Tag: God’s power

Aug 27 Help me help and be helped

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Dear Father, everyone has people in their lives who are weak and need help.  Help me be aware of those You have placed in my life for me to help.

Sometimes there seem to be so many I am overwhelmed and end up doing nothing, or their needs are so great I feel that the little I can do will not make a difference.

And there are those who take advantage, pretending to be in need when they are not. I rely on You, Lord, to show me what I can do and where I can help.  And even if I only do something small it can make a difference in someone’s life.

Father, when I think of You and Your immense power, I am the weak one who needs help.  So I ask for Your protection.   I cannot deal with things more powerful than me; preserve my life.  I can see some traps or obstacles but many are invisible.  Yet I can trust You to know when I need Your help, even if I don’t know that I do.

Thank You for being there for me when I can see my need and call on You.  And thank You for being there for me when I don’t even know I am in need.

Father, my foes are many.  Because I live in a fallen world, there are disease and disaster, man’s inhumanity to man, and the evil one lurks seeking to destroy Your believers.  In all these things, only You can protect.

Thank You that You are my strong deliverer who rescues and restores.   Thank You that You will not let my enemies triumph.

Thank You that You are from everlasting to everlasting.  Amen and amen!

Psalm 41:1-3, 13

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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 had begun 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 2:11-3:14

Jun 27 Even me

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Father, I am so encouraged to read about Joash, one of the kings of Judah.  He was seven years old when he began to reign.  Seven years old!  And You worked mightily through him.

During his forty-year reign, he effected repairs on the temple, and brought the people back to following You.  He did what was right in Your eyes.

I often wonder how I am equipped to serve You.  I am not a healer, or preacher, or famous author with a large following.  I’m not a missionary in a far off land, or a concert singer or evangelist.

Often Your Word says You use ordinary people.   “Elijah was a man just like us…” and yet Elijah became a powerful prophet.  Moses claimed to be “slow of speech” yet he was Your instrument for delivering Your people from four hundred years of slavery.

It’s so easy to look at great people: both from Biblical times and those of my day, and feel completely inadequate.   Yet, here is this seven-year-old boy.  And it gives me such hope, that if You would use a seven-year-old boy, You would use me too.

It reminds me that it is not the “person” with their talents, gifts, skills, and abilities that accomplishes anything.  It is You!  You are the One!  It is Your power which accomplishes Your will.

What You can do with any person who is sold out to You, is limitless!  Even a seven-year-old boy.  Even a simple, untrained girl.  Even a sixty-year-old woman.  Even me.  Amen

2 Kings 12:1-21

Mar 12 God is with us

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you”

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How many times, O Lord, have I seen You sustain me during times of stress and trouble?  You have proven Yourself reliable over and over again.

Sometimes when I cast my cares on You, You actually change my circumstances, so the cause of my worry disappears.  That is always appreciated, and often the solution I am seeking.   But there are many other ways You ”sustain” me!

At times You don’t change the circumstances, but You change my perspective.  You allow me to see things from a different view.  It’s like when a toddler runs to their mother and is picked up and held in her arms.  The child can see from a higher, safer perspective than from the height of a child.   Looking down from that height, the bad things don’t look so big and overwhelming.

Another way You sustain me is by simply being with me.  Maybe the circumstances don’t change, and my perspective is the same; but the fact that You are near me, encouraging me, comforting me, reminding me that You are in control and that I can trust You, is what gets me through the hard time.

Sometimes You distract me with a blessing in one part of my life that so outweighs the rest, the worry fades in significance.

Sometimes You teach me to choose my battles, and show me that in relation to the bigger picture, I can let go of this worry.

At other times You impress upon me the lessons I’m learning in dealing with the hardship actually outweigh the difficulty in getting through it.

And still other times You create a surprise ending through the struggle that works out even better than I could have ever imagined!

It is still not easy when challenges and troubles come.  Truth be told, I’d prefer to avoid them altogether.  But You have shown me that You can work good out of anything when I trust You.  I know that no matter what, You will sustain me.

YOU – the all-mighty, all-knowing Creator God, who has the power and resources of the universe at His disposal, will sustain me.

You WILL – a certainty because of Your faithfulness to Your promises and Your unchangeable character and Your unfailing love for me, sustain me.

You will SUSTAIN – keep, preserve, defend, support and encourage, zealously guard and treasure, me

You will sustain ME – Your child, Your servant, one who loves and worships and believes in and trusts in You.

YOU WILL SUSTAIN ME!  And I will praise You!  Thank You.  Amen

Psalm 55:22

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. I trust that Your plan is the best possible. Do not let any powers or influences get in the way of effecting Your will in our lives.

Your purpose was fulfilled in Joseph’s life. And in spite of slavery, prison and 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.

And 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. But 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 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

Jan 10 Jehovah Rophe – God who Heals

i amHeavenly Father, thank You for coming to earth in the flesh and preserving Your Word so that all can know of it and of Your great love for us:

how You lived and walked among us;

how You taught us by Your words and Your actions;

how You miraculously healed so many.

You fulfilled all the prophecies spoken by Your prophets.

Isaiah says “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.” You did this freely, and with authority and power. I believe You still do this today. So many need a healing, Lord. Will You come and lay Your powerful hand of healing on us.

Some need a physical healing. Our bodies are weak and wracked with diseases of all sorts, from fevers and rashes to cancer.  In Your Word You healed all who came to You.  Heal us.

Some have mental stress that has caused emotional problems and we are heartsick and even become trapped in addictions.  Heal us.

Others need for You to touch our spirits and bring light and life back into us where we have lost hope and are filled with discouragement.  Heal us.

Father, use Your mighty power to make us a living testimony for You.

I praise You because You not only have the power, but also the authority and the will to heal us. Thank You that You are willing and able.

I welcome Your presence into our lives to dispel the darkness. Bring us peace, Lord. Bring us back to wholeness in You.

I realize that Your perfect healing may not look like what I think it should look like from an earthly perspective.  But I trust Your perfect plan.

I fall on my knees before You to receive all You have for me. I lift up Your name Lord Jesus Christ, for in You is all that I need.

As I receive from You, let me sense You in a tangible way. I gratefully give You all that I am. Thank You. Amen

Matthew 8:1-17

Jan 6 Choices

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

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Lot looked with his physical eyes and made his choice to move to the well watered land to the east. It did not work out well for him. Keep me from rushing headlong into decisions based only on what I think I see with my physical eyes. Or on what my flesh leads me to from misguided appetites.

Instead, teach me to see with Your eyes, from Your perspective; looking beyond the immediate appearance of reward. Help me think through and pray through decisions.  Especially when they also involve others and affect my relationships, and how I live.

Help me weigh the consequences and ask, “Will this draw me closer to God or take me further away?”

And as I move forward, let me be mindful of Your voice, trusting that You will guide and protect me.

If my choices go wrong, help me recognize the sinfulness around me, and separate myself from it.  Don’t let me tolerate evil or go along with it. Precept Bible Study taught me “sin will: take me farther than I ever meant to stray, keep me longer than I ever meant to stay, and cost me more that I ever meant to pay. “

Thank You for Abram’s example. He heard Your voice and obeyed, moving even before he had the whole picture and started off for the land You would show him. Let me also be obedient without insisting on having it all laid out before me.

