Tag: Jesus

June 6 By God’s Power

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

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

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

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

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

Their prayer was to “enable Your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.”   What a courageous prayer!  The disciples had just been told by the religious leaders NOT to speak of You, and they had the courage to say they would prefer to obey You, rather than obey man.

Show me Lord, when I should speak.  And as I open my mouth, fill it with Your words.  And then close it when I am to remain silent.

“Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.”  My country is in dire circumstances: political and social tragedy and unrest, economic challenges on a grand scale.  The entire world is suffering loss of life, health and financial stability.  What I see is that the stage is set for You to do a miracle!

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

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

Acts 4:1-31

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.

Lord, there are so many things pulling at me in our world today – the pandemic, injustice, disunity, evil abounding in abuse of power.  So many things seem broken; and that’s on the large scale of what’s happening in the world and in my country.  I am saddened and overwhelmed.

Father, please bring comfort and healing to those families who have suffered at the hands of evil men and women.  Rescue them and bring them the peace that only You can.  Expose and punish the evil ones. Let us see Your justice.

Father, when we feel lost, individually or as a nation; find us wherever we are. Show us 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; Psalm 120:1-4

June 1 Doubt? or Believe!

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“Stop doubting and believe.”

Often I have heard that people think being a Christian means checking your brain at the door and believing in something blindly.   But Jesus, here You give me an example of just the opposite.

You say to Thomas (who has been forever since called “Doubting Thomas”) to “stop doubting and believe.”  But You were not just a voice in the dark asking him to believe blindly.  You were standing right in front of him.  You were offering to let him see and touch and feel what was real.  You provided proof for his faith.

But it is often the same with me.  I can be stubborn in my reluctance to go forward out of fear of failure or embarrassment or things not working out; even when You are standing in front of me.   You can offer proof to me because You see things I can’t.  You already know how things will work out.

Lord, help me take the steps You direct me to take, in boldness.  Don’t let me be frozen by fear, or hesitate in half-heartedness.  Do not let me doubt Your Word or Your leading.  Remind me of Your faithfulness to me in the past.

As You breathed the Holy Spirit on Your disciples, breath a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit on me.  Let me be empowered anew by You living in me.

As Thomas responded with belief, it seems he should be known as “Believing Thomas.”  But I think more people can relate to his position before he saw You.  So it’s a good lesson for everyone.

Thank You for showing me that I need not doubt.  Help me be bold, in belief.  Amen

John 20:19-29  

May 31 A Sure Thing

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Once again, Father, You have proven Yourself, as the events unfolded exactly as You prophesied they would.

The manner of Your death on the cross, how Your clothes were divided, that Your bones were not broken, that Your side was pierced; all these things happened according to what You had already told us in Your Word.  Yet the people who carried out these atrocious acts were not aware of the prophecies, or that they were fulfilling them.

These words were handed down to different prophets at different times, yet all came to pass.  It’s no wonder I can say with the writer of Psalm 119, “I have put my hope in Your Word!”

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This is not a simple unfounded hope like “I hope I win the lottery.”  The Hebrew word translated as hope is “tiqvah.”  It comes from the word used for the triple twisted rope that binds an anchor to a ship to keep it in place.  It’s a sure thing.  It can be counted on.

My hope in You is a sure thing, Lord.  It is something I can count on, always.  It anchors me in the water.  It keeps me from drifting in a storm.

That means I can count on You in my day to day life circumstances, good or bad.  And I can rely on You when things get really tough.  Thousands of years haven’t changed Your faithfulness or trustworthiness.

You have been, You still are, and You always will be.

Your Word has stood the test of time and its prophecies are still coming true.  I can trust You, and Your Word, and its power in my life, completely.  In all situations, at all times.  And I do!

Thank You for this wonderful gift of hope that gives me stability in my daily life, and keeps me anchored.  Amen

John 19:23-37; Psalm 119:145-152

May 28 Your Protection

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Lord God, thank You for praying for me.  Thank You for looking into the future and identifying “those who would believe in You through their [the disciples] message.”

Thank You for protecting me by the power of Your name because I am Yours.

Thank You for praying for me Yourself, personally; not to take me out of this world, but to protect me from the evil one in this world.   That includes the arrogant who dig pitfalls for me trying to entrap me by their political intrigues, their social agendas, and their false philosophies that are contrary to what You teach in Your Word.

It includes those who would persecute me because they hate You, and those who want to see me wiped from the earth.  And the wicked, waiting to destroy me, my health, my finances, my relationships, and defeat my spirit.  Thank You that You have the power to preserve my life and all these things according to Your love.

When I do not feel strong help me remember Your Word.  Your Word is eternal.  Its promises are true forever.

Just as the earth You created still stands, Your truth still stands.  Your faithfulness and love are steadfast and boundless.  Thank You for the encouragement of Your prayer for me.  And for the protection I have in You.  Amen

John 17:6-26; Psalm 119:89-96

May 27 Your Peace

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Jesus, You told Your disciples what was about to happen so they would have peace.  It was not peace in their circumstances, for those would be catastrophic to them.  But peace in knowing that You were who You said You were and knowing that the Holy Spirit would come and give comfort and teach them.

You knew they would have trouble in this world.  But You encouraged them to take heart!  Because You would overcome the world.

And You did.

Interesting that You said these words to them “A time is coming when you will be scattered, each to your own home.”  Sound familiar?

I believe Your words speak to us today as well.  We are all in our own homes.  We do not know the future, and our circumstances seem catastrophic.  But we know that You are who You say You are.  And we have the Holy Spirit to comfort and teach us.

And knowing that we will have trouble in this world, You speak to us: “Take heart!”

Because You have overcome the world!

Thank You that in Your victory, I can have peace.

John 16:25-33

May 25 Holy Spirit You are welcome here

Lord, thank You for letting me live in a time when You have sent Your presence to be with believers continuously.

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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.

And right now, this  invisible Spirit of Truth teaches, reminds, comforts, convicts, and guides.   Thank You for this marvelous presence we are connected to even in these challenging times.

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 7:8-21; John 14:15-27

May 24 An audience of One

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Father, may I share the joy that David showed as he danced and worshipped before You!  I love the times when it’s just You and me, and I can sing as if no one else is listening, dance as if no one else is watching and pour out my heart to You.

Whether in thanksgiving and joy or in discouragement and need, it is a truly special time.  Thank You for those times of pure worship.  I don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks – I have an audience of One.

And thank You for the reassurance that You have gone before me to prepare a place for me.  And that You will come back and take me to be with You.  As a reminder I have a half sheet of paper on my mirror that says:

“Have gone to prepare a place for you – be back soon!

Love, Jesus”

As if You just stepped out and may return any minute.  I see it every day, and it reminds me of this truth.

Thank You for this confidence: that no matter what is happening in the world, no matter how overwhelming my circumstances seem, I can come to You with the assurance that You are there, and listening.  And that You have the power and the desire to interact with me help me handle whatever the world or the evil one throws at me.

I may be here when You return, and will see You coming in the clouds to be reunited.   Or I may breathe my last and close my eyes on this earth to open them in Your presence.

Either way, what a blessing!  Amen

2 Samuel 6:12-23; John 14:1-4

May 23 Live in humility

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Dear Jesus, what a beautiful example You gave of servant leadership when You took it upon Yourself to do the menial job of washing Your disciples’ dirty feet.

These were not regularly pedicured, sweet smelling feet, but the dusty, stinky, calloused feet of men who traveled on foot wherever they went.   The paths they walked on were not paved or grassy.  They were dirty and dusty, and were shared with not only people, but animals who no doubt used the paths for more than walking.  I can imagine, try as one might, stepping in such deposits was inevitable.

But You took on the role of a servant to show that I too, need to be willing to act humbly.

I have attended marriage retreats and Christian women’s retreats where we did this activity.  It was a humbling experience to have someone else wash my feet.  It felt more natural to me to wash someone else’s.  But it goes beyond just the activity because it is symbolic.

It is easier to wash someone’s feet occasionally than to put their needs before my own on a daily basis.  It is easier to wash just their feet than deal with the whole person; especially when they aren’t being pleasant, or I’m feeling unappreciated, or I really just want my own way.

Thank You for Your example.  Help me live up to it with the people You put in my life.

John 13:1-17

May 20 Wisdom, Prophecy, Life, Death

hands-reaching-outToday’s readings show wisdom, prophecy, life and death are all in Your hands.

David showed Your wisdom when he didn’t kill Saul, the one You anointed as king over Israel.  He prophesied when he said “the Lord Himself will strike him.”  David recognized that a man’s life and death are for You to determine.

Saul showed wisdom when he acknowledged his sin acting like a fool trying to kill a man who had spared his life twice.  He prophesied when he said, to David “you will do great things and surely triumph.”  He too, recognized that You had spared his life through David and that David’s life was not his to take.

The woman who acted as a medium recognized her life could have been forfeit for what she did, had You not allowed Saul to hear again from Samuel the prophecy You had already given through him: that Saul would lose the kingdom because of his disobedience and it would be given to David.  You also revealed that Saul would die the next day.

In one of Your most dramatic public miracles You demonstrated that You are the resurrection and the life by raising Lazarus to life.  It was Your wisdom to wait when the word came that He was sick so that this greater miracle could be done.

You prophesied to Your disciples that “this sickness will not end in death” so that You would be glorified through the circumstances to follow.  And although the disciples didn’t understand at the time, You were given glory as many who saw, believed.

Caiaphas, who was the High Priest that year thought he was being wise, but actually prophesied when he said “it is better that one man die for the people than the whole nation perish.”   For You did indeed lay down Your very life so that Your people would have everlasting life.

Thank You that these important issues are in the hands of the One, Almighty God who judges justly and can be trusted because of Your faithfulness and love for Your people.

My life and times are in Your hands. I know that my life came from You and nothing can take it out of Your hands.

Give me wisdom to live each day in faith.  Show me how to use my gifts, talents, abilities and experiences to the fullest measure to bring You honor and glory every day that I have.

And then close my eyes in peace when the final day arrives, to reawaken in Your eternal presence.  Amen

I Samuel 26:7-25; 28:3-25; John 11:1-53

May 13 Praying Your Word

Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that You hear and answer my prayers.  Thank You that You have and will continue to deliver me from trouble and tragedies I will never even know about because of Your divine protection.

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You tell me that my struggle is not with flesh and blood.  So I pray this psalm against the rulers, powers, and world forces of this present darkness.  I claim these verses against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

I ask for Your victory as they exert their strength against my health, my relationships, my emotions, my faith and the work of my hands as I seek to honor and glorify You.

Lord Jesus Christ, these forces are wicked and deceitful.  They open their mouths against me and speak against me with lying tongues.  With words of hatred they surround me and attack me without cause.  They accuse me and repay evil for good.

They love to pronounce a curse – so let curses come upon them; they find no pleasure in blessings, so let blessing be far from them.  They wear cursing as a garment so let it enter into their body like water and into their bones like oil.  May their curses be like a cloak wrapped around them with a belt constantly tied around them.

Appoint an evil man to oppose them; let an accuser stand at their right hand.  When they are tried, let them be found guilty, and may their prayers condemn them.

Lord Jesus Christ, let these forces be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame.  Let them know that it is Your hand that has vanquished them!

They may curse me, but You, O Lord, bless me.  I will lift Your name up in praise!   I will make known that You save according to Your love.  And that You stand ready to save us from those powers who would condemn.

I praise You that Your powers are greater than any other, in heaven or on the earth.  You are Supreme!  Amen

Psalm 109:1-31; Ephesians 6:12

May 9 Remembering 101

elephant-1090834_640Lord, thank You for the reminders in scripture today.  Reminders of things You’ve already shown me this year, but bear repeating so I can really get it!  I need to mark the victories in my life, and trust that You can do much with little.

When You defeated the Philistines with Your thunder, Samuel set up a stone there and named it Ebenezer.  From the Hebrew “even” – pronounced eh-ben – meaning  stone and “ezer” meaning help: it is a “stone of help.”

Stones would last a long time, so for generations, when anyone passed by the “Stone of Help” they would be reminded that God helped and delivered them at this place in the battle against the Philistines.

I too can commemorate significant moments in my life with things that remind me of Your deliverance and impact.  It could be a piece of art, or jewelry, a song, poem or picture, something placed on my desk or walls or in my home or yard that has meaning to me.

Then when someone comments on it, I can give the reason for its significance.  That would be a fitting testimony to Your greatness.  More than that, whenever I see it, it would be an encouragement to me of Your faithfulness and power in my life.

When You took the small offering of a young boy, two fish and five barley rolls, and fed five thousand with it, with much left over to spare; it reminds me that whatever gifts I bring to You, You can bless and multiply and use for purposes to glorify Your name.

On those days when I feel like I have little to offer, I will remember that when I give it to You, the result is not dependent on the size of the gift.  Whatever I bring, You can do and accomplish much more that I can even imagine.

And I will learn what my gifts are, and give them over to You to multiply and use to bless others.

ebenezerThank You for these reminders today, Lord.  In remembering times and events where You impacted my life in significant ways, I will make my own “Ebenezers.” They will be reminders for me and markers for others.

Thank You for knowing I need help.  Right now is a perfect time for looking back and remembering.  Amen

I Samuel 7:7-14; John 6:1-13

May 6 FAITH = things hoped for but not yet seen

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Lord, may my faith be like that of the royal official.  He asked for You to come and heal his child who was close to death.  You simply told him “Go, your son will live.”  And he took You at Your word and left.

Even before he saw it with his own eyes, the circumstances proved that You did what You said You would do.  They even revealed that it happened exactly when You spoke!

Father, help me trust in You and what You tell me, even when I can’t see the results immediately.   When it is not in front of my eyes and the doubt of the world pushes in, don’t let my faith waver.  When it doesn’t seem to be happening quick enough let me be patient and trust that Your timing is perfect.

We are having to wait on so many things right now.  In this pandemic, we are praying for healing and good health and jobs, and normalcy to return.  And we cannot see what life will look like in another week or month.

Reminds me of an old country hymn.  Part of the lyrics say:

“Take Him at His word when it’s not lookin’ good,

believe that He’ll do what He said that He would…’”

I believe.  Amen

John 4:43-54

May 5 To save You reach around the world

hands-600497_640Lord God, You amaze me at how You use simple, ordinary people, men and women, to accomplish Your purpose.  You sent believers all the way to Moab, at least sixty miles across the desert during a famine to reach Your faithful servant Ruth.

She made the famous statement, “Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, your people will be my people and your God my God” to her mother-in-law Naomi.   Her faith and trust in You led her to be part of Your amazing plan of salvation, as she was in the lineage You were born into.

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

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

There are so many who still do not believe You are who You are – Creator, Savior, King of Kings, Master, Wonderful Counselor, the One True God.  But I know that You will move heaven and earth to reach them.

You can use natural and divine events, travel across continents, reach into unrespectable communities, to make Yourself known.

You can speak through a hurricane or a whisper, reveal Yourself in a majestic mountain or a delicate flower.   You can speak through and in spite of  pandemic  and bring unity and salvation from a disaster.

I trust You can bring the loved ones I pray for to a saving knowledge of You.

Help me do my part.  I will pray.  I will let them see me praise You in good times and in bad.  I will love them, and do my best to give them godly assistance and direction.

Show me when to speak and when to hold my tongue.   Show me how to behave in a way that will draw them to You.  Help me remove any stumbling block that would keep them from coming to You.

Lord I thank You and praise You in advance for the celebration in heaven when they come to know You as Savior and live to glorify Your Name!  Amen

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

May 1 I believe

219785“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

In today’s scripture You come onto the scene and are recognized as Messiah, the Lamb of God, the One who saves!

You came in the flesh, to my physical world to sacrifice Yourself to make a way for me to be reconciled to You.  You are the Only Way.  Yet there are still people who do not recognize You for who You are.

John recognized You because he was spiritually aware.  You revealed to him that the one on whom he saw the Spirit of a dove come down and rest, was the Son of God.  He saw the Spirit rest on You so he could know for certain, proclaim and testify that You are the Son of God.

Two of John’s disciples first followed You because they had studied with John.  They knew the scriptures, the prophecies and trusted John’s testimony, so they believed.  Nathanael believed because You knew things about him You could not have naturally known.

Lord God, You call and You save.  But it is my personal decision whether to respond to or ignore Your call.

I accept Your free gift of eternal salvation, but there are so many who do not.

Lord God, Your Word says it is Your will that every single human being would be saved from the penalty of their sin.  That penalty is death, eternal separation from You.  You desire that they would answer Your call and accept Your payment for that sin and be reconciled to You.

Some will come to You because they are aware of spiritual truth, like John.

