Tag: blessing

Jan 16 Are you a wrestler?

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

My wrestling is not so productive as Jacob’s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genesis 32:22-30

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Jan 14 Wisdom over Deception

deceive-1299043_1280“Help Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue that says, ‘We will triumph with our tongues;’.” Arise Lord and protect me from those who malign me and take unfair advantage. Protect me from the deceit of the world, the flesh, and the evil one. “O Lord, You keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.”

You watched over and provided for Jacob when his father-in-law Laban cheated him and changed the terms of his wages ten times. You spoke and told him what to do and protected he and his family. Father, protect me as well, when others seek to deceive and swindle and mislead me. I turn to You for godly wisdom. Let me listen for Your voice, and understand what You say, trusting Your wisdom over what may seem right by earthly intellect.

You sent Your disciples out “as sheep among the wolves”. We, Your children, are often referred to as sheep. Thank You for being our shepherd; for watching over us, for driving away predators, for leading us to green pastures and still waters. Thank You for calming us the way a shepherd does his sheep so we can rest. There are many ‘wolves’ who seek our destruction, to get us away from the protection of our Shepherd knowing that’s when we are vulnerable.

Proverbs tells us we are blessed when we find wisdom – that it is more profitable than silver or gold and more precious than rubies. Help me discern godly wisdom; not just the logic of the mind or the reasoning of man. Lead me to seek “the wisdom that comes from heaven: pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” This is the wisdom that leads to righteousness.

Open my eyes to the lies and deceit of men. Let me see Your wisdom in the circumstances of my life. Keep my lips from speaking lies. Help me live honorably as one of Your sheep. Amen

Genesis 31:1-13; Matthew 10:16; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 3:13-15; James 3:17

 

Jan 11 Be like Rebekah

rebekah_at_the_wellpainting of Rebeca by Michael Deas 1995

Oh Father, may we be like Rebekah. For when she heard all that was “from the Lord”, how You had worked to prepare a way for her, she did not delay; but went quickly in obedience, anticipating all You would bring her. When given a choice to go or to stay and wait, she chose to go immediately. She gave up all she knew: the familiarity of family, of people, of a place and a style of living. She set out with a stranger, whom You had blessed and led to her.

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

Rebekah received a blessing before she left: “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.” I ask for that blessing for myself as well. Let the words You have given me, the spiritual light and life You have placed in me go out from me and be multiplied. Let it birth a spiritual blessing to thousands upon thousands And let these who are spiritual offspring be empowered to be victorious against their enemies, by controlling the enemy’s impact on their lives, and possessing their gates; locking the enemy behind them.

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

May I be like Rebekah in this as well. When I am confused, let me draw close to You and seek Your perspective and explanation. Let me not lean on my own understanding. But give me a fresh understanding of my difficulties and a revelation that directs my path and encourages me in the way I should go.

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

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

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

Jan 1 Blessing for the year

Father, in these words You tell me how to be blessed. Help me, my husband, sons, and loved ones obey these word 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. Let us recognize this 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.

new-jersey-77916_1280Make 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 31 Alpha and Omega

O Father, You are “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”. You are faithful to Yourself, by Your Word and by Your actions. You are faithful to Your creation and to me. You existed at the beginning of all things, and You will be there at the end of all things as I know them.

You will create a new heaven and a new earth. Malachi talks about that day when the righteous will be healed and the evil, set on fire. John, the same: the righteous will live with You, seeing Your face, and the evil are thrown into the lake of fire.

Father, You have been faithful to me each and every day this year. Each day, You have shown me in Your Word how to pray: from the first day of the year to the last, from the beginning of Your Word, to the end. Thank You!

I am both amazed at Your faithfulness to me, and at the same time, not surprised by it. Of course I know and believe in Your faithfulness. But now, I have felt the blessing of it personally. Thank You Father, for walking through each day of this year with me. Thank You for leading me through Your Word in such a meaningful way.

And now Father, like the Proverbs 31 woman,“clothe [me] with strength and dignity; let [me] laugh at the days to come”. [Help me] speak with wisdom, and put faithful instruction on [my] tongue. [Help me to] watch over the affairs of my household and not eat the bread of idleness. [Let my] children arise and call me blessed; [my] husband also, and praise [me].   [I am] a woman who fears You!”

