Tag: eternity

Apr 27 Your attention, Your abundance

O Jesus.  How hard it is to read of the awful beatings, the unfair treatment and the terrible crucifixion You endured.  I cannot even imagine the pain You suffered and the overwhelming agony.

golgotha-1863767_640So many around You were unsympathetic and called for Your death.  Yet even in the midst of all this, You were concerned with others.

When they crucified You, You called out for their forgiveness.  And even as You were dying, You were not too busy to listen to the petition of one of Your hurting children, the man on the cross next to You.

He asked only that You remember him, and You gave him paradise.

Father, You are like that with me.

You hold the whole world together by Your power: the earth, the stars, the solar system.  The motion of the seas is in Your hand, every storm, every person on the earth, not even a sparrow falls without Your awareness.  Yet You are never too busy to hear my cry, my prayer, my thanks.

Thank You, that I can come to You at any time and have Your attention.

And You always give more than You are asked.

The thief asked for remembrance, You gave him paradise.

Your mercy and grace overflows.  Your lavish abundance is so great.  Many times I ask for something and You blow me away with Your generosity and graciousness.

And even when the answer is no, or wait, I can trust that You have my best in mind.  Thank You for knowing even better than I, what I need.  And for providing it.

The thief said “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.”  It is the same with me.  My deeds deserve death.   Only Your blood pays the penalty for my sin, and awards me life, not death.

Thank You for enduring death on a cross, so that I can walk with You in eternity.  Thank You Father, for paradise.   Amen

Luke 23:25-43

 

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Apr 3 Our laws are Your laws

Father, I am amazed by how much of the moral code You gave in Torah (the first five books of the Bible) is represented in our legal system today.

JohnAdamsQuote585The last several days’ readings are filled with issues represented in our country’s legal code.   Standards are set for maintaining property lines, fair measures in trade, witnesses being necessary rather than relying on hearsay testimony, determination of false testimony and punishing it.  It is not merely causing a death, but consideration of motivation behind the act that is judged; whether there is “malice aforethought.”

You deal with property law when passing an inheritance, capital punishment, homeowner’s liability, divorce, charging interest on loans and how to handle collateral.  In all Your determinations You call for justice to all, and for mercy in the care for the underprivileged and marginalized.

Our second president and signer of the Constitution, John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Our constitutional and legal values came from the Bible.  You knew, way back then, what our society would need today.  And provided for it.

Even beyond our country’s laws is Your law of sin and death.  And when I fail and sin, You have made a way of placing me back in right standing with You.  You took upon Yourself the penalty of my sin, and paid my debt.

But for those who do not accept Your payment, there will be a reckoning.   If they refuse Your gift, they will spend eternity separated from You.  They will be held accountable for the decision they make, whether to accept You as God, or reject You.

Thank You for being a just law-giver.  Strengthen me to turn away from sin and obey the laws You’ve given us. Bring our country back to a godly moral standard.

Thank You Father, that You who judge, are just. Amen

Deuteronomy 17:1-25:16

 

Mar 18 Heaven or earth?

O Lord, what a wonderful and confusing prayer here from David.

heaven or earthI’m not exactly sure of his meaning; but like many prayers, it shows the divided interests and longings of many believers.

On one hand, I have been through a lot.  Life has been challenging, and sometimes I want to just give up: “my heart grows faint.”  I feel anxious to be done with this earthly life and all its problems.  “I long to dwell in Your tent forever.”

Thinking about that, all pain and suffering would be over in heaven.  No more battles to fight.  I would be in the presence of my Lord and Savior.  What could possibly be better!

On the other hand, You have given me blessings here, Lord.  I desire to fulfill all You have planned for me, and bring glory and honor to Your name here on earth.  And hopefully bring many to a saving knowledge of You while doing it.

So I echo “increase the days of my life, my years for many generations.”  How awesome would it be to see my children grown and serving the Lord, and grandchildren, and great grand children!

Bottom line, I trust You with all my days.  Whether here on earth or with You in heaven, I rely on You and Your perfect will to know the length of my days, and prepare me for them.