Some will come because they study out the scriptures for themselves, or because someone they trust will share with them, like John’s disciples.

Some will come because they see You doing things, miracles, that are not naturally possible.

This pandemic has caused many people to consider eternity and what happens after our life here on earth. Father, lead them to a saving knowledge of You.

Open their ears do they hear Your call.  Sensitize their minds, hearts, and spirits so they are ready to accept Your salvation.  And show me how I can speak or act in a way that will draw people to You.  Use me to point them to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

A time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  I can’t wait!  Amen

John 1:29-51

April 29 Teach me from all Your Word

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”

“Everything must be fulfilled about Me that is written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.  Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”

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You are the God of both Testaments!  Of the whole Bible!

Father, explain to me and open my mind so I can understand the Scriptures!

What I was brought up calling the Old Testament, Jews refer to these as The Tanakh.

Made up of three parts: The Torah, the Neviim and the Ketuvim, the Torah is the first five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy.   The Neviim are the Prophets, so the twelve books of the minor prophets and nine written by major Prophets.  The Ketuvim are the books of wisdom, scrolls and history.

So much of the meaning in the Old Testament is lost to me unless I learn about the Hebrew customs and language.   When I only see what You said and did in the New Testament, I miss the depth of meaning without the context of what came before.

You are part of the Trinity in Genesis 1.  When You said “Let Us make man in our image…” it was plural; in Hebrew “Elohim.”

When the prophet Isaiah spoke it was You he saw who would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace!  He described You in his words when he said “a man of sorrows, familiar with pain, despised and rejected.”

Zechariah saw that You would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, that You would die a violent death for all mankind.

There are 351 prophecies in this Scripture that You fulfill.   And more yet to be fulfilled!

How much more marvelous to know You as the One who speaks of the future, AND has the power to bring it to pass!

Understanding who You are and have been since the beginning helps me know and love You more.  And the more I understand the prophecies, the better prepared I can be to face the future, trusting in You as my Savior.

Thank You for being true to Your Word.  Thank You that as I read and study, You reveal more and more of Yourself to me: my God in whom I trust!  Amen

Luke 24:13-45

April 27 Your attention, Your abundance

O Jesus, how hard it is to read of the terrible crucifixion You endured.  I cannot even imagine the pain You suffered and the overwhelming agony.

So many called for Your death.  Yet even in the midst of all this, as You were dying on the cross, You were not too busy to listen to the petition of one of Your hurting children, the man on the cross next to You.

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You gave him Your attention.

And then You gave him Your abundance.  Over and above.

He asked only that You remember him, and You gave him paradise.

You are like that with me.

You hold the whole world together by Your power: the earth, the stars, the solar system.  The motion of the seas is in Your hand, every storm, every person on the earth, not even a sparrow falls without Your awareness.  Yet You are never too busy to hear my cry, my prayer, my thanks.

And You always give more than I ask.

Your mercy and grace overflows.  Your lavish abundance is so great.  Many times I ask for something and You blow me away with Your generosity and graciousness.

And even when the answer is no, or wait, I can trust that You have my best in mind.  Thank You for knowing even better than I, what I need.  And for providing it.

The thief said “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.”  It’s the same with me.  My deeds deserve death.   Only Your blood pays the penalty for my sin, and awards me life, not death.

Thank You for enduring death on a cross, so that I can walk with You in eternity.  Thank You Father, for paradise.   Amen

Luke 23:32-43

 

April 25 Remember – Commemorate

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Heavenly Father, my memory is so bad when it comes to recalling all the times You have stepped in to rescue me.

There have been relatively small things and really big things where You have [2020 out-  acted on my behalf or] worked things out for me.  And at those times, words of thanks went up; but I wouldn’t say I did an adequate job of expressing my gratitude to You or cementing Your blessing in my memory.

Why is it I can remember toothpaste or cereal jingles from when I was a child, but can’t remember when You made a significant impact in my life?  If only I could write a silly jingle whenever I am thankful…

Your people were so greatly impacted with the victory over Sisera and Your defeat of his army, freeing them from twenty years of oppression, that they wrote and sang a song about it.  What a great way to commemorate the occasion and pass on what happened to others!  Perhaps that would be something that would improve my memory too!

Seriously – I could adapt the song “Jesus loves me…”

Jesus loves me this I hear

For He healed my young son’s ear

Doctors sang a surgery song

Jesus healed it – they were wrong!

 

Jesus loves me this I think

‘cause He saved our backed up sink

Others had costly plumbing jobs

But now our water drains, no clogs!

 

It’s no “Deborah’s Song” but the sentiment is genuine, the gratitude sincere, and I will remember this – and even sing it to friends!

Whether with songs or words, prayers or journals, I will be more intentional about recording the ways You impact my life and reveal Your love for me.  Ways that I can demonstrate my gratitude, record for my own memory, and share with others.

What songs will You give me about this corona experience?  What things do You want me to remember and commemorate now?

Thank You in advance!  Amen

Judges 4:1-5:31

April 24 God’s Protection

“Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail.”

jesus-3618220_640Father, this reminds me that although satan seems to have power on this earth, his power is temporary and limited.

He must ask permission to have access to even one of Your children.

So I can know, if there is oppression in my life from the evil one, (which I have not invited) that it is limited, and that it has first been filtered through Your fingers of love.

That gives me a real sense of security.  You have set a limit and the evil one can go no farther.

And You are interceding, praying for my faith to be strong, so I will not fail. That helps me feel courageous.  If You are on my side, and praying for me, then whatever happens, I cannot fail.

You have the power to create a universe and destroy it. The beauty of Your imagination is seen in every sunrise and sunset.  The deafening crash of the waves is like a whisper of Your voice.

You are exalted, lifted up forever.  And yet, You bend down to me.

You have given me peace in times of stress and hardship that has defied understanding.  You have calmed me down when circumstances were not upsetting.  You have shown me wisdom when I could not think of a solution.  You have encouraged me with visions that brought understanding and reassurance when I was afraid.

Even in these times of crisis, help me remember that You are with me.

Thank You for caring for me.  For protecting me.  For interceding for me.  Amen

Luke 22:31-32

April 18 Learn from a tax collector

ZacchaeusLord, make me like Zacchaeus!

Let me be willing to do whatever I need to do to see You and hear from You personally!

Even if it means doing something that might make me look silly to others; like climbing a tree!  (as Zacchaeus did)

Let me be completely changed by Your presence and Your words.

Zacchaeus became charitable.  And he was willing to recognize his wrongs, and right them!  Help me look and see where I need to right any wrongs I’ve done and take on new, positive character traits.

Father, in this crisis time now, while I have time on my hands, help me set aside time to hear from You.  Show me how to grow in my spiritual life.  Open my spiritual eyes and ears to hear what You have to say to me, and respond with understanding and obedience.

For being a “wee little man” Zacchaeus made a BIG impact on people around him; especially those who saw the change in him.  Father, change what needs to be changed in me, and let me make a godly impact on all those around me.  Amen

Luke 19:1-10

April 17 Learn from the blind beggar

boy-2026186_640“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and answer me.   Thank You for guarding my life.  Father, I devote that life to You.  You are my God and I am Your servant who trusts You.” 

Lord, there are so many things I am trusting You for right now.  Things that I cannot see, and have no evidence will ever happen.  I guess that’s what faith and trust are all about: believing in what is not yet seen.

Lord let me learn from the blind beggar.

First, when he heard You were passing by, he knew You could heal him and persisted asking for Your help.

So when I have a need, let me come straight to You; confident that You have the desire and the power to help.  And remind me to be persistent like he was.

Next, when You asked what he wanted, he knew exactly.  Help me see my need for what it is, not hide it or deny it.

And last, when You answer my prayer, as You answered the beggar’s, let other people see it and praise You!

Lord, as I bring my requests to You, I come praising You with all my heart.  I praise You that when I am under attack I can ask for Your strength.  I appreciate that sense of Your presence when I feel discouraged.

I exalt You for teaching me truth from Your Word and showing me how to apply it to my life; thus increasing my faith.  I glorify Your name as You guide me in Your wisdom, and give me discernment.

Thank You that I can call on You when I am in trouble.  I know You will answer me.  For all this and more, I thank You Lord.  Amen

Psalm 86:1-13; Luke 18:35-42

April 15 Let me be the one

colorful-1191076_640Only one in ten came back to thank You, Jesus, for a healing that was a complete miracle.

These men had become outcasts in their society.  They stood at a distance and shouted “unclean” because that’s what they were required to do by law.  A person with leprosy was called “untouchable” and could not approach another person; but had to keep their distance from uninfected people.

Leprosy was a disease that progressed once you were infected, so there was really no hope of ever being cured or being able to participate in society again.  Family, loved ones, friends, all were relinquished, as these lepers were put out into communities of their own.

They would never again be able to hold their child, kiss their beloved, shake hands with a friend, or give a warm embrace to a family member.   This disease brought a new, cruel way of living to those cursed by it.

So for this disease process to be cured, reversed, was an absolute miracle!

For those ten men to once again enter society and be able to touch and be touched, changed every aspect of their lives completely.

I wonder then, why did only one turn and express his thanks?

Were the other nine being obedient – going first to show the priest as You told them?    Did they intend to come back later?  Were they unsure the healing was real?  Were they so filled with joy at the prospect of all it meant to be healed, that they forgot You, their Healer?

You point out that the one who returned was a foreigner.  Perhaps that one did not feel worthy of a Jewish healing from a Jewish Master?  Perhaps the others felt deserving of what they received?

I don’t know.  But it does speak to my heart of how often I too, forget to thank You.

I take for granted so many things until I am reminded like this.  Or until I see someone who is worse off than me, or has bigger problems.  Or until I lose something, and realize I wasn’t really grateful while I had it.

Father, in our time now, we turn to You for healing.  We need a miracle to heal those who are sick with this virus.  And to keep others from getting sick.  Even the healthy are isolated trying to remain healthy.  We need a miracle!  And we will give You our thanks and praises  – not just when this passes, but even now, while we are in the thick of it.

I praise You for life, and breath, for energy to rise each day, for clothes to wear and food to eat, clear thinking to reason and a home to live in.  Thank You for loved ones in my life, family and friends who care, and for faith, hope and love.

Thank You for the good times I’ve experienced and the blessings I’ve received from You.  And I also thank You for the trials.  For growing my faith and giving me the endurance I need to outlast this latest one.

Father, help me begin every day with thanks and praise to You –

Let me always be like the one.  Amen

Luke 17:11-19

April 14 Your Word over deception and lies

“O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.  See how Your enemies are astir, how Your foes rear their heads.”

For a limited time You have permitted satan to have limited power here.  With lies and deception, vain philosophies and worldly desires he confuses people and leads them astray.

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He holds up the pride of accomplishment and the lusts of the eyes and of the flesh as the pinnacle of human achievement.  He elevates satisfaction and pleasure with material gain no matter the cost in human suffering.

And he stalks those who would seek to lead a godly life and bring You glory; hoping to derail their efforts and sideline them completely.

When I was born, I was automatically on satan’s team because of my sin nature.  Because Adam sinned, all sinned.  There is only one way to be reconciled to You and be on Your team:  accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Jesus’ blood paid the price, the penalty for my sin.   Once on Your team, satan can never have me on his team again.  And because that makes him mad, he tries to ruin my team efforts or keep me off the field entirely.

I admit sometimes I am still misled by satan’s lies.  He deceives me to believe that I am not worthy, or good enough to be on Your team.  If he gets me discouraged enough, depressed, despairing, or distracted, I may just sit myself on the sideline.  He is cunning in his ways to deceive.  And he plots against Your players on all fronts: personally, professionally, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

And during this crisis is just the time when the isolation can get to us and make us feel alone.  But we are NOT alone.  You are ALWAYS with us!  And You give us weapons to fight those lies with.

Your armor is the BEST!  Your protection: absolute!

Thank You that I can protect my mind, my thoughts, from the evil one and use my faith as a shield.

Thank You that I have a weapon: Your Word, to use against his lies and deceiving ways.

And thank You for fighting with me, to give me victory!

Father, make Your enemies like refuse on the ground; “like tumbleweeds that blow along, like chaff before the wind” that is blown and dissipates till it is no more. Consume Your enemies “like a fire consumes the forest or sets a mountain ablaze” as You “pursue and terrify them with Your hurricane power.”

“They will perish in disgrace, O Lord.  And know that You alone, are the Most High, over all the earth.”  Amen

Psalm 83:1-18

April 6 Blessing or Curse?

“See I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse.“  You present me with two choices.  Who in their right mind would choose to be cursed instead of being blessed?

Blessing Curse

Yet although You spell out very clearly the requirements for each; time and time again people chose to disobey, bringing curses into their lives.

And they still do today.  But I choose blessing.

Centuries later you spoke with the Pharisees, pointing out their hypocrisy.  They wanted to look good from the outside but were not living honorable lives.  You challenged them to be humble and teach the people truth instead of hoarding status.

They refused your advice.  People still do today.

But I choose blessing.

Your Word is freely available to me.  Your Word teaches me how to live in a way to receive Your blessing.  Not only that, but Jesus, You came to show me and teach me by your own example.

Help me live in obedience and humility to receive Your blessing.  Strengthen me to turn from hypocrisy and live in honesty in these times.

Psalm 78 says,“O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.  Then they will put their trust in God, not forget His deeds, and keep His commands.”

Only one way is life, all others are death.  I choose life.  Thank You for showing me the way.  Amen

Deuteronomy 30:1-20; Luke 11:37-54; Psalm 78:1-8  

April 4 Teach me to pray

prayer-1159703_640Father, thank You that when asked by Your disciples, You taught me more than just some words to say when I pray.

In three verses You instruct me to honor Your Holy Name and ask for You to meet my needs.  You indicate it is important to confess my sin and be forgiven of it, as well as to forgive others who have sinned against me.  And You show me how to ask for Your divine direction and protection.

But You didn’t stop there.  You used further illustrations to teach me that I need to be persistent in my prayer life.  I am not to give up just because I don’t get an immediate answer. “For everyone who asks, receives; he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Next You reinforce that I can trust You for specific answers to prayer, through the Holy Spirit, because “You are the Father of Lights, and every good and perfect gift comes down from You.

Father, we approach You now to ask and seek and knock on the door of Your abundant provision in this time of crisis for so many people.  We ask for healing of those who are ill.  Return them to good health.

We seek Your purpose for our lives and desire Your direction to help us fulfill all You created us for.

And we knock so You will open the door of provision for all those who are in dire need because of the impact of this virus.  Father, release the abundance in Your storehouse and pour out a blessing so amazing that all will see it is from You, and give You thanks.

Thank You, precious Heavenly Father, that I can come to You with every joy, every sorrow, every praise, every need; and know that You hear me and You enter into dialogue with me.  Help me take time to listen for Your voice in answer; and not just call out my grocery list of wants.

And open my ears and heart to all You will tell me.  Amen

Luke 11:1-13; James I:17

April 2 Lord of the Harvest

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“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Lord, I didn’t grow up on a farm like my father did, so many scriptural references to farming culture require research for my understanding.  I do understand that a crop is planted and cared for, grows, and when it reaches maturity is harvested in some fashion to gain the benefit of consuming it.

A pastor pointed once, that as wheat grows, the topmost part of the stalk called the head, is where the grain is that constitutes the consumable portion of the plant.  As the individual kernels of wheat mature and ripen, they grow larger and heavier.

When the head of the stalk is heavy and bowed down, it is ready for harvest.

So also, he said, it can be observed with people…

The analogy here is that You Lord, are the farmer, the Lord of the harvest.  You plant and care for people in that You have ordained when each one of us will be born, and where and to whom.

People grow and mature also.  You “harvest” us when we are ready to accept the truth that You are the One True God; and believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross for our sin as the only way to be reconciled to You, and confess with our mouth that we accept that reconciliation and will serve You as our Lord.  When we are reconciled to You, we can help with the harvest, bringing others to know You.

I can share that truth with others.  I can look to see if people are ready just like the wheat: when their heads are heavy and bowed down!

Right now, many people are suffering and looking for answers.  It may be that all I have to do is ask how they are, or if there is any way I can pray for them.

Father, help me be mindful of people who are ready to hear about You and how much You love them and want a personal relationship with them.  Give me the time to listen, and the words to say that will help me be an effective worker in the harvest.  Amen

Luke 10:1-4

Mar 31 God makes a little a lot

A crowd came because they were hungry to hear from and be healed by You, Jesus.  In staying late, they also grew hungry physically.  Your disciples had only five loaves of bread and two fish; not even enough to feed the twelve of them, much less a crowd of five thousand.

