Tag: obedience

May 14 Help me choose obedience

photo by Good Hand Security products

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Father, let me learn the lesson of Saul from this passage of scripture.  Let me remember that to obey is better than sacrifice.

Father, what You want is obedience: meaning I put what You tell me above all else.  I hold true to Your Word no matter what other people think or say.  I do not bow to peer pressure.  I do not change what You have sent me to do because I am afraid.

Saul weakened in the face of the opinion and pressure of the people, and did not obey completely.  He even reasoned a way to convince himself he had indeed obeyed.  But the prophet Samuel saw the truth of it and confronted him.  Saul’s disobedience cost him the leadership of Israel.  He would soon be replaced as king.

I need to remember that it is not how often I pray, or whether I make monetary donations to ministries, or give my time in mission work.  The question is whether I have done what You have told me.

Help me hear You clearly, Lord.  And empower me to be strong enough to follow through completely.  Give me whatever I need, so I can stand in the end, and say I was truly obedient.  Amen

I Samuel 15:1-35 

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Apr 13 God’s plan – not mine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua 7:16-9:2

Jan 27 I want to obey You

bible-380848_1920O Lord, I read about Moses and wonder how he could have backed away from the great opportunity You gave him to be a part of Your miraculous plan. It seems he made every excuse in the book to avoid joining You in the amazing deliverance of his people.

Then I wonder if I have been guilty of the same.

Have there been times when You offered me an opportunity to accomplish something with You and I chose the safer, easier path with no risk?

Have You allowed me to be in situations where I could have told someone about who You are, and I chose not to speak?

Have there been circumstances when I could have offered to go and do, to act as Your hands and Your feet, but I chose the response that afforded me more leisure?

Have there been occasions when I might have stood up and spoken out for what is right, but remained silent under the socially acceptable guise of being tolerant?

Have there been times when I opted to remain in my comfort zone rather than step out of it in a way that would have honored You?

I believe there have been. And ask myself “Why?” Is it that I doubt the power of the God who created the universe? Do I doubt that You will be true to Your Word?

No.

I believe it is rather, that I doubt myself. I may doubt that I’m hearing You clearly. Because if not, then I have walked out on a limb that could easily but cut off from under me.

Or I doubt my ability to carry through and finish what I start in Your name, bringing embarrassment to both of us. Or I fear it might hold me up to ridicule. So, bottom line, I fear what other people will think about me.

Please forgive me for the times I’ve let You down. Help me be so strong in recognizing that my identity comes from You, and in believing what You say about me, that I am not swayed by fear of what others think of me.

Help me recognize the next time You give me an opportunity. And help me be courageous enough to act “I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind.”

Oh Lord, fulfill Your purpose through me! Amen

Exodus 4:1-17; 2Timothy 1:7; Psalm 138:8 ESV

Jan 9 – infinitely diverse!

I will praise You O Lord! With all my heart and mind and soul and strength! I will sing praise to Your name, for You are Most High!

I will tell of Your wonders. For You have created the magnificent heavens and earth, and everything in them.

Your imagination and creativity and diversity are beyond measure! Every time I hear of a new bit of biology, or physics, or chemistry, I am overwhelmed and amazed!

You thought up and created a tiny beetle that defends itself by shooting 2 separate chemicals out of its body that join in mid-air to produce intense stinging and burning irritation.

You designed the beauty and delicateness of a colorful butterfly that flutters so gently, but has a chemical covering that tastes so bad that predators stay away from it.

The list is endless of amazing developments, biological and behavioral, simply in the insect world!

And I can rejoice and be glad because You, this powerful and creative God, know me, and love me, and hear my prayers, and answer them!

I could not be more blessed.

With the perfection in all You made, and how it works in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, I am amazed that we humans are so far from perfect. You crowned us at the top of Your creation, yet we are so frail and flawed, especially when it comes to knowing You, hearing You and obeying You.

Thank You for the example of Abraham’s obedience. His faith was so great he left home to follow You to a place You would show him. He made mistakes and had very human failings, yet was obedient to the point of being ready to sacrifice his son’s life as an offering to You.

I cannot even imagine how incredibly hard that must have been. Even with much smaller challenges and tests in my own life, I worry and drag my feet, looking for ways I can justify a disobedient response. I can only pray that knowing You are with me every step of the way, You will insure I understand exactly what You say to me, and will prepare and empower me to take whatever steps I need to, to act in obedience to You.

Teach me Lord. Train me to hear Your voice.

Help me be obedient. Every opportunity You give me is a chance to obey. And You are with me, coaching me to win.

