Tag: God’s plan

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

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Aug 18 Behind the scenes

film-maker-294496_640Dear Heavenly Father, how unusual that Your name doesn’t even appear in the book of Esther!  However, there is no doubt that all the events were orchestrated by You!

You must have known the evil in the heart of Haman who sought to destroy all Your people throughout the empire.  These were Your people who You had taken into captivity for punishment of their idolatry and sinfulness.  But still, there was mercy in Your action, and You protected them.

Only You could have influenced Queen Vashti to disobey the King, costing her the crown and making way for Esther, a Jew, to move into her place.

Only You could have made the servants and people around Esther so impressed with her and kind to her.

It must have been You who guided Esther to accept the advice of the eunuch in charge of the harem as she went to be presented to the King.

And only You held the heart of this king in Your hand, as he chose her for Queen.

You must have placed Mordecai in the right place at just the right time to hear of the assassination attempt, and timed perfectly his recognition by the king.  And You gave Esther the wisdom to hold the two banquets for Haman and the king, answering the three days of prayer and fasting with success.

Father, with all these people, places, plots, and details in Your control, how can I doubt that You know what is going on in my life?

How can I think that anything would get by You?  There is no way; even if someone plotted to harm or kill me; that it would escape Your notice.   And You would have a plan already in place, to deal with it.  Thank You.

So like the psalmist, I agree that You will humiliate and disgrace those who rejoice at my troubles.  You will cover with shame and dishonor any who would seek to triumph over me.  And I will ever say “Great is the Lord, who delights in blessing His servant with peace.”

Thank You for Your blessing in my life every day.  Help me see each one as I go through my day: waking, breathing, eating, walking, talking, learning, seeing, working, singing, praising, sharing, loving, resting, sleeping.  Thank You for the peace I can rest in because I trust in You.  In Your plan.  In Your justice.  In Your deliverance.  Forever.  Amen

Esther 1:1-3:15; Psalm 35:17-28 

Mar 21 Overabundant blessing!

fishinboat1O Lord, how often do I make my own plan, instead of seeking Yours, or going along with the one You started me out on?  How many blessings have I missed, because I went my own way?

The Reubenites and Gadites saw with their eyes, that the land they were on was good enough for them; and asked for it rather than waiting for the land You had promised to all the tribes.  In their view, what they were seeing was good enough, and it was given to them.

I wonder if they prayed about that decision?  Or how they sought wisdom on the matter?  Or if they were just tired of being on the move and wanted to stop and settle?

Down the road it caused misunderstanding and cost lives.  It was not Your plan, but You allowed it.

When Jesus taught and healed in the town of Capernaum in Galilee, the people searched Him out and tried to keep Him from leaving.  Who wouldn’t want to hang on to a miracle worker?  Healer?  Gifted teacher?   But the will of the people did not line up with Your divine purposes.

It was not Your plan, and You did not allow it.

Jesus was not a fisherman.  But He got into a fisherman’s boat.  He instructed the men to put out into deep water and let down the nets at a time and place that made no sense by fishermen’s wisdom.   The men did, acting in obedience to Your sovereignty.

When they obeyed and went along with Your plan, they were blessed to overflowing!  They had to call a backup boat, and even then, the boats filled to almost sinking with fish!

It was Your plan, and although it made no sense by human wisdom, it brought overabundant blessing!

Dear Father, I want that overabundant blessing in my life!  I desire to align myself with Your will and Your purpose.  I lay down my wish to have it “my way” according to my own wisdom, in favor of Your revelation and Your blessing.

Help me hear Your instruction clearly.  Embolden me to act with godly wisdom.  Keep me on the path of Your plan.   And let me receive Your blessing with gratitude and thanksgiving!  Amen

Numbers 32:1-42; Luke 4:31-5:11

Feb 12 Proof of Your Presence

Dear Father, how awesome would it be if every time I came away from reading or studying Your Word, or spending time in prayer, there was a visible glow on my face!

Some outward evidence, physically apparent, to anyone who saw me that I had spent time with the Author and Creator of the universe!

When Moses spent time with You on Mount Sinai his face was so radiant that the people were afraid of him.  He began wearing a veil over his face unless he was speaking to You, Lord, or telling the Israelites what You had said.

I don’t mean that I want to wear a veil, Lord, but give me a radiance of spirit that can be a witness to others, a testimony that You have left an impact on Me from my spending time with You.  Something that will let people know that I know the Savior, and can help them if they need directions to get to You also.

There is a danger inherent in that of course:  if people know when I have been in Your presence, then they would also know when I have not.  And there have been stretches Lord, when I have not spent much time in Your presence.

Keep me drawn to You.  Help me have the mindset I need, to go to You, with joy, with sorrow, with excitement, with concerns.

It’s so easy to find someone else to commiserate with, to approve of my own plans, to join in my pity party.  But I desire to please You; to walk in the way You have planned out for me.

I trust in Your plan; and believe it is the best possible for me.

“Your eyes are on me Lord, because I fear You, revere You, and because my hope is in Your unfailing love.  Deliver me.  You are my help and my shield.  In You my heart rejoices, for I trust Your holy name.  Let Your unfailing love rest on me O Lord.”

Let others see it too.  Amen

Exodus 34:29-35; Psalm 33:18-22

Feb 9 not my will…

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Lord God, what a blessing You gave me to be able to travel to Israel, to see the city of Jerusalem, and to walk into the Garden of Gethsemane!  I am forever changed by that gift.  It was amazing!

