Tag: evil

Jul 1 A good king – a great prayer!

Finally Father, a good king!  Hezekiah was a good king (few and far between) of the southern kingdom of Judah.

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He removed the high places that other kings had allowed to be used for pagan worship and smashed all the sacred stones and Asherah poles.

During one of Assyria’s attacks, Hezekiah prayed to You because the Assyrian king mocked and ridiculed You, claiming You could not save Your people.  And You answered and delivered them.   I echo those powerful words.

“Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.  You have made heaven and earth.  Give ear, Oh Lord, and hear; open Your eyes Oh Lord, and see, listen to the words [of the world and the evil one], sent to insult the living God. “

  “It is true, Oh Lord, that (the evil one) has attacked and laid waste (to many, winning victories over their lives).  Now, Oh Lord, our God, deliver (me and my loved ones) from the hand of the enemy “- from any plot or plan to derail me, or us from the purpose and plan You have for our lives  – from any lies or deception the world or the evil one would use to oppress us  – from any harm the enemy would seek to do in our lives, whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, financial, political or spiritual – “so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You, alone, Oh Lord, are God. “

My loved ones and I may not have to do battle on horseback with spears, but our enemies are real.   Powers and forces come against our family, our godly values, our emotions, our finances, our life circumstances; all trying to defeat us and make us lose our faith in You.

Your response to Hezekiah was positive and powerful.  I desire the same victory You gave Him, Father:

“The enemy will not enter (my life or the lives of my loved ones) or launch an attack (against us).  The enemy will not come against us with shield or build a siege ramp against us (to gain a foothold in our lives or cause devastation within our walls).  By the way that the enemy came (to oppress us,) he will leave and will not enter.   You will defend us and save us, for Your own sake. “     

You were true to Your Word to Hezekiah, and I know You will be faithful to me.  Father, thank You that there is nothing too big and nothing too small for me to ask of You.   You have the power, the authority and the desire to act.  Thank You that You can do immeasurably more than I can ask, or even imagine, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones – so that You will get all the glory!   Amen

2 Kings 18:13-19:37

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Jun 29 Standing Firm

Lincold stand firmO Father, how Your heart must ache when Your people choose to turn away from You!

You have given me all I need for an abundant life, yet the society I live in, and the one the Israelites lived in, pull people away from You to continually seek after other things.

When the kings over Your people were bad, they worshipped idols in the open, even sacrificing living children by fire.   They fought battles according to their own strength, or bought allies with the treasures from Your Temple.

When the kings were not evil, and led the people back to worship You, they still did not remove the high places and Asherah poles, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

The values and attitudes of their society had become so evil, that this behavior was accepted by even the good kings.  But it was not acceptable by You.  And eventually You sent armies from the east to conquer and capture Your people, taking them into exile.   This was as You had promised.  You outlined their options for blessing and cursing, and they made their choice.

Lord, how often in my life do I allow the ungodly values of my society to sway me, divert me from what You have told me is true?  Often what is evil is accepted as good.  And even the good leaders abide by it as if it were ok.

Do we think as a society that there will be no accounting?  That’s what the Israelites thought.  Didn’t work out so well for them.  And I fear it won’t work out in my times either.

When Your Word spread in Ephesus, people who practiced sorcery burned their scrolls, and idol worshippers stopped buying the silver idols.  As the economic impact increased, so did the opposition!

Society today would also prefer that believers keep their faith to themselves.  When it begins to impact political issues or economic factors, there is friction.

Father, as You have called me to live in the world, You have also separated me, set me apart from it.  Help me understand how to be ”in” the world while being separate from it.  Remind me to question values, holding them up against what Your Word says.  Only then will I know I am on solid ground.

Show me if there is any value or attitude I need to change to be right with You.  And strengthen me to do it; amid, or even against, the pull of society.  Amen

2 Kings 15:17-16:20; Acts 19:13-41

Jun 22 God Delivers

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“Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men and women; protect me from people of violence who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up dissension and war every day.  They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers in on their lips.  Selah”

 

Father, as I think about this, I think of those who have made, planted and exploded bombs to hurt and kill random people, or targeted specific ones.  And those who have taken lethal weapons and randomly attacked people around them.  Some kill themselves in the process; some lay booby traps for even further devastation.  The news reports on them and their stories.

Some have political agendas.  Some have emotional issues.  Some are simply evil, and enjoy the resulting death and destruction.

Making their “tongues as sharp as serpents” allows them to masquerade as “normal” until their deed is carried out.  The poison in their words allows them to fool people around them into thinking nothing is wrong.  Or possibly even lead others into the same darkness in which they operate.  Their lies and deceit create confusion even after the fact, so that truth is hard to discern.

Father, “keep me from the hands of the wicked; protect me from people of violence who plan to trip my feet.  They have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path.” 

“Do not grant the wicked their desires. O Lord; do not let their plans succeed…”

Father, beyond those who would seek to kill, there are those who would delight in keeping me from Your righteous path; from living a godly life.   Those who would enjoy the moral failure of any believer.  Protect me and my loved ones from any who would act or plan to draw us away from You, or cause us to stumble in our pursuit of a closer relationship with You.

Do not allow ego, misunderstanding, or emotions to lead me away.  Do not let me fall into hopelessness or depression that would keep me distant from You.   Protect my mind, my emotions, my body, and my spirit from any and all attacks,

“You are my God!  Hear, O Lord, my cry for mercy.  O Sovereign Lord, my strong Deliverer…”   Amen

Psalm 140:1-13

May 28 Your Protection

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Lord God, thank You for praying for me.  Thank You for looking into the future and identifying “those who would believe in You through their [the disciples] message.”

