Tag: Bible

Feb 10 Teach me

school-1063558_640Thank 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

 

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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

Jan 1 Blessing for the year

Father, in these words of Psalm 1 You tell me how to be blessed.  Help me, my husband, sons, and loved ones obey these words to receive Your blessing.

Oh Lord God, do not let us heed or walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  But let us recognize evil for what it is. Give us a hunger and thirst for Your counsel, Your way, Your truth and Your wisdom so we will be seated with those who know and follow You.

Let our delight be in Your law, Oh Lord. Let us read it, memorize it, recall it and meditate on it, thinking about how to apply it to our own lives and circumstances. Let Your perfect law color my thoughts and attitudes.

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Make us like trees planted by streams of water, which yield fruit in season. Show us Your perfect will for our lives and Your timing so we will produce fruit that will honor and glorify You and Your name. Do not let us wither, but keep us strong and hearty. Let all we do prosper and bring You honor.

Allow us to see that the wicked cannot stand, but are blown away like chaff before the wind. And that the works of the evil ones will not prosper or enjoy Your gift of Salvation.

Lord, please watch over me and my loved ones – keep us on the path You have set before each one of us.

I totally trust in Your perfect will for all our lives. May we come to trust You and Your guiding hand.  May we feel You watching over us.

And may that sense of Your presence be a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance. Amen.

Psalm 1:1-6

 

Dec 12 a famine of the Word

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Father, You showed Amos two punishments, judgments for Israel and then said “This will not happen.”  You relented, yielded, turned away from those judgments in favor of another.

What a heart You have for Your people that You withheld the punishment they deserved out of Your love.  You knew they would not be able to bear up under it or survive.

How often have You spared me from the punishment my words and actions, my sins deserve?  No doubt, daily.  Were You not my Sovereign Lord, I would not survive.  Thank You for Your mercy.

You told Amos “The days are coming when I will send a famine thorough the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the Words of the Lord.”

This was certainly fulfilled in the four hundred years between the Old and New Testaments, when no further prophetic word was given.  But it can also be true of our world today.  Right now, I can enjoy the freedom to worship You, to study Your Word, to attend church.  But even now, the reading and public speaking of Your Word is being called ‘Hate Speech.’

Hate Speech is said to offend, threaten, or insult groups based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.  Many universities, for years the havens of “free speech” have adopted codes prohibiting speech that offends any group based on the traits listed above.

While the intent is good, to protect people groups from racial slurs, intimidation, and threats, it is becoming more popular to also outlaw scripture and categorize it as “hate speech.”  Already Christian speakers on radio have been told to watch what they say about topics that are considered politically incorrect, lest they lose their funding and rights to broadcast.

Father, give the leaders of my country godly wisdom to know where to set the limits of public broadcasting, so that people are protected, but religious freedoms are not restricted.  Don’t let us throw out the baby with the bath water.

There may come a time in my country, where believers have to go underground, smuggle Your Word, and study it in secret.   Father, help me hide Your Word in my heart so I have a storehouse of scripture for times of famine.  Help me share what I know of Your Word with others so they can be fed on Your Word and not hunger or thirst, and turn to other gods.  While I can, let me feast on all that You show me in Your Word.  Let me never go hungry.

Thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for the freedom I have to enjoy it and worship You.  Thank You that I can trust my future to You.  I “put my hope in You both now and forevermore.”  Amen

Amos 7:1-6; 8:11-12; Psalm 131

 

Nov 27 You light my path

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Father, recently I found myself walking with a group in the dark.

I had a small flashlight which came in handy as the sidewalk was broken and uneven.  At first, I thought it would be best to shine the light way ahead of us so we could see where the path curved or stopped at a curb or was cut off by bushes.

But it became clear that we could walk with the most certainty and speed when the light shone brightly on the very next step we were to take.  Looking ahead is good to get a sense of direction, but we needed the close, step by step guidance to be sure our ankles did not turn or slip off the narrow path.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Your Word, the Scriptures, are that light for me.  When I am not sure which option is best, Your Word tells me “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart and lean not on Your own understanding.”

When I feel frustrated with some results, You tell me “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you] will reap a harvest…”

Or when I feel discouraged, alone and depressed, You tell me “I have carried you since your birth…I will continue to be with you and sustain you, even when you have gray hairs.  I will always carry you; I will always sustain you; I will always rescue you.” [paraphrased to personalize]

Your Word helps me see that next step and take it.  Thank You Father, that You care so much for me that even in the darkness of this world and its “wisdom” You have made a way for me to stay on Your path and keep moving ahead safely.  Amen

Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 46:3-4

 

 

 

 

Nov 22 Teach me “application”

hand on BibleWhat an amazing Psalm is the 119th Psalm!  It is the longest Psalm.  It has more verses than 14 Old Testament books and 17 New Testament books.

Within it is found the verse that lies in the very center of Scripture – halfway between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21.

This Psalm was constructed with twenty-two stanzas, each beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew Alephbet.  And within each stanza, each of the eight verses begin with the letter of the stanza.

In almost every verse, there is a word that describes Your teaching: Word, law, commands, statues, decrees, precepts.  And almost each one teaches how to handle Your Word or be led and taught by it.

