Tag: guide

Nov 15 Help me live in peace

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“…live at peace with all men and be holy…”.  Allow “no bitter root to grow up.”  Make moral decisions now because the consequences may be too much to bear.

 

 

Because of my human nature, these are sometimes very difficult things to do.  Give me Your peace so I can reflect peace to those around me.  Help me see what is important and what is not so I will not be part of foolish arguments, but will be able to live at peace with men, and women too.

When I feel wronged, or hurt, angry, disappointed or jealous; help me see from Your perspective so the root of bitterness doesn’t poison my relationships.  When circumstances seem unjust or aren’t going my way, diffuse my anger before it ”causes trouble and defiles many.”

Let me consider what You would have me do in response to any circumstance, rather than just react from an emotional place.

Help me live my life with the understanding that I am Your creation, here for You purposes.  Give me guidance and wisdom to be the best marriage partner, parent, friend, neighbor I can be.

Father, thank You that I can approach You every time I need support in any of these areas.  Not like in Moses’ time where anyone who touched even the mountain where You were had to be killed. You have done with Your precious blood what the blood of goats and lambs could not.  Now I can come to You directly, and hear Your voice without perishing.

I want to live in peace as Paul suggests.  You are my help.  And there is none like You: The Prince of Peace.  Amen

Hebrews 12:14-49

Nov 9 The Shepherd’s Rod

shepherd rodFather, I can see a pattern in Your treatment of Your people.  You revealed Yourself to them in Egypt and told them to “get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt.”

And although You delivered them, they continued to worship a golden calf.  Yet You did not destroy them, “for the sake of Your Name.”

In the desert they rebelled again, and then their children, who You led and protected in the desert, rebelled, not following You; but again You preserved them.

Generations later, the nation of Israel continued to defile itself, and You acted to “disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries.”  Here, You spoke to them only through Ezekiel the Prophet.

It was always Your purpose that they would be Your people and You would be their God.  And Your judgment of them was just, as they “passed under Your rod.”

Father, I come now, to seek You, to inquire of You.  There are so many things in my life that I need Your wisdom about, Your guidance, Your direction.  I need Your strength to bear up under the challenges, and Your peace to sustain me through them.

I need Your patience where I need to wait, and Your boldness where I need to act.  I want to see where You would have me join You in Your work so I do not spend my energy on fruitless endeavors.

My part in this is to be sure my life is rid of idols.  I will examine my actions, my attitudes, my relationships, to be sure nothing and no one is stealing my passion to live for You.   I want to “pass under Your rod” for Your inspection and loving care.

This is the same rod of which the Psalmist wrote “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”

A shepherd uses his rod for many things.  One is to have the sheep pass under it.  It is a way of counting to be sure every sheep is where it should be and accounted for.

It is also a way of inspecting them.  As each sheep passes, the shepherd looks to see that each is well fed, rested, and not ill.   As the rod parts their hair, inspection is made of the skin for wounds, parasites, anything that would indicate a need for further care.

Father, I am a sheep of Your pasture.  Inspect me.  Look for any sign of weakness or disease in me.  When so, heal me and I will be healed.

Strengthen me with Your Word and with Your presence.

Be sure that I am where I am supposed to be.

I too, am called by Your Name.  So I desire to live in obedience so that Your Name will be preserved and honored.  Father, let my life glorify Your name.  Amen

Ezekiel 20:1-38

Nov 5 All-knowing: Nothing is hidden from You

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Father, one way You characterize Your people, the Israelites, is that “they are a rebellious people.” They did not worship only You.  They brought in other pagan practices, worshipped idols, did not accept Your instruction or correction, and denied Your true prophets and the prophecies.  They were guilty of going their own way.

It was clear, Lord, that You could see what they were doing even when they thought it was in secret.  And You paid back those who prophesied falsely and those who disheartened Your people with lies.  You knew their actions, their motives, their thoughts.

There is nothing hidden from You.

And the same is true today, Lord.

Before a word is even on my lips, You know it.  You know me inside and out.  There is nothing I can do in secret that You are not already aware of.   Once again, as it always has been: nothing is hidden from You.

Holy Father, I will worship You and only You.  When something else starts to take Your place in my life or in my heart, show me immediately so I can repent and turn away from it.

You also said of Your people:  “They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear.”   Show me if there are pagan practices in my own culture that take away from my worshipping You.   If You see me participating in something I should not, show me immediately so I can turn from it.