Thank You for protecting me by the power of Your name because I am Yours.

Thank You for praying for me Yourself, personally; not to take me out of this world, but to protect me from the evil one in this world.   That includes the arrogant who dig pitfalls for me trying to entrap me by their political intrigues, their social agendas, and their false philosophies that are contrary to what You teach in Your Word.

It includes those who would persecute me because they hate You, and those who want to see me wiped from the earth.  And the wicked, waiting to destroy me, my health, my finances, my relationships, and defeat my spirit.  Thank You that You have the power to preserve my life and all these things according to Your love.

When I do not feel strong help me remember Your Word.  Your Word is eternal.  Its promises are true forever.

Just as the earth You created still stands, Your truth still stands.  Your faithfulness and love are steadfast and boundless.  Thank You for the encouragement of Your prayer for me.  And for the protection I have in You.  Amen

John 17:6-26; Psalm 119:89-96

Apr 5 Power in Your Word

directory-466935_640Heavenly Father, thank You for those times I literally cried out to You for You to hear me and come quickly, and You did.

There have been nights like the Psalmist experienced, when in distress over circumstances, I sought You.  I could not see a way out of or through my problems.

And though I had gone to bed, sleep was far from me.  My thoughts would not be still.  With each issue, another failure or complication seemed to pile on until I felt so overwhelmed I did not even know where to start to pray.

It was then that I remembered when in the past, You spoke to me, encouraged me, lifted my emotional distress.   There were literally times when You gave me songs to sing, new melodies and words, to let me know You were with me and things would be alright.

But this time, I did not feel that.  I felt far from You.  And wondered if this could be the end? Had I finally reached a point where You would not come and rescue me, but simply take me home to be with You in heaven?

That actually sounded like it would be the answer to all my troubles.  And while I believe You have shown me I have much to do before I die, there was a sense of relief in that thought.

That’s when it hit me – this thought was NOT from You.

It was from the evil one who would like nothing better than to sideline me – take me out of the game altogether!  If satan can get anyone to believe the lie that there is no hope, it immobilizes and freezes them.  Can even paralyze a Christian’s faith.

So I decided I to begin praying – not about the circumstances that were overwhelming me, but any scripture I could remember:

The Lord’s prayer.  

The 23rd Psalm. 

“I will love the Lord my God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength, and love my neighbor as myself.” 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not die, but have everlasting life.” 

“The Lord your God goes with you to fight for you against your enemies and give you victory!” 

“Jesus wept.” 

The more I quoted Your Word in prayer, the calmer I felt.  And soon fell asleep.

Thank You Lord, for sending Your calm, Your peace.  Thank You for sending sleep.

Thank You that in the morning, things didn’t look as bad as they had the night before!  Thank You that I could see resources and solutions I could not the night before.  In taking those steps back towards You, I felt Your presence once again.  It was not You who had moved.  But in believing a lie, I had.

“Your ways, O God, are holy.  What god is so great as our God?  You are the God who performs miracles; You display your power among the peoples.  With Your mighty arm, You redeemed me!”  Amen

Psalm 77:1-15; Matthew 6:9-15; Luke 10:27; John 3:16; John 11:35; Deuteronomy 20:4

Feb 21 Healing and Forgiveness

Dear Father, even though You no longer walk this earth in the flesh, Your power is still present here.  Each believer has the Holy Spirit and can call on You in prayer to effect Your purposes.

prayer-888757_1920So we bring our loved ones and the people of the earth before You.  We ask for healing from physical ailments.  We ask for an end to suffering, whether at the hands of ungodly persecutors, or by the powers of this present darkness that work for the evil one.

We ask for salvation to come to those who are lost and in need of a Savior.  Lord, be the light in their lives that heals and frees and saves.

Like Jairus, I put my faith in Your power to touch and heal.   You are a God of miracles.

I also realize that when I intercede, or pray on behalf of others, I need to be clean before You.  Unconfessed sin can get in the way of our communication.  David says that his sin caused health to leave his body, guilt to overwhelm him.

I too need to confess my sin before You and ask forgiveness.  Show me the sin in my life Lord, and as I agree with You and turn from it, cleanse me anew.

Thank You for Your forgiveness.  Thank You for purifying me from all sin’s unrighteousness.  Thank You for allowing me, like Jairus, to ask in faith for Your healing.

Help me pray in Your will, because I trust that Your will is the absolute best for each of us.  And help me rest in Your answers and Your timing.  Amen

Mark 5:21-43; Psalm 38:1-22

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

Jan 25 I trust Your perfect plan

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Oh God I praise You that nothing can thwart Your plans!

Although evil is in this world, and is in positions of power and authority, it is nothing compared to You and Your ability to preserve Your will!

I ask for Your will to be done in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones. I trust that Your plan is the best possible. Do not let any powers or influences get in the way of effecting Your will in our lives.

Your purpose was fulfilled in Joseph’s life. And in spite of slavery, prison and the selfishness and greed of Joseph’s brothers, it played right into Your plan to save Israel’s descendants.

Then hundreds of years later, when the new Pharaoh tried to kill the male Hebrew babies, You again had a plan for those children and the peoples’ deliverance. By human reckoning it took a miracle – because a baby in a basket floating in crocodile infested waters would have no chance of surviving. But You provided for this Hebrew baby to be raised in the palace as Pharaoh’s own grandson!

