Tag: encouragment

Dec 23 You are my Carpenter

David says, “When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who watch over my way.” I echo those words Lord.  I know that You can see me and can tell how I am dealing with all I am going through.

boat carpenter

I know this, because in the past, You have been there with a word of encouragement, a call from a friend, a letter from someone, a song, a verse – exactly what I have needed, exactly when I have needed it.

You know me so well.  You created me.  You knew beforehand the purpose of my life, the places I would go, the perils I would face.

Like a carpenter chooses the type of wood to match the force of the stresses that will be brought against the boat he is making, You, my good and wise Carpenter, lovingly chose how I would be made.

You carefully and masterfully fashioned me to create exactly what You envisioned I would need to meet the storms You knew I would have to face in my life.

I don’t know my own strength, but You do.  You built strength into me that will only be demonstrated by the storms I weather.

So, with confidence and faith, I will enter the darkness, the high winds, the deep swells, the powerful surges, the rain, thunder and lightening.  I will let them crash around me, and wash over me, and I will see my deliverance on the other side.  Where the waters are calm.   And the winds are favorable.   And the sky is blue.

And my Carpenter, who is my Creator, my Heavenly Father, my Savior, my Lord, stands smiling.  Amen

Psalm 142:1-7

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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

Mar 27 Not by bread alone

notbybreadalonemimeLord, today’s scripture passages are so rich, it is hard to chose one area of prayer focus. In these verses You are instructive, encouraging, illustrative, and give warnings. All are important. But the ones that speak to me the most, remind me of how You care for me and how I should behave in response to that care and commitment.

I am holy to You, Lord. That doesn’t mean I am perfect, but that I am set apart for You. I have value because of who I am in Your eyes; and You have a purpose for me. You did not set Your affection on me because I was the biggest, or best, for I was the least. There is nothing I could have done to make You love me. But because You love me, You promise to bring me out with a mighty hand and redeem me from the land of slavery and its power: this world and its distressing values. “The Lord my God IS God! You are the faithful God, keeping Your covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love You and keep Your commands!”

“But those who hate You, You will repay to their face by destruction.” Therefore I need to pay attention to what You say and how You direct me, so that I can live victoriously and be strong in the place You are bringing me. You always keep Your promises to me. You love and bless me.

You have provided for me in the past. Although You provided physical sustenance for me, You also taught me that there is more. I do not live on ‘bread’ alone, but my soul longs for a peace and wholeness that comes from my relationship with You and Your Word. So I will spend time reading and studying Your Word, and listening for Your voice in my life.

In times of need I am drawn to You for help, encouragement, and provision. But when enjoying that provision, I must be sure not to become proud or arrogant. I will express my thanks and gratitude in praise, in song, in telling others how You bring me through troubles and trials. It is You who make it possible for me to work and volunteer and help others. My gifts and talents come from You. And I thank You.

I will never serve another god. I see others chase after fame or money or power. They make their possessions or position their god. I will pour out myself to honor You. You have saved me! From trouble, from trauma, from myself, from circumstances I have gotten myself into, and from eternal death. You have answered my prayers, come to my rescue, given me hope, forgiven my sin. I thank You and I praise You! And I cannot wait to see what’s coming next! Amen

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20

Jan 31 Thank You thank You thank You

pzvi92s-zms-lifelike-creations“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard Jesus was passing by they called out. When You stopped, You asked what they wanted You to do for them. They asked for their sight. You had compassion on them and healed them! What a miracle!

I depend on Your mercy as well. And Your mercies are new every day. But if You were to ask what I want of You, I am already so blessed, it would be hard to answer.

You have already given me eternal life in Your presence for all time. You have forgiven my sin. You have allowed me to be born in a time when most disease is treatable, water and air are safe to drink and breathe, and injuries do not usually become life threatening. I have no fear of wild animals attacking as I live in a safe place. You have placed me in a country where I have freedoms that most in the world do not. I can worship You freely, I can travel where I want, can vote for my form of government and live my life in peace within its protected borders, without persecution.

You have allowed me to be born into a loving, supportive, Christian family who raised me to love You. And who gave me not only adequate food, shelter, and an education, but loved me and encouraged me.

You have protected me and saved me from more tragedy and trauma than I know about. And have blessed me with a husband and children, and friends. I live in a beautiful place where every day I can look to the mountains and be reminded of Your strength and majesty. I can enjoy four seasons with all the consistent changes that come with them; weather, wildlife, life cycles of plants, flowers, trees. I have full use of all my senses that can take in the beauty around me and see your infinite diversity at work in birdsongs, floral aromas, the lushness of grass, the chill of fresh snow, the painted sky at sunrise and sunset.

