Tag: bless

May 11 Consider the great love of the Lord!

They:                                                              But God:

Wandered in desert wastelands with no place, no home; hungry, thirsty, fading Led them by a direct path to a city with a place for home, good food and drink, revitalized them
Depressed, prisoners, suffering  in chains, in bitterness rejected the Lord Freed them, broke their chains, brought them out of darkness and gloom, loved them
Rebelled in foolishness bringing suffering upon themselves, dying Healed them, saved their lives
Sought adventure and wealth, befallen by tragedy, discouraged, lost Delivered from distress, calmed storms, provided safety, brought them home
Were needy Blessed them, lifted out of their affliction, increased their numbers, fed them

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

Psalm 107:1-43

Apr 30 The Power of Words

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

board-1106649_640Lord God, how often do I speak without thinking?  Have I made promises I either had no way to meet or no intention of keeping?

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

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

I desire to use my voice to bless others, to offer godly wisdom, to sing of Your love and justice, and to praise You.

Even in this time of somewhat isolation from so many friends and loved ones, words can reach across the street, across the country and around the world.  Give me words of encouragement and love to share.  Let me speak life and healing over those who are sick.  Encouragement and love over the discouraged and depressed.  And Your peace and comfort over the grieving.

Lord, set a watch over my mouth to make me aware of all I say.  May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight O Lord.  Amen

Judges 11:29-40; Psalm 19:14

Apr 9 God bless you

BlessingsLord, 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 people 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; 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 each one of us right now. Bless every reader as they speak this prayer, with the full definition of the meaning of the Hebrew word for bless:

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

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

Empower, energize and enable us to reach the fullness of our divine purpose.

We kneel before You to receive this divine blessing.  Amen

Deuteronomy 33:1-29

Mar 31 God makes a little a lot

A crowd came because they were hungry to hear from and be healed by You, Jesus.  In staying late, they also grew hungry physically.  Your 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.

13_Jesus_5000_1024But You took what was offered, looked up to heaven, gave thanks and broke it.  And that meager amount was miraculously multiplied to provide enough food 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 gifts in me and in each one of us 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.

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.

So Father, in these challenging times, help us each offer what we have.  Let us all look to You with thanksgiving in our hearts, asking that You bless us and break us to spread the gifts You have placed in each of us.  Use it to make a blessing for others that will bring honor and glory to Your name.

My resources are meager.  And my ability to make anything happen is feeble.  But I trust that in Your hands, You can do more than I could ask or even imagine!

Because You are the One True God, with You, nothing is impossible!  Amen

Luke 9:10-17

Mar 15 A donkey speaks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have made a path of redemption, sent a means of salvationJesus 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 6 Receive

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.

receiveblessingBless 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

Feb 25 Lord have mercy…

america-870087_640

Oh Lord, the commands You give your people here look 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: 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

Jan 24 Speak a blessing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 7 The Lord’s Prayer

religious-316272_1280Dear Father and Creator of us all, who dwells in heaven and whose name is holy, I pray for Your will and Your kingdom to be manifested here on earth as it already is in heaven where You reign.

Bless me with all I need today.  I trust that You know better than I do, what that is.  I gratefully accept what comes from Your hand.

Forgive my sin against You and others [specifically say the sins you repent of] and help me be forgiving of those who have sinned against me.

Lead me away from whatever or whoever would tempt me; and rescue me from evil.

I worship You, honor You, and give You glory.  Yours is the power eternally.  Amen

Matthew 6:9-13

Jan 1 Blessing for 2021

Father, in these words 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 20 Stir up Your Spirit in me

Father, I wonder if I have been like the people Haggai is speaking to? 

You spoke to these people, telling them “You have planted much, but harvested little.  You eat, but never have enough.  You drink, but never have your fill.”  I get the message.  Although effort is being made, until You are “in” it, only little will be accomplished. 

You made little of what these people did because their hearts were wrong.  But here comes the hope!  They listened to Your Word, and obeyed!  

Stir up Holy SpiritI am with you declares the Lord.  So the Lord stirred up the spirit of the people so they would accomplish much! 

