Tag: direct

Jan 24 Speak a blessing

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Holy Father, here You depict another way I desire to be like Israel: speaking words of blessing over his sons and grandsons.

I pray that my words would be a blessing to my children.

So many times, I open my mouth before I speak, and the result is not a blessing.

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. For once spoken, words cannot be unheard.

I believe You must have revealed to Israel 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.

One way I can bless my children is by using Your very words. 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 !

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.

Knowing what awaits me as a believer, I so desire to be with You rather than in the dimness of this earth. 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. And bless all those cross my path.  Amen 

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

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Dec 7 Where there is life, there is hope

purple-grapes-vineyard-napa-valley-napa-vineyard-45209Father, what a picture of joy and hope when You say “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert.”  Because in the desert, very little grows.  The lack of water and the intense heat plus sandy soil produce low, scrawny plant life.  But to find grapes: something juicy and good that can nourish, is a wonderful and valuable find!

When living in or crossing the desert, a find like this can be the difference between life and death.

fig-tree-1658686_960_720A similar picture is seen in the next part of the verse: “when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.”  For a fig tree is different from most other fruit trees.  It will take four to five years, and sometimes six or seven years for a fig tree to produce it’s first crop of figs.

So all those years, care must be taken to keep it watered and fertilized and protected from the weather and winds, parasites and disease so it will be healthy enough to produce.  Then, when seeing the early fruit, you know it has all been worth it!  There is success!  And hope of many more harvests to come.

Both of these create an emotional response of relief, satisfaction – that the future is secure and what has been done and accomplished was worth it.  I love seeing this in projects or ministries I have been involved with and lives I have impacted.  It is a good feeling that any positive influence will continue on in their lives.  I feel that same delight and hope when I think of my children.

But then all was taken away: “…they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved.”

Delight is erased.  Hopes are dashed.  Joy is replaced with sadness, grief and anguish over the loss of those involved and the prospect of the joyous future that had been envisioned.

Father, do You delight in each one of us, and then anguish when we fall away from You?

I am Your child.  Keep me from turning away from You.  Show me clearly where and when there are idols I have been drawn to: pride, possessions, money, fame, popularity, whatever.

Help me and my children and loved ones walk in a manner worthy of You.  Father, let “our mouths be filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.”   We give You thanks and praise!   Amen

Hosea 9:10; Psalm 126:1-3

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

Aug 9 Your Word lights my way

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Father, thank You for Your Word that guides me every day in my prayers and in the choices I make in life. In today’s scriptures there are many reminders of things that deserve my attention.

First, like Ezra, I need to remember that my actions speak louder than my words, and my actions reveal what I believe about You.   Ezra didn’t ask for a military escort because it would look as if he didn’t trust in Your protection.

What do my actions say to others around me about my faith in You? When I seem afraid and worried over circumstances, does that show others I don’t really trust Your protection and provision? Father help me show my faith in You in my responses to difficulties.

When things don’t go my way, remind me that You are in control, and that You have my back!

There is absolutely nothing that can happen to me that You are unaware of. And I believe that You filter everything that comes to me, through Your fingers of love. Even in the bad times, You have prepared me, and You are with me. Thank You that You never, ever leave me.

Ezra fasted. I believe this is something that You honor. And it is good for me to relinquish something in order to spend time in prayer and humble myself before You. Sometimes it’s food. Sometimes it’s an activity, like the internet, or tv, or addicting games.

Whatever it is, I believe it is the act of focusing my attention and energy on hearing from and submitting to You.   Father, I express my desire for You to “clear my plate” of anything that is not of You.  Help me see my attitudes and actions from Your perspective, and tap into Your power for course correcting changes.

Ezra felt personally the burden of the sin of his people and interceded for them. I also have a burden for the “corporate” sin of my nation. I think of how far my country has come away from Your precepts, from Your commands, and I weep. I cry out with Ezra, “O my God, I am too ashamed to lift up my face to You, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached the heavens…we have disregarded the commands You gave…”

But Father, I have faith that You are still in control. That You have the power to move in the hearts of men and women, young and old, and call us back to You. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.”

Your work is not done and You are not finished with my country yet. Or my family. Or me.

