Tag: power

Mar 1 Your hand

surreal-1447617_1920Lord God, I acknowledge that all power and all authority rests with You.  You are Sovereign over all the earth, the heavens and all that is in them.

You made them and by Your hand, all things are sustained and kept in motion.  When Jesus says “all things are possible with God.”  I have no trouble believing it!

There is no power that can stand against You.

So when I’m feeling lost, or overwhelmed, or helpless, or even hopeless, I will remember that my God can do anything!  You can provide a way of escape.  Or move mountains.  Or work blessings out of tragedy.

You know of solutions I cannot even imagine.  You can make a way, where there is no way.

You can give me strength when I am weak.  Lift my spirits when I am down.  You know how to encourage me when I think I cannot go another step.

You inspire me to begin a journey.  And empower me to keep going.   You reveal wonders to me that are beyond my understanding.   And were I to spend every moment of every day for the rest of my life, I would not begin to see all the things that are possible with You!

You amaze me!  I am so humbled and blessed, knowing that You are My God.  And I worship You.  Amen

Mark 10:27

 

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Feb 18 Living A to Z

ffzjspuwc_i-diomari-madularaFather, help me embody the alphabetical list of traits in this Psalm.

In his old age David gives us instructions for living.  Of course the Hebrew alephbet goes from Aleph to Tav, not A to Z, but what was true then is still true now.

It’s hard to see evil people prosper knowing that the wrong they do causes harm to others.  And when they seem to be getting away with it, I wonder where Your justice is.

But as David says, “like the grass, they will soon wither.”  And I must wait on Your justice, which will come.  My responsibility is to do what You have told me to do and live how You have shown me to live.  This is what I am accountable for.

As I trust in You Lord, help me do good to others whenever it is within my power to do so.  Let me find my delight in You, and not be envious of others’ ill-gotten gain.

Help me commit my way to You so I look to You for guidance and direction and not toward my own selfish gain.  Several times I’ve been in circumstances where I was wronged and had a defensible position to press for my rights. I did not speak out because I trusted in You to fight for my cause.

It was hard to do, but You did not fail me.  In time the truth came to light without my having to say a word.  You defended me and my rightness was made even more evident because it was not me who spoke out.

Help me be still before You and wait patiently.  Even when I feel I’m justified in fighting.  Being “still” here means don’t move and don’t make a noise.  So help me not make a move without Your direction, and not rant or rave or carry on.

Remind me that prayer is a mighty weapon.   Help me pray for myself, the situation, and for my enemies to come to a saving knowledge of You, and stop their evil ways.

Help me turn away from anger and wrath.  One kind of anger boils over into uncontrolled lashing out.  Another kind seethes, simmering under the surface plotting and planning revenge, building up, until the perceived hurt is blown out of proportion.

Both of these responses are damaging to me.  I need to remember that vengeance is Yours, not mine.

Following these instructions will allow me to live in peace.  Meekness is not weakness.  But it is power under control.  Help me live a Holy Spirit-controlled life.  Amen

Psalm 37:1-11

Feb 11 Omnipotent

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

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

How?  I don’t know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I praise You that Your plans stand firm.

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

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

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

Feb 5 Immeasurable power – Infinite gentleness

michelangelo-71282_1280“The voice of the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.  The voice of the Lord is powerful.  The voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks into pieces the cedars of Lebanon.   The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.  The voice of the Lord shakes the desert.  The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.”

Your voice, O Lord, is so mighty that it has the explosive power to burst open massive trees with a Word.

As deafening as standing by rapid waters that rush by, Your voice can be heard over that torrential noise.  As shocking and ear-splitting as a bolt of lightning, Your words flash with even more intense exclamation.

The vibrations that it would take to cause the sand, rocks and mountains of the desert to tremble are set off by Your utterances.  And the power of the hurricane wind that would twist trees and uproot them or tear away their bark, is found in Your mere whispers.

How is it then, that I can withstand this greatness and dare to ask to hear from You?

It is only because of Your infinite self-control that when You lean down to speak to me, You do not destroy me.  It is because You desire for me to know You and have relationship with You that I am able to hear and understand Your voice.

You have all this amazing power at Your disposal and could utterly destroy me with a breath; yet You seek me out, as You do each one of Your creations, to have fellowship with me and to reveal Yourself to me and to show Your boundless abundant love to even me.

“You give strength to Your people; and You bless me with peace.” Give me strength, Father. Bless me.  And give me Your peace.  Amen

Psalm 29:3-11

 

Jan 29 Omnipresent

Father, I truly believe that You created the heavens and the earth. And that everything in it belongs to You.

It blows my mind when I’m at a stoplight.

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I sit there in my car and marvel that no matter where I am, You are there with me.

And You have a specific awareness of who I am, where I am going, what I am thinking, the condition of my heart, spirit, and all that concerns me. You even know the number of hairs on my head.

Then I look up and realize You are also with every other person there at that intersection – knowing who they are, where they are going, what is happening in their lives, the condition of their hearts and their spirits

It’s Your quality of omnipresence.

Not only there at my intersection, but also everyone at every intersection up the road, and in my town. Beyond that, You are present with every person at every intersection in other towns, and in other states, in every country, every hemisphere, around the entire world! And that’s just people in their cars!

There are billions of people on this planet, and at any given moment, You are aware of each of them, and are present with them. Each one, every second of every day! It blows my mind.

Father, I love that You are omnipresent!  When I think of Your ability to be everywhere at the same time, I get a general sense of the great power You have, and think, “Of course, God is everywhere.”

But when I can actually picture specifics, like the number of people at my intersection, cars I can see, faces I can discern, and begin to multiply that by other familiar intersections, other towns; it quickly grows from proportions that I can quantify as impressive to numbers that are mind-boggling and totally beyond my comprehension.

And this is only one of Your amazing, immeasurable characteristics! No wonder Jesus said to his disciples, “with God all things are possible.

“You are the King of glory. You are strong and mighty. You are mighty in battle. You are the Lord God Almighty.” And I am in awe of You.

Thank You for drawing near to me. Thank You that in Your power, You care for and love each one of Your creations.

I praise You that in Your unfathomable greatness reaching across the galaxy, You are a personal Father who leans down know me intimately. I am amazed by You.

Psalm 24:1-10

Jan 20 Indescribable Uncontainable

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I continue to be amazed, Lord God, at the magnitude of the height of Your glory. You made the sun and stars, everything in the heavens.

As humans, we are just beginning to understand the depth of the workings of the cosmos.

All we know about our universe could fit on the head of a pin compared to what You were able to imagine and bring into being.

Even beyond our meager understanding, You had the ability, the power to create what You imagined. And by Your hand it is all kept in balance and in motion.

Yet, with the incredible greatness and the boundless vastness of Your power and sovereignty, You still know each one of us, each of Your creations, by name. I marvel at the love You have for us, and the care You take with us.

You can see the past and the future. You are outside of time. You knew when a famine was coming in Egypt, and cared to let them know in advance. You spoke revelation through dreams and gave the interpretation to Joseph. And because of that, people were saved from the famine, and Your promise was preserved; Your covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was upheld.

As great as You are, You still communicate with us in ways we can understand; as an example: parables. We can understand a crop with weeds sewn into it, and how harvest time works. We can see when a tiny seed grows into a large tree, or the action of yeast causing bread dough to rise. We know the draw and value of treasure and pearls.

Thank You for caring to communicate with us; to show us the way to have relationship with You: the Almighty God of the Universe.

And as we can only voice our faith and trust in You through the words we understand, we join with the Psalmist David in saying; “You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. You are my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to You, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” 

“I love You, O Lord, my strength.” Amen

Genesis 41:17-42:17; Matthew 13:24-46; Psalm 18:1-3

Jan 1 Blessing for the year

Father, in these words of Psalm 1 You tell me how to be blessed.  Help me, my husband, sons, and loved ones obey these words to receive Your blessing.

Oh Lord God, do not let us heed or walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  But let us recognize evil for what it is. Give us a hunger and thirst for Your counsel, Your way, Your truth and Your wisdom so we will be seated with those who know and follow You.

Let our delight be in Your law, Oh Lord. Let us read it, memorize it, recall it and meditate on it, thinking about how to apply it to our own lives and circumstances. Let Your perfect law color my thoughts and attitudes.