On one hand, as a tourist, it seemed historically and intellectually reasonable to be seeing structures and walls that stood in Jesus’ time.  But as I sat, looking at two of the very olive trees that were standing in the garden when You were there, I marveled.  Utterly amazing!

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To see something that was alive, living then, and still alive and living now was incredible.  To think that I was in the presence of something that had been alive in Your presence here on earth…

In the quiet, my thoughts were drawn back to the night You came to pray the “not my will but Thine” prayer.  I reread that passage in Matthew that described that sorrowful and troubled plea.

Jesus laid all His personal potential down.  Father, I have hopes and dreams, goals, desires.   I desire to honor You with what I do.  I thought of what my biggest possible plan could be, all the potential I have, and how it would bring glory to You, thinking, if You would just make it happen…

And then I realized something:  if Jesus, with all the ability and power and potential that He possessed, (and He could have called ten thousand angels and made a spectacle the world had never seen before!)  was willing to put it all aside for God the Father’s holy and perfect will for His life; how can I do less?

What is there that I could possibly think of to do, that would be better than anything Jesus could have done?  And He could have done literally ANYthing!  Yet Jesus laid it all down to take up God the Father’s purpose.

I must do the same.   And so echo those words:  “not my will, Lord, but Thine.”

Jesus had the unlimited and infinite capability to accomplish whatever He wanted.  And He gave it all up to accept Your plan.  I have a very limited and puny capability for setting and accomplishing goals.

So rather than asking You to bless whatever plan I may be able to think up, I ask that You would show me the plan You have for this portion of my life.

And give me the courage and strength required to live it in a way that will bring You glory.  Amen.

Matthew 26:36-46

Jan 27 I want to obey You

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 ESV

Nov 4 Trust the plan

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Father, You had a plan when You punished Israel and sent them into exile.  And when You brought judgment on the remnant.

You had a plan for bringing Your people back to the land and giving them a new heart, a new spirit and a better salvation.

I believe You have a plan for me and my life as well.

Like Your people before me, it may not be what I expect.  But I completely trust You.

You may not give me visions like Ezekiel.  You may not exile me from my home.  You may not use another nation to exact my liberation.  But I know that whatever Your plan – it is one that will be new and unique, designed perfectly for the gifts and talents You’ve placed in me.

Father, I trust that You will show me what I need to know, exactly when I need to know it.  Open my eyes and ears so I do not miss anything You have for me.

Lord, my own personality sometimes leads me in a direction that may or may not be Yours.  Help me let go of what I think I should be doing for You.

Make me bold enough to act on what You lead me to.  Give me courage to persevere in the way You are showing me.

Help me be satisfied with Your plan for me.   And seek only You.  Amen

Ezekiel 11:14-21

Oct 16 Trust God’s plan

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

 

 

These wonderful words of life and promise and hope that so many believers have claimed as personal encouragement were given first to a specific group of Your people who had rejected You.  They endured hardship by being forcibly removed from their homes and land.  They had been seized by a military force and taken to a foreign country to live as captives.

I cannot even imagine the trauma of being relocated like that.  I would imagine escape back home would have been considered.  Or revolt.  Some attempt to regain freedom.

But even if escape were possible, home was a thousand miles away!  And now comes this letter from Jeremiah to say “Accept captivity!  Settle down!  Live in the new land.  Pray for your new home!  For seventy years!”

That must have seemed just the opposite of what they wanted to do.  And the harsh word that this was Your doing must have been confusing and hurtful.  But then, in the same breath, comes Your promise to them. “When seventy years are completed in Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill My good promise to bring you back to this place.”

Father, I know I sometimes wonder if where I am is really the place You want me to be.  I trust the plans You have for me.  Even if it means I have to wait on Your timing.  But please don’t let it take seventy years, Lord!

The Israelites must have looked at their circumstances and doubted whether it could really be Your will.  Father, sometimes things don’t look too good to me either.  And I wonder how You will work things out for my good.  But I totally trust that You will.   I completely rely on Your faithfulness.

Father, open my eyes to the truth of where I am right now.

If I have gotten myself off Your path, show me how to return to it.  If I am where You want me to be, help me hear your voice of encouragement.  Help me feel Your presence here with me.  And if waiting is involved, help me wait patiently, prayerfully, praise-fully, and productively.

Show me those plans as I need to see them.  My hope and my future are in You.  Amen

Jeremiah 29:1-14

 

Sept 26 My Teacher

Psalm51pic“I am The Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Thank You Father that You are my God. Thank You that You know what is best for me and that You are willing to communicate that to me.

Open my ears and my eyes so I can understand what You are saying to me.

You tell me that “if only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.”

How many times have I given up that peace because I thought I knew better than You? Or because I was afraid to go forward where You were leading me? I desire the peace and well-being only You can give me. Show me how to be bold enough to follow where You lead.

Father, as I look for the way You direct me and teach me to live, I do not have to look very far. In today’s scripture, You tell me plainly: “Do not live as the Gentiles do.” This is not a cultural judgment, but a spiritual condition. You go on to explain they have hardened their hearts to You and to spiritual matters. This separates them from You. They live in ignorance and have a darkened understanding which dulls their sensitivity, allowing them to give in to sensuality and indulge in every kind of impurity, lust, and greed.

Father, be the light in my life that brightens my understanding and softens my heart to comprehend these Words of life You speak to me. I do not want to live separated from You, but in community with You.