Help me act in faith when You call. Help me believe and trust in Your promises. Even when You do not act according to my expected or desired time table.

Even when it seems like things are not going the way I have prayed they would.

Even when it seems worse than at the beginning.

Even when I cannot see You at work.

I know that Your thoughts are not my thoughts.  Your ways are not my ways. You have the advantage of infinite wisdom over infinite time and infinite sovereignty with infinite power.

Thank You for teaching me through example after example in the Bible that I can trust that You always keep Your promises. You are Almighty God. And I worship You alone. Amen

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

Jan 5 I call to You

sky-2667455_640 (1)Psalm 5:3 says “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.”

This has become true as I read Your Word and it becomes the substance of my prayers. So today, I lay myself and my loved ones, one by one before You.

I ask for Your hand to be at work in each of these relationships, and in all our circumstances.

Father, You know what each of us needs better than I do, so I ask for You to work in each of our lives to bring about Your perfect will. In some cases, to break our own will where it is in opposition to Yours and set us back on Your path.

I ask to heal our bodies where there is sickness; to turn our spirits to You where there has been rebellion or going our own way; to soften our hearts so we seek You for help and direction.

Show us how to call out to You where there is disappointment or despair and give us a realization and acknowledgment of the blessings in our lives which come from You.

Where our troubles are the result of bad choices, teach us to learn from them so the experience is not wasted.

Where we are wrestling with spiritual forces, rulers, principalities, authorities, and powers of this dark world and the heavenly realms; destroy them Lord! Declare them guilty O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them and their evil plans from our lives .

I lay our lives at Your feet, knowing that You have the resources, the authority, and the power to achieve even more than I can ask or even imagine. I wait for Your hand to be made visible in the lives of my family and myself so that I can see and rejoice.

We take refuge in You, and in Your mighty power! Spread Your protection over us. Surround us with Your favor as with a shield.

We rejoice in You and we sing for joy! We love Your Name O Lord. Jehovah! Yahweh! Jesus! Messiah! For there is no other name by which we can be saved! Amen

Psalm 5:1-12

Dec 16 though I sit in darkness…

“Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.”  Micah 6:8

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Father, I have so often been encouraged by this verse, this affirmation of Micah’s.  He was speaking on behalf of his country, Israel.   He was assuring his enemies that although they seemed to enjoy victory over Israel at this time, You were completely in control of what was happening.

Micah understood that Israel must bear the consequences of their sin, but that ultimately, You would “plead [their] case and uphold [their] cause.  You will bring [them] out into the light;” and Your righteousness would be seen by the enemy who would be “covered with shame” and “trampled underfoot.”

Father I have called on this verse for strength when facing all kinds of enemies.  You know how many things, forces, circumstances have gotten the better of me, and I felt alone in the ”darkness” in one way or another.

There have been times when physical illness or injuries have made me feel helpless, in the dark.  No matter, for You can bring healing into any illness or injury You choose.  And if not the healing I would hope for, You bring light to help me understand and deal with it.

At times, circumstances have left me in the dark for want of a good solution.  When I cannot perceive a way out, it feels like the darkness immobilizes me.  I can go through the process of making logical choices and weighing options, but none seem right.  When I call out to You, so often You bring light to the subject in a way that shows me a solution I had never thought of!

Other times, my emotions have weighed heavily on me in a negative way.  Discouragement, anxiousness, depression, and hopelessness lead to a very dark place indeed.

In this darkness, I cannot see to help myself, and often cannot even see to reach out to a friend.  The darkness almost seems to press in on me and pull me down, keeping me isolated and out of reach from everyone else.

But You can always reach me.  You remind me that even in the dark, You placed the stars to be light in the sky.   And although they are there in the daytime too, it is only at night, in the dark, that they are visible.  For me to see those stars, it must be dark…

And there have been times of spiritual darkness, when I felt under attack by forces I could not see, but could sense were there.  Then, I am somewhat fighting an enemy “in the dark”.  But You are light.  You walk in the light.  And when I walk with You, I can see by Your light!

Thank You for Your light that lets me see in the darkness!  I praise You that there is no darkness which You cannot dispel!

Your power overcomes any darkness of any kind.

Your light brings healing and hope and life!

I praise Your Name!  Hallelu Yah!

Micah 7:8-13

Nov 6 The One True God

What a reminder Lord, that You are in control.

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You cause and relieve famines.  The lives of every person in the world, and every animal, are in Your hands.  You also control the beasts, whether they are calm and docile, or whether they attack and kill.   You control armies, the leaders who deploy them, and the outcome of the battles – who lives, and who dies.  And You control disease, outbreaks, plagues; and who lives or dies by them.

All these things You used against the Israelites.  And it is the same today.  All these things are still in Your hands

 “Who can proclaim the mighty acts of The Lord or fully declare his praise?”  There is no one.  The full extent and measure of Your power is beyond my ability to comprehend.

I have seen great storms of such powerful strength that houses and trees are uprooted.  You are more powerful.

I have watched rushing waters tear up highways and destroy homes and shopping centers.  Your strength is greater.

I have seen the limits people will go to, to forgive a wrong that has harmed them greatly.  Yet Your forgiveness goes farther.

I have seen the deep love of a mother for her new child, willing to sacrifice all for that child.  Yet Your love is deeper and greater in every way.

I cannot measure the breadth of Your mercy.  And I cannot fathom the depths of Your wrath.    This is both reassuring and terrifying.  I am reassured that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is beyond Your control.  That means I have nothing to fear.

I am blessed by Your love, Your mercy, Your forgiveness, Your provision.  Even when I mess up, You have provided for that, and I can be reconciled to You.   And I am assured of my salvation.

But the depths of Your wrath will be released one day.  Because You are just, You must judge.  And the very security I have, that all things are in Your control, will be the terror of those who have rejected You.

I “give thanks to you, Lord, for You are good; Your love endures forever”.  Amen

Ezekiel 14:12-23; Psalm 106:1-12

 

Oct 27 Yours is the power

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“You made the earth by Your power; You founded the world by Your wisdom and stretched out the heavens by Your understanding.

 When You thunder, the waters in the heavens roar; You make clouds rise from the ends of the earth. You send lightning with the rain and bring out the wind from Your storehouses.”

“You are the Maker of all things, including the people of Your inheritance – the Lord Almighty is Your name.”

Father, You are the One.  The Only.  You are forever my Creator and Savior.  And no one and no thing can stand against You.  No power, ruler, or authority.  Nothing in heaven, on the earth or below it.  What You purpose will come to pass.

“The Lord reigns!  “Let the nations tremble.”  Father, I believe one day soon, You will reign on earth.  Nothing will be able to stand against You.  And the nations will tremble.

Your people looked for You to deliver them out of the hand of Babylon.  And You delivered.  But You had an even greater deliverance in mind.  “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”

When You walked this earth and sacrificed Yourself on the cross, that bought salvation and offered it to all.  And now, the world waits for “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”

Father, You purified me with Your blood.  You gave me Your Word to teach me how to live.  Help me live as Yours.  Amen

Jeremiah 51:1-19; Psalm 99:1-3; Titus 2:11-14

 

 

Oct 26 You control

Father, at the time Babylon captured Your people Judah, she was just a tool in Your hand.  Not the end-all power she believed she was.  And she will be judged and punished, even as she was used as the tool to punish Israel.  All the kingdoms You sent prophecies about fell as You said they would.

