Tag: learn

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

Dec 14 I am so Jonah!

Father, what wonderful lessons I’ve learned from Jonah!  And about Jonah and about You.  He is so human…  And You are so God…

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You spoke to Jonah, giving him a view of Your plan for him and specific directions using the gifts and talents You placed in him.   And You speak to Your people today.  You have given each of us gifts and talents to use in accordance with Your plan.

Help me hear Your voice clearly when You speak.  Give me direction and a view of Your purpose for my gifts.

Jonah thought he could get away with being disobedient.  He thought he could hide from You.  Silly man.  And silly me!  There have been times when I did not follow Your direction.  I never ended up in the belly of a great fish, but I did miss out on some wonderful opportunities.

Remind me of that when I consider disobedience in the future.

You have everything under Your control!  Not only did You see where Jonah went, meaning there in no place to hide from You; but You were in control of everything around him.  The weather?  You brought the storm!  And calmed it.  A large fish?  You brought it to swallow Jonah, and it obeyed Your command to vomit him onto dry land.  The same thing is true of the events and circumstances, relationships and opportunities in my life.

Remind me that You see me wherever I am.  And that there is nowhere I can go away from You.  And nothing beyond Your power.

Jonah called out to You, “In [his] distress…”  Even when he thought his life was over, and knowing he had been disobedient, he prayed to You.  There is no circumstance where I cannot call on You.

It is never too late, I can never be too bad, I am never too far-gone.

You answered!  Even in the bowels of death and disobedience, You heard and answered Jonah’s prayer and rescued him.

You are a God of second chances!  And third and fourth…  You want Your people to be obedient.  You coach them to win, giving them every opportunity to do so.  And I am one of Your people.

Thank You for giving me second chances and more.  Thank You for always hearing my prayer and answering me.

Jonah obeyed eventually.  What I take from this is:  obey the first time – it will save me a lot of grief!

Thank You for this view into Jonah’s life.  It is a view into my own.  And into Your greatness.  Because You are so God…  And I am so human…  Amen

Jonah 1:1-3:3

Sept 26 My Teacher

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“I am The Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

Thank You Father that You are my God. Thank You that You know what is best for me and that You are willing to communicate that to me.

Open my ears and my eyes so I can understand what You are saying to me.

You tell me that “if only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.”

How many times have I given up that peace because I thought I knew better than You? Or because I was afraid to go forward where You were leading me? I desire the peace and well-being only You can give me. Show me how to be bold enough to follow where You lead.

Father, as I look for the way You direct me and teach me to live, I do not have to look very far. In today’s scripture, You tell me plainly: “Do not live as the Gentiles do.” This is not a cultural judgment, but a spiritual condition.

You explain they have hardened their hearts to You and to spiritual matters which separates them from You. They live in ignorance and have a darkened understanding which dulls their sensitivity, allowing them to give in to sensuality and indulge in every kind of impurity, lust, and greed.

Father, be the light in my life that brightens my understanding and softens my heart to comprehend these Words of life You speak to me. I do not want to live separate from, but in community with You.

Your presence blesses me, comforts me, encourages me, protects me, motivates me and spurs me on to be better than I am without You.

Father, help me put off those dishonest and deceitful ways that my flesh leads me into. Help me control my tongue, my anger, my selfish tendencies and greed. These things come from the world, the flesh and the evil one who all seek to rule over and destroy me. Do not let them be master over me.

I desire what You offer me: Your peace and well-being. Let my actions and attitudes reflect that. I will look for You to teach me the way I should go in all my circumstances. And I will be blessed in following You. Thank You. Amen

Isaiah 48:17-18; Ephesians 4:17-32

Sept 4 Apply my heart to what You teach

WisdomFather, I do desire to have Your wisdom.  So I will heed the words Solomon wrote.

“A good name is better than fine perfume.”  I want my name to stand for loyalty, honor, noble character and honesty.  So help me act in a way that when people hear my name, they will think well of me.  And they will know that You are my God and that I am Your servant.

“Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city.”  Wisdom is greater than power.  So when a wise person corrects me, let me learn from it. Let me reject pride that would keep me in ignorance.  Help me embrace patience.  Do not let me be quickly provoked, or waste time yearning for “the good old days.”

