Tag: God’s presence

Oct 3 Your Presence

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Father, be near me today.  I know You have already promised never to leave me, but let me feel You especially near today.

It helps me “not be anxious about anything.”  When I feel You near, I rest in Your protection and in Your presence.

I talk to You more about what is on my mind.  If I have concerns, or questions, or praises or thanks to voice, I communicate more when I feel You near me.

It also helps me focus my thoughts on good things.  Paul said: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  That is so much easier to do when I can sense Your presence.

No matter what I am going through, when I am conscious of Your company, I am calmer.  Though it doesn’t make sense to others, I can feel at peace even in the worst of circumstances.  Your peace, gives me the ability to rise over and above my current condition and not let it bother me as much.  I am able to transcend events and situations with a new perspective and a greater understanding from You.

It is as if the peace You offer creates a wall around my heart and mind that tempers my thoughts and emotions, and so my responses and actions.  You guard me.  And bless me with something I can clearly see that others who do not know You, don’t have.

Thank You Father, for Your promise to never leave me.  For showing me how to recognize Your presence.  For allowing me Your peace.  Amen

Philippians 4:4-9

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Sept 6 A day of rejoicing!

O Father, Your Word paints a glorious picture of You returning to judge Your people!

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I can see it in my mind’s eye as a massive, wall-sized painting with rays of light gleaming from Your figure, and shadows playing in the storm clouds around You with strikes of lightening flashing out.  Just like one of the old masters’ painting – like Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Or maybe as a majestic motion picture, with powerful, turbulent action between the fire and the oncoming storm like Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments.

When I speak Your Words, the action begins in my mind’s eye as You appear in slow motion:  “The Mighty One… God… The Lord… You speak and summon the earth…You are perfect in beauty, You shine forth…A fire devours before You and around You a tempest rages…the heavens proclaim Your Righteousness.”  The most beautiful, powerful being imaginable appears in the sky, advancing slowly.

Flames precede You, lashing out with almost blinding light and incredible heat.  And around You, clouds, dark and terrible, build; billowing and blowing, roiling up and out, far and wide, with flashes of lightening streaking across the sky.

From the darkness of the storm, rays of light shine forth out of Your very being.  Your voice thunders through the heavens and rumbles down to the earth causing the rocks and ground to tremble.   And in the background, the booming voices of ten thousand angels singing out, glorifying You!

“The heavens proclaim His righteousness” and I fall on my knees in reverence to join in the praise to honor You.

What a day of rejoicing that will be!  To be in Your presence.  To see You in Your glory.  What a powerful vision!  To You, I offer all my praise.  Amen

Psalm 50:1-7

Sept 2 Be still…

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“Be still and know I am God.”   What a great reminder!

When I come to You, Father, I know that sometimes it’s on the run, and I just quickly dash off a prayer of need, or thanks, or praise to You.

But it’s in those times when I really prioritize spending time with You that I can calm myself: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – and truly sink into Your presence, that I am rewarded with a fresh realization and a deeper understanding of who You really are.

Lord, right now, I still my physical body, and ask You to quiet my mind, calm my emotions, open my spirit to hear only Your voice; and be sensitive to only Your presence.

It takes a moment or two, and some deep breaths and reciting this verse to myself.  “Be still and know I am God.”   Father, Creator, Counselor, Healer, Deliverer, Provider, Teacher, Savior, Comforter, Friend.  All these names, these ways You have revealed Yourself to me personally, and more come into my mind as I begin to focus on You, rather than on myself.

As worrisome thoughts enter my head, I give them to You.  One at a time.  You take them and ease them away from me.  You can handle whatever it is, because You are God.  I know this.  Not just “I-read-it-in-a-book” know it.  But “I-fully-understand-and-completely-trust” know it.

You are God and there is no other.  You are God and there is no other.  If I have trusted in any other gods, Lord, I renounce them.  My youth.  My appearance.  My energy and vitality.  My children.  Financial security.  My sense of what I can do for others.  I can’t believe how long the list is of things that I get my sense of identity from.  But I lay each of them down.  Who I am, my identity, comes only from You.  Forgive me for trusting in anything else.

