Category: daily Bible prayer

Apr 24 Generations

Lord I can see how a generation of Israelites grew up different from their parents. They did not see the amazing battle victories and miraculous deliverances that You did for their parents. There was not as much visible reason to be grateful to You. Their peace was provided at seemingly no cost. They turned away from You.

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

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

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

But I also see many of them who are sold out to You, and living godly lives despite the worldly attitudes around them. Lord, encourage and strengthen them.

generationsMay all our generations wake up and realize how far we have come from true worship of the One True God before we are, like the Israelites, handed over to our enemies.   You raised up judges, deliverers in those days. I pray we will listen to the voice of those You send to wake us up.

Judges 2:10-23

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Apr 23 Time Management

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

You tell me “a thousand years is like a day in Your sight”. Your sense of time is far different from mine. I cannot even imagine it.God's todolist

So I ask You, who knows time and all things, to teach me to live each day to the fullest. Teach me how to measure out my energy for what is important.

Do not let me fall victim to the “tyranny of the urgent.” Help me put thought into setting my priorities for spending my time and my energy. Many things of value are not urgent, but are significant. If I only deal with the urgent, the important things slip by.

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

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

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

 

Psalm 90:1-12

Apr 22 One True God

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

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What does serving and worshipping God look like?

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

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

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

It is common sense to take care of our environment, reduce our carbon footprint, not waste resources. But there are those who do this because they believe in and worship the earth as a power itself. Environmentalism has become a religion, worshiping “Mother Earth.”

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

It is so easy to allow things I enjoy or love to become an unhealthy form of worship; whether it’s my children, my job, sports, movies, food, self.   Lord, help me be vigilant to worship only the One True God. And turn from any form of idolatry so that I only serve You. Amen

Joshua 24:14-24 

Apr 21 Obey Your Word, Walk in Your Presence

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua 23:6-16; Psalm 89:14-18

Apr 20 God’s Love and Faithfulness

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

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So many songs have been written about Your love: “Jesus Loves Me” comes to mind.Others are “He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane…” “Your love never fails”. So many I could sing for a long time about Your love without even repeating or making up my own. My own songs would reflect how You loved me before I was even born. You loved me growing up, before I even knew You.

Your love protected me and brought me to a place where I understood who You are and what You did for me because of Your love. You love me when I am unlovely, when I behave badly, when I am cross, tired, frustrated, selfish, prideful, totally undeserving of anyone’s love.

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

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

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

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

Psalm 89:1-13

Apr 19 Only God can make a tree…

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”

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

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

but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

camperdown-elm-316360_640When I think of all a tree provides, it is comforting.

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

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

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

Father, I place my trust, my hope in You. If I have hopes or longings that are not honoring to You, please remove them. Do not let me become sick waiting or hoping for something that is not right for me. Show me if I need to move my focus or change my perspective.

When I need to wait on Your plan or purpose, help me wait patiently, purposefully and prayerfully. And when my longings are fulfilled, remind me to thank You and give You the credit.

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

Proverbs 13:12

Apr 18 Learn from a tax collector

Lord, make me like Zacchaeus!

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

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

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

Luke 19:1-10

Apr 17 Learn from the blind beggar

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“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.”

Father, there are so many things I am trusting You for right now. Things that I cannot see how, and have no evidence will ever happen. I guess that’s what faith and trust are all about: believing in what is not yet seen. There are so many hopes and dreams I have that may never come true. Yet I completely trust that if they are what is best for me or my family, You will bring them to be.

Because You make Your servant glad, and bring me joy!   And out of that abundance, I will give glory to Your name.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apr 16 Your voice, not the world’s

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

I know that both goodness and enemies lie before me. But I know if I serve You wholeheartedly, I will receive all You promise. Your will, Your plan will not be thwarted. Even in my old age, help me be faithful. 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 that I will not give up, but always lift my concerns and needs to You in prayer.   When You return, let me be found faithful, continuing in prayer, not being dissuaded by circumstances or the influences of this world.

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

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

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, were all 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, 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, transportation, loved ones, hope, faith, love in my life. Help 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 14 You Word over deception and lies

enemy-God-great“O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still. See how Your enemies are astir, how Your foes rear their heads.”

I live at a time in the history of earth, when You have permitted satan to have limited power here. With lies and deception, vain philosophies and worldly desires he confuses people and leads them astray. He holds up the pride of accomplishment and the lusts of the eyes and of the flesh as the pinnacle of human achievement. He elevates satisfaction and pleasure with material gain no matter the cost in human suffering. And he stalks those who would seek to lead a godly life and bring You glory; hoping to derail their efforts and sideline them completely.

When I was born, I was automatically on satan’s team because of my sin nature. Because Adam sinned, all sinned. There is only one way to be reconciled to You and be on Your team: that is to accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. His blood paid the price, the penalty for my sin.   Once on Your team, satan can never have me on his team again. And because that makes him mad, he tries to ruin my team efforts or keep me off the field entirely.

I admit sometimes I am still misled by satan’s lies. He deceives me to believe that I am not worthy, or good enough to be on Your team. If he gets me discouraged enough, depressed, despairing, or distracted, I may just sit myself on the sideline. He is cunning in his ways to deceive. And he plots against Your players on all fronts: personally, professionally, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

But Lord, Your armor is the best. Your protection: absolute. Thank You that I can protect my mind, my thoughts, from the evil one and use my faith as a shield. Thank You that I have a weapon: Your Word, to use against his lies and deceiving ways. And thank You for fighting with me, to give me victory! Father, make Your enemies like refuse on the ground; “like tumbleweeds that blow along, like chaff before the wind” that is blown and dissipates till it is no more. Consume Your enemies “like a fire consumes the forest or sets a mountain ablaze” as You “pursue and terrify them with Your hurricane power”.

“They will perish in disgrace, O Lord. And know that You alone, are the Most High, over all the earth.” Amen

Psalm 83:1-18

Apr 13 God’s plan – not mine

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Lord God, once again You show that You have a plan and are willing to include man in it. You gave specific details of what Joshua was to do in order to gain Your victory.

First, though, the Israelites had to purge the sin from within their midst. It is the same for me. I cannot ask You for victory when I am harboring sin.

 

Then You told them “do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”.   It would have been easy to dwell on their last failure and be fainthearted in the presence of the same enemy who had routed them before. When I have tried to do something in my own strength, and failed, it is hard to get up and try again without fearing the same disastrous result.

Next they had to follow Your plan exactly, to Your specifications and in Your timing. That can be hard as well. So often I second-guess You by trying to come up with my own plan. There are ways that seem to make sense to man, but do not often yield the desired result. So I must be willing to give up the direction my own thoughts lead me and be obedient to what You tell me.

Last, they enjoy the victory, giving thanks and credit to You. They collected the spoil but went right to building an altar for offering sacrifices, acknowledging that You are the One who gave the victory. Every person involved was present and attentive to Your words, being reminded of the blessings and the curses You promised.

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When things go well, it’s easy to sit back and take the credit, not including You until I need You again. But it is vital I recognize that the victories in my life come from You. I am learning how to give credit to You without sounding false or insincere. And it strengthens me to know You are involved in my life.

What was the result of this successfully executed plan? Even more kings came together to make war against them! Sometimes the battles we face, challenging as they may be, are simply preparation for bigger battles to follow!   But we can know that having done well will lay the groundwork for the next success. Victory is ours when the battle is the Lord’s! Amen.

Joshua 7:16-9:2

Apr 11 Courage for the next step

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“Hear me O Shepherd of Israel, You who led Joseph and his people like a flock” to greener pastures in Egypt because there was an extreme famine in the land. “Hear me, You who sit enthroned between the cherubim” on the golden Ark of the Covenant that Moses had made so the High Priest could seek Your face and wisdom in making atonement when Your presence dwelt there in the form of a pillar of cloud. “Awaken Your might! Come and save me!”

As the Israelites went into the Promised Land to take possession of all You had promised them, lead me, Lord, to what You have for me. Let me see and possess all the blessings You have prepared for me. Do not let me miss out on Your blessing because I am too afraid to get my feet wet! The Israelites had to step into the floodwaters of the Jordan River before You stopped the flow of water to let them pass. Sometimes I also must take a step of faith to see Your provision in my life. Show me that step so I can also come into all that You have for me.

What a missed opportunity that would have been, had they not had the courage to do as You said! The same for the people You spoke about who were invited to a great banquet. They made every excuse to stay away. Although they were acceptable excuses for the day and time, they missed out on the bounty, provision, and the very salvation You had prepared for them.

I am sad to say that very often, I delay our time together because there are errands to run, shopping to do, bills to pay, or meals to fix. These are all things that really do need to be done, but it shows that my priorities are not right. How sad that I sometimes choose checking email over hearing from the God and Creator of the Universe who makes time to speak with me!

“Restore me O God. Make Your face to shine upon me that I may be saved.” Restore me to right thinking so I will set my priorities straight, Lord. Make Your face to shine on me so I may walk in the light of Your radiant presence. Show me when I need to take a step of faith and get my feet wet. When I make excuses, remind me of the rich banquet of blessing I am missing by not spending time with You. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness. Amen

Joshua 3:1-4:24; Luke 14:7-24; Psalm 80:1-3

Apr 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 it’s 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.

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 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

Apr 9 God bless you

Blessings

Lord, I believe everyone desires to be blessed. I truly do.

But many people did not grow up receiving a blessing.

One result is that very few know how to give a blessing to others. The overused ‘Bless you’ when someone sneezes carries little meaning.

Culturally, Jewish parents recite a blessing over their children every Shabbat (Sabbath) at Friday dinner.  In Old Testament times, before they died, Hebrew fathers spoke blessings over their sons as a way of passing on the leadership and possessions of the family. Both of these have a prophetic piece to them, as well as words of favor resting on the receiver.

Even before that, You blessed Your creation of man and woman. It was an empowerment for them to be all You created them to be. In this empowerment there is a release from any and all restrictions or limitations preventing them from reaching their potential to participate in their divine purpose.

In Hebrew, the verb form ‘to bless’ means ‘to kneel’; while the noun for ‘blessing’ means ‘a gift or present’. So the concept is to bring or receive a gift or present, something of value, while kneeling out of respect.

The one who receives a blessing is changed, energized, empowered and enabled by the gift or the words of blessing.

Lord God, would You bless me right now, and bless every reader as they speak this prayer, based on the definition and the full meaning of the Hebrew word for bless:

Heavenly Father, infuse me, fill me, permeate me, saturate me with unlimited potential to achieve all You would invite me to do that will glorify You and bring honor to Your Name.

Release me from any restriction or limitation, whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological, social, financial or personal that would prevent me or hold me back from becoming all You created me to be.

Empower, energize and enable me to reach the fullness of my divine purpose. I kneel before You to receive this divine blessing. Amen

Deuteronomy 33:1-29

 

Apr 7 No Rock like our God

american-flag-1272115_640Lord, do not let me be a nation without sense, with no discernment, like Israel was. When You gave them an inheritance and set up boundaries for Your people according to the number of their sons, You shielded and carried them. You protected them and guarded them as an eagle cares for and trains its young.

You nourished them with the best, and yet, when they became fat and sleek, satisfied, they turned from You. They abandoned the God who gave them all they had, and sought other ‘gods’.   They became perverse and unfaithful, not caring that it would call down Your curses and judgment on them and their children.

Father, give me discernment so I can know when I am being tempted away from You with the values and philosophies of this world. Help me be wise and understand that there are consequences to my decisions and actions. Give me the ability to be able to think ahead and see where things will lead so I can choose what will lead me to a closer relationship with You.

Father, give the leaders of my country sense to see where they are taking our people with their choices as well. Give them discernment and wisdom to know that Your judgment is real and You will not be mocked. Our Constitution was written to govern a moral people, and when morality fails, we have little hope of living in safety or security.

I can already see signs that we have gone too far.   We, as a people – even Believers, have put You to the test and rebelled against You, the Lord Most High. We have not kept Your statutes. We have become disloyal and faithless.

Do not reject us O God. Do not abandon us. But show us the error of our ways; teach us to walk rightly again and make wise decisions that honor You. Help me give You the place in my life that You deserve.

Remind me to read Your Word so it can guide and encourage me. Recall to my mind, Your faithfulness to me in the past: all the ways You have protected and delivered me. Speak to me when I pray to You, giving me direction. Let me feel Your presence near me, assuring me of your love, healing my wounds, and giving me Your peace.

Thank You that You are the One True God, the Most High, who will never leave me or forsake me. Thank You that Your faithfulness endures forever. I praise You for Your unending love. You are my God. Amen

Deuteronomy 32:28-43; Psalm 78:56-64

Apr 7 Your strength, Your courage

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Several times today the words “Be strong and courageous” appear. O Lord, make me strong and courageous! Lend me Your strength when I am weak. Let me draw on Your power to accomplish all that You direct me to do.

How do I appropriate Your strength? Reading Your Word is a good start. It is encouraging just to read Your words that sit by my computer today – “Do not fear for I am with you; do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

I have made a little flip book of 4×6 cards with encouraging scriptures. It lightens my load to flip through them occasionally, or just having them sit out, open to a verse.  They are like personal messages from You to me.

It also helps to know I am being obedient to what Your Word says to do. There is protection in simply being where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing. Even if You are calling me to a place of danger, if I am there by Your invitation, it is the safest place on earth I can be.

Father, so many times You have protected me and helped me through hardships. Recalling those times from the past helps me trust You more now, and be strong in the face of trouble. I only journal sporadically, but once made a time line of how You had impacted my life at crucial points. With my aging memory, it helps to see those times written down. They confirm Your faithfulness to me.

And You have put people in my life who I can observe being courageous with their own challenges. Some are in the midst of them right now. Some have already come through a hard time. I can watch and learn what encourages them. They are living examples of how to get through difficulties. Some have even leaned on me. And when I need to, I can lean on them.

