Tag: challenge

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 knew 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 me 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 for 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

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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.

His father chose a favorite son, not him. His mother schemed for him to receive his father’s blessing, resulting in his exile from home to a place far away.

He worked happily for seven years to earn a bride, but was deceived on his wedding night with a different woman. He worked another seven years and still had nothing to call his own.

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

My life has had its ups and downs. There have been times of delirious joy as well as disappointment and sorrow. I feel sometimes as if I am barely able to get up for a new day. And I have Your Holy Spirit in me from whom I can draw strength! I have scriptures I can read to be encouraged. I have praise music I can play or sit at the piano and sing.

How did Jacob do it? How did Israel get through one more day of grieving his beloved wife Rachel, missing his son Joseph; managing his large family with misbehaving sons Simeon, Reuben, Judah and Levi; all in a day and time of famine, with hunger and need all around him?

Yet when You called him in a time of famine, to relocate to a foreign land, he still didn’t give up. Whatever You had in store for him, he simply answered “Here I am”.

O God, help me be that resilient.

Help me get through dark times and be ready to say “Here I am” when You call. Help me hear Your voice above whatever else is going on in my life. Tune my ears so I will hear You and recognize Your call.

Lord, let me hear clearly, and be obedient to all You reveal to me. Open my ears to the message of Your words that bring personal meaning and conviction to my life.

Prune away any misunderstanding I have been living by. Cut away the dead and unproductive parts. Revive me and make me fruitful again. I long to honor and glorify You.

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

How can I do any less?

Genesis 46:2 (and Jacob’s life); Psalm 19:1

Jan 11 Be like Rebekah

rebekah_at_the_wellpainting of Rebeca by Michael Deas 1995

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 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 9 – infinitely diverse!

I will praise You O Lord! With all my heart and mind and soul and strength! I will sing praise to Your name, for You are Most High!

I will tell of Your wonders. For You have created the magnificent heavens and earth, and everything in them.

Your imagination and creativity and diversity are beyond measure! Every time I hear of a new bit of biology, or physics, or chemistry, I am overwhelmed and amazed!

You thought up and created a tiny beetle that defends itself by shooting 2 separate chemicals out of its body that join in mid-air to produce intense stinging and burning irritation.

You designed the beauty and delicateness of a colorful butterfly that flutters so gently, but has a chemical covering that tastes so bad that predators stay away from it.

The list is endless of amazing developments, biological and behavioral, simply in the insect world!

And I can rejoice and be glad because You, this powerful and creative God, know me, and love me, and hear my prayers, and answer them!

I could not be more blessed.

With the perfection in all You made, and how it works in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, I am amazed that we humans are so far from perfect. You crowned us at the top of Your creation, yet we are so frail and flawed, especially when it comes to knowing You, hearing You and obeying You.

Thank You for the example of Abraham’s obedience. His faith was so great he left home to follow You to a place You would show him. He made mistakes and had very human failings, yet was obedient to the point of being ready to sacrifice his son’s life as an offering to You.

I cannot even imagine how incredibly hard that must have been. Even with much smaller challenges and tests in my own life, I worry and drag my feet, looking for ways I can justify a disobedient response. I can only pray that knowing You are with me every step of the way, You will insure I understand exactly what You say to me, and will prepare and empower me to take whatever steps I need to, to act in obedience to You.

Teach me Lord. Train me to hear Your voice.

Help me be obedient. Every opportunity You give me is a chance to obey. And You are with me, coaching me to win.

Thank You for these opportunities to draw close to You – in prayer, through Your Word, and in the challenges, trials and blessings of my daily circumstances. With every one I get to experience You.

You build and strengthen my faith with each challenge. It deepens my trust in You. And I continue to marvel, that You, the Almighty Creator of the universe, who reigns forever, are my personal life coach.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Genesis 21:1-9; 22:1-24; Psalm 9:1-2

Sept 12 A Tool for God’s Purpose

Father, when You sent Your judgment against Israel, You used the political and military powers of the day. Not knowing You, they believed it was by their own strength and power that they conquered. But it is clear that they were merely a tool in Your hand.

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The power is not in the tool, but in the one who wields it.

Father, I pray I would be a tool in Your hand for godly purposes. Use me to accomplish Your will.

As Your tool send me where Your would to achieve Your plan. And never let me forget that Yours is the strength and the wisdom by which anything is accomplished.

Father, some are called to far away places to be tools for You in spreading Your Word and Your love. And surely there are obstacles for them to overcome and challenges to conquer. But sometimes I feel the hardest place to be Your representative is here at home, with the people I love.

I know You have a wonderful plan and purpose for their lives too. So until you call me away somewhere else, help me realize the potential here. And be willing to be a tool in Your hands in the lives of those people You have brought closest to me.

Help me live every day showing Your grace and mercy and compassion to them. When asked, help me give wise and godly advice, not just my own preferences. Let my words be instructive and gentle, and line up with Your truth, spoken in love for the benefit of the hearer.

Help me hold my tongue when I need to, when the words would not be godly wisdom, but come from some other motivation. Help me spread peace in their lives when it would be so much easier to spread my own brand of how things should be. Help me let go of my own expectations of them, freeing them up to know the fulfillment of Your plans and purposes.

Help me be patient with Your timeline for my loved ones development and maturity. Let my prayers be consistent for them to be empowered and guided by the influence of Your Word, and what You speak to them through the godly mentors and circumstances You allow into their lives.

Let me draw strength from You. Let me be guided by You. And let me rest in Your strong and skillful hands. Amen

Isaiah 10:1-19

 

Aug 19 Like Esther

such a time as thisFather, here is one of the great faith statements. Mordecai has no doubt that You will save him and his people. He sends this message to Esther “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your family will perish.”   His faith is strong. He is sure that You will save Your people. The only question is how.

Father, strengthen my faith, so that even in the darkest time, there is no doubt in my mind or heart that You will deliver me. The problems I deal with seem so small compared to the circumstances here. No one has ever marked me and my family or church for death. But I know that the difficulties I face in my life are a concern of Yours as well.

Thank You that there is no problem too big for You to handle. And thank You that there is also no problem too small for You to help me with. Thank You that like Mordecai’s and Esther’s, You answer my prayers as well.

Here is also one of the great challenges in scripture. Mordecai includes in his message: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”   It is so evident that He believes You orchestrated the events in this time and of Esther becoming queen. The question is, will she rise to be the instrument of deliverance You placed her there to be?

She did. But Lord, will I?

Is there something You have orchestrated in my life that I need to respond to, because You have placed me where I am “for such a time as this”?

Father, open my eyes to see if there is something You are preparing me for, calling me to. And give me the courage to act.

It may not be as big or as risky as Esther’s call. It may only be something small: inviting someone to church, praying with a friend or stranger, reaching out to someone who has no one.

Help me see Lord, where You could use me, how You can use me. Don’t let me do it in my own strength, but like Esther, let me go forward in prayer and in Your power. Amen

Esther 4:1- 7:10

Apr 13 God’s plan – not mine

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua 7:16-9:2

Feb 6 Little by little

success-413093_640

“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

Apr 1 envy to joy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Chorus:

Je-sus Je-e-sus You are everything

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

Lord Jehovah watches over me

that is why I sing praises to Thee

 

Some people think that their life is just for collecting toys

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

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

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

 

Chorus

 

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

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

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

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

Je-sus Je-e-sus You are everything

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

Lord Jehovah watches over me

that is why I sing praises to Thee

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Amen

Psalm 73:1-28