Tag: Israelites

Apr 13 God’s plan – not mine

keep-calm-and-stick-to-the-plan-2Lord God, once again You show that You have a plan and are willing to include man in it.  You gave specific details of what Joshua was to do in order to gain Your victory.

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

Then You told them “do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  It would have been easy to dwell on their last failure and be fainthearted in the presence of the same enemy who had routed them before.

When I have tried to do something in my own strength, and failed, it is hard to get up and try again without fearing the same disastrous result.

Next they had to follow Your plan exactly, to Your specifications and in Your timing.  That can be hard as well.

So often I second-guess You by trying to come up with my own plan.  There are ways that seem to make sense to man, but do not often yield the desired result.  So I must be willing to give up the direction my own thoughts lead me and be obedient to what You tell me.

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

When things go well, it’s easy to sit back and take the credit, not including You until I need You again.

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But it is vital I recognize that the victories in my life come from You.  I am learning how to give credit to You without sounding false or insincere.  And it strengthens me to know You are involved in my life.

What was the result of this successfully executed plan?  Even more kings came together to make war against them!

Sometimes the battles we face, challenging as they may be, are simply preparation for bigger battles to follow!   But we can know that having done well will lay the groundwork for the next success.

Victory is ours when the battle is the Lord’s!  Amen.

Joshua 7:16-9:2

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Apr 12 I confess and You bless

maninfiledO Almighty God!

O Lord who is omnipotent,

all powerful,

omnipresent,

at all places

at all times,

and omniscient,

knowing all things.  It is hard to imagine the scope and depth of Your power and presence because it is so far beyond anything that is humanly possible.

Forgive me when I forget that You know all things, and try to hide my sin from You.

How foolish of me to think that I can keep something hidden from You and go on like it never happened.  You knew that some of the Israelites held back plunder from the victory at Jericho.  And there were consequences for their disobedience.  It cost thirty-six men their lives in a battle, and ultimately, the lives of all those who hid their sin.

It is so human of me, and yet so wrong, to think I can ask You to answer my prayers with blessing, when I am hiding sin.  I cannot expect You to bless me in my marriage, for instance, if I am gossiping, spreading disunity among my friends.  Before I can ask for Your favor, there are things I need to confess.

It’s not that I am telling You something You don’t already know.  The Greek word for confess is “homologo.”  It means “same word.”  So I am simply agreeing with what You already know; and with Your assessment that my action or attitude is sinful.

And You promise that when I confess my sin and turn from it, You are faithful, and will forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness and guilt.

Just like the Prodigal Son, when I return to You and confess my sin, You run to me, throw Your arms around me and celebrate my return to right relationship with You!

O Father, I desire miraculous victories like the Battle of Jericho in my life.  Keep me from temptation.  Help me quickly see sin for what it is and turn from it.

And when I stray from You, bring me to my senses and set my feet back on the path to You.  That is the path of blessing and victory! Amen

Joshua 7:1-15; Luke 15:11-24; I John 1:9   

Apr 11 Courage for the next step

“Hear me O Shepherd of Israel, You who led Joseph and his people like a flock” to greener pastures in Egypt because there was an extreme famine in the land.

“Hear me, You who sit enthroned between the cherubim” on the golden Ark of the Covenant that Moses had made so the High Priest could seek Your face and wisdom in making atonement when Your presence dwelt there in the form of a pillar of cloud.  

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“Awaken Your might!  Come and save me!”

As the Israelites went into the Promised Land to take possession of all You had promised them, lead me, Lord, to what You have for me.  Let me see and possess all the blessings You have prepared for me.  Do not let me miss out on Your blessing because I am too afraid to get my feet wet!

The Israelites had to step into the floodwaters of the Jordan River before You stopped the flow of water to let them pass.  Sometimes I also must take a step of faith to see Your provision in my life.  Show me that step so I can also come into all that You have for me.

What a missed opportunity that would have been, had they not had the courage to do as You said!

The same is true for the people You spoke about who were invited to a great banquet.  They made every excuse to stay away.  Although they were acceptable excuses for the day and time, they missed out on the bounty, provision, and the very salvation You had prepared for them.

I am sad to say that very often, I delay our time together because there are errands to run, shopping to do, bills to pay, or meals to fix.  These are all things that really do need to be done, but it shows that my priorities are not right.

How sad that I sometimes choose checking email over hearing from the God and Creator of the Universe who makes time to speak with me!

“Restore me O God.  Make Your face to shine upon me that I may be saved.”  Restore me to right thinking so I will set my priorities straight, Lord.  Make Your face to shine on me so I may walk in the light of Your radiant presence.

Show me when I need to take a step of faith and get my feet wet.  When I make excuses, remind me of the rich banquet of blessing I am missing by not spending time with You.  Thank You for Your unending faithfulness.  Amen

Joshua 3:1-4:24; Luke 14:16-24; Psalm 80:1-3

Mar 27 Not by bread alone…

Lord, today’s scripture passages are so rich, it is hard to chose one area of prayer focus.  In these verses You are instructive, encouraging, and even give warnings.  All are important.  But the ones that speak to me the most, remind me of how You care for me and how I should behave in response to that care and commitment.

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I am holy to You, Lord.  That doesn’t mean I am perfect, but that I am set apart for You. And for Your purposes.

