Category: Be Like

June 2 Guide me

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Father, thank You for meeting me where I am. Don’t ever let me try to live life without You.  Even when I don’t know which way to go, I desire the companionship of Your company and the blessing You offer when I am following Your instruction. 

After Your resurrection, several of Your disciples returned to fishing.  But one long night when their efforts yielded no catch, You found them.  From the shore, You 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.

Lord, there are so many things pulling at me, personally and in our world today – Covid, injustice, disunity, evil abounding in abuse of power.  So many things seem broken; and that’s on the large scale of what’s happening in the world and in my country.  I am saddened and overwhelmed.

Father, please bring comfort and healing to those families who have suffered at the hands of evil men and women.  Rescue them and bring them the peace that only You canExpose and punish the evil ones.  Let us see Your justice.

Father, when we feel lost, individually or as a nation; find us wherever we are. Show us 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 wayHelp me be humble enough to accept Your instruction, and obedient to follow it.  Amen

John 21:1-14

June 1 Doubt? or Believe!

“Stop doubting and believe.”

quote-1444099_1280Often 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.  Don’t let me be frozen by fear, or hesitate in half-heartedness.  Do not let me doubt Your Word or Your leadingRemind 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 meLet 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 20:19-29

May 30 You bring Hope and Help

Heart of handsFather, 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 use their sons as secret couriers for David.  Another friend agreed to stay behind and act as a spyDavid 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, David took no revenge, but was humble to accept whatever You might allow 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, 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 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 24 An audience of One

post-it-from JesusFather, 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.

And 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. No matter what is happening in the world, no matter how overwhelming my circumstances seem, I can come to You with the assurance that You are there, and listening.  And that You have the power and the desire to interact with me to help me handle whatever the world or the evil one throws at me.

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!  Amen

2 Samuel 6:12-23; John 14:1-4

May 23 Live in humility

011-jesus-washes-feetDear 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.

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.  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.

John 13:1-17

May 19 not my first thought…

abigail-icons-of-the-bibleLord, 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 who 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 YouKeep my spiritual ears open so I may too.  Amen

I Samuel 25:1-44

May 15 Faith like David

Father, let my faith be like that of David. 

As a child I learned of the battle of David and Goliath.  I think most people know it as a reference that describes any underdog fighting an overwhelmingly huge giant, whether in sports or business, countries or individuals.

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

1 – He looked 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 and prepare me for whatever is to come.  Intentionally, purposefully, You have 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 I face.

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 as quietly as possible, so if I fail, it won’t reflect badly on You.

Father, let my fear shrink and my faith grow!  Even with all that is happening in the world today, let me look beyond myself to all You can do in and through me.  I trust in Your purposefulness and Your preparation.  And I will be victorious!  Amen

I Samuel 17:1-58

May 11 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 8 Make me like Samuel

bible-coffeedrawnearLord God, make me as Samuel. 

Samuel was only a child here, but he grew up in Your presence. You were with him and he felt it. Sensitize my heart, my eyes, my ears; to see You at work, to hear Your voice, to feel Your presence. 

Father, You know everything about me, even my thoughts.  Help me grow in awareness that You are with me wherever I go.   Let me recognize where You are, and see Your purpose in having me where I am.  

And let that be both a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance.

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.” 

Reveal Yourself to me through Your Word: the Bible.  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. 

Let me hear You speak to me through nature, Your creation.  And as I pray.  And through other believers.  And in visions. And through my circumstances.

Help me set my priorities so I spend time in Your Word every day.  Every day let me make time to listen for Your voice.  And then let my actions, attitudes and words show other people that I have spent time with You

Let hearing Your voice change me. And like Samuel, let me grow in stature and in favor with You and with men.  Amen

I Samuel 2:26; 3:1-19

It’s all about You

Father, let me be like Hannah. 

Hannah wordsLet me be earnest and persistent in prayer as Hannah was, pouring out my feelings and heartaches to You.

Father, there is much in the world to heartbroken over: illness, abuse, death, poverty, political disunity, injustice.  And You know each individual and their personal needs.   You know the desire of my heart as You knew Hannah’s.  Help me not give up, but persevere, keep praying, trusting in Your timing: for healing, for salvation, for peace.

And like Hannah, when I make a promise to You, help me be true to my word, 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. You who heal and save.

It is not by strength that any of us prevails, but You who deliver, give me strength, and give victory over our enemies.

You are the Lord God Almighty who knows all and weighs all deeds.  You laid the foundations of the world and set it in place.  There is no one holy like You.  You are the Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness.  You are my God.

Thank You for answering prayer.  Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

I Samuel 1:1-2:11

May 6 Faith = things hoped for but not yet seen

shield-492992_640Lord, 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.

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.

Even now, we are waiting with baited breath, to see when our country will return to normal…for people to get their jobs back, to travel freely without fear of exposure, connect again with those they have missed for so long with visitation shut down in our hospitals, nursing homes and prisons.

Father, we are calling out to YouLet us hear Your answer.  And then go on our way in faith.  Trusting, that You’ve got this.

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

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: 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.

No matter the circumstances, 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 8:22-28

Apr 26 Hearing God’s Voice

Father, thank You for the example of Gideon.  On two occasions Gideon asked for a sign before moving forward. What a great illustration to show me it’s ok to ask You for confirmation that I am indeed hearing from You.

There are times when I am sure I hear You and understand what I am to do.

But other times when, due to fear or reluctance on my part, I second guess myself and wonder if I have misunderstood You. So I am glad to know it is all right to ask for that reassurance.

 I desire to follow in Gideon’s footsteps.

His first confirmation:  The offering he brought was consumed by fire.

His first obedience: Upon receiving absolute proof he was hearing from You, Gideon tore down the altar to Baal and the Asherah pole and built an altar acknowledging You as The One True God. Even though he did this fearfully, You protected and blessed him.

His second confirmation: A wet fleece on dry ground, followed by the dry fleece on wet ground.

His second obedience:  Gideon followed through with Your plan to save Israel.

Gideon used a good example of something that would be unlikely if not impossible to happen naturally. 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 or wet a fleece like Gideon may 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. Consequently, 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 know that You will answer me so I can be sure of Your direction.

Thank You that You let me hear Your voice.

Give me the courage to be like Gideon and act on all You tell me.  Amen

Judges 6:11-40; Galatians 5:17-23

Apr 18 Learn from a tax collector

ZacchaeusLord, make me like 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.

Remind me to set aside time to hear from You.  Show me how to grow in my spiritual life.  Open my spiritual eyes and ears to hear what You have to say to me, and respond with understanding and obedience.

For being a “wee little man” Zacchaeus 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

boy-2026186_640“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.”

Lord, there are so many things I am trusting You for right nowthings that I cannot see, and have no evidence will ever happen.  I guess that’s what faith is all about: believing in what is not yet seen.

Lord let me learn from the blind beggar.

First, when he heard You were passing by, he knew You could heal him and persisted asking for Your help.

So when I have a need, let me come straight to You; confident that You have the desire and the power to help.  And remind me to be persistent like he was.

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

And last, when You answer my prayer, as You answered the beggar’s, let other people see it and praise You!

Lord, as I bring my requests to You, I come praising You with all my heart.  I praise You that when I am under attack I can ask for Your strength.  I appreciate that sense of Your presence with me when I feel discouraged.

I exalt You for teaching me truth from Your Word and showing me how to apply it to my life; which increases my faith.  I glorify Your name as You guide me in Your wisdom, and give me discernment.

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 86:1-13; Luke 18:35-42

Apr 16 Your Voice, not the world’s

Lord, let me and let my sons be like Caleb and Joshua.

ToHear God's VoiceThey 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.

Help  us not listen to the world or the voices of the enemy who wants us to be discouraged and overwhelmed.  Draw us to seek out Your promises and hold to those even in the face of trials and trouble.  Let us see Your hand at work in our lives.

Remind us that when we serve You, we will receive all You promise.  Your will, Your plan will not be thwarted.  Even in my old age, help me be faithful, and I will be blessed and receive an inheritance from You.

Father, let me also be like the widow who made her plea to the judge so persistently that she received the justice she wanted.  Let my faith be unstoppablenot giving up, but lifting 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.

Lord, keep me and my loved ones 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

Apr 15 Let me be the one

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Only one in ten came back to thank You, Jesus, for a healing that was a complete miracle.

These men had become outcasts in their society.  They stood at a distance and shouted “unclean” because that’s what they were required to do by law.  A person with leprosy was called “untouchable” and could not approach another person; but had to keep their distance from uninfected people.

Leprosy was a disease that progressed once you were infected, so there was really no hope of ever being cured or being able to participate in society again.  Family, loved ones, friends, all were relinquished, as these lepers were put out into communities of their own.

They would never again be able to hold their child, kiss their beloved, shake hands with a friend, or give a warm embrace to a family member.   This disease brought a new, cruel way of living to those cursed by it.

So for this disease process to be cured, reversed, was an absolute miracle!

For those ten men to once again enter society and be able to touch and be touched, changed every aspect of their lives completely.

I wonder then, why did only one turn and express his thanks? 

Were the other nine being obedient – going first to show the priest as You told them?    Did they intend to come back later?  Were they unsure the healing was real?  Were they so filled with joy at the prospect of all it meant to be healed, that they forgot You, their Healer?

You point out that the one who returned was a foreigner.  Perhaps that one did not feel worthy of a Jewish healing from a Jewish Master?  Perhaps the others felt deserving of what they received?

I don’t know.  But it does speak to my heart of how often I too, forget to thank You.

I take for granted so many things until I am reminded like this.  Or until I see someone who is worse off than me, or has bigger problemsOr until I lose something, and realize I wasn’t really grateful while I had it.

Thank You for the good times I’ve experienced and the blessings I’ve received from You.  And I also thank You for the trials.  For growing my faith and giving me the endurance I need to outlast the trials.

Father, help me begin every day with thanks and praise to You for life, for breath, for energy to rise, for clothes to wear, food to eat, clear thinking to reason with, a home to live in, transportation.  Thank You for loved ones in my life, family and friends who care, faith, hope, and loveHelp me express my gratitude and thank You in word, in song, in praise, in the way I treat others, for the trials and the blessings in my life!

Let me always be like the one.  Amen

Luke 17:11-19

Apr 10 Make me like Moses, Joshua, and Rahab

charactertraitsO Lord, You encourage me with people like Moses and Joshua and Rahab.  You took these three ordinary and flawed people and used them mightily for Your glory, to bring about Your plan.

It gives me hope that You can use me too.

You brought Moses, born of slaves, cursed by Pharaoh to be killed in the Nile, out of the deadly waters and empowered him to be Your instrument in freeing Your people from slavery and leading them to the Promised Land.

Father, help me be obedient to all You say to me, as Moses was.  Use me in Your plan.  Let it be said of me as it was of Moses: when she was old “[her] eyes were not weak nor [her] strength gone.”

Joshua was willing to voice his faith and trust in You when the prevailing views were opposed.  You made him strong and very courageous.  Help me “obey Your law” and “not turn to the right or to the left from it” so I may be successful wherever I go.

Let me not be tempted off Your path by the world or its values, but cling to what I know is right in Your eyes.  Let me not ignore what Your Word, the Bible tells me is true.  Remind me to read it so I know what is in it.  How else will I know what is right?  I know, like Joshua did, that You are “with me wherever I go” so I will not be terrified or discouraged.

And even when all around me are situations and powers that represent and support the lure of the world and the lust of the flesh, let me be like Rahab, listening to and trusting in the Holy Spirit.  By doing so she saved her family.  Strengthen me to be willing to take risks for you.

All these remind me of a song from my childhood: “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me.   I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.”

Father, help me be brave enough to stand alone if need be, on Your Word.   Let me be so sure of how You are leading me that there is no fear in standing up for You.

