Tag: provision

Jan 28 My forgiving Shepherd

Jesus ShepherdLord Jesus, thank You for reminding me that I need to forgive others. The parable You share with Your disciples clearly depicts that I have been forgiven so much more than I can ever repay. From day to day, I forget that; and it seems so easy to harbor ill will toward those who hurt me, and want to see them punished.

It feels like if I forgive them, I’m letting them get away with something, releasing them from the consequences or punishment of their hurtful actions. Some who have grieved me don’t even ask for forgiveness.

The truth is: I am the one set free when I forgive. And I am being obedient. So I am doubly blessed when I can forgive others. Help me remember this the next time I face these circumstances.

And show me right now if there is someone that I haven’t forgiven. Lead me through whatever steps I need to take to get right with them and right with You.

The 23rd Psalm is the first passage of scripture I memorized. You tell us to hide Your Word in our hearts, and this is one that I did. Thank You that You are my Good Shepherd. Don’t know that I like being characterized as a sheep all that much; they are such smelly, stupid animals.

But I understand a lot of accurate parallels can be drawn. And the depiction of the care and protection the shepherd provides paints a wonderful picture of Your love for man and for me.

Thank You for providing for my needs. Thank You for knowing when I need to rest and be restored; and for affording those times of rest and restoration, making sure I have what I need physically and spiritually.

Thank You for leading me in the path You have chosen for me; and for being there with me so there is no need to fear. When evil threatens, I am calmed and quieted by trusting Your presence and Your ability to defend me completely.

I draw strength from Your promises to protect and provide for me all the days of my life, and then to take me to be with You for all eternity. My Shepherd. My Savior. Amen

Matthew 18:23-35; Psalm 23

 

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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 27 A sheep in Your flock

Father, the picture You paint for Zechariah of Your people is “the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.”

CindySheepMany times sheep get themselves into trouble on their own.  They wander away, eat what they shouldn’t, become prey for wolves or lions.  They get caught in thorns, fall into deep water, or become lost.  But no danger is greater than that of not having a good shepherd.

A shepherd provides for his sheep in so many ways.

He looks out for them.  He prepares good pasture by removing noxious and poisonous weeds before the sheep get there.  He makes sure the area has sufficient clean, still water for them to drink.

He protects them from predators, and goes after them when they wander off.  He carefully examines them to see if they are in need of medicine to keep them healthy and free from parasites.

He provides shelter from inclement weather and moves them to new pastures before the grass becomes over-grazed; or to completely new areas when the weather turns too cold.

Israel’s priests and leaders were not being good shepherds to the people.  And You pronounced “Woe to the worthless shepherd who deserts the flock!” 

But blessed am I – for You are my Good Shepherd!  You do not turn me over for slaughter.  “You are the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – You remain faithful forever.”

When I get into trouble, You answer my call and come to my rescue.

When I wander, You call me back.  I know Your voice because You have called me by name, and I have learned I can trust that voice.

You give me the Holy Spirit that speaks to me and warns me away from poisonous things that would make me sick; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

You protect me from the evil one who prowls around like a predatory lion looking for someone to devour. When I get caught in thorny situations, You provide a way of escape.  If I will but keep my eyes and ears open for Your leading, I will see the way out.

When I fall into deep water, or walk out there on my own, You are with me in the water, and You do not let the flood overtake me.

You are my Help!  You are my Hope!  You are my Good Shepherd.  And “I will praise You all my life.”  Amen

Zechariah 10:1-3; Psalm 146:1-10

 

Sept 18 Always Your child

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Father, thank You for making me Your heir.  Thank You for sending Your Spirit into my heart so I can call out “Abba, Father”.

 

 

Just like with my earthly parents, my position as their child will never change.  I may move far away, or be upset with them, or they with me, but I will always be their child.  The quality of our relationship may have its ups and downs.  So the closeness of our interaction may fluctuate, but my position as their child remains the same.

You have given me the full rights of being Your child and Your heir.  As such; “My salvation comes from You…My soul finds rest in You alone…You alone are my Rock, my fortress…I will never be shaken.”

Things may happen to me that shake my confidence in other people, in circumstances, in things I have come to depend on, even in myself.  But in You I will always find hope.  I will always be able to rest in Your abundant provision and security.  I will always know that even if I cannot understand, that Your purpose and Your plan will not be thwarted.

Many words describe safe places here on earth: refuge, fortress, tower, stronghold.  These are solid, unshakable places people run to for safety.  These are the exact words scripture uses to describe You!  Father, You are all these and more.  In You I can be shielded. I am protected, I am safe.

