Tag: direction

Sept 19 This is the way

road-sign-64059_1280Father, You have described those who do not follow You and those who do. Unfortunately, I sometimes display the characteristics of both.

You say “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”  And yet there are times when I do not remain quiet and trusting.  “Yet,” You tell me “the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.”

What an amazing God You are!  Even when I am not faithful, You are patient and merciful to me!

Father, You have promised, “As soon as You hear, You will answer me.”  And have said that “my ears will hear a voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”  I could ask for nothing more.

Even now, as I call out to You, I know that You can hear my voice and will answer me.  Father, there are circumstances in my life that present options and opportunities, choices.  And I must decide.

Fear would freeze me where I stand, preventing me from moving ahead in any direction.  But I believe that You have wisdom in all these areas.   I believe You have the ability to see into the future to know which is the right way for me to go.

You also know my past, and the way that You created me, with strengths, gifts, and talents, as well as weaknesses.  So You know what You have already prepared me for, and what is best for me.

Father, I have access to the wisdom of the world.  I have friends who would probably tell me what they think I want to hear.  But I desire to live my life by Your wisdom.

Be the voice that I hear behind me, in my ear, telling me which is the way to walk.  Show me which path to take.  Show me when to wait and when to go forward.  Open my ears and my Spirit so I can hear and understand what You tell me.

And give me the boldness to be obedient to what that is.

“And I will sing…my heart will rejoice.”  I will rest in my salvation.  And will remain in quietness and trust.  These will be my strength.  Amen

Isaiah 30:15-21

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Sept 2 Be still…

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“Be still and know I am God.”   What a great reminder!

When I come to You, Father, I know that sometimes it’s on the run, and I just quickly dash off a prayer of need, or thanks, or praise to You.

But it’s in those times when I really prioritize spending time with You that I can calm myself: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – and truly sink into Your presence, that I am rewarded with a fresh realization and a deeper understanding of who You really are.

Lord, right now, I still my physical body, and ask You to quiet my mind, calm my emotions, open my spirit to hear only Your voice; and be sensitive to only Your presence.

It takes a moment or two, and some deep breaths and reciting this verse to myself.  “Be still and know I am God.”   Father, Creator, Counselor, Healer, Deliverer, Provider, Teacher, Savior, Comforter, Friend.  All these names, these ways You have revealed Yourself to me personally, and more come into my mind as I begin to focus on You, rather than on myself.

As worrisome thoughts enter my head, I give them to You.  One at a time.  You take them and ease them away from me.  You can handle whatever it is, because You are God.  I know this.  Not just “I-read-it-in-a-book” know it.  But “I-fully-understand-and-completely-trust” know it.

You are God and there is no other.  You are God and there is no other.  If I have trusted in any other gods, Lord, I renounce them.  My youth.  My appearance.  My energy and vitality.  My children.  Financial security.  My sense of what I can do for others.  I can’t believe how long the list is of things that I get my sense of identity from.  But I lay each of them down.  Who I am, my identity, comes only from You.  Forgive me for trusting in anything else.

I seek Your direction Lord, for the rhythm and timing of my life.  Solomon wrote it all out Lord.  You have created “a time for everything under heaven.”  “A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…”  It goes on.  And I realize Father, that I need to seek Your will for the rhythm and timing of my life.

Father, help me know when to “keep” and when to “throw away.”  I am already sensing I am moving into a time of not keeping so many things.  Help me know when to “speak” and when to “be silent.”  When to “search” and when to “give up.” When to “embrace and when to refrain from embracing.”

As I read each pairing in these Ecclesiastes verses, I can feel You speaking to me.  You lead me to a place in my spirit where the one or the other makes sense in different areas of my life.  Thank You Lord, for showing me the way.

Thank You Father, for always being there when I show up to just “be still, and know that You are God.”  Amen

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Psalm 46:10

Aug 13 Plans

puzzle-394144_640Father, You gave Nehemiah the plan to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall.  And met his needs as he accomplished it.  You brought the people needed to do the work.  And You provided abundantly to feed them.  You brought all the pieces together for Your plan to be accomplished.

Show me where You’re working now.  Let me see how I can join in Your plan to accomplish whatever You bring into my life.  Bring all the pieces together so I can be part of Your work.

You also provided for Nehemiah and the Israelite’s safety.  Some might guess he was lucky, or say that he had a sixth sense about the plots against him.  But he was a praying man who looked to You for guidance and protection.  He fasted and prayed to accomplish the work You gave him to do.  With five attempts to lure Nehemiah away from his work to harm him, he stood his ground and did not go.  When one of his own plotted to discredit him, he refused to be party to the sin.

Father, protect me as well.  Direct me away from harm.  Stop me from sinning against You, even if it would seem to safeguard me.  Sharpen my spiritual discernment so I can see through any plots to harm, or intimidate, or discredit me.  Strengthen my faith so I count on You and trust only in You for my deliverance.

Lord, Your purposes and Your plans stand firm.  And will be carried out throughout eternity, by generation after generation.

Help me hear Your plan for my life and see where You are at work.  Empower me to join You in that work.  Direct and protect me.

I acknowledge and honor Your Lordship.  Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your righteousness, Your justice, and Your unfailing love.   Without it, I would not be here.  You are my Lord.  And my hope is in You!  Amen

 

Nehemiah 5:14-6:19; Psalm 33:6-11

Aug 11 Building with God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nehemiah 2:11-3:14

Aug 7 Watching, Protecting, Directing

God's eyenebulaFather, I pray You would protect me as You protected those who “set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem.”   They returned to the land You had given their people after living in exile in Babylon for seventy years.

When they returned, they were faced with opposition from the ones who had taken over their land.  Also from bureaucrats and officials who tried to stop the work of rebuilding the temple.  They tried intimidation and challenged the authority the people had to do this work.

The evil officials even wrote a letter to King Darius, with the intention of stopping the work altogether.  But Your Word says “the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews and they were not stopped…”

The response to the letter backfired on the officials.  A search was made in the records, and it was found that indeed, King Cyrus had decreed that the temple in Jerusalem be rebuilt.  Also, the costs were to be paid by the by the royal treasury.

This meant that the very people who had hoped to stop the project, and even schemed to do so; now not only had to support the Jews in their rebuilding efforts, but pay them as well!  And not just supplies for the temple, but for the offerings too, on pain of death!

Lord, I do not hear You telling me to build You a temple.  I do not even see a great plan unfolding whereby I will have a significant impact on others. But, I seek to do all You have shown me:

walk in the power of Your Spirit,

worship You,

pray, sing, make music,

write down the wisdom You share with me,

treat people with Your love,

be obedient to Your Word,

align my attitudes and behaviors with Your teachings,

share my faith,

and make time to listen to Your voice.

Grant me what You provided for these Jews in their task.  As You sent them prophets, let me hear Your voice, encouraging and guiding me.  Allow Your “eye” to watch over me so I am not stopped in being obedient to You.

Turn any opposition, intimidation or forces that come against me, back on themselves, and cause their plans against me to backfire.  And even change them from enemies into co-workers that assist me in Your work.

Father, as You did for them, “give me strength and bless me with peace.”  Amen

Ezra 5:1-6:12; Psalm29:11

Jul 20 Direct my path

shield-490808_640Father, like Solomon who built a Temple to house Your glorious Name, I long to build something of substance with my life that will bring You recognition and glory.  It doesn’t have to be magnificent, or expensive, or what the world would judge as spectacular.   But it is the desire of my heart to be part of something special: a legacy that, when I leave this earth, others who come behind me will see my faithfulness and be pointed to You.

Paul left a different kind of testament to You with the letters he wrote.  His explanations, though sometimes long and arduous, explain the basis of much of my faith.

He explains that before You came and died on the cross, I was a slave to sin.  But because I put my faith in You, and am united with You, crucified on the cross with You; I died to sin.  I am no longer its slave, because death frees one from the bondage they lived in.

So I am raised from the dead with You, a free believer – no longer a slave to sin!  You set me free with Your death and resurrection!  Since my life is with You, and I live it freely; if I sin, it is because I choose to, since I am no longer a slave to it.

Lord, help me choose daily, to walk away from sin.

Show me how to walk with You in righteousness; how to live my life as a testimony to You.   Empower me to face the choices I have to make every day.  Don’t let me just pick what is the easiest, or safest, or most popular.   Let me look at my options from Your perspective.  Let me make decisions based on the long, eternal view, not just for the immediate benefit.

