Tag: blessing

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.  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!

Lord, 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 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

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Oct 4 Fill me!

overcoming-1697546_640“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will 

through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives

so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way:

bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.   

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Father, I continually ask You to fill me with the knowledge of Your will: not my own or anyone else’s.  Do not let me be distracted by the glitter of what the world would show me I could do or have.  Or be swayed by trying to please others to earn their approval.

Do not let me be led astray by my own sense of pride or selfishness.  But give me a true understanding of how You have created me, with specific gifts, talents, personality and temperament, and how You would use those to accomplish Your will through my life.

Lord, would You do this through all the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives: not the wisdom of the world, or the logic of the mind, or the sense of the flesh.  For these are the influences that so often affect my mind and decisions.

I seek the wisdom that Your Spirit gives through Your Word in scripture, and in prayer and meditation as I open my ears and heart and spirit to You alone.  Close my ears to all other sources that would seek to lead me away from You and Your purposes.

Father, give me Your strength, that comes from Your power.   Strengthen me physically when I need it.  I do not desire to do great physical feats, but Father, sometimes my energy wanes long before the end of the day or the task.  And as I age, I can feel weakness creeping into my body.  Fortify my organs and my immune system to function according to how You created them to function.

Lord, I also need Your support mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.  Empower me in all these areas with Your strength working in and through me.

Father, I ask for these gifts so that I may live the life You died to give me; pleasing You, doing good works that will bring glory to Your name.  And that I would accomplish these in Your power and in Your timing.  This will help me know You better and deepen our relationship.

I offer up sincere thanks and praises with total joy, as a beloved and blessed child of Yours.  Amen

Colossians 1:1-17

 

 

Oct 3 Your Presence

blue-1238986_640Father, 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 Your promise to be near me.  For showing me how to recognize Your presence.  For allowing me Your peace.  Amen

Philippians 4:4-9

Oct 1 You are the strength of my heart

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Father, Isaiah is filled with the vision of Your triumphant return!

You bring reward to Your people.  You come avenging Your people, righting wrongs done centuries ago and ever since.

Even Your people do not deserve Your great salvation, but You will bless the remnant You have chosen and those who call on Your name.

Father, help me keep my eyes on that future.  And my focus on You and Your promises, not on what is happening here on earth.

Here on earth the wicked seem to be the prosperous. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.  They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.”

When I listen to the voice of modern society and how far it has pulled away from You and Your standards, it is easy to wonder if I am still on the right track.  I see people who do not worship You who prosper so greatly, with seemingly no consequences.

They amass influence and power and become the people who drive my society and its values.  And I wonder: Do You see?  Do You see what is happening in Your world?  The one You created so carefully?  So lovingly?

I seek to live according to Your principles, and it brings challenges and trials.

But I will remember Your promises.  I trust Your plan.  And these Words of Yours strengthen me: “I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory.   

Whom have I in heaven but You?    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.   My flesh and my heart may fail,  but You are the strength of my heart  and my portion forever.”

Whatever the earth can offer is nothing compared to all You have already given me, and have promised me will be my future with You!  Thank You!  Amen

Isaiah 62:8-12; 65:8-25; Psalm 73:1-28

Sept 28 Victory in Jesus!

Father, I desire to “be strong in You and in Your mighty power.”   And to “take my stand against the devil’s schemes.”

I realize that my battle is not with the people around me, or my circumstances, although I sometimes feel at war with these.  My struggle is “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  And the armor You have given me is perfectly suited to what I need.

roman shieldI wear the “Helmet of Salvation” – which bears Your insignia, letting all know in whose army I fight.  It guards my head, but also my thoughts.  It reminds me to take every thought captive and compare it to Your truth.

You have given me a “Belt of Truth” with which I can recognize the lies of the enemy.  Help me not be mesmerized by what I think I want to hear, so that I do not look deeply enough to recognize a lie when I hear it.

You have given me a “Breastplate of Righteousness” so that stabs and attacks glance off without doing harm.  With deeper protection, it is like the forerunner to the bulletproof vest which stops and arrests projectiles before they can hurt me.