When needed, I can pour out my heart to You.  You listen.  And You comfort.  You give me wisdom.  And encourage me.  Lord, give me Your wisdom now.  Let me see Your perspective on the difficulties and challenges in my life right now.

I am resting in You, and I am hopeful.  Show me the next step I should take.  Do not let me get ahead of Your plan or Your timing.   Give me the patience I need to see Your blessing come to fruition.

I trust You.  I know that “You are strong, and that You are loving.”  I will wait with You, my Father.  Amen

Galatians 3:23-4:7; Psalm 62:1-12

Sept 11 Seek God’s Wisdom and Blessing

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

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First they “rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah.”  These were the softly running streams of Northern Israel that brought water to provide abundant harvests of grain, and represented the provision You afforded them as a blessing.

Yet the people were not satisfied with what You supplied. They sought other gods. So You brought against them “mighty floodwaters of the River – the king of Assyria with all his pomp…to overflow all its channels, run over all its banks and sweep onto Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck.”

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

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

In my world, there are so many places people can go to discern a direction for their lives. Palm readers, mediums, and spiritualists still exist. Tarot cards and daily horoscopes have become a guide for actions people take in their relationships, their finances, their business and social lives. “…Should not a people inquire of their God?”

Lord, I will seek wisdom from You, in Your Word and in prayer, Father, speak to me, direct me. Show me the way to go when I have decisions to make. Do not let me be drawn to the darkness of the occult.

Lastly, when judgment began to fall on the people, their response was not humility and repentance. Instead, “they say with pride and arrogance of heart, the bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” 

In their arrogance, they missed the message to come back to worship You. They responded seeing only a construction problem; saying they would rebuild with stronger, more resilient materials.

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

Father, if and when You send me a message like this, tenderize my heart to see to the real problem. Do not let me ignore the spiritual issues in my life. Prompt me to respond with humility and repentance.

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

Thank You for these lessons. Help me remember them. Amen

Isaiah 8:1-9:21

Aug 7 Watching, Protecting, Directing

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Father, I pray You would protect me as You protected those who “set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem.”   They returned to the land You had given their people after living in exile in Babylon for seventy years.

When they returned, they were faced with opposition from the ones who had taken over their land. Also from bureaucrats and officials who tried to stop the work of rebuilding the temple. They tried intimidation and challenged the authority the people had to do this work.

The evil officials even wrote a letter to King Darius, with the intention of stopping the work altogether. But Your Word says “the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews and they were not stopped…”

The response to the letter backfired on the officials. A search was made in the records, and it was found that indeed, King Cyrus had decreed that the temple in Jerusalem be rebuilt. Also, the costs were to be paid by the by the royal treasury.

This meant that the very people who had hoped to stop the project, and even schemed to do so; now not only had to support the Jews in their rebuilding efforts, but pay them as well! And not just supplies for the temple, but for the offerings too, on pain of death!

Lord, I do not hear You telling me to build You a temple. I do not even see a great plan unfolding whereby I will have a significant impact on others. But, I seek to do all You have shown me:

walk in the power of Your Spirit,

worship You,

pray, sing, make music,

write down the wisdom You share with me,

treat people with Your love,

be obedient to do what You show me,

align my attitudes and behaviors with Your teachings,

share my faith,

and make time to listen to Your voice.

Grant me what You provided for these Jews in their task. As You sent them prophets, let me hear Your voice, encouraging and guiding me. Allow Your “eye” to watch over me so I am not stopped in being obedient to You.

Turn any opposition, intimidation or forces that come against me, back on themselves, and cause their plans against me to backfire. And even change them from enemies into co-workers that assist me in Your work.

Father, as You did for them, “give me strength and bless me with peace.” Amen

Ezra 5:1-6:22; Psalm29:11

July 9 You are my Refuge

“Lord my God, I take refuge in You; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.”

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Father, I don’t use the word ‘refuge’ too often. But from the time I was young, I remember hearing about ‘refugees’ escaping other countries because the circumstances they lived in were so bad they had to flee to even survive. Some came on boats with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They had no food, no other clothing, no source of help. But they believed if they could only reach America, there would be hope and the possibility of a new, safe, good life.

So a ‘refuge’ is the place they go. It is the place where there is safety, protection, relief, shelter, help, provision.   It allows security from the pursuit of danger or trouble. So as these people fled the threats of their government and political and physical danger to find refuge in America, so I can come to You to find relief from the onslaught of attacks against me.

The flesh, the world and the evil one are all influences that war against Your wisdom, Your plan and Your purpose for my life. So I ask You to come to my aid. Defend me against all that seeks to destroy me, my godly relationships, my adoration and worship of You, my ministry in Your name, and my freedom to read and study Your Word.