“I praise You Father in Your sanctuary” – under the sky You created, in the forest and in the open, I kneel before Your great presence and acknowledge Your authority. I lift my voice to give glory to You. With every person I see Your creativity and diversity. With every bird and flower and creature, I observe Your infinite imagination. With the cycle of seasons, I marvel at Your ingenuity.

I cannot wait to see You face to face and live with You throughout eternity. I believe “You are coming soon. Come! Come Lord Jesus!” Amen

Malachi 4:1-6; Revelation 20:11-15; 22:12-21; Psalm 150:1-6; Proverbs 31:25-31

Dec 20 Stir up Your Spirit in me

Father, 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.

stir-up-holy-spirit

 

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 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

Dec 8 May America blossom

easter-1270523_1920O Father, I pray that America will return to You. “[Our] sins have been [our] downfall! Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” It is not just a return to simpler times that I seek. I do not wish to go back to covered wagons or shorter life expectancies because of disease and wars. But I long for my country to worship You; to acknowledge that all we have been so generously given comes from You.

Lord, other powers, philosophies or ideologies cannot save us. We need to return to You and receive Your healing.

Father, as in Jude’s time, many men have “slipped in among us” to lead us away from You. In Jude’s words, “godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny You” as Sovereign and Lord.   Show me how to see these people, these philosophies for what they really are, and not be misled by them.   Jude’s warning is just as important today as it was then.

Proverbs says: “When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but the righteous will see their downfall”.   Father, the wicked seem to be truly thriving today.   And sin has increased. How long can it go on before You bring their downfall? Your discipline will bring peace; Your correction will bring wisdom. When America returns to You, the people will be blessed again as You “heal [our] waywardness and love [us] freely…Your anger turned away”. America and its people will “blossom like a lily” and “like a cedar of Lebanon will send down roots…young shoots will grow”.

All this, I pray for my country, my family, myself. Help us return to You so we will acknowledge and praise You! Reveal the wickedness and godlessness that has led us astray. Let us accept Your correction and discipline and grow wise in our faith. Let us send down roots into Your rich, spiritual soil and blossom.

“To You, who is able to keep [me] from falling…be glory, majesty, power and authority…before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen”

Hosea 14:1-9; Jude 1:1-25

Nov 29 Let me be like Daniel

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

O Father, do for me what You did for Daniel! When forces come against me with contrived plans for my demise, save me from their evil strategies! Deliver me from whatever punishment they seek to be my end. Put people in my life who will come to my defense like King Darius, and will pay back my enemies. And let me be like Daniel.   Let me steadfast in my faith, recognizing You are worthy to be worshipped no matter the social or political climate. Let me be faithful to pray, trusting in You no matter what.

An interesting point is that Daniel was in his eighties when he was thrown into the lion’s den. This means that since he was taken captive as a boy in his teens, he never lost faith in You! He continued his prayer life and godly lifestyle all throughout his years. He remained a man of integrity and faith. Even those jealous of his position found him to be “trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent”. Let this be true of me also.

A time is coming when lawless, ungodly men will be judged. As the flood destroyed the earth once, You will destroy it again by fire. But I will see a new heaven and a new earth created by Your hand. As I await this day I want to live, like Daniel, a holy and godly life. Help me Lord.

In the Words of the Psalmist: “Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me…Make Your face shine upon Your servant and teach me Your decrees.” Father, this is how I can live the life I desire. With Your help, I can grow in Your grace and knowledge. Amen

Daniel 6:1-28; II Peter 3:1-18; Psalm 119:129-136

Nov 21 Your Word is Treasure

prayer conversations candle

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 18 Quick to listen, slow to speak

peacemakers

Father, James continues in giving good advice for righteous living. I ask You to help me to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. I can remember being told that ‘children should be seen and not heard’.   And ‘think before you speak – after all, you have two ears and only one mouth’; the message being that you should only speak half as much as you listen.   And ‘count to ten’ when you feel yourself getting angry so as to allow time to cool down and think before acting on your anger. I was taught these things as positive ways to get along with people. I did not know then they had Biblical roots for godly behavior!

 

So, help me truly listen to others with my mind and heart; not just count off time till it’s my turn to say something. Help me focus on the person speaking and what they are trying to convey. Then let me measure out my words carefully and respond, not just react. And if what I am hearing is not to my liking, and I have a strong emotional response, guard my tongue so I do not create conflict. But help me be a peacemaker.