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Make us like trees planted by streams of water, which yield fruit in season. Show us Your perfect will for our lives and Your timing so we will produce fruit that will honor and glorify You and Your name. Do not let us wither, but keep us strong and hearty. Let all we do prosper and bring You honor.

Allow us to see that the wicked cannot stand, but are blown away like chaff before the wind. And that the works of the evil ones will not prosper or enjoy Your gift of Salvation.

Lord, please watch over me and my loved ones – keep us on the path You have set before each one of us.

I totally trust in Your perfect will for all our lives. May we come to trust You and Your guiding hand.  May we feel You watching over us.

And may that sense of Your presence be a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance. Amen.

Psalm 1:1-6

 

Dec 26 in God I trust

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Father, people look to many things to protect them, to save them, from hardship and the trouble of this world.  Zechariah prophesied Your judgment on people here who had put their faith in and were trusting many things other than You.

These people were skillful.  It is easy to trust in yourself when you have skills.  You know what you are doing and you know that you do it well.  It offers you a sufficient level of confidence and security to be able to handle what you need to make a living and build a stronghold for protection.

People today trust in their abilities too.  They believe they can trade their skills for whatever else they need: food, clothing, shelter.  Beyond that, they may also derive their sense of self-worth from their abilities.

They had many possessions.  So much so, that they are described as having “heaped up silver like dust, and gold like the dirt of the streets.”  When you have possessions, it is easy to feel insulated from need.  You can literally see your wealth around you.  If you have a need, you can always sell something to buy what you need.

Again, people in my day often trust in their possessions.  And they may also get their sense of personal value from what they own.

They had power.  When you have power, you can take what you want.  Your security comes from your strength.  As long as you maintain that strength, you have no need to fear anyone, or trust anything besides yourself.

People today trust in power.  They put their faith in their own personal power and their ability to control.  Or the power of their business, or their country, or their military.  They get their view of their worth from the power they can use to overcome others.

All these things are faulty reliances.

Zechariah tells me You will “take away her possessions and destroy her power on the sea and she will be consumed by fire.”  “Her” and “She” refer to the cities and the people who oppress Your people.  But none of these things they trust in will save them.

It is the same today.  None of these things: abilities and skills, possessions and money, power and might, can save anyone.  No one and nothing can stand against You, Father.

So I agree with David.  No one is so great as You, or more worthy of praise.  Your glorious splendor and Your wonderful works have been passed down for generations.  Your character is unmatched.

To a greater extent than is humanly possible, You are good, gracious, compassionate, trustworthy, faithful, and righteous.  You are mighty and powerful above all things, but are just in all Your ways.

And I am blessed, supremely fortunate, that You are my God, my King.  You hold me up when I fall.  You satisfy me with good things.  You are always near to me and answer my call.  You watch over me although I have done nothing to deserve all this lavish care.

So I give You all my praise!  I worship You alone.  I look to You and trust in You, no matter what befalls me.  I know that Your faithfulness to me deserves my complete and absolute trust.

 “My mouth will speak in praise of You.”  I will join with every other creature Your hand has made, and praise Your Holy Name.  Amen

Zechariah 9:1-8; Psalm 145:1-21

Dec 13 Holy, Holy, Holy!

Father, once again, a vision of such great detail and magnificence could be a scene in a fantasy movie, or one of those wild, imaginative video games!

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From John’s words, I can hear the rumbling thunder.  I can see the bright almost blinding flashes of lightening.  And between flashes, can see a halo of green glow, arching over and around a magnificent, brilliant throne.  I can feel the heat of seven torches with burning flames.

In the foreground I can see a shiny sea of crystal glass and twenty-four elders seated on twenty-four small thrones, but bending down to kneel before the magnificent throne, and the One who sits on it.

But in the center of my view, what captures my attention, are four huge creatures: the likes of which I have never seen!  It is truly the stuff dreams are made of.  Or nightmares!  

“The first living creature was like a lion the second was like an ox, the third had the face of a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.  Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under it’s wings.”  And these creatures fly; encircling the One who sits on the throne who could only be described as looking like beautiful, gleaming jewels.

I can hear the living creatures say in unearthly voices that resound with deafening volume and fill my senses, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”

It is so easy to think of You as my Father, my Comforter, my Helper.  But John reminds me here of Your immense Power, with a capital P; and Sovereignty, with a capital S!

You are Majestic in Holiness, Awesome in Power, Highly Exalted.  You are more than anything I can imagine on this earth.  You are more kingly that the most exalted king, stronger than the strongest man, wiser than the wisest sage, smarter than smartest scientist.

By Your hand, all things were created, and they continue to be in existence by Your command.   And not just people, which is an incomparably immense task in itself, but every insect, bird, lizard, fish, and mammal!

All that people refer to as Mother earth came from You.  And beyond that, the moon, the stars, the sun, the solar system, the galaxy, the universe!

There is none like You.  You are The One and The Only Lord and God.  You are the only One worthy to receive all the glory and honor and power.  Receive my worship.  I am in awe of You.    Amen

Revelation 4:1-11 

 

 

Nov 24 Help me walk in the light

Word lamp unto my feet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Peter 2:11-3:7

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

prayer conversations candle

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

Nov 1 Your Word paints a picture

bible-1089930_640O Father, what an incredible picture You paint!

I cannot even imagine seeing what Ezekiel saw.

I don’t know if I would fall facedown like Ezekiel, cower in fear or simply stand, transfixed, unable to move by the sight of something so magnificently awesome and frightening!

I can see it in my mind’s eye, like a powerful scene from a movie!  Every time I read the description of the four living creatures I find something new, and have tried to draw what You describe to increase my understanding.   But it was Ezekiel’s vision.

Your Word says Ezekiel was so awed by what he had seen and heard, that he “sat among them [Israelite exiles] for seven days – overwhelmed.”

Thank You that Ezekiel could explain what he saw in terms I can understand.  The words “immense fire…flashing lightening…glowing metal…burning coals of fire…appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day” are very descriptive, even though I feel sure that what he saw was beyond anything he had ever seen before.

Thank You that even today, You give us visions, glimpses of Your power, Your purposes, Your comfort. When I was overwhelmed with what I believed was a hopeless situation, You gave me a vision of how You had prepared me and were with me in my circumstances.  And of how You would deliver me through the storm.

Your vision comforted me and stabilized me to make it.  It has stayed with me and reassured me over and over again.

Thank You for speaking to us through Your Word, and also personally through visions. You who have the imagination and power to create things I cannot even fathom, have leaned down from Your position of sovereignty on high, taken my face in Your hands, and shown Your lavish love and abundant provision for me.

And I am forever amazed by You and am eternally in Your debt.   My Father.   My Creator.   My Savior.  Amen

Ezekiel 1:1-28

Oct 22 Holy Spirit fills with power and love and a sound mind

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Father, thank You that You, as the Holy Spirit are alive in me.  And thank You that the Holy Spirit fills me with “power and love and a sound mind.”  Father, help me live this Spirit-filled life.  Show me how to use these gifts the way You intended.

The Amplified Version of this scripture, tells me this power will keep me from being fearful, from cringing and behaving cowardly.  It tells me I will have boldness, courage, and authority that comes from You.   I will have access to Your love to treat people compassionately and caringly.   And I will have a well-balanced mind with discipline and self-control.

Father, remind me in times of decision making and stress, that You have given me a sound mind for figuring things out.  And that I can trust those thought processes when I ask for Your, the Holy Spirit’s help.

Father, I claim “You are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  You are the Most High and the Almighty God, and You allow me to dwell in Your shelter and rest in Your shadow.   The picture here is one of complete protection.  Refuges and fortresses are defensible places where one can be safe; safe from the elements, and safe from enemies.

It is not just a place I run to in times of trouble, but because You are my God, I can live there all the time.  I have a place of safety and security to operate out of, always.  There I can live, and there I can find rest.  Your rest includes elements of:  R- relaxation  E- enjoyment   S- security  and T- triumph.

Psalm 91 pictures this place as a mother hen protects her young chicks by sheltering them literally under her feathered wings.   And Your refuge protects me in every way possible.

Your protection includes the physical, emotional, mental, financial, spiritual; every way I need to be shielded.  I am protected from entrapment and disease.  In daylight and in darkness, I am covered.   Weapons, epidemics and mass death will not touch me.  I will not be overcome by disaster or harm.