Let me not simply seek the approval of fools.  Instead, help me turn and apply wisdom to the present circumstances of my life.  Rather than be a fool, I want to recognize and learn from wisdom.  Let it shelter me, preserve me, and give me an advantage.

Father, in this wisdom, let me be obedient to the authorities You put over me.  Give me a wise heart so I will know the proper way to act at the proper time.

There are many things that only You know and I will never understand or see the reason behind it all.  That is as it should be.  But regardless, let me always seek the way of Your wisdom.

Help me “pay attention and turn my ear to the sayings of the wise; apply my heart to what You teach…so that my trust will be in the Lord.”    For You are “Great and most worthy of praise…You are my God forever and ever; You will be my guide even to the end.”  Amen

Ecclesiastes 7:1-19; Psalm 48:14; Proverbs 22:17-19

May 27 Teach me

Father, while I am on this earth, I join with the psalmist in making these requests.

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Teach me knowledge and good judgment.  Lord I want to make wise decisions that support Biblical values.  Teach me what You desire of me.  Even if the arrogant disagree and slander me, keep me true to Your teachings.

Give me the understanding I need to be able to apply what Your Word says to my life and circumstances.  You made me and placed me in these times, in this family, in this culture.  So help me discern across time and culture, how to walk in Your truth and live righteously.

Father, comfort me with Your unfailing love.  Teach me and treat me with compassion.  When I am attacked or maligned, defend me.   Help me live according to all You show me in Your power and Your faithfulness.  Encourage me.  And give me Your peace.  Amen

Psalm 119:65-80

May 10 The Best Father

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

So many times the wisdom of the world seems right.

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

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

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

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

Though I like to think of myself as independent and smart enough to make wise decisions, I have learned that simply lining up pros and cons and judging by worldly standards is not the only or the best method.

I have access to the God who created the universe!  You have wisdom I could never in a million years attain.   And praises to You, You are willing to share it with me!

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

I Samuel 8:1-22

Mar 12 God is with us

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you”

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How many times, O Lord, have I seen You sustain me during times of stress and trouble?  You have proven Yourself reliable over and over again.

Sometimes when I cast my cares on You, You actually change my circumstances, so the cause of my worry disappears.  That is always appreciated, and often the solution I am seeking.   But there are many other ways You ”sustain” me!

At times You don’t change the circumstances, but You change my perspective.  You allow me to see things from a different view.  It’s like when a toddler runs to their mother and is picked up and held in her arms.  The child can see from a higher, safer perspective than from the height of a child.   Looking down from that height, the bad things don’t look so big and overwhelming.

Another way You sustain me is by simply being with me.  Maybe the circumstances don’t change, and my perspective is the same; but the fact that You are near me, encouraging me, comforting me, reminding me that You are in control and that I can trust You, is what gets me through the hard time.

Sometimes You distract me with a blessing in one part of my life that so outweighs the rest, the worry fades in significance.

Sometimes You teach me to choose my battles, and show me that in relation to the bigger picture, I can let go of this worry.

At other times You impress upon me the lessons I’m learning in dealing with the hardship actually outweigh the difficulty in getting through it.

And still other times You create a surprise ending through the struggle that works out even better than I could have ever imagined!

It is still not easy when challenges and troubles come.  Truth be told, I’d prefer to avoid them altogether.  But You have shown me that You can work good out of anything when I trust You.  I know that no matter what, You will sustain me.

YOU – the all-mighty, all-knowing Creator God, who has the power and resources of the universe at His disposal, will sustain me.

You WILL – a certainty because of Your faithfulness to Your promises and Your unchangeable character and Your unfailing love for me, sustain me.

You will SUSTAIN – keep, preserve, defend, support and encourage, zealously guard and treasure, me

You will sustain ME – Your child, Your servant, one who loves and worships and believes in and trusts in You.

YOU WILL SUSTAIN ME!  And I will praise You!  Thank You.  Amen

Psalm 55:22

Jan 13 I am Your child

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Lord God, thank You that You are my heavenly Father.

Thank You that You love me as Your child. And thank You it is with love that You make godly correction to my path when I stray from You.

I have such a negative impression of discipline because it has come to be identified with punishment or abuse of power. On earth this is often true.

But when You, my heavenly Father discipline me, it is to lift me up to correct, teach, encourage me to be on the path of becoming more like You – Your “disciple.”