I believe You placed in me a desire to be part of something bigger than myself, something monumental, that will glorify and honor You.  But it is something I will never be able to do on my own

O Father, stir up Your Spirit in me!  Let me be empowered with Your blessing! 

It reminds me of an old song where the refrain goes “little is much when God is in it.”  

You told the people “the silver is mine and the gold is mine.”  I understand the tools and gifts and talents I will be using are Yours.  But what You can accomplish with them is incredible, indescribable, uncontainable!  Far beyond anything I can do alone. 

You told them “From this day on I will bless you.”  Father, let me live in Your blessing.  If I have been consumed with building my own house while disregarding Yours, then change my heart and my focus. 

Show me – through Your Spirit stirred up in me – what to do.  Father, use me like Zerubbabel or Joshua or one of the remnant.  Help me not to fear, but to “Be strong…and work.  For You are with me.”   Amen

Haggai 1:5-15

Dec 9 Blessed is he who…

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Father, I believe “the Day of the Lord is coming.  It is close at hand…” You gave Daniel  dreams about the end times.  You showed Ezekiel, and now Joel and John.  All these prophets heard from You at different times, yet the message was the same.  The time has come to “Blow the trumpet…sound the alarm…”

I do not pretend to know the day or time, but I know that each day that goes by is one day closer.  It will be the end of everything known: the earth, the sun, moon and stars.  But there is still time.

You desire that all people ”return to You with all [their] heart.”   Amazing things will happen.  There will be spiritual signs, “wonders in the heavens” and many will be saved – everyone who calls on You.  There will be a new day with blessings for Your people.  And You will avenge.

John writes that You will bless everyone who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it…”

In John’s Revelation, he saw with great detail: “dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.  The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”

And John was also given the interpretation of the meaning of what he saw.   And all this was to be passed on to the seven churches so believers would know what was and what is and what is to come.

Proverbs tells me that “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.”   And this IS revelation!

Father, let me read and hear and heed what You share here and in the whole of Your Word.  Do not let me “cast off restraint” and walk in the way of the world.  But let me sound the alarm to call people’s attention to Your wisdom, Your Word, and the blessing You want to give to all:  salvation and eternal life with You! 

The alternative is still eternal life, but separated from You.  Vengeance is Yours.  And You will avenge when the end comes.  You are allowing time so all may come to You.  And You have sent Your Word so all can know.

I pray that all will “hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”  Amen

Joel 1:1-3:21; Revelation 1:1-20; Proverbs 29:18

Sept 26 My Teacher

 

“I am The Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

 

Thank You Father that You are my God. Thank You that You know what is best for me and that You are willing to communicate that to me.

Open my ears and my eyes so I can understand what You are saying to me.

You tell me thatif only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.”

How many times have I given up that peace because I thought I knew better than You? Or because I was afraid to go forward where You were leading me? I desire the peace and well-being only You can give me. Show me how to be bold enough to follow where You lead.

Father, as I look for the way You direct me and teach me to live, I do not have to look very far. In today’s scripture, You tell me plainly: “Do not live as the Gentiles do.” This is not a cultural judgment, but a spiritual condition.

You explain they have hardened their hearts to You and to spiritual matters. This separates them from You. They live in ignorance and have a darkened understanding which dulls their sensitivity, allowing them to give in to sensuality and indulge in every kind of impurity, lust, and greed.

Father, be the light in my life that brightens my understanding and softens my heart to comprehend these Words of life You speak to me. I do not want to live separated from You, but in community with You.

Your presence blesses me, comforts me, encourages me, protects me, motivates me and spurs me on to be better than I am without You.

Father, help me put off those dishonest and deceitful ways that my flesh leads me into. Help me control my tongue, my anger, my selfish tendencies and greed. These things come from the world, the flesh and evil one who all seek to rule over and destroy me. Do not let them be master over me.

I desire what You offer me: Your peace and well-being.  Let my actions and attitudes reflect that. I will look for You to teach me the way I should go in all my circumstances. And I will be blessed in following You. Thank You. Amen

Isaiah 48:17-18; Ephesians 4:17-32

 

Sept 25 Unity and Maturity

Father, the words Paul writes to the Ephesians become my prayer today:

Help me “live a life worthy of the calling I have received.”  Help me understand the life You have called me to. 