Thank You for these opportunities to draw close to You – in prayer, through Your Word, and in the challenges, trials and blessings of my daily circumstances. With every one I get to experience You.

You build and strengthen my faith with each challenge. It deepens my trust in You. And I continue to marvel, that You, the Almighty Creator of the universe, who reigns forever, are my personal life coach.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Genesis 21:1-9; 22:1-24; Psalm 9:1-2

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…

sea-79836_1280You 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

Nov 21 You Word is Treasure

Father thank You for warning me not to trust in earthly riches.  Wealth, possessions, gold and silver are not the treasure I seek.  They can lead to greed and the sins that greed temps a person to commit.

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Rather, I treasure Your Word.  It gives me a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about how to receive Your blessing: something of far greater value.

You Word says I will be blessed when I “walk according to the law of the Lord…keep Your statutes and seek You with all [my] heart.”

I can keep my way pure “by living according to Your Word.”   So Father, “I seek You with all my heart: do not let me stray from Your commands.”  I desire to be blessed; show me how to walk in Your path.

Lord, I will “hide Your Word in my heart”.  I will read it, honor it, study to understand it, memorize it, and do what it says.  When I do not understand it, I will pray for clarity of meaning and how to apply it to my life.

When people around me say one thing and Your Word says another, give me the conviction to be obedient to Your truth.  Help me see through the misleading lies and the deceiving values of society and not be tripped up by them.  Give me the strength I need to be true to You.

Because You tell me how powerful prayer is, I will pray

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giving thanks when I am happy

for healing when I am sick

for help when I am in trouble

for the wisdom to stay on Your path

for forgiveness when I have sinned.

Father, help my prayers be powerful and effective.

Besides me, so many people need Your help in so many ways. I believe praying for them is one way I can help; perhaps the best way I can help them.

So, like Elijah, I pray earnestly and in faith, knowing that You are the One who can answer.  You have the power, Lord.  And You have the will.

We are all Your creations, Lord.  Thank You that You love and care for us.  Amen

James 5:1-20; Psalm 119:1-16

Oct 23 Waiting – hardest thing to do

pause-for-a-moment-393837_640O Father.  Have I been like these people?

It seems they were truly seeking Your will, and promised to do whatever Jeremiah revealed as Your will.

But when ten days went by, they had already evaluated their options and come to a decision they thought was best for them.  It seems once they had made up their minds, there was no room for Your Word to be heard.

I wonder if there have been times when I came to You, pouring out my heart because I was so desperate and didn’t know what to do.  Then, while waiting for Your response, I looked around for myself and became convinced of my best option.

Father, when faced with hardship and stress, would You help me be patient until I hear an answer from You.   Waiting can be very hard even in the best of situations.  But when there is pressure to make a decision, or harm may occur without action, waiting can be unbearable.  Help me bear it.

I’ve had people tell me “God can’t steer a parked car.”  They are encouraging me to get started in some direction, saying You will guide me once I commit to go.  But sometimes that is not wise advice.  I can become so committed to the direction I choose, that I refuse to course correct later.

While waiting, help me stay so close to You, that I recognize Your voice.  When I do hear from You, reassure me it is truly Your Word.  Even if it goes against what I might have thought, help me know without a doubt, that what I’ve heard is from You.

And Father, empower me to be obedient.  Don’t let me be defensive of any plan I have come up with myself, or think I know something You don’t.  Time and time again, You have shown me that Your answers are far more creative, far more successful and far more wise than any I have ever thought up.

The Israelites decided rather than stay in hardship one more day, they should go the way that seemed to benefit them.  Father, if there comes a time when I must remain in a hard place, or endure Your correction, strengthen me to be able to do that.   Even though it may seem I’m in the frying pan, I trust in Your wisdom, in Your perspective, and in Your perfect plan to keep me out of the fire.

That I have faith in You to direct my life is easy to say when the times are good.  Father, strengthen and prepare me to be able to live out my faith, even when the times are not.  Amen

Jeremiah 42:1-43:7

Oct 20 Example of obedience

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Father, 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 it!

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, my vote.  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.”  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 and 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 6 Your Word is my path

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“Stand at the crossroads and look;  ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it,  and you will find rest for your souls”.

Father, destruction was coming and You instructed Your people with this verse.

Yet they did not obey or follow You.  Do not let me reject Your wisdom.  Today I stand seeking.  I look to You to guide and direct my thoughts.  Show me the way to go. Help me be steadfast to walk in Your way.  I trust Your leading.  Even if it is not the “popular” path.  Or the one that seems “logical” at the time.  Or the “easiest” one that seems to be clear of obstacles.  Give me strength to be obedient to what I hear You saying.