It is said that King David used this Psalm to teach his young son, Solomon the Alephbet.  It represented all the letters, but also illustrated spiritual truth of how to live a godly life.  So as I read it, Father, I also pray these verses as a guide for living according to Your Word.

“I will obey Your Word.  Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law…do not hide Your commands from me.”  Help me see beyond the Words to the meaning You have for these Words in my life.  Show me marvelous things that deepen my devotion to You

 “…Teach me Your decrees.  Let me understand the teaching of Your precepts; then I will meditate on Your wonders…strengthen me according to Your Word.” 

Father, beyond word studies and context references, reveal deeper meanings to me through Your Holy Spirit.   Show me how to be sensitive to the timing and teaching You use to increase my awareness and discernment.

Understanding Your Word brings me strength!  What an awesome gift!

Father, I choose Your truth and obedience to Your laws.  “I set my heart on Your laws.  I hold fast to Your statutes.“  “Be gracious to me… and do not let me be put to shame.”

I would rather You take my life than allow me to dishonor You.  I am Your servant.  You are my Master.   It is only by Your mercy and Your Word that I have life.  Amen

Psalm 119:17-32

Nov 21 You Word is Treasure

Father thank You for warning me not to trust in earthly riches.  Wealth, possessions, gold and silver are not the treasure I seek.  They can lead to greed and the sins that greed temps a person to commit.

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Rather, I treasure Your Word.  It gives me a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about how to receive Your blessing: something of far greater value.

You Word says I will be blessed when I “walk according to the law of the Lord…keep Your statutes and seek You with all [my] heart.”

I can keep my way pure “by living according to Your Word.”   So Father, “I seek You with all my heart: do not let me stray from Your commands.”  I desire to be blessed; show me how to walk in Your path.

Lord, I will “hide Your Word in my heart”.  I will read it, honor it, study to understand it, memorize it, and do what it says.  When I do not understand it, I will pray for clarity of meaning and how to apply it to my life.

When people around me say one thing and Your Word says another, give me the conviction to be obedient to Your truth.  Help me see through the misleading lies and the deceiving values of society and not be tripped up by them.  Give me the strength I need to be true to You.

Because You tell me how powerful prayer is, I will pray

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giving thanks when I am happy

for healing when I am sick

for help when I am in trouble

for the wisdom to stay on Your path

for forgiveness when I have sinned.

Father, help my prayers be powerful and effective.

Besides me, so many people need Your help in so many ways. I believe praying for them is one way I can help; perhaps the best way I can help them.

So, like Elijah, I pray earnestly and in faith, knowing that You are the One who can answer.  You have the power, Lord.  And You have the will.

We are all Your creations, Lord.  Thank You that You love and care for us.  Amen

James 5:1-20; Psalm 119:1-16

Nov 19 Your Word is wisdom

Father, James says Abraham’s “ faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”

bible-839093_1920I pray that my life and faith will be the same.

I understand that my actions alone will not save me.  That salvation comes by believing in You and accepting You as Lord of my life.

But I can also see that my actions bear out what I believe.   And since actions are what others can see, others will know my faith by my actions.

In addition to my actions, my words speak a lot about who I am and what I believe.   So set a guard on my tongue!

I have learned by experience that words cannot be unsaid.  Once spoken, their impact is made.  Father, forgive me for the times I have spoken without thinking, and in doing so, caused hurt to someone.

Forgive me for the times I spoke after thinking, but was wrong in the way the message was delivered.  For it is not only the words chosen, but also the way they are spoken that carries meaning and can cause trouble.

Words can tear down, damage, hurt, berate, mislead, manipulate, and deceive a person.  But they can also lift up, encourage, enlighten, inspire, bless and show love.   Father, give me wisdom for how and when to use my words.

Help me see through the “wisdom” the world offers.  Before I speak or act, let me think through what I “think” I want to say.

The wisdom of the world can come from my own flesh: a kind of “sensual wisdom” based on my own thoughts and feelings.  It will produce self-satisfaction and pride, and ultimately, guilt – as James tells me my own desires can lead to sin.

Or it can come from others in the world, leading to approval and acceptance from the crowd.   It produces disorder, and You have told me I should not be conformed to the pattern of this world.

Or it may be demonic wisdom that brings envy, immorality and leads me to worship other things, eventually producing fear.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  This wisdom produces the Fruit of the Spirit in me.

Father, help me listen, and discern Your wisdom from all the others.  I desire to hear from and follow You alone.  Amen

James 2:18-3:18

Nov 13 I am in awe

iceland-1751463_640Father, the city and leaders and people of Tyre had everything worldly possible to bring them success in material possessions and reputation.  Yet, they fell.

They took pride in their commerce and accomplishments and that pride kept them from worshipping You.  They saw themselves as gods.  And Your judgment fell on them.

Lord, do not let me think more highly of myself than I ought.   Thank You for Your example of being a humble servant.   As I try to follow Your example, if I ever think too much of myself, refocus me on Your greatness.

Psalm 111 reminds me that ”Great are the works of the Lord…glorious and majestic are His deeds.”   When I ponder all of creation, I am amazed by Your imagination!  I am captivated by the diversity in size and color and design!  I am overwhelmed by the power of Your mountains and seas and winds.

