Tag: God’s love

Oct 17 Pray for others

Father, as I worship You, and speak to You in prayer, it is most often to give thanks with praise and to intercede for myself and those close to me. But today in scripture, You urge me to pray, intercede and give thanks for all people. What a huge task! It broadens my focus and gives me a small sense of Your job: to care for and love every single person on the planet! For they are each Your creation, and dear to Your heart.

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As I begin, it helps me to think of categories of people. So I pray first for all children. Would You provide for their needs: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Some are very well off, born to parents who love and value them and have the means to care for them. Do not let them be misled to think they have all they need, when what they need most is You. Other children are born into poverty, neglect, even abuse. Father, protect them and let them feel especially close to You. Reveal Yourself to them to encourage, empower and save them.  Teach them all to hear and understand Your voice and obey it, whatever their circumstances.  Bring a godly advocate into their lives who will stand up and speak for these without a voice.

Father, I ask that You would give every mother a heart for her child. Guide them to love and care for their children; to protect them and pray for them; to teach them about You. Give them the courage to correct them in love.

Lord, I lift up every man who is a father. Help them to see the position of accountability they are in in regards to their family. Show them how to provide for and love their children with a father’s love. Do not let them harm or exasperate their children. Impress upon them to set a godly example.

For men and women everywhere, whether married or single, Lord, bring them to a saving knowledge of who You are. Cause them to hunger and thirst for the truth, whatever their current state or religion. Place godly counselors and mentors in each life, who can lead them to You and encourage them in becoming believers. Help them stand strong in the face of temptation, fear and doubt; recognizing the lies and deceit of the evil one, and turning from it. Give them discernment and guidance for decisions they face.

Father, protect married couples in the face of the temptations of infidelity and other things that would seek to separate them: money problems, anger, greed, selfishness, violence. Forces in this world seek to destroy marriage and undermine the system of family that You set up.   Father, overturn those forces. Likewise, protect singles from the temptations of lust, loneliness, and the desires that would turn them to idolatry. Show them how to live with godly values.

Father, for those leaders of anything, or people in positions of authority over families, communities, churches, businesses, nations; bring them to a saving knowledge of You. Give them clarity in hearing Your voice in their personal and professional lives. Give them the courage to follow wherever You would lead them. Show them that with their position of authority comes responsibility and accountability. If they are persecuting believers, stop them. Open their eyes and change their hearts to know and follow You. Place godly role models, mentors, counselors and accountability figures in their lives. Give them godly wisdom to overcome obstacles, difficulties and problems to bring unity and peace to their respective arenas of authority.

Lord, as I pray, I picture elected officials in Washington DC, children in Africa, women in Afghanistan, the people of Thailand. All need Your touch on their lives. Every one is someone special to You. Every one is someone You died to save. Let each one of them know how very much You love them. And that You have a good plan and purpose for their lives. Amen

I Timothy 2:1-6

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Sept 27 the Price of Salvation

Father, sometimes I forget all You went through in order for me to have salvation and be back in right standing and in right relationship with You. It’s so easy to focus on my own problems and all the things that are falling short of my hopes for me, and my family members. It must sound like childish whining compared to what You endured for my sake.

cross-106416_640Isaiah tells me You were “despised and rejected…a man of suffering, familiar with pain…You took up our pain and bore our suffering…were pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on You, and by Your wounds, we are healed.” And the infamous words: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and The Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all.”

So it was my doing that brought You to the place of suffering. You endured betrayal, beating, whipping, scourging, unbelievable pain, unbearable suffering, and crucifixion on a cross; all so I can be healed of my sin – choosing my own way.

I am so humbled. And so ashamed. And so very grateful. Thank You for enduring all You did, for me. Remind me every time I start to whine, or complain about my own problems, that in comparison, they are light and temporary trials. Thank You that even with all You went through for me, You still love me. You still care for me. Remind me to approach You – not with an attitude of greediness, but with one of gratefulness.

In proving Your love so completely, I can only have faith, that whatever I face now, You will deliver me, in Your own providential, miraculous or mysterious way. I believe that what You say You will do, You are able and capable to do. I completely trust in Your faithfulness. Thank You that You are my Father, my Savior, my King. Amen

Isaiah 53:3-12

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

May 12 There is none like You

Because You can be trusted, O Lord, my heart is strong and steady. I am secure in my faith. I will stand steadfast and give You the praise You deserve!

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I will shout and sing!

I will make music that honors You with all that is in me! I will sing along with praise music. Add my voice to those of others in praise and worship. And will compose new songs that tell of Your faithfulness to me!

I will stay up late to praise You Father! I will even get up early when the sun is coming up to honor You! Break out the guitars, pianos, cymbals, harps, harmonicas, drums, whatever instruments can make music that acknowledges Your love and faithfulness!