Father, help me receive Your instruction in obedience; and Your correction in humility.  Help me understand how the prophecies You have given affect how I am to live.

I know I often go my own way.  If it is from impatience when waiting to hear from You, help me wait patiently.  If it is in disobedience and rebellion, show me my error, and how to get back on Your path.

Father, Ezekiel was Your man.  He heard from You in a real way.  And he was obedient.  I desire to be like Ezekiel in this way.  Let me hear from You in a real way.  And guide me to be obedient.  Amen

Ezekiel 12:1-13:23

Oct 10 Send an encourager

Friend Buddies Pals Best Friends Friendship

Father, each one of us needs to be encouraged in our walk with You.  Each one of us faces specific challenges and difficulties.   We may not be able to find direction, understanding and encouragement on our own.

You sent Paul to be an encouragement to the Thessalonians.  Please send someone into my life, and into the lives of my loved ones, to be a mentor like Paul.

Father, You know each of us so intimately, You would know the exact person to send, who can relate to us and speak words of encouragement and comfort and instruction into our individual lives.  You know how each of us needs to be “urged to live lives worthy of You.”

Not just anyone qualifies to speak into our lives.  Father, would You “clear the way” for Your specific mentor to come to each of us and speak Your truth.   And like Paul’s prayer, would You “make our love increase and overflow for each other…and strengthen our hearts so that we will be blameless and holy in Your presence…”

I need You and Your truth in my personal life, my loved ones’ lives, and in my country.  I need Your encouragement to stay on the right path.  Send Pauls and Timothys, Paulas and Tabithas.  Men and women who will help us live for You.  Send Your truth.  Amen

I Thessalonians 2:9-3:13

 

Oct 6 Your Word is my path

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“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Father, destruction was coming and You instructed Your people with this verse.

Yet they did not obey or follow You.  Do not let me reject Your wisdom.  Today I stand seeking.  I look to You to guide and direct my thoughts.  Show me the way to go. Help me be steadfast to walk in Your way.

I trust Your leading.  Even if it is not the “popular” path.  Or the one that seems “logical” at the time.  Or the “easiest” one that seems to be clear of obstacles.  Give me strength to be obedient to what I hear You saying.

Paul said it this way:  “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

There are many followings today, many belief systems that are portrayed in the media as right and credible.  Do not let me be misled by these false, socially acceptable representations.  You have taught me the truth.  And I have aligned myself with You by faith, by public profession, by baptism and by the way I choose to live.

Just as false religions lead me away from You, so do the attitudes that would bind me to legalistic practices that come from man.  Such rules and regulations that many keep, and look down on those who do not, are just as damaging.  Their obedience is based on human commands and teachings of men’s interpretation.

Believers are Your Body.  And when the members of Your Body obey only each other, they have lost connection with You, their Head.

Bottom line Lord: let me hear Your voice, and obey what You tell me.  Let me truly live my life for an Audience of One.  You.  Amen

Jeremiah 6:16-21; Colossians 2:8-23

 

Sept 19 This is the way

road-sign-64059_1280Father, You have described those who do not follow You and those who do. Unfortunately, I sometimes display the characteristics of both.

You say “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”  And yet there are times when I do not remain quiet and trusting.  “Yet,” You tell me “the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.”

What an amazing God You are!  Even when I am not faithful, You are patient and merciful to me!

Father, You have promised, “As soon as You hear, You will answer me.”  And have said that “my ears will hear a voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”  I could ask for nothing more.

Even now, as I call out to You, I know that You can hear my voice and will answer me.  Father, there are circumstances in my life that present options and opportunities, choices.  And I must decide.

Fear would freeze me where I stand, preventing me from moving ahead in any direction.  But I believe that You have wisdom in all these areas.   I believe You have the ability to see into the future to know which is the right way for me to go.

You also know my past, and the way that You created me, with strengths, gifts, and talents, as well as weaknesses.  So You know what You have already prepared me for, and what is best for me.

Father, I have access to the wisdom of the world.  I have friends who would probably tell me what they think I want to hear.  But I desire to live my life by Your wisdom.

Be the voice that I hear behind me, in my ear, telling me which is the way to walk.  Show me which path to take.  Show me when to wait and when to go forward.  Open my ears and my Spirit so I can hear and understand what You tell me.

And give me the boldness to be obedient to what that is.