Father, I am trying to follow James’ suggestion. He says “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”. So help me listen more intently and pay attention to what You have to say to me in Your Word. Do not let me miss anything You have to show me or teach me or say to me as an encouragement. Father, I want the blessing in doing this: Listen more and speak less. Teach me how to keep “a tight rein on [my] tongue”.

Father, You made my ears and my tongue. Help me use them to bring You honor and glory. Holy are You, Lord! Hebrew translation: Hallelu Yah! Amen

James 1:19-26

Nov 17 Persevere with God’s perspective

road-sign-940630_640 (1)Father, help me “consider it pure joy whenever [I] face trials of many kinds”.   Even though I know You tell me that these trials produce good things in my life: “perseverance”, making me “mature and complete, not lacking anything”; I do not always rejoice when difficulties come my way. And I don’t feel like I am being made “complete”. I often feel just the opposite, as if I am being broken down.

Father, give me Your perspective on these events and circumstances when they happen.   Let my first thoughts be to come to You to ask for what I need. Often what I need is wisdom. So remind me to “ask You, who gives generously to all without finding fault”.   Help me recognize Your wisdom when I hear it. And then be bold enough to act on what You tell me.

Lord, I want to persevere under trials because You say I will receive a blessing when I endure. Part of that blessing comes simply from my turning to You.   By being in relationship with You, hearing from You, and seeing Your deliverance, whatever that looks like. Thank You Father, for the times You have been there for me in the past. It builds my faith in Your ability and in Your desire to help me in the future.

I can identify with the Psalmist, who says: “I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.” Like the Psalmist, I have felt “overcome by trouble and sorrow”. There have been times when I did not see a way that anything good could come from my situation. But You, who are “gracious and righteous…and full of compassion” saved me, delivered me, showed me a way to redeem the situation. And usually it was in the most unique way, that no one else I had gone to had thought of.

How can I thank You? “How can I repay the Lord for His goodness to me?” I cannot ever repay the debt I owe You, Father. But I can sing my praises to You. I can tell others of Your great goodness. I can tell others of Your faithfulness to me. I can live joyfully in Your deliverance, and live faithfully as Your servant.

No matter what happens, I will rest in You. I will rejoice in You. I will live my life to bring glory to Your name. Amen

James 1:1-8; Psalm 116:1-19

Nov 16 Helpful last words

postit-1975188_640Father, the book of Hebrews is winding to an end, and it seems the author has thrown in as much good advice as he can before his good-bye. “Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers…Remember those in prison…Marriage should be honored by all…Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…”.

I do the same thing when my kids are leaving after a visit. Those parting words are the last chance to say important things, but often end up being a jumble of so many different things that none are particularly memorable.   Help me remember to do these things the writer of Hebrews has listed here.

I am told to “imitate the faith” of spiritual leaders and “consider the outcome of their way of life”. In Ezekiel’s time, it was the spiritual leaders who neglected to teach the people what they should know, and led them astray. They were the “shepherds of Israel” and they took advantage of the sheep. Like then, the outcomes of many spiritual leaders’ lives of today have not been holy or honoring to You.

So I ask for Your wisdom and discernment, and Your help so I will not ”not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching”.   There are so many philosophies and teachings in the world today that make claims to do everything from bring the individual inner peace, to bring them fantastic wealth and fame, to grow hair on their bald heads! There are so many counterfeit faith systems that are designed to make me feel good, while pulling the wool over my eyes, and leading me away from You. Very famous and powerful people buy into these ‘religions’.

Father, do not let me be enthralled by the sensationalism of any of them. Do not let me be intrigued by the power they profess to tap into, or the secrets they propose to know.   But keep me on the path that leads me ever closer to You.

Thank You for the blessing at the end of Hebrews. I pray these words for myself and for my loved ones. It is what I seek with all my heart. “May You, the God of Peace…equip [me] with everything good for doing Your will, and may You work in [me] what is pleasing to You.” Father, may I have Your peace in whatever circumstances the world or the evil one throw at me. May I know and feel Your peace even in the challenges and the hard times. Will You provide whatever I need to accomplish whatever You have for me. Lead me to what will please You. And may the success bring You glory! For ever and ever. Amen

Ezekiel 34:1-31; Hebrews 13:1-24

Nov 14 Help me run the race

Father, I love Your Words in today’s Scriptures! And so I pray them back to You.