You sent Jeremiah carefully chosen words to describe the coming destruction of other kingdoms, and they all came true:

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”Concerning Damascus…troubled like the restless sea.” 

“Concerning Kedar and Hazor…scatter to the winds.” 

“I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four corners of heaven.”  

“Concerning Babylon…I will kindle a fire…that will consume all…a drought on her waters.”  It reminds me that You are in total control of Your creation!

You control the winds, fire, drought and seas. They responded at Creation when You made them and set their limits over the earth.  When You walked the earth, You stood in a boat and spoke to a storm, commanding the winds and rain: “Peace, be still.”   And today’s Psalms speak of the earth being glad and rejoicing.

What a picture! “Clouds and thick darkness surround You…fire goes before You…Your lightening lights up the world.”  All at Your command.

You are still in control, holding authority over all the earth.  The earth responds to You:  “the earth sees and trembles…mountains melt like wax…heavens proclaim Your righteousness…seas resound…rivers clap their hands, mountains sing together for joy.”

If this is the response of the earth, how can I do less?

Father, I shout for joy!  I burst into jubilant song.  I make music with whatever instrument I can – all to glorify my God.  You are the only god who is the real God.  I exalt You over all things, all people, all powers.

I rejoice because You are a righteous and just God.  Because You carry out Your judgments in righteousness.  Because You are loving and faithful.  Because You have saved me.  You are the One True Almighty God, and there is no other!  Amen

Jeremiah 49:23-50:46; Psalm 97:1-98:9

 

Oct 5 I look to You

Father, my country is so like Your people of old.  Your Name is not honored.  You are ignored, or worse.  You poured out Your judgment on them.  Will You also pour out Your judgment on my nation?

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Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see,   who have ears but do not hear…Should you not fear me, declares the Lord?  Should you not tremble in my presence? ”

Father, draw us back to You – my nation, my family, myself. I proclaim You as my Lord and Savior.  And I see Your warnings in this evil world.

Let “no one deceive me with fine-sounding arguments”.  Do not let me be persuaded to go against what You stand for by some reason of relative morality.  Do not let my values be swayed by society’s sense of right and wrong when they do not agree with Yours.

My roots are in You, let them go down deep and drink in Your strength and wisdom. Let my faith stand strong, unwavering as I live a disciplined life in You. Show me from Your perspective, how to make decisions that will lead me in the way that will honor You.

Caution me when I am in danger of going the wrong way, or have taken a wrong turn.  Don’t let any experience be wasted, but help me learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others.

I offer You all thanks and praise, Lord.  You saw the earth when it was formless and void, and in Your mighty power created all I see.  You made light with Your Word, made the mountains and the seas.  You fashioned every bird and fish and animal.

All creation is under Your authority.  You set the limits of the waters of the earth.  Nothing can prevail against You and Your will.  Thank You that You care for me.  That You teach me and love me as Your beloved child.  That You strengthen and uphold me.

You are Lord and I am blessed.   Amen

Jeremiah 5:19-31; Colossians 1:28-2:7

Sept 29 Remember and Praise!

note-152133_640Father, You looked down on the people You created, and what a disappointment! You saw them in their “sinful greed” and “willful ways.”  Even when they sought You with fasting, it was not in earnest.  And was not acceptable to You.  You told them how to behave to be blessed.  Yet they still did not respond as You had instructed.

Their sin separated them from You.  And so You achieved salvation for them by Yourself.   “As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says The Lord.  My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and My Words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips…from this time on and forever, says The Lord.”

Father, I wonder how I disappoint You when You look at me.  I so often think of my own needs and wants before others, and I want things my own way.  That sounds a lot like “sinful greed” and “willful ways.”  But because I am Yours, I have Your Spirit in me, and I have Your Word.  The Scriptures tell me how to live, and the Spirit prompts me in the right direction, even when I stray.  I am thankful that You do not give up on me.

You have been with me since my youth, giving me hope and confidence; helping me when I needed help, rescuing me when I needed saving.  Now, “deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.”

As I face things that seek to pull me away from the path of righteousness, my emotions are strained, my good intentions eroded, and my character taxed.   But I am “confident of this, that He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

It is You, Father, Your power that will work in me and through me to enable me to achieve all You have purposed for me.  So rather than focus on my troubles, I chose to focus on You!  I believe Your Word and I trust Your Spirit.

Father, even now, help me remember Your faithfulness to me.  Help me recall the times when You interceded to protect me, when You made a way of escape for me, when You stayed with me in the hard times and got me through them with a vision or a song or an answer to prayer.

As I remember them one by one, I will sing and give You praise!  I will recall and tell others of Your greatness, and Your goodness to me.

Thank You that You are “my rock of refuge, to which I can always go.”   Thank You that “You are my strong refuge.”

Thank You for these Words You sent me through David.  I can almost use them word for word to praise You.  They so elegantly voice the praise and thanks I want to express.  Thank You that You are my God.  Amen

Isaiah 57:15-59:21; Philippians 1:6; Psalm 71: 1-24

 

Sept 24 Strengthen Me

man-2037255_640“O Lord, out of Your glorious riches,

would You strengthen me

with the power through Your Spirit in my inner being.”

Father, You own the cattle on a thousand hills, the earth and everything in it is Yours.  And not just Your right of Sovereignty over all things, but the richness of Your character allows You to pour over me all that I might ever need.

Father, would You strengthen me:

physically  – give me Your healing in all the areas of my body where there is illness or weakness.   Increase my strength and stamina to be able to do the work You set before me;

mentally – when I need to focus, or clear my mind of distracting thoughts.  Give me the ability and the diligence to take every thought captive to You, and to be alert to dangers around me.  Do not let my thinking become muddled by the vain philosophies of man or the half-truths and lies of the evil one;

emotionally – give me relief from discouragement, sadness, fear, anger, guilt, anxiousness.  Help me deal with my circumstances according to Your wisdom and not be led by my emotions;

spiritually –bolster my faith with the remembrance that no matter what – You are in control – that even if the fig tree does not blossom, no grapes appear on the vine, the olive crop fails and the fields produce no crops – I can still rejoice in You!  And spiritual strength to recognize and combat the enemy, dressed in my spiritual armor.

Father, would You do this so that “You will dwell in my heart through faith”.  Help me to “be rooted and established in love”.  Lord, like a tree planted by the water, let my spiritual roots go down deep into the soil so I can draw deeply of Your love.  You are love, so You are the true source of love that can strengthen and fill me.

Father, help me understand Your love: “how wide and long and high and deep” it is.  I ”understand” Your love in that I read about it.  But Father, help me really know it, in my heart and in my spirit; not just in my head.

When I can fathom Your love, I will have wisdom that surpasses knowledge.  And I will be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of You.”

Thank You that “You are able to do immeasurably more that I can ask or even imagine, according to Your power that is at work in me.”  I give You all the glory and praise, for ever and ever.  Amen

Ephesians 3:16-21

 

Sept 23 Do not Fear

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

“Do not fear

for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 43:1-7

Sept 22 Hope in the darkness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 40:28-31; 41:9-16; Ephesians 1:15-23

Aug 31 Fix my eyes on the eternal

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O Father, what amazing pictures are created with Your very words.

I can imagine “storehouses of snow”: sparkling, frosty, frozen piles so high they are mountains in themselves!