I seek Your direction Lord, for the rhythm and timing of my life.  Solomon wrote it all out Lord.  You have created “a time for everything under heaven.”  “A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…”  It goes on.  And I realize Father, that I need to seek Your will for the rhythm and timing of my life.

Father, help me know when to “keep” and when to “throw away.”  I am already sensing I am moving into a time of not keeping so many things.  Help me know when to “speak” and when to “be silent.”  When to “search” and when to “give up.” When to “embrace and when to refrain from embracing.”

As I read each pairing in these Ecclesiastes verses, I can feel You speaking to me.  You lead me to a place in my spirit where the one or the other makes sense in different areas of my life.  Thank You Lord, for showing me the way.

Thank You Father, for always being there when I show up to just “be still, and know that You are God.”  Amen

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Psalm 46:10

Aug 29 The Veil is torn

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“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”  What joyful words!

Father, there was a curtain, a veil in front of the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and in the Temple.  It separated the people from Your personal presence.    Only the High Priest went inside the veil, and only once a year, to make atonement for all Your people.

But when You died on the cross in Jerusalem, the actual veil in the Temple was literally torn!  It was ripped in half from top to bottom, forever giving access, through the cross, to the Holy of Holies.  To Your presence.

Where You are “there is freedom.”   But the world and the evil one seek to take that freedom away.  The philosophies of man say there is no absolute truth, and that morality is relative to the times and accepted behaviors of whatever society I live in.

The world would have me walk around veiled by falsehoods that deny Your existence, Your power and Your authority on this earth.  They deny You are the Creator, and encourage me to worship false idols, or even myself as “god.”

Father, help me see clearly, and not “drink the kool-aid” of these false beliefs.

Do not let me be veiled by anything that would keep me from You.  But let me “with unveiled face, reflect the Lord’s glory, being transformed into His likeness …”  So that others around me also see You through me.

Rid me of those things that are not of You: selfishness, greed, pride.  Let me produce the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, faithfulness…

Let me live fully in Your presence and in the freedom gained when the veil was torn.   Amen

II Corinthians 3:11-18

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 19 Make my life a stage

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Dear Lord, I want to be just like Joseph.

Only without all the hardship.

I don’t want to lose my freedom and be sold into slavery. And I definitely don’t want to be imprisoned. I don’t want a family that is jealous of me and treats me with murderous hate.

But in two very significant ways, I do want to be just like him.

First, that You were with Joseph, and second, that others saw that You were.

Genesis says “the Lord was with Joseph…and his master saw that the Lord was with him.” Your presence in Joseph’s life must be what enabled him to endure such hardships as enslavement and imprisonment.

And it was not only an internal sense that Joseph had personally, but it was evident to others around him that that Your blessing was on him, and that You were at work in and touching his life

I already know that You are with me always, because I have the Holy Spirit living in me; given as a seal of my salvation. There has been a merging: You are in me and I am in You through Jesus Christ. But I also know that I can feel far from You when I am walking in disobedience or sin.

Help me see through whatever lie, deception or distraction might cause me to miss where a temptation would lead, so I can turn away from it before I am enticed into sin.

Show me the way of escape so I can avoid the sin trap. That way I can be fully in Your presence and will be able to bear up under whatever the circumstances are, like Joseph did.

And Lord, like Joseph, I desire that my life would be a stage upon which You act out Your purpose and Your will, so others will see You. Jesus told a parable about seed that fell on different kinds of soil. I want to be the good soil that produces a crop yielding thirty or sixty or a hundred times what was sown. That way people will see what is produced and give You glory.

I may never have a prophetic dream, or give the interpretation of one, or save my entire family from famine like Joseph did.

But I ask that whatever You have planted in me, You would bring to fruition so others would see You, through me. I ask in Your name. Amen

Genesis 39:1-23; Matthew 13:1-23; I Corinthians 10:13

Nov 12 Make my Faith Light shine!

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Father, if faith is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”, I know that I have faith!

 

 

There are things in my life that I have no control over, and no way of making happen, but I trust that You will work it all out for the best.  And that means according to Your will.

Still, I would ask You to increase my faith.

As Paul says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command.”  And although I do not have a scientific understanding of exactly how that occurred, it has never been a stumbling block for me.