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But You took what was there, looked up to heaven, gave thanks and broke it.  And that meager amount was miraculously multiplied to provide enough for more than five thousand people to eat and be satisfied, with more left over than there was at the start!

Oh Lord, You have placed gifts in me and in each one of us that are to be shared.  Like the bread and the fish, it may not look like much to begin with.  But You do not make mistakes.

What matters is not what things look like here on earth through man’s eyes.  What matters is that the gifts are available to be used by You.

So Father, in these times of crisis, help us each offer what we have.  Let us overcome the selfish, hoarding, greedy ways of the flesh and look to You with thanksgiving in our hearts.

Father bless us and break us to release the gifts You have placed in us.  Use what You have given us to make a blessing for others that will bring glory and honor to Your name.

Because of who You are: the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ, You can do more than we can say or do, more than we can ask or even imagine!

With You, nothing is impossible!  Amen

Luke 9:10-17

Mar 30 Real Faith

Dear Father, may I have faith like Jairus and the woman who reached out to touch the hem of Your robe.

hem-garment1Jairus came to You knowing his daughter was sick unto death.  Probably the wisdom of doctors and medical science had done all they could; and still he came, believing, expecting that You could be the source of her healing.  Even when he received word that his daughter was dead, You told him not to be afraid, and he responded with faith.

So many times I let the circumstances around me determine how much faith I have.

If things look good and I am reasonably sure they will work out, I have a greater level of faith that my prayer will be answered favorably.  After all, if it’s likely things will work out, I’m not really depending on You for that much.

If things look really bad, I may cry out, but am I really expecting You to act on my behalf?  Or do I hedge my bet?

The woman with an issue of blood believed she wouldn’t even have to ask; that if she merely touched You – wait, not even You, but only the hem of Your robe that she would be healed.   And she was!

What amazing faith!

They received these amazing, miraculous blessings, Lord, because their faith was in the One who is worthy.  My faith is also in the One who is worthy.

I am blessed, because the outcome is not dependent on me, but on You.  The outcome is not dependent on how the circumstances look.  All the faith in the world does no good if it is misplaced.  Thank You for being the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  Amen

Luke 8:40-56

Mar 29 What I see You do

If you are struggling with worry in the midst of this storm, please call 1-888-388-2683 and someone will pray with you at the Billy Graham Association

jesus-storm

 

Dear Lord, when I read this report of You being asleep in the boat when the squall came up, it seemed so amazing.

In general, people get more anxious when things intensify and we begin to feel out of control.

And that may be the key – You knew that nothing could happen that was out of Your control

But why didn’t the disciples know that?

They had witnessed You performing many, many miracles.  Not only healing the sick and lame and blind, but raising people from the dead!  So if they had listened to Your words and trusted them, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake,” it seems they would have had more confidence in the outcome, squall or no.

Lord, I want to be so confident with You that when You tell me, “Let’s do something” I will trust You so completely that there is no question of whether it will be accomplished or not.

I want to do what I see You doing.   If You are resting, that’s my cue that I can rest too.  Because if it doesn’t bother You, and I am with You, then it shouldn’t bother me.

So when the hard part comes, I want to be sure I’m doing my part.  Rather than quake with fear, or anxiously try and control the outcome, help me be so confident trusting You, that I too, am calm and at rest. Amen

Luke 8:22-25

Mar 23 A blessed life

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”

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He has brought me into life in a time and place of His choosing; to a family of His providence.  He has watched over me and protected me from serious illness and injury, trouble and violence, time and again.

There were times when I cried out to Him for deliverance from circumstances, and He delivered me, or gave me what I needed to endure.  There were times when He rescued me from things that I was not even aware I needed rescuing from.

He allowed me an understanding of spiritual matters, so that I began to see how sinful I was, and in need of a Savior.  And that He, Jesus Christ, in love, shed His blood to pay the price, the penalty my sin had earned.  He showed me, taught me, that this is the only way to reconcile my sinful self with God, who is holy.

He has tested me and refined me like silver.

And although the process is not complete yet, each step in the process brings me closer to being Christ-like.  The best silver is put into the fire seven times and brought up to a temperature of heat that burns away the impurities, creating a purer, more valuable quality.   And though the process of purification is not comfortable, and is often painful, it yields a harvest of blessing.

He has blessed me with loved ones, with friends, with a sense of purpose in life.  He has provided me with hope, love, and a heavenly Father I can trust.

He has comforted me with scriptures, by singing me songs; with revelations of His perspective, by sending people to talk with me, counsel me, rejoice and cry with me.

He has given me the hope of an eternal existence with Him in the future, with promises that He will never, ever, no, not ever, leave me.

He has forgiven my sin.

He has promised that nothing will overtake me, but that He will always make a way for me to bear up under whatever He allows into my life.

How awesome are His deeds!  How great is His power!  Praise be to God!

Father, let me never forget these things or all that You have done for me.  Let me never shy away from an opportunity to tell others about them and about You.  And that when they call on You as Savior, You will bless their lives too.   Amen

Psalm 66:1-20

Mar 21 Overabundant blessing!

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O Lord, how often do I make my own plan, instead of seeking Yours, or going along with the one You started me out on?  How many blessings have I missed, because I went my own way?

The Reubenites and Gadites saw with their eyes, that the land they were on was good enough for them; and asked for it rather than waiting for the land You had promised to all the tribes.  In their view, what they were seeing was good enough, and it was given to them.  I wonder if they prayed about that decision?  Or how they sought wisdom on the matter?  Or if they were just tired of being on the move and wanted to stop and settle?

Down the road it caused misunderstanding and cost lives.  It was not Your plan, but You allowed it.

When Jesus taught and healed in the town of Capernaum in Galilee, the people searched Him out and tried to keep Him from leaving.  Who wouldn’t want to hang on to a miracle worker?  Healer?  Gifted teacher?   But the will of the people did not line up with Your divine purposes.

It was not Your plan, and You did not allow it.

Jesus was not a fisherman.  But He got into a fisherman’s boat.  He instructed the men to put out into deep water and let down the nets at a time and place that made no sense by fishermen’s wisdom.   The men did, acting in obedience to Your sovereignty.

When they obeyed and went along with Your plan, they were blessed to overflowing!  They had to call a backup boat, and even then, the boats filled to almost sinking with fish!

It was Your plan, and although it made no sense by human wisdom, it brought overabundant blessing!

Dear Father, I want that overabundant blessing in my life!  I desire to align myself with Your will and Your purpose.  I lay down my wish to “do it my way” or according to my own wisdom, in favor of Your revelation and Your blessing.

In these troubling times so many of my plans are falling apart.  People are scared.  Jobs are disappearing.  Celebrations are being called off and we are feeling alone and insecure.  We cannot see the future to make plans according to our “wisdom” any longer.

Help us lean into You!  Hear Your instruction clearly.  Embolden us to act with godly wisdom.  Keep us on the path of Your plan.   And let us receive Your blessing with gratitude and thanksgiving!  Amen

Numbers 32:1-42; Luke 4:31-5:11

Mar 17 Growth

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Lord Jesus, we know very little about Your childhood from the scriptures.  We do know that You were remarkable.  From Your eighth day, we know that “He grew and became strong, was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him.” 

And when twelve years old, You ”sat among the teachers in the temple courts, amazing people at His understanding and answers.”

Then we learn You were obedient to Your earthly parents and “grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

Lord, that is my desire as well, to grow “in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

I pray You would help me grow in being able to understand, remember, and apply learning and knowledge to my life; which we call wisdom.  But not just from a worldly viewpoint.  I would desire to have godly wisdom, from the Holy Spirit, to teach me of You, to know You better, to see things from Your perspective.

That way, when a crisis comes, like what we are facing today, I would not only have the wisdom to know what to do, and the peace to act, but I would be able to share that peace with others to help them cope.

Thank You Father, that You have shared your wisdom with me, and that I do have peace.

Grow and mature me now to put away childish thoughts and behaviors, to let go of ego and selfishness, and to be accountable to my relationships with You and others.

Let me be strong, and show others the peace that You offer and the grace that I live in, thanks to You.  Amen

Luke 2:36-52

Mar 11 from Beginning to End

alpha_and_omega_bookThank You Lord, is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited and reconciled, into fellowship with You.

Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through.  Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world!  You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence.  And eventually died physically.  They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the desert when Korah sinned against You and rebelled, You swallowed him up in the earth with his followers.  Yet sin continued. As did sacrifices as a way to enter Your presence, first in the Tabernacle, then the Temple.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people, for all time.  Yet all have not accepted that gift.

One day Your world will be free of sin again as You judge all the living and the dead – even the angels – and create a new heaven and a new earth.

You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes.  They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever.

I am eternally blessed to be Your child.  Thank You.  Amen

Numbers 16:1-40; Mark 15:12-38; Psalm 54:7

Mar 5 All I am All the time

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Your greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  That is a mouthful!

The Greek words from this scripture quoting the Hebrew words don’t have the exact meanings of the English translated words that are used today.  But the idea is that I need to use all that I have to adore, worship, spend time with and follow You, my Lord.  There is no element of my life that is to be without Your influence.

For my heart, I think my emotions need to be measured by You, so I don’t get overly carried away or swept up into something without thinking.  I need to be aware of where my passions are leading me and find a place of balance.

When discouraged or depressed, I need to fight back against that inner voice berating me with negativity, by speaking Your truth in scriptures about my identity in You:

  “I am a child of God” John 1:12

“I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.”  Colossians 3:12

“I am forever free from condemnation” Romans 8:1

I heard once that people spend the first half of their lives trying to satisfy body and mind and the second half trying to satisfy their soul.  That inner part of me that seeks peace and wholeness gains it by recognizing the truth of Your Word.  So I will learn the real peace and wholeness that comes from You, not the world’s counterfeit found in popular philosophies.

My mind needs to seek “godly wisdom, which is pure, peaceable, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  The wisdom of the world is based on the logic of the mind, and the weight of pros and cons are only understood by a limited human viewpoint.

Godly wisdom is what must guide my choices and decisions.  As I seek this wisdom, protect my mind from thoughts that do not come from You.

I dedicate my strength to Your purposes: the strength of my body, of my will, my self-determination.  Help me realize when my strength isn’t enough, and rely on Your strength to work through my weakness.

And I need to do this all the time?!  It is obvious that I can never achieve this on my own.  I will never be able to love You this perfectly.

Fortunately, “with God, all things are possible!”  So I rely on You, Lord, to guard and guide my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength; and to use them for Your glory.  This is how I desire to be obedient.  Amen

Mark 12:29-30; James 3:17; Mark 10:27

Mar 3 Hosanna!

Oh Lord, how wonderful it would have been to be one of the people who shouted to You “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”

And to lay down palm branches and watch You ride onto Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.  What a prophetic time to live in.

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Picture from LumoProject.com

I can just imagine the excitement of the moment, and the expectation of the people as they wondered if You really could be the Messiah.

Hosanna!  Waving my arms in the air, swaying with the crowd; having heard the stories of Your miracles and healing.  Water into wine!  Walking on water!  Healing with a touch, a word!  Raising the dead!  These must be signs of a long-awaited deliverance for our people!

But were these the same people who only a few days later called “Crucify Him!” and watched as You were led away?

How is it Jesus, that so near the end of Your time here, You are still to be found teaching.  Whole crowds were amazed at Your words when You threw out the money changers, enraging the chief priests and teachers of the law.

Thank You for teaching me one more time about prayer.  Your words remind me that I need to ask in faith, believing.  And that I need to ask according to Your will.  And that I need to be forgiving so I can be forgiven.

“You are my refuge!  And my strength!  My ever-present help in times of trouble.  Therefore, I will not fear.”  Amen

Mark 11:1-24; Psalm 46:1-2

Mar 2 Selfless Savior

clasped-hands-541849_640Lord Jesus, You amaze me!

Walking on Your way to Jerusalem, You have just told the disciples that You are going to be personally betrayed.  Following that, You will be condemned to death, mocked and spit on, flogged and finally killed.   Your disciples respond by asking You to do them a favor – and a selfish one at that!

Then, as You come to the city of Jericho, You take time to heal a blind man calling out by the side of the road.  Amazing!

I would think that foremost in Your mind, would be the terrible death You are about to face.  I would think You would want some understanding, sympathy, comfort from those around You.  Yet I find You seeing to the needs of others, teaching them about servanthood, and healing a stranger.

Even in a time of personal need, You give more than anyone else possibly could.  You take Your eyes off Yourself and put them on others.  You use Your power to teach and to heal for the benefit of others. Again, You amaze me!

I wonder, did the disciples hear what You were saying, but think to themselves, “Yeah, but it will probably work out differently when we get there – this can’t be right?”   What else would explain their insensitivity?

Father, let this be a lesson to me to be present with people around me who are hurting.  When they tell me of their hardship, let me be comforting and encouraging.

Remind me to lift them up in prayer.  For although I probably won’t be able to solve their concerns, You most certainly can.

And even when I am hurting, don’t let me ignore others around me who are also hurting, like the blind man You healed.  Again, I cannot heal, but I can direct them to You – the One who always has the patience, the desire and the ability to help.

I am so glad You are my Savior, my Healer, my Father, my Friend.  Amen

Mark 10:32-52

Feb 24 Danger Zone

safety-44434_640Lord, for many chapters in Leviticus now You have shown me what is “unclean” – the Hebrew word tamei (taw-may).  It means more than what I think of as dirty or not clean.  Its definition also carries personal, psychological and spiritual elements.

Tamei is a state of fragmentation, of being incomplete, defiled, not whole, or unable to reach full potential.

Contact with certain physical things can make me tamei; but so can negative emotions and desires that arise from within me.

Under these circumstances, I am put into a state of heightened spiritual alertness for a time; like a danger zone of vulnerability where I need to be vigilant over my thoughts and words and actions.

It’s a time or portal of potential risk of drifting away from holiness.  Holiness is wholeness, unity, integration, represented by the Hebrew word t’hor (tu-hoar) and is the opposite of unclean.

Jesus recognized the Pharisees had become overzealous when it came to being “clean” only on the outside of their bodies, neglecting the spiritual aspects of tamei.

They missed the point that what makes man fragmented or shattered, is what comes from the heart – jealousy, arrogance, selfishness, lustfulness and evil thoughts.  These are what put man into a state of danger where they can fall into sin.

Father, raise my awareness of these times when I need to be on high alert.  Keep me vigilant over my thoughts and actions so I don’t drift away from You.

I desire to honor You with my lips and my heart.  Teach me to let go of legalism that has become the tradition of man; so that I can be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life.  Amen

Leviticus 15:1-16:28; Mark 7:1-23

Feb 23 Time for God?

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“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done…Jesus said ‘Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’”

 Father, what a wonderful thing for all of us to do.

How long has it been since I came and reported, told You about all I have been doing?  And when was the last time I came away by myself with just You to a quiet place and got some rest?

I so greatly benefit from spending time with just You – in a place where the world doesn’t burst in interrupting with urgent texts, emails, phone calls.  Where everywhere I look I don’t see something to clean or organize or jump up and take care of.

I believe this is important: spending quiet, focused time with You.  In a time when multi-tasking has been raised to an art form, and busy-ness is worshipped, You have a message here that stops me in my tracks.  Help me make uninterrupted, intentional time with You a priority.

I have been on silent retreats before, just alone with You in a place that values exactly that.  It is so important to get away from the routine and distractions that eat away at my time and sap my energy.

It was wonderful to give You the first time in my day, and the last, and every minute in between.  On some occasions You have shown me a new direction or a specific answer to prayer, or a revelation of Your hand in my life.  Sometimes You have given me a fresh perspective or encouragement for the path I’m on.

Other times, I simply get to spend quality and quantity time with You, the Almighty Creator of the Universe.   Time well spent.

Thank You for the reminder of how important it is to come away with You to a quiet place and get some rest.  It’s been too long.  Amen

Mark 6:30

Feb 22 Who is Jesus to you?

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Heavenly Father, it amazes me that even in Your presence here on earth, with all the wisdom You shared in Your teachings, all the authority You spoke with, all the healings and miracles You performed, people didn’t recognize and acknowledge who You were.

Those in Your hometown wondered, amazed by You, but had no faith in someone they believed they already knew.  Others thought You were a prophet, or the reincarnated spirit of a prophet.

To some You were their healer, a miracle worker who raised loved ones from the dead.  To some, a blasphemer claiming divinity.  To others a confusing juxtaposition of holy teacher and friend of sinners.

To a very few, Messiah.

I wonder, who I would have thought You were, had I been alive and in the region at that time?

You said and did things that were against conventional teachings.  Yet all You did, You did in love.