I thank You that You knew all my days before even one of them came to be.  And that no power can take away even one hour You have promised me.  I trust in, and rest in, Your power and Your wisdom, Your mercy, and Your plan.  Amen

Psalm 61:1-8

Dec 30 Eternity

heavenO Father, I can only think this Revelation of John’s is where many ideas of heaven are found: streets of gold, pearls for gates, “You will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”

This is how the New Jerusalem is described, after all mankind and angels have been judged, and the earth and heavens as we know them have been swept away.

It is certainly a place I would want to spend eternity.  You, Yourself, will always be present.  Your presence provides all the light that is needed.

And there is a promise, a security, in nothing “impure…shameful or deceitful” ever being there.   Only Your people, Your children, will inherit all this.

The Psalmist says “Sing to the Lord a new song, [sing] His praise in the assembly of His faithful people.”  That will truly be able to happen in this Holy City.

Thank You for Your promises of help while here on earth.  And thank You for the promise of my eternal future with You.  Your praise is ever on my lips!  Amen

Revelation 21:1-27; Psalm 149:1-5

Dec 22 Patient endurance

board-928392_1920Father, what amazing visions You have given Zechariah and John!

Besides the plain meaning of their words, I know there is another level of understanding to be grasped.  There is symbolism, and foretelling of what is to come.

Zechariah records You saying “…in that day…many nations will be joined with the Lord and become Your people.  You will live among [them].”   He records that You declare “I myself will be a wall of fire around [Jerusalem] and I will be its glory within.”

John is recording a vision that will ultimately get us there; when You are living in peace with many nations, in Jerusalem.

But before that comes, there will be this time of turmoil and woe and devastation that John refers to with dragons, beasts, blaspheming and idolatry.    Are these real beasts?  Are they people?  Are they nations or other powers?  Even with great study and debate, some of these answers are not yet revealed.

Will I be alive during these times?  Again, that is not yet known.

But You do say “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.”  So Father, give me the patient endurance I need.

Teach me to be faithful.  Nothing even remotely close to this turmoil has happened to me, yet I find myself often in a state of impatience and doubt.

Lord, I look at my life and am impatient to have my family all living their lives for You.  I am anxious to get to a place in life where finances aren’t an issue, and where my children are all successful and happy.

I am frustrated when my loved ones don’t do things the way I think they should.  I am restless to have a closer, deeper, more meaningful relationship with close family members.

I fear my country is going the wrong direction.  I grieve that young people are being deceived away from patriotism and godly values.

I see unjust people prospering and wonder if my being faithful to godly values really counts for anything.  And I wonder how long my faith can endure all this.

Father, help me endure, what I need to endure.  I trust that You will give me what I need when I need it.  Grow my faith big enough that it can shelter others under it, so their faith can be nurtured and grow too.

I know You have a plan.  I trust in Your plan.  For my life.  For today.  For tomorrow.  For the future.  For eternity.  Amen

Zechariah 2:1-13; Revelation 13:1-18

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 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.

And 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

Nov 20 While here on earth…

GivinghandsandredpushpinFather, how I long for the day when I will be in Your presence for all eternity.  My real home is with You.  I long to sit at Your feet, to see You face to face, to wrap my arms around You and rest in Yours.

But for now, I must be here.

And not just with You, but with billions of other imperfect people like myself, who I need to learn to get along with.  Father, James tells me I need to live in this world, but not be friends with it.

I need to relate to people, but without speaking badly of them or judging them.

I need to suppress the desires within me that might cause me to selfishly fight and quarrel with others when I don’t get my way.

And I need to recognize the devil and resist him.

Thank You for placing Your Holy Spirit in me to help me with all these things.  Thank You for the grace You extend to me.  James tells me the key is to submit to You and humble myself.

So Father, I submit myself to You.  When I am obedient to You, I will not obey the devil.  I will not be selfish.  I will not mistreat others.

Father, I give You my plans.  Take the days of my life that You have already numbered, and show me how to live each one.  Do not let me get ahead of You.  And do not let me lag behind.  I trust Your timing for all of it.

I draw near to You Father, and ask You to search me and remove any desires that are not godly.  If I ask for the wrong thing, or ask with a wrong motive, show me where I have messed up.  If I become too attached to the things of the world, wean me from that dependence.  For with You, I have all I need.

Father, examine my relationships.  If there are any that do not serve Your purposes, then help me let them go.  If I am quarreling with anyone, or am out of fellowship with them, show me what caused it, Your plan for the relationship, and how to make it right again.