But I will see the wicked punished.  I will receive help from Your angels.  You promise to protect me, rescue me, answer my call, and always be with me.

I have received Your salvation.  I could not ask for more.  Thank You.  Amen

2 Timothy 1:7; Psalm 91:1-16

Sept 28 Victory in Jesus!

Father, I desire to “be strong in You and in Your mighty power.”   And to “take my stand against the devil’s schemes.”

I realize that my battle is not with the people around me, or my circumstances, although I sometimes feel at war with these.  My struggle is “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  And the armor You have given me is perfectly suited to what I need.

roman shieldI wear the “Helmet of Salvation” – which bears Your insignia, letting all know in whose army I fight.  It guards my head, but also my thoughts.  It reminds me to take every thought captive and compare it to Your truth.

You have given me a “Belt of Truth” with which I can recognize the lies of the enemy.  Help me not be mesmerized by what I think I want to hear, so that I do not look deeply enough to recognize a lie when I hear it.

You have given me a “Breastplate of Righteousness” so that stabs and attacks glance off without doing harm.  With deeper protection, it is like the forerunner to the bulletproof vest which stops and arrests projectiles before they can hurt me.

You “fit my feet with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace”.   People may remove their shoes when entering a home or as a sign of relaxing.  But when shoes are put on, it signifies a readiness for action.

As a believer, my action should be directed toward sharing the “Good News” or the “Gospel” with others.   My faith in the Good News of my salvation gives me traction to be able to “stand firm.”  “So that when the day of evil comes, I will be able to stand my ground.”

“In addition to all this, take up the Shield of Faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”  This is not some little garbage can lid with a handle!  The shields Paul was seeing were those of the Roman guard.

They covered the soldier’s body and were wide enough so when they stood together it made a formidable wall.  And thick enough to block and stop sword, spear, arrow and javelin.

Father, every time You do what You say, keep Your promise, deliver me from some trouble, or stand with me in some hardship, it builds my faith.  It strengthens my Shield!  And when I stand beside other believers in their faith, I am protected even more!

And I take up the “Sword of the Spirit” – Your Holy Word.  There is such power in Your Word!  Evil trembles and turns back at the mention of Your name.  Praying Your Words back to You by using scripture empowers my prayers.

When I am dressed in Your armor, and wielding Your weapons, I am a mighty force!

Your armor is the best.  With it I can stand firm.  I can stand against the schemes of the evil one.

When You fight with me and for me, it is You who give me the victory!  And I receive the blessing.  Thank You!  Amen

Ephesians 6:10-17

Sept 13 Even in trials

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Father, whenever I experience trouble let me be like David is here.

He is being hunted for his life, yet his words vacillate between his trouble, his faith in You, and praise for You.

He has not forgotten the trial, but his focus is more on You than it.

Lord, there are times when I too cry out for Your mercy and “take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed.”

There, I know I am safe from any and every trouble that befalls me. You cover me from any danger with Your wings that offer complete and absolute protection. I know I can trust in Your limitless strength and care.

Father, You already know the difficulties I face right now. You see everything. No one is out to kill me as was David’s case. But I face problems just living with people because we are all so imperfect and hard to get along with. I face trials that come with change. Even when it is a good thing, it can be difficult to cope with change.

I have internal struggles: feelings that war within me against what I know is right and just. And I deal with unmet expectations and unfulfilled hopes. Some struggles are more upsetting because they are far beyond my ability to affect, like my cancer, and what’s happening in my nation or the world.

But all these things are in Your hands. None of them are beyond your help and influence. No matter the enemy, no matter the plot they have set against me, ”my heart is steadfast” in You.

So like David, I can pray. “I will sing and make music” and praise You. I praise You that there is no other power above You. I praise You for being Sovereign in all things. I praise You that nothing can thwart the plans You have made for me or anyone else.

Father, You are the Lord Most High. There is nothing that can outdo, out power, or outlast You. There is no one as faithful as You. So I choose to put my focus on You.

I praise and thank You with every breath I take. I choose to breathe in Your peace, Your comfort, Your wisdom, Your love. And I breathe out praises and thanks to the One: Majestic in Holiness, Awesome in Glory, Highly Exalted, my God and my King. And I sing it!  Especially in trials. Amen

Psalm 57:1-11

Aug 26 God of all comfort

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”  

hand-in-hand-1686811_640 Father, over and over I have seen this play out. I have seen someone in an ICU give, then receive, and then give back comfort as the circumstances changed.  We can experience such pain, and yet You know the comfort we need and You place people right there with us.

Sometimes it happens immediately. Sometimes, it may be years before I come across someone who is hurting over something I’ve experienced myself. You remind me of how You helped me through it, and I can help them. Or vice versa. Those past hurts help us reach out and genuinely connect with other people. It’s hard to imagine, but sometimes those places of pain provide a more significant connection than any other experience we have in common.

“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”  

There are times when there seems to be no place else to turn, and I think all is lost.   And I forget to turn to You – the One who has the real power to help me. When I hear of someone in dire circumstances, I often pray that they will turn to You, Lord. That You would not let the hardship and pain be wasted, but that it would bring them into closer relationship with You.   Partly because I believe there is joy in that relationship no matter what happens. But also because You are the One with the power to help them!

“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril and He will deliver us.  On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.”  

 You have delivered me in the past. And that in itself gives me hope!  “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name!”

Singing that song, for years I didn’t know what a “sweetest frame” was. It is anything else I might choose to lean on or rely on: another person, a pastor, a president, a doctor, my rights, what seemed fair to me. Everything will collapse under me, except You!

“Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”  

 It does not take “many” to pray to be heard and answered by You. You have answered prayers I have uttered only in my spirit, when alone. But when many pray together, then there are many to praise You, and to thank You for Your answer and good news. It reinstates the hope of many. And builds and strengthens their faith.

Thank You that You are the God of all comfort. Amen!

II Corinthians 1:1-11

Aug 22 Help me stand strong

valley-2575839_640O Lord, I have never experienced the misery and suffering of Job, but his pain and the depth of his despair are clear to me.   So it seems to me that what his friend is saying is terribly insensitive.  It sounds as if he is trying to encourage Job to trust in his own righteousness.

The belief then was that trouble came from sin, so Job should confess his sin to You.  The presumption is that Job brought this upon himself, and there is an easy fix.  But that is not the truth.

What I do like about what this friend is saying is that they all have faith in You, Lord and in Your power.   And that Job should “appeal to You and lay his cause before You.”  For no matter what the problem, You are the solution.  You always have the power and authority to act.

The friend spells out Your power in a way that encourages me.  “You perform wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”

I get to see some of those wonders and miracles every day when I see the strength of majestic mountains or the wide open sky, or the beauty of a sunset, the flight of birds, the colors of a rainbow, the faces of my loved ones.  Or when I see and feel and smell the deep velvety red richness of my roses.  Or when I feel the coolness of the air and smell the freshness after a rain.  Or when I play or hear music that reaches a place in my spirit that fills me with elation.

I too, believe in and trust in Your power, Your ability to do wonders and perform miracles.

One thing Job asks: “I would not deny the words of the Holy One”.  Job says that even in unrelenting pain, he would have joy if he could still stand strong in his faith and not deny You.

I echo that prayer Father.  I ask that whatever comes into my life, You would take me before I shame or dishonor You.

Strengthen me to endure whatever You allow.  You know me best.  And if something that You know is stronger than I have it in me to bear, just take me to be with You.

Thank You Father.  Amen

Job 4:1-7:21

 

Aug 17 Your Name, Your Word is power

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Father, most days I don’t feel like I’m in a battle. I don’t see people who “seek my life”, “plot my ruin”, or who are “hiding nets” and “digging pits” for me. Most of the time I live oblivious to the spiritual battles that go on around me.

But I believe there is a spiritual realm.

You speak about spiritual powers: rulers, authorities, and spiritual forces of evil, which have an effect on this world and on me. It may be a battle to control the minds and hearts of people; or it may affect actual circumstances. There are times I sense such calmness and peace in my spirit that does not come from my circumstances or the people around me. And there are other times when the atmosphere seems charged with negativity, an oppressiveness that feels truly evil; spawning confusion, disunity and fear.