And I can picture You “laying the earth’s foundations”, “marking off its dimensions”, “shutting up the seas behind doors”, “fixing the limits of [the seas] and setting its doors and bars in place”.   The mighty waters obeying Your commands, stopping where You say to stop. Remaining only where You have given them permission to be.

Only You can bind and loose the stars as You “bring the constellations forth in their seasons.” And I can see it as You “tip over the water jars of heaven” to bring such needed moisture to the earth. You know “when each mountain goat gives birth”, and see each “doe bear her fawn.”

Only You could give the ostrich her great speed, and the horse its strength with “flowing mane.” From Your mighty words I am reminded of Your astounding strength, creativity, power and inventiveness. And over it all, You alone have authority!

It reminds me how much I want to be with You. Not here on earth, but enjoying the fullness of Your presence in heaven. With Paul, I “groan, longing to be clothed with my heavenly dwelling…”  Also with Paul, I “live by faith and not by sight… and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” What a wonderful day that will be!

And yet, my time on earth is not done. And although there are difficulties here I would rather skip over to just be with You, You have given me assurance that my “light and momentary troubles are achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”   So I “will not lose heart!” I will “be renewed day by day” by Your Word, and upheld by Your promises.

Father, help me “fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” So I will live, physically, in this world, but have my heart and my attention focused on the world that is to come. Father, show me how to do that.

Do not let me be overwhelmed or discouraged by what is temporary. Renew me day by day as I come to You in prayer. Help me enjoy Your amazing Creation through the eyes of the Creator.   And I will not lose heart. Amen

Job 37:1-39:30; II Corinthians 4:13-5: 10

 

Aug 27 Help me help and be helped

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Dear Father, everyone has people in their lives who are weak and need help. Help me be aware of those You have placed in my life for me to help.

Sometimes there seem to be so many I am overwhelmed and end up doing nothing, or their needs are so great I feel that the little I can do will not make a difference.

And there are those who take advantage, pretending to be in need when they are not. I rely on You, Lord, to show me what I can do and where I can help. And even if I only do something small it can make a difference in someone’s life.

Father, when I think of You and Your immense power, I am the weak one. So I ask for Your protection. I cannot deal with things more powerful than me; preserve my life. I can see some traps or obstacles but many are invisible. Yet I can trust You to know when I need Your help, even if I don’t know that I do.

Thank You for being there for me when I can see my need and call on You. And thank You for being there for me when I don’t even know I am in need.

Father, my foes are many. Because I live in a fallen world, there are disease and disaster, man’s inhumanity to man, and the evil one lurks seeking to destroy Your believers. In all these things, only You can protect. Thank You that You are my strong deliverer who rescues and restores.   Thank You that You will not let my enemies triumph.

Thank You that You are from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen!

Psalm 41:1-3, 13

Aug 26 God of all comfort

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”  

hand-in-hand-1686811_640 Father, over and over I have seen this play out. I have seen someone in an ICU give, then receive, and then give back comfort as the circumstances changed.  We can experience such pain, and yet You know the comfort we need and You place people right there with us.

Sometimes it happens immediately. Sometimes, it may be years before I come across someone who is hurting over something I’ve experienced myself. You remind me of how You helped me through it, and I can help them. Or vice versa. Those past hurts help us reach out and genuinely connect with other people. It’s hard to imagine, but sometimes those places of pain provide a more significant connection than any other experience we have in common.

“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”  

There are times when there seems to be no place else to turn, and I think all is lost.   And I forget to turn to You – the One who has the real power to help me. When I hear of someone in dire circumstances, I often pray that they will turn to You, Lord. That You would not let the hardship and pain be wasted, but that it would bring them into closer relationship with You.   Partly because I believe there is joy in that relationship no matter what happens. But also because You are the One with the power to help them!

“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril and He will deliver us.  On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.”  

 You have delivered me in the past. And that in itself gives me hope!  “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name!”

Singing that song, for years I didn’t know what a “sweetest frame” was. It is anything else I might choose to lean on or rely on: another person, a pastor, a president, a doctor, my rights, what seemed fair to me. Everything will collapse under me, except You!

“Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”  

 It does not take “many” to pray to be heard and answered by You. You have answered prayers I have uttered only in my spirit, when alone. But when many pray together, then there are many to praise You, and to thank You for Your answer and good news. It reinstates the hope of many. And builds and strengthens their faith.

Thank You that You are the God of all comfort. Amen!

II Corinthians 1:1-11

Aug 24 Raised Indestructible

“Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow he does not endure.”

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“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of years is as nothing before You. Each man’s life is but a breath.”

Lord, today is the anniversary of my grandmother’s death. Family funerals seem to abound, with my own father’s passing still fresh in my memory. A dear friend and mentor who battled cancer three times is now with You as well. And today I received my own personal “wake up call” diagnosis.

All around me is the evidence of how fragile life is. How fleeting it seems. How quickly it passes. I say all the time that the days sometimes drag on, but the years fly by.   Father, You know I thought the days of changing diapers and wiping faces would never end. Now in their thirties, I wonder how my children got to be so grown; how I got to be so old.

“But now Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You.”  

I have confidence You are in control. And because of Your power and authority and sovereignty, no one, not any power or circumstance, can take away even a single minute of life that has been ordained by You. “Man’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set the limits he cannot exceed.”

Father, I know there are many things I cannot grasp while here on earth. But I love the picture You give of how I will be raised.

When I plant a seed in the ground, it does not look like what will come up. A tomato seed does not look like a tomato or the plant it grows on. Neither does a pumpkin seed, or a carrot seed, or an apple seed, or a peach pit. So my earthly body is like the seed. And my heavenly body is like the plant that springs from it.

My earthly body is fragile, but I will be raised with You indestructible!   I live in weakness and with embarrassment, but I will return with You in power and with glory!

Because I look to You for my eternal future, there is no fear, because Yours is the victory! “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?”   Thanks be to You! You have given me victory through my Lord Jesus Christ!” Amen

Job 14:1-5; I Corinthians 15:29-58; Psalm 39:1-7

Aug 23 There is none like You

“Your wisdom is profound, Your power is vast. You move mountains …You shake the earth from its place…You speak to the sun and it does not shine, You seal off the light of the stars. You alone stretch out the heavens and tread on the waves of the sea. “

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“You are the maker of the Bear and Orion (northern constellations), the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. You perform wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”  

photo NASA website M42 Wisps of the Orion Nebula(c) Jon Christensen

Father, these words of Job’s remind me of the immenseness of Your power. The vastness of who You are. The enormity of Your creation. It reminds me of how limited man is in his ability to comprehend all You are, all You have created and all You have done.

I look up at the stars, and I see tiny lights in the sky. On a clear night, I can see a lot of them. But ambient light from the city screens much of what is truly there.

When I was in Egypt, our bus was traveling at night on a lonely dark highway. We stopped in the middle of the Sinai and walked a ways into the desert to look up. You could hear the gasps as we all saw the magnificent display of stars as we had never seen them before!

We were drenched in darkness, but looking up at the sky saw thousands of tiny lights we had never been able to perceive, brilliantly sparkling from horizon to horizon. What an amazing display of Your grandeur!