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From Hebrews: “Therefore…let [me] throw off everything that hinders [me] and the sin that so easily entangles [me], and let [me] run with perseverance the race [You] marked out for [me]. Let [me] fix [my] eyes on You, the Author and Perfecter of [my] faith…”

Father, point out to me anything that is a hindrance to my being obedient to You; so I may follow the course You have laid out for me. I know You give me choices. There are many things I could do, many ways to spend the energy You give me that would serve You and be a blessing to others. But I also believe that when I am able to use the talents and spiritual gifts You have given specifically to me, I will experience more growth and more fruitfulness. In that role I believe I will have more perseverance, more joy, and more success than if I go off on my own. So I will fix my eyes on You, look to You for direction. Open my eyes to see You, and all You have to show me.

From Psalm 112: I pray that “[my husband and my sons] will be blessed as men who fear the Lord, who find great delight in Your commands. [May their] children be mighty in the land. [Would You place] wealth and riches in [their] houses and [let their] righteousness endure forever. Even in darkness, let light dawn [for them]. [Let them] be gracious and compassionate and righteous men. Let good come to [them when they are] generous… and conduct their affairs with justice. [Father, let them] never be shaken from their faith.”

“[Lord, let them] have no fear of bad news; [but let their] hearts be steadfast, trusting in You. [Whatever comes, let them] have no fear; and in the end, look in triumph on their foes. [Let them] scatter abroad their gifts to the poor. [Let their] righteousness endure, and lift [them] high in honor.” Father, if they are not as described here yet, bring them to this place. Draw them to You. Teach them. Let them know Your voice and feel Your love.

Lord, for them and myself, bring people and circumstances into our lives that will make us stronger, better, more obedient followers. Use others as iron to sharpen us to be useful tools in Your mighty hands. Thank You. Amen

Hebrews 12:1-4; Psalm 112:1-10; Proverbs 27:17

Oct 11 A tree planted by the water

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…  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.’”

bank-250252_640Father, 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. They don’t look healthy. They barely look alive. And they don’t last long. And I have seen tall, lush, full, green, long-lived trees that grow by the water. What a contrast!

 

new-jersey-77916_640Lord, let me be the 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. Because of this, the tree is saturated with the moisture it needs to withstand periods of even extreme heat and drought. There is enough to sustain green leaves that gather the sunlight to store as energy. There is always sufficient energy and life in this tree to produce fruit in season.

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, 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 16:16-17:18

Oct 3 Your Presence

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Father, be near me today. I know You have already promised never to leave me, but let me feel You especially near today. It helps me “not be anxious about anything”. When I feel You near, I rest in Your protection and in Your presence.

 

I talk to You more about what is on my mind. If I have concerns, or questions, or praises or thanks to voice, I communicate more when I feel You near me.

It also helps me focus my thoughts on good things. Paul said: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”. That is so much easier to do when I can sense Your presence.

No matter what I am going through, when I am conscious of Your company, I am calmer. Though it doesn’t make sense to others, I can feel at peace even in the worst of circumstances. Your peace, gives me the ability to rise over and above my current condition and not let it bother me as much. I am able to transcend events and situations with a new perspective and a greater understanding from You.

It is as if the peace You offer creates a wall around my heart and mind that tempers my thoughts and emotions, and so my responses and actions. You guard me. And bless me with something I can clearly see that others who do not know You, don’t have.

Thank You Father, for this blessing. For being with me. For showing me how to recognize Your presence. For allowing me Your peace. Amen

Philippians 4:1-23

Sept 26 My Teacher

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“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 that “if 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 go on to 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 would lead me into. Help me control my tongue, my anger, my selfish tendencies and greed. These things come from the evil one who seeks to rule 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 22 Hope in the darkness

book-1936547_640O Father, these are some of the verses that have come to me in the darkest times. Times when I truly thought there was no hope. Times when I was at the end of all I could think to do to save myself from what appeared to be dire and dark circumstances that I believed held no happy ending.

These words are spoken by Your prophet Isaiah who is telling how it will be when the judgment of Israel is over. “You are the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth! You will not grow tired or weary…You give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak…those who hope in You will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.”

What hope that gave me Father – because I was weary and weak. But because I know You as my Savior, I believed that these verses were true of me. It’s like You were speaking right into my heart then, and since then. You were promising to give me Your strength and power. You promised to renew my strength. When I felt like I could not take one more step, You empowered me to “walk and not grow faint”.

