July 24 Four Gifts: Prayer, Plans, Presence, Power

gift-1008894_640Father, there are so many comforts in this passage of Romans today. You are so gracious to me in so many wonderful ways.

What a gift prayer is! What an immeasurably awesome gift to be able to speak to and hear from the Creator of the Universe! Sometimes I am so filled with joy and thanks and praise, I hardly know how to express the overflow of my heart.   But Your Holy Spirit communicates for me what I do not know how to say.   Other times I am so filled with grief and sorrow I cannot even mouth the words for my crying and tears. And again, Your Holy Spirit knows my heart and conveys my requests for help to You.   Thank You for knowing me so well and providing for this meaningful non-verbal interaction.

Beyond prayer and communicating with You, I can know without a doubt, that You have my very best interest in mind and in Your plans. Because I love You and am Yours, I seek to know and do what You have purposed for my life. When I am in Your will, regardless of how things look to me from my limited perspective, I can trust that You have the power and the ability and the desire to work all things together for my good. Father, help me know Your will so I can remain in it. Being obedient is how I can show I love You. There is nothing too difficult for You. And nothing limits You.

You have told me that nothing can separate me from Your love. No person, no trouble, no hardship, no persecution, no danger or sword, not famine or nakedness. “In all these things, I am more than a conqueror through You!” For “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from Your love!”

With all the experiences and emotions that I have, how comforting to know that there is no power below or above, or anywhere that will keep You away from me. You can span any distance, overcome any obstacle, move any object, overpower any influence. Your love is not dependent on me or on anything I do. I cannot mess up so badly that it would keep You away. You will always love me. It is Your character and Your promise.

Thank You for these words of comfort, for these promises I can count on. Thank You for being You. Amen

Romans 8:26-39

July 23 Help me parent

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Lord, I think of how far Rehoboam fell from the standards of his father and grandfather. It is so sad that all the faith and wisdom died with the very next generation! If David took such care to prepare the work of his son Solomon, why didn’t Solomon do the same with his son Rehoboam?

Earthly fathers are so flawed compared to You. Some earthly fathers do a wonderful job of teaching their children about You and reflecting the love and acceptance that You have for each of us. Unfortunately, some do not. Some are the source of awful pain and harsh treatment. Sometimes their hardness even blocks their children from coming to know You for a long, long time.

But thanks be to You! “Who reached down from on high and took hold of me; You drew me out of deep waters. You rescued me from my powerful enemy, from those who were too strong for me…You were my support! You brought me out into a spacious place; You rescued me because You delighted in me.” Thank You for holding out rescue and deliverance and hope for those who were not as fortunate as I in having a loving, caring father. Thank You that whatever the hurt, You can heal and protect.

Father, help me be a loving, caring, godly parent. Forgive the mistakes I’ve made. Help my children not suffer from them. And protect my children from the mistakes I’ll make in the future.   Let me look to You for wisdom in guiding and teaching them. Help me pass on a real and living faith to the next generation. Whether my own children, or others You bring into my life, help me live out my faith in a visible, tangible way that will be a light to their path and an inspiration to their lives.   “Your way is perfect. Your Word is flawless”. Help me show them that. Amen

2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19; Psalm 18:16-36

July 22 Heal our land

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O Father, Solomon knew the people so well. Even as You inhabited the Temple, and Your Glory shone all around, he knew Your people would turn away from You. He prayed for Your forgiveness and mercy, and You answered with a promise we can claim today.

“If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Father, I belong to You. I am called a Christian after Your Name ‘Christ’. So it is my responsibility to intercede, pray for my community, my country.   That also makes it my responsibility to humble myself and turn from my sin. It’s so easy to point a finger at corrupt people who take advantage of and mislead others. But You did not stipulate only the guilty looking people confess, but Your people.

Still it is easy to ask for forgiveness for ‘corporate sin’ – the sin committed by others in my nation or society as a whole.   But I cannot get away from the need to confess my personal sin too.

So Father, I humble myself before You. I have not measured up in so many ways. I do not deserve the blessings You pour out on me.   Show me where there is wickedness in my life: my words, my actions, my attitude. Forgive me when I have spoken but should have held my tongue. Forgive me when I held my tongue but should have spoken. I have allowed fear to dictate when I was willing to stand up for You. I have allowed my comfort to set the limits of my generosity when it comes to giving of my time and talents and treasure.

Lord I seek Your face to bring a spiritual awakening and revival upon my country. Renew the Biblical values this country was founded on. Let Your people once again know Your presence, Your power and Your blessing.

“I love You Lord. You are my strength. You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. I call to You, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” Amen

2 Chronicles 6:12-7:16; Psalm 18:1-3

July 21 I am chosen!

cup-1010916_640Father, what an amazing legacy David left because You chose him! He was the youngest of all his brothers. Normally that meant he would not be the leader of the family or inherit a large portion from his father. Those were the things that usually brought significance in those times.   But You chose him! Three of his older brothers went to battle with Saul. They were men’s men, while David cared for the flocks, and spent his days with smelly, stupid, sheep. But You chose him!

Because of Your choosing, he was anointed to deliver his people from the threat of the Philistines. He slayed a giant! Not as a mighty warrior, but as a boy, with a stone and a slingshot. He was humble and would not go against Saul, and was patient and waited on Your perfect timing. He even had to run and hide out time and time again, because Saul chased him down to kill him. But You protected him, because You chose him.

Now we see Solomon, David’s son, completing the work of building the Temple that David had envisioned and prepared for. The desire to build a Temple for Your Name was David’s. And he passed that vision on to his son. That Temple became the place where all the people would come and bring offerings and sacrifices, and worship You. It was the place where You literally touched earth. Your presence, Your Glory, was actually physically seen and felt as You met with men. It lasted for generations. An amazing legacy, because You chose David. And You showed Your faithfulness, fulfilling all Your promises.

Father, You have also chosen me.  You tell me I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.” Col 3:12 “I am chosen and dearly loved by Christ to bear his fruit.”   John 15:16

I am no David, but I can know that You will fulfill all Your promises to me too.   Help me look to You, not man or earthly treasures for my inheritance. Remind me to use the gifts You have given me, not idly wish that I had the gifts and talents of others. Teach me to be humble, and to wait on Your perfect timing for everything in my life.  Show me when to back down and rely on Your protection.

Father, help me pass my love of You on to my children and to others around me.   I may not be much by the world’s standards, but let me have a mighty legacy like David. Help me live my life in a way that inspires faith and devotion to You.   “I call on You, Lord, for You will answer me.”   Amen

2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11; Psalm 17:6

July 20 Direct my path

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Father, like Solomon who built a Temple to house Your glorious Name, I long to build something of substance with my life that will bring You recognition and glory. It doesn’t have to be so magnificent, or be the most expensive edifice sparkling with gold and jewels.   But it is the desire of my heart, that when I leave this earth, others who come behind me will see my faithfulness and be pointed to You.

Paul left a different kind of testament to You with the letters he wrote. His explanations, though sometimes long and arduous, explain the basis of much of my faith. He explains that before You came and died on the cross, I was a slave to sin. But because I put my faith in You, and am united with You, crucified on the cross with You; I died to sin. I am no longer its slave, because death frees one from the bondage they lived in.

So I am raised from the dead with You, a free believer – no longer a slave to sin! You set me free with Your death and resurrection! Since my life is with You, and I live it freely; if I sin, it is because I choose to, since I am no longer a slave to it. Lord, help me choose daily, to walk away from sin.

Show me how to walk with You in righteousness; how to live my life as a testimony to You.  Empower me to face the choices I have to make every day. Don’t let me just pick what is the easiest, or safest, or most popular.   Let me look at my options from Your perspective. Let me make decisions based on the long, eternal view, not just for the immediate benefit.

I trust You. “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.”   Amen

2 Chronicles 1:1-3:17; Romans 6:1-23; Psalm 16:1-11

July 19 Help me walk Your path of Righteousness


adventure-1846095_640Father,I want to be all You created me to be. In Psalm 15 You tell me the kind of person You will spend eternity with. Since I have Your righteousness, Lord, help me behave that way. Remind me to speak the truth from my heart. If I open my mouth to speak a lie or to deceive, shut it for me. Show me how to speak the truth in love, and not be hurtful to people in the name of ‘honesty’.

You have taught me my neighbor is just about anyone, so help me treat my neighbor with decency and fairness, and not try and cheat or take advantage of him.   Help me stay away from malicious gossip, and from putting others down. Give me the fortitude to turn away from those who are evil and untrustworthy, even if society embraces them or it seems it would benefit me. And let me truly love and support those who honor and respect You and Your values.

Help me be true to my word, even when it costs me. Teach me to be smart with my finances, to be generous, and not extort interest from the needy. Strengthen me so I am not tempted by bribes.

You promise me that those “who do these things will never be shaken”. Father, You give me solid ground to stand on. Help me be firm and unwavering in these things too, so I will not fall apart. So I will not be overwhelmed by forces that seek to undo me.   With Your help I can stand strong, and not be moved. Thank You. Amen

Psalm 15:1-5

July 18 Order from Chaos

Father, for the last several chapters, You have shown me how David and his commanders allotted all the jobs that needed to be done, to the Israelites. There was a job for every person and a person for every job. From the priestly duties in the Temple concerning worship, to defending the people and guarding the gates in the wall around Jerusalem. There were people who took care of all the building and supplies, all the flocks and herds, and all the king’s business.

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It reminds me that You are a God of order, not chaos. I usually start off my day with a plan of order. You know all too well how many times those plans have dissolved into chaos. My house starts out the month in order. Then life happens, and chaos takes over. Sometimes it takes an unexpected emergency like water in the basement or some planned entertaining activity to motivate the family into cleaning up again and putting things in order.

I marvel at how You know humans so well, and give us what we need. You know that I need order. You created this world I live on with painstaking care. Every planet in the solar system is ordered. The geology of the planet earth is stable enough that I don’t see mountains from my window one day and valleys the next. The seasons change, giving us variety in weather patterns, but the seasons always come in the same order. And the human body is amazingly organized, down to the pattern of neurons in our central nervous system and brain; and the arteries and veins that carry blood.

So I get the benefit and security of knowing that night always follows day; Summer always follows Spring. Thank You for knowing me so well; what I need to feel safe and secure in the world. Thank You for going to such great lengths in creating this beautiful planet; with it’s specific gravity, air pressure, radiation levels, temperature, and path through the solar system, to provide stability to sustain my life. Thank You for the constancy I see repeated in the cycles: sprouting, growth, maturity, fruitfulness, harvest, hibernation, rebirth.

When chaos increases in my life, it’s a signal I need to spend more time with You. Help me be more organized. Remind me I need to be consistent in devoting time to You. Show me how to set right priorities.   And how to stick to them.   Thank You for Your loving help. Amen

I Chronicles 23:1-27:34

July 17 Your Truth delivers me

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Dear Father, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” It seems some days are harder than others. If even one negative thought comes into my head, it can bring me down. I glumly mull it over and the thought generates an emotional response. Very easily other negative thoughts join in and pile up on each other till I am feeling discouraged

Quickly enough, discouragement heaps on even more ‘should have, would have, could haves’ until I am feeling out of control, overwhelmed and depressed and join with the psalmist in saying “Give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death”. In my own words, ‘Help me or I’ll just die.’

It is surprising how quickly simple thoughts can lead to anger, fear, frustration, until I am not only emotionally upset, but also experience a physical response which can leave me with a headache or feeling sick to my stomach. It impairs my judgment and my ability to function efficiently, whether at work or at home. I can’t even relate to people normally in my agitated condition.

“But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.”   You have already given me a wonderful solution to this problem. If only I would remember to use it!   The battle begins in my mind. And You have given me a piece of armor to protect my mind – the Helmet of Salvation.   It guards my thoughts and gives me the ability to take them captive and hold them up to Your truth. It also gives me the ability to understand and memorize Your truth so I have it at the ready when I need it.

Your truth can help me stop the flow of wrong and negative thoughts. The evil one uses these, preferring that I remain sidelined in discouragement and depression, unable to defend myself. He will use these kinds of half-truths and deceiving lies to mislead and condemn me. But when held up to the truth, they are shattered and scattered.

One way I can know if a thought comes from You, is that You convict whereas satan condemns. He would make me feel like a hopeless, dirty, rotten, sinner. You may correct me, but Your words lift me up, motivate and empower me to make the needed corrections. Your words generate hopefulness. His produce hopelessness.

Lord, remind me, to use this amazing gift! When a negative thought comes, prompt me to hold it up to Your truth immediately. Help me build into my memory an arsenal of truth from Your scriptures. When I memorize scripture I can use it to combat the lies seeking to discourage me and control my thinking. Then I can confidently deal with whatever truth You show me. “I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me!” Amen

Psalm 13:1-6

July 16 Robed in Righteousness

clothed-in-christThank You Father for giving me a righteousness I could never earn on my own. You know human tendencies and have proclaimed “There is no one righteous, not even one.” David even wrote in a song: “the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men”. When You gave the Law You knew no one could ever live up to that standard. What it did was make people aware of their sin, pointing them to their need for a Savior.

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from the Law, has been made known. The Law and the Prophets testify to it. This righteousness from God comes from faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”   The Savior that was needed is a gift from You. So thanks to You, I have the righteousness that will allow me to live and be with You forever.

David knew this righteousness, even in his sin. And he knew You would keep Your promise to him. He had dreams for his son, as I have for mine, and prayed for Solomon. I join him in asking that my sons “will be [men] of peace and rest…that You would be with them and give them success…may You give [them] discretion and understanding…[may they] be strong and courageous and not afraid or discouraged.”

Father, I thank You for Your righteousness. Apart from You I have nothing. I am nothing.   You protect me and keep me safe. No matter the circumstance, my faith and my trust are in You.   Amen

I Chronicles 22:1-13; Romans 3:9-26; Psalm 12:1-8

July 15 Lessons from David

board-LessonsDavid, who was known as a ‘man after God’s own heart’ ordered that a census be taken of the Israelites. The implication here is that he wanted to know how many fighting men he had available. It seems like a reasonable thing to do to the logical mind. But what the scripture says is that “satan incited David to take a census of Israel”.

So the question becomes: how or why did this happen? One observation is that “In that Spring, at the time when kings go off to war…David remained in Jerusalem.” So it’s possible that if he had been present with the troops, where he should have been, he would have seen first-hand how many men he had. Or it could be that his faith in Your ability to continue to give him military victories was waning and he wanted to bolster his confidence by seeing the numbers?

What he should have done when this idea came to him, was hold it up to what he knew of You. And seek Your counsel on whether or not to go ahead with it. It seems that even his commander Joab knew this was a bad thing.   His response to David was “Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”

So Father, help me to learn from this mistake David made. First, if there is a place I am supposed to be, do not let me make excuses to avoid being there. Help me take my responsibilities seriously and not be swayed by fear, or laziness, or arguments to the contrary. If I am in the center of Your will, I am less vulnerable to the suggestions and oppression of satan.

Next, bolster my faith so it doesn’t fail me. When I hear the whisperings of satan telling me to question myself or Your love and faithfulness to me, let me come against those lies with the truth of scripture. If satan tells me ‘What do you think you’re doing? You can’t do that?’. Let me respond with “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13. If he taunts me with ‘You’re not good enough/smart enough’ let me respond with Your truth that I am God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the work which He has prepared in advance for me.” Ephesians 2:10. If I hear a voice saying ‘You’ve made so many mistakes, you’re worthless’, I can boldly respond with “I am chosen of God, holy, and dearly loved.” Colossians 3:12.

If You place people in my life to speak the truth to me, like Joab did for David, do not allow me to be too stubborn or bull-headed to listen to them.

Mostly, Father, let me be consistent to always lay my plans before you, asking if it is Your will. Then listen to and be obedient to Your response to me. Regardless of how illogical it may seem, or how much sense it may make to others, I desire to follow Your voice, the voice of my Shepherd.

David and his people paid a terrible price for his disobedience. Let me learn from his mistake, and be led by You. Amen

I Chronicles 21:1-30

 

July 14 The Bible : Your Gift to me

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Father, David inquired of You through the prophet Nathan. Back then people did not have all of Your Word for wisdom and direction. And the Torah, the part of the Word they did have, was only known to the Priests. So, since You spoke through the prophets, that is where David went to know Your will.

To hear from You now, I don’t have to go to a seer or prophet. I can read Your Word. Although it is not a privilege afforded to all people, it is still available to me freely in my country. Your Word, the Bible, is rich in wisdom, instruction, correction, encouragement, and tells me of Your great love for me. Time and time again I marvel at how words written so long ago have relevance and impact in my life today. And how I can read a passage of scripture one day, but at another time, it jumps off the page to me with personal revelation and meaning.

Once David had heard from You, he sat before You in prayer. He began by recognizing who he is and then acknowledging who You are. That is still a good pattern for me to follow.

“Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” David wrote in Psalm 103, “You know how we are formed, You remember that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower in the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” My life is so temporary and short. And I am formed from dust with the breath of the Living God in me to give me life. All I am and all I have was given to me from, and is dependent on You, Lord. I am weak and imperfect and I so easily fall into sin. Who am I that You would concern Yourself with me?

“There is no one like You, O Lord, and there is no God but You.” You Lord God, on the other hand, are One of a kind. You are Supreme, Sovereign, Almighty, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Forever Faithful, Eternally Strong, Infinitely Wise, Unfathomably Creative, Immeasurably Imaginative, Inexhaustibly Compassionate, Unceasingly Merciful, and Everlastingly Loving.

I am forever grateful and eternally blessed to have You as my Father, my Savior, my Counselor, my Friend, my Lord.   Amen

I Chronicles 16:37-17:27; Psalm 103: 14-16  

July 13 Creation Speaks

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Father, I have heard many stories of how missionaries would go into a place no ‘civilized’ man had been before, and the native people already knew of You. They had a name for You. They knew Your character. And that You are the One True God who created and rules the universe.

Even if they have never seen a Bible, a preacher, or watched the “Jesus” film, they already knew of Your love and Your sacrifice for them and their sin. They understand their need of a Savior to be in restored relationship with You. When I read Romans, it became clear that this is part of Your plan. You are not dependent on modern methods to spread Your Gospel, the Good News.

When I first saw “Jesus Christ Superstar”, I resonated with the line in the song “if You’d come today You could have reached a whole nation. Israel in 4BC had no mass communication”.   Meaning that if You had waited, You could have had world wide coverage of the event and practically everyone in the world could have watched Your birth, life, death and resurrection on CNN or a televised reality show. But that wasn’t Your plan.