And when I am tempted by the devil, let me clearly see the “hook” beneath the lure he is dangling before me.  Strengthen me to resist, and turn away from that trap.

As long as You have me living here on the earth, Lord, guide and strengthen me.  Help me overcome my flesh and the evil one and the pull of the world.  I choose to hold my possessions, my relationships, my plans loosely so I can follow Your will.  Grant me success.  Amen

James 4:1-12

Nov 7 New Covenant for Eternity

Father, even with the detestable ways Your people sinned; so much so that You compared them to an adulterous, unfaithful wife; You promised them restoration.

You made a way of atonement for them.  Not as we might see the restoration of an individual from one day to the next, but as a people, Your people.

dawn eternity

You are so much more long-sighted than we humans are.  We can barely see to the next day, but You look throughout eternity and see things from a different perspective.

Paul saw this new covenant.  What You gave Your people in the wilderness was a shadow of what was to come.  You showed them how to approach You in the Tabernacle – only through the earthly High Priest who was born into the line of Aaron, and who offered blood sacrifices.  What Paul saw, and what I have as a believer, is a new High Priest!  You!

With a shadow, something real has to cast that shadow.  The reality of what made the shadow of the old covenant, is when You, Yourself became my High Priest when You walked the earth as the Lord Jesus Christ, and made atonement for my sin with Your perfect blood sacrifice!

Paul quotes Jeremiah, saying “The days are coming…when I will make a new covenant…I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people”.

It hasn’t happened for all of Israel yet, but it has happened for me!  I have You in me, as the Holy Spirit.

Thank You Father, that I am in You, and that I have You in me!  Thank You for putting Your law in my mind – for bringing Your Word to me – for placing me in a country and at a time when I can read and study Your Word freely and openly.  Thank You that I was born to parents who worshipped You and gave me that example of worshipping and serving You.

Thank You Father, that You are in heaven now, on Your throne – in the true Tabernacle.  I long for the day when I will see You in all Your glory.  When every knee will bow and all will know that You are Lord.  And I will praise You forever!  Amen

Ezekiel 16:42-63; Hebrews 8:1-13

July 2 Teach me to number my days aright

hourglass-1623517_640Father, You sent word through Isaiah that Hezekiah would die.

I have often wondered: if I could know when I will die, would I want to? It’s an interesting question.

This kind of curiosity started in the Garden of Eden. When the serpent held out the possibility of being ‘like God’, having Your knowledge and wisdom, Eve bit!  But beyond the simple curiosity factor, how would I react if I knew when the end would come?

Even though I know intellectually, that everyone dies, including me, it’s not something I think about from day to day.   I tend to put it out of my mind and live as if I have years or even decades ahead of me. But, if, for instance, I received information that I have a medical condition that comes with an expiration date, it would be a sobering realization.

If I were given such information, would I set about reworking my priorities?   Would I ‘put my house in order’ as Hezekiah was told to do? Would I cry out to You for more time? It would definitely disrupt my thinking, my activities, my attitudes, and the way I relate to people. I would be more motivated to orchestrate my remaining days…

Father, help me live my life now, as if every day were a precious gift from You, not to be wasted or squandered. Show me how to arrange my priorities, recognizing what is really important. Do not let me waste time in foolish pursuits or on meaningless tasks. Show me the godly relationships You want me to cultivate, and how to let go of and separate myself from the ungodly ones.

I want to be thankful for every single day You give me. So I will praise You every day, Father. I worship You for who You are, for Your character that never changes: Your faithfulness, Your gentleness, Your love towards me, Your righteousness and Your omnipotence.

I thank You for all You have done: created this amazing universe, established a way of salvation, given me Your Word for instruction and encouragement.   I appreciate Your hand of protection and provision in my life, as I have food, shelter, clothing, family, friends, and freedom.

And when I think about the end of my time here on earth, I have no fear of what comes after. Because I know You, I am not anxious about my future. I know I will spend eternity with You, and I can’t wait! Amen

2 Kings 20:1; Psalm 150:1-6; Psalm 90:12

 

Mar 18 Heaven or Earth?

heaven or earth

 

O Lord, what a wonderful and confusing prayer here from David. I’m not exactly sure of his meaning; but like many prayers, it shows the divided interests and longings of many believers.