You spoke to hundreds, thousands at a time, yet met each individual where they were.

You spoke in puzzling parables, yet to those who were called, they made perfect sense.

You fulfilled hundreds of prophecies, yet people who knew the prophecies, didn’t recognize what was happening.

It must have been a confusing time.  Yet thanks to You, I can know and be sure of my salvation because You have told me: “You chose me before the foundation of the world.”  So, no matter when I was born, or where; to me You are Jeshua Meshiac, Jesus Christ, Messiah, the Son of God, my Savior, my God, my King.  Amen

Mark 6:1-6; Ephesians 1:4

 

Feb 20 In the storms

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Father, so many times I act just like the disciples in the boat during the storm.

I choose to focus on the storm around me.  In the face of the strong winds, the high waves, the tossing of the boat, I look at the opposition, the circumstances that block my way, and the hopelessness of things turning out right.

All the time forgetting Your promises of protection.  Even though I know You are there with me, I do not see how You are at work in the situation, and I cry out to stir You to my cause.   “Lord, don’t You care…?”

Many times, I can almost hear You say the same words to me that You spoke then; “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”

Sometimes You do calm the wind and still the waves.  Other times You simply hold me in Your arms while the waves buffet me.  And sometimes You inspire me and increase my faith with a vision of future calm waters and blue skies, reassuring me that it will be all right.

Thank You for being with me in the storms.  Thank You for speaking to me in songs, scriptures, promises, and visions.

Thank You for the truths You give me in Psalm 37: “My salvation comes from the Lord; You are my stronghold in time of trouble.  You help me and deliver me; and save me. Because I take refuge in You.”  Amen

Mark 4:35-41; Psalm 37:39-40

Feb 17 Sacrifice for all

cross-1448946_640Lord God, it strikes me as I read this passage in Leviticus, that all these offerings are for unintentional sin.

This is a sin that the person is unaware of when they do it.  Then, when they become aware of their sin, they are to bring the appropriate animal, lay their hand on it as it is sacrificed in a way of transferring the sin to the animal who pays the price for the sin: death.  These are ways to restore relationship with You when there is no intent in the sin.

When the sin is deliberate, intentional, there is often no sacrifice, no substitute to bear the penalty.  Death is the penalty.  The person who sins is accountable for that debt.

But praise to You, Lord!  You have made another way for sinners to be restored into right relationship with You.

When Jesus came, He ate with and spent time with “sinners” to show them the good news.  There was now going to be a sacrifice that would pay the penalty for their sin!  The blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Your blood, would take away the sin of the world.  All the sin.

Because “Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the heavens, and Your faithfulness stretches to the skies; because Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, and Your justice like the great deep,” You have preserved man, and provided him with salvation!

Both high and low among men and women and children can come to You and find refuge in the shadow of Your wings.  For within You is the fountain of life.

And when I have You, I have life!   Amen

Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-17; Psalm 36:5-9

Feb 16 to have and be a friend

Lord Jesus, when I read about the paralytic man who had four friends who brought him to You, I marvel at his good fortune.

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How blessed he was to have four such close and loyal friends who would not give up in bringing him to You for healing.  They not only carried him from wherever they came from but were so determined in their efforts that they climbed up onto the roof and dug a hole in it.  Then carefully, they lowered their friend down into Your presence with ropes.

It makes me wonder what kind of man he must have been to have earned such loyalty and devotion.  We don’t know how long he had been paralyzed, but he obviously needed help with a great many things and relied on others’ assistance and generosity, perhaps even pity.

I have been around people who were in need like this who were not pleasant.  Their own frustration with their limitations resulted in much anger and bitterness that spilled over into their attitude and treatment of others.

Oh Lord, when I am in situations where I am dependent on others to do for me, please let me remember this man.  Let me be patient and kind to those who help me.  Remind me to be thankful and grateful for their support and continued friendship.

Let my circumstances bring out kindness and appreciation rather than bitterness.

If I live long enough, it is likely these times will come.  As our bodies age, there is often weakness and infirmity.  Be my strength, and let Your strength shine through my weakness.

Let me be a blessing to those around me.  And may “my tongue speak of Your righteousness and of Your praises all day long.”  Amen

Mark 2:1-12; Psalm 35:28

Feb 15 Me? A Disciple?

Holy 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 when 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

Feb 13 I will testify and praise You!

So many prophecies fulfilled just in today’s verses from Matthew, Lord.

worship-435108_640In so many ways, You made good on Your Word to send a specific deliverer by a specific pre-ordained way: a Savior who would be the Lamb of God and take away the sin of the world, if we would just accept and believe.

These were not easy promises to fulfill.  They were quite costly.  Jesus paid the ultimate price with His very life, in a painful and torturous way.  And even after His death, more prophecies were satisfied.

So many people, so many years, so many ways the plan could miss the mark, be off the prophecy just a bit.  But You brought Your plan down through the ages to fruition.  You accomplished the saving of man’s soul and his reconciliation to Yourself.

For these reasons as well as Your faithfulness, Your trustworthiness to Your promises, Your Sovereignty and power in accomplishing all You set out to do, “I will extol You!”

According to a dictionary, that means I will praise You, exalt You, commend, admire and worship You.  I will tell others of You with highest recommendations.   “Your praise will always be on my lips.  My soul will boast in You!“

I will invite others to glorify You and lift up Your name with me in song, in prayer, to other believers and to anyone who will listen.

I will tell them how You heard my prayers and saved friends and family from illness and injuries, how You protected them from bad decisions and bad people and bad situations.  I will share how friends at death’s door were returned to their loved ones, and how in Your mercy, others were spared from terrible pain.

I will let them know that You are in the business of revealing wisdom when I ask for help making decisions and don’t know the way to go.  When I have felt trapped, You made a way out of the situation I had never thought of or considered.

I will recall times when I was too afraid of what was about to happen, but You gave me peace and the courage to make it through by giving me songs, or visions, or specific scriptures to help.

I will share how there were times when I thought things were going so wrong, but You worked them out and brought blessings out of them I never thought were possible.

These are the things, the testimonies that I have tasted, and have proven over and over again that You are good.

Thank You – for being there for me every time I knew I needed You.  And thank You Lord for being there for me when I didn’t even know I was in need.  Amen

Matthew 27:32-66; Psalm34:1-8

Feb 9 not my will…

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Lord God, what a blessing You gave me to be able to travel to Israel, to see the city of Jerusalem, and to walk into the Garden of Gethsemane!  I am forever changed by that gift.  It was amazing!

On one hand, as a tourist, it seemed historically and intellectually reasonable to be seeing structures and walls that stood in Jesus’ time.  But as I sat, looking at two of the very olive trees that were standing in the garden when You were there, I marveled.  Utterly amazing!

 

 

DSCN4181To see something that was alive, living then, and still alive and living now was incredible.  To think that I was in the presence of something that had been alive in Your presence here on earth…

In the quiet, my thoughts were drawn back to the night You came to pray the “not my will but Thine” prayer.  I reread that passage in Matthew that described that sorrowful and troubled plea.

Jesus laid all His personal potential down.  Father, I have hopes and dreams, goals, desires.   I desire to honor You with what I do.  I thought of what my biggest possible plan could be, all the potential I have, and how it would bring glory to You, thinking, if You would just make it happen…

And then I realized something:  if Jesus, with all the ability and power and potential that He possessed, (and He could have called ten thousand angels and made a spectacle the world had never seen before!)  was willing to put it all aside for God the Father’s holy and perfect will for His life; how can I do less?

What is there that I could possibly think of to do, that would be better than anything Jesus could have done?  And He could have done literally ANYthing!  Yet Jesus laid it all down to take up God the Father’s purpose.

I must do the same.   And so echo those words:  “not my will, Lord, but Thine.”

Jesus had the unlimited and infinite capability to accomplish whatever He wanted.  And He gave it all up to accept Your plan.  I have a very limited and puny capability for setting and accomplishing goals.

So rather than asking You to bless whatever plan I may be able to think up, I ask that You would show me the plan You have for this portion of my life.

And give me the courage and strength required to live it in a way that will bring You glory.  Amen.

Matthew 26:36-46

 

Jan 31 Thank You Thank You Thank You!

pzvi92s-zms-lifelike-creations“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard Jesus was passing by they called out. When You stopped, You asked what they wanted You to do for them. They asked for their sight. You had compassion on them and healed them. What a miracle!

I depend on Your mercy as well. And Your mercies are new every day. But if You were to ask what I want of You, I am already so blessed, it would be hard to answer.

You have already given me eternal life in Your presence for all time. You have forgiven my sin. You have allowed me to be born in a time when most disease is treatable, water and air are safe to drink and breathe, and injuries do not usually become life threatening.

I have no fear of wild animals attacking as I live in a safe place. You have placed me in a country where I have freedoms that most in the world do not. I can worship You freely, I can travel where I want, can vote for my form of government and live my life in peace within its protected borders, without persecution.

You have allowed me to be born into a loving, supportive, Christian family who raised me to love You. And who gave me not only adequate food, shelter, and an education, but loved me and encouraged me.

You have protected me and saved me from more tragedy and trauma than I will ever know about. And have blessed me with a husband and children, and friends. I live in a beautiful place where every day I can look to the mountains and be reminded of Your strength and majesty.

I enjoy four seasons with all the consistent changes that come with them; weather, wildlife, life cycles of plants, flowers, trees. I have full use of all my senses that can take in the beauty around me and see your infinite diversity at work in birdsongs, floral aromas, the lushness of grass, the chill of fresh snow, the painted sky at sunrise and sunset.

As I think of all these things, my heart overflows with gratitude and thanksgiving.

Forgive me for not voicing it every day. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You!

For as many days as I have left on this earth, there will always be something to thank You for. And when I pass into that next part of our eternal relationship, “I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in my heart, and enter Your courts with praise!”

Matthew 20:29-34, Psalm 100:4

Jan 30 Salvation Lamb – Passover

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What a beautiful depiction of Your amazing Salvation plan!

You delivered the Hebrews physically from the Pharaoh by the same way You deliver me into eternal life: by the blood of the lamb!

The last plague to fall on Pharaoh and Egypt was the death of their firstborn. And the Hebrew people were told to take a lamb from their flock, a male without defect, sacrifice it at a certain hour, and smear the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe of their house. When the Angel of death saw the blood, he would pass over those people within and they would be saved from physical death that night.

It was an exact representation of what would happen centuries later when Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life.

He was the spotless lamb, killed at that same hour, on that same day of the year that Hebrews celebrated down through generations: Passover. The blood He shed paid the price for our sin so we can be justified or reunited to You, a holy God.

When we appropriate that blood (or accept it as the free gift to pay the penalty for our sin), eternal death will pass over us, and we will remain to live with You forever!

Until that time of judgment when eternal life and eternal death are meted out, I echo David’s words to proclaim my trust in You. I acknowledge that You are “good and upright,” that “Your ways are loving and faithful.” And I ask that You would “deliver me from my enemies” and “keep me from shame.”

Show me more about You and the depth of Your love every day, and “teach me to walk in Your paths” – wherever You would lead me – without stumbling or turning away to the left or the right. Let me learn how Your truth should determine my actions, my words and my attitudes. Help me love my brother and my neighbor as myself.

I thank You for forgiving my sin as I continue to confess it before You: my disobedience, unjust actions, shortcomings and wrong attitudes. Instruct me and guide me every day, giving me strength to hold my tongue when I should, and courage to speak when I should.

I believe You have given me specific gifts and talents; help me use those to glorify You and to bless others. Bring people and resources to me that will empower and support these gifts. Help me be a guiding light for those who see me live my life, pointing them to You.

“My eyes are ever on You”, my Lamb, my Savior, my Lord. Amen

Exodus 11:1-12:13; Psalm 25:1-15

Jan 26 Do I get a map?

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Lord God, You are so wise. How often do I want to see Your plan for my life all laid out for me– at least the next chapter?

You gave Moses a look at all that was coming next. You shared Your plan to deliver the Hebrew people, saying “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… I am sending you to Pharaoh…”

And Moses starts back-peddling!

You answered all his questions and revealed the plan, promising deliverance and riches to the people. You told Moses what to say, and how Your mighty hand would compel Pharaoh and perform wonders. Yet still Moses balked.

Jesus told His disciples how the plan of salvation would play out. He showed how prophecy was coming to pass right before their eyes! They knew Elijah must come first – Jesus explained that John the Baptist was Elijah. How did they respond? They demonstrated “so little faith” and were “filled with grief.”

So I can see why You don’t show me the miles of path before me. I would probably balk and try to get You to change Your mind, or display too much emotion and not enough “getting on board” with the plan.

When I used to ride horses, I never told the horse in advance where we would be riding that day. I never brought a map to show him where our trail would take us.

I’m pretty sure he knew he would end up back at the stable, his home. But I would guide him along as we went. Sometimes we would stop and rest for a bit. We would go fast or slow, left to the stream, or right to the hilltops, according to my leading, my plan.

But because a horse could not read or understand a map, I never showed him one. I daresay I would not understand Your plan if You showed it to me either. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so Your ways are higher than my ways, and Your thoughts higher than my thoughts.”

And I’m okay with that. Because I trust Your thoughts, and Your ways, and Your plans; even if I can’t see or don’t understand them.

And I know where I will end up: in my true home, spending eternity with You.

I agree with David who wrote, ”In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.”

I put my trust in You. You have already delivered me from the evil one by dying on the cross in my place. You have saved me from that eternal death into eternal life. And I know that at the end of my ride, I will not be disappointed. Amen

Exodus 3:1-22; Matthew 17:10-23; Isaiah 55:9; Psalm 22:4-5

Jan 25 I trust Your perfect plan

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

planning-620299_1280Although evil is in this world, and is in positions of power and authority, it is nothing compared to You and Your ability to preserve Your will!

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

Your purpose was fulfilled in Joseph’s life. And in spite of slavery, prison and the selfishness and greed of Joseph’s brothers, it played right into Your plan to save Israel’s descendants.

Then hundreds of years later, when the new Pharaoh tried to kill the male Hebrew babies, You again had a plan for those children and the peoples’ deliverance. By human reckoning it took a miracle – because a baby in a basket floating in crocodile infested waters would have no chance of surviving. But You provided for this Hebrew baby to be raised in the palace as Pharaoh’s own grandson!

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

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

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

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

I echo the words of King David: “For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.”

I too trust in You, the Lord, the Most High. I ask You, Lord God to show me enough light for the next step I am to take. Help me listen for Your response and obey what I hear. And trust that even if it doesn’t make sense to me, it will turn out according to Your plan.

I trust You.  My security is in You – even when nothing I can see supports my feeling safe.

Because of Your unfailing love for me, I can remain at PEACE. Meaning I can: Possess Equilibrium Amid Chaotic Events. You have the power, You have the ability and expertise, You have the sovereignty and the willingness to bring Your plans to fruition.

So let it be done. On this earth.  In this country.  In my life.  Amen

Exodus 1:22-2:10; Matthew 16:21-17:9; Psalm 21:7

Jan 4 Promise of the Rainbow

Father, I have seen rainbows in the sky all my life.  They are such a beautiful, delicate things.  But more than that, they are a reminder of Your promise to never again destroy the earth by water because of man’s inhumanity to man.

From our side it brings us a sense of wonder and security.  From Yours it is a sign of restraint.  It is a promise that even in Your great power, You will never again destroy all You have created by water. Your love for us is great and Your faithfulness is even greater!

Thank You for walking the earth in the flesh as Jesus.  You lived without sin to be an example for us and a Savior for all mankind.  Thank You for recording Your teachings in scripture, and for performing healings and miracles.

As You healed and gave mercy and relief from distress to the people around You, You also answer my similar prayers.  I so need your mercy and relief from distress.  When I am overwhelmed, You bring me peace.  When I am set upon by evil, You give me deliverance and relief.

Help me live by Your example.  Do not let me shame You with my words, actions or attitudes.  Teach me to live by the Word You have written.   Show me how to guard my thoughts and my tongue, how to treat others, and be humble.  Do not let me be deceived or misled by the evil one, but open my eyes to those lies.

Father, I believe You have set me apart for Yourself.  I trust completely that what You have planned for me is the best.  Let Your face smile on me.  Fill my heart with joy.  Give me peaceful sleep.  Keep me safe.  I trust in You.  Amen

Genesis 9:8-17; Matthew 4:23-25; Psalm 4:1-8

Dec 25 God in flesh

20161223_231820 (1)Father, John tells of a day when Your wrath will be poured out upon the earth. After the seven seals are broken with their judgments, and the seven trumpets sound with their disasters, then the seven bowls of Your wrath will be given to angels to pour out upon the earth. And then, “out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’”

Your ultimate judgment will be carried out. “You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, You who are and who were…true and just are Your judgments.”