I love seeing pictures of majestic waterfalls, lush green jungles with brightly colored birds, schools of shiny fish swimming in the sea, brilliant flowers, water-colored sunsets.  All this is just a part of what You do.

Besides creating and sustaining all this, You have created the intricacies of each human body: from the tiniest of cells to the diversity of faces and fingerprints!

And not just bodies, but You know the mind and spirit of each individual on the planet.   You’re indescribable – uncontainable – unfathomable!  You blow my mind!

And a wondrous part of who You are is that You do not just set all this in motion and then sit back to see where it goes. You involve Yourself in the life of each of Your precious creations.   You speak, protect, provide, lead, feed, forgive, save.  And all that You do is just and right.

You have provided these later generations with Your written Word.   It teaches Your truth and Your character so all can know You, and Your faithfulness, Your uprightness and Your salvation.

You say “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”   The Hebrew word “yare” translated as “fear” here, is used in this sentence referring to a person in an exalted position: You.  Thus, the meaning includes a reverence, a standing in awe, whereby the individual recognizes the power and position, and renders the proper respect.

Father, I acknowledge Your power, Your sovereignty; and give You all honor and praise!  Let me continue to grow in wisdom.

How great and awesome You are!  “To You belongs eternal praise.”  Amen

Ezekiel 27:1-28:19; Psalm 111:1-10

Nov 1 Your Word paints a picture

bible-1089930_640O Father, what an incredible picture You paint!

I cannot even imagine seeing what Ezekiel saw.

I don’t know if I would fall facedown like Ezekiel, cower in fear or simply stand, transfixed, unable to move by the sight of something so magnificently awesome and frightening!

I can see it in my mind’s eye, like a powerful scene from a movie!  Every time I read the description of the four living creatures I find something new, and have tried to draw what You describe to increase my understanding.   But it was Ezekiel’s vision.

Your Word says Ezekiel was so awed by what he had seen and heard, that he “sat among them [Israelite exiles] for seven days – overwhelmed.”

Thank You that Ezekiel could explain what he saw in terms I can understand.  The words “immense fire…flashing lightening…glowing metal…burning coals of fire…appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day” are very descriptive, even though I feel sure that what he saw was beyond anything he had ever seen before.

Thank You that even today, You give us visions, glimpses of Your power, Your purposes, Your comfort. When I was overwhelmed with what I believed was a hopeless situation, You gave me a vision of how You had prepared me and were with me in my circumstances.  And of how You would deliver me through the storm.

Your vision comforted me and stabilized me to make it.  It has stayed with me and reassured me over and over again.

Thank You for speaking to us through Your Word, and also personally through visions. You who have the imagination and power to create things I cannot even fathom, have leaned down from Your position of sovereignty on high, taken my face in Your hands, and shown Your lavish love and abundant provision for me.

And I am forever amazed by You and am eternally in Your debt.   My Father.   My Creator.   My Savior.  Amen

Ezekiel 1:1-28

Oct 24 the Answer IS Your Word

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Father, what a wonderful list of things to both pursue and stay away from, for my own good!  I love that You say to “flee the evil desires of youth” because not all desires of youth are evil.  Being young doesn’t mean one is evil, just that one might be more susceptible to evil.

When I was younger, it was more important to me to be “right” so I would press my point and become involved in unproductive arguments.  You refer to them as “foolish and stupid.”  I agree, and have since learned the value of a soft word and gentle instruction.

Even so, You share that “…in the last days…people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power…swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth”.  Paul saw this already in his day.  I see it all around me.

It almost seems there is an entire generation described above.  Paul says: “they will not get very far because…their folly will be clear to everyone”.  Unfortunately, with an entire generation behaving like this, it appears as the norm.

Television shows and media portray fathers, police, authority figures as idiots, not worthy of obedience or respect.  More and more our political leaders and sports heroes turn out to be corrupt cheaters.  Some of our children grew up knowing You and were taught Your values, but they have turned away from You in this permissive and deadly society.

But there are many who love You and follow You.  Let them be role models and mentors to this generation and the next.  And let me live a godly life as an example.

I seek and value You and Your characteristics, but sometimes pride and ungratefulness, for example, rear their ugly heads in me.   I have Your Word as my guide.  Your Word is effective for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”   And it will “equip me for every good work.” 

For all of us the answer is in Your Word, and IS Your Word.  Keep it in the forefront of my mind as a guide.  But also let me use it wisely in gently correcting and praying for others.  Father, return this generation of self absorbed, materialistic, pleasure-seeking people to the godly values that will save them.  They have been deceived.

Open their eyes Lord, before it’s too late.  Bring the Prodigal sons and daughters home.  Amen

2 Timothy 2:22-3:17

Oct 6 Your Word is my path

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“Stand at the crossroads and look;  ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it,  and you will find rest for your souls”.

Father, destruction was coming and You instructed Your people with this verse.

Yet they did not obey or follow You.  Do not let me reject Your wisdom.  Today I stand seeking.  I look to You to guide and direct my thoughts.  Show me the way to go. Help me be steadfast to walk in Your way.  I trust Your leading.  Even if it is not the “popular” path.  Or the one that seems “logical” at the time.  Or the “easiest” one that seems to be clear of obstacles.  Give me strength to be obedient to what I hear You saying.