Paul writes such long and wordy sentences that it’s sometimes hard to follow. But I’m understanding that it is not in Your character to judge someone who is unaware of who You are. So to be just, You have given everyone this knowledge. Paul is saying that You are judging people who know You but intentionally suppress the truth of who You are.

They know this, because You have made it plainly clear to them. Ever since You created the world, You used that creation to display and clearly reveal Your eternal power and Divine Nature. That means man is without excuse! There is no reason, when seeing this world and all that’s in it, anyone could deny Your existence, Your character, or Your power.

Thank You for reaching every person with an understanding of who You are. Thank You for showing me so much of Your amazing creation. I have seen Your majesty in the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, vast oceans, wooded valleys, mighty rushing rivers, wide meadows, sand filled deserts. I have seen Your imaginative beauty in dazzlingly colorful sunrises and sunsets, fields of vibrantly colored flowers, and in the eyes and smiles of people of all colors.

I have watched Your mighty power in thunderheads building, lightening storms flashing, tornadoes whirling, waves crashing. Your spectacular creativity is displayed in the vivid and delicate colors of nature – especially in birds and bugs. Your dizzying workings are seen in the intricacies of tree roots and nervous and circulatory systems.

Thank You that You have made Yourself evident. And for the unimaginably beautiful and amazing way You have done it. Amen

Romans 1:18-20

July 12 Give me Victory!

Father, I want to be like the men You sent to be with David to make up his great army. These were men described as “armed for battle…ready for battle…brave…experienced…of undivided loyalty…armed with every type of weapon.”   I want to be ready for the battles I face. My flesh wars with me, tempting me into sin. The world around me seeks to draw me into its ungodly values. The evil one desires my destruction. Give me the discernment to know right from wrong in these confusing times and the courage to be loyal to You. Help me be prepared to stand up for what is right.

war-2362300_640You have given me weapons: Your Word, prayer, Your promise of wisdom when I ask for it, other believers around me for support. I know the power there is real. I have seen it over and over again. I have experienced Your blessings and amazing responses to prayer time and time again.

I also desire to be like the “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.”   Give me insight into the political and national issues and wisdom to understand the agendas behind the movements going on in my world today. Help me see the truth of things. Teach me to understand how to follow You and show me how to respond rightly.

Do not let me stand alone, Lord. You sent Paul “so that he might impart to you [other believers] some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”   In a similar way Lord, let me encourage and strengthen other believers around me, and let them encourage my faith.

Father, thank You for the friends and all those You have sent to walk beside me. Thank You for those who have prayed for me and for the prayers I make for them.   Your armor is the best. Your plan is sure. And I have read the end of the Book – You win!! I am so glad to be on Your team! Thank You for choosing me. Amen

I Chronicles 12:19-40; Romans 1:11-12

July 11 Make Mighty Men

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Father, I pray that my sons would be Mighty Men. Like those men You brought to surround and support David, let my sons be able and capable. Let them know what is right and not be afraid to stand up and fight for it.

I don’t mean I want them to be killers of men as David’s Mighty Men had to be, but to be of strong character. All the verses in today’s scriptures contain wisdom for those who would be open to learn. Father, let my sons have open eyes, ears and hearts to learn from You and Your Word. Show them truth in their lives, and do not let them be swayed or misled by the lies and deceit of the world or the evil one.

Like David’s Mighty Men, let them see Your hand at work in the world, and go to join You in it. Let them have the skills they need to be victorious in today’s battles. Today’s battles are not against the Philistines, but against greed, lust, envy, entitlement, spiritual strongholds, social pressures, political agendas and those who would derail them from Your purpose for their lives. Father, let them know the truth that will combat these lies and set them free.

Paul quoted the prophet Isaiah about the condition of the Israelites. Lord, let my sons be the opposite. So when they hear Your Word, let them understand it, as they see You at work, let them perceive how to work with You. Do not let their hearts become calloused, their ears deaf, or their eyes blind. But let them be open to You and understand with their hearts, and turn to You for healing.

Along with the psalmist, let them “praise You, O Lord, with all their hearts. Let them tell of Your wonders and be glad to rejoice in You. Let them sing praise to Your name. Turn their enemies back and cause them to stumble and perish.”  Uphold my sons, Lord. Teach them that You judge righteously.

As the Proverbs teach, Lord, “let their walk be blameless. Do not let them become fools with perverse lips. Do not let them be hasty and miss the way, or have zeal without knowledge. Do not let them rage against You. Help them learn from mistakes, so they will not ruin their lives with folly.” All these things will make them mighty men of the Lord. They will know You and trust in You, for You have never forsaken those who seek You.

I would desire to be all these things as well, Lord; to have these character traits, and be mighty in my faith. Let me be a good role model to my children and all those around me. Thank You, for doing more than I can even ask or imagine. Amen

I Chronicles 11:1-12:18; Acts 28: 25-27; Psalm 9:1-12; Proverbs 19:1-3

 

July 10 Time for Reconciliation

e92l8pwchd4-ben-white.jpgFather, You allowed the people of Judah and Israel to be taken captive, out of and away from the land You promised them: a land flowing with milk and honey. This was to be their resting place. This land, chosen from all the earth, would be where they could live in peace and worship You as they had promised to do. They would live out the covenant You had made with them and enjoy Your blessings all the days of their lives.

This land would produce crops enough to support the people. It would yield grass enough to support all the livestock so they would be healthy enough to reproduce with abundant milk to nurse the young. The flowering plants would provide ample pollen so the bees could make lots of honey. Thus: a land flowing with milk and honey!

But the people were unfaithful to You. They fell away from what they had promised to do, and worshipped idols like the pagan cultures around them. They gave offerings of all kinds to stone and wood figures. And even sacrificed their precious, living children as burnt offerings.

Yet, even in Your judgment of their unfaithfulness and idolatry, there was a limit. For You had promised that “if Your people, who were called by Your name, would humble themselves, and seek Your face, and turn from their wicked ways, that You would forgive their sin and heal their land.” And at the end of their set time, they did indeed seek You.   And You brought them back.

O Father, thank You for this picture of reconciliation. It mirrors what You offer me. There are consequences when I sin. But You have promised that when I humble myself and turn from my sin, and seek Your forgiveness, that You will forgive my sin. Lord, there are so many ways I fall short of Your standard. I miss the mark. There are things I do that I shouldn’t, and things I should do that I don’t. I have spoken wrong words, done wrong things, thought wrong thoughts, and had wrong attitudes.

Lord, as You bring these to my mind, I agree with You that they are sin. I confess my sin and do not try and justify or legitimize it. I turn from it and ask for Your forgiveness. Thank You that You forgive. Thank You that Your blood pays the price my sin deserves. And that You purify me from my unrighteousness.  Thank You that You are a God of second chances…and third…and fourth… And that You have the power to free me from my sin.

And beyond that, when other believers also agree with You about what is sin in their lives, You hear their payers. Father, our culture is sin sick too. Open our eyes to the unfaithfulness and sin in our lives. When we call to You, and humble ourselves and turn away from that sin, You are able to heal our land. We need You Father, heal our land! Amen

1 Chronicles 9:1; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 John 1:9

July 9 You are my Refuge

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“Lord my God, I take refuge in You; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.”

 

Father, I don’t use the word ‘refuge’ too often. But from the time I was young, I remember hearing about ‘refugees’ escaping other countries because the circumstances they lived in were so bad they had to flee to even survive. Some came on boats with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They had no food, no other clothing, no source of help. But they believed if they could only reach America, there would be hope and the possibility of a new, safe, good life.

So a ‘refuge’ is the place they go. It is the place where there is safety, protection, relief, shelter, help, provision.  It allows security from the pursuit of danger or trouble. So as these people fled the threats of their government and political and physical danger to find refuge in America, so I can come to You to find relief from the onslaught of attacks against me.

The flesh, the world and the evil one are all influences that war against Your wisdom, Your plan and Your purpose for my life. So I ask You to come to my aid. Defend me against all that seeks to destroy me, my godly relationships, my adoration and worship of You, my ministry in Your name, and my freedom to read and study Your Word. The evil one seeks to keep me fearful, discouraged, frustrated, and make my faith in You waver because of difficult circumstances. He desires my financial ruin, the destruction of my marriage, the smearing of my reputation, and personal moral failure. The enemy is always crouching at my door, waiting to devour me.

So I ask Father, for You to arise! “Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies… O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart…You will not back down from the fight, but will sharpen Your sword; and will bend and string Your bow. You have prepared deadly weapons; and have made ready Your flaming arrows.”

And “I will give thanks to You because of Your righteousness and will sing praise to Your name: The Lord Most High.” Thank You for being my refuge; for delivering me from the hand of the evil one who comes to harm, kill, and destroy. You are more powerful than anything he can bring against me. You are more powerful than all the world can throw at me, or even that my flesh can tempt me with. I trust in You. You are my refuge. Amen

Psalm 7:1-17

July 8 You are our Hope

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Be merciful to me, Lord…O Lord, heal me.” Father, there have been times when not only my body, but my soul have been sick with grief, with fear, with frustration. There are times when I do not understand why such bad things happen to good, seemingly innocent people and children.

Or why tragedies come: floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires. Such devastation is hard to watch as the suffering and loss is personalized by the news reporting teams. And that doesn’t even include man’s inhumanity to man as I hear about shootings and bombings and the violent plans of bloodthirsty men.

As hard as all this is to take in, there are the invisible tragedies as well. These are the spiritual disasters that occur when people are deceived and led away from You into lives of confusion and sin. As I see hate and mistrust grow in my family, community and nation I wonder where it will end. How bad can it get O Lord, before You come and deliver?

I see children rebelling, pulling away from the godly way their parents have raised them. When will they come to their senses Lord? I see young people swayed into immoral lifestyles by the social tolerances of the day. What one generation has allowed in moderation, the next has taken to excess. Greed runs rampant. Self is exalted. Consequences are non-existent. But the spiritual cost is beyond measure.

While it all looks fun on the outside, many of these people are tortured in their personal life. They are trapped in a web of self-doubt and pain, discontented with life. The more they seek to satisfy ‘self’ the more dissatisfied and confused they are. The further away they get from Your truth, the more lost they are, and unable to even recognize truth.

“How long, O Lord, how long? Turn and deliver; save because of Your unfailing love.” Your love and deliverance are the only hope.   For my family, my community, my nation. Father, turn the hearts of sons back to fathers. “Open the eyes of those who have been drawn away from You, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to You, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in You.”

“Father, hear my cry for mercy. Accept my prayer.” I long for and wait for the time when all Your enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; and will turn back in sudden disgrace.” And You will be remembered and worshipped as the One True God. In my family, In my nation. In the world. I need, we need Your mercy Father. And Your healing. Thank You that You hear my cry, and answer. Amen

Acts 26:18; Psalm 6:1-10

July 7 Hear my morning prayer

sunrise-1513802_640Father, like You granted Jabez’s request, would You also “bless me and enlarge my territory. Let Your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.“

Like You acted in Paul’s life, would You orchestrate my circumstances to allow for opportunities to bring You glory, and would You fill my mouth with the words to say as I give testimony to Your greatness.   Although Paul’s situation of being in prison did not change, You allowed a greater and greater audience for Your truth to be spoken.   There are situations in my life that I would prefer be changed so I don’t have to deal with the hardships they bring and the worry they cause. But I am willing to accept whatever conditions You allow, knowing that You are with me, and will defend me, and will use them to Your glory.

Thank You Lord, that this “morning You heard my voice. As I laid my requests before You,” I know You were listening and are able to act in even the most complicated of circumstances. I was able to get up and go on with my day, knowing and trusting that You are in control as I “wait in expectation”.

“Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness…make straight my way before me. I take refuge in You, so let me be glad; let me ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over me, and all who who love Your name and rejoice in You…Surround me with Your favor as with a shield.”

If my husband or sons or I have offended each another, let us be soft-hearted towards one another. Rather than being like fortified cities, where entry is barred, let them open their gates to each other and welcome each other in brotherly love. Bless them Lord, and surround them also, with Your favor. Amen

1 Chronicles 4:9-10; Acts 25:1-27; Psalm 5:1-12; Proverbs 18:19

July 6 I am a sheep

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

CindySheepThis reminds me of the 23rd Psalm. The sheep are made to “lie down in green pastures”.   And although I would much rather be thought of as an eagle or lion, I am very much like a sheep. I’ve recently learned that sheep need four things to be able to lie down and sleep. They need freedom from fear, anxiousness, hunger, and pests.

A sheep’s main fear is from predators. Because they don’t have speed or cunning or defensive claws, talons or fangs; they rely on their shepherd for protection from predators. Anything can spook them. It is the watchfulness and skill of their shepherd that allows them to feel safe enough to put fear out of their minds.   And it is the same with me. I know there is no enemy, real or imagined, that is too big, no foe more powerful than You, my Shepherd. You are my shield, my fortress, my deliverer. There is no enemy that is a match for Your power. You can see an enemy coming from any direction, any time, because You are everywhere, all the time.   So I am safe and can rest when I am in Your presence.

Anxiousness in the flock comes from the rivalry and competition for status and position. Like a ‘pecking order’ with chickens, sheep have a ‘butting order’. It’s hard to eat or sleep in peace when being rammed or butted out of the way is a possibility.   When the shepherd appears, the flock’s attention is shifted; the butting stops, and rivalries are forgotten.   Similarly, there is tension in many of my relationships. In some, there is jealousy, in some, rivalry, hurt feelings, or a sense of being ‘done wrong’ or not appreciated. But in Your presence Father, none of that matters. Those things fade. I’m humbled. I’m relaxed and content. When I put my focus on You, my Shepherd, I am in a place of peace.

When sheep are hungry, they will stay on their feet and continue to wander around for one more mouthful. Until they are satisfied, they will not lie down. Besides physical hunger, if I am emotionally or spiritually unsatisfied, I cannot rest. It is only You, Father, who can meet all my needs. Rather than continue to chew on the same old issues and sins, You have shown me a ‘promised land’ where I can live in Your victory and have all I need. There, is peace and safety.

Sheep can be tormented and driven to distraction by all kinds of flies and ticks. Without the care of a good shepherd who applies repellants, dips and balms, a flock will be unable to eat or sleep at all. They can literally be ‘bugged’ to death. When things ‘bug’ me, I too need to come to You, my Shepherd. Lying down to go to sleep, all the worries of the day return to replay in my mind.  There have been nights I hardly slept, anxious about my circumstances and what I would do. But when I give them over to You, Lord, You give me a new perspective. I see things differently. You show me ways to deal with things, solutions I couldn’t have imagined.  Or tell me to stand aside and You will handle it for me.   Or help me forget about it and move on. You give me peace, so I can sleep.

Thank You for being my Good Shepherd. Remind me to take advantage of the peace and safety You offer me. Remind me to spend time in Your presence. There I find freedom from all fears, anxiousness, hunger and pests. When my sleep is sweet, it is a gift from You. And You alone, O Lord. Amen

Psalm 4:8

July 5 My Defender

How amazing You are, Father. You knew what Paul was headed for and You told him to “Take courage” just when he needed it. You also worked out that a relative learned about the plot against Paul’s life. And predisposed the Commander of the barracks to be willing to listen to a boy. Because he took the boy’s story seriously, it preserved Paul’s life and gave him the opportunity for a greater testimony.

There is no doubt that You involve Yourself with life circumstances here on earth. And intercede to bring about Your purposes. Thank You that I am assured that You not only know what will come next in my life, but will prepare me for it, encourage me through it, and cause things to work together for me. I can trust this to happen, because I can trust You.

roman shield“O Lord, no matter how many are against me, You are a shield around me.” You protect me from their attack. You repel the arrows fired at me. You stop the fiery darts flung at me. You deflect the blows directed at me. I can stand behind You, as I would stand behind a battle shield and be safe. Not something that looks like a flimsy garbage can lid, but a battle shield: reaching from my head to my feet. And wide enough to cover me so that when I stand next to another, our shields meet and form a wall. This shield is thick enough and covered with materials that will prevent penetration by darts or arrows. And it is shiny to reflect the sun and blind the enemy so I am a hard target to find.

“When I cry out to You, You answer me!” You speak to me through Your Word and in prayer. You have ways to reach me I haven’t even imagined. “And when I lie down, and sleep, I wake again because You watch over me. You sustain me.” When I cannot defend myself, You are there, protecting me.

So “I will not fear – even when I see my enemy drawn up against me…You will arise! You will deliver me!” Thank You Father for Your immeasurable love for me, for Your unfathomable power which You use to strike down my enemies. All praise to You! Amen

Acts 23:11-35; Psalm 3:1-8

July 4 We depend on You

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O Father, Your people didn’t think that judgment would come. But You sent Pharaoh Neco from Egypt in the west to take Judah’s king in chains and tax and oppress the people. Then Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon in the east came twice to burn Jerusalem and strip the land of the last of its treasures and people. Your people went into exile, taken from their land, to be prisoners in a foreign place.

It was just as You had promised. Your people ignored Your covenant and the prophets You sent and followed their leaders into disobedience and idolatry. And paid the price for their choices.

Father, You give me a choice today. You show me how to live by Your Word. You teach me right from wrong. Your values and morality are clear. But my society lives by a different standard. And most of the people believe You will not judge. Although You have the greatest love, You also hate sin. And You have said there will come a time for judgment.

I believe that time is nearing. Father, help my nation hear Your warnings and turn back to You. Help me in my own life, make choices that are according to Your Word. Help me not simply make the easiest choices, or the most popular ones; but give me understanding to know how to make the right choices. Let me live my life for an audience of One: You.

Help me recognize my own sin and turn from it. Strengthen me to do what is right even when it is hard. Let others see that I love You. And that I live my life accordingly.

“Let the kings be wise; and the rulers of the earth be warned. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. And all who take refuge in the Lord will be blessed.” Amen

2 Kings 23:31-25:30; Psalm 2:1-12

July 3 Your Word nourishes me

Father, at age twenty-four, King Josiah read Your Words for the first time. They affected him so profoundly that he wept and tore his robes. He gave orders to the priests and others to bring the country’s worship practices in line with what You commanded. He rid the nation of all other idolatry and led his people in worshiping the One True God.