You told me “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my Righteous Right Hand.” And even more than that, You sang it to me. I could hear a melody in Your words. It became a theme that I could sing to myself over and over – Your words of encouragement and empowerment. I still sing them today.

Thank You Father, that Your Word, written down so long ago, has power and influence and still speaks right now. And not just to me, but to any and all who will seek You there.

And these words of Paul – I love them and have prayed them over and over again for myself, my family, and my loved ones. I pray them now, again Father, for everyone reading this prayer. “I give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know [1] the hope to which He has called you, [2] the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people [that’s us], and [3] His incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Father, speak these words of comfort and empowerment to all who need to hear them from You.   When the evil one whispers ‘you’ve failed again, there’s no hope’, Let them know what it means to “not fear” and “not be dismayed”.   Give us victory! Amen

Isaiah 40:1-41:16; Ephesians 1:1-23

Sept 18 Always Your Child

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Father, thank You for making me Your heir. Thank You for sending Your Spirit into my heart so I can call out “Abba, Father”.

 

 

Just like with my earthly parents, my position as their child will never change. I may move far away from them, or be upset with them, or they with me, but I will always be their child. The quality of our relationship may have its ups and downs. So the quality of our fellowship may fluctuate, but my position as their child will never change.

You have given to me the full rights of being Your child and Your heir. As such; “My salvation comes from You…My soul finds rest in You alone…You alone are my Rock, my fortress…I will never be shaken.”

Things may happen to me that shake my confidence in other people, in circumstances, in things I have come to depend on, even in myself. But in You I will always find hope. I will always be able to rest in Your abundant provision and security. I will always know that even if I cannot understand, that Your purpose and Your plan will not be thwarted. Many words describe safe places here on earth: refuge, fortress, tower, stronghold. These are solid, unshakable places where people run for safety. These are the exact words scripture uses to describe You! Father, You are all these and more. In You I can be shielded, I am protected, I am safe.

When needed, I can pour out my heart to You. You listen. And You comfort. You give me wisdom. And encourage me. Lord, give me Your wisdom now. Let me see Your perspective on the difficulties and challenges in my life now. I am resting in You, and I am hopeful. Show me the next step I should take. Do not let me get ahead of Your plan or Your timing.  Give me the patience I need to see Your blessing come into fruition.

I trust You. I know that “You are strong, and that You are loving.” I will wait with You, my Father. Amen

Galatians 3:23-4:31; Psalm 62:1-12

Sept 16 God’s plan for all of us is the best plan for each of us

time-1739630_640Father, what an amazing plan You set out before Abraham so long ago. He believed You even at a time when there was no evidence to show Your plan was working. You have truly kept Your promise to him in blessing the whole world through him and his offspring. For through his descendants came salvation on the cross. And we who believe are all the seed of Abraham, and the children of promise.

Father, I belong to You as much as Gilead, Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah. And just as Your promises to Abraham were true, so are Your promises to me. You will “aid me against the enemy”.   With You I will “gain the victory and You will trample down my enemies.”

Lord, You kept Your word across hundreds, thousands of years. But just like Abraham had to wait till Your timing was right, help me wait on Your perfect timing in my life as well.

I desire to see all my enemies thwarted and in defeat immediately. I would rather see my children and loved ones freed from the lies and deceit of the evil one right now. I long to see their lives and mine free from the influences of the world and the flesh, living in total victory over all that is not godly.   But I also know that You know better than I what is best for all of us. Help me rest, content in Your time table, ready to rejoice at each and every victory.

Father, fulfill Your plan for my sons.  Make my sons’ hearts of wise. Do not let them be misled by the ‘wisdom of the world’ or the philosophies of men, or the frailties of the flesh. But let them see through the falseness that masquerades as truth in the world today. Then my heart will be glad, and I “will rejoice when their lips speak what is right”.

I know that You, who have kept Your plan in place since the creation of the world, are faithful and able to accomplish all You have promised. Thank You. Amen

Galatians 3:6-9; Psalm 60:1-12; Proverbs 23:15-16

May 14 Help me choose obedience

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

obedience-to-god-3-638photo by Good Hand Security Products

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

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

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

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

I Samuel 15:1-35

May 7 It’s all about You

Father, let me be like Hannah.

Hannah words

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

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

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

I Samuel 1:1-2:21

May 2 All His benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 103

Apr 21 Obey Your Word, Walk in Your Presence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Apr 9 May God Bless You

BlessingsLord, I believe everyone desires to be blessed. I surely 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 would 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 33:1-2

Blessings

Apr 6 Blessing or Curse

“See I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse“.