In dealing with others, help me be less self-centered and more God-centered in the way I treat people, make decisions, and respond to circumstances. 

Every day, let me ask: “Am I living the life You died to give me?” 

Toward that end, help me be “humble and gentle.”  Show me how to walk away from pride, arrogance, conceitedness, and that attitude of superiority that so easily entangles me. 

Teach me to “be patient” and treat people with love.  When I am frustrated, let me bring that to You so You can disarm it before it becomes anger and resentment.

Father, with so many people who call themselves by Your Name, there will be differences.  Help me see past the differences that don’t matter in order to support the unifying beliefs that do make a difference. 

Help me use the gifts You have given me, spiritual and otherwise, to build up Your body of believers, so that we all become a mature, complete body with You as the head.

Then I will no longer be “tossed back and forth by the waves, blown here and there by … the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”  Help me become so familiar with Your Word that I recognize the crafty, deceitful teachings of the world. 

Bless me as I make time to read and study Your Word, Your love letter to me.  Reveal its meaning and show me how to apply Your wisdom to my life.

Thank You Father, that Your Word is true.  That it teaches. That it encourages.  And guides.  And comforts.  And helps me grow more and more in step with You.  Amen

Ephesians 4:1-16

June 23 Strengthen me

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

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

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

Instead, I would prefer to use my words to bless, encourage, teach, and show I care.  Help me measure out my words like precious commodities.  Teach me to take time to think before I rush into spilling out whatever is on my mind.

Especially when I am upset, Lord, it’s hard keep my mouth shut, instead of sharing my pain, frustration, or anger.  Remind me I can come to You with anything and everything.   You are the One who can offer healing, encouragement, and restoration better than anyone else.

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

Father, if something is luring me away from You, remove the worm and reveal the hook so I will not be caught and reeled in like a fish caught on a line.  If there are hidden nets or snares, show me the truth behind the lies and deceit that would coax me into the trap.

I know there are times when the evil one is out to derail me.  But there are also times when my own flesh and the world’s desires tempt me into things I should not be involved with.  Father, keep me from those things too.

I have heard that voice in my head tempting me, trying to justify behavior I know is wrong. Don’t let me even toy with the thought of wanting that, or thinking I deserve something, or that I can get away with having it.

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

Psalm 141:1-10

April 30 The power of words

board-1106649_640Jephthah is the very definition of a rash vow, a careless oath, a promise made without thinking.   At least he lived by his word and upheld his vow, but it cost his daughter her life!

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

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

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

I desire to use my voice to bless others, to offer godly wisdom, to sing of Your love and justice, and to praise You.

Even now, in this time of separation from so many friends and loved ones, words can reach across the street, across the state and around the world.  Give me words of encouragement and love to share.  Let me speak life and healing over those who are sick.  And peace and Your comfort over the grieving.

Lord, set a watch over my mouth to make me aware of all I say.  May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight O Lord.  Amen

Judges 11:29-40; Psalm 19:14

April 12 I confess and You bless

O Almighty God!  O Lord who is omnipotent, all powerful, omnipresent, at all places at all times, and omniscient, knowing all things.  It is hard to imagine the scope and depth of Your power and presence because it’s so far beyond anything humanly possible.

We feel so out of control of this virus plaguing the world right now.  It has stripped us of our confidence, our security and our freedom to move about our daily lives.

maninfiledLike the Prodigal Son in the pig sty, we long for a sense of the freedoms and lives we had.

But just like the Prodigal Son, when I return to You and confess my sin, You run to me, throw Your arms around me and celebrate my return to right relationship with You!

You promise that when I confess my sin and turn from it, You are faithful, and will forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness and guilt.

Yet it is so human of me to think I can ask You to answer my prayers with blessing, when I am hiding sin.  Forgive me when I forget that You know all things, and try to hide my sin from You.

How foolish of me to think that I could keep something hidden from You and go on like it never happened.  You knew that some of the Israelites held back plunder from the victory at Jericho.  And there were consequences for their disobedience.  It cost thirty-six men their lives in a battle, and ultimately, the lives of all those who hid their sin.

