in the classroom or in our office, at the TV or at the store. When one idol passes, another takes its place.

We cheer in the crowd, but won’t cheer at church. We pay for tickets, but won’t feed the poor. We wait in line, but won’t wait on God. We’re good at our idol-making business.

But God is supposed to be the lone object of worship. He’s supposed to fill our hearts, receive our undignified dance, cause us to sing. He’s supposed to be the talk of town.

Pray that idols are torn down and God arises in our hearts, Penn State, and State College.

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We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

“Turn your sex lives over to me>”

But among you there must not be a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (Ephesians 5.3)

At the center of Penn State’s crisis is alleged sexual immorality. Among some of Penn State’s students is brazen sexual immorality. But before we pray about the sexual sins of others, we must first pray about our own sexual sins. For God says, not even a hint.

Not even a hint of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity is okay for the Church. That’s because He’s a holy God, and we’re His bride, and we’re supposed to be a perfect complement. How can a holy God be married to a harlot? God says not even a hint.

This reorders our way of thinking, our way of doing things. Because not even a hint, not even a smudge, not even a drop is proper for the bride. A speck is way too much.

You’ll see what I mean when you stand in the presence of the Holy God, and the best you can do is drop to your face and cover your eyes from being blinded by the light.

No, you’re not the one accused of sexual monstrosity. No, you’re not bragging about sexual promiscuity.

But you did look at a woman lustfully today. You did sneak a peak at pornography. You laughed at a sexual joke. You went too far with your boyfriend. Your blouse was too low, your shirt too tight. You watched that racy show, you lowered your standards.

So now you can’t say, “I’m not like them.” Because God says not even a hint for his holy people.

Pray forgiveness of your sexual sins and a fresh pursuit of purity.

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We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

“Turn your sex lives over to me.”

But among you there must not be a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (Ephesians 5.3)

After I wrote yesterday’s email, I heard from my friend Roy. Roy and his wife Evelyn are pastors in the Philippines. A new church they established was broken into.

The trespassers didn’t take anything, but they did leave something behind. They left human excrement in the offering basket.

Roy has a pretty good idea who it was—a local group of witchcraft practitioners. Roy led one of their key members to Christ, and he stopped participating in their rituals. In fact, they used to meet at the key member’s house.

Now the group is without their key member and a place to meet, so they’re angry. Thus the crap in the church.

Let me ask you—isn’t this the same as sexual immorality among God’s people? Whether it’s just a hint or a smelly heap, isn’t it still crap in the Church?

But none of this surprises God. That’s why He sent a Savior. That’s why He sent a Sanctifier. So they would make us holy. The question is, will we let them?

Pray for the Church of State College to receive the cleansing work of God so she can be pleasing to God and effective in ministry.

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We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

“Look at the plank in your own eye.”

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7.3)

To call the charges that have ripped apart people’s lives “a speck of sawdust” is grossly belittling them. They’re larger, more insidious than a speck of sawdust. I get that. But that’s not the point.

The point is, we’re better at focusing on the faults of others than on our own faults. We’ll gladly shine the spotlight on others’ sins while we unplug the light at our turn. We’ll change the subject, oh look, someone’s at the door, when we’re in question. We’ll pass the potato before we answer.

It’s not that we’re unaware of our sin. Jesus said there’s a plank in your eye. How many of us can ignore a plank?

If a loose eye lash falls into our eye, we’ll quickly swab it out. If a splash of shampoo runs into our eye, we’ll set up an industrial eye wash station and flood it out. So do we really not notice the plank?

Come on, we know it’s there. We just hope no one sees it. And to make sure no one does, we keep the light on other people: look at what he did; listen to what she said; do you see how far they’ve fallen?

And if things go our way, then people keep messing up, and we don’t have to answer for our plank.

But who are we fooling?

Pray for honesty in acknowledging our own sinfulness.

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We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

“Look at the plank in your own eye.”