You “fit my feet with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace”.   People may remove their shoes when entering a home or as a sign of relaxing.  But when shoes are put on, it signifies a readiness for action.

As a believer, my action should be directed toward sharing the “Good News” or the “Gospel” with others.   My faith in the Good News of my salvation gives me traction to be able to “stand firm.”  “So that when the day of evil comes, I will be able to stand my ground.”

“In addition to all this, take up the Shield of Faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”  This is not some little garbage can lid with a handle!  The shields Paul was seeing were those of the Roman guard.

They covered the soldier’s body and were wide enough so when they stood together it made a formidable wall.  And thick enough to block and stop sword, spear, arrow and javelin.

Father, every time You do what You say, keep Your promise, deliver me from some trouble, or stand with me in some hardship, it builds my faith.  It strengthens my Shield!  And when I stand beside other believers in their faith, I am protected even more!

And I take up the “Sword of the Spirit” – Your Holy Word.  There is such power in Your Word!  Evil trembles and turns back at the mention of Your name.  Praying Your Words back to You by using scripture empowers my prayers.

When I am dressed in Your armor, and wielding Your weapons, I am a mighty force!

Your armor is the best.  With it I can stand firm.  I can stand against the schemes of the evil one.

When You fight with me and for me, it is You who give me the victory!  And I receive the blessing.  Thank You!  Amen

Ephesians 6:10-17

Sept 26 My Teacher

Psalm51pic“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 leads 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 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.

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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, 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

Sept 11 Seek God’s Wisdom and Blessing

O Father, help me. Strengthen me in my spirit so I will not make the same mistakes Your people in Israel made so long ago.

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First they “rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah.”  These were the softly running streams of Northern Israel that brought water to provide abundant harvests of grain, and represented the provision You afforded them as a blessing.

Yet the people were not satisfied with what You supplied. They sought other gods. So You brought against them “mighty floodwaters of the River – the king of Assyria with all his pomp…to overflow all its channels, run over all its banks and sweep onto Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck.”

Father, help me be satisfied with what You have given me, what You have blessed me with. Do not let me look to others, or compare myself to them, desiring what they have. But let me rest in Your abundant provision, content in Your care, trusting that You know, and will provide, whatever is best for me.

Next, Your people ignored the signs and prophecies You gave them, and instead, sought the wisdom and guidance of mediums and spiritualists.

In my world, there are so many places people can go to discern a direction for their lives. Palm readers, mediums, and spiritualists still exist. Tarot cards and daily horoscopes have become a guide for actions people take in their relationships, their finances, their business and social lives. “…Should not a people inquire of their God?”

Lord, I will seek wisdom from You, in Your Word and in prayer, Father, speak to me, direct me. Show me the way to go when I have decisions to make. Do not let me be drawn to the darkness of the occult.

Lastly, when judgment began to fall on the people, their response was not humility and repentance. Instead, “they say with pride and arrogance of heart, the bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” 

In their arrogance, they missed the message to come back to worship You. They responded seeing only a construction problem; saying they would rebuild with stronger, more resilient materials.

God help us – these are the very same words spoken by American government officials after the destruction of 9-11, September 11th. Rather than heed the warning to return to You, the spiritual problem in this country was seen as a construction issue. Our response: to rebuild with stronger materials.

Father, if and when You send me a message like this, tenderize my heart to see to the real problem. Do not let me ignore the spiritual issues in my life. Prompt me to respond with humility and repentance.

It is not by might I will endure, but by Your grace, Your mercy, Your love, compassion and provision. And it is the same for my country. Tenderize our leaders’ hearts to see the real problem, to seek You, worship You, and turn to You for guidance.

Thank You for these lessons. Help me remember them. Amen

Isaiah 8:1-9:21

Sept 1 Unworthy but loved and blessed

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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…”

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

I am unworthy. Unworthy of Your attention, of Your blessing, of Your love. And yet all that I enjoy in my life and in my relationship with You has nothing to do with my worthiness, or my ability to somehow earn anything from You. I am blessed and loved and cared for, because of who You are. Your love transcends my unworthiness. Your faithfulness trumps my undeserving state.