Paul said it this way:  “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

There are many followings today, many belief systems that are portrayed in the media as right and credible.  Do not let me be misled by these false, socially acceptable representations.  You have taught me the truth.  And I have aligned myself with You by faith, by public profession, by baptism and by the way I choose to live.

Just as false religions lead me away from You, so do the attitudes that would bind me to legalistic practices that come from man.  Such rules and regulations that many keep, and look down on those who do not, are just as damaging.  Their obedience is based on human commands and teachings of men’s interpretation.  Believers are Your Body.  And when the members of Your Body obey only each other, they have lost connection with You, their Head.

Bottom line Lord: let me hear Your voice, and obey what You tell me.  Let me truly live my life for an Audience of One.  You.  Amen

Jeremiah 6:16-21; Colossians 2:8-23

 

Sept 8 Consequences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 1:1-31

Aug 5 Prophecies and Promises

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Lord God, from today’s scriptures it is clear that you have moved armies, governments, civilizations to accomplish Your will. You told Your prophets, who told the people, exactly what would happen if they did not keep their covenant with You.

Their choices were clear. In obedience they would receive Your blessings. Disobedience would bring Your curses and they would be removed from the land You gave them as an inheritance. Even knowing this, and being reminded by the prophets, their hearts were hard and they chose curses by their behavior.

You even told Your prophet Jeremiah that their captivity would last seventy years. And the prophet Isaiah gave the name of the king who would return them to their land one hundred and fifty years before it happened!

Sure enough, because of their continued disobedience, they were captured and taken away into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. Then the Persians came to power and overtook Babylon. Their King Cyrus announced he would build a temple in Jerusalem for the Lord, the God of heaven. Any of Your people in captivity would be free to go!

This happened seventy years after captivity began as predicted! And the man who released them as promised by prophecy was not even born when he was named by the prophet!

So I can believe with assurance in the prophecies You have given about the coming days.   All You revealed to John on the island of Patmos, and more about the end times. Of course, I do not pretend to know Your exact time table, but I know I need to be ready.

I need to be living like You have shown me, and being obedient to receive Your blessings. I need to be watching so I am not misled.   My faith must not rest on man’s wisdom, but on Your power.

I believe that I must “wait for You”. For Your wisdom, perspective, for Your perfect timing in my life. Help me be patient while I am waiting. Help me to “be strong and take heart”.

You will move things in Your timing: armies, governments, civilizations. You hold the hearts of men and kings in Your hand. And I believe I will see Your goodness, in my life, while I live.

Thank You for Your blessings. For Your promises. For Your prophecies. And for answering me when I seek Your face. Amen

Ezra 1:1-11; Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:13-14

 

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

June 19 Your Word, Your Spirit, Your Voice

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Father, how amazing that You sent Your Word through prophets to the kings of Israel to give them direction, instruction, correction, even advice on successful battle plans! You sent specific word to Ahab to determine that he should fight against the thirty-three kings and their armies and chariots assembled. You told him who should lead the attack, when, and who would win!

I often wish there were such easily discernable ways I could hear from You. If only You would send me an email, or write across the sky to inform me about decisions or concerns I face.

And then I realize – You have written me a letter! It’s Your Holy Word. If I take the time to read it, often, things become clear. If I had never read the Bible, I wouldn’t know that in it, You have already included instructions for godly, moral living.

You have already made Yourself very clear on many topics that relate to me today. Instead of hearing of and memorizing only scattered verses, I need to feed myself, and know the entirety of what You have to say to me.

So, reading Your word is a start. Studying it for a deeper understanding is also important. Then connecting the dots to how what You have said impacts my life, is crucial. Some Bible study methods have big words for this: observation, interpretation, application. Very simply, it is asking: What are You saying? What does it mean? What does it mean to me?

A big part of the burden to hear from You, then, is on me to listen to what You have already said. But to help me even more, You have given me, and every believer, the Holy Spirit. Part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to help me understand, apply, and live by what Your Word says to me. I need to pay attention to what it is telling me, and be obedient, not ignore, discard, or drown out what I hear.

Thank You that I can hear from You just as specifically as those who heard the prophets speak. You have given me so much more to help me in knowing You and understanding You

Thank You for Your Word.

Thank You for the Holy Spirit.

Help me make reading and studying Your Word a priority for my time and energy.