So You give me Your Word. You protect me wherever You call me to be. You Help me remember Your faithfulness in the past. You put helping relationships in my life. And most importantly, You promise Your presence: “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Thank You for Your abundant and everlasting provision. Amen

Deuteronomy 31:1-23

Apr 6 Blessing or Curse?

Blessing Curse

“See I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse“. You present me with two choices. Who in their right mind would choose to be cursed instead of being blessed?? Yet although You spell out very clearly the requirements for each; time and time again people chose to disobey, bringing curses into their lives.

You did not hide who You are or how to please You from these people. You plainly spoke to them through Moses. As Your Word says, You did not place this knowledge beyond their reach. They did not have to mystically ascend to the heavens or even cross a sea to find it. Neither do I. You proclaimed it before them in words they understood. And You share it with me in many translations and versions of the Bible so I can know one from the other. I choose blessing.

Centuries later when You ate with a Pharisee, and the others questioned, You spoke plainly to them about the hypocrisy of their lives. You told them it was more important to live a pure life in terms of character and attitude rather than just ‘look good’ from the outside. They were to give to the poor, not neglect justice, and be instruments of Your love. You challenged them to put down pride and be humble before the people they were supposed to be teaching.

You warned them that they were hindering the people in their understanding of scripture by loading them down with superfluous requirements they themselves didn’t even do. You explained how they hid the key to knowledge so no one could enter in the door the key would have unlocked. You accused them of revering the prophets You had sent, only after they had killed them.

As You spoke to them, they could have responded to all this teaching and rebuking with humility and obedience. But they did not. You speak to hypocrisy in my life too. Father, let me respond with humility and obedience. Again, I choose the blessing.

Your Word teaches me how to live in a way to receive Your blessing. Not only that, but Jesus, You came to show me and teach me by example. One way is life, all others are death. I choose life. Thank You for showing me the way. Amen

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20; Luke 11:37-54

Apr 5 Power in Your Word

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Heavenly Father, thank You for those times I literally cried out to You to hear me and come quickly, and You did.

 

There have been nights like the Psalmist experienced, when in distress over circumstances, I sought You. I could not see a way out of or through my problems. And though I had gone to bed, sleep was far from me. My thoughts would not be still. With each issue, another failure or complication seemed to pile on until I felt so overwhelmed I did not even know where to start to pray.

It was then that I remembered when You spoke to me, encouraged me, lifted my emotional distress.   There were literally times when You gave me songs to sing, new melodies and words, to let me know You were with me and things would be alright.

But this time, I did not feel that. I felt far from You. And wondered if this could be the end? Had I finally reached a point where You would not come and rescue me, but simply take me home to be with You in heaven?

That actually sounded like it would be the answer to all my troubles. And while I believe You have shown me I have much to do before I die, there was a sense of relief in that thought. That’s when it hit me – this thought was NOT from You. It was from the evil one who would like nothing better than to sideline me – take me out of the game altogether! If satan can get anyone to believe the lie that there is no hope, it immobilizes and freezes them. Can even paralyze a Christian’s faith.

So I decided to begin praying – not about the circumstances that were overwhelming me, but any scripture I could remember: The Lord’s prayer. The 23rd Psalm. “I will love the Lord my God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength, and love my neighbor as myself.” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not die, but have everlasting life.” “Jesus wept.” “The Lord your God goes with you to fight for you against your enemies and give you victory!”

The more I quoted Your Word in prayer, the more calm I felt. Soon I fell asleep.

Thank You Lord, for sending Your calm, Your peace. Thank You for sending sleep. Thank You that in the morning, things didn’t look as bad as they had the night before! Thank You that I could see resources and solutions I could not the night before. In taking those steps back towards You, I felt Your presence once again. It was not You who had moved. But in believing a lie, I had.

“Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; You display your power among the peoples. With Your mighty arm, You redeemed me!” Amen

Psalm 77:1-15; Matthew 6:9-15; Luke 10:27; John 3:16; John 11:35; Deuteronomy 20:4

Apr 4 Teach me to Pray

prayer-1159703_640Father, thank You that when asked by Your disciples, You taught me more than just some words to say when I pray.

In three verses You instruct me to honor Your Holy Name and ask for You to meet my needs. You indicate it is important to confess my sin and be forgiven of it, as well as to forgive others who have sinned against me. And You show me how to ask for Your divine direction and protection.

But You didn’t stop there. You use further illustrations to teach me that I need to be persistent in my prayer life. I am not to give up just because I don’t get an immediate answer.

You also promise my patience in prayer will be rewarded. “For everyone who asks, receives; he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Next You reinforce that I can trust You for specific answers to prayer, through the Holy Spirit, because “You are the Father of Lights, and every good and perfect gift comes down from You.

Thank You, precious Heavenly Father, that I can come to You with every joy, every sorrow, every praise, every need; and know that You hear me and You enter into dialogue with me. Help me to take time to listen for Your voice in answer; and not just call out my grocery list of wants.

Let me sit at Your feet, like Mary. Do not let me be distracted by anything, but teach me to drink in Your presence. Remind me to include time with You in setting my priorities. And open my ears and heart to all You will tell me. Amen

Luke 10:38-11:13; James I:17

 

Apr 3 Your laws are our laws

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Father, I am amazed by how much of the moral code You gave in Torah (the first five books of the Bible) is represented in our legal system today. The last several days’ readings are filled with issues represented in our country’s legal code.   Standards are set for maintaining property lines, fair measures in trade, witnesses being necessary rather than relying on hearsay testimony, determination of false testimony and punishing it. It is not merely causing a death, consideration of motivation behind the act that is judged, whether there is ‘malice aforethought’.

You deal with property law when passing an inheritance, capital punishment, homeowner’s liability, divorce, charging interest on loans and how to handle collateral. In all Your determinations You call for justice to all, and for mercy in the care for the underprivileged and marginalized.

Our second president and signer of the Constitution, John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Our constitutional and legal values came from the Bible. You knew, way back then, what our society would need today. And provided for it.

But beyond our country’s laws is Your law of sin and death. And when I fail and sin, You have made a way of placing me back in right standing with You. You took upon Yourself the penalty of my sin, and paid my debt.

But for those who do not accept Your payment, there will be a reckoning.  If they refuse Your gift, they will spend eternity separated from You. They will be held accountable for the decision they make, whether to accept You as God, or reject You.

Thank You for being a just law-giver.  Strengthen me to turn away from sin and obey the laws You’ve given us. Bring our country back to a godly moral standard. Thank You Father, that You who judge, are just. Amen

Deuteronomy 17:1-25:16

Apr 2 Lord of the Harvest

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“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Lord, I didn’t grow up on a farm like my father did, so many scriptural references to farming culture require research for my understanding. I do understand that a crop is planted and cared for, grows, and when it reaches maturity is harvested in some fashion to gain the benefit of consuming it.

A pastor pointed out in a lesson, that as wheat grows, the topmost part of the stalk called the head, is where the grain is that constitutes the consumable portion of the plant. As the individual kernels of wheat mature and ripen, they grow larger and heavier. When the head of the stalk is heavy and bowed down, it is ready for harvest.

So also, he said, it can be observed with people…

The analogy here is that You Lord, are the farmer, the Lord of the harvest. You plant and care for people in that You have ordained when each one of us will be born, and where and to whom. People grow and mature also. You ‘harvest’ us when we are ready to accept the truth that You are the One True God; believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross for our sin as the only way to be reconciled to You, and confess with our mouth that we accept that reconciliation and will serve You as our Lord. When we are reconciled to You, we can help with the harvest, bringing others to know You.

As I can now share the truth with others, there are many ways of reaching people with Your message of good news. One thing I can look for, to see if people are ready to hear, is the same as with the wheat: when their heads are heavy and bowed down!

For many people, they must come to the end of themselves and their efforts before they are ready to accept You into their lives.   One way to recognize this, is that they will often look tired, worn out or discouraged. It may be that all I have to do is ask how they are, or what is wrong, or if there is anything I can pray for them about, to do my part in the ‘harvesting’.

Father, help me to be mindful of people who are ready to hear about You and how much You love them and want a personal relationship with them. Give me the time to listen, and the words to say that will help me be an effective worker in the harvest. Amen

Luke 10:1-4

Apr 1 Envy -> Joy

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Sometimes it is hard to be in this world, Lord.

There are times I look around and it sure seems like the evil, immoral, prideful, arrogant people are prospering. They seem to have lives of ease and problems that are fixed by money and power. It is hard not to be envious when I see their beautiful bodies, homes and cars and it seems every need they have is met.

You are so good to me! In 1990 You gave me a song to sing when I feel this way. It always lifts my spirit. And reminds me that You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever!

Has a Reggae – Calypso kind of 4/4 feel…

 

Some times I look at my life, I don’t like what I see:

I’m not rich, I’m not famous – my glass is lookin’ half empty!

I don’t live in a mansion, I don’t drive a brand new car

Sometimes I look at the rich and want to be where they are!

 

Then I look at my Savior, and what He’s given to me:

Gave me love, gave me salvation, He gave me life eter-nally

He has to-tally cleansed me and washed me white as snow

And He taught me a very good lesson “Man does not – live by bread alone”

 

Chorus:

Je-sus Je-e-sus You are everything

Je-sus Je-e-sus praises to You I sing

Lord Jehovah watches over me

that is why I sing praises to Thee

 

Some people think that their life is just for collecting toys

They stockpile cars, boats and money and hope it will bring them joy but

That’s not the reason for livin’ No that’s not why He came

Jesus died, is now glorified and we can call on His name

 

Chorus

 

Now I look at my life – I’m happy with what I see

I’ve got peace, I’ve got contentment – My Lord Jehovah cares for me

I got a mansion in Heaven I know one day I’ll see

And I know my cup overflows with blessing poured out on me – from

 

Je-sus Je-e-sus You are everything

Je-sus Je-e-sus praises to You I sing

Lord Jehovah watches over me

that is why I sing praises to Thee

 

Amen

fernando-brasil-103271Psalm 73:1-28

Mar 31 God makes a little a lot

13_Jesus_5000_1024A crowd came because they were hungry to hear from and be healed by You, Jesus. In staying late, they also grew hungry physically. Your chosen disciples had only five loaves of bread and two fish; not even enough to feed the twelve of them, much less a crowd of five thousand.

But You took what was there, looked up to heaven, gave thanks and broke it. And that meager amount was miraculously multiplied to provide enough for more than five thousand people to eat and be satisfied, with more left over than there was at the start!

Oh Lord, You have placed in me gifts that are to be shared. Like the bread and the fish, it may not look like much to begin with. But You do not make mistakes. Your plan and Your purposes are true. What matters is not what things look like here on earth through man’s eyes. What matters is that the gifts are available to be used by You.

Because of who You are: the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ, You can do more than I can say or do, more than I can ask or even imagine! Nothing is impossible!

So Father, I offer what I have. I look to You with thanksgiving in my heart, asking that You bless me and break me to spread the gifts You have placed in me to others. Use what You have given me, Lord, to make a blessing for others that will bring honor and glory to Your name. Amen

Luke 9:7-22

 

Mar 30 Real Faith

hem-garment1Dear Father, may I have faith like Jairus and the woman who reached out to touch the hem of Your robe.

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 29 What would Jesus do?

Dear Lord, when I read this report of You being asleep in the boat when the squall came up, it seemed so amazing. Instead of relaxing, people usually get more and more anxious when things intensify and we begin to feel out of control. That may be the key – You knew that nothing could happen that was out of Your control!

But why didn’t the disciples know that?? They had witnessed You performing many, many miracles. Not only healing the sick and lame and blind, but raising people from the dead! So if they had listened to Your words and trusted them, it seems they would have had more confidence in the outcome, squall or no.  Your words said, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake”.

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Lord, I want to be so confident with You that when You tell me, “Let’s do something” I will trust You so completely that there is no question of whether it will be accomplished or not.

I want to do what I see You doing.   If You are resting, that’s my cue that I can rest too. Because if it doesn’t bother You, and I am with You, then it shouldn’t bother me.

So, even in the hard part, the storm, if they had asked back then WWJD?   What would Jesus do? The answer was right in front of them: sleep! So when the hardest part comes, yes, I want to be sure I’m doing my part. But rather than quake with fear, or anxiously try and control the outcome, let me do what I see You doing, and be so confident in my trusting, that I become calm, and at rest.

Bottom line: if I am with You, it will all work out. Either I will reach the destination with You, or I will perish: in which case I will also be with You. It’s a win-win! Amen

Luke 8:22-26

Mar 28 Burnout or Peace?

hurry-2119711_640Lord, 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.

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

Before, I believed order was better than chaos, and the lack of control is chaos. So trying to control things meant I was being good. Now what I believe is that 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 so 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?

Help me Lord. Keep 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 part. Give me the discernment to know which is which.  And the courage to let my actions reflect that. Amen

Deuteronomy 10:12-22

 

Mar 27 Not by bread alone

notbybreadalonemimeLord, today’s scripture passages are so rich, it is hard to chose one area of prayer focus. In these verses You are instructive, encouraging, illustrative, and give warnings. All are important. But the ones that speak to me the most, remind me of how You care for me and how I should behave in response to that care and commitment.

I am holy to You, Lord. That doesn’t mean I am perfect, but that I am set apart for You. I have value because of who I am in Your eyes; and You have a purpose for me. You did not set Your affection on me because I was the biggest, or best, for I was the least. There is nothing I could have done to make You love me. But because You love me, You promise to bring me out with a mighty hand and redeem me from the land of slavery and its power: this world and its distressing values. “The Lord my God IS God! You are the faithful God, keeping Your covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love You and keep Your commands!”

“But those who hate You, You will repay to their face by destruction.” Therefore I need to pay attention to what You say and how You direct me, so that I can live victoriously and be strong in the place You are bringing me. You always keep Your promises to me. You love and bless me.

You have provided for me in the past. Although You provided physical sustenance for me, You also taught me that there is more. I do not live on ‘bread’ alone, but my soul longs for a peace and wholeness that comes from my relationship with You and Your Word. So I will spend time reading and studying Your Word, and listening for Your voice in my life.

