Tag: God’s faithfulness

Oct 18 Promises fulfilled

sky-684322_1920Father, part of Jeremiah’s prophecy has already come true. You did indeed send Your people “into the hand of the king of Babylon”. And seventy years later, You did “gather them from the lands where You banished them”. They once again bought and sold fields in the land. Jerusalem was rebuilt. I love the words of Jeremiah’s prayer, and have sung them before: “Ah Lord God, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power – Ah Lord God You have made the heavens and the earth by Your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You…Great and Mighty God, Your name is the Lord Almighty”.

The earth is Your creation. All power and honor and sovereignty is due You, and only You. It is truly the work of Your hand and arm. And there is literally, nothing that is beyond Your ability and power. Nothing is too hard or difficult for You.

And we haven’t even seen all You can do! For part of Jeremiah’s words are yet to be fulfilled. You declared “The days are coming when this city will be rebuilt…will never again be uprooted or demolished”. And although the city was rebuilt when the king of Persia sent the Israelites back, it has been destroyed again and again. And rebuilt.  Also, they were to “live in safety”. But the Israelites have been under the rule of many conquerors since then. Even today, as a formal nation, their neighbors are not on peaceful terms with them, and war is an ever-present concern. So those “days” have not arrived yet.

But Your fulfillment of Your promises in the past assures me that Your promises for the future are true. And that the prophecies You have given will all come true.   One day, “All will know the Lord, from the least …to the greatest.” So in the meantime, I desire to live a life guided by Your instruction. It seems the list of qualities Paul gives for church leaders is a good place to start. Father, help me to be “temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunk or violent or quarrelsome or a lover of money.” If I am drawn away from or drift away from these qualities, rein me back in so I will not be an embarrassment to You.

Thank You, that the Creator, Almighty God, King of the Universe, cares enough to let me know, through Your Word, of Your faithfulness to keep all the promises You have made. And for showing me what is to come. And I thank You for showing me how to live until that time: in great hope and in humble obedience.   Amen

Jeremiah 31:27-32:44; I Timothy 3:1-16

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Sept 13 Even in trials

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Father, whenever I experience trouble let me be like David is here. He is being hunted for his life, yet his words vacillate between his trouble, his faith in You, and praise for You. He has not forgotten the trial, but his focus is more on You than it.

Lord, there are times when I too cry out for Your mercy and “take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed”. There, I know I am safe from any and every trouble that befalls me. You cover me from any danger with Your wings that offer complete and absolute protection. I know I can trust in Your limitless strength and care.

Father, You already know the difficulties I face right now. You see everything. No one is out to kill me as was David’s case. But I face problems just living with people because we are all so imperfect and hard to get along with. I face trials that come with change. Even when it is a good thing, it can be difficult to cope with change.

I have internal struggles: feelings that war within me against what I know is right and just. And I deal with unmet expectations and unfulfilled hopes. Some struggles are more upsetting because they are far beyond my ability to affect, like what’s happening in my nation or the world.

But all these things are in Your hands. None of them are beyond your help and influence. No matter the enemy, no matter the plot they have set against me, ”my heart is steadfast” in You. So like David, I can pray. “I will sing and make music” and praise You. I praise You that there is no other power above You. I praise You for being Sovereign in all things. I praise You that nothing can thwart the plans You have made for me or anyone else.

Father, You are the Lord Most High. There is nothing that can outdo, out power or outlast You. There is no one as faithful as You. So I choose to put my focus on You. I praise and thank You with every breath I take. I choose to breathe in Your peace, Your comfort, Your wisdom, Your love. And I breathe out praises and thanks to the One: Majestic in Holiness, Awesome in Glory, Highly Exalted, my God and my King. Amen

Psalm 57:1-11

Sept 1 Unworthy but loved and blessed

Finally Father, I am to the end of the book of Job where You literally spoke to him. And when he actually beheld You, after all his suffering, and all his questioning, all he could say was “I am unworthy…”

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It is an emotional response from a man at the end of himself, beholding Your immensity and magnificence. But it is also a statement of fact, that is true for me and every one of Your creations. I am unworthy. Unworthy of Your attention, of Your blessing, of Your love. And yet all that I enjoy in my life and in my relationship with You has nothing to do with my worthiness, or my ability to somehow earn anything from You. I am blessed and loved and cared for, because of who You are. Your love transcends my unworthiness. Your faithfulness trumps my undeserving state.