I simply know that it was all accomplished by You – in Your way, in Your time, by Your Word and hand.  Since I can trust You with the creation and the running of the entire universe, I can surely trust You with what goes on in my little corner of the world.

Some not only believed, but acted on their faith.  Noah was obedient in building an ark.  No small feat for a five-hundred-year-old!  And Abram had to leave his father’s family and go to a far-off unknown place, trusting the promise You had given him.

As I think of having to do either of these things, I wonder if my faith would be as strong.

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

Till my twenties I moved almost every year of my life.  I trusted that my parents would provide for me wherever we went.  But I also learned a wonderful lesson.  No matter where we went, You were always there.

There were always new and beautiful sights: examples of the marvelous diversity of Your creation.  There were always other believers to fellowship with.  There was always a church to help me learn more about You.  And when I prayed, whether in Arkansas, Texas, New Jersey, Kansas, Arizona or France, You always answered.

What a faith building experience!

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

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

Let it be said of me that I lived a life of faith in You.  Amen

Hebrews 11:1-16

Oct 3 Your Presence

blue-1238986_640Father, be near me today.  I know You have already promised never to leave me, but let me feel You especially near today.

It helps me “not be anxious about anything”.  When I feel You near, I rest in Your protection and in Your presence.

I talk to You more about what is on my mind.  If I have concerns, or questions, or praises or thanks to voice, I communicate more when I feel You near me.

It also helps me focus my thoughts on good things.  Paul said: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.  That is so much easier to do when I can sense Your presence.

No matter what I am going through, when I am conscious of Your company, I am calmer.  Though it doesn’t make sense to others, I can feel at peace even in the worst of circumstances.  Your peace, gives me the ability to rise over and above my current condition and not let it bother me as much.  I am able to transcend events and situations with a new perspective and a greater understanding from You.

It is as if the peace You offer creates a wall around my heart and mind that tempers my thoughts and emotions, and so my responses and actions.  You guard me.  And bless me with something I can clearly see that others who do not know You, don’t have.

Thank You Father, for Your promise to be near me.  For showing me how to recognize Your presence.  For allowing me Your peace.  Amen

Philippians 4:4-9

Aug 28 As the deer…

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O Father, I would never desire the suffering of Job. But how You blessed him!

Job recalls what his life was like before the troubles came. Like Job, I too often feel “Your lamp shining on my head”; giving me the light I need to see. You allow me to “walk through the darkness” by Your light. Many times, in dire circumstances, Yours was the only light I had.  And it helped me find my way.

And like Job, I feel “Your intimate friendship blessing my house”. When You are with me, my path is blessed and You provide for all my needs. My children are around me and Your security and peace are here. I know there are calamities You have saved me from, because I see them in people’s lives everywhere. Thank You.

Father, I desire that like Job, when people hear of me, “they would speak well of me and commend me”. Job thought that this light and peace and favor would last throughout his life. But that is not guaranteed.

Father, in my life, remind me to show You my appreciation of all You have done for me. It is only by Your grace and mercy I have been blessed like this. And I pray I would always live in Your presence and enjoy Your blessing.

The Psalmist put it so picturesquely, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.” Without the replenishing energy of water, a body will dehydrate due to physical activity, even just breathing. And just as the body needs water, and cannot go for long without it, my spirit needs You.

Like the deer, I thirst for Your presence, Your friendship, Your blessing.   You are the resource I need, that brings life. Not just occasionally, but repeatedly, and often.

The deer pants for “streams of water”. Not stagnant pools, or brackish puddles; but fresh, flowing, living water. Father, You are Living Water. Help my spirit drink deeply of Your Word, Your Truth, Your Wisdom.

Do not let me go to other sources that will not refresh, that will not bring life as You do. Drinking from those polluted sources will only make me sick, dull my spirit, and lead me to crave the things of the world and the flesh and the evil one.

Thank You for the refreshing, physically and spiritually life-giving water that You give. I will seek it out, and be refreshed. Amen

Job 29:1-25; Psalm 42:1

June 11 Still our prayer today

prayer-708389_640“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth below – You who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way. You have kept Your promises…with Your mouth You have promised and with Your hand You have fulfilled it – as it is today.”

“The heavens, even the highest heaven cannot contain You…yet give attention to Your servant’s prayer and plea for mercy, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that Your servant is praying in Your presence today.”