I do not know when that day will come. But I trust in Your righteousness. And I trust in Your timing. And if I am alive then, I will rejoice in that day.

Today, however, is a day of a different kind of rejoicing. Although it is not historically accurate, it is the day chosen and set aside to remember and celebrate when You came to earth to bring salvation!

It is the day believers all over the world celebrate the day You clothed Yourself in the flesh of a tiny babe. You gave up all the glory and splendor of heaven to be with people here on earth. You submitted Yourself to the frailties of flesh to be an example to everyone, of how to live, and how to love.

You brought Your love to earth in a way people could see and follow.

Today: a remembrance and celebration of the love You poured out on earth.

One day in the future: of Your judgment poured out on earth.

I am truly blessed to be alive between the two. I can experience the salvation You brought. I can live in the love You showed, and be inspired to live my life as a reflection of that love.

Father, help me follow Your example.

As You poured out Your love and sacrifice, bringing salvation to earth, let me show a bit of that unconditional love to those around me. Let me be show kindness, patience, support, being generous with all You have given to me.

One day You will “Part Your heavens, LORD, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot your arrows and rout them.” For now, “You are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge”.
And I am blessed. Thank You. Amen

Revelation 16:1-21; Psalm 144:1-8

Dec 9 Blessed is he who reads, and hears and heeds

trumpeter-921677_1280Father, I believe “the Day of the Lord is coming.  It is close at hand…” You gave Daniel  dreams about the end times.  You showed Ezekiel, and now Joel and John.  All these prophets heard from You at different times, yet the message was the same.  The time has come to “Blow the trumpet…sound the alarm…”

I do not pretend to know the day or time, but I know that each day that goes by is one day closer.  It will be the end of everything known: the earth, the sun, moon and stars.  But there is still time.

You desire that all people ”return to You with all [their] heart.”   Amazing things will happen.  There will be spiritual signs, “wonders in the heavens” and many will be saved – everyone who calls on You.  There will be a new day with blessings for Your people.  And You will avenge.

John writes that You will bless everyone who “reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it…”

In John’s Revelation, he saw with great detail: “dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.  The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”

And John was also given the interpretation of the meaning of what he saw.   And all this was to be passed on to the seven churches so believers would know what was and what is and what is to come.

Proverbs tells me that “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.”   And THIS IS revelation!

Father, let me read and hear and heed what You share here and in the whole of Your Word.  Do not let me “cast off restraint” and walk in the way of the world.  But let me sound the alarm to call people’s attention to Your wisdom, Your Word, and the blessing You want to give to all:  salvation and eternal life with You!

The alternative is still eternal life, but separated from You.  Vengeance is Yours.  And You will avenge when the end comes.  You are allowing time so all may come to You.  And You have sent Your Word so all can know.

I pray that all will “hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”  Amen

Joel 1:1-3:21; Revelation 1:1-20; Proverbs 29:18

Dec 5 Peace in the storm

“[My] help is in the Name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Jesus calms sea

Father, You are the help I have, the help I turn to when things are not going well.   You are the help I acknowledge when things are going right.   I love the old hymn:

“O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter in the stormy blast and our eternal home.”

You are my place of shelter and of rest.  I live on the earth now, and You shelter me.  One day I will have rest in my eternal home with You.

Like David does in this Psalm, I can look back over my life and see times when I was guarded and protected by Your hand.  I can say with David: “if You had not been on [my] side when people attacked [me], they would have swallowed [me] alive when their anger flared against [me]; the flood would have engulfed [me], the torrent would have swept over me, the raging waters would have swept [me] away.” 

I have faced circumstances I thought would do me in.  Times when I could see no way out to be at peace again.

Some were physical challenges or health issues with myself or loved ones.   Some were situations at work or with relationships I thought could never be reconciled.

Some were simple hardships like times of being out of work, or the basement flooding.  At times it actually felt like turbulent, raging waters pulling me down, away from my ability to cope.

But Father, You have shown up to give me hope when the world offered no hope.  You would often sing me a new song along with scripture to help me sense Your presence and be encouraged.  One such song’s chorus goes:

You calm me down, You give me peace

You make this battle inside of me cease

You give me hope to carry on

when all the hope the world can give is gone

Thank You that You are my hope, my help.  Thank You that John reminds me that You have given me eternal life.  Let me remember to focus on that when challenges come.

He reminds me that I can have confidence in approaching You: that “if I ask anything according to Your will, You hear me.”

Father, help me see and know Your will.  Align my desires with Your will.  So that when difficulties come, and they will, I will be able to ask for Your perfect will to be done, knowing that even if I have to walk through hardship, You will be my help.  And I will never be alone.  Amen

Psalm 124:1-8; I John 5:13- 15

Dec 3 Prayer for Peace

Father, my trips to the Holy Land were so wonderful! They were spiritually uplifting, eye-opening and life-changing. Our four weeks in Jordan, Israel and Egypt left me with the ability to visualize places now when I read Your Word, that make it come more alive!

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The eight days in Jerusalem amazed me as I saw people from all over the world visiting there. It truly is the crossroads of three continents, with trade and cultural influences from Europe, Asia and Africa.

It is also a crossroad in a spiritual sense.

Muslims trace their roots back to Abraham, and worship there, holding Jerusalem as a holy place. It is the place of David, Solomon and Jesus, peace be upon them, who were great prophets in Islam. Besides Dome of the Rock being there, Jerusalem was the first city Muslims turned to pray towards, many years before it was changed to Mecca.

Jews also worship in Jerusalem as the seed of Abraham their patriarch, and believe it was given to them by You in Your promise to Abraham. David brought the Arc of the Covenant there, and Solomon built a Temple where You placed Your Name and Your Presence was seen, making it a holy place.

And Christians hold Jerusalem in reverence because of the great history of our roots, but mostly because You walked, were crucified and rose from the dead there.

The prophets say You will come again to Jerusalem. You are the Prince of Peace and You will bring peace. David tells me in Psalm 122 to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

So, Heavenly Father, I ask for Your peace in Jerusalem now. Would You place in the hearts of each individual there, whether young or old, man or woman, Arab or Israeli, politician or shopkeeper, a sense of unity and a desire for Your peace to invade the Middle East.

Father, for the Christians there empower those believers with courage to live out their faith in unity as Your body. Let there be unity in their churches, so the people who are seeing them are not put off of believing in You because of Your followers. Give these believers an extra dose of Your protection so they can live out Your love in front of an unbelieving world.

Lord, protect them as they witness to their unbelieving friends and neighbors. Protect their lives, families, businesses, and possessions as they spread Your love and Your Word through their spoken and unspoken testimony. Cause a revival in their lives, so they are filled to overflowing with Your love and Your blessing and want to share it with others.

Prepare the hearts and spirits of unbelievers to hear Your Word and believers’ testimonies. Cause them to question whatever it is they are believing in now: another religion, a government power, a cultural system of beliefs. Open their eyes and ears to see and hear what is happening around them. And open their spirits to understand and discern spiritual truth.

Speak to unbelievers as only You can. Give them dreams and visions that lead them to the truth of who You are. Let them hear Your Word in their own language. Let them see examples of godly lives lived out.

Tear the veil away from their minds that keeps Your truth in darkness. Reveal Yourself to them in ways that will lead them to accept You as their own personal Savior. And let that have an impact on them individually, and then on their families, their neighbors, their community, their culture and their nations.

Let Your message of truth and peace spread from one to another in a way that no government or oppressive organization can stop!

Father, because this is a world-wide issue, send and empower godly leaders and counselors to countries around the world who recognize and acknowledge You as Supreme and Sovereign God.

PrayforPeace

I pray for Your Word to invade the earth. And for Your Will to be done in all the earth. If this will only happen when You return, then I pray for Your quick return. For You are the Prince of Peace. You wept over Jerusalem. And You can bring peace back to her. Father, bring Your peace. Amen

Psalm 122:1-9

Nov 24 Help me walk in the light

“Dear friends, I urge you…to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”

Word lamp unto my feet

Father, help me live this kind of life.  I am bombarded every day by media who through advertising and entertainment would have me believe that worldly values and immorality are the only way to be happy.  Many of these skewed values presented would lead me into sin.

Father, if I have embraced these desires, take them away from me.  Let me be so busy enjoying doing good and pleasing You, that I do not even think about, or have time to be involved in ungodly activities.  Bring opportunities to me that will use my gifts and bless others so You will get the credit.  Help me make choices that will honor You.

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority…”  I do not wish to be a doormat for others.  I believe by “submission” You mean power or strength under control.  While in the flesh, Jesus, You had all the power in the world, but it was still “submitted to” or “under the control of” God the Father’s will.

Let me learn humility and submission by Your example.  Give me Your strength, and help me submit it to Your will.

Help me live in submission to the authorities You place in my life.  This would be legal and government officials, those in positions of authority as I work and minister, and those You place in my personal life.

Peter says “you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

Ultimately, I am a sheep, Your sheep.  Father, let me flourish in Your flock, and always be near to and obedient to You, my Shepherd.  Amen

I Peter 2:11-25   

Nov 7 New Covenant for Eternity

Father, even with the detestable ways Your people sinned; so much so that You compared them to an adulterous, unfaithful wife; You promised them restoration.

dawn eternityYou made a way of atonement for them.  Not as we might see the restoration of an individual from one day to the next, but as a people, Your people.

You are so much more long-sighted than we humans are.  We can barely see to the next day, but You look throughout eternity and see things from a different perspective.

Paul saw this new covenant.  What You gave Your people in the wilderness was a shadow of what was to come.  You showed them how to approach You in the Tabernacle – only through the earthly High Priest who was born into the line of Aaron, and who offered blood sacrifices.  What Paul saw, and what I have as a believer, is a new High Priest!  You!

With a shadow, something real has to cast that shadow.  Moving toward the light, you see the shadow first.  The old covenant was but a shadow.  The something real, is when You became the High Priest as You walked the earth as the Lord Jesus Christ, and made atonement for my sin with Your perfect blood sacrifice!

Paul quotes Jeremiah, saying “The days are coming…when I will make a new covenant…I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people.”

It hasn’t happened for all of Israel yet, but it has happened for me!

Thank You Father, that I am in You, and that I have You in me!  Thank You for putting Your law in my mind – for bringing Your Word to me – for placing me in a country and at a time when I can read and study Your Word freely and openly.  Thank You that I was born to parents who worshipped You and gave me that example, worshipping and serving You.

Thank You Father, that You are in heaven now, on Your throne – in the true Tabernacle.  A day will come when You return to earth in all Your glory.  That is the light we are moving toward.

I long for the day when I will see You face to face.  When every knee will bow and all will know that You are Lord.  And I will praise You forever!  Amen

Ezekiel 16:42-63; Hebrews 8:1-13

Sept 27 The price of Salvation

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Father, sometimes I forget all You went through in order for me to have salvation and be back in right standing and in right relationship with You.  It’s so easy to focus on my own problems and all the things that are falling short of my hopes for me, and my family members.  It must sound like childish whining compared to what You endured for my sake.

Isaiah tells me You were “despised and rejected…a man of suffering, familiar with pain…You took up our pain and bore our suffering…were pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on You, and by Your wounds, we are healed.”

And the infamous words: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and The Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all.”

So it was my doing that brought You to the place of suffering.  You endured betrayal, beating, whipping, scourging, unbelievable pain, unbearable suffering, and crucifixion on a cross; all so I can be healed of my sin – choosing my own way.

I am so humbled.  And so ashamed.  And so very grateful.

Thank You for enduring all You did, for me.  Remind me every time I start to whine, or complain about my own problems, that in comparison, they are light and temporary trials.

Thank You that even with all You went through for me, You still love me.  You still care for me.  Remind me to approach You — not with an attitude of greediness, but with one of gratefulness.

In proving Your love so completely, I can only have faith, that whatever I face now, You will deliver me, in Your own providential, miraculous or mysterious way.

I believe that what You say You will do, You are able and capable to do.  I completely trust in Your faithfulness.  Thank You that You are my Father, my Savior, my King.  Amen

Isaiah 53:3-12

Aug 29 The Veil is torn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II Corinthians 3:11-18

Jul 13 Creation Speaks

Father, I have heard many stories of how missionaries would go into a place no “civilized” man had been before, and the native people already knew of You.  They had a name for You.  They knew Your character, and that You are the One True God who created and rules the universe.

meadow-2401911_640Even if they had never seen a Bible, a preacher, or watched the “Jesus” film, they already knew of Your love and Your sacrifice for them and their sin.  They understood their need of a Savior to be in restored relationship with You.

When I read Romans, it becomes clear that this is part of Your plan.  You are not dependent on modern methods to spread Your Gospel, the Good News.

When I first saw “Jesus Christ Superstar”, I resonated with the line in the song “if You’d come today You could have reached a whole nation.  Israel in 4BC had no mass communication.”   Meaning that if You had waited, You could have had world wide coverage of the event. Practically everyone in the world could have watched Your birth, life, death and resurrection on CNN or a televised reality show.  But that wasn’t Your plan.

Paul writes such long and wordy sentences that it’s sometimes hard to follow.  But I’m understanding from him that it is not in Your character to judge someone who is unaware of who You are.  So to be just, You have given everyone the knowledge of truth.  Paul is saying that You are judging people who know You but intentionally suppress the truth of who You are.

They know this, because You have made it plainly clear to them.  Ever since You created the world, You used that creation to display and clearly reveal Your eternal power and Divine Nature.  That means man is without excuse!

There is no reason, when seeing this world and all that’s in it, anyone could deny Your existence, Your character, or Your power.

Thank You for reaching every person with an understanding of who You are.  Thank You for showing me so much of Your amazing creation.

I have seen Your majesty in the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, vast oceans, wooded valleys, mighty rushing rivers, wide meadows, sand filled deserts.  I have seen Your imaginative beauty in dazzlingly colorful sunrises and sunsets, fields of vibrantly colored flowers, and in the eyes and smiles of people of all colors.

I have watched Your mighty power in thunderheads building, lightening storms flashing, tornadoes whirling, waves crashing.  Your spectacular creativity is displayed in the vivid and delicate colors of nature – especially in birds and bugs.  Your dizzying workings are seen in the intricacies of tree roots and human nervous and circulatory systems.

Thank You that You have made Yourself evident.  And for the unimaginably beautiful and amazing way You have done it.  Amen

Romans 1:18-20

June 6 By God’s Power

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

God in control

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

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

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

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

Their prayer was to “enable Your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.”   What a courageous prayer!  The disciples had just been told by the religious leaders NOT to speak of You, and they had the courage to say they would prefer to obey You, rather than obey man.

Show me Lord, when I should speak.  And as I open my mouth, fill it with Your words.  And then close it when I am to remain silent.

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

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

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

Acts 4:1-31

 

June 2 Guide me

opportunity-396265_640Father, 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

 

June 1 Help me act in belief

“Stop doubting and believe.”

quote-1444099_1280Often I have heard that people think being a Christian means checking your brain at the door and believing in something blindly.   But Jesus, here You give me an example of just the opposite.

You say to Thomas (who has been forever since called “Doubting Thomas”) to “stop doubting and believe.”  But You were not just a voice in the dark asking him to believe blindly.  You were standing right in front of him.  You were offering to let him see and touch and feel what was real.  You provided proof for his faith.

But it is often the same with me.  I can be stubborn in my reluctance to go forward out of fear of failure or embarrassment or things not working out; even when You are standing in front of me.   You can offer proof to me because You see things I can’t.  You already know how things will work out.

Lord, help me take the steps You direct me to take, in boldness.  Don’t let me be frozen by fear, or hesitate in half-heartedness.  Do not let me doubt Your Word or Your leading.  Remind me of Your faithfulness to me in the past.

As You breathed the Holy Spirit on Your disciples, breath a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit on me.  Let me be empowered anew by You living in me.

As Thomas responded with belief, it seems he should be known as “Believing Thomas.”  But I think more people can relate to his position before he saw You.  So it’s a good lesson for everyone.

Thank You for showing me that I need not doubt.  Help me be bold, in belief.  Amen

John 20:19-31   

May 31 A Sure thing

faith is hopeOnce again, Father, You have proven Yourself, as the events unfolded exactly as You prophesied they would.

The manner of Your death on the cross, how Your clothes were divided, that Your bones were not broken, that Your side was pierced; all these things happened according to what You had already told us in Your Word.  Yet the people who carried out these atrocious acts were not aware of the prophecies, or that they were fulfilling them.