The evil one seeks to keep me fearful, discouraged, frustrated, and make my faith in You waver because of difficult circumstances. He desires my financial ruin, the destruction of my marriage, the smearing of my reputation, and personal moral failure. The enemy is always crouching at my door, waiting to devour me.

So I ask, “Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies… O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart…You will not back down from the fight, but will sharpen Your sword; and will bend and string Your bow. You have prepared deadly weapons; and have made ready Your flaming arrows.”

And “I will give thanks to You because of Your righteousness and will sing praise to Your name: The Lord Most High.” Thank You for being my refuge; for delivering me from the hand of the evil one who comes to harm, kill, and destroy.

You are more powerful than anything he can bring against me. You are more powerful than all the world can throw at me, or even that my flesh can tempt me with. I trust in You. You are my refuge. Amen

Psalm 7:1-17

 

June 26 You are my God

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“Praise be to You Lord! You are my Rock. You train my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” And I am in a battle Lord. A battle between good and evil rages in my country, my society, and even in myself. Help me stand firm for godly values amidst the onslaught of evil influences that elevate greed, selfishness, lust, envy, pride, laziness, murder, and all sorts of immorality.

“You are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. My shield, in whom I take refuge…Part the heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightening and scatter the enemies; shoot Your arrows and rout them. Reach down Your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.”  

Father, You never promised I would not have to face difficulties, but You have promised to always be with me. You have said “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you…”. Help me take hold of Your hand and stand strong against the rushing waters the enemy sends to sweep me off my feet. Let me see through the veil of lies and deceit the enemy would use against me.

Make my sons “like well-nurtured plants”.   As plants need water, light and soil, let them grow strong and walk in the light of the “Son”.   Let them be watered by the Holy Spirit to revive and refresh them with Living Water. Give them a rich faith to nourish and feed them so they will produce fruit in season as a fruitful vine in Your care. Father, prune them to increase their fruitfulness so their lives bring honor and glory to You.   Make “my daughters like pillars”: strong and straight, beautiful to adorn a palace, of resilient character to stand for and display godly values.

Father, in rescuing me, You have “filled my barns with every kind of provision.” You know what I need to meet the coming challenges You allow into my life. Meet those needs in a way that I know without a doubt that You have done it.

Prepare me to face challenges in faith and strength of character so I will be a strong witness for You. Meet my physical and economic needs. Bless my household out of Your abundant provision.   Show me how to share with others from the bounty You provide for me.

You have my thanks and my praise. “I will sing a new song to You.” You are my God. And I am blessed. Amen

Psalm 144:1-15; Isaiah 43:1-13

June 18 You know what I need

prayer answers

Father, how reassuring to know that You listen to me; that You pay attention to my prayers. You listened to Elijah when he was so burned out. And to the believers gathered in Jerusalem who interceded for Paul’s release.

I too, have had times when I felt burned out; when I had done all I could possibly do, and was at the end of myself. With Elijah, You provided for him and gave him a plan. You appeared as an angel and fed him, then gave him directions for a personal meeting with You.   When he responded that he was overwhelmed and done, You gave him release from his ministerial duties.

You allowed Elijah to anoint replacements. Hazael and Jehu would take over the battle against the idolatrous rulers and people. And Elisha would become the next prophet. You heard the needs of Elijah and answered. How reassuring to know that You know me and know my limitations too, and will always have a plan to help me cope.

The believers in Jerusalem prayed; You responded with an angel to released Peter from prison, sparing his life. This was a miracle, as he was literally shackled to two guards, and under the watch of sixteen of Herod’s soldiers!   How heartening to know that when You answer prayer, physical restrictions cannot limit You!

Already in my life I have seen answers to prayer. Sometimes the answer is “Yes”. Sometimes it is “No” for one reason or another, or “Wait”. Sometimes, it is “I will answer your prayer, child, but I have a better plan.” And I am usually amazed that You find ways of answering that surprise and delight me: things I had never thought of!

Thank You Father, that You are not limited by what I can think of as solutions to difficulties and problems. Thank You that Your power is not limited; it is boundless! Thank You that You are merciful and wise in Your answers: not always giving me what I ask for. Thank You, that You, the God of the Universe, listen to and answer prayer. Amen

I Kings 19:1-21; Acts 12: 1-19

Apr 19 Only God can make a tree…

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”

I am sick of waiting for some people to make good on their promises. The delays that come are hard to take. Even when I can understand there may be a good and logical reason behind postponements, it doesn’t make the waiting any easier. And when no reason is apparent, the frustration builds up and I literally feel ill.