“When Your people (I) sin against You – for there is no one who does not sin – …and when they (I) have a change of heart…”and turn back to You will all their (my) heart and soul…then from heaven, Your dwelling place, hear their (my) prayer and plea and forgive…all the offenses.” 

“Praise be to the Lord! Not one word has failed of all the good promises You gave through Your servant Moses.” You are with me; You will never leave me or forsake me. Turn my heart to You to be fully committed to walk in all Your ways and to keep Your commands. May You uphold my cause, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and there is no other! Amen!

The words of Solomon at the dedication of the Temple

I Kings 8:1-66

Apr 21 Obey Your Word, Walk in Your Presence

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In today’s scripture, You give two passages that tell me how to be blessed. I acknowledge and desire to follow those instructions

 

 

Lord, help me “be very strong; to be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. I will not associate with those who do not follow You by invoking the names of their gods or swear by them. I will not serve them or bow down to them. I will hold fast to You.”

Lord, I can only be careful to obey Your Word if I know Your Word. So I will read it and study to understand it. I will pray and ask for understanding when I am confused or in doubt. I will not ever call upon the names of other gods, because there is no other God but You. There is none like You. There is no other name under heaven by which I am saved. Your power alone created the universe. I will worship You alone, and seek Your direction and wisdom for my life.

The next passage tells me “blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence”.   Father, I give glory to Your name only, because of who You are and what You have done. You are Most Holy God. You are all-powerful and all-knowing. You created the heavens and the earth. You created man and set him in this place to have fellowship with You. When he broke that fellowship by sinning, You made a way of reconciling man to You: through Your blood on the cross. And because I accept that gift I can walk in the light of Your presence once again.

The light of Your presence is where truth is revealed, nothing is hidden, nothing is feared. Your presence dispels darkness. To be present with You is to talk with You and listen to You – Your responses in prayer, in Your Word and through the Holy Spirit. It is to rest in You, fearing nothing.

So I rejoice in Your name. I trust in Your righteousness. You are my protection, my King, the Holy One. And I am blessed. Amen

Joshua 23:6-16; Psalm 89:14-18

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 direct me to do.

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.

Father, so many times You have protected me and helped me through hardships. Recalling those times from the past helps me trust You more now, and be strong in the face of trouble. I only journal 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. They 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 living examples 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

Apr 5 Power in Your Word

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Heavenly Father, thank You for those times I literally cried out to You to hear me and come quickly, and You did.

 

There have been nights like the Psalmist experienced, when in distress over circumstances, I sought You. I could not see a way out of or through my problems. And though I had gone to bed, sleep was far from me. My thoughts would not be still. With each issue, another failure or complication seemed to pile on until I felt so overwhelmed I did not even know where to start to pray.

It was then that I remembered when You spoke to me, encouraged me, lifted my emotional distress.   There were literally times when You gave me songs to sing, new melodies and words, to let me know You were with me and things would be alright.

But this time, I did not feel that. I felt far from You. And wondered if this could be the end? Had I finally reached a point where You would not come and rescue me, but simply take me home to be with You in heaven?

That actually sounded like it would be the answer to all my troubles. And while I believe You have shown me I have much to do before I die, there was a sense of relief in that thought. That’s when it hit me – this thought was NOT from You. It was from the evil one who would like nothing better than to sideline me – take me out of the game altogether! If satan can get anyone to believe the lie that there is no hope, it immobilizes and freezes them. Can even paralyze a Christian’s faith.

So I decided to begin praying – not about the circumstances that were overwhelming me, but any scripture I could remember: The Lord’s prayer. The 23rd Psalm. “I will love the Lord my God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength, and love my neighbor as myself.” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not die, but have everlasting life.” “Jesus wept.” “The Lord your God goes with you to fight for you against your enemies and give you victory!”

The more I quoted Your Word in prayer, the more calm I felt. Soon I fell asleep.

Thank You Lord, for sending Your calm, Your peace. Thank You for sending sleep. Thank You that in the morning, things didn’t look as bad as they had the night before! Thank You that I could see resources and solutions I could not the night before. In taking those steps back towards You, I felt Your presence once again. It was not You who had moved. But in believing a lie, I had.

“Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; You display your power among the peoples. With Your mighty arm, You redeemed me!” Amen

Psalm 77:1-15; Matthew 6:9-15; Luke 10:27; John 3:16; John 11:35; Deuteronomy 20:4

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 12 Proof of Your Presence

Dear Father, how awesome would it be if every time I came away from reading or studying Your Word, or spending time in prayer, there was a visible glow on my face!! Some outward evidence, physically apparent, to anyone who saw me that I had spent time with the Author and Creator of the universe!

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

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

There is a danger inherent in that of course: if people know when I have been in Your presence, then they would also know when I have not. And there have been stretches Lord, when those times have been few and far between.

Keep me drawn to You. Help me have the mindset I need, to go to You, with joy, with sorrow, with excitement, with concerns. It’s so easy to find a person to commiserate with, to approve of my own plans, to join in my pity party. But I desire to please You; to walk in the way You have planned out for me. I trust in Your plan; and believe it is the best possible for me.

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

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

Jan 19 Make my life a stage

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Dear Lord, I want to be just like Joseph. Only without all the hardship.

I don’t want to lose my freedom and be sold into slavery. And I definitely don’t want to be imprisoned. I don’t want a family that is jealous of me and treats me with murderous hate. But in two very significant ways, I do want to be just like him.

First, that You were with Joseph, and second, that others saw that You were.

Genesis says “the Lord was with Joseph…and his master saw that the Lord was with him.” Your presence in Joseph’s life must be what enabled him to endure such hardships as enslavement and imprisonment. And it was not only an internal sense that Joseph had personally, but it was evident to others around him that that Your blessing was on him, and that You were at work in and touching his life

I already know that You are with me always, because I have the Holy Spirit living in me; given as a seal of my salvation. There has been a merging: You are in me and I am in You through Jesus Christ. But I also know that I can feel far from You when I am walking in disobedience or sin.

Help me see through whatever lie, deception or distraction might cause me to miss where a temptation would lead, so I can turn away from it before I am enticed into sin. Show me the way of escape so I can avoid the sin trap. That way I can be fully in Your presence and will be able to bear up under whatever the circumstances are, like Joseph did.

And Lord, like Joseph, I desire that my life would be a stage upon which You act out Your purpose and Your will, so others will see You. Jesus told a parable about seed that fell on different kinds of soil. I want to be the good soil that produces a crop yielding thirty or sixty or a hundred times what was sown. That way people will see what is produced and give You glory.

I may never have a prophetic dream, or give the interpretation of one, or save my entire family from famine like Joseph did. But I ask that whatever You have planted in me, You would bring to fruition so others would see You, through me. I ask in Your name. Amen

Genesis 39:1-23; Matthew 13:1-23; I Corinthians 10:13

Jan 1 Blessing for the year

Father, in these words You tell me how to be blessed. Help me, my husband, sons, and loved ones obey these word to receive Your blessing.

Oh Lord God, do not let us heed or walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. Let us recognize this evil for what it is. Give us a hunger and thirst for Your counsel, Your way, Your truth and Your wisdom so we will be seated with those who know and follow You. Let our delight be in Your law, Oh Lord. Let us read it, memorize it, recall it and meditate on it, thinking about how to apply it to our own lives and circumstances. Let Your perfect law color my thoughts and attitudes.

new-jersey-77916_1280Make us like trees planted by streams of water, which yield fruit in season. Show us Your perfect will for our lives and Your timing so we will produce fruit that will honor and glorify You and Your name. Do not let us wither, but keep us strong and hearty. Let all we do prosper and bring You honor.

Allow us to see that the wicked cannot stand, but are blown away like chaff before the wind. And that the works of the evil ones will not prosper or enjoy Your gift of Salvation.

Lord, please watch over me and my loved ones – keep us on the path You have set before each one of us. I totally trust in Your perfect will for all our lives. May we come to trust You and Your guiding hand. May we feel You watching over us. And may that sense of Your presence be a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance. Amen.

Psalm 1:1-6

Dec 30 Eternity

heavenpainting by Danny Hehlbohm

O Father, I can only think this Revelation of John’s is where many ideas of heaven are found: streets of gold, pearls for gates, “You will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” It is how the New Jerusalem is described, after all mankind and angels have been judged, and the earth and heavens as we know them have been swept away.

