Tag: judgement

July 10 Time for Reconciliation

Father, You allowed the people of Judah and Israel to be taken captive, out of and away from the land You promised them:  a land flowing with milk and honey.

08_Hezekiah_Assyrians_JPEG_1024This land, chosen from all the earth, would have been their resting place where they could live in peace and worship You as they had promised to do.  They would live out the covenant You had made with them and enjoy Your blessings all the days of their lives.

This land would produce crops enough to support the people.  It would yield grass enough to support all the livestock so they would be healthy enough to reproduce with abundant milk to nurse the young.  The flowering plants would provide ample pollen so the bees could make lots of honey.  Thus: a land flowing with milk and honey!

But the people were unfaithful to You. 

They did not do what they had promised to do, and worshipped idols like the pagan cultures around them.  They gave offerings of all kinds to stone and wood figures.  And even sacrificed their precious, living children as burnt offerings.

Yet even in Your judgment of their unfaithfulness and idolatry, there was a limit.  For You had promised that if Your people, who were called by Your name, would humble themselves, and seek Your face, and turn from their wicked ways, that You would forgive their sin and heal their land.”  And at the end of their set time, they did indeed seek You.   And You brought them back.

O Father, thank You for this picture of reconciliation.  It mirrors what You offer me.  There are consequences when I sinBut You have promised that when I humble myself and turn from my sin, and seek Your forgiveness, that You will forgive my sin.

Lord, there are so many ways I fall short of Your standard.  I miss the mark.  There are things I do that I shouldn’t, and things I should do that I don’t.  I have spoken wrong words, done wrong things, thought wrong thoughts, and had wrong attitudes.

Lord, as You bring these to my mind, I agree with You that they are sinI confess my sin and do not try and justify or legitimize it.  I turn from it and ask for Your forgiveness.

Thank You that You forgive.  Thank You that Your blood pays the price my sin deserves.  And that You purify me from my unrighteousness.   Thank You that You are a God of second chances…and third…and fourth…  And that You have the power to free me from my sin.

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Father, our culture is sin sick too.  Open our eyes to the unfaithfulness and sin in our lives.  When we call to You, and humble ourselves and turn away from that sin, You are able and have promised to heal our land.

We need You Father, heal our land!  Amen

1 Chronicles 9:1; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 John 1:9

July 4 We depend on You

cross-1314136_640O Father, Your people didn’t think that judgment would come. But You sent Pharaoh Neco from Egypt in the west to take Judah’s king in chains and tax and oppress the people. Then Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon in the east came twice to burn Jerusalem and strip the land of the last of its treasures and people.

Your people went into exile, taken from their land, to be prisoners in a foreign place. It was just as You had promised. Your people ignored Your covenant and the prophets You sent and followed their leaders into disobedience and idolatry. And paid the price for their choices.

Father, You give me a choice today. You show me how to live by Your Word. You teach me right from wrong. Your values and morality are clear. But my society lives by a different standard. And most of the people believe You will not judge.

Although You have the greatest love, You also hate sin. And You have said there will come a time for judgment.

I believe that time is nearing. Father, help my nation hear Your warnings and turn back to You. Help me in my own life, make choices that are according to Your Word. Help me not simply make the easiest choices, or the most popular ones; but give me understanding to know how to make the right choices.

Let me live my life for an audience of One: You.

Help me recognize my own sin and turn from it. Strengthen me to do what is right even when it is hard. Let others see that I love You. And that I live my life accordingly.

“Let the kings be wise; and the rulers of the earth be warned. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. And all who take refuge in the Lord will be blessed.” Amen

2 Kings 23:31-35; 24:1-4; 24:8-17; 25:1-22; Psalm 2:1-12

Nov 28 Santa or Sovereign?

Father, so much of the world looks for a god who is like Santa Clause.

christmas-1808549_640They want someone who is happy, always smiling, and will give them whatever they ask for.  They like to speak of love for everyone and unending tolerance.  But You are a Holy God.  And because of that You will have justice for all or there would be love for none.

King Belshazzar was judged by You, and You removed him from his position of power and took his life.  You judged Your angels, and threw them into hell to await final judgment.  You judged Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed the cities and the evil people who lived there.  And You judged the ancient world when You sent the great flood, saving only eight people to continue mankind.

The Psalmist thought it was time for You to act against the evil people of his day.  They are described as evil-minded, wicked, arrogant, ones who have divided loyalties and violated Your instructions.

And in the hundreds of years since then, there has been so much injustice and evil done in the world, it is hard to believe You will hold off judgment much longer.