 

On one hand, I have been through a lot. Life has been challenging, and sometimes I want to just give up: “my heart grows faint”. I feel anxious to be done with this earthly life and all its problems. “I long to dwell in Your tent forever”. Thinking about that, all pain and suffering would be over. No more battles to fight. I would be in the presence of my Lord and Savior. What could possibly be better!

On the other hand, You have given me blessings here, Lord. I desire to fulfill all that You have planned for me, and bring glory and honor to Your name here on earth. And hopefully bring many to a saving knowledge of You while doing it. So I echo “increase the days of my life, my years for many generations”. How awesome would it be to see my children grown and serving the Lord, and grandchildren, and great grand children!

Bottom line, I trust You with all my days Lord; whether here on earth or with You in heaven. I rely on You and Your perfect will to know the length of my days, and prepare me for them. I thank You that You knew all my days before even one of them came to be. And that no power can take away even one hour You have promised me. I trust in, and rest in, Your power and Your wisdom, Your mercy, and Your plan. Amen

Psalm 61:1-8

 

Mar 11 From beginning to end

alpha_and_omega_book

Thank You Lord is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited, reconciled, into fellowship with You. Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through. Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world was laid! That You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence. And eventually died physically. They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people. Yet all have not accepted that gift.

But when You return victoriously with a trumpet sound and a shout, You will judge the living and the dead and Your world will be free of sin again. I n creating a new heaven and a new earth You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes. They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever. I am eternally blessed to be Your child. Thank You. Amen

Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:7

Jan 24 Speak a Blessing

godbless-you

Holy Father, here You depict another way I desire to be like Israel. He was able to speak words of blessing over his sons and grandsons before he died. I pray that my words would be a blessing to my children.

 

So many times I open my mouth before I speak, and blessing is not what results. Father, train me in the ability to speak the truth in love. Set a watch over my mouth to stop unthinking or hurtful words before they are spoken, and damage is done. Once spoken, words cannot be unheard.

I believe Israel was speaking and giving blessings from You. You must have revealed to him what to say to each son, where to put his hands for the blessing, even as he intentionally switched his hands to bless Joseph’s sons. This was not according to the tradition of the time. Neither was the blessing where he gave Judah leadership of the house of Israel and Joseph the double portion. Those both should have been passed to the oldest. Oh Lord, let me be so close to You that I also hear what You are telling me and let me be obedient even if it goes against the traditions of man or of the times.

When his work was done, Israel “drew his feet up into his bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Israel finished the work You sent him to do. O God, do not let me outstay my usefulness to You. Please don’t leave me here one minute beyond what is necessary. I want to do and be all You have sent me here for. But I so desire to be with You rather than in the dimness of this earth, knowing what awaits me as a believer.

One way I seek to bless my children is by using the words You have given. Today I pray these words for my sons by inserting their names:

“O Lord, answer _______ when he is in distress;” (place in his heart the desire to call out to You, and let him hear Your voice above all else going on in his life) “may the name of the God of Jacob protect _______.” (protect his life, his health, his relationships, his mind, his emotions, his spirit, his work, his comings, his goings)

“May You send _______ help from Your sanctuary” (where You sit enthroned and have angels to be Your messengers and do Your bidding) “and grant him support from Zion. “

“Would You give _______ the desire of his heart” (and remove any desires that would take him away from You) “and make all his plans succeed.” (as You direct his steps)

“We will shout for joy when _______ is victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God!” Amen ! 

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

Dec 30 Eternity

heavenpainting by Danny Hehlbohm

O Father, I can only think this Revelation of John’s is where many ideas of heaven are found: streets of gold, pearls for gates, “You will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” It is how the New Jerusalem is described, after all mankind and angels have been judged, and the earth and heavens as we know them have been swept away.

It is certainly a place I would want to spend eternity. You, Yourself, will always be present. Your presence provides all the light that is needed.   And there is a promise, a security, in there being nothing “impure…shameful or deceitful” ever being there.   Only Your people, Your children, will inherit all this.

The Psalmist says “Sing to the Lord a new song, [sing] His praise in the assembly of His faithful people.” That will truly be able to happen in this Holy City.