Paul said it this way:  “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

There are many followings today, many belief systems that are portrayed in the media as right and credible.  Do not let me be misled by these false, socially acceptable representations.  You have taught me the truth.  And I have aligned myself with You by faith, by public profession, by baptism and by the way I choose to live.

Just as false religions lead me away from You, so do the attitudes that would bind me to legalistic practices that come from man.  Such rules and regulations that many keep, and look down on those who do not, are just as damaging.  Their obedience is based on human commands and teachings of men’s interpretation.  Believers are Your Body.  And when the members of Your Body obey only each other, they have lost connection with You, their Head.

Bottom line Lord: let me hear Your voice, and obey what You tell me.  Let me truly live my life for an Audience of One.  You.  Amen

Jeremiah 6:16-21; Colossians 2:8-23

 

Aug 12 Working together

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Father, what a lesson from Nehemiah!

Two things stand out for me that apply to Your people today.

One: that sometimes there is opposition when we are doing Your work, such that we must work with one hand on the task and one hand on the sword.

And two: that we must not take advantage of or hinder our own people.

Father, whatever task, circumstance or relationship I’m involved with, help me see spiritual opposition. It may appear as overt resistance or an obstruction to what I’m trying to do. Or be an invisible undertone of grumbling, complaining, discouragement or division. Whatever the case, remind me that Your Word is my Sword – my weapon.

Your Word has power. It can overcome discouragement and repair disunity.   It can change my focus, reveal truth and tear down the lies of the opposition; even change the hearts of those against me. Ready my mind, Lord, to prepare me to fight the battle however it presents itself.

As the Jews were hindering their brothers, I see that sometimes I work against myself and may not realize that what I am doing is preventing someone else from doing their job. Show me from Your perspective if I am in any way, hindering a brother or sister. Show me how to encourage them and free them up to do what You have called them to do. As we work alongside each other for Your purpose, free us all to do our best.

I trust that You have prepared me for whatever comes against me, and for whatever task You have purposed for me to do.   Open my eyes to see it all clearly. Strengthen my arm to do the work. Sharpen my mind to know Your Word.   Embolden my Spirit to go forward. “Instruct me and teach me in the way I should go; counsel me and watch over me.” And “I will rejoice in You and be glad. And “Shout for joy!” Amen

Nehemiah 3:15 – 5:13; Psalm 32:8, 11

Aug 9 Your Word lights my way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Aug 3 Your Word changes my heart

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

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

 

Lord, I wonder if today, Your Word has again gotten “lost in the house of the Lord?“ The church is Your house, and it has Your Word, yet are they ignoring it? Are they teaching it to their people? Or do they pick and choose what they like and go on with their lives as they want.

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

I also understand that my body is Your ‘temple’.   Don’t let Your Word be lost in me! Open my ears to truly “hear” all that Your Word says. Even the parts that may not sit easily with me. Even the parts I wish I didn’t have to obey. Make my heart responsive to what I hear from You. Let me be like Josiah, and be humbled and weep before You when I see where I have not been obedient.

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

2 Chronicles 34:1-33

Aug 1 Unity

handshake-2009183_640Father, in all that Hezekiah did, He sought Your guidance and blessing. And You blessed: “Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what was ordered… following the Word of the Lord.”

Paul also wrote about the unity of believers: “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Unity is a gift, and it comes from You.

Father, I ask for unity in my marriage.   As we make decisions about our future, our family, our finances, our life together, give us agreement in these areas. Help us see our circumstances from Your perspective. And regardless of what the world would say, give us Your wisdom. Remind us to put our faith not in numbers or schedules or the plans of men, but in You.

Lord, I ask for unity in my church. Many plans have been prayerfully considered. But only Your plan counts. And only You can bring it to pass. Father, honor the desire of our church to bring Your kingdom into our community. Bring the people who need to know You. And bring others who already know You and want to serve You.

Lord God, I ask for the unity of Your believers. So many things divide us. We are overcome with the world. We fight each other over things that are disputable until the world sees an inconsistent, arguing, critical body that they want to avoid at all costs; instead of being drawn into Your love and Your care for them.

Father, You give endurance and encouragement in Your Word. Let me draw on Your Word’s truth to live my life. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Father, bring me this hope. Bring it into my relationships, my marriage, my family, my church, my nation. Remind me to make time to read the Scriptures so I might receive this encouragement. Let me learn so I will have the endurance I need. Give me patience and humility so I can be used by You. Amen

2 Chronicles 30:6-12; 31:20-21; Romans 15:1-13

July 29 Be transformed

door-672999_640Father, I see this list of admonitions of how to live a godly life, and it shows how much room I have for improvement. The truth is, I can”t even do one of them without You! It is only in experiencing Your grace that I can be gracious to others.

Forgive me Father, when I “think of myself more highly than I ought”. With the advertising slogans of today it’s easy to become focused on self, and what I “deserve” to have. It puffs me up, making it hard to “honor one another above yourselves.” I find myself feeling proud and entitled.

Lord, turn me around when this happens. Help me see my behavior through Your eyes. Remind me to “share with Your people who are in need” and “practice hospitality.” Show me how to “live in harmony with others”, and “as much as I can, to be at peace with them”.