I trust You.  “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.”   Amen

2 Chronicles 3:1-17; Romans 6:1-23; Psalm 16:1-11

Feb 18 Living A to Z

ffzjspuwc_i-diomari-madularaFather, help me embody the alphabetical list of traits in this Psalm.

In his old age David gives us instructions for living.  Of course the Hebrew alephbet goes from Aleph to Tav, not A to Z, but what was true then is still true now.

It’s hard to see evil people prosper knowing that the wrong they do causes harm to others.  And when they seem to be getting away with it, I wonder where Your justice is.

But as David says, “like the grass, they will soon wither.”  And I must wait on Your justice, which will come.  My responsibility is to do what You have told me to do and live how You have shown me to live.  This is what I am accountable for.

As I trust in You Lord, help me do good to others whenever it is within my power to do so.  Let me find my delight in You, and not be envious of others’ ill-gotten gain.

Help me commit my way to You so I look to You for guidance and direction and not toward my own selfish gain.  Several times I’ve been in circumstances where I was wronged and had a defensible position to press for my rights. I did not speak out because I trusted in You to fight for my cause.

It was hard to do, but You did not fail me.  In time the truth came to light without my having to say a word.  You defended me and my rightness was made even more evident because it was not me who spoke out.

Help me be still before You and wait patiently.  Even when I feel I’m justified in fighting.  Being “still” here means don’t move and don’t make a noise.  So help me not make a move without Your direction, and not rant or rave or carry on.

Remind me that prayer is a mighty weapon.   Help me pray for myself, the situation, and for my enemies to come to a saving knowledge of You, and stop their evil ways.

Help me turn away from anger and wrath.  One kind of anger boils over into uncontrolled lashing out.  Another kind seethes, simmering under the surface plotting and planning revenge, building up, until the perceived hurt is blown out of proportion.

Both of these responses are damaging to me.  I need to remember that vengeance is Yours, not mine.

Following these instructions will allow me to live in peace.  Meekness is not weakness.  But it is power under control.  Help me live a Holy Spirit-controlled life.  Amen

Psalm 37:1-11

Feb 15 Me? A Disciple?

picture0223Holy Father, may I be like those You called to follow You as disciples.  May I be willing to leave my family, my occupation to go with You wherever You lead me, leaving behind the security I would lean on in place of You.

Although I was not present in Capernaum where You began teaching with such authority, let me learn from the amazing lessons in Your Word.

You have given me the Holy Spirit to teach me, correct me, guide me.  Make me sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Help me listen to godly wisdom when it comes to opportunities and circumstances; not just take the easy way, or most logical way.  I will call on You, and seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Though I may not have seen You perform miracles in Galilee, You have answered prayers and done miraculous things in my life and in the lives of others I know.  Let me be bold about sharing those experiences and so spread the word as Your disciples did.

“I have the assurance that You will contend with those who contend with me and will fight against those who fight against me.  You will take up shield and buckler, arise and come to my aid.  You will brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.  You will disgrace and put to shame those who seek to ruin my life; and turn back in dismay those who plot my ruin.“

As David wrote these words about the men who were literally seeking his life, I seek Your deliverance from the oppression of the powers of this present darkness at work in the world today; from the spiritual forces at work against You, and so also against me as I live in Your light.

“My soul rejoices in You.  I delight in Your salvation.”  I place my complete trust in You, for there is none like You.  I know that “Your wisdom will reward me.”  Thank You for being my Savior.  Amen

Mark 1:16-28; Psalm 35:1-4,9; Proverbs 9:11

Jan 17 Be my guide

right-238369_1280Lord, I desire to dwell with You in Your sanctuary. And to live on Your holy hill.  Your Word tells me how.

Help me keep my walk blameless and do what is righteous according to Your standards. When I am not sure which is the right way, give me discernment. When I know what is right, give me strength to do what is right.

Keep me from temptation that would entice me to act unjustly or immorally. Do not let me be drawn into evil or behave badly for personal gain.

Help me speak the truth from my heart, even when it is more convenient to lie. I desire to be honest in my speech and in my actions. Do not allow me to speak ill of others or be a gossip.

Help me treat my neighbor as I want to be treated, with respect and compassion. Teach me to hate what is wrong and vile; not calling what is good evil, or what is evil, good. And to stand up for right, defending those who are defenseless.

Show me how to recognize and give honor to those who are godly and live their lives in the fear of the Lord.

When I make a promise, help me keep my word, even when it is not convenient. Even when it costs me more that I thought it would. Let my yes be yes and my no be no.

When I can lend to one in need, do not let me take advantage of their need for my own profit. But let me act compassionately. When it is profitable to deceive others, let me turn away from that temptation. Do not let me accept a bribe or cause harm to the innocent.

Teach me and strengthen me to walk in this way, to live uprightly and to love mercy. Living this kind of life will give me confidence and courage. It will be an example to my children and to others. And it will help me to honor You.

This is my desire. Amen

Psalm 15:1-5

 

Jan 13 I am Your child

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Lord God, thank You that You are my heavenly Father.

Thank You that You love me as Your child. And thank You it is with love that You make godly correction to my path when I stray from You.

I have such a negative impression of discipline because it has come to be identified with punishment or abuse of power. On earth this is often true.

But when You, my heavenly Father discipline me, it is to lift me up to correct, teach, encourage me to be on the path of becoming more like You – Your “disciple.”

It doesn’t mean the lessons are easy to learn, or that I enjoy them, or even that I catch on right away. Often a child doesn’t understand a parent insisting on behavior that provides for safety, like running out into the street.  So I may not see the benefit of Your instruction right away.

Sometimes Your discipline feels like a step backward, or a delay in what I perceive to be the right way. Help me stop and ask for Your perspective when I don’t understand something. Help me see from Your viewpoint, what is happening, and how I should respond.

I do desire to be seen as a disciple of Almighty God, Jesus Christ, the Holy One. And I’m the first to admit that my life does not look like that now. So I welcome Your instruction, Your course corrections, Your rebuke, and Your discipline.

Help me learn quickly when You have something to tell me or teach me. Help me be willing to change direction when I am going the wrong way.

I know that You delight in me and love me. And that You discipline those You love. Help me embrace that love. Amen

Proverbs 3:11-12

Jan 7 The Lord’s Prayer

religious-316272_1280Dear Father and Creator of us all, who dwells in heaven and whose name is holy, I pray for Your will and Your kingdom to be manifested here on earth as it already is in heaven where You reign.

Bless me with all I need today.  I trust that You know better than I do, what that is.  I gratefully accept what comes from Your hand.

Forgive my sin against You and others (specifically say the sins you repent of) and help me be forgiving of those who have sinned against me.

Lead me away from whatever or whoever would tempt me; and rescue me from evil.

I worship You, honor You, and give You glory.  Yours is the power eternally.  Amen

Matthew 6:9-13

Dec 11 Return to the Lord

Father, so many times You sent messages to the people and leaders of Israel to return to You, and they did not.  You sent death in famine, drought, blight, locusts, plagues, and military defeats as a way to get their attention.

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When challenges and difficulties come to me, remind me to come to You.  You are the One who can help and heal me.  You are the One who can show me wisdom and how to cope with whatever You allow into my life.

Lord, when it is so easy to fret and worry, and grumble and complain to friends, and look to the world for answers, remind me that the source of all I need is You!

Calm my heart when I am anxious.  Shut my mouth when I whine.

Turn me around when I go toward the world’s solutions.

Let me pour out my heart to You and seek wisdom in Your Word.

I will not just talk during prayer, but will listen, so I can hear what You have to say to me.

I will open my eyes and ears to discern when You are showing and teaching me; and where You are leading me.

I will let go of my own way and humble myself to obey You.

For it is “You who forms the mountains, who creates the wind  and who reveals Your thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—    the Lord God Almighty is Your Name.”

You are mine, and I belong to You.   You redeem me with Your love, renew me with Your presence, restore me with Your touch. Amen

Amos 4:6-13

Nov 27 You light my path

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Father, recently I found myself walking with a group in the dark.

I had a small flashlight which came in handy as the sidewalk was broken and uneven.  At first, I thought it would be best to shine the light way ahead of us so we could see where the path curved or stopped at a curb or was cut off by bushes.

