Tag: choice

Jul 4 We depend on You

cross-1314136_640O Father, Your people didn’t think that judgment would come. But You sent Pharaoh Neco from Egypt in the west to take Judah’s king in chains and tax and oppress the people. Then Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon in the east came twice to burn Jerusalem and strip the land of the last of its treasures and people.

Your people went into exile, taken from their land, to be prisoners in a foreign place. It was just as You had promised. Your people ignored Your covenant and the prophets You sent and followed their leaders into disobedience and idolatry. And paid the price for their choices.

Father, You give me a choice today. You show me how to live by Your Word. You teach me right from wrong. Your values and morality are clear. But my society lives by a different standard. And most of the people believe You will not judge.

Although You have the greatest love, You also hate sin. And You have said there will come a time for judgment.

I believe that time is nearing. Father, help my nation hear Your warnings and turn back to You. Help me in my own life, make choices that are according to Your Word. Help me not simply make the easiest choices, or the most popular ones; but give me understanding to know how to make the right choices.

Let me live my life for an audience of One: You.

Help me recognize my own sin and turn from it. Strengthen me to do what is right even when it is hard. Let others see that I love You. And that I live my life accordingly.

“Let the kings be wise; and the rulers of the earth be warned. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. And all who take refuge in the Lord will be blessed.” Amen

2 Kings 23:31-25:22; Psalm 2:1-12

 

 

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May 10 The Best Father

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O Father, how many times have I behaved like the Israelites here, and asked for something so I could be like everyone else?  Instead of trusting Your will and the plan You had for me, I settled for what You allowed because I asked for it.

So many times the wisdom of the world seems right.

It makes sense to the mind.  It pleases the eye.  It pacifies the emotions.  But one can follow logic and still be dead wrong.   A person can feel like things are going well, when they are not.  Things can look good, but be rotten to the core.  This is proven each time someone is tricked or duped; because we trust our eyes and our logic.

But You, Father, can see the end from the beginning.  You have a perspective that I do not.

I protect my child when I prevent them from a danger I can see that they cannot.  To them, it may feel like I am restricting them, not protecting them.   Hopefully as they grow, they trust my judgment until they can see the dangers for themselves.

And sometimes, I need to let them make their own choices, even if they are unwise, in order to learn for themselves.  For instance, when you eat a tube of raw cookie dough, there are unpleasant consequences, even though it tastes really good during the eating part.

Though I like to think of myself as independent and smart enough to make wise decisions, I have learned that simply lining up pros and cons and judging by worldly standards is not the only or the best method.

I have access to the God who created the universe!  You have wisdom I could never in a million years attain.   And praises to You, You are willing to share it with me!

Father, when I want something, let me examine my motive. Help me discern what is best from Your perspective.  Give me godly understanding that surpasses the world’s view.  And help me accept that wisdom if it turns out that what I think I want is not the right thing.  Help me wait for the best thing.  Teach me to be wise.  Amen

I Samuel 8:1-22

Apr 8 No Rock like our God

american-flag-1272115_640Lord, do not let ours be a nation without sense, with no discernment, like Israel was.

When You gave them an inheritance and set up boundaries for Your people according to the number of their sons, You shielded and carried them.  You protected them and guarded them as an eagle cares for and trains its young.

You nourished them with the best, and yet, when they became fat and sleek, satisfied, they turned from You.  They abandoned the God who gave them all they had, and sought other “gods.”   They became perverse and unfaithful, not caring that it would call down Your curses and judgment on them and their children.

Father, give me discernment so I can know when I am being tempted away from You with the values and philosophies of this world.  Help me be wise and understand that there are consequences to my decisions and actions.

Give me the ability to be able to think ahead and see where things will lead so I can choose what will lead me to a closer relationship with You.

Father, give the leaders of my country sense to see where they are taking our people with their choices as well.  Give them discernment and wisdom to know that Your judgment is real and You will not be mocked.  Our Constitution was written to govern a moral people, and when morality fails, we have little hope of living in safety or security.

I can already see signs that we have gone too far.   We, as a people – even Believers, have put You to the test and rebelled against You, the Lord Most High.  We have not kept Your statutes.  We have become disloyal and faithless.

Do not reject us O God.  Do not abandon us.  But show us the error of our ways; teach us to walk rightly again and make wise decisions that honor You.

Help me give You the place in my life that You deserve.

Remind me to read Your Word so it can guide and encourage me.  Recall to my mind, Your faithfulness to me in the past: all the ways You have protected and delivered me.

Speak to me when I pray to You, giving me direction.  Let me feel Your presence near me, assuring me of your love, healing my wounds, and giving me Your peace.

Thank You that You are the One True God, the Most High, who will never leave me or forsake me.  Thank You that Your faithfulness endures forever.  I praise You for Your unending love.  You are my God.  Amen

Deuteronomy 32:28-43; Psalm 78:56-64

Apr 6 Blessing or 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??

Blessing CurseYet 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.

Psalm 78 says “O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things, things from old … We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation of the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders He has done…Then they will put their trust in God, not forget His deeds, and keep His commands.”

It goes on to tell how a stubborn and rebellious generation perished in disobedience.

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 30:1-20; Luke 11:37-54; Psalm 78:1-31 

 

Feb 4 Eternal Priorities

 

Three words I never want to hear: “Woe to you.”