This happens time and time again when I put my hope in people. The wondering if they will come through, the anxiousness of not knowing when things can be planned due to the uncertainty, the anticipation of desiring something but having it drag on indefinitely – all these things bring mental exhaustion and emotional collapse!

but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

camperdown-elm-316360_640When I think of all a tree provides, it is comforting.

A tree is beautiful to look at. It is sturdy and provides shelter to sit or stand under or hide behind. It’s boughs and leaves give shade from the heat. I can lean up against it, climb it, sit in it, hide in it.   Depending on the type, it’s leaves may be a balm of healing, or its fruit may be nourishment.  A tree of life is life giving and life sustaining.

This verse paints a beautiful picture of Your provision in a world where there can be so much disappointment.

Thank You Father, that all Your promises are true. You promise salvation and You deliver. Your mercy and grace are renewed every day. You always forgive and never leave me. All this is according to Your Word, Your promise.

Father, I place my trust, my hope in You. If I have hopes or longings that are not honoring to You, please remove them. Do not let me become sick waiting or hoping for something that is not right for me. Show me if I need to move my focus or change my perspective.

When I need to wait on Your plan or purpose, help me wait patiently, purposefully and prayerfully. And when my longings are fulfilled, remind me to thank You and give You the credit.

For all You have already done, and for all You will do, thank You Father. Amen

Proverbs 13:12

Mar 27 Not by bread alone

notbybreadalonemimeLord, today’s scripture passages are so rich, it is hard to chose one area of prayer focus. In these verses You are instructive, encouraging, illustrative, and give warnings. All are important. But the ones that speak to me the most, remind me of how You care for me and how I should behave in response to that care and commitment.

I am holy to You, Lord. That doesn’t mean I am perfect, but that I am set apart for You. I have value because of who I am in Your eyes; and You have a purpose for me. You did not set Your affection on me because I was the biggest, or best, for I was the least. There is nothing I could have done to make You love me. But because You love me, You promise to bring me out with a mighty hand and redeem me from the land of slavery and its power: this world and its distressing values. “The Lord my God IS God! You are the faithful God, keeping Your covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love You and keep Your commands!”

“But those who hate You, You will repay to their face by destruction.” Therefore I need to pay attention to what You say and how You direct me, so that I can live victoriously and be strong in the place You are bringing me. You always keep Your promises to me. You love and bless me.

You have provided for me in the past. Although You provided physical sustenance for me, You also taught me that there is more. I do not live on ‘bread’ alone, but my soul longs for a peace and wholeness that comes from my relationship with You and Your Word. So I will spend time reading and studying Your Word, and listening for Your voice in my life.

In times of need I am drawn to You for help, encouragement, and provision. But when enjoying that provision, I must be sure not to become proud or arrogant. I will express my thanks and gratitude in praise, in song, in telling others how You bring me through troubles and trials. It is You who make it possible for me to work and volunteer and help others. My gifts and talents come from You. And I thank You.

I will never serve another god. I see others chase after fame or money or power. They make their possessions or position their god. I will pour out myself to honor You. You have saved me! From trouble, from trauma, from myself, from circumstances I have gotten myself into, and from eternal death. You have answered my prayers, come to my rescue, given me hope, forgiven my sin. I thank You and I praise You! And I cannot wait to see what’s coming next! Amen

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20

Mar 24 Tracing God’s Faithfulness

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Dear Lord, I don’t often take time to look back over my life to see where I’ve been? Or evaluate how I got here? But this is what Moses is doing for these young Israelite people who are about to come into their promised land.

 

Because their fathers and mothers rebelled against You and died in the desert over the last forty years, it is important that these young people know where they came from and how they got there. Namely, that it was You who delivered them and their parents from slavery, which they probably don’t remember; and led them through the desert, which has been their only memory; and brought them to this place of promise, which they may or may not have been taught was promised long ago to their forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

It is important that they see that You are their Deliverer, and their Promise Keeper. That is was You who has brought them out of four hundred years of slavery with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. They need to be aware of the miracles You did to free them from the Pharaoh. One perspective on the relationship is that they need to understand You are a deserving, willing, and capable Bridegroom who has a marriage covenant with them, so they will remain faithful to You. This is difficult for a generation who mostly missed the amazing, miraculous way You interceded on their behalf.

So it impresses upon me now, that I should take time to see where I have come from, where I am going, and how Your hand has blessed me all along the way. So many times You have protected me and helped me through hardship. 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 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.