Even when Jesus tried to explain Your majestic plan for the salvation of all people -His disciples didn’t understand it. Peter said to Jesus “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to You!” And Jesus had to rebuke him.

And even after Peter saw Jesus transfigured and walking with Moses and Elijah, and heard Your own voice saying “This is My Son…Listen to Him.” Peter tried to interfere as Jesus was taken into custody in the Garden of Gethsemane. If he had understood the whole plan, would he have done that?

I often cannot make sense of the twists and turns my life takes. There are times I don’t know whether to stay or go, to act or wait. I cannot see how things will play out but I make a plan. But it doesn’t always turn out the way I expect.  How many times do we switch to Plan B, or Plan C, or D,E,F…

How then do I make decisions? Move forward? Live my life?

I echo the words of King David: “For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.”

I too trust in You, the Lord, the Most High. I ask You, Lord God to show me enough light for the next step I am to take. Help me listen for Your response and obey what I hear. And trust that even if it doesn’t make sense to me, it will turn out according to Your plan.

I trust You.  My security is in You – even when nothing I can see supports my feeling safe.

Because of Your unfailing love for me, I can remain at PEACE. Meaning I can: Possess Equilibrium Amid Chaotic Events. You have the power, You have the ability and expertise, You have the sovereignty and the willingness to bring Your plans to fruition.

So let it be done. On this earth.  In this country.  In my life.  Amen

Exodus 1:1-2:10; Matthew 16:21-17:9; Psalm 21:7

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 14 Wisdom over deception

“Help Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men.

 Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue that says, ‘We will triumph with our tongues;’.”

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Arise Lord and protect me from those who malign me and take unfair advantage. Protect me from the deceit of the world, the flesh, and the evil one. “O Lord, You keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.”

You watched over and provided for Jacob when his father-in-law Laban cheated him and changed the terms of his wages ten times. You spoke and told him what to do and protected he and his family.

Father, protect me as well, when others seek to deceive and swindle and mislead me. I turn to You for godly wisdom. Let me listen for Your voice, and understand what You say, trusting Your wisdom over what may seem right by earthly intellect.

You sent Your disciples out “as sheep among the wolves.”  We, Your children, are often referred to as sheep. Thank You for being our shepherd; for watching over us, for driving away predators, for leading us to green pastures and still waters.

Thank You for calming us the way a shepherd does his sheep so we can rest. There are many ”wolves” who seek our destruction, to get us away from the protection of our Shepherd knowing that’s when we are vulnerable.

Proverbs tells us we are blessed when we find wisdom – that it is more profitable than silver or gold and more precious than rubies. Help me discern godly wisdom; not just the logic of the mind or the reasoning of man.

Lead me to seek “the wisdom that comes from heaven: pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” This is the wisdom that leads to righteousness.

Open my eyes to the lies and deceit of men. Let me see Your wisdom in the circumstances of my life. Keep my lips from speaking lies. Help me live honorably as one of Your sheep. Amen

Genesis 31:1-13; Matthew 10:16; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 3:13-15; James 3:17

 

Jan 3 Make me like Noah

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

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

Surely there is as just much, if not more evil and corruption now in my time, as there was then.

When You see the earth once again full of violence, are You saddened and grieved to see how people treat You, Your earth and each other? You have the power to wipe man and beast from the face of the earth again. I am in awe of Your restraint, and grateful You do not.

Show us all Lord, how to draw away from the violent, corrupt, evil influences of the earth and our flesh. Let us see where in our circumstances we are not listening to Your voice or receiving Your instruction. There will be temptations. Even You, when You walked the earth, were tempted. You went into the wilderness where needs became great, yet were not overcome by the devil’s temptings.

We also are tempted: by our own appetites, our desire for fame and for power. Yet You have promised that You will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear – because of Your faithfulness. You will show us a way of escape.

Give us the strength to overcome temptation and take the way of escape. Help us make righteous choices when tempted. Help us remember that when we submit to You, and resist the devil, then he will flee. Let us remember that we are Your children, Your sons, Your daughters; and find strength in that relationship.

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

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

Jan 1 Blessing for the year

Father, in these words of Psalm 1 You tell me how to be blessed.  Help me, my husband, sons, and loved ones obey these words 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.  But let us recognize 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.

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Make 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 21 Shield my head

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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

Dec 10 the lion has roared…

“Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.” 

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Father, You gave a special message to a shepherd, Amos.  Amos questioned “Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey?”  Then answered: “The lion has roared – who will not fear?”  He was telling people there was a real and present danger.

I believe my country is being warned of a real and present danger if the people do not turn back to You.  America has been blessed.  And I believe You will hold it responsible for its national conduct.  Right now, that is not looking good.

You also revealed Your plan to John through Revelation.   He wrote down Your Words to specific churches.  I believe they were real churches at the time, but I also believe the same words are meant for Your church today.

In obedience to these words, would You help me remember that You are my first love; that You come before anything else in my heart.  And let me act accordingly.

Like the church in Ephesus, do not let me tolerate wicked people, or listen to false teachers, or follow the Nicolaitan teachings of lustful immorality and lording church positions and power over lay people.  Give me the strength to “persevere…endure hardships for Your name, and not grow weary.”

Like the churches in Smyrna and Pergamum, let me remember my wealth comes from my relationship with You.  Show me where the evil one is influencing me, or my loved ones so we can reject it.

Increase our faith and our perseverance to remain true to Your Name.  Do not let us be led away from Your teachings by the temptations of Balaam who tempted the Israelites into immorality and idolatry.

