Tag: fear

Sept 23 Do not fear

blue-1238986_640Father, thank You for more wonderful words of comfort and promise.

“Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”

In the Garden of Eden You walked with and spoke with Adam.  There was a close and open relationship between the two of You.  But when Adam sinned, the next time he was in Your presence, he said “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid.”

fear-2083653_640Fear had never been a part of the relationship before.  But now that there was sin, there was fear.  I have lived all my life in a fallen world where fear has a place.

But here, You say to me “Do not fear.”  And the reason: “because I have redeemed you.”  And since Your completed work on the cross, I am in right standing with You.  I am in close relationship with You, like Adam was in the garden before sin.

And those precious words: “I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” bring such intimacy and tender closeness.  You know me.  You call my name.  I am Yours.  I belong to You.

Along with that relationship comes a promise of care and protection.  What confident assurance it gives me!  What a sense of being loved and protected I have with those words!

I am assured that when I face difficult times, when I am in deep waters, when I am in danger of being swept off my feet, You are there with me.  Your presence accompanies me.  And Your promise guarantees me that the waters will not sweep over me and take me away.

I have seen very dramatic pictures of the power of water: destructive, deceptively strong and damaging.  Statistics presented highlight how little moving water it actually takes to unbalance a person, a car, a house; and sweep it away.  But Your promise is sure.   The waters will not sweep over me.

Thank You for Your true promise.  Thank You for the confidence You give me in facing difficulties and hardship; that You are with me.  That I will pass through them.  That I will arrive on the other side.  With You.  Amen

Isaiah 43:1-7

Sept 22 Hope in the darkness

book-1936547_640O Father, these are some of the verses that have come to me in the darkest times.  Times when I truly thought there was no hope.  Times when I was at the end of all I could think to do to save myself from what appeared to be dire and dark circumstances that I believed held no happy ending.

These words are spoken by Your prophet Isaiah who is telling how it will be when the judgment of Israel is over:

 “You are the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth!  You will not grow tired or weary…You give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak…those who hope in You will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.”

What hope that gave me Father – because I was weary and weak.  But because I know You as my Savior, I believed that these verses were true of me.  It’s like You were speaking right into my heart then, and since then.

You were promising to give me Your strength and power.  You promised to renew my strength.  When I felt like I could not take one more step, You empowered me to “walk and not grow faint.”

You told me with Your own words “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my Righteous Right Hand.”

And even more than that, You sang it to me.  I could hear a melody in Your words.  It became a theme that I could sing to myself over and over – Your words of encouragement and empowerment.  I still sing them today.

Thank You Father that Your Word, written down so long ago, has power and influence and still speaks right now.  And not just to me, but to any and all who will seek You there.

And these words of Paul – I love them and have prayed them over and over again for myself, my family, and my loved ones.  I pray them now, again Father, for everyone reading this prayer:

“I give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know [1] the hope to which He has called you, [2] the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people [that’s us], and [3] His incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Father, let these words of comfort and empowerment breathe life and hope to all who need to hear them.

When the evil one whispers “you’ve failed again, there’s no hope,” Let them know what it means to “not fear” and “not be dismayed.”   Give us victory!  Amen

Sept 17 Shalom Shalom

“You will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”

beach-2479493_640

I have always loved  this wonderful promise and beautiful picture of Your provision.  There is also an accountability piece that reminds me that I have a responsibility if I desire that promised perfect peace: to keep my mind focused on You.

I do forget, especially during times of trouble and hardship, to keep focused on You.  I get distracted by worrying over things I cannot control.  Negative emotions draw me deeper into fear and discouragement, the opposite of peace.  But the realization that I am not feeling Your peace pulls me back into this verse, reminding me to refocus my attention.

“You” – the Creator of the universe.  You, who created my mind and who gave me the ability to know You and to trust You.  You: Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, who holds everything together by Your Word.

“will” – absolutely resolve by the force and power of who You are

“keep” – the Hebrew word “natsar” meaning to guard with fidelity, watch over, preserve, maintain, guard from dangers

“peace” – wholeness, wellness, purposeful living in joy, with abundant provision, harmony, safety, security summed up in the Hebrew word “shalom.”