Confession is not telling You something You don’t already know.  The Greek word for confess is “homologo.”  It means “same word.”  So I am simply agreeing with what You already know; and with Your assessment that my action or attitude is sinful.

O Father, keep me from temptation.  Help me quickly see sin for what it is and turn from it.  And when I stray from You, bring me to my senses and set my feet back on the path to You.  That is the path of blessing and victory!

I desire miraculous victories like the Battle of Jericho in my life.  We all need a victory over this virus.  Thank You for forgiving our sin and accepting the price You paid on the cross to pay our debt.  And thank You for returning from the grave to lead us into Your victory!  Amen

Joshua 7:1-15; Luke 15:11-24; I John 1:9   

April 9 God Bless you

BlessingsLord, 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 people 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; 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 each one of us right now, with the full definition and meaning of the Hebrew word for bless:

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

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

Empower, energize and enable us to reach the fullness of our divine purpose.  We kneel before You to receive this divine blessing.  Amen

Deuteronomy 33:1-29

Mar 31 God makes a little a lot

A crowd came because they were hungry to hear from and be healed by You, Jesus.  In staying late, they also grew hungry physically.  Your 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.

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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 gifts in me and in each one of us 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.

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.

So Father, in these times of crisis, help us each offer what we have.  Let us overcome the selfish, hoarding, greedy ways of the flesh and look to You with thanksgiving in our hearts.

Father bless us and break us to release the gifts You have placed in us.  Use what You have given us to make a blessing for others that will bring glory and honor to Your name.

Because of who You are: the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ, You can do more than we can say or do, more than we can ask or even imagine!

With You, nothing is impossible!  Amen

Luke 9:10-17

Mar 15 A donkey speaks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Numbers 22:21-23:30; Luke 1:57-80 

Feb 25 Lord have mercy

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Oh Lord, the commands You give your people here look 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: “Lord, have mercy on us, as a nation; heal us, for we have sinned against You.”

“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

Jan 7 The Lord’s Prayer

religious-316272_1280Dear Father and Creator of us all, who dwells in heaven and whose name is holy, I pray for Your will and Your kingdom to be manifested here on earth as it already is in heaven where You reign.

Bless me with all I need today.  I trust that You know better than I do, what that is.  I gratefully accept what comes from Your hand.

Forgive my sin against You and others (specifically say the sins you repent of) and help me be forgiving of those who have sinned against me.

Lead me away from whatever or whoever would tempt me; and rescue me from evil.

I worship You, honor You, and give You glory.  Yours is the power eternally.  Amen

Matthew 6:9-13

Jan 5 Ordinary People

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“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.”

This is the substance of my prayer today.  I lay myself and my loved ones, one by one before You, asking for Your hand to be at work in each of these relationships, and in our circumstances.

Father, You know what each of us needs better than I do, so work in each of our lives to bring about Your perfect will. In some cases, we have set our own will in opposition to Yours – set us back on Your path.  Some of our bodies need a physical healing; some a spiritual one.  Heal us.

Where there has been rebellion turn our spirits to You.  Where our hearts are hard, soften them.  Give us Your help and direction.  Show us how to call on You where there is disappointment or despair and give us a realization of Your blessings in our lives.

I lay our lives at Your feet, knowing that You have the resources, the authority, and the power to achieve even more than I can ask or even imagine. I wait for Your hand to be made visible in the lives of my family and myself so that I can see and rejoice.

Where our troubles are the result of bad choices, show us those mistakes. Teach us to learn from them so the experience is not wasted. Where we are wrestling with spiritual forces, rulers, principalities, authorities, and powers of this dark world and in the heavenly realms; destroy them Lord! Declare them as guilty O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their sins and rebellion against You.

You took a regular man like Abram, and chose to use and bless him. Only by Your promise and power was he made into a great nation with a great name, through whom all peoples of the earth have been blessed.

Even with the mistakes he made, the bad choices, the lack of faith he showed at times, You kept Your word to him. Your promises are never just empty words. Thank You for using ordinary people like him, to do extraordinary things through Your power.