But it became clear that we could walk with the most certainty and speed when the light shone brightly on the very next step we were to take.  Looking ahead is good to get a sense of direction, but we needed the close, step by step guidance to be sure our ankles did not turn or slip off the narrow path.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Your Word, the Scriptures, are that light for me.  When I am not sure which option is best, Your Word tells me “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart and lean not on Your own understanding.”

When I feel frustrated with some results, You tell me “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you] will reap a harvest…”

Or when I feel discouraged, alone and depressed, You tell me “I have carried you since your birth…I will continue to be with you and sustain you, even when you have gray hairs.  I will always carry you; I will always sustain you; I will always rescue you.” [paraphrased to personalize]

Your Word helps me see that next step and take it.  Thank You Father, that You care so much for me that even in the darkness of this world and its “wisdom” You have made a way for me to stay on Your path and keep moving ahead safely.  Amen

Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 46:3-4

 

 

 

 

Nov 9 The Shepherd’s Rod

shepherd rodFather, I can see a pattern in Your treatment of Your people.  You revealed Yourself to them in Egypt and told them to “get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt.”  And although You delivered them, they continued to worship a golden calf.  Yet You did not destroy them, “for the sake of Your Name”.

In the desert they rebelled again, but You did not pour out Your wrath, “for the sake of Your Name.”  Then their children, who You led and protected in the desert, rebelled, not following You; but, “for the sake of Your Name” You preserved them.

Generations later, the nation of Israel continued to defile itself, and You acted to “disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries.”  However, You would not let them inquire of You, and spoke only through Ezekiel the Prophet.

It was always Your purpose that they would be Your people and You would be their God.  And Your judgment of them was just, as they “passed under Your rod.”

Father, I come now, to seek You, to inquire of You.  There are so many things in my life that I need Your wisdom about, Your guidance, Your direction.  I need Your strength to bear up under the challenges, and Your peace to sustain me through them.

I need Your patience where I need to wait, and Your boldness where I need to act.  I want to see where You would have me join You in Your work so I do not spend my energy on fruitless endeavors.

My part in this is to be sure my life is rid of idols.  I will examine my actions, my attitudes, my relationships, to be sure nothing and no one is stealing my passion to live for You.   I want to “pass under Your rod” for Your inspection and loving care.

This is the same rod of which the Psalmist wrote “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”

A shepherd uses his rod for many things.  One is to have the sheep pass under it.  It is a way of counting to be sure every sheep is where it should be and accounted for.

It is also a way of inspecting them.  As each sheep passes, the shepherd looks to see that each is well fed, rested, and not ill.   As the rod parts their hair, inspection is made of the skin for wounds, parasites, anything that would indicate a need for further care.

Father, I am a sheep of Your pasture.  Inspect me.  Look for any sign of weakness or disease in me.  When so, heal me and I will be healed.

Strengthen me with Your Word and with Your presence.

Be sure that I am where I am supposed to be.

I too, am called by Your Name.  So I desire to live in obedience so that Your Name will be preserved and honored.  Father, let my life glorify Your name.  Amen

Ezekiel 20:1-38

Nov 5 Nothing is hidden from You, You are all knowing

ear-2372090_640Father, one way You characterize Your people, the Israelites, is that “they are a rebellious people.” They did not worship only You.  They brought in other pagan practices, worshipped idols, did not accept Your instruction or correction, and denied Your true prophets and the prophecies.  They were guilty of going their own way.

It was clear, Lord, that You could see what they were doing even when they thought it was in secret.  And You paid back those who prophesied falsely and those who disheartened Your people with lies.  You knew their actions, their motives, their thoughts.

There is nothing hidden from You.  The same is true today, Lord.

Before a word is even on my lips, You know it.  You know me inside and out.  There is nothing I can do in secret that You are not already aware of.   Once again, as it always has been, nothing is hidden from You.

Holy Father, I will worship You and only You.  When something else starts to take Your place in my life or in my heart, show me immediately so I can repent and turn away from it.

You also said of Your people:  “They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear.”   Show me if there are pagan practices in my own culture that take away from my worshipping You.   If You see me participating in something I should not, again, show me immediately so I can turn from it.

Father, help me receive Your instruction in obedience; and Your correction in humility.  Help me understand how the prophecies You have given affect how I am to live.

I know I often go my own way.  If it is from impatience when waiting to hear from You, help me wait patiently.  If it is in disobedience and rebellion, show me my error, and how to get back on Your path.

Father, Ezekiel was Your man.  He heard from You in a real way.  And he was obedient.  I desire to be like Ezekiel in this way.  Let me hear from You in a real way.  And guide me to be obedient.  Amen

Ezekiel 12:1-14:11

Oct 11 A tree planted by the water

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This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.  

That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes… 

 

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But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. 

They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’”

Father, what a clear picture comparing those who trust in You and those who do not.  I have lived in the desert.  I have seen bushes living in the wasteland.  They do not grow tall.  They don’t look healthy.  They barely look alive.  And they don’t last long.   And I have seen tall, lush, full, green, long-lived trees that grow by the water.  What a contrast!

Lord, let me be the tree planted by Your water!  When planting, one plans the location based on the needs of the tree.  Its roots grow quickly in the direction of the water.

Because of this, the tree is saturated with the moisture it needs to withstand periods of even extreme heat and drought.  There is enough to sustain green leaves that gather the sunlight to store as energy.  There is always sufficient energy and life in this tree to produce fruit in season.

I desire this blessing, so I will turn away from trusting in man’s philosophies and knowledge.  I will not count on my own strength to accomplish what the world would lead me to do.  But I will turn to You for guidance.  I will trust in Your wisdom, Your strength, and Your purpose for my life.

As You are the Living Water, I drink deeply of Your love, Your truth, and Your provision for me.  My roots are my faith, which is solidly grounded in the truth of who You are; and my identity which comes from You.  So when heat comes as hardship and trials, it is You who sustains me and Your power that produces fruit in me.

Even now, Lord, I seek direction on issues I face.  Please speak to me and give me Your perspective and insight.  And make me bold to act on what You say.  I place my confidence in You.

And this is the confidence that I have: not that things will always turn out well, but that regardless of how they turn out, You will be there with me, and use it for good.

Father, You are the One I praise.  You are the One I serve.  You are the One I worship.  You are my Hope and my Healer, my Savior and my Strength, my Fortress, my Refuge and my Reward.  And I am blessed.  Amen

Jeremiah 17:5-8

Oct 7 Guide my attitudes, actions

Father, the scribes and priests of old had Your Word, but even they did not live by it or teach others correctly.  They rejected Your wisdom, but called themselves “wise.”   Since I seek Your wisdom, help me get my focus off earthly concerns, and onto heavenly things.

directory-1161965_640The “earthly” things have to do with the negative side of my flesh.    These are the things You punished Israel and Judah for.  In addition to spiritual idolatry that took their worship away from You, they treated each other with greed and deceit.

They were shameless in their lusts and immorality.  These are the things I must put to death in my own flesh.  Because You gave me a new life in saving me from the penalty of my sin, I seek to live that life in You.

As You are from heaven, those “heavenly” traits I must cultivate are “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience…forgiveness…love.”  Father, help me have these character qualities and treat others with them.  When faced with situations, show me the appropriate response that will be framed in these attributes.

One thing I know will be difficult for me is to forgive others who I believe have wronged me.   Sometimes the consequences of their actions are far-reaching and have harmed my loved ones as well.  But it helps me to remember that You have seen everything.

And vengeance belongs to You.  It also helps me when I realize all the things You have forgiven me.  And that I need to forgive others as You have forgiven me.

Father, I am grateful for the peace and love You give me.  Let them be the overarching qualities of my life.  Let all I do bring Your peace and Your love into the lives of those around me.   In Your name.  Amen

Jeremiah 8:8-13; Colossians 3:1-17

Oct 2 Direct me

Father, Paul had much to be proud of: his lineage, his heritage, his education, his religiousness.  But he considered it all worthless compared to knowing You.  Lord, I agree.  There is nothing I have become or attained that can compare to my relationship with You and the salvation and blessings You have given me.  So I desire to live the life You died to give me.

jogging-2343558_640All that is behind me, all that has come before, Father, I let go of, so that I may fully embrace whatever it is You have for me now.

Paul put it this way: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I too, move my focus from earthly things, to heavenly priorities, where my real home is.  I believe You can give me the wisdom to make decisions with an understanding of Your purpose for my life.  I believe You will fill me with the courage I need to act.  And I believe it is by Your power that all You purpose for me will be accomplished.