Blessing Curse

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

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

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

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

As You spoke to them, they could have responded to all this teaching and rebuking with humility and obedience. But they did not.

You speak to hypocrisy in my life too. Father, let me respond with humility and obedience. Again, I choose the blessing.

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

Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20; Luke 11:37-54

Mar 31 God makes a little, a lot

picture from The Lumo Project

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.

So Father, I offer what I have here. 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.

Already I am at the end of knowing how to use what You have given me. My resources are meager. And my ability to make anything happen is feeble. But I trust that in Your hands, nothing is impossible! You can do more than I can say or do, more than I can ask or even imagine! Because of who You are: the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Luke 9:7-22

Mar 23 A blessed life

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”kneeling-1989128_640

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 66:1-20

Mar 21 Overabundant blessing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 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 by the material riches it can offer. Even though Balaam continued to bless Your people, as You had told him, he relied on sorcery to earn his living and ultimately betrayed Your people. Help me stay focused on You and the blessings You give, like Elizabeth and Zechariah.

Your blessing to them was an answer to many prayers on their part and prophecy on Your part. They were faithful to handle that blessing as You instructed: their son John the Baptist. Lord, help me be faithful to the blessings You give me. And handle them according to Your instructions.

Let me grow strong in spirit as John did. And I will also proclaim Your wonders to others. You have made a path of redemption, sent a means of salvation. Jesus is His name. In Him is the victory over death and all enemies. In Him is eternal life. I am ever humbled and blessed. Amen

Numbers 22:21-23:30; Luke 1:57-80

 

Mar 6 Receive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Numbers 6:24-26

Feb 5 Immeasurable power – Infinite gentleness

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 29:3-11

Jan 24 Speak a blessing

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

 

So many times I open my mouth before I speak, and blessing is not what results. Father, train me in the ability to speak the truth in love. Set a watch over my mouth to stop unthinking or hurtful words before they are spoken, and damage is done. Once spoken and heard, words cannot be unheard.

I believe Israel was speaking and giving blessings from You. You must have revealed to him what to say to each son, where to put his hands for the blessing, even as he intentionally switched his hands to bless Joseph’s sons. This was not according to the tradition of the time. Neither was the blessing where he gave Judah leadership of the house of Israel and Joseph the double portion. Those both should have been passed to the oldest. Oh Lord, let me be so close to You that I also hear what You are telling me and let me be obedient even if it goes against the traditions of man or of the times.

When his work was done, Israel “drew his feet up into his bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Israel finished the work You sent him to do. O God, do not let me outstay my usefulness to You. Please don’t leave me here one minute beyond what is necessary. I want to do and be all You have sent me here for. But I so desire to be with You rather than in the dimness of this earth. Knowing what awaits me as a believer, it is hard to remain here.

One way I seek to bless my children is by using the words You have given. Today I pray these words for my sons by inserting their names:

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 23 What a ride! Here I am

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O Lord, I think of all You allowed Jacob (renamed Israel) to go through, and I wonder how difficult his life must have been. He was a twin, compared from birth to a brother who was very different from him. He had a father who chose a favorite son, and he was not the favorite. His mother schemed for him to receive his father’s blessing, resulting in his exile from home to a place far away. He worked happily for seven years to earn a bride, but was deceived on his wedding night with a different woman. He worked another seven years and still had nothing to call his own.

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

My life has had its ups and downs. There have been times of delirious joy as well as disappointment and sorrow. I feel sometimes as if I am barely able to get up for a new day. And I have Your Holy Spirit in me from whom I can draw strength! I have scriptures I can read to be encouraged. I have praise music I can play or sit at the piano and sing. How did Jacob do it? How did Israel get through one more day of grieving his beloved wife Rachel, missing his son Joseph; managing his large family with misbehaving sons Simeon, Reuben, Judah and Levi; all in a day and time of famine, with hunger and need all around him?

Yet when You called him in a time of famine, to relocate to a foreign land, he still didn’t give up. Whatever You had in store for him, he simply answered “Here I am”. O God, help me be that resilient. Help me get through dark times and be ready to say ‘Here I am’ when You call. Help me hear Your voice above whatever else is going on in my life. Tune my ears so I will hear You and recognize Your call.