Your love is boundless! As high as I can see with my eyes or even perceive with satellites to the farthest reaches of our galaxy – Your love goes farther still! Beyond what is calculable or even imaginable! I stretch out my arms to encompass all I can measure from end to end till it wraps around the earth and begins again – that’s the way Your unending faithfulness is. You are over and above and beyond all that I can see or comprehend! I place Your name above all others. Your glory is limitless!

With just the power and strength in Your right arm, You can save me from any foe, rescue me from any enemy, deliver me from any calamity. Deliver me Lord, from the lies and deceit of the evil one. Do not let me be pulled into false philosophies, lying schemes, or political intrigues only to see the truth when it is too late and I have been corrupted. I am Yours, Lord. Defend me and bring me to Your fortified place. Free me from the weaknesses of my flesh: selfishness, laziness, lust, jealousy, pride, arrogance, and greed. Help me against all these enemies. No one can help me like You. There is none like You!

With You, I am victorious! With You, nothing is impossible! Thank You for coming to my aid. Thank You for loving me faithfully. And for being lovingly faithful. Amen

Psalm 108:1-13

 

 

 

May 11 Meeting needs abundantly

Consider the great love of the LORD !

They:                                                              But God:

 

Wandered in desert wastelands with no place, no home; hungry, thirsty, fading

 

Led them by a direct path to a city with a place for home, good food and drink, revitalized them

 

Depressed, prisoners, suffering in chains, in bitterness rejected the Lord

 

Freed them, broke their chains, brought them out of darkness and gloom, loved them
Rebelled in foolishness bringing suffering upon themselves, dying

 

Healed them, saved their lives
Sought adventure and wealth, befallen by tragedy, discouraged, lost

 

Delivered from distress, calmed storms, provided safety, brought them home
Were needy Blessed them, lifted out of their affliction, increased their numbers, fed them

 

Imagine what He is willing to do for you !! And me!!  Amen

Psalm 107:1-43

May 3 Breath of Life

What an interesting picture You painted for the man I call ‘Nic at night’: the Pharisee who came to You at night to ask questions. When he asked about being part of the Kingdom of God, You said to enter the Kingdom of God, one “must be born of water and the Spirit.”

One birth is from a watery darkness, the other a spiritual darkness. Our physical birth is from a dark, water-filled womb into the light of the sun here on earth. Our spiritual birth is from the dark realm of the evil one into the Light of the Son and into the kingdom of God.

breathofGodAdam and Eve are the only humans born only of the Spirit. You created their bodies and breathed Your breath into them, giving them physical AND spiritual life. The Hebrew word ‘ruach’ is translated as breath and spirit. They were spiritually alive and were able to walk and talk and have relationship with You. When they sinned, the punishment was physical and spiritual death. Physically, their bodies would die. And spiritually, they were separated from You and no longer had the same intimate fellowship with You.

Every human being since them was born by water, but is not spiritually alive until Your ‘ruach’, Your breath or spirit enters them. This happens at their spiritual birth.

Probably the most well known scripture is in today’s reading. “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” This is Your provision for that spiritual birth. When a person believes the truth of Your sacrifice and accepts that offer of Your sacrifice paying for their sin, Your ‘ruach’, Your Holy Spirit enters into them.

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Thank You Father for Your great love. Thank You for having a plan of spiritual birth giving me eternal life even after sin had entered the world and affected every human being. Thank You for being willing to make the tremendous sacrifice for me to be able to join the Kingdom of God. Amen

John 3:1-21

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 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

 

Jan 13 I am Your child

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Lord God, thank You that You are my heavenly Father. Thank You that You love me as Your child. And thank You that in that very love You make godly correction to my path when I stray from You.

I have such a negative impression of ‘discipline’ because it has come to be identified with punishment or abuse of power. On earth this is often true. But when You, my heavenly Father discipline me, it is to correct, teach, encourage me to be on the path of becoming more like You – a ‘disciple’ of You.

That does not mean that the lessons are easy to learn, or that I enjoy it, or even that I catch on right away. As a child often does not understand when a parent insists on behavior issues that provide for safety, like running out into the street, so I may not see the benefit of Your instruction right away. Sometimes Your discipline feels like a step backward, or a delay in what I perceive to be the right way. Help me stop and ask for Your perspective when I don’t understand something. Help me see from Your viewpoint; what is happening, and how I should respond.