I took a group of friends to a nearby observatory.   It housed a refracting telescope with a 20 inch diameter lens. The lens is seated in a 26 foot long tube, mounted on a 20 foot tall stand and pointed at the sky. We each took our turn climbing up to the viewing end of the telescope that was pointed at the Orion Nebula (the star at the tip of the sword held on Orion’s belt).

What I had seen with my eye to be a fuzzy point of light, exploded with clarity!  Brilliant light and clusters of stars in differing stages of birth and aging. Bright and discernible stars now filled my view.

What I had seen as one pinpoint in a haze was actually a nursery where new stars were being born! Within the cloud I could see several distinct, individual stars and cloud clusters. How amazing! All this, and more, You stretched out with Your hand.

The very limits of human perception cannot even begin to see, much less understand Your immensity. Your imagination and creativity are magnificent and immeasurable. There is none like You. Amen

Job 9:1-22

Aug 9 Your Word lights my way

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Father, thank You for Your Word that guides me every day in my prayers and in the choices I make in life. In today’s scriptures there are many reminders of things that deserve my attention.

First, like Ezra, I need to remember that my actions speak louder than my words, and my actions reveal what I believe about You.   Ezra didn’t ask for a military escort because it would look as if he didn’t trust in Your protection.

What do my actions say to others around me about my faith in You? When I seem afraid and worried over circumstances, does that show others I don’t really trust Your protection and provision? Father help me show my faith in You in my responses to difficulties.

When things don’t go my way, remind me that You are in control, and that You have my back!

There is absolutely nothing that can happen to me that You are unaware of. And I believe that You filter everything that comes to me, through Your fingers of love. Even in the bad times, You have prepared me, and You are with me. Thank You that You never, ever leave me.

Ezra fasted. I believe this is something that You honor. And it is good for me to relinquish something in order to spend time in prayer and humble myself before You. Sometimes it’s food. Sometimes it’s an activity, like the internet, or tv, or addicting games.

Whatever it is, I believe it is the act of focusing my attention and energy on hearing from and submitting to You.   Father, I express my desire for You to “clear my plate” of anything that is not of You.  Help me see my attitudes and actions from Your perspective, and tap into Your power for course correcting changes.

Ezra felt personally the burden of the sin of his people and interceded for them. I also have a burden for the “corporate” sin of my nation. I think of how far my country has come away from Your precepts, from Your commands, and I weep. I cry out with Ezra, “O my God, I am too ashamed to lift up my face to You, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached the heavens…we have disregarded the commands You gave…”

But Father, I have faith that You are still in control. That You have the power to move in the hearts of men and women, young and old, and call us back to You. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.”

Your work is not done and You are not finished with my country yet. Or my family. Or me.

Thank You Father for the hope You give me. You are my “rock of refuge, a strong fortress”. And I trust in You.  Amen

Ezra 8:21-9:15; Psalm 31:1-8; Proverbs 21:1

 

July 27 Jehoshaphat’s prayer & deliverance

sword-41036_640O Lord, may my victories be like those of Jehoshaphat’s! When I am confronted with a difficulty, let me learn from Jehoshaphat. His first response upon hearing of the dilemma? “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast…” Then, when the people came together, he prayed!

This is what I should do! Rather than respond with anxiousness, confusion, anger, frustration, or discouragement.

His words began with a statement of who You are and what You can do. How encouraging, to be reminded that You, my God, are the most powerful force in all creation!

“O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You. We stand in Your presence… and cry out to You in our distress, and You will hear us and save us… For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You!” 

What a claim! I acknowledge my insufficiency, but affirm my faith in trusting You. If I look at You instead of whatever problem, my focus stays positive. It confirms that You are bigger than the problem. 

“This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow, march down against them…you will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

Then they “bowed with their face to the ground and fell down in worship before the Lord. Some stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.”

 Father, You answered them with a challenge to be courageous, and a promise to fight their battle.   I definitely feel more courageous when I am singing praise music, or praying out loud. When I connect with You in prayer, I am re-energized and empowered to go on. From my journals, it is also reassuring to read about the times You have delivered me in the past. Recalling Your faithfulness always has an inspiring and calming effect.

And the result? Jehoshaphat and his men didn’t have to fight. As they sang and praised You, You fought the battle! Then they spent three days carrying off the plunder from the victory You gave them!

They returned to Jerusalem rejoicing and praising You in the Temple.

O Father, I forget when my problems seem so big, that I have a Father who is bigger. Who can give me a victory. Who can provide me with abundant rewards. Remind me to come to You first. To seek You, to fast, to pray, and to trust. Thank You. Amen

2 Chronicles 20:1-30

 

July 1 A good king – a great prayer!

017-hezekiah-assyriansFinally Father, a good king! Hezekiah was a good king (few and far between) of the southern kingdom of Judah. He removed the high places that other kings had allowed to be used for pagan worship and smashed all the sacred stones and Asherah poles.

During one of Assyria’s attacks, Hezekiah prayed to You because the Assyrian king mocked and ridiculed You, claiming You could not save Your people. And You answered and delivered them.  I echo those powerful words.

“Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.  You have made heaven and earth.  Give ear, Oh Lord, and hear; open Your eyes Oh Lord, and see, listen to the words [of the world and the evil one], sent to insult the living God. “

“It is true, Oh Lord, that (the evil one) has attacked and laid waste (to many, winning victories over their lives).  Now, Oh Lord, our God, deliver (me and my loved ones) from the hand of the enemy “- from any plot or plan to derail me, or us from the purpose and plan You have for our lives  – from any lies or deception the world or the evil one would use to oppress us – from any harm the enemy would seek to do in our lives, whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, financial, political or spiritual – “so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You, alone, Oh Lord, are God. “

My loved ones and I may not have to do battle on horseback with spears, but our enemies are real.  Powers and forces come against our family, our godly values, our emotions, our finances, our life circumstances; all trying to defeat us and make us lose our faith in You.2 king

Your response to Hezekiah was positive and powerful. I desire the same victory You gave Him, Father:   “The enemy will not enter (my life or the lives of my loved ones) or launch an attack (against us).  The enemy will not come against us with shield or build a siege ramp against us (to gain a foothold in our lives or cause devastation within our walls).  By the way that the enemy came (to oppress us,) he will leave and will not enter.  You will defend us and save us, for Your own sake. “    

You were true to Your Word to Hezekiah, and I know You will be faithful to me. Father, thank You that there is nothing too big and nothing too small for me to ask of You.   You have the power, the authority and the desire to act. Thank You that You can do immeasurably more than I can ask, or even imagine, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones – so that You will get all the glory!  Amen

2 Kings 18:13-19:37

June 27 Even me

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Father, I am so encouraged to read about Joash, one of the kings of Judah. He was seven years old when he began to reign. Seven years old! And You worked mightily through him!

During his forty-year reign, he effected repairs on the temple, and brought the people back to following You. He did what was right in Your eyes.

I often wonder how I am equipped to serve You. I am not a healer, or preacher, or famous author with a large following. I’m not a missionary in a far off land, or a concert singer or evangelist.

Often Your Word says You use ordinary people.   “Elijah was a man just like us…” and yet Elijah became a powerful prophet. Moses claimed to be “slow of speech” yet he was Your instrument for delivering Your people from four hundred years of slavery.

It’s so easy to look at great people: both from Biblical times and those of my day, and feel completely inadequate.   Yet, here is this seven-year-old boy. And it gives me such hope, that if You would use a seven-year-old boy, You would use me too.