O Lord, I pray that Your Word would still have that effect on people. Let it be true in my life, that when I read Your Word, it’s meaning is clear to me, and I immediately obey what it says. If I misunderstand, let me hear Your voice correcting me. If I forget to obey, remind me.   And if I don’t want to obey, change my attitude.

tree streamAs in the Psalm, make me like a tree planted by streams of water. This is a tree that will always have the moisture it needs for its roots to go down deep into the soil and feed from the rich nutrients in the earth to make it strong. Such a tree will not wither or loose its leaves, but will remain healthy and strong the whole year. Let me grow in this manner so my faith will yield abundant and good fruit when the time is right: fruit that will glorify and bring honor to You. Make me strong in my faith, able to withstand the heat, the cold, the wind and storms. Bless my actions and my service to You with abundance.

Father, let me know Your Word intimately so it is my strength and my guide. Let me speak boldly of my relationship with You to encourage others. And let these things create in me the fruit in me, like the tree, that brings about a bountiful harvest that honors You and nourishes others. Amen

2 Kings 22:3-23:30; Psalm 1:1-6

July 2 Teach me to number my days

hourglass-1623517_640Father, You sent word through Isaiah that Hezekiah would die.   I have often wondered: if I could know when I will die, would I want to? It’s an interesting question. This kind of curiosity started in the Garden of Eden. When the serpent held out the possibility of being ‘like God’, having Your knowledge and wisdom, Eve bit!

But beyond the simple curiosity factor, how would I react if I knew when the end would come?

Even though I know intellectually, that everyone dies, including me, it’s not something I think about from day to day.   I tend to put it out of my mind and live as if I have years or even decades ahead of me. But, if, for instance, I received information that I have a medical condition that comes with an expiration date, it would be a sobering realization.

If I were given such information, would I set about reworking my priorities?   Would I ‘put my house in order’ as Hezekiah was told to do? Would I cry out to You for more time? It would definitely disrupt my thinking, my activities, my attitudes, and the way I relate to people. I would be more motivated to orchestrate my remaining time…

Father, help me live my life now, as if every day were a precious gift from You, not to be wasted or squandered. Show me how to arrange my priorities, recognizing what is really important. Do not let me waste time in foolish pursuits or on meaningless tasks. Show me the godly relationships You want me to cultivate, and how to let go of and separate myself from the ungodly ones.

I want to be thankful for every single day You give me. So I will praise You every day. Father, I worship You for who You are: Your character that never changes, Your faithfulness, Your gentleness, Your love towards me, Your righteousness and Your omnipotence. I thank You for all You have done: created this amazing universe, established a way of salvation, given me Your Word for instruction and encouragement.   I appreciate Your hand of protection and provision in my life, as I have food, shelter, clothing, family, friends, and freedom.

And when I think about the end of my time here on earth, I have no fear of what comes after. Because I know You, I am not anxious about my future. I know I will spend eternity with You, and I can’t wait! Amen

2 Kings 20:1; Psalm 150:1-6; Psalm 90:12

July 1 A good king – a great prayer!

Finally Father, a good king! Hezekiah was a good king (few and far between) of the southern kingdom of Judah. He removed the high places that other kings had allowed to be used for pagan worship and smashed all the sacred stones and Asherah poles.

During one of Assyria’s attacks, Hezekiah prayed to You because the Assyrian king mocked and ridiculed You, claiming You could not save Your people. And You answered and delivered them.  I echo those powerful words.

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“Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.  You have made heaven and earth.  Give ear, Oh Lord, and hear; open Your eyes Oh Lord, and see, listen to the words [of the world and the evil one], sent to insult the living God. “

“It is true, Oh Lord, that (the evil one) has attacked and laid waste (to many, winning victories over their lives).  Now, Oh Lord, our God, deliver (me and my loved ones) from the hand of the enemy “- from any plot or plan to derail me, or us from the purpose and plan You have for our lives  – from any lies or deception the world or the evil one would use to oppress us – from any harm the enemy would seek to do in our lives, whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, financial, political or spiritual – “so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You, alone, Oh Lord, are God. “

My loved ones and I may not have to do battle on horseback with spears, but our enemies are real.  Powers and forces come against our family, our godly values, our emotions, our finances, our life circumstances; all trying to defeat us and make us lose our faith in You.

Your response to Hezekiah was positive and powerful. I desire the same victory You gave Him, Father:   “The enemy will not enter (my life or the lives of my loved ones) or launch an attack (against us).  The enemy will not come against us with shield or build a siege ramp against us (to gain a foothold in our lives or cause devastation within our walls).  By the way that the enemy came (to oppress us,) he will leave and will not enter.  You will defend us and save us, for Your own sake. “    

You were true to Your Word to Hezekiah, and I know You will be faithful to me. Father, thank You that there is nothing too big and nothing too small for me to ask of You.   You have the power, the authority and the desire to act. Thank You that You can do immeasurably more than I can ask, or even imagine, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones – so that You will get all the glory!  Amen

2 Kings 18:13-19:37

June 30 Faithful living

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Paul’s last words to the leaders of the church at Ephesus set quite an example for believers to follow. I also pray that I will be able to say to my friends: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came to you… I served the Lord with great humility and with tears…I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you…to turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”

Lord, help me to be consistent in my actions and live out my service to You in a way that will show my friends what I believe and what I stand for. Help me be humble in my manner, not seeking personal recognition or displaying a prideful attitude. Let me use my words and my behavior to teach others how to love You and serve You.   Help me be an encouragement to their faith.

At the end of my life I want to be able to say, that I have “finished the race and completed the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” So Father show me what is next. Show me how to join You in Your work in a way that will deepen our relationship, and bring You glory.  Open my eyes and ears and heart to You so I don’t miss out! Amen

Acts 20:1-38

June 29 Standing Firm

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O Father, how Your heart must ache when Your people choose to turn away from You! You have given me all I need for an abundant life, yet the society I live in, and the one the Israelites lived in, pull people away from You to continually seek after other things.

When the kings over Your people were bad, they worshipped idols in the open, even sacrificing living children by fire.   They fought battles according to their own strength, or bought allies with the treasures from Your Temple. When the kings were not evil, and led the people back to worship You, they still did not remove the high places and Asherah poles, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

The values and attitudes of their society had become so evil, that this behavior was accepted by even the good kings. But it was not acceptable by You. And eventually You sent armies from the east to conquer and capture Your people, taking them into exile.   This was as You had promised. You outlined their options for blessing and cursing, and they made their choice.

Lord, how often in my life do I allow the ungodly values of my society to sway me, divert me from what You have told me is true? Often what is evil is accepted as good. And even the good leaders abide by it as if it were ok. Do we think as a society that there will be no accounting? That’s what the Israelites thought. Didn’t work out so well for them. And I fear it won’t work out in these times either.

When Your Word spread in Ephesus, people who practiced sorcery burned their scrolls, and idol worshippers stopped buying the silver idols. As the economic impact increased, so did the opposition! Society today would also prefer that believers keep their faith to themselves. When it begins to impact political issues or economic factors, there is friction.

Father, as You have called me to live in the world, You have also separated me, set me apart from it. Help me understand how to be ‘in’ the world while being separate from it. Remind me to question values, holding them up against what Your Word says. Only then will I know I am on solid ground. Show me if there is any value or attitude I need to change to be right with You. And strengthen me to do it, amid, or even against, the pull of society. Amen

2 Kings 15:1-16:20; Acts 19:13-41

June 28 In God I Trust

coins-1277095_640O Father, how easy it is to follow someone when they bring good into my life.

When the Israelites escaped the power of Aram (the opposing, oppressive king) it was easy to look at Jehoahaz, their own king, and follow him. But the deliverance came from You, not Jehoahaz, and the people continued to follow him in evil idolatry. Jeroboam, grandson of Jehoahaz recovered the lost territories and restored the boundaries to Israel, but also led the people into sin, doing evil in Your eyes.

Still today, military victories draw people to follow the man who brings them. People of my times follow, even worship, those with money, fame, political power. They are awed and swept away to place their trust in those who mislead and later, disappoint them. They support these ‘champions’ by touting their philosophies, defending their causes, sending them money. This is a form of worship.

Even good men, who desire to lead godly lives: pastors, evangelists; fail morally, and cause others who put their faith in them, to lose that faith. I have looked up to such men: pastors, athletes, politicians, and been pained to watch them fall.

You tell me “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.”   My faith has always been based on You, and Your truth. It is You who save; You, who made the earth and the heavens, the sea and everything in it. You are the one who works through men to accomplish Your will.

Father, it is You, the Lord Jesus Christ, who defends, upholds, feeds, frees, heals, encourages, loves, cares for, and sustains me. You frustrate the way of the wicked in my defense. You are the only One who has the power to reign and rule in my heart. You are the Author of my faith. Your plan will never fail. It will never end, because You do not end.

Father show me if I begin to follow another person, rather than You.   I desire to stay on Your path. Do not let my foot slip. Do not let me stray one step away from You. I praise You, O Lord. You reign forever! Amen

2 Kings 13:1-14:29; Psalm 146:1-10

June 27 Even me

use me handsFather, I am so encouraged to read about Joash, one of the kings of Judah. He was seven years old when he began to reign. Seven years old! And You worked mightily through him! During his forty-year reign, he effected repairs on the temple, and brought the people back to following You. He did what was right in Your eyes.

I often wonder how I am equipped to serve You. I am not a healer, or preacher, or famous author with a large following. I’m not a missionary in a far off land, or a concert singer or evangelist.   Often Your Word says You use ordinary people.   “Elijah was a man just like us…” and yet Elijah became a powerful prophet. Moses claimed to be “slow of speech” yet he was Your instrument for delivering Your people from four hundred years of slavery.

It’s so easy to look at great people: both from Biblical times and those of my day, and feel completely inadequate.   Yet, here is this seven-year-old boy. And it gives me such hope, that if You would use a seven-year-old boy, You would use me too. It reminds me that it is not the ‘person’ with their talents, gifts, skills, and abilities that accomplishes anything. It is You! You are the One! It is Your power which accomplishes Your will. What You can do with any person who is sold out to You, is limitless! Even a seven-year-old boy. Even a simple, untrained girl. Even a sixty-year-old woman. Even me. Amen

2 Kings 10:32-12:21

June 26 You are my God

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“Praise be to You Lord! You are my Rock. You train my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” And I am in a battle Lord. A battle between good and evil rages in my country, my society. Help me stand firm for godly values amidst the onslaught of evil influences that elevate greed, selfishness, lust, envy, pride, laziness, murder, and all sorts of immorality.

“You are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. My shield, in whom I take refuge…Part the heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightening and scatter the enemies; shoot Your arrows and rout them. Reach down Your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.” Father, You never promised I would not have to face difficulties, but You have promised to always be with me. You have said “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you…”. Help me take hold of Your hand and stand strong against the rushing waters the enemy sends to sweep me off my feet. Let me see through the veil of lies and deceit the enemy would try to use against me.

Make my sons “like well-nurtured plants”.   As plants need water, light and soil, let them grow strong and walk in the light of the “Son”.   Let them be watered by the Holy Spirit to revive and refresh them with Living Water. Give them a rich faith to nourish and feed them so they will produce fruit in season as a fruitful vine in Your care. Father, prune them to increase their fruitfulness so their lives bring honor and glory to You.   Make “my daughters like pillars”: strong and straight, beautiful to adorn a palace, of resilient character to stand for and display godly values.

Father, in rescuing me, You have “filled my barns with every kind of provision”. Meet my needs. You know what I need to meet the coming challenges You allow into my life. Prepare me to face them in faith and strength of character so I will be a strong witness for You. Meet my physical and economic needs. Bless my household out of Your abundant provision.   Show me how to share with others from the bounty You provide for me.

You have my thanks and my praise. “I will sing a new song to You.” You are my God. And I am blessed. Amen

Psalm 144:1-15; Isaiah 43:2a

June 25 Miracle Worker!

remember who God is_thumb[6]Lord God, You never cease to amaze me! You are involved so intimately in the lives of Your people! You genuinely care for them! It gives me such hope!

You warned the man and woman who made a room for Elisha to leave the country to spare them from a seven-year famine. And when they returned to beg for their house and land, You orchestrated that the king who could grant their plea, had just then heard about the miracle of Elisha raising their son from the dead! The timing couldn’t have been better! They received back what they had given up to obey You, and more!

When the ruler-ship had gotten so bad, leading Your people into idolatry, and doing only evil in Your eyes, You took action. You had a just and godly ruler anointed over Israel. Under Jehu, the line of Ahab was removed. The people were able to return to worshiping You.

When Your servants Paul and Silas were imprisoned, beaten, and put under special guard, You orchestrated an earthquake to free them! Even more, You allowed them to work in the lives of their enemy, sharing the Gospel with their jailer, and bringing salvation to him and his family!

How can I doubt that You, who have done all this on behalf of Your people, will do the same for me? How can I think that my problems are beyond Your help? You, who control earthquakes and famines, kings and jailers!

I am Your servant, Lord. So I cry to You for mercy. I rely on Your character of faithfulness and righteousness to defeat the enemy that pursues me and crushes me to the ground. Even when circumstances discourage me, and cause my spirit to grow faint and my heart to be dismayed, I remember these and other works of deliverance. I meditate on all You have done and consider the power in Your hands. And I know, without a doubt, that You will preserve me in Your righteousness. And that I am Yours forever. Amen

2 Kings 8:1-6; 9:1-13; Acts 16:16-40; Psalm 143:1-12

June 24 You are my Rescuer

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“I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who know my way…In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me. Listen to my cry for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.”

 

Father, there are things in my life that are too difficult for me. Things happening that I have no control over. Some anger or frustrate me, but some break my heart and I can hardly bear it. So I pour out my heart to You. I tell You all my troubles because You care for me. Because You can encourage and comfort me. Because You can help me cope. I know You can help me get a fresh perspective. You show me how to take action when I need to. And how to wait on Your deliverance when that is the case.

I turn to You because I am Yours; and You have resources I cannot even fathom or imagine. When troops had come to capture Elisha, he was not anxious or worried. You had already prepared deliverance for him and he was unafraid because You had opened his eyes to Your rescue. With confidence, he answered his servant: ”Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then he prayed for You to open his servant’s eyes to see the “hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around them”.

I have never seen horses or chariots of fire come to my aid; but there have been times when, without a doubt, You organized my rescue; my deliverance out of a situation where I saw no escape. I remember times when I was so frightened at the possibility of tragedy, and You gave me a picture of peace that carried me through. You showed me new ways to face what lay before me, and encouraged me to go on.

“You are my refuge…I will praise Your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of Your goodness to me.” I will share what You have done for me – not only to give You the praise and honor You deserve, but also to encourage other believers. What You do for me, You do for them. We encourage each other when we acknowledge Your deeds and give You glory. And You are glorious! Amen

2 Kings 6:8-23; Psalm 142:1-7

June 23 Strengthen me

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“Lord, I call to You; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to You.”

 

“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

 

My mouth so often gets me into trouble. I speak before I think. Sometimes I hurt the ones I love. Sometimes it leads me into gossip, or even lies to make myself look better in the eyes of others. Sometimes I reveal too much to people who don’t understand or appreciate it, like casting “pearls before swine”.

Instead, I would prefer to use my words to bless, encourage, teach, and show I care. Help me measure out my words like precious commodities. Teach me to take time to think before I rush into spilling out whatever is on my mind. Especially when I am upset, Lord, it is hard keep my mouth shut, instead of sharing my pain, frustration, or anger. Remind me I can come to You with anything and everything. You are the One who can offer healing, encouragement, and restoration better than anyone else.

Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. Keep me from the snares they have laid before me, from the traps set by evildoers. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.”

Father, if there is a lure, remove the worm and reveal the hook so I will not be caught and reeled in like a fish caught on a line. If there are hidden nets or snares, show me the truth behind the lies and deceit that would coax me into the trap. Lord, I know there are times when the evil one is out to derail me. But there are also times when my own flesh and the world’s desires tempt me into things I should not be involved with. Father, keep me from those things too. Do not let me even toy with the thought of wanting them, or thinking I deserve them, or thinking I can get away with having them. I have heard that voice in my head that says such things, trying to justify my behaving in a way I know is wrong.

Strengthen me with Your power. In my thoughts, my words and my actions. In You, I take refuge! You are my Sovereign Lord, and my eyes are fixed on You! Amen

Psalm 141:1-10

June 22 God Delivers

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“Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men and women; protect me from people of violence who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up dissension and war every day. They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers in on their lips. Selah”

Father, as I think about this, I think of those who have made, planted and exploded bombs to hurt and kill random people, or targeted specific ones. And those who have taken lethal weapons and randomly attacked people around them. Some kill themselves in the process; some lay booby traps for even further devastation. The news reports on them and their stories. Some have political agendas. Some have emotional issues. Some are simply evil, and enjoy the resulting death and destruction.

Making their “tongues as sharp as serpents” allows them to masquerade as ‘normal’ until their deed is carried out. The poison in their words allows them to fool people around them into thinking nothing is wrong. Or possibly even lead others into the same darkness in which they operate. Their lies and deceit create confusion even after the fact, so that truth is hard to discern.

Father, “keep me from the hands of the wicked; protect me from people of violence who plan to trip my feet. They have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path.”

“Do not grant the wicked their desires. O Lord; do not let their plans succeed…”

Father, beyond those who would seek to kill, there are those who would delight in keeping me from Your righteous path; from living a godly life. Those who would enjoy the moral failure of any believer. Protect me and my loved ones from any who would act or plan to draw us away from You, or cause us to stumble in our pursuit of a closer relationship with You.  Do not allow ego, misunderstanding, or emotions to lead me away. Do not let me fall into hopelessness or depression that would keep me distant from You.   Protect my mind, my emotions, my body, my spirit from any and all attacks,

“You are my God! Hear, O Lord, my cry for mercy. O Sovereign Lord, my strong Deliverer…”  Amen

Psalm 140:1-13 

 

June 21 In You I am made and known

FatherShepherdCreatorOh Father! There is no person or created being like You! Nothing on earth, or beneath the earth, or in the heavens above. There is no other who knows me inside and out. Although billions and billions of people have lived, You are personally familiar with who I am. You recognize me; see what I do, when I come and where I go, when I lie down and when I get up. Other people might also know me that well, but You also know me on the inside. You know when I have a thought, and what it is. You see into my mind and heart to know my motivation for all that I do. When I am forming a sentence, You know what I will say even before I speak.

You are everywhere at all times. So there is no place I can go where You are not already there and can see me. There is no place to hide from Your presence. I could go as far as is humanly possible, into the depths of the earth, or beneath the sea, or out into the vastness of space beyond the other planets and stars; and You would already be there. There is nothing that can conceal me from Your watchful eye. Even darkness does not prevent You from seeing me.

