Tag: choices

Sept 25 Unity and Maturity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ephesians 4:1-16

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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 himself and with it came the desire to rebel.

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, individually, 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 negative more than all the things that are allowed 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 yeses.  Let me live in the blessing of Your Yes.  Amen

Galatians 5:13-26

Jul 25 We make choices

Seek_Truth_by_BeautifullyEvil

Father, You give me choices, and in You I am free.   Strengthen me to make the right choices, godly choices.

Asa started out with such fervor for You.  He tore down the idolatrous worship places.  He led the people to seek You and worship You as they should.  He sought Your deliverance from military enemies.  And You gave him victory, and rest on every side.

Like Asa, I can trust in Your promise: “The Lord is with you when you are with Him.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you…But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

Father, help me seek You in all the battles I face.  In truth, there have been so many times already, when You have come through for me.

You have saved me from close calls.  You have stopped calamity when it could have been much worse.  You have provided resources and solutions I never could have seen without You.  You have brought unique answers that I had never imagined to problems that seemed unsolvable.  You have acted in my life in ways that seem nothing short of miraculous!

Yet, like Asa, I am also guilty of forgetting to seek You, neglecting to ask for Your help.  When Asa was faced with another battle, he took silver and gold out of the Temple to bribe another ruler to withdraw support from the enemy.   It was a foolish thing.  And he paid for it by being at war the rest of his reign.

 

It reminds me of the words to a song You gave me:

In other times I knew Your will

And I became the vessel You would fill

Why is it hard now, to take a stand

When I have seen the power of Your hand?

You give me choices, in You I’m free, O Lord, strengthen me

 

Lead me, hold me, guide me, Lord enfold me

Cover me with the blood of Calvary, and be with me, be with me

 

Lord let me make Your strength my own

Let me feel it flowing from Your precious throne

Right by Your side, O let me be

And let me feel Your power washing over me

You give me choices, in Christ I’m free, O Lord, strengthen me

 

Strengthen me Father, to seek You always.  Whatever the problem, whatever I face.  Let me never make the mistake of thinking I can “handle it” without You.  I know when I seek You earnestly, I will find You.  And the reward of Your peace will be mine.  Thank You!  Amen

2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14

Nov 14 Help me run the race

Father, I love Your Words in today’s Scriptures!  And 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 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 12:1-3; Psalm 112:1-10; Proverbs 27:17

July 25 We make choices

Seek_Truth_by_BeautifullyEvil

Father, You give me choices, and in You I am free.   Strengthen me to make the right choices, godly choices.

Asa started out with such fervor for You. He tore down the idolatrous worship places. He led the people to seek You and worship You as they should. He sought Your deliverance from military enemies. And You gave him victory, and rest on every side.

Like Asa, I can trust in Your promise: “The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you…But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” Father, help me seek You in all the battles I face. In truth, there have been so many times already, when You have come through for me.

You have saved me from close calls. You have stopped calamity when it could have been much worse. You have provided resources and solutions I never could have seen without You. You have brought unique answers that I had never imagined to problems that seemed unsolvable. You have acted in my life in ways that seem nothing short of miraculous!

Yet, like Asa, I am also guilty of forgetting to seek You, neglecting to ask for Your help. When Asa was faced with another battle, he took silver and gold out of the Temple to bribe another ruler to withdraw support from the enemy. It was a foolish thing. And he paid for it by being at war the rest of his reign.

It reminds me of the words to a song You gave me:

In other times I knew Your will

And I became the vessel You would fill

Why is it hard now, to take a stand

When I have seen the power of Your hand?

You give me choices, in You I’m free, O Lord, strengthen me

 

Lead me, hold me, guide me, Lord enfold me

Cover me with the blood of Calvary, and be with me, be with me

 

Lord let me make Your strength my own

Let me feel it flowing from Your precious throne

Right by Your side, O let me be

And let me feel Your power washing over me

You give me choices, in Christ I’m free, O Lord, strengthen me

Strengthen me Father, to seek You always. Whatever the problem, whatever I face. Let me never make the mistake of thinking I can ‘handle it’ without You. I know when I seek You eagerly, I will find You. And the reward of Your peace will be mine. Thank You! Amen

2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14

Apr 7 No Rock like our God

american-flag-1272115_640Lord, do not let me 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

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 6 Choices

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

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Lot looked with his physical eyes only to make 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 my family, work, relationships, where and how to live.

Help me weigh the consequences and let me ask, ‘Will this draw me closer to God or take me further away?’. And as I move forward, let me be ever 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 has 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 simply 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, 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

“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 13 Egypt or wilderness?

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The Israelites. For several hundred years they had not been in charge of their fate and lived as slaves. They never really had the freedom to choose what to do, where to go, or what to eat. And had no time to worship You, or even think about what their future might hold. All they knew: slavery = more of the same.

And while their freedoms had been stripped away, there was a stability and security in what they had. Barring illness or disobedience, they were provided for, albeit to keep them in working condition for the Pharaoh.

So in this newfound freedom after leaving Egypt, when problems rose, like no food or water for two million people, it was a big deal. And they were not prepared to cope. Those things had been provided for them before. And even though their labor had been hard and bitter, it was at least predictable. So during these times, it was so easy for one of them to look back to when there was a bit of security and minimal provision and convince others that what was behind them was preferable to the unknown ahead.

Lord, how many times have I preferred the predictable to the unfamiliar? It takes courage to step out in a new direction, to get up off the couch of complacency.

I go back and forth between disbelief at how the Israelites rebelled against You even in the presence of the observable and awesome miracles; and being able to understand where they were coming from.

Father I pray You would help me be courageous in accepting what comes from Your hand. If it requires change on my part, let me be willing to take the necessary steps without whining and complaining. Remind me of the times in the past when You have rescued, delivered and supported me through difficulties and challenges. Let those memories add to my faith and increase my trust in You.

And I will say, “whenever I am afraid I will trust in You” and “walk before You in the light of life”. Amen

Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 56:3,13

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 6 Choices

choose-the-right-direction-1536336_1920

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

Lot looked with his physical eyes and did not seek Your wisdom in making his choice to move to the well watered land to the east. Often, You give choices and allow me to decide based on my own preferences. I do not always choose wisely. Remind me that when You offer a choice, I can still seek Your wisdom on the matter. 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; not looking only to the immediate appearance of reward. Help me think through and pray through decisions. Especially when they also involve my family, work, relationships, where and how to live.

When my choices take me places where You are not honored, help me recognize the evil around me, and separate myself from it. Give me self-restraint and self-control so I don’t tolerate evil or go along with it. Thank You for reminding me through Precept teachings, that “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. “

Realizing that choice often means change, help me think through all the consequences of my choice. In considering options, let me ask, ‘Will this draw me closer to God or take me further away?’. And as I move forward, let me be ever mindful of Your voice, trusting that You will guide and protect me.

Thank You also for the example of our father Abram. He heard Your voice and obeyed. He moved even when he did not have the whole picture, but simply 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. And You have the advantage of infinite wisdom over infinite time and infinite sovereignty with infinite power.

Thank You that You teach me through example after example, that I can trust You and that You always keep Your promises. You are Almighty God. And I worship You alone. Amen

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