In times of need I am drawn to You for help, encouragement, and provision. But when enjoying that provision, I must be sure not to become proud or arrogant. I will express my thanks and gratitude in praise, in song, in telling others how You bring me through troubles and trials. It is You who make it possible for me to work and volunteer and help others. My gifts and talents come from You. And I thank You.

I will never serve another god. I see others chase after fame or money or power. They make their possessions or position their god. I will pour out myself to honor You. You have saved me! From trouble, from trauma, from myself, from circumstances I have gotten myself into, and from eternal death. You have answered my prayers, come to my rescue, given me hope, forgiven my sin. I thank You and I praise You! And I cannot wait to see what’s coming next! Amen

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20

Mar 26 Help me hear

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“We will listen and obey.” This was the Israelites response to all You said on the mountain when they heard Your voice telling them how they should live.

Many things in the world keep me from hearing You. The world is a loud, noisy place, with so many voices that distract or actively deceive. Those voices suggest what I need and how I should live to be ‘accepted’ and ‘successful’ by the world’s standards. They tempt me into materialism, humanism, and all kinds of ungodly ideologies.

But to listen and obey, I must listen specifically and intentionally. I need to walk a path, live a lifestyle that purposely shows others what I believe.

Please remind me when I speak or act or make a decision, that everything I do will either draw me closer to You, or move me away from You and Your will. Help me examine my thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes, to ensure that they are honorable and do not cause distance or separation from You.

To obey these commands I am also responsible to teach others about You and Your truth. So I need to live what I believe – talk about my faith and who You are to me and how You impact my life. Help me do that when I have others in my home. And when I travel. From the time I get up until the time I go to bed.

When I am not speaking of You, my faith should still be obvious to others by my dress, my countenance, my attitudes, how I treat others. When people come to my home, they should see more than just the symbols of the world’s values. They should sense Your peace.

In my emails, social media and any other presentation to the world, I must be mindful that I represent You. As I am a Christ-follower, my presence in others’ lives shows whether I truly listen and obey, or whether I am a Christian in name only.

I will listen. And I will obey. And I will “proclaim the power of God”! Amen

Deuteronomy 5:1-6:9; Psalm 68:34

Mar 25 Help me see

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Lord thank You for these pictures in scripture about the ability to see truth for what it is and to understand the meaning behind being a follower of Christ.

 

Your first picture reminds me that although a blind person who cannot see can help another blind person, there are blocks they will both stumble over due to their lack of vision. Yet, how many times have I relied on the advice and guidance of another person, who is ‘in the dark’ as much as I am when it comes to seeing things from Your perspective? Rather than coming to You, I seek help from another ‘blind’ person who is in no better spiritual position than I am.

Interesting that Your next ‘illustration’ has to do with vision too. Contrasting when I go to another for help, this next one shows that when I try and ‘help’ someone else by fixing a problem I see in their life. There’s a good chance I have bigger problems in my own life that should be a priority for my attention. Only after my own bigger problems are dealt with can I see well enough to be of help to anyone else, should they ask.

In both these examples, my own lack of vision blinds me to the truth. I need to remember to look to You for guidance, answers and perspective on issues in my life. And before I look too closely at a friend’s life and shortcomings, I need to examine myself. And then, again, seek Your help in correcting the issues I find there.

Another example You give has to do with how I act on what You tell me when I turn to You for the ‘vision’ I lack. It is not enough to simply call on You for guidance. It is also imperative that I listen for Your response and do what You say! Otherwise, all I do is based on my own, unreliable, limited understanding and will fold in on me like a house built with no foundation.

Father, I desire to obey You so my efforts won’t be wasted; so what I do has a firm foundation, and will stand solid against any difficulty or challenge that comes. And the challenges will come. You are the solid foundation I can put my trust in and gain confidence from. Open my eyes of understanding. Do not let me turn to other blind people, but to the One who made my eyes and gives me sight.

And I will be glad and rejoice with You; happy and joyful! Amen

Luke 6:39-49

Mar 24 Tracing God’s Faithfulness

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Dear Lord, I don’t often take time to look back over my life to see where I’ve been? Or evaluate how I got here? But this is what Moses is doing for these young Israelite people who are about to come into their promised land.

 

Because their fathers and mothers rebelled against You and died in the desert over the last forty years, it is important that these young people know where they came from and how they got there. Namely, that it was You who delivered them and their parents from slavery, which they probably don’t remember; and led them through the desert, which has been their only memory; and brought them to this place of promise, which they may or may not have been taught was promised long ago to their forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

It is important that they see that You are their Deliverer, and their Promise Keeper. That is was You who has brought them out of four hundred years of slavery with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. They need to be aware of the miracles You did to free them from the Pharaoh. One perspective on the relationship is that they need to understand You are a deserving, willing, and capable Bridegroom who has a marriage covenant with them, so they will remain faithful to You. This is difficult for a generation who mostly missed the amazing, miraculous way You interceded on their behalf.

So it impresses upon me now, that I should take time to see where I have come from, where I am going, and how Your hand has blessed me all along the way. So many times You have protected me and helped me through hardship. Recalling those times helps strengthen my faith in You. Knowing how You came through in the past allows me to trust You more now, and be strong in the face of trouble. I once made a time line of how You had impacted my life at crucial points. With my aging memory, it helps to see those times written down, that confirm Your faithfulness to me.

Life can sometimes seem like a desert, a dry time of focusing more on what I don’t have than what I do have. While I do not have monetary riches or fame, I have truly been given what I have needed, not lacking anything. And I can truly say that “You have watched over my journey through this vast desert. You have truly blessed me, and been with me.” It has been over forty years for me. Time to take a moment and give You thanks. Amen

Deuteronomy 2:1-29; especially 2:7-8

Mar 23 A blessed life

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”

kneeling-1989128_640He has brought me into life in a time and place of His choosing; to a family of His providence. He has watched over me and protected me from serious illness and injury, trouble and violence, time and again. There were times when I cried out to Him for deliverance from circumstances, and He delivered me, or gave me what I needed to endure. There were times when He rescued me from things that I was not even aware I needed rescuing from.

He allowed me an understanding of spiritual matters, so that I began to see how sinful I was, and in need of a Savior. And that He, Jesus Christ, in love, shed His blood to pay the price, the penalty my sin had earned. He showed me, taught me, that this is the only way to reconcile my sinful self with God, who is holy.

He has tested me and refined me like silver. And although the process is not complete yet, each step in the process brings me closer to being Christ-like. The best silver is put into the fire seven times and brought up to a temperature of heat that burns away the impurities, creating a purer, more valuable quality.   And though the process of purification is not comfortable, and is often painful, it yields a harvest of blessing.

He has blessed me with loved ones, with friends, with a sense of purpose in life. He has provided me with hope, love, and a heavenly Father I can trust. He has comforted me with scriptures, by singing me songs; with revelations of His perspective, by sending people to talk with me, counsel me, rejoice and cry with me.

He has given me the hope of an eternal existence with Him in the future, with promises that He will never, ever, no, not ever, leave me. He has forgiven my sin. He has promised that nothing will overtake me, but that He will always make a way for me to bear up under whatever He allows into my life.

How awesome are His deeds! How great is His power! Praise be to God!

Father, let me never forget these things or all that You have done for me. Let me never shy away from an opportunity to tell others about them and about You.   Amen

Psalm 66:1-20

Mar 22 Can I get a witness?

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Lord what a seemingly complex system You dictated to the Israelites for justice.

You have told us before that the shedding of innocent blood pollutes the land, and that the blood has a voice. You heard the voice of Abel’s blood calling to You from the ground and confronted Cain.   Here, one who kills with intent is a murderer and is to be put to death by the blood avenger. The blood avenger is the male relative closest to the one who was murdered. He is to avenge the blood that was wrongly taken.

If there is a question about the motive, whether there was intention, the one who killed can flee to a City of Refuge to stand trial, and be safe there from the blood avenger. At the trial, no one is to be put to death on the testimony of less that two witnesses.

Today, we call a ‘witness’ to testify as to what they ‘saw’. However, they have no way of judging the intent, or what was in the mind of the person accused. But in the Hebrew culture, one teaching suggests that a person who is a ‘witness’ is one who had confronted the potentially guilty party, explained to them what they were doing is wrong, and the penalty they will bear if they proceed. Thus, they can testify that the accused was aware that what they were doing was wrong and that they had been warned of the penalty. If the accused proceeded with the act, it was with volition and intent.

Father, I pray You would send witnesses into my life if I begin to stray down a path leading to sin. Stop me in my tracks and confront me with the realization of where I am headed, so I can turn around before it’s too late.

Father, care for me as You care for the land. You “water the land and enrich it abundantly”. In the same way, pour out on me what I need for growth and fruitfulness in my spiritual life. Provide me with the nourishment I need to grow in maturity and grace. You “drench its furrows and level its ridges, softening it with showers, blessing the land and crowning it with bounty and abundance”.   Father, drench me in Your love, even out my rough places, soften my heart where it is hardened. Open my eyes to acknowledge Your bounty and abundance of blessing in my life, and I will shout for joy and sing praises to You. Amen

Numbers 35:1-34; Psalm 65:9-13

Mar 21 Overabundant blessing!

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O Lord, how often do I make my own plan, instead of seeking Yours, or going along with the one You started me out on? How many blessings have I missed, because I went my own way?

 

The Reubenites and Gadites saw with their eyes, that the land they were on was good enough for them; and asked for it rather than waiting for the land You had promised to all the tribes. In their view, what they were seeing was good enough, and it was given to them. I wonder if they prayed about that decision? Or how they sought wisdom on the matter? Or if they were just tired of being on the move and wanted to stop and settle?

Down the road it caused misunderstanding and cost lives. It was not Your plan, but You allowed it.

When Jesus taught and healed in the town of Capernaum in Galilee, the people searched Him out and tried to keep Him from leaving. Who wouldn’t want to hang on to a miracle worker? Healer? Gifted teacher?   But the will of the people did not line up with Your divine purposes.

It was not Your plan, and You did not allow it.

Jesus was not a fisherman. But He got into a fisherman’s boat. He instructed the men to put out into deep water and let down the nets at a time and place that made no sense by fishermen’s wisdom.   The men did, acting in obedience to Your sovereignty.

When they obeyed and went along with Your plan, they were blessed to overflowing! They had to call a backup boat, and even then, the boats filled to almost sinking with fish!

It was Your plan, and although it made no sense by human wisdom, it brought overabundant blessing!

Dear Father, I want that overabundant blessing in my life! I desire to align myself with Your will and Your purpose. I lay down my wish to ‘do it my way’ or according to my own wisdom, in favor of Your revelation and Your blessing. Help me hear Your instruction clearly. Embolden me to act with godly wisdom. Keep me on the path of Your plan.   And let me receive Your blessing with gratitude and thanksgiving! Amen

Numbers 32:1-42; Luke 4:31-5:11

Mar 20 Trust even in the desert

desert-984125_640“God, You are my God! Earnestly I seek You. [My soul] thirsts for You and my body longs for You in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Father, on this earth, in this life, it does so often feel like trudging through a desert with no water in sight. I have lived in New Mexico on the edge of the desert. When we drove anywhere, we never left without five gallons of water and provisions to spend the night in case we broke down or had a flat.   Some of the places were so remote we could not count on help coming quickly.   After hearing stories of people perishing, we learned to adapt to the environment and its challenges.

It’s beginning to feel like our country has become a spiritual desert. Oases of living water, wells of wisdom, pools of purity, have been blown over and filled in with the sands of sin and the dust of depravity. Truly, even those who call themselves Christians have been seared by the heat of materialism and humanism and tolerance, to the point that they are almost unrecognizable as followers of Christ. A desert indeed.

But I have seen You at work – in my life – the lives of loved ones! I have seen You answer prayer! I have beheld Your power and glory! And because of this, I will sing praise to You as long as I live! I will lift up my hands to honor You! Trying to fall asleep, I will count my blessings.

You satisfy my soul as my stomach is satisfied with the richest of flavors! The deepest of chocolates!

You have been my help during times of stress, sorrow, helplessness, fear, anger, doubt, and frustration. And also You have rejoiced with me in times of incomparable joy, happiness, thankfulness, relief, delight, and quiet contentment.

You are like a mother hen that spreads her wings of protection over her chicks. Like Your child, I run under Your wings and cling to You!

Thank You! That when I seek You, I find You. That when I hunger and thirst for You, Your Word fills me up. That when I cling to You, I am safe and protected. I give You praise! Amen

Psalm 63:1-11

Mar 19 God’s Plan

feastsoverviewThese amazing assemblies that You had the Israelites learn and observe Lord, are more than just feasts and festivals for celebration’ sake. They are the blueprint of Your plan for salvation and will play out to the end of the age, the end of the earth.   They have meaning in themselves, but are also prophetic of what is to come.

As Passover commemorates Your deliverance of the Israelites from death, by the blood of the lamb on the doorposts – Jesus IS that Passover Lamb. His blood allows me to be delivered from eternal death: separation from You.

Firstfruits being offered to the Lord show that the Israelites trust the Lord to bring in the rest of the harvest – Jesus IS the firstfruit of the risen! He was dead and is now alive, just as all who believe and die will rise to eternal life with Christ.

The Festival of Weeks is 50 days after Firstfruits. It celebrates the bringing in of the first harvest –50 days after Jesus rose there was the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit: Pentecost.

The Feast of Trumpets called Israel together to prepare for the Day of Atonement, which was ten days later. It is not tied to any historical event in Israel’s past.   And thus has not yet been fulfilled.   Believers look to the book of Revelation: when the trumpet sounds and Jesus returns to call the living and the dead to rise for eternal judgment.

Father, how amazing that You laid out this plan, all before the foundations of the earth. You knew all that it would take to reconcile Your people to You after sin entered the world. And You have laid the groundwork for my understanding of what has happened, and what is to come, in these festivals and holy days.