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Open my eyes to all I must let go of.  Show me where attitudes and priorities must change.  Help me see the direction I should go.  I will remember Your faithfulness to me.  I will recall Your power.  And I will trust in Your purpose and Your love for me.  Amen

Philippians 3:4-14

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 “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

Sept 19 “This is the way…”

road-sign-64059_1280Father, You have described those who do not follow You and those who do.  And unfortunately, I sometimes display the characteristics of both.

You say “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”  And yet there are times when I do not remain quiet and trusting.  “Yet”, You tell me “the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.”

What an amazing God You are!  Even when I am not faithful, You are patient and merciful to me!

Father, You have promised, “As soon as You hear, You will answer me.”  And have said that “my ears will hear a voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”  I could ask for nothing more.

Even now, as I call out to You, I know that You can hear my voice and will answer me.  Father, there are circumstances in my life that present options and opportunities, choices.  And I must decide.

Fear would freeze me where I stand, preventing me from moving ahead in any direction.  But I believe that You have wisdom in all these areas.   I believe You have the ability to see into the future, to know which is the right way for me to go.

You also know my past, and the way that You created me, with strengths, gifts, and talents, as well as weaknesses.  So You know what You have already prepared me for, and what is best for me.

Father, I have access to the wisdom of the world.  I have friends who would probably tell me what they think I want to hear.  But I desire to live my life by Your wisdom.

Be the voice that I hear behind me, in my ear, telling me which is the way to walk.  Show me which path to take.  Show me when to wait and when to go forward.  Open my ears and my Spirit so I can hear and understand what You tell me.

And give me the boldness to be obedient to what You tell me.

“And I will sing…my heart will rejoice.”  I will rest in my salvation.  And will remain in quietness and trust.  These will be my strength.  Amen

Isaiah 30:15-21

Aug 11 Building with God

picture by Sweet publishingNehemiah wall built

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nehemiah 1:1-3:14

Aug 7 Watching, Protecting, Directing

God's eyenebula

Father, I pray You would protect me as You protected those who “set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem.”   They returned to the land You had given their people after living in exile in Babylon for seventy years.

When they returned, they were faced with opposition from the ones who had taken over their land. Also from bureaucrats and officials who tried to stop the work of rebuilding the temple. They tried intimidation and challenged the authority the people had to do this work.

The evil officials even wrote a letter to King Darius, with the intention of stopping the work altogether. But Your Word says “the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews and they were not stopped…”

The response to the letter backfired on the officials. A search was made in the records, and it was found that indeed, King Cyrus had decreed that the temple in Jerusalem be rebuilt. Also, the costs were to be paid by the by the royal treasury.

This meant that the very people who had hoped to stop the project, and even schemed to do so; now not only had to support the Jews in their rebuilding efforts, but pay them as well! And not just supplies for the temple, but for the offerings too, on pain of death!

Lord, I do not hear You telling me to build You a temple. I do not even see a great plan unfolding whereby I will have a significant impact on others. But, I seek to do all You have shown me:

walk in the power of Your Spirit,

worship You,

pray, sing, make music,

write down the wisdom You share with me,

treat people with Your love,

be obedient to do what You show me,

align my attitudes and behaviors with Your teachings,

share my faith,

and make time to listen to Your voice.

Grant me what You provided for these Jews in their task. As You sent them prophets, let me hear Your voice, encouraging and guiding me. Allow Your “eye” to watch over me so I am not stopped in being obedient to You.

Turn any opposition, intimidation or forces that come against me, back on themselves, and cause their plans against me to backfire. And even change them from enemies into co-workers that assist me in Your work.

Father, as You did for them, “give me strength and bless me with peace.” Amen

Ezra 5:1-6:22; Psalm29:11

July 19 Walk Your path of Righteousness

adventure-1846095_640Father, David proclaimed “Wealth and honor come from You; You are the ruler of all things”. He was amazed and pleased at the abundance of gifts the people poured out for the building of Your Temple. And he acknowledged “Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand.” I completely agree.

Like the Israelites, teach me to be generous with all You have given me: money, energy, time, words, music, talents, spiritual gifts. Help me spend myself on You and Your purposes and Your people. David prayed for the people, and I echo “keep this desire in my heart forever, and keep my heart loyal to You…give me wholehearted devotion to keep Your commands.”

Since I have Your righteousness, Lord, help me behave that way. Remind me to speak the truth from my heart. If I open my mouth to speak a lie or to deceive, shut it. Show me how to speak the truth in love, and not be hurtful to people in the name of ‘honesty’.

Help me treat my neighbor with decency and fairness, not cheating or taking advantage.   Keep me away from malicious gossip. Give me the fortitude to turn away from those who are evil and untrustworthy, even if society embraces them or it seems it would benefit me. Let me truly love and support those who honor and respect You and Your values.

Help me be true to my word, even when it costs me. Teach me to be smart with my finances, to be generous, and not extort interest from the needy. Strengthen me so I am not tempted by bribes.

Psalm 15 promises that those “who do these things will never be shaken”. Father, You give me solid ground to stand on. Help me be unwavering and not overwhelmed by forces that seek to undo me.   With Your help I can stand strong, and not be moved. Thank You. Amen

I Chronicles 29:1-30; Psalm 15:1-5

July 14 The Bible: Your Gift to me

Father, David inquired of You through the prophet Nathan. Back then people did not have all of Your Word for wisdom and direction. And the Torah, the part of the Word they did have, was only known to the Priests. So, since You spoke through the prophets, that’s where David went to know Your will.

Bible folded hands

To hear from You now, I don’t have to go to a seer or prophet. I can read Your Word. Although it is not a privilege afforded to all people, it is still available to me freely in my country. Your Word, the Bible, is rich in wisdom, instruction, correction, encouragement, and tells me of Your great love for me.

Time and time again I marvel at how words written so long ago have relevance and impact in my life today. And how I can read a passage of scripture one day, but at another time, it jumps off the page to me with personal revelation and meaning.

Once David had heard from You, he sat before You in prayer. He began by recognizing who he is and then acknowledging who You are. That is still a good pattern for me to follow.

“Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” David wrote in Psalm 103, “You know how we are formed, You remember that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower in the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”

My life is so temporary and short. And I am formed from dust with the breath of the Living God in me to give me life. All I am and all I have was given to me from, and is dependent on You, Lord. I am weak and imperfect and I so easily fall into sin. Who am I that You would concern Yourself with me?

“There is no one like You, O Lord, and there is no God but You.” You Lord God, on the other hand, are One of a kind. You are Supreme, Sovereign, Almighty, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Forever Faithful, Eternally Strong, Infinitely Wise, Unfathomably Creative, Immeasurably Imaginative, Inexhaustibly Compassionate, Unceasingly Merciful, and Everlastingly Loving.

I am forever grateful and eternally blessed to have You as my Father, my Savior, my Counselor, my Friend, my Lord.   Amen

I Chronicles 17:1-27; Psalm 103: 14-16  

June 16 God is my King

Oh Father, Israel suffered through king after king who “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”   I marvel at how patient You were in not wiping them all from the face of the earth – the kings and all the people who followed them into idolatry.

king-549305_640

But You were teaching them that earthly kings can never be what You would had been for them. The people asked for an earthly king to be like the other nations around them, when You had been their Protector, their Guide, their Deliverer.

Father, in the world today, and in my country, people “do evil in the eyes of the Lord.” And Your patience continues. Individuals in my country know the truth. You have given us Your Word: the Bible. You have raised up people like Billy Graham who speak Your truth. And You have sent the Holy Spirit to Your believers.

We cannot blame it on our leaders. We are each accountable for what we do with Your Truth.

I choose You as my King. Everything I have comes from You. I trust in Your guidance and protection. I seek Your enlightenment in solutions to difficulties. I want Your will and Your plan for my future, my family, and my country.

Father, would You raise up godly men and women to be leaders of our communities and our countries. Give them strength of character to continue in their godly faith as they govern and rule in Your name. Let it be said of this generation, that they returned to the Lord, and were blessed. Amen

I Kings 15:25–16:34

June 7 Wisdom and Integrity

wisdom integrity pathDavid spoke a wonderful charge to his son, Solomon. It is also my prayer.