Life can sometimes seem like a desert, a dry time of focusing more on what I don’t have than what I do have. While I do not have monetary riches or fame, I have truly been given what I have needed, not lacking anything. And I can truly say that “You have watched over my journey through this vast desert. You have truly blessed me, and been with me.” It has been over forty years for me. Time to take a moment and give You thanks. Amen

Deuteronomy 2:1-29; especially 2:7-8

Feb 2 I choose praise!

sing-a-new-song-2-1428461-639x582Heavenly Father, You have shown me two different responses the Israelites made in the presence of Your blessing.

The first is one of dancing and singing praises to You. When You delivered them from Pharaoh by having them cross through the waters of the sea on dry ground, Miriam took a tambourine and led Moses and the Israelites in singing of Your miraculous deliverance.

But another time, when these people grumbled for food in the wilderness, You promised and delivered a blessing of meat in the evening and bread in the morning.   That night You brought them quail to eat and in the morning You created and gave them manna: something so marvelous and unknown they didn’t know what to call it. They even called it ‘manna’, which means ‘what is it?’ There is no mention of rejoicing, or an outpouring of gratitude or thanks – even though there was no other place for them to get food in the desert. What they did was respond with disobedience. They did not gather according to Your instructions.

And although You continued this particular blessing six days a week (with extra gathered the 6th day for the Sabbath) for forty years, (that’s 12,480 times !!) it wasn’t long before they were grumbling again unappreciatively.

I pray Father, that I will respond to Your hand of blessing in my life like the first example. Majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, highly exalted – You are my God and my King!! I will write songs and sing of Your wonders! I will tell others of Your greatness and Your blessing in my life. I will write and send emails to communicate them! But even if I stand in a room alone with my hands and voice raised to You, even if I sing off key, even if no one else knows, do not let me miss an opportunity to acknowledge Your power and involvement in my life with gratitude.

Open my eyes Lord, so I will see and understand all of Your blessings. Prompt me when I forget to acknowledge Your gifts. Do not let me take Your blessings for granted; or respond with disobedience. I desire to make a “sacrifice to You of shouts of joy!! I will sing and make music to the Lord!”

Exodus 15:19-17:7; Psalm 27:6

Jan 28 My forgiving Shepherd

Jesus Shepherd

Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding me that I need to forgive others. The parable You share with Your disciples clearly depicts that I have been forgiven so much more than I can ever repay. From day to day, I forget that; and it seems so easy to harbor ill will toward those who hurt me, and want to see them punished.

It feels like if I forgive them, I’m letting them get away with something, releasing them from the consequences or punishment of their hurtful actions. Some who have grieved me don’t even ask for forgiveness.

The truth is: I am the one set free when I forgive. And I am being obedient. So I am doubly blessed when I can forgive others. Help me remember this the next time I face these circumstances. And show me right now if there is someone that I haven’t forgiven. Lead me through whatever steps I need to take to get right with them and right with You.

The 23rd Psalm is the first passage of scripture I memorized. You tell us to hide Your Word in our hearts, and this is one that I did. Thank You that You are my Good Shepherd. Don’t know that I like being characterized as a sheep all that much; they are such smelly, stupid animals. But I understand a lot of accurate parallels can be drawn. And the depiction of the care and protection the shepherd provides paints a wonderful picture of Your love for man and for me.

Thank You for providing for my needs. Thank You for knowing when I need to rest and be restored; and for affording those times of rest and restoration, making sure I have what I need physically and spiritually. Thank You for leading me in the path You have chosen for me; and for being there with me so there is no need to fear. When evil threatens, I am calmed and quieted by trusting Your presence and Your ability to defend me completely. I draw strength from Your promises to protect and provide for me all the days of my life, and then to take me to be with You for all eternity. My Shepherd. My Savior. Amen

Matthew 18:23-35; Psalm 23

Jan 14 Wisdom over Deception

deceive-1299043_1280“Help Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue that says, ‘We will triumph with our tongues;’.” Arise Lord and protect me from those who malign me and take unfair advantage. Protect me from the deceit of the world, the flesh, and the evil one. “O Lord, You keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.”

You watched over and provided for Jacob when his father-in-law Laban cheated him and changed the terms of his wages ten times. You spoke and told him what to do and protected he and his family. Father, protect me as well, when others seek to deceive and swindle and mislead me. I turn to You for godly wisdom. Let me listen for Your voice, and understand what You say, trusting Your wisdom over what may seem right by earthly intellect.

You sent Your disciples out “as sheep among the wolves”. We, Your children, are often referred to as sheep. Thank You for being our shepherd; for watching over us, for driving away predators, for leading us to green pastures and still waters. Thank You for calming us the way a shepherd does his sheep so we can rest. There are many ‘wolves’ who seek our destruction, to get us away from the protection of our Shepherd knowing that’s when we are vulnerable.