Job follows Your statements of greatness with, “I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted.” And I echo those words, Father.

I know that You can do ALL things. I have no doubt that You can heal all my infirmities. You can take unhealthy tissue and make it whole again. You can heal my relationships and make them god-honoring. You can guide my children into Your wisdom and give them a hunger and thirst for You.   You can bless them with godly mentors and success in all they put their hand to.   You can return the prodigal son to right relationship with You.

Father, I believe that there is nothing in this world, or above it, or below it, that can thwart Your plans. I trust that the plans You have for me and all my family are plans to prosper us and not to harm us, and to give us hope and a future. I know that You are faithful to complete the good work You began in each of us. Even if we have chosen to leave the path You have laid out for each of us, I trust that You will call us back. You know best how to reach each of us. Father, open our ears to hear You, and open our hearts and spirits to desire to obey You.  Strengthen our spirits when our flesh is weak.

I praise You Father, that this power resides in You.   And that in Your love and grace, “You made [Job] prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before…You blessed the latter part of his life more than the first.” Thank You for this example of Your goodness and Your blessing.   Thank You for this story of his faithfulness to You. I pray that I too, at the end of my life, no matter what comes, I will be able to say “blessed be the name of the Lord”. Amen

Job 40:1-42:17

Apr 20 Love and Faithfulness

“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever”

sing of love faith pianoSo many songs have been written about Your love: ‘Jesus Loves Me’ comes to mind. Others are ‘He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane…’ ‘Your love never fails’. So many I could sing for a long time about Your love without even repeating or making up my own. My own songs would reflect how You loved me before I was even born. You loved me growing up, before I even knew You.   Your love protected me and brought me to a place where I understood who You are and what You did for me because of Your love. You love me when I am unlovely, when I behave badly, when I am cross, tired, frustrated, selfish, prideful, totally undeserving of anyone’s love.

“with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations”

There are probably just as many songs about Your faithfulness: ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ ‘Amazing Grace’. But beyond singing about Your faithfulness to every promise You’ve made in Your Word, to Your chosen people, to the prophecies in the Bible; I can tell of Your faithfulness to my nation, my family, to me. You have been faithful when I have not. You have carried and protected my family from tragedy and trouble time and again.

Every single day, I can tell one person an example of Your faithfulness in my life.   I can write these things down, so others can read them when I am gone. I can post them on social media. I can be sure younger people are aware that You love them, and that You will keep Your promises to them too.

Another song says: ‘There is none like You. I could search for all eternity long and find there is none like You.‘ Not in heaven. Not on earth. Not under the earth. No one with Your Sovereignty, or Your Power, Your Authority or Your Compassion, Your Creativity, Your Wisdom, Your Faithfulness, Your Love. None. And I will proclaim it! Amen

Psalm 89:1-13

Mar 27 Not by bread alone…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20

Mar 24 Tracing God’s faithfulness

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Dear Lord, I don’t often take time to look back over my life to see where I’ve been. Or evaluate how I got here. But this is what Moses is doing for these young Israelite people who are about to come into their promised land.