“And I will sing…my heart will rejoice.”  I will rest in my salvation.  And will remain in quietness and trust.  These will be my strength.  Amen

Isaiah 30:15-21

Feb 15 Me? A Disciple?

picture0223Holy Father, may I be like those You called to follow You as disciples.  May I be willing to leave my family, my occupation to go with You wherever You lead me, leaving behind the security I would lean on in place of You.

Although I was not present in Capernaum where You began teaching with such authority, let me learn from the amazing lessons in Your Word.

You have given me the Holy Spirit to teach me, correct me, guide me.  Make me sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Help me listen to godly wisdom when it comes to opportunities and circumstances; not just take the easy way, or most logical way.  I will call on You, and seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Though I may not have seen You perform miracles in Galilee, You have answered prayers and done miraculous things in my life and in the lives of others I know.  Let me be bold about sharing those experiences and so spread the word as Your disciples did.

“I have the assurance that You will contend with those who contend with me and will fight against those who fight against me.  You will take up shield and buckler, arise and come to my aid.  You will brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.  You will disgrace and put to shame those who seek to ruin my life; and turn back in dismay those who plot my ruin.“

As David wrote these words about the men who were literally seeking his life, I seek Your deliverance from the oppression of the powers of this present darkness at work in the world today; from the spiritual forces at work against You, and so also against me as I live in Your light.

“My soul rejoices in You.  I delight in Your salvation.”  I place my complete trust in You, for there is none like You.  I know that “Your wisdom will reward me.”  Thank You for being my Savior.  Amen

Mark 1:16-28; Psalm 35:1-4,9; Proverbs 9:11

Jan 17 Be my guide

right-238369_1280Lord, I desire to dwell with You in Your sanctuary. And to live on Your holy hill.  Your Word tells me how.

Help me keep my walk blameless and do what is righteous according to Your standards. When I am not sure which is the right way, give me discernment. When I know what is right, give me strength to do what is right.

Keep me from temptation that would entice me to act unjustly or immorally. Do not let me be drawn into evil or behave badly for personal gain.

Help me speak the truth from my heart, even when it is more convenient to lie. I desire to be honest in my speech and in my actions. Do not allow me to speak ill of others or be a gossip.

Help me treat my neighbor as I want to be treated, with respect and compassion. Teach me to hate what is wrong and vile; not calling what is good evil, or what is evil, good. And to stand up for right, defending those who are defenseless.

Show me how to recognize and give honor to those who are godly and live their lives in the fear of the Lord.

When I make a promise, help me keep my word, even when it is not convenient. Even when it costs me more that I thought it would. Let my yes be yes and my no be no.

When I can lend to one in need, do not let me take advantage of their need for my own profit. But let me act compassionately. When it is profitable to deceive others, let me turn away from that temptation. Do not let me accept a bribe or cause harm to the innocent.

Teach me and strengthen me to walk in this way, to live uprightly and to love mercy. Living this kind of life will give me confidence and courage. It will be an example to my children and to others. And it will help me to honor You.

This is my desire. Amen

Psalm 15:1-5

 

Jan 1 Blessing for the year

Father, in these words of Psalm 1 You tell me how to be blessed.  Help me, my husband, sons, and loved ones obey these words 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.  But let us recognize 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.

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Make 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 7 Where there is life, there is hope

purple-grapes-vineyard-napa-valley-napa-vineyard-45209Father, what a picture of joy and hope when You say “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert.”  Because in the desert, very little grows.  The lack of water and the intense heat plus sandy soil produce low, scrawny plant life.  But to find grapes: something juicy and good that can nourish, is a wonderful and valuable find!

When living in or crossing the desert, a find like this can be the difference between life and death.

fig-tree-1658686_960_720A similar picture is seen in the next part of the verse: “when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.”  For a fig tree is different from most other fruit trees.  It will take four to five years, and sometimes six or seven years for a fig tree to produce it’s first crop of figs.

So all those years, care must be taken to keep it watered and fertilized and protected from the weather and winds, parasites and disease so it will be healthy enough to produce.  Then, when seeing the early fruit, you know it has all been worth it!  There is success!  And hope of many more harvests to come.

Both of these create an emotional response of relief, satisfaction – that the future is secure and what has been done and accomplished was worth it.  I love seeing this in projects or ministries I have been involved with and lives I have impacted.  It is a good feeling that any positive influence will continue on in their lives.  I feel that same delight and hope when I think of my children.

But then all was taken away: “…they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved.”