It’s hard to put into words. But in those negative times, the waves of oppression are dispelled by calling on Your name: Lord Jesus Christ. I can speak scripture and am encouraged, strengthened by the power in it, as if I am wielding a sword, cutting through the darkness around me. It may seem the opposition is coming from a person or circumstance. Still, I do not pray against that person or circumstance, but against the power using or controlling them or it.

“Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.” Psalms like this one help me actually visualize what I cannot see in this battle, which takes place in the spiritual realm.

I can see You, Father, answering my cry, sending help to take up weapons against this enemy power. You pick up Your giant shield, strap on Your belt holding Your sword. You swing Your spear and javelin back and forth to ward off the enemy while advancing to my aid. These picture words help me “see” the fight that is before me, taking place in a realm I cannot yet see.

“May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away”.

There is a process of removing the dry, scaly outer husks of grain after it’s been harvested. For the grain to be usable, this casing must be separated from it. Pounding the harvested grain breaks the hull. Then the sifter tosses the grain up into a light wind and the seed, the heavier, edible grain, falls free from the outer hull. The breeze blows this outer piece, the chaff, aside, so the grain can be collected for food.

So now I can imagine these spiritual enemies, these powers that come against me, as the lightweight waste material, being blown away, tossed, whirled away from me, driven with the force of a powerful wind from You and Your angels.

“May their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.”

When a path is dark, I usually move more slowly to be safe. And if it is slippery, I go even slower to keep from falling; trying to plant every step. So I can see the evil enemy fumbling, slipping, falling, being hurt and defeated on a dark, slippery path because Your angels are pursuing them, chasing them down.

“May the net they hid entangle them.”

I can visualize the enemy placing a net so carefully to trap me, but then getting confused, turned around, falling into it themselves, becoming tangled in the cords and held fast. Or running blindly to escape Your attack and falling into the very pit they have dug to entrap me.

When I picture these scenes as I pray, I join the battle. I feel Your power and the defeat of the enemy. Thank you for the peace You bring with Your victory! “Who is like You”? There is none. I rejoice in You! Amen

Psalm 35:1-10

July 26 Praying Psalm 20

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Your Word in Psalms today is a wonderful prayer. “May You answer me when I am in distress”.   Thank You Lord, that I can call on You any time. You are never too busy to hear my cry for help. And there is no kind of distress that You cannot handle.

You can help me when I am physically ill, hurt, weak, or weary.   You can handle it when I am in an emotional or psychological state of anxiety, sadness, depression, worry, fear, or grief. You can uplift me when I am in spiritual turmoil or confusion or when I am feeling tempted.

“May Your Name protect me.” Father, there is great power in Your name. Yahweh! Jehovah! Jesus! Almighty God! El Shaddai! Adonai! Your name reflects Your character: who You are and Your attributes. There is such power and reverence in Your name, some even avoid saying it at all, in order to not take it in vain. They write or speak ‘HaShem’ which in Hebrew means ‘The Name’, referring to You alone. May HaShem protect me!

“May You send me help from the sanctuary and grant me support from Zion.” From wherever I am, You can send help from wherever You are.  Your help is better than any the world can offer. It can deliver me from anything.   It can help me bear up under any circumstance or oppression.

“May You remember all my sacrifices and accept my burnt offerings.” The sacrifices You desire are obedience and a contrite or repentant heart. A burnt offering is one that is offered up totally. It is completely consumed in the fire. May my life be entirely and wholly offered to You. May my words, actions, and attitudes all honor You.

“May You give me the desires of my heart and make all my plans succeed.” Father, make Your desires mine. Take away any desires I have that are not God-honoring. Help me see Your plan and join You there. And within this framework Father, “grant all my requests.”

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but I trust in the Name of the Lord my God.” What is considered power and might in the world are worthless compared to Your power and might. I will not place my trust in politicians, or leaders, or in any person. I will not trust my future to a job or a paycheck. I will not find my sense of security in fame or position, good looks or good health.

But I will rely on You, trust in You, depend on You. For You alone are trustworthy. I will shout for joy when You bring victory into my life!   And glorify Your Name! Amen

Psalm 20:1-9

July 24: 4 Gifts: Prayer, Plans, Presence, Power

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Father, there are so many comforts in this passage of Romans today. You are gracious to me in so many wonderful ways.

What a gift prayer is!

 

What an immeasurably awesome gift to be able to speak to and hear from the Creator of the Universe! Sometimes I am so filled with joy and thanks and praise, I hardly know how to express the overflow of my heart.   But Your Holy Spirit communicates for me what I do not know how to say.

Other times I am so filled with grief and sorrow I cannot even mouth the words for my crying and tears. And again, Your Holy Spirit knows my heart and conveys my requests for help to You.   Thank You for knowing me so well and providing for this meaningful non-verbal interaction.

Beyond prayer and communicating with You, I can know without a doubt, that You have my very best interest in mind and in Your plans for me. Because I love You and am Yours, I seek to know and do what You have purposed for my life. When I am in Your will, regardless of how things look to me from my limited perspective, I can trust that You have the power and the ability and the desire to work all things together for my good.

Father, help me know Your will so I can remain in it. Being obedient is how I can show I love You. There is nothing too difficult for You. And nothing limits You.

You have told me that nothing can separate me from Your love. No person, no trouble, no hardship, no persecution, no danger or sword, no famine or nakedness. “In all these things, I am more than a conqueror through You!” For “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from Your love!”

With all the experiences and emotions that I have, how comforting to know that there is no power above or below, anywhere that will keep You away from me. You can span any distance, overcome any obstacle, move any object, overpower any influence. Your love is not dependent on me or on anything I do. I cannot mess up so badly that it would keep You away. You will always love me. It is Your character and Your promise.

Thank You for these words of comfort, for these promises I can count on. Thank You for being You. Amen

Romans 8:26-39

July 14 The Bible: Your Gift to me

Father, David inquired of You through the prophet Nathan. Back then people did not have all of Your Word for wisdom and direction. And the Torah, the part of the Word they did have, was only known to the Priests. So, since You spoke through the prophets, that’s where David went to know Your will.

Bible folded hands

To hear from You now, I don’t have to go to a seer or prophet. I can read Your Word. Although it is not a privilege afforded to all people, it is still available to me freely in my country. Your Word, the Bible, is rich in wisdom, instruction, correction, encouragement, and tells me of Your great love for me.

Time and time again I marvel at how words written so long ago have relevance and impact in my life today. And how I can read a passage of scripture one day, but at another time, it jumps off the page to me with personal revelation and meaning.

Once David had heard from You, he sat before You in prayer. He began by recognizing who he is and then acknowledging who You are. That is still a good pattern for me to follow.

“Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” David wrote in Psalm 103, “You know how we are formed, You remember that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower in the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”

My life is so temporary and short. And I am formed from dust with the breath of the Living God in me to give me life. All I am and all I have was given to me from, and is dependent on You, Lord. I am weak and imperfect and I so easily fall into sin. Who am I that You would concern Yourself with me?

“There is no one like You, O Lord, and there is no God but You.” You Lord God, on the other hand, are One of a kind. You are Supreme, Sovereign, Almighty, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Forever Faithful, Eternally Strong, Infinitely Wise, Unfathomably Creative, Immeasurably Imaginative, Inexhaustibly Compassionate, Unceasingly Merciful, and Everlastingly Loving.

I am forever grateful and eternally blessed to have You as my Father, my Savior, my Counselor, my Friend, my Lord.   Amen

I Chronicles 17:1-27; Psalm 103: 14-16  

July 13 Creation Speaks

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

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

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

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

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

They know this, because You have made it plainly clear to them. Ever since You created the world, You used that creation to display and clearly reveal Your eternal power and Divine Nature. That means man is without excuse! There is no reason, when seeing this world and all that’s in it, anyone could deny Your existence, Your character, or Your power.

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

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

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

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

Romans 1:18-20

July 12 Give me victory

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Father, I want to be like the men You sent to be with David to make up his great army. These were men described as “armed for battle…ready for battle…brave…experienced…of undivided loyalty…armed with every type of weapon.”   I want to be ready for the battles I face.