Because their fathers and mothers rebelled against You and died in the desert over the last forty years, it is important that these young people know where they came from and how they got there. Namely, that it was You who delivered them and their parents from slavery, which they probably don’t remember; and led them through the desert, which has been their only memory; and brought them to this place of promise, which they may or may not have been taught was promised long ago to their forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

It is important that they see that You are their Deliverer, and their Promise Keeper, who has brought them out of four hundred years of slavery with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. They need to be aware of the miracles You did to free them from the Pharaoh. One perspective on the relationship is that they need to understand You are a deserving, willing, and capable Bridegroom who has a marriage covenant with them, so they will remain faithful to You. This is difficult for a generation who mostly missed the amazing, miraculous way You interceded on their behalf.

So it impresses upon me now, that I should take time to see where I have come from, where I am going, and how Your hand has blessed me all along the way. So many times You have protected me and helped me through hardship. Recalling those times helps strengthen my faith in You. Knowing how You came through in the past allows me to trust You more now, and be strong in the face of trouble. I once made a time line of how You had impacted my life at crucial points. With my aging memory, it helps to see those times written down, that confirm Your faithfulness to me.

Life can sometimes seem like a desert, a dry time of focusing more on what I don’t have than what I do have. While I do not have monetary riches or fame, I have truly been given what I have needed, not lacking anything. And I can truly say that “You have watched over my journey through this vast desert. You have truly blessed me, and been with me.” It has been over forty years for me. Time to take a moment and give You thanks. Amen

Deuteronomy 2:1-29; especially 2:7-8

 

Mar 14 Be exalted!

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“Great is Your love, higher than the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”

O Lord, Your love and Your faithfulness are hallmarks of Your character. Your love is not just friendship, or fondness as we use the word. It is even more than tenderness or a fleeting feeling of overwhelming affection. It is a boundless, limitless, overabundant, unconditional choice to create, nurture, protect, cherish, treasure, care for, invest in and sacrifice for Your creations.

It is not due to the object of this love. The object (us) is often actually unlovely, unkind, rebellious, demanding, selfish, and undeserving of this kind of love. It is only made possible because of Your Divine nature, the One doing the loving.   I am loved not because I have earned love or because my personality or appearance draw it out, but only because Your very nature pours forth love and lavishes it on me.

When I say “higher than the heavens” it’s a word picture that compares the quality and quantity of your love to something that for me is immeasurable. The attributes of Your love and the amount You have to give are infinitely higher above the farthest reach I can even imagine.
Faithfulness used to be a highly valued trait. Husbands and wives partnered for life. Companies desired long-term employees and provided benefits to keep employees happy.   People formed lifelong friendships. These days it seems to be a fair-weather and fleeting measure of comparative loyalty until something better comes along.

Your faithfulness is another character quality that depends on who You are. You are unswerving in Your loyalty, unshakable in Your dedication, immovable in Your devotion. You are faithful to Your character – Your attributes are true one hundred percent of the time; faithful to Your promises and covenants; faithful to Your children. As far as I can stretch my arms apart, or see from one horizon to the other, and beyond the heights of the sky, I cannot contain Your faithfulness. You are worthy of every ounce of trust and allegiance I am capable of.

You are God Most High. Be exalted! Let Your glory fill the earth! I will praise You and sing of You! My faithful and loving God! Amen

Psalm 57:9-11

 

Feb 13 I will testify and praise!

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How many prophecies fulfilled just in these verses today from Matthew Lord? In so many ways, You made good on Your Word to send a specific deliverer by a specific pre-ordained way: a Savior who would be the Lamb of God and take away the sin of the world, if we would just accept and believe.

These were not easy promises to fulfill. They were quite costly. Jesus paid the ultimate price with His very life, in a painful and torturous way. And even after His death, more prophecies were satisfied.   So many people, so many years, so many ways the plan could miss the mark, be off the prophecy just a bit. But You brought Your plan down through the ages to fruition. You accomplished the saving of man’s soul and his reconciliation to Yourself.