With these words You gave warning to the Pharisees and called them into account for their actions and deeds.  Even now, it’s so easy to say “I would never be like them!”  I do not want to follow in their footsteps, like judging others while projecting seeming innocence.  So correct me if You see in me what You saw in them.

They had their priorities backwards, saying the gold was more valuable than the temple it was in, and the sacrifice more valuable than the altar it was offered on.

Help me make and keep my priorities straight.  Help me understand the true value of things as they are in Your economy so I do not elevate the profane and dishonor the holy.

Many of the things the world places value on are not truly valuable.  The world sees from a limited, short-term perspective and often places more significance on the created thing, than the Creator Himself.

Help me see things for their eternal value.

I love Your humor when You say they “strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!”  Teach me to see the bigger picture and focus on the important things and not be legalistic over the smaller insignificant ones.

I can get so carried away with the urgent that sometimes I don’t make time for the important things.   Show me how to spend my energy and time on what is significant.

You paint a striking picture when You describe a cup: clean on the outside but dirty on the inside; or a whitewashed tomb, clean on the outside but full of death on the inside.  You see not only the outward appearance, but see into man’s heart to know him.

Let me be as concerned with being pure and clean on the inside as I am with being presentable on the outside.   Help me be authentic and transparent; so my walk agrees with my talk.  Let me put as much time into developing my character as my wardrobe.

I desire to be all You have created me to be.  But it is so easy to follow the way of the world and look for the easy way – to make a big deal over what the world says is a big deal.  I know that most of the world does not seek You to worship You or follow You.

Broad is the path that leads to destruction.  Help me find that narrow way, and stay on that path: the one that brings joy and not woe.  Amen

Matthew 23:13-39; Matthew 7:13

Feb 2 I choose praise!

sing-a-new-song-2-1428461-639x582

Heavenly 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 6 Choices

Father, thank You for showing real life examples that teach me how to make choices.

choose-the-right-direction-1536336_1920

Lot looked with his physical eyes and made his choice to move to the well watered land to the east. It did not work out well for him. Keep me from rushing headlong into decisions based only on what I think I see with my physical eyes. Or on what my flesh leads me to from misguided appetites.

Instead, teach me to see with Your eyes, from Your perspective; looking beyond the immediate appearance of reward. Help me think through and pray through decisions.  Especially when they also involve others and affect my relationships, and how I live.

Help me weigh the consequences and ask, “Will this draw me closer to God or take me further away?”

And as I move forward, let me be mindful of Your voice, trusting that You will guide and protect me.

If my choices go wrong, help me recognize the sinfulness around me, and separate myself from it.  Don’t let me tolerate evil or go along with it. Precept Bible Study taught me “sin will: take me farther than I ever meant to stray, keep me longer than I ever meant to stay, and cost me more that I ever meant to pay. “

Thank You for Abram’s example. He heard Your voice and obeyed, moving even before he had the whole picture and started off for the land You would show him. Let me also be obedient without insisting on having it all laid out before me.

Help me act in faith when You call. Help me believe and trust in Your promises. Even when You do not act according to my expected or desired time table.

Even when it seems like things are not going the way I have prayed they would.

Even when it seems worse than at the beginning.

Even when I cannot see You at work.

I know that Your thoughts are not my thoughts.  Your ways are not my ways. You have the advantage of infinite wisdom over infinite time and infinite sovereignty with infinite power.

Thank You for teaching me through example after example in the Bible that I can trust that You always keep Your promises. You are Almighty God. And I worship You alone. Amen

Genesis 13:5-15:6; Isaiah 55:8

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

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

Sept 20 Freedom in Christ

yes-661437_640When my first son was small, I remember wanting to avoid having a child who yelled ‘no’ all the time, so I tried to avoid saying ‘no’ to him if I could. Eventually, I did end up having to say ‘no’ much more than I wanted. It was such a convenient way to help him understand what was allowable and what was not.

There were so many ways to tell him what he could do because so many things were permissible. Yes, he could walk on the sidewalk, or on the rocks, or in the grass or on the bricks, or holding my hand or with granddaddy, but ‘no’ was the quickest, easiest way to make the point that he could not walk in the street. And it wasn’t long before he learned ‘no’ and with it came the desire to rebel against it.

How similar is my life of freedom in Christ. There are so many things that are good to choose from, it would take a lifetime to list them all. For instance, I can be told to speak to people in love, in truth, instructing, encouraging, in kindness, with joy, with laughter, personally, with others, in groups, tell jokes, share stories…the list could go on extensively. But it is simpler to give someone a standard of communicating by saying ‘don’t lie’.

And yet, this creates a list of ‘no’ that I find myself focusing on, filling my thoughts with the negative.   When I focus on the ‘no’ more than all the things that are ‘yes’, it gives me a sense that godly living is restrictive. And the desires that have ‘no’ in front of them are the things I spend more time thinking about so I can try and avoid them.

So when I hear “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”, it is immediately freeing! It changes my focus onto all the freedoms that the Spirit gives me! When I am so focused on all the great things the Spirit shows me I can do, I will be so busy doing those things, that I will not have time think of the desires of the flesh. And by doing the ‘yes’ things the Spirit invites me to, I will automatically be avoiding the ‘no’ things, without even thinking about them!

Father, let me see past the ‘no’ statements to the freedom in the ‘yeses’! Help me reframe my thinking by looking to all the things the Spirit leads me to. Let me bless others with all the yesses. Let me live in the blessing of Your ‘yes’. Amen

Galatians 5:13-26