Tag: influence

July 28 Family and Spiritual Heritage

O Father, when I think of how fortunate I am, and all the blessings You have given me, it takes my breath away, and I am humbled to tears.

photographs-1209751_640Even before I was born, You determined when I would be born, and where, and to whom.  There were generations who came before me who knew You and worshipped You.  That is a godly heritage I must not take for granted.

David was a man after Your own heart.  And yet his lineage is full of men who were idolatrous, murderous, and evil.  Jehoshaphat followed You and taught others to worship You, yet his own firstborn, Jehoram, when given the rule, murdered all his brothers to secure his reign.  He married a daughter of Jezebel, a manipulative and evil woman.

After Jehoram’s gruesome death, his youngest son, Ahaziah took over and was encouraged into doing more evil by his mother.  Later, this evil mother, upon learning of her own son’s death, murdered all the siblings and offspring so she could reign in her son’s place!

But she missed baby Joash.  Joash was hidden and raised by godly people.  When he came to reign at the age of seven, he ruled rightly in Your eyes.

I know, Father, that You call each of us.  Some come from broken homes and dark, painful backgrounds.  But we each owe You a debt of gratitude for every divine influence and godly person You put in our path.

I can think of relatives, Sunday School teachers, preachers who taught me to love You and seek to know You.  But I also remember neighbors, friends, even strangers, who taught me godly lessons – some without even knowing it.  I am grateful, and thank You for each one of these.

As I look back over my life, I can see that I would not have all I have now, be all I am now, or love You the way I do, without Your intervention and Your loving care.  There is no doubt in my mind – You were involved in a personal relationship with me before I even knew You.   Thank You for all You have done.

Father, it also challenges me to be that divine influence in the lives of others You bring across my path.  Help me see opportunities to point others to You.  Open my eyes to recognize when I can say something, do something, be something that will benefit the faith of others.  Use me Lord, to pass on the blessing.  Amen

2 Chronicles 21:1-23:11

Apr 22 One True God

When I say, “I will serve the Lord,” these are words of intention and obligation.  I do not just sit back and allow whatever comes to come, saying “It must be the will of the Lord.”

idolatrySaying “I will serve the Lord”, carries the responsibility to recognize and reject all other powers and gods that have somehow gotten into my life, and to act intentionally to perform service affirming that You, the Lord, are my God.

What does serving and worshipping You look like? 

I can certainly avoid setting up a statue of wood or stone and laying offerings in front of it as acts of worship.  But in my world today, besides countless religions, there are many forms of “worshipping other gods.”   They are often looked upon as entertainment or common sense.

For the sake of “entertainment” many people are enticed by the idea they can learn the future, or “dabble in the occult.” They may read horoscopes, go to fortune tellers, read Tarot cards, play with ouija boards, channel or séance to speak to the dead, even summon satan.

The “fun” they participate in opens their hearts and spirits to unseen powers of influence they may not realize.

The truth is, there is power there that scripture tells us to have nothing to do with! Participating in those practices is a form of worship.  Believing as truth what is revealed there is attributing a godlike power to the activity or persons involved.

It is common sense to take care of our environment, reduce our carbon footprint, not waste resources.  But there are those who do this because they believe in and worship the earth as a power itself.  Environmentalism has become a religion, worshiping “Mother Earth.”

And then, there are some who elevate the desire for money, or success, or looking youthful to a level of worship, as it guides and motivates everything they do; how they make decisions, where they spend their money.

It’s so easy to allow things I enjoy or love to become an unhealthy form of worship; whether it’s my children, my job, sports, movies, food, self.

Lord, help me be vigilant to worship only the One True GodAnd turn from any form of idolatry so that I only serve You.  Amen

Joshua 24:14-24  

Aug 18 You: behind the scenes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Esther 1:1-3:15

July 28 Family and Spiritual Heritage

O Father, when I think of how fortunate I am, and all the blessings You have given me, it takes my breath away, and I am humbled to tears.

photographs-1209751_640Even before I was born, You determined when I would be born, and where, and to whom.  There were generations who came before me who knew You and worshipped You.  That is a godly heritage I must not take for granted.

David was a man after Your own heart.  And yet his lineage is full of men who were idolatrous, murderous, and evil.  Jehoshaphat followed You and taught others to worship You, yet his own firstborn, Jehoram, when given the rule, murdered all his brothers to secure his reign.  He married a daughter of Jezebel, a manipulative and evil woman.

After Jehoram’s gruesome death, his youngest son, Ahaziah took over and was encouraged into doing more evil by his mother.  Later, this evil mother, upon learning of her own son’s death, murdered all the siblings and offspring so she could reign in her son’s place!

But she missed baby Joash.  Joash was hidden and raised by godly people.  When he came to reign at the age of seven, he ruled rightly in Your eyes.

I know, Father, that You call each of us.  Some come from broken homes and dark, painful backgrounds.  But we each owe You a debt of gratitude for every divine influence and godly person You put in our path.

I can think of relatives, Sunday School teachers, preachers who taught me to love You and seek to know You.  But I also remember neighbors, friends, even strangers, who taught me godly lessons – some without even knowing it.  I am grateful, and thank You for each one of these.

As I look back over my life, I can see that I would not have all I have now, be all I am now, or love You the way I do, without Your intervention and Your loving care.  There is no doubt in my mind – You were involved in a personal relationship with me before I even knew You.   Thank You for all You have done.

Father, it also challenges me to be that divine influence in the lives of others You bring across my path.  Help me see opportunities to point others to You.  Open my eyes to recognize when I can say something, do something, be something that will benefit the faith of others.  Use me Lord, to pass on the blessing.  Amen

2 Chronicles 21:1-23:11

Oct 1 You are the strength of my heart

your-righteousness-is-perfect_blog

Father, Isaiah is filled with the vision of Your triumphant return! You bring reward to Your people. You come avenging Your people, righting wrongs done centuries ago and ever since.

 

Even Your people do not deserve Your great salvation, but You will bless the remnant You have chosen and those who call on Your name.

Father, help me keep my eyes on that future. And my focus on You and Your promises, not on what is happening here on earth. Here on earth the wicked seem to be the prosperous. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.”

When I listen to the voice of modern society and how far it has pulled away from You and Your standards, it is easy to wonder if I am still on the right track. I see people who do not worship You who prosper so greatly, with seemingly no consequences. They amass influence and power and become the people who drive my society and its values. And I wonder: Do You see? Do You see what is happening in Your world? The one You created so carefully? So lovingly?

I seek to live according to Your principles, and it brings challenges and trials.

But I will remember Your promises. I trust Your plan. And these Words of Yours strengthen me: “I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel,  and afterward You will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but You?    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail,
  but You are the strength of my heart  and my portion forever.” Whatever the earth can offer is nothing compared to all You have already given me, and have promised me will be my future with You! Thank You! Amen

Isaiah 62:6- 65:25; Psalm 73:1-28