Your presence blesses me, comforts me, encourages me, protects me, motivates me and spurs me on to be better than I am without You.

Father, help me put off those dishonest and deceitful ways that my flesh leads me into. Help me control my tongue, my anger, my selfish tendencies and greed. These things come from the evil one who seeks to rule over and destroy me. Do not let them be master over me.

I desire what You offer me: Your peace and well-being.  Let my actions and attitudes reflect that. I will look for You to teach me the way I should go in all my circumstances. And I will be blessed in following You. Thank You. Amen

Isaiah 48:17-18; Ephesians 4:17-32

Sept 16 God’s plan for all of us in the best plan for each of us

Father, what an amazing plan You had for Abraham so long ago. He believed You even at a time when there was no evidence to show Your plan was working. You have truly kept Your promise to him in blessing the whole world through him and his offspring. For through his descendants came salvation on the cross. And we who believe are all the seed of Abraham, and the children of promise.

Father, I belong to You as much as Gilead, Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah. And just as Your promises to Abraham were true, so are Your promises to me. You will “aid me against the enemy.”  With You I will “gain the victory and You will trample down my enemies.”

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Lord, You kept Your word across hundreds, thousands of years. But just like Abraham had to wait till Your timing was right, help me wait on Your perfect timing in my life as well.

I desire to see all my enemies thwarted and in defeat immediately. I would rather see my children and loved ones freed from the lies and deceit of the evil one right now. I long to see their lives and mine free from the influences of the world and the flesh, living in total victory over all that is not godly.

But I also know that You know better than I what is best for all of us. Help me rest, content in Your time table, ready to rejoice at each and every victory.

Father, fulfill Your plan for my sons.  Make my sons’ hearts wise. Do not let them be misled by the “wisdom of the world” or the philosophies of men, or the frailties of the flesh. But let them see through the falseness that masquerades as truth in the world today. Then my heart will be glad, and I “will rejoice when their lips speak what is right.”

I know that You, who have kept Your plan in place since the creation of the world, are faithful and able to accomplish all You have promised. Thank You. Amen

Galatians 3:6-9Psalm 60:1-12Proverbs 23:15-16

Sept 1 Unworthy but loved and blessed

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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…”

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

Aug 18 At work behind the scenes

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Dear Heavenly Father, how unusual that Your name doesn’t even appear in the book of Esther! However there is no doubt that all the events were orchestrated by You!

You must have known the evil in the heart of Haman who sought to destroy all Your people throughout the empire. These were Your people who You had taken into captivity for punishment of their idolatry and sinfulness. But still, there was mercy in Your action, and You protected them.

Only You could have influenced Queen Vashti to disobey the King, costing her the crown and making way for Esther, a Jew, to move into her place. Only You could have made the servants and people around Esther so impressed with her and kind to her. It must have been You who guided Esther to accept the advice of the eunuch in charge of the harem as she went to be presented to the King. And You held the heart of this king in Your hand, as he chose her for Queen.

You must have placed Mordecai in the right place at just the right time to hear of the assassination attempt, and timed perfectly his recognition by the king. And You gave Esther the wisdom to hold the two banquets for Haman and the king, answering the three days of prayer and fasting with success.

Father, with all these people, places, plots, and details in Your control, how can I doubt that You know what is going on in my life? How can I think that anything would get by You? There is no way; even if someone plotted to harm or kill me; that it would escape Your notice.   And You would have a plan already in place, to deal with it. Thank You.

So like the psalmist, I agree that You will humiliate and disgrace those who rejoice at my troubles. You will cover with shame and dishonor any who would seek to triumph over me. And I will ever say “Great is the Lord, who delights in blessing His servant with peace.”

Thank You for Your blessing in my life every day. Help me see each one as I go through my day: waking, breathing, eating, walking, talking, learning, seeing, working, singing, praising, sharing, loving, resting, sleeping. Thank You for the peace I can rest in because I trust in You. In Your plan. In Your justice. In Your deliverance. Forever. Amen

Esther 1:1-3:15; Psalm 35:17-28

Aug 11 Building with God

picture by Sweet publishingNehemiah wall built

Father, I remember a time You put in my heart to have a women’s Bible Study for our church. Without a building, we needed a location. Other times, other churches and places had said no, so our people told me it would be impossible. Adding there would never be enough workers to come and do all the tasks needed to run it. A prior study began with 25 women but dwindled down to only three by the end.

Undaunted, I prayed, seeking Your wisdom to know if I should give up in response to my own church’s “wisdom”. Knowing You would have to open the doors, I went forward.

Believing You were leading me, I went first to the church where our boys were in a Scout Troop. They said yes! When I asked, they told me they believed the blessing of the building You had given them should be shared with the community!

Obviously, You had gone before me and prepared the way. They gave us access to a large meeting hall, the kitchen and their nursery! Including all the toys, beds and changing tables!

That very day, a woman from our church called and said if I found a location, she would love to run the nursery to care for the children who came, and make nametags! She helped me get other volunteers for the children’s’ area and brought refreshments that first week. By the time we started, we had a greeter, a setup person, a clean up person, kitchen and children’s workers, and beautiful ribbon nametags.

It was an amazing victory! And the most successful study we had for several years! You provided an amazing answer to prayer and response to obedience in going forward. Remembering Your faithfulness has encouraged me often.