We take refuge in You, and in Your mighty power! Spread Your protection over us. Surround us with Your favor as with a shield. We rejoice in You and we sing for joy! We love Your Name O Lord. Jehovah! Yahweh! Jesus! Messiah! For there is no other name by which we can be saved! Amen

Genesis 12:1-13:4; Psalm 5:3, 10-12

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 20 Sit up Your Spirit in me

Stir up Holy SpiritFather, I wonder if I have been like the people Haggai is speaking to?

I believe You placed in me a desire to be part of something bigger than myself, something monumental, that will glorify and honor You.  But it is something I will never be able to do on my own.

You spoke to these people, telling them “You have planted much, but harvested little.  You eat, but never have enough.  You drink, but never have your fill.”  I get the message.  Although effort is being made, until You are “in” it, only little will be accomplished.

It reminds me of an old song where the refrain goes “little is much when God is in it.”

You made little of what these people did because their hearts were wrong.  But here comes the hope!  They listened to Your Word, and obeyed!  

“I am with you declares the Lord.  So the Lord stirred up the spirit” of the people so they would accomplish much!

O Father, stir up Your Spirit in me!  Let me be empowered with Your blessing!

You told the people “the silver is mine and the gold is mine.”  I understand the tools and gifts and talents I will be using are Yours.  But what You can accomplish with them is incredible, indescribable, uncontainable!  Far beyond anything I can do alone.

You told them “From this day on I will bless you.”  Father, let me live in Your blessing.  If I have been consumed with building my own house while disregarding Yours, then change my heart and my focus.

Show me – through Your Spirit stirred up in me – what to do.  Father, use me like Zerubbabel or Joshua or one of the remnant.  Help me not to fear, but to “Be strong…and work.  For You are with me.”   Amen

Haggai 1:1-2:9

Oct 11 A tree planted by the water

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah 17:5-8

Sept 1 Unworthy but loved and blessed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Job 40:1-42:17

May 11 Meeting needs abundantly

Consider the great love of the LORD !

They:                                                              But God:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Psalm 107:1-43

Apr 12 I confess and You bless

maninfiledO Almighty God!

O Lord who is omnipotent,

all powerful,

omnipresent,

at all places

at all times,

and omniscient,

knowing all things.  It is hard to imagine the scope and depth of Your power and presence because it is so far beyond anything that is humanly possible.

Forgive me when I forget that You know all things, and try to hide my sin from You.

How foolish of me to think that I can keep something hidden from You and go on like it never happened.  You knew that some of the Israelites held back plunder from the victory at Jericho.  And there were consequences for their disobedience.  It cost thirty-six men their lives in a battle, and ultimately, the lives of all those who hid their sin.

It is so human of me, and yet so wrong, to think I can ask You to answer my prayers with blessing, when I am hiding sin.  I cannot expect You to bless me in my marriage, for instance, if I am gossiping, spreading disunity among my friends.  Before I can ask for Your favor, there are things I need to confess.

It’s not that I am telling You something You don’t already know.  The Greek word for confess is “homologo.”  It means “same word.”  So I am simply agreeing with what You already know; and with Your assessment that my action or attitude is sinful.

And You promise that when I confess my sin and turn from it, You are faithful, and will forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness and guilt.

Just like the Prodigal Son, when I return to You and confess my sin, You run to me, throw Your arms around me and celebrate my return to right relationship with You!

O Father, I desire miraculous victories like the Battle of Jericho in my life.  Keep me from temptation.  Help me quickly see sin for what it is and turn from it.

And when I stray from You, bring me to my senses and set my feet back on the path to You.  That is the path of blessing and victory! Amen

Joshua 7:1-15; Luke 15:11-24; I John 1:9   

Apr 9 God bless you

Lord, I believe everyone desires to be blessed.  I truly do.  But many people did not grow up receiving a blessing.

Blessings

One result is that very few people 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 us, fill us, permeate us, saturate us with unlimited potential to achieve all You would invite us to do that will glorify You and bring honor to Your Name.

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

Empower, energize and enable us to reach the fullness of our divine purpose.  We kneel before You to receive this divine blessing.  Amen

Deuteronomy 33:1-29

 

Mar 31 God make a little, a lot

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A 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 gifts in me 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.