Father, thank You for revealing Your plan to Your servants the prophets.  Let me hear and heed these words that are for my life and my country.  Open my ears and my understanding.  Amen

Amos 3:1-15; Revelation 2:1-17

 

Dec 4 God is love – He loves me!

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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.   And 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– 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

Nov 29 Let me be like Daniel

“You are the Living God and You endure forever; Your kingdom will not be destroyed, Your dominion will never end.  You rescue and You save; You perform signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.  You have rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” 

Daniel lion den

O Father, do for me what You did for Daniel!  When forces come against me with contrived plans for my demise, save me from their evil strategies!  Deliver me from whatever punishment they seek to be my end.  Put people in my life who will come to my defense like King Darius, and will pay back my enemies.

Let me be like Daniel.   Make me steadfast in my faith, recognizing You are worthy to be worshipped no matter the social or political climate.  Help me be faithful to pray, trusting in You no matter what.

An interesting point is that Daniel was in his eighties when he was thrown into the lion’s den.  This means that since he was taken captive as a boy in his teens, he never lost faith in You!

He continued his prayer life and godly lifestyle all throughout his years.  He remained a man of integrity and faith.  Even those jealous of his position found him to be “trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent”.  Let this be true of me also.

A time is coming when lawless, ungodly men will be judged.  As the flood destroyed the earth once, You will destroy it again by fire.  But I will see a new heaven and a new earth created by Your hand.

As I await this day I want to live, like Daniel, a holy and godly life.

In the Words of the Psalmist: “Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me…Make Your face shine upon Your servant and teach me Your decrees.” 

Father, this is how I can live the life I desire.  With Your help, I can grow in Your grace and knowledge.  Amen

Daniel 6:1-28; II Peter 3:1-18; Psalm 119:133-135

Nov 28 Santa or Sovereign

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Father, so much of the world looks for a god who is like Santa Clause.

They want someone who is happy, always smiling, and will give them whatever they ask for.  They like to speak of love for everyone and unending tolerance.  But You are a Holy God.  And because of that You will have justice for all or there would be love for none.

King Belshazzar was judged by You, and You removed him from his position of power and took his life.  You judged Your angels, and threw them into hell to await final judgment.  You judged Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed the cities and the evil people who lived there.  And You judged the ancient world when You sent the great flood, saving only eight people to continue mankind.

The Psalmist thought it was time for You to act against the evil people of his day.  They are described as evil-minded, wicked, arrogant, ones who have divided loyalties and violated Your instructions.

And in the hundreds of years since then, there has been so much injustice and evil done in the world, it is hard to believe You will hold off judgment much longer.

But Father, You know how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.”  “You are my refuge and my shield; Your Word is my source of hope.”  You will “sustain me”, “rescue”, “deal with me with unfailing love”, and “give me discernment.”   

As is the psalmist, I am instructed and strengthened by You, I will “obey the commands of My God”, “meditate continually on Your decrees”, and “understand Your laws.”  For truly “I am Your servant…I tremble in fear of You; I stand in awe of Your regulations.”

I believe Your teachings that there will come a day when You will reign over all the earth; and a final judgment will be handed down by Your righteous hand.

Father, until that day, keep me safe within Your Word.  And keep me faithful to You, like Daniel.  Amen

Daniel 5:1-31; II Peter 2:1-10; Psalm 119:113-128

Nov 10 Let Your light shine through us and overcome the darkness

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Father, I wonder if You see in my country what You saw in the rebellion and idolatry of Israel and Judah.

The list You make certainly seems familiar.  Of Israel You said she treated parents with contempt, oppressed and mistreated the defenseless, despised what is holy and desecrated the Sabbath, were liars, murderers, idolaters, lewd, lustful, immoral, killed for bribes, extorted unjust gain, committed robbery; all while forgetting You.  This list looks like the television line up for today’s entertainment!

Your judgment will be just on my country too.

But one thing was missing from Israel.  “You looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before You in the gap on behalf of the land so You would not have to destroy it, but You found no one.”

Father, I believe many today hear the call to build up the wall around our country.  It has been torn down by our sin and our turning from You.  But many are praying for the revival and healing of our country.  We cry out, distressed over the idolatry, over the evil that has taken root here.

We see that what is evil has been called good, and that our leaders and role models have fallen and led us away from You.  Father, I am grieved that my generation has exalted self over You.  And that we have allowed our freedoms to warp our sense of right and wrong.

Father, I pray for Your mercy and for Your healing.  Let Your light overcome the darkness that is covering this land.

I stand in the gap of the broken wall as a guard, sounding the alarm; that the time is late.  And the people need to awaken to the truth.  Your Truth.  And turn away from the evil that entices us.

Father, You have made a way for each person to be reconciled to You.  Sacrifices do not need to be made daily in a temple any longer.  You made the perfect sacrifice, once, for all.

Father, let those of us who pray for our country be enough.  See us, and do not destroy.  Let our fate be different from that of Israel.  Let there be spiritual revival in my country and in its people!  Amen

Ezekiel 22:1-31; Hebrews 10:1-17

Aug 17 Your Name, Your Word is power

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Father, most days I don’t feel like I’m in a battle. I don’t see people who “seek my life”, “plot my ruin”, or who are “hiding nets” and “digging pits” for me. Most of the time I live oblivious to the spiritual battles that go on around me.

But I believe there is a spiritual realm.