Thank you that You reveal Your plan to man. Thank You that Your plan is good and true; and that I can trust You to have the sovereignty and power to make it so.  Help me be mindful of the fullness of my history as a believer, both in the Old and New Testaments. And prepare me for all that is to come. Reveal Your plan to me for my life, and lend me Your strength to be obedient to it. Amen

Numbers 28:16-29:40

Mar 18 Heaven or Earth?

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O Lord, what a wonderful and confusing prayer here from David. I’m not exactly sure of his meaning; but like many prayers, it shows the divided interests and longings of many believers.

 

On one hand, I have been through a lot. Life has been challenging, and sometimes I want to just give up: “my heart grows faint”. I feel anxious to be done with this earthly life and all its problems. “I long to dwell in Your tent forever”. Thinking about that, all pain and suffering would be over. No more battles to fight. I would be in the presence of my Lord and Savior. What could possibly be better!

On the other hand, You have given me blessings here, Lord. I desire to fulfill all that You have planned for me, and bring glory and honor to Your name here on earth. And hopefully bring many to a saving knowledge of You while doing it. So I echo “increase the days of my life, my years for many generations”. How awesome would it be to see my children grown and serving the Lord, and grandchildren, and great grand children!

Bottom line, I trust You with all my days Lord; whether here on earth or with You in heaven. I rely on You and Your perfect will to know the length of my days, and prepare me for them. I thank You that You knew all my days before even one of them came to be. And that no power can take away even one hour You have promised me. I trust in, and rest in, Your power and Your wisdom, Your mercy, and Your plan. Amen

Psalm 61:1-8

 

Mar 17 Growth

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Dear Lord, we know very little about Jesus’ childhood. But we do know that He was remarkable.

From His 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, He ”sat among the teachers in the temple courts, amazing people at His understanding and answers.”

We then learn He was obedient to His earthly parents and “He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

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

I pray that 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.

Lord, help me grow in stature, which means maturity. That may require reexamining and putting away some childish thoughts and behaviors. It means not being led only by ego, or emotions or selfishness. Instead, lead me to develop a responsible sense of accountability when it comes to my relationship with You and with others.

Lord, I mostly desire to grow in favor with You. Show me where I am missing that mark, and turn my path back to You. Before I act, let me ask, ‘Will this draw me closer to the Lord, or farther away?’

Sometimes I feel close to You when I am strong, because I know that my strength comes from You. Other times I feel closer to You when I am weak and in dire need of Your help, encouragement, and guidance. I believe my trust in and dependence on You also honors You, as Your strength is shown through my weakness.

Father, let my favor with man be such that I can be a witness to man, rather than being taken in by the traditions and values of man. As You give me favor, keep me mindful that my home is in heaven – this is just a temporary stopover.

How wonderful it would be to be like Jesus in this. Thank You for Your help. Amen

Luke 2:36-52

Mar 16 A Savior who is Christ the Lord

ice-sculptures-1934577_640O Father, I love this passage in Luke. It has become one of the best known passages of Your Word that tells the gospel, the good news, the coming of our Savior!   Thank You for inspiring whoever made the Charlie Brown Christmas Special to include this scripture, presented in such a wonderful way. Your words, in that show, have been seen and heard by millions and millions of people who might never open a Bible, or know what Christmas is really all about.

I cannot read these words without picturing the scene on the school stage and hearing Linus’ voice repeating the words that describe the Holy birth of our Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Movies depict it, church presentations act it out. Even some civic displays portray it. There is such power in the simple scene and those precious words.

Lord, as our world grows more cynical, skeptical and politically correct, this story, Your story, is in danger of being squeezed out. Already in many arenas it is considered inappropriate and reflective of an intolerance of diverse lifestyles. Our country is interpreting scripture as ‘hate talk’ and it is being censored by law.

Father, raise Your hand to protect the presentation of Your truth to people everywhere. Let it continue to be displayed, portrayed, acted out, not only inside churches, but in the public view. Let it continue to be sponsored for commercial and public broadcast to billions of people around the world for years, decades, and centuries to come, to enlighten their spirits and change their lives.

Bless those who support it and those who hear it, for generations to come. And let the message of Your Good News change lives around the world! Amen

Luke 2:1-14

Charlie Brown Christmas Special link :

 

Mar 15 A donkey speaks!!

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O 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 by 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 prayers on their part and prophecy on Your part. They were faithful to handle that blessing as You instructed: 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 I will also 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 14 Love and Faithfulness

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“Great is Your love, higher than the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”

O Lord, Your love and Your faithfulness are hallmarks of Your character. Your love is not just friendship, or fondness as we use the word. It is even more than tenderness or a fleeting feeling of overwhelming affection. It is a boundless, limitless, overabundant, unconditional choice to create, nurture, protect, cherish, treasure, care for, invest in and sacrifice for Your creations.

It is not due to the object of this love. The object (us) is often actually unlovely, unkind, rebellious, demanding, selfish, and undeserving of this kind of love. It is only made possible because of Your Divine nature, the One doing the loving.   I am loved not because I have earned love or because my personality or appearance draw it out, but only because Your very nature pours forth love and lavishes it on me.

When I say “higher than the heavens” it’s a word picture that compares the quality and quantity of your love to something that for me is immeasurable. The attributes of Your love and the amount You have to give are infinitely higher above the farthest reach I can even imagine.

Faithfulness used to be a highly valued trait. Husbands and wives partnered for life. Companies desired long-term employees and provided benefits to keep employees happy.   People formed lifelong friendships. These days it seems to be a fair-weather and fleeting measure of comparative loyalty until something better comes along.

Your faithfulness is another character quality that depends on who You are. You are unswerving in Your loyalty, unshakable in Your dedication, immovable in Your devotion. You are faithful to Your character – Your attributes are true one hundred percent of the time; faithful to Your promises and covenants; faithful to Your children. As far as I can stretch my arms apart, or see from one horizon to the other, and beyond the heights of the sky, I cannot contain Your faithfulness. You are worthy of every ounce of trust and allegiance I am capable of.

You are God Most High. Be exalted! Let Your glory fill the earth! I will praise You and sing of You! My faithful and loving God! Amen

Psalm 57:9-11

Mar 13 Egypt or Wilderness?

direction-1033278_640The Israelites. For several hundred years they had not been in charge of their fate and lived as slaves. They never really had the freedom to choose what to do, where to go, or what to eat. And had no time to worship You, or even think about what their future might hold. All they knew: slavery = more of the same.

And while their freedoms had been stripped away, there was a stability and security in what they had. Barring illness or disobedience, they were provided for, albeit to keep them in working condition for the Pharaoh.

So in this newfound freedom after leaving Egypt, when problems rose, like no food or water for two million people, it was a big deal. And they were not prepared to cope. Those things had been provided for them before. And even though their labor had been hard and bitter, it was at least predictable. So during these times, it was so easy for one of them to look back to when there was a bit of security and minimal provision; and convince others that what was behind them was preferable to the unknown ahead.

Lord, how many times have I preferred the predictable to the unfamiliar? It takes courage to step out in a new direction, to get up off the couch of complacency.

I go back and forth between disbelief at how the Israelites rebelled against You even in the presence of the observable and awesome miracles; and being able to understand where they were coming from.

Father I pray You would help me be courageous in accepting what comes from Your hand. If it requires change on my part, let me be willing to take the necessary steps without whining and complaining. Remind me of the times in the past when You have rescued, delivered and supported me through difficulties and challenges. Let those memories add to my faith and increase my trust in You.

And I will say, “whenever I am afraid I will trust in You” and “walk before You in the light of life”. Amen

Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 56:3,13

Mar 12 God is with us

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“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you”

How many times, O Lord, have I seen You sustain me during times of stress and trouble? You have proven Yourself reliable over and over again.

Sometimes when I cast my cares on You, You actually change my circumstances, so the cause of my worry disappears. That is always appreciated, and often the solution I am seeking. But there are many other ways You ‘sustain’ me!

At times You don’t change the circumstances, but You change my perspective. You allow me to see things from a different view. It’s like when a toddler runs to their mother and is picked up and held in her arms. The child can see from a higher, safer perspective than from the height of a child.   Looking down from that height, the bad things don’t look so big and overwhelming.

Another way You sustain me is by simply being with me. Maybe the circumstances don’t change, and my perspective is the same; but the fact that You are near me, encouraging me, comforting me, reminding me that You are in control and that I can trust You, is what gets me through the hard time.

Sometimes You distract me with a blessing in one part of my life that so outweighs the rest, the worry fades in significance. Sometimes You teach me to choose my battles, and show me that in relation to the bigger picture, I can let go of this worry.

At other times You impress upon me the lessons I’m learning in dealing with the hardship actually outweigh the difficulty in getting through it. And still other times You create a surprise ending through the struggle that works out even better than I could have ever imagined!

It is still not easy when challenges and troubles come. Truth be told, I’d prefer to avoid them altogether. But You have shown me that You can work good out of anything when I trust You. I know that no matter what, You will sustain me.

YOU – the all-mighty, all-knowing Creator God, who has the power and resources of the universe at His disposal, will sustain me.

You WILL – a certainty because of Your faithfulness to Your promises and Your unchangeable character and Your unfailing love for me, sustain me.

You will SUSTAIN – keep, preserve, defend, support and encourage, zealously guard and treasure, me

You will sustain ME – Your child, Your servant, one who loves and worships and believes in and trusts in You.

YOU WILL SUSTAIN ME! And I will praise You! Thank You. Amen

Psalm 55:22

Mar 11 From beginning to end

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Thank You Lord is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited, reconciled, into fellowship with You. Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through. Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world was laid! That You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence. And eventually died physically. They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people. Yet all have not accepted that gift.

But when You return victoriously with a trumpet sound and a shout, You will judge the living and the dead and Your world will be free of sin again. I n creating a new heaven and a new earth You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes. They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever. I am eternally blessed to be Your child. Thank You. Amen

Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:7

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 that size 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 out 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 14:1-38

Mar 9 the Olive Tree

olive and meO 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 this thought: “As for me, I am like an olive tree flourishing in the House of God”

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 the others You have placed around me so that 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, even as the two olive trees that have remained in the Garden of Gethsemane are still living after two thousand and four hundred years, and are the same ones You knelt by on that fateful night You 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

Mar 8 Only You

dvxgnwnywem-giulia-bertelliThank You for having mercy on me O Lord. Thank You for withholding from me the penalty that my sins deserve. I praise You that Your mercies are new every morning; that You are not like a human, who would reach a limit of forgiveness or loving kindness.

I am so fortunate that I am not dependent on my own goodness or ability to ‘earn’ any kind of favor from You, but that I am at the mercy of Your great, unfailing love and boundless compassion.

Because of this, Lord, You blot out my transgressions, wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from all my sin. And because Your love for me is so great, You only show me what I can bear at any given time. Your Holy Spirit convicts my heart, but does not condemn me.

I will be cleansed only when You cleanse me. Only You have this power.   You can wash me whiter than the pure, sparkling snow.

You do not desire legalism or jumping through hoops to earn forgiveness; but desire my own recognition of my sin, and my true repentance.

Father, I ask You to do a work in me and purify my heart. Renew a spirit in me that will not give way to these sins again.  That way, when I do sin, it will break my heart and make me aware immediately, so I can turn from it and return to You. Return the joy of Your salvation to me Lord, and all that it means.

I am ever grateful for Your forgiveness, for Your cleansing, so I can again be in Your presence. I open my mouth and declare that all blessing and honor are due You. To You I give all glory, all praise, all thanks. Yours is the power and strength forever. Amen

Psalm 51:1-19; Revelation 7:12

Mar 7 Follow the Leader

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Lord, I love how You are always available to me. I can come to You any time to ask for wisdom and direction. There is no question too big or too small for You to answer.  And You never make me feel bad for asking.

 

The Israelites came and inquired of You through Moses about a problem for some wanting to celebrate the Lord’s Passover. In response, You told them exactly what to do. Not only did You answer their question, but Your presence was visible in the camp as a cloud over the Tabernacle. When You remained, the people remained where You were. When Your presence moved, they moved.

How I would love to have my own pillar of cloud appear before me and stay with me to direct my path! Then I would know precisely if I were in Your perfect will or if I were ever in danger of straying from it. I would know when to move on and when to stay put. There would be no question of misinterpreting what You were telling me. And what an accountability factor! If I were not near the pillar, everyone would know it was me who had moved away – who chose not follow.

In Jerusalem, when Your disciples asked about their future, You revealed events that would help them prepare for the dangers and challenges to come. You also reminded them to watch for signs and pay attention to the things around them that would help them discern what was coming. And warned them about false prophets. As Your Word warns, help me also keep watch and be prepared.

In Psalm 50:15 You tell me to call on You in the day of trouble and You will deliver. Again showing Your availability and desire to respond when I ask. I can trust that You, the mighty Creator of the universe, are available to help me, whenever, wherever, however a need arises.

“The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous”. And You have shown me that way. You came and lived on earth to be my example by showing how to treat people and live a moral and godly life. Also, through Your sacrifice, death and resurrection, You showed me the way to have eternal life. And gave me the gift of Your Word so I would have it written down, to read and study and memorize and hide in my heart.

You are my refuge. Thank You for being my sheltered, protected place of sanctuary.   Thank You for being ready with whatever I need. And for knowing what I need even when I do not. I am so grateful to have a God who hears, who is able, who is available, and who is willing. Amen.

Numbers 9:1-23; Mark 13:14-37; Psalm 50:15; Proverbs 10:29

Mar 6 Recieve

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Father, I have heard this blessing many times throughout my life. I used to hear it sung in Chapel – a beautiful melody and sentiment. But it seemed more like a ritual refrain than words invoking a powerful blessing upon me personally.

Over the last years I have studied the Hebrew verbs at work in this blessing, and now it means so much more to me.

Bless me. Oh Father, may Your blessing be upon me. As when You blessed Your creation: infuse me with unlimited potential and empower me. Remove any and all limitations that would prevent me from achieving the fullness of Your purpose for me and my life.