That may mean giving up what I perceive as some of my ‘rights”, and saying “I’m sorry, I was wrong” when I am in the wrong. I realize that I hate being wrong; and even worse, I hate to admit it. How can I change the way I am, Lord?

It has to come from You. But I can do my part. You challenge me, no, You command me: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The pattern of this world is selfishness, egotism, greed, if you want it – get it, or if it feels good – do it. And I need to be more than a non-conformer. I need to be a transformer.

I can be transformed by spending time with You in prayer. Hearing from You can redirect my focus, rewrite my priorities. I can be transformed and have my worldview reshaped by reading Your Word.  The way I think affects the way I act. So if I think on things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy – I will act accordingly.

Thank You Father for showing me the way. For inspiring me to achieve. For helping me accomplish. I desire to be all You created me to be, and to receive all that You have for me. Today, help me see one thing I can change and help me do it. Amen

Romans12:1-21; Philippians 4:8

July 14 The Bible: Your Gift to me

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

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To hear from You now, I don’t have to go to a seer or prophet. I can read Your Word. Although it is not a privilege afforded to all people, it is still available to me freely in my country. Your Word, the Bible, is rich in wisdom, instruction, correction, encouragement, and tells me of Your great love for me.

Time and time again I marvel at how words written so long ago have relevance and impact in my life today. And how I can read a passage of scripture one day, but at another time, it jumps off the page to me with personal revelation and meaning.

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

“Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” David wrote in Psalm 103, “You know how we are formed, You remember that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower in the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”

My life is so temporary and short. And I am formed from dust with the breath of the Living God in me to give me life. All I am and all I have was given to me from, and is dependent on You, Lord. I am weak and imperfect and I so easily fall into sin. Who am I that You would concern Yourself with me?

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

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

I Chronicles 17:1-27; Psalm 103: 14-16  

June 20 Every Word Counts!

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“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me;”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 138:8a  English Standard Version 

June 19 Your Word, Your Spirit, Your Voice

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

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

And then I realize – You have written me a letter! It’s Your Holy Word. If I take the time to read it, often, things become clear. If I had never read the Bible, I wouldn’t know that in it, You have already included instructions for godly, moral living.

You have already made Yourself very clear on many topics that relate to me today. Instead of hearing of and memorizing only scattered verses, I need to feed myself, and know the entirety of what You have to say to me.

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

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

Thank You that I can hear from You just as specifically as those who heard the prophets speak. You have given me so much more to help me in knowing You and understanding You

Thank You for Your Word.

Thank You for the Holy Spirit.

Help me make reading and studying Your Word a priority for my time and energy.

Do not let me quench the Holy Spirit.

And thank You that I can even talk to You personally in prayer. And know that You hear me. And trust that You’ll answer. What an awesome God! Amen

I Kings 20:1-22

 

 

June 12 Thank You

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

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

Thank You that when I turn from my sin and ask for forgiveness, You remove my sin from me and never bring it up again. People remind me of my failures and mistakes, some more than others. But with You, there is never a backhanded comment, or dredging up my past faults.   When You forgive, it is over and done with.

Thank You for knowing that no one can stand when compared to Your standard and example of perfection without Your covering of mercy and righteousness. And thank You for providing exactly that in the blood You shed on the cross.   It completely pays the penalty my sins deserve.

“In Your Word I put my hope.” Its promises are true. Its instruction is sure.   Father, bring my loved ones to put their hope in You too.   In You, they will find unfailing love and full redemption. Turn their hearts back to You. Open their eyes to Your truth.

Pull back the veil of lies and deceit they have believed. Rip away the evil one’s trickery and schemes that have drawn them away from You. Help them see that You alone can redeem them. I wait in anticipation of their deliverance and salvation. Amen

Psalm 130:1-8

May 29 You Word is Light!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 119:105,108

May 13 Praying Your Word

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

sword-790815_640You tell me that my struggle is not with flesh and blood. So I pray this psalm against the rulers, powers, and world forces of this present darkness. I claim these psalm verses against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

I ask for Your victory as they exert their strength against my health, my relationships, my emotions, my faith and the work of my hands as I seek to honor and glorify You.

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 109:1-31; Ephesians 6:12

Apr 29 Teach me from all Your Word

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

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

child-945422_1920Father, explain to me and open my mind so I can understand the Scriptures! The Scriptures You referred to here are the books of the Bible from Genesis to Malachi. I was brought up referring to them as the Old Testament. Jews refer to these same books as The Tanakh. Made up of three parts: The Torah, the Neviim and the Ketuvim, the Torah is the first five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy.   The Neviim are the Prophets, so the twelve books of the minor prophets and nine written by major Prophets. The Ketuvim are the books of wisdom, scrolls and history.

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

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

You are part of the Trinity in Genesis 1. When You said “Let Us make man in our image…” it was plural; in Hebrew “Elohim.”   When the prophet Isaiah spoke it was You he saw who would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace! He described You in his words when he said “a man of sorrows, familiar with pain, despised and rejected.” Zechariah saw that You would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, that You would die a violent death for all mankind.