Like the Israelites, I have value because of who I am in Your eyes.  You did not set Your affection on me because I am the biggest, or best.  There is nothing I could have done to make You love me.  But You chose me.

You delivered the Israelites from slavery.  Because You love me, You promise to deliver me with a mighty hand from this world and its distressing values.  

You have provided for me in the past when I needed help, encouragement, and provision.  Although You provided physical sustenance for me, You have also taught me that there is more.

So I do not live on “bread” alone.  But my relationship with You and Your Word gives me peace and wholeness.  So I will spend time reading and studying Your Word, and listening for Your voice.

Often, especially in times of need – like the Israelites –  I am drawn to You.  And I need to be sure I give You the credit when You answer and provide. I express my thanks and gratitude in praise, in song, in telling others how You bring me through troubles and trials.

Every good thing I have has come from You.  It is You who make it possible for me to have the life I enjoy, to work and volunteer and help others.

I will pour out myself to honor You.  You have saved me!  From trouble, from trauma, from myself, from circumstances I have gotten myself into, and from eternal death.

You have answered my prayers, come to my rescue, given me hope, forgiven my sin.  I thank You and I praise You!  And I cannot wait to see what’s coming next!  Amen

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20

Mar 26 Help me hear

girl-headphones-41553“We will listen and obey.”  This was the Israelites response to all You said on the mountain when they heard Your voice telling them how they should live.

Many things in the world keep me from hearing You.  The world is a loud, noisy place, with so many voices that distract or actively deceive.  Those voices suggest what I need and how I should live to be “accepted” and “successful” by the world’s standards. They tempt me into materialism, humanism, and all kinds of ungodly ideologies.

But to listen and obey, I must listen specifically and intentionally.  I need to walk a path, live a lifestyle that purposely shows others what I believe.

Please remind me when I speak or act or make a decision, that everything I do will either draw me closer to You, or move me away from You and Your will.  Help me examine my thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes, to ensure that they are honorable and do not cause distance or separation from You.

You also tell me I am responsible to teach others about You and Your truth.  So I need to live what I believe – talk about my faith and who You are to me and how You impact my life.  Help me do that when I have others in my home.  And when I travel.  From the time I get up until the time I go to bed.

When I am not speaking of You, my faith should still be obvious to others by my dress, my countenance, my attitudes, how I treat others.  When people come to my home, they should see more than just the symbols of the world’s values.  They should sense Your peace.  I

n my emails, tweets, facebook posts and any other presentation to the world, I must be mindful that I represent You.  As I am a Christ-follower, my presence in others’ lives shows whether I truly listen and obey, or whether I am a Christian in name only.

I will listen.  And I will obey.  And I will “proclaim the power of God!”  Amen

Deuteronomy 5:1-6:9; Psalm 68:34

Mar 24 Tracing God’s Faithfulness

Dear Lord, I don’t often take time to look back over my life to see where I’ve been.  Or evaluate how I got here.  But this is what Moses is doing for these young Israelite people who are about to come into their promised land.

Printable-Timeline-Template-for-StudentBecause their fathers and mothers rebelled against You and died in the desert over those last forty years, it is important that these young people know where they came from and how they got there.

Namely, that it was You who delivered them and their parents from slavery, which they probably don’t remember; and led them through the desert, which has been their only memory; and brought them to this place of promise, which they may or may not have been taught was promised long ago to their forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

It is important that they see that You are their Deliverer, and their Promise Keeper.  That is was You who has brought them out of four hundred years of slavery with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.  They need to be aware of the miracles You did to free them from the Pharaoh.

One perspective on the relationship is that they need to understand You are a deserving, willing, and capable Bridegroom who has a marriage covenant with them, so they will remain faithful to You.  This is difficult for a generation who mostly missed the amazing, miraculous way You interceded on their behalf.

So it impresses upon me now, that I should take time to see where I have come from, where I am going, and how Your hand has blessed me all along the way.  So many times You have protected me and helped me through hardship.  Recalling those times helps strengthen my faith in You.

Knowing how You came through in the past allows me to trust You more now, and be strong in the face of trouble.  I once made a time line of how You had impacted my life at crucial points.  With my aging memory, it helps to see those times written down, that confirm Your faithfulness to me.

Life can sometimes seem like a desert, a dry time of focusing more on what I don’t have than what I do have.  While I do not have monetary riches or fame, I have truly been given what I have needed, not lacking anything.  And I can truly say that “You have watched over my journey through this vast desert. You have truly blessed me, and been with me.”

Unlike Moses, it has been over forty years for me.  Time to take a moment and give You thanks.  Amen

Deuteronomy 2:1-29; especially 2:7-8

Mar 13 Egypt or Wilderness?

direction-1033278_640The Israelites.

For several hundred years they had not been in charge of their fate and lived as slaves.  They never really had the freedom to choose what to do, where to go, or what to eat.  And had no time to worship You, or even think about what their future might hold.

All they knew: slavery = more of the same.

And while their freedoms had been stripped away, there was stability and security in what they had.  Barring illness or disobedience, they were provided for, albeit to keep them in working condition for the Pharaoh.

So in this newfound freedom after leaving Egypt, when problems rose, like no food or water for two million people, it was a big deal.  And they were not prepared to cope.

Those things had been provided for them before.  And even though their labor had been hard and bitter, it was at least predictable.   So during these times, it was so easy for one of them to look back to when there was a bit of security and minimal provision; and convince others that what was behind them was preferable to the unknown ahead.