You speak about spiritual powers: rulers, authorities, and spiritual forces of evil, which have an effect on this world and on me. It may be a battle to control the minds and hearts of people; or it may affect actual circumstances. There are times I sense such calmness and peace in my spirit that does not come from my circumstances or the people around me. And there are other times when the atmosphere seems charged with negativity, an oppressiveness that feels truly evil; spawning confusion, disunity and fear.

It’s hard to put into words. But in those negative times, the waves of oppression are dispelled by calling on Your name: Lord Jesus Christ. I can speak scripture and am encouraged, strengthened by the power in it, as if I am wielding a sword, cutting through the darkness around me. It may seem the opposition is coming from a person or circumstance. Still, I do not pray against that person or circumstance, but against the power using or controlling them or it.

“Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.” Psalms like this one help me actually visualize what I cannot see in this battle, which takes place in the spiritual realm.

I can see You, Father, answering my cry, sending help to take up weapons against this enemy power. You pick up Your giant shield, strap on Your belt holding Your sword. You swing Your spear and javelin back and forth to ward off the enemy while advancing to my aid. These picture words help me “see” the fight that is before me, taking place in a realm I cannot yet see.

“May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away”.

There is a process of removing the dry, scaly outer husks of grain after it’s been harvested. For the grain to be usable, this casing must be separated from it. Pounding the harvested grain breaks the hull. Then the sifter tosses the grain up into a light wind and the seed, the heavier, edible grain, falls free from the outer hull. The breeze blows this outer piece, the chaff, aside, so the grain can be collected for food.

So now I can imagine these spiritual enemies, these powers that come against me, as the lightweight waste material, being blown away, tossed, whirled away from me, driven with the force of a powerful wind from You and Your angels.

“May their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.”

When a path is dark, I usually move more slowly to be safe. And if it is slippery, I go even slower to keep from falling; trying to plant every step. So I can see the evil enemy fumbling, slipping, falling, being hurt and defeated on a dark, slippery path because Your angels are pursuing them, chasing them down.

“May the net they hid entangle them.”

I can visualize the enemy placing a net so carefully to trap me, but then getting confused, turned around, falling into it themselves, becoming tangled in the cords and held fast. Or running blindly to escape Your attack and falling into the very pit they have dug to entrap me.

When I picture these scenes as I pray, I join the battle. I feel Your power and the defeat of the enemy. Thank you for the peace You bring with Your victory! “Who is like You”? There is none. I rejoice in You! Amen

Psalm 35:1-10

July 9 You are my Refuge

“Lord my God, I take refuge in You; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.”

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Father, I don’t use the word ‘refuge’ too often. But from the time I was young, I remember hearing about ‘refugees’ escaping other countries because the circumstances they lived in were so bad they had to flee to even survive. Some came on boats with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They had no food, no other clothing, no source of help. But they believed if they could only reach America, there would be hope and the possibility of a new, safe, good life.

So a ‘refuge’ is the place they go. It is the place where there is safety, protection, relief, shelter, help, provision.   It allows security from the pursuit of danger or trouble. So as these people fled the threats of their government and political and physical danger to find refuge in America, so I can come to You to find relief from the onslaught of attacks against me.

The flesh, the world and the evil one are all influences that war against Your wisdom, Your plan and Your purpose for my life. So I ask You to come to my aid. Defend me against all that seeks to destroy me, my godly relationships, my adoration and worship of You, my ministry in Your name, and my freedom to read and study Your Word.

The evil one seeks to keep me fearful, discouraged, frustrated, and make my faith in You waver because of difficult circumstances. He desires my financial ruin, the destruction of my marriage, the smearing of my reputation, and personal moral failure. The enemy is always crouching at my door, waiting to devour me.

So I ask, “Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies… O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart…You will not back down from the fight, but will sharpen Your sword; and will bend and string Your bow. You have prepared deadly weapons; and have made ready Your flaming arrows.”

And “I will give thanks to You because of Your righteousness and will sing praise to Your name: The Lord Most High.” Thank You for being my refuge; for delivering me from the hand of the evil one who comes to harm, kill, and destroy.

You are more powerful than anything he can bring against me. You are more powerful than all the world can throw at me, or even that my flesh can tempt me with. I trust in You. You are my refuge. Amen

Psalm 7:1-17

 

June 29 Standing firm

Lincold stand firmO Father, how Your heart must ache when Your people choose to turn away from You!

You have given me all I need for an abundant life, yet the society I live in, and the one the Israelites lived in, pull people away from You to continually seek after other things.

When the kings over Your people were bad, they worshipped idols in the open, even sacrificing living children by fire.   They fought battles according to their own strength, or bought allies with the treasures from Your Temple.

When the kings were not evil, and led the people back to worship You, they still did not remove the high places and Asherah poles, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

The values and attitudes of their society had become so evil, that this behavior was accepted by even the good kings. But it was not acceptable by You. And eventually You sent armies from the east to conquer and capture Your people, taking them into exile.   This was as You had promised. You outlined their options for blessing and cursing, and they made their choice.

Lord, how often in my life do I allow the ungodly values of my society to sway me, divert me from what You have told me is true? Often what is evil is accepted as good. And even the good leaders abide by it as if it were ok.

Do we think as a society that there will be no accounting? That’s what the Israelites thought. Didn’t work out so well for them. And I fear it won’t work out in my times either.

When Your Word spread in Ephesus, people who practiced sorcery burned their scrolls, and idol worshippers stopped buying the silver idols. As the economic impact increased, so did the opposition!