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

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! With You, nothing is impossible!

Luke 9:10-17

Mar 24 Tracing God’s Faithfulness

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.

Printable-Timeline-Template-for-StudentBecause their fathers and mothers rebelled against You and died in the desert over those 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.”

Unlike Moses, 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 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 or the material riches it can offer.  Even though Balaam continued to bless Your people, as You had told him, he relied on sorcery to earn his living and ultimately betrayed Your people.

Help me stay focused on You and the blessings You give, like Elizabeth and Zechariah.  Your blessing to them was an answer to many 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 6 Receive

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.

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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

Feb 25 Lord have mercy…

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Oh Lord, the commands You give Your people look 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: “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

July 3 Your Word nourishes me

tree stream

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

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

As in the Psalm, make me like a tree planted by streams of water. This is a tree that will always have the moisture it needs for its roots to go down deep into the soil and feed from the rich nutrients in the earth to make it strong. Such a tree will not wither or loose its leaves, but will remain healthy and strong the whole year.

Let me grow in this manner so my faith will yield abundant and good fruit when the time is right: fruit that will glorify and bring honor to You. Make me strong in my faith, able to withstand the heat, the cold, the wind and storms. Bless my actions and my service to You with abundance.

Father, let me know Your Word so intimately  it becomes my strength and my guide. Let me speak boldly of my relationship with You to encourage others. And let these things make  me fruitful, like the tree, that brings about a bountiful harvest to honor You and nourish others. Amen

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

June 26 You are my God

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

“You are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. My shield, in whom I take refuge…Part the heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightening and scatter the enemies; shoot Your arrows and rout them. Reach down Your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.”  

Father, You never promised I would not have to face difficulties, but You have promised to always be with me. You have said “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you…”. Help me take hold of Your hand and stand strong against the rushing waters the enemy sends to sweep me off my feet. Let me see through the veil of lies and deceit the enemy would use against me.

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

Father, in rescuing me, You have “filled my barns with every kind of provision.” You know what I need to meet the coming challenges You allow into my life. Meet those needs in a way that I know without a doubt that You have done it.

Prepare me to face challenges in faith and strength of character so I will be a strong witness for You. Meet my physical and economic needs. Bless my household out of Your abundant provision.   Show me how to share with others from the bounty You provide for me.

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

Psalm 144:1-15; Isaiah 43:1-13

June 23 Strengthen me

thoughts words deeds cross

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

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

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

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

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

Father, if there is a lure, remove the worm and reveal the hook so I will not be caught and reeled in like a fish caught on a line. If there are hidden nets or snares, show me the truth behind the lies and deceit that would coax me into the trap.

Lord, I know there are times when the evil one is out to derail me. But there are also times when my own flesh and the world’s desires tempt me into things I should not be involved with. Father, keep me from those things too. Do not let me even toy with the thought of wanting them, or thinking I deserve them, or thinking I can get away with having them. I have heard that voice in my head tempting me, trying to justify behavior I know is wrong.

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

Psalm 141:1-10

June 10 I seek Your blessing

child-praying-hands-1510773_640 (1)O Lord, I desire to be blessed by You. I ‘fear’ You in respect to the acknowledgement of who You are: Creator, Savior, Deliverer, the one True God.

My attitude towards You is one of reverence and honor. You are so high above me, yet You invite me to come to You, to approach You, and to be in Your presence.

That in itself is a blessing. Your thoughts and Your ways are far beyond what I can think or even imagine.

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

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

Psalm 128:1-6

June 8 Thank You for the people in my life

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

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

Let this be a pattern for my prayer life as well. Lord, I truly acknowledge Your faithfulness to me. I can’t begin to understand all the pieces that You brought into place for my being here now, as one of Your children.

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How interconnected are the lives of the people You orchestrated to impact my life: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, friends, Sunday school teachers, teachers, coaches, acquaintances, co-workers.

You not only coordinated who they were and how they influenced me, but where they were, as I moved across the country almost every year growing up. That blows my mind!