In one way, You are like a parent who knows their child. A parent learns the aptitudes and personality of their child so well that the child’s actions do not surprise the parent. Even motivation can be seen sometimes because children are often so transparent in their behaviors.   Because they are younger, they are limited in their ability and thinking so a parent can often hem them in to protect and teach them. But You are much more than simply older and wiser than me, as a parent is to a child. As a child is amazed by the power and ability and wisdom of a parent, I am amazed by You – to the zillionth power!

In another way, You are like a Shepherd who knows his sheep. A shepherd knows what his sheep need; and sheep cannot provide what they need for themselves.   Sheep cannot feed themselves, protect themselves or heal themselves when they are sick. Beyond how to provide for their basic needs, the shepherd also knows the sheep individually: which sheep will be trouble and which are compliant. He knows the condition of each sheep at all times, and how to provide for whatever conditions demand.   The sheep depend on, rely on, their shepherd for their care from birth to death. But even as far beyond the understanding of a sheep the shepherd is, You are farther still above me.

In Your sovereignty and power, You created my body, my mind, my spirit – before I was even born! You formed all that would be me in my mother’s womb. How amazing is that!   You have the power of life! It is by Your design that I have two hands that give me the ability to work and craft, and gently hold a baby. It is by Your design that I have two eyes that can see the wonder You created in the beauty of the earth: flowers, birds, mountains, oceans, a sunrise! You gave me ears that hear, a brain that thinks, a mouth that speaks! You chose when I would be born, where, and to whom! And You will close my eyes when my time on earth is ended.

In all this, You gave me the ability to know You. As You reveal Yourself to me in Your Word, and as we communicate in prayer, I am blown away by who You are. Your thoughts, Your creativity defy human imagination and understanding. They are too wonderful for me. And I am blessed beyond measure to know You.

Continue to lead me, teach me, test me, mature me, Father. Know me. And let me know You. Amen

Psalm 139:1-24

June 20 Every Word counts

Psalm138banner“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me;”

Father, this verse has been so encouraging to me. Many times it has spoken to me of Your divine purpose, of Your sovereignty to act, or Your personal interest and caring love for me.

Funny how when I say a sentence, the meaning changes a little depending on which word I stress. So in learning more about this verse, to better hear what You are saying to me, I focus on one word at a time. Emphasizing each word, one at a time, meaning is added.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me. The One. The Only. Not just any lord, but You: The Lord. The One who created the universe! Who made every animal, every plant, placed every star, and breathed life into man.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me – meaning that it is Your work to do it and Your power that will bring it about. While I need to be obedient and do my part, I don’t need to run around and worry about how it will all get done. You have prepared. You know the details. And it is by Your hand that all will be accomplished.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me – meaning that it is a certainty! It is to be accomplished.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me – not just do the minimum to get by, but achieve fully! All the requirements, all the necessities, will be taken care of completely.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me. You have a plan. It is not required that I dream up something to do for You, but work with You in Your plan, not my own.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me. I am not in this world by accident, or just to get by from one day to the next. There is a reason I am here. You already know the skills, talents, and gifts You have placed in me, and have carefully thought out and prepared something to motivate me with an end in mind.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me. It is on behalf of and will benefit me.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me – not my brother or sister or my friend; but the unique individual You created to be me.

Each time I restate it, the power of its truth grows. I need to know scripture. I need to understand what it means, and know how it applies to my life personally. Thank You for this one way of helping me get more understanding from scripture.

Psalm 138:8a English Standard Version

June 19 Your Word, Your Spirit, Your Voice

God's Word 3Precept??Father, how amazing that You sent Your Word through prophets to the kings of Israel to give them direction, instruction, correction, even advice on successful battle plans! You sent specific word to Ahab to determine that he should fight against the thirty-three kings and their armies and chariots assembled. You told him who should lead the attack, when, and who would win!

I often wish there were such easily discernable ways I could hear from You. If only You would send me an email, or write across the sky to inform me about decisions or concerns I face.

And then I realize – You have written me a letter! It’s Your Holy Word. If I take the time to read it, often, things become clear. If I had never read the Bible, I wouldn’t know that in it, You have already included instructions for godly, moral living. You have already made Yourself very clear on many topics that relate to me today. Instead of hearing of and memorizing only scattered verses, I need to feed myself, and know the entirety of what You have to say to me.

So, reading Your word is a start. Studying it for a deeper understanding is also important. Then connecting the dots to how what You have said impacts my life, is crucial. Some Bible study methods have big words for this: observation, interpretation, application. Very simply, it is asking: What are You saying? What does it mean? What does it mean to me?

A big part of the burden to hear from You, then, is on me to listen to what You have already said. But to help me even more, You have given me, and every believer, the Holy Spirit. Part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to help me understand, apply, and live by what Your Word says to me. I need to pay attention to what it is telling me, and be obedient, not ignore, discard, or drown out what I hear.

Thank You that I can hear from You just as specifically as those who heard the prophets speak. You have given me so much more to help me in knowing You and understanding You. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the Holy Spirit. Help me make reading and studying Your Word a priority for my time and energy. Do not let me quench the Holy Spirit. And thank You that I can even talk to You personally in prayer. And know that You hear me. And trust that You’ll answer. What an awesome God! Amen

I Kings 20:1-22

June 18 You know what I need

prayer answersFather, how reassuring to know that You listen to me; that You pay attention to my prayers. You listened to Elijah when he was so burned out. And to the believers gathered in Jerusalem who interceded for Paul’s release.

I too, have had times when I felt burned out; when I had done all I could possibly do, and was at the end of myself. With Elijah, You provided for him and gave him a plan. You appeared as an angel and fed him, then gave him directions for a personal meeting with You.   When he responded that he was overwhelmed and done, You gave him release from his ministerial duties. You allowed him to anoint replacements. Hazael and Jehu would take over the battle against the idolatrous rulers and people. And Elisha would become the next prophet. You heard the needs of Elijah and answered. How reassuring to know that You know me and know my limitations too, and will always have a plan to help me cope.

The believers in Jerusalem prayed; and as a response You sent an angel to release Peter from prison, sparing his life. This was a miracle, as he was literally shackled to two guards, and under the watch of sixteen of Herod’s soldiers.   How heartening to know that when You answer prayer, physical restrictions cannot limit You!

Already in my life I have seen answers to prayer. Sometimes the answer is “Yes”. Sometimes it is “No” for one reason or another, or “Wait”. Sometimes, it is “I will answer your prayer, child, but I have a better plan.” And I am usually amazed that You find ways of answering that surprise and delight me: things I had never thought of!

Thank You Father, that You are not limited by what I can think of as solutions to difficulties and problems. Thank You that Your power is not limited; it is boundless! Thank You that You are merciful and wise in Your answers: not always giving me what I ask for. Thank You, that You, the God of the Universe, listen to and answer prayer. Amen

I Kings 19:1-21; Acts 12: 1-19

June 17 Send Your Fire!

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For three years, Lord, You withheld rain and dew from the land. The people had to deal with severe drought. Not only did no rain mean the crops were scanty, and eventually dried up altogether; but the streams and brooks began to dry up too. Grain was harder and harder to find to make bread. Olive groves were not producing fruit so oil was hard to get too.

The drought had caused a famine so severe that not only crops, but grass for the livestock had vanished as well: to the point that King Ahab was going to have to kill livestock because they could not be kept alive.   All this happened because the people had turned away from You. They had abandoned what they knew to be right and true. They had not kept Your commands, but had followed and worshipped other gods.

Even in my times Father, You are not honored. You are not obeyed. Like then, people have been led away from You to worship many things: self, fame, money, possessions, status, environment, political ideologies, man’s philosophies.   The values people live their lives by are not godly ones. And there is a drought. The life-giving water of Your Word has not been acknowledged in a long time.

But rain is coming! The stage is set, and Elijah is sent to call the people back.   I Kings 18 tells of the showdown Elijah set up to prove Your supremacy. Since Baal was worshipped as a god of many things – rain, thunder, fertility of the land, agriculture; he should have been able to provide for the crops during those 3 years. He did not. He was also supposed to be the god of fire, so it should have been an easy thing for his power to burn up the offering his priests set up for him.   But although the priests called and danced and cut themselves, Baal did not answer.

At the end of the day, Elijah called the people and said, “Come to me”.   They did.   He soaked the wood and offering three times to make it even harder for a natural fire to be lit.   Then Elijah prayed. He prayed that the You would make Yourself seen and known to the people who were watching. That they would recognize and remember that You, the Lord, are God, and there is no other.   And that with this sign, this miracle, You would turn the people’s hearts back to You. You showed up!   The “fire of the Lord” fell and burned it all up!   And the people fell on their faces and cried “The Lord – He is God! The Lord – He is God!”

Father, would You send an Elijah to call the people back to You now.   Open the peoples’ ears to hear the call. Let them see Your miracle when it happens. Give them understanding to acknowledge Your hand in it. And let their faith be rekindled, renewed, as You turn people’s hearts back to You. So that from here on, people will trust that You, the Lord, are God; and there is no other. The stage is set. The time for so many people is now.   Father, send Your fire! Amen

I Kings 18:1-46

June 16 Your Provision

Father, let me be like the woman of Zarephath.

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You sent Elijah to this widow when he was exhausted, burned out and in need. And she herself was in dire need. Because You had withheld rain from the land, rivers and brooks had dried up and crops had failed.

 

But like her, reverse my own plans to accommodate Yours. Even when circumstances are dire and I feel like there is no hope, and I am ready to make a meal to eat and die, let me be attentive to You at work in my life. Let me recognize and be obedient to all You ask of me. And in doing so, let me receive Your blessing of hope, provision, and life. Amen

I Kings 17:1-24

June 15 Bring Salvation

Father, I live in a time when Your Word has spread to cover almost all the earth. In Acts, this was just beginning. Thank You for spreading the Word to Gentiles as well as people in the Jewish faith. For Cornelius, You sent an angel directing him to Peter. And to Peter, You sent a vision to prepare him to share the Good News with Cornelius and other Gentiles. Thank You for including me in Your message of salvation down through the ages.

Jesus breaks chains

Father, I ask that You would continue to send angels and visions to those who have yet to hear of You and Your love for them.   All around the world, give each of these people understanding to see Your truth. Lord, I have loved ones who have forgotten or walked away from Your loving care. Draw them back to You. Return to them the joy of their salvation. Give them a hunger and thirst to seek and receive Your Good News again.

 

Your psalm tells “how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!“ I pray for this goodness and this unity in my family.   Please bestow this blessing on us so we can walk in Your goodness and Your mercy forevermore. Amen

Acts 10:1-23; Psalm 133:1-3

June 14 Obedience is better than sacrifice

letter to GodFather, here there are three examples of people You told specifically what to do. The ones who disobeyed You, paid a terrible price.

1 Rehoboam, Solomon’s son who inherited the kingdom, was given a word by You through Shemaiah. Although it was Rehoboam’s plan to rally the forces and attack Israel, he stopped that plan, obeying Your instruction. All his army went home, safe.

2 Jeroboam had been told at his anointing, that he would be king over ten tribes of Israel, and have a dynasty as enduring as David’s. Jeroboam would rule over all his heart desired IF he would obey Your commands and walk in Your ways, and do what is right in Your eyes.  But he did not. He made golden idols and led the people to worship them instead of You. This led to his downfall and destruction.

3 A man You sent to prophesy against the altar Jeroboam set up, did as You said at first. His prophecies came true. But he was tricked, deceived into stopping to eat and drink where You had told him not to. He paid with his life that day.

Father, help me take seriously what You instruct me to do. Strengthen me to be obedient – to change my plans if need be, in order to obey. Even if what You tell me goes against what seems to be logical human thought – let me clearly understand what I am to do, and recognize if I am straying from it. Protect me from those who would deceive or trick me into being led away from Your command.

Help me, through obedience, to stay in Your blessing and in Your will. Amen

I Kings 11:29-39; 12:20-13:34

June 13 You still and quiet my soul

family-1804701_640Father, how often do I come before You in prayer feeling so overwhelmed by life? There are some times when I feel like things are going well. I feel in the center of Your will and I have no concerns. I feel blessed in the sense of peace all around me.

There are times when I have small issues that I know You can easily show me solutions to. They may take time and action, but are easily handled with Your help. And then there are times when I am so anxious over circumstances that I lay my heart open for You to see and heal. I prepare for battle with Your armor and You send me out with marching orders against the enemy.

But there are still times, when I see the overwhelming personal issues: illness, death; and larger ones that ravage the world, my country, Your people: suffering, hunger, corruption, oppression, terrorism, to name a few. And I am overcome by how small I am and how helpless I feel. These are the times I come to You and lay my head on Your shoulder. I wrap my arms around You, bury my face in Your robes and nuzzle in, breathing in Your power, and Your peace.

I am calmed, because I know that You are in control. I understand that this is not a battle You have called me to, but that You have it completely in hand. And I need not worry about it.

These verses describe what I feel:

“My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul like weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

I know there are things You deal with that are too big for me to even be a part of. And like a child who no longer breastfeeds, when that child goes to its mother, there is no physical hunger to be satisfied –only a peace and calm derived from the safety and security the mother offers. That is what I feel in You. I know that the world is in Your capable hands, and I can rest contented. Thank You for this lovely picture.   And for being the One I can trust and rest in. Amen

Psalm 131:1-3

 

June 12 Hear my prayer

“O Lord, hear my voice. Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If You, Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness.”

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Thank You Lord, that You hear my voice and my prayer. Thank You that one of Your qualities is omnipresence: You can be everywhere at once. I don’t have to worry that You are too busy, or that I have to wait on the other people in the world for You to be listening and responding to me. Thank You that in the quietness of my heart, I can turn to You anytime and You are there.

Thank You that when I turn from my sin and ask for forgiveness, You remove my sin from me and never bring it up again. People remind me of my failures and mistakes, some more than others. But with You, there is never a backhanded comment, or dredging up my past faults.   When You forgive, it is over and done with. Thank You for knowing that no one can stand when compared to Your standard and example of perfection without Your covering of mercy and righteousness. And thank You for providing exactly that in the blood You shed on the cross.   It completely pays the penalty my sins deserve.

“In Your Word I put my hope.” Its promises are true. Its instruction is sure.   Father, bring my loved ones to put their hope in You too.   In You, they will find unfailing love and full redemption. Turn their hearts back to You. Open their eyes to Your truth. Pull back the veil of lies and deceit they have believed. Rip away the evil one’s trickery and schemes that have drawn them away from You. Help them see that You alone can redeem them. I wait in anticipation of their deliverance and salvation. Amen

Psalm 130:1-8

June 11 Still my prayer today

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“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth below – You who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way. You have kept Your promises…with Your mouth You have promised and with Your hand You have fulfilled it – as it is today.”

“The heavens, even the highest heaven cannot contain You…yet give attention to Your servant’s prayer and plea for mercy, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that Your servant is praying in Your presence today.” 

“When Your people (I) sin against You – for there is no one who does not sin – …and when they (I) have a change of heart…”and turn back to You will all their (my) heart and soul…then from heaven, Your dwelling place, hear their (my) prayer and plea and forgive…all the offenses.” 

“Praise be to the Lord! Not one word has failed of all the good promises You gave through Your servant Moses.” You are with me; You will never leave me or forsake me. Turn my heart to You to be fully committed to walk in all Your ways and to keep Your commands. May You uphold my cause, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and there is no other! Amen!

The words of Solomon at the dedication of the Temple

I Kings 8:1-66

June 10 I seek Your Blessing

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O Lord, I desire to be blessed by You. I ‘fear’ You in respect to the acknowledgement of who You are: Creator, Savior, Deliverer, the one True God. My attitude towards You is one of reverence and honor. You are so high above me, yet You invite me to come to You, to approach You, and to be in Your presence. That in itself is a blessing. Your thoughts and Your ways are far beyond what I can think or even imagine.

Father, help me know Your ways and walk in them as I live day to day. Show me how to honor You by living according to Your commands. Give me the wisdom and discernment to know what is right and honoring to You. And give me the strength of character to choose the right and turn away from the wrong. Being obedient to Your ways keeps me under the umbrella of Your protection and blessing.

I ask for Your blessing all the days of my life. For protection, prosperity, purposeful living in joy, health, wholeness, security – summed up in the word ‘shalom’: peace. Thank You for Your shalom, for Your ‘peace’.   Amen

Psalm 128:1-6

June 9 something bigger than myself

hot-air-balloon-glory of God

Father, Show me something bigger than myself, that I can be a part of, for Your glory. I believe You put in each person You created, a desire to be part of something great, even epic: an adventure! I don’t always understand this longing, but it comes back to seeking my purpose in life.

You gave Solomon a mission, delivered from his father: a charge to build a house for Your name. It was something that took great resources, many gifted craftsmen, thousands of laborers coming together, time, and hard work. And they created a masterpiece! It was incredible to behold, stood for many years, and attained a regional if not worldwide reputation that is known about today.

You called Abram out of obscurity and brought him to a land You promised to his descendants forever. He believed by faith, and worked toward Your goal, but never saw its completion. He was part of a covenant relationship with You that brought forth the greatest story ever told.

I have a desire to be part of something also: something that will bring glory to Your name. Even if it is small, I long to do something that I cannot do alone – something I will need to rely on You for the strength and inspiration to do.   Will You show me, in Your perfect timing, what it is? I trust You are preparing me already with the gifts, talents, skills, wisdom, and resources I will need.   And that You will open my eyes to see what it is, when You are ready.   I do not want to live my life just getting by from one day to the next.

I also know that whatever I can achieve on my own is not divine, or an epic adventure. Without You, I can do nothing. With You, I can do anything! Inspire me Lord. Empower me. Let me be part of Your great plan. Amen

I Kings 5:1-6:38; Acts 7: 1-29; Psalm 127:1-2

June 8 Thank You for the people in my life

Father, help me be more like Solomon. When You told him “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.” He was not quick with a Christmas list of desired material possessions. Even before You granted him wisdom beyond all human possibility, he answered wisely.

He began by acknowledging Your kindness and faithfulness to his father David. He focused on You, and what You had already done in his life. Then he presented himself humbly – as an individual and as a ruler. He recognized the enormity of both the blessing and the responsibility You had given him. And in the face of this, he asked for wisdom.

access-933136_640Let this be a pattern for my prayer life as well. Lord, I truly acknowledge Your faithfulness to me. I can’t begin to understand all the pieces that You brought into place for my being here now, as one of Your children. How interconnected are the lives of the people You orchestrated to impact my life: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, friends, Sunday school teachers, teachers, coaches, acquaintances, co-workers. You not only coordinated who they were and how they influenced me, but where they were, as I moved across the country almost every year growing up. That blows my mind!