Father, help my children and loved ones, and myself be strong. Not simply in physical strength. But help us be of strong character, so we can stand and not fall in the face of temptation. Help us be tough and resilient in the face of hard times. And just as gracious and generous in the good times. Let us be known as men and women who are obedient to You, following You in the kind of life You teach us to live.

Help us walk in Your ways in the everyday decisions of our lives, and choose what is right and just. Help us conduct our business and relationships openly and honestly, speaking the truth in love. Teach us to hold to Your moral standards in our conduct and attitudes. Give us understanding and discernment when we are unsure.   Remind us to study and know Your Word so it can guide and enlighten us.

Help us live out our lives in faith before You, Lord. Not half-heartedly, but with all our heart and soul; seeking Your wisdom, and applying it correctly to our circumstances. Let this yield prosperity in all we do wherever we go .

Proverbs says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Let me, my family and loved ones know Your way. Let us live our lives according to it and find eternal life with You. Amen

1 Kings 2:1-4; Proverbs 16:25

May 21 Family Victory

Father in heaven, as You did for David, would You do for me and my family? Would You “protect us and hand over to us the forces that come against us”.

bhwhat-makes-a-family-holy-David was fighting a real physical enemy. Life and death were in the balance. They were in hand-to-hand combat to regain what had been taken from them: their families and possessions. David “inquired of the Lord” to seek Your will before he acted, and You promised him victory.

Father, I come before You today to seek Your will for my family; to ask if You will give us victory over the forces that are at work in the world today that pull us apart and away from You.

We do not fight hand to hand with a physical enemy. But we live in a culture where family values are going by the wayside and Biblical values are not honored. Parental authority is being eroded, parents are disrespected, children are rebellious and often rude. We fight against selfishness, greed, hate, violence, immorality, materialism, the occult, witchcraft, and all the schemes of satan.

Father, especially in my family, would You give me wisdom as a parent to know when to speak and when to keep quiet, so I can offer wise counsel and not destructive comments. Set a guard over my mouth to use words that are instructive, edifying and building up according to the needs of the one I seek to help. Show me how to pray for Your perfect will in my children’s’ lives, not simply what I think will benefit them. Keep me from comparing them to other friend’s children, or even each other.

Lord, keep the lines of communication open so conversations between us will be effective and filled with love and respect. Give my children discernment so they are not swept away by the vain philosophies of men and the political schemes that do not support Biblical values. Help them recognize and turn away from temptation when it would lead to greed, immorality, the occult or anything satan would use to draw them away from You. Block their way when others entice them into ungodly activities.

Let them seek to bless with their words, and not curse. Draw them to Yourself and instruct them in the way they should go to be in the middle of Your will and Your blessing. Remind them of their need for a Savior, and the joy of having a close relationship with You.

And I will give thanks to You. You are with me and You are my Helper. Because of that, I will look triumphantly upon these foes. I take refuge in You, Lord. You are my strength and my Victory! Amen

I Samuel 30:1-25; Psalm 118:7, 14

Mar 23 A blessed life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 66:1-20

Mar 7 Follow the Leader

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Lord, I love how You are always available to me. I can come to You any time to ask for wisdom and direction. There is no question too big or too small for You to answer.  And You never make me feel bad for asking.

 

The Israelites came and inquired of You through Moses about a problem for some wanting to celebrate the Lord’s Passover. In response, You told them exactly what to do. Not only did You answer their question, but Your presence was visible in the camp as a cloud over the Tabernacle. When You remained, the people remained where You were. When Your presence moved, they moved.

How I would love to have my own pillar of cloud appear before me and stay with me to direct my path! Then I would know precisely if I were in Your perfect will or if I were ever in danger of straying from it. I would know when to move on and when to stay put. There would be no question of misinterpreting what You were telling me. And what an accountability factor! If I were not near the pillar, everyone would know it was me who had moved away – who chose not follow.

In Jerusalem, when Your disciples asked about their future, You revealed events that would help them prepare for the dangers and challenges to come. You also reminded them to watch for signs and pay attention to the things around them that would help them discern what was coming. And warned them about false prophets. As Your Word warns, help me also keep watch and be prepared.

In Psalm 50:15 You tell me to call on You in the day of trouble and You will deliver. Again showing Your availability and desire to respond when I ask. I can trust that You, the mighty Creator of the universe, are available to help me, whenever, wherever, however a need arises.

“The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous”. And You have shown me that way. You came and lived on earth to be my example by showing how to treat people and live a moral and godly life. Also, through Your sacrifice, death and resurrection, You showed me the way to have eternal life. And gave me the gift of Your Word so I would have it written down, to read and study and memorize and hide in my heart.

You are my refuge. Thank You for being my sheltered, protected place of sanctuary.   Thank You for being ready with whatever I need. And for knowing what I need even when I do not. I am so grateful to have a God who hears, who is able, who is available, and who is willing. Amen.

Numbers 9:1-23; Mark 13:14-37; Psalm 50:15; Proverbs 10:29

Jan 1 Blessing for the year

Father, in these words You tell me how to be blessed. Help me, my husband, sons, and loved ones obey these word to receive Your blessing.

Oh Lord God, do not let us heed or walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. Let us recognize this evil for what it is. Give us a hunger and thirst for Your counsel, Your way, Your truth and Your wisdom so we will be seated with those who know and follow You. Let our delight be in Your law, Oh Lord. Let us read it, memorize it, recall it and meditate on it, thinking about how to apply it to our own lives and circumstances. Let Your perfect law color my thoughts and attitudes.

new-jersey-77916_1280Make us like trees planted by streams of water, which yield fruit in season. Show us Your perfect will for our lives and Your timing so we will produce fruit that will honor and glorify You and Your name. Do not let us wither, but keep us strong and hearty. Let all we do prosper and bring You honor.

Allow us to see that the wicked cannot stand, but are blown away like chaff before the wind. And that the works of the evil ones will not prosper or enjoy Your gift of Salvation.

Lord, please watch over me and my loved ones – keep us on the path You have set before each one of us. I totally trust in Your perfect will for all our lives. May we come to trust You and Your guiding hand. May we feel You watching over us. And may that sense of Your presence be a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance. Amen.

Psalm 1:1-6

Dec 16 Though I sit in darkness…

adult-1869001_1920“Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” Micah 6:8

Father, I have so often been encouraged by this verse, this affirmation of Micah’s. He was speaking on behalf of his country, Israel.   He was assuring his enemies that although they seemed to enjoy victory over Israel at this time, You were completely in control of what was happening.

Micah understood that Israel must bear the consequences of their sin, but that ultimately, You would “plead [their] case and uphold [their] cause. You will bring [them] out into the light;” and Your righteousness would be seen by the enemy who would be “covered with shame” and “trampled underfoot”.

Father I have called on this verse for strength when facing all kinds of enemies. You know how many things, forces, circumstances have gotten the better of me, and I felt alone in the ”darkness” in one way or another.

There have been times when physical illness or injuries have made me feel helpless, in the dark. No matter, for You can bring healing into any illness or injury You choose. And if not the healing I would hope for, You bring light to help me understand and deal with it.

At times, circumstances have left me in the dark for want of a good solution. When I cannot perceive a way out, it feels like the darkness immobilizes me. I can go through the process of making logical choices and weighing options, but none seem right. When I call out to You, so often You bring light to the subject in a way that shows me a solution I had never thought of!

Other times, my emotions have weighed heavily on me in a negative way. Discouragement, anxiousness, depression, and hopelessness lead to a very dark place indeed. In this darkness, I cannot see to help myself, and often cannot even see to reach out to a friend. The darkness almost seems to press in on me and pull me down, keeping me isolated and out of reach from everyone else. But You can always reach me. You remind me that even in the dark, You placed the stars to be light in the sky.   And although they are there in the daytime too, it is only at night, in the dark, that they are visible. For me to see those stars, it must be dark…

And there have been times of spiritual darkness, when I felt under attack by forces I could not see, but could sense were there. Then, I am somewhat fighting “in the dark” because I cannot see the enemy. But You are light. You walk in the light. And when I walk with You, I can see by Your light!

Thank You for Your light that lets me see in the darkness! I praise You that there is no darkness which You cannot dispel! That Your power overcomes any darkness of any kind. That Your light brings healing and hope and life! I praise Your Name! Hallelu Yah!

Micah 5:1-7:20

Dec 7 Where there is life, there is hope

Father, 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.

A 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. Or when I think of lives I have impacted. It is a good feeling that any positive influence will continue and go on. I feel it when I think of my children. I feel delight and hope.