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

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

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

I Kings 3:4-9

 

May 21 Family Victory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Samuel 30:1-25; Psalm 118:7, 14

May 16 Praying Psalm 112

Father, I pray the words of this Psalm for myself, and my loved ones.

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I give You praise!

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

Thank You that I possess wealth and riches. Perhaps not as the world recognizes wealth and riches, but as You count them.   And thank You that Your righteousness remains with me forever.

Even in the dark times, let me live in Your light as You give me grace and compassion to deal with whatever comes. Let goodness pour into my life. And let me generously pass that goodness on to others. I will seek Your justice in conducting my affairs and act in accordance.

As I have planted my faith in You, I will never be shaken. The world will not make me fall apart. Keep my heart strong even in the face of bad news, so I will not fear. But draw me ever closer to You, who I trust completely.

Because I know that You win in the end, my heart and mind are secure. I know that at the end of the age, when You return, all Your foes will be vanquished, and I will look triumphantly on those foes.

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

Psalm 112:1-9

Apr 30 The power of words

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

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

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

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

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

Judges 11:29-40; Psalm 19:14

Apr 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

 

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 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 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 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

Jan 5 Ordinary People

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Lord, thank You for using ordinary people to do extraordinary things through Your power.

You took a regular man like Abram, and chose to use and bless him. Only by Your promise and power was he made into a great nation with a great name, through whom all peoples of the earth have been blessed. You looked far into the future, beyond the limitations of the flesh, and brought a Savior from his line.

Even with the mistakes he made, the bad choices, the lack of faith he showed at times, You kept Your word to him. Your promises are never just empty words. You have the sovereignty and the power to make good on all You say You will do.

Thank You that You still bless people today. Thank You that You still accomplish Your perfect will in the lives of people who, like Abram, make mistakes, and fall short, and choose fear over faith. Please use me Lord. Teach me how to make wise choices. Increase my faith. Help me be obedient. Bless me. And use me to bless others.

Psalm 5:3 says “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.” This has become true as I read Your Word and it becomes the substance of my prayers. Thank You for guiding me with Your Word. Amen

Genesis 12:1-13:4; Psalm 5:3

 

 

Dec 10 The lion has roared…

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“Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.”

Father, You gave a special message to a shepherd, Amos. His was not in a priestly or kingly line, yet You gave him an important message for the people. He was a shepherd of Tekoa, a place about six miles south of Bethlehem, as Bethlehem is about six miles south of Jerusalem. At the time, the people he spoke to thought they were doing well. But about thirty years later, the Assyrians took Israel into captivity. He voiced Your displeasure of and coming judgment on a list of nations were eventually judged.

Father, it seems to me that when You choose to bless a nation, You hold that nation responsible for its national conduct. Surely each person was not guilty of the offenses listed, but the nations were judged nonetheless. My country has been blessed. And I believe You will hold it responsible for its national conduct. Right now, that is not looking good. Amos questioned “Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey?” Then answered: “The lion has roared – who will not fear?” He was telling people there was a real and present danger. I believe my country is being warned of a real and present danger if the people do not turn back to You.

You also revealed Your plan to John through Revelation.   He wrote down Your Words to specific churches. I believe they were real churches at the time, but I also believe the same words are meant for Your church today.

In obedience to these words, would You help me remember that You are my first love; that You come before anything else in my heart. And let me act accordingly. Like the church in Ephesus, do not let me tolerate wicked people, or listen to false teachers, or follow the Nicolaitan teachings of lustful immorality and lording church positions and power over lay people. Give me the strength to “persevere…endure hardships for Your name, and not grow weary”.

Like the churches in Smyrna and Pergamum, let me remember my wealth comes from my relationship with You. Show me where the evil one is influencing me, or my loved ones so we can reject it. Increase our faith so we have the perseverance to remain true to Your Name. Do not let us be led away from Your teachings by the temptations of Balaam who tempted the Israelites into immorality and idolatry.

Father, thank You for revealing Your plan to Your servants the prophets. Let me hear and heed these words that are for my life and my country. Open my ears and my understanding. Amen

Amos 1:1-3:15; Revelation 2:1-17

May 9 How to remember

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apr 30 The power of words

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

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

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

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

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

Judges 11:29-40; Psalm 19:14