Proverbs tells us we are blessed when we find wisdom – that it is more profitable than silver or gold and more precious than rubies. Help me discern godly wisdom; not just the logic of the mind or the reasoning of man. Lead me to seek “the wisdom that comes from heaven: pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” This is the wisdom that leads to righteousness.

Open my eyes to the lies and deceit of men. Let me see Your wisdom in the circumstances of my life. Keep my lips from speaking lies. Help me live honorably as one of Your sheep. Amen

Genesis 31:1-13; Matthew 10:16; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 3:13-15; James 3:17

 

Dec 17 Two things I ask

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“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord? Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

Father, I see much wisdom in these words. I would also ask these two things of You.

First, do not let me entangle myself in telling lies. Let me be true to You, speaking the truth in love. And not just by the words I say, but in the way I allow others to perceive me. Do not let me put on airs or mislead anyone into thinking I am something I am not. And the reverse: do not let me be misled by the lies and falsehoods of others. Help me see truth. Let me understand by Your light shining, dispelling the darkness of lies and deception.

Second, let me live with what I need. Not in poverty and not in riches. Each of these might cause me to overlook You and focus on my circumstances. For in both directions, I have seen people take their eyes off You. If the need is so great, it can be a temptation to sin by stealing and cursing You. And if the excess is too great, it can lead to pride, greed, and a self-sufficiency that disregards the need for You.

These are wise words Father, and they are my prayer. Amen

Proverbs 30:7-9

 

Nov 16 Helpful last words

postit-1975188_640Father, the book of Hebrews is winding to an end, and it seems the author has thrown in as much good advice as he can before his good-bye. “Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers…Remember those in prison…Marriage should be honored by all…Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…”.

I do the same thing when my kids are leaving after a visit. Those parting words are the last chance to say important things, but often end up being a jumble of so many different things that none are particularly memorable.   Help me remember to do these things the writer of Hebrews has listed here.

I am told to “imitate the faith” of spiritual leaders and “consider the outcome of their way of life”. In Ezekiel’s time, it was the spiritual leaders who neglected to teach the people what they should know, and led them astray. They were the “shepherds of Israel” and they took advantage of the sheep. Like then, the outcomes of many spiritual leaders’ lives of today have not been holy or honoring to You.

So I ask for Your wisdom and discernment, and Your help so I will not ”not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching”.   There are so many philosophies and teachings in the world today that make claims to do everything from bring the individual inner peace, to bring them fantastic wealth and fame, to grow hair on their bald heads! There are so many counterfeit faith systems that are designed to make me feel good, while pulling the wool over my eyes, and leading me away from You. Very famous and powerful people buy into these ‘religions’.

Father, do not let me be enthralled by the sensationalism of any of them. Do not let me be intrigued by the power they profess to tap into, or the secrets they propose to know.   But keep me on the path that leads me ever closer to You.

Thank You for the blessing at the end of Hebrews. I pray these words for myself and for my loved ones. It is what I seek with all my heart. “May You, the God of Peace…equip [me] with everything good for doing Your will, and may You work in [me] what is pleasing to You.” Father, may I have Your peace in whatever circumstances the world or the evil one throw at me. May I know and feel Your peace even in the challenges and the hard times. Will You provide whatever I need to accomplish whatever You have for me. Lead me to what will please You. And may the success bring You glory! For ever and ever. Amen

Ezekiel 34:1-31; Hebrews 13:1-24

Nov 8 May the Truth set us free

usa-1491734_640Father, as I read this section of Psalm 106, I fear that I personally, and my country, have together made the same mistakes Your people made in the desert. They were not satisfied with the life You gave them; even the miracles You performed to deliver them from the hand of the enemy who had relegated them to slavery for generations, and then was set on destroying them.

In the wilderness at Meribah where You brought water from a rock for them to drink, they rebelled against Moses and Your provision. They forgot that You had done something so mighty as parting the Red Sea for them, and delivering them from the hand of Pharaoh and his army. Instead, they focused on their fleshly desires, doubting You could quench their thirst. I too, sometimes focus on my own desires rather than the great blessings You have already worked in my life. And I too respond with whining instead of faith.

When they came into the Promised Land, they “mingled with the nations and adopted their customs”. I fear I have done the same by participating in the social customs of my times.   I and my country, have mingled godly beliefs with the socially acceptable values of the times. What You call sin is no longer looked upon as sin. People today seem to have no concept of what is right and wrong, and so no self-governing set of morals that direct or protect them.