Speak to me and give me understandingShow me how to apply that understanding to my life in ways that bring honor to You.  Thank You.  Amen

Deuteronomy 34:1-Joshua 2:24

Mar 30 Real Faith

Dear Father, may I have faith like Jairus and the woman who reached out to touch the hem of Your robe.

hem-garment1

Jairus came to You knowing his daughter was sick unto death.  Probably the wisdom of doctors and medical science had done all they could; and still he came, believing, expecting that You could be the source of her healing.  Even when he received word that his daughter was dead, You told him not to be afraid, and he responded with faith.

So many times I let the circumstances around me determine how much faith I have. 

If things look good and I am reasonably sure they will work out, I have a greater level of faith that my prayer will be answered favorably.  After all, if it’s likely things will work out, I’m not really depending on You for that much.

If things look really bad, I may cry out, but am I really expecting You to act on my behalf?  Or do I hedge my bet?

The woman with an issue of blood believed she wouldn’t even have to ask; that if she merely touched You – wait, not even You, but only the hem of Your robe that she would be healed.   And she was!

What amazing faith!

They received these amazing, miraculous blessings, Lord, because their faith was in the One who is worthy.  My faith is also in the One who is worthy.

I am blessed, because the outcome is not dependent on me, but on You.  The outcome is not dependent on how the circumstances look.  All the faith in the world does no good if it is misplaced.  Thank You for being the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  Amen

Luke 8:40-56

Mar 28 Burnout or Peace?

Lord, I do not desire to be a stiff-necked person.  Yet there are so many times I have been obstinate, stubborn, and wanted my own way!

Situations come up in my life, and the first thing I think of is how it can work out best for me.  I don’t think of myself as selfish, but I certainly do prefer when circumstances benefit me and don’t rock my boat.

hurry-2119711_640There are so many things beyond my control that I seek to tightly control the things that are within my grasp.  I do what I can to plan my work and work my plan.  I try and keep a handle on and stay on top of events, relationships, finances, schedules, health issues, family, home.

The truth is: my being in control is just an illusion.  I am not really in control of anything.  [add in 2020 – This year and the corona crisis had made that remarkably clear for all of us.]

But by Your grace, I make it from one day to the next, one month to the next, one year to the next.

I believe You are a God of order.  You created the universe with order.  You ordered the solar system, and the seasons, life cycles and day and night.

If You can handle the universe, You can certainly handle the details of my life.  The control I desperately seek, I can trust to You.  I need to do my part, but I can release that part of me that seeks to insist on my own way; that seeks to “feel” in control.

A new way of thinking for me is to ask how the circumstances in my life can be used to bring You glory.  How can I respond in a way that shows that my peace and confidence come from You, the Lord God Almighty, instead of being dependent on whether or not things work out my way?

man on rok overlooking skysea

Help me LordKeep my heart sensitive to what You are doing so I can join you.  Keep my mind focused on what You are showing me and teaching me through Your Word, about how to let go.

I have heard that I cannot do Your part, and You will not do my partGive me the discernment to know which is which.   And the courage to let my actions reflect that.  Amen

Deuteronomy 10:12-22

Mar 9 The Olive Tree

O Father, thank You for teaching me about the significance of an olive tree.  As I studied in the Garden of Gethsemane, I learned of the value of all that the olive tree stands for and produces.

So I pray the verses with new understanding“As for me, I am like an olive tree flourishing in the House of God”

olive and me

As for me, Lord, may I be like a green olive tree flourishing in Your House:
May I be alive, vibrant, and growing
May I produce abundant fruit in season,
May I have long thick roots that penetrate deep into spiritual soil.

May I grow protected from harm and harshness because I abide in Your House O Lord.  Thank You that as my gardener, You tend to me personally to be sure I have everything I need to grow healthy and strong.

May I grow in community, surrounded by others, our roots and trunks intertwining like olive trees grow, without comparing myself to them, but shading them, and drawing needed shade from them.

May I draw on the strength of being in community with those You have placed around me so I can persevere and remain strong even when the winds come, leaning on others and providing stability for them in return.

May I stand in the midst of others for years and years and years to come, like the two 2400 year old olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane.  They stood by You as  You knelt on that fateful night and prayed before Your arrest and Crucifixion.

Let me be like the olive tree that is both beautiful to look at and amazing in purpose.

May others see me and see Your care, and be drawn to You through me.

As the olive tree produces food to eat, and oil for lamps, soaps for cleansing, and ointments for anointing and healing; let me be nourishment and light and cleansing and blessing and healing to those around me.

I will trust in Your loving-kindness and unfailing love for ever and ever –

Even when I am confused
Even when I can’t see Your will at work
Even when I don’t feel Your presence
Even when the world denies it
Even through tears and pain and sorrow

I will thank You for all You have done
I will hope in Your Name, for it is good
I will praise You – forever. Amen

Psalm 52:8-9

Jan 24 Speak a blessing

godbless-youHoly Father, here You depict another way I desire to be like Israel: speaking words of blessing over his sons and grandsons.

I pray that my words would be a blessing to my children.

So many times, I open my mouth to speak before I think, and the result is not a blessing.

Father, train me in the ability to speak the truth in love. Set a watch over my mouth to stop unthinking or hurtful words before they are spoken, and damage is done. For once spoken, words cannot be unheard.

I believe You must have revealed to Israel what to say to each son, where to put his hands for the blessing, even as he intentionally switched his hands to bless Joseph’s sons. This was not according to the tradition of the time. Neither was the blessing where he gave Judah leadership of the house of Israel and Joseph the double portion. Those both should have been passed to the oldest.

Oh Lord, let me be so close to You that I also hear what You are telling me and let me be obedient even if it goes against the traditions of man or of the times.

One way I can bless my children is by using Your very words. Today I pray these words for my sons by inserting their names:

“O Lord, answer _______ when he is in distress;” (place in his heart the desire to call out to You, and let him hear Your voice above all else going on in his life) “may the name of the God of Jacob protect _______.” (protect his life, his health, his relationships, his mind, his emotions, his spirit, his work, his comings, his goings)

 “May You send _______ help from Your sanctuary” (where You sit enthroned and have angels to be Your messengers and do Your bidding) “and grant him support from Zion. “

 “Would You give _______ the desire of his heart” (and remove any desires that would take him away from You) “and make all his plans succeed.” (as You direct his steps)

 “We will shout for joy when _______ is victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God!” Amen !

When his work was done, Israel “drew his feet up into his bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Israel finished the work You sent him to do.  In this I seek to be like him also.  Father, direct my path so that I finish the work You have sent me here to do.

Knowing what awaits me as a believer, I so desire to be with You rather than in the dimness of this earth. Do not let me outstay my usefulness to You. Please don’t leave me here one minute beyond what is necessary. I want to do and be all You have sent me here for. And bless those who cross my path.  Amen

Genesis 48:1-49:33; Psalm 20:1,2,4,5

Jan 15 His eye is on the sparrow

sparrowOh God my Father, I too, sometimes have days where I feel like the Psalmist David who writes this prayer for help in trouble. He sings his troubles to You O Lord, as he writes this to his chief musician.

Like David, I also pour out my heart to You, Oh God. There are circumstances in my life where I feel You have turned away from me, hidden Your face from me. I cannot see You, or feel Your presence and do not know when You will act.

I pray and call out for You to make it right: for healing, for restoration, for vindication, for strength, for wisdom, for justice. I can think of challenges, troubles, where I need each of these; and You know them too, because You know all things.

There are places in my life of such hurt and frustration. They cause sorrow to fill my heart. I feel as if I have fought a battle and my enemies have defeated me. My strength is gone.

I cry out for You to hear me, to come to me, and lift me up. Almighty God, do not let my enemies have the victory. Do not let them say they have vanquished me with rejoicing in their camp.

Even facing all this, I trust wholeheartedly in Your mercy. I know that my salvation is sure. All else pales in the light of Your love and care for me. Whatever happens to me here on earth, I know my future in eternity is secure in You.

So I will sing to You. I will lift up Your Holy Name. I will rejoice abundantly because of what You have done for me. You know the number of hairs on my head, and that is a number that changes daily! Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from Your will.

I trust in Your will completely. I trust the plans that You have for me, to prosper me and not to harm me; plans to give me a hope and a future. So in You will I rest. Amen

Psalm 13:1-6; Jeremiah 29:11

Jan 11 Make me like Rebekah

rebekah_at_the_well1995 painting of Rebeca by Michael Deas

Father, may we be like Rebekah. For when she heard all that was “from the Lord,” how You had worked to prepare a way for her, she did not delay; but went quickly in obedience, anticipating all You would bring her.

When given a choice to go or to stay and wait, she chose to go immediately.

She gave up all she knew: the familiarity of family, of people, of a place and a style of living. She set out with a stranger, whom You had blessed and led to her.

Give me Rebekah’s courage.

Let me be willing to go when You say “Go.” Let my faith and trust in You be so strong, it overpowers all other concerns, worries, or obstacles in my path.

Rebekah received a blessing before she left: “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.”

I ask for that blessing for myself as well.

Let the words You have given me, the spiritual light and life You have placed in me go out from me and be multiplied. Let it birth a spiritual blessing to thousands upon thousands.

And let these who are spiritual offspring be empowered to be victorious against their enemies, by controlling the enemy’s impact on their lives, and possessing their gates; locking the enemy behind them.

Later, when Rebekah was confused by what was happening to her in pregnancy, she went to inquire of the Lord. You gave her an answer and a revelation.

May I be like Rebekah in this as well. When I am confused, let me draw close to You and seek Your perspective and explanation.

Let me not lean on my own understanding, but give me a fresh understanding of my difficulties and a revelation that directs my path and encourages me in the way I should go.

Like Rebekah, help me place all my sense of security in You. Even when there is no evidence that would give me security by the world’s standards. Even when circumstances seem radically out of control and way beyond my comfort level.

In every relationship, every decision, every circumstance, let me turn to You; because You are able and willing, and deserving of my trust. You have promised never to leave me; never to forsake me. You can handle whatever comes. I choose to trust You. Thank You. Amen

Genesis 24:52-61; 25:21-23

Jan 3 Make me like Noah

006-noah-ark

Lord God Almighty, help me be more like Noah. Let me hear Your voice like Noah did: in a way that I understand who You are and what You are telling me to do. And help me respond as Noah did, in complete obedience, doing all that You command.

Father, I know it is only by Your great mercy, and Your steadfastness, and holding to Your promise to Noah and the animals, that You do not destroy the earth again by flood.

Surely there is as just much, if not more evil and corruption now in my time, as there was then.

When You see the earth once again full of violence, are You saddened and grieved to see how people treat You, Your earth and each other? You have the power to wipe man and beast from the face of the earth again. I am in awe of Your restraint, and grateful You do not.

Show us all Lord, how to draw away from the violent, corrupt, evil influences of the earth and our flesh. Let us see where in our circumstances we are not listening to Your voice or receiving Your instruction. There will be temptations. Even You, when You walked the earth, were tempted. You went into the wilderness where needs became great, yet were not overcome by the devil’s tempting.

We also are tempted: by our own appetites, our desire for fame and for power. Yet You have promised that You will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear – because of Your faithfulness. You will show us a way of escape.

Give us the strength to overcome temptation and take the way of escape. Help us make righteous choices when tempted. Help us remember that when we submit to You, and resist the devil, then he will flee. Let us remember that we are Your children, Your sons, Your daughters; and find strength in that relationship.

Father, I desire to worship and serve only You. Strengthen me to withstand temptation. And send Your angels to come and attend when I am weak and in need. Thank You. Amen

Genesis 6:5-7:24; Matthew 4:1-11

Dec 18 Rejoice…always!

rejoice-1-1148146Father, Habakkuk sees the injustice of the wicked prospering and succeeding in their treachery.  He prays: “Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds, Lord.  Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known…”

I echo his words, Father.  How I long for You to make such a display of Your power that none can deny You.  That everyone in the world would see what I see in You!  Then all would worship You as You deserve.