Society today would also prefer that believers keep their faith to themselves. When it begins to impact political issues or economic factors, there is friction.

Father, as You have called me to live in the world, You have also separated me, set me apart from it. Help me understand how to be ‘in’ the world while being separate from it. Remind me to question values, holding them up against what Your Word says. Only then will I know I am on solid ground.

Show me if there is any value or attitude I need to change to be right with You. And strengthen me to do it, amid, or even against, the pull of society. Amen

2 Kings 15:17-16:20; Acts 19:13-41

June 26 You are my God

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“Praise be to You Lord! You are my Rock. You train my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” And I am in a battle Lord. A battle between good and evil rages in my country, my society, and even in myself. Help me stand firm for godly values amidst the onslaught of evil influences that elevate greed, selfishness, lust, envy, pride, laziness, murder, and all sorts of immorality.

“You are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. My shield, in whom I take refuge…Part the heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightening and scatter the enemies; shoot Your arrows and rout them. Reach down Your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.”  

Father, You never promised I would not have to face difficulties, but You have promised to always be with me. You have said “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you…”. Help me take hold of Your hand and stand strong against the rushing waters the enemy sends to sweep me off my feet. Let me see through the veil of lies and deceit the enemy would use against me.

Make my sons “like well-nurtured plants”.   As plants need water, light and soil, let them grow strong and walk in the light of the “Son”.   Let them be watered by the Holy Spirit to revive and refresh them with Living Water. Give them a rich faith to nourish and feed them so they will produce fruit in season as a fruitful vine in Your care. Father, prune them to increase their fruitfulness so their lives bring honor and glory to You.   Make “my daughters like pillars”: strong and straight, beautiful to adorn a palace, of resilient character to stand for and display godly values.

Father, in rescuing me, You have “filled my barns with every kind of provision.” You know what I need to meet the coming challenges You allow into my life. Meet those needs in a way that I know without a doubt that You have done it.

Prepare me to face challenges in faith and strength of character so I will be a strong witness for You. Meet my physical and economic needs. Bless my household out of Your abundant provision.   Show me how to share with others from the bounty You provide for me.

You have my thanks and my praise. “I will sing a new song to You.” You are my God. And I am blessed. Amen

Psalm 144:1-15; Isaiah 43:1-13

June 23 Strengthen me

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“Lord, I call to You; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to You.”

“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

My mouth so often gets me into trouble. I speak before I think. Sometimes I hurt the ones I love. Sometimes my mouth leads me into gossip, or even lies to make myself look better in the eyes of others. Sometimes I reveal too much to people who don’t understand or appreciate it, like casting “pearls before swine”.

Instead, I would prefer to use my words to bless, encourage, teach, and show I care. Help me measure out my words like precious commodities. Teach me to take time to think before I rush into spilling out whatever is on my mind. Especially when I am upset, Lord, it is hard keep my mouth shut, instead of sharing my pain, frustration, or anger. Remind me I can come to You with anything and everything. You are the One who can offer healing, encouragement, and restoration better than anyone else.

Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. Keep me from the snares they have laid before me, from the traps set by evildoers. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.”

Father, if there is a lure, remove the worm and reveal the hook so I will not be caught and reeled in like a fish caught on a line. If there are hidden nets or snares, show me the truth behind the lies and deceit that would coax me into the trap.

Lord, I know there are times when the evil one is out to derail me. But there are also times when my own flesh and the world’s desires tempt me into things I should not be involved with. Father, keep me from those things too. Do not let me even toy with the thought of wanting them, or thinking I deserve them, or thinking I can get away with having them. I have heard that voice in my head tempting me, trying to justify behavior I know is wrong.

Strengthen me with Your power: in my thoughts, my words and my actions. In You, I take refuge! You are my Sovereign Lord, and my eyes are fixed on You! Amen

Psalm 141:1-10

June 22 God Delivers

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“Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men and women; protect me from people of violence who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up dissension and war every day. They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers in on their lips. Selah”

 

 

Father, as I think about this, I think of those who have made, planted and exploded bombs to hurt and kill random people, or targeted specific ones. And those who have taken lethal weapons and randomly attacked people around them. Some kill themselves in the process; some lay booby traps for even further devastation. The news reports on them and their stories. Some have political agendas. Some have emotional issues. Some are simply evil, and enjoy the resulting death and destruction.

Making their “tongues as sharp as serpents” allows them to masquerade as ‘normal’ until their deed is carried out. The poison in their words allows them to fool people around them into thinking nothing is wrong. Or possibly even lead others into the same darkness in which they operate. Their lies and deceit create confusion even after the fact, so that truth is hard to discern.

Father, “keep me from the hands of the wicked; protect me from people of violence who plan to trip my feet. They have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path.”

“Do not grant the wicked their desires. O Lord; do not let their plans succeed…”

Father, beyond those who would seek to kill, there are those who would delight in keeping me from Your righteous path; from living a godly life. Those who would enjoy the moral failure of any believer. Protect me and my loved ones from any who would act or plan to draw us away from You, or cause us to stumble in our pursuit of a closer relationship with You.  Do not allow ego, misunderstanding, or emotions to lead me away. Do not let me fall into hopelessness or depression that would keep me distant from You.   Protect my mind, my emotions, my body, my spirit from any and all attacks, 

“You are my God! Hear, O Lord, my cry for mercy. O Sovereign Lord, my strong Deliverer…”  Amen

Psalm 140:1-13

 

 

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.