Do not let me quench the Holy Spirit.

And thank You that I can even talk to You personally in prayer. And know that You hear me. And trust that You’ll answer. What an awesome God! Amen

I Kings 20:1-22

 

 

June 14 Obedience – better than sacrifice

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Father, here there are three examples of people You told specifically what to do. The ones who disobeyed You, paid a terrible price.

1 Rehoboam, Solomon’s son who inherited the kingdom, was given a word by You through Shemaiah. Although it was Rehoboam’s plan to rally the forces and attack Israel, he stopped that plan, obeying Your instruction. All his army went home, safe.

2 Jeroboam had been told at his anointing, that he would be king over ten tribes of Israel, and have a dynasty as enduring as David’s. Jeroboam would rule over all his heart desired IF he would obey Your commands and walk in Your ways, and do what is right in Your eyes.  But he did not. He made golden idols and led the people to worship them instead of You. This led to his downfall and destruction.

3 A man You sent to prophesy against the altar Jeroboam set up, did as You said at first. His prophecies came true. But he was tricked, deceived into stopping to eat and drink where You had told him not to. He paid with his life that day.

Father, help me take seriously what You instruct me to do.

Strengthen me to be obedient – to change my plans if need be, in order to obey. Even if what You tell me goes against what seems to be logical human thought – let me clearly understand what I am to do, and recognize if I am straying from it.

Protect me from those who would deceive or trick me into being led away from Your command.

Help me, through obedience, to stay in Your blessing and in Your will. Amen

I Kings 11:29-39; 12:20-13:34

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.

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 

May 14 Choose Obedience

photo by Good Hand Security products

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Dear Father, let me learn the lesson of Saul from this passage of scripture. Let me remember that to obey is better than sacrifice.

Father, what You want is obedience: meaning I put what You tell me above all else.

 

I hold true to Your Word no matter what other people think or say. I do not bow to peer pressure. I do not change what You have sent me to do because I am afraid.

Saul weakened in the face of the opinion and pressure of the people, and did not obey completely. He even reasoned a way to convince himself he had indeed obeyed. But the prophet Samuel saw the truth of it and confronted him. Saul’s disobedience cost him the leadership of Israel. He would soon be replaced as king.

I need to remember that it is not how often I pray, or whether I make monetary donations to ministries, or give my time in mission work. The question is whether I have done what You have told me.

Help me hear You clearly, Lord. And empower me to be strong enough to follow through completely. Give me whatever I need, so I can stand in the end, and say I was truly obedient. Amen

I Samuel 15:1-35

Apr 21 Obey Your Word, Walk in Your Presence

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In today’s scripture, You give two passages that tell me how to be blessed. I acknowledge and desire to follow those instructions

 

 

Lord, help me “be very strong; to be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. I will not associate with those who do not follow You by invoking the names of their gods or swear by them. I will not serve them or bow down to them. I will hold fast to You.”

Lord, I can only be careful to obey Your Word if I know Your Word. So I will read it and study to understand it. I will pray and ask for understanding when I am confused or in doubt. I will not ever call upon the names of other gods, because there is no other God but You. There is none like You. There is no other name under heaven by which I am saved. Your power alone created the universe. I will worship You alone, and seek Your direction and wisdom for my life.

The next passage tells me “blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence”.   Father, I give glory to Your name only, because of who You are and what You have done. You are Most Holy God. You are all-powerful and all-knowing. You created the heavens and the earth. You created man and set him in this place to have fellowship with You. When he broke that fellowship by sinning, You made a way of reconciling man to You: through Your blood on the cross. And because I accept that gift I can walk in the light of Your presence once again.

The light of Your presence is where truth is revealed, nothing is hidden, nothing is feared. Your presence dispels darkness. To be present with You is to talk with You and listen to You – Your responses in prayer, in Your Word and through the Holy Spirit. It is to rest in You, fearing nothing.

So I rejoice in Your name. I trust in Your righteousness. You are my protection, my King, the Holy One. And I am blessed. Amen

Joshua 23:6-16; Psalm 89:14-18

Apr 13 God’s plan – not mine

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua 7:16-9:2

Jan 9 Creation – infinitely diverse!

I will praise You O Lord! With all my heart and mind and soul and strength! I will sing praise to Your name, for You are Most High! I will tell of Your wonders! For You have created the magnificent heavens and earth, and everything in them. Your imagination and creativity and diversity are beyond measure! Every time I hear of a new bit of biology, or physics, or chemistry, I am overwhelmed and amazed!