There are 351 prophecies in this Scripture that You fulfill.   And more yet to be fulfilled! How much more marvelous to know You as the Promise Keeper, the Prophecy Fulfiller! You are the One who speaks of the future, and has the power to bring it to pass!

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

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

Luke 24:13-53

Apr 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

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 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

Dec 1 Help me love what’s eternal

Father, thank You for giving me Your Word so I will know how to live. Thank You that it usually does keep me from sin. But, if I mess up, thanks to You I have an advocate. Your atoning sacrifice bore the punishment and paid the price, “not only for [my sin], but for the sins of the whole world”.

John writes of how to live here, and also how to love. He says I am to love my brother and sister.   And I am not to love the world or anything in it. These are tall orders.

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Help me love my brother and sister: other believers who You have put in my life.Some of them are so loving to me that it is easy to love them back.   Some believers in my life have been like “iron sharpening iron”. We hone one another to be better and ‘sharper’. But some are like sandpaper to me. We do not get along, and although they may ‘sand off’ some of the rough spots on me, mostly they are just an irritant and cause sore, raw spots that hurt. These people are harder to love. They are the ones I need Your help with. Remind me that each one of them is one of Your amazing creations who You love greatly. I know that You love them; show me how to do the same.

Not loving the world is also a difficult task. While many things in the world are repulsive and easy to avoid, it was these same three things John mentions here that have drawn people into sin since Adam and Eve.

The first two are the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes”. The word “lust” here is ‘a strong desire of any kind, good or bad, but evil if not submitted to the will of God’. So whether it is for intimacy, or pleasure, or just comfort, I would usually rather feel comfort than pain, a full stomach than hunger, warm and safe than cold and fearful. It can be hard to turn away from things that offer me a sense of satisfaction in food, comfort or safety. But I need to be sure my flesh and my eyes are not pulling me to just go my own way and satisfy worldly appetites. Father, show me how to maintain proper limits and boundaries.

The third, “the pride of life” represents a moral arrogance or boasting of superior attitude or vanity. The world holds that the one with the best or the most wins. Your economy is different. It is not the elevation of possessions or self that will give me eternal life with You. Help me live a life of obedience to You and humility toward others.

I believe what John says: “the world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever”. Do not let me invest in what will pass away, but in what is eternal. Amen

I John 2:1-17

Nov 27 Your gifts

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Prayer          Bible          Holy Spirit

Eternal Love          Constant Presence

Faithfulness          Forgiveness

Protection          Provision          Salvation

Direction          Fruit of the Spirit

“Your divine power has given [me] everything [I] need for a godly life…” “You have given [me] Your very great and precious promises…”. Thank You Father, that I have all that I need. I have prayer as a way to hear from and talk to You. I have Your Word as a guidebook. In You I have the Holy Spirit who reveals spiritual truth to me. You have promised me Your eternal love, Your constant presence, and Your faithfulness in my protection and provision.  All this because You are my personal Savior.

Since I belong to You, and You have given me all I need; help me to live in, and treat people with the qualities that will lead me to be effective and productive. Peter tells me these qualities are: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love. Some of these are the Fruit of the Spirit and will grow in me as I am obedient to Your Spirit’s leading. Help me embrace opportunities for each of these qualities to grow in my life.

Recently I found myself walking with a group in the dark. I had a small flashlight which came in handy as the sidewalk was a broken and uneven surface. At first, I thought it would be best to shine the light way ahead of us so we could see where the path curved or stopped at a curb or was cut off by bushes. But it became clear that we could walk with the most certainty and speed when the light shone brightly on the very next step we were to take.

Looking ahead is good to get a sense of direction, but we needed the close, step by step guidance to be sure our ankles did not turn or slip off the narrow path.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Your Word, the Scriptures, are that light for me. When I am not sure which option is best, Your Word tells me “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart and lean not on Your own understanding.”

When I feel frustrated with some results, You tell me “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you] will reap a harvest…”. Or when I feel discouraged, alone and depressed, You tell me “I have carried you since your birth…I will continue to be with you and sustain you, even when you have gray hairs. I will always carry you; I will always sustain you; I will always rescue you.” [paraphrased to personalize]

Your Word helps me see that next step and take it. Thank You Father, that You care so much for me that even in the darkness of this world and its ‘wisdom’ You have made a way for me to stay on Your path and keep moving ahead safely. Amen

II Peter 1:1-11; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 46:3-4

Nov 22 Teach me to apply Your Word to my life

hand on BibleWhat an amazing Psalm is the 119th Psalm! It is the longest Psalm. It has more verses than 14 Old Testament books and 17 New Testament books. Within it is found the verse that lies in the very center of Scripture – halfway between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21.

This Psalm was constructed with twenty-two stanzas, each beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew Alephbet. And within each stanza, each of the eight verses begin with the letter of the stanza. In almost every verse, there is a word that describes Your teaching: Word, law, commands, statues, decrees, precepts. And almost each one teaches how to handle Your Word or be led and taught by it.

It is said that King David used this Psalm to teach his young son, Solomon the Alephbet. It represented all the letters, but also illustrated spiritual truth of how to live a godly life. So as I read it, Father, I also pray these verses as a guide for living according to Your Word.