You have blessed me in the roles I play to others: daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, wife, mother, friend, teacher, labor coach, and in the intimate way I have been able to relate to people at significant times in their lives. I feel very inadequate to fill the needs of the people You give me opportunities to minister to. On my own, I cannot do it.

Give me a discerning heart to speak to and relate to those You bring into my life. Help me distinguish between right and wrong and be able to speak the truth in love into their lives as I live my life according to Your guidance.   Show me when to speak and when to keep silent. Show me how to share the understanding You have given me when it comes to teaching and encouraging others.

Father, thank You for the blessing of all those You have brought into my life. Help me care for them in Your love, in Your strength, and in Your name. Amen

I Kings 3:4-9

June 7 Wisdom and Integrity

wisdom integrity path

What a wonderful charge for a son or daughter. David spoke it to his son, Solomon. It is also my prayer.

Father, help my children and loved ones, and myself be strong. Not simply in physical strength. But help us be of strong character, so we can stand and not fall in the face of temptation. Help us be tough and resilient in the face of hard times. And just as gracious and generous in the good times. Let us be known as men and women who are obedient to You, following You in the kind of life You teach us to live.

Help us walk in Your ways in the everyday decisions of our lives, and choose what is right and just. Help us conduct our business and relationships openly and honestly, speaking the truth in love. Teach us to hold to Your moral standards in our conduct and attitudes. Give us understanding and discernment when we are unsure.   Remind us to study and know Your Word so it can guide and enlighten us.

Help us live out our lives in faith before You, Lord. Not half-heartedly, but with all our heart and soul; seeking Your wisdom, and applying it correctly to our circumstances. Let this yield prosperity in all we do wherever we go .

Proverbs says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Let me, my family and loved ones know Your way. Let us live our lives according to it and find eternal life with You. Amen

1 Kings 2:1-4; Proverbs 16:25

June 6 By God’s Power

“Sovereign Lord, You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Your servant David when he said ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One.’.”

God in controlIt was true in David’s time that the Philistines and others came and attacked Your people who were led by the men You had anointed to rule them. When You came to Israel in the flesh, the High Priest and Sanhedrin plotted against You to have You killed. And today, many other religions are set against You and Your believers with plans of destruction. Even more, the culture I live in does not embrace a Biblical worldview, but is focused on material gain, social success, political intrigue and self-gratification.

The prayer of Your disciples is a great guide for me. First, they acknowledged that You were and are in control. “They did what Your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” In David’s time, in Your time here on earth, and now in my life, You are in control. When things aren’t going well, I sometimes forget that. Thank You for the reminder that I don’t have to worry that something is going to slip by You unnoticed. You know all things. You do not sit wringing Your hands wondering what to do next. I can trust that not only is Your plan advancing, but Your plan is the best one for me. Your power and Your will have already determined beforehand, what is best.

Their prayer was to “enable Your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.”   What a courageous prayer! The disciples had just been told by the religious leaders NOT to speak of You, and they had the courage to say they would prefer to obey You, rather than obey man. Show me Lord, when I should speak. And as I open my mouth, fill it with Your words. And then close it when I am to remain silent.

“Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” I have spoken to several people in the last few days who have described dire circumstances for themselves and/or their children.   What I see is that the stage is set for You to do a miracle!   Let the people of my generation see that You are a miracle-working God. Let them see how much You care for them, and want to have a personal relationship with them. When things work out, let them see and acknowledge Your hand in their lives, and turn to You!

This was a powerful prayer for the disciples. I ask it would also be for me. Amen

Acts4:1-37

June 5 All I have is from You

grateful forDear Lord, I see myself all over today’s scriptures. Like David taking a census of Israel, I sometimes do things that are not right for my family or me. I persist in the activity or behavior by some sense or motivation that I become adamant about.   Father, open my ears to the wise counsel You send into my life. Let me be dissuaded from pursuing ungodly ends.

Lord, I identify with the man at the gate, crippled from birth. Surely I was also unable to walk in Your light until I came to know You. All I could do was rely on others to carry me, and beg from those who knew You for bits of life giving faith. But Peter said “Look at us!” And when the man gave them his attention, he received. It wasn’t until I gave You my full attention, read Your Word, really listened to the lessons others taught me from Your Word, that I received the ability to walk in Your truth, Your light. Thank You for sending each one of these helpers into my life. Thank You for directing my understanding, and opening my eyes to Your truth.

Peter also said “And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made …” And I too am an heir of all that You revealed through the prophets – because I live in a time when I can see that they have been fulfilled in You! In Your death on the cross. In Your resurrection from the dead. In Your outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Thank You for the inheritance I have in You.

Like the psalmist, so I also “lift up my eyes to You”. I live only because of Your mercy. Although I am not familiar with being a slave, I can understand that a slave receives only what is provided by the master. I also realize that all I have comes from You: the goodness and blessing I do not deserve, the loving family and friends, the freedoms I enjoy in this country, the medical and technological advances I benefit from. Thank You for choosing this time and place for me to be born. All I have is from You, and I am richly, richly blessed.

Lead me in the way that will direct my words, my actions, my attitudes to honor You and bring glory to Your name. Amen

2 Samuel 24:1-25; Acts 3:1-26; Psalm 123:1-4

 

June 4 My All

cross-1177327_640Father, I am not free of sin like David in this psalm. I have not been obedient to all Your laws or kept all Your ways. And yet, I have Your righteousness. You cover me with the blood You shed at Calvary, giving me the status of being righteous in Your sight.

With this status, You are my lamp, turning the darkness around me into light so I can see and not be afraid. You help me fight against the enemy and allow me to scale walls. You become my shield and my refuge. You arm me with strength, enable me and train me for the conflicts that come so I can stand firm.

I can say with David, “You give me Your shield of victory, You stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me so that my ankles do not turn.” All this care You take with me. I will lift up Your name. I will give You the praise of my lips and the worship of my voice. You are my Savior, my Deliverer, my Redeemer. You are the Rock upon which I base my faith. I can trust in You. Thank You.  Amen

2 Samuel 22:21-51

June 3 Jehovah-Jireh My Provider

office-594132_640Lord, thank You for this reminder to commemorate Your works in my life by writing about it. Whether in a song, or poem, or letter form in a journal, it is important that I not only give You recognition, credit, and thanks, but that I leave a record for others to see and know of Your involvement in my life. So that others know how You love, rescue and deliver those who belong to You.

I may not fight battles with six-fingered giants, but there are forces acting against me today. In this fight, You are also my rock which I can rely on as immovable to stand on or hide behind. You are my fortress where I can find protection within. You are the One by whose power I am delivered from the enemy. You are my shield that deflects the arrows and blows aimed at me. You are the source of my strength, and the place I can pull back to, to find rest and refuge. Your power and strength save me.

Thank You that I can call on You when I need help and have become exhausted. Thank You that You are faithful and trustworthy and come to my aid. As the Psalm says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.” I can look to the beautiful, often snow capped mountains where I live. Their beauty and stability speaks to me of Your strength and faithfulness.

But the Psalmist wrote this to be a song all the Israelites would sing either as they made their way up to Jerusalem from their hometowns, lower in elevation; or as they ascended the steps on the south wall of the Temple mount. This was Mount Moriah, where You blessed Abraham and provided the ram to sacrifice in place of his son. As the Israelites looked up to the hills of Jerusalem, towards the Temple, they would be thinking of You, the offerings they brought, and the forgiveness, celebration and protection they would experience there.

Thank You that I am also reminded You watch over me, that You are my shade and my protector. Thank You that You keep me from harm and watch over my life. I am so grateful. Amen

2 Samuel 20:14-22:20; Psalm 121:1-8

June 2 Guide me

Father, don’t let me ever try living life without You. I desire the companionship of Your company and the blessing You offer when I am following Your instruction. Thank You for meeting me where I am.

After Your resurrection, several of Your disciples returned to fishing. But after a long night, their efforts had yielded no catch. You found them, and from the shore, told them to throw down their nets on the right side of the boat. And an enormous catch was brought in. You blessed their obedience.

opportunity-396265_640Father, when I don’t know what to do next, or where to go, find me wherever I am. Show me how to be obedient and where the blessing is. Thank You for this lesson that even when I come to the end of my efforts and have tried to do things on my own, You stand ready to show me the way. Help me be humble enough to accept Your instruction, and obedient to follow it. Amen

John 21:1-25

June 1 Help me act in belief

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“Stop doubting and believe.”

Often I have heard that people think being a Christian means checking your brain at the door and believing in something blindly.   But Jesus, here You give me an example of just the opposite.

You say to Thomas (who has been forever since called ‘Doubting Thomas’) to ‘stop doubting and believe’. But You were not just a voice in the dark asking him to believe blindly. You were standing right in front of him. You were offering to let him see and touch and feel what was real. You provided proof for his faith.

But it is often the same with me. I can be stubborn in my reluctance to go forward out of fear of failure or embarrassment or things not working out; even when You are standing in front of me.   You can offer proof to me because You see things I can’t. You already know how things will work out.

Lord, help me take the steps You direct me to take, in boldness. Help me not be frozen by fear, or hesitate in half-heartedness. Do not let me doubt Your Word or Your leading. Remind me of Your faithfulness to me in the past.

As You breathed the Holy Spirit on Your disciples, breath a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit on me. Let me be empowered anew by You living in me.

As Thomas responded with belief, it seems he should be known as ‘Believing Thomas’. But I think more people can relate to his position before he saw You. So it’s a good lesson for everyone. Thank You for showing me that I need not doubt. Help me be bold, in belief. Amen

John 20:1-31  

May 31 A Sure Thing

faith is hopeOnce again, Father, You have proven Yourself, as the manner of events unfolded exactly as You prophesied that it would. The manner of Your death on the cross, how Your clothes were divided, that Your bones were not broken, that Your side was pierced; all these things happened according to what You had already told us in Your Word. Yet the people who carried out these atrocious acts were not aware of the prophecies, or that they were fulfilling them.

These words were handed down to different prophets at different times, yet all came to pass. It is no wonder, I can say with the writer of Psalm 119, “I have put my hope in Your Word”!

This is not a simple unbased ‘hope’ like ‘I hope I win the lottery.’

rope.jpeg

But the Hebrew word translated as ‘hope’ comes from the word used for the triple twisted rope that binds an anchor to a ship to keep it in place. It’s a sure thing. It can be counted on! My hope in You is a sure thing, Lord. It is something I count on, always. It anchors me in the water. It keeps me from drifting in a storm.

That means I can count on You in my day to day life circumstances, good or bad. And I can rely on You when things get really tough. Thousands of years haven’t changed Your faithfulness or trustworthiness. You have been, and You still are, and You always will be. I can rely on You totally, in all situations, at all times.

And I do! Amen

John 19:23-42; Psalm 119:147

May 30 You are hope and help in need

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Father, make me more like David. Even when fleeing from Jerusalem, a time of distress and uncertainty, his faith was strong, knowing You were with him. The people he ruled over loved him; and wept as he fled. The priests made intercession and offered sacrifices as David left the city. They were prepared to go with him, but obeyed his request to stay behind and basically use their sons as secret couriers for David. Another friend agreed to stay behind and act as a spy. David prayed that the council of his enemy would be “turned into foolishness”.

A servant met him on the road with provisions, food, and donkeys for David and his household.   And when a man came showering stones and dirt clods on him, he took no revenge, but was humble to accept whatever You might be allowing to happen to him.

Father, when I am in trouble, do the same for me.  Call in others to intercede and pray for me. Let me see support from those You have placed around me. Bring friends who are willing to act on my behalf and are faithful and loyal to me. And in their time of difficulty, let me be a loyal support for them.

Thwart the plans of my enemy, by turning their counsel into foolishness.   Bring people alongside me who can encourage me and offer what I need to get through the hardship. And help me, like David, to keep a faithful and humble attitude; accepting whatever comes from Your hand, not insisting on my own edification or revenge.

Lord, I know hard times will come. Thank You that I can call on You and depend on You to get me through them.   You will sustain me according to Your promise, uphold me, and deliver me. And You will never let my hopes be dashed.   You will take care of me as You did David. Thank You that I can call on You. Thank You that I can depend on You. Thank You that I can trust You. I give You all my praise. Amen

2 Samuel 15:23-16:23; Psalm 119:116-117

May 29 Your Word is Light

Lord Jesus, thank You for sending Your Word to me. You created this entire place for me to live, the planet, solar system, universe; much like I would plan a nursery for a loved and expected baby. You worked out everything just right – gravity, air pressure, temperature, light, radiation – more things than I can imagine – to work together perfectly to sustain my life. Just seeing this amazing creation communicates the existence of the designer.

Somehow, Your existence was translated down so that even in places where no ‘modern’ man has ever been, there is knowledge of and worship of You. But for me, You made sure there was a written record of Your presence, of Your purpose, and of Your love for me.

book light on girl“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” When it is dark, unseen hazards can trip me up, causing falls and even injuries. Things that could be stepped over or around if seen become potentially dangerous obstacles.

So it is in life. Even when the sun is out and visibility is good, unseen things are at work that can cause problems. Emotions, motivations, misinformation and schemes can all trip me up. Your Word can help me be aware of and deal with such issues so I can avoid the potential fall or injury.

Your Word shines a light on my circumstances by giving me perspective. Or by helping me see truth. Or by making me wise to my own condition. It gives me guidance in how to make decisions. Your Word provides me with a moral compass. It reminds me that my value comes from You, not the world’s view of ‘success’. It warns me of things like “pride goes before a fall” and “better to have a little honestly than much by illicit gain”.

By illuminating truth with Your Word, You keep my feet steady on the path and keep me from stumbling.  “Accept O Lord, the willing praise from my mouth.” Thank You! Thank You! Amen

Psalm 119:105,108

May 28 Your Protection

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Lord God, thank You for praying for me. Thank You for looking into the future and identifying “those who would believe in You through their [the disciples] message.”

Thank You for protecting me by the power of Your name because I am Yours.

Thank You for praying for me Yourself, personally; not to take me out of this world, but to protect me from the evil one in this world.   That includes the arrogant who dig pitfalls for me trying to entrap me by their political intrigues, their social agendas, and their false philosophies that are contrary to what You teach in Your Word.   It includes those who would persecute me because they hate You, and those who want to see me wiped from the earth. And the wicked, waiting to destroy me, my health, my finances, my relationships, and defeat my spirit.

Thank You that You have the power to preserve my life and all these things according to Your love.

When I do not feel strong help me remember Your Word. Your Word is eternal. Its promises are true forever. Just as the earth You created still stands, Your truth still stands. Your faithfulness and love are steadfast and boundless. Thank You for the encouragement of Your prayer for me. And for the protection I have in You. Amen

John 17:1-26; Psalm 119:81-96

May 27 Your Peace

Father, thank You that in these verses You are speaking to me plainly.   Thank You that You stand outside of time. You can see the end even before the beginning has happened. Before You laid the foundation of the earth, You knew the people You would create would turn away from You, and would require the sacrifice only You could make. Thank You for the plan You put in place for my salvation and reconciliation with You.

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The events You prepared Your disciples for were not the end. You told them what would happen so they would have peace. Not peace in their circumstances, but peace knowing who You were, and in the Holy Spirit You would send to comfort and teach them.

Even now is not the end! In these verses, You looked even farther forward to see when You overcome the world! So I, too, can take these words to heart. I have the whole of Your Word so I can know who You are, and in my relationship with You, I can have peace whatever my circumstances. In this world, I will have trouble. But I also know that You have overcome this world! And in the end, You triumph! And because I am with You, it is my triumph too!

While I am still here though, I join with the requests of the psalmist. Teach me knowledge and good judgment, Lord. I want to make wise decisions that support Biblical values. Teach me what You desire of me. Even if the arrogant disagree and slander me, keep me true to Your teachings. Give me the understanding I need to be able to apply what Your Word says to my life and circumstances. You made me and placed me in these times, in this family, in this culture. So help me discern across time and culture, how to walk in Your truth and live righteously.

Father, comfort me with Your unfailing love. Teach me and treat me with compassion. When I am attacked or maligned, defend me.   Help me live according to all You show me in Your power and Your faithfulness. Encourage me. And give me Your peace. Amen

John 16:1-33; Psalm 119:65-80

May 26 Help me stay connected

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Father, thank You for making it so easy to understand:

“You are the vine, I am a branch.”

Even I can see how that example plays out. I have seen branches broken off of trees and bushes after a storm, or ones I have cut off to prune or shape a plant. When they have been severed from the plant, they die. They are no longer attached to the system that delivers nutrients from the ground and water, or sunlight that cause growth and sustains life.

So it is with me in my relationship with You. I am a part of You, connected to You. From You, I receive what I need to grow and sustain life.   In You, I can lead a Christian life and bear fruit.   Apart from You, I no longer bear fruit, and will wither.

Impress on me how to stay connected, Lord. Your Word remaining in me is one way. That means I need to be reading it, studying it, even memorizing it to keep it ‘in’ me. Obeying what You tell me, is another way I remain in You. And loving others is another.

Father give me a hunger and thirst for Your Word. Help me set aside time each day, and be excited to spend time hearing from You. Let Your Words rattle around in my mind so that I think about them even after I read them. Increase my understanding when they direct me to do something, or stop doing something. Do not let me be distracted or dissuaded from obeying what You say. And let me show Your love to others in my actions, my words and my attitudes.

Thank You for teaching me how much I need You and depend on You for my very life. Thank You for using examples I can understand and put into practice. Amen

John 15:1-17

May 25 Holy Spirit You are welcome here

earth-1738059_1920Lord, thank You for letting me live in a time when You have sent Your presence to be with believers continuously. In the Old Testament scriptures, You visited people in physical form, or You were ‘with’ them for a time, but not like You are now. I remember Gideon saw You, and after speaking face to face, made an offering You accepted and consumed with fire.

You were ‘with’ Saul, but then You left him. When You were with David, You promised to never take Your love away from him or his descendants, and to be their Father. This was something new.

When You walked on the earth, You were with Your disciples day to day in the flesh.   You taught and guided them in truth. But that was short-lived.  What You promised them, and what they received, had never been heard of before.

People made their own gods. They imagined what powers the god had, then they fashioned a wood or stone or a ceramic figure to worship. This god could only be at one place and only at one time, and could not hear or speak, move or act.

What You did was truly revolutionary!