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

I know that You can do ALL things. I have no doubt that You can heal all my infirmities. You can take unhealthy tissue and make it whole again. You can heal my relationships and make them god-honoring. You can guide my children into Your wisdom and give them a hunger and thirst for You.   You can bless them with godly mentors and success in all they put their hand to.   You can return the prodigal son to right relationship with You.

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

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

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

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

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

Job 40:1-42:17

Aug 28 As the deer…

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

Job recalls what his life was like before the troubles came. Like Job, I too often feel “Your lamp shining on my head”; giving me the light I need to see. You allow me to “walk through the darkness” by Your light. Many times, in dire circumstances, Yours was the only light I had.  And it helped me find my way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Job 29:1-25; Psalm 42:1

Aug 21 Blessed be Your name

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

I would not want Job’s misfortunes. When much less has happened to me, I have heard my own thoughts turn to thinking it would have been better had I never been born. Easier, certainly. But what a testimony that he could still praise You in the face of all the tragedy and suffering! It makes me wonder, have I made comfort and ease idols?

Father, my life is so blessed. With so much. And I take so much of it for granted. Help me be more thankful to You for all You have given me. Help me have an “attitude of gratitude” in my daily life. Remind me to express my thanks to others, and my praise to You. Gratitude and thankfulness are signs of my faith. In this I do want to be more like Job.

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

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

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

Father, let that describe me. Amen

Job 1:1-3:26

Aug 18 At work behind the scenes

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Dear Heavenly Father, how unusual that Your name doesn’t even appear in the book of Esther! However there is no doubt that all the events were orchestrated by You!

You must have known the evil in the heart of Haman who sought to destroy all Your people throughout the empire. These were Your people who You had taken into captivity for punishment of their idolatry and sinfulness. But still, there was mercy in Your action, and You protected them.

Only You could have influenced Queen Vashti to disobey the King, costing her the crown and making way for Esther, a Jew, to move into her place. Only You could have made the servants and people around Esther so impressed with her and kind to her. It must have been You who guided Esther to accept the advice of the eunuch in charge of the harem as she went to be presented to the King. And You held the heart of this king in Your hand, as he chose her for Queen.

You must have placed Mordecai in the right place at just the right time to hear of the assassination attempt, and timed perfectly his recognition by the king. And You gave Esther the wisdom to hold the two banquets for Haman and the king, answering the three days of prayer and fasting with success.

Father, with all these people, places, plots, and details in Your control, how can I doubt that You know what is going on in my life? How can I think that anything would get by You? There is no way; even if someone plotted to harm or kill me; that it would escape Your notice.   And You would have a plan already in place, to deal with it. Thank You.

So like the psalmist, I agree that You will humiliate and disgrace those who rejoice at my troubles. You will cover with shame and dishonor any who would seek to triumph over me. And I will ever say “Great is the Lord, who delights in blessing His servant with peace.”

Thank You for Your blessing in my life every day. Help me see each one as I go through my day: waking, breathing, eating, walking, talking, learning, seeing, working, singing, praising, sharing, loving, resting, sleeping. Thank You for the peace I can rest in because I trust in You. In Your plan. In Your justice. In Your deliverance. Forever. Amen

Esther 1:1-3:15; Psalm 35:17-28

Aug 11 Building with God

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Father, I remember a time You put in my heart to have a women’s Bible Study for our church. Without a building, we needed a location. Other times, other churches and places had said no, so our people told me it would be impossible. Adding there would never be enough workers to come and do all the tasks needed to run it. A prior study began with 25 women but dwindled down to only three by the end.

Undaunted, I prayed, seeking Your wisdom to know if I should give up in response to my own church’s “wisdom”. Knowing You would have to open the doors, I went forward.

Believing You were leading me, I went first to the church where our boys were in a Scout Troop. They said yes! When I asked, they told me they believed the blessing of the building You had given them should be shared with the community!