These words were handed down to different prophets at different times, yet all came to pass.  It’s no wonder I can say with the writer of Psalm 119, “I have put my hope in Your Word”!

ropeThis is not a simple unfounded hope like “I hope I win the lottery.”  The Hebrew word translated as hope comes from the word used for the triple twisted rope that binds an anchor to a ship to keep it in place.  It’s a sure thing.  It can be counted on.

My hope in You is a sure thing, Lord.  It is something I can count on, always.  It anchors me in the water.  It keeps me from drifting in a storm.

That means I can count on You in my day to day life circumstances, good or bad.  And I can rely on You when things get really tough.  Thousands of years haven’t changed Your faithfulness or trustworthiness.

You have been, You still are, and You always will be.

Your Word has stood the test of time and its prophecies are still coming true.  I can trust You, and Your Word, and its power in my life, completely.  In all situations, at all times.  And I do!

Thank You for this wonderful gift of hope that gives me stability in my daily life, and keeps me anchored.  Amen

John 19:23-37; Psalm 119:145-152

 

May 28 Your Protection

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Lord God, thank You for praying for me.  Thank You for looking into the future and identifying “those who would believe in You through their [the disciples] message.”

Thank You for protecting me by the power of Your name because I am Yours.

Thank You for praying for me Yourself, personally; not to take me out of this world, but to protect me from the evil one in this world.   That includes the arrogant who dig pitfalls for me trying to entrap me by their political intrigues, their social agendas, and their false philosophies that are contrary to what You teach in Your Word.

It includes those who would persecute me because they hate You, and those who want to see me wiped from the earth.  And the wicked, waiting to destroy me, my health, my finances, my relationships, and defeat my spirit.  Thank You that You have the power to preserve my life and all these things according to Your love.

When I do not feel strong help me remember Your Word.  Your Word is eternal.  Its promises are true forever.

Just as the earth You created still stands, Your truth still stands.  Your faithfulness and love are steadfast and boundless.  Thank You for the encouragement of Your prayer for me.  And for the protection I have in You.  Amen

John 17:6-26; Psalm 119:89-96

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 does these things 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 7:8-21; John 14:15-27

May 24 An audience of One

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Father, may I share the joy that David showed as he danced and worshipped before You!  I love the times when it’s just You and me, and I can sing as if no one else is listening, dance as if no one else is watching and pour out my heart to You.

Whether in thanksgiving and joy or in discouragement and need, it is a truly special time.  Thank You for those times of pure worship.  I don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks – I have an audience of One.

And thank You for the reassurance that You have gone before me to prepare a place for me.  And that You will come back and take me to be with You.  As a reminder I have a half sheet of paper on my mirror that says:

“Have gone to prepare a place for you – be back soon!

Love, Jesus”

As if You just stepped out and may return any minute.  I see it every day, and it reminds me of this truth.  Thank You for this confidence.

I may be here when You return, and will see You coming in the clouds to be reunited.   Or I may breathe my last and close my eyes on this earth to open them in Your presence.

Either way, what a blessing!  Amen

2 Samuel 6:12-23; John 14:1-4

May 23 Live in humility

011-jesus-washes-feetDear Jesus, what a beautiful example You gave of servant leadership when You took it upon Yourself to do the menial job of washing Your disciples’ dirty feet.

These were not regularly pedicured, sweet smelling feet, but the dusty, stinky, calloused feet of men who traveled on foot wherever they went.   The paths they walked on were not paved or grassy.  They were dirty and dusty, and were shared with not only people, but animals who no doubt used the paths for more than walking.  I can imagine, try as one might, stepping in such deposits was inevitable.

But You took on the role of a servant to show that I too, need to be willing to act humbly.

I have attended marriage retreats and Christian women’s retreats where we did this activity.  It was a humbling experience to have someone else wash my feet.  It felt more natural to me to wash someone else’s.  But it goes beyond just the activity because it is symbolic.

It is easier to wash someone’s feet occasionally than to put their needs before my own on a daily basis.  It is easier to wash just their feet than deal with the whole person; especially when they aren’t being pleasant, or I’m feeling unappreciated, or I really just want my own way.

Thank You for Your example.  Help me live up to it with the people You put in my life.

John 13:1-17;

May 6 Faith = things hoped for but not yet seen

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Lord, may my faith be like that of the royal official.  He asked for You to come and heal his child who was close to death.  You simply told him “Go, your son will live.”  And he took You at Your word and left.

Even before he saw it with his own eyes, the circumstances proved that You did what You said You would do.  They even revealed that it happened exactly when You spoke!

Father, help me trust in You and what You tell me, even when I can’t see the results immediately.   When it is not in front of my eyes and the doubt of the world pushes in, don’t let my faith waver.  When it doesn’t seem to be happening quick enough let me be patient and trust that Your timing is perfect.

Reminds me of an old country hymn.  Part of the lyrics say:  “Take Him at His word when it’s not lookin’ good, believe that He’ll do what He said that He would…’”

I believe.  Amen

John 4:43-54

May 5 To save You reach around the world

hands-600497_640Lord God, You amaze me at how You use simple, ordinary people, men and women, to accomplish Your purpose.  You sent believers all the way to Moab, at least sixty miles across the desert during a famine to reach Your faithful servant Ruth.

She made the famous statement, “Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, your people will be my people and your God my God” to her mother-in-law Naomi.   Her faith and trust in You led her to be part of Your amazing plan of salvation, as she was in the lineage You were born into.

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

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

There are so many who still do not believe You are who You are – Creator, Savior, King of Kings, Master, Wonderful Counselor, the One True God.  But I know that You will move heaven and earth to reach them.

You can use natural and divine events, travel across continents, reach into unrespectable communities, to make Yourself known.

You can speak through a hurricane or a whisper, reveal Yourself in a majestic mountain or a delicate flower.   I trust You can bring the loved ones I pray for to a saving knowledge of You.

Help me do my part.  I can pray for them.  I will let them see me praise You in good times and in bad.  I will love them, and do my best to give them godly assistance and direction.

Show me when to speak and when to hold my tongue.   Show me how to behave in a way that will draw them to You.  Help me remove any stumbling block that would keep them from coming to You.

Lord I thank You and praise You in advance for the celebration in heaven when they come to know You as Savior and live to glorify Your Name!  Amen

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

May 4 Freedom isn’t license

“In those days, Israel had no king and everyone did as he saw fit.”

What a gruesome and shocking act to read about in scripture.  Yet this is what it took to wake up the Israelites to how bad things had gotten.

I wonder, God, what it will take to wake up the people in my country?  We do not have a king.  But we have so many freedoms that pretty much everyone does as they see fit.

We take the lives of the old and infirmed and call it mercy.  We murder the innocent unborn and call it choice.   We legalize immorality and call it lifestyle.  Then our lawmakers vote raises for themselves and we stick our heads back in the sand.

You love the people, O Lord.  But bad and wrong decisions abound.  We have been misled.  Even when You came in person from heaven and testified about heaven, not many believed You.  It seems it’s still that way today.

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Father, lead our nation back to You.  Return to every believer the joy of their salvation.  Bring a Revival of faith to our country that will return godly morality and love for each other as a way of life.  Move us forward to be the greatest nation because it is in God we trust!

Regardless, I will sing to You all my life!  I will sing songs of praise to You as long as I live!  I will meditate on Your Word.  Praise the Lord, O my soul!  Praise the Lord!  Amen

Judges 19:1-20:48; John 3:27-36; Psalm 104:33

May 3 Breath of Life

What an interesting picture You painted for the man I call “Nic at night:” the Pharisee who came to You at night to ask questions.  When he asked about being part of the Kingdom of God, You said to enter the Kingdom of God, one “must be born of water and the Spirit.”

breathofGodOne birth is from a watery darkness, the other a spiritual darkness.  Our physical birth is from a dark, water-filled womb into the light of the sun here on earth.  Our spiritual birth is from the dark realm of the evil one into the Light of the Son and into the kingdom of God.

Adam and Eve are the only humans born only of the Spirit.  You created their bodies and breathed Your breath into them, giving them physical AND spiritual life.

The Hebrew word “ruach” is translated as breath and spirit.  They were spiritually alive and were able to walk and talk and have relationship with You.

When they sinned, the punishment was physical and spiritual death.  Physically, their bodies would die.  And spiritually, they were separated from You and no longer had the same intimate fellowship with You.

Every human being since them was born by water, but is not spiritually alive until Your “ruach,” Your breath or spirit enters them.  This happens at their spiritual birth.

Probably the most well known scripture is in today’s reading.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  This is Your provision for that spiritual birth.

When a person believes the truth of Your sacrifice and accepts that offer of Your sacrifice paying for their sin, Your “‘ruach,” Your Holy Spirit enters into them.

person-864804_640Thank You Father for Your great love.  Thank You for having a plan of spiritual birth giving me eternal life even after sin had entered the world and affected every human being.

Thank You for being willing to make the tremendous sacrifice for me to be able to join the Kingdom of God.  Amen

John 3:1-21

May 1 I believe

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” 

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In today’s scripture You come onto the scene and are recognized as Messiah, the Lamb of God, the One who saves!

You came in the flesh, to my physical world to sacrifice Yourself to make a way for me to be reconciled to You.  You are the Only Way.  Yet there are still people who do not recognize You for who You are.

John recognized You because he was spiritually aware.  You revealed to him that the one on whom he saw the Spirit of a dove come down and rest, was the Son of God.  He saw the Spirit rest on You so he could know for certain, proclaim and testify that You are the Son of God.

Two of John’s disciples first followed You because they had studied with John.  They knew the scriptures, the prophecies and trusted John’s testimony, so they believed.  Nathanael believed because You knew things about him You could not have naturally known.

Lord God, You call and You save.  But it is my personal decision whether to respond to or ignore Your call.

I accept Your free gift of eternal salvation, but there are so many who do not.

Lord God, Your Word says it is Your will that every single human being would be saved from the penalty of their sin.  That penalty is death, eternal separation from You.  You desire that they would answer Your call and accept Your payment for that sin and be reconciled to You.

Some will come to You because they are aware of spiritual truth, like John.

Some will come because they study out the scriptures for themselves, or because someone they trust will share with them, like John’s disciples.

Some will come because they see You doing things, miracles, that are not naturally possible.

Father open the ears of those who do not yet know You, so they can hear Your call to them.  Sensitize their minds, hearts, and spirits so they are ready to accept Your salvation.  And show me how I can speak or act in a way that will draw people to You.  Use me to point them to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

A time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  I can’t wait!  Amen

John 1:29-51

Apr 29 Teach me from all Your Word

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” 

“Everything must be fulfilled about Me that is written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.  Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”

child-945422_1920Father, explain to me and open my mind so I can understand the Scriptures!

The Scriptures You referred to here are the books of the Bible from Genesis to Malachi.  I was brought up referring to them as the Old Testament.  Jews refer to these same books as The Tanakh.  Made up of three parts: The Torah, the Neviim and the Ketuvim, the Torah is the first five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy.   The Neviim are the Prophets, so the twelve books of the minor prophets and nine written by major Prophets.  The Ketuvim are the books of wisdom, scrolls and history.

You explained to the disciples that You are the Messiah promised in these Scriptures.  You are the God in both Testaments!  You are God of the whole Bible!

So I need to be familiar with all parts to understand You fully.    Lord teach me from both, and help me see the blessing in the connections.

So much of the meaning in the Old Testament is lost to me unless I learn about the Hebrew customs and language.   When I see what You said and did in the New Testament, I miss the depth of meaning without the context of what came before.

You are part of the Trinity in Genesis 1.  When You said “Let Us make man in our image…” it was plural; in Hebrew “Elohim.”

When the prophet Isaiah spoke it was You he saw who would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace!  He described You in his words when he said “a man of sorrows, familiar with pain, despised and rejected.”

Zechariah saw that You would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, that You would die a violent death for all mankind.

There are 351 prophecies in this Scripture that You fulfill.   And more yet to be fulfilled!  How much more marvelous to know You as the Promise Keeper, the Prophecy Fulfiller!  You are the One who speaks of the future, and has the power to bring it to pass!

The more I understand of who You are and all that You have done, the better I can know You.  The more I know You, the more fully I can love You.   And the more I understand about prophecies yet to be fulfilled, the better prepared I can be to face the future, trusting in You as my Savior.

Thank You for being true to Your Word.  Thank You that as I read and study, You reveal more and more of Yourself to me: my God in whom I trust!  Amen

Luke 24:13-53

Apr 27 Your attention, Your abundance

O Jesus.  How hard it is to read of the awful beatings, the unfair treatment and the terrible crucifixion You endured.  I cannot even imagine the pain You suffered and the overwhelming agony.

golgotha-1863767_640So many around You were unsympathetic and called for Your death.  Yet even in the midst of all this, You were concerned with others.

When they crucified You, You called out for their forgiveness.  And even as You were dying, You were not too busy to listen to the petition of one of Your hurting children, the man on the cross next to You.

He asked only that You remember him, and You gave him paradise.

Father, You are like that with me.

You hold the whole world together by Your power: the earth, the stars, the solar system.  The motion of the seas is in Your hand, every storm, every person on the earth, not even a sparrow falls without Your awareness.  Yet You are never too busy to hear my cry, my prayer, my thanks.

Thank You, that I can come to You at any time and have Your attention.

And You always give more than You are asked.

The thief asked for remembrance, You gave him paradise.

Your mercy and grace overflows.  Your lavish abundance is so great.  Many times I ask for something and You blow me away with Your generosity and graciousness.

And even when the answer is no, or wait, I can trust that You have my best in mind.  Thank You for knowing even better than I, what I need.  And for providing it.

The thief said “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.”  It is the same with me.  My deeds deserve death.   Only Your blood pays the penalty for my sin, and awards me life, not death.

Thank You for enduring death on a cross, so that I can walk with You in eternity.  Thank You Father, for paradise.   Amen

Luke 23:25-43

 

Apr 25 Remember – Commemorate

praise-1154566_640Heavenly Father, my memory is so bad when it comes to recalling all the times You have stepped in to rescue me.  There have been relatively small things and really big things where You have acted on my behalf or worked things out for me.  And at the time, words of thanks went up, but I wouldn’t say I did an adequate job of expressing my gratitude to You or cementing Your blessing in my memory.

Why is it I can remember toothpaste or cereal jingles from when I was a child, but can’t remember when You made a significant impact in my life?  If only I could write a silly jingle whenever I am thankful…

Your people were so greatly impacted with the victory over Sisera and Your defeat of his army, freeing them from twenty years of oppression, that they wrote and sang a song about it.  What a great way to commemorate the occasion and pass on what happened to others!  Perhaps that would be something that would improve my memory too!

Seriously – I could adapt the song “Jesus loves me…”

Jesus loves me this I hear

For He healed my young son’s ear

Doctors sang a surgery song

Jesus healed it – they were wrong!

 

Jesus loves me this I think

‘cause He saved our backed up sink

Others had costly plumbing jobs

But now our water drains, no clogs!

It’s no “Deborah’s Song” but the sentiment is genuine, the gratitude sincere, and I will remember this – and even sing it to friends!

Whether with songs or words, prayers or journals, I will be more intentional about recording the ways You impact my life and reveal Your love for me.  Ways that I can demonstrate my gratitude, record for my own memory, and share with others.  Thank You!  Amen

Judges 4:1-5:31

Apr 20 Love and faithfulness

“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever” 

sing of love faith piano

So many songs have been written about Your love:

“Jesus Loves Me” comes to mind.  Others are “He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane…”  “Your love never fails.”  So many I could sing for a long time about Your love without even repeating or making up my own.

My own songs would reflect how You loved me before I was even born.  You loved me growing up, before I even knew You.

Your love protected me and brought me to a place where I understood who You are and what You did for me because of Your love.  You love me when I am unlovely, when I behave badly, when I am cross, tired, frustrated, selfish, prideful, totally undeserving of anyone’s love.

“with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations.”

There are probably just as many songs about Your faithfulness: “Great is Thy Faithfulness”  “Amazing Grace.”  But beyond singing about Your faithfulness to every promise You’ve made in Your Word, to Your chosen people, to the prophecies in the Bible; I can tell of Your faithfulness to my nation, my family, to me.

You have been faithful when I have not.  You have carried and protected my family from tragedy and trouble time and again.

Every single day, I can tell one person an example of Your faithfulness in my life.   I can write these things down, so others can read them when I am gone.  I can post them on social media.  I can be sure younger people are aware that You love them, and that You will keep Your promises to them too.

Another song says: “There is none like You.  I could search for all eternity long and find there is none like You.”  Not in heaven.  Not on earth.  Not under the earth.