Keep me. Zealously cherish me and keep watch over me, my comings and goings, protecting and defending me from any physical, mental, emotional, psychological, financial, social or spiritual enemy or harm.

Let Your face shine on me. Let the light of Your radiance be upon me to invigorate and empower me. Let me live in the favor of Your presence and feel You near.

Be gracious unto me. Let me see and recognize those times when You bestow gifts and unmerited favor on me. Even when those gifts do not look like what I might expect.

Lift up Your countenance upon me. O my God, do not turn Your face away from me, but continue to guide me and urge me on, speaking clearly and gently to me.

Let me live in the fullness of Your peace, Shalom: which means and encompasses wholeness, wellness, purposefulness with joy, abundant provision, harmony, tranquility, safety, and security.

Thank You Lord that You in all Your power and mercy, do bless me, keep me, make Your face to shine upon me, are gracious to me, lift Your countenance upon me, and give me Your perfect peace. You are the Prince of Peace.   And these powerful Words are indeed a blessing. Amen

Numbers 6:24-26

 

Mar 5 All I am, All the time

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Your greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” That is a mouthful!

 

 

 

The Greek words from this scripture quoting the Hebrew words don’t have the exact meanings of the English translated words that are used today. But the idea is that I need to use all that I have to adore, worship, spend time with and follow You, my Lord. There is no element of my life that is to be without Your influence.

For my heart, I think my emotions need to be measured by You, so I don’t get overly carried away or swept up into something without thinking. I need to be aware of where my passions are leading me and find a place of balance.   When discouraged or depressed, I need to fight back against that inner voice berating me with negativity, by speaking Your truth in scriptures about my identity in You:

“I am a child of God” John 1:12

“I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.” Colossians 3:12

“I am forever free from condemnation” Romans 8:1

I heard once that people spend the first half of their lives trying to satisfy body and mind and the second half trying to satisfy their soul. That inner part of me that seeks peace and wholeness gains it by recognizing the truth of Your Word. So I will learn the real peace and wholeness that comes from You, not the world’s counterfeit found in popular philosophies.

My mind needs to seek “godly wisdom, which is pure, peaceable, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”; whereas the wisdom of the world is based on the logic of the mind and often the weight of pros and cons as they are understood by a limited human viewpoint. Godly wisdom is what must guide my choices and decisions. As I seek this wisdom, protect my mind from thoughts that do not come from You.

I dedicate my strength to Your purposes: the strength of my body, of my will, my self-determination. Help me realize when my strength is enough, and rely on Your strength to work through my weakness.

And I need to do this all the time?! It is obvious that I can never achieve this on my own. I will never be able to love You this perfectly. Fortunately, “with God, all things are possible!” So I rely on You, Lord, to guard and guide my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength; and to use them for Your glory. This is how I desire to be obedient. Amen

Mark 12:29-30; James 3:17; Mark 10:27

Mar 4 Worship! And Stand!

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Clap your hands! Raise your voice! Sing hymns and worship songs at the top of your lungs! Put on a worship music tape and crank up the volume! Don’t be bashful – show your joy! Your God is the One and Only True God who has more power than any person, any force, anything on this earth!

 

He is more powerful than Mother Nature! He rose from the dead while other proclaimed ‘deities’ are in their graves! The story of His creating the earth and choosing a people for Himself has been a best seller ever since there has been a printing press! It has been translated into 3,223 languages!

I live in a country that is not subject to a king, but Jesus Christ is my King – the King of Kings! I owe Him my praise and will sing out to Him.   I will hum quietly, sway and clap, sing in the shower, and with others at gatherings. I will play any instrument I can, write new songs, sing along with youtube videos that make me cry, and continue to sing through tears!

God reigns and rules, but not from an earthly throne in a temple or synagogue or sanctuary. And not on a mountaintop or in a river or floating on a cloud. There is a reality that cannot be seen by the human eye and cannot be described completely by human words. And in that place, is a great throne room, with Him seated on His Holy throne.

Because I cannot see it, Jesus draws me pictures with parables: a vineyard owner who went on a journey renting out the land. This is something I can visualize and understand. Though the owner is not present, he exists, and is still the owner, and is due the income from the land and the respect of the people.   It is the same with God. Just because I cannot see Him, I should not doubt He is real. Or think that He will not come for what is His.

pexels-photoWhen the storm comes, and I believe it is coming to our country in my time, and has swept by; O Lord, may I still be standing firm. Amen

Mark 12:1-12; Psalm 47:1-9; Proverbs 10:25

Mar 3 Hosanna!

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Oh Lord, How wonderful it would have been to be one of the people who shouted to You “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And to lay down palm branches and watch You ride onto Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. What a prophetic time to live in.

I can just imagine the excitement of the moment, and the expectation of the people as they wondered if You really could be the Messiah. Hosanna! Waving my arms in the air, swaying with the crowd; having heard the stories of Your miracles and healing. Water into wine! Walking on water! Healing with a touch, a word! Raising the dead! These must be signs of a long-awaited deliverance for our people!

But were these the same people who only a few days later called “Crucify Him!” and watched as You were led away?

How is it Jesus, that so near the end of Your time here, You are still to be found teaching. Whole crowds were amazed at Your words when You threw out the money changers, enraging the chief priests and teachers of the law.   Thank You for teaching me one more time about prayer. Your words remind me that I need to ask in faith, believing. And that I need to ask according to Your will. And that I need to be forgiving so I can be forgiven.

“You are my refuge! And my strength! My ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore, I will not fear.”  Amen

Mark 11:1-24; Psalm 46:1-2

Mar 2 Selfless Savior

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Lord 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

Mar 1 Your hand

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Lord God, I acknowledge that all power and all authority rests with You. You are Sovereign over all the earth, the heavens and all that is in them. You made them and by Your hand, all things are sustained and kept in motion. When Jesus says “all things are possible with God.” I have no trouble believing it!

There is no power that can stand against You.

So when I’m feeling lost, or overwhelmed, or helpless, or even hopeless, I will remember that my God can do anything! You can provide a way of escape. Or move mountains. Or work blessings out of tragedy. You know of solutions I cannot even imagine. You can make a way, where there is no way.

You can give me strength when I am weak. Lift my spirits when I am down. You know how to encourage me when I think I cannot go another step.

You inspire me to begin a journey. And empower me to keep going.  You reveal wonders to me that are beyond my understanding.  And were I to spend every moment of every day for the rest of my life, I would not begin to see all the things that are possible with You!

You amaze me! I am so humbled and blessed, knowing that You are My God. And I worship You. Amen

Mark 10:27

Feb 28 Words can hurt

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“When words are many, sin is not absent…”

Lord, twice I have learned the truth of today’s Proverb. Twice I have given full vent to my anger, spewing words at another person. And both times the eruptions have caused me much grief.

Even though I felt completely justified at the time for the hurt they had caused in my life or my child’s; the damage to the relationships and the way I felt afterwards was not worth the momentary release of anger and frustration.

The examples I have heard about words spoken are so true: you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube – you cant put all the feathers back in the pillow, you can’t un-break an egg… because you can never take those words back, or undo their hearing.

“…but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Since those two occasions, I have become ‘wise’.   When the anger builds up and the words are on the tip of my tongue, the memory of those two outbursts come to mind immediately, and I am able to hold my tongue and think before I speak. Thank You for imprinting them so indelibly on my memory to keep me from sinning in this fashion again. Thank You for teaching me that these words which so easily roll off my tongue are not the godly way to handle situations.

Keep this lesson in the forefront of my mind so that my witness will not be wasted. Let me honor You with my words. Amen

Proverbs 10:19

Feb 27 Can…and WILL

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Lord, I can so identify with the father who asked You to deliver his son from the evil spirit. His words were, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”

 

As I read through Your Word and see the miracles You have done, the healings, the deliverances of people groups and individuals, the amazing ways You impacted a person’s life and used them mightily, I marvel, and believe. When people tell me all You have done in their lives, how You have worked things out that should never have happened, and saved them from something in the nick of time, I believe that.

But when it comes to my own life, while I totally believe You CAN do anything; I often fall short in believing that You WILL.  Where it’s easy for me to see You acting in others’ lives, I feel so undeserving of Your attention.

But I continue to call out to You for my sons.  I believe that Your purpose is not to harm them, but to give them a hope and a future.  I claim that promise, and await the deliverance.  I call forth things that be not, as though they were, and will be.  And I look forward to the day when they will once again worship You in spirit and in truth being guided by Your Word.

I totally believe You can accomplish this. Your power is so great that nothing can stand against You. Help me, Lord, overcome any doubt that remains in me. I will trust in You. I will trust in You. Amen

Mark 9: 14-29; Romans 4:17

Feb 26 My Anchor, My “Tiqvah”

old-rig-1415697_640O Lord, this week I have been feeling overwhelmed by the direction of politics and society; by the vain philosophies of man our people seem to be blindly following, by the traditions of men that seem to deceive many of our young people, and by the work of the evil one seeping into our values and behavior standards. It’s as if a dark veil has been pulled over their senses and spirits. This is why my spirit is so downcast.

But Your solution in this Psalm is to put my hope in You. The Hebrew word for hope is “tiqvah”, defined as a cord that attaches one thing to another. It’s from the root word “qavah” which means to bind together, twisted for increased strength. It is the word used for the cord that binds a ship to its anchor.

A ship will drop its anchor in times of troubled seas, when it can no longer steer itself against the strong waves. It is the anchor that keeps it from drifting too far and being completely lost.

You are my anchor, Lord. You keep me from drifting too far and being completely lost. My hope is what keeps me tightly and securely bound to You, keeping me safe in the storms of life. And it is what gives me hope for our nation. There is life after storms. And “I will yet praise You!”

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You O God. My soul thirsts for You, the Living God.” Amen

Psalm 42:1, 2, 5

Feb 25 Lord have mercy…

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Oh Lord, the list of these laws You give Your people looks like the Prime Time TV line up on any given night, or the most popular movies.  Our ‘entertainment’ is filled with murder, vampires drinking blood and every form of sexual immorality. The culture and society of my country have become so profane – I am ashamed.

 

Looking historically, this nation has become all that Egypt represented in Exodus. I look at this Psalm, and I pray for the United States: “I say Lord, have mercy on us, as a nation; heal us, for we have sinned.”

“Deliver us in times of trouble, protect and preserve our life; bless us in this land and do not surrender us to the desire of our foes. Sustain us on the sickbed of immorality and restore us from our bed of illness” 

“O Lord, have mercy on us; raise us up…Praise be to the God of Israel (and hopefully the God of America) from everlasting to everlasting. Amen”

Leviticus 17:1-18:30; Psalm 41:1-13

Feb 24 Danger Zone

safety-44434_640Lord, for many chapters in Leviticus now You have shown me what is ‘unclean’ – the Hebrew word tamei (taw-may). It means more than what I think of as dirty or not clean. It also carries personal, psychological and spiritual elements.

Tamei is a state of fragmentation, of not being whole, of incompleteness, defilement, or inability to reach full potential.

Contact with things can make me tamei; but so can negative emotions and desires that arise from within me. Under these circumstances, I am put into a state of heightened spiritual alertness for a time; like a danger zone of vulnerability where I need to be vigilant over my thoughts and words and actions.   It’s a time or portal of potential risk of drifting away from holiness. Holiness is wholeness, unity, integration, represented by the Hebrew word t’hor (tu-hoar) and is the opposite of unclean.

Jesus recognized the Pharisees had become overzealous when it came to being ‘clean’ only on the outside of their bodies, neglecting the spiritual aspects of tamei. They missed the point that what makes man fragmented or shattered, is what comes from the heart – the jealousy, arrogance, selfishness, lustfulness and evil thoughts. These are what put man into a state of danger where they can fall into sin.

Father, raise my awareness of these times when I need to be on high alert. Keep me vigilant over my thoughts and actions so I don’t drift away from You. I desire to honor You with my lips and my heart. Teach me to let go of legalism that has become the tradition of man; so that I can be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life. May Your love and Your truth always protect me. Amen

Leviticus 15:1-16:28; Mark 7:1-23; Psalm 40:11

Feb 23 Time for God?

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“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done…Jesus said ‘Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’”

 

 

 Father, what a wonderful thing for all of us to do. How long has it been since I came and reported, told You about all I have been doing? And when was the last time I came away by myself with just You to a quiet place and got some rest? I so greatly benefit from spending time with just You – in a place where the world doesn’t burst in interrupting with urgent texts, emails, phone calls. Where everywhere I look I don’t see something to clean or organize or jump up and take care of.

I believe this is important: spending quiet, focused time with You. In a time when multi-tasking has been raised to an art form, and busy-ness is worshipped, You have a message here that stops me in my tracks. Help me make uninterrupted, intentional time with You a priority.

I have been on silent retreats before, just alone with You in a place that values exactly that. It is so important to get away from the routine and distractions that eat away at my time and sap my energy. It was wonderful to give You the first time in my day, and the last, and every minute in between. On some occasions You have shown me a new direction or a specific answer to prayer, or a revelation of Your hand in my life. Sometimes You have given me a fresh perspective or encouragement for the path I’m on.   Other times, I simply get to spend quality and quantity time with You, the Almighty Creator of the Universe.   Time well spent.

Thank You for the reminder of how important it is to come away with You to a quiet place and get some rest. It’s been too long. Amen

Mark 6:30

Feb 22 Who is Jesus to you?

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Heavenly Father, it amazes me that even in Your presence here on earth, with all the wisdom You shared in Your teachings, all the authority You spoke with, all the healings and miracles You performed, people didn’t recognize and acknowledge who You were.

Those in Your hometown wondered, amazed by You, but had no faith in someone they believed they already knew. Others thought You were a prophet, or the reincarnated spirit of a prophet. To some You were their healer, a miracle worker who raised loved ones from the dead. To some, a blasphemer claiming divinity. To others a confusing juxtaposition of holy teacher and friend of sinners. To a very few, the Messiah.

I wonder, who I would have thought You were, had I been alive and in the region at that time?