Thank You Father for the hope You give me. You are my “rock of refuge, a strong fortress”. And I trust in You.  Amen

Ezra 8:21-9:15; Psalm 31:1-8; Proverbs 21:1

 

Feb 13 I will testify and praise You!

worship-435108_640So many prophecies fulfilled just in today’s verses from Matthew, Lord. In so many ways, You made good on Your Word to send a specific deliverer by a specific pre-ordained way: a Savior who would be the Lamb of God and take away the sin of the world, if we would just accept and believe.

These were not easy promises to fulfill. They were quite costly. Jesus paid the ultimate price with His very life, in a painful and torturous way. And even after His death, more prophecies were satisfied.   So many people, so many years, so many ways the plan could miss the mark, be off the prophecy just a bit. But You brought Your plan down through the ages to fruition. You accomplished the saving of man’s soul and his reconciliation to Yourself.

For these reasons as well as Your faithfulness, Your trustworthiness to Your promises, Your Sovereignty and power in accomplishing all You set out to do, “I will extol You”! According to a dictionary, that means I will praise You, exalt You, commend, admire and worship You. I will tell others of You with highest recommendations.   “Your praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in You! “

I will invite others to glorify You and lift up Your name with me in song, in prayer, to other believers and to anyone who will listen! I will tell them how You heard my prayers and saved friends and family from illness and injuries, how You protected them from bad decisions and bad people and bad situations. I will share how friends at death’s door were returned to their loved ones, and how in Your mercy, others were spared from terrible pain.

I will let them know that You are in the business of revealing wisdom to me when I ask about making decisions, about how when I didn’t know the way to go and felt trapped, You made a way out of the situation I had never thought of or considered.

I will recall times when I was too afraid of what was about to happen, but You gave me peace and the courage to make it through by giving me songs, or visions, or specific scriptures to help me. I will share how there were times when I thought things were going so wrong, but You worked them out and brought blessings out of them I never thought were possible.

These are the things, the testimonies that I have tasted, and have proven over and over again that You are good. Thank You – for being there for me every time I knew I needed You. And thank You Lord for being there for me when I didn’t even know I was in need. Amen

Matthew27:32-66; Psalm34:1-8

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

Jan 3 Make me like Noah

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Lord God Almighty, I know it is only by Your great mercy, and Your steadfastness, and holding to Your promise to Noah and the animals, that You do not destroy the earth again by flood.

Surely there is as just much, if not more evil and corruption now, in my time, as there was then. When You see the earth once again full of violence, are You saddened and grieved to 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. I am in awe of Your restraint, and grateful You do not.

Father, help me be more like Noah. Let me hear Your voice like Noah did: in a way that I understand who You are and what You are telling me to do. And help me respond as Noah did, in complete obedience, doing all that You command.

Show us all 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 temptings.

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 temptations, and take the way of escape. Help us make righteous choices when tempted. 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.

Father, I desire to worship and serve only You. Strengthen me to withstand temptation. And send Your angels to come and attend when I am weak and in need. Thank You. Amen

Genesis 6:1-7:24; Matthew 4:1-11

Dec 1 Help me love what’s eternal

Father, thank You for giving me Your Word so I will know how to live. Thank You that it usually does keep me from sin. But, if I mess up, thanks to You I have an advocate. Your atoning sacrifice bore the punishment and paid the price, “not only for [my sin], but for the sins of the whole world”.

John writes of how to live here, and also how to love. He says I am to love my brother and sister.   And I am not to love the world or anything in it. These are tall orders.

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Help me love my brother and sister: other believers who You have put in my life.Some of them are so loving to me that it is easy to love them back.   Some believers in my life have been like “iron sharpening iron”. We hone one another to be better and ‘sharper’. But some are like sandpaper to me. We do not get along, and although they may ‘sand off’ some of the rough spots on me, mostly they are just an irritant and cause sore, raw spots that hurt. These people are harder to love. They are the ones I need Your help with. Remind me that each one of them is one of Your amazing creations who You love greatly. I know that You love them; show me how to do the same.

Not loving the world is also a difficult task. While many things in the world are repulsive and easy to avoid, it was these same three things John mentions here that have drawn people into sin since Adam and Eve.