For these reasons, and for Your faithfulness, for Your trustworthiness to Your promises, for Your Sovereignty and power in accomplishing all You set out to do, “I will extol You”! According to a dictionary, that means I will praise You, exalt You, commend, admire and worship You. I will tell others of You with highest recommendations.   “Your praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in You! “

I will invite others to glorify You and lift up Your name with me in song, in prayer, to other believers and to anyone who will listen! I will tell them how You heard my prayers and saved friends and family from illness and injuries, how You protected them from bad decisions and bad people and bad situations. I will share how friends at death’s door were returned to their loved ones, and how in Your mercy, others were spared from terrible pain.

I will let them know that You are in the business of revealing wisdom to me when I ask about making decisions, about how when I didn’t know the way to go and felt trapped, You made a way out of the situation I had never thought of or considered. I will recall times when I was too afraid of what was about to happen, but You gave me peace and the courage to make it through by giving me songs, or visions, or specific scriptures to help me. I will share how there were times when I thought things were going so wrong, but You worked them out and brought blessings out of them I never thought were possible.

These are the things, the testimonies that I have tasted, and have proven over and over again that You are good. Thank You – for being there for me every time I knew I needed You. And thank You Lord for being there for me when I didn’t even know I was in need. Amen

Matthew27:32-66; Psalm34:1-8

Jan 18 Trust in every high and low

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Heavenly Father, thank You that I can trust You through the ups and downs, the highs and lows of my life. There are times when things are going so well I feel on top of the world. And there are other times when it seems as if nothing is going right, and never will. It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything because everything seems to work out wrong and there is no sign that things will change for the better.

Israel’s son Joseph must have thought that when he was first thrown into a well by his jealous and conniving brothers, then sold to slave traders and carried off to Egypt far away from home. He was completely out of control of his own future at that point. But You were in control. And You had a master plan.

I know from scripture how Joseph’s life turned out: all for the good, and for the saving of his family. But I cannot see into the future to know the twists and turns my own life will take, or how it will turn out. And that is the challenge of life here on earth.

There are so many things I cannot control. They become a source of anxiousness, worry, and wringing my hands. Other things, I try to control, but they slip through my fingers like water or sand. They are the source of making plans, and back up plans, contingencies and manipulation; again, stressful. And there are the things that I seem to control and am pleased with, but am misled, because in truth, I am not in control at all. I only think I am.

I could continue to live this misguided life of false security, manipulation and anxiety. But I choose to lay it all down. Father, instead, I choose the peace of giving it all to You. This is where trust comes in. I choose to believe Your Word: that You have a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future, to never leave me or forsake me. And You have proven Yourself steadfast and trustworthy all throughout the ages. You created the heavens and the earth and everything in them and have sustained them ever since. You have kept Your covenants and Your promises to men; every one. You have given revelation and prophecy that so far, has all come true. By Your power, the earth turns and the sun rises every morning.

Just like in Joseph’s life, I trust that You will position me where I need to be, when I need to be there. I trust You to prepare me for what comes next. And to guide me through it by being with me.

You will keep me safe. In You I take refuge. You are my Lord. Apart from You I have no good thing. In You I trust. Amen

Genesis 37:1-36; Psalm 16:1-2; Jeremiah 29:11; Deuteronomy 31:6

Jan 11 Make me like Rebecca

Rebecca at the well painting by Michael Deas  1995

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Oh Father, may I be like Rebekah. For when she heard all that was “from the Lord”, how You had worked to prepare a way for her, she did not delay; but went quickly in obedience, anticipating all You would bring her. When given a choice to go or to stay and wait, she chose to go immediately. She gave up all she knew: the familiarity of family, of people, of a place and a style of living. She set out with a stranger, whom You had blessed and led to her. Give me Rebekah’s courage. Let me be willing to go when You say ‘Go’. Let my faith and trust in You be so strong, it overpowers all other concerns, worries, or obstacles in my path.

 

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

Later, when Rebekah was confused by what was happening to her in pregnancy, she “went to inquire of the Lord”. You gave her an answer and a revelation. May I be like Rebekah in this as well. When I am confused, let me draw close to You and seek Your perspective and explanation. Let me not lean on my own understanding. But give me a fresh understanding of my difficulties and a revelation that directs my path and encourages me in the way I should go.