You said and did things that were against conventional teachings. Yet all You did, You did in love. You spoke to hundreds, thousands at a time, yet met each individual where they were.  You spoke in puzzling parables, yet to those who were called, they made perfect sense.  You fulfilled hundreds of prophecies, yet people who knew the prophecies, didn’t recognize what was happening.

It must have been a confusing time. Yet thanks to You, I can know and be sure of my salvation because You have told me: “You chose me before the foundation of the world”.   So, no matter when I was born, or where; to me You are Jeshua Meshiac, Jesus Christ, Messiah, the Son of God, my Savior, my God, my King. Amen

Mark 6:1-6; Ephesians 1:4

Feb 21 Healing and Forgiveness

Dear Father, even though You no longer walk this earth in the flesh, Your power is still present here. Each believer has the Holy Spirit and can call on You in prayer to effect Your purposes.

prayer-888757_1920So we bring our loved ones and the people of the earth before You. We ask for healing from physical ailments. We ask for an end to suffering, whether at the hands of ungodly persecutors, or by the powers of this present darkness that work for the evil one.   We ask for salvation to come to those who are lost and in need of a Savior. Lord, be the light in their lives that heals and frees and saves.

Like Jairus, I put my faith in Your power to touch and heal. You are a God of miracles.

I also realize that when I intercede, or pray on behalf of others, I need to be clean before You. Unconfessed sin can get in the way of our communication. David says that his sin caused health to leave his body, guilt to overwhelm him. I too need to confess my sin before You and ask forgiveness. Show me the sin in my life Lord, and as I agree with You and turn from it, cleanse me anew.

Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for purifying me from all sin’s unrighteousness. Thank You for allowing me, like Jairus, to ask in faith for Your healing.  Help me pray in Your will, because I trust that Your will is the absolute best for each of us. And help me rest in Your answers and Your timing. Amen

Mark 5:21-43; Psalm 38:1-22

Feb 20 In the Storms

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Father, so many times I act just like the disciples in the boat during the storm. I choose to focus on the storm around me. In the face of the strong winds, the high waves, the tossing of the boat, I look at the opposition, the circumstances that block my way, and the hopelessness of things turning out right. All the time forgetting Your promises of protection. Even though I know You are there with me, I do not see how You are at work in the situation, and I cry out to stir You to my cause.   “Lord, don’t You care…?”

Many times, I can almost hear You say the same words to me that You spoke then; “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Sometimes You do calm the wind and still the waves. Other times You simply hold me in Your arms while the waves buffet me. Sometimes You inspire me and increase my faith with a vision of future calm waters and blue skies, reassuring me that it will be all right.

Thank You for being with me in the storms. Thank You for speaking to me in songs, scriptures, promises, and visions. Thank You for the truths You give me in Psalm 37: “My salvation comes from the Lord; You are my stronghold in time of trouble. You help me and deliver me; and save me. Because I take refuge in You.” Amen

Mark 4:35-41; Psalm 37:39-40

Feb 19 Whoever has ears, let him hear

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“Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me ears to hear. Help them to be tuned in to Your frequency so I can hear Your voice, or see, what You are saying to me in Your Word, in prayer, through other believers, and in my circumstances.  Help me keep my ears clean of the build up that might block my hearing You – the negative talk I say to myself, the self-doubt and self-criticism. And keep them clear of infection; sin which would dull my senses to what You would say.

Forgive me for the times I have blocked my ears because I did not want to hear the correction You were speaking to me, or the step I was too afraid to take.

I pray that in hearing, I would gain understanding. Hearing is only half the process. Not only do I need to hear what You are saying, but also understand what it means to me. Thank You for the times You explained what You meant in scripture parables so the message would be clear. Thank You for the times You have provided confirmation to me when I was unsure. Thank You that the more I listen and obey, the more I understand.

I have ears to hear, let me hear. Amen

Mark 4:1-25

Feb 18 Living A to Z

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Father, 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 is 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 have 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 am justified in fighting. Being “still” here means not to move and not to 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 to live a Holy Spirit-controlled life. Amen

Psalm 37:1-11

 

Feb 17 Sacrifice for all

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Lord God, it strikes me as I read this passage in Leviticus, that all these offerings are for unintentional sin. This is a sin that the person is unaware of when they do it. Then, when they are made aware of their sin, they are to bring the appropriate animal, lay their hand on it as it is sacrificed as a way of transferring the sin to the animal who pays the price for the sin: death. These are ways to restore relationship with You when there is no intent in the sin.

When the sin is deliberate, intentional, there is often no sacrifice, no substitute to bear the penalty. Death is the penalty. The person who sins is accountable for that debt.

But praise to You, Lord! You have made another way for sinners to be restored into right relationship with You.

When Jesus came, He ate with and spent time with “sinners” to show them the good news! There was now going to be a sacrifice that would pay the penalty for their sin. The blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Your blood, would take away the sin of the world. All the sin.

Because “Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the heavens, and Your faithfulness stretches to the skies; because Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, and Your justice like the great deep”, You have preserved man, and provided him with salvation!

Both high and low among men and women and children can come to You and find refuge in the shadow of Your wings. For within You is the fountain of life! And when I have You, I have life! Amen

Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-17; Psalm 36:5-9

Feb 16 Friendship rewarded

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

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 a 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 to me. Let my circumstances bring out kindness and appreciation in me rather than bitterness.

If I live long enough, it is likely these times will come. As these bodies age, there is often weakness and infirmity. Be my strength, and let Your strength shine through my weakness. And may “my tongue speak of Your righteousness and of Your praises all day long.” Let me be a blessing to those around me. Amen

Mark 2:1-12; Psalm 35:28

Feb 15 Me? A Disciple?

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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 where 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 the way that seems logical. 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 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

loop-572859_640Dear 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, 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.

Father, 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 13 I will testify and praise You!

worship-435108_640So many prophecies fulfilled just in today’s verses from Matthew, Lord. In so many ways, You made good on Your Word to send a specific deliverer by a specific pre-ordained way: a Savior who would be the Lamb of God and take away the sin of the world, if we would just accept and believe.

These were not easy promises to fulfill. They were quite costly. Jesus paid the ultimate price with His very life, in a painful and torturous way. And even after His death, more prophecies were satisfied.   So many people, so many years, so many ways the plan could miss the mark, be off the prophecy just a bit. But You brought Your plan down through the ages to fruition. You accomplished the saving of man’s soul and his reconciliation to Yourself.

For these reasons as well as Your faithfulness, Your trustworthiness to Your promises, Your Sovereignty and power in accomplishing all You set out to do, “I will extol You”! According to a dictionary, that means I will praise You, exalt You, commend, admire and worship You. I will tell others of You with highest recommendations.   “Your praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in You! “

I will invite others to glorify You and lift up Your name with me in song, in prayer, to other believers and to anyone who will listen! I will tell them how You heard my prayers and saved friends and family from illness and injuries, how You protected them from bad decisions and bad people and bad situations. I will share how friends at death’s door were returned to their loved ones, and how in Your mercy, others were spared from terrible pain.

I will let them know that You are in the business of revealing wisdom to me when I ask about making decisions, about how when I didn’t know the way to go and felt trapped, You made a way out of the situation I had never thought of or considered.

I will recall times when I was too afraid of what was about to happen, but You gave me peace and the courage to make it through by giving me songs, or visions, or specific scriptures to help me. I will share how there were times when I thought things were going so wrong, but You worked them out and brought blessings out of them I never thought were possible.

These are the things, the testimonies that I have tasted, and have proven over and over again that You are good. Thank You – for being there for me every time I knew I needed You. And thank You Lord for being there for me when I didn’t even know I was in need. Amen

Matthew27:32-66; Psalm34:1-8

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 those times have been few and far between.

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 a person 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 11 Omnipotent

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Lord, I believe that Your Word is right and true; and that You are faithful in all You do. So when the Word tells me You created the heavens and the earth, I believe it and am amazed.

Not only did You have the imagination and endless creativity to think it all up, You had the power and sovereignty over the elements and forces to do the creating!

How? I don’t know. Science is still wrestling with the questions of how our universe works. Theories come and go about physics, matter, gravity wells, space and time; more than I can grasp. Every generation we learn more, sometimes refuting what was previously believed. I don’t know that we will ever reach a level of truly understanding it.

But I know that when I see the diversity and organization, I marvel at it – and see past it to the Creator.  I can look through a microscope or a telescope and see things beyond my imagination that amaze me. I can observe connections and repeated patterns that cannot possibly exist by coincidence.

The recognition and glory are due the Creator. “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him” meaning I will acknowledge Your handiwork and have the utmost respect for Your power and authority over all our world.

“The Lord foils the plans of nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” The Israelites were a stiff-necked people and disobeyed You over and over again. Yet still You made them Your chosen people, a people set apart, to this day. The disciples Jesus gathered around Him betrayed and denied Him, then scattered. And yet, they spread the word of salvation through the work of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection.

I have been known to be stiff-necked and disobedient. And there have been times I have not followed through on all You have shown me. Yet I trust that Your plans, through me or in spite of me, will stand. I am not much, but in Your hands, I am a tool wielded by the almighty Creator of the universe. And what You can accomplish by the work of Your hands is limitless.

I praise You that Your plans stand firm. Thank You that the purpose of Your heart was to provide a way to reconcile us, Your creation, to Yourself again. I will sing of the mercy of the Lord! Your faithfulness endures forever! Amen

Exodus 32:1-14; Matthew 26:69-27:5; Psalm 33:1-11

Feb 10 Teach me

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Thank You Father, that You have promised to “instruct me and teach me in the way I should go.” Help me be a good student of Your instruction. Give me the ability to hear You above all the other voices: anger, fear, temptation, discouragement, stress.

Strengthen me to pay attention, make note of, and follow Your teachings in my personal life, relationships and in setting priorities.

Thank You for providing me with godly counsel. Of all the voices I hear, I trust Yours as the wisest. The wisdom the world has to offer, although it may seem logical, is not always the best. Thank You that I can know that Your instructions for me will always be in agreement with Your Word. With the Bible as my textbook I can find examples to follow, characters to learn from, and encouragement for my journey.

Thank You for watching over me. Unlike other teachers, You have the ability to be with me at all times, wherever I am. Your Holy Spirit in me coaches me as I go along, so I am never far from Your guidance; if I choose to accept it.

“Do not let me be like a horse or mule which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to You.” But let me respond to the loving leading and gentle touch that keep me on the path of righteousness in my thoughts, my words, my attitudes, my motives and my actions.

Surround me with Your unfailing love, and I will sing to You and rejoice in You, and be glad!

Psalm 32:8-11

 

Feb 9 not my will…

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Lord God, what a blessing You gave me to be able to travel to Israel, to see the city of Jerusalem, and to walk into the Garden of Gethsemane! I am forever changed by that gift. It was amazing!

On one hand, as a tourist, it seemed historically and intellectually reasonable to be seeing structures and walls that stood in Jesus’ time. But as I sat, looking at two of the very olive trees that were present in the garden when You were there, I marveled. Utterly amazing! To see something that was alive, living then, and still alive and living now was incredible. I was in the presence of something that had been alive in Your presence here on earth…

In the quiet, my thoughts were drawn back to the night Jesus came to pray His “not my will but Thine” prayer. I reread that passage in Matthew that described that sorrowful and troubled plea.

He laid all His personal potential down. Father, I have hopes and dreams, goals, desires. I desire to honor You with what I do. I thought of what my biggest possible plan could be, all the potential I have, and how it would bring glory to You, thinking, if You would just make it happen…

And then I realized something: if Jesus, with all the ability and power and potential that He possessed, (and He could have called ten thousand angels and made a spectacle the world had never seen before!) was willing to put it all aside for God the Father’s holy and perfect will for His life; how can I do less?

What is there that I could possibly think of to do, that would be better than anything Jesus could have done? And He could have done literally ANYthing! Yet Jesus laid it all down to take up God the Father’s purpose.

I must do the same.  And so I echo those words: “not my will, Lord, but Thine.”

Jesus had the unlimited and infinite capability to accomplish whatever He wanted. And He gave it all up to accept Your plan. I have a very limited and puny capability for setting and accomplishing goals. So rather than asking You to bless whatever plan I may be able to think up, I ask that You would show me the plan You have for this portion of my life.

And give me the courage and strength required to live it in a way that will bring You glory. Amen.

Matthew 26:36-46

 

Feb 8 Praying Your Words

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Your Words are holy. Sometimes I simply pray Your very own words back to You! It’s as if You already know what I need and have prepared the prayer for me.

“I trust in You. My times are in Your hands;” (they always have been whether I acknowledged it or not – my comings and goings, my living and dying, and all the moments in between, were already determined before even one of them came to be)

“Deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.” (whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual adversaries – You are Sovereign over them all and can defeat them all)

“Let Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing love.” (may I feel the impact of Your illuminating presence on my body, mind and spirit and be saved from harm not because of anything I have done or earned, but because of Your benevolent generosity and grace)

“Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I have cried out to You; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave.” (let me see victory in the utter defeat of our enemies and the fulfillment of Your justice; strengthen me to walk in Your way) Amen

Psalm 31: 14-17

Feb 7 God-given gifts

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Lord 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 You have 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, disappointing You. Show me 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 6 Little by little

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“Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”

How well You, my Heavenly Father know me. You know my strengths and also my weaknesses and limitations. And You will never give me more than You know I can handle. The challenge is: it is often more than I realize I can handle. But You are always gentle with me, and faithful.

With the Israelites, You knew they would not be able to take possession of all of Your amazing gift of the promised land at one time. You knew the blessing was too much for them with their limitations. So You gave them what they could handle, and when they were ready, strong enough, You gave them more.

You’re like that with me too. If I were to know the full extent of the bountiful and abundant blessing You have in store for me, I would not be able to take it all in. It would be too overwhelming and far too great for me to accept all at once. So You show me the part I can accept and work with — and proceed one step at a time.