“I will obey Your Word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law…do not hide Your commands from me.” Help me see beyond the Words to the meaning You have for these Words in my life. Show me marvelous things that deepen my devotion to You.

“…Teach me Your decrees. Let me understand the teaching of Your precepts; then I will meditate on Your wonders…strengthen me according to Your Word.” Father, beyond word studies and context references, reveal deeper meanings to me through Your Holy Spirit.   Show me how to be sensitive to the timing and teaching You use to increase my awareness and discernment. Understanding Your Word brings me strength! What an awesome gift!

Father, I choose Your truth and obedience to Your laws. “I set my heart on Your laws. I hold fast to Your statutes.“ “Be gracious to me… and do not let me be put to shame.” Father, I would rather You take my life than allow me to dishonor You. I am Your servant. You are my Master.   It is only by Your mercy and Your Word that I have life. Amen

Psalm 119:17-32

Nov 21 Your Word is Treasure

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Father thank You for warning me not to trust in earthly riches. Wealth, possessions, gold and silver are not the treasure I seek. They can lead to greed and the sins that greed temps a person to commit. Rather, I treasure Your Word. It gives me a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about how to receive Your blessing: something of far greater value.

You Word says I will be blessed when I “walk according to the law of the Lord…keep Your statutes and seek You with all [my] heart”. I can keep my way pure “by living according to Your Word”. So Father, “I seek You with all my heart: do not let me stray from Your commands.” I desire to be blessed; show me how to walk in Your path.

Lord, I will “hide Your Word in my heart”. I will read it, honor it, study to understand it, memorize it, and do what it says. When I do not understand it, I will pray for clarity of meaning and how to apply it to my life. When people around me say one thing and Your Word says another, give me the conviction to be obedient to Your truth. Help me see through the misleading lies and the deceiving values of society and not be tripped up by them. Give me the strength I need to be true to You.

Because You tell me how powerful prayer is, I will pray. I pray for the wisdom to stay on Your path.  I pray giving thanks when I am happy.   I pray for healing when I am sick. I pray for help when I am in trouble. I pray for forgiveness when I have sinned. Father, help my prayers be powerful and effective.

Besides me, so many people need Your help in so many ways. I believe praying for them is one way I can help; perhaps the best way I can help them.   Father, like Elijah, I pray earnestly and in faith, knowing that You are the One who can answer. You have the power, Lord. And You have the will. We are all Your creations, Lord. Thank You that You love and care for us. Amen

James 5:1-20; Psalm 119:1-16

Nov 19 Your Word is wisdom

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Father, James says Abraham’s “ faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did”. I pray that my life and faith would work the same way. I understand that my actions alone will not save me. That salvation comes by believing in You and accepting You as Lord of my life. But I can also see that my actions bear out what I believe.   And since actions are what others can see, others will know my faith by my actions.

In addition to my actions, my words speak a lot about who I am and what I believe.   So set a guard on my tongue! I have learned by experience that words cannot be unsaid. Once spoken, their impact is made. Father, forgive me for the times I have spoken without thinking, and in doing so, caused hurt to someone. Forgive me for the times I spoke after thinking, but was wrong in the way the message was delivered. For it is not only the words chosen, but also the way they are spoken that carries meaning and can cause trouble.

Words can tear down, damage, hurt, berate, mislead, manipulate, and deceive a person. But they can also lift up, encourage, enlighten, inspire, bless and show love.   Father, give me wisdom for how and when to use my words. Help me see through the ‘wisdom’ the world offers. Before I speak or act, let me think through what I ‘think’ I want to say.

The wisdom of the world can come from my own flesh: a kind of ‘sensual wisdom’ based on my own thoughts and feelings. It will produce self-satisfaction and pride, and ultimately, guilt – as James tells me my own desires can lead to sin. Or it can come from others in the world, leading to approval and acceptance from the crowd. It produces disorder, and You have told me I should not be conformed to the pattern of this world. Or it may be demonic wisdom that brings envy, immorality and leads me to worship other things, eventually producing fear.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” This wisdom produces the Fruit of the Spirit in me.

Father, help me listen, and discern Your wisdom from all the others. I desire to hear from and follow You alone. Amen

James 2:18-3:18

Oct 19 You speak to me…

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Father, You invite me to “Call to You and You will tell me great and unsearchable things I do not know.” Lord, I do call on You. For there is so much I do not know!

Father, would You help me understand more of Your Word. I have studied long and hard to answer the questions: What does scripture say? What does it mean? What does it mean to me? These are the three main questions scholars study to understand what is also called Observation, Interpretation, and Application.

I have looked up definitions of words used in the original Hebrew and Greek languages. And made lists of key words, comparisons and contrasts, people, places, events to make things clear in my mind. I have examined cross-references to see where words, phrases and concepts are used elsewhere in scripture to understand better. And read the same passage in different translations to shed more light on meaning. I have read about cultural, political, geographical, and literary contexts to get a better sense of background for scriptures. And looked for and assessed where symbolism is used in addition to the literal meaning.

These studies have brought me much understanding and clarity. And have changed the way I look at and value and am amazed by Your precious Word. Other times I have simply read Your Word, and feel as if You are speaking just to me, so clearly, and so intimately. Father, keep speaking! Use it all to make clear Your love for me, Your purpose for me, Your plan for my life. Let me see where You are working, and how I can join in with You.