Like Rebekah, help me place all my sense of security in You. Even when there is no evidence to point to that would give me security by the world’s standards. Even when circumstances seem radically out of control and way beyond my comfort level. In every relationship, every decision, every circumstance, let me turn to You; because You are able and willing, and deserving of my trust. You have promised never to leave me; never to forsake me. You can handle whatever comes. I choose to trust You. Thank You. Amen

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

Jan 6 Choices

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Father, thank You for showing real life examples to teach me how to make choices.

Lot looked with his physical eyes and did not seek Your wisdom in making his choice to move to the well watered land to the east. Often, You give choices and allow me to decide based on my own preferences. I do not always choose wisely. Remind me that when You offer a choice, I can still seek Your wisdom on the matter. Keep me from rushing headlong into decisions based only on what I think I see with my physical eyes. Or on what my flesh leads me to from misguided appetites.

Instead, teach me to see with Your eyes, from Your perspective; not looking only to the immediate appearance of reward. Help me think through and pray through decisions. Especially when they also involve my family, work, relationships, where and how to live.

When my choices take me places where You are not honored, help me recognize the evil around me, and separate myself from it. Give me self-restraint and self-control so I don’t tolerate evil or go along with it. Thank You for reminding me through Precept teachings, that “sin will: take me farther than I ever meant to stray, keep me longer than I ever meant to stay, and cost me more that I ever meant to pay. “

Realizing that choice often means change, help me think through all the consequences of my choice. In considering options, let me ask, ‘Will this draw me closer to God or take me further away?’. And as I move forward, let me be ever mindful of Your voice, trusting that You will guide and protect me.

Thank You also for the example of our father Abram. He heard Your voice and obeyed. He moved even when he did not have the whole picture, but simply started off for the land You would show him. Let me also be obedient without insisting on having it all laid out before me. Help me act in faith when You call. Help me believe and trust in Your promises. Even when You do not act according to my expected or desired time table. Even when it seems like things are not going the way I have prayed they would. Even when it seems worse than at the beginning. Even when I cannot see You at work. I know that Your thoughts are not my thoughts. Your ways are not my ways. And You have the advantage of infinite wisdom over infinite time and infinite sovereignty with infinite power.

Thank You that You teach me through example after example, that I can trust You and that You always keep Your promises. You are Almighty God. And I worship You alone. Amen

Genesis 13:5-15:6; Isaiah 55:8

Jan 4 Promise of the Rainbow

rainbow-436171_1920Father, I have seen rainbows in the sky all my life. They are such beautiful, delicate, ethereal things.   What a beautiful reminder of Your promise to never again curse the ground because of man or destroy the earth by water. We see it and marvel, for it brings us a sense of wonder and security. But for You it is a sign of restraining Your great power, because Yours is the power to destroy all You have created. Even though our actions must bring You great sadness, Your love for us and Your faithfulness is even greater!

I fall so short of living a godly life.   Noah offered You burnt offerings and You were pleased. But You also desire the offerings of a broken spirit and a contrite heart.   Forgive my arrogance, selfishness, pride – those things that keep me far from You. Thank You that You have the power and are willing to forgive my sin and purify me from all unrighteousness. Father, set my feet upon a path that will honor and glorify You

Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to walk the earth without sin to be an example and a Savior for all mankind. Thank You for His teachings found in scripture, and for His healings and miracles. As He healed and gave mercy and relief from distress to the people around Him, You also answer my similar prayers. I so need your mercy and relief from distress. When I am overwhelmed, bring me peace. When I am set upon by evil, give me deliverance and relief.