Thank You for Your promises of help while here on earth. And thank You for the promise of my eternal future with You. Your praise is ever on my lips! Amen

Revelation 21:1-27; Psalm 149:1-9

Dec 22 Patient endurance

board-928392_1920Father, what amazing visions You have given Zechariah and John! Besides the plain meaning of their words, I know there is another level of understanding to be grasped. There is symbolism, and foretelling of what is to come.

Zechariah records You saying “…in that day…many nations will be joined with the Lord and become Your people. You will live among [them]”.   He records that You declare “I myself will be a wall of fire around [Jerusalem] and I will be its glory within.”

John is recording a vision that will ultimately get us there; when You are living in peace with many nations, in Jerusalem.   But before that comes, there will be this time of turmoil and woe and devastation that John refers to with dragons, beasts, blaspheming and idolatry.   Are these real beasts? Are they people? Are they nations or other powers? Even with great study and debate, some of these answers are not yet revealed.

Will I be alive during these times? Again, that is not yet known. But You do say “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” So Father, give me the patient endurance I need. Teach me to be faithful. Nothing even remotely close to this turmoil has happened to me, yet I find myself often in a state of impatience and doubt.

Lord, I look at my life and am impatient to have my family all living their lives for You. I am anxious to get to a place in life where finances aren’t an issue, and where my children are all successful and happy. I am frustrated when my loved ones don’t do things the way I think they should. I am restless to have a closer, deeper, more meaningful relationship with close family members.

I fear my country is going the wrong direction. I grieve that young people are being deceived away from patriotism and godly values. I see unjust people prospering and wonder if my being faithful to godly values really counts for anything. And I wonder how long my faith can endure all this.

Father, help me to endure, what I need to endure. I trust that You will give me what I need when I need it. Grow my faith big enough that it can shelter others under it, so their faith can be nurtured and grow too. I know You have a plan. I trust in Your plan. For my life. For today. For tomorrow. For the future. For eternity. Amen

Zechariah 2:1-3:10; Revelation 13:1-18

Nov 20 while here on earth…

Father, how I long for the day when I will be in Your presence for all eternity. My real home is with You. I long to sit at Your feet, to see You face to face, to wrap my arms around You and rest in Yours.

GivinghandsandredpushpinBut for now, I must be here. And not just with You, but with billions of other imperfect people like myself, who I need to learn to get along with. Father, James tells me I need to live in this world, but not be friends with it. I need to relate to people, but without speaking badly of them or judging them. I need to suppress the desires within me that might cause me to selfishly fight and quarrel with others when I don’t get my way. And I need to recognize the devil and resist him.

Thank You for placing Your Holy Spirit in me to help me with all these things. Thank You for the grace You extend to me. James tells me the key is to submit to You and humble myself. So Father, I submit myself to You. When I am obedient to You, I will not obey the devil. I will not be selfish. I will not mistreat others.

Father, I give You my plans. Take the days of my life that You have already numbered, and show me how to live each one. Do not let me get ahead of You. And do not let me lag behind. I trust Your timing for all of it. Father, I draw near to You and ask You to search me and remove any desires that are not godly. If I ask for the wrong thing, or ask with a wrong motive, show me where I have messed up. If I become too attached to the things of the world, wean me from that dependence. For with You, I have all I need.

Father, examine my relationships. If there are any that do not serve Your purposes, then help me let them go. If I am quarreling with anyone, or am out of fellowship with them, show me what caused it, Your plan for the relationship, and how to make it right again. And when I am tempted by the devil, let me clearly see the ‘hook’ beneath the lure he is dangling before me. Strengthen me to resist, and turn away from that trap.

Father, as long as You have me living here on the earth, guide and strengthen me. Help me overcome my flesh and the evil one and the pull of the world. I choose to hold my possessions, my relationships, my plans loosely so I can follow Your will. Grant me success. Amen

James 4:1-12

Nov 7 New Covenant for Eternity

dawn eternityFather, even with the detestable ways Your people sinned; so much so that You compared them to an adulterous, unfaithful wife; You promised them restoration. You made a way of atonement for them. Not as we might see the restoration of an individual from one day to the next, but as a people, Your people. You are so much more long-sighted than we humans are. We can barely see to the next day, but You look throughout eternity and see things from a different perspective.