“in perfect peace” – the Hebrew doesn’t say perfect peace.  It says “shalom shalom” or peace peace.  This is a concept of peace upon peace.  It is illustrated by the waves of the Mediterranean Sea that lap up onto the coast of Israel.  It signifies an unending peace like the waves at the shore.

A wave will move up on the sand and crash, spilling out it’s water, stretching up the beach.  It begins to recede back to the water’s edge, but before it reaches the low point, another wave overtakes it and brings it back up onto the beach, covering the sand afresh with the spreading water; one after another, wave upon wave, endlessly.

Your perfect peace is like that.  When I turn away from being consumed with whatever problem I have, and focus on You, You bring a wave of calmness, wholeness, healing to me.  It covers the situation and creates in me that sense of security.

And just when it seems that I may be losing it, exposing my fears again, You send another wave of Your “shalom” over me, to cover me anew.  This continuing ‘re-covering’ is the perfect peace You promise.

Father, thank You for Your wonderful provision.  It doesn’t mean the problem goes away.  But it does mean that You are with me, and that the problem doesn’t get the better of me.  And because my mind is focused on You, I can see more from Your perspective; things, solutions I wouldn’t have thought of.  “I will trust in You forever, for You, The Lord, are the Rock eternal.”  Amen

Isaiah 26:3-4

June 10 I seek Your blessing

child-praying-hands-1510773_640 (1)O Lord, I desire to be blessed by You.  I fear You with respect to the acknowledgement of who You are: Creator, Savior, Deliverer, the one True God.

My attitude towards You is one of reverence and honor.  You are so high above me, yet You invite me to come to You, to approach You, and to be in Your presence.

That in itself is a blessing.  Your thoughts and Your ways are far beyond what I can think or even imagine.

Father, help me know Your ways and walk in them as I live day to day.  Show me how to honor You by living according to Your commands.  Give me the wisdom and discernment to know what is right and honoring to You.

And give me the strength of character to choose the right and turn away from the wrong.  Being obedient to Your ways keeps me under the umbrella of Your protection and blessing.

I ask for Your blessing all the days of my life.  For protection, prosperity, purposeful living in joy, health, wholeness, security – summed up in the word “shalom”: peace.  Thank You for Your shalom, for Your “peace.”   Amen

Psalm 128:1-6

Mar 10 Fear or Faith

fear-441402_640Ten said No.

Two said Go!

Interesting Lord, that only two of those who went to see the goodness of the land You promised to give the Israelites, had the faith to take You at Your word and go forward to take possession of it.

The other ten saw the goodness, but they also saw the size of those living there.  They could have compared the size of the enemy to the size of their God – who had delivered them from the entire Egyptian Army!  And brought them through the desert!  And who fed them every day, a miraculous food they had never seen, that came from nowhere! And Who was leading them with an awesome pillar of cloud by day and fire by night!

But instead, they focused on themselves.  They compared the size of their perceived “enemy” to their own puny, whiny selves, and were filled with fear and dread.  Even worse, they spread fear, discouragement and rebellion to the people!

What a typical human response.  How many times have I looked at my own circumstances, and figured out that I couldn’t win?  Forgetting that I can call on You as my ally – the One who can do miracles!  The One who keeps His promises!   The One who is faithful to His Word!

Forgive me Lord, for giving up before the battle.  Especially when I haven’t even called on You, trusting in faith, believing that You could and You would make a difference.  Forgive me when I focus on the challenges before me instead of the ally standing beside me!

I desire to be like Caleb and Joshua who said GO!  They compared the size of their enemy not to themselves, but to their Great God!

Let me see Your promises to me for all the blessing they are!  Let me see that the future You have planned for me is exceedingly good.  Lead me into my promised land and help me take it.

Do not let me disobey and rebel.  Do not let my fear get the better of me and keep me away.

