Radio Static (Prayer Devotional for the week of August 3, 2014)

There is a stretch of about 4-5 blocks along my morning commute where the radio turns to static. I don’t know what causes the interference, but invariably, I’ll be driving along and suddenly lose my music in the same spot every day. I usually just turn off the radio, but one morning I left it on because I knew that the static wouldn’t last very long. It was interesting how I could still make out the song behind the garbled airwaves. It was difficult to understand and rather annoying, but I could still hear it.

Isn’t that how our spiritual lives are, sometimes? We go through patches that feel like static – nothing seems to be getting through during our prayer time, and the background noise feels overwhelming. And yet, if we concentrate, we can still listen amid the chaos.

One of my kids is dealing with a lot of static right now; in fact, he’s been handed more chaos in his young life than many adults I know could cope with. Sometimes the static makes it difficult to make good choices, and he feels overwhelmed. We sat together one evening and talked about prayer as a way to help him make better decisions, a way to cut through the distractions and temptations. We talked about James 4:7, which says that when you take a stand against Satan, he runs away like a coward. We also talked about Philippians 2:9-10 that tells us the name of Jesus is so powerful that every creature in heaven and earth must bow to his authority.

Guess what, friends? Satan is a big loser, The End. I’ve read the last chapter, and I know that Christ conquers! But what do sore losers do? They try to drag others down with them, don’t they? Satan wants us to feel overwhelmed by life’s static. He wants us to get distracted from our faith-walk and lose sight of God in the midst of the chaos.

Yet, through our faith in Christ, we have the mightiest weapon of all in our arsenal: the name of Jesus. When you don’t know what else to say, where else to turn, where to even begin, call out to Jesus. Say his name aloud, in bold defiance of the enemy that seeks to devour you (1 Peter 5:8). Cry out to him in the quietness of your heart (Psalm 34:17-18). Then listen for his voice through the static.

Proof of citizenship (Prayer Devotional for the week of July 6, 2014)

I let time get away from me (again) and just realized that I forgot to schedule this week’s devotional posts! Here ya go …


Do you know which documents are acceptable as proof of citizenship in the U.S.? Birth certificate, passport or naturalization certificate are the commonly accepted items. Other government-issued forms of photo identification, such as driver’s license, military ID, etc., are useful to demonstrate that you are who you say you are, but they do not validate your citizenship.

We may have photo IDs to prove where we go to school or work, certificates to show that we’re married, framed diplomas to display our college degrees and notarized papers to explain legal matters … but none of those documents prove our citizenship.

In his letter to the Philippians (chapter 3), the apostle Paul gave a litany of his qualifications as a religious leader in order to drive home the point that none of it matters – not the accolades, not the bragging rights, not the pedigree. He went so far as to call his credentials “garbage” (verse 8) compared to the joy of knowing Christ. Paul, formerly known as Saul, was an unabashed weirdo; in fact, he embraced his peculiar testimony so that God would receive the utmost glory.

The thought of Paul’s former life as an “enemy of the cross” brought him to tears (verse 18) as he pleaded with the Philippians to focus their sights heavenward. Our worldly credentials pale in comparison to heavenly glory! Paul describes our true citizenship as being in heaven (verse 20) – will we embrace it?

Originally posted August 14, 2011