No other has Your Sovereignty, Your Power, Your Authority, Your Compassion, Your Creativity, Your Wisdom, Your Faithfulness, Your Love.  None.

And I will proclaim it!  Amen

Psalm 89:1-13

Apr 18 Learn from a tax collector

Lord, make me like Zacchaeus!

Let me be willing to do whatever I need to do to see You and hear from You personally!

Zacchaeus

Even if it means doing something that might make me look silly to others; like climbing a tree!  (as Zacchaeus did)

Let me be completely changed by Your presence and Your words.

Zacchaeus became charitable.  And he was willing to recognize his wrongs, and right them!  Help me look and see where I need to right any wrongs I’ve done and take on new, positive character traits.

For being a “wee little man” he made a BIG impact on people around him; especially those who saw the change in him.  Father, change what needs to be changed in me, and let me make a godly impact on all those around me.  Amen

Luke 19:1-10

Apr 17 Learn from the blind beggar

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“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and answer me.   Thank You for guarding my life.  Father, I devote that life to You.  You are my God and I am Your servant who trusts You.”

Lord, there are so many things I am trusting You for right now.  Things that I cannot see, and have no evidence will ever happen.  I guess that’s what faith and trust are all about: believing in what is not yet seen.

Lord let me learn from the blind beggar.

First, when he heard You were passing by, he knew You could heal him and persisted asking for Your help.

So when I have a need, let me come straight to You; confident that You have the desire and the power to help.  And remind me to be persistent like he was.

Next, when You asked what he wanted, he knew exactly.  Help me see my need for what it is, not hide it or deny it.

And last, when You answer my prayer, as You answered the beggar’s, let other people see it and praise You!

Lord, as I bring my requests to You, I come praising You with all my heart.  I praise You that when I am under attack I can ask for Your strength.  I appreciate that sense of Your presence when I feel discouraged.

I exalt You for teaching me truth from Your Word and showing me how to apply it to my life; thus increasing my faith.  I glorify Your name as You guide me in Your wisdom, and give me discernment.

Thank You that I can call on You when I am in trouble.  I know You will answer me.  For all this and more, I thank You Lord.  Amen

Psalm 86:1-17; Luke 18:35-42

Apr 16 Your voice, not the world’s

Lord, let me and let my sons be like Caleb and Joshua.

ToHear God's Voice

They spied out the Promised Land and saw all the goodness there.   They also saw the enemy for who they were, but knew that You would give victory and deliver them according to Your Word.

They held to their convictions and lived a long life receiving all You had promised.  Even in their old age, they were strong and vigorous because they served You wholeheartedly.

I know that both goodness and enemies lie before me.  But I know if I serve You wholeheartedly, I will receive all You promise.  Your will, Your plan will not be thwarted.  Even in my old age, help me be faithful, and I will be blessed and receive an inheritance from You.

Father, let me also be like the widow who made her plea to the judge so persistently that she received the justice she wanted.  Let my faith be that I will not give up, but always lift my concerns and needs to You in prayer.

When You return, let me be found faithful, continuing in prayer, not being dissuaded by circumstances or the influences of this world.

Also, Lord, keep me mindful that my only righteousness comes from You, so I will not look down on anyone else, but remain humble.  I am ever dependent on You, on Your mercy and on Your grace for my life and all that I have.  Thank You for Your faithfulness – to warriors, to widows, to me.  Amen

Joshua 14:6-15; Luke 18:1-14

Apr 15 Let me be the one

Only one in ten came back to thank You, Jesus, for a healing that was a complete miracle.

colorful-1191076_640These men had become outcasts in their society.  They stood at a distance and shouted “unclean” because that’s what they were required to do by law.  A person with leprosy was called ”untouchable” and could not approach another person; but had to keep their distance from uninfected people

Leprosy was a disease that progressed once you were infected, so there was really no hope of ever being “cured” or being able to participate in society again.  Family, loved ones, friends, all were relinquished, as these lepers were put out into communities of their own.

They would never again be able to hold their child, kiss their beloved, shake hands with a friend, or give a warm embrace to a family member.   This disease brought a new, cruel way of living to those cursed by it.

So for this disease process to be cured, reversed, was an absolute miracle!

For those ten men to once again enter society and be able to touch and be touched, changed every aspect of their lives completely.

I wonder then, why did only one turn and express his thanks?

Were the other nine being obedient – going first to show the priest as You told them?    Did they intend to come back later?  Were they unsure the healing was real?  Were they so filled with joy at the prospect of all it meant to be healed, that they forgot You, their Healer?

You point out that the one who returned was a foreigner.  Perhaps that one did not feel worthy of a Jewish healing from a Jewish Master?  Perhaps the others felt deserving of what they received?

I don’t know.  But it does speak to my heart of how often I too, forget to thank You.

I take for granted so many things until I am reminded like this.  Or until I see someone who is worse off than me, or has bigger problems.  Or until I lose something, and realize I wasn’t really grateful while I had it.

Father, help me begin every day with thanks and praise to You – for life, for breath, for energy to rise, for clothes to wear, food to eat, clear thinking to reason with, a home, transportation, loved ones, hope, faith, love in my life.  Help me express my gratitude and thank You in word, in song, in praise, in the way I treat others, for the trials and the blessings in my life!

Let me always be like the one.  Amen

Luke 17:11-19

Apr 14 Your Word over deception and lies

“O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.  See how Your enemies are astir, how Your foes rear their heads.”

enemy-God-greatI live at a time in the history of earth, when You have permitted satan to have limited power here.  With lies and deception, vain philosophies and worldly desires he confuses people and leads them astray.

He holds up the pride of accomplishment and the lusts of the eyes and of the flesh as the pinnacle of human achievement.  He elevates satisfaction and pleasure with material gain no matter the cost in human suffering.

And he stalks those who would seek to lead a godly life and bring You glory; hoping to derail their efforts and sideline them completely.

When I was born, I was automatically on satan’s team because of my sin nature.  Because Adam sinned, all sinned.  There is only one way to be reconciled to You and be on Your team:  accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Jesus’ blood paid the price, the penalty for my sin.   Once on Your team, satan can never have me on his team again.  And because that makes him mad, he tries to ruin my team efforts or keep me off the field entirely.

I admit sometimes I am still misled by satan’s lies.  He deceives me to believe that I am not worthy, or good enough to be on Your team.  If he gets me discouraged enough, depressed, despairing, or distracted, I may just sit myself on the sideline.  He is cunning in his ways to deceive.  And he plots against Your players on all fronts: personally, professionally, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

But Lord, Your armor is the best.  Your protection: absolute.

Thank You that I can protect my mind, my thoughts, from the evil one and use my faith as a shield.

Thank You that I have a weapon: Your Word, to use against his lies and deceiving ways.

And thank You for fighting with me, to give me victory!

Father, make Your enemies like refuse on the ground; “like tumbleweeds that blow along, like chaff before the wind” that is blown and dissipates till it is no more. Consume Your enemies “like a fire consumes the forest or sets a mountain ablaze” as You “pursue and terrify them with Your hurricane power.”

“They will perish in disgrace, O Lord.  And know that You alone, are the Most High, over all the earth.”  Amen

Psalm 83:1-18

Apr 6 Blessing or Curse ?

“See I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse.“  You present me with two choices.  Who in their right mind would choose to be cursed instead of being blessed??

Blessing CurseYet although You spell out very clearly the requirements for each; time and time again people chose to disobey, bringing curses into their lives.

You did not hide who You are or how to please You from these people.  You plainly spoke to them through Moses.  As Your Word says, You did not place this knowledge beyond their reach.  They did not have to mystically ascend to the heavens or even cross a sea to find it.

Neither do I.  You proclaimed it before them in words they understood.  And You share it with me, in many translations and versions of the Bible so I can know one from the other.

I choose blessing.

Centuries later when You ate with a Pharisee, and the other Pharisees questioned, You spoke plainly to them about the hypocrisy of their lives.  You told them it was more important to live a pure life in terms of character and attitude rather than just “look good” from the outside.  They were to give to the poor, not neglect justice, and be instruments of Your love.

You challenged them to put down pride and be humble before the people they were supposed to be teaching.  You warned them that they were hindering the people in their understanding of scripture by loading them down with superfluous requirements they themselves didn’t even do.

You explained how they hid the key to knowledge so no one could enter in the door the key would have unlocked.  You accused them of revering the prophets You had sent, only after they had killed them.

As You spoke to them, they could have responded to all this teaching and rebuking with humility and obedience.  But they did not.  You speak to hypocrisy in my life too.  Father, let me respond with humility and obedience.

Again, I choose the blessing.

Psalm 78 says “O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things, things from old … We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation of the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders He has done…Then they will put their trust in God, not forget His deeds, and keep His commands.”

It goes on to tell how a stubborn and rebellious generation perished in disobedience.

Your Word, O Lord, is freely available to me.  Your Word teaches me how to live in a way to receive Your blessing.  Not only that, but Jesus, You came to show me and teach me by example.

One way is life, all others are death.  I choose life.  Thank You for showing me the way.  Amen

Deuteronomy 30:1-20; Luke 11:37-54; Psalm 78:1-31 

 

Apr 4 Teach me to pray

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Father, thank You that when asked by Your disciples, You taught me more than just some words to say when I pray.

In three verses You instruct me to honor Your Holy Name and ask for You to meet my needs.  You indicate it is important to confess my sin and be forgiven of it, as well as to forgive others who have sinned against me.  And You show me how to ask for Your divine direction and protection.

But You didn’t stop there.  You use further illustrations to teach me that I need to be persistent in my prayer life.  I am not to give up just because I don’t get an immediate answer.

You also promise my patience in prayer will be rewarded.  “For everyone who asks, receives; he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Next You reinforce that I can trust You for specific answers to prayer, through the Holy Spirit, because “You are the Father of Lights, and every good and perfect gift comes down from You.

Thank You, precious Heavenly Father, that I can come to You with every joy, every sorrow, every praise, every need; and know that You hear me and You enter into dialogue with me.  Help me to take time to listen for Your voice in answer; and not just call out my grocery list of wants.

Let me sit at Your feet, like Mary.  Do not let me be distracted by anything, but teach me to drink in Your presence.  Remind me to include time with You in setting my priorities.  And open my ears and heart to all You will tell me.  Amen

Luke 11:1-13; James I:17

 

Apr 2 Lord of the Harvest

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“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Lord, I didn’t grow up on a farm like my father did, so many scriptural references to farming culture require research for my understanding.  I do understand that a crop is planted and cared for, grows, and when it reaches maturity is harvested in some fashion to gain the benefit of consuming it.

A pastor pointed out in a lesson, that as wheat grows, the topmost part of the stalk called the head, is where the grain is that constitutes the consumable portion of the plant.  As the individual kernels of wheat mature and ripen, they grow larger and heavier.  When the head of the stalk is heavy and bowed down, it is ready for harvest.

So also, he said, it can be observed with people…

The analogy here is that You Lord, are the farmer, the Lord of the harvest.  You plant and care for people in that You have ordained when each one of us will be born, and where and to whom.

People grow and mature also.  You “harvest” us when we are ready to accept the truth that You are the One True God; and believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross for our sin as the only way to be reconciled to You, and confess with our mouth that we accept that reconciliation and will serve You as our Lord.  When we are reconciled to You, we can help with the harvest, bringing others to know You.

As I can now share the truth with others, there are many ways of reaching people with Your message of good news.  One thing I can look for, to see if people are ready to hear, is the same as with the wheat: when their heads are heavy and bowed down!

For many people, they must come to the end of themselves and their efforts before they are ready to accept You into their lives.   One way to recognize this, is that they will often look tired, worn out or discouraged.  It may be that all I have to do is ask how they are, or what is wrong, or if there is anything I can pray for them about, to do my part in the “harvesting.”

Father, help me be mindful of people who are ready to hear about You and how much You love them and want a personal relationship with them.  Give me the time to listen, and the words to say that will help me be an effective worker in the harvest.  Amen

Luke 10:1-4

Apr 1 Envy to Praise!

car-160343_640Sometimes it is hard to be in this world, Lord.

There are times I look around and it sure seems like the evil, immoral, prideful, arrogant people are prospering.  They seem to have lives of ease and problems that are fixed by money and power.  It is hard not to be envious when I see their beautiful bodies, homes and cars and it seems every need they have is met.

You are so good to me!  In 1990 You gave me a song to sing when I feel this way.  It always lifts my spirit.  And reminds me that You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever!

Has a Reggae – Calypso kind of 4/4 feel…

Some times I look at my life, I don’t like what I see:

I’m not rich, I’m not famous – my glass is lookin’ half empty!

I don’t live in a mansion, I don’t drive a brand new car

Sometimes I look at the rich and want to be where they are!

 

Then I look at my Savior, and what He’s given to me:

Gave me love, gave me salvation, He gave me life eter-nally

He has to-tally cleansed me and washed me white as snow

And He taught me a very good lesson “Man does not – live by bread alone”

 

Chorus:

Je-sus  Je-e-sus  You are everything

Je-sus Je-e-sus praises to You I sing

Lord Jehovah watches over me

that is why I sing praises to Thee

 

Some people think that their life is just for collecting toys

They stockpile cars, boats and money and hope it will bring them joy but

That’s not the reason for livin’  No that’s not why He came

Jesus died, is now glorified and we can call on His name

 

Chorus

 

Now I look at my life – I’m happy with what I see

I’ve got peace, I’ve got contentment – My Lord Jehovah cares for me

I got a mansion in Heaven I know one day I’ll see

And I know my cup overflows with blessing poured out on me – from

fernando-brasil-103271Je-sus  Je-e-sus  You are everything

Je-sus Je-e-sus praises to You I sing

Lord Jehovah watches over me

that is why I sing praises to Thee

Amen

Psalm 73:1-28

Mar 31 God make a little, a lot

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A crowd came because they were hungry to hear from and be healed by You, Jesus.  In staying late, they also grew hungry physically.  Your chosen disciples had only five loaves of bread and two fish; not even enough to feed the twelve of them, much less a crowd of five thousand.

But You took what was there, looked up to heaven, gave thanks and broke it.  And that meager amount was miraculously multiplied to provide enough for more than five thousand people to eat and be satisfied, with more left over than there was at the start!

Oh Lord, You have placed gifts in me that are to be shared.  Like the bread and the fish, it may not look like much to begin with.  But You do not make mistakes.  Your plan and Your purposes are true.  What matters is not what things look like here on earth through man’s eyes.  What matters is that the gifts are available to be used by You.

So Father, I offer what I have.  I look to You with thanksgiving in my heart, asking that You bless me and break me to spread the gifts You have placed in me to others.  Use what You have given me, Lord, to make a blessing for others that will bring honor and glory to Your name.  Amen

Because of who You are: the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ, You can do more than I can say or do, more than I can ask or even imagine! With You, nothing is impossible!

Luke 9:10-17

Mar 30 Real Faith

Dear Father, may I have faith like Jairus and the woman who reached out to touch the hem of Your robe.

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Jairus came to You knowing his daughter was sick unto death.  Probably the wisdom of doctors and medical science had done all they could; and still he came, believing, expecting that You could be the source of her healing.  Even when he received word that his daughter was dead, You told him not to be afraid, and he responded with faith.

So many times I let the circumstances around me determine how much faith I have.

If things look good and I am reasonably sure they will work out, I have a greater level of faith that my prayer will be answered favorably.  After all, if it’s likely things will work out, I’m not really depending on You for that much.

If things look really bad, I may cry out, but am I really expecting You to act on my behalf?  Or do I hedge my bet?

The woman with an issue of blood believed she wouldn’t even have to ask; that if she merely touched You – wait, not even You, but only the hem of Your robe that she would be healed.   And she was!

What amazing faith!

They received these amazing, miraculous blessings, Lord, because their faith was in the One who is worthy.  My faith is also in the One who is worthy.

I am blessed, because the outcome is not dependent on me, but on You.  The outcome is not dependent on how the circumstances look.  All the faith in the world does no good if it is misplaced.  Thank You for being the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  Amen

Luke 8:40-56

 

Mar 29 What Would Jesus Do?

illustration by Good News Productions Int.

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Dear Lord, when I read this report of You being asleep in the boat when the squall came up, it seemed so amazing.

Instead of relaxing like You did, people usually get more anxious when things intensify and we begin to feel out of control.

That may be the key – You knew that nothing could happen that was out of Your control!

But why didn’t the disciples know that?

They had witnessed You performing many, many miracles.  Not only healing the sick and lame and blind, but raising people from the dead!  So if they had listened to Your words and trusted them, it seems they would have had more confidence in the outcome, squall or no.   What You said was, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.”