Let me realize that when You are with me, there is no protection for the enemy!  Help me take possession of all You have for me.  I want to live in my Promised Land!  Amen

Numbers 14:1-38

Feb 7 God-given gifts

positive-1136861_640Lord God, You tell me that the kingdom of heaven is like a master who entrusts his servants with talents, then returns to receive their earnings.

I desire to be a good and faithful servant and to return to You more than was given me.  Yet I have always feared I would be the one who returned to You, only Your original investment.

By nature, I am not a risk taker.  I have a fear of losing what I have, or having it taken from me.  So I typically behave conservatively so as to not risk loss.  It seems to be a safe method of operation that has helped me maintain a prudent life.

However, I am beginning to see that what You have given me: the gifts entrusted to me, are not for me to hoard or hide.  They were given for the purpose of sharing; and in that sharing, a multiplication of blessing takes place.

I so want to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  And it is occurring to me that in order for that to happen, I need to step out of my safety zone where I am comfortable, and take some risk.

It is something I do not do easily.  And I will need to rely on You for encouragement and even some daring.  But I can be reassured by Your words in I Timothy 1:7  ”God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind.”

And I can know that when I am obedient, You will protect me.  Regardless of the outcome, You will never leave me.

Please help me overcome my fears of being ridiculed, shamed, making the wrong choice, or disappointing You.

Help me recognize the next opportunity You place in my path.  And help me learn to let go of and use Your gift so it can multiply the blessing to myself and others, and please You: a win, win, win!

Thank You for Your words penned by David, which I echo as my prayer:

“In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in Your righteousness.  Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.  Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me. 

Free me from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge.  Into Your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth. . . I trust in You!  I will be glad and rejoice in Your love…”  Amen

Matthew 25:14-30; Psalm 31:1-7

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

Sept 23 Do not Fear

blue-1238986_640Father, thank You for more wonderful words of comfort and promise:

“Do not fear

for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”

fear-2083653_640In the Garden of Eden You walked with and spoke with Adam.  There was a close and open relationship between the two of You.  But when Adam sinned, the next time he was in Your presence, he said “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid.”

Fear had never been a part of the relationship before.  But now that there was sin, there was fear.  I have lived all my life in a fallen world where fear has a place.

But here, You say to me “Do not fear”.  And the reason: “because I have redeemed you”.   And since Your completed work on the cross, I am in right standing with You.  I am in close relationship with You, like Adam was in the garden before sin.

And those precious words: “I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” bring such intimacy and tender closeness.  You know me.  You call my name.  I am Yours.  I belong to You.

Along with that relationship comes a promise of care and protection.  What confident assurance it gives me!  What a sense of being loved and protected I have with those words!

I am assured that when I face difficult times, when I am in deep waters, when I am in danger of being swept off my feet, You are there with me.  Your presence accompanies me.  And Your promise guarantees me that the waters will not sweep over me and take me away.

Recently I have seen very dramatic pictures of the power of water: destructive, deceptively strong and damaging.  Statistics presented highlight how little moving water it actually takes to unbalance a person, a car, a house; and sweep it away.  But Your promise is sure.   The waters will not sweep over me.

Thank You for Your true promise.  Thank You for the confidence You give me in facing difficulties and hardship; that You are with me.  That I will pass through them.  That I will arrive on the other side.  With You.  Amen

Isaiah 43:1-7

Sept 19 “This is the way…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 30:15-21

Sept 17 Shalom Shalom

beach-2479493_640

“You will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”

I have always loved this wonderful promise and beautiful picture of Your provision.

There is also an accountability piece that reminds me that I have a responsibility if I desire that promised perfect peace: to keep my mind focused on You.

I do forget, especially during times of trouble and hardship like this cancer, to keep focused on You. I get distracted by worrying over things I cannot control. Negative emotions draw me deeper into fear and discouragement, the opposite of peace.

But the realization that I am not feeling Your peace pulls me back into this verse, reminding me to refocus my attention.

“You” – the Creator of the universe. You, who created my mind and who gave me the ability to know You and to trust You. You: Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, who holds everything together by Your Word.