It reminds me that it is not the ‘person’ with their talents, gifts, skills, and abilities that accomplishes anything. It is You! You are the One! It is Your power which accomplishes Your will. What You can do with any person who is sold out to You, is limitless! Even a seven-year-old boy. Even a simple, untrained girl. Even a sixty-year-old woman. Even me. Amen

2 Kings 12:1-21

June 6 By God’s Power

“Sovereign Lord, You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Your servant David when he said ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One.’.”

God in control

 

It was true in David’s time that the Philistines and others came and attacked Your people who were led by the men You had anointed to rule them.  When You came to Israel in the flesh, the High Priest and Sanhedrin plotted against You to have You killed

 

And today, many other religions are set against You and Your believers with plans of destruction.  Even more, the culture I live in does not embrace a Biblical worldview, but is focused on material gain, social success, political intrigue and self-gratification.

The prayer of Your disciples is a great guide for me.  First, they acknowledged that You were and are in control.  “They (your enemies) did what Your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”  In David’s time, in Your time here on earth, and now in my life, You are in control.  When things aren’t going well, I sometimes forget that.

Thank You for the reminder that I don’t have to worry that something is going to slip by You unnoticed. You know all things.  You do not sit wringing Your hands wondering what to do next.  I can trust that not only is Your plan advancing, but Your plan is the best one for me. Your power and Your will have already determined beforehand, what is best.

Their prayer was to “enable Your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.”   What a courageous prayer!  The disciples had just been told by the religious leaders NOT to speak of You, and they had the courage to say they would prefer to obey You, rather than obey man. Show me Lord, when I should speak. And as I open my mouth, fill it with Your words.  And then close it when I am to remain silent.

“Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.”  I have spoken to several people in the last few days who have described dire circumstances for themselves and/or their children.   What I see is that the stage is set for You to do a miracle!

Let the people of my generation see that You are a miracle-working God.  Let them see how much You care for them, and want to have a personal relationship with them.  When things work out, let them see and acknowledge Your hand in their lives, and turn to You!

This was a powerful prayer for the disciples.  I ask it would also be for me.  Amen

Acts 4:1-31

 

Mar 12 God is with us

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“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you”

How many times, O Lord, have I seen You sustain me during times of stress and trouble? You have proven Yourself reliable over and over again.

Sometimes when I cast my cares on You, You actually change my circumstances, so the cause of my worry disappears. That is always appreciated, and often the solution I am seeking. But there are many other ways You ‘sustain’ me!

At times You don’t change the circumstances, but You change my perspective. You allow me to see things from a different view. It’s like when a toddler runs to their mother and is picked up and held in her arms. The child can see from a higher, safer perspective than from the height of a child.   Looking down from that height, the bad things don’t look so big and overwhelming.

Another way You sustain me is by simply being with me. Maybe the circumstances don’t change, and my perspective is the same; but the fact that You are near me, encouraging me, comforting me, reminding me that You are in control and that I can trust You, is what gets me through the hard time.

Sometimes You distract me with a blessing in one part of my life that so outweighs the rest, the worry fades in significance. Sometimes You teach me to choose my battles, and show me that in relation to the bigger picture, I can let go of this worry.

At other times You impress upon me the lessons I’m learning in dealing with the hardship actually outweigh the difficulty in getting through it. And still other times You create a surprise ending through the struggle that works out even better than I could have ever imagined!

It is still not easy when challenges and troubles come. Truth be told, I’d prefer to avoid them altogether. But You have shown me that You can work good out of anything when I trust You. I know that no matter what, You will sustain me.

YOU – the all-mighty, all-knowing Creator God, who has the power and resources of the universe at His disposal, will sustain me.

You WILL – a certainty because of Your faithfulness to Your promises and Your unchangeable character and Your unfailing love for me, sustain me.

You will SUSTAIN – keep, preserve, defend, support and encourage, zealously guard and treasure, me

You will sustain ME – Your child, Your servant, one who loves and worships and believes in and trusts in You.

YOU WILL SUSTAIN ME! And I will praise You! Thank You. Amen

Psalm 55:22

Feb 21 Healing and Forgiveness

Dear Father, even though You no longer walk this earth in the flesh, Your power is still present here. Each believer has the Holy Spirit and can call on You in prayer to effect Your purposes.

prayer-888757_1920So we bring our loved ones and the people of the earth before You. We ask for healing from physical ailments. We ask for an end to suffering, whether at the hands of ungodly persecutors, or by the powers of this present darkness that work for the evil one.   We ask for salvation to come to those who are lost and in need of a Savior. Lord, be the light in their lives that heals and frees and saves.

Like Jairus, I put my faith in Your power to touch and heal. You are a God of miracles.

I also realize that when I intercede, or pray on behalf of others, I need to be clean before You. Unconfessed sin can get in the way of our communication. David says that his sin caused health to leave his body, guilt to overwhelm him. I too need to confess my sin before You and ask forgiveness. Show me the sin in my life Lord, and as I agree with You and turn from it, cleanse me anew.

Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for purifying me from all sin’s unrighteousness. Thank You for allowing me, like Jairus, to ask in faith for Your healing.  Help me pray in Your will, because I trust that Your will is the absolute best for each of us. And help me rest in Your answers and Your timing. Amen

Mark 5:21-43; Psalm 38:1-22

Dec 18 Rejoice…always

rejoice-1-1148146Father, Habakkuk sees the injustice of the wicked prospering and succeeding in their treachery. He prays: “Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known…”. I would echo his words, Father. How I long for You to make such a display of Your power that none can deny You. That everyone in the world would see what I see in You! Then all would worship You as You deserve.

This prophet Habakkuk reminds me of Job in the final assessment of his condition. Job said “Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him”. Amazing! Habakkuk was just as steadfast in his statement of faith. He painted a dire picture of possible conditions, then restated that he would still “rejoice in the Lord” and “be joyful in God my Savior”.

Looking at his picture of possibility, he included “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails  and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls.” This would have been a dire circumstance in deed. 

As I learned before, a fig tree takes longer to mature and produce fruit than most fruit trees. So no buds means no figs! This would mean that years of effort and care had come to nothing. Also, as they are the last fruit to appear, at the end of the summer, they would have been the last hope of food to get them through winter. Figs can be eaten fresh, or dried and pressed into cakes to store for later use. No figs would mean no food stores to last till the next year’s crops came in.

With no grapes on the vine, there would be no wine! Wine and bread were the staples of the diet. And wine was also instrumental in celebrations. So no celebrations! Drying the grapes produced raisins that, again, could be eaten or pressed into cakes and stored.

Olives were a crop that had many uses. Besides eating olives, the oil was pressed and used in soaps, cosmetics, cooking and medicines. It was also used for fuel in their lamps. So no olives meant literally, dark times indeed.

In Habakkuk’s time people depended on the crops they planted to provide food for their tables. Without these crops, there would simply be no food. The only meat in their diet was from the sheep and cattle in the stalls. Without them, famine and starvation were in their future.