It is certainly a place I would want to spend eternity. You, Yourself, will always be present. Your presence provides all the light that is needed.   And there is a promise, a security, in there being nothing “impure…shameful or deceitful” ever being there.   Only Your people, Your children, will inherit all this.

The Psalmist says “Sing to the Lord a new song, [sing] His praise in the assembly of His faithful people.” That will truly be able to happen in this Holy City.

Thank You for Your promises of help while here on earth. And thank You for the promise of my eternal future with You. Your praise is ever on my lips! Amen

Revelation 21:1-27; Psalm 149:1-9

Dec 21 Shield my head

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 12 Make my Faith Light shine!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hebrews 11:1-16

Oct 3 Your Presence

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Father, be near me today. I know You have already promised never to leave me, but let me feel You especially near today. It helps me “not be anxious about anything”. When I feel You near, I rest in Your protection and in Your presence.

 

I talk to You more about what is on my mind. If I have concerns, or questions, or praises or thanks to voice, I communicate more when I feel You near me.

It also helps me focus my thoughts on good things. Paul said: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”. That is so much easier to do when I can sense Your presence.

No matter what I am going through, when I am conscious of Your company, I am calmer. Though it doesn’t make sense to others, I can feel at peace even in the worst of circumstances. Your peace, gives me the ability to rise over and above my current condition and not let it bother me as much. I am able to transcend events and situations with a new perspective and a greater understanding from You.

It is as if the peace You offer creates a wall around my heart and mind that tempers my thoughts and emotions, and so my responses and actions. You guard me. And bless me with something I can clearly see that others who do not know You, don’t have.

Thank You Father, for this blessing. For being with me. For showing me how to recognize Your presence. For allowing me Your peace. Amen

Philippians 4:1-23

May 8 Make me like Samuel

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Lord God, make me as Samuel.

Samuel heard Your voice, and although he did not understand it all at first, he answered and was obedient. Father, when I hear Your voice, let my response also be “Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening.”

Samuel was only a child here, but he grew up in Your presence. You were with him. Sensitize my heart, my eyes, my ears; to see You at work, to hear Your voice, to feel Your presence. Let me recognize where You are, and purpose to be there.

Let me behave in a way that acknowledges that You are with me. Let me treat people as You would. Father, You know everything about me, even my thoughts. Help me grow in awareness that You are with me wherever I go. And let that be both a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance.

Father, reveal Yourself to me through Your presence as You did with Samuel. I have Your Word in the Bible! Help me set my priorities so I spend time in Your Word every day.   Let my actions, attitudes and words show other people that I have spent time with You. Don’t let me read Your scripture and walk away unchanged. But let Your words sink deep into my spirit and mind. Let them take root in my life and be the foundation for all I do and all I am.

Like Samuel, let me grow in stature and in favor with You and with men. Amen

I Samuel 2:22-3:19

Apr 21 Obey Your Word, Walk in Your Presence

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In today’s scripture, You give two passages that tell me how to be blessed. I acknowledge and desire to follow those instructions.

Lord, help me “be very strong; to be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. I will not associate with those who do not follow You by invoking the names of their gods or swear by them. I will not serve them or bow down to them. I will hold fast to You.”

Lord, I can only be careful to obey Your Word if I know Your Word. So I will read it and study to understand it. I will pray and ask for understanding when I am confused or in doubt. I will not ever call upon the names of other gods, because there is no other God but You. There is none like You. There is no other name under heaven by which I am saved. Your power alone created the universe. I will worship You alone, and seek Your direction and wisdom for my life.

The next passage tells me “blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence”.   Father, I give glory to Your name only, because of who You are and what You have done. You are Most Holy God. You are all-powerful and all-knowing. You created the heavens and the earth. You created man and set him in this place to have fellowship with You. When he broke that fellowship by sinning, You made a way of reconciling man to You: through Your blood on the cross. And because I accept that gift I can walk in the light of Your presence once again.

The light of Your presence is where truth is revealed, nothing is hidden, nothing is feared. Your presence dispels darkness. To be present with You is to talk with You and listen to You – Your responses in prayer, in Your Word and through the Holy Spirit. It is to rest in You, fearing nothing.