Delight is erased.  Hopes are dashed.  Joy is replaced with sadness, grief and anguish over the loss of those involved and the prospect of the joyous future that had been envisioned.

Father, do You delight in each one of us, and then anguish when we fall away from You?

I am Your child.  Keep me from turning away from You.  Show me clearly where and when there are idols I have been drawn to: pride, possessions, money, fame, popularity, whatever.

Help me and my children and loved ones walk in a manner worthy of You.  Father, let “our mouths be filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.”   We give You thanks and praise!   Amen

Hosea 9:10; Psalm 126:1-3

Nov 20 While here on earth…

GivinghandsandredpushpinFather, how I long for the day when I will be in Your presence for all eternity.  My real home is with You.  I long to sit at Your feet, to see You face to face, to wrap my arms around You and rest in Yours.

But for now, I must be here.

And not just with You, but with billions of other imperfect people like myself, who I need to learn to get along with.  Father, James tells me I need to live in this world, but not be friends with it.

I need to relate to people, but without speaking badly of them or judging them.

I need to suppress the desires within me that might cause me to selfishly fight and quarrel with others when I don’t get my way.

And I need to recognize the devil and resist him.

Thank You for placing Your Holy Spirit in me to help me with all these things.  Thank You for the grace You extend to me.  James tells me the key is to submit to You and humble myself.

So Father, I submit myself to You.  When I am obedient to You, I will not obey the devil.  I will not be selfish.  I will not mistreat others.

Father, I give You my plans.  Take the days of my life that You have already numbered, and show me how to live each one.  Do not let me get ahead of You.  And do not let me lag behind.  I trust Your timing for all of it.

I draw near to You Father, and ask You to search me and remove any desires that are not godly.  If I ask for the wrong thing, or ask with a wrong motive, show me where I have messed up.  If I become too attached to the things of the world, wean me from that dependence.  For with You, I have all I need.

Father, examine my relationships.  If there are any that do not serve Your purposes, then help me let them go.  If I am quarreling with anyone, or am out of fellowship with them, show me what caused it, Your plan for the relationship, and how to make it right again.

And when I am tempted by the devil, let me clearly see the “hook” beneath the lure he is dangling before me.  Strengthen me to resist, and turn away from that trap.

As long as You have me living here on the earth, Lord, guide and strengthen me.  Help me overcome my flesh and the evil one and the pull of the world.  I choose to hold my possessions, my relationships, my plans loosely so I can follow Your will.  Grant me success.  Amen

James 4:1-12

Oct 7 Guide my attitudes, actions

Father, the scribes and priests of old had Your Word, but even they did not live by it or teach others correctly.  They rejected Your wisdom, but called themselves “wise.”   Since I seek Your wisdom, help me get my focus off earthly concerns, and onto heavenly things.

directory-1161965_640The “earthly” things have to do with the negative side of my flesh.    These are the things You punished Israel and Judah for.  In addition to spiritual idolatry that took their worship away from You, they treated each other with greed and deceit.

They were shameless in their lusts and immorality.  These are the things I must put to death in my own flesh.  Because You gave me a new life in saving me from the penalty of my sin, I seek to live that life in You.

As You are from heaven, those “heavenly” traits I must cultivate are “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience…forgiveness…love.”  Father, help me have these character qualities and treat others with them.  When faced with situations, show me the appropriate response that will be framed in these attributes.

One thing I know will be difficult for me is to forgive others who I believe have wronged me.   Sometimes the consequences of their actions are far-reaching and have harmed my loved ones as well.  But it helps me to remember that You have seen everything.

And vengeance belongs to You.  It also helps me when I realize all the things You have forgiven me.  And that I need to forgive others as You have forgiven me.

Father, I am grateful for the peace and love You give me.  Let them be the overarching qualities of my life.  Let all I do bring Your peace and Your love into the lives of those around me.   In Your name.  Amen

Jeremiah 8:8-13; Colossians 3:1-17

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

June 8 Thank You for the people in my life

Father, help me be more like Solomon. When You told him “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.” He was not quick with a Christmas list of desired material possessions. Even before You granted him wisdom beyond all human possibility, he answered wisely.

He began by acknowledging Your kindness and faithfulness to his father David. He focused on You, and what You had already done in his life. Then he presented himself humbly – as an individual and as a ruler. He recognized the enormity of both the blessing and the responsibility You had given him. And in the face of this, he asked for wisdom.