This picture Habakkuk paints is one of complete failure of his basic needs for life. Yet he is willing to accept it all and still rejoice in You! It would be as I see some families in the news today who lose everything to a flood or storm.   Father, give me a steadfastness of faith like Habakkuk had. Help me in all circumstances to “rejoice in the Lord”! Help me, when there seems no hope by earthly standards, to “be joyful in God my Savior”. I praise You Father, and I stand in awe! Amen

Habakkuk 3:1-19

Oct 27 Yours is the power

lightning-bolt-768801_640“You made the earth by Your power; You founded the world by Your wisdom and stretched out the heavens by Your understanding.  When You thunder, the waters in the heavens roar; You make clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
You send lightning with the rain and bring out the wind from You storehouses.”

You are the Maker of all things, including the people of Your inheritance – the Lord Almighty is Your name.

Father, You are the One. You are the Only. You are forever my Creator and Savior. And no one and no thing can stand against You. No power, ruler, authority. Nothing in heaven, on the earth or below it. What You purpose will come to pass.

“The Lord reigns”!!! “Let the nations tremble”!!! Father, I believe one day soon, You will reign on earth. Nothing will be able to stand against You. And the nations will tremble.

Your people looked for You to deliver them out of the hand of Babylon. And You delivered. But You had an even greater deliverance in mind. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” When You walked this earth and sacrificed Yourself on the cross, that bought salvation and offered it to all. And now, the world waits for “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus”.

Father, You purified me with Your blood. You gave me Your Word to teach me how to live. Help me live as Yours. Amen

Jeremiah 51:1-53; Psalm 99:1-9

Oct 26 You control…

personwaterarmsup.jpegFather, at the time Babylon captured Your people Judah, she was just a tool in Your hand. Not the end-all power she believed she was. And she will be judged and punished, even as she was used as the tool to punish Israel. All the kingdoms You sent prophecies about fell as You said they would.

You sent Jeremiah carefully chosen words to describe the coming destruction of other kingdoms, and they all came true: ”Concerning Damascus…troubled like the restless sea”. “Concerning Kedar and Hazor…scatter to the winds”. “I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four corners of heaven”.   “Concerning Babylon…I will kindle a fire…that will consume all…a drought on her waters”. They remind me that You are in total control of Your creation! You control the winds, fire, drought and seas.

They responded at Creation when You made them and set their limits over the earth. When You walked the earth, You stood in a boat and spoke to a storm, commanding the winds and rain: “Peace, be still”.   And today’s Psalms speak of the earth being glad and rejoicing!

What a picture! “Clouds and thick darkness surround You…fire goes before You…Your lightening lights up the world.” All at Your command. You are still in control, holding authority over all the earth! The earth responds to You: “the earth sees and trembles…mountains melt like wax…heavens proclaim Your righteousness…seas resound…rivers clap their hands, mountains sing together for joy.”

If this is the response of the earth, how can I do less? Father, I shout for joy! I burst into jubilant song. I make music with whatever instrument I can – all to glorify my God! You are the only god who is the real God! I exalt You over all things, all people, all powers. I rejoice because You are a righteous and just God. Because You carry out Your judgments in righteousness. Because You are loving and faithful. Because You have saved me! You are the One True Almighty God. And there is no other! Amen

Jeremiah 49:23-50:46; Psalm 97:1-98:9

Oct 25 Worship for me

Father, I can come to You alone and pour out my heart. I can see beautiful pieces of Your amazing creation, and be filled with awe and wonder at Your power and creativity, and imagination.   I can read Your Word and know I am in touch with You as You open my eyes and mind to understanding something new I haven’t seen before.

choir-306900_640And although all of these are ways I connect with You, I feel a more complete sense of worship and abandonment when I raise my voice and sing to You. Even better if I am playing the guitar or piano too, because it involves more of my body participating in the rejoicing. Or if I use my hands and arms to do sign language as I sing, the motions make me feel as if my whole body is involved in worship. And when I can do this with other believers, the harmony and volume become a majestic symphony of adoration, filling my senses and pouring them back out to You.

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord…Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker…Sing to the Lord a new song…sing to the Lord; praise His Name…”

When You fill my heart, whether with joy, or thanksgiving, or pain, I write down what I hear You singing to me, and sing it back to You. It opens a door between us. Here’s one song You gave me that expresses just that:

When I sing to You I can feel Your Holiness

When I sing to You I can feel Your love

When I sing to You I can feel Your power in my life

God I know You hear me

I can feel You near me

When I sing to You

 

Amen

Psalm 95:1-96:13

 

Oct 18 Promises fulfilled

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sept 12 A Tool for God’s Purpose

Father, when You sent Your judgment against Israel, You used the political and military and powers of the day. Not knowing You, they believed it was by their own strength and power that they conquered. But it is clear that they were merely a tool in Your hand. The power is not in the tool, but in the one who wields it.

wood-working-2385634_640Father, I pray that I would be a tool in Your hand for godly purposes. Use me to accomplish Your will. You are truly the potter and I am the clay. Send me where Your would, as Your handiwork, to achieve Your plan. And never let me forget that Yours is the strength and the wisdom by which anything is accomplished.

Father, some are called to far away places to be tools for You in spreading Your Word and Your love. And surely there are obstacles for them to overcome and challenges to conquer. But sometimes I feel the hardest place to be Your representative is here at home, with the people I love.

I know You have a wonderful plan and purpose for their lives too. So until you call me away to somewhere else, help me realize the potential here, and be willing to be a tool in Your hands in the lives of those people You have brought closest to me.   Help me live every day showing Your grace and mercy and compassion to them. When asked, help me give wise and godly advice, not just my own preferences. Let my words be instructive and gentle, and line up with Your truth, spoken in love for the benefit of the hearer.

Help me hold my tongue when I need to, when the words would not be godly wisdom, but come from some other motivation. Help me spread peace in their lives when it would be so much easier to spread my own brand of how things should be. Help me let go of my own expectations of them, freeing them up to know the fulfillment of Your plans and purposes. Help me be patient with Your timeline for their development and maturity. And help me be consistent to pray for them to be empowered and guided by the influence of Your Word in their lives, and what You speak to them and through the godly mentors and circumstances You allow into their lives.

Let me draw strength from You. Let me be guided by You. And let me rest in Your strong and skillful hands. Amen

Isaiah 10:1-19

May 5 to save You reach around the world

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Lord God, You amaze me at how You use simple, ordinary people, men and women, to accomplish Your purpose. You sent believers all the way to Moab, at least sixty miles across the desert during a famine to reach Your faithful servant Ruth.   She made the famous statement, “Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, your people will be my people and your God my God” to her mother-in-law Naomi. Her faith and trust in You led her to be part of Your amazing plan of salvation, as she was in the lineage You were born into.

Here in the flesh You stopped in a Samaritan town and spoke to an immoral woman, something a respectable Jew would not have done. And in doing so, brought her the message of Your salvation. Through her, You saved many Samaritans that day.

You chose for me to be born into a believing family. Wherever I was, You were there with me, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, France, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Virginia, Colorado. All through those formative years, You made Your presence known to me. Even though everything else about my life changed: house, school, church, community, friends; You were always there.

There are so many who still do not believe You are who You are – Creator, Savior, King of Kings, Master, Wonderful Counselor, the One True God. But I know that You will move heaven and earth to reach them. You can use natural and divine events, travel across continents, reach into unrespectable communities, to make Yourself known. You can speak through a hurricane or a whisper, reveal Yourself in a majestic mountain or a delicate flower.   I trust You can bring my loved ones who I pray for to a saving knowledge of You.