Lord, let me hear clearly, and be obedient to all You reveal to me. Give me understanding so I don’t make the mistake of honoring tradition above Your command; or my own way above Yours. It is so easy to get wrapped up in legalism toward Your law, and be busy with activities that are good, and want to ‘look good’ to others around me. When that happens, I become dull to the message of Your words that bring personal meaning and conviction to my life. Prune away any misunderstanding I have been living by. Cut away the dead and unproductive parts. Revive me and make me fruitful again. I long to honor and glorify You.

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

 How can I do any less?

Genesis 46:2 (and Jacob’s life); Matthew 15:1-20; Psalm 19:1

Jan 16 Wrestling

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

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

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

Rather than continue to wrestle with relationships, Lord, I give them to You. Show me how to spend my time and energy, and who to spend it with. Beginnings and endings are hard for me, and I know sometimes You bring a person into my life for a season. But I struggle when that season is over, to know how to let go. Most of my life I was the one who literally left, moved to a different place. I never really learned how to move on from being close to someone. How do I say good bye when there is no geographical separation? But hanging on too long isn’t working out either. Move me into and out of the relationships You want me to have, so that I can give and receive the blessings You intended for each of us.

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

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

Genesis 32:22-30

Jan 11 Make me like Rebecca

Rebecca at the well painting by Michael Deas  1995

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Oh Father, may I be like Rebekah. For when she heard all that was “from the Lord”, how You had worked to prepare a way for her, she did not delay; but went quickly in obedience, anticipating all You would bring her. When given a choice to go or to stay and wait, she chose to go immediately. She gave up all she knew: the familiarity of family, of people, of a place and a style of living. She set out with a stranger, whom You had blessed and led to her. Give me Rebekah’s courage. Let me be willing to go when You say ‘Go’. Let my faith and trust in You be so strong, it overpowers all other concerns, worries, or obstacles in my path.

 

Rebekah received a blessing before she left: “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.” I ask for that blessing for myself as well. Let the words You have given me, the spiritual light and life You have placed in me go out from me and be multiplied. Let it birth a spiritual blessing to thousands upon thousands And let these who are spiritual offspring be empowered to be victorious against their enemies, by controlling the enemy’s impact on their lives, and possessing their gates; locking the enemy behind them.

Later, when Rebekah was confused by what was happening to her in pregnancy, she “went to inquire of the Lord”. You gave her an answer and a revelation. May I be like Rebekah in this as well. When I am confused, let me draw close to You and seek Your perspective and explanation. Let me not lean on my own understanding. But give me a fresh understanding of my difficulties and a revelation that directs my path and encourages me in the way I should go.

Like Rebekah, help me place all my sense of security in You. Even when there is no evidence to point to that would give me security by the world’s standards. Even when circumstances seem radically out of control and way beyond my comfort level. In every relationship, every decision, every circumstance, let me turn to You; because You are able and willing, and deserving of my trust. You have promised never to leave me; never to forsake me. You can handle whatever comes. I choose to trust You. Thank You. Amen

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

Jan 7 The Lord’s Prayer

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Dear 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.

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 I call to You

praying-614374_1920Thank You for giving me these scriptures today. 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. So today, I lay myself and my loved ones, one by one before You. I ask for Your hand to be at work in each of these relationships, and in all our circumstances. Father, You know what each of us needs better than I do, so I ask for You to work in each of our lives to bring about Your perfect will. In some cases, to break our own will where it is in opposition to Yours and set us back on Your path. I ask for healing of our bodies where there is sickness; for a turning of our spirits to You where there has been rebellion or going our own way; for softening of our hearts so we seek You for help and direction. Show us how to call out to You where there is disappointment or despair and give us a realization and acknowledgment of the blessings in our lives which come from You. 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.