But Father, You know how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.”  “You are my refuge and my shield; Your Word is my source of hope.”  You will “sustain me,” “rescue,” “deal with me with unfailing love,” and “give me discernment.”   

Like the psalmist, I am instructed and strengthened by You, I will “obey the commands of My God,” “meditate continually on Your decrees,” and “understand Your laws.”  For truly “I am Your servant…I tremble in fear of You; I stand in awe of Your regulations.”

I believe Your teaching that there will come a day when You will reign over all the earth; and a final judgment will be handed down by Your righteous hand.

Father, until that day, keep me safe within Your Word.  And keep me faithful to You, like Daniel.  Amen

Daniel 5:1-31; II Peter 2:4-9; Psalm 119:113-128

Nov 11 Forewarned and Defended by You

“So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you.” 

grateful-2006926_640Father, these two “women” represented Your people.  So when You say “all women may take warning and not imitate you,” you mean all countries and all peoples can learn not to make the same mistake the Israelites made with idolatry

I pray that my country will learn from Your example here and not imitate the idolatry of Samaria and Jerusalem.   

Father, do not let this lesson go unnoticed. You are a just God and You judge rightly.   Those people only rejected the law of Moses and were judged.  How much more will those be judged who live now and know of but reject Your sacrifice on the cross?

You have made a new way for people today to approach You.   It is a better way!  By Your shed blood, I have the privilege of approaching You boldly, with full assurance and confidence.  And so does everyone in the world!

So I draw near to You with a sincere heart, and ask that You show me how to live, encouraging other believers, worshipping You, acting in love, doing good deeds, and defeating the enemy.

Father, the enemy uses all manner of evil to try to defeat me.   Help me, Lord; do not be silent.  Fight against those who are against You and who attack me and my family

Show them that You are victorious while they are clothed with shame and disgrace.    And I will rejoice in my deliverance, extolling my Father with praise!  Amen

Ezekiel 23:1-49; Hebrews 10:18-25; Psalm 109: 1-31

Nov 9 The Shepherd’s Rod

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Father, I see a pattern as You show Your people how You want them to live.  You reveal Yourself and call them to purify themselves and turn from idols.

As they rebelled and worshipped first the idols of Egypt, then a golden calf and later the idols of wood and stone from other nations, You repeatedly preserved them as a people “for the sake of Your Name.”  But there was judgment and a purging of those who would not follow You.

Ezekiel speaks Your words saying, “I will judge you…I will take note of you as you pass under My rod…”

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

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

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

Father, I am a sheep of Your pasture.  I want to “pass under Your rod” for Your inspection and loving care.   Count me to be sure that I am where I am supposed to be.  Inspect me.  Look for any sign of weakness or disease in me.  When so, heal me and I will be healed.

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

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

My part in this is to be sure my life is rid of idols.  I will examine my actions, my attitudes, my relationships, to be sure nothing and no one is stealing my passion to live for You.   Strengthen me with Your Word and with Your presence.

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

Ezekiel 20:1-38

Oct 5 I look to You

Father, my country is like Your people of old.  Your Name is not honored.  You are ignored, or worse.  You poured out Your judgment on them.  Will You also pour out Your judgment on my nation?

anthony-tori-120173Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see,  who have ears but do not hear…Should you not fear me, declares the Lord?  Should you not tremble in my presence? ”

Father, draw us back to You – my nation, my family, myself. I proclaim You as my Lord and Savior.  And I see Your warnings in this evil world

“Admonish and teach me with all wisdom.”  Caution me when I am in danger of going the wrong way, or have taken a wrong turn.  Show me from Your perspective, how to make decisions that will lead me in the way that will honor You.  Don’t let any experience be wasted, but help me learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Let “no one deceive me with fine-sounding arguments.”  Do not let me be persuaded to go against what You stand for by some reason of relative morality.  Do not let my values be swayed by society’s sense of right and wrong when they do not agree with Yours.

My roots are in You; let them go down deep and drink in Your strength and wisdom. Let my faith stand strong, unwavering as I live a disciplined life in You.

I offer You all thanks and praise, Lord.  You saw the earth when it was formless and void, and in Your mighty power created all I see.

You made light with Your Word, made the mountains and the seas.  You fashioned every bird and fish and animal.  All creation is under Your authority.  You set the limits of the waters of the earth.

Nothing can prevail against You and Your will. 

Thank You that You care for me.  That You teach me and love me as Your beloved child.  That You strengthen and uphold meYou are Lord and I am blessed.   Amen

Jeremiah 5:19-31; Colossians 1:28-2:7

Sept 12 A Tool for God’s Purpose

Father, when You sent Your judgment against Israel, You used the political and military and powers of the day.  Not knowing You, they believed it was by their own strength and power that they conquered.  But it is clear that they were merely a tool in Your hand.  The power is not in the tool, but in the one who wields it.