But then that was all taken away when You saw what happened. “…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 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 126:1-6

Nov 27 Your gifts

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Prayer          Bible          Holy Spirit

Eternal Love          Constant Presence

Faithfulness          Forgiveness

Protection          Provision          Salvation

Direction          Fruit of the Spirit

“Your divine power has given [me] everything [I] need for a godly life…” “You have given [me] Your very great and precious promises…”. Thank You Father, that I have all that I need. I have prayer as a way to hear from and talk to You. I have Your Word as a guidebook. In You I have the Holy Spirit who reveals spiritual truth to me. You have promised me Your eternal love, Your constant presence, and Your faithfulness in my protection and provision.  All this because You are my personal Savior.

Since I belong to You, and You have given me all I need; help me to live in, and treat people with the qualities that will lead me to be effective and productive. Peter tells me these qualities are: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love. Some of these are the Fruit of the Spirit and will grow in me as I am obedient to Your Spirit’s leading. Help me embrace opportunities for each of these qualities to grow in my life.

Recently I found myself walking with a group in the dark. I had a small flashlight which came in handy as the sidewalk was a broken and uneven surface. At first, I thought it would be best to shine the light way ahead of us so we could see where the path curved or stopped at a curb or was cut off by bushes. But it became clear that we could walk with the most certainty and speed when the light shone brightly on the very next step we were to take.

Looking ahead is good to get a sense of direction, but we needed the close, step by step guidance to be sure our ankles did not turn or slip off the narrow path.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Your Word, the Scriptures, are that light for me. When I am not sure which option is best, Your Word tells me “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart and lean not on Your own understanding.”

When I feel frustrated with some results, You tell me “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you] will reap a harvest…”. Or when I feel discouraged, alone and depressed, You tell me “I have carried you since your birth…I will continue to be with you and sustain you, even when you have gray hairs. I will always carry you; I will always sustain you; I will always rescue you.” [paraphrased to personalize]

Your Word helps me see that next step and take it. Thank You Father, that You care so much for me that even in the darkness of this world and its ‘wisdom’ You have made a way for me to stay on Your path and keep moving ahead safely. Amen

II Peter 1:1-11; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 46:3-4

Nov 23 Mold me, make me holy

Father, You gave Ezekiel a recap of the physical sacrifices that were to be offered to You, when and where and how in specific detail. For You are a Holy God and the offerings and sacrifices provided atonement and consecration for Your people then.

free-1785964_640Now comes Peter writing to remind believers that now they “are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices…” The Israelites had to go to a specific place, the Temple, and have their sacrifices presented by priests. But now believers’ bodies are the ‘temple’ and believers, themselves, are the priests. And the sacrifices offered are the spiritual sacrifices of praise, and a contrite heart.

You are Holy because of who You are. But believers are made holy not by the sacrifices of goats and lambs with flour and oil; but “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect”. Believers “purify yourselves by obeying the truth…born again…through the living and enduring Word of God”.

Further, Peter tells me to be holy in all I do: to “prepare [my] mind for action; be self-controlled”. And “as an obedient child, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance”. “Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind.”

opening clay.jpgHow do I do this?

Psalm 119 answers this, and so it has become my prayer. “Teach me, O Lord, to follow Your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will keep Your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of Your commands; for there I find delight.

Turn my heart toward Your statues and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your Word.”

Father, let me live and walk and worship according to these Words. Let me be taught by You. Break down whatever habits or tendencies I have that war against Your precepts or keep me from following Your path wholeheartedly. Enrich me through Your unfailing love. I lift my hands to You. Amen

Ezekiel 45:13-46:24; I Peter 1:13-2:10; Psalm 119:33-48

Nov 15 Help me live in peace

Father, Paul gives some tall orders here: “…live at peace with all men and be holy…”. Allow “no bitter root to grow up.” Make moral decisions now because the consequences may be too much to bear.

god-1772560_640Because of my human nature, these are sometimes very difficult things to do. Give me Your peace so I can reflect peace to those around me. Help me see what is important and what is not so I will not be part of foolish arguments, but will be able to live at peace with men, and women too.

Being holy means to be set apart or to be dedicated to You. Help me live my life with an understanding I am Your creation, here for You purposes. Give me guidance and wisdom to be the best wife, mother, daughter, friend, neighbor I can be. And when You give me direction, give me the focus and energy to follow through on whatever it is. If I am not inclined to be obedient, change my view, my inclination.

When I feel wronged, or hurt, angry, disappointed or jealous; help me see from Your perspective so the root of bitterness doesn’t poison my relationships. When circumstances seem unjust or aren’t going my way, diffuse my anger before it ”causes trouble and defiles many.” Let me consider what You would have me do in response to any circumstance, rather than just react from an emotional place.

These are tough assignments. And Father, I need Your help in my life right now! Thank You that I can approach You every time I need support in any of these areas. You are my help. And there is none like You. Amen

Hebrews 12:1-4

Nov 14 Help me run the race

Father, I love Your Words in today’s Scriptures! And so I pray them back to You.

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From Hebrews: “Therefore…let [me] throw off everything that hinders [me] and the sin that so easily entangles [me], and let [me] run with perseverance the race [You] marked out for [me]. Let [me] fix [my] eyes on You, the Author and Perfecter of [my] faith…”

Father, point out to me anything that is a hindrance to my being obedient to You; so I may follow the course You have laid out for me. I know You give me choices. There are many things I could do, many ways to spend the energy You give me that would serve You and be a blessing to others. But I also believe that when I am able to use the talents and spiritual gifts You have given specifically to me, I will experience more growth and more fruitfulness. In that role I believe I will have more perseverance, more joy, and more success than if I go off on my own. So I will fix my eyes on You, look to You for direction. Open my eyes to see You, and all You have to show me.

From Psalm 112: I pray that “[my husband and my sons] will be blessed as men who fear the Lord, who find great delight in Your commands. [May their] children be mighty in the land. [Would You place] wealth and riches in [their] houses and [let their] righteousness endure forever. Even in darkness, let light dawn [for them]. [Let them] be gracious and compassionate and righteous men. Let good come to [them when they are] generous… and conduct their affairs with justice. [Father, let them] never be shaken from their faith.”

“[Lord, let them] have no fear of bad news; [but let their] hearts be steadfast, trusting in You. [Whatever comes, let them] have no fear; and in the end, look in triumph on their foes. [Let them] scatter abroad their gifts to the poor. [Let their] righteousness endure, and lift [them] high in honor.” Father, if they are not as described here yet, bring them to this place. Draw them to You. Teach them. Let them know Your voice and feel Your love.

Lord, for them and myself, bring people and circumstances into our lives that will make us stronger, better, more obedient followers. Use others as iron to sharpen us to be useful tools in Your mighty hands. Thank You. Amen

Hebrews 12:1-4; Psalm 112:1-10; Proverbs 27:17

Nov 4 Trust the plan

sky-414199_640Father, You had a plan when You punished Israel and sent them into exile. And when You brought judgment on the remnant.   You had a plan for bringing Your people back to the land and giving them a new heart, a new spirit and a better salvation.

You had a plan when You visited the ten plagues on the Egyptians. You could see into their hearts and used them as a tool of deliverance for Your people there.

I believe You have a plan for me and my life as well. Like Your people before me, it may not be what I expect. But I completely trust You. You may not give me visions like Ezekiel. You may not exile me from my home. You may not use another nation to exact my liberation. But I know that whatever Your plan – it is one that will be new and unique, designed perfectly for the gifts and talents You’ve placed in me.

Father, I trust that You will show me what I need to know, exactly when I need to know it. Lord, open my eyes and ears so I do not miss anything You want me to know. Make me bold enough to act on what You lead me to. Give me courage to persevere in the way You are showing me.

Lord, my own personality sometimes leads me in one direction that may or may not be Yours. Help me to let go of what I think I should be doing for You. Let me be satisfied with Your plan for me.   And seek only You. Amen

Ezekiel 11:14-21; Psalm 105:16-36

Oct 23 Waiting – hardest thing to do

pause-for-a-moment-393837_640O Father. Have I been like these people? It seems they were truly seeking Your will, and promised to do whatever Jeremiah revealed as Your will. But when ten days went by, they had already evaluated their options and had come to a decision they thought was best for them. It seems once they had made up their minds, there was no room for Your Word to be heard.