Lord, how many times have I preferred the predictable to the unfamiliar?  It takes courage to step out in a new direction, to get up off the couch of complacency.

I go back and forth between disbelief at how the Israelites rebelled against You even in the presence of the observable and awesome miracles; and being able to understand where they were coming from.

Father I pray You would help me be courageous in accepting what comes from Your hand.  If it requires change on my part, let me be willing to take the necessary steps without whining and complaining.

Remind me of the times in the past when You have rescued, delivered and supported me through difficulties and challenges.  Let those memories add to my faith and increase my trust in You.

And I will say, “whenever I am afraid I will trust in You” and “walk before You in the light of life”.  Amen

Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 56:3,13

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.

cloud-pillar_imgarcade.comThe 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 answer 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.

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 11 Omnipotent

eye-of-god-nebulaLord, I believe Your Word is right and true; and that You are faithful in all You do.  So when the Word tells me You created the heavens and the earth, I believe it and am amazed.

Not only did You have the imagination and endless creativity to think it all up, You had the power and sovereignty over the elements and forces to do the creating!

How?  I don’t know.

Science is still wrestling with the questions of how our universe works.  Theories come and go about physics, matter, gravity wells, space and time; more than I can grasp.

Every generation we learn more, sometimes refuting what was previously believed.  I don’t know that we will ever reach a level of truly understanding it.

But I know that when I see the diversity and organization, I marvel at it – and see past it to the Creator.

I can look through a microscope or a telescope and see things beyond my imagination that amaze me.  I can observe connections and repeated patterns that cannot possibly exist by coincidence.

The recognition and glory are due the Creator.  “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him,” meaning I will acknowledge Your handiwork and have the utmost respect for Your power and authority over all our world.

“The Lord foils the plans of nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples.  But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” 

 The Israelites were a stiff-necked people and disobeyed You over and over again.  Yet still You made them Your chosen people, a people set apart, to this day.

The disciples Jesus gathered around Him betrayed and denied Him, then scattered.  And yet, they spread the word of salvation through the work of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection.

I have been known to be stiff-necked and disobedient.  And there have been times I have not followed through on all You have shown me.  Yet I trust that Your plans, through me or in spite of me, will stand.  I am not much, but in Your hands, I am a tool wielded by the almighty Creator of the universe.  And what You can accomplish by the work of Your hands is limitless.

I praise You that Your plans stand firm.

Thank You that the purpose of Your heart was to provide a way to reconcile us, Your creation, to Yourself again.

I will sing of the mercy of the Lord!  Your faithfulness endures forever!  Amen

Exodus 32:1-14; Matthew 26:69-27:5; Psalm 33:1-11

Feb 6 Little by little

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“Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” 

How well You, my Heavenly Father know me.  You know my strengths and also my weaknesses and limitations.

And You will never give me more than You know I can handle.

The challenge is: it is often more than I realize I can handle.  But You are always gentle with me, and faithful.

With the Israelites, You knew they would not be able to take possession of all of Your amazing gift of the promised land at one time.  You knew the blessing was too much for them with their limitations.  So You gave them what they could handle, and when they were ready, strong enough, You gave them more.

You’re like that with me too.  If I knew the full extent of the bountiful and abundant blessing You have in store for me, I would not be able to take it all in.  It would be too overwhelming and far too great for me to accept all at once.  So You show me the part I can accept, and work with me one step at a time.

Your forgiveness is a blessing.  But You are patient and do not overwhelm me by showing me all my sin at once.

Little by little, You teach me what is right and holy.  And little by little I see how I have fallen short of that, or have been downright disobedient.

And as I acknowledge my sin and accept Your forgiveness, I am blessed as You purify me from unrighteousness and free me from guilt and shame.

boy-1916204_640You know me so well, Lord.  And knowing what I will face, You prepare me with exactly what I need to meet each challenge, accept each blessing and appreciate Your hand at work in my life.

Go before me to prepare the way.  And prepare me, Father, to see and accept all that You have for me.

Help me be patient for Your timing.  Guide me and empower me to take the steps You have prepared for me.

Do not let me run ahead or lag behind.  But build me up, increase me, till I am ready to take possession of all that comes from Your hand.   Amen

Exodus 23:27-30

Feb 2 I choose praise!

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Heavenly Father, You have shown me two different responses the Israelites made in the presence of Your blessing.

The first is one of dancing and singing praises to You.  When You delivered them from Pharaoh by having them cross through the waters of the sea on dry ground, Miriam took a tambourine and led Moses and the Israelites in singing of Your miraculous deliverance.

But another time, when these people grumbled for food in the wilderness, You promised and delivered a blessing of meat in the evening and bread in the morning.   That night You brought them quail to eat and in the morning You created and gave them manna: something so marvelous and unknown they didn’t know what to call it.  They even called it “manna” which means “what is it?”

There is no mention of rejoicing, or an outpouring of gratitude or thanks – even though there was no other place for them to get food in the desert.  What they did was respond with disobedience.  They did not gather according to Your instructions.

And although You continued this particular blessing six days a week (with extra gathered the 6th day for the Sabbath) for forty years, (that’s 12,480 times !!) it wasn’t long before they were grumbling again unappreciatively.

I pray Father, that I will respond to Your hand of blessing in my life like the first example.  Majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, highly exalted – You are my God and my King!