Obviously, You had gone before me and prepared the way. They gave us access to a large meeting hall, the kitchen and their nursery! Including all the toys, beds and changing tables!

That very day, a woman from our church called and said if I found a location, she would love to run the nursery to care for the children who came, and make nametags! She helped me get other volunteers for the children’s’ area and brought refreshments that first week. By the time we started, we had a greeter, a setup person, a clean up person, kitchen and children’s workers, and beautiful ribbon nametags.

It was an amazing victory! And the most successful study we had for several years! You provided an amazing answer to prayer and response to obedience in going forward. Remembering Your faithfulness has encouraged me often.

Just like You brought workers from many places to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem, each doing a small part; You brought people to support the work You wanted to do in our church. Both jobs were too big for one person. But You are bigger than any job. And You have the resources to accomplish anything in Your plan.

Father, I believe You place in each believer a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. I know during that time I felt completely empowered.

I can’t describe the joy it gave me to feel, to know, I was in the center of Your will. You had opened doors.   You brought people to help. You brought women to attend. What a blessing to be part of something You were doing!

Father, show me what comes next. Give me that blessing again.  Amen

Nehemiah 1:1-3:14

Aug 5 Prophecies and Promises

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Lord God, from today’s scriptures it is clear that you have moved armies, governments, civilizations to accomplish Your will. You told Your prophets, who told the people, exactly what would happen if they did not keep their covenant with You.

Their choices were clear. In obedience they would receive Your blessings. Disobedience would bring Your curses and they would be removed from the land You gave them as an inheritance. Even knowing this, and being reminded by the prophets, their hearts were hard and they chose curses by their behavior.

You even told Your prophet Jeremiah that their captivity would last seventy years. And the prophet Isaiah gave the name of the king who would return them to their land one hundred and fifty years before it happened!

Sure enough, because of their continued disobedience, they were captured and taken away into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. Then the Persians came to power and overtook Babylon. Their King Cyrus announced he would build a temple in Jerusalem for the Lord, the God of heaven. Any of Your people in captivity would be free to go!

This happened seventy years after captivity began as predicted! And the man who released them as promised by prophecy was not even born when he was named by the prophet!

So I can believe with assurance in the prophecies You have given about the coming days.   All You revealed to John on the island of Patmos, and more about the end times. Of course, I do not pretend to know Your exact time table, but I know I need to be ready.

I need to be living like You have shown me, and being obedient to receive Your blessings. I need to be watching so I am not misled.   My faith must not rest on man’s wisdom, but on Your power.

I believe that I must “wait for You”. For Your wisdom, perspective, for Your perfect timing in my life. Help me be patient while I am waiting. Help me to “be strong and take heart”.

You will move things in Your timing: armies, governments, civilizations. You hold the hearts of men and kings in Your hand. And I believe I will see Your goodness, in my life, while I live.

Thank You for Your blessings. For Your promises. For Your prophecies. And for answering me when I seek Your face. Amen

Ezra 1:1-11; Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:13-14

 

Aug 1 Unity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 28 Family and Spiritual heritage

photographs-1209751_640O Father, when I think of how fortunate I am, and all the blessings You have given me, it takes my breath away, and I am humbled to tears. Even before I was born, You determined when I would be born, and where, and to whom. There were generations that came before me who knew You and worshipped You. That is a godly heritage I must not take for granted.

David was a man after Your own heart. And yet his lineage is full of men who were idolatrous, murderous, and evil. Jehoshaphat followed You and taught others to worship You, yet his own firstborn, Jehoram, when given the rule, murdered all his brothers to secure his reign. He married a daughter of Jezebel, a manipulative and evil woman. After Jehoram’s gruesome death, his youngest son, Ahaziah took over and was encouraged into more evil by his mother. Later, this evil mother, upon learning of her own son’s death, murdered all the siblings and offspring so she could reign in her son’s place!

But she missed baby Joash. Joash was hidden and raised by godly people. When he came to reign at the age of seven, he ruled rightly in Your eyes.