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Father, I pray that I would be a tool in Your hand for godly purposes.  Use me to accomplish Your will.  You are truly the potter and I am the clay.  Send me where Your would, as Your handiwork, to achieve Your plan.  And never let me forget that Yours is the strength and the wisdom by which anything is accomplished.

I know You have a wonderful plan and purpose for their lives too.  So until you call me away to somewhere else, help me realize the potential here, and be willing to be a tool in Your hands in the lives of those people You have brought closest to me.   Help me live every day showing Your grace and mercy and compassion to them.  When asked, help me give wise and godly advice, not just my own preferences.  Let my words be instructive and gentle, and line up with Your truth, spoken in love for the benefit of the hearer.

Father, some are called to far away places to be tools for You in spreading Your Word and Your love.  And surely there are obstacles for them to overcome and challenges to conquer.  But sometimes I feel the hardest place to be Your representative is here at home, with the people I love.

Help me hold my tongue when I need to, when the words would not be godly wisdom, but come from some other motivation.  Help me spread peace in their lives when it would be so much easier to spread my own brand of how things should be.  Help me let go of my own expectations of them, freeing them up to know the fulfillment of Your plans and purposes.

Help me be patient with Your timeline for their development and maturity.  And help me be consistent to pray for them to be empowered and guided by the influence of Your Word in their lives, and what You speak to them and through the godly mentors and circumstances You allow into their lives.

Let me draw strength from You.  Let me be guided by You.  And let me rest in Your strong and skillful hands.  Amen

Isaiah 10:1-19

Sept 11 Seek God’s Wisdom and Blessing

O Father, help me.  Strengthen me in my spirit so I will not make the same mistakes Your people in Israel made so long ago.

First they “rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah.”  These were the softly running streams of Northern Israel that brought water to provide abundant harvests of grain, but represented the provision You afforded them as a blessing.   Yet the people were not satisfied with what You supplied.

They sought other gods.  So You brought against them “mighty floodwaters of the River – the king of Assyria with all his pomp…to overflow all its channels, run over all its banks and sweep onto Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck.”  The Assyrian Empire was centered on the Tigris and Euphrates, two of the largest and mightiest rivers.  The Assyrians would spill over into Israel and flood up to their necks.  Not the kind of water that was useful for life, but a devastating, destructive flood.

Father, help me be satisfied with what You have given me, what You have blessed me with.  Do not let me look to others, or compare myself to them, desiring what they have.  But let me rest in Your abundant provision, content in Your care, trusting that You know, and will provide, whatever is best for me.

Next, Your people ignored the signs and prophecies You gave them, and instead, sought the wisdom and guidance of mediums and spiritualists.

In my world, there are so many places people can go to discern a direction for their lives.  Palm readers, mediums, and spiritualists still exist.  Tarot cards and daily horoscopes have become a guide for actions people take in their relationships, their finances, their business and social lives.  “…Should not a people inquire of their God?”  Lord, I will seek wisdom from You.  In Your Word and in prayer, Father, speak to me, direct me.  Show me the way to go when I have decisions to make.  Do not let me be drawn to the darkness of the occult.

Also, when judgment began to fall on the people, their response was not humility and repentance.  Instead, “they say with pride and arrogance of heart, the bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.”  In their arrogance, they missed the message You had for them to come back to You, to worship You.  Instead they responded only to the destruction, seeing it only as a construction problem; saying they would rebuild with stronger, more resilient materials.

God help us – these are the very same words spoken by American government officials after the destruction of 9-11, September 11th.  Rather than heed the warning to return to You, the spiritual problem in this country was seen as a construction issue.  With a response to “rebuild” with stronger materials.

Father, if and when You send me a message like this, tenderize my heart to see to the real problem.  Do not let me ignore the spiritual issues in my life.  Prompt me to respond to those with humility and repentance.  If all is right between us, the rest will take care of itself.

It is not by might I will endure, but by Your grace, Your mercy, Your love, compassion and provision.  And it is the same for my country.  Tenderize our leaders’ hearts to see the real problem, to seek You, worship You, and turn to You for guidance.  Thank You for these lessons.  Help me remember them.  Amen

Isaiah 8:5-8; 19-22; 9:8-12

Sept 8 Consequences

usa-flag-830720_640

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

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

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

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

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

Yet the Israelites did just that, continuing in idolatry.  They turned away from You.  In pursuit of other gods, they continued to make meaningless offerings to You as one of the many “little g” gods they worshipped.  Meaningless because their hearts no longer belonged to You.