Your forgiveness is a blessing. But You are patient and do not overwhelm me by showing me all my sin at once. Little by little, You teach me what is right and holy. And little by little I see how I have fallen short of that, or have been downright disobedient. And as I acknowledge my sin and accept Your forgiveness, I am blessed as You purify me from unrighteousness and free me from guilt and shame.

boy-1916204_640You know me so well, Lord. And knowing what I will face, You prepare me with exactly what I need to meet each challenge, accept each blessing and appreciate Your hand at work in my life. Go before me to prepare the way. And prepare me, Father, to see and accept all that You have for me. Help me be patient for Your timing. Guide me and empower me to take the steps You have prepared that are before me. Do not let me run ahead or lag behind. But build me up, increase me, till I am ready to take possession of all that comes from Your hand. Amen

Exodus 23:27-30

Feb 5 Immeasurable Power, Infinite Gentleness

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“The voice of the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful. The voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks into pieces the cedars of Lebanon.   The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.”

Your voice, O Lord, is so mighty that it has the explosive power to burst open massive trees with a Word. As deafening as standing by rapid waters that rush by, Your voice can be heard over that torrential noise. As shocking and ear-splitting as a bolt of lightning, Your words flash with even more intense exclamation. The vibrations that it would take to cause the sand, rocks and mountains of the desert to tremble are set off by Your utterances. And the power of the hurricane wind that would twist trees and uproot them or tear away their bark, is found in Your mere whispers.

How is it then, that I can withstand this greatness and dare to ask to hear from You?

It is only because of Your infinite self-control that when You lean down to speak to me, You do not destroy me. It is because You desire for me to know You and have relationship with You that I am able to hear and understand Your voice. You have all this amazing power at Your disposal and could utterly destroy me with a breath; yet You seek me out, as You do each one of Your creations, to have fellowship with me and to reveal Yourself to me and to show Your boundless abundant love to even me.

“You give strength to Your people; and You bless me with peace.” Give me strength, Father.  Bless me. And give me Your peace. Amen

Psalm 29:3-11

Feb 4 Eternal Priorities

Three words I never want to hear: “Woe to you”. With these words You gave warning to the Pharisees and called them into account for their actions and deeds. Even now, it’s so easy to say “I would never be like them!” I do not want to follow in their footsteps, like judging others while projecting seeming innocence. So correct me if You see in me what You saw in them.

They had their priorities backwards, saying the gold was more valuable than the temple it was in, and the sacrifice more valuable than the altar it was offered on. Help me make and keep my priorities straight. Help me understand the true value of things as they are in Your economy so I do not elevate the profane and dishonor the holy.   Many of the things the world places value on are not truly valuable. The world sees from a limited , short-term perspective and often places more significance on the created thing, than the Creator Himself.   Help me see things for their eternal value.

I love Your humor when You say they “strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Teach me to see the bigger picture and focus on the important things and not be legalistic over the smaller insignificant ones. I can get so carried away with the urgent that sometimes I don’t make time for the important things.   Show me how to spend my energy and time on what is significant.

You paint a striking picture when You describe a cup: clean on the outside but dirty on the inside; or a whitewashed tomb, clean on the outside but full of death on the inside. You see not only the outward appearance, but see into man’s heart to know him. Let me be as concerned with being pure and clean on the inside as I am with being presentable on the outside.  Help me be authentic and transparent; so my walk agrees with my talk. Let me put as much time into developing my character as my wardrobe.

I desire to be all You have created me to be. But it is so easy to follow the way of the world and look for the easy way – to make a big deal over what the world says is a big deal. I know that most of the world does not seek You to worship You or follow You. Broad is the path that leads to destruction. Help me find that narrow way, and stay on that path: the one that brings joy and not woe. Amen

Matthew 23:13-39; Matthew 7:13

Feb 3 Apple or Potato Prayers?

“Hear my voice when I call O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of You, ‘Seek His face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Oh Father, thank You that I can know that You do hear me. Sometimes I sing out my praise, sometimes I call out my thanksgiving, sometimes I weep and whisper out my needs, sometimes my heart is so broken I can only weep. But the Holy Spirit intercedes for me and even the groanings of my heart that cannot be expressed in words are heard.

Thank You that in Your mercy, You answer me every time. I appreciate and love the times Your answer is ‘yes’ and I can see the fruit of my prayers immediately. They are like apples I can see growing and maturing on a tree, right before my eyes. The buds come, the blossoms open, then the fruit appears, grows and matures while I watch the whole process. With a prayer like this, I can see you at work and be encouraged.

But I understand that at times the answer is ‘wait’. Then it’s more like growing potatoes. The plant is there, but the fruit, the potato, is growing underground and cannot be seen until it is time to harvest. It takes faith to dig up the plant looking for the potatoes underneath. These are harder prayers because they feel like nothing is happening. The truth is, You are at work answering the prayer, just not in ways visible to the human eye.

And I also must acknowledge that sometimes the answer is ‘no’. And I have to ‘choose’ to trust that Your will is best for me, even if I don’t understand it at the time.

Like the Psalmist Lord, I will seek Your face. I will read and study Your Word and apply its lessons and teachings to my life. I will come to You in prayer, allowing time not only for talking, but also listening for what You want to say to me. I will look for those places where You insert Yourself into my life through circumstances; using events or occurrences, contacts or everyday things to speak to me and heighten my awareness of You. You remind me of Your beauty in a sunset. You make Your sovereignty known when I look at the stars.   You reassure me of Your love and care when You have a friend call or pray for me.  And these are just some of the ways You communicate with me.

Whether praying apples or potatoes, hearing a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, You have encouraged me with these words of David: “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” And especially for those ‘potato’ prayers, You say “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Father, help me in the waiting, not fall into discouragement, self-pity or giving up. Keep my faith strong and my trust in You solid; so that at the end of the waiting, I will sing of the wonders of the Lord! Amen

Psalm 27:7,8,13,14; Romans 8:26

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 15:19-17:7; Psalm 27:6

Feb 1 Exodus Deliverance Prayer

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Father, I pray this for ______ who is undergoing trials that seem overwhelming right now.

I pray that according to what You, the Holy One did for those who left Egypt when You delivered them out of the hand of Pharaoh at the Sea of Reeds in Exodus 14:19-31, You will do for this precious one in their time of trial, difficulty or crisis.

[You interposed Yourself between Pharaoh’s army and your people who were in the desert trapped up against the Sea of Reeds. You kept them safe all night as You prepared their way of escape. You threw the enemy into a panic and vanquished the enemy completely. You gave them safe passage, making a way where there seemed to be none. And You gave them a wonderful deliverance.]

Lord God, will You now physically place Yourself between this one You love, who You have redeemed and whatever threatens their safety, their security and welfare; and personally assume responsibility for their protection – not because they deserve it by anything they have done, but for the sake of the eternal relationship You have with them.

May You keep vigil over them and send Your almighty Spirit to make a way of escape to deliver them. May You watch over them through the night, the dark time when they cannot see Your hand at work on their behalf – may they feel Your protection even in light of seemingly overwhelming circumstances when they focus on the enemy.

As in Exodus 14:21 when You sent the ‘Ruach kadim’ generally translated as ‘east wind’ but literally meaning ‘the breath that was from before the first, that was in the very beginning’ (reference to Genesis 1:2 when the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the waters, and the Ruach [the breath or Spirit] of the Holy One moved over the face of the deep) may they feel the Ruach or Spirit of God moving in whatever challenge is facing them, as You make a way of escape for them.

May You set panic in the heart of their enemy and send that enemy into confusion so they may not be harmed. May none of the enemy’s weapons find their targets. May they even turn on themselves in the confusion.

May You vanquish the enemy before their eyes. May the enemy fall into the very pit they have dug as a trap and into the hands of a jealous and mighty God. May You totally repel and defeat the enemy on their behalf, because You love them.

We do not underestimate Your power, Holy One, our Covenant Partner. You know what is needed.   Provide for safe passage for them to the place of fulfillment of their purpose in life. They are Your handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the works You prepared in advance for them. And You who began a good work in them will be faithful to complete it. You absolutely can and will do whatever You have to do to make a way even when there seems to be no way.

And may You, our Lord God, give an awesome aftermath, where they can tell others about the wondrous and mighty work of the Holy One on their behalf. May You give them a heart of gratitude and thanks that acknowledges You and gives You the glory. May their testimony be that in faith, they stood and saw the deliverance of the LORD. Amen

Exodus 13:17-14:31

Jan 31 Thank You thank You thank You

pzvi92s-zms-lifelike-creations“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard Jesus was passing by they called out. When You stopped, You asked what they wanted You to do for them. They asked for their sight. You had compassion on them and healed them! What a miracle!

I depend on Your mercy as well. And Your mercies are new every day. But if You were to ask what I want of You, I am already so blessed, it would be hard to answer.

You have already given me eternal life in Your presence for all time. You have forgiven my sin. You have allowed me to be born in a time when most disease is treatable, water and air are safe to drink and breathe, and injuries do not usually become life threatening. I have no fear of wild animals attacking as I live in a safe place. You have placed me in a country where I have freedoms that most in the world do not. I can worship You freely, I can travel where I want, can vote for my form of government and live my life in peace within its protected borders, without persecution.

You have allowed me to be born into a loving, supportive, Christian family who raised me to love You. And who gave me not only adequate food, shelter, and an education, but loved me and encouraged me.

You have protected me and saved me from more tragedy and trauma than I know about. And have blessed me with a husband and children, and friends. I live in a beautiful place where every day I can look to the mountains and be reminded of Your strength and majesty. I can enjoy four seasons with all the consistent changes that come with them; weather, wildlife, life cycles of plants, flowers, trees. I have full use of all my senses that can take in the beauty around me and see your infinite diversity at work in birdsongs, floral aromas, the lushness of grass, the chill of fresh snow, the painted sky at sunrise and sunset.

As I think of all these things, my heart overflows with gratitude and thanksgiving. Forgive me for not voicing it every day. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You! For as many days as I have left on this earth, there will always be something to thank You for. And when I pass into that next part of our eternal relationship, “I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in my heart, and enter Your courts with praise!”

Matthew 20:29-34, Psalm 100:4

Jan 30 Salvation Lamb – Passover

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What a beautiful depiction of Your amazing Salvation plan! You delivered the Hebrews physically from the Pharaoh by the same way You deliver me into eternal life: by the blood of the lamb!

The last plague to fall on Pharaoh and Egypt was the death of their firstborn. And the Hebrew people were told to take a lamb from their flock, a male without defect, sacrifice it at a certain hour, and smear the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe of their house. When the Angel of death saw the blood, he would pass over those people within and they would be saved from physical death that night.

It was an exact representation of what would happen centuries later when Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life. He was the spotless lamb, killed at that same hour, on that same day of the year that Hebrews celebrated down through generations: Passover. The blood He shed paid the price for our sin so we can be justified or reunited to You, a holy God. When we appropriate that blood (or accept it as the free gift to pay the penalty for our sin), eternal death will pass over us, and we will remain to live with You forever!

Until that time of judgment when eternal life and eternal death are meted out, I echo David’s words to proclaim my trust in You. I acknowledge that You are “good and upright”, that “Your ways are loving and faithful”. And I ask that You would “deliver me from my enemies” and “keep me from shame”. Show me more about You and the depth of Your love every day, and “teach me to walk in Your paths” – wherever You would lead me – without stumbling or turning away to the left or the right. Let me learn how Your truth should determine my actions, my words and my attitudes. Help me love my brother and my neighbor as myself.

I thank You for forgiving my sin as I continue to confess it before You: my disobedience, unjust actions, shortcomings and wrong attitudes. Instruct me and guide me every day, giving me strength to hold my tongue when I should, and courage to speak when I should.

I believe You have given me specific gifts and talents; help me use those to glorify You and to bless others. Bring people and resources to me that will empower and support these gifts. Help me be a guiding light for those who see me live my life, pointing them to You.

“My eyes are ever on You”, my Lamb, my Savior, my Lord. Amen

Exodus 11:1-12:13Psalm 25:1-15

Jan 29 All things are Possible

possible-410241_1280Father, thank You for the example of the young man of great wealth who came asking Jesus how to be saved. He was seeking salvation by means of things he could do. Jesus named several commandments and the man acknowledged he had done those things. But he pressed on, “What do I still lack?”

When Jesus responded for him to sell all his possessions and follow Him, it wasn’t the money He needed. It was to be first in the man’s heart. But the man misunderstood and went away sad.

Father, I understand that it is not outward behaviors that earn me salvation. What You desire refers to the condition of my heart – whether You are my first love, my King, Messiah, Savior. I can never be good enough or totally free from sin. So You came and died on the cross, paying the penalty for my sin, providing salvation for me and everyone else in the world who would accept this free gift.

That is why when the disciples asked “Who then can be saved ?” , the answer was, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” You have made the salvation of the world possible

“You are the King of glory. You are strong and mighty. You are mighty in battle. You are the Lord God Almighty.” And I am in awe of You. Thank You for drawing near to me. Thank You that in Your power, You care for and love each one of Your creations. I praise You that in Your unfathomable greatness, You are a personal Father who leans down know me intimately. I am amazed by You.

Matthew 19:16-30: Psalm 24:8

 

Jan 28 My forgiving Shepherd

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Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding me that I need to forgive others. The parable You share with Your disciples clearly depicts that I have been forgiven so much more than I can ever repay. From day to day, I forget that; and it seems so easy to harbor ill will toward those who hurt me, and want to see them punished.

It feels like if I forgive them, I’m letting them get away with something, releasing them from the consequences or punishment of their hurtful actions. Some who have grieved me don’t even ask for forgiveness.

The truth is: I am the one set free when I forgive. And I am being obedient. So I am doubly blessed when I can forgive others. Help me remember this the next time I face these circumstances. And show me right now if there is someone that I haven’t forgiven. Lead me through whatever steps I need to take to get right with them and right with You.

The 23rd Psalm is the first passage of scripture I memorized. You tell us to hide Your Word in our hearts, and this is one that I did. Thank You that You are my Good Shepherd. Don’t know that I like being characterized as a sheep all that much; they are such smelly, stupid animals. But I understand a lot of accurate parallels can be drawn. And the depiction of the care and protection the shepherd provides paints a wonderful picture of Your love for man and for me.