Let this be a pattern for my prayer life as well. Lord, I truly acknowledge Your faithfulness to me. I can’t begin to understand all the pieces that You brought into place for my being here now, as one of Your children.

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How interconnected are the lives of the people You orchestrated to impact my life: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, friends, Sunday school teachers, teachers, coaches, acquaintances, co-workers.

You not only coordinated who they were and how they influenced me, but where they were, as I moved across the country almost every year growing up. That blows my mind!

You have blessed me in the roles I play to others: daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, wife, mother, friend, teacher, labor coach, and in the intimate way I have been able to relate to people at significant times in their lives. I feel very inadequate to fill the needs of the people You give me opportunities to minister to. On my own, I cannot do it.

Give me a discerning heart to speak to and relate to those You bring into my life. Help me distinguish between right and wrong and be able to speak the truth in love into their lives as I live my life according to Your guidance.   Show me when to speak and when to keep silent. Show me how to share the understanding You have given me when it comes to teaching and encouraging others.

Father, thank You for the blessing of all those You have brought into my life. Help me care for them in Your love, in Your strength, and in Your name. Amen

I Kings 3:4-9

 

June 5 All I have is from You

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Dear Lord, I see myself all over today’s scriptures. Like David taking a census of Israel, I sometimes do things that are not right for my family or me. I persist in the activity or behavior by some sense or motivation that I become adamant about.   Father, open my ears to the wise counsel You send into my life. Let me be dissuaded from pursuing ungodly ends.

Lord, I identify with the man at the gate, crippled from birth. Surely I was also unable to walk in Your light until I came to know You. All I could do was rely on others to carry me, and beg from those who knew You for bits of life giving faith. But Peter said “Look at us!” And when the man gave them his attention, he received. It wasn’t until I gave You my full attention, read Your Word, really listened to the lessons others taught me from Your Word, that I received the ability to walk in Your truth, Your light. Thank You for sending each one of these helpers into my life. Thank You for directing my understanding, and opening my eyes to Your truth.

Peter also said “And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made …” And I too am an heir of all that You revealed through the prophets – because I live in a time when I can see that they have been fulfilled in You! In Your death on the cross. In Your resurrection from the dead. In Your outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Thank You for the inheritance I have in You.

Like the psalmist, so I also “lift up my eyes to You”. I live only because of Your mercy. Although I am not familiar with being a slave, I can understand that a slave receives only what is provided by the master. I also realize that all I have comes from You: the goodness and blessing I do not deserve, the loving family and friends, the freedoms I enjoy in this country, the medical and technological advances I benefit from. Thank You for choosing this time and place for me to be born. All I have is from You, and I am richly, richly blessed.

Lead me in the way that will direct my words, my actions, my attitudes to honor You and bring glory to Your name. Amen

2 Samuel 24:1-25; Acts 3:1-26; Psalm 123:1-2

 

June 2 Guide me

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Father, thank You for meeting me where I am. Don’t ever let me try to live life without You. Even when I don’t know which way to go, I desire the companionship of Your company and the blessing You offer when I am following Your instruction.

 

After Your resurrection, several of Your disciples returned to fishing. But one long night when their efforts yielded no catch, You found them. From the shore, You told them to throw down their nets on the right side of the boat. And an enormous catch was brought in. You blessed their obedience.

Father, when I feel lost, find me wherever I am. Show me how to be obedient and where the blessing is. Thank You for this lesson that even when I come to the end of my efforts and have tried to do things on my own, You stand ready to show me the way. Help me be humble enough to accept Your instruction, and obedient to follow it. Amen

John 21:1-14 

May 25 Holy Spirit You are welcome here

earth-1738059_1920Lord, thank You for letting me live in a time when You have sent Your presence to be with believers continuously. In the Old Testament scriptures, You visited people in physical form, or You were ‘with’ them for a time, but not like You are now. I remember Gideon saw You, and after speaking face to face, made an offering You accepted and consumed with fire.

You were ‘with’ Saul, but then You left him. When You were with David, You promised to never take Your love away from him or his descendants, and to be their Father. This was something new.

When You walked on the earth, You were with Your disciples day to day in the flesh.   You taught and guided them in truth. But that was short-lived.  What You promised them, and what they received, had never been heard of before.

People made their own gods. They imagined what powers the god had, then they fashioned a wood or stone or a ceramic figure to worship. This god could only be at one place and only at one time, and could not hear or speak, move or act.

What You did was truly revolutionary!