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 1:16-20; 2:5

Nov 11 Forwarned and defended by You

“So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you.” 

grateful-2006926_640

 

Father, these two “women” represented Your people.  So when You say “all women may take warning and not imitate you,” you mean all countries and all peoples can learn not to make the same mistake the Israelites made with idolatry.

I pray that my country will learn from Your example here and not imitate the idolatry of Samaria and Jerusalem.

Father, do not let this lesson go unnoticed. You are a just God and You judge rightly.   Those people only rejected the law of Moses and were judged.  How much more will those be judged who live now and know of Your sacrifice on the cross?

You have made a new way for people today to approach You.   It is a better way!  By Your shed blood, I have the privilege of approaching You boldly, with full assurance and confidence.  And so does everyone in the world!

So I draw near to You with a sincere heart, and ask that You show me how to live, encouraging other believers, worshipping You, acting in love, doing good deeds, and defeating the enemy.

Father, the enemy uses all manner of evil to try to defeat me.   Help me, Lord; do not be silent.  Fight against those who are against You and who attack me and my family.

Show them that You are victorious while they are clothed with shame and disgrace.    And I will rejoice in my deliverance, extolling my Father with praise!  Amen

Ezekiel 23:1-49; Hebrews 10:18-25; Psalm 109: 1-31

Dec 31 Alpha and Omega

O Father, You are “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”. You are faithful to Yourself, by Your Word and by Your actions. You are faithful to Your creation and to me. You existed at the beginning of all things, and You will be there at the end of all things as I know them.

You will create a new heaven and a new earth. Malachi talks about that day when the righteous will be healed and the evil, set on fire. John, the same: the righteous will live with You, seeing Your face, and the evil are thrown into the lake of fire.

Father, You have been faithful to me each and every day this year. Each day, You have shown me in Your Word how to pray: from the first day of the year to the last, from the beginning of Your Word, to the end. Thank You!

I am both amazed at Your faithfulness to me, and at the same time, not surprised by it. Of course I know and believe in Your faithfulness. But now, I have felt the blessing of it personally. Thank You Father, for walking through each day of this year with me. Thank You for leading me through Your Word in such a meaningful way.

And now Father, like the Proverbs 31 woman,“clothe [me] with strength and dignity; let [me] laugh at the days to come”. [Help me] speak with wisdom, and put faithful instruction on [my] tongue. [Help me to] watch over the affairs of my household and not eat the bread of idleness. [Let my] children arise and call me blessed; [my] husband also, and praise [me].   [I am] a woman who fears You!”

“I praise You Father in Your sanctuary” – under the sky You created, in the forest and in the open, I kneel before Your great presence and acknowledge Your authority. I lift my voice to give glory to You. With every person I see Your creativity and diversity. With every bird and flower and creature, I observe Your infinite imagination. With the cycle of seasons, I marvel at Your ingenuity.

I cannot wait to see You face to face and live with You throughout eternity. I believe “You are coming soon. Come! Come Lord Jesus!” Amen

Malachi 4:1-6; Revelation 20:11-15; 22:12-21; Psalm 150:1-6; Proverbs 31:25-31

Oct 5 I look to You

anthony-tori-120173.jpgFather, how like Your people of old, is my country now. Your Name is not honored. You are ignored, or worse. You poured out Your judgment on them. Will You also pour out Your judgment on my nation? Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see,   who have ears but do not hear…Should you not fear me, declares the Lord? Should you not tremble in my presence? ”

Father, draw us back to You – my nation, my family, myself. I do proclaim You as my Lord and Savior. And I see Your warnings in this evil world

“Admonish and teach me with all wisdom”. Caution me when I am in danger of going the wrong way, or have taken a wrong turn. Show me from Your perspective, how to make decisions that will lead me in the way that will honor You. Don’t let any experience be wasted, but help me learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Let “no one deceive me with fine-sounding arguments”. Do not let me be persuaded to go against what You stand for by some reason of relative morality. Do not let my values be swayed by society’s sense of right and wrong when they do not agree with Yours. My roots are in You, let them go down deep and drink in Your strength and wisdom. Let my faith stand strong, unwavering as I live a disciplined life in You.