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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

Jan 14 Wisdom over Deception

deceive-1299043_1280“Help Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue that says, ‘We will triumph with our tongues;’.” Arise Lord and protect me from those who malign me and take unfair advantage. Protect me from the deceit of the world, the flesh, and the evil one. “O Lord, You keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.”

You watched over and provided for Jacob when his father-in-law Laban cheated him and changed the terms of his wages ten times. You spoke and told him what to do and protected he and his family. Father, protect me as well, when others seek to deceive and swindle and mislead me. I turn to You for godly wisdom. Let me listen for Your voice, and understand what You say, trusting Your wisdom over what may seem right by earthly intellect.

You sent Your disciples out “as sheep among the wolves”. We, Your children, are often referred to as sheep. Thank You for being our shepherd; for watching over us, for driving away predators, for leading us to green pastures and still waters. Thank You for calming us the way a shepherd does his sheep so we can rest. There are many ‘wolves’ who seek our destruction, to get us away from the protection of our Shepherd knowing that’s when we are vulnerable.

Proverbs tells us we are blessed when we find wisdom – that it is more profitable than silver or gold and more precious than rubies. Help me discern godly wisdom; not just the logic of the mind or the reasoning of man. Lead me to seek “the wisdom that comes from heaven: pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” This is the wisdom that leads to righteousness.

Open my eyes to the lies and deceit of men. Let me see Your wisdom in the circumstances of my life. Keep my lips from speaking lies. Help me live honorably as one of Your sheep. Amen

Genesis 31:1-13; Matthew 10:16; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 3:13-15; James 3:17

 

Jan 3 Make me like Noah

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

Surely there is as just much, if not more evil and corruption now, in my time, as there was then. When You see the earth once again full of violence, are You saddened and grieved to see how people treat You, Your earth and each other? You have the power to wipe man and beast from the face of the earth again. I am in awe of Your restraint, and grateful You do not.

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

Show us all Lord, how to draw away from the violent, corrupt, evil influences of the earth and our flesh. Let us see where in our circumstances we are not listening to Your voice or receiving Your instruction. There will be temptations. Even You, when You walked the earth, were tempted. You went into the wilderness where needs became great, yet were not overcome by the devil’s temptings.

We also are tempted: by our own appetites, our desire for fame and for power. Yet You have promised that You will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear – because of Your faithfulness. You will show us a way of escape.

Give us the strength to overcome temptations, and take the way of escape. Help us make righteous choices when tempted. Help us remember that when we submit to You, and resist the devil, then he will flee. Let us remember that we are Your children, Your sons, Your daughters; and find strength in that relationship.

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

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

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 4 God is love – He loves me!

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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

Nov 28 Santa or Sovereign

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Father, so much of the world looks for a god who is like Santa Clause.

They want someone who is happy, always smiling, and will give them whatever they ask for. They like to speak of love for everyone and unending tolerance. But You are a Holy God. And because of that You will have justice for all or there would be love for none.

King Belshazzar was judged by You, and You removed him from his position of power and took his life. You judged Your angels, and threw them into hell to await final judgment. You judged Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed the cities and the evil people who lived there. And You judged the ancient world when You sent the great flood, saving only eight people to continue mankind.

The Psalmist thought it was time for You to act against the evil people of his day. They are described as evil-minded, wicked, arrogant, ones who have divided loyalties and violated Your instructions. And in the hundreds of years since then, there has been so much injustice and evil done in the world, it is hard to believe You will hold off judgment much longer.

But Father, You know how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment”. “You are my refuge and my shield; Your Word is my source of hope.” You will “sustain me”, “rescue”, “deal with me with unfailing love”, and “give me discernment”.  

As is the psalmist, I am instructed and strengthened by You, I will “obey the commands of My God”, “meditate continually on Your decrees”, and “understand Your laws”. For truly “I am Your servant…I tremble in fear of You; I stand in awe of Your regulations.” I believe Your teachings that there will come a day when You will reign over all the earth; and a final judgment will be handed down by Your righteous hand.

Father, until that day, keep me safe within Your Word. And keep me faithful to You, like Daniel. Amen

Daniel 5:1-31; II Peter 2:1-22; Psalm 119:113-128

Nov 26 Teach me

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Father, thank You for Peter’s reminder that as the end approaches, believers must be earnest in prayer, share Your deep love with others, and use our Spiritual gifts. Some of these sound so easy. None of them are. I can’t do any of them without Your help.

What I can do is come to You in prayer. You help me in so many ways. I love my conversations with You! Sometimes I feel closer to You when I walk around the lake, or through the trees, or can see the mountains. When I am surrounded by Your amazing creation, You often give me a word of instruction or encouragement. You have taught me things by watching geese flying above, or ducks feeding in the pond, or sunlight shining through dark clouds. You have shown me how to be humble through the faces of blossoms that track the sunlight across the sky, or sunflowers that have heads so heavy with seed that they bend low.

It is so easy to praise You in the presence of the beauty of Your creation, and when things are going well. But rejoicing in suffering is harder to do. Sometimes, my side of the conversation is sobbing and tears. It is anxious pleading with pain. You reach out to me then too. There is nothing You cannot handle. There is nothing too big or too small to bring to You. Thank You for this life-saving and life-giving privilege of prayer.

Father, teach me how to show Your great love to others. It feels easy to do with strangers. Kindness to a stranger is short-lived. Help me to be loving and forgiving and hospitable to those I know. Show me how to be humble, and not grumble.   And especially to those I know well, give me perseverance to act and speak in love for the long haul.