You have sent a part of Yourself to every believer! Your presence can be felt and experienced by every single person who has accepted You as Lord. We call this presence the Holy Spirit, or the Counselor, or the Holy Ghost: the third part of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is given to every person who believes that You are the One True God. It is invisible but present as a Spirit of Truth who teaches, reminds, comforts, convicts, and guides.

Thank You for this marvelous presence that acts as a helper, teacher, revealer, comforter, strengthener, renewer, and so much more.

Thank You that You are real and true and not crafted by man. Help me hear what the Spirit says, and understand what the Spirit teaches. Do not let me do anything that would hinder or impede the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Thank You for this tremendous, invaluable gift. Amen

2 Samuel 7:1-29; John 14:15-31

Jan 25 I trust Your perfect plan

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Oh God I praise You that nothing can thwart Your plans!

Although evil is in this world, and is in positions of power and authority, it is nothing compared to You and Your ability to preserve Your will!

I ask for Your will to be done in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones. Do not let any powers or influences get in the way of effecting Your will in our lives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 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 . We are so frail and flawed, especially when it comes to knowing You, hearing You and obeying You.

Thank You for Abraham’s example of obedience. His faith was so great he left home to follow You to an unknown place. 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.

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

Jan 5 Ordinary People

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Lord, thank You for using ordinary people to do extraordinary things through Your power.

You took a regular man like Abram, and chose to use and bless him. Only by Your promise and power was he made into a great nation with a great name, through whom all peoples of the earth have been blessed. You looked far into the future, beyond the limitations of the flesh, and brought a Savior from his line.

Even with the mistakes he made, the bad choices, the lack of faith he showed at times, You kept Your word to him. Your promises are never just empty words. You have the sovereignty and the power to make good on all You say You will do.

Thank You that You still bless people today. Thank You that You still accomplish Your perfect will in the lives of people who, like Abram, make mistakes, and fall short, and choose fear over faith. Please use me Lord. Teach me how to make wise choices. Increase my faith. Help me be obedient. Bless me. And use me to bless others.

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. Thank You for guiding me with Your Word. Amen

Genesis 12:1-13:4; Psalm 5:3

 

 

Jan 3 Make me like Noah

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Lord God Almighty, I know it is only by Your great mercy, and Your steadfastness, and holding to Your promise to Noah and the animals, that You do not destroy the earth again by flood.

Surely there is as just much, if not more evil and corruption now, in my time, as there was then. When You see the earth once again full of violence, are You saddened and grieved to see how people treat You, Your earth and each other? You have the power to wipe man and beast from the face of the earth again. I am in awe of Your restraint, and grateful You do not.

Father, help me be more like Noah. Let me hear Your voice like Noah did: in a way that I understand who You are and what You are telling me to do. And help me respond as Noah did, in complete obedience, doing all that You command.

Show us all Lord, how to draw away from the violent, corrupt, evil influences of the earth and our flesh. Let us see where in our circumstances we are not listening to Your voice or receiving Your instruction. There will be temptations. Even You, when You walked the earth, were tempted. You went into the wilderness where needs became great, yet were not overcome by the devil’s temptings.

We also are tempted: by our own appetites, our desire for fame and for power. Yet You have promised that You will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear – because of Your faithfulness. You will show us a way of escape.

Give us the strength to overcome temptations, and take the way of escape. Help us make righteous choices when tempted. Help us remember that when we submit to You, and resist the devil, then he will flee. Let us remember that we are Your children, Your sons, Your daughters; and find strength in that relationship.

Father, I desire to worship and serve only You. Strengthen me to withstand temptation. And send Your angels to come and attend when I am weak and in need. Thank You. Amen

Genesis 6:1-7:24; Matthew 4:1-11

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 27 A sheep in Your flock

CindySheepFather, the picture You paint for Zechariah of Your people is “the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd”. Many times sheep get themselves into trouble on their own. They wander away, eat what they shouldn’t, become prey for wolves or lions. They get caught in thorns, fall into deep water, or become lost. But no danger is greater than that of not having a good shepherd.

A shepherd provides for his sheep in so many ways. He looks out for them. He prepares good pasture by removing noxious and poisonous weeds before the sheep get there. He makes sure the area has sufficient clean, still water for them to drink. He protects them from predators, and goes after them when they wander off. He carefully examines them to see if they are in need of medicine to keep them healthy and free from parasites. He provides shelter from inclement weather and moves them to new pastures before the grass becomes over-grazed; or to completely new areas when the weather turns too cold.