I will write songs and sing of Your wonders!  I will tell others of Your greatness and Your blessing in my life.  I will write and send emails to communicate them!

But even if I stand in a room alone with my hands and voice raised to You, even if I sing off key, even if no one else knows, do not let me miss an opportunity to acknowledge Your power and involvement in my life with gratitude.

Open my eyes Lord, so I will see and understand all of Your blessings.

Prompt me when I forget to acknowledge Your gifts.

Do not let me take Your blessings for granted; or respond with disobedience. I desire to make a “sacrifice to You of shouts of joy!  I will sing and make music to the Lord!”

Exodus 15:19-17:7; Psalm 27:6

Oct 16 Trust God’s plan

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah 29:1-14

 

Sept 8 Consequences

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What a loving Father You are. You instruct gently, and spell out exactly, what the truth is. You teach Your children how to do what will bring them the greatest reward. You remind them: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.”

You spell out the rewards and the consequences over and over again. When they become disobedient, You send others, prophets, to remind them and warn them off the destructive path and back onto the path of blessing.

Even when they are immersed in their sin and being obstinate, You offer them forgiveness and a way back into Your grace and favor.   “Come, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Scarlet and crimson are bright and deep shades of red. Trying to get a red wine stain or a bloodstain out of something is difficult. And my sin stains me like that. But You tell me You can cleanse me as white as snow: sparkling, pure, glistening, frosty snow. You can remove my sin and its stain to make me as white as the softest, purest lamb’s wool!

“But if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” That is the consequence of disobedience. Who would choose that? Who would give up the blessing of Your provision and favor, in order to be devoured by death?

And yet, the Israelites did just that, continuing in idolatry. They turned away from You. In pursuit of other gods, they continued to make meaningless offerings to You as one of the many “little g” gods they worshipped. Meaningless because their hearts did not belong to You any longer.

And You brought judgment. Because of Your righteous character, You had to uphold justice and be true to Your Word.   They did not understand until it was too late.

Father, I believe my country has been blessed and protected by You because we trusted in You. But now, we have turned away as a nation, “resisting and rebelling.“ We no longer honor or even acknowledge You.

You have sent a warning. You have sent people who have tried to call America back. But we have not returned. We have chosen the path away from You. And You will bring judgment.

Before it is too late, Father, I pray my nation will turn to You. Bring us leaders with godly values. Open our eyes to our sin and give us repentant hearts. “Come, [America], let us walk in the light of the Lord.” Amen

Isaiah 1:1-31

Aug 14 Do not grieve

person-joyjumpPsalm 33 tells me, “Blessed [joyful, happy] is the nation whose God is the Lord. The people He chose for His inheritance.”

When Ezra read Your Word to the Israelites assembled, they knew that You were their God and they were Your people. And today, any who believe in You as Savior are also Your people. Believers have an inheritance with You. And we are blessed as a nation when we call You our Lord.

The Israelites mourned and wept as they heard Your Word because it convicted them of their sin. As a believer, I also mourn and weep when I read Your Word, because of my own sin and the sin of my nation.

But Nehemiah told them “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

In happy times it is easy for me to say this. When things are going well, I can be joyful. I feel strong. But in this context, the people are not happy. They are grieving, ashamed, broken by their sin. This is when they are told “the joy of the Lord is your strength”.

It is when I have no strength of my own because I am broken, or sad, discouraged, overwhelmed, or depressed – that I look to You and receive Your strength.

I can know that whatever is going on in my life, there is joy when I remember that You are my God, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Comforter, my Friend. Your presence gives me joy and strength. Even in the face of trials, I can look to You.

Your Psalm reminds me I will not be saved by the size of an army, or personal physical strength, or even by a mighty horse. But my hope is in You, my help and my shield. “In You my heart rejoices, for I trust in Your holy name.”

Remind me Father, the next time I am downcast, that my joy and my strength are not based on my circumstances. But are found, sure and steadfast, in You. Amen

Nehemiah 8:1-12; Psalm 33:12-22

Aug 13 Plans

puzzle-394144_640Father, You gave Nehemiah the plan to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall. And met his needs as he accomplished it. You brought the people needed to do the work. And You provided abundantly for them all to eat. You brought all the pieces together for Your plan to be accomplished.

Show me where You are working. Let me see how I can be a part of Your plan to accomplish something You bring into my life. Bring all the pieces together so I can be part of Your work.

You also provided for Nehemiah and the Israelite’s safety. Some might guess he was lucky, or say that he had a sixth sense about the plots against him. But he was a praying man who looked to You for guidance and protection. He fasted and prayed to accomplish the work You gave him to do. With five attempts to lure Nehemiah away from his work to harm him, he stood his ground and did not go. When one of his own plotted to discredit him, he refused to be party to the sin.

Father, protect me as well. Direct me away from harm. Stop me from sinning against You, even if it would seem to safeguard me. Sharpen my spiritual discernment so I can see through any plots to harm, or intimidate, or discredit me. Strengthen my faith so I count on You and trust only in You for my deliverance.

You created all the heavens and the earth. By Your very word, Lord, You spoke the world into existence. You planned and created all that is seen, and all that is yet to be discovered in the universe. As far as can be reached with eyes and technology, all this is within Your hand’s grasp.

Your purposes and Your plans Lord, stand firm. And will be carried out throughout eternity, by generation after generation.

“Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him.” Help me set aside time to praise You. Not just at a formal church service, but often; worshipping from my heart.

I acknowledge and honor Your Lordship. Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your righteousness, Your justice, and Your unfailing love.   Without it, I would not be here. You are my Lord. And my hope is in You! Amen

Nehemiah 5:14-6:19; Psalm 33:6-11

Aug 10 Reconcilliation

heartcloudFather, thank You that You are a God of second chances. And third and fourth and even more. When the Israelite men had sinned and taken foreign, pagan wives, there was an acceptable resolution. There were consequences yes, but they were able to take an oath to renew their covenant with You.

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he lists many types of wickedness, then says “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

In both of these cases, reconciliation was made possible because You chose to accept repentance. You cleansed them, You set them apart. You returned them to right standing with You.

And the same is true for me. When I have sinned, and I come to You in the realization of what I have done, agree with You that it is sin, and am remorseful, repentant, You forgive that sin. You wash me and set me apart, and again I am in right standing with You.

But, as with the Israelites, there are consequences.   Sometimes the consequences are life changing, and can cause ongoing problems. They had to put aside their foreign wives. Sometimes I have to put aside a relationship or something I think I really want that is not good for me.

Paul says, “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial”. Lord, there is such freedom in You. Help me be wise in that freedom. Produce in me the Fruit of the Spirit so I can be good and kind, patient and faithful, gentle and self-controlled. Show me when I am being selfish or unwise. Remind me to think and pray before I act.

Father, I offer You the relationships in my life. Please deepen the ones that are godly, and to distance me from any that are not.

I give my time to You and ask that You show me where I waste it. Give me the strength to cut out activities that eat away time I could spend better.

I give You my priorities and ask You to help me reorder them where they are not in line with Your purposes.

“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Father, help me recognize what is right and just, and help me do it.   When what is right and just is at odds with my selfish or prideful or greedy nature, help me overcome that nature and be led by You. Thank You for Your help in all this, and for the hope You give me. Amen

Ezra 10:1-17; I Corinthians 6:12; Proverbs 21:3

July 18 Order from Chaos

Father, for the last several chapters, You have shown me how David and his commanders allotted all the jobs that needed to be done, to the Israelites. There was a job for every person and a person for every job. From the priestly duties in the Temple concerning worship, to defending the people and guarding the gates in the wall around Jerusalem. There were people who took care of all the building and supplies, all the flocks and herds, and all the king’s business.

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It reminds me that You are a God of order, not chaos. I usually start off my day with a plan of order. You know all too well how many times those plans have dissolved into chaos. My house starts out the month in order. Then life happens, and chaos takes over. Sometimes it takes an unexpected emergency like water in the basement or some planned entertaining activity to motivate the family into cleaning up again and putting things in order.

I marvel at how You know humans so well, and give us what we need. You know that I need order. You created this world I live on with painstaking care. Every planet in the solar system is ordered. The geology of the planet earth is stable enough that I don’t see mountains from my window one day and valleys the next. The seasons change, giving us variety in weather patterns, but the seasons always come in the same order. And the human body is amazingly organized, down to the pattern of neurons in our central nervous system and brain; and the arteries and veins that carry blood.

So I get the benefit and security of knowing that night always follows day; Summer always follows Spring. Thank You for knowing me so well; what I need to feel safe and secure in the world. Thank You for going to such great lengths in creating this beautiful planet; with it’s specific gravity, air pressure, radiation levels, temperature, and path through the solar system, to provide stability to sustain my life. Thank You for the constancy I see repeated in the cycles: sprouting, growth, maturity, fruitfulness, harvest, hibernation, rebirth.

When chaos increases in my life, it’s a signal I need to spend more time with You. Help me be more organized. Remind me I need to be consistent in devoting time to You. Show me how to set right priorities.   And how to stick to them.   Thank You for Your loving help. Amen

I Chronicles 23:1-27:34

June 29 Standing firm

Lincold stand firmO Father, how Your heart must ache when Your people choose to turn away from You!

You have given me all I need for an abundant life, yet the society I live in, and the one the Israelites lived in, pull people away from You to continually seek after other things.

When the kings over Your people were bad, they worshipped idols in the open, even sacrificing living children by fire.   They fought battles according to their own strength, or bought allies with the treasures from Your Temple.

When the kings were not evil, and led the people back to worship You, they still did not remove the high places and Asherah poles, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

The values and attitudes of their society had become so evil, that this behavior was accepted by even the good kings. But it was not acceptable by You. And eventually You sent armies from the east to conquer and capture Your people, taking them into exile.   This was as You had promised. You outlined their options for blessing and cursing, and they made their choice.

Lord, how often in my life do I allow the ungodly values of my society to sway me, divert me from what You have told me is true? Often what is evil is accepted as good. And even the good leaders abide by it as if it were ok.

Do we think as a society that there will be no accounting? That’s what the Israelites thought. Didn’t work out so well for them. And I fear it won’t work out in my times either.

When Your Word spread in Ephesus, people who practiced sorcery burned their scrolls, and idol worshippers stopped buying the silver idols. As the economic impact increased, so did the opposition!

Society today would also prefer that believers keep their faith to themselves. When it begins to impact political issues or economic factors, there is friction.

Father, as You have called me to live in the world, You have also separated me, set me apart from it. Help me understand how to be ‘in’ the world while being separate from it. Remind me to question values, holding them up against what Your Word says. Only then will I know I am on solid ground.