Just like You brought workers from many places to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem, each doing a small part; You brought people to support the work You wanted to do in our church. Both jobs were too big for one person. But You are bigger than any job. And You have the resources to accomplish anything in Your plan.

Father, I believe You place in each believer a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. I know during that time I felt completely empowered.

I can’t describe the joy it gave me to feel, to know, I was in the center of Your will. You had opened doors.   You brought people to help. You brought women to attend. What a blessing to be part of something You were doing!

Father, show me what comes next. Give me that blessing again.  Amen

Nehemiah 1:1-3:14

May 10 The best Father

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O Father, how many times have I behaved like the Israelites here, and asked for something so I could be like everyone else? Instead of trusting Your will and the plan You had for me, I settled for what You allowed because I asked for it.

So many times the wisdom of the world seems right. It makes sense to the mind. It pleases the eye. It pacifies the emotions. But one can follow logic and still be dead wrong.   A person can feel like things are going well, when they are not. Things can look good, but be rotten to the core. This is proven each time someone is tricked or duped; because we trust our eyes and our logic.

But You, Father, can see the end from the beginning. You have a perspective that I do not.

I protect my child when I prevent them from a danger I can see that they cannot. To them, it may feel like I am restricting them, not protecting them.   Hopefully as they grow, they trust my judgment until they can see the dangers for themselves.

And sometimes, I need to let them make their own choices, even if they are unwise, in order to learn for themselves. For instance, when you eat a tube of raw cookie dough, there are unpleasant consequences, even though it tastes really good during the eating part.

Though I like to think of myself as independent and smart enough to make wise decisions, I have learned that simply lining up pros and cons and judging by worldly standards is not the only or the best method. I have access to the God who created the universe! You have wisdom I could never in a million years attain.   And praises to You, You are willing to share it with me!

Father, when I want something, let me examine my motive. Help me discern what is best from Your perspective. Give me godly understanding that surpasses the world’s view. And help me accept that wisdom if it turns out that what I think I want is not the right thing. Help me wait for the best thing. Teach me to be wise. Amen

I Samuel 8:1-22

Apr 13 God’s plan – not mine

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Lord God, once again You show that You have a plan and are willing to include man in it. You gave specific details of what Joshua was to do in order to gain Your victory.

First, though, the Israelites had to purge the sin from within their midst. It is the same for me. I cannot ask You for victory when I am harboring sin.

 

Then You told them “do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”.   It would have been easy to dwell on their last failure and be fainthearted in the presence of the same enemy who had routed them before. When I have tried to do something in my own strength, and failed, it is hard to get up and try again without fearing the same disastrous result.

Next they had to follow Your plan exactly, to Your specifications and in Your timing. That can be hard as well. So often I second-guess You by trying to come up with my own plan. There are ways that seem to make sense to man, but do not often yield the desired result. So I must be willing to give up the direction my own thoughts lead me and be obedient to what You tell me.

Last, they enjoy the victory, giving thanks and credit to You. They collected the spoil but went right to building an altar for offering sacrifices, acknowledging that You are the One who gave the victory. Every person involved was present and attentive to Your words, being reminded of the blessings and the curses You promised.

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When things go well, it’s easy to sit back and take the credit, not including You until I need You again. But it is vital I recognize that the victories in my life come from You. I am learning how to give credit to You without sounding false or insincere. And it strengthens me to know You are involved in my life.

What was the result of this successfully executed plan? Even more kings came together to make war against them! Sometimes the battles we face, challenging as they may be, are simply preparation for bigger battles to follow!   But we can know that having done well will lay the groundwork for the next success. Victory is ours when the battle is the Lord’s! Amen.

Joshua 7:16-9:2

Mar 21 Overabundant blessing!

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O Lord, how often do I make my own plan, instead of seeking Yours, or going along with the one You started me out on? How many blessings have I missed, because I went my own way?

 

The Reubenites and Gadites saw with their eyes, that the land they were on was good enough for them; and asked for it rather than waiting for the land You had promised to all the tribes. In their view, what they were seeing was good enough, and it was given to them. I wonder if they prayed about that decision? Or how they sought wisdom on the matter? Or if they were just tired of being on the move and wanted to stop and settle?

Down the road it caused misunderstanding and cost lives. It was not Your plan, but You allowed it.

When Jesus taught and healed in the town of Capernaum in Galilee, the people searched Him out and tried to keep Him from leaving. Who wouldn’t want to hang on to a miracle worker? Healer? Gifted teacher?   But the will of the people did not line up with Your divine purposes.

It was not Your plan, and You did not allow it.

Jesus was not a fisherman. But He got into a fisherman’s boat. He instructed the men to put out into deep water and let down the nets at a time and place that made no sense by fishermen’s wisdom.   The men did, acting in obedience to Your sovereignty.

When they obeyed and went along with Your plan, they were blessed to overflowing! They had to call a backup boat, and even then, the boats filled to almost sinking with fish!

It was Your plan, and although it made no sense by human wisdom, it brought overabundant blessing!

Dear Father, I want that overabundant blessing in my life! I desire to align myself with Your will and Your purpose. I lay down my wish to ‘do it my way’ or according to my own wisdom, in favor of Your revelation and Your blessing. Help me hear Your instruction clearly. Embolden me to act with godly wisdom. Keep me on the path of Your plan.   And let me receive Your blessing with gratitude and thanksgiving! Amen

Numbers 32:1-42; Luke 4:31-5:11

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

 

 

Jan 26 Do I get a map?

rfid0_7kep4-natalie-foxLord God, You are so wise. How often do I want to see Your plan for my life all laid out for me– at least the next chapter?