My flesh wars with me, tempting me into sin. The world around me seeks to draw me into its ungodly values. The evil one desires my destruction. Give me the discernment to know right from wrong in these confusing times and the courage to be loyal to You. Help me be prepared to stand up for what is right.

You have given me weapons: Your Word, prayer, Your promise of wisdom when I ask for it, other believers around me for support. I know the power there is real. I have seen it over and over again. I have experienced Your blessings and amazing responses to prayer time and time again.

I also desire to be like the “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” Give me insight into the political and national issues and wisdom to understand the agendas behind the movements going on in my world today. Help me see the truth of things. Teach me to understand how to follow You and show me how to respond rightly.

Do not let me stand alone, Lord. You sent Paul “so that he might impart to you [other believers] some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”   In a similar way Lord, let me encourage and strengthen other believers around me, and let them encourage my faith.

Father, thank You for the friends and all those You have sent to walk beside me. Thank You for those who have prayed for me and for the prayers I make for them.

Your armor is the best. Your plan is sure. And I have read the end of the Book – You win!! I am so glad to be on Your team! Thank You for choosing me. Amen

I Chronicles 12:19-40; Romans 1:11-12

June 28 In God I trust

coins-1277095_640O Father, how easy it is to follow someone when they bring good into my life.

When the Israelites escaped the power of Aram (the opposing, oppressive king) it was easy to look at Jehoahaz, their own king, and follow him. But the deliverance came from You, not Jehoahaz, and the people continued to follow him in evil idolatry. Jeroboam, grandson of Jehoahaz recovered the lost territories and restored the boundaries to Israel, but also led the people into sin, doing evil in Your eyes.

Still today, military victories draw people to follow the man who brings them. People of my times follow, even worship, those with money, fame, political power. They are awed and swept away to place their trust in those who mislead and later, disappoint them. They support these ‘champions’ by touting their philosophies, defending their causes, sending them money. This is a form of worship.

Even good men, who desire to lead godly lives, pastors and evangelists, fail morally. And those who put their faith in them, lose that faith. I have looked up to such men: pastors, athletes, politicians, and been pained to watch them fall.

You tell me “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.”   My faith has always been based on You, and Your truth. It is You, who made the earth and the heavens, the sea and everything in it. You who works through men to accomplish Your will. And it is You, alone, who save;

You, the Lord Jesus Christ, defend, uphold, feed, free, heal, encourage, love, care for, and sustain me. You frustrate the way of the wicked in my defense. You are the only One who has the power to reign and rule in my heart. You are the Author of my faith. Your plan will never fail. It will never end, because You do not end.

Father show me if I begin to follow another person other than You.   I desire to stay on Your path. Do not let my foot slip. Do not let me stray one step away from You. I praise You, O Lord. You reign forever! Amen

2 Kings 13:1-14:29; Psalm 146:1-10

June 3 Jehovah-Jireh = My Provider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

May 28 Your protection

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

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

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

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

When I do not feel strong help me remember Your Word. Your Word is eternal. Its promises are true forever. Just as the earth You created still stands, Your truth still stands. Your faithfulness and love are steadfast and boundless. Thank You for the encouragement of Your prayer for me. And for the protection I have in You. Amen

John 17:6-26; Psalm 119:81-96

May 12 There is none like You

Because You can be trusted, O Lord, my heart is strong and steady. I am secure in my faith. I will stand steadfast and give You the praise You deserve!

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I will shout and sing! I will make music that honors You with all that is in me! I will sing along with praise music. Add my voice to those of others in praise and worship. And will compose new songs that tell of Your faithfulness to me!

I will stay up late to praise You Father! I will even get up early when the sun is coming up to honor You! Break out the guitars, pianos, cymbals, harps, harmonicas, drums, whatever instruments can make music that acknowledges Your love and faithfulness!

Your love is boundless! As high as I can see with my eyes or even perceive with satellites to the farthest reaches of our galaxy – Your love goes farther still! Beyond what is calculable or even imaginable! I stretch out my arms to encompass all I can measure from end to end till it wraps around the earth and begins again – that’s the way Your unending faithfulness is. You are over and above and beyond all that I can see or comprehend! I place Your name above all others. Your glory is limitless!

With just the power and strength in Your right arm, You can save me from any foe, rescue me from any enemy, deliver me from any calamity. Deliver me Lord, from the lies and deceit of the evil one. Do not let me be pulled into false philosophies, lying schemes, or political intrigues only to see the truth when it is too late and I have been corrupted.

I am Yours, Lord. Defend me and bring me to Your fortified place. Free me from the weaknesses of my flesh: selfishness, laziness, lust, jealousy, pride, arrogance, and greed. Help me against all these enemies. No one can help me like You. There is none like You!

With You, I am victorious! With You, nothing is impossible! Thank You for coming to my aid. Thank You for loving me faithfully. And for being lovingly faithful. Amen

Psalm 108:1-13

Apr 22 One True God

When I say, “I will serve the Lord”, these are words of intention and obligation. I do not just sit back and allow whatever comes to come, saying “It must be the will of the Lord.”  Saying “I will serve the Lord”, carries the responsibility to recognize and reject all other powers and gods that have somehow gotten into my life, and to act intentionally to perform service affirming that You, the Lord, are my God.

idolatry

What does serving and worshipping God look like?

I can certainly avoid setting up a statue of wood or stone and laying offerings in front of it as acts of worship. But in my world today, besides countless religions, there are many forms of “worshipping other gods.”   They are usually looked upon as entertainment or common sense.

For the sake of ‘entertainment’ many people are enticed by the idea they can learn the future, or “dabble’ in the occult.” They may read horoscopes, go to fortune tellers, read Tarot cards, play with ouija boards, channel or séance to speak to the dead, even summon satan. The “fun” they participate in opens their hearts and spirits to unseen powers of influence they may not realize.

The truth is, there is power there that scripture tells us to have nothing to do with.Participating in those practices is a form of worship. Believing as truth what is revealed there is attributing a godlike power to the activity or persons involved.

It is common sense to take care of our environment, reduce our carbon footprint, not waste resources. But there are those who do this because they believe in and worship the earth as a power itself. Environmentalism has become a religion, worshiping “Mother Earth.”

And then, there are some who elevate the desire for money, or success, or to look youthful to a level of worship, as it guides and motivates everything they do; how they make decisions, where they spend their money.

It is so easy to allow things I enjoy or love to become an unhealthy form of worship; whether it’s my children, my job, sports, movies, food, self.   Lord, help me be vigilant to worship only the One True God. And turn from any form of idolatry so that I only serve You. Amen

Joshua 24:14-24 

Apr 5 Power in Your Word

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Heavenly Father, thank You for those times I literally cried out to You to hear me and come quickly, and You did.

 

There have been nights like the Psalmist experienced, when in distress over circumstances, I sought You. I could not see a way out of or through my problems. And though I had gone to bed, sleep was far from me. My thoughts would not be still. With each issue, another failure or complication seemed to pile on until I felt so overwhelmed I did not even know where to start to pray.

It was then that I remembered when You spoke to me, encouraged me, lifted my emotional distress.   There were literally times when You gave me songs to sing, new melodies and words, to let me know You were with me and things would be alright.

But this time, I did not feel that. I felt far from You. And wondered if this could be the end? Had I finally reached a point where You would not come and rescue me, but simply take me home to be with You in heaven?

That actually sounded like it would be the answer to all my troubles. And while I believe You have shown me I have much to do before I die, there was a sense of relief in that thought. That’s when it hit me – this thought was NOT from You. It was from the evil one who would like nothing better than to sideline me – take me out of the game altogether! If satan can get anyone to believe the lie that there is no hope, it immobilizes and freezes them. Can even paralyze a Christian’s faith.

So I decided to begin praying – not about the circumstances that were overwhelming me, but any scripture I could remember: The Lord’s prayer. The 23rd Psalm. “I will love the Lord my God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength, and love my neighbor as myself.” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not die, but have everlasting life.” “Jesus wept.” “The Lord your God goes with you to fight for you against your enemies and give you victory!”

The more I quoted Your Word in prayer, the more calm I felt. Soon I fell asleep.

Thank You Lord, for sending Your calm, Your peace. Thank You for sending sleep. Thank You that in the morning, things didn’t look as bad as they had the night before! Thank You that I could see resources and solutions I could not the night before. In taking those steps back towards You, I felt Your presence once again. It was not You who had moved. But in believing a lie, I had.

“Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; You display your power among the peoples. With Your mighty arm, You redeemed me!” Amen

Psalm 77:1-15; Matthew 6:9-15; Luke 10:27; John 3:16; John 11:35; Deuteronomy 20:4

Jan 20 Indescribable Uncontainable

jesus-and-worldI continue to be amazed, Lord God, at the magnitude of the height of Your glory. You made the sun and stars, everything in the heavens.

As humans, we are just beginning to understand the depth of the workings of the cosmos. All we know about our universe could fit on the head of a pin compared to what You were able to imagine and bring into being. Even beyond our meager understanding, You had the ability, the power to create what You imagined. And by Your hand it is all kept in balance and in motion.

Yet, with the incredible greatness and the boundless vastness of Your power and sovereignty, You still know each one of us, each of Your creations, by name. I marvel at the love You have for us, and the care You take with us.

You can see the past and the future. You are outside of time. You knew when a famine was coming in Egypt, and cared to let them know in advance. You spoke revelation through dreams and gave the interpretation to Joseph. And because of that, people were saved from the famine, and Your promise was preserved; Your covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was upheld.

As great as You are, You still communicate with us in ways we can understand; as an example: parables. We can understand a crop with weeds sewn into it, and how harvest time works. We can see when a tiny seed grows into a large tree, or the action of yeast causing bread dough to rise. We know the draw and value of treasure and pearls.

Thank You for caring to communicate with us; to show us the way to have relationship with You: the Almighty God of the Universe. And as we can only voice our faith and trust in You through the words we understand, we join with the Psalmist David in saying; “You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. You are my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to You, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”

“I love You, O Lord, my strength.” Amen

Genesis 41:17-42:17; Matthew 13:24-46; Psalm 18:1-3

Dec 26 In God I trust

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Father, people look to many things to protect them, to save them, from hardship and the trouble of this world. Zechariah prophesied Your judgment on people here who had put their faith in and were trusting many things other than You.

These people were skillful. It is easy to trust in yourself when you have skills. You know what you are doing and you know that you do it well. It offers you a sufficient level of confidence and security to be able to handle what you need to make a living and build a stronghold for protection. People today trust in their abilities too. They believe they can trade their skills for whatever else they need: food, clothing, shelter. Beyond that, they may also derive their sense of self-worth from their abilities.

They had many possessions. So much so, that they are described as having “heaped up silver like dust, and gold like the dirt of the streets”. When you have possessions it is easy to feel insulated from need. You can literally see your wealth around you. If you have a need, you can always sell something to buy what you need. Again, people in my day often trust in their possessions. And they may also get their sense of personal value from what they own.

They had power. When you have power, you can take what you want. Your security comes from your strength. As long as you maintain that strength, you have no need to fear anyone, or trust anything besides yourself. People today trust in power. They put their faith in their own personal power and their ability to control. Or the power of their business, or their country, or their military. They get their view of their worth from the power they can use to overcome others.

All these things are faulty reliances. Zechariah tells me You will “take away her possessions and destroy her power on the sea and she will be consumed by fire.” “Her” and “She” refer to the cities and the people who oppress Your people. But none of these things they trust in will save them.

It is the same today. None of these things: abilities and skills, possessions and money, power and might, can save anyone. No one and nothing can stand against You, Father.

So I agree with David. No one is so great as You, or more worthy of praise. Your glorious splendor and Your wonderful works have been passed down for generations. Your character is unmatched. To a greater extent than is humanly possible, You are good, gracious, compassionate, trustworthy, faithful, and righteous. You are mighty and powerful above all things, but are just in all Your ways.

And I am blessed, supremely fortunate, that You are my God, my King. You hold me up when I fall. You satisfy me with good things. You are always near to me and answer my call. You watch over me although I have done nothing to deserve all this lavish care. So I give You all my praise! I worship You alone. I look to You and trust in You, no matter what befalls me. I know that Your faithfulness to me deserves my complete and absolute trust. “My mouth will speak in praise of You.” I will join with every other creature Your hand has made, and praise Your Holy Name. Amen

Zechariah 9:1-8; Psalm 145:1-21

Dec 21 Shield my head

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Father, what an incredible vision You gave John! As he describes the scene and the action, it sounds like a great cosmic video game! But this one does not play out over and over with a ‘reset’ button when the player fails at the quest.

 

The revelation John sees here: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” and “an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads”. These are not anime characters, but are signs that represent actual happenings. The woman represents Israel, and the red dragon, satan. Satan was hurled down to earth and roams here now, to “lead the whole world astray”.

The bad news: “woe to the earth and sea because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury…”.   The good news: “his time is short”.

Because satan roams the earth in his furious state, and has duped people into following him, I need You, Father, to “keep me safe from the hands of the wicked”. It is not only the evil one, but also those under his authority who do his biding that I have seen at work.

I know that sometimes, I don’t make wise choices, and must bear the consequences. In those times Father, I ask for Your forgiveness and Your wisdom to learn from my mistakes. But at other times, I feel attacked, caught by surprise in situations and circumstances I did not anticipate. I feel entrapped, tripped up, led into places, relationships, emotional states, and difficulties that feel like an oppressive force is orchestrating it all.

When I begin to feel discouraged and hopeless, when I find myself doubting Your goodness and Your love, I know there is some element of evil at work. Thank You that You have promised to “shield my head in the day of battle”.   Your helmet of salvation protects my thoughts and reminds me of Your truth. It helps me hold what I am feeling up against the truth of Your Word.

Thank You that I can be sure of Your love for me. Thank You that I can know without a doubt, that Your purpose and plan for me are good. Thank You that I know You will never, ever, leave me or forsake me. And thank You that the devil’s time here on earth is short. And a time will come when You will triumph over all!

In the meantime, I “will praise Your name”! And “live [my life] in Your presence”, in safety, with You as “my strong deliverer”. Awaiting Your ‘end game’. Amen

Revelation 12:1-17; Psalm 140:1-13

Dec 13 Holy, Holy, Holy

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Father, once again, a vision of such great detail and magnificence!

This could be a scene in a fantasy movie, or one of those wild, imaginative video games. From John’s words, I can hear the rumbling thunder. I can see the bright almost blinding flashes of lightening. And between flashes, can see a halo of green glow, arching over and around a magnificent, brilliant throne. I can feel the heat of seven torches with burning flames.

In the foreground I can see a shiny sea of crystal glass and twenty-four elders seated on twenty-four small thrones, but bending down to kneel before the magnificent throne, and the One who sits on it.

But in the center of my view, what captures my attention, are four unbelievable, huge creatures: the likes of which I have never seen before! It is truly the stuff dreams are made of! Or nightmares! “The first living creature was like a lion the second was like an ox, the third had the face of a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under it’s wings.” And these creatures fly; encircling the One who sits on the throne who could only be described as looking like beautiful, gleaming jewels.

I can hear the living creatures say in unearthly voices that resound with deafening volume and fill my senses, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come”.

It is so easy to think of You as my Father, my Comforter, my Helper. But John reminds me here of Your immense Power with a capital P, and Sovereignty with a capital S! You are Majestic in Holiness, Awesome in Power, Highly Exalted. You are more than anything I can imagine on this earth. You are more kingly that the most exalted king, stronger than the strongest man, wiser than the wisest sage, smarter than smartest scientist.

By Your hand, all things were created, and they continue to be in existence by Your command.   And not just people, which is an incomparably immense task in itself, but every insect, bird, lizard, fish, and mammal! All that people refer to as “Mother earth” came from You. And beyond that, the moon, the stars, the sun, the solar system, the galaxy, the universe!

There is none like You. You are The One and The Only Lord and God. You are the only One worthy to receive all the glory and honor and power. Receive my worship. I am in awe of You.   Amen

Revelation 4:1-11

Nov 25 Live in the Light, like Daniel

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“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;  wisdom and power are Yours. You change times and seasons;  You depose kings and raise up others. You give wisdom to the wise   and knowledge to the discerning. You reveal deep and hidden things; You know what lies in darkness,  and light dwells with You. I thank and praise You…”  

 

 

 

Father, these words of Daniel’s are just as true today. We still praise You! After all these years of season after season, You are still the One who keeps the world in order. And after generations of kings, You are still the One who holds their hearts and all power in Your hand. All wisdom and knowledge are Yours. Hundreds of years of human advancements and scientific discovery and technology, haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to understanding this amazing universe You created!