So I rejoice in Your name. I trust in Your righteousness. You are my protection, my King, the Holy One. And I am blessed. Amen

Joshua 22:21-23:8; Psalm 89:14-18

 

Mar 7 Follow the Leader

Lord, I love how You are always available to me. I can come to You any time to ask for wisdom and direction. There is no question too big or too small for You to answer.  And You never make me feel bad for asking.

The Israelites came and inquired of You through Moses about a problem for some wanting to celebrate the Lord’s Passover. In response, You told them exactly what to do. Not only did You respond to their question, but Your presence was visible in the camp as a cloud over the Tabernacle. When You remained, the people remained where You were. When Your presence moved, they moved.

cloud-pillar_imgarcade.com

How I would love to have my own pillar of cloud appear before me and stay with me to direct my path! Then I would know precisely if I were in Your perfect will or if I were ever in danger of straying from it. I would know when to move on and when to stay put. There would be no question of misinterpreting what You were telling me. And what an accountability factor! If I were not near the pillar, everyone would know it was me who had moved away – who chose not follow.

In Jerusalem, when Your disciples asked about their future, You revealed events that would help them prepare for the dangers and challenges to come. You also reminded them to watch for signs and pay attention to the things around them that would help them discern what was coming. And warned them about false prophets. As Your Word warns, help me also keep watch and be prepared.

In Psalm 50:15 You tell me to call on You in the day of trouble and You will deliver. Again showing Your availability and desire to respond when I ask. I can trust that You, the mighty Creator of the universe, are available to help me, whenever, wherever, however a need arises.

“The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous”. And You have shown me that way. You came and lived on earth to be my example by showing how to treat people and live a moral and godly life. Also, through Your sacrifice, death and resurrection, You showed me the way to have eternal life. And gave me the gift of Your Word so I would have it written down, to read and study and memorize and hide in my heart. You are my refuge. Thank You for being my sheltered, protected place of sanctuary.   Thank You for being ready with whatever I need. And for knowing what I need even when I do not. I am so grateful to have a God who hears, who is able, who is available, and who is willing. Amen.

Numbers 9:1-23; Mark 13:14-37; Psalm 50:15; Proverbs 10:29

Feb 12 Proof of Your Presence

Dear Father, how awesome would it be if every time I came away from reading or studying Your Word, or spending time in prayer, there was a visible glow on my face!! Some outward evidence, physically apparent, to anyone who saw me that I had spent time with the Author and Creator of the universe!

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

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

There is a danger inherent in that of course: if people know when I have been in Your presence, then they would also know when I have not. And there have been stretches Lord, when those times have been few and far between.

Keep me drawn to You. Help me have the mindset I need, to go to You, with joy, with sorrow, with excitement, with concerns. It’s so easy to find a person to commiserate with, to approve of my own plans, to join in my pity party. But I desire to please You; to walk in the way You have planned out for me. I trust in Your plan; and believe it is the best possible for me.

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

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

Feb 8 Praying Your Words

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Holy Father, You care very much that Your people come to You to hear from You and worship You. You gave them the design in very specific instructions for the Tabernacle where You would meet with them, and details of the clothing the priests must wear when they approached You. Ever since man was sent from the Garden of Eden where he walked and talked with You, You have desired a return to fellowship.

I praise You that I can now go into the Holy of Holies where Your name and Your presence are. When Jesus died, the curtain was torn that separated that place from Your people.   I can boldly approach Your throne with my praises and my requests, seeking Your wisdom, Your providential guidance and Your abundant blessing.

But, as You are holy, I am still to be washed clean and robed in righteousness. I become clean by confessing my sin and accepting Your forgiveness. With Jesus as my Savior, when You look at me, You see His righteousness on me.   I too, am ‘Holy to the Lord’ as the priests were. I am set apart as Your child, to worship and serve You and receive Your blessing and Your amazing inheritance.

Your Words are holy. Sometimes I simply pray Your very own words back to You! It’s as if You already know what I need and have prepared the prayer for me.