You gave Moses a look at all that was coming next. You shared Your plan to deliver the Hebrew people, saying “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… I am sending you to Pharaoh…” And Moses starts back-peddling! You answered all his questions and revealed the plan, promising deliverance and riches to the people. You told Moses what to say, and how Your mighty hand would compel Pharaoh and perform wonders. Yet still Moses balked.

Jesus told His disciples how the plan of salvation would play out. He showed how prophecy was coming to pass right before their eyes! They knew Elijah must come first – Jesus explained that John the Baptist was Elijah. How did they respond? They demonstrated “so little faith” and were “filled with grief”.

So I can see why You don’t show me the miles of path before me. I would probably balk and try to get You to change Your mind, or would display too much emotion and not enough “getting on board” with the plan.

When I used to ride horses, I never told the horse in advance where we would be riding that day. I never brought a map to show him where our trail would take us. I’m pretty sure he knew he would end up back at the stable, his home. But I would guide him along as we went. Sometimes we would stop and rest for a bit. We would go fast or slow, left to the stream, or right to the hilltops, according to my leading, my plan.

Because a horse could not read or understand a map, I never showed him one. I daresay I would not understand Your plan if You showed it to me either. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so Your ways are higher than my ways, and Your thoughts higher than my thoughts.” And I’m okay with that. Because I trust Your thoughts, and Your ways, and Your plans; even if I can’t see or don’t understand them. And I know where I will end up: in my true home, spending eternity with You.

I agree with David who wrote, ”In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.” I put my trust in You. You have already delivered me from the evil one by dying on the cross in my place. You have saved me from that eternal death into eternal life. And I know that at the end of my ride, I will not be disappointed. Amen

Exodus 3:1-22; Matthew 17:10-27; Isaiah 55:9; Psalm 22:4-5

Jan 21 It’s all perspective

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Holy Father, Your will often puzzles me. I cannot see from Your perspective or understand the effects of actions looking forward into the future.

Your servant John the Baptist lived as a righteous man. He was a believer and taught of Your kingdom. He even baptized Jesus! He was a great part of Your plan; yet he was beheaded by an unrighteous, evil, manipulative man. In our human understanding of ‘fairness’ that seems so wrong.

Yet, again, our perspective is not Yours. And our life here on earth is not the end of it all. There is also what comes after: where and how we spend eternity.

So can I still pray for things to work here out here on earth, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones? Yes. And can I ask in faith, believing, and not doubting? Absolutely!

But I must remember that You answer prayer from a greater perspective. My sight and my ability to see “the solution” are very limited. Even in my own life, I have prayed and You have answered in ways far better than anything I had asked for, or could have even imagined.

And can I trust Your answer? Without a doubt!

Even if I can’t understand the ‘why’ of it at the time. I know that Your love for me is great. And You are trustworthy. And Your sense of mercy and justice are right.

So no matter how things look from my perspective, I will proclaim boldly with the Psalmist, “As for God, His way is perfect!”

Matthew 14:1-12; Psalm 18:30

Jan 15 His eye is on the sparrow…

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Oh God my Father, I too, sometimes have days where I feel like the Psalmist David who writes this prayer for help in trouble. He sings his troubles to You O Lord, as he writes this to his chief musician.

Like David, I also pour out my heart to You, Oh God. There are circumstances in my life where I feel You have turned away from me, hidden Your face from me. I cannot see You, or feel Your presence and do not know when You will act.

I pray and call out for You to make it right: for healing, for restoration, for vindication, for strength, for wisdom, for justice. I can think of challenges, troubles, where I need each of these; and You know them too, because You know all things.

There are places in my life of such hurt and frustration. They cause sorrow to fill my heart. I feel as if I have fought a battle and my enemies have defeated me. My strength is gone. I cry out for You to hear me, come to me, and lift me up. Almighty God, do not let my enemies have the victory. Do not let them say they have vanquished me with rejoicing in their camp.

Even facing all this, I trust wholeheartedly in Your mercy. I know that my salvation is sure. All else pales in the light of Your love and care for me. Whatever happens to me here on earth, I know my future in eternity is secure in You.

So I will sing to You. I will lift up Your Holy Name. I will rejoice abundantly because of what You have done for me. You know the number of hairs on my head, and that is a number that changes daily! Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from Your will.

I trust in Your will completely. I trust the plans that You have for me, to prosper me and not to harm me; plans to give me a hope and a future. So in You will I rest. Amen

Psalm 13: 1-6; Jeremiah 29:11

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 to 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 2:1-3:10; Revelation 13:1-18

Dec 14 I am so Jonah!

sea-79836_1280Father, what wonderful lessons I’ve learned from Jonah! And about Jonah and about You. He is so human… And You are so God…

You spoke to Jonah, giving him a view of Your plan for him and specific directions using the gifts and talents You placed in him.  And You speak to Your people today. You have given each of us gifts and talents to use in accordance with Your plan.  Help me hear Your voice clearly when You speak. Give me direction and a view of Your purpose for my gifts.

Jonah thought he could get away with being disobedient. He thought he could hide from You. Silly man. And silly me! There have been times when I did not follow Your direction. I never ended up in the belly of a great fish, but I did miss out on some wonderful opportunities. Remind me of that when I consider disobedience in the future.