Help me, O Lord, not to shame You with my words, actions or attitudes. Teach me to live by the words You have written on my heart that show me how to guard my thoughts and my tongue, how to treat others, and be humble. Do not let me be deceived or misled by the evil one, but open my eyes to those lies. The pull of the world and the flesh are strong – help me turn from those temptations and not seek after false gods. Though I do not bow to wood or stone, I can be motivated by wealth or pride, or favor with man.   Let me see beyond the dangling worm, to the hook of the snare that would lead me away from you. Show me the destruction that can come from a seemingly innocent step that crosses the line into sinfulness.

Father, I believe You have set me apart for Yourself, that I am holy. Show me the plan You have for my life. I trust completely that what You have planned for me is the best. Show me the steps I need to take, in order to take hold of that plan.   Shine the Light of Your face on me. Fill my heart with joy. Give me peace. Keep me safe. I trust in You. Amen

Genesis 8:18-9:17; Matthew 4:12-25; Psalm 4:1-8

Jan 3 be like Noah

Lord God Almighty, I know it is only by Your great mercy, and Your steadfastness, holding to Your promise to Noah and the animals, that You do not destroy the earth again by flood. Surely there is as much evil and corruption present now, in my time, as there was then. Surely You must look around and see that the earth is full of violence and are saddened that You created man. It must grieve You and fill Your heart with pain when You 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. And I am in awe, and grateful that You do not.
006-noah-arkFather, for myself and other believers, help us be more like Noah. Let us hear Your voice like Noah did: in a way that we understand who You are and what You are telling us to do. And help us respond as Noah did, in obedience, doing all that You commanded.
Show us, 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 temptation. 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 those temptations, and take the way of escape. Help us make righteous choices when tempted. And to tell the devil to stay away from us. 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.

Instruct us to worship You and serve You. And send Your angels to come and attend us when we are weak and in need.

“You Oh Lord are a shield around me.” If I have any glory it is because you have chosen to bestow it on me. You lift up my head when it is bent over in exhaustion, in shame, in weakness, and let me see Your glorious face. As I cry to You, You answer.

When I lay down it is You who sends peaceful sleep. When I awaken, it is because You have sustained me and protected me throughout the night and have brought me back to experience another day. Help me not to fear the enemies, physical or spiritual, who come against every aspect of my life; who seek to attack my health, my family, my relationships, my work, my attitudes, my spirit. But let me see You. Arise Father! And deliver me! Strike my enemies, physical and spiritual – breaking their teeth so their bite is not damaging in any way.

I know that my deliverance is from You. May all who call on You, myself included, see the blessings You have poured out on us today. Amen.

Genesis 6:1-7:24; Matthew 4:1-11; Psalm 3:1-8

 

Dec 19 Rejoice…and sing!

clef-593912_1920In the midst of Zephaniah’s vision of absolute devastation, You speak of a remnant: “the meek and humble”.  They will “trust in the name of the Lord”.   And You will gather them, honor them, restore their fortunes, take great delight in them and rejoice over them with singing.   You sing!!

Father, thank You for inventing music!  Thank You for melodies I have learned, and words that give voice to my praise!  So when David says, “I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart… I will sing Your praise”, I can join with him and praise You!  I know songs that praise Your name, Your power, Your attributes.  I sing to You at the top of my lungs, with my hands help up, facing the sun, or the mountains, or looking up to the sky.  I drive around with praise music playing loudly and sing along. I can sit at the piano and sing with my eyes closed, to the music so many have written to help me glorify You.  Or I can quietly bow my head or fall to the floor and sing, barely audibly – but knowing You can hear me.

Your love and Your faithfulness are praiseworthy.  Your faithfulness to me alone gives me reason to sing and praise You.  And when there is no song that expresses my thanks, I just listen, and You teach me a new one!

As great and exalted as You are, You are still willing to come to the aid of Your people.  When I call, You have answered.  Many times You have come to rescue me.  You see me wherever I am, and are right there beside me.  You have defeated my foes, encouraged me and made me bold enough to act when I was too fearful.  I love David’s words: “though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life”.