The first two are the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes”. The word “lust” here is ‘a strong desire of any kind, good or bad, but evil if not submitted to the will of God’. So whether it is for intimacy, or pleasure, or just comfort, I would usually rather feel comfort than pain, a full stomach than hunger, warm and safe than cold and fearful. It can be hard to turn away from things that offer me a sense of satisfaction in food, comfort or safety. But I need to be sure my flesh and my eyes are not pulling me to just go my own way and satisfy worldly appetites. Father, show me how to maintain proper limits and boundaries.

The third, “the pride of life” represents a moral arrogance or boasting of superior attitude or vanity. The world holds that the one with the best or the most wins. Your economy is different. It is not the elevation of possessions or self that will give me eternal life with You. Help me live a life of obedience to You and humility toward others.

I believe what John says: “the world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever”. Do not let me invest in what will pass away, but in what is eternal. Amen

I John 2:1-17

Nov 30 Lead me in the Light

light-on-manFather, thank You that You are light. You are The Light! I desire to walk in Your light. I understand that there is nothing that You do not already know, nothing is hidden from You. Even if I were to walk in the darkness, You would still see everything.  When there is sin in my life, sin is darkness. And because I do not want to be in the dark, I will confess my sin before You.

I am like a sheep that strays from the safety of its shepherd. You are my Shepherd. Father, seek me when I get lost. Return me to Your presence.

When I agree with You about what is sin in my life, and turn from it, You are faithful to forgive that sin and restore my fellowship with You. Again, thank You.

Like the Psalmist, I pray “May my cry come before You” so You will “give me understanding according to Your Word”.   When I cannot see what direction to go, Father, shine Your light on the path I should take. Help me recognize the difference between light and darkness so I can avoid the darkness.

Father, “may my lips overflow with praise” and “my tongue sing of Your Word”. Do not let me forget to be thankful, acknowledging when You rescue me, when You reveal truth to me, when You encourage me. Remind me to not only ‘stop and smell the roses’ but to express my gratitude to the Creator for the roses and for a nose.

“Let me live that I may praise You”! My Creator. My Encourager. My Teacher. My Rescuer. My Restorer. My Shepherd. My Light! Amen

I John 1:1-10; Psalm 119:169-176

Nov 24 Help me walk in the Light

“Dear friends, I urge you…to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”

Word lamp unto my feet

Father, help me live this kind of life. I am bombarded every day by media who through advertising and entertainment would have me believe that worldly values and immorality are the only way to be happy. Many of these skewed values presented would lead me into sin. Father, if I have embraced these desires, take them away from me. Let me be so busy enjoying doing good and pleasing You, that I do not even think about, or have time to be involved in ungodly activities. Bring opportunities to me that will use my gifts and bless others so that You will get the credit. Help me make choices that will honor You.

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority…”. I do not wish to be a doormat for others. I believe by ‘submission’ You mean power or strength under control. You, in the flesh, Jesus, had all the power in the world, but it was ‘submitted to’ or ‘under the control of’ Your will. Let me learn humility and submission by Your example. Give me Your strength, and help me submit it to Your will.

Father, in doing this, help me live in submission to the authorities You place in my life. This would be legal and government officials, those in positions of authority as I work and minister, and those You place in my personal life. Peter says “you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” Ultimately, I am a sheep, Your sheep. Father, let me flourish in Your flock, and always be near to and obedient to You, my Shepherd. Amen

I Peter 2:11-3:7

May 8 Make me like Samuel

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Lord God, make me as Samuel.

Samuel heard Your voice, and although he did not understand it all at first, he answered and was obedient. Father, when I hear Your voice, let my response also be “Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening.”

Samuel was only a child here, but he grew up in Your presence. You were with him. Sensitize my heart, my eyes, my ears; to see You at work, to hear Your voice, to feel Your presence. Let me recognize where You are, and purpose to be there.

Let me behave in a way that acknowledges that You are with me. Let me treat people as You would. Father, You know everything about me, even my thoughts. Help me grow in awareness that You are with me wherever I go. And let that be both a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance.

Father, reveal Yourself to me through Your presence as You did with Samuel. I have Your Word in the Bible! Help me set my priorities so I spend time in Your Word every day.   Let my actions, attitudes and words show other people that I have spent time with You. Don’t let me read Your scripture and walk away unchanged. But let Your words sink deep into my spirit and mind. Let them take root in my life and be the foundation for all I do and all I am.

Like Samuel, let me grow in stature and in favor with You and with men. Amen

I Samuel 2:22-3:19