“will” – absolutely resolve by the force and power of who You are

“keep” – the Hebrew word “natsar” meaning to guard with fidelity, watch over, preserve, maintain, guard from dangers

“peace” – wholeness, wellness, purposeful living in joy, with abundant provision, harmony, safety, security summed up in the Hebrew word “shalom.”

“in perfect peace” – the Hebrew doesn’t say perfect peace. It says “shalom shalom” or peace peace. This is a concept of peace upon peace. It is illustrated by the waves of the Mediterranean Sea that lap up onto the coast of Israel. It signifies an unending peace like the waves at the shore.

A wave will move up on the sand and crash, spilling out it’s water, stretching up the beach. It begins to recede back to the waters’ edge, but before it reaches the low point, another wave overtakes it and brings it back up onto the beach, covering the sand afresh with the spreading water; one after another, wave upon wave, endlessly.

Your perfect peace is like that. When I turn away from being consumed with whatever problem I have, and focus on You, You bring a wave of calmness, wholeness, healing to me.

It covers the situation and creates in me that sense of security. And just when it seems that I may be losing it, exposing my fears again, You send another wave of Your “shalom” over me, to cover me anew. This continuing “re-covering” is the perfect peace You promise.

Father, thank You for Your wonderful provision.

It doesn’t mean the problem goes away. But it does mean that You are with me, and that the problem doesn’t get the better of me. And because my mind is focused on You, I can see more from Your perspective; things, solutions I wouldn’t have thought of.

“I will trust in You forever, for You, The Lord, are the Rock eternal.” Amen

Isaiah 26:3-4

June 1 Help me act in belief

“Stop doubting and believe.”

quote-1444099_1280

Often I have heard that people think being a Christian means checking your brain at the door and believing in something blindly.   But Jesus, here You give me an example of just the opposite.

You say to Thomas (who has been forever since called ‘Doubting Thomas’) to ‘stop doubting and believe’. But You were not just a voice in the dark asking him to believe blindly. You were standing right in front of him. You were offering to let him see and touch and feel what was real. You provided proof for his faith.

But it is often the same with me. I can be stubborn in my reluctance to go forward out of fear of failure or embarrassment or things not working out; even when You are standing in front of me.   You can offer proof to me because You see things I can’t. You already know how things will work out.

Lord, help me take the steps You direct me to take, in boldness. Don’t let me be frozen by fear, or hesitate in half-heartedness. Do not let me doubt Your Word or Your leading. Remind me of Your faithfulness to me in the past.

As You breathed the Holy Spirit on Your disciples, breath a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit on me. Let me be empowered anew by You living in me.

As Thomas responded with belief, it seems he should be known as ‘Believing Thomas’. But I think more people can relate to his position before he saw You. So it’s a good lesson for everyone. Thank You for showing me that I need not doubt. Help me be bold, in belief. Amen

John 20:19-29  

Mar 10 Fear or Faith

fear-441402_640

Ten said No.

Two said Go!

Interesting Lord, that only two of those who went to see the goodness of the land You promised to give the Israelites, had the faith to take You at Your word and go forward to take possession of it.

The other ten saw the goodness, but they also saw the size of those living there. They could have compared that size to the size of their God – who had delivered them from the entire Egyptian Army! And brought them through the desert! And who fed them every day, a miraculous food they had never seen, that came from nowhere! And Who was leading them with an awesome pillar of cloud by day and fire by night!

But instead, they focused on themselves. They compared the size of their perceived ‘enemy’ to their own puny, whiny selves, and were filled with fear and dread. Even worse, they spread fear, discouragement and rebellion to the people!

What a typical human response. How many times have I looked at my own circumstances, and figured out that I couldn’t win? Forgetting that I can call on You as my ally – the One who can do miracles! The One who keeps His promises!   The One who is faithful to His Word!

Forgive me Lord, for giving up before the battle. Especially when I haven’t even called on You, trusting in faith, believing that You could and You would make a difference. Forgive me when I focus on the challenges before me instead of the ally standing beside me!