Many things in my culture take the place of passion for You. Sports teams, fame, money, power, shopping, alcohol and drugs, status, cars, beauty, youth: so many things have become idols in the lives of so many, even believers.

“They sacrificed their sons and daughters to false gods. They shed innocent blood…” Father, I grieve over the number of babies who have been sacrificed on the altar of ‘choice’ and ‘convenience’. This land is desecrated by their blood.   And it defiles the people involved because of the act of taking a life. But it also exacts a price they often pay in long-term emotional and psychological damage, not to mention the spiritual battle that they have lost in giving over ground to the enemy.

Yet, You “took note of their distress when You heard their cry…and out of Your great love You relented”. Father, I am in distress and I cry out to You: for my personal sin and for the sin of my country. Forgive, Lord. I acknowledge and agree with You that I and my country have acted in rebellion in going our own way without following the path You set before us. And that my country and I have participated in social customs and values that have become a snare to us, even to the point of idolatry. Lord I turn away from anything that seeks to take Your place in my life. Forgive us for focusing on the flesh over the spiritual.

“Save us Lord our God…that we may give thanks to Your Holy name and glory in Your praise. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, Amen!”

Psalm 106:32-48

Nov 6 The One True God

clouds-872143_1920What a reminder Lord, that You are in control of food supplies. You cause and can relieve famines. The lives of every person in the world, and every animal, are in Your hands. You also control the beasts, whether they are calm and docile, or whether they attack and kill.   You control armies, the leaders who deploy them, and the outcome of the battles – who lives, and who dies. And You control disease, outbreaks, plagues; and who lives or dies by them.

All these things You used against the Israelites. And it is the same today. All these things are still in Your hands. “Who can proclaim the mighty acts of The Lord or fully declare his praise?” There is no one. Because no one can fully understand the extent or measure of Your power. It is beyond my ability to comprehend.

I have seen great storms of such powerful strength that houses and trees are uprooted. You are more powerful. I have watched as rushing waters tore up highways and destroyed homes and shopping centers. Your strength is greater. I have seen the limits people will go to, to forgive a wrong that has harmed them greatly. Yet Your forgiveness goes farther. I have seen the deep love of a mother for her new child, willing to sacrifice all for that child. Yet Your love is deeper and greater in every way.

I cannot measure the breadth of Your mercy. And I cannot fathom the depths of Your wrath.   This is both reassuring and terrifying. I am reassured that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is beyond Your control. That means I have nothing to fear. I am blessed by Your love, Your mercy, Your forgiveness, Your provision. Even when I mess up, You have provided for that, and I can be reconciled to You.   And I am assured of my salvation.

But the depths of Your wrath will be released one day. Because You are just, You must judge. And the very security I have, that all things are in Your control, will be the terror of those who have rejected You.

I “give thanks to you, Lord, for You are good; Your love endures forever”.

Thank You that I can count on You. Thank You that the Savior I lean on, is the One and Only True God, who has power over everything. I believe in Your promises. And I sing Your praise. Amen

Ezekiel 14:12-23; Psalm 106:1-12

Sept 17 Shalom Shalom

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“You will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”

I have always loved this wonderful promise and beautiful picture of Your provision. There is also an accountability piece that reminds me that I have a responsibility if I desire that promised perfect peace: to keep my mind focused on You.

I do forget, especially during times of trouble and hardship, to keep focused on You. I get distracted by worrying over things I cannot control. Negative emotions draw me deeper into fear and discouragement, the opposite of peace. But the realization that I am not feeling Your peace pulls me back into this verse, reminding me to refocus my attention.

“You” – the Creator of the universe. You, who created my mind and who gave me the ability to know You and to trust You. You: Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, who holds everything together by Your Word.

“will” – absolutely resolve by the force and power of who You are

“keep” – the Hebrew word ‘natsar’ meaning to guard with fidelity, watch over, preserve, maintain, guard from dangers

‘peace’ – wholeness, wellness, purposeful living in joy, with abundant provision, harmony, safety, security summed up in the Hebrew word ‘shalom’.

‘in perfect peace’ – the Hebrew doesn’t say perfect peace. It says ‘shalom shalom’ or peace peace. This is a concept of peace upon peace. It is illustrated by the waves of the Mediterranean Sea that lap up onto the coast of Israel. It signifies an unending peace like the waves at the shore.

A wave will move up on the sand and crash, spilling out it’s water, stretching up the beach. It begins to recede back to the waters’ edge, but before it reaches the low point, another wave overtakes it and brings it back up onto the beach, covering the sand afresh with the spreading water; one after another, wave upon wave, endlessly.