It doesn’t mean the lessons are easy to learn, or that I enjoy them, or even that I catch on right away. Often a child doesn’t understand a parent insisting on behavior that provides for safety, like running out into the street.  So I may not see the benefit of Your instruction right away.

Sometimes Your discipline feels like a step backward, or a delay in what I perceive to be the right way. Help me stop and ask for Your perspective when I don’t understand something. Help me see from Your viewpoint, what is happening, and how I should respond.

I do desire to be seen as a disciple of Almighty God, Jesus Christ, the Holy One. And I’m the first to admit that my life does not look like that now. So I welcome Your instruction, Your course corrections, Your rebuke, and Your discipline.

Help me learn quickly when You have something to tell me or teach me. Help me be willing to change direction when I am going the wrong way.

I know that You delight in me and love me. And that You discipline those You love. Help me embrace that love. Amen

Proverbs 3:11-12

Nov 26 Teach me

Father, thank You for Peter’s reminder that as the end approaches, believers must be earnest in prayer, share Your deep love with others, and use our Spiritual gifts.

Some of these sound so easy.  None of them are.  I can’t do any of them without Your help.  What I can do is come to You in prayer.  You help me in so many ways.  I love my conversations with You!

aec-1782427_640Sometimes I feel closer to You when I walk around the lake, or through the trees, or can see the mountains.  When I am surrounded by Your amazing creation, You often give me a word of instruction or encouragement.

You have taught me things by watching geese flying above, or ducks feeding in the pond, or sunlight shining through dark clouds.  You have shown me how to be humble through the faces of blossoms that track the sunlight across the sky, or sunflowers that have heads so heavy with seed that they bend low.

It is so easy to praise You in the presence of the beauty of Your creation, and when things are going well.  But rejoicing in suffering is harder to do.  Sometimes, my side of the conversation is sobbing and tears.  It is anxious pleading with pain.

You reach out to me then too.  There is nothing You cannot handle.  There is nothing too big or too small to bring to You.  Thank You for this life-saving and life-giving privilege of prayer.

Father, teach me how to show Your great love to others.  It feels easy to do with strangers.  Kindness to a stranger is short-lived.  Help me to be loving and forgiving and hospitable to those I know.

Show me how to be humble, and not grumble.   And especially to those I know well, give me perseverance to act and speak in love for the long haul.

Lord, lead me in seeking out ways to join You where You are already at work, in ways that will use my Spiritual gifts.  Give me the energy and stamina to serve.   Show me how to serve humbly so You get the credit.  And let me recognize when to step back so another can use their gifts.

In all these things, let me also be aware of “[my] enemy the devil” who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Help me see through his lies and deceptions.  Help me avoid his traps and temptations.   Strengthen me to resist him in all his cunning ways.   Make me strong, firm and steadfast.

Yours is the power forever.  I know You will never fail me.  Thank You.  Amen

I Peter 4:7-5:14

July 15 Lessons from David

board-LessonsDavid, who was known as a ‘man after God’s own heart’ ordered that a census be taken of the Israelites. The implication here is that he wanted to know how many fighting men he had available. It seems like a reasonable thing to do to the logical mind. But what the scripture says is that “satan incited David to take a census of Israel”.

So the question becomes: how or why did this happen? One observation is that “In the Spring, at the time when kings go off to war…David remained in Jerusalem.” So it’s possible that if he had been present with the troops, where he should have been, he would have seen first-hand how many men he had. Or it could be that his faith in Your ability to continue to give him military victories was waning and he wanted to bolster his confidence by seeing the numbers?

What he should have done when this idea came to him, was hold it up to what he knew of You. And seek Your counsel on whether or not to go ahead with it. Even his commander Joab knew this was a bad thing.   His response to David was “Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”

So Father, help me to learn from this mistake David made. First, if there is a place I am supposed to be, do not let me make excuses to avoid being there. Help me take my responsibilities seriously and not be swayed by fear, or laziness, or arguments to the contrary. If I am in the center of Your will, I am less vulnerable to the suggestions and oppression of satan.

Next, bolster my faith so it doesn’t fail me. When I hear the whisperings of satan telling me to question myself or Your love and faithfulness to me, let me come against those lies with the truth of scripture. If satan tells me ‘What do you think you’re doing? You can’t do that?’. Let me respond with “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13.