I desire to be like Caleb and Joshua who said GO! They compared the size of their enemy not to themselves, but to their Great God! Let me see Your promises to me for all the blessing they are! Let me see that the future You have planned for me is exceedingly good! Lead me into my promised land and help me take it!

Do not let me disobey and rebel. Do not let my fear get the better of me and keep me away. Let me realize that when You are with me, there is no protection for the enemy! Help me take possession of all You have for me. I want to live in my Promised Land! Amen

Numbers 14:1-38

Feb 20 In the Storms

i-know-not

Father, so many times I act just like the disciples in the boat during the storm. I choose to focus on the storm around me. In the face of the strong winds, the high waves, the tossing of the boat, I look at the opposition, the circumstances that block my way, and the hopelessness of things turning out right. All the time forgetting Your promises of protection. Even though I know You are there with me, I do not see how You are at work in the situation, and I cry out to stir You to my cause.   “Lord, don’t You care…?”

Many times, I can almost hear You say the same words to me that You spoke then; “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Sometimes You do calm the wind and still the waves. Other times You simply hold me in Your arms while the waves buffet me. Sometimes You inspire me and increase my faith with a vision of future calm waters and blue skies, reassuring me that it will be all right.

Thank You for being with me in the storms. Thank You for speaking to me in songs, scriptures, promises, and visions. Thank You for the truths You give me in Psalm 37: “My salvation comes from the Lord; You are my stronghold in time of trouble. You help me and deliver me; and save me. Because I take refuge in You.” Amen

Mark 4:35-41; Psalm 37:39-40

Feb 7 God-given gifts

positive-1136861_640

Lord God, You tell me that the kingdom of heaven is like a master who entrusts his servants with talents, then returns to receive their earnings. I desire to be a good and faithful servant and to return to You more than was given me. Yet I have always feared I would be the one who returned to You, only Your original investment.

By nature, I am not a risk taker. I have a fear of losing what I have, or having it taken from me. So I typically behave conservatively so as to not risk loss. It seems to be a safe method of operation that has helped me maintain a prudent life.

However, I am beginning to see that what You have given me: the gifts You have entrusted to me, are not for me to hoard or hide. They were given for the purpose of sharing; and in that sharing, a multiplication of blessing takes place.

I so want to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” And it is occurring to me that in order for that to happen, I need to step out of my safety zone where I am comfortable, and take some risk. It is something I do not do easily. And I will need to rely on You for encouragement and even some daring. But I can be reassured by Your words in I Timothy 1:7 ”God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind.” And I can know that when I am obedient, You will protect me. Regardless of the outcome, You will never leave me.

Please help me overcome my fears of being ridiculed, shamed, making the wrong choice, disappointing You. Show me the next opportunity You place in my path. And help me learn to let go of and use Your gift so it can multiply the blessing to myself and others, and please You: a win, win, win!

Thank You for Your words penned by David, which I echo as my prayer:

“In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in Your righteousness. Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge. Into Your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth. . . I trust in You! I will be glad and rejoice in Your love…” Amen

Matthew 25:14-30; Psalm 31:1-7

Jan 27 I want to obey

bible-380848_1920O Lord, I read about Moses and wonder how he could have backed away from the great opportunity You gave him to be a part of Your miraculous plan. It seems he made every excuse in the book to avoid joining You in the amazing deliverance of his people.

Then I wonder if I have been guilty of the same.

Have there been times when You offered me an opportunity to accomplish something with You and I chose the safer, easier path with no risk? Have You allowed me to be in situations where I could have told someone about who You are, and I chose not to speak? Have there been circumstances when I could have offered to go and do, to act as Your hands and Your feet, but I chose the response that afforded me more leisure?

Have there been occasions when I might have stood up and spoken out for what is right, but remained silent under the socially acceptable guise of being tolerant?

Have there been times when I opted to remain in my comfort zone rather than step out of it in a way that would have honored You?I believe there have been. And ask myself “Why?” Is it that I doubt the power of the God who created the universe? Do I doubt that You will be true to Your Word?