Israel’s priests and leaders were not being good shepherds to the people. And You pronounced “Woe to the worthless shepherd who deserts the flock!”

But blessed am I – for You are my Good Shepherd! You do not turn me over for slaughter. “You are the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – You remain faithful forever.”!  When I get into trouble, You answer my call and come to my rescue. When I wander, You call me back. I know Your voice because You have called me by name, and I have learned I can trust that voice. You give me the Holy Spirit that speaks to me and warns me away from poisonous things that would make me sick; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You protect me from the evil one who prowls around like a predatory lion looking for someone to devour.
When I get caught in thorny situations, You provide a way of escape. If I will but keep my eyes and ears open for Your leading, I will see the way out. When I fall into deep water, or walk out there on my own, You are with me in the water, and You do not let the flood overtake me. You are my Help! You are my Hope! You are my Good Shepherd. And “I will praise You all my life”. Amen

Zechariah 1:10-11:17; Psalm 146:1-10

 

Dec 11 You are the One

michelangelo-71282_1280Father, so many times You sent messages to the people and leaders of Israel to return to You, and they did not. You sent death in famine, drought, blight, locusts, plagues, and military defeats as a way to get their attention. Father, when challenges and difficulties come to me, I will come to You. You are the One who can help and heal me. You are the One who can show me wisdom and how to cope with whatever You allow into my life.

Lord, when it is so easy to fret and worry, and grumble and complain to friends, and look to the world for answers, remind me that the source of all I need is You! Calm my heart when I am anxious. Shut my mouth when I whine. Turn me around when I go toward the world’s solutions. I will pour out my heart to You. I will seek wisdom in Your Word. I will not just talk during prayer, but will listen, so I can hear what You have to say to me. I will open my eyes and ears to discern when You are showing and teaching me; and where You are leading me. I will let go of my own way and humble myself to obey You.

For it is “You who forms the mountains, who creates the wind,  and who reveals Your thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—    the Lord God Almighty is Your Name.” You are mine, and I belong to You.  You redeem me with Your love, renew me with Your presence, restore me with Your touch. Amen

Amos 4:1-13

Nov 30 Lead me in the Light

light-on-manFather, thank You that You are light. You are The Light! I desire to walk in Your light. I understand that there is nothing that You do not already know, nothing is hidden from You. Even if I were to walk in the darkness, You would still see everything.  When there is sin in my life, sin is darkness. And because I do not want to be in the dark, I will confess my sin before You.

I am like a sheep that strays from the safety of its shepherd. You are my Shepherd. Father, seek me when I get lost. Return me to Your presence.

When I agree with You about what is sin in my life, and turn from it, You are faithful to forgive that sin and restore my fellowship with You. Again, thank You.

Like the Psalmist, I pray “May my cry come before You” so You will “give me understanding according to Your Word”.   When I cannot see what direction to go, Father, shine Your light on the path I should take. Help me recognize the difference between light and darkness so I can avoid the darkness.

Father, “may my lips overflow with praise” and “my tongue sing of Your Word”. Do not let me forget to be thankful, acknowledging when You rescue me, when You reveal truth to me, when You encourage me. Remind me to not only ‘stop and smell the roses’ but to express my gratitude to the Creator for the roses and for a nose.

“Let me live that I may praise You”! My Creator. My Encourager. My Teacher. My Rescuer. My Restorer. My Shepherd. My Light! Amen

I John 1:1-10; Psalm 119:169-176

Nov 20 while here on earth…

Father, how I long for the day when I will be in Your presence for all eternity. My real home is with You. I long to sit at Your feet, to see You face to face, to wrap my arms around You and rest in Yours.

GivinghandsandredpushpinBut for now, I must be here. And not just with You, but with billions of other imperfect people like myself, who I need to learn to get along with. Father, James tells me I need to live in this world, but not be friends with it. I need to relate to people, but without speaking badly of them or judging them. I need to suppress the desires within me that might cause me to selfishly fight and quarrel with others when I don’t get my way. And I need to recognize the devil and resist him.

Thank You for placing Your Holy Spirit in me to help me with all these things. Thank You for the grace You extend to me. James tells me the key is to submit to You and humble myself. So Father, I submit myself to You. When I am obedient to You, I will not obey the devil. I will not be selfish. I will not mistreat others.