You have everything under Your control! Not only did You see where Jonah went, meaning there in no place to hide from You; but You were in control of everything around him. The weather? You brought the storm! And calmed it. A large fish? You brought it to swallow Jonah, and it obeyed Your command to vomit him onto dry land. The same thing is true of the events and circumstances, relationships and opportunities in my life. Remind me that You see me wherever I am. And that there is nowhere I can go away from You. And nothing beyond Your power.

Jonah called out to You, “In [his] distress…”. Even when he thought his life was over, and knowing he had been disobedient, he prayed to You. There is no circumstance where I cannot call on You. It is never too late, I can never be too bad, I am never too far-gone.

You answered! Even in the bowels of death and disobedience, You heard and answered Jonah’s prayer and rescued him. You are a God of second chances! And third and fourth… You want Your people to be obedient. You coach them to win, giving them every opportunity to do so. And I am one of Your people. Thank You for giving me second chances and more. Thank You for always hearing my prayer and answering me.

Jonah obeyed eventually. What I take from this is: obey the first time – it will save me a lot of grief!

Thank You for this view into Jonah’s life. It is a view into my own. And into Your greatness. Because You are so God… And I am so human… Amen

Jonah 1:1-3:3

Nov 4 Trust the plan

sky-414199_640Father, You had a plan when You punished Israel and sent them into exile. And when You brought judgment on the remnant.   You had a plan for bringing Your people back to the land and giving them a new heart, a new spirit and a better salvation.

You had a plan when You visited the ten plagues on the Egyptians. You could see into their hearts and used them as a tool of deliverance for Your people there.

I believe You have a plan for me and my life as well. Like Your people before me, it may not be what I expect. But I completely trust You. You may not give me visions like Ezekiel. You may not exile me from my home. You may not use another nation to exact my liberation. But I know that whatever Your plan – it is one that will be new and unique, designed perfectly for the gifts and talents You’ve placed in me.

Father, I trust that You will show me what I need to know, exactly when I need to know it. Lord, open my eyes and ears so I do not miss anything You want me to know. Make me bold enough to act on what You lead me to. Give me courage to persevere in the way You are showing me.

Lord, my own personality sometimes leads me in one direction that may or may not be Yours. Help me to let go of what I think I should be doing for You. Let me be satisfied with Your plan for me.   And seek only You. Amen

Ezekiel 11:14-21; Psalm 105:16-36

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

Oct 16 Trust God’s plan

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” These wonderful words of life and promise and hope that so many believers have claimed as personal encouragement were given first to a specific group of Your people who had rejected You and endured such hardship that they had been forcibly removed from their homes and land. They had been seized by a military force and taken to a foreign country to live as captives.

I cannot even imagine the trauma of being relocated like that. I would imagine escape back home would have been considered. Or revolt. Some attempt to regain freedom. But even if escape were possible, home was a thousand miles away! And now comes this letter from Jeremiah to say ‘Accept captivity! Settle down! Live in the new land. Pray for your new home! For seventy years!’

That must have seemed just the opposite of what they wanted to do. And the harsh word, that this was Your doing must have been confusing and hurtful. But then, in the same breath, comes Your promise to them. “When seventy years are completed in Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill My good promise to bring you back to this place”.

Father, I know I sometimes wonder if where I am is really the place You want me to be. I trust the plans You have for me. Even if it means I have to wait on Your timing. But please don’t let it take seventy years, Lord! David prayed, and I do too, “Bring joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You.” Thank You Lord, that You are “forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call on You.” Thank You that You do “Hear my prayer, Lord,” and “listen to my cry for mercy.” I praise You that You are “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”.

The Israelites must have looked at their circumstances and doubted whether it could really be Your will. Father, sometimes things don’t look too good to me either. And Iwonder how You will work things out for my good. But I totally trust that You will.   I completely “rely on Your faithfulness”.

Father, open my eyes to the truth of where I am right now. If I have gotten myself off Your path, show me how to return to it. If I am where You want me to be, help me hear your voice of encouragement. Help me feel Your presence here with me. And if waiting is involved, help me wait patiently, prayerfully, praise-fully, and productively.   Show me those plans as I need to see them. My hope and my future are in You. Amen

Jeremiah 29:1-14; Psalm 86:1-17

May 10 The Best Father

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O Father, how many times have I behaved like the Israelites here, and asked for something so I could be like everyone else? Instead of trusting Your will and the plan You had for me, I settled for what You allowed because I asked for it.

So many times the wisdom of the world seems right. It makes sense to the mind. It pleases the eye. It pacifies the emotions. But one can follow logic and still be dead wrong.   A person can feel like things are going well, when they are not. Things can look good, but be rotten to the core. This is proven each time someone is tricked or duped; because we trust our eyes and our logic.

But You, Father, can see the end from the beginning. You have a perspective that I do not.

I protect my child when I prevent them from a danger I can see that they cannot. To them, it may feel like I am restricting them, not protecting them.   Hopefully as they grow, they trust my judgment until they can see the dangers for themselves.

And sometimes, I need to let them make their own choices, even if they are unwise, in order to learn for themselves. For instance, when you eat a tube of raw cookie dough, there are unpleasant consequences, even though it tastes really good during the eating part.

Though I like to think of myself as independent and smart enough to make wise decisions, I have learned that simply lining up pros and cons and judging by worldly standards is not the only or even the best method. I have access to the God who created the universe! You have wisdom I could never in a million years attain.   And praises to You, You are willing to share it with me!