You thought up and created a tiny beetle that defends itself by shooting 2 separate chemicals out of its body that join in mid-air to produce intense stinging and burning irritation. You designed the beauty and delicateness of a colorful butterfly that flutters so gently, but has a chemical covering that tastes so bad that predators stay away from it. The list is endless of amazing developments, biological and behavioral, simply in the insect world!

And I can rejoice and be glad because You, this powerful and creative God, know me, and love me, and hear my prayers, and answer them! I could not be more blessed.

With the perfection in all You made, and how it works in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, I am amazed that we humans are so far from perfect . We are so frail and flawed, especially when it comes to knowing You, hearing You and obeying You.

Thank You for Abraham’s example of obedience. His faith was so great he left home to follow You to an unknown place. He made mistakes and had very human failings, yet was obedient to the point of being ready to sacrifice his son’s life as an offering to You.

I cannot even imagine how incredibly hard that must have been. Even with much smaller challenges and tests in my own life, I worry and drag my feet, looking for ways I can justify a disobedient response.

Teach me Lord. Train me to hear Your voice. Help me be obedient. Every opportunity You give me is a chance to obey. And You are with me, coaching me to win.

Thank You for these opportunities to draw close to You – in prayer, through Your Word, and in the challenges, trials and blessings of my daily circumstances. With every one I get to experience You. It builds and strengthens my faith. It deepens my trust in You. And I continue to marvel, that You, the Almighty Creator of the universe, who reigns forever, are my personal life coach. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Genesis 21:1-9; 22:1-24; Psalm 9:1-2

Jan 6 Choices

Father, thank You for showing real life examples that teach me how to make choices.

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Lot looked with his physical eyes only to make his choice to move to the well watered land to the east. It did not work out well for him. Keep me from rushing headlong into decisions based only on what I think I see with my physical eyes. Or on what my flesh leads me to from misguided appetites.

Instead, teach me to see with Your eyes, from Your perspective; looking beyond the immediate appearance of reward. Help me think through and pray through decisions. Especially when they also involve my family, work, relationships, where and how to live.

Help me weigh the consequences and let me ask, ‘Will this draw me closer to God or take me further away?’. And as I move forward, let me be ever mindful of Your voice, trusting that You will guide and protect me.

If my choices go wrong, help me recognize the sinfulness around me, and separate myself from it. Don’t let me tolerate evil or go along with it. Precept has taught me: “sin will: take me farther than I ever meant to stray, keep me longer than I ever meant to stay, and cost me more that I ever meant to pay. “

Thank You for Abram’s example. He heard Your voice and obeyed, moving even before he had the whole picture and simply started off for the land You would show him. Let me also be obedient without insisting on having it all laid out before me.

Help me act in faith when You call. Help me believe and trust in Your promises. Even when You do not act according to my expected or desired time table. Even when it seems like things are not going the way I have prayed they would. Even when it seems worse than at the beginning. Even when I cannot see You at work.

I know that Your thoughts are not my thoughts. Your ways are not my ways. You have the advantage of infinite wisdom over infinite time and infinite sovereignty with infinite power.

Thank You for teaching me through example after example, that I can trust that You always keep Your promises. You are Almighty God. And I worship You alone. Amen

Genesis 13:5-15:6; Isaiah 55:8

Dec 14 I am so Jonah!

sea-79836_1280Father, what wonderful lessons I’ve learned from Jonah! And about Jonah and about You. He is so human… And You are so God…

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

Nov 15 Help me live in peace

Father, Paul gives some tall orders here: “…live at peace with all men and be holy…”. Allow “no bitter root to grow up.” Make moral decisions now because the consequences may be too much to bear.

god-1772560_640Because of my human nature, these are sometimes very difficult things to do. Give me Your peace so I can reflect peace to those around me. Help me see what is important and what is not so I will not be part of foolish arguments, but will be able to live at peace with men, and women too.

Being holy means to be set apart or to be dedicated to You. Help me live my life with an understanding I am Your creation, here for You purposes. Give me guidance and wisdom to be the best wife, mother, daughter, friend, neighbor I can be. And when You give me direction, give me the focus and energy to follow through on whatever it is. If I am not inclined to be obedient, change my view, my inclination.

When I feel wronged, or hurt, angry, disappointed or jealous; help me see from Your perspective so the root of bitterness doesn’t poison my relationships. When circumstances seem unjust or aren’t going my way, diffuse my anger before it ”causes trouble and defiles many.” Let me consider what You would have me do in response to any circumstance, rather than just react from an emotional place.

