Tag: examine

Sept 9 Recognize Truth


O Father. I pray that I will not be “deceived by the serpent’s cunning as Eve was”, and that my “mind would not be led astray from a pure and sincere devotion to Christ.”

The serpent used deception to lure Eve into sin. He approached her boldly; the better to distract her. He called into question what You had really said; the better to confuse her. He cunningly suggested that what You wanted for her was not enough, was even bad for her; the better to entrap her.

Father, help me avoid falling into whatever traps the evil one sets for me. Let me see through them; beyond the lure of the sound of his words, to the hook buried beneath. The answer to this “serpent speak” is “God speak.”

I need to be listening, really paying attention to all that You are saying to me. In Hebrew, the word is sh’ma. It means to listen so closely, so deeply, so diligently, that the words change the listener from the inside out.

The meaning also incorporates a response to those words as being similar to that of a mother who recognizes her baby’s cry and drops everything to respond immediately. Father, let me sh’ma You, listen deeply and respond to You.

For my mind to be guarded enough so that I am “not led away”, I need to take some action myself. You give me and every believer armor: protection against the enemy.

One item is the Helmet of Salvation. I believe that this helmet bears Your insignia so that all who see it will know I fight on Your side. And it protects not only my head, but my mind inside: my thoughts. In doing so, many lies the evil one would have me believe simply bounce off and never even enter my mind.

However, some lies are disguised, or they have a little bit of truth in them, and I listen to them.   But it is a twisted bit of truth, or a half truth. So before I accept it, I need to “take every thought captive to God”.

This means I need to examine it and hold it up to Your truth. When I don’t, problems begin. Even the little things I accept that are not true can pull me away from a “pure and sincere devotion to Christ”. And I may not even realize it until I have strayed significantly off course.

So Father, help me remember to examine any thoughts and compare them to what You have told me. I will use Your Word as a plumb line.   That string with a metal weight at the end is pulled by gravity so that the resulting line is absolutely straight. Anything can be measured against this line to determine if it is “true”, or not.

Your Word is truth. Thank You for Your Word.   Thank You for the Helmet of Salvation. Thank You that when I sh’ma You, I will not be deceived by the serpent or led astray, away from You. Amen

II Corinthians 11:1-4


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 9 The Shepherd’s Rod

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

shepherd rodIn the desert they rebelled again, but You did not pour out Your wrath, “for the sake of Your Name”. Then their children, who You led and protected in the desert, rebelled, not following You; but, “for the sake of Your Name” You preserved them.  Generations later, the nation of Israel continued to defile itself, and You acted to “disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries”.   However, You would not let them inquire of You, and spoke only through Ezekiel the Prophet. It was always Your purpose that they would be Your people and You would be their God. And Your judgment of them was just, as they “passed under Your rod”.

Father, I come now, to seek You, to inquire of You. There are so many things in my life that I need Your wisdom about, Your guidance, Your direction. I need Your strength to bear up under the challenges, and Your peace to sustain me through them. I need Your patience where I need to wait, and Your boldness where I need to act. I want to see where You would have me join You in Your work so I do not spend my energy on fruitless endeavors.

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

This is the same rod of which the Psalmist wrote “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me”. A shepherd uses his rod for many things. One is to have the sheep pass under it. It is a way of counting to be sure every sheep is where it should be and accounted for. It is also a way of inspecting them. As each sheep passes, the shepherd looks to see that each is well fed, rested, and not ill.   As the rod parts their hair, inspection is made of the skin for wounds, parasites, anything that would indicate a need for further care.

Father, I am a sheep of Your pasture. Inspect me. Look for any sign of weakness or disease in me. When so, heal me and I will be healed. Strengthen me with Your Word and with Your presence. Be sure that I am where I am supposed to be. I too, am called by Your Name. So I desire to live in obedience so that Your Name will be preserved and honored. Father, let my life glorify Your name. Amen

Ezekiel 20:1-38

Dec 24 Search my own heart



Father, it is the condition of my heart that You are concerned with.  Through Zechariah, You told the people of Bethel that it was not simply the observance of anniversaries, holy festivals, feasts and fasting, which pleased You.  It is true that those things can be done as acts of worship to honor You, the Lord Almighty.  But they can also be done for the sake of the activity.  You alone know the hearts of the people involved; whether they participate to please themselves or to extol You.

Doing these things with the wrong motives does not please You.  You would rather see Your people:  “Judge fairly, and show mercy and compassion to one another.  Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners or the poor.  Do not plot evil against one another.”

Father, today, I examine myself.  I will search my own heart, look at my motives, and see where I have fallen short.  Father, do not let me simply ‘go through the motions’.  But inspire my spirit!  When I praise You, I will do it with a full and sincere heart.  When I give money or time or energy, I will do it gladly as an act of worship.  When I read Your Word, I will do it with an open mind and spirit to hear and receive what You have to say to me.  When I feast or fast, I will do it not for the recognition of others, but for an audience of One – You.  And whether I celebrate Passover or Christmas, I will do it with sensitivity to the spiritual meaning, not just what history or the world has made it to be.

Father, I love that someone put a melody to the song of Moses and of the Lamb.  It has assisted me in memorizing that verse, and allowed me to use it to give You praise the way it is done in heaven.  But rather than just singing a song, I want to paraphrase to see the meaning so I can understand and agree with each part:

All that You do is great and marvelous!  Amen!

Your character is just and true.  Absolutely!

Every living being on the earth should be in reverent awe of and honor You!

Only You are truly holy

When the time comes that all You have done is revealed, every nation will bow down before You and worship You!

Father, I say an emphatic Amen after each of these statements!  I acknowledge and thank You for Your deeds.  I celebrate and trust the way You do things.  I don’t always understand, because Your ways are not my ways – but I trust them.  And I cannot wait until every knee bows to You, and every tongue confesses that You, indeed, are Lord!  Amen!

Zechariah 6:1-7:14; Revelation 15:1-8