The prophet Habakkuk reminds me of Job in the final assessment of his condition.  Job said “Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him.”  Amazing! 

Habakkuk was just as steadfast in his statement of faith.  He painted a dire picture of possible conditions, then restated that he would still “rejoice in the Lord” and “be joyful in God my Savior.”

Habakkuk proposed “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails  and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls.”  This would have been a dire circumstance in deed.

 As I learned before, a fig tree takes longer to mature and produce fruit than most fruit trees.  So no buds means no figs!  This would mean that years of effort and care had come to nothing.

Also, as they are the last fruit to appear at the end of the summer, they would have been the last hope of food to get them through winter.  Figs can be eaten fresh, or dried and pressed into cakes to store for later use.  No figs would mean no food stores to last till the next year’s crops came in.

And grapes. With no grapes on the vine, there would be no wine!  Wine and bread were the staples of the diet.  And wine was also instrumental in celebrations.  So no celebrations!  Drying the grapes produced raisins that, again, could be eaten or pressed into cakes and stored.

Olives were a crop that had many uses.  Besides eating olives, the oil was pressed and used in soaps, cosmetics, cooking and medicines.  It was also used for fuel in their lamps.  So no olives meant literally, dark times indeed.

In Habakkuk’s time people depended on the crops they planted to provide food for their tables.  Without these crops, there would be none.  The only meat in their diet was from the sheep and cattle in the stalls.  Without them, famine and starvation were in their future.

This picture Habakkuk paints is one of complete failure of his basic needs for life.  Yet he is willing to accept it all and still rejoice in You!

Father, give me a steadfastness of faith like Habakkuk had.  Help me in all circumstances to “rejoice in the Lord!” 

Father, with the state of the world right now, THIS would be the perfect time for You to show Yourself and Your mighty deeds – in this day and age.  Let us see Your splendor and power.  I wait for the day of Your return.  Help me, when there seems no hope by earthly standards, to “be joyful in God my Savior.”  I praise You Father, and I stand in awe!  Amen

Habakkuk 3:1-19

Nov 29 Let me be like Daniel

You are the Living God and You endure forever; Your kingdom will not be destroyed, Your dominion will never endYou rescue and You save; You perform signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.  You have rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” 

Daniel lion denO Father, do for me what You did for Daniel!  When forces come against me with contrived plans for my demise, save me from their evil strategies!  Deliver me from whatever punishment they seek to be my end.  Put people in my life who will come to my defense like King Darius, and will pay back my enemies.

Let me be like Daniel.   Make me steadfast in my faith, recognizing You are worthy to be worshipped no matter the social or political climate.  Help me be faithful to pray, trusting in You no matter what.

An interesting point is that Daniel was in his eighties when he was thrown into the lion’s den.  This means that since he was taken captive as a boy in his teens, he never lost faith in You! 

He continued his prayer life and godly lifestyle all throughout his years.  He remained a man of integrity and faith.  Even those jealous of his position found him to be trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.”  Let this be true of me also.

A time is coming when lawless, ungodly men will be judged.  As the flood destroyed the earth once, You will destroy it again by fire.  But I will see a new heaven and a new earth created by Your hand.

As I await that day I want to live, like Daniel, a holy and godly life.

In the Words of the Psalmist: Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over meMake Your face shine upon Your servant and teach me Your decrees.”

Father, this is how I can live the life I desire.  With Your help, I can grow in Your grace and knowledge.  Amen

Daniel 6:1-28; II Peter 3:1-13; Psalm 119:133-135

Nov 28 Santa or Sovereign?

Father, so much of the world looks for a god who is like Santa Clause.

christmas-1808549_640They want someone who is happy, always smiling, and will give them whatever they ask for.  They like to speak of love for everyone and unending tolerance.  But You are a Holy God.  And because of that You will have justice for all or there would be love for none.

King Belshazzar was judged by You, and You removed him from his position of power and took his life.  You judged Your angels, and threw them into hell to await final judgment.  You judged Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed the cities and the evil people who lived there.  And You judged the ancient world when You sent the great flood, saving only eight people to continue mankind.

The Psalmist thought it was time for You to act against the evil people of his day.  They are described as evil-minded, wicked, arrogant, ones who have divided loyalties and violated Your instructions.

And in the hundreds of years since then, there has been so much injustice and evil done in the world, it is hard to believe You will hold off judgment much longer.

But Father, You know how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.”  “You are my refuge and my shield; Your Word is my source of hope.”  You will “sustain me,” “rescue,” “deal with me with unfailing love,” and “give me discernment.”   

Like the psalmist, I am instructed and strengthened by You, I will “obey the commands of My God,” “meditate continually on Your decrees,” and “understand Your laws.”  For truly “I am Your servant…I tremble in fear of You; I stand in awe of Your regulations.”

I believe Your teaching that there will come a day when You will reign over all the earth; and a final judgment will be handed down by Your righteous hand.

Father, until that day, keep me safe within Your Word.  And keep me faithful to You, like Daniel.  Amen

Daniel 5:1-31; II Peter 2:4-9; Psalm 119:113-128

Nov 25 Live in the Light, like Daniel

joshua-earle-252222Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are Yours.  You change times and seasons;  You depose kings and raise up others.  You give wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.  You reveal deep and hidden things; You know what lies in darkness,  and light dwells with You.  I thank and praise You…” 

Father, these words of Daniel’s are just as true today.  We still praise You!

After all these years of season after season, You are still the One who keeps the world in order.  And after generations of kings, You are still the One who holds their hearts and all power in Your hand.

All wisdom and knowledge are Yours.  Hundreds of years of human advancements and scientific discovery and technology, haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to understanding this amazing universe You created!

Father, Daniel held tightly to his beliefs about You and his convictions about how to live a godly life.  And he did so in the midst of being kidnapped and taken a thousand miles away from home and family.

As a young man it would have been so easy for him to simply go along with whatever his captors pushed on him.  But even far away from family and the worship he knew, he knew that You were with him.

At that time, people worshipped pagan gods who they believed had power and influence over a specific thing like rainfall, crops, fertility or a particular place.   But Daniel knew You were the One True God over all these things.  And that no matter where he was, You were there.

 “Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel.”

And You were faithful to Daniel.   You allowed him to be faithful to the ways he had been taught and gave him success.  In addition to this, You gave Daniel and his four friends wisdom and understanding far beyond that of all others.

Father, help me be like DanielStrengthen me to live the way You have taught me, and not give in to the pressures of whatever society offers.  Let me stand out so others will see that I live differently from the pagan ways of my culture.

Let the light that dwells in You, shine through me.  Amen

Daniel 1:1-21; 2:19-23

Nov 9 The Shepherd’s Rod

CindySheep

Father, I see a pattern as You show Your people how You want them to live.  You reveal Yourself and call them to purify themselves and turn from idols.

As they rebelled and worshipped first the idols of Egypt, then a golden calf and later the idols of wood and stone from other nations, You repeatedly preserved them as a people “for the sake of Your Name.”  But there was judgment and a purging of those who would not follow You.

Ezekiel speaks Your words saying, “I will judge you…I will take note of you as you pass under My rod…”

shepherd rodThis is the same rod of which the Psalmist wrote “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”

A shepherd uses his rod for many things.  One is to have the sheep pass under it as a way of counting to be sure every sheep is where it should be and accounted for.

It is also a way of inspecting them.  As each sheep passes, the shepherd looks to see that each is well fed, rested, and not ill.   As the rod parts their hair, inspection is made of the skin for wounds, parasites, anything that would indicate a need for further care.

Father, I am a sheep of Your pasture.  I want to “pass under Your rod” for Your inspection and loving care.   Count me to be sure that I am where I am supposed to be.  Inspect me.  Look for any sign of weakness or disease in me.  When so, heal me and I will be healed.

I come now, to seek You, to inquire of You.  There are so many things in my life that I need Your wisdom about, Your guidance, Your direction.  I need Your strength to bear up under the challenges of the world today.  And Your peace to sustain me through them.

I need Your patience where I need to wait, and Your boldness where I need to act.  I want to see where You would have me join You in Your work so I don’t spend my energy on fruitless endeavors.

My part in this is to be sure my life is rid of idols.  I will examine my actions, my attitudes, my relationships, to be sure nothing and no one is stealing my passion to live for You.   Strengthen me with Your Word and with Your presence.

I am called by Your Name.  I desire to live in obedience so that Your Name will be preserved and honored.  Father, let my life glorify Your name.  Amen

Ezekiel 20:1-38

Nov 5 Nothing hidden from You

ear-2372090_640Father, one way You characterize Your people, the Israelites, is that “they are a rebellious people.” They did not worship only You.  They brought in other pagan practices, worshipped idols, did not accept Your instruction or correction, and denied Your true prophets and the prophecies.  They were guilty of going their own way.

It was clear, Lord, that You could see what they were doing even when they thought it was in secret.  And You paid back those who prophesied falsely and those who disheartened Your people with lies.  You knew their actions, their motives, their thoughts. 

There is nothing hidden from You. 

And the same is true today, Lord.

Before a word is even on my lips, You know it.  You know me inside and out.  There is nothing I can do in secret that You are not already aware of.   Once again, as it always has been: nothing is hidden from You.

Holy Father, When something else starts to take Your place in my life or in my heart, show me immediately so I can repent and turn away from it.

You also said of Your people:  “They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear.”

Father, I want to see and hear You.  Help me receive Your instruction in obedience; and Your correction in humility.  Help me understand how the prophecies You have given affect how I am to live.  If You see me participating in something I should not, show me immediately so I can turn from it.

If I go my own way from impatience when waiting to hear from You, help me wait patiently.  If it is in disobedience and rebellion, show me my error, and how to get back on Your path.

Father, Ezekiel was Your man.  He heard from You in a real way.  And he was obedient.  I want to be like Ezekiel in this way.  Let me hear from You in a real way.  And guide me to be obedient. 

I desire to worship You and only You.  Amen

Ezekiel 12:1-13:23

Oct 20 Example of Obedience

Father, let me learn a lesson and be like the Rekabites.

book-1209805_1920You instructed Jeremiah to go to them and invite them to do something that was contrary to how they had faithfully chosen to live.  And they refused to do it.

Their forefather had told them “Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine.  Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents…”  And they did it!

You rewarded them for their faithfulness and made them an example to be followed for the people of Judah and Jerusalem.  And for believers today.

It’s not that I should never do these specific things, or should live in a tent, but that I should be faithful to what You tell meHelp me “learn this lesson and obey Your words.”

You told Your people to “turn from their wicked ways and reform their actions; do not follow other gods to serve them.”  Father, the world I live in is so very far from Your standards in its values and morality.  Show me if I have any “wicked ways” that need to be changed.

Speak to me of the values You want me to have – in my attitudes, my speech, my thoughts, my relationships, my vote.  Father, I open everything in my life for Your evaluation and Your comment.  I desire to bring it all into alignment with You.

Lord, if there are actions I have taken that need reforming, show me those and how to make them right.  Likewise, if there are actions I have not taken that I need to, move me to be obedient.

I do not want to “follow other gods” or “serve them.”  Show me if there is anything or anyone I have put before You in my life.  Sometimes I may not even realize the significance or influence I am drawn to or led by. So I depend on You to keep me faithful to only You as my God and my Lord.

Thank You for this faithful example, that I don’t remember ever noticing before.  But will remember now.  Amen

Jeremiah 35: 1-19

Oct 11 A tree planted by the water

bank-250252_640This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.  That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes… 

new-jersey-77916_640But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’”

Father, what a clear picture comparing those who trust in You and those who do not.  I have lived in the desert.  I have seen bushes living in the wasteland.  They do not grow tall or look healthy.  They barely look alive.  And they don’t last long.   