These are tough assignments. And Father, I need Your help in my life right now! Thank You that I can approach You every time I need support in any of these areas. You are my help. And there is none like You. Amen

Hebrews 12:1-4

Nov 14 Help me run the race

Father, I love Your Words in today’s Scriptures! And so I pray them back to You.

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From Hebrews: “Therefore…let [me] throw off everything that hinders [me] and the sin that so easily entangles [me], and let [me] run with perseverance the race [You] marked out for [me]. Let [me] fix [my] eyes on You, the Author and Perfecter of [my] faith…”

Father, point out to me anything that is a hindrance to my being obedient to You; so I may follow the course You have laid out for me. I know You give me choices. There are many things I could do, many ways to spend the energy You give me that would serve You and be a blessing to others. But I also believe that when I am able to use the talents and spiritual gifts You have given specifically to me, I will experience more growth and more fruitfulness. In that role I believe I will have more perseverance, more joy, and more success than if I go off on my own. So I will fix my eyes on You, look to You for direction. Open my eyes to see You, and all You have to show me.

From Psalm 112: I pray that “[my husband and my sons] will be blessed as men who fear the Lord, who find great delight in Your commands. [May their] children be mighty in the land. [Would You place] wealth and riches in [their] houses and [let their] righteousness endure forever. Even in darkness, let light dawn [for them]. [Let them] be gracious and compassionate and righteous men. Let good come to [them when they are] generous… and conduct their affairs with justice. [Father, let them] never be shaken from their faith.”

“[Lord, let them] have no fear of bad news; [but let their] hearts be steadfast, trusting in You. [Whatever comes, let them] have no fear; and in the end, look in triumph on their foes. [Let them] scatter abroad their gifts to the poor. [Let their] righteousness endure, and lift [them] high in honor.” Father, if they are not as described here yet, bring them to this place. Draw them to You. Teach them. Let them know Your voice and feel Your love.

Lord, for them and myself, bring people and circumstances into our lives that will make us stronger, better, more obedient followers. Use others as iron to sharpen us to be useful tools in Your mighty hands. Thank You. Amen

Hebrews 12:1-4; Psalm 112:1-10; Proverbs 27:17

Nov 12 Make my Faith Light shine!

black-1837288_640Father, if faith is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”, I know that I have faith! There are things in my life that I have no control over, and no way of making happen, but I trust that You will work it all out for the best. And that means according to Your will. Still, I would ask You to increase my faith.

As Paul says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command”. And although I do not have a scientific understanding of exactly how that occurred, it has never been a stumbling block for me. I simply know that it was all accomplished by You – in Your way, in Your time, by Your Word and hand. Since I can trust You with the creation and the running of the entire universe, I can surely trust You with what goes on in my little corner of the world.

Some had to not only believe, but act on their faith. Noah was obedient in building an ark. No small feat for a five hundred year old! And Abram had to leave his father’s family and go to a far-off unknown place, trusting the promise You had given him. As I think of having to do either of these things, I wonder if my faith would be as strong.

There have been times when I felt You leading me to an opportunity. But because of fear, I hesitated and missed out on some of them. I could not see past the possibility of failure and ridicule to muster the boldness to act. And as a result, satan has used those times to make me feel guilty and defeated over the years, and waste my time wondering what might have been.

Till my twenties I moved almost every year of my life. I trusted that my parents would provide for me wherever we went. But I also learned a wonderful lesson. No matter where we went, You were always there. There were always new and beautiful sights: examples of the marvelous diversity of Your creation. There were always other believers to fellowship with. There was always a church to help me learn more about You. And when I prayed, whether in Arkansas, Texas, New Jersey, Kansas, Arizona or France, You always answered. What a faith building experience!

Although at this point in my life, I enjoy the stability of being in one location; I would follow You anywhere. Like the song says: ‘This world is not my home, I’m just a passin through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.’

Father, help me continue to believe, trust, and have faith in You for the things that are important. Help me let go of worry, guilt or shame when I don’t see things working out. Make me bold when I need to act. Let it be said of me that I lived a life of faith in You. Amen

Hebrews 11:1-16

Nov 9 The Shepherd’s Rod

Father, I can see a pattern in Your treatment of Your people. You revealed Yourself to them in Egypt and told them to “get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt”. And although You delivered them, they continued to worship a golden calf. Yet You did not destroy them, “for the sake of Your Name”.

shepherd rodIn the desert they rebelled again, but You did not pour out Your wrath, “for the sake of Your Name”. Then their children, who You led and protected in the desert, rebelled, not following You; but, “for the sake of Your Name” You preserved them.  Generations later, the nation of Israel continued to defile itself, and You acted to “disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries”.   However, You would not let them inquire of You, and spoke only through Ezekiel the Prophet. It was always Your purpose that they would be Your people and You would be their God. And Your judgment of them was just, as they “passed under Your rod”.