I know, Father, that You call each of us. Some come from broken homes and dark, painful backgrounds. But we each owe You a debt of gratitude for every divine influence and godly person You put in our path. I can think of relatives, Sunday School teachers, preachers who taught me to love You and seek to know You. But I also remember neighbors, friends, even strangers, who taught me godly lessons – some without even knowing it. I am grateful, and thank You for each one of these.

As I look back over my life, I can see that I would not have all I have now, be all I am now, or love You the way I do, without Your intervention and Your loving care. There is no doubt in my mind – You were involved in a personal relationship with me before I even knew You.   Thank You for all You have done.

Father, it also challenges me to be that divine influence in the lives of others You bring across my path. Help me see opportunities to point others to You. Open my eyes to recognize when I can say something, do something, be something that will benefit the faith of others. Use me Lord, to pass on the blessing. Amen

2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21

July 12 Give me victory

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Father, I want to be like the men You sent to be with David to make up his great army. These were men described as “armed for battle…ready for battle…brave…experienced…of undivided loyalty…armed with every type of weapon.”   I want to be ready for the battles I face.

My flesh wars with me, tempting me into sin. The world around me seeks to draw me into its ungodly values. The evil one desires my destruction. Give me the discernment to know right from wrong in these confusing times and the courage to be loyal to You. Help me be prepared to stand up for what is right.

You have given me weapons: Your Word, prayer, Your promise of wisdom when I ask for it, other believers around me for support. I know the power there is real. I have seen it over and over again. I have experienced Your blessings and amazing responses to prayer time and time again.

I also desire to be like the “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” Give me insight into the political and national issues and wisdom to understand the agendas behind the movements going on in my world today. Help me see the truth of things. Teach me to understand how to follow You and show me how to respond rightly.

Do not let me stand alone, Lord. You sent Paul “so that he might impart to you [other believers] some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”   In a similar way Lord, let me encourage and strengthen other believers around me, and let them encourage my faith.

Father, thank You for the friends and all those You have sent to walk beside me. Thank You for those who have prayed for me and for the prayers I make for them.

Your armor is the best. Your plan is sure. And I have read the end of the Book – You win!! I am so glad to be on Your team! Thank You for choosing me. Amen

I Chronicles 12:19-40; Romans 1:11-12

June 29 Standing firm

Lincold stand firmO Father, how Your heart must ache when Your people choose to turn away from You!

You have given me all I need for an abundant life, yet the society I live in, and the one the Israelites lived in, pull people away from You to continually seek after other things.

When the kings over Your people were bad, they worshipped idols in the open, even sacrificing living children by fire.   They fought battles according to their own strength, or bought allies with the treasures from Your Temple.

When the kings were not evil, and led the people back to worship You, they still did not remove the high places and Asherah poles, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

The values and attitudes of their society had become so evil, that this behavior was accepted by even the good kings. But it was not acceptable by You. And eventually You sent armies from the east to conquer and capture Your people, taking them into exile.   This was as You had promised. You outlined their options for blessing and cursing, and they made their choice.

Lord, how often in my life do I allow the ungodly values of my society to sway me, divert me from what You have told me is true? Often what is evil is accepted as good. And even the good leaders abide by it as if it were ok.

Do we think as a society that there will be no accounting? That’s what the Israelites thought. Didn’t work out so well for them. And I fear it won’t work out in my times either.

When Your Word spread in Ephesus, people who practiced sorcery burned their scrolls, and idol worshippers stopped buying the silver idols. As the economic impact increased, so did the opposition!

Society today would also prefer that believers keep their faith to themselves. When it begins to impact political issues or economic factors, there is friction.

Father, as You have called me to live in the world, You have also separated me, set me apart from it. Help me understand how to be ‘in’ the world while being separate from it. Remind me to question values, holding them up against what Your Word says. Only then will I know I am on solid ground.