I have faith, and I trust, that Your plan is the absolute best for my life.  And that You can make that happen.  I know that You will never, ever leave me.  I praise You for Your steadfastness, Your faithfulness to who You are, and Your faithfulness to me and my loved ones!   Many thanks.  Amen

Zephaniah 1:1-3:20; Psalm 138:1-8

Dec 6 Rebellion to repentance

americarepent1

“Hear the word of the Lord, you [Americans], because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: ‘There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.   There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.  Because of this the land dries up, and all who live in it waste away;’”

Father, as Israel was in its idolatry and rebellion, so is America today.  My heart grieves for the way my country and it’s people have fallen so far away from the godly, moral values America was founded on.  When I was growing up, I heard older people saying that what one generation tolerates, the next takes to excess.  At the time I was proud to be in a generation who was finding ‘freedom’ in establishing new social norms that were allowing equality between races and genders and socio-economic groups.  But what I have seen is that many of those freedoms were taken advantage of, and prostituted for monetary gain, selfishness, power and corruption.

I see that in my country, there is no faithfulness to You.  That even my freedoms to express my spiritual viewpoint are being stifled when they are not ‘politically correct’.  The list You gave Hosea of  “cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery” sounds like the description of most of what Americans call ‘entertainment’.   Forgive our sin Father, turn the hearts of the American people back to You and bring healing to our land.

There are those who “love the truth”, “know the truth”, and “walk in the truth”.  The truth is that You have commanded me to “love one another”.  “And this is love; that [I] walk in obedience to Your commands.”  So Father, sensitize my heart to Your commands.  When they are in conflict with the world’s standards, let me see clearly which way to go.  And give me strength of faith and of character to walk in obedience to You, not in the way of the world.  Let me be faithful to You and acknowledge You in my land.

You tell me “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken and endures forever.”  Father, I know I will endure forever as I have eternal life with You.  Help me now, in this life, not to be shaken from Your truth and what I know to be right.  “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so You surround Your people both now and forevermore.”  Let me feel You surrounding me, encompassing me Lord: shielding and protecting me, lifting me up.  Thank You that You are faithful to all Your promises.  Amen

Hosea 4:1-3; II John 1:1-13; Psalm 125:1-5

Nov 25 Be like Daniel

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;  wisdom and power are Yours.  You change times and seasons;  You depose kings and raise up others.  You give wisdom to the wise   and knowledge to the discerning.  You reveal deep and hidden things; You know what lies in darkness,  and light dwells with You.  I thank and praise You…” 

Father, these words of Daniel’s are true today as well.  Praise is still due You.  Even after all these years of season after season, You are still the One who keeps the world in order.  And after generations of kings, You are still the One who holds their hearts and their power in Your hand.  All wisdom and knowledge are Yours.  Hundreds of years of human advancements and scientific discovery and technology, haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to understanding this amazing universe You created!

Father, Daniel held tightly to his beliefs about You and his convictions about how to live a godly life.  And this even in the midst of being basically kidnapped and taken a thousand miles away from family.  As a young man it would have been so easy for him to simply go along with whatever his captors pushed on him.  But even far away from family, and the worship he knew, he knew that You were with him!  At the time, people worshipped pagan gods who they believed had power and influence over a specific thing (like rainfall, crops, or fertility) or a particular place.   But Daniel knew You were the One True God over all these things.  And that no matter where he was, You were there.

“Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel.”  And You were faithful to Daniel.   You allowed him to be faithful to the ways he had been taught and gave him success.  In addition to this, You gave Daniel and his four friends wisdom and understanding far beyond that of all others.

Father, help me be like Daniel.  Strengthen me to live the way You have taught me, and not give in to the pressures of whatever society offers.  Let me stand out so others will see that I live differently from the pagan ways of my culture.   Let the light that dwells in You, shine through me.  Amen

Daniel 1:1-2:23