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

Psalm 5:1-12

Jan 3 be like Noah

Lord God Almighty, I know it is only by Your great mercy, and Your steadfastness, holding to Your promise to Noah and the animals, that You do not destroy the earth again by flood. Surely there is as much evil and corruption present now, in my time, as there was then. Surely You must look around and see that the earth is full of violence and are saddened that You created man. It must grieve You and fill Your heart with pain when You see how people treat You, Your earth and each other. You have the power to wipe man and beast from the face of the earth again. And I am in awe, and grateful that You do not.
006-noah-arkFather, for myself and other believers, help us be more like Noah. Let us hear Your voice like Noah did: in a way that we understand who You are and what You are telling us to do. And help us respond as Noah did, in obedience, doing all that You commanded.
Show us, Lord, how to draw away from the violent, corrupt, evil influences of the earth and our flesh. Let us see where in our circumstances we are not listening to Your voice or receiving Your instruction. There will be temptations. Even You, when You walked the earth, were tempted. You went into the wilderness where needs became great, yet were not overcome by the devil’s temptation. We also are tempted: by our own appetites, our desire for fame and for power. Yet You have promised that You will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear – because of Your faithfulness. You will show us a way of escape. Give us the strength to overcome those temptations, and take the way of escape. Help us make righteous choices when tempted. And to tell the devil to stay away from us. Help us remember that when we submit to You, and resist the devil, then he will flee. Let us remember that we are Your children, Your sons, Your daughters; and find strength in that relationship.

Instruct us to worship You and serve You. And send Your angels to come and attend us when we are weak and in need.

“You Oh Lord are a shield around me.” If I have any glory it is because you have chosen to bestow it on me. You lift up my head when it is bent over in exhaustion, in shame, in weakness, and let me see Your glorious face. As I cry to You, You answer.

When I lay down it is You who sends peaceful sleep. When I awaken, it is because You have sustained me and protected me throughout the night and have brought me back to experience another day. Help me not to fear the enemies, physical or spiritual, who come against every aspect of my life; who seek to attack my health, my family, my relationships, my work, my attitudes, my spirit. But let me see You. Arise Father! And deliver me! Strike my enemies, physical and spiritual – breaking their teeth so their bite is not damaging in any way.

I know that my deliverance is from You. May all who call on You, myself included, see the blessings You have poured out on us today. Amen.

Genesis 6:1-7:24; Matthew 4:1-11; Psalm 3:1-8

 

Jan 1 Godly men

Oh Lord God – please bless my husband and sons. Do not let them heed or walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. Let them recognize this evil for what it is. Give them a hunger and thirst for Your counsel, Your way, Your truth and Your wisdom so they will be seated with those who know and follow You. Let their delight be in Your law, Oh Lord. Let them read it, memorize it, recall it and meditate on it, thinking about how to apply it to their own lives and circumstances. Let Your perfect law color their thoughts and attitudes.

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

Allow them 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 these men – keep them on the path You have set before them. I totally trust in Your perfect will for their lives. May they come to trust You and Your guiding hand.  May they feel You watching over them, 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

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Father, 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 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 1:1-2:23

Dec 15 When?

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Father, I wonder what the people thought when they heard this prophecy from Micah?  Were some moved to change their ways?  Did some campaign for a national awakening and shift in policy?  Did they just think it was for another generation?  Or that it would never happen?  Did they believe it at first, and then as time passed and destruction did not come, think they were safe in their sin, and settle back into complacency?

How was it in Noah’s time?  Did they all scoff at the ship builder’s efforts?

Micah at least gave hope, that after the calamity there would be a time of peace again.  Even though the Israelites were delivered from Babylon, was Micah looking even further into the future?

Moving from Micah’s prophecy to John’s Revelation puts the prophecy squarely into my time for consideration.  I have heard of ‘the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ since I was very young.  And as I grew to understand that they were a part of a bigger picture of the Revelation given in the Bible about end times, I began to wonder if these things would come in my lifetime.

Forty years ago as a young woman in college, I heard some sermons and read some pamphlets and believed the end times were upon us.  When I told my parents of my ‘discovery’, they said that they too, when they had been in college twenty-five years earlier, had also made connections from prophecy to current events.  They had thought the same thing in their time.

It has been sixty-five years my father has waited, and now he is old.  It has been forty years for me, and I am old.   Will John’s Revelation come to pass in my lifetime?  I do not know.  Your time, Father, is not the same as my time.  Psalm 90:4 says  “A thousand years in Your sight is like a day…”. 

I have studied this Revelation enough to know that man will not know the day and time, but can certainly recognize the signs of its coming which You have revealed.  For me and my life, I can do no more than praise You as Your servant, minister in Your Name, and tell others of Your wonderful greatness.  O Lord, “May You bless [me] from Zion, You, who are the Maker of heaven and earth”.  Amen

Micah 1:1-4:13; Revelation 6:1-17; Psalm 90:4; Psalm 134:1-3

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.  The list of nations he voiced Your displeasure of and coming judgment on 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, let me not 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.  I have ears.  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