And I have seen tall, lush, green, long-lived trees that grow by the water.  Saturated with the moisture they need, they can withstand periods of extreme heat and drought.  There is enough to sustain green leaves that gather the sunlight.  And there is always sufficient energy and life in these trees to produce fruit in season.  What a contrast!

Lord, let me be a tree planted by Your water!  When planting, one plans the location based on the needs of the tree.  Its roots grow quickly in the direction of the water. 

I desire this blessing, so I will turn away from trusting in man’s philosophies and knowledge.  I will not count on my own strength to accomplish what the world would lead me to do.  But I will turn to You for guidance.  I will trust in Your wisdom, Your strength, and Your purpose for my life.   

As You are the Living Water, I drink deeply of Your love, Your truth, and Your provision for me.  My roots are my faith, which is solidly grounded in the truth of who You are; and my identity which comes from You.  So when heat comes as hardship and trials, it is You who sustains me and Your power that produces fruit in me.

Even now, Lord, I seek direction on issues I face.  Please speak to me and give me Your perspective and insight.  And make me bold to act on what You say.  I place my confidence in You. 

And this is the confidence that I have: not that things will always turn out well, but that regardless of how they turn out, You will be there with me, and use it for good.   

Father, You are the One I praise.  You are the One I serve.  You are the One I worship.  You are my Hope and my Healer, my Savior and my Strength, my Fortress, my Refuge and my Reward.  And I am blessed.  Amen 

Jeremiah 17:5-8

Sept 1 Unworthy…but loved and blessed

Finally Father, I am to the end of the book of Job where You literally spoke to him.  And when he actually beheld You, after all his suffering, and all his questioning, all he could say was “I am unworthy…” 

universe-1044105_1920 (1)

It is an emotional response from a man at the end of himself, beholding Your immensity and magnificence.  But it is also a statement of fact, that is true for me and every one of Your creations.

I am unworthy.  Unworthy of Your attention, of Your blessing, of Your love.  And yet all that I enjoy in my life and in my relationship with You has nothing to do with my worthiness, or my ability to somehow earn anything from You.

I am blessed and loved and cared for, because of who You are.  Your love transcends my unworthiness.  Your faithfulness trumps my undeserving state. 

Job follows Your statements of greatness with, “I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted.”  And I echo those words, Father.

I know that You can do ALL things.  I have no doubt that You can heal all my infirmities.  You can take unhealthy tissue and make it whole again.

You can heal my relationships and make them god-honoring.

You can guide my children into Your wisdom and give them a hunger and thirst for You.

You can bless them with godly mentors and success in all they put their hand to.

You can return the prodigal son to right relationship with You.

Father, I believe that there is nothing in this world, or above it, or below it, that can thwart Your plans.  I trust that the plans You have for me and all my family are plans to prosper us and not to harm us, and to give us hope and a future.  I know that You are faithful to complete the good work You began in each of us.

Even if we have chosen to leave the path You have laid out for each of us, I trust that You will call us back.

You know best how to reach each of us.  Father, open our ears to hear You, and open our hearts and spirits to desire to obey You.   Strengthen our spirits when our flesh is weak.

I praise You Father, that this power resides in You.   And that in Your love and grace, “You made [Job] prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before…You blessed the latter part of his life more than the first.”

Thank You for this example of Your goodness and Your blessing.   Thank You for this story of his faithfulness to You.

I pray that I too, at the end of my life, no matter what comes, I will be able to say “blessed be the name of the Lord.”  Amen

Job 40:1-42:17

Aug 28 As the deer…

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O Father, I would never desire the suffering of Job.  But how You blessed him!

Job recalls what his life was like before the troubles came.  Like Job, I often feel “Your lamp shining on my head” giving me the light I need to see.

You allow me to “walk through the darkness” by Your light.  Many times, in dire circumstances, Yours was the only light I had.   And it helped me find my way.

And like Job, I feel “Your intimate friendship blessing my house.”  When You are with me, my path is blessed and You provide for all my needsMy children are around me and Your security and peace are here.  I know there are calamities You have saved me from, because I see them in people’s lives everywhere.  Thank You.

Father, I desire that like Job, when people hear of me, “they would speak well of me and commend me.”  Job thought that this light and peace and favor would last throughout his life.  But that is not guaranteed.

Father, remind me to show You my appreciation for all You have done for me.  It’s only by Your grace and mercy I have been blessed.  And I pray I would always live in Your presence and enjoy Your blessing.

The Psalmist put it so picturesquely, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.”   Without the replenishing energy of water, a body will dehydrate due to physical activity, even just breathing.  And just as the body needs water, and cannot go for long without it, my spirit needs You.

Like the deer, I thirst for Your presence, Your friendship, Your blessing.   You are the resource I need, that brings life.  Not just occasionally, but repeatedly, and often.

The deer pants for “streams of water.”  Not stagnant pools, or brackish puddles; but fresh, flowing, living water.  Father, You are Living Water.  Help my spirit drink deeply of Your Word, Your Truth, Your Presence.

Do not let me go to other sources that will not refresh, that will not bring life as You do.  Drinking from those polluted sources will only make me sick, dull my spirit, and lead me to crave the things of the world and the flesh and the evil one.

Thank You for the refreshing, physically and spiritually life-giving water that You give.  I will seek it out, and be refreshed.  Amen

Job 29:1-25; Psalm 42:1

 

Aug 22 Help me stand strong

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O Lord, I have never experienced the misery and suffering of Job, but his pain and the depth of his despair are clear to me.   So it seems to me that what his friend is saying is terribly insensitive.  It sounds as if he is trying to encourage Job to trust in his own righteousness.

The belief then was that trouble came from sin, so presumably Job brought this upon himself.  And if he confessed his sin to You that would be an easy fix.  But that is not the truth.

What I do like about what this friend says is that they all have faith in You, Lord and in Your power.   And that Job should “appeal to You and lay his cause before You.”  For no matter what the problem, You are the solution.  You always have the power and authority to act.

The friend spells out Your power in a way that encourages me.  “You perform wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”

 I get to see some of those wonders and miracles every day when I see the strength of majestic mountains or the wide open sky, or the beauty of a sunset, the flight of birds, the colors of a rainbow, the faces of my loved ones.  Or when I see and feel and smell the deep velvety red richness of my roses.  Or when I feel the coolness of the air and smell the freshness after a rain.  Or when I play or hear music that reaches a place in my spirit that fills me with elation.

 I too, believe in and trust in Your power, Your ability to do wonders and perform miracles.

 One thing Job asks: “I would not deny the words of the Holy One.”  Job says that even in unrelenting pain, he would have joy if he could still stand strong in his faith and not deny You.

I echo that prayer Father.  I ask that whatever comes into my life, You would take me before I shame or dishonor You.

Strengthen me to endure whatever You allow.  You know me best.  And if something comes that You know is stronger than I have it in me to bear, just take me to be with You.

Thank You Father.  Amen

Job 4:1-7:21

Aug 21 Blessed be Your name

wooden-2562242_640Father, I have often wondered why You singled out Job and allowed so much suffering to come into one life.  How tragic, and yet how strong was his faith in You.  It stood up to all satan threw at him.  He did not curse You, but responded with those famous words: “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; may the name of the lord be praised.”

What a testimony that he could still praise You in the face of all the tragedy and suffering!   I would not want Job’s misfortunes.  When much less has happened to me, I have heard my own thoughts turn to thinking it would have been better had I never been born.

It makes me wonder, have I made comfort and ease idols?

Father, my life is so blessed.  With so much.  And I take so much of it for granted.  Help me be more thankful to You for all You have given me.  Help me have an “attitude of gratitude” in my daily life.

Remind me to express my thanks to others, and my praise to You.  Gratitude and thankfulness are signs of my faith.  In this I do want to be more like Job.

There is a praise song by Matt Redman that expresses just this thought

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be
Blessed be Your name

And blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Father, let that describe me.  Amen

Job 1:1-2:1

Aug 19 Like Esther

such a time as this

Father, here is one of the great faith statements.  Mordecai has no doubt that You will save him and his people.  He sends this message to Esther “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your family will perish.”

His faith is strong.  He is sure that You will save Your people.  The only question is how.

Father, strengthen my faith, so that even in the darkest time, there is no doubt in my mind or heart that You will deliver me.  The problems I deal with seem so small compared to the circumstances here.  No one has ever marked me and my family or church for death.  But I know that the difficulties I face in my life are a concern of Yours as well.

Thank You that there is no problem too big for You to handle.  And thank You that there is also no problem too small for You to help me with.  Thank You that like Mordecai’s and Esther’s, You answer my prayers as well.

Here is also one of the great challenges in scripture. Mordecai includes in his message: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”   It is so evident that He believes You orchestrated the events in this time and of Esther becoming queen.

The question is, will she rise to be the instrument of deliverance You placed her there to be?

She did.  But Lord, will I?

Is there something You have orchestrated in my life that I need to respond to, because You have placed me where I am “for such a time as this”?

Father, open my eyes to see if there is something You are preparing me for, calling me to.  And give me the courage to act.  It may not be as big or as risky as Esther’s call.  It may only be something small: inviting someone to church, praying with a friend or stranger, reaching out to someone who has no one.

Help me see Lord, where You could use me, how You can use me.  Don’t let me do it in my own strength, but like Esther, let me go forward in prayer and in Your power.

Because “Your love reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies, Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, Your justice like the great deep, and Your unfailing love is priceless,” let me and my loved ones “take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.”

Protect us from whatever comes against us, attacking us in any area of our lives: financial, physical, emotional, psychological, relational, spiritual.  I give our finances to You, and place them in the shadow of Your wings.  I offer You our relationships, our emotions, our thoughts, our attitudes.  Father, keep our spirits safe and turned to You alone.

Let me and my loved ones “feast on the abundance of Your house”, let us “drink from Your river of delights.  You are the fountain of life”.  Let us live in this abundant blessing.   Amen

Esther 4:1- 7:10; Psalm 36:5-9

Aug 9 Your Word lights my way

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Father, thank You for Your Word that guides me every day in my prayers and in the choices I make in life.  In today’s scriptures there are many reminders of things that deserve my attention.

First, like Ezra, I need to remember that my actions speak louder than my words. And my actions reveal what I believe about You.   Ezra didn’t ask for a military escort because it would look as if he didn’t trust in Your protection.

What do my actions say to others around me about my faith in You?

When I seem afraid and worried over circumstances, does that show others I don’t really trust Your protection and provision?  Father help me show my faith in You in my responses to difficulties.

When things don’t go my way, remind me that You are in control, and that You have my back!

There is absolutely nothing that can happen to me that You are unaware of.  And I believe that You filter everything that comes to me, through Your fingers of love.  Even in the bad times, You have prepared me, and You are with me.  Thank You that You never, ever leave me.

Ezra fasted.  I believe this is something that You honor.  And it is good for me to relinquish something in order to spend time in prayer and humble myself before You.  Sometimes it’s food.  Sometimes it’s an activity, like the internet, or tv, or addicting games.

Whatever it is, I believe it is the act of focusing my attention and energy on hearing from and submitting to You.   Father, I express my desire for You; to “clear my plate” of anything that is not of You.   Help me see my attitudes and actions from Your perspective, and tap into Your power for course correcting changes.

Ezra felt the burden of the sin of his people personally, and interceded for them.  I also have a burden for the “corporate” sin of my nation.  I think of how far my country has fallen away from Your precepts, from Your commands, and I weep.  I cry out with Ezra, “O my God, I am too ashamed to lift up my face to You, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached the heavens…we have disregarded the commands You gave…”

But Father, I have faith that You are still in control.  That You have the power to move in the hearts of men and women, young and old, and call us back to You.  “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.”