Show me if there is any value or attitude I need to change to be right with You. And strengthen me to do it, amid, or even against, the pull of society. Amen

2 Kings 15:17-16:20; Acts 19:13-41

June 3 Jehovah-Jireh = My Provider

office-594132_640Lord, thank You for this reminder to commemorate Your works in my life by writing about it.

Whether in a song like David, or poem, or letter form in a journal, it is important that I not only give You recognition, credit, and thanks, but that I leave a record for others to see and know of Your involvement in my life. So that others know how You love, rescue and deliver those who belong to You.

I may not fight battles with six-fingered giants, but there are forces acting against me today. In this fight, You are also my rock which I can rely on as immovable to stand on or hide behind. You are my fortress where I can find protection within.

You are the One by whose power I am delivered from the enemy. You are my shield that deflects the arrows and blows aimed at me. You are the source of my strength, and the place I can pull back to, to find rest and refuge. Your power and strength save me.

Thank You that I can call on You when I need help and have become exhausted. Thank You that You are faithful and trustworthy and come to my aid. As the Psalmist says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.” I can look to the beautiful, often snow capped mountains where I live. Their beauty and stability speak to me of Your strength and faithfulness.

But the Psalmist wrote this to be a song all the Israelites would sing either as they made their way up to Jerusalem from their hometowns, lower in elevation; or as they ascended the steps on the south wall of the Temple mount. This was Mount Moriah, where You blessed Abraham and provided the ram to sacrifice in place of his son.

As the Israelites looked up to the hills of Jerusalem, towards the Temple, they would be thinking of You, the offerings they brought, and the forgiveness, celebration and protection they would experience there.

Thank You that I am also reminded You watch over me, that You are my shade and my protector. Thank You that You keep me from harm and watch over my life. I am so grateful. Amen

2 Samuel 21:15-22:20; Psalm 121:1-8

 

May 10 The best Father

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Samuel 8:1-22

Apr 24 Generations

Lord I can see how a generation of Israelites grew up different from their parents. They did not see the amazing battle victories and miraculous deliverances that You did for their parents. There was not as much visible reason to be grateful to You. Their peace was provided at seemingly no cost. They turned away from You.

grandfathersMy father and grandfathers lived in a time when there was war and the freedom for America had to be fought for and defended. Sometimes called “the Greatest Generation”, they poured into institutions and community in a sacrificial way to create a better life for their children and grandchildren.

My generation benefitted from that and in enjoying the freedom, stood on their shoulders to reach farther in science, technology and all kinds of advances because we didn’t have to worry about our national security. In that era of peace and advancement, we blessed our children with a sheltered, problem-free life.

I have seen in this generation of 25-40 “somethings”, some men and women who, not seeing their parents go off to war, never had their security threatened until 911, and grew into a people with a sense of entitlement. Many believe the world owes them a living doing whatever they choose to do. And the government owes them security without any of them having to fight for it. They seem unwilling to live a disciplined life to secure what they want.

But I also see many of them who are sold out to You, and living godly lives despite the worldly attitudes around them. Lord, encourage and strengthen them.

generationsMay all our generations wake up and realize how far we have come from true worship of the One True God before we are, like the Israelites, handed over to our enemies.   You raised up judges, deliverers in those days. I pray we will listen to the voice of those You send to wake us up.

Judges 2:10-23

Apr 13 God’s plan – not mine

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua 7:16-9:2

Apr 11 Courage for the next step

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“Hear me O Shepherd of Israel, You who led Joseph and his people like a flock” to greener pastures in Egypt because there was an extreme famine in the land. “Hear me, You who sit enthroned between the cherubim” on the golden Ark of the Covenant that Moses had made so the High Priest could seek Your face and wisdom in making atonement when Your presence dwelt there in the form of a pillar of cloud. “Awaken Your might! Come and save me!”

As the Israelites went into the Promised Land to take possession of all You had promised them, lead me, Lord, to what You have for me. Let me see and possess all the blessings You have prepared for me. Do not let me miss out on Your blessing because I am too afraid to get my feet wet! The Israelites had to step into the floodwaters of the Jordan River before You stopped the flow of water to let them pass. Sometimes I also must take a step of faith to see Your provision in my life. Show me that step so I can also come into all that You have for me.

What a missed opportunity that would have been, had they not had the courage to do as You said! The same for the people You spoke about who were invited to a great banquet. They made every excuse to stay away. Although they were acceptable excuses for the day and time, they missed out on the bounty, provision, and the very salvation You had prepared for them.

I am sad to say that very often, I delay our time together because there are errands to run, shopping to do, bills to pay, or meals to fix. These are all things that really do need to be done, but it shows that my priorities are not right. How sad that I sometimes choose checking email over hearing from the God and Creator of the Universe who makes time to speak with me!

“Restore me O God. Make Your face to shine upon me that I may be saved.” Restore me to right thinking so I will set my priorities straight, Lord. Make Your face to shine on me so I may walk in the light of Your radiant presence. Show me when I need to take a step of faith and get my feet wet. When I make excuses, remind me of the rich banquet of blessing I am missing by not spending time with You. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness. Amen

Joshua 3:1-4:24; Luke 14:7-24; Psalm 80:1-3

Mar 24 Tracing God’s Faithfulness

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Dear Lord, I don’t often take time to look back over my life to see where I’ve been? Or evaluate how I got here? But this is what Moses is doing for these young Israelite people who are about to come into their promised land.