Paul saw this new covenant. What You gave Your people in the wilderness was a shadow of what was to come. You showed them how to approach You in the Tabernacle – only through the earthly High Priest who was born into the line of Aaron, and who offered blood sacrifices. What Paul saw, and what I have as a believer, is a new High Priest! You!

With a shadow, something real has to cast that shadow. The reality of what made the shadow of the old covenant, is when You, Yourself became my High Priest when You walked the earth as the Lord Jesus Christ, and made atonement for my sin with Your perfect blood sacrifice!

Paul quotes Jeremiah, saying “The days are coming…when I will make a new covenant…I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people”. It hasn’t happened for all of Israel yet, but it has happened for me! I have You in me, as the Holy Spirit.

Thank You Father, that I am in You, and that I have You in me! Thank You for putting Your law in my mind – for bringing Your Word to me – for placing me in a country and at a time when I can read and study Your Word freely and openly. Thank You that I was born to parents who worshipped You and gave me that example of worshipping and serving You.

Thank You Father, that You are in heaven now, on Your throne – in the true Tabernacle. I long for the day when I will see You in all Your glory. When every knee will bow and all will know that You are Lord. And I will praise You forever! Amen

Ezekiel 16:42-63; Hebrews 8:1-13

Jan 26 Do I get a map?

rfid0_7kep4-natalie-fox

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 22 What was dead is alive!

miracle-364681_1920Holy Father, I cannot even imagine the depth of joy Israel must have felt at the realization that the son he thought he had lost forever, was alive!

I cannot imagine grieving for a son for so long, dealing with a sense of loss so great that it makes you physically ill and emotionally destitute; then to discover that the object or your intense love and devotion has been resurrected and returned to you!

 

But You are a God of resurrection miracles! You are the One with the power of restoration! And there will be another great reunion as we see all our loved ones who love You, again, when we spend eternity together in Your presence.

It must have seemed like a miracle to Israel: Your bringing the son that was dead to him, back into fellowship and life. How awesome is Your power! You are not limited by what we have come to understand are the limits and laws of our physical world. You walked on water! You healed the sick and dying with a touch! You multiplied five pieces of bread and two fish to feed literally thousands of hungry people. And that was only during the first twenty-four hours after hearing of Your own personal loss: the death of Your cousin, John the Baptist!

Twice during that time, you withdrew to be alone to pray. How hard it must have been to remain in this physical world with all its pain and grief, suffering, sickness and evil, knowing Your true home was in heaven. You could have left it all behind in an instant.

Thank You for continuing to walk the path that would lead to Your sacrifice and the saving of mankind; rejoining us to Yourself, our heavenly Father, bridging the chasm between our sinfulness and Your holiness.

Holy, Holy, Holy are You, Lord God Almighty!

Genesis 44:18-34-45:28; Matthew 14:13-36

 

Jan 21 It’s all perspective

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Holy Father, Your will often puzzles me. I cannot see from Your perspective or understand the effects of actions looking forward into the future. Your servant John the Baptist lived as a righteous man. He was a believer and taught of Your kingdom. He even baptized Jesus! He was a great part of Your plan; yet he was beheaded by an unrighteous, evil, manipulative man. In our human understanding of ‘fairness’ that seems so wrong.

Yet, again, our perspective is not Yours. And our life here on earth is not the end of it all. There is also what comes after: where and how we spend eternity.

So can I still pray for things to work here out here on earth, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones? Yes. And can I ask in faith, believing, and not doubting? Absolutely!

But I must remember that You answer prayer from a greater perspective. My sight and my ability to see ‘the solution’ are very limited. Even in my own life, I have prayed and You have answered in ways far better than anything I had asked for, or could have even imagined.

And can I trust Your answer? Without a doubt! Even if I can’t understand the ‘why’ of it at the time. I know that Your love for me is great. And You are trustworthy. And Your sense of mercy and justice are right.

So no matter how things look from my perspective, I can proclaim boldly with the Psalmist, “As for God, His way is perfect!”

Matthew 14:1-12; Psalm 18:30a

Dec 31 Alpha and Omega

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O Father, You are “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”.  You are faithful to Yourself, by Your Word and by Your actions.  You are faithful to Your creation and to me.  You existed at the beginning of all things, and You will be there at the end of all things as I know them.  You will create a new heaven and a new earth.  Malachi talks about that day when the righteous will be healed and the evil, set on fire.  John, the same: the righteous will live with You, seeing Your face, and the evil are thrown into the lake of fire.