Your work is not done and You are not finished with my country yet.  Or my family.  Or me.

Thank You Father for the hope You give me.  You are my “rock of refuge, a strong fortress.”   And I trust in You.    Amen

Ezra 8:21-23; 9:1-15; Psalm 31:1-5; Proverbs 21:1

 

Aug 8 Help me be like…

BelieversHeritage Tree

Heavenly Father, what a rich heritage Ezra had.  Usually I just skim over the names listed in genealogies, but somehow this time, these names seemed familiar.

I know Hilkiah – during Josiah’s reign, he was the priest who found the Book of the Law that had been lost in the Temple.  He brought Your Word back to the people so they could hear Your Word and have their hearts respond with humility.  They returned to worship You.  In last week’s prayer I prayed that I would hear all Your Word has to tell me, and that my heart would be responsive and humble too.

I remember Zadok.  He was the priest who remained loyal to David when David’s son Absalom was chasing him out of Jerusalem.  Zadok prayed for David, offered sacrifices, and escorted him with the Arc of the Covenant.  Then at David’s request, he stayed behind in Jerusalem to be his spy. And I prayed that I would have the loyalty and support of my friends, and be a loyal support to them.

Phinehas, Aaron’s grandson, stands out as a man who was so zealous for Your Word that he drove a spear through a Midianite woman and her Israelite lover who were flagrantly breaking Your Law.   This turned back Your wrath from the people and stopped a plague.  You gave Phinehas a covenant of peace and perpetual priesthood for he and his descendants.  Father, I desire to have that zeal for Your Word.

And Aaron, Moses’ brother, who You spoke through when You freed Your people from Egypt’s Pharaoh.  He became the first High Priest, entrusted with carrying out Your Law.  You separated him from the other tribes to be Your representative in intercession for all Israel.  Only the High Priest could approach You.

O Father, what a rich heritage for Ezra, who is now the one taking a copy of Your Word back from the Babylonian exile to the people.  He will be Your representative in the land, reading and teaching Your Law once again to Your people.

Father, let me be like Ezra and all those in his line.  Like Aaron, I can now approach You personally and come boldly before Your throne of grace because of Your redemptive work on the cross.

Give me a desire to obey You like Phinehas, and help me be loyal and an intercessor like Zadok.  Make my heart humble to Your Word revealed by Hilkiah and returned to Your people by Ezra.

Thank You Father for each one in this line, who zealously guarded and revealed Your Word to others.  Let me do the same.  Amen

Ezra 7:1-7

Aug 3 Your Word changes my heart

ygjyfwmec68-david-bealeOh Father.  Today in Your Word, I am told that while “the men did their work faithfully” at the orders of twenty-six year old King Josiah, they “found the Book of the Law in the Temple of the Lord.”  It had been lost, ignored throughout the eighteen years Josiah had been king, and during the reign of his evil father.

When it was brought before the young king, he heard the Word of the Law and his heart was responsive as he understood its meaning.  He humbled himself before You and sought Your will.

Lord, I wonder if today, Your Word has again gotten “lost in the house of the Lord“?

The church is Your house, and it has Your Word, yet are we ignoring it?  Are we teaching it to our people?  Or do we pick and choose what we like and go on with our lives as we want?

Father, I pray that Your believers, Your church, will once again “hear” Your Word.  And that we would understand all that we read with a responsive heart.  Father, let us see where “they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book.”  And be humbled and change where we are not doing all You command.

I also understand that my body is Your “temple.”   Don’t let Your Word be lost in me!

Open my ears to truly “hear” all that Your Word says.  Even the parts that may not sit easily with me.  Even the parts I wish I didn’t have to obey.

Make my heart responsive to what I hear from You.  Let me be like Josiah, and be humbled and weep before You when I see where I have not been obedient.

Show me how to live by Your Word, with a heart that is responsive to and humbled by what I have heard.  Amen

2 Chronicles 34:8-33

July 27 Jehosephat’s Deliverance

O Lord, may my victories be like those of Jehoshaphat’s!

sword-41036_640When confronted with a difficulty, let me learn from Jehoshaphat.  His first response upon hearing of the dilemma?  “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast…”  Then, when the people came together, he prayed!

This is what I should do!  Rather than respond with anxiousness, confusion, anger, frustration, or discouragement.

His words began with a statement of who You are and what You can do.  How encouraging, to be reminded that You, my God, are the most powerful force in all creation!

“O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not the God who is in heaven?  You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You.  We stand in Your presence… and cry out to You in our distress, and You will hear us and save us… For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You!”

What a claim!  I acknowledge my insufficiency, but affirm my faith in trusting You.  If I look at You instead of whatever problem, my focus stays positive.  It confirms that You are bigger than the problem.

“This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours but God’s.  Tomorrow, march down against them…you will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

Then they “bowed with their face to the ground and fell down in worship before the Lord.  Some stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.”

Father, You answered them with a challenge to be courageous, and a promise to fight their battle.   I definitely feel more courageous when I am singing praise music, or praying out loud.

When I connect with You in prayer, I am re-energized and empowered to go on.  From my journals, it is also reassuring to read about the times You have delivered me in the past.  Recalling Your faithfulness always has an inspiring and calming effect.

And the result?  Jehoshaphat and his men didn’t have to fight. As they sang and praised You, You fought the battle!  Then they spent three days carrying off the plunder from the victory You gave them!

They returned to Jerusalem rejoicing and praising You in the Temple.

O Father, I forget when my problems seem so big, that I have a Father who is bigger.  Who can give me a victory.  Who can provide me with abundant rewards.

Remind me to come to You first.  To seek You, to fast, to pray, and to trust.  Thank You.  Amen

2 Chronicles 20:1-30

 

July 21 I am Chosen !

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Father, 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.

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 to 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.

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 5:1-6:11; Psalm 17:6

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.

war-2362300_640My 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.

You 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

June 16 Your Provision

obediencehopeblessingFather, let me be like the woman of Zarephath.

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. She was ready to make a meal to eat and die.

But like her, reverse my own plans to accommodate Yours.  Let me recognize and be obedient to all You ask of me.

Even when circumstances are dire and I feel like there is no hope, let me be attentive to You at work in my life.  And in doing so, let me receive Your blessing of hope, provision, and life.  Amen

I Kings 17:1-24

June 8 Thank You for the people in my life

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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.

Let 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 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

May 30 You send Hope and Help

Heart of hands

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 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, David took no revenge, but was humble to accept whatever You might allow 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, keep a faithful and humble attitude; accepting whatever comes from Your hand, not insisting on my own edification or revenge.

Lord, we are in hard times now, and I know more 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 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 22 Make me a seed

sunflower with seeds

“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 and  many rows of corn kernels on each ear.  Had I dug under the stalk to find the original seed 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 its energy to the new growth.

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 19 not my first thought…

abigail-icons-of-the-bible

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 who 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 15 Faith like David

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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 think most people know it as a reference that describes any underdog fighting an overwhelmingly huge giant, whether in sports or business, countries or individuals.

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

1 – He looked 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 and prepare me for whatever is to come.  Intentionally, purposefully, You have 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 I face.

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 as quietly as possible, so if I fail, it won’t reflect badly on You.

Father, let my fear shrink and my faith grow!  Even with all that is happening in the world today, let me look beyond myself to all You can do in and through me.  I trust in Your purposefulness and Your preparation.  And I will be victorious!  Amen

I Samuel 17:1-58

 

May 8 Make me like Samuel

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Lord God, make me as Samuel.

Samuel was only a child here, but he grew up in Your presence. You were with him and he felt it. Sensitize my heart, my eyes, my ears; to see You at work, to hear Your voice, to feel Your presence.

Father, You know everything about me, even my thoughts.  Help me grow in awareness that You are with me wherever I go.   Let me recognize where You are, and see Your purpose in having me where I am.

And let that be both a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance.

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.”

Reveal Yourself to me through Your Word: the Bible.  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.

Let me hear You speak to me through nature, Your creation.  And as I pray.  And through other believers.  And in visions.  And through my circumstances.

Help me set my priorities to spend time in Your Word every day.  Every day let me make time to listen for Your voice.  And then let my actions, attitudes and words show other people that I have spent time with You.

Let hearing Your voice change me.  As 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 am.

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

I Samuel 2:26; 3:1-19

 

May 7 It’s all about You

Father, let me be like Hannah.

Hannah words

Let me be earnest and persistent in prayer as Hannah was, pouring out my feelings and heartaches to You.

Father, there is much in the world to heartbroken over: illness, poverty, political disunity, abuse.  And You know each individual and their personal needs.   You know the desire of my heart as You knew Hannah’s.  Help me not give up, but persevere, keep praying, trusting in Your timing: for healing, for salvation, for peace.

And like Hannah, when I make a promise to You, help me be true to my word, 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. You who heal and save.

It is not by strength that any of us prevails, but You who deliver and give victory over our enemies.

You are the Lord God Almighty who knows all and weighs all deeds.  You laid the foundations of the world and set it in place.  There is no one holy like You.  You are the Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness.  You are my God.

Thank You for answering prayer.  Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

I Samuel 1:1-2:11

May 6 FAITH = things hoped for but not yet seen

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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.

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.

We are having to wait on so many things right now.  In this pandemic, we are praying for healing and good health and jobs, and normalcy to return.  And we cannot see what life will look like in another week or month.

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

April 28 Teach me to be humble

ChristLikeHumilityO 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: 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.  No matter the circumstances, 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. Even out of the pandemic days we are living in.

I trust Your timing and Your provision.  And I give You the glory and thanks for all that comes my way.  Amen.

Judges 8:22-28

April 26 Hearing God’s Voice

Father, thank You for the example of Gideon.  On two occasions Gideon asked for a sign before moving forward. What a great illustration to show me it’s ok to ask You for confirmation that I am indeed hearing from You.

 

There are times when I am sure I hear You and understand what I am to do.

But other times when, due to fear or reluctance on my part, I second guess myself and come up with reasons why I might have misunderstood You. So I am glad to know it is all right to ask for that reassurance.

I desire to follow in Gideon’s footsteps.

His first confirmation:  The offering he brought was consumed by fire.

His first obedience: Upon receiving absolute proof he was hearing from You, Gideon tore down the altar to Baal and the Asherah pole and built an altar acknowledging You as The One True God. Even though he did this fearfully, You protected and blessed him.   

His second confirmation: A wet fleece on dry ground, followed by the dry fleece on wet ground.

His second obedience:  Gideon followed through with Your plan to save Israel.

Gideon used a good example of something that would be unlikely if not impossible to happen naturally. 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 or wet a fleece like Gideon may 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. Consequently, 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 know that You will answer me so I can be sure of Your direction.

Thank You that You let me hear Your voice.

Give me the courage to be like Gideon and act on what You have told me.  Amen

Judges 6:11-40; Galatians 5:17-23

April 18 Learn from a tax collector

ZacchaeusLord, make me like 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.

Father, in this crisis time now, while I have time on my hands, help me set aside time to hear from You.  Show me how to grow in my spiritual life.  Open my spiritual eyes and ears to hear what You have to say to me, and respond with understanding and obedience.

For being a “wee little man” Zacchaeus 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

April 17 Learn from the blind beggar

boy-2026186_640“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.” 

Lord, there are so many things I am trusting You for right now.  Things that I cannot see, 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.

Lord let me learn from the blind beggar.

First, when he heard You were passing by, he knew You could heal him and persisted asking for Your help.

So when I have a need, let me come straight to You; confident that You have the desire and the power to help.  And remind me to be persistent like he was.

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

And last, when You answer my prayer, as You answered the beggar’s, let other people see it and praise You!

Lord, as I bring my requests to You, I come praising You with all my heart.  I praise You that when I am under attack I can ask for Your strength.  I appreciate that sense of Your presence when I feel discouraged.