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7.3)

When I sat down to write this email, I prayed that God would show me what was going on in the lives of the pray-ers. Immediately I saw a picture of someone hovering over a box. He was hiding the box by shielding it with his body.
I asked God who he was hiding it from, and God said, “From Me. He’s hiding it from Me.”

“What’s in the box?” I asked.

“His sin.”

We don’t pay attention to the plank in our own eye because we’re overwhelmed by our sin. We know its power, and we doubt the blood of Jesus is strong enough to overcome it. That would be hoping too much.

Because we’ve been around the cycle before, up and down like a dirty sock in the laundry. Just when we smelled the freshness of clean, we spiraled down again into the dirt.

So why hope again? Why try again? Why believe we can do better?

It’s easier to ignore the plank than work on our sin. But here’s the thing. The oil of transformation is the blood of Jesus. It only takes a drop of Jesus’ blood to begin the work.

It required all of Jesus’ blood to redeem us. But it only takes a drop of his blood applied to the present sin to break its power.

That’s the problem with hiding. If we cover our sin, the blood can’t get to it.

Pray for the blood of Jesus to transform us as we bring our sin before God.

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We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

“My eyes are on the brokenhearted.”

How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called children of God. (1 John 3.1)

I’d like to be a child once more and play without fear.
Run into the thicket and dance upon the cedars.
I’d like to dive into the depths and fight dragons ‘till sunset.
But tell me child, from where comes such courage?

Alas, such courage is dead, withered and replaced by fear.
And the child is gone, grown up by so many grown-up things.
LORD, help the child.

What happens in a child when no one protects him? When the hero becomes the villain? When there is no happily ever after (at least for now)? Does something die inside of him, does he wither?

What does he think of God and His love? Powerless, absent, cruel?

Or does he find refuge in God and His love? Powerful, present, kind?

Only God’s love can restore what was taken. And beyond before, deliver a life of wonderful dreams and divine destiny. Father, lavish your love and help the child.

Pray for victims of abuse to see the ways God is lavishing His love upon them and for the courage to receive it.

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We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

“My eyes are on the brokenhearted.”

How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called children of God. (1 John 3.1)

God is faithful.

God is faithful in the storm and faithful in the sun. He’s faithful in the rain and faithful in the rest.

In the moment of abuse, in the time of triumph, God is faithful.

I don’t know why we hold God responsible for people acting poorly, for evil unleashed. But when people fail us, God is often the first we blame. We wonder where He was, why He didn’t save us, or our loved one, or the innocent. Why did God let it happen?

We can’t change history, so we change what we can—our concept of God. God is not faithful. He’s not faithful in the storm, not in the rain, not in the moment of terror. Because it happened, worst of all fears.

But a son needs his father, a child needs His God. Because people act poorly and evil is there. Because God is faithful whether we believe it or not.

Pray for victims of abuse to recognize God’s steady faithfulness and draw near to their safe and secure Heavenly Father, who loves them without end and is far better than any evil they’ve faced.

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We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

“Worship Me alone.”

No one can serve two masters. (Matthew 6.24)

The effects of sexual abuse can be catastrophic on a person. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), the effects can be:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (anxiety, stress, fear)
Substance Abuse
Deliberate Self-Harm
Depression
Sleep Disorders
Eating Disorders
Personality Disorders
Self-Hate
Suicide

Yes, catastrophic.

We are mastered by that which controls us. Fear is a nasty master. So are self-hate, depression, compulsions. So nasty they can drive the victim to suicide.

He dives into the hole that is boring into his soul. Needing relief, not finding it. Needing something else, not himself. Done with himself even though it wasn’t his fault. And so it goes: mastered by the nightmare.

But Jesus said no one can serve two masters. It’s either Jesus as Master or it’s another master. As Master, Jesus can silence the others. It’ll take time and work and process, but Jesus is the only Master that heals.

Pray that abuse victims make Jesus their Master and that he silences and heals the catastrophic effects, each and every one.

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