If he taunts me with ‘You’re not good enough/smart enough’ let me respond with Your truth that I am God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the work which He has prepared in advance for me.” Ephesians 2:10. If I hear a voice saying ‘You’ve made so many mistakes, you’re worthless’, I can boldly respond with “I am chosen of God, holy, and dearly loved.” Colossians 3:12.

If You place people in my life to speak the truth to me, like Joab did for David, do not allow me to be too stubborn or bull-headed to listen to them.

Mostly, Father, let me be consistent to always lay my plans before you, asking if it is Your will. Then listen to and be obedient to Your response to me. Regardless of how illogical it may seem, or how much sense it may make to others, I desire to follow Your voice: the voice of my Shepherd.

David and his people paid a terrible price for his disobedience. Let me learn from his mistake, and be led by You. Amen

 Chronicles 21:1-30; 1 Chronicles 20:1

July 11 Make Mighty Men

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Father, I pray that my sons would be Mighty Men. Like those men You brought to surround and support David, let my sons be able and capable. Let them know what is right and not be afraid to stand up and fight for it.

I don’t mean I want them to be killers of men as David’s Mighty Men had to be, but to be of strong character. All the verses in today’s scriptures contain wisdom for those who would be open to learn. Father, let my sons have open eyes, ears and hearts to learn from You and Your Word. Show them truth in their lives, and do not let them be swayed or misled by the lies and deceit of the world or the evil one.

Like David’s Mighty Men, let them see Your hand at work in the world, and join You in it. Let them have the skills they need to be victorious in today’s battles. Today’s battles are not against the Philistines, but against greed, lust, envy, entitlement, spiritual strongholds, social pressures, political agendas and those who would derail them from Your purpose for their lives. Father, let them know the truth that will combat these lies and set them free.

Paul quoted the prophet Isaiah about the condition of the Israelites. Lord, let my sons be the opposite. So when they hear Your Word, let them understand it, as they see You at work, let them perceive how to work with You. Do not let their hearts become calloused, their ears deaf, or their eyes blind. But let them be open to You and understand with their hearts, and turn to You for healing.

Along with the psalmist, let them “praise You, O Lord, with all their hearts. Let them tell of Your wonders and be glad to rejoice in You. Let them sing praise to Your name. Turn their enemies back and cause them to stumble and perish.”  Uphold my sons, Lord. Teach them that You judge righteously.

As the Proverbs teach, Lord, “let their walk be blameless. Do not let them become fools with perverse lips. Do not let them be hasty and miss the way, or have zeal without knowledge. Do not let them rage against You. Help them learn from mistakes, so they will not ruin their lives with folly.” All these things will make them mighty men of the Lord. They will know You and trust in You, for You have never forsaken those who seek You.

I would desire to be all these things as well, Lord; to have these character traits, and be mighty in my faith. Let me be a good role model to my children and all those around me. Thank You, for doing more than I can even ask or imagine. Amen

I Chronicles 11:10-12:18; Acts 28: 25-27; Psalm 9:1-3; Proverbs 19:1-3

Oct 20 Example of obedience

book-1209805_1920Father, let me learn a lesson and be like the Rekabites. You instructed Jeremiah to go to them and invite them to do something that was contrary to how they had faithfully chosen to live.   Their forefather had told them “Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine. Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents…” And they did!

You rewarded them for their faithfulness and made them an example to be followed for the people of Judah and Jerusalem. And for believers today. It is not that I should never do these specific things, or live in a tent, but that I should be faithful to what You tell me. Help me “learn this lesson and obey Your words”.

You told Your people to “turn from their wicked ways and reform their actions; do not follow other gods to serve them”. Father, the world I live in is so very far from Your standards in its values and morality. Show me if I have any “wicked ways” that need to be changed. Speak to me of the values You want me to have – in my attitudes, my speech, my thoughts, my relationships. Father, I open everything in my life for Your evaluation and Your comment. I desire to bring it all into alignment with You.

Lord, if there are actions I have taken that need reforming, show me those and how to make them right. Likewise, if there are actions I have not taken that I need to, move me to be obedient.

I do not want to “follow other gods” or “serve them”. So show me if there is anything or anyone I have put before You in my life. Sometimes I may not even realize the significance or influence I am drawn to or led by; so I depend on You to keep me faithful to only You as my God, my Lord.

Thank You for this faithful example, that I don’t remember ever noticing before. But will remember now. Amen

Jeremiah 35: 1-19

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