I offer You all thanks and praise, Lord. You saw the earth when it was formless and void, and in Your mighty power created all I see. You made light with Your Word, made the mountains and the seas. You fashioned every bird and fish and animal. All creation is under Your authority. You set the limits of the waters of the earth. Nothing can prevail against You and Your will. Thank You that You care for me. That You teach me and love me as Your beloved child. That You strengthen and uphold me. You are Lord and I am blessed.   Amen

Jeremiah 5:19-31; Colossians 1:28-2:7

Sept 8 Consequences

What a loving Father You are. You instruct gently, and spell out exactly, what the truth is. You teach Your children how to do what will bring them the greatest reward. You remind them: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land”. You spell out the rewards and the consequences over and over again. When they become disobedient, You send others, prophets, to remind them and warn them off the destructive path and back onto the path of blessing

usa-flag-830720_640

 

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

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

“But if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” That is the consequence of disobedience. Who would choose that? Who would give up the blessing of Your provision and favor, in order to be devoured by death? And yet, the Israelites did just that, continuing in idolatry. They turned away from You. In pursuit of other gods, they continued to make meaningless offerings to You as one of the many ‘little g gods’ they worshipped. Meaningless because their hearts did not belong to You any longer.

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

Father, I believe my country has been blessed and protected by You because we trusted in You. But now, we have turned away as a nation, ‘resisting and rebelling’. We no longer honor or even acknowledge You.   You have sent a warning and people who have tried to call America back. But we have not returned. We have chosen the path away from You. And You will bring judgment.

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

Isaiah 1:1-2:22

Sept 6 A Day of Rejoicing!

PrayerPraiseMorningO Father, Your Word paints a glorious picture of You returning to judge Your people! I can see it in my mind’s eye as a massive, wall-sized painting with rays of light gleaming from Your figure, and shadows playing in the storm clouds around You with strikes of lightening flashing out. Just like a painting the old masters would have painted – like Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

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

When I speak Your Words, the action begins as You appear in slow motion: “The Mighty One… God… The Lord… You speak and summon the earth…You are perfect in beauty, You shine forth…A fire devours before You and around You a tempest rages…the heavens proclaim Your Righteousness.” The most beautiful, powerful being imaginable appears in the sky, advancing slowly. Flames precede You, lashing out with almost blinding light and incredible heat. And around You, clouds, dark and terrible, build; billowing and blowing, roiling up and out, far and wide, with flashes of lightening shocking the sky. And from the darkness of the storm, rays of light shine forth out of Your very being. Your voice thunders through the heavens and rumbles down to the earth causing trembling in the rocks and ground.   And in the background, the booming voices of ten thousand angels sing out, glorifying You!

“The heavens proclaim His righteousness” and I fall on my knees in reverence of You to join in the praise to honor You. What a day of rejoicing that will be! To be in Your presence. To see You in Your glory. What a powerful vision! To You, I offer all praise, all honor, all thanks. Amen

Psalm 50:1-7

Dec 28 All Creation praises You!

 

man-look-over-nature

Father, how does the earth praise You?  When I hear recorded sounds of whales in the deep oceans sing, are they praising You?  When I hear the melodic song of the birds, are they singing of Your greatness?  When the winds howl and the lightening cracks across the sky are they declaring Your majesty?

Do the trees affirm You with their upturned branches, their leaves, blossoms, fruit, and their gorgeous colors?  Do flowers bless You as their blooming faces turn upward to You?  When the wind stirs the golden Aspen leaves, is their shimmering applause for Your being?

A line in a poem, Trees by Joyce Kilmer touched me at a young age.  It read:  ‘A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray’.   Since then I have wondered exactly how Your creation acknowledges and exalts You.  And what I can learn from Your creation about how to laud You.  Here are some thoughts stirred by Psalm 148:

I will join with the earth in rejoicing in my LORD and recognizing my Savior

As the rocks and stones cry out, I will add my voice:

in sunshine and in shadow I will praise my LORD

in harvest and in drought I will voice my thanksgiving

in sickness and in health I will give the LORD His due

for my praise depends not on my earthly situation

it depends not on the circumstances of my existence

it depends not on the wealth of my pocket

 

But it is the response of my recognition of who God is

I praise You for who You are

Your greatness

Your glory

Your power

Your person

 

“The Lord will be king over the whole earth.  On that day there will be one Lord, and His Name, the Only Name.” 

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it…the dead, great and small, standing before the throne…were judged…anyone whose name was not found in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Father, there was a day when You created the heavens and the earth, the moon and stars, the birds and beasts, and man; when all acknowledged You as Creator and worshipped You and had fellowship with You.  One day, it will be that way again.  All that You create will know You, will worship You, will give You praise.  Again, I can’t wait!  Amen

Zechariah 14:1-21; Revelation 20:1-15; Psalm 148:1-14

Dec 25 God in flesh

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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 144:1-15