 

Because their fathers and mothers rebelled against You and died in the desert over the last forty years, it is important that these young people know where they came from and how they got there. Namely, that it was You who delivered them and their parents from slavery, which they probably don’t remember; and led them through the desert, which has been their only memory; and brought them to this place of promise, which they may or may not have been taught was promised long ago to their forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

It is important that they see that You are their Deliverer, and their Promise Keeper. That is was You who has brought them out of four hundred years of slavery with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. They need to be aware of the miracles You did to free them from the Pharaoh. One perspective on the relationship is that they need to understand You are a deserving, willing, and capable Bridegroom who has a marriage covenant with them, so they will remain faithful to You. This is difficult for a generation who mostly missed the amazing, miraculous way You interceded on their behalf.

So it impresses upon me now, that I should take time to see where I have come from, where I am going, and how Your hand has blessed me all along the way. So many times You have protected me and helped me through hardship. Recalling those times helps strengthen my faith in You. Knowing how You came through in the past allows me to trust You more now, and be strong in the face of trouble. I once made a time line of how You had impacted my life at crucial points. With my aging memory, it helps to see those times written down, that confirm Your faithfulness to me.

Life can sometimes seem like a desert, a dry time of focusing more on what I don’t have than what I do have. While I do not have monetary riches or fame, I have truly been given what I have needed, not lacking anything. And I can truly say that “You have watched over my journey through this vast desert. You have truly blessed me, and been with me.” It has been over forty years for me. Time to take a moment and give You thanks. Amen

Deuteronomy 2:1-29; especially 2:7-8

Mar 13 Egypt or Wilderness?

direction-1033278_640The Israelites. For several hundred years they had not been in charge of their fate and lived as slaves. They never really had the freedom to choose what to do, where to go, or what to eat. And had no time to worship You, or even think about what their future might hold. All they knew: slavery = more of the same.

And while their freedoms had been stripped away, there was a stability and security in what they had. Barring illness or disobedience, they were provided for, albeit to keep them in working condition for the Pharaoh.

So in this newfound freedom after leaving Egypt, when problems rose, like no food or water for two million people, it was a big deal. And they were not prepared to cope. Those things had been provided for them before. And even though their labor had been hard and bitter, it was at least predictable. So during these times, it was so easy for one of them to look back to when there was a bit of security and minimal provision; and convince others that what was behind them was preferable to the unknown ahead.

Lord, how many times have I preferred the predictable to the unfamiliar? It takes courage to step out in a new direction, to get up off the couch of complacency.

I go back and forth between disbelief at how the Israelites rebelled against You even in the presence of the observable and awesome miracles; and being able to understand where they were coming from.

Father I pray You would help me be courageous in accepting what comes from Your hand. If it requires change on my part, let me be willing to take the necessary steps without whining and complaining. Remind me of the times in the past when You have rescued, delivered and supported me through difficulties and challenges. Let those memories add to my faith and increase my trust in You.

And I will say, “whenever I am afraid I will trust in You” and “walk before You in the light of life”. Amen

Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 56:3,13

Mar 10 Fear or Faith

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Ten said No.

Two said Go!

Interesting Lord, that only two of those who went to see the goodness of the land You promised to give the Israelites, had the faith to take You at Your word and go forward to take possession of it.

The other ten saw the goodness, but they also saw the size of those living there. They could have compared that size to the size of their God – who had delivered them from the entire Egyptian Army! And brought them through the desert! And who fed them every day, a miraculous food they had never seen, that came from nowhere! And Who was leading them with an awesome pillar of cloud by day and fire by night!

But instead, they focused on themselves. They compared the size of their perceived ‘enemy’ to their own puny, whiny selves, and were filled with fear and dread. Even worse, they spread fear, discouragement and rebellion to the people!

What a typical human response. How many times have I looked at my own circumstances, and figured out that I couldn’t win? Forgetting that I can call on You as my ally – the One who can do miracles! The One who keeps His promises!   The One who is faithful to His Word!

Forgive me Lord, for giving up before the battle. Especially when I haven’t even called on You, trusting in faith, believing that You could and You would make a difference. Forgive me when I focus on the challenges before me instead of the ally standing beside me!

I desire to be like Caleb and Joshua who said GO! They compared the size of their enemy not to themselves, but to their Great God! Let me see Your promises to me for all the blessing they are! Let me see that the future You have planned for me is exceedingly good! Lead me into my promised land and help me take it!

Do not let me disobey and rebel. Do not let my fear get the better of me and keep me away. Let me realize that when You are with me, there is no protection for the enemy! Help me take possession of all You have for me. I want to live in my Promised Land! Amen

Numbers 14:1-38

Feb 11 Omnipotent

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Lord, I believe that Your Word is right and true; and that You are faithful in all You do. So when the Word tells me You created the heavens and the earth, I believe it and am amazed.

Not only did You have the imagination and endless creativity to think it all up, You had the power and sovereignty over the elements and forces to do the creating!

How? I don’t know. Science is still wrestling with the questions of how our universe works. Theories come and go about physics, matter, gravity wells, space and time; more than I can grasp. Every generation we learn more, sometimes refuting what was previously believed. I don’t know that we will ever reach a level of truly understanding it.