Help me do my part. I can pray for them. I will let them see me praise You in good times and in bad. I will love them, and do my best to give them godly assistance and direction.   Show me when to speak and when to hold my tongue. Show me how to behave in a way that will draw them to You. Help me remove any stumbling block that would keep them from coming to You. Lord I thank You and praise You in advance for the celebration in heaven when they come to know You as Savior and live to glorify Your Name! Amen

Ruth 1:1-22; John 4:4-42

Apr 7 Your Strength Your Courage

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Several times today the words “Be strong and courageous” appear. O Lord, make me strong and courageous! Lend me Your strength when I am weak. Let me draw on Your power to accomplish all that You would direct me to do.

How will that happen? How do I appropriate Your strength? Reading Your Word is a good start. It is encouraging just to read Your words that sit by my computer today – “Do not fear for I am with you; do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

I have made a little flip book of 4×6 cards with encouraging scriptures. It lightens my load to flip through them occasionally, or just having them sit out, open to a verse.  They are like personal messages from You to me.

It also helps to know I am being obedient to what Your Word says to do. There is protection in simply being where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing. Even if You are calling me to a place of danger, if I am there by Your invitation, it is the safest place on earth I can be.

So many times Lord, You have protected me and helped me through hardships. Recalling those times helps strengthen my faith in You. Knowing how You came through in the past allows me to trust You more now, and be strong in the face of trouble. I journal only sporadically, but once made a time line of how You had impacted my life at crucial points. With my aging memory, it helps to see those times written down, that confirm Your faithfulness to me.

And You have put people in my life who I can observe being courageous with their own challenges. Some are in the midst of them right now. Some have already come through a hard time. I can watch and learn what encourages them. They are an example to me of how to get through difficulties. Some have even leaned on me. And when I need to, I can lean on them.

So You give me Your Word. You protect me wherever You call me to be. You Help me remember Your faithfulness in the past. You put helping relationships in my life. And most importantly, You promise Your presence: “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Thank You for Your abundant and everlasting provision. Amen

Deuteronomy 31:1-23

Feb 21 Healing and Forgiveness

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Dear Father, even though You no longer walk this earth in the flesh, Your power is still present here. Each believer has the Holy Spirit and can call on You in prayer to effect Your purposes. So we bring our loved ones and the people of the earth before You. We ask for healing from physical ailments. We ask for an end to suffering, whether at the hands of ungodly persecutors, or by the powers of this present darkness that work for the evil one.   We ask for salvation to come to those who are lost and in need of a Savior. Lord, be the light in their lives that heals and frees and saves.

Like Jairus, I put my faith in Your power to touch and heal. You are a God of miracles.

I also realize that when I intercede, or pray on behalf of others, I need to be clean before You. Unconfessed sin can get in the way of our communication. David says that his sin caused health to leave his body, guilt to overwhelm him. I too need to confess my sin before You and ask forgiveness. Show me the sin in my life Lord, and as I agree with You and turn from it, cleanse me anew.

Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for purifying me from all sin’s unrighteousness. Thank You for allowing me, like Jairus, to ask in faith for Your healing.  Help me pray in Your will, because I trust that Your will is the absolute best for each of us. And help me rest in Your answers and Your timing. Amen

Mark 5:21-43; Psalm 38:1-22

Jan 9 Creation -infinitely diverse!

I will praise You O Lord! With all my heart and mind and soul and strength! I will sing praise to Your name, for You are Most High! I will tell of Your wonders! For You have created the magnificent heavens and earth, and everything in them. Your imagination and creativity and diversity are beyond measure! Every time I hear of a new bit of biology, or physics, or chemistry, I am overwhelmed and amazed!

You thought up and created a tiny beetle that defends itself by shooting 2 separate chemicals out of its body that join in mid-air to produce intense stinging and burning irritation. You designed the beauty and delicateness of a colorful butterfly that flutters so gently, but has a chemical covering that tastes so bad that predators stay away from it. The list is endless of amazing developments, biological and behavioral, simply in the insect world!

And I can rejoice and be glad because You, this powerful and creative God, know me, and love me, and hear my prayers, and answer them! I could not be more blessed.

With the perfection in all You made, and how it works in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, I am amazed that we humans are so far from perfect . You crowned us at the top of Your creation, yet we are so frail and flawed, especially when it comes to knowing You, hearing You and obeying You.

Thank You for the example of Abraham’s obedience. His faith was so great he left home to follow You to a place You would show him. He made mistakes and had very human failings, yet was obedient to the point of being ready to sacrifice his son’s life as an offering to You.

I cannot even imagine how incredibly hard that must have been. Even with much smaller challenges and tests in my own life, I worry and drag my feet, looking for ways I can justify a disobedient response. I can only pray that knowing You are with me every step of the way, You will insure I understand exactly what You say to me, and will prepare and empower me to take whatever steps I need to, to act in obedience to You.

Teach me Lord. Train me to hear Your voice. Help me be obedient. Every opportunity You give me is a chance to obey. And You are with me, coaching me to win. Thank You for these opportunities to draw close to You – in prayer, through Your Word, and in the challenges, trials and blessings of my daily circumstances. With every one I get to experience You. It builds and strengthens my faith. It deepens my trust in You. And I continue to marvel, that You, the Almighty Creator of the universe, who reigns forever, are my personal life coach. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Genesis 21:1-22:24; Psalm 9:1-2

Jan 8 Creation – infinite universe!

night-sky

I love Psalm 8! It makes me wonder how many times David must have gazed up at the stars in the heavens and contemplated You, the Creator of it all. As a shepherd, he would have spent many, many nights outside with the sheep; resting, guarding the flock, alone with his thoughts.

The skies where I live are never really dark. We have the light from a major city and suburbs all around. The stars are visible, but not nearly as impressive as when I saw them from the middle of the Sinai Peninsula. We stepped out of a bus on a lonely road in a part of the world where light pollution is not even a remote issue, and were completely amazed at the number and brilliance of stars visible to our naked eye.

It was one of those ‘awe’ moments. You just stand, mouth agape, drinking in the magnitude of the millions of stars. It makes you oddly aware of how huge the universe is, stretching out before your eyes; and how small and minuscule a single person is, standing on one spot of one planet in one solar system of one galaxy in that universe.

Today, the skies above the hills around Jerusalem are also filled with light. But how dark it must have been back then. How truly bright and brilliant the night sky must have been when one lonely shepherd looked up and pondered the universe and its Maker.

God, You truly have set Your glory in the heavens. And “when I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have made and set in place” – I also marvel that “You are mindful of man”. Who am I that You concern Yourself with what concerns me? How is it that You can know the number of hairs on my head: a number that changes every day? And You don’t just know me by what You see on the outside, You know my innermost thoughts, my motivations, my words before I speak them.

Thank You for taking such care creating earth: this amazing place You made for us to live. Its beauty, its vastness, and its infinite diversity blow my mind! Its magnitude is incomprehensible. As much as I can know about this world in my lifetime, I can never begin to understand all the things You hold in balance so this planet stays together and is capable of supporting the lives You’ve placed on it.

But I can give You the credit due You alone as the Author, the Creator, the imagination and the power behind its creation. I can acknowledge that it is You who keeps it all together and in motion. And honor You as Almighty God. “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!” Amen

Psalm 8:1-9

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

Nov 25 Be like Daniel

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel 1:1-2:23