You have sent a part of Yourself to every believer! Your presence can be felt and experienced by every single person who has accepted You as Lord. We call it the Holy Spirit or the Counselor, or the Holy Ghost: the third part of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is given to every person who believes that You are the One True God. It is invisible, but is present as a Spirit of Truth who teaches, reminds, comforts, convicts, and guides.

Thank You for this marvelous presence that acts as a helper, teacher, revealer, comforter, strengthener, renewer, and so much more.

Thank You that You are real and true and not crafted by man. Help me hear what the Spirit says, and understand what the Spirit teaches. Do not let me do anything that would hinder or impede the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Thank You for this tremendous, invaluable gift. Amen

2 Samuel 7:1-29; John 14:15-31

 

May 24 An audience of One

Father, may I share the joy that David showed as he danced and worshipped before You! I love the times when it’s just You and me, and I can sing as if no one else is listening, dance as if no one else is watching and pour out my heart to You. Whether in thanksgiving and joy or in discouragement and need, it is a truly special time. Thank You for those times of pure worship. I don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks – I have an audience of One.

post-it-from JesusAnd thank You for the reassurance that You have gone before me to prepare a place for me. And that You will come back and take me to be with You. As a reminder I have a half sheet of paper on my mirror that says:

‘Have gone to prepare a place for you – be back soon! Love, Jesus’

As if You just stepped out and may return any minute! I see it every day, and it reminds me of this truth. Thank You for this confidence. I may be here when You return, and will see You coming in the clouds to be reunited.   Or I may breathe my last and close my eyes on this earth to open them in Your presence.

Either way, what a blessing! In the words of Psalm 119, “open my eyes that I may see wonderful things” You have for me, and have an understanding of the blessings of Your Word. Amen

2 Samuel 6:1-23; John 14:1-14; Psalm 119:17-32

May 23 Live in humility

Dear Jesus, what a beautiful example You gave of servant leadership when You took it upon Yourself to do the menial job of washing Your disciples’ dirty feet.

011-jesus-washes-feet photo by LUMO project

These were not regularly pedicured, sweet smelling feet, but the dusty, stinky, calloused feet of men who traveled on foot wherever they went.   The paths they walked on were not paved or grassy. They were dirty and dusty, and were shared with not only people, but animals who no doubt used the paths for more than walking. I can imagine, try as one might, stepping in such deposits was inevitable.

But You took on the role of a servant to show that I too, need to be willing to act humbly.

I have attended marriage retreats and Christian women’s retreats where we did this activity. It was a humbling experience to have someone else wash my feet. And it felt more natural to me to wash someone else’s. But it goes beyond just the activity because it is symbolic.

It is easier to wash someone’s feet occasionally than to put their needs before my own on a daily basis. It is easier to wash just their feet than deal with the whole person; especially when they aren’t being pleasant, or I’m feeling unappreciated, or I really just want my own way.

Thank You for Your example. Help me live up to it with the people You put in my life. And thank You for the words of Psalm 119 that remind me how to live. Help me live my life making decisions and choosing behaviors that are in line with Your teachings. Teach me the meaning of Your instructions so I can live within Your blessing. Show me how to apply Your Word in my own life as I read, study, meditate, memorize and delight in it.

You promise to hear the prayers of the righteous. And because of Your sacrifice, I have Your righteousness. Thank You. Amen

John 13:1-30; Psalm 119:1-16; Proverb 15:29

May 22 Make me a seed

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

I love this picture! Once again, an illustration that the people of the day would have understood intuitively. I am not a farmer, but I have planted a few things. When I put a kernel of corn in the ground, it produced a cornstalk with two ears with many rows of corn kernels on each ear. Had I dug under the stalk to find the original kernel, it would not be found. It grew into the new plant. How it looked when it was put into the ground, changed as it gave it’s energy to the new plant.

sunflower with seeds

 

Same thing when I planted peas and sunflowers. I took a recognizable seed, the part we eat, and it was transformed into a new plant. The pea, into a vine with many pods of several peas each. The sunflower seed, into a giant sunflower with a disk of hundreds of seeds.

So, I believe, it will be with me. Lord, make me a seed that produces a hundred-fold harvest of new seeds. Take my words and my actions and let them reproduce, inspire, encourage and enlighten people. Let them draw unbelievers to You. And let believers be strengthened.

I can be the seed, Lord. But only You can choose the type of soil, provide the rain, the sunshine, the nutrients that are needed to bring the harvest. May the harvest You bring forth from my seed, bring glory to You and to Your name. Amen

John 12:24

May 21 Victory for families

Father in heaven, as You did for David, would You do for me and my family? Would You “protect us and hand over to us the forces that come against us”.

bhwhat-makes-a-family-holy-David was fighting a real physical enemy. Life and death were in the balance. They were in hand-to-hand combat to regain what had been taken from them: their families and possessions. David “inquired of the Lord” to seek Your will before he acted, and You promised him victory.

Father, I come before You today to seek Your will for my family; to ask if You will give us victory over the forces that are at work in the world today that pull us apart and away from You.

We do not fight hand to hand with a physical enemy. But we live in a culture where family values are going by the wayside and Biblical values are not honored. Parental authority is being eroded, parents are disrespected, children are rebellious and often rude. We fight against selfishness, greed, hate, violence, immorality, materialism, the occult, witchcraft, and all the schemes of satan.

Father, in all my relationships and those I pray for, but especially in my family, would You give me, as a parent, wisdom to know when to speak and when to keep quiet, so I can offer wise counsel and not destructive comments. Set a guard over my mouth to use words that are instructive, edifying and building up according to the needs of the one I seek to help. Show me how to pray for Your perfect will in my children’s’ lives, not simply what I think will benefit them. Keep me from comparing them to other friend’s children, or even each other.

Lord, keep the lines of communication open so conversations between us will be effective and filled with love and respect. Give my children discernment so they are not swept away by the vain philosophies of men and the political schemes that do not support Biblical values. Help them recognize and turn away from temptation when it would lead to greed, immorality, the occult or anything satan would use to draw them away from You. Block their way when others entice them into ungodly activities.

Let them seek to bless with their words, and not curse. Draw them to Yourself and instruct them in the way they should go to be in the middle of Your will and Your blessing. Remind them of their need for a Savior, and the joy of having a close relationship with You.

And I will give thanks to You. You are with me and You are my Helper. Because of that, I will look triumphantly upon these foes. I take refuge in You, Lord. You are my strength and my Victory! Amen

I Samuel 29:1-30:25; Psalm 118:1-18

May 20 Wisdom, prophecy, life, death. All are in Your hands

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David showed Your wisdom when he did not kill Saul, the one You anointed as king over Israel. He prophesied when he said “the Lord Himself will strike him”. David recognized that a man’s life and death are for You to determine.

Saul showed wisdom when he acknowledged his sin acting like a fool trying to kill a man who had spared his life twice. He prophesied when he said, to David “you will do great things and surely triumph”. He too, recognized that You had spared his life through David and that David’s life was not his to take.

The woman who acted as a medium recognized her life could have been forfeit for what she did, had You not allowed Saul to hear again from Samuel the prophecy You had already given through him: that Saul would lose the kingdom because of his disobedience and it would be given to David. You also revealed that Saul would die the next day.

In one of Your most dramatic public miracles You demonstrated that You are the resurrection and the life by resurrecting Lazarus to life. It was Your wisdom to wait when the word came He was sick so that this greater miracle could be done. You prophesied to Your disciples that “this sickness will not end in death” so that You would be glorified through the circumstances to follow. And although the disciples didn’t understand at the time, You were given glory as many who saw, believed.

Caiaphas, who was the High Priest that year thought he was being wise, but actually prophesied when he said “it is better that one man die for the people than the whole nation perish”.   For You did indeed lay down Your very life so that Your people would have everlasting life.

Thank You that these important issues are in the hands of the One, Almighty God who judges justly and can be trusted because of Your faithfulness and love for Your people. My life and times are in Your hands. I know that my life came from You and nothing can take it out of Your hands. Give me wisdom to live each day of it in faith. Show me how to use my gifts, talents, abilities and experiences to the fullest measure to bring You honor and glory every day that I have. And then close my eyes in peace when the final day arrives, to reawaken in Your eternal presence. Amen

I Samuel 26:1-28:25; John 11:1-53

May 19 not my first thought…

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Lord, make me wise like Abigail. When a word was brought to her of disaster hanging over her household, she acted quickly, boldly and with diplomacy. Quickly, before those set on her destruction could reach her, she sent gifts of food and drink to them. Boldly, without seeking her husband’s approval or permission, her plan was enacted. Diplomatically, she bowed before David, took responsibility and asked him to spare himself from burdening his conscience with needless bloodshed. All the while she praised his conquests and acknowledged his godly honor.

Here are the things I can think of that she could have done. She could have sat down and wept, bemoaning that fact that they would all be destroyed soon. Her pity party would have been well deserved, after all, it was her husband that caused the calamity, not her; she was just the victim here. She could have gone to her husband with a belittling tirade of accusations and complaining, insisting he get up and do something about it. Or demanded he fight David to defend them all. She could have met David with a ‘nobody asked you to protect our shepherds’ attitude. Or argued that legally there had been no contractual agreement. Or she could have packed her things and left her husband to be killed, running to safety, only to return when it was all over. She had lots of options!

My thoughts are not as wise or as noble as Abigail’s. Thank You Father for this example of someone who did not act out of helplessness, or fear, or anger, or self-righteousness, or any other of the characteristics I tend to go to when up against a wall.   Help me remember Abigail’s quickness, and boldness, and diplomacy the next time I am facing a hardship. I think she must have heard from You. Keep my spiritual ears open so I may too. Amen

I Samuel 25:1-44

May 18 My Good Shepherd

stained-glass-1751919_640Sheep?? Father here you refer to believers as sheep again.   Those smelly dumb animals that seem to have no sense at all! Without a shepherd looking out for them and rescuing them, they will perish. They walk into running water, and due of the weight of their wet hair can be pulled under and drown. They walk into briers and thorny thickets and get their hair so tangled they can’t move and will stand there till they starve. Or they will wander away until they are too far from their protection and fall victim to predatory animals.

But in the same way, they are perfect to describe me. I can follow something I think I want, taking risks till I am in a place where I am lost, and no longer safe. I can find myself entangled in circumstances and relationships feeling like there’s no way out. I have found myself in over my head with things moving so fast around me I become unbalanced and in danger of being swept away. I too need a shepherd.

You describe Yourself as The Good Shepherd, who knows His sheep, who will not lose one of His sheep, and who lays down His life for His sheep. And takes it up again. And for my part, even a stupid sheep knows their Shepherd’s voice. And I have heard Yours. You speak to me in Your Word of Your unconditional, sacrificial love for me. You encourage me with scriptures that offer inspiration and strength. You offer me direction with an inaudible voice in my heart. You amaze and bless me with the beauty and diversity of Your Creation: flowers, sunsets, vistas of mountains and beaches, a child’s face, a friend’s smile.

Thank You that You are my Good Shepherd, Lord. And that I am Your sheep. Amen

John 10:1-21

May 17 How do I praise?

Psalm 113 uses the word “praise” five times in three verses. That must mean it’s an important word. And yet not one I use much in everyday conversation.

One very significant way, I demonstrate that You are a part of my life Lord, is Praise. I give honor, worship, adoration to You, God in recognition of who You are, and in gratitude and thanks for what You have done.

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I like to use acrostics to help me remember things.  To help me make PRAISE an intentional, doable action  – I see PRAISE as

Putting

Real

Adoration

Into

Situations

Every day

To me that means:

Putting:   intentionally and on purpose, I do something

The groceries and the dishes don’t get put away unless someone does it. It’s the same with Praise –it doesn’t just happen, someone has to do it.

Real:    in a genuine and sincere way, honest – not forced, not hurried

I take time to literally communicate to You.  Sometimes it’s by words, a statement or a prayer, sometimes I write it down in a letter or journal, or I might write a poem, or song – I might sing it! Or just take a walk or take a moment and speak to You in my heart.

Adoration:   my appreciation, thanks, gratitude, even simple acknowledgment of who You are and what You’re doing, and have the power to do.

I hardly ever take a drive, that I don’t notice the mountains, or the sky or sunset. Do I say ‘wow, Mother nature is something!’ No, I thank You as the Creator of it all for giving me such a beautiful world to live in and look at!

Into Situations:   in the midst of whatever circumstances come my way, good or bad, deserved or unfair, difficult and trying or pleasant and joyful.

So if I see my child being awesome, I thank You for making me a mother! Or I pass a car accident, and ask You to help the people involved and strengthen the ones giving assistance, and then I thank You for protecting me from dangers, all the accidents I never knew about because they didn’t happen.

Every day:   on a daily basis. I don’t wait for a holiday or Sunday to come around! But spontaneously!

As things happen, thanks and appreciation is voiced. It may sound silly or awkward at first, but the more I do it, it just becomes a way of life, life in You.

So P-R-A-I-S-E, Putting Real Adoration Into Situations Every day means:

Intentionally, genuinely and sincerely, take time to communicate to You, my appreciation, thanks and gratitude in the midst of whatever circumstances come my way on a daily basis. Father, help me remember to fill my life with praise for You! Amen

Psalm 113:1-3

 

May 16 Praying Your Word

Father, I pray the words of this Psalm for myself, and my loved ones.praying-hands-on-bible

I give You praise!

Blessed am I because I fear You – have an earnest respect for You – and delight in knowing and obeying Your commands. May my children be mighty in the futures You have promised them. May they live uprightly so their generation will be blessed.

Thank You that I possess wealth and riches. Perhaps not as the world recognizes wealth and riches, but as You count them.   And thank You that Your righteousness remains with me forever. Even in the dark times, let me live in Your light as You give me grace and compassion to deal with whatever comes. Let goodness pour into my life. And let me generously pass that goodness on to others. I will seek Your justice in conducting my affairs and act in accordance.

As I have planted my faith in You, I will never be shaken. The world will not make me fall apart. Keep my heart strong even in the face of bad news, so I will not fear. But draw me ever closer to You, who I trust completely.   Because I know that You win in the end, my heart and mind are secure. I know that at the end of the age, when You return, all Your foes will be vanquished, and I will look triumphantly on those foes.

I will send my service and prayers and financial support to the poor, here and around the world. Let Your righteousness done through me, be remembered forever. And my family be remembered honorably. Amen

Psalm 112:1-9

May 15 Faith like David

painting-david-and-goliath(picture by Malcolm Gladwell)

Father, let my faith be like that of David.

As a child I learned of the battle of David and Goliath. I have seen it reenacted in pictures, on felt boards with paper figures, in Claymation, live with children or adults in costume, and in movies about the Bible. I think most people know of it as it has been referenced in many tv shows, movies, and news stories to describe any underdog fighting an overwhelmingly huge giant, whether in sports or business, countries or individuals.

In three main ways, I ask that You would grow my faith to be like David’s.

1 – He was able to look beyond himself . He did not just take Goliath as a personal threat the way the soldiers did, but recognized someone in defiance of You. Like most people, I interpret things in light of how they affect me, or my family. That limits the scope of the solutions I can perceive. It puts the focus on me to find a solution that I can perform. David saw an affront to You, making it Your battle. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

2 – He trusted that You had already prepared him for the battle. “When a lion or bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it, and killed it.”

And because of that, was able to turn from pressure to do what others suggested – the armor, helmet and sword.   I trust that You have already brought circumstances into my life to teach me how to deal with things. And that this has prepared me for what is to come. You have already intentionally, purposefully, given me spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, and experiences to make me who I am. Help me use those things instead of feeling like I have to conform to what others expect of me. Give me confidence in Your preparation for whatever battle confronts me.

3 – He voiced confidence in You and gave You the glory for the victory even before it happened! “…but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.   This day the Lord will hand you over to me…and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.”   My confidence is not always so certain. Sometimes I even try and do things with as little notice as possible, so if I fail, it won’t reflect badly on You.  This is another way I focus on myself, and what I can do. Help me see that the battle is Yours. And You can conquer all Your enemies! You will attain the victory!

Father, let my fear shrink and my faith grow! Let me look beyond myself to all You can do in and through me. I trust in Your purposefulness and Your preparation. Help me exemplify all this in the next challenge I meet. Amen

I Samuel 17:1-58

May 14 Help me choose obedience

Dear Father, let me learn the lesson of Saul from this passage of scripture. Let me remember that to obey is better than sacrifice.

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Father, what You want is obedience. That means that I put what You tell me above all else. I hold true to Your Word no matter what other people think or say. I do not bow to peer pressure. I do not change what You have sent me to do because I am afraid.

Saul weakened in the face of the opinion and pressure of the people, and did not obey completely. He even reasoned a way to convince himself he had indeed obeyed. But the prophet Samuel saw the truth of it and confronted him. Saul’s disobedience cost him the leadership of Israel. He would soon be replaced as king.

I need to remember that it is not how often I pray, or whether I make monetary donations to ministries, or give my time in mission work. The question is whether I have done what You have told me.

Help me to hear You clearly, Lord. And empower me to be strong enough to follow through completely. Give me whatever I need, so I can stand in the end, and say I was truly obedient. Amen

I Samuel 15:1-35

May 13 Praying Your Word

Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that You hear and answer my prayers. Thank You that You have and will continue to deliver me from trouble and tragedies I will never even know about because of Your divine protection.

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You tell me that my struggle is not with flesh and blood. So I pray this psalm against the rulers, powers, and world forces of this present darkness. I claim these psalm verses against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. I ask for Your victory as they exert their strength against my health, my relationships, my emotions, my faith and the work of my hands as I seek to honor and glorify You.

Lord Jesus Christ, these forces are wicked and deceitful. They open their mouths against me and speak against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me and attack me without cause. They accuse me and repay evil for good.

They love to pronounce a curse – so let curses come upon them; they find no pleasure in blessings, so let blessing be far from them. They wear cursing as a garment and it enters into their body like water and into their bones like oil. May their curses be like a cloak wrapped around them with a belt constantly tied around them.

Appoint an evil man to oppose them; let an accuser stand at their right hand. When they are tried, let them be found guilty, and may their prayers condemn them.

Lord Jesus Christ, let these forces be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame. Let them know that it is Your hand that has vanquished them!

They may curse me, but You, O Lord, bless me. I will lift Your name up in praise!   I will make known that You save according to Your love. And that You stand ready to save from those powers who would condemn. I praise You that Your powers are greater than any other, in heaven or on the earth. You are Supreme! Amen

Psalm 109:1-31; Ephesians 6:12

May 12 There is none like You

Because You can be trusted, O Lord, my heart is strong and steady. I am secure in my faith. I will stand steadfast and give You the praise You deserve!