I feel close to You when I get in touch with Your creation. When I see the colors of the leaves change, I marvel at the beauty, and how You make seasons for me that each have an attraction that I love. When I see the mountains I envision Your grandeur and strength. As I watch the ocean, I am awed by You immenseness. And by the absolute endless nature of one wave after another. It is mesmerizing, comforting. Floating on the waves, I feel the surge and power of the water, and the unseen forces that pull me out to sea. Your power is often unseen, but strong and mighty. All I experience, seen and unseen teaches me more about You. Continue to speak to me through Your marvelous creation.

Colors, sounds, wind, smells – all these things and more draw me to You and Your creative character. It all makes me wonder: what would this awesome, amazing, majestic God, want with me?

Father, show me how to use the gifts and talents and traits You have placed in me to glorify You. Show me how to overcome the obstacles of my flesh and the world and the evil one to honor You. Teach me how to not let my temper and irritability get the better of me. Show me how to be loving and compassionate when annoyed and frustrated. These are some of the things that I do not know that hamper my everyday living to honor You. So I call to You. As You answer me, reveal more great and unsearchable things to me. Amen

Jeremiah 33:3

Oct 14 Grow Your Truth in me

Father, Jeremiah was Your man on the ground, Your man on the scene. He was the one of the few who spoke Your truth, yet no one listened to him or believed him and turned back to You because of it. Paul spoke Your truth and taught it to the Thessalonians, and it took root. Yet they were persecuted, endured hardship, and were deceived and confused by false teachers and liars.

Gospel_of_Mark_Chapter_4-1_(Bible_Illustrations_by_Sweet_Media)It’s as if Your truth is seed that was scattered, but the ground Jeremiah sowed it on was too hard to accept it. It fell where it could not take root, and just blew away. The Thessalonians were better ground and accepted the seed, but it’s as if thorns grew up to choke out what sprouted, or birds tried to take it away. Paul’s second letter was a good reminder for them to pull the thorns out and shoo the birds away in order to hold on to the truth that had grown in them.

You have given me the ability to discern Your truth by giving me Your written Word, and Your Holy Spirit residing within me, who speaks truth to me.   I feel as if I have the benefit of being given the most fertile soil of all. And it is up to me to protect Your truth growing in me. I need to “stand firm and hold fast to the teachings passed on to [me]”.

Father, help me be faithful to make time each day to read Your precious Word. And to come to You in prayer, and listen to You. Enlighten me with understanding Your Word and what You say to me in prayer. And strengthen me to be faithful and obedient to all I understand. Remind me to guard Your truth in my heart and mind, and bring every other thought and teaching, philosophy and prophecy, to be measured against the plumb line of Your truth.

Your Word has taken firm root in my life. Help me protect it and nurture it. Let it leaf and flower and produce good fruit all my days. I know that when Your timing is right, I will be with You for eternity. I agree with the Sons of Korah who say: “Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” “Blessed is the one who trusts in You.” also rings true. I know I am blessed, because I trust in You. Amen

Jeremiah 23:21-25:38; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17; Psalm 84:10-12

Sept 15 Blessings: Old and New

Father, I thank You that You sent evangelists out both to the Jews and to the Gentiles of the time. Although the backgrounds of the two were different, and still are today, You offer salvation to both. One is not better than the other, as all Believers are equal in Christ Jesus.

Father, would You help present day Jews to see the truth of the salvation You offer, apart from their culture. Help them come to a saving knowledge of who You are, and bring them into a personal relationship with You through Jesus Christ.

And would You also show non-Jewish Believers the value and blessing to be had in the Tanakh: our Old Testament. For although the Law You gave Moses is not the basis of salvation, that it is by grace through faith in You, there is blessing for everyone in that Law, for instance in observing the Sabbath, and honoring our parents.

In fact, Father, what are known as the Ten Commandments, plus other Jewish writings contains things that were spoken by You to be ‘Divine empowerments’ that would release me from bondage to sin and bring me blessing. Too often the groups look at each other with misunderstanding and throw out even the good that would bless them. Father, teach me to embrace Your whole truth, and live according to it.

You are my God – who delivers me, who protects me, who arises to help me against whatever enemies come against me. “You are my Strength… my fortress, my loving God.” Old Testament and New are filled with pictures of You, of Your strength, Your character. Let me revel in the whole entirety of my Savior. I sing Your praises! Amen

Galatians 2:1-16; Psalm 59:1-17

Apr 29 Teach me from all Your Word

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luke 24:13-53

Apr 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, and 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: “[her] eyes were not weak nor [her] strength gone” when I am old.

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.

Like Rahab, 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 her, 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 3 Our laws are Your 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 system of law 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, but also taken into consideration is the 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.”  And the Bible is where these values came from. You knew, way back then, what our society would need today. And provided for it.

Yet even when I fail and disobey these laws, or 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.

For me, I will give thanks to You. Strengthen me to turn away from sin. Help me love You as I should; and love my neighbor. Show me when I can help my neighbor, and how.   Thank You Father, that You, who judge, are just. Amen

Deuteronomy 17:1-25:16; Luke 10:13-37; Psalm 75:1-10

 

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