No. I believe it is rather, that I doubt myself. I may doubt that I’m hearing You clearly. Because if not, then I have walked out on a limb that could easily but cut off from under me. Or I doubt my ability to carry through and finish what I start in Your name, bringing embarrassment to both of us. Or I fear it might hold me up to ridicule. So, bottom line, I fear what other people will think about me.

Please forgive me for the times I’ve let You down. Help me be so strong in recognizing that my identity comes from You, and in believing what You say about me, that I am not swayed by fear of what others think of me. Help me recognize the next time You give me an opportunity. And help me be courageous enough to act “I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind.”

Oh Lord, fulfill Your purpose through me! Amen

Exodus 4:1-17; 2Timothy 1:7; Psalm 138:8

 

 

Nov 13 I am in Awe

Father, the city and leaders and people of Tyre had everything worldly possible to bring them success in material possessions and reputation. Yet, they fell. They took pride in their commerce and accomplishments and that pride kept them from worshipping You. They saw themselves as gods. And Your judgment fell on them.

Lord, do not let me think more highly of myself than I ought.   Thank You for Your example of being a humble servant.   As I try to follow Your example, if I ever think too much of myself, refocus me on Your greatness.

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Psalm 111 reminds me that ”Great are the works of the Lord…glorious and majestic are His deeds”. When I ponder all of creation, I am amazed by Your imagination! I am captivated by the diversity in size and color and design! I am overwhelmed by the power of Your mountains and seas and winds.

I love seeing pictures of majestic waterfalls, lush green jungles with brightly colored birds, schools of shiny fish swimming in the sea, brilliant flowers, water-colored sunsets. All this is just a part of what You do. Besides creating and sustaining all this, You have created the intricacies of each human body: from the tiniest of cells to the diversity of faces and fingerprints! And not just bodies, but You know the mind and spirit of each individual on the planet!   You’re indescribable – uncontainable – unfathomable! You blow my mind!

And a wondrous part of who You are is that You do not just set all this in motion and then sit back to see where it goes. You involve Yourself in the life of each of Your precious creations.   You speak, protect, provide, lead, feed, forgive, save. And all that You do is just and right. You have provided these later generations with Your written Word.   It teaches Your truth and Your character so all can know You, and Your faithfulness, Your uprightness and Your salvation.

You say “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. The Hebrew word ‘yare’ translated as ‘fear’ here, is used in this sentence referring to a person in an exalted position: You. Thus, the meaning includes a reverence, a standing in awe, whereby the individual recognizes the power and position, and renders the proper respect. Father, I acknowledge Your power, Your sovereignty; and give You all honor and praise! Let me continue to grow in wisdom. How great and awesome You are! “To You belongs eternal praise”! Amen

Ezekiel 27:1-28:19; Psalm 111:1-10

Nov 12 Make my Faith Light shine!

black-1837288_640Father, if faith is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”, I know that I have faith! There are things in my life that I have no control over, and no way of making happen, but I trust that You will work it all out for the best. And that means according to Your will. Still, I would ask You to increase my faith.

As Paul says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command”. And although I do not have a scientific understanding of exactly how that occurred, it has never been a stumbling block for me. I simply know that it was all accomplished by You – in Your way, in Your time, by Your Word and hand. Since I can trust You with the creation and the running of the entire universe, I can surely trust You with what goes on in my little corner of the world.

Some had to not only believe, but act on their faith. Noah was obedient in building an ark. No small feat for a five hundred year old! And Abram had to leave his father’s family and go to a far-off unknown place, trusting the promise You had given him. As I think of having to do either of these things, I wonder if my faith would be as strong.

There have been times when I felt You leading me to an opportunity. But because of fear, I hesitated and missed out on some of them. I could not see past the possibility of failure and ridicule to muster the boldness to act. And as a result, satan has used those times to make me feel guilty and defeated over the years, and waste my time wondering what might have been.

Till my twenties I moved almost every year of my life. I trusted that my parents would provide for me wherever we went. But I also learned a wonderful lesson. No matter where we went, You were always there. There were always new and beautiful sights: examples of the marvelous diversity of Your creation. There were always other believers to fellowship with. There was always a church to help me learn more about You. And when I prayed, whether in Arkansas, Texas, New Jersey, Kansas, Arizona or France, You always answered. What a faith building experience!