Father, You have been faithful to me each and every day this year.  Each day, You have shown me in Your Word how to pray: from the first day of the year to the last, from the beginning of Your Word, to the end.  Thank You!  At the same time, I am both amazed at Your faithfulness to me, and not surprised by it.  Of course I know and believe in Your faithfulness.  But now, I have felt the blessing of it personally.  Thank You Father, for walking through each day of this year with me.  Thank You for leading me through Your Word in such a meaningful way.

And now Father, like the Proverbs 31 woman,“clothe [me] with strength and dignity; let [me] laugh at the days to come”.  [Help me] speak with wisdom, and put faithful instruction on [my] tongue.  [Help me to] watch over the affairs of my household and not eat the bread of idleness.  [Let my] children arise and call me blessed; [my] husband also, and praise [me].   [I am] a woman who fears You!”

“I praise You Father in Your sanctuary” – under the sky You created, in the forest and in the open, I kneel before Your great presence and acknowledge Your authority.  I lift my voice to give glory to You.  With every person I see Your creativity and diversity.  With every bird and flower and creature, I observe Your infinite imagination.  With the cycle of seasons, I marvel at Your ingenuity.

I cannot wait to see You face to face and live with You throughout eternity.  I believe “You are coming soon.  Come!  Come Lord Jesus!”  Amen

Malachi 3:1-4:6; Revelation 20:11-15; 22:1-21; Psalm 150:1-6; Proverbs 31:25-31

Dec 30 Eternity

 

heavenO Father, I can only think this Revelation of John’s is where many ideas of heaven are found: streets of gold, pearls for gates, “You will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”  It is how the New Jerusalem is described, after all mankind and angels have been judged, and the earth and heavens as we know them have been swept away.

It is certainly a place I would want to spend eternity.  You, Yourself, will always be present.  Your presence provides all the light that is needed.   And there is a promise, a security, in there being nothing “impure…shameful or deceitful” ever being there.   Only Your people, Your children, will inherit all this.

The Psalmist says “Sing to the Lord a new song, [sing] His praise in the assembly of His faithful people.”  That will truly be able to happen in this Holy City.

Father, as I prayed Psalm 1 on the first day of the Year for my husband and sons, I pray now at the end of the year, these Proverbs 31 verses for myself and for the women who will marry my sons:

May we be “wives of noble character…worth far more than rubies, bringing [our husbands] good, not harm all the days of our lives.”  May our “husbands have full confidence in [us] and lack nothing of value.”  May we “work with eager hands” to provide for our families’ needs.  May we have sharp mental skills, a good head for business and strong arms for the tasks You bring to us.   May we manage our households wisely and show compassion and charity.   Father, give us the wisdom we need to benefit our husbands and children, the energy we need to accomplish the work of our ministries, and the ability to reflect Your love to care for our families.

Thank You for Your promises of help while here on earth.  And thank You for the promise of my eternal future with You.  Your praise is ever on my lips!  Amen

Revelation 21:1-27; Psalm 149:1-9; Proverbs 31:10-24

Dec 23 I feel like a boat

ahlbeck-1542568_1920Father, how interesting that it appears both Zechariah’s and John’s revelations seem to be referring to similar times in the future.  There is much I do not understand, but while one speaks of a “flying scroll” that is a curse and will destroy thieves and those who swear falsely by Your name, the other talks of eternal torment of those who worship the beast and its image.  Similar ends for similar people.  Another vision is of iniquity portrayed as a woman in a basket with a lead cover, being taken to Babylonia, and in John’s vision, it is time for the earth to be harvested and crushed in the winepress of God’s wrath.  Your wrath will also be poured out on Babylon!

All this is still a time that You say “calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep Your commands and remain faithful to You”.   Again, I ask that You would grant me the patience and endurance I need to get through whatever is coming, and grow my faith even stronger.  I do not know when this will happen, or if I will even be alive during these times.   But without Your strength, I fear my faith would fail.

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 whatever I am going through.  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 weather 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

Zechariah 4:1-5:11; Revelation 14:1-20; Psalm 142:1-7