As I think of all these things, my heart overflows with gratitude and thanksgiving. Forgive me for not voicing it every day. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You! For as many days as I have left on this earth, there will always be something to thank You for. And when I pass into that next part of our eternal relationship, “I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in my heart, and enter Your courts with praise!”

Matthew 20:29-34, Psalm 100:4

Jan 23 What a ride – Here I am!

fun-937105_640O Lord, I think of all You allowed Jacob (renamed Israel) to go through, and I wonder how difficult his life must have been. He was a twin, compared from birth to a brother who was very different from him.

His father chose a favorite son, and he was not the favorite. His mother schemed for him to receive his father’s blessing, resulting in his exile from home to a place far away. He worked happily for seven years to earn a bride, but was deceived on his wedding night with a different woman. He worked another seven years and still had nothing to call his own.

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

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

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

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

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

Lord, let me hear clearly, and be obedient to all You reveal to me. Open my ears to the message of Your words that bring personal meaning and conviction to my life. Prune away any misunderstanding I have been living by. Cut away the dead and unproductive parts. Revive me and make me fruitful again. I long to honor and glorify You.

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

How can I do any less?

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

Jan 11 Be like Rebekah

rebekah_at_the_wellpainting of Rebeca by Michael Deas 1995

Oh Father, may we be like Rebekah. For when she heard all that was “from the Lord”, how You had worked to prepare a way for her, she did not delay; but went quickly in obedience, anticipating all You would bring her. When given a choice to go or to stay and wait, she chose to go immediately. She gave up all she knew: the familiarity of family, of people, of a place and a style of living. She set out with a stranger, whom You had blessed and led to her.

Give me Rebekah’s courage. Let me be willing to go when You say ‘Go’. Let my faith and trust in You be so strong, it overpowers all other concerns, worries, or obstacles in my path.

Rebekah received a blessing before she left: “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.” I ask for that blessing for myself as well. Let the words You have given me, the spiritual light and life You have placed in me go out from me and be multiplied. Let it birth a spiritual blessing to thousands upon thousands And let these who are spiritual offspring be empowered to be victorious against their enemies, by controlling the enemy’s impact on their lives, and possessing their gates; locking the enemy behind them.

Later, when Rebekah was confused by what was happening to her in pregnancy, she “went to inquire of the Lord”. You gave her an answer and a revelation.

May I be like Rebekah in this as well. When I am confused, let me draw close to You and seek Your perspective and explanation. Let me not lean on my own understanding. But give me a fresh understanding of my difficulties and a revelation that directs my path and encourages me in the way I should go.

Like Rebekah, help me place all my sense of security in You. Even when there is no evidence to point to that would give me security by the world’s standards. Even when circumstances seem radically out of control and way beyond my comfort level.

In every relationship, every decision, every circumstance, let me turn to You; because You are able and willing, and deserving of my trust. You have promised never to leave me; never to forsake me. You can handle whatever comes. I choose to trust You. Thank You. Amen

Genesis 24:52-61; 25:21-23

Dec 21 Shield my head

red-dragon-revelation

Father, what an incredible vision You gave John! As he describes the scene and the action, it sounds like a great cosmic video game! But this one does not play out over and over with a ‘reset’ button when the player fails at the quest.

 

The revelation John sees here: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” and “an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads”. These are not anime characters, but are signs that represent actual happenings. The woman represents Israel, and the red dragon, satan. Satan was hurled down to earth and roams here now, to “lead the whole world astray”.

The bad news: “woe to the earth and sea because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury…”.   The good news: “his time is short”.

Because satan roams the earth in his furious state, and has duped people into following him, I need You, Father, to “keep me safe from the hands of the wicked”. It is not only the evil one, but also those under his authority who do his biding that I have seen at work.

I know that sometimes, I don’t make wise choices, and must bear the consequences. In those times Father, I ask for Your forgiveness and Your wisdom to learn from my mistakes. But at other times, I feel attacked, caught by surprise in situations and circumstances I did not anticipate. I feel entrapped, tripped up, led into places, relationships, emotional states, and difficulties that feel like an oppressive force is orchestrating it all.

When I begin to feel discouraged and hopeless, when I find myself doubting Your goodness and Your love, I know there is some element of evil at work. Thank You that You have promised to “shield my head in the day of battle”.   Your helmet of salvation protects my thoughts and reminds me of Your truth. It helps me hold what I am feeling up against the truth of Your Word.

Thank You that I can be sure of Your love for me. Thank You that I can know without a doubt, that Your purpose and plan for me are good. Thank You that I know You will never, ever, leave me or forsake me. And thank You that the devil’s time here on earth is short. And a time will come when You will triumph over all!