I exalt You for teaching me truth from Your Word and showing me how to apply it to my life; thus increasing my faith.  I glorify Your name as You guide me in Your wisdom, and give me discernment.

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 86:1-13; Luke 18:35-42

April 16 Your voice, not the world’s

Lord, let me and let my sons be like Caleb and Joshua.

ToHear God's Voice

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.

Help my sons not listen to the world and the voices of the enemy who wants them to be discouraged and overwhelmed.  Draw them to seek out Your promises and hold to those even in the face of trials and trouble.  Let them see Your hand at work in their lives.

Remind us that when we serve You, we will receive all You promise.  Your will, Your plan will not be thwarted.  

Father, let me also be like the widow who made her plea to the judge so persistently that she received the justice she wanted.  Let my faith be unstoppable, lifting my concerns and needs to You in prayer.

Even in my old age, let me be found faithful, continuing in prayer, not being dissuaded by circumstances or the influences of this world.

Keep me and my loved ones mindful that our only righteousness comes from You, so we 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

April 15 Let me be the one

colorful-1191076_640Only one in ten came back to thank You, Jesus, for a healing that was a complete miracle.

These men had become outcasts in their society.  They stood at a distance and shouted “unclean” because that’s what they were required to do by law.  A person with leprosy was called “untouchable” and could not approach another person; but had to keep their distance from uninfected people.

Leprosy was a disease that progressed once you were infected, so there was really no hope of ever being cured or being able to participate in society again.  Family, loved ones, friends, all were relinquished, as these lepers were put out into communities of their own.

They would never again be able to hold their child, kiss their beloved, shake hands with a friend, or give a warm embrace to a family member.   This disease brought a new, cruel way of living to those cursed by it.

So for this disease process to be cured, reversed, was an absolute miracle!

For those ten men to once again enter society and be able to touch and be touched, changed every aspect of their lives completely.

I wonder then, why did only one turn and express his thanks?

Were the other nine being obedient – going first to show the priest as You told them?    Did they intend to come back later?  Were they unsure the healing was real?  Were they so filled with joy at the prospect of all it meant to be healed, that they forgot You, their Healer?

You point out that the one who returned was a foreigner.  Perhaps that one did not feel worthy of a Jewish healing from a Jewish Master?  Perhaps the others felt deserving of what they received?

I don’t know.  But it does speak to my heart of how often I too, forget to thank You.

I take for granted so many things until I am reminded like this.  Or until I see someone who is worse off than me, or has bigger problems.  Or until I lose something, and realize I wasn’t really grateful while I had it.

Father, in our time now, we turn to You for healing.  We need a miracle to heal those who are sick with this virus.  And to keep others from getting sick.  Even the healthy are isolated trying to remain healthy.  We need a miracle!  And we will give You our thanks and praises  – not just when this passes, but even now, while we are in the thick of it.

I praise You for life, and breath, for energy to rise each day, for clothes to wear and food to eat, clear thinking to reason and a home to live in.  Thank You for loved ones in my life, family and friends who care, and for faith, hope and love.

Thank You for the good times I’ve experienced and the blessings I’ve received from You.  And I also thank You for the trials.  For growing my faith and giving me the endurance I need to outlast this latest one.

Father, help me begin every day with thanks and praise to You –

Let me always be like the one.  Amen

Luke 17:11-19

April 10 Make me like Moses, Joshua, and Rahab

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O Lord, You encourage me with people like Moses and Joshua and Rahab.  You took these three ordinary and flawed people and used them mightily for Your glory, to bring about Your plan.

It gives me hope that You can use me too.

You brought Moses, born of slaves, cursed by Pharaoh to be killed in the Nile, out of the deadly waters and empowered him to be Your instrument in freeing Your people from slavery and leading them to the Promised Land.

Father, help me be obedient to all You say to me, as Moses was.  Use me in Your plan.  Let it be said of me as it was of Moses: when she was old “[her] eyes were not weak nor [her] strength gone.”

Joshua was willing to voice his faith and trust in You when the prevailing views were opposed.  You made him strong and very courageous.  Help me “obey Your law” and “not turn to the right or to the left from it” so I may be successful wherever I go.

Let me not be tempted off Your path by the world or its values, but cling to what I know is right in Your eyes.  Let me not ignore what Your Word, the Bible tells me is true.  Remind me to read it so I know what is in it.  How else will I know what is right?  I know, like Joshua did, that You are “with me wherever I go” so I will not be terrified or discouraged.

And even when all around me are situations and powers that represent and support the lure of the world and the lust of the flesh, let me be like Rahab, listening to and trusting in the Holy Spirit.  By doing so she saved her family.  Strengthen me to be willing to take risks for you.

All these remind me of a song from my childhood: “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me.   I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.”

These three faced daunting challenges.  Our times are daunting and extremely challenging.   Like them, let me find my strength in You.  Father, help me be brave enough to stand alone if need be, on Your Word.   Let me be so sure of how You are leading me that there is no fear in standing up for You.

Speak to me and give me understanding.  Show me how to apply that understanding to my life in ways that bring honor to You.  Thank You.  Amen

Deuteronomy 34:1-Joshua 2:24

April 3 The Good Samaritan

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Father, the Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the first I can remember hearing from the Bible when I was a little girl.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers.  They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.”

Photo by http://www.LumoProject.com

It was a lesson on loving your neighbor as yourself, teaching us all in Sunday school that when anyone is hurt or hurting we are to do all we can to help them.  This is a value I have had all my life.

Much later in life, You opened my eyes to new levels of understanding of this parable.  I’ve learned more about how badly he was hurt and the level of commitment it took on the part of the Good Samaritan.  And the significance of the spiritual hypocrisy and political bigotry of the men who passed him by.  And the social discrimination that the Samaritan ignored or overlooked to help the wounded man.

So it’s hard for me to see people profiting off of others by hoarding needed supplies during this crisis.

Lord would You help everyone look beyond their selfishness and greed to see the hurting people.  Remind us that if not for Your grace, we could be those hurting people.

Give us each, everyone on the planet, the perspective to see that everything we have is blessing from You.  And that we are to share that blessing.

Father, some of us are in need right now.  We may not be stripped and bloody on the side of the road, but we may be sick, or have loved ones who are sick, and separated from us in hospitals.  We thank You for the care received at the hands of those who are generously giving out of their abundance and knowledge to treat the sick.

Some of us may be out of work and have bills coming due.  Father make a way where there seems to be no way for our financial needs to be met.  Bring a solution to every person and every problem.  Allow grace and generosity be the signs of these times.

Some may be isolated in their needs for food or care.  Lord bring those needs to light, and someone in each person’s life to help meet those needs.

Make us like the Good Samaritan.  Remove greed, selfishness, discrimination and hypocrisy from us during these times.  And let us emerge from this crisis a more loving, caring people who bring honor to Your name.  Amen

Luke 10:25-37

Mar 30 Real Faith

Dear Father, may I have faith like Jairus and the woman who reached out to touch the hem of Your robe.

hem-garment1Jairus came to You knowing his daughter was sick unto death.  Probably the wisdom of doctors and medical science had done all they could; and still he came, believing, expecting that You could be the source of her healing.  Even when he received word that his daughter was dead, You told him not to be afraid, and he responded with faith.

So many times I let the circumstances around me determine how much faith I have.

If things look good and I am reasonably sure they will work out, I have a greater level of faith that my prayer will be answered favorably.  After all, if it’s likely things will work out, I’m not really depending on You for that much.

If things look really bad, I may cry out, but am I really expecting You to act on my behalf?  Or do I hedge my bet?

The woman with an issue of blood believed she wouldn’t even have to ask; that if she merely touched You – wait, not even You, but only the hem of Your robe that she would be healed.   And she was!

What amazing faith!

They received these amazing, miraculous blessings, Lord, because their faith was in the One who is worthy.  My faith is also in the One who is worthy.

I am blessed, because the outcome is not dependent on me, but on You.  The outcome is not dependent on how the circumstances look.  All the faith in the world does no good if it is misplaced.  Thank You for being the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  Amen

Luke 8:40-56

Mar 17 Growth

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Lord Jesus, we know very little about Your childhood from the scriptures.  We do know that You were remarkable.  From Your eighth day, we know that “He grew and became strong, was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him.” 

And when twelve years old, You ”sat among the teachers in the temple courts, amazing people at His understanding and answers.”

Then we learn You were obedient to Your earthly parents and “grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

Lord, that is my desire as well, to grow “in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

I pray You would help me grow in being able to understand, remember, and apply learning and knowledge to my life; which we call wisdom.  But not just from a worldly viewpoint.  I would desire to have godly wisdom, from the Holy Spirit, to teach me of You, to know You better, to see things from Your perspective.

That way, when a crisis comes, like what we are facing today, I would not only have the wisdom to know what to do, and the peace to act, but I would be able to share that peace with others to help them cope.

Thank You Father, that You have shared your wisdom with me, and that I do have peace.

Grow and mature me now to put away childish thoughts and behaviors, to let go of ego and selfishness, and to be accountable to my relationships with You and others.

Let me be strong, and show others the peace that You offer and the grace that I live in, thanks to You.  Amen

Luke 2:36-52

Mar 15 A donkey speaks!

donkey-105719_640O God, do for me what You did for Balaam.

If I am ever on a reckless path, Father, send an angel to block my way.  Let a traveling companion turn me off the road, or crush my foot or stop me in my path until You open my eyes to see what is really going on from Your perspective.

If need be, send an ass to speak to me to get my attention!

Let me hear Your voice and be obedient, not drawn away into the world or the material riches it can offer.  Even though Balaam continued to bless Your people, as You had told him, he relied on sorcery to earn his living and ultimately betrayed Your people.

Help me stay focused on You and the blessings You give, like Elizabeth and Zechariah.  Your blessing to them was an answer to many of their prayers and the fulfillment of prophecy.  They were faithful to Your instructions in handling the blessing You gave them – their son John the Baptist.

Lord, help me be faithful to the blessings You give me.  And handle them according to Your instructions.

Let me grow strong in spirit as John did, and proclaim Your wonders to others.

You have made a path of redemption, sent a means of salvation.  Jesus is His name.  In Him is the victory over death and all enemies.  In Him is eternal life.  I am ever humbled and blessed.  Amen

Numbers 22:21-23:30; Luke 1:57-80 

Mar 10 Fear or Faith

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Ten said No.

Two said Go!

Interesting Lord, that only two of those who went to see the goodness of the land You promised to give the Israelites, had the faith to take You at Your word and go forward to take possession of it.

The other ten saw the goodness, but they also saw the size of those living there.

They could have compared the size of the enemy to the size of their God – who had delivered them from the entire Egyptian Army!

And brought them through the desert!

And who fed them every day, a miraculous food they had never seen, that came from nowhere!

And Who was leading them with an awesome pillar of cloud by day and fire by night!

But instead, they focused on themselves.  They compared the size of their perceived “enemy” to their own puny, whiny selves, and were filled with fear and dread.  Even worse, they spread fear, discouragement and rebellion to the people!

What a typical human response.  How many times have I looked at my own circumstances, and figured that I couldn’t win?  Forgetting that I can call on You as my ally – the One who can do miracles!

The One who keeps His promises!

The One who is faithful to His Word!

Forgive me Lord, for giving up before the battle.  Especially when I haven’t even called on You, trusting in faith, believing that You could and You would make a difference.  Forgive me when I focus on the challenges before me instead of the ally standing beside me!

I desire to be like Caleb and Joshua who said GO!  They compared the size of their enemy not to themselves, but to their Great God!

Let me see Your promises to me for all the blessing they are!  Let me see that the future You have planned for me is exceedingly good.  Lead me into my promised land and help me take it.