I do desire to be seen as a disciple of Almighty God, Jesus Christ, the Holy One. And I’m the first to admit that my life does not look like that now. So I welcome Your instruction, Your course corrections, Your rebuke, and Your discipline. Help me learn quickly when You have something to tell me or teach me. Help me be willing to change direction when I am going the wrong way. I know that You delight in me and love me. And that You discipline those You love. Help me embrace that love. Amen

Proverbs 3:11-12

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

Dec 21 Shield my head

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Father, what an incredible vision You gave John!  As he describes the scene and the action, it sounds like a great cosmic video game!  But this one does not play out over and over with a ‘reset’ button when the player fails at the quest.

The revelation John sees here: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” and “an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads”.  These are not anime characters, but are signs that represent actual happenings.  The woman represents Israel, and the red dragon, satan.  Satan was hurled down to earth and roams here now, to “lead the whole world astray”.

The bad news:  “woe to the earth and sea because the devil has gone down to you!  He is filled with fury…”.   The good news: “his time is short”.

Because satan roams the earth in his furious state, and has duped people into following him, I need You, Father, to “keep me safe from the hands of the wicked”.  It is not only the evil one, but also those under his authority who do his biding that I have seen at work.

I know that sometimes, I don’t make wise choices, and must bear the consequences.  In those times Father, I ask for Your forgiveness and Your wisdom to learn from my mistakes.  But at other times, I feel attacked, caught by surprise in situations and circumstances I did not anticipate.  I feel entrapped, tripped up, led into places, relationships, emotional states, and difficulties that feel like an oppressive force is orchestrating it all.

When I begin to feel discouraged and hopeless, when I find myself doubting Your goodness and Your love, I know there is some element of evil at work.  Thank You that You have promised to “shield my head in the day of battle”.   Your helmet of salvation protects my thoughts and reminds me of Your truth.  It helps me hold what I am feeling up against the truth of Your Word.

Thank You that I can be sure of Your love for me.  Thank You that I can know without a doubt, that Your purpose and plan for me are good.  Thank You that I know You will never, ever, leave me or forsake me.  And thank You that the devil’s time here on earth is short.  And a time will come when You will triumph over all!

In the meantime, I “will praise Your name”!  And “live [my life] in Your presence”, in safety, with You as “my strong deliverer”.  Awaiting Your ‘end game’.   Amen

Revelation 12:1-17; Psalm 140:1-13

Dec 4 God is love

Father, You gave Daniel quite a revelation about the end times and what would be happening then.  Some of it came with an interpretation, and some remains a mystery.  Many theologians have studied and sought to know all the answers.  Even Daniel, to whom the vision was given said “I heard, but I did not understand.”  Your response to him was “go your way Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end.”

he-loves-me-1314692With that mystery still intact, You gave Daniel the confidence he needed to live to the end of his life encouraged.  “As for you, go your way till the end.  You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise up to receive your allotted inheritance.”

Father, although the dates and world powers are still a mystery, You have also given me the confidence to live my life encouraged.  Through John, You have shown me how to recognize false prophets, to discern Your Spirit, and how great Your love is for me.  Holding on to those things will help me live a godly life.

There are so many influences in the world today, it can be hard to know which are truly good, from You, and which are truly evil.  Evil can put on such a good face so as to appear justified, acceptable, even beneficial.  It masquerades as good.   Evil influence can even come from well-intentioned people, so it is godly wisdom that You tell me to “test the spirits”.   Then You tell me very clearly, This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” It gives me a bottom line for determining the source, and I am reassured that even if I come up against evil, worldly influences, “greater is He that is in me, than he who is in the world”.  I win!

I can also watch to see if Your love is in those around me.  Because since You ARE love, every one who belongs to You will have that love in them.  Your love is total, complete, sacrificial, perfect, and saves me.  This is not ‘I love ice cream’ kind of love, or brotherly love, or even romantic love.   It is the Greek word ‘agape’ love – a total, selfless, unconditional love.  It is this love that came first – You loved each one of us before we loved You or even knew of You.  It is a love that can overcome sin – Your love put You on the cross to atone for my sin and the sin of the world.  It is a perfect love that has no fear, but drives out fear.

It is Your love, Father, that I seek in my life every day!  I need it to drive out the fear that gains a foothold in me through circumstances I don’t understand, through stressful things happening to my loved ones, through the evil I see prospering in the world.

Father, there are days I feel so overwhelmed and unlovable that I deny Your love because I don’t ‘feel’ it.  Forgive me when I doubt Your amazing, perfect love.  Do not let me be led by my feelings – they have nothing to do with the truth of and the absolute certainty of Your love.  Help me sense Your love, and be lifted up by it, so I can share it with my brothers and sisters.  Let me walk in Your love till the end of days, or the end of my days, whichever comes first.  Thank You for Your amazing love.  Amen

Daniel 11:36-12:13; I John 4:1-21