Father, when I want something, let me examine my motive. Help me discern what is best from Your perspective. Give me godly understanding that surpasses the world’s view. And help me accept that wisdom if it turns out that what I think I want is not the best thing. Help me wait for the right thing. Teach me to be wise. Amen

I Samuel 8:1-22

Apr 13 God’s plan, not my plan

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Lord God, once again You show that You have a plan and are willing to include man in it. You gave specific details of what Joshua was to do in order to gain Your victory.

First, though, the Israelites had to purge the sin from within their midst. It is the same for me. I cannot ask You for victory when I am harboring sin.

Then You told them “do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”.   It would have been easy to dwell on their last failure and be fainthearted in the presence of the same enemy who had routed them before. When I have tried to do something in my own strength, and failed, it is hard to get up and try again without fearing the same disastrous result.

Next they had to follow Your plan exactly, to Your specifications and in Your timing. That can be hard as well. So often I second-guess You by trying to come up with my own plan. There are ways that seem to make sense to man, but do not often yield the desired result. So I must be willing to give up the direction my own thoughts lead me and be obedient to what You tell me.

Last, they enjoy the victory, giving thanks and credit to You. They collected the spoil but went right to building an altar for offering sacrifices, acknowledging that You are the One who gave the victory. Every person involved was present and attentive to Your words, being reminded of the blessings and the curses You promise.

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When things go well, it is easy to sit back and take the credit, not including You until I need You again. But it is vital I recognize that the victories in my life come from Your. I am learning how to give credit to you without sounding false or insincere. It strengthens me to know You are involved in my life.

 

What was the result of this successfully executed plan? Even more kings came together to make war against them! Sometimes the battles we face, challenging as they may be, are simply preparation for bigger battles to follow!   But we can know that having done well will lay the groundwork for the next success. Victory is ours when the battle is the Lord’s! Amen.

Joshua 7:16-9:2

Mar 21 Overabundant blessing!

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O Lord, how often do I make my own plan, instead of seeking Yours, or going along with the one You started me out on? How many blessings have I missed, because I went my own way?

The Reubenites and Gadites saw with their eyes, that the land they were on was good enough for them; and asked for it rather than waiting for the land You had promised to all the tribes. In their view, what they were seeing was good enough, and it was given to them. I wonder if they prayed about that decision? Or how they sought wisdom on the matter? Or if they were just tired of being on the move and wanted to stop and settle?

Down the road it caused misunderstanding and cost lives. It was not Your plan, but You allowed it.

When Jesus taught and healed in the town of Capernaum in Galilee, the people searched Him out and tried to keep Him from leaving. Who wouldn’t want to hang on to a miracle worker? Healer? Gifted teacher?   But the will of the people did not line up with Your divine purposes.

It was not Your plan, and You did not allow it.

Jesus was not a fisherman. But He got into a fisherman’s boat. He instructed the men to put out into deep water and let down the nets at a time and place that made no sense by fishermen’s wisdom.   The men did, acting in obedience to Your sovereignty.

When they obeyed, went along with Your plan, they were blessed to overflowing! They had to call a backup boat, and even then, the boats filled to almost sinking with fish!

It was Your plan, and although it made no sense by human wisdom, it brought overabundant blessing!

Dear Father, I want that overabundant blessing in my life! I desire to align myself with Your will and Your purpose. I lay down my wish to ‘do it my way’ or according to my own wisdom, in favor of Your revelation and Your blessing. Help me hear Your instruction clearly. Embolden me to act with godly wisdom. Keep me on the path of Your plan.   And let me receive Your blessing with gratitude and thanksgiving! Amen

Numbers 32:1-42; Luke 4:31-5:11

Mar 19 God’s Plan

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These amazing assemblies that You had the Israelites learn and observe Lord, are more than just feasts and festivals for celebration’ sake. They are the blueprint of Your plan for salvation and will play out to the end of the age, the end of the earth.   They have meaning in themselves, but are also prophetic of what is to come.

As Passover commemorates Your deliverance of the Israelites from death, by the blood of the lamb on the doorposts – Jesus IS that Passover Lamb. His blood allows me to be delivered from eternal death: separation from You.

Firstfruits being offered to the Lord show that the Israelites trust the Lord to bring in the rest of the harvest – Jesus IS the firstfruit of the risen! He was dead and is now alive, just as all who believe and die will rise to eternal life with Christ.

The Festival of Weeks is 50 days after Firstfruits. It celebrates the bringing in of the first harvest –50 days after Jesus rose there was the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit: Pentecost.

The Feast of Trumpets called Israel together to prepare for the Day of Atonement, which was ten days later. It is not tied to any historical event in Israel’s past.   And this has not yet been fulfilled.   Believers look to the book of Revelation: when the trumpet sounds and Jesus returns to call the living and the dead to rise for eternal judgment.

Father, how amazing that You laid out this plan, all before the foundations of the earth. You knew all that it would take to reconcile Your people to You after sin entered the world. And You have laid the groundwork for my understanding of what has happened, and what is to come, in these festivals and holy days.

Thank you that You reveal Your plan to man. Thank You that Your plan is good and true; and that I can trust You to have the sovereignty and power to make it so.  Help me be mindful of the fullness of my history as a believer, both in the Old and New Testaments. And prepare me for all that is to come. Reveal Your plan to me for my life, and lend me Your strength to be obedient to it. Amen

Numbers 28:16-29:40

Mar 11 from beginning to end

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Thank You Lord, is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited, reconciled, into fellowship with You. Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through. Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world was laid! That You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence. And eventually died physically. They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the desert when Korah sinned against You and rebelled, You swallowed him up in the earth with his followers. Yet sin continued, with more sacrifices being made as a way to enter Your presence, first in the Tabernacle, then the Temple.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people. Yet all have not accepted that gift.