Thank You for providing for my needs. Thank You for knowing when I need to rest and be restored; and for affording those times of rest and restoration, making sure I have what I need physically and spiritually. Thank You for leading me in the path You have chosen for me; and for being there with me so there is no need to fear. When evil threatens, I am calmed and quieted by trusting Your presence and Your ability to defend me completely. I draw strength from Your promises to protect and provide for me all the days of my life, and then to take me to be with You for all eternity. My Shepherd. My Savior. Amen

Matthew 18:23-35; Psalm 23

Jan 27 I want to obey

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; 2Timothy 1:7; Psalm 138:8

 

 

Jan 26 Do I get a map?

rfid0_7kep4-natalie-foxLord God, You are so wise. How often do I want to see Your plan for my life all laid out for me– at least the next chapter?

You gave Moses a look at all that was coming next. You shared Your plan to deliver the Hebrew people, saying “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… I am sending you to Pharaoh…” And Moses starts back-peddling! You answered all his questions and revealed the plan, promising deliverance and riches to the people. You told Moses what to say, and how Your mighty hand would compel Pharaoh and perform wonders. Yet still Moses balked.

Jesus told His disciples how the plan of salvation would play out. He showed how prophecy was coming to pass right before their eyes! They knew Elijah must come first – Jesus explained that John the Baptist was Elijah. How did they respond? They demonstrated “so little faith” and were “filled with grief”.

So I can see why You don’t show me the miles of path before me. I would probably balk and try to get You to change Your mind, or would display too much emotion and not enough “getting on board” with the plan.

When I used to ride horses, I never told the horse in advance where we would be riding that day. I never brought a map to show him where our trail would take us. I’m pretty sure he knew he would end up back at the stable, his home. But I would guide him along as we went. Sometimes we would stop and rest for a bit. We would go fast or slow, left to the stream, or right to the hilltops, according to my leading, my plan.

Because a horse could not read or understand a map, I never showed him one. I daresay I would not understand Your plan if You showed it to me either. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so Your ways are higher than my ways, and Your thoughts higher than my thoughts.” And I’m okay with that. Because I trust Your thoughts, and Your ways, and Your plans; even if I can’t see or don’t understand them. And I know where I will end up: in my true home, spending eternity with You.

I agree with David who wrote, ”In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.” I put my trust in You. You have already delivered me from the evil one by dying on the cross in my place. You have saved me from that eternal death into eternal life. And I know that at the end of my ride, I will not be disappointed. Amen

Exodus 3:1-22; Matthew 17:10-27; Isaiah 55:9; Psalm 22:4-5

Jan 25 I trust Your perfect plan

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Oh God I praise You that nothing can thwart Your plans!

Although evil is in this world, and is in positions of power and authority, it is nothing compared to You and Your ability to preserve Your will!

I ask for Your will to be done in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones. Do not let any powers or influences get in the way of effecting Your will in our lives

Whether in slavery or in prison, Your purpose was fulfilled in Joseph’s life. And in spite of the selfishness and greed of Joseph’s brothers, it played right into Your plan to save Israel’s descendants. Then hundreds of years later, when the new Pharaoh tried to kill the male Hebrew babies, You again had a plan for those children and the peoples’ deliverance. By human reckoning it took a miracle – because a baby in a basket floating in crocodile infested waters would have no chance of surviving. But You provided for this Hebrew baby to be raised in the palace as Pharaoh’s own grandson!

Even when Jesus tried to explain Your majestic plan for the salvation of all people -His disciples didn’t understand it. Peter said to Jesus “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to You!” And Jesus had to rebuke him.

Even after Peter saw Jesus transfigured and walking with Moses and Elijah, and heard Your own voice saying “This is My Son…Listen to Him.” Peter tried to interfere as Jesus was taken into custody in the Garden of Gethsemane. If he had understood the whole plan, would he have done that?

I often cannot make sense of the twists and turns my life takes. There are times I don’t know whether to stay or go, to act or wait. I cannot see how things will play out but I make a plan. Even when I think I can, it doesn’t always turn out the way I expect. How many times do we switch to Plan B, or Plan C, or D,E,F…

How then do I make decisions? Move forward? Live my life?

I echo the words of King David: “For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.” I too trust in You, the Lord, the Most High. I ask You, Lord God to show me enough light for the next step I am to take. Help me listen for Your response and obey what I hear. And trust that even if it doesn’t make sense to me, it will turn out according to Your plan. I trust that Your plan is the best one for me – a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, a plan to give me a hope and a future.

I trust You. My security is in You – even when nothing I can see supports my feeling safe. Because of Your unfailing love for me, I can remain at PEACE. Meaning I can: Possess Equilibrium Amid Chaotic Events. You have the power, You have the ability and expertise, You have the sovereignty and the willingness to bring Your plans to fruition. So let it be done. On this earth. In this country. In my life.  Amen

Exodus 1:1-2:10; Matthew 16:21-17:9; Psalm 21:7; Jeremiah 29:11

Jan 24 Speak a Blessing

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Holy Father, here You depict another way I desire to be like Israel. He was able to speak words of blessing over his sons and grandsons before he died. I pray that my words would be a blessing to my children.

 

So many times I open my mouth before I speak, and blessing is not what results. 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. Once spoken, words cannot be unheard.

I believe Israel was speaking and giving blessings from You. You must have revealed to him 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.

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. O God, 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. But I so desire to be with You rather than in the dimness of this earth, knowing what awaits me as a believer.

One way I seek to bless my children is by using the words You have given. 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 ! 

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

Jan 23 What a ride – Here I am!

fun-937105_640O 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, and he was not the favorite. 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”.

O God, help me be that resilient. Help me get through dark times and be ready to say “Here I am” when You call. Help me hear Your voice above whatever else is going on in my life. Tune my ears so I will hear You and recognize 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 22 What was dead is alive!

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Holy Father, I cannot even imagine the depth of joy Israel must have felt at the realization that the son he thought he had lost forever, was alive!

I cannot imagine grieving for a son for so long, dealing with a sense of loss so great that it makes you physically ill and emotionally destitute; then to discover that the object or your intense love and devotion has been resurrected and returned to you!

But You are a God of resurrection miracles! You are the One with the power of restoration! And there will be another great reunion as we see all our loved ones who love You, again, when we spend eternity together in Your presence.

It must have seemed like a miracle to Israel: Your bringing the son that was dead to him, back into fellowship and life. How awesome is Your power! You are not limited by what we have come to understand are the limits and laws of our physical world. You walked on water! You healed the sick and dying with a touch! You multiplied five pieces of bread and two fish to feed literally thousands of hungry people. And that was only during the first twenty-four hours after hearing of Your own personal loss: the death of Your cousin, John the Baptist!

Twice during that time, you withdrew to be alone to pray. How hard it must have been to remain in this physical world with all its pain and grief, suffering, sickness and evil, knowing Your true home was in heaven. You could have left it all behind in an instant.

Thank You for continuing to walk the path that would lead to Your sacrifice and the saving of mankind; rejoining us to Yourself, our heavenly Father, bridging the chasm between our sinfulness and Your holiness.

Holy, Holy, Holy are You, Lord God Almighty!

Genesis 44:18-45:28; Matthew 14:13-36

 

 

Jan 21 It’s all perspective

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Holy Father, Your will often puzzles me. I cannot see from Your perspective or understand the effects of actions looking forward into the future.

Your servant John the Baptist lived as a righteous man. He was a believer and taught of Your kingdom. He even baptized Jesus! He was a great part of Your plan; yet he was beheaded by an unrighteous, evil, manipulative man. In our human understanding of ‘fairness’ that seems so wrong.

Yet, again, our perspective is not Yours. And our life here on earth is not the end of it all. There is also what comes after: where and how we spend eternity.

So can I still pray for things to work here out here on earth, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones? Yes. And can I ask in faith, believing, and not doubting? Absolutely!

But I must remember that You answer prayer from a greater perspective. My sight and my ability to see “the solution” are very limited. Even in my own life, I have prayed and You have answered in ways far better than anything I had asked for, or could have even imagined.

And can I trust Your answer? Without a doubt!

Even if I can’t understand the ‘why’ of it at the time. I know that Your love for me is great. And You are trustworthy. And Your sense of mercy and justice are right.

So no matter how things look from my perspective, I will proclaim boldly with the Psalmist, “As for God, His way is perfect!”

Matthew 14:1-12; Psalm 18:30

Jan 20 Indescribable Uncontainable

jesus-and-worldI continue to be amazed, Lord God, at the magnitude of the height of Your glory. You made the sun and stars, everything in the heavens.

As humans, we are just beginning to understand the depth of the workings of the cosmos. All we know about our universe could fit on the head of a pin compared to what You were able to imagine and bring into being. Even beyond our meager understanding, You had the ability, the power to create what You imagined. And by Your hand it is all kept in balance and in motion.

Yet, with the incredible greatness and the boundless vastness of Your power and sovereignty, You still know each one of us, each of Your creations, by name. I marvel at the love You have for us, and the care You take with us.

You can see the past and the future. You are outside of time. You knew when a famine was coming in Egypt, and cared to let them know in advance. You spoke revelation through dreams and gave the interpretation to Joseph. And because of that, people were saved from the famine, and Your promise was preserved; Your covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was upheld.

As great as You are, You still communicate with us in ways we can understand; as an example: parables. We can understand a crop with weeds sewn into it, and how harvest time works. We can see when a tiny seed grows into a large tree, or the action of yeast causing bread dough to rise. We know the draw and value of treasure and pearls.

Thank You for caring to communicate with us; to show us the way to have relationship with You: the Almighty God of the Universe. And as we can only voice our faith and trust in You through the words we understand, we join with the Psalmist David in saying; “You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. You are my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to You, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”

“I love You, O Lord, my strength.” Amen

Genesis 41:17-42:17; Matthew 13:24-46; Psalm 18:1-3

Jan 19 Make my life a stage

redcurtain-stage

Dear 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 18 every high and low

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Heavenly Father, thank You that I can trust You through the ups and downs, the highs and lows of my life.

There are times when things are going so well I feel on top of the world. And there are other times when it seems as if nothing is going right, and never will. It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything because everything seems to work out wrong and there is no sign that things will change for the better.

Israel’s son Joseph must have thought that when he was first thrown into a well by his jealous and conniving brothers, then sold to slave traders and carried off to Egypt far away from home. He was completely out of control of his own future at that point. But You were in control. And You had a master plan.

I know from scripture how Joseph’s life turned out: all for the good, and for the saving of his family. But I cannot see into the future to know the twists and turns my own life will take, or how it will turn out. And that is the challenge of life here on earth.

There are so many things I cannot control. They become a source of anxiousness, worry, and wringing my hands. Other things, I try to control, but they slip through my fingers like water or sand. They are the source of making plans, and back up plans, contingencies and manipulation; again, stressful. And there are the things that I seem to control and am pleased with, but am misled, because in truth, I am not in control at all. I only think I am.

I could continue to live this misguided life of false security, manipulation and anxiety. But I choose to lay it all down. Father, instead, I choose the peace of giving it all to You. This is where trust comes in. I choose to believe Your Word: that You have a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future, to never leave me or forsake me.

You have proven Yourself steadfast and trustworthy throughout the ages. You created the heavens and the earth and everything in them and have sustained them. You have kept Your covenants and Your promises to men; every one. You have given revelation and prophecy that so far, has all come true. By Your power, the earth turns and the sun rises every morning.

Just like in Joseph’s life, I trust that You will position me where I need to be, when I need to be there. I trust You to prepare me for what comes next. And to guide me through it by being with me.

I trust You will keep me safe. In You I take refuge. You are my Lord. Apart from You I have no good thing. In You I trust. Amen

Genesis 37:1-36; Psalm 16:1-2; Jeremiah 29:11

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 16 Are you a wrestler?

Dear Father, it seems I am a wrestler. Jacob wrestled with You one night. He held on till daybreak, and You blessed him. In Your blessing, he became part of the promise You gave to Abram: to make him father of a great nation, make his name great, and bless all the earth through him. For Jacob (renamed Israel) was Abram’s (renamed Abraham’s) grandson. And down through their lineage, You came as Jesus Christ, Messiah and Savior, blessing all the world.

My wrestling is not so productive as Jacob’s.

wrestlersWith simple things: decisions, relationships, or issues which may be meaningless in the grand scheme of things; I spend time and waste energy grappling with whether or not I made a good decision. I review the options, second guessing myself, wondering and worrying about how other choices would have played out. There is no winning there, and no blessing in that.

So Father, help me seek Your godly wisdom in my decisions. Help me bring every choice to You and ask for Your perspective. You tell believers to ask when we need wisdom, and You will give it to us. Show me how to hear Your voice of truth and then have peace about the decision when made, without revisiting it over and over.

Rather than continue to wrestle with relationships, Lord, I give them to You. Show me how to spend my time and energy, and who to spend it with. Beginnings and endings are hard for me, and I know sometimes You bring a person into my life for a season. But I struggle when that season is over, to know how to let go.

Most of my life I was the one who literally left, moved to a different place. I never really learned how to move on from being close to someone. How do I say good bye when there is no geographical separation? But hanging on too long isn’t working out either. Move me into and out of the relationships You want me to have, so that I can give and receive the blessings You intended for each of us.

I also wrestle with issues in my life when I have had a single viewpoint. Some are things I learned as a child and accepted without question. Now I have grown and learned that things are not as absolute as I once believed. And even though these beliefs are holding me back and potentially harming me, it’s hard to let go. Help me have discernment when it comes to examining issues that affect my life, my behavior, even my sense of identity.

Father, as I wrestle with all these things, let me take hold of and cling to only You. Pry my fingers off of the things that are not important. And bless me as I cling forever to You. Amen

Genesis 32:22-30

Jan 15 His eye is on the sparrow…

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Oh 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, 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