Although at this point in my life, I enjoy the stability of being in one location; I would follow You anywhere. Like the song says: ‘This world is not my home, I’m just a passin through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.’

Father, help me continue to believe, trust, and have faith in You for the things that are important. Help me let go of worry, guilt or shame when I don’t see things working out. Make me bold when I need to act. Let it be said of me that I lived a life of faith in You. Amen

Hebrews 11:1-16

Sept 23 “Do Not Fear…”

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Father, thank You for more wonderful words of comfort and promise.

“Do not fear

for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”

In the Garden of Eden You walked with and spoke with Adam. There was a close and open relationship between the two of You. But when Adam sinned, the next time he was in Your presence, he said “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid.” Fear had never been a part of the relationship before. But now that there was sin, there was fear. I have lived all my life in a fallen world where fear has a place.

But here, You say to me “Do not fear”. And the reason: “because I have redeemed you”.   And since Your completed work on the cross, I am in right standing with You. I am in close relationship with You, like Adam was in the garden before sin. And those precious words: “I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” bring such intimacy and tender closeness. You know me. You call my name. I am Yours. I belong to You.

And along with that relationship comes a promise of care and protection. What confident assurance it gives me! What a sense of being loved and protected I have with those words! I am assured that when I face difficult times, when I am in deep waters, when I am in danger of being swept off my feet, You are there with me. Your presence accompanies me. And Your promise guarantees me that the waters will not sweep over me and take me away.

Recently I have seen very dramatic pictures of the power of water: destructive, deceptively strong and damaging. Statistics presented highlight how little moving water it actually takes to unbalance a person, a car, a house; and sweep it away. But Your promise is sure.   The waters will not sweep over me.

Thank You for Your true promise. Thank You for the confidence You give me in facing difficulties and hardship; that You are with me. That I will pass through them. That I will arrive on the other side. With You. Amen

Isaiah 42:1-7

Sept 19 “This is the way…”

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 30:15-21

Mar 29 I do what I see You do

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Dear Lord, when I read this report of You being asleep in the boat when the squall came up, it seemed so amazing. Instead of relaxing, people usually get more and more anxious when things intensify and we begin to feel out of control. That may be the key – You knew that nothing could happen that was out of Your control!

But why didn’t the disciples know that?? They had witnessed You performing many, many miracles. Not only healing the sick and lame and blind, but raising people from the dead! So if they had listened to Your words and trusted them, it seems they would have had more confidence in the outcome, squall or no.  Your words said, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake”.

Lord, I want to be so confident with You that when You tell me, ‘Let’s do something’ I will trust You so completely that there is no question of whether it will be accomplished or not.

I want to do what I see You doing.   If You are resting, that’s my cue that I can rest too. Because if it doesn’t bother You, and I am with You, then it shouldn’t bother me.

So, even in the hard part, the storm, if they had asked back then WWJD?   What would Jesus do? The answer was right in front of them: sleep! So when the hardest part comes, yes, I want to be sure I’m doing my part. But rather than quake with fear, or anxiously try and control the outcome, let me do what I see You doing, and be so confident in my trusting, that I become calm, and at rest.

Bottom line: if I am with You, it will all work out. Either I will reach the destination with You, or I will perish: in which case I will also be with You. It’s a win-win! Amen

Luke 8:22-26

 

Mar 13 Egypt or wilderness?

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The Israelites. For several hundred years they had not been in charge of their fate and lived as slaves. They never really had the freedom to choose what to do, where to go, or what to eat. And had no time to worship You, or even think about what their future might hold. All they knew: slavery = more of the same.

And while their freedoms had been stripped away, there was a stability and security in what they had. Barring illness or disobedience, they were provided for, albeit to keep them in working condition for the Pharaoh.