But I know that when I see the diversity and organization, I marvel at it – and see past it to the Creator.  I can look through a microscope or a telescope and see things beyond my imagination that amaze me. I can observe connections and repeated patterns that cannot possibly exist by coincidence.

The recognition and glory are due the Creator. “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him” meaning I will acknowledge Your handiwork and have the utmost respect for Your power and authority over all our world.

“The Lord foils the plans of nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” The Israelites were a stiff-necked people and disobeyed You over and over again. Yet still You made them Your chosen people, a people set apart, to this day. The disciples Jesus gathered around Him betrayed and denied Him, then scattered. And yet, they spread the word of salvation through the work of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection.

I have been known to be stiff-necked and disobedient. And there have been times I have not followed through on all You have shown me. Yet I trust that Your plans, through me or in spite of me, will stand. I am not much, but in Your hands, I am a tool wielded by the almighty Creator of the universe. And what You can accomplish by the work of Your hands is limitless.

I praise You that Your plans stand firm. Thank You that the purpose of Your heart was to provide a way to reconcile us, Your creation, to Yourself again. I will sing of the mercy of the Lord! Your faithfulness endures forever! Amen

Exodus 32:1-14; Matthew 26:69-27:5; Psalm 33:1-11

Nov 8 May the Truth set us free

usa-1491734_640Father, as I read this section of Psalm 106, I fear that I personally, and my country, have together made the same mistakes Your people made in the desert. They were not satisfied with the life You gave them; even the miracles You performed to deliver them from the hand of the enemy who had relegated them to slavery for generations, and then was set on destroying them.

In the wilderness at Meribah where You brought water from a rock for them to drink, they rebelled against Moses and Your provision. They forgot that You had done something so mighty as parting the Red Sea for them, and delivering them from the hand of Pharaoh and his army. Instead, they focused on their fleshly desires, doubting You could quench their thirst. I too, sometimes focus on my own desires rather than the great blessings You have already worked in my life. And I too respond with whining instead of faith.

When they came into the Promised Land, they “mingled with the nations and adopted their customs”. I fear I have done the same by participating in the social customs of my times.   I and my country, have mingled godly beliefs with the socially acceptable values of the times. What You call sin is no longer looked upon as sin. People today seem to have no concept of what is right and wrong, and so no self-governing set of morals that direct or protect them.

Many things in my culture take the place of passion for You. Sports teams, fame, money, power, shopping, alcohol and drugs, status, cars, beauty, youth: so many things have become idols in the lives of so many, even believers.

“They sacrificed their sons and daughters to false gods. They shed innocent blood…” Father, I grieve over the number of babies who have been sacrificed on the altar of ‘choice’ and ‘convenience’. This land is desecrated by their blood.   And it defiles the people involved because of the act of taking a life. But it also exacts a price they often pay in long-term emotional and psychological damage, not to mention the spiritual battle that they have lost in giving over ground to the enemy.

Yet, You “took note of their distress when You heard their cry…and out of Your great love You relented”. Father, I am in distress and I cry out to You: for my personal sin and for the sin of my country. Forgive, Lord. I acknowledge and agree with You that I and my country have acted in rebellion in going our own way without following the path You set before us. And that my country and I have participated in social customs and values that have become a snare to us, even to the point of idolatry. Lord I turn away from anything that seeks to take Your place in my life. Forgive us for focusing on the flesh over the spiritual.

“Save us Lord our God…that we may give thanks to Your Holy name and glory in Your praise. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, Amen!”

Psalm 106:32-48

Apr 11 Courage for the next step

“Hear me O Shepherd of Israel, You who led Joseph and his people like a flock” to greener pastures in Egypt because there was an extreme famine in the land. “Hear me, You who sit enthroned between the cherubim” on the golden Ark of the Covenant that Moses had made so the High Priest could seek Your face and wisdom in making atonement when Your presence dwelt there in the form of a pillar of cloud. “Awaken Your might! Come and save me!”

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As the Israelites went into the Promised Land to take possession of all You had promised them, lead me, Lord, to what You have for me. Let me see and possess all the blessings You have prepared for me. Do not let me miss out on Your blessing because I am too afraid to get my feet wet! The Israelites had to step into the floodwaters of the Jordan River before You stopped the flow of water to let them pass. Sometimes I also must take a step of faith to see Your provision in my life. Show me that step so I can also come into all that You have for me.

What a missed opportunity that would have been, had they not had the courage to do as You said! The same for the people You spoke about who were invited to a great banquet. They made every excuse to stay away. Although they were acceptable excuses for the day and time, they missed out on the bounty, provision, and the very salvation You had prepared for them.

I am sad to say that very often, I delay our time together because there are errands to run, shopping to do, bills to pay, or meals to fix. These are all things that really do need to be done, but it shows that my priorities are not right. How sad that I sometimes choose checking email over hearing from the God and Creator of the Universe who makes time to speak with me!

“Restore me O God. Make Your face to shine upon me that I may be saved.” Restore me to right thinking so I will set my priorities straight, Lord. Make Your face to shine on me so I may walk in the light of Your radiant presence. Show me when I need to take a step of faith and get my feet wet. When I make excuses, remind me of the rich banquet of blessing I am missing by not spending time with You. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness. Amen

Joshua 3:1-4:24; Luke 14:7-24; Psalm 80:1-3

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.

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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