Do not let me disobey and rebel.  Do not let my fear get the better of me and keep me away.

Let me realize that when You are with me, there is no protection for the enemy!  Help me take possession of all You have for me.  I want to live in my Promised Land!  Amen

Numbers 14:1-10

Mar 2 Selfless Savior

clasped-hands-541849_640Lord Jesus, You amaze me!

Walking on Your way to Jerusalem, You have just told the disciples that You are going to be personally betrayed.  Following that, You will be condemned to death, mocked and spit on, flogged and finally killed.   Your disciples respond by asking You to do them a favor – and a selfish one at that!

Then, as You come to the city of Jericho, You take time to heal a blind man calling out by the side of the road.  Amazing!

I would think that foremost in Your mind, would be the terrible death You are about to face.  I would think You would want some understanding, sympathy, comfort from those around You.  Yet I find You seeing to the needs of others, teaching them about servanthood, and healing a stranger.

Even in a time of personal need, You give more than anyone else possibly could.  You take Your eyes off Yourself and put them on others.  You use Your power to teach and to heal for the benefit of others. Again, You amaze me!

I wonder, did the disciples hear what You were saying, but think to themselves, “Yeah, but it will probably work out differently when we get there – this can’t be right?”   What else would explain their insensitivity?

Father, let this be a lesson to me to be present with people around me who are hurting.  When they tell me of their hardship, let me be comforting and encouraging.

Remind me to lift them up in prayer.  For although I probably won’t be able to solve their concerns, You most certainly can.

And even when I am hurting, don’t let me ignore others around me who are also hurting, like the blind man You healed.  Again, I cannot heal, but I can direct them to You – the One who always has the patience, the desire and the ability to help.

I am so glad You are my Savior, my Healer, my Father, my Friend.  Amen

Mark 10:32-52

Feb 18 Living A to Z

ffzjspuwc_i-diomari-madularaFather, help me embody the alphabetical list of traits in this Psalm.

In his old age David gives us instructions for living.  Of course the Hebrew alephbet goes from Aleph to Tav, not A to Z, but what was true then is still true now.

It’s hard to see evil people prosper knowing that the wrong they do causes harm to others.  And when they seem to be getting away with it, I wonder where Your justice is.

But as David says, “like the grass, they will soon wither.”  And I must wait on Your justice, which will come.  My responsibility is to do what You have told me to do and live how You have shown me to live.  This is what I am accountable for.

As I trust in You Lord, help me do good to others whenever it is within my power to do so.  Let me find my delight in You, and not be envious of others’ ill-gotten gain.

Help me commit my way to You so I look to You for guidance and direction and not toward my own selfish gain.  Several times I’ve been in circumstances where I was wronged and had a defensible position to press for my rights. I did not speak out because I trusted in You to fight for my cause.

It was hard to do, but You did not fail me.  In time the truth came to light without my having to say a word.  You defended me and my rightness was made even more evident because it was not me who spoke out.

Help me be still before You and wait patiently.  Even when I feel I’m justified in fighting.  Being “still” here means don’t move and don’t make a noise.  So help me not make a move without Your direction, and not rant or rave or carry on.

Remind me that prayer is a mighty weapon.   Help me pray for myself, the situation, and for my enemies to come to a saving knowledge of You, and stop their evil ways.

Help me turn away from anger and wrath.  One kind of anger boils over into uncontrolled lashing out.  Another kind seethes, simmering under the surface plotting and planning revenge, building up, until the perceived hurt is blown out of proportion.

Both of these responses are damaging to me.  I need to remember that vengeance is Yours, not mine.

Following these instructions will allow me to live in peace.  Meekness is not weakness.  But it is power under control.  Help me live a Holy Spirit-controlled life.  Amen

Psalm 37:1-11

Feb 16 to have and be a friend

Lord Jesus, when I read about the paralytic man who had four friends who brought him to You, I marvel at his good fortune.

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How blessed he was to have four such close and loyal friends who would not give up in bringing him to You for healing.  They not only carried him from wherever they came from but were so determined in their efforts that they climbed up onto the roof and dug a hole in it.  Then carefully, they lowered their friend down into Your presence with ropes.

It makes me wonder what kind of man he must have been to have earned such loyalty and devotion.  We don’t know how long he had been paralyzed, but he obviously needed help with a great many things and relied on others’ assistance and generosity, perhaps even pity.

I have been around people who were in need like this who were not pleasant.  Their own frustration with their limitations resulted in much anger and bitterness that spilled over into their attitude and treatment of others.

Oh Lord, when I am in situations where I am dependent on others to do for me, please let me remember this man.  Let me be patient and kind to those who help me.  Remind me to be thankful and grateful for their support and continued friendship.

Let my circumstances bring out kindness and appreciation rather than bitterness.

If I live long enough, it is likely these times will come.  As our bodies age, there is often weakness and infirmity.  Be my strength, and let Your strength shine through my weakness.

Let me be a blessing to those around me.  And may “my tongue speak of Your righteousness and of Your praises all day long.”  Amen

Mark 2:1-12; Psalm 35:28

Feb 15 Me? A Disciple?

Holy Father, may I be like those You called to follow You as disciples.  May I be willing to leave my family, my occupation to go with You wherever You lead me, leaving behind the security I would lean on in place of You.

Although I was not present in Capernaum when You began teaching with such authority, let me learn from the amazing lessons in Your Word.

You have given me the Holy Spirit to teach me, correct me, guide me.  Make me sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Help me listen to godly wisdom when it comes to opportunities and circumstances; not just take the easy way, or most logical way.  I will call on You, and seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Though I may not have seen You perform miracles in Galilee, You have answered prayers and done miraculous things in my life and in the lives of others I know.  Let me be bold about sharing those experiences and so spread the word as Your disciples did.

“I have the assurance that You will contend with those who contend with me and will fight against those who fight against me.  You will take up shield and buckler, arise and come to my aid.  You will brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.  You will disgrace and put to shame those who seek to ruin my life; and turn back in dismay those who plot my ruin.“

As David wrote these words about the men who were literally seeking his life, I seek Your deliverance from the oppression of the powers of this present darkness at work in the world today; from the spiritual forces at work against You, and so also against me as I live in Your light.

“My soul rejoices in You.  I delight in Your salvation.”  I place my complete trust in You, for there is none like You.  I know that “Your wisdom will reward me.”  Thank You for being my Savior.  Amen

Mark 1:16-28; Psalm 35:1-4,9; Proverbs 9:11

Feb 14 Gifts

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Dear Lord, how wonderful it would be to be like Bezalel or Oholiab.

These two are singled out by name as being chosen by You, and filled with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.  They knew metalwork on gold, silver and bronze, stone cutting and setting, how to work with wood, yarn, linen as craftsmen and designers.  And they had the ability to teach others these things.

They worked effectively with all the others You gave skill and ability to, to carry out the work of constructing the tabernacle and all the things in it.

You have said that each believer receives a spiritual gift or gifts, as well as skills and talents.  How wonderful it would be to be aware of that gift and have the opportunity to use it to create something that would point people to You and bring honor to Your name.

Father, help me be like Bezalel and Oholiab.  Help me refine my gifts and talents, work on them and develop them to be ready for use when You give the opportunity.

They did not shrink back from using their gifts.  Sometimes I feel my talent isn’t good enough to be of use.  Rather than step forward, I shrink back.  I am often sure that the gifts of others are more valuable than mine.

Help me trust that You knew what You were doing when You handed out the gifts.  Help me accept who I am and what I have to offer, and make the most of it.

Are people the only ones of Your creation who doubt themselves and are envious?

I doubt that an apple tree ever wishes it could produce peaches.  Or a monkey ever wishes it had a fluffy tail like a fox.  It’s easy for me to see and trust Your plan as it worked out in the lives of Moses, Bezalel, and Oholiab.

Take away the doubts I have when it comes to me.  Help me see Your plan and Your purpose, and be bold in doing my part.  Amen

Exodus 35:30-35; 37:1-38:23

Feb 12 Proof of Your presence

Dear Father, how awesome would it be if every time I came away from reading or studying Your Word, or spending time in prayer, there was a visible glow on my face!

Some outward evidence, physically apparent, to anyone who saw me that I had spent time with the Author and Creator of the universe!

When Moses spent time with You on Mount Sinai his face was so radiant that the people were afraid of him.  He began wearing a veil over his face unless he was speaking to You, Lord, or telling the Israelites what You had said.

I don’t mean that I want to wear a veil, Lord, but give me a radiance of spirit that can be a witness to others, a testimony that You have left an impact on Me from my spending time with You.  Something that will let people know that I know the Savior, and can help them if they need directions to get to You also.

There is a danger inherent in that of course:  if people know when I have been in Your presence, then they would also know when I have not.  And there have been stretches Lord, when I have not spent much time in Your presence.

Keep me drawn to You.  Help me have the mindset I need, to go to You, with joy, with sorrow, with excitement, with concerns.

It’s so easy to find someone else to commiserate with, to approve of my own plans, to join in my pity party.  But I desire to please You; to walk in the way You have planned out for me.

I trust in Your plan; and believe it is the best possible for me.

“Your eyes are on me Lord, because I fear You, revere You, and because my hope is in Your unfailing love.  Deliver me.  You are my help and my shield.  In You my heart rejoices, for I trust Your holy name.  Let Your unfailing love rest on me O Lord.”

Let others see it too.  Amen

Exodus 34:29-35; Psalm 33:18-22

Feb 7 God-given gifts

positive-1136861_640Lord God, You tell me that the kingdom of heaven is like a master who entrusts his servants with talents, then returns to receive their earnings.

I desire to be a good and faithful servant and to return to You more than was given me.  Yet I have always feared I would be the one who returned to You, only Your original investment.

By nature, I am not a risk taker.  I have a fear of losing what I have, or having it taken from me.  So I typically behave conservatively so as to not risk loss.  It seems to be a safe method of operation that has helped me maintain a prudent life.

However, I am beginning to see that what You have given me: the gifts entrusted to me, are not for me to hoard or hide.  They were given for the purpose of sharing; and in that sharing, a multiplication of blessing takes place.

I so want to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  And it is occurring to me that in order for that to happen, I need to step out of my safety zone where I am comfortable, and take some risk.

It is something I do not do easily.  And I will need to rely on You for encouragement and even some daring.  But I can be reassured by Your words in I Timothy 1:7  ”God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind.”

And I can know that when I am obedient, You will protect me.  Regardless of the outcome, You will never leave me.

Please help me overcome my fears of being ridiculed, shamed, making the wrong choice, or disappointing You.

Help me recognize the next opportunity You place in my path.  And help me learn to let go of and use Your gift so it can multiply the blessing to myself and others, and please You: a win, win, win!

Thank You for Your words penned by David, which I echo as my prayer:

“In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in Your righteousness.  Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.  Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me. 

Free me from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge.  Into Your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth. . . I trust in You!  I will be glad and rejoice in Your love…”  Amen

Matthew 25:14-30; Psalm 31:1-7

Feb 2 I choose Praise!

sing-a-new-song-2-1428461-639x582Heavenly Father, You have shown me two different responses the Israelites made in the presence of Your blessing.

The first is one of dancing and singing praises to You.  When You delivered them from Pharaoh by having them cross through the waters of the sea on dry ground, Miriam took a tambourine and led Moses and the Israelites in singing of Your miraculous deliverance.

But another time, when these people grumbled for food in the wilderness, You promised and delivered a blessing of meat in the evening and bread in the morning.   That night You brought them quail to eat and in the morning You created and gave them manna: something so marvelous and unknown they didn’t know what to call it.  They even called it “manna” which means “what is it?”

There is no mention of rejoicing, or an outpouring of gratitude or thanks – even though there was no other place for them to get food in the desert.  What they did was respond with disobedience.  They did not gather according to Your instructions.