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I will shout and sing!

I will make music that honors You with all that is in me! I will sing along with praise music. Add my voice to those of others in praise and worship. And will compose new songs that tell of Your faithfulness to me!

I will stay up late to praise You Father! I will even get up early when the sun is coming up to honor You! Break out the guitars, pianos, cymbals, harps, harmonicas, drums, whatever instruments can make music that acknowledges Your love and faithfulness!

Your love is boundless! As high as I can see with my eyes or even perceive with satellites to the farthest reaches of our galaxy – Your love goes farther still! Beyond what is calculable or even imaginable! I stretch out my arms to encompass all I can measure from end to end till it wraps around the earth and begins again – that’s the way Your unending faithfulness is. You are over and above and beyond all that I can see or comprehend! I place Your name above all others. Your glory is limitless!

With just the power and strength in Your right arm, You can save me from any foe, rescue me from any enemy, deliver me from any calamity. Deliver me Lord, from the lies and deceit of the evil one. Do not let me be pulled into false philosophies, lying schemes, or political intrigues only to see the truth when it is too late and I have been corrupted. I am Yours, Lord. Defend me and bring me to Your fortified place. Free me from the weaknesses of my flesh: selfishness, laziness, lust, jealousy, pride, arrogance, and greed. Help me against all these enemies. No one can help me like You. There is none like You!

With You, I am victorious! With You, nothing is impossible! Thank You for coming to my aid. Thank You for loving me faithfully. And for being lovingly faithful. Amen

Psalm 108:1-13

 

 

 

May 11 Meeting needs abundantly

Consider the great love of the LORD !

They:                                                              But God:

 

Wandered in desert wastelands with no place, no home; hungry, thirsty, fading

 

Led them by a direct path to a city with a place for home, good food and drink, revitalized them

 

Depressed, prisoners, suffering in chains, in bitterness rejected the Lord

 

Freed them, broke their chains, brought them out of darkness and gloom, loved them
Rebelled in foolishness bringing suffering upon themselves, dying

 

Healed them, saved their lives
Sought adventure and wealth, befallen by tragedy, discouraged, lost

 

Delivered from distress, calmed storms, provided safety, brought them home
Were needy Blessed them, lifted out of their affliction, increased their numbers, fed them

 

Imagine what He is willing to do for you !! And me!!  Amen

Psalm 107:1-43

May 10 The Best Father

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O Father, how many times have I behaved like the Israelites here, and asked for something so I could be like everyone else? Instead of trusting Your will and the plan You had for me, I settled for what You allowed because I asked for it.

So many times the wisdom of the world seems right. It makes sense to the mind. It pleases the eye. It pacifies the emotions. But one can follow logic and still be dead wrong.   A person can feel like things are going well, when they are not. Things can look good, but be rotten to the core. This is proven each time someone is tricked or duped; because we trust our eyes and our logic.

But You, Father, can see the end from the beginning. You have a perspective that I do not.

I protect my child when I prevent them from a danger I can see that they cannot. To them, it may feel like I am restricting them, not protecting them.   Hopefully as they grow, they trust my judgment until they can see the dangers for themselves.

And sometimes, I need to let them make their own choices, even if they are unwise, in order to learn for themselves. For instance, when you eat a tube of raw cookie dough, there are unpleasant consequences, even though it tastes really good during the eating part.

Though I like to think of myself as independent and smart enough to make wise decisions, I have learned that simply lining up pros and cons and judging by worldly standards is not the only or even the best method. I have access to the God who created the universe! You have wisdom I could never in a million years attain.   And praises to You, You are willing to share it with me!

Father, when I want something, let me examine my motive. Help me discern what is best from Your perspective. Give me godly understanding that surpasses the world’s view. And help me accept that wisdom if it turns out that what I think I want is not the best thing. Help me wait for the right thing. Teach me to be wise. Amen

I Samuel 8:1-22

May 9 How to remember

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Lord, thank You for the reminders in scripture today. Reminders of things You’ve already shown me this year, but bear repeating so I can really get it! I need to mark the victories in my life, and trust that You can do much with little.

When You defeated the Philistines with Your thunder, Samuel set up a stone there and named it Ebenezer. From the Hebrew ‘even’ – pronounced eh-ben – meaning stone and ‘ezer’ meaning help: it is a ‘stone of help’.   Stones would last a long time, so for generations, when anyone passed by the ‘Stone of Help’ they would be reminded that God helped and delivered them at this place in the battle against the Philistines.

ebenezerI too can commemorate significant moments in my life with things that remind me of Your deliverance and impact. It could be a piece of art, or jewelry, a song, poem or picture, something placed on my desk or walls or in my home or yard that has meaning to me, so that when someone comments on it, I can give the reason for its significance. That would be a fitting testimony to Your greatness. More than that, whenever I see it, it would be an encouragement to me of Your faithfulness and power in my life.

When You took the small offering of a young boy, two fish and five barley rolls, and fed five thousand with it, with much left over to spare; it reminds me that whatever gifts I bring to You, You can bless and multiply and use for purposes to glorify Your name. On those days when I feel like I have little to offer, I will remember that when I give it to You, the result is not dependent on the size of the gift. Whatever I bring, You can do and accomplish much more that I can even imagine.

Thank You for these reminders today, Lord. I will think back to remember times and events where You impacted my life in significant ways. And I will make my own ‘Ebenezers’ to be reminders for me and to be markers to others. And I will learn what my gifts are, and give them over to You to multiply and use to bless others. Thank You for knowing I need help remembering. Thank You for telling me over and over again things that are important, and of Your love for me. Amen

I Samuel 5:1-7:17; John 6:1-21

May 8 Make me like Samuel

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Lord God, make me as Samuel.

Samuel heard Your voice, and although he did not understand it all at first, he answered and was obedient. Father, when I hear Your voice, let my response also be “Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening.”

Samuel was only a child here, but he grew up in Your presence. You were with him. Sensitize my heart, my eyes, my ears; to see You at work, to hear Your voice, to feel Your presence. Let me recognize where You are, and purpose to be there.

Let me behave in a way that acknowledges that You are with me. Let me treat people as You would. Father, You know everything about me, even my thoughts. Help me grow in awareness that You are with me wherever I go. And let that be both a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance.

Father, reveal Yourself to me through Your presence as You did with Samuel. I have Your Word in the Bible! Help me set my priorities so I spend time in Your Word every day.   Let my actions, attitudes and words show other people that I have spent time with You. Don’t let me read Your scripture and walk away unchanged. But let Your words sink deep into my spirit and mind. Let them take root in my life and be the foundation for all I do and all I am.

Like Samuel, let me grow in stature and in favor with You and with men. Amen

I Samuel 2:22-3:19

May 7 It’s all about You

Father, let me be like Hannah.

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Let me be earnest and persistent in prayer as Hannah was, pouring out my feelings and heartaches to You. When I make a promise to You, help me to be true to my word as Hannah was, no matter how hard it is. Hannah gave back to You the very thing she prayed for: a precious son. Help me hold Your blessings loosely enough that I do not love them more than I love You.

I will rejoice as Hannah did over all You do for me. Help me acknowledge that all my blessings come from You. It is You who give life and take it away, You who send poverty and wealth. It is not by strength that I or anyone else prevails, but You who guard my feet and give me strength and victory over my enemies.

I delight in Your deliverance and in Your justice. You are the Lord God Almighty who knows and weighs all deeds. You laid the foundations of the world and set it in place. There is no one holy like You.   Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

I Samuel 1:1-2:21

May 6 Faith=things hoped for but not yet seen

Lord, may my faith be like that of the royal official. He asked for You to come and heal his child who was close to death. You simply told him “Go, your son will live.” And he took You at Your word and left.shield-492992_640

Even before he saw it with his own eyes, the circumstances proved that You did what You said You would do. They even revealed that it happened exactly when You spoke!

Father, help me trust in You and what You tell me, even when I can’t see the results immediately.   When it is not in front of my eyes and the doubt of the world pushes in, don’t let my faith waver. When it doesn’t seem to be happening quick enough let me be patient and trust that Your timing is perfect.

Reminds me of an old country hymn. Part of the lyrics say: ‘Take Him at His word when it’s not lookin’ good, believe that He’ll do what He said that He would…’

I believe. Amen

John 4:43-54

May 5 to save You reach around the world

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Lord God, You amaze me at how You use simple, ordinary people, men and women, to accomplish Your purpose. You sent believers all the way to Moab, at least sixty miles across the desert during a famine to reach Your faithful servant Ruth.   She made the famous statement, “Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, your people will be my people and your God my God” to her mother-in-law Naomi. Her faith and trust in You led her to be part of Your amazing plan of salvation, as she was in the lineage You were born into.

Here in the flesh You stopped in a Samaritan town and spoke to an immoral woman, something a respectable Jew would not have done. And in doing so, brought her the message of Your salvation. Through her, You saved many Samaritans that day.

You chose for me to be born into a believing family. Wherever I was, You were there with me, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, France, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Virginia, Colorado. All through those formative years, You made Your presence known to me. Even though everything else about my life changed: house, school, church, community, friends; You were always there.

There are so many who still do not believe You are who You are – Creator, Savior, King of Kings, Master, Wonderful Counselor, the One True God. But I know that You will move heaven and earth to reach them. You can use natural and divine events, travel across continents, reach into unrespectable communities, to make Yourself known. You can speak through a hurricane or a whisper, reveal Yourself in a majestic mountain or a delicate flower.   I trust You can bring my loved ones who I pray for to a saving knowledge of You.

Help me do my part. I can pray for them. I will let them see me praise You in good times and in bad. I will love them, and do my best to give them godly assistance and direction.   Show me when to speak and when to hold my tongue. Show me how to behave in a way that will draw them to You. Help me remove any stumbling block that would keep them from coming to You. Lord I thank You and praise You in advance for the celebration in heaven when they come to know You as Savior and live to glorify Your Name! Amen

Ruth 1:1-22; John 4:4-42

May 4 Freedom isn’t License

“In those days, Israel had no king and everyone did as he saw fit.”

What a gruesome and shocking act to read about in scripture. Yet this is what it took to wake up the Israelites to how bad things had gotten. I wonder, God, what it will take to wake up the people in my country? We do not have a king. But we have so many freedoms that pretty much everyone does as they see fit.

We take the lives of the old and infirmed and call it mercy. We murder the innocent unborn and call it choice.   We legalize immorality and call it lifestyle. Then our lawmakers vote raises for themselves and we stick our heads back in the sand.

You love the people, O Lord. But bad and wrong decisions abound. We have been misled. Even when You came in person from heaven and testified about heaven, not many believed You. It seems that is still the way it is today.

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Father, lead our nation back to You. Return to every believer the joy of their salvation. Bring a Revival of faith to our country that will return godly morality and love for each other as a way of life. Move us forward to be the greatest nation because it is in God we trust!

Regardless, I will sing to You all my life! I will sing songs of praise to You as long as I live! I will meditate on Your Word. Praise the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! Amen

Judges 19:1-20:48; John 3:27-36; Psalm 104:24-35

May 3 Breath of Life

What an interesting picture You painted for the man I call ‘Nic at night’: the Pharisee who came to You at night to ask questions. When he asked about being part of the Kingdom of God, You said to enter the Kingdom of God, one “must be born of water and the Spirit.”

One birth is from a watery darkness, the other a spiritual darkness. Our physical birth is from a dark, water-filled womb into the light of the sun here on earth. Our spiritual birth is from the dark realm of the evil one into the Light of the Son and into the kingdom of God.

breathofGodAdam and Eve are the only humans born only of the Spirit. You created their bodies and breathed Your breath into them, giving them physical AND spiritual life. The Hebrew word ‘ruach’ is translated as breath and spirit. They were spiritually alive and were able to walk and talk and have relationship with You. When they sinned, the punishment was physical and spiritual death. Physically, their bodies would die. And spiritually, they were separated from You and no longer had the same intimate fellowship with You.

Every human being since them was born by water, but is not spiritually alive until Your ‘ruach’, Your breath or spirit enters them. This happens at their spiritual birth.

Probably the most well known scripture is in today’s reading. “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” This is Your provision for that spiritual birth. When a person believes the truth of Your sacrifice and accepts that offer of Your sacrifice paying for their sin, Your ‘ruach’, Your Holy Spirit enters into them.

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Thank You Father for Your great love. Thank You for having a plan of spiritual birth giving me eternal life even after sin had entered the world and affected every human being. Thank You for being willing to make the tremendous sacrifice for me to be able to join the Kingdom of God. Amen

John 3:1-21

May 2 All His benefits

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“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”

O Lord, if I took a whole day, I could never list all the benefits You lavish on me. I take so many things for granted. Often I don’t even think about how every breath that I take is from You! And I should be thankful.

Beginning when I wake up in the morning, I am thankful that I do wake up! And that I can breathe clean air in a warm bed, in a secure house, with a family I love, with food to eat and clean water to drink and bathe in. I have more clothes in my closet than some people on this planet ever own in a lifetime! I have many pairs of shoes. It is a choice for me to eat breakfast or not. And if I choose to eat, I have several options of clean, untainted food in a kitchen with running water and convenient appliances to make food preparation almost effortless. My fridge keeps my food cold to preserve its freshness until I want it. Then, at the turn of a switch or the push of a button, I can cook it. Another button and my dishes are washed.

Just this part of my day is blessed far more than most of the people on this earth.

I live in freedom to be what I want to be, go where I want to go, with whom I want to be with. I can choose my career, my husband, my entertainment. I can worship You in the open however I want, read scripture without fear of arrest or imprisonment. I can attend public church services without being detained and beaten, or having my property seized, or my life forfeited.

When I step outside my house, I see a beautiful sky, majestic mountains, flowering trees, gorgeous flowers. We have warm, rainy, windy Springs, temperate Summers, gorgeously colored, cool Falls, and crisp, snow covered Winters – all four seasons in a beautiful and varied environment rich with birds of many kinds, singing their Spring songs and migrating south in the Fall.

On top of all this, You preserve my life, forgive my sins, deliver me from the oppression and deceit of satan. You show me love I did not earn, and pour out mercy and compassion on me I do not deserve. You satisfy my desires with good things, or remove those wrongful desires from me. You answer my prayers, guide me with Your wisdom, encourage me with Your Word, and have promised to take me into paradise with You for all eternity.

Father, help me remember every day to thank You for something. Open my eyes to things I take for granted, and accept my praise for Your goodness. Remind me at the beginning of every month, to come back and read Psalm 103 and spend time “forgetting not, all of Your benefits”. Amen

Psalm 103

May 1 I believe

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“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

In today’s scripture You come onto the scene and are recognized as Messiah, the Lamb of God, the One who saves! You came in the flesh, to my physical world to sacrifice Yourself to make a way for me to be reconciled to You. You are the Only Way. Yet there are still people who do not recognize You for who You are.

John recognized You because he was spiritually aware. You revealed to him that the one on whom he saw the Spirit of a dove come down and rest, was the Son of God. He saw that Spirit rest on You and could then know for certain, proclaim and testify that You are the Son of God.

Two of John’s disciples first followed You because they had studied with John. They knew the scriptures, the prophecies and trusted John’s testimony, so they believed. Nathanael believed because You knew things about him You could not have naturally known.

Lord God, You call and You save. But it is my personal decision whether to respond to or ignore Your call. It is my choice to accept Your salvation or reject it. I hear Your call and follow You. I accept Your free gift of eternal salvation. But, there are so many who do not. Lord God, Your Word says it is Your will that every single human being would be saved from the penalty of their sin. That penalty is death, eternal separation from You. You desire that they would answer Your call and accept Your payment for that sin and be reconciled to You.

Some will come to You because they are aware of spiritual truth, like John. Some will come because they study out the scriptures for themselves, or because someone they trust will share with them, like John’s disciples. Some will come because they see You doing things, miracles, that are not naturally possible. Father open the ears of those who do not yet know You, so they can hear Your call to them. Sensitize their minds, hearts, and spirits so they are ready to accept Your salvation. And show me how I can speak or act in a way that will draw people to You. Use me to point them to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.

A time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I can’t wait! Amen

John 1:29-51

Apr 30 The power of words

Jephthah is the very definition of a rash vow, a careless oath, a promise made without thinking.   At least he lived by his word and upheld his vow, but it cost his daughter her life!

Lord God, how often do I speak without thinking? Have I made promises I either had no way to meet or no intention of keeping?

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Help me be more aware of how I speak.   Do not let me take my words lightly. Let my yes be yes and my no mean no.

In Your Word, You teach me not to lie or give false testimony. As You became flesh and dwelt among us, You were a living example of speaking truth. So, I am to speak the truth in love and use words that are edifying to the other person.

I desire to use my voice to bless others, to sing of Your love and justice, to praise You.   Lord, set a watch over my mouth to make me aware of all I say. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen

Judges 11:29-40; Psalm 19:14

Apr 29 Teach me from all Your Word

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” 

“Everything must be fulfilled about Me that is written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”

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Father, explain to me and open my mind so I can understand the Scriptures! The Scriptures You referred to here are the books of the Bible from Genesis to Malachi. I was brought up referring to them as the Old Testament. Jews refer to these same books as The Tanakh. Made up of three parts: The Torah, the Neviim and the Ketuvim, the Torah is the first five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy.   The Neviim are the Prophets, so the twelve books of the minor prophets and nine written by major Prophets. The Ketuvim are the books of wisdom, scrolls and history.

You explained to the disciples that You are the Messiah promised in these Scriptures. You are the God in both Testaments! You are God of the whole Bible!

So I need to be familiar with all parts to understand You fully.  Lord teach me from both, and help me see the blessing in the connections. So much of the meaning in the Old Testament is lost to me unless I learn about the Hebrew customs and language. When I see what You said and did in the New Testament, I miss the depth of meaning without the context of what came before.

You are part of the Trinity in Genesis 1. When You said “Let Us make man in our image…” it was plural; in Hebrew ‘Elohim’.   When the prophet Isaiah spoke it was You he saw who would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace! He described You in his words when he said ‘a man of sorrows, familiar with pain, despised and rejected’. Zechariah saw that You would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, that You would die a violent death for all mankind. There are 351 prophecies in this Scripture that You fulfill.   And more yet to be fulfilled! How much more marvelous to know You as the Promise Keeper, the Prophecy Fulfiller! You are the One who speaks of the future, and has the power to bring it to pass!