One day Your world will be free of sin again, as You judge all the living and the dead, even the angels, and create a new heaven and a new earth. You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes. They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever. I am eternally blessed to be Your child. Thank You. Amen

Numbers 15:17-16:40; Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:7

Jan 26 Do I get a map?

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Lord God, You are so wise. How often do I want to see Your plan for my life all laid out for me– at least the next chapter?
You gave Moses a look at all that was coming next. You shared Your plan to deliver the Hebrew people, saying “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… I am sending you to Pharaoh…” And Moses starts back-peddling! You answered all his questions and revealed the plan, promising deliverance and riches to the people. You told Moses what to say, and how Your mighty hand would compel Pharaoh and perform wonders. Yet still Moses balked.

Jesus told His disciples how the plan of salvation would play out. He showed how prophecy was coming to pass right before their eyes! They knew Elijah must come first – Jesus explained that John the Baptist was Elijah. How did they respond? They demonstrated “so little faith” and were “filled with grief”.

So I can see why You don’t show me the miles of path before me. I would probably balk and try to get You to change Your mind, or would display too much emotion and not enough ‘getting on board’ with the plan.

When I used to ride horses, I never told the horse in advance where we would be riding that day. I never brought a map and showed him where our trail would take us. I’m pretty sure he knew he would end up back at the stable, his home. But I would guide him along as we went. Sometimes we would stop and rest for a bit. We would go fast or slow, left to the stream, or right to the hilltops, according to my leading, my plan.

Because a horse could not read or understand a map, I never showed it one. I daresay I would not understand Your plan if You showed it to me either. “As the heavens are higher
than the earth, so Your ways are higher than my ways, and Your thoughts higher than my thoughts.”
And I’m okay with that. Because I trust Your thoughts, and Your ways, and Your plans; even if I can’t see or don’t understand them. And I know where I will end up: in my true home, spending eternity with You.

I agree with David who wrote, ”In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.” I put my trust in You. You have already delivered me from the evil one by dying on the cross in my place. You have saved me from that eternal death into eternal life. And I know that at the end of my ride, I will not be disappointed. Amen

Exodus 3:1-22; Matthew 17:10-27; Isaiah 55:9; Psalm 22:4-5

 

Jan 25 I trust Your perfect plan

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Oh God I praise You that nothing can thwart Your plans! Although evil is in this world, and is in positions of power and authority, it is nothing compared to You and Your ability to preserve Your will! I ask for Your will to be done in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones. Do not let any powers or influences get in the way of bringing Your will into our lives.

Whether in slavery or in prison, Your purpose was fulfilled in Joseph’s life. And in spite of the selfishness and greed of Joseph’s brothers, it played right into Your plan to save Israel’s descendants. Then hundreds of years later, when the new Pharaoh tried to kill the male Hebrew babies, You, again, had a plan for those children and the peoples’ deliverance. By human reckoning, it took a miracle – because a baby in a basket floating in crocodile infested waters would have no chance of surviving. But You provided for this Hebrew baby to be raised in the palace as Pharaoh’s own grandson!

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

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

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

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

I echo the words of King David: “For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.” I too trust in You, the Lord, the Most High. I ask You, Lord God to show me enough light for the next step I am to take. Help me listen for Your response and obey what I hear. And trust that even if it doesn’t make sense to me, it will turn out according to Your plan. I trust that Your plan is the best one for me – a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, a plan to give me a hope and a future.

I trust You. My security is in You – even when nothing I can see supports my feeling safe. Because of Your unfailing love for me, I can remain at PEACE. Meaning I can: Possess Equilibrium Amid Chaotic Events. You have the power, You have the ability and expertise, You have the sovereignty and the willingness to bring Your plans to fruition. So let it be done. On this earth. In this country. In my life. Amen

Exodus 1:1-2:10; Matthew 16:21-17:9; Psalm 21:7; Jeremiah 29:11

Jan 21 It’s all perspective

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Holy Father, Your will often puzzles me. I cannot see from Your perspective or understand the effects of actions looking forward into the future. Your servant John the Baptist lived as a righteous man. He was a believer and taught of Your kingdom. He even baptized Jesus! He was a great part of Your plan; yet he was beheaded by an unrighteous, evil, manipulative man. In our human understanding of ‘fairness’ that seems so wrong.

Yet, again, our perspective is not Yours. And our life here on earth is not the end of it all. There is also what comes after: where and how we spend eternity.

So can I still pray for things to work here out here on earth, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones? Yes. And can I ask in faith, believing, and not doubting? Absolutely!

But I must remember that You answer prayer from a greater perspective. My sight and my ability to see ‘the solution’ are very limited. Even in my own life, I have prayed and You have answered in ways far better than anything I had asked for, or could have even imagined.

And can I trust Your answer? Without a doubt! Even if I can’t understand the ‘why’ of it at the time. I know that Your love for me is great. And You are trustworthy. And Your sense of mercy and justice are right.

So no matter how things look from my perspective, I can proclaim boldly with the Psalmist, “As for God, His way is perfect!”

Matthew 14:1-12; Psalm 18:30a