Lord, I want to be so confident with You that when You tell me, “Let’s do something” I will trust You so completely that there is no question of whether it will be accomplished or not.

I want to do what I see You doing.   If You are resting, that’s my cue that I can rest too.  Because if it doesn’t bother You, and I am with You, then it shouldn’t bother me.

So, even in the hard part, the storm, if they had asked back then WWJD?   What would Jesus do?  The answer was right in front of them: sleep!

So when the hardest part comes, yes, I want to be sure I’m doing my part.  But rather than quake with fear, or anxiously try and control the outcome, let me do what I see You doing.  And be so confident in my trust, that I become calm, and at rest.

Bottom line:  if I am with You, it will all work out.

Either I will reach the destination with You, or I will perish: in which case I will also be with You.  It’s a win-win!  Amen

Luke 8:22-26

Mar 23 A blessed life

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”

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He has brought me into life in a time and place of His choosing; to a family of His providence.  He has watched over me and protected me from serious illness and injury, trouble and violence, time and again.

There were times when I cried out to Him for deliverance from circumstances, and He delivered me, or gave me what I needed to endure.  There were times when He rescued me from things that I was not even aware I needed rescuing from.

He allowed me an understanding of spiritual matters, so that I began to see how sinful I was, and in need of a Savior.  And that He, Jesus Christ, in love, shed His blood to pay the price, the penalty my sin had earned.  He showed me, taught me, that this is the only way to reconcile my sinful self with God, who is holy.

He has tested me and refined me like silver.

And although the process is not complete yet, each step in the process brings me closer to being Christ-like.  The best silver is put into the fire seven times and brought up to a temperature of heat that burns away the impurities, creating a purer, more valuable quality.   And though the process of purification is not comfortable, and is often painful, it yields a harvest of blessing.

He has blessed me with loved ones, with friends, with a sense of purpose in life.  He has provided me with hope, love, and a heavenly Father I can trust.  He has comforted me with scriptures, by singing me songs; with revelations of His perspective, by sending people to talk with me, counsel me, rejoice and cry with me.

He has given me the hope of an eternal existence with Him in the future, with promises that He will never, ever, no, not ever, leave me.

He has forgiven my sin.

He has promised that nothing will overtake me, but that He will always make a way for me to bear up under whatever He allows into my life.

How awesome are His deeds!  How great is His power!  Praise be to God!

Father, let me never forget these things or all that You have done for me.  Let me never shy away from an opportunity to tell others about them and about You.   Amen

Psalm 66:1-20

 

 

 

Mar 21 Overabundant blessing!

fishinboat1O Lord, how often do I make my own plan, instead of seeking Yours, or going along with the one You started me out on?  How many blessings have I missed, because I went my own way?

The Reubenites and Gadites saw with their eyes, that the land they were on was good enough for them; and asked for it rather than waiting for the land You had promised to all the tribes.  In their view, what they were seeing was good enough, and it was given to them.

I wonder if they prayed about that decision?  Or how they sought wisdom on the matter?  Or if they were just tired of being on the move and wanted to stop and settle?

Down the road it caused misunderstanding and cost lives.  It was not Your plan, but You allowed it.

When Jesus taught and healed in the town of Capernaum in Galilee, the people searched Him out and tried to keep Him from leaving.  Who wouldn’t want to hang on to a miracle worker?  Healer?  Gifted teacher?   But the will of the people did not line up with Your divine purposes.

It was not Your plan, and You did not allow it.

Jesus was not a fisherman.  But He got into a fisherman’s boat.  He instructed the men to put out into deep water and let down the nets at a time and place that made no sense by fishermen’s wisdom.   The men did, acting in obedience to Your sovereignty.

When they obeyed and went along with Your plan, they were blessed to overflowing!  They had to call a backup boat, and even then, the boats filled to almost sinking with fish!

It was Your plan, and although it made no sense by human wisdom, it brought overabundant blessing!

Dear Father, I want that overabundant blessing in my life!  I desire to align myself with Your will and Your purpose.  I lay down my wish to have it “my way” according to my own wisdom, in favor of Your revelation and Your blessing.

Help me hear Your instruction clearly.  Embolden me to act with godly wisdom.  Keep me on the path of Your plan.   And let me receive Your blessing with gratitude and thanksgiving!  Amen

Numbers 32:1-42; Luke 4:31-5:11

Mar 19 God’s Plan

These amazing assemblies that You had the Israelites learn and observe Lord, are more than just feasts and festivals for celebration’ sake.  They are the blueprint of Your plan for salvation and will play out to the end of the age, the end of the earth.

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They have meaning in themselves, but are also prophetic of what is to come.

As Passover commemorates Your deliverance of the Israelites from death, by the blood of the lamb on the doorposts – Jesus IS that Passover Lamb.  His blood allows me to be delivered from eternal death: separation from You.

Firstfruits being offered to the Lord show that the Israelites trust the Lord to bring in the rest of the harvest – Jesus IS the firstfruit of the risen!  He was dead and is now alive, just as all who believe and die will rise to eternal life with Christ.

The Festival of Weeks is 50 days after Firstfruits.  It celebrates the bringing in of the first harvest –50 days after Jesus rose there was the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit: Pentecost.

The Feast of Trumpets called Israel together to prepare for the Day of Atonement, which was ten days later.  It is not tied to any historical event in Israel’s past.   And thus has not yet been fulfilled.  Believers look to the book of Revelation:  when the trumpet sounds and Jesus returns to call the living and the dead to rise for eternal judgment.

Father, how amazing that You laid out this plan, all before the foundations of the earth.

You knew all that it would take to reconcile Your people to You after sin entered the world.  And You have laid the groundwork for my understanding of what has happened, and what is to come, in these festivals and holy days.

Thank you that You reveal Your plan to man.  Thank You that Your plan is good and true; and that I can trust You to have the sovereignty and power to make it so.

Help me be mindful of the fullness of my history as a believer, both in the Old and New Testaments.  And prepare me for all that is to come.

Reveal Your plan to me for my life, and lend me Your strength to be obedient to it.   Amen

Numbers 28:16-29:40

Mar 17 Growth

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Dear Lord, we know very little about Jesus’ childhood.  But we do know that He was remarkable.  From His eighth day, we know that “He grew and became strong, was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him.” 

And when twelve years old, He ”sat among the teachers in the temple courts, amazing people at His understanding and answers.”

We then learn He was obedient to His earthly parents and “He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

Father that is my desire as well, to grow “in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

I pray that You would help me grow in being able to understand, remember, and apply learning and knowledge to my life; which we call wisdom.  But not just from a worldly viewpoint.  I would desire to have godly wisdom, from the Holy Spirit, to teach me of You, to know You better, to see things from Your perspective.

Lord, help me grow in stature, which means maturity.  That may require reexamining and putting away some childish thoughts and behaviors.  It means not being led only by ego, or emotions or selfishness.  Instead, lead me to develop a responsible sense of accountability when it comes to my relationship with You and with others.

Lord, I mostly desire to grow in favor with You.  Show me where I am missing that mark, and turn my path back to You.  Before I act, let me ask, “Will this draw me closer to the Lord, or farther away?”

Sometimes I feel close to You when I am strong, because I know that my strength comes from You.  Other times I feel closer to You when I am weak and in dire need of Your help, encouragement, and guidance.  I believe my trust in and dependence on You also honors You, as Your strength is shown through my weakness.

Father, let my favor with man be such that I can be a witness to man, rather than being taken in by the traditions and values of man.  As You give me favor, keep me mindful that my home is in heaven – this is just a temporary stopover.

How wonderful it would be to be like Jesus in this.  Thank You for Your help.  Amen

Luke 2:36-52

Mar 16 A Savior who is Christ the Lord

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O Father, I love this passage in Luke.  It has become one of the best-known passages of Your Word that tells the gospel, the good news, the coming of our Savior!

Thank You for inspiring whoever made the Charlie Brown Christmas Special to include this scripture, presented in such a wonderful way.  Your words, in that show, have been seen and heard by millions and millions of people who might never open a Bible, or know what Christmas is really all about.

I cannot read these words without picturing the scene on the school stage and hearing Linus’ voice repeating the words that describe the Holy birth of our Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Movies depict it, church presentations act it out.  Even some civic displays portray it.  There is such power in the simple scene and those precious words.

Lord, as our world grows more cynical, skeptical and politically correct, this story, Your story, is in danger of being squeezed out.  Already in many arenas it is considered inappropriate and reflective of an intolerance of diverse lifestyles.  Our country is interpreting scripture as “hate talk” and it is being censored by law.

Father, raise Your hand to protect the presentation of Your truth to people everywhere.  Let it continue to be displayed, portrayed, acted out, not only inside churches, but in the public view.  Let it continue to be sponsored for commercial and public broadcast to billions of people around the world for years, decades, and centuries to come, to enlighten their spirits and change their lives.

Bless those who support it and those who hear it, for generations to come. And let the message of Your Good News change lives around the world!  Amen

Luke 2:1-14

Mar 11 from beginning to end

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Thank You Lord, is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited and reconciled, into fellowship with You.  Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through.  Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world!  You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence.  And eventually died physically.  They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the desert when Korah sinned against You and rebelled, You swallowed him up in the earth with his followers.  Yet sin continued. As did sacrifices as a way to enter Your presence, first in the Tabernacle, then the Temple.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people.  Yet all have not accepted that gift.

One day Your world will be free of sin again, as You judge all the living and the dead, even the angels, and create a new heaven and a new earth.

You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes.  They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever.

I am eternally blessed to be Your child.  Thank You.  Amen

Numbers 16:1-40; Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:7

Mar 9 The Olive Tree

olive and me

O Father, thank You for teaching me about the significance of an olive tree.  As I studied in the Garden of Gethsemane, I learned of the value of all that the olive tree stands for and produces.

 

So I pray the verses with new understanding:  “As for me, I am like an olive tree flourishing in the House of God”

As for me, Lord, may I be like a green olive tree flourishing in Your House:

May I be alive, vibrant, and growing

May I produce abundant fruit in season,

May I have long thick roots that penetrate deep into spiritual soil.

May I grow protected from harm and harshness because I abide in Your House O Lord.  Thank You that as my gardener, You tend to me personally to be sure I have everything I need to grow healthy and strong.

May I grow in community, surrounded by others, our roots and trunks intertwining like olive trees grow, without comparing myself to them, but shading them, and drawing needed shade from them.

May I draw on the strength of being in community with those You have placed around me so I can persevere and remain strong even when the winds come, leaning on others and providing stability for them in return.

May I stand in the midst of others for years and years and years to come, like the two 2400 year old olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane.  They stood by You as  You knelt on that fateful night and prayed before Your arrest and Crucifixion.

Let me be like the olive tree that is both beautiful to look at and amazing in purpose. May others see me and see Your care, and be drawn to You through me.

As the olive tree produces food to eat, and oil for lamps, soaps for cleansing, and ointments for anointing and healing; let me be nourishment and light and cleansing and blessing and healing to those around me.

I will trust in Your loving-kindness and unfailing love for ever and ever –

Even when I am confused

Even when I can’t see Your will at work

Even when I don’t feel Your presence

Even when the world denies it

Even through tears and pain and sorrow

I will thank You for all You have done

I will hope in Your Name, for it is good

I will praise You – forever.  Amen

 

Psalm 52:8-9

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

Mar 4 Worship! And Stand!

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Clap your hands!  Raise your voice!  Sing hymns and worship songs at the top of your lungs!

Put on a worship music tape and crank up the volume!  Don’t be bashful – show your joy!  God is the One and Only True God who has more power than any person, any force, any thing on this earth!

You, Lord are more powerful than Mother Nature!  You rose from the dead while other proclaimed ”deities” are in their graves!

Your creation of the earth and choosing a people for Yourself has been a best seller ever since there has been a printing press!  It has been translated into 3,223 languages!

I do not live in subject to a king, but Jesus Christ is my King – the King of Kings!  I owe You my praise and will sing out to You.   I will hum quietly, sway and clap, sing in the shower, and with others at gatherings.  I will play any instrument I can, write new songs, sing along with youtube videos that make me cry, and continue to sing through tears!

You reign and rule, but not from an earthly throne in a temple or synagogue or sanctuary.  And not on a mountaintop or in a river or floating on a cloud.

There is a reality that cannot be seen by the human eye and cannot be described completely by human words.  And in that place, is a great throne room, where You are seated on Your Holy throne.

Because I cannot see it, You draw me pictures with parables: a vineyard owner who went on a journey renting out the land.  This is something I can visualize and understand.  Though the owner is not present, he exists, and is still the owner, and is due the income from the land and the respect of the people.

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It is the same with You.  Just because I cannot see You, I should not doubt You are real.  Or think that You will not come for what is Yours.

When the storm comes, and I believe it is coming to this country in my time, and has swept by; O Lord, may I still be standing firm.  Amen

Mark 12:1-12; Psalm 47:1-9; Proverbs 10:25

Mar 3 Hosanna!

10_triumphant_entry_1024Oh Lord, How wonderful it would have been to be one of the people who shouted to You “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”

And to lay down palm branches and watch You ride onto Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.  What a prophetic time to live in.

I can just imagine the excitement of the moment, and the expectation of the people as they wondered if You really could be the Messiah.

Hosanna!  Waving my arms in the air, swaying with the crowd; having heard the stories of Your miracles and healing.  Water into wine!  Walking on water!  Healing with a touch, a word!  Raising the dead!  These must be signs of a long-awaited deliverance for our people!

But were these the same people who only a few days later called “Crucify Him!” and watched as You were led away?

How is it Jesus, that so near the end of Your time here, You are still to be found teaching.  Whole crowds were amazed at Your words when You threw out the money changers, enraging the chief priests and teachers of the law.

Thank You for teaching me one more time about prayer.  Your words remind me that I need to ask in faith, believing.  And that I need to ask according to Your will.  And that I need to be forgiving so I can be forgiven.

“You are my refuge!  And my strength!  My ever-present help in times of trouble.  Therefore, I will not fear.”  Amen

Mark 11:1-24; Psalm 46:1-2

Mar 2 Selfless Savior

clasped-hands-541849_640Lord Jesus, You amaze me!

Walking, on Your way to Jerusalem, You have just told the disciples that You are going to be personally betrayed.  Following that, You will be condemned to death, mocked and spit on, flogged and finally killed.   Your disciples respond by asking You to do them a favor – and a selfish one at that!

Then, as You come to the city of Jericho, You take time to heal a blind man calling out by the side of the road.  Amazing!

I would think that foremost in Your mind, would be the terrible death You are about to face.  I would think You would want some understanding, sympathy, comfort from those around You.  Yet I find You seeing to the needs of others, teaching them about servanthood, and healing a stranger.

Even in a time of personal need, You give more than anyone else possibly could.  You take Your eyes off Yourself and put them on others.  You use Your power to teach and to heal for the benefit of others. Again, You amaze me!

I wonder, did the disciples hear what You were saying, but think to themselves, “Yeah, but it will probably work out differently when we get there – this can’t be right?”   What else would explain their insensitivity?

Father, let this be a lesson to me to be present with people around me who are hurting.  When they tell me of their hardship, let me be comforting and encouraging.

Remind me to lift them up in prayer.  For although I probably won’t be able to solve their concerns, You most certainly can.

And even when I am hurting, don’t let me ignore others around me who are also hurting, like the blind man You healed.  Again, I cannot heal, but I can direct them to You – the One who always has the patience, the desire and the ability to help.

I am so glad You are my Savior, my Healer, my Father, my Friend.  Amen

Mark 10:32-52

Mar 1 Your hand

surreal-1447617_1920Lord God, I acknowledge that all power and all authority rests with You.  You are Sovereign over all the earth, the heavens and all that is in them.

You made them and by Your hand, all things are sustained and kept in motion.  When Jesus says “all things are possible with God.”  I have no trouble believing it!

There is no power that can stand against You.

So when I’m feeling lost, or overwhelmed, or helpless, or even hopeless, I will remember that my God can do anything!  You can provide a way of escape.  Or move mountains.  Or work blessings out of tragedy.

You know of solutions I cannot even imagine.  You can make a way, where there is no way.

You can give me strength when I am weak.  Lift my spirits when I am down.  You know how to encourage me when I think I cannot go another step.

You inspire me to begin a journey.  And empower me to keep going.   You reveal wonders to me that are beyond my understanding.   And were I to spend every moment of every day for the rest of my life, I would not begin to see all the things that are possible with You!

You amaze me!  I am so humbled and blessed, knowing that You are My God.  And I worship You.  Amen

Mark 10:27