The more I understand of who You are and all that You have done, the better I can know You. The more I know You, the more fully I can love You.   And the more I understand about prophecies yet to be fulfilled, the better prepared I can be to face the future, trusting in You as my Savior.

Thank You for being true to Your Word. Thank You that as I read and study, You reveal more and more of Yourself to me: my God in whom I trust! Amen

Luke 24:13-53

Apr 28 Teach me to be humble

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O Lord, Gideon was so courageous to lead Your people into battle, and so wise to refuse lordship over them when asked. He was discerning and humble enough to say that You were the One to rule over them, not him or his son. But he took the spoil from that victory, and used the gold to make a chest piece. It became a snare to him and his family and the Israelites who worshipped it.

Forgive me Lord when I act like that. When I have a victory in my life, I desire to celebrate it! Show me how to celebrate humbly, Lord: how to give the rightful honor to You and not myself. Get my attention if I stray into worshipping what You have given me, instead of You, the giver.

Help me be humble like Gideon was. And like Gideon, help me point people to You instead of accepting acclaim for myself.

By the same thinking, do not let me worship or revere another person because of their success.   Do not let me idolize them or give them the attention that is due You. It is so easy to want to rub shoulders with the famous and powerful, hoping that some of their notoriety or success will transfer to me through the connection.

Remind me Lord, that my hope is in You. It is You I trust with the plan for my life. It is You who can make things happen and bring about goodness and blessing. I trust Your timing and Your provision. And I give You the glory and thanks for all that comes my way. Amen.

Judges 8:18-27

Apr 27 Your attention, Your abundance

O Jesus. How hard it is to read of the awful beatings, the unfair treatment and the terrible crucifixion You endured. I cannot even imagine the pain You suffered and the overwhelming agony. So many around You were unsympathetic and called for Your death. Yet even in the midst of all this, You were concerned with others.

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When they crucified You, You called out for their forgiveness. And even as You were dying, You were not too busy to listen to the petition of one of Your hurting children.   The man on the cross next to You asked that You remember him, and You gave him paradise.

Father, You are like that with me. You hold the whole world together by Your power: the earth, the stars, the solar system. The motion of the seas is in Your hand, every storm, every person on the earth, not even a sparrow falls without Your awareness. Yet You are never too busy to hear my cry, my prayer, my thanks. Thank You, that I can come to You at any time and have Your attention.

And You always give more than You are asked. The thief asked for remembrance, You gave him paradise. Your mercy and grace overflows. Your lavish abundance is so great. Many times I ask for something and You blow me away with Your generosity and graciousness. And even when the answer is no, or wait, I can trust that You have my best in mind. Thank You for knowing even better than I, what I need. And for providing it.

The thief said “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.” It is the same with me. My deeds deserve death.   Only Your blood pays the penalty for my sin, and awards me life, not death.

Thank You for enduring death on a cross, so that I can walk with You in eternity. Thank You Father, for paradise.   Amen

Luke 23:13-43

Apr 26 Hearing God’s Voice

Father, thank You for the example of Gideon. What a great illustration to show me it’s ok to ask You for confirmation that I am indeed hearing from You. It’s important to be sure before taking action.

 

There are times when I am sure I hear You and understand what I am to do. But other times when, probably due to fear or reluctance on my part, I second guess myself and come up with lots of reasons why I might have misunderstood You.   I need to be reassured. So I am glad to know it is all right to ask for that reassurance.

I desire to follow in Gideon’s footsteps, Lord. Looking at his actions, I see it is first important for me to know who I am hearing from. He asked for confirmation and received absolute proof he was hearing from You.

Upon realizing it was truly You, he built an altar that acknowledged You as The One True God. Then, he was obedient in Your instructions to remove the worship of other gods, tearing down the false altar and Asherah pole. And even though he did this cautiously, You protected him and blessed him.

As he followed through with Your plan, he asked for clear validation. Gideon used a good example of something that would be unlikely if not impossible to have happened naturally.   So I too, need to be sure I’m not asking for a sign that will simply support my own desire; like, ‘Lord, if the sun comes up tomorrow I will know You mean…’

How do I verify I am hearing from You? Asking You to combust food is probably not the best route to go these days, although not beyond Your ability. And You have left Your written Word as a guide for me. So I have learned to ask three questions:

1 – Does what I hear agree with Scripture? The answer must be ‘yes’. I believe You will never tell me anything that contradicts what You have already told me in Your Word. So I must be familiar with Your Word.

2 – What will the result, or the fruit of the act be? It should lead to and produce the fruit of the Spirit; which is peace, patience, love, joy, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, and self-control. The acts of the flesh are immorality, idolatry, impurity, debauchery, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, envy, and the like. So I can look at the expected result and see where I am headed.

3 – Will it benefit my relationship with You, Lord? Everything I do will either draw me closer to You or pull me farther away in our relationship.

So I can ask the three questions. But if confusion still exists, it is good to know that I can come to You with whatever concern I have. And that You will answer me so I can be sure of Your direction. Thank You. Amen

Judges 6:1-40; Galatians 5:17-23

Apr 25 Remember – Commemorate

praise-1154566_640Heavenly Father, my memory is so bad when it comes to recalling all the times You have stepped in to rescue me. There have been relatively small things and really big things where You have acted on my behalf or worked things out for me. And at the time, words of thanks went up, but I wouldn’t say I did an adequate job of expressing my gratitude to You or cementing Your blessing in my memory.

Why is it I can remember toothpaste or cereal jingles from when I was a child, but can’t remember when You made a significant impact in my life? If only I could write a silly jingle whenever I am thankful…

Your people were so greatly impacted with the victory over Sisera and Your defeat of his army, freeing them from twenty years of oppression, that they wrote and sang a song about it. What a great way to commemorate the occasion and pass on what happened to others! Perhaps that would be something that would improve my memory too!

Seriously – I could adapt the song ‘Jesus loves me’…

Jesus loves me this I hear

For He healed my young son’s ear

Doctors sang a surgery song

Jesus healed it – they were wrong!

 

Jesus loves me this I think

‘cause He saved our backed up sink

Friends had costly plumbing jobs

now our water drains, no clogs!

 

It’s no ‘Deborah’s Song’ but the sentiment is genuine, the gratitude sincere, and I will remember this – and even sing it to friends!

Whether with songs or words, prayers or journals, I will be more intentional about recording the ways You impact my life and reveal Your love for me. Ways that I can demonstrate my gratitude, record for my own memory, and share with others. Thank You! Amen

Judges 4:1-5:31

Apr 24 Generations

Lord I can see how a generation grew up different from their parents. They were at peace, so did not see the amazing battle victories and miraculous deliverances that their parents had been a part of. There was not as much visible reason to be grateful to You. All they knew was peace, so that seemed the norm for them, provided at seemingly no cost.

grandfathersMy father and grandfathers lived in a time when there was war and the freedom for America had to be fought for and defended. Sometimes called ‘the Greatest Generation’, they poured into institutions and community in a sacrificial way to create a better life for their children and grandchildren.

My generation benefitted from that and in enjoying the freedom, stood on their shoulders to reach farther in science, technology and all kinds of advances because we didn’t have to worry about our national security. In that era of peace and advancement, we blessed our children with a sheltered, problem free life.

I have seen in this generation of 25-40 ‘somethings’, that there are some men and women who didn’t see their parents go off to war, never had their security threatened until 911, and grew into a people with a sense of entitlement. Many believe the world owes them a living doing whatever they choose to do. And the government owes them security without any of them having to fight for it. They seem unwilling to live a disciplined life to secure what they want.

But I also see many who are sold out to You, and living godly lives despite the worldly attitudes around them. May all our generations wake up and realize how far we have come from true worship of the One True God before we are, like the Israelites, handed over to our enemies.   You raised up judges, deliverers in those days. I pray we will listen to the voice of those You send to wake us up.

Judges 2:10-3:31generations

Apr 23 Time Management

O Father, You have always been my God. Even before I knew who You were, I saw the beauty of Your creation. You put the mountains in place, You created the seas and all that is in them. Yet even before there was earth and sky, You were there. You are “from everlasting to everlasting”.

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You tell me “a thousand years is like a day in Your sight”. Your sense of time is far different from mine. I cannot even imagine it. So I ask You, who knows time and all things, to teach me to live each day to the fullest. Teach me how to measure out my energy for what is important. Do not let me fall victim to the ‘tyranny of the urgent’. Help me put thought into setting my priorities for spending my time and my energy. Many things of value are not urgent, but are significant. If I only deal with the urgent, the important things slip by.

I desire to live intentionally, not let my life pass by without doing all I can to honor and glorify You.   But already, days slip by, weeks, seasons and even years; and I wonder where the time went.   Father, do not let one more day pass that I do not consider what You want me to accomplish. And show me how to make time for it.

Give me a revelation, a vision for the next part of my life. Show me how to get from here to there in steps I can see. Help me to know when something interrupts, whether it is a distraction or a divine opportunity.

I lay my life before You Lord. Guide me. Show me.   Thank You for the years I’ve already lived. And let me live each new one for You. Amen

Psalm 90:1-12

Apr 22 One True God

When I say, “I will serve the Lord”, these are word of intention and obligation. I do not just sit back and allow whatever comes to come, saying ‘It must be the will of the Lord’.  Saying “I will serve the Lord”, carries the responsibility to recognize and reject all other powers and gods that have somehow gotten into my life, and to act intentionally to perform service affirming that You, the Lord, are my God.

What does that look like?

idolatryI can certainly avoid setting up a statue of wood or stone and laying offerings in front of it as acts of worship. But in my world today, besides countless religions, there are many forms of ‘worshipping other gods’.   They are usually looked upon as either entertainment or common sense.

As an example, it is common sense to take care of our environment, reduce our carbon footprint, not waste resources. But there are those who do this not out of respect for Your creation, but because they believe in and worship the earth as a power itself. Environmentalism has become a religion, worshiping ‘Mother Earth’.

For the sake of ‘entertainment’ many people are enticed by the idea they can learn the future, or who say they ‘dabble’ in the occult. What harm is ‘dabbling’? They may read horoscopes, go to fortune tellers, read Tarot cards, play with ouija boards, channel or séance to speak to the dead, even summon satan. The ‘fun’ they participate in opens their hearts and spirits to unseen powers of influence they may not realize.

The truth is, there is power there that scripture tells us to have nothing to do with. Participating in those practices is a form of worship. Believing as truth what is revealed there is attributing a godlike power to the activity or persons involved.

And then, there are some who elevate the desire to succeed or to look youthful to a level of worship, as it guides and motivates everything they do; how they make decisions, where they spend their money.

It is so easy to allow things I enjoy or love to become an unhealthy form of worship; whether it’s my children, my job, sports, movies, food, self.   Help me be vigilant to be sure I worship only the One True God. Thank You Jesus, for revealing this truth to me. Help me recognize it in my own life, and turn from any form of ‘other’ worship, so that I only serve You. Amen

Joshua 24:14-24  

Apr 21 Obey Your Word, Walk in Your Presence

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In today’s scripture, You give two passages that tell me how to be blessed. I acknowledge and desire to follow those instructions.

Lord, help me “be very strong; to be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. I will not associate with those who do not follow You by invoking the names of their gods or swear by them. I will not serve them or bow down to them. I will hold fast to You.”

Lord, I can only be careful to obey Your Word if I know Your Word. So I will read it and study to understand it. I will pray and ask for understanding when I am confused or in doubt. I will not ever call upon the names of other gods, because there is no other God but You. There is none like You. There is no other name under heaven by which I am saved. Your power alone created the universe. I will worship You alone, and seek Your direction and wisdom for my life.

The next passage tells me “blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence”.   Father, I give glory to Your name only, because of who You are and what You have done. You are Most Holy God. You are all-powerful and all-knowing. You created the heavens and the earth. You created man and set him in this place to have fellowship with You. When he broke that fellowship by sinning, You made a way of reconciling man to You: through Your blood on the cross. And because I accept that gift I can walk in the light of Your presence once again.

The light of Your presence is where truth is revealed, nothing is hidden, nothing is feared. Your presence dispels darkness. To be present with You is to talk with You and listen to You – Your responses in prayer, in Your Word and through the Holy Spirit. It is to rest in You, fearing nothing.

So I rejoice in Your name. I trust in Your righteousness. You are my protection, my King, the Holy One. And I am blessed. Amen

Joshua 22:21-23:8; Psalm 89:14-18

 

Apr 20 Love and Faithfulness

“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever”

sing of love faith pianoSo many songs have been written about Your love: ‘Jesus Loves Me’ comes to mind. Others are ‘He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane…’ ‘Your love never fails’. So many I could sing for a long time about Your love without even repeating or making up my own. My own songs would reflect how You loved me before I was even born. You loved me growing up, before I even knew You.   Your love protected me and brought me to a place where I understood who You are and what You did for me because of Your love. You love me when I am unlovely, when I behave badly, when I am cross, tired, frustrated, selfish, prideful, totally undeserving of anyone’s love.

“with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations”

There are probably just as many songs about Your faithfulness: ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ ‘Amazing Grace’. But beyond singing about Your faithfulness to every promise You’ve made in Your Word, to Your chosen people, to the prophecies in the Bible; I can tell of Your faithfulness to my nation, my family, to me. You have been faithful when I have not. You have carried and protected my family from tragedy and trouble time and again.

Every single day, I can tell one person an example of Your faithfulness in my life.   I can write these things down, so others can read them when I am gone. I can post them on social media. I can be sure younger people are aware that You love them, and that You will keep Your promises to them too.

Another song says: ‘There is none like You. I could search for all eternity long and find there is none like You.‘ Not in heaven. Not on earth. Not under the earth. No one with Your Sovereignty, or Your Power, Your Authority or Your Compassion, Your Creativity, Your Wisdom, Your Faithfulness, Your Love. None. And I will proclaim it! Amen

Psalm 89:1-13

Apr 19 Only God can make a tree…

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”

I am sick of waiting for some people to make good on their promises. The delays that come are hard to take. Even when I can understand there may be a good, logical reason behind the postponements, it doesn’t make the waiting any easier. And when no reason is apparent, the frustration builds up and I literally feel ill.

When I put my hope in people, this happens time and time again. Wondering when they will come through, the anxiousness of not knowing when things can be planned due to the uncertainty, desiring something but having the anticipation dragged on and on indefinitely – all these things bring mental exhaustion and emotional collapse!

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but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Thank You Father, that all Your promises are true. You promise salvation and You deliver. Your mercy and grace are renewed every day. You always forgive and never leave me. All this is according to Your Word, Your promise.

When I think of all a tree provides, it is comforting. A tree is beautiful to look at. It is sturdy and provides shelter to sit or stand under or hide behind. It’s boughs and leaves give shade from the heat. I can lean up against it, climb it, sit in it, hide in it.   Depending on the type, it’s leaves may be a balm of healing, or its fruit may be nourishment.  A tree of life is life giving and life sustaining.

So what a beautiful picture this verse paints of Your provision in a world where there can be so much disappointment.

Father, I place my trust, my hope in You. If I have hopes or longings that are not God honoring, please remove them from me. Do not let me become sick waiting or hoping for something that is not right for me. Show me where I need to move my focus or change my perspective.   When I need to wait on Your plan or purpose, help me wait patiently, purposefully and prayerfully. And when my longings are fulfilled, remind me to thank You and give You the credit.

For all You have already done, and for all You will do, thank You Father. Amen

Proverbs 13:12

Apr 18 Learn from a tax collector

Lord, make me like Zacchaeus!

Zacchaeus

Let me be willing to do whatever I need to do to see You and hear from You personally! Even if it means doing something that might make me look silly to others; like climbing a tree! (as Zacchaeus did)

Let me be completely changed by Your presence and Your words. Zacchaeus became charitable. And he was willing to recognize his wrongs, and right them! Help me look and see where I need to right any wrongs I’ve done and take on new, positive character traits.

For being a ‘wee little man’ he made a BIG impact on people around him; especially those who saw the change in him. Father, change what needs to be changed in me, and let me make a godly impact on all those around me. Amen

Luke 19:1-10

Apr 17 Learn from the blind beggar

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and answer me.   Thank You for guarding my life. Father, I devote that life to You. You are my God and I am Your servant who trusts You.”

boy-2026186_640Father, there are so many things I am trusting You for right now. Things that I cannot see how, and have no evidence will ever happen. I guess that’s what faith and trust are all about: believing in what is not yet seen. There are so many hopes and dreams I have that may never come true. Yet I completely trust that if they are what is best for me or my family, You will bring them to be. Because You make Your servant glad, and bring me joy!   And out of that abundance, I will give glory to Your name.

Lord let me learn from the blind beggar. First, when he heard You were passing by, he knew You could heal him. Father, when I have a need, let me come straight to You with it confident that You have the desire and the power to help. And remind me to be persistent like he was.

Next, when You asked, he knew exactly what he wanted. Help me see my need for what it is, not hide it or deny it.

And last, when You answer my prayer, my request, let other people see it and praise You!

I praise You Lord, with all my heart, as I bring my requests to You. I ask for Your strength when I am under attack. When I am discouraged let me feel Your presence. Increase my faith as I learn truth from Your Word and apply it to my life. Teach me Your way. Help me walk in Your truth.   Let me always honor and revere You.

Thank You that I can call on You when I am in trouble. I know You will answer me. For all this and more, I thank You Lord. Amen

Psalm 86:1-17; Luke 18:35-42

Apr 16 Your Voice, not the world

LToHear God's Voiceord, let me and my sons be like Caleb and Joshua. They spied out the Promised Land and saw all the goodness there.   They also saw the enemy for who they were, but knew that You would give victory and deliver them according to Your Word. They held to their convictions and lived a long life receiving all You had promised. Even in their old age, they were strong and vigorous because they served You wholeheartedly.

I do not know if goodness or enemies lie before me, but I know if I serve You wholeheartedly, I will receive all You promise. Your will, Your plan will not be thwarted. I will be blessed and receive an inheritance from You.

Father, let me also be like the widow who made her plea persistently. Let my faith be that I will not give up, but always lift my concerns and needs to You in prayer.   When You return, let me be found faithful, continuing in prayer, not being dissuaded by circumstances or the influences of this world.

Also, Lord, keep me mindful that my only righteousness comes from You, so I will not look down on anyone else, but remain humble. I am ever dependent on You, on Your mercy and on Your grace for my life and all that I have. Thank You for Your faithfulness – to warriors, to widows, to me. Amen

Joshua 14:6-15; Luke 18:1-14