Show me if there is any value or attitude I need to change to be right with You. And strengthen me to do it, amid, or even against, the pull of society. Amen

2 Kings 15:17-16:20; Acts 19:13-41

June 15 Bring Salvation to All!

Jesus breaks chains

 

 

Father, I live in a time when Your Word has spread to cover almost all the earth. In Acts, this was just beginning. Thank You for spreading the Word to Gentiles as well as people in the Jewish faith.

 

 

For Cornelius, You sent an angel directing him to Peter. And to Peter, You sent a vision to prepare him to share the Good News with Cornelius and other Gentiles. Thank You for including me in Your message of salvation down through the ages.

Father, I ask that You would continue to send angels and visions to those who have yet to hear of You and Your love for them!   All around the world, give each of these people understanding to see Your truth.

Lord, I have loved ones who have forgotten or walked away from Your loving care. Draw them back to You. Return to them the joy of their salvation. Give them a hunger and thirst to seek and receive Your Good News again.

They have been living under the lies and deceitful influences of the world, the flesh, and the evil one. Break their chains and set them free to love You again!

Your psalm tells “how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!“ I pray for this goodness and this unity in my family.   Please bestow this blessing on us so we can walk in Your goodness and Your mercy forevermore. Amen

Acts 10:1-23; Psalm 133:1-3

June 14 Obedience – better than sacrifice

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Father, here there are three examples of people You told specifically what to do. The ones who disobeyed You, paid a terrible price.

1 Rehoboam, Solomon’s son who inherited the kingdom, was given a word by You through Shemaiah. Although it was Rehoboam’s plan to rally the forces and attack Israel, he stopped that plan, obeying Your instruction. All his army went home, safe.

2 Jeroboam had been told at his anointing, that he would be king over ten tribes of Israel, and have a dynasty as enduring as David’s. Jeroboam would rule over all his heart desired IF he would obey Your commands and walk in Your ways, and do what is right in Your eyes.  But he did not. He made golden idols and led the people to worship them instead of You. This led to his downfall and destruction.

3 A man You sent to prophesy against the altar Jeroboam set up, did as You said at first. His prophecies came true. But he was tricked, deceived into stopping to eat and drink where You had told him not to. He paid with his life that day.

Father, help me take seriously what You instruct me to do.

Strengthen me to be obedient – to change my plans if need be, in order to obey. Even if what You tell me goes against what seems to be logical human thought – let me clearly understand what I am to do, and recognize if I am straying from it.

Protect me from those who would deceive or trick me into being led away from Your command.

Help me, through obedience, to stay in Your blessing and in Your will. Amen

I Kings 11:29-39; 12:20-13:34

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 2 Guide me

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

 

After Your resurrection, several of Your disciples returned to fishing. But one long night when their efforts yielded no catch, You found them. From the shore, You told them to throw down their nets on the right side of the boat. And an enormous catch was brought in. You blessed their obedience.

Father, when I feel lost, find me wherever I am. Show me how to be obedient and where the blessing is. Thank You for this lesson that even when I come to the end of my efforts and have tried to do things on my own, You stand ready to show me the way. Help me be humble enough to accept Your instruction, and obedient to follow it. Amen

John 21:1-14 

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 9 How to remember

elephant-1090834_640Lord, 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.

ebenezerWhen 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.

I 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 about the things that are important, and of Your love for me. Amen

I Samuel 7:1-17; John 6:1-13

Apr 11 Courage for the next step

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apr 9 God bless you

Blessings

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

But many people did not grow up receiving a blessing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deuteronomy 33:1-29

 

Apr 6 Blessing or Curse?

Blessing Curse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 30 Real Faith

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

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

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

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

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

They received these amazing, miraculous blessings, Lord, because their faith was in the One who is worthy. My faith is also in the One who is worthy. I am blessed, because the outcome is not dependent on me, but on You. The outcome is not dependent on how the circumstances look. All the faith in the world does no good if it is misplaced. Thank You for being the Author and Perfecter of my faith. Amen

Luke 8:40-56

Mar 23 A blessed life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 66:1-20

Mar 22 Can I get a witness?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 21 Overabundant blessing!