So in this newfound freedom after leaving Egypt, when problems rose, like no food or water for two million people, it was a big deal. And they were not prepared to cope. Those things had been provided for them before. And even though their labor had been hard and bitter, it was at least predictable. So during these times, it was so easy for one of them to look back to when there was a bit of security and minimal provision and convince others that what was behind them was preferable to the unknown ahead.

Lord, how many times have I preferred the predictable to the unfamiliar? It takes courage to step out in a new direction, to get up off the couch of complacency.

I go back and forth between disbelief at how the Israelites rebelled against You even in the presence of the observable and awesome miracles; and being able to understand where they were coming from.

Father I pray You would help me be courageous in accepting what comes from Your hand. If it requires change on my part, let me be willing to take the necessary steps without whining and complaining. Remind me of the times in the past when You have rescued, delivered and supported me through difficulties and challenges. Let those memories add to my faith and increase my trust in You.

And I will say, “whenever I am afraid I will trust in You” and “walk before You in the light of life”. Amen

Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 56:3,13

Mar 10 Fear or Faith?

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Ten said No.

Two said Go!

Interesting Lord, that only two of those who went to see the goodness of the land You promised to give the Israelites, had the faith to take You at Your word and go forward to take possession of it.

The other ten saw the goodness, but they also saw the size of those living there. They could have compared that size to the size of their God – who had delivered them from the entire Egyptian Army! And brought them through the desert! And who fed them every day, a miraculous food they had never seen, that came from nowhere! And Who was leading them with an awesome pillar of cloud by day and fire by night! But instead, they focused on themselves. They compared the size of their perceived ‘enemy’ to their own puny, whiny selves, and were filled with fear and dread. Even worse, they spread fear, discouragement and rebellion to the people!

What a typical human response. How many times have I looked at my own circumstances, and figured out that I couldn’t win? Forgetting that I can call on You as my ally – the One who can do miracles! The One who keeps His promises!   The One who is faithful to His Word!

Forgive me Lord, for giving up before the battle. Especially when I haven’t even called on You, trusting in faith, believing that You could and You would make a difference. Forgive me when I focus on the challenges before me instead of the ally standing beside me!

I desire to be like Caleb and Joshua who said GO! They compared the size of their enemy not to themselves, but to their Great God! Let me see Your promises to me for all the blessing they are! Let me see that the future You have planned for me is exceedingly good! Lead me into my promised land and help me take it!

Do not let me disobey and rebel. Do not let my fear get the better of me and keep me away. Let me realize that when You are with me, there is no protection for the enemy! Help me take possession of all You have for me. I want to live in my Promised Land! Amen

Numbers 14:1-38

Feb 7 God-given gifts

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Lord God, You tell me that the kingdom of heaven is like a master who entrusts his servants with talents, then returns to receive their earnings. I desire to be a good and faithful servant and to return to You more than was given me. Yet I have always feared I would be the one who returned to You, only Your original investment.

By nature, I am not a risk taker. I have a fear of losing what I have, or having it taken from me. So I typically behave conservatively so as to not risk loss. It seems to be a safe method of operation that has helped me maintain a prudent life.

However, I am beginning to see that what You have given me: the gifts You have entrusted to me, are not for me to hoard or hide. They were given for the purpose of sharing; and in that sharing, a multiplication of blessing takes place.

I so want to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” And it is occurring to me that in order for that to happen, I need to step out of my safety zone where I am comfortable, and take some risk. It is something I do not do easily. And I will need to rely on You for encouragement and even some daring. But I can be reassured by Your words in I Timothy 1:7 ”God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind.” And I can know that when I am obedient, You will protect me. Regardless of the outcome, You will never leave me.

Please help me overcome my fears of being ridiculed, shamed, making the wrong choice, disappointing You. Show me the next opportunity You place in my path, and help me learn to let go of and use Your gift so it can multiply the blessing to myself and others, pleasing You: a win, win, win! Thank You for Your words penned by David, which I echo as my prayer:

“In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in Your righteousness. Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge. Into Your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth. . . I trust in You! I will be glad and rejoice in Your love…” Amen

 

Matthew 25:14-30; Psalm 31:1-7