Father, I give You my plans. Take the days of my life that You have already numbered, and show me how to live each one. Do not let me get ahead of You. And do not let me lag behind. I trust Your timing for all of it. Father, I draw near to You and ask You to search me and remove any desires that are not godly. If I ask for the wrong thing, or ask with a wrong motive, show me where I have messed up. If I become too attached to the things of the world, wean me from that dependence. For with You, I have all I need.

Father, examine my relationships. If there are any that do not serve Your purposes, then help me let them go. If I am quarreling with anyone, or am out of fellowship with them, show me what caused it, Your plan for the relationship, and how to make it right again. And when I am tempted by the devil, let me clearly see the ‘hook’ beneath the lure he is dangling before me. Strengthen me to resist, and turn away from that trap.

Father, as long as You have me living here on the earth, guide and strengthen me. Help me overcome my flesh and the evil one and the pull of the world. I choose to hold my possessions, my relationships, my plans loosely so I can follow Your will. Grant me success. Amen

James 4:1-12

Nov 5 You are All-Knowing

ear-2372090_640Father, one way You characterize Your people, the Israelites, is that “they are a rebellious people”. They did not worship only You. They brought in other pagan practices, worshipped idols, did not accept Your instruction or correction, and denied Your true prophets and the prophecies. They were guilty of going their own way.

It was clear, Lord, that You could see what they were doing even when they thought it was in secret. And You paid back those who prophesied falsely and those who disheartened Your people with lies. You knew their actions, their motives, their thoughts. There is nothing hidden from You.

The same is true today, Lord. Before a word is even on my lips, You know it. You know me inside and out. There is nothing I can do in secret that You are not already aware of.   Once again, as it always has been, nothing is hidden from You.

Holy Father, I will worship You and only You. When something else starts to take Your place in my life or in my heart, show me immediately so I can repent and turn away from it.

You also said of Your people: “They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear”.   Show me if there are pagan practices in my own culture that take away from my worshipping You.   If You see me participating in something I should not, again, show me immediately so I can turn from it.

Father, help me receive Your instruction in obedience; and Your correction in humility. Help me understand how the prophecies You have given affect how I am to live. I know I often go my own way. If it is from impatience when waiting to hear from You, help me wait patiently till I do hear from You. If it is in disobedience and rebellion, show me my error, and how to get back on Your path.

Father, Ezekiel was Your man. He heard from You in a real way. And he was obedient. I desire to be like Ezekiel in this way. Let me hear from You in a real way. And guide me to be obedient. Amen

Ezekiel 12:1-14:11

Oct 10 Send an Encourager

truth-2069846_640Father, in Jeremiah’s time, even the priests and prophets were lying to their leaders and the people. They reported only what the people wanted to hear: that they would be safe; that there would be peace, and that these words came from ‘the Lord’. Father, would You send a true prophet, like Jeremiah, to the nations’ leaders of the world, and open their ears to Your truth. Jeremiah was not popular because he told it like it was. He relayed Your truth, not pacifying lies. I fear many of our nations’ counselors are not being ‘Jeremiahs’.

The media has become a ‘prophet’ of the day. And their reports are very skewed, so that the people are controlled by political and social interests and schemes. And yet the people are not completely innocent either. For they have chosen one by one how to live their lives and who or what they will worship.

You gave Jeremiah a very difficult task in a very difficult time, but You promised to rescue and save him. You said, “Surely I will deliver you for a good purpose”.   Father, show me Your good purpose. Help me be strong in my faith like Jeremiah was.

Friend Buddies Pals Best Friends Friendship

Lord, You sent Paul to be an encouragement to the Thessalonians. Would You also send someone into my life, and into the lives of my loved ones, to be a mentor like Paul was.

Each one of us needs to be encouraged in our walk with You. Each one of us faces specific challenges and difficulties.   We may not be able to find direction, understanding and encouragement on our own. But You, Father, know each of us so intimately, You would know the exact person to send, who can relate to us and speak words of encouragement and comfort and instruction into our individual lives. You know how each of us needs to be “urged to live lives worthy of You”.

Not just anyone qualifies to speak into our lives. Father, would You “clear the way” for Your specific mentor to come to each of us and speak Your truth.   And like Paul’s prayer, would You “make our love increase and overflow for each other…and strengthen our hearts so that we will be blameless and holy in Your presence…”. Father, I need You and Your truth in my personal life and in my country. And Your encouragement to stay on the right path. Send Jeremiahs and Pauls. Send Your truth. Amen

Jeremiah 14:11-16; I Thessalonians 2:9-3:13

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