I wonder if there have been times when I came to You, pouring out my heart because I was so desperate and didn’t know what to do. Then, while waiting for Your response, I looked around for myself and became convinced of my best option.

Father, when faced with hardship and stress, would You help me be patient until I hear an answer from You.   Waiting can be very hard even in the best of situations. But when there is pressure to make a decision, or harm may occur without action, waiting can be unbearable. Help me bear it.

I’ve had people tell me ‘God can’t steer a parked car’. They ere encouraging me to get started in some direction, saying You will guide me once I committed to go. But sometimes that is not wise advice. I can become so committed to the direction I choose, that I refuse to course correct later.

When I do hear from You, reassure me it is truly Your Word. Even if it goes against what I might have thought, help me know without a doubt, that what I’ve heard is from You. While waiting, help me stay so close to You, that I recognize Your voice. And Father, empower me to be obedient. Don’t let me be defensive of any plan I have come up with myself, or think I know something You don’t. Time and time again, You have shown me that Your answers are far more creative, far more successful and far more wise than any I have ever thought up.

These people decided rather than stay in hardship one more day, they should go the way that seemed to benefit them. Father, if there comes a time when I must remain in a hard place, or endure Your correction, strengthen me to be able to do that. Even though it may seem I’m in the frying pan, I trust in Your wisdom, in Your perspective, and in Your perfect plan to keep me out of the fire.

That I have faith in You to direct my life is easy to say when the times are good. Father, strengthen and prepare me to be able to live out my faith, even when the times are not. Amen

Jeremiah 42:1-43:7

Oct 6 Your Word is my path

“Stand at the crossroads and look;  ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it,  and you will find rest for your souls”.

Father, destruction was coming and You instructed Your people with this verse. Yet they did not obey or follow You. Do not let me reject Your wisdom. Today I stand seeking. I look to You to guide and direct my thoughts. Show me the way to go. Help me be steadfast to walk in Your way. I trust Your leading. Even if it is not the ‘popular’ path. Or the one that seems ‘logical’ at the time. Or the ‘easiest’ one that seems to be clear of obstacles. Give me strength to be obedient to what I hear You saying.

Colossians open.jpegPaul said it this way: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

There are many followings today, many belief systems that are portrayed in the media as right and credible. Do not let me be misled by these false, socially acceptable representations. You have taught me the truth. And I have aligned myself with You by faith, by public profession, by baptism and by the way I choose to live.

Just as false religions lead me away from You, so do the attitudes that would bind me to legalistic practices that come from man. Such rules and regulations that many keep, and look down on those who do not, are just as damaging. Their obedience is based on human commands and teachings of men’s interpretation. Believers are Your Body. And when the members of Your Body obey only each other, they have lost connection with You, their Head.

Bottom line Lord: let me hear Your voice, and obey what You tell me. Let me truly live my life for an Audience of One. You. Amen

Jeremiah 6:16-21; Colossians 2:8-23

Oct 2 Direct me

Father, Paul had much to be proud of: his lineage, his heritage, his education, his religiousness. But he considered it all worthless compared to knowing You. Lord, I agree. There is nothing I have become or attained that can compare to my relationship with You and the salvation and blessings You have given me. So I desire to live the life You died to give me.

jogging-2343558_640All that is behind me, all that has come before, Father, I let go of, so that I may fully embrace whatever it is You have for me now.

Paul put it this way: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I too, move my focus from earthly things, to heavenly priorities, where my real home is. I believe You can give me the wisdom to make decisions with an understanding of Your purpose for my life. I believe You will fill me with the courage I need to act. And I believe it is by Your power that all You purpose for me will be accomplished.

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Open my eyes to all I must let go of. Show me where attitudes and priorities must change. Help me see the direction I should go. I will remember Your faithfulness to me. I will recall Your power. And I will trust in Your purpose and Your love for me. Amen

Philippians 3:4-14

Sept 26 My Teacher

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“I am The Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Thank You Father that You are my God. Thank You that You know what is best for me and that You are willing to communicate that to me.

 

Open my ears and my eyes so I can understand what You are saying to me.

You tell me that “if only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” How many times have I given up that peace because I thought I knew better than You? Or because I was afraid to go forward where You were leading me? I desire the peace and well-being only You can give me. Show me how to be bold enough to follow where You lead.

Father, as I look for the way You direct me and teach me to live, I do not have to look very far. In today’s scripture, You tell me plainly: “Do not live as the Gentiles do.” This is not a cultural judgment, but a spiritual condition. You go on to explain they have hardened their hearts to You and to spiritual matters. This separates them from You. They live in ignorance and have a darkened understanding which dulls their sensitivity, allowing them to give in to sensuality and indulge in every kind of impurity, lust, and greed.

Father, be the light in my life that brightens my understanding and softens my heart to comprehend these Words of life You speak to me. I do not want to live separated from You, but in community with You. Your presence blesses me, comforts me, encourages me, protects me, motivates me and spurs me on to be better than I am without You.

Father, help me put off those dishonest and deceitful ways that my flesh would lead me into. Help me control my tongue, my anger, my selfish tendencies and greed. These things come from the evil one who seeks to rule and destroy me. Do not let them be master over me.

I desire what You offer me: Your peace and well-being. Let my actions and attitudes reflect that. I will look for You to teach me the way I should go in all my circumstances. And I will be blessed in following You. Thank You. Amen

Isaiah 48:17-18; Ephesians 4:17-32

Sept 19 “This is the way…”

road-sign-64059_1280Father, You have described those who do not follow You and those who do. And unfortunately, I sometimes display the characteristics of both. You say “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” And yet there are times when I do not remain quiet and trusting. “Yet”, You tell me “the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.” What an amazing God You are! Even when I am not faithful, You are patient and merciful to me!

Father, You have promised, “As soon as You hear, You will answer me.” And have said that “my ears will hear a voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” I could ask for nothing more.  Even now, as I call out to You, I know that You can hear my voice and will answer me. Father, there are circumstances in my life that present options and opportunities, choices. And I must decide.

Fear would freeze me where I stand, preventing me from moving ahead in any direction. But I believe that You have wisdom in all these areas.  I believe You have the ability to see into the future, to know which is the right way for me to go. You also know my past, and the way that You created me, with strengths, gifts, and talents, as well as weaknesses. So You know what You have already prepared me for, and what is best for me.

Father, I have access to the wisdom of the world. I have friends who would probably tell me what they think I want to hear. But I desire to live my life by Your wisdom. Be the voice that I hear behind me, in my ear, telling me which is the way to walk. Show me which path to take. Show me when to wait and when to go forward. Open my ears and my Spirit so I can hear and understand what You tell me. And give me the boldness to be obedient to what You tell me.

“And I will sing…my heart will rejoice.” I will rest in my salvation. And will remain in quietness and trust. These will be my strength. Amen

Isaiah 30:15-21

Sept 2 A Time for everything

wood-bench-986347_640“Be still and know I am God”.  What a great reminder! When I come to You, Father, I know that sometimes it’s on the run, and I just quickly dash off a prayer of need, or thanks, or praise to You. But it’s in those times when I really prioritize spending time with You that I can calm myself: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – and truly sink into Your presence, that I am rewarded with a fresh realization and a deeper understanding of who You really are.

Lord, right now, I still my physical body, and ask You to quiet my mind, calm my emotions, open my spirit to hear only Your voice; and be sensitive to only Your presence. It takes a moment or two, and some deep breaths and reciting this verse to myself. “Be still and know I am God”.

As worrisome thoughts enter my head, I give them to You. One at a time, You take them and ease them away from me. You can handle whatever it is, because You are God. I know this. Not just ‘I-read-it-in-a-book’ know it. But ‘I-fully-understand-and-completely-trust’ know it. You are God and there is no other. You are God and there is no other.

If I have trusted in any other gods, Lord, I renounce them: youth, appearance, energy, vitality, children, financial security, what I can do for others. There is a long the list of things that I sometimes gain my identity from. But I lay each of them down. My identity, who I really am, comes only from You. Forgive me for trusting in anything else.

I seek Your direction Lord, for the rhythm and timing of my life. Solomon wrote it all out Lord. You have created “a time for everything under heaven”. “A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…” It goes on. And I realize Father that I need to, I want to seek Your will for the rhythm and timing of my life. Father, help me know when to “keep” and when to “throw away”. I am already sensing I am moving into a time of not keeping so many things. Help me know when to “speak” and when to “be silent”, when to “search” and when to “give up”, when to “embrace” and when to “refrain from embracing”.