Father, Daniel held tightly to his beliefs about You and his convictions about how to live a godly life. And he did so in the midst of being kidnapped and taken a thousand miles away from home and family. As a young man it would have been so easy for him to simply go along with whatever his captors pushed on him. But even far away from family and the worship he knew, he knew that You were with him.

At the time, people worshipped pagan gods who they believed had power and influence over a specific thing like rainfall, crops, or fertility or a particular place.   But Daniel knew You were the One True God over all these things. And that no matter where he was, You were there.

“Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel.” And You were faithful to Daniel. You allowed him to be faithful to the ways he had been taught and gave him success. In addition to this, You gave Daniel and his four friends wisdom and understanding far beyond that of all others.

Father, help me be like Daniel. Strengthen me to live the way You have taught me, and not give in to the pressures of whatever society offers. Let me stand out so others will see that I live differently from the pagan ways of my culture. Let the light that dwells in You, shine through me. Amen

Daniel 1:1-2:23

Nov 21 Your Word is Treasure

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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. 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. I pray for the wisdom to stay on Your path.  I pray giving thanks when I am happy.   I pray for healing when I am sick. I pray for help when I am in trouble. I pray 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.   Father, 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

Nov 13 I am in Awe

Father, the city and leaders and people of Tyre had everything worldly possible to bring them success in material possessions and reputation. Yet, they fell. They took pride in their commerce and accomplishments and that pride kept them from worshipping You. They saw themselves as gods. And Your judgment fell on them.

Lord, do not let me think more highly of myself than I ought.   Thank You for Your example of being a humble servant.   As I try to follow Your example, if I ever think too much of myself, refocus me on Your greatness.

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Psalm 111 reminds me that ”Great are the works of the Lord…glorious and majestic are His deeds”. When I ponder all of creation, I am amazed by Your imagination! I am captivated by the diversity in size and color and design! I am overwhelmed by the power of Your mountains and seas and winds.

I love seeing pictures of majestic waterfalls, lush green jungles with brightly colored birds, schools of shiny fish swimming in the sea, brilliant flowers, water-colored sunsets. All this is just a part of what You do. Besides creating and sustaining all this, You have created the intricacies of each human body: from the tiniest of cells to the diversity of faces and fingerprints! And not just bodies, but You know the mind and spirit of each individual on the planet!   You’re indescribable – uncontainable – unfathomable! You blow my mind!

And a wondrous part of who You are is that You do not just set all this in motion and then sit back to see where it goes. You involve Yourself in the life of each of Your precious creations.   You speak, protect, provide, lead, feed, forgive, save. And all that You do is just and right. You have provided these later generations with Your written Word.   It teaches Your truth and Your character so all can know You, and Your faithfulness, Your uprightness and Your salvation.

You say “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. The Hebrew word ‘yare’ translated as ‘fear’ here, is used in this sentence referring to a person in an exalted position: You. Thus, the meaning includes a reverence, a standing in awe, whereby the individual recognizes the power and position, and renders the proper respect. Father, I acknowledge Your power, Your sovereignty; and give You all honor and praise! Let me continue to grow in wisdom. How great and awesome You are! “To You belongs eternal praise”! Amen

Ezekiel 27:1-28:19; Psalm 111:1-10

Oct 27 Yours is the power

lightning-bolt-768801_640“You made the earth by Your power; You founded the world by Your wisdom and stretched out the heavens by Your understanding.  When You thunder, the waters in the heavens roar; You make clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
You send lightning with the rain and bring out the wind from You storehouses.”

You are the Maker of all things, including the people of Your inheritance – the Lord Almighty is Your name.

Father, You are the One. You are the Only. You are forever my Creator and Savior. And no one and no thing can stand against You. No power, ruler, authority. Nothing in heaven, on the earth or below it. What You purpose will come to pass.

“The Lord reigns”!!! “Let the nations tremble”!!! Father, I believe one day soon, You will reign on earth. Nothing will be able to stand against You. And the nations will tremble.

Your people looked for You to deliver them out of the hand of Babylon. And You delivered. But You had an even greater deliverance in mind. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” When You walked this earth and sacrificed Yourself on the cross, that bought salvation and offered it to all. And now, the world waits for “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus”.

Father, You purified me with Your blood. You gave me Your Word to teach me how to live. Help me live as Yours. Amen

Jeremiah 51:1-53; Psalm 99:1-9

Oct 4 Fill me!

“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.  For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

 overcoming-1697546_640Father, I continually ask You to fill me with the knowledge of Your will: not my own or anyone else’s. Do not let me be distracted by the glitter of what the world would show me I could do or have. Or be swayed by trying to please others to earn their approval. Do not let me be led astray by my own sense of pride or selfishness. But give me a true understanding of how You have created me, with specific gifts, talents, personality and temperament, and how You would use those to accomplish Your will through my life.

Lord, would You do this through all the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives: not the wisdom of the world, or the logic of the mind, or the sense of the flesh. For these are the influences that so often affect my mind and decisions. I seek the wisdom that Your Spirit gives through Your Word in scripture, and in prayer and meditation as I open my ears and heart and spirit to You alone. Close my ears to all other sources that would seek to lead me away from You and Your purposes.

Father, give me Your strength, that comes from Your power.   Strengthen me physically when I need it. I do not desire to do great physical feats, but Father, sometimes my energy wanes long before the end of the day or the task. And as I age, I can feel weakness creeping into my body. Fortify my organs and my immune system to function according to how You created them to function. Lord, I also need Your support mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Empower me in all these areas with Your strength working in and through me.

Father, I ask for these gifts so that I may live the life You died to give me; pleasing You, doing good works that will bring glory to Your name. And that I would accomplish these in Your power and in Your timing. This will help me know You better and deepen our relationship. I offer up sincere thanks and praises with total joy, as a beloved and blessed child of Yours. Amen

Colossians 1:1-17

Oct 1 You are the strength of my heart

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Father, Isaiah is filled with the vision of Your triumphant return! You bring reward to Your people. You come avenging Your people, righting wrongs done centuries ago and ever since.

 

Even Your people do not deserve Your great salvation, but You will bless the remnant You have chosen and those who call on Your name.

Father, help me keep my eyes on that future. And my focus on You and Your promises, not on what is happening here on earth. Here on earth the wicked seem to be the prosperous. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.”

When I listen to the voice of modern society and how far it has pulled away from You and Your standards, it is easy to wonder if I am still on the right track. I see people who do not worship You who prosper so greatly, with seemingly no consequences. They amass influence and power and become the people who drive my society and its values. And I wonder: Do You see? Do You see what is happening in Your world? The one You created so carefully? So lovingly?

I seek to live according to Your principles, and it brings challenges and trials.

But I will remember Your promises. I trust Your plan. And these Words of Yours strengthen me: “I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel,  and afterward You will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but You?    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail,
  but You are the strength of my heart  and my portion forever.” Whatever the earth can offer is nothing compared to all You have already given me, and have promised me will be my future with You! Thank You! Amen

Isaiah 62:6- 65:25; Psalm 73:1-28

Sept 24 Strengthen me

“O Lord, out of Your glorious riches, would You strengthen me with the power through Your Spirit in my inner being.” Father, You own the cattle on a thousand hills, the earth and everything in it is Yours. And not just Your right of Sovereignty over all things, but the richness of Your character allows You to pour over me all that I might ever need.

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Father, would You strengthen me:

physically – give me Your healing in all the areas of my body where there is illness or weakness.   Increase my strength and stamina to be able to do the work You set before me;

mentally – when I need to focus, or clear my mind of distracting thoughts. Give me the ability and the diligence to take every thought captive to You, and to be alert to dangers around me. Do not let my thinking become muddled by the vain philosophies of man or the half-truths and lies of the evil one;

emotionally – give me relief from discouragement, sadness, fear, anger, guilt, anxiousness. Help me deal with my circumstances according to Your wisdom and not be led by my emotions;

spiritually –bolster my faith with the remembrance that no matter what – You are in control – that even if the fig tree does not blossom, no grapes appear on the vine, the olive crop fails and the fields produce no crops – I can still rejoice in You! And spiritual strength to recognize and combat the enemy, dressed in my spiritual armor.