Father, 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, 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 do not 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.   I want to “pass under Your rod” for Your inspection and loving care.

This 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. It is 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. Inspect me. Look for any sign of weakness or disease in me. When so, heal me and I will be healed. Strengthen me with Your Word and with Your presence. Be sure that I am where I am supposed to be. I too, am called by Your Name. So 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 23 Waiting – hardest thing to do

pause-for-a-moment-393837_640O Father. Have I been like these people? It seems they were truly seeking Your will, and promised to do whatever Jeremiah revealed as Your will. But when ten days went by, they had already evaluated their options and had come to a decision they thought was best for them. It seems once they had made up their minds, there was no room for Your Word to be heard.

I wonder if there have been times when I came to You, pouring out my heart because I was so desperate and didn’t know what to do. Then, while waiting for Your response, I looked around for myself and became convinced of my best option.

Father, when faced with hardship and stress, would You help me be patient until I hear an answer from You.   Waiting can be very hard even in the best of situations. But when there is pressure to make a decision, or harm may occur without action, waiting can be unbearable. Help me bear it.

I’ve had people tell me ‘God can’t steer a parked car’. They ere encouraging me to get started in some direction, saying You will guide me once I committed to go. But sometimes that is not wise advice. I can become so committed to the direction I choose, that I refuse to course correct later.

When I do hear from You, reassure me it is truly Your Word. Even if it goes against what I might have thought, help me know without a doubt, that what I’ve heard is from You. While waiting, help me stay so close to You, that I recognize Your voice. And Father, empower me to be obedient. Don’t let me be defensive of any plan I have come up with myself, or think I know something You don’t. Time and time again, You have shown me that Your answers are far more creative, far more successful and far more wise than any I have ever thought up.

These people decided rather than stay in hardship one more day, they should go the way that seemed to benefit them. Father, if there comes a time when I must remain in a hard place, or endure Your correction, strengthen me to be able to do that. Even though it may seem I’m in the frying pan, I trust in Your wisdom, in Your perspective, and in Your perfect plan to keep me out of the fire.

That I have faith in You to direct my life is easy to say when the times are good. Father, strengthen and prepare me to be able to live out my faith, even when the times are not. Amen

Jeremiah 42:1-43:7

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 6 Your Word is my path

“Stand at the crossroads and look;  ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it,  and you will find rest for your souls”.

Father, destruction was coming and You instructed Your people with this verse. Yet they did not obey or follow You. Do not let me reject Your wisdom. Today I stand seeking. I look to You to guide and direct my thoughts. Show me the way to go. Help me be steadfast to walk in Your way. I trust Your leading. Even if it is not the ‘popular’ path. Or the one that seems ‘logical’ at the time. Or the ‘easiest’ one that seems to be clear of obstacles. Give me strength to be obedient to what I hear You saying.

Colossians open.jpegPaul said it this way: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

There are many followings today, many belief systems that are portrayed in the media as right and credible. Do not let me be misled by these false, socially acceptable representations. You have taught me the truth. And I have aligned myself with You by faith, by public profession, by baptism and by the way I choose to live.

Just as false religions lead me away from You, so do the attitudes that would bind me to legalistic practices that come from man. Such rules and regulations that many keep, and look down on those who do not, are just as damaging. Their obedience is based on human commands and teachings of men’s interpretation. Believers are Your Body. And when the members of Your Body obey only each other, they have lost connection with You, their Head.

Bottom line Lord: let me hear Your voice, and obey what You tell me. Let me truly live my life for an Audience of One. You. Amen

Jeremiah 6:16-21; Colossians 2:8-23

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

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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

May 14 Help me choose obedience

Dear Father, let me learn the lesson of Saul from this passage of scripture. Let me remember that to obey is better than sacrifice.

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Father, what You want is obedience. That means that I put what You tell me above all else. I hold true to Your Word no matter what other people think or say. I do not bow to peer pressure. I do not change what You have sent me to do because I am afraid.

Saul weakened in the face of the opinion and pressure of the people, and did not obey completely. He even reasoned a way to convince himself he had indeed obeyed. But the prophet Samuel saw the truth of it and confronted him. Saul’s disobedience cost him the leadership of Israel. He would soon be replaced as king.