As I read each pairing I can feel You speaking to me. You lead me to a place in my spirit where either one or the other makes sense in different areas of my life. Thank You Lord. Thank You for always being there when I show up to just “be still, and know that You are God.” Amen

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Psalm 46:10

 

Mar 15 A donkey speaks!

donkey-105719_640O God, do for me what You did for Balaam.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Feb 18 Living A to Z

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Father, help me embody the alphabetical list of traits in this Psalm. David, the author, in his old age, gives us instructions for living. Of course the Hebrew alephbet goes from Aleph to Tav, but what was true then is still true now.

It is hard to see evil people prosper; knowing that the wrong they do causes harm to others. And when they seem to be getting away with it, I wonder where Your justice is.   But as David says, “like the grass, they will soon wither”. And I must wait on Your justice, which will come. My responsibility is to do what You have told me to do and live how You have shown me to live. This is what I am accountable for.

As I trust in You Lord, help me do good to others whenever it is within my power to do so. Let me find my delight in You, and not be envious of others’ ill-gotten gain.

Let me commit my way to You so I look to You for guidance and direction and not toward my own selfish gain. Several times I have been in circumstances where I was wronged and had a defensible position to press for my rights, but did not speak out because I trusted in You to fight for my cause. It was hard to do, but You did not fail me. In time the truth came to light without my having to say a word. You defended me and my rightness was made even more evident because it was not me who spoke out.

Help me be still before You and wait patiently. Even when I feel I am justified in fighting. Being ‘still’ here means not to move and not to make a noise. So help me not make a move without Your direction, and not rant or rave or carry on. Remind me that prayer is a mighty weapon.  Help me pray for myself, the situation, and for my enemies to come to a saving knowledge of You, and stop their evil ways.

Help me turn away from anger and wrath. One kind of anger boils over into uncontrolled lashing out. Another kind seethes, simmering under the surface plotting and planning revenge, building up, until the perceived hurt is blown out of proportion. Both of these responses are damaging to me. I need to remember that vengeance is Yours, not mine.

Following these instructions will allow me to live in peace. Meekness is not weakness. But it is power under control. Help me to live a Holy Spirit-controlled life. Amen

Psalm 37:1-11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 26 Do I get a map?

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Lord God, You are so wise. How often do I want to see Your plan for my life all laid out for me– at least the next chapter?
You gave Moses a look at all that was coming next. You shared Your plan to deliver the Hebrew people, saying “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… I am sending you to Pharaoh…” And Moses starts back-peddling! You answered all his questions and revealed the plan, promising deliverance and riches to the people. You told Moses what to say, and how Your mighty hand would compel Pharaoh and perform wonders. Yet still Moses balked.

Jesus told His disciples how the plan of salvation would play out. He showed how prophecy was coming to pass right before their eyes! They knew Elijah must come first – Jesus explained that John the Baptist was Elijah. How did they respond? They demonstrated “so little faith” and were “filled with grief”.

So I can see why You don’t show me the miles of path before me. I would probably balk and try to get You to change Your mind, or would display too much emotion and not enough ‘getting on board’ with the plan.

When I used to ride horses, I never told the horse in advance where we would be riding that day. I never brought a map and showed him where our trail would take us. I’m pretty sure he knew he would end up back at the stable, his home. But I would guide him along as we went. Sometimes we would stop and rest for a bit. We would go fast or slow, left to the stream, or right to the hilltops, according to my leading, my plan.

Because a horse could not read or understand a map, I never showed it one. I daresay I would not understand Your plan if You showed it to me either. “As the heavens are higher
than the earth, so Your ways are higher than my ways, and Your thoughts higher than my thoughts.”
And I’m okay with that. Because I trust Your thoughts, and Your ways, and Your plans; even if I can’t see or don’t understand them. And I know where I will end up: in my true home, spending eternity with You.

I agree with David who wrote, ”In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.” I put my trust in You. You have already delivered me from the evil one by dying on the cross in my place. You have saved me from that eternal death into eternal life. And I know that at the end of my ride, I will not be disappointed. Amen

Exodus 3:1-22; Matthew 17:10-27; Isaiah 55:9; Psalm 22:4-5

 

Jan 5 I call to You

praying-614374_1920Thank You for giving me these scriptures today. Psalm 5:3 says “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.”

This has become true as I read Your Word and it becomes the substance of my prayers. So today, I lay myself and my loved ones, one by one before You. I ask for Your hand to be at work in each of these relationships, and in all our circumstances. Father, You know what each of us needs better than I do, so I ask for You to work in each of our lives to bring about Your perfect will. In some cases, to break our own will where it is in opposition to Yours and set us back on Your path. I ask for healing of our bodies where there is sickness; for a turning of our spirits to You where there has been rebellion or going our own way; for softening of our hearts so we seek You for help and direction. Show us how to call out to You where there is disappointment or despair and give us a realization and acknowledgment of the blessings in our lives which come from You. I lay our lives at Your feet, knowing that You have the resources, the authority, and the power to achieve even more than I can ask or even imagine. I wait for Your hand to be made visible in the lives of my family and myself so that I can see and rejoice.

Where our troubles are the result of bad choices, show us those mistakes. Teach us to learn from them so the experience is not wasted. Where we are wrestling with spiritual forces, rulers, principalities, authorities, and powers of this dark world and in the heavenly realms; destroy them Lord! Declare them as guilty O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their sins and rebellion against You.

We take refuge in You, and in Your mighty power! Spread Your protection over us. Surround us with Your favor as with a shield. We rejoice in You and we sing for joy! We love Your Name O Lord. Jehovah! Yahweh! Jesus! Messiah! For there is no other name by which we can be saved! Amen

Psalm 5:1-12

Dec 4 God is love

Father, You gave Daniel quite a revelation about the end times and what would be happening then.  Some of it came with an interpretation, and some remains a mystery.  Many theologians have studied and sought to know all the answers.  Even Daniel, to whom the vision was given said “I heard, but I did not understand.”  Your response to him was “go your way Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end.”

he-loves-me-1314692With that mystery still intact, You gave Daniel the confidence he needed to live to the end of his life encouraged.  “As for you, go your way till the end.  You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise up to receive your allotted inheritance.”

Father, although the dates and world powers are still a mystery, You have also given me the confidence to live my life encouraged.  Through John, You have shown me how to recognize false prophets, to discern Your Spirit, and how great Your love is for me.  Holding on to those things will help me live a godly life.

There are so many influences in the world today, it can be hard to know which are truly good, from You, and which are truly evil.  Evil can put on such a good face so as to appear justified, acceptable, even beneficial.  It masquerades as good.   Evil influence can even come from well-intentioned people, so it is godly wisdom that You tell me to “test the spirits”.   Then You tell me very clearly, This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” It gives me a bottom line for determining the source, and I am reassured that even if I come up against evil, worldly influences, “greater is He that is in me, than he who is in the world”.  I win!

I can also watch to see if Your love is in those around me.  Because since You ARE love, every one who belongs to You will have that love in them.  Your love is total, complete, sacrificial, perfect, and saves me.  This is not ‘I love ice cream’ kind of love, or brotherly love, or even romantic love.   It is the Greek word ‘agape’ love – a total, selfless, unconditional love.  It is this love that came first – You loved each one of us before we loved You or even knew of You.  It is a love that can overcome sin – Your love put You on the cross to atone for my sin and the sin of the world.  It is a perfect love that has no fear, but drives out fear.

It is Your love, Father, that I seek in my life every day!  I need it to drive out the fear that gains a foothold in me through circumstances I don’t understand, through stressful things happening to my loved ones, through the evil I see prospering in the world.

Father, there are days I feel so overwhelmed and unlovable that I deny Your love because I don’t ‘feel’ it.  Forgive me when I doubt Your amazing, perfect love.  Do not let me be led by my feelings – they have nothing to do with the truth of and the absolute certainty of Your love.  Help me sense Your love, and be lifted up by it, so I can share it with my brothers and sisters.  Let me walk in Your love till the end of days, or the end of my days, whichever comes first.  Thank You for Your amazing love.  Amen

Daniel 11:36-12:13; I John 4:1-21

Nov 30 Walk in the light

Father, thank You that You are light.  That 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 since I do not want to be in the dark, I will confess my sin before You.

light-on-manI 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, my prayer is “May my cry come before You” so You would “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