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 15 A donkey speaks!!

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O God, do for me what You did for Balaam.

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 12 God is with us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 55:22

Mar 9 the Olive Tree

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

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

As for me, Lord, may I be like a green olive tree flourishing in Your House:

May I be alive, vibrant, and growing

May I produce abundant fruit in season,

May I have long thick roots that penetrate deep into spiritual soil.

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

May I grow in community, surrounded by others, our roots and trunks intertwining like olive trees grow, without comparing myself to them, but shading them, and drawing needed shade from them. May I draw on the strength of being in community with the others You have placed around me so that I can persevere and remain strong even when the winds come, leaning on others and providing stability for them in return.

May I stand in the midst of others for years and years and years to come, even as the two olive trees that have remained in the Garden of Gethsemane are still living after two thousand and four hundred years, and are the same ones You knelt by on that fateful night You prayed before Your arrest and Crucifixion.

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

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

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

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

Even when I am confused

Even when I can’t see Your will at work

Even when I don’t feel Your presence

Even when the world denies it

Even through tears and pain and sorrow

I will thank You for all You have done

I will hope in Your Name, for it is good

I will praise You – forever. Amen

Psalm 52:8-9

Mar 6 Recieve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Numbers 6:24-26

 

Feb 8 Praying Your Words

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 31: 14-17

Feb 7 God-given gifts

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Lord God, You tell me that the kingdom of heaven is like a master who entrusts his servants with talents, then returns to receive their earnings. I desire to be a good and faithful servant and to return to You more than was given me. Yet I have always feared I would be the one who returned to You, only Your original investment.

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

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

I so want to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” And it is occurring to me that in order for that to happen, I need to step out of my safety zone where I am comfortable, and take some risk. It is something I do not do easily. And I will need to rely on You for encouragement and even some daring. But I can be reassured by Your words in I Timothy 1:7 ”God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind.” And I can know that when I am obedient, You will protect me. Regardless of the outcome, You will never leave me.

Please help me overcome my fears of being ridiculed, shamed, making the wrong choice, disappointing You. Show me the next opportunity You place in my path. And help me learn to let go of and use Your gift so it can multiply the blessing to myself and others, and please You: a win, win, win!

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

“In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in Your righteousness. Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge. Into Your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth. . . I trust in You! I will be glad and rejoice in Your love…” Amen

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

Feb 6 Little by little

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exodus 23:27-30

Feb 5 Immeasurable Power, Infinite Gentleness

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 29:3-11

Feb 2 I choose praise!

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

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

But another time, when these people grumbled for food in the wilderness, You promised and delivered a blessing of meat in the evening and bread in the morning.   That night You brought them quail to eat and in the morning You created and gave them manna: something so marvelous and unknown they didn’t know what to call it. They even called it ‘manna’, which means ‘what is it?’ There is no mention of rejoicing, or an outpouring of gratitude or thanks – even though there was no other place for them to get food in the desert. What they did was respond with disobedience. They did not gather according to Your instructions.

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

I pray Father, that I will respond to Your hand of blessing in my life like the first example. Majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, highly exalted – You are my God and my King!! I will write songs and sing of Your wonders! I will tell others of Your greatness and Your blessing in my life. I will write and send emails to communicate them! But even if I stand in a room alone with my hands and voice raised to You, even if I sing off key, even if no one else knows, do not let me miss an opportunity to acknowledge Your power and involvement in my life with gratitude.

Open my eyes Lord, so I will see and understand all of Your blessings. Prompt me when I forget to acknowledge Your gifts. Do not let me take Your blessings for granted; or respond with disobedience. I desire to make a “sacrifice to You of shouts of joy!! I will sing and make music to the Lord!”

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

Jan 24 Speak a Blessing

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 16 Are you a wrestler?

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

My wrestling is not so productive as Jacob’s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genesis 32:22-30

Jan 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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 18 Quick to listen, slow to speak

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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.

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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

wrestlers

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

rebekah_at_the_well

 

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