And although You continued this particular blessing six days a week (with extra gathered the 6th day for the Sabbath) for forty years, (that’s 12,480 times !!) it wasn’t long before they were grumbling again unappreciatively.

I pray Father, that I will respond to Your hand of blessing in my life like the first example.  Majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, highly exalted – You are my God and my King!

I will write songs and sing of Your wonders!  I will tell others of Your greatness and Your blessing in my life.  I will write and send emails to communicate them!

But even if I stand in a room alone with my hands and voice raised to You, even if I sing off key, even if no one else knows, do not let me miss an opportunity to acknowledge Your power and involvement in my life with gratitude.

Open my eyes Lord, so I will see and understand all of Your blessings.

Prompt me when I forget to acknowledge Your gifts.

Do not let me take Your blessings for granted; or respond with disobedience. I desire to make a “sacrifice to You of shouts of joy!  I will sing and make music to the Lord!”

Exodus 15:19-22; 16:1-17:7; Psalm 27:5-6

Jan 27 I want to obey You

bible-380848_1920O Lord, I read about Moses and wonder how he could have backed away from the great opportunity You gave him to be a part of Your miraculous plan. It seems he made every excuse in the book to avoid joining You in the amazing deliverance of his people.

Then I wonder if I have been guilty of the same.

Have there been times when You offered me an opportunity to accomplish something with You and I chose the safer, easier path with no risk?

Have You allowed me to be in situations where I could have told someone about who You are, and I chose not to speak?

Have there been circumstances when I could have offered to go and do, to act as Your hands and Your feet, but I chose the response that afforded me more leisure?

Have there been occasions when I might have stood up and spoken out for what is right, but remained silent under the socially acceptable guise of being tolerant?

Have there been times when I opted to remain in my comfort zone rather than step out of it in a way that would have honored You?

I believe there have been. And ask myself “Why?” Is it that I doubt the power of the God who created the universe? Do I doubt that You will be true to Your Word?

No.

I believe it is rather, that I doubt myself. I may doubt that I’m hearing You clearly. Because if not, then I have walked out on a limb that could easily but cut off from under me.

Or I doubt my ability to carry through and finish what I start in Your name, bringing embarrassment to both of us. Or I fear it might hold me up to ridicule. So, bottom line, I fear what other people will think about me.

Please forgive me for the times I’ve let You down. Help me be so strong in recognizing that my identity comes from You, and in believing what You say about me, that I am not swayed by fear of what others think of me.

Help me recognize the next time You give me an opportunity. And help me be courageous enough to act “I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind.”

Oh Lord, fulfill Your purpose through me! Amen

Exodus 4:1-17; 2 Timothy 1:7; Psalm 138:8 ESV

Jan 24 Speak a blessing

godbless-youHoly Father, here You depict another way I desire to be like Israel: speaking words of blessing over his sons and grandsons.

I pray that my words would be a blessing to my children.

So many times, I open my mouth to speak before I think, and the result is not a blessing.

Father, train me in the ability to speak the truth in love. Set a watch over my mouth to stop unthinking or hurtful words before they are spoken, and damage is done. For once spoken, words cannot be unheard.

I believe You must have revealed to Israel what to say to each son, where to put his hands for the blessing, even as he intentionally switched his hands to bless Joseph’s sons. This was not according to the tradition of the time. Neither was the blessing where he gave Judah leadership of the house of Israel and Joseph the double portion. Those both should have been passed to the oldest.

Oh Lord, let me be so close to You that I also hear what You are telling me and let me be obedient even if it goes against the traditions of man or of the times.

One way I can bless my children is by using Your very words. Today I pray these words for my sons by inserting their names:

 “O Lord, answer _______ when he is in distress;” (place in his heart the desire to call out to You, and let him hear Your voice above all else going on in his life) “may the name of the God of Jacob protect _______.” (protect his life, his health, his relationships, his mind, his emotions, his spirit, his work, his comings, his goings)

“May You send _______ help from Your sanctuary” (where You sit enthroned and have angels to be Your messengers and do Your bidding) “and grant him support from Zion. “

“Would You give _______ the desire of his heart” (and remove any desires that would take him away from You) “and make all his plans succeed.” (as You direct his steps)

 “We will shout for joy when _______ is victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God!” Amen !

When his work was done, Israel “drew his feet up into his bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Israel finished the work You sent him to do.  In this I seek to be like him also.  Father, direct my path so that I finish the work You have sent me here to do.

Knowing what awaits me as a believer, I so desire to be with You rather than in the dimness of this earth. Do not let me outstay my usefulness to You. Please don’t leave me here one minute beyond what is necessary. I want to do and be all You have sent me here for. And bless those who cross my path.  Amen

Genesis 48:1-49:33; Psalm 20:1,2,4,5

Jan 23 What a ride! Here I am

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O Lord, I think of all You allowed Jacob (renamed Israel) to go through, and I wonder how difficult his life must have been. He was a twin, compared from birth to a brother who was very different from him.

His father chose a favorite son, not him. His mother schemed for him to receive his father’s blessing, resulting in his exile from home to a place far away.

He worked happily for seven years to earn a bride, but was deceived on his wedding night with a different woman. He worked another seven years and still had nothing to call his own.

Then, things started coming together. He gains large flocks, gets away from his manipulative father-in-law, reconciles with his brother, returns to his father, has many children, including two sons by his beloved wife Rachel. But then she dies in childbirth. And later, her older son is taken from him, presumed dead. His life falls apart again. Talk about ups and downs!

My life has had its ups and downs. There have been times of delirious joy as well as disappointment and sorrow. I feel sometimes as if I am barely able to get up for a new day. And I have Your Holy Spirit in me from whom I can draw strength! I have scriptures I can read to be encouraged. I have praise music I can play or sit at the piano and sing.

How did Jacob do it? How did Israel get through one more day of grieving his beloved wife Rachel, missing his son Joseph; managing his large family with misbehaving sons Simeon, Reuben, Judah and Levi; all in a day and time of famine, with hunger and need all around him?

Yet when You called him in a time of famine, to relocate to a foreign land, he still didn’t give up. Whatever You had in store for him, he simply answered “Here I am.”

In Hebrew, Here I am is “Hineni.”   Very different from a simple “I’m here,” it carries the meaning of “I hear your call, understand what you are asking, and am ready to do it.”

O God, help me be that resilient.

Help me get through dark times and be ready to say “Hineni” when You call. Help me hear Your voice above whatever else is going on in my life. Tune my ears to Your call.

Lord, let me hear clearly, and be obedient to all You reveal to me. Open my ears to the message of Your words that bring personal meaning and conviction to my life.

Prune away any misunderstanding I have been living by. Cut away the dead and unproductive parts. Revive me and make me fruitful again. I long to honor and glorify You.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”  

How can I do any less?

Genesis 46:2 (and Jacob’s life); Psalm 19:1

Jan 19 Make my life a stage

redcurtain-stageDear Lord, I want to be just like Joseph.

Only without all the hardship.

I don’t want to lose my freedom and be sold into slavery. And I definitely don’t want to be imprisoned. I don’t want a family that is jealous of me and treats me with murderous hate.

But in two very significant ways, I do want to be just like him.

First, that You were with Joseph, and second, that others saw that You were.

Genesis says “the Lord was with Joseph…and his master saw that the Lord was with him.” Your presence in Joseph’s life must be what enabled him to endure such hardships as enslavement and imprisonment.

And it was not only an internal sense that Joseph had personally, but it was evident to others around him that that Your blessing was on him, and that You were at work in and touching his life

I already know that You are with me always, because I have the Holy Spirit living in me; given as a seal of my salvation. There has been a merging: You are in me and I am in You through Jesus Christ. But I also know that I can feel far from You when I am walking in disobedience or sin.

Help me see through whatever lie, deception or distraction might cause me to miss where a temptation would lead, so I can turn away from it before I am enticed into sin.

Show me the way of escape so I can avoid the sin trap. That way I can be fully in Your presence and will be able to bear up under whatever the circumstances are, like Joseph did.

And Lord, like Joseph, I desire that my life would be a stage upon which You act out Your purpose and Your will, so others will see You. Jesus told a parable about seed that fell on different kinds of soil. I want to be the good soil that produces a crop yielding thirty or sixty or a hundred times what was sown. That way people will see what is produced and give You glory.

I may never have a prophetic dream, or give the interpretation of one, or save my entire family from famine like Joseph did.

But I ask that whatever You have planted in me, You would bring to fruition so others would see You, through me. I ask in Your name. Amen

Genesis 39:1-23; Matthew 13:1-23; I Corinthians 10:13

Jan 17 Be my guide

right-238369_1280Lord, I desire to dwell with You in Your sanctuary. And to live on Your holy hill.  Your Word tells me how.

Help me keep my walk blameless and do what is righteous according to Your standards. When I am not sure which is the right way, give me discernment. When I know what is right, give me strength to do what is right.

Keep me from temptation that would entice me to act unjustly or immorally. Do not let me be drawn into evil or behave badly for personal gain.

Help me speak the truth from my heart, even when it is more convenient to lie. I desire to be honest in my speech and in my actions. Do not allow me to speak ill of others or be a gossip.

Help me treat my neighbor as I want to be treated, with respect and compassion. Teach me to hate what is wrong and vile; not calling what is good evil, or what is evil, good. And to stand up for right, defending those who are defenseless.

Show me how to recognize and give honor to those who are godly and live their lives in the fear of the Lord.

When I make a promise, help me keep my word, even when it is not convenient. Even when it costs me more that I thought it would. Let my yes be yes and my no be no.

When I can lend to one in need, do not let me take advantage of their need for my own profit. But let me act compassionately. When it is profitable to deceive others, let me turn away from that temptation. Do not let me accept a bribe or cause harm to the innocent.

Teach me and strengthen me to walk in this way, to live uprightly and to love mercy. Living this kind of life will give me confidence and courage. It will be an example to my children and to others. And it will help me to honor You.

This is my desire. Amen

Psalm 15:1-5

Jan 11 Be like Rebekah

rebekah_at_the_well1995 painting of Rebeca by Michael Deas

O Father, may we be like Rebekah. For when she heard all that was “from the Lord,” how You had worked to prepare a way for her, she did not delay; but went quickly in obedience, anticipating all You would bring her.

When given a choice to go or to stay and wait, she chose to go immediately.

She gave up all she knew: the familiarity of family, of people, of a place and a style of living. She set out with a stranger, whom You had blessed and led to her.

Give me Rebekah’s courage.

Let me be willing to go when You say ‘Go.’ Let my faith and trust in You be so strong, it overpowers all other concerns, worries, or obstacles in my path.

Rebekah received a blessing before she left: “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.

I ask for that blessing for myself as well.

Let the words You have given me, the spiritual light and life You have placed in me go out from me and be multiplied. Let it birth a spiritual blessing to thousands upon thousands.

And let these who are spiritual offspring be empowered to be victorious against their enemies, by controlling the enemy’s impact on their lives, and possessing their gates; locking the enemy behind them.

Later, when Rebekah was confused by what was happening to her in pregnancy, she “went to inquire of the Lord.” You gave her an answer and a revelation.

May I be like Rebekah in this as well. When I am confused, let me draw close to You and seek Your perspective and explanation.

Let me not lean on my own understanding, but give me a fresh understanding of my difficulties and a revelation that directs my path and encourages me in the way I should go.

Like Rebekah, help me place all my sense of security in You. Even when there is no evidence that would give me security by the world’s standards. Even when circumstances seem radically out of control and way beyond my comfort level.

In every relationship, every decision, every circumstance, let me turn to You; because You are able and willing, and deserving of my trust. You have promised never to leave me; never to forsake me. You can handle whatever comes. I choose to trust You. Thank You. Amen

Genesis 24:52-61; 25:21-23