Lord, lead me in seeking out ways to join You where You are already at work, in ways that will use my Spiritual gifts. Give me the energy and stamina to serve.   Show me how to serve humbly so You get the credit. And let me recognize when to step back so another can use their gifts.

In all these things, let me also be aware of “[my] enemy the devil” who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”. Help me see through his lies and deceptions. Help me avoid his traps and temptations.  Strengthen me to resist him in all his cunning ways. Make me strong, firm and steadfast. Yours is the power forever. I know You will never fail me. Thank You. Amen

I Peter 4:7-5:14

Nov 19 Your Word is wisdom

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Father, James says Abraham’s “ faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did”. I pray that my life and faith would work the same way. I understand that my actions alone will not save me. That salvation comes by believing in You and accepting You as Lord of my life. But I can also see that my actions bear out what I believe.   And since actions are what others can see, others will know my faith by my actions.

In addition to my actions, my words speak a lot about who I am and what I believe.   So set a guard on my tongue! I have learned by experience that words cannot be unsaid. Once spoken, their impact is made. Father, forgive me for the times I have spoken without thinking, and in doing so, caused hurt to someone. Forgive me for the times I spoke after thinking, but was wrong in the way the message was delivered. For it is not only the words chosen, but also the way they are spoken that carries meaning and can cause trouble.

Words can tear down, damage, hurt, berate, mislead, manipulate, and deceive a person. But they can also lift up, encourage, enlighten, inspire, bless and show love.   Father, give me wisdom for how and when to use my words. Help me see through the ‘wisdom’ the world offers. Before I speak or act, let me think through what I ‘think’ I want to say.

The wisdom of the world can come from my own flesh: a kind of ‘sensual wisdom’ based on my own thoughts and feelings. It will produce self-satisfaction and pride, and ultimately, guilt – as James tells me my own desires can lead to sin. Or it can come from others in the world, leading to approval and acceptance from the crowd. It produces disorder, and You have told me I should not be conformed to the pattern of this world. Or it may be demonic wisdom that brings envy, immorality and leads me to worship other things, eventually producing fear.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” This wisdom produces the Fruit of the Spirit in me.

Father, help me listen, and discern Your wisdom from all the others. I desire to hear from and follow You alone. Amen

James 2:18-3:18

Nov 10 Let Your Light shine through us and overcome the darkness

Father, I wonder if You see in my country what You saw in the rebellion and idolatry of Israel and Judah. The list You make certainly seems familiar. Of Israel You said she treated parents with contempt, oppressed and mistreated the defenseless, despised what is holy and desecrated the Sabbath, liars, murderers, idolaters, lewd, lustful, immoral, kill for bribes, extort unjust gain, commit robbery; all while forgetting You. This list looks like the television line up for today’s entertainment!

So Your judgment will be just on my country too.

candles-1645551_640But one thing was missing from Israel. “You looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before You in the gap on behalf of the land so You would not have to destroy it, but You found no one.” Father, I believe many today hear the call to build up the wall around our country. It has been torn down by our sin and our turning from You. But many are praying for the revival and healing of our country. We cry out, distressed over the idolatry, over the evil that has taken root here.

We see that what is evil has been called good, and that our leaders and role models have fallen and led us away from You. Father, I am grieved that my generation has exalted self over You. And that we have allowed our freedoms to warp our sense of right and wrong. Father, I pray for Your mercy and for Your healing. Let Your light overcome the darkness that is covering this land.

I stand in the gap of the broken wall as a guard, sounding the alarm; that the time is late. And the people need to awaken to the truth. Your Truth. And turn away from the evil that entices us. Father, You have made a way for each person to be reconciled to You. Sacrifices do not need to be made in a temple, daily, any longer. You made the perfect sacrifice, once, for all. Let there be spiritual revival in my country and in its people!

Father, let those of us who pray for our country be enough. See us, and do not destroy. Let our fate be different from that of Israel. Amen

Ezekiel 22:1-31; Hebrews 10:1-17

 

Dec 21 Shield my head

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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

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 28

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Father, so much of the world looks for a god who is like Santa Clause.  They want someone who is happy, always smiling, and will give them whatever they ask for.  They like to speak of love for everyone and unending tolerance.  But You are a Holy God.  And because of that You will have justice for all or there would be love for none.

King Belshazzar was judged by You, and You removed him from his position of power and took his life.  You judged Your angels, and threw them into hell to await final judgment.  You judged Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed the cities and the evil people who lived there.  And You judged the ancient world when You sent the great flood, saving only eight people to continue mankind.

The Psalmist thought it was time for You to act against the evil people of his day.  They are described as evil-minded, wicked, arrogant, ones who have divided loyalties and violated Your instructions.  And in the hundreds of years since then, there has been so much injustice and evil done in the world, it is hard to believe You will hold off judgment much longer.

But Father, You know how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment”.  “You are my refuge and my shield; Your Word is my source of hope.”  You will “sustain me”, “rescue”, “deal with me with unfailing love”, and “give me discernment”.   

Instructed and strengthened by You, I will “obey the commands of My God”, “meditate continually on Your decrees”, and “understand Your laws”.  For truly “I am Your servant…I tremble in fear of You; I stand in awe of Your regulations.”  I believe Your teachings that there will come a day when You will reign over all the earth; and a final judgment will be handed down by Your righteous hand.

Father, until that day, keep me safe within Your Word.  And keep me faithful to You, like Daniel.  Amen

Daniel 5:1-31; II Peter 2:1-22; Psalm 119:113-128