Father, would You do this so that “You will dwell in my heart through faith”. Help me to “be rooted and established in love”. Lord, like a tree planted by the water, let my spiritual roots go down deep into the soil so I can draw deeply of Your love. You are love, so You are the true source of love that can strengthen and fill me. Father, help me understand Your love: “how wide and long and high and deep” it is. I ‘understand’ Your love in that I read about it. But Father, help me really know it, in my heart and in my spirit; not just in my head.

When I can fathom Your love, I will have wisdom that surpasses knowledge. And I will be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of You.”

Thank You that “You are able to do immeasurably more that I can ask or even imagine, according to Your power that is at work in me.” I give You all the glory and praise, for ever and ever. Amen

Ephesians 3:16-21

 

Apr 22 One True God

When I say, “I will serve the Lord”, these are word of intention and obligation. I do not just sit back and allow whatever comes to come, saying ‘It must be the will of the Lord’.  Saying “I will serve the Lord”, carries the responsibility to recognize and reject all other powers and gods that have somehow gotten into my life, and to act intentionally to perform service affirming that You, the Lord, are my God.

What does that look like?

idolatryI can certainly avoid setting up a statue of wood or stone and laying offerings in front of it as acts of worship. But in my world today, besides countless religions, there are many forms of ‘worshipping other gods’.   They are usually looked upon as either entertainment or common sense.

As an example, it is common sense to take care of our environment, reduce our carbon footprint, not waste resources. But there are those who do this not out of respect for Your creation, but because they believe in and worship the earth as a power itself. Environmentalism has become a religion, worshiping ‘Mother Earth’.

For the sake of ‘entertainment’ many people are enticed by the idea they can learn the future, or who say they ‘dabble’ in the occult. What harm is ‘dabbling’? They may read horoscopes, go to fortune tellers, read Tarot cards, play with ouija boards, channel or séance to speak to the dead, even summon satan. The ‘fun’ they participate in opens their hearts and spirits to unseen powers of influence they may not realize.

The truth is, there is power there that scripture tells us to have nothing to do with. Participating in those practices is a form of worship. Believing as truth what is revealed there is attributing a godlike power to the activity or persons involved.

And then, there are some who elevate the desire to succeed or to look youthful to a level of worship, as it guides and motivates everything they do; how they make decisions, where they spend their money.

It is so easy to allow things I enjoy or love to become an unhealthy form of worship; whether it’s my children, my job, sports, movies, food, self.   Help me be vigilant to be sure I worship only the One True God. Thank You Jesus, for revealing this truth to me. Help me recognize it in my own life, and turn from any form of ‘other’ worship, so that I only serve You. Amen

Joshua 24:14-24  

Apr 7 Your Strength Your Courage

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Several times today the words “Be strong and courageous” appear. O Lord, make me strong and courageous! Lend me Your strength when I am weak. Let me draw on Your power to accomplish all that You would direct me to do.

How will that happen? How do I appropriate Your strength? Reading Your Word is a good start. It is encouraging just to read Your words that sit by my computer today – “Do not fear for I am with you; do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

I have made a little flip book of 4×6 cards with encouraging scriptures. It lightens my load to flip through them occasionally, or just having them sit out, open to a verse.  They are like personal messages from You to me.

It also helps to know I am being obedient to what Your Word says to do. There is protection in simply being where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing. Even if You are calling me to a place of danger, if I am there by Your invitation, it is the safest place on earth I can be.

So many times Lord, You have protected me and helped me through hardships. Recalling those times helps strengthen my faith in You. Knowing how You came through in the past allows me to trust You more now, and be strong in the face of trouble. I journal only sporadically, but once made a time line of how You had impacted my life at crucial points. With my aging memory, it helps to see those times written down, that confirm Your faithfulness to me.

And You have put people in my life who I can observe being courageous with their own challenges. Some are in the midst of them right now. Some have already come through a hard time. I can watch and learn what encourages them. They are an example to me of how to get through difficulties. Some have even leaned on me. And when I need to, I can lean on them.

So You give me Your Word. You protect me wherever You call me to be. You Help me remember Your faithfulness in the past. You put helping relationships in my life. And most importantly, You promise Your presence: “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Thank You for Your abundant and everlasting provision. Amen

Deuteronomy 31:1-23

Jan 20 Indescribable Uncontainable

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I continue to be amazed, Lord God, at the magnitude of the height of Your glory. You made the sun and stars, everything in the heavens. As humans, we are just beginning to understand the depth of the workings of the cosmos. All we know about our universe could fit on the head of a pin compared to what You were able to imagine and bring into being. Even beyond our meager understanding, You had the ability, the power to create what You imagined. And by Your hand it is all kept in balance and in motion.

Yet, with the incredible greatness and the boundless vastness of Your power and sovereignty, You still know each one of us, each of Your creations, by name. I marvel at the love You have for us, and the care You take with us.

You can see the past and the future. You are outside of time. You knew when a famine was coming in Egypt, and cared to let them know in advance. You spoke revelation through dreams and gave the interpretation to Joseph. And because of that, people were saved from the famine, and Your promise was preserved; Your covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was upheld.

As great as You are, You still communicate with us in ways we can understand; as an example: parables. We can understand a crop with weeds sewn into it, and how harvest time works. We can see when a tiny seed grows into a large tree, or the action of yeast causing bread dough to rise. We know the draw and value of treasure and pearls.

Thank You for caring to communicate with us; to show us the way to have relationship with You: the Almighty God of the Universe. And as we can only voice our faith and trust in You through the words we understand, we join with the Psalmist David in saying; “You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. You are my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to You, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” 

“I love You, O Lord, my strength.” Amen

Genesis 41:17-42:17; Matthew 13:24-46; Psalm 18:1-3

Dec 26 In God I Trust

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Father, people look to many things to protect them, to save them, from hardship and the trouble of this world.  Zechariah prophesied Your judgment on people here who had put their faith in, who were trusting in, many things other than You.

These people were skillful.  It is easy to trust in yourself when you have skills.  You know what you are doing and you know that you do it well.  It offers you a sufficient level of confidence and security to be able to handle what you need to make a living and build a stronghold for protection.  People today trust in their abilities, their skills.  They believe they can trade their skills for whatever else they need: food, clothing, shelter.  Beyond that, they may also derive their sense of self-worth from their abilities.

They had many possessions.  So much so, that they are described as having “heaped up silver like dust, and gold like the dirt of the streets”.  When you have possessions it is easy to feel insulated from need.  You can literally see your wealth around you.  If you have a need, you can always sell something to buy what you need.  Again, people in my day often trust in their possessions.  And they may also get their sense of personal value from what they have.

They had power.  When you have power, you can take what you want.  Your security comes from your strength.  As long as you maintain that strength, you have no need to fear anyone, or trust anything besides yourself.  People today trust in power.  They put their faith in their own personal power and their ability to control.  Or the power of their business, or their country, or their military.  They get their view of their worth from the power they can use to overcome others.

All these things are faulty reliances.  Zechariah tells me You will “take away her possessions and destroy her power on the sea and she will be consumed by fire.”  “Her” and “She” refer to the cities and the people who oppress Your people.  But none of these things they trust in will save them.

It is the same today.  None of these things: abilities and skills, possessions and money, power and might, can save anyone.  No one and nothing can stand against You, Father.

So I agree with David.  No one is so great as You, or more worthy of praise.  Your glorious splendor and Your wonderful works have been passed down for generations.  Your character is unmatched.  To a greater extent than is humanly possible, You are good, gracious, compassionate, trustworthy, faithful, and righteous.  You are mighty and powerful above all things, but are just in all Your ways.

And I am blessed, supremely fortunate, that You are my God, my King.  You hold me up when I fall.  You satisfy me with good things.  You are always near to me, and answer my call.  You watch over me, although I have done nothing to deserve all this lavish care.  So I give You all my praise!  I worship You alone.  I look to You and trust in You, no matter what befalls me.  I know that Your faithfulness to me deserves my complete and absolute trust.  “My mouth will speak in praise of You.”  I will join with every other creature Your hand has made, and praise Your Holy Name.  Amen

Zechariah 9:1-17; Psalm 145:1-21