In the meantime, I “will praise Your name”! And “live [my life] in Your presence”, in safety, with You as “my strong deliverer”. Awaiting Your ‘end game’. Amen

Revelation 12:1-17; Psalm 140:1-13

Dec 4 God is love – He loves me!

he-loves-me-1314692

Father, You have given me the confidence to live my life encouraged. Through John, You have shown me how to discern truth from falsehood and how important love is. 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 and which are truly evil. Evil masquerades as good. It can appear justified, acceptable, even beneficial. Evil influence can even come from well-intentioned people.  You assure me that when I come up against evil, worldly influences, “greater is He that is in me, than he who is in the world”.

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 that overcomes sin. You loved each one of us before we loved You or even knew of You.. 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

I John 4:1-21

Feb 3 Apple or Potato?

“Hear my voice when I call O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of You, ‘Seek His face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Oh Father, thank You that I can know that You do hear me. Sometimes I sing out my praise, sometimes I call out my thanksgiving, sometimes I weep and whisper out my needs, sometimes my heart is so broken I can only weep. But the Holy Spirit intercedes for me and even the groanings of my heart that cannot be expressed in words are heard.

Thank You that in Your mercy, You answer me every time. I appreciate and love the times Your answer is ‘yes’ and I can see the fruit of my prayers immediately. They are like apples I can see growing and maturing on a tree, right before my eyes. The buds come, the blossoms open, then the fruit appears, grows and matures while I watch the whole process. With a prayer like this, I can see you at work and be encouraged.

But I understand that at times the answer is ‘wait’. Then it’s more like growing potatoes. The plant is there, but the fruit, the potato, is growing underground and cannot be seen until it is time to harvest. It takes faith to dig up the plant looking for the potatoes underneath. These are harder prayers because they feel like nothing is happening. The truth is, You are at work answering the prayer, just not in ways visible to the human eye.

And I also must acknowledge that sometimes the answer is ‘no’. And I have to ‘choose’ to trust that Your will is best for me, even if I don’t understand it at the time.

Like the Psalmist Lord, I will seek Your face. I will read and study Your Word and apply its lessons and teachings to my life. I will come to You in prayer, allowing time not only for talking, but also listening for what You want to say to me. I will look for those places where You insert Yourself into my life through circumstances; using events or occurrences, contacts or everyday things to speak to me and heighten my awareness of You. You remind me of Your beauty in a sunset. You make Your sovereignty known when I look at the stars.   You reassure me of Your love and care when You have a friend call or pray for me.  And these are just some of the ways You communicate with me.

Whether praying apples or potatoes, hearing a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, You have encouraged me with these words of David: “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” And especially for those ‘potato’ prayers, You say “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Father, help me in the waiting, not fall into discouragement, self-pity or giving up. Keep my faith strong and my trust in You solid; so that at the end of the waiting, I will sing of the wonders of the Lord! Amen

Psalm 27:7,8,13,14; Romans 8:26

Dec 21 Shield my head

reddragon-womanmoon

Father, what an incredible vision You gave John!  As he describes the scene and the action, it sounds like a great cosmic video game!  But this one does not play out over and over with a ‘reset’ button when the player fails at the quest.

The revelation John sees here: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” and “an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads”.  These are not anime characters, but are signs that represent actual happenings.  The woman represents Israel, and the red dragon, satan.  Satan was hurled down to earth and roams here now, to “lead the whole world astray”.

The bad news:  “woe to the earth and sea because the devil has gone down to you!  He is filled with fury…”.   The good news: “his time is short”.

Because satan roams the earth in his furious state, and has duped people into following him, I need You, Father, to “keep me safe from the hands of the wicked”.  It is not only the evil one, but also those under his authority who do his biding that I have seen at work.

I know that sometimes, I don’t make wise choices, and must bear the consequences.  In those times Father, I ask for Your forgiveness and Your wisdom to learn from my mistakes.  But at other times, I feel attacked, caught by surprise in situations and circumstances I did not anticipate.  I feel entrapped, tripped up, led into places, relationships, emotional states, and difficulties that feel like an oppressive force is orchestrating it all.

When I begin to feel discouraged and hopeless, when I find myself doubting Your goodness and Your love, I know there is some element of evil at work.  Thank You that You have promised to “shield my head in the day of battle”.   Your helmet of salvation protects my thoughts and reminds me of Your truth.  It helps me hold what I am feeling up against the truth of Your Word.

Thank You that I can be sure of Your love for me.  Thank You that I can know without a doubt, that Your purpose and plan for me are good.  Thank You that I know You will never, ever, leave me or forsake me.  And thank You that the devil’s time here on earth is short.  And a time will come when You will triumph over all!

In the meantime, I “will praise Your name”!  And “live [my life] in Your presence”, in safety, with You as “my strong deliverer”.  Awaiting Your ‘end game’.   Amen

Revelation 12:1-17; Psalm 140:1-13