“I trust in You. My times are in Your hands;” (they always have been whether I acknowledged it or not – my comings and goings, my living and dying, and all the moments in between, were already determined before even one of them came to be)

“Deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.” (whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual adversaries – You are Sovereign over them all and can defeat them all)

“Let Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing love.” (may I feel the impact of Your illuminating presence on my body, mind and spirit and be saved from harm not because of anything I have done or earned, but because of Your benevolent generosity and grace)

“Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I have cried out to You; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave.” (let me see victory in the utter defeat of our enemies and the fulfillment of Your justice; strengthen me to walk in Your way) Amen

Exodus28: 1-43; Psalm 31: 14-17

Jan 19 Make my life a stage

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Dear Lord, I want to be just like Joseph. Only without all the hardship. I don’t want to lose my freedom and be sold into slavery. And I definitely don’t want to be imprisoned. I don’t want a family that is jealous of me and treats me with murderous hate. But in two very significant ways, I do want to be just like him.

First, that You were with Joseph, and second, that others saw that You were.

Genesis tells me “the Lord was with Joseph…and his master saw that the Lord was with him.” Your presence in Joseph’s life must be what enabled him to endure such hardships as enslavement and imprisonment. And it was not only an internal sense that Joseph had personally, but it was evident to others around him that You were with him, that Your blessing was on him, and that You were at work in and touching his life

I already know that You are with me always, because I have the Holy Spirit living in me; given as a seal of my salvation. There has been a merging: You are in me and I am in You through Jesus Christ. But I also know that I can feel far from You when I am walking in disobedience or sin. So help me see through whatever lie, deception or distraction might cause me to miss where a temptation would lead, so I can turn away from it before I am enticed into sin. Show me the way of escape so I can avoid the sin trap. That way I can be fully in Your presence and will be able to bear up under whatever the circumstances are, like Joseph did.

And Lord, like Joseph, I desire that my life would be a stage upon which You act out Your purpose and Your will, so others will see You. Jesus told a parable about seed that fell on different kinds of soil. I want to be the good soil that produces a crop yielding thirty or sixty or a hundred times what was sown. That way people will see what is produced and give You glory.

I may never have a prophetic dream, or give the interpretation of one, or save my entire family from famine like Joseph did. But I ask that whatever You have planted in me, You would bring to fruition so others would see You, through me. I ask in Your name. Amen

Genesis 39:1-23; Matthew 13:1-23; I Corinthians 10:13

Nov 26 Prayer, Praise, Provision

Father, thank You for Peter’s reminder that as the end approaches, believers must be earnest in prayer, share Your deep love with others, and use our Spiritual gifts.  Some of these sound so easy.  None of them are.  I can do none of them without Your help.

Thank You for giving me the ability as a believer to come to You in prayer.  I love my conversations with You!  Sometimes I feel closer to You when I walk around the lake, or through the trees, or can see the mountains.  When I am surrounded by Your amazing creation, You often give me a word of instruction or encouragement.  You have taught me things by watching geese flying above, or ducks feeding in the pond, or sunlight shining through dark clouds.  You have shown me how to be humble through the faces of blossoms that track the sunlight across the sky, or sunflowers that have heads so heavy with seed that they bend low.

It is so easy to praise You in the presence of Your beauty.  But rejoicing in suffering is harder to do.  Sometimes, my side of the conversation is sobbing and tears.  It is anxious pleading with pain.  You reach out to me then too.  There is nothing You cannot handle.  There is nothing too big or too small to bring to You.  Thank You for this life-saving and life-giving privilege of prayer.

Father, teach me how to show Your great love to others.  It feels easy to do with strangers.  Kindness to a stranger is short-lived.  Help me to be loving and forgiving and hospitable to those I know. Show me how to be humble, and not grumble.   And especially to those I know well, give me perseverance to act and speak in love for the long haul.

Lord, lead me in seeking out ways to join You where You are already at work, in ways that will use my Spiritual gifts.  Give me the energy and stamina to serve.   Show me how to serve humbly so You get the credit.  And let me recognize when to step back so another can use their gifts.

In all these things, let me also be aware of “[my] enemy the devil” who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”.  Help me see through his lies and deceptions.  Help me avoid his traps and temptations.   Strengthen me to resist him in all his cunning ways.   Make me strong, firm and steadfast.  Yours is the power forever.  I know You will never fail me.  Thank You.  Amen

I Peter 4:7-5:14