I need to remember that it is not how often I pray, or whether I make monetary donations to ministries, or give my time in mission work. The question is whether I have done what You have told me.

Help me to hear You clearly, Lord. And empower me to be strong enough to follow through completely. Give me whatever I need, so I can stand in the end, and say I was truly obedient. Amen

I Samuel 15:1-35

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, 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. 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

Jan 9 Creation -infinitely diverse!

I will praise You O Lord! With all my heart and mind and soul and strength! I will sing praise to Your name, for You are Most High! I will tell of Your wonders! For You have created the magnificent heavens and earth, and everything in them. Your imagination and creativity and diversity are beyond measure! Every time I hear of a new bit of biology, or physics, or chemistry, I am overwhelmed and amazed!

You thought up and created a tiny beetle that defends itself by shooting 2 separate chemicals out of its body that join in mid-air to produce intense stinging and burning irritation. You designed the beauty and delicateness of a colorful butterfly that flutters so gently, but has a chemical covering that tastes so bad that predators stay away from it. The list is endless of amazing developments, biological and behavioral, simply in the insect world!

And I can rejoice and be glad because You, this powerful and creative God, know me, and love me, and hear my prayers, and answer them! I could not be more blessed.

With the perfection in all You made, and how it works in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, I am amazed that we humans are so far from perfect . You crowned us at the top of Your creation, yet we are so frail and flawed, especially when it comes to knowing You, hearing You and obeying You.

Thank You for the example of Abraham’s obedience. His faith was so great he left home to follow You to a place You would show him. He made mistakes and had very human failings, yet was obedient to the point of being ready to sacrifice his son’s life as an offering to You.

I cannot even imagine how incredibly hard that must have been. Even with much smaller challenges and tests in my own life, I worry and drag my feet, looking for ways I can justify a disobedient response. I can only pray that knowing You are with me every step of the way, You will insure I understand exactly what You say to me, and will prepare and empower me to take whatever steps I need to, to act in obedience to You.

Teach me Lord. Train me to hear Your voice. Help me be obedient. Every opportunity You give me is a chance to obey. And You are with me, coaching me to win. Thank You for these opportunities to draw close to You – in prayer, through Your Word, and in the challenges, trials and blessings of my daily circumstances. With every one I get to experience You. It builds and strengthens my faith. It deepens my trust in You. And I continue to marvel, that You, the Almighty Creator of the universe, who reigns forever, are my personal life coach. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Genesis 21:1-22:24; Psalm 9:1-2

Jan 6 Choices

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Father, thank You for showing real life examples to teach me how to make choices.

Lot looked with his physical eyes and did not seek Your wisdom in making his choice to move to the well watered land to the east. Often, You give choices and allow me to decide based on my own preferences. I do not always choose wisely. Remind me that when You offer a choice, I can still seek Your wisdom on the matter. Keep me from rushing headlong into decisions based only on what I think I see with my physical eyes. Or on what my flesh leads me to from misguided appetites.

Instead, teach me to see with Your eyes, from Your perspective; not looking only to the immediate appearance of reward. Help me think through and pray through decisions. Especially when they also involve my family, work, relationships, where and how to live.

When my choices take me places where You are not honored, help me recognize the evil around me, and separate myself from it. Give me self-restraint and self-control so I don’t tolerate evil or go along with it. Thank You for reminding me through Precept teachings, that “sin will: take me farther than I ever meant to stray, keep me longer than I ever meant to stay, and cost me more that I ever meant to pay. “

Realizing that choice often means change, help me think through all the consequences of my choice. In considering options, let me ask, ‘Will this draw me closer to God or take me further away?’. And as I move forward, let me be ever mindful of Your voice, trusting that You will guide and protect me.

Thank You also for the example of our father Abram. He heard Your voice and obeyed. He moved even when he did not have the whole picture, but simply started off for the land You would show him. Let me also be obedient without insisting on having it all laid out before me. Help me act in faith when You call. Help me believe and trust in Your promises. Even when You do not act according to my expected or desired time table. Even when it seems like things are not going the way I have prayed they would. Even when it seems worse than at the beginning. Even when I cannot see You at work. I know that Your thoughts are not my thoughts. Your ways are not my ways. And You have the advantage of infinite wisdom over infinite time and infinite sovereignty with infinite power.

Thank You that You teach me through example after example, that I can trust You and that You always keep Your promises. You are Almighty God. And I worship You alone. Amen

Genesis 13:5-15:6; Isaiah 55:8