Your perfect peace is like that. When I turn away from being consumed with whatever problem I have, and focus on You, You bring a wave of calmness, wholeness, healing to me. It covers the situation and creates in me that sense of security. And just when it seems that I may be losing it, exposing my fears again, You send another wave of Your ‘shalom’ over me, to cover me anew. This continuing ‘re-covering’ is the perfect peace You promise.

Father, thank You for Your wonderful provision. It doesn’t mean the problem goes away. But it does mean that You are with me, and that the problem doesn’t get the better of me. And because my mind is focused on You, I can see more from Your perspective; things, solutions I wouldn’t have thought of. “I will trust in You forever, for You, The Lord, are the Rock eternal.” Amen

Isaiah 26:3-4

Apr 19 Only God can make a tree…

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”

I am sick of waiting for some people to make good on their promises. The delays that come are hard to take. Even when I can understand there may be a good, logical reason behind the postponements, it doesn’t make the waiting any easier. And when no reason is apparent, the frustration builds up and I literally feel ill.

When I put my hope in people, this happens time and time again. Wondering when they will come through, the anxiousness of not knowing when things can be planned due to the uncertainty, desiring something but having the anticipation dragged on and on indefinitely – all these things bring mental exhaustion and emotional collapse!

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but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Thank You Father, that all Your promises are true. You promise salvation and You deliver. Your mercy and grace are renewed every day. You always forgive and never leave me. All this is according to Your Word, Your promise.

When I think of all a tree provides, it is comforting. A tree is beautiful to look at. It is sturdy and provides shelter to sit or stand under or hide behind. It’s boughs and leaves give shade from the heat. I can lean up against it, climb it, sit in it, hide in it.   Depending on the type, it’s leaves may be a balm of healing, or its fruit may be nourishment.  A tree of life is life giving and life sustaining.

So what a beautiful picture this verse paints of Your provision in a world where there can be so much disappointment.

Father, I place my trust, my hope in You. If I have hopes or longings that are not God honoring, please remove them from me. Do not let me become sick waiting or hoping for something that is not right for me. Show me where I need to move my focus or change my perspective.   When I need to wait on Your plan or purpose, help me wait patiently, purposefully and prayerfully. And when my longings are fulfilled, remind me to thank You and give You the credit.

For all You have already done, and for all You will do, thank You Father. Amen

Proverbs 13:12

Feb 2 I choose praise!

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Heavenly Father, You have shown me two different responses the Israelites made in the presence of Your blessing.

The first is one of dancing and singing praises to You. When You delivered them from Pharaoh by having them cross through the waters of the sea on dry ground, Miriam took a tambourine and led Moses and the Israelites in singing of Your miraculous deliverance.

But another time, when these people grumbled for food in the wilderness, You promised and delivered to them the blessing of meat in the evening and bread in the morning.   That night You brought them quail to eat and in the morning You created and gave them manna: something so marvelous and unknown they didn’t know what to call it. They even called it ‘manna’, which means ‘what is it?’ There is no mention of rejoicing, or an outpouring of gratitude or thanks – even though there was no other place for them to get food in the desert. What they did was respond with disobedience. They did not gather according to Your instructions.

And although You continued this particular blessing six days a week (with extra gathered the 6th day for the Sabbath) for forty years, (that’s 12,480 times !!) it wasn’t long before they were grumbling again unappreciatively

I pray Father, that I will respond to Your hand of blessing in my life like the first example. Majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, highly exalted – You are my God and my King!! I will write songs and sing of Your wonders! I will tell others of Your greatness and Your blessing in my life. I will write and send emails to communicate them! But even if I stand in a room alone with my hands and voice raised to You, even if I sing off key, even if no one else knows, do not let me miss an opportunity to acknowledge Your power and involvement in my life with gratitude.

Open my eyes Lord, so I will see and understand all of Your blessings. Prompt me when I forget to acknowledge Your gifts. Do not let me take Your blessings for granted; or respond with disobedience. I desire to make a “sacrifice to You of shouts of joy!! I will sing and make music to the Lord!”

Exodus 15:19-17:7; Psalm 27:6

Jan 31 Thank You Thank You Thank You

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

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

You have already given me eternal life in Your presence for all time. You have forgiven my sin. You have allowed me to be born in a time when most disease is treatable, water and air are safe to drink and breathe, and injuries do not usually become life threatening. I have no fear of wild animals attacking as I live in a safe place. You have placed me in a country where I have freedoms that most in the world do not. I can worship You freely, I can travel where I want, can vote for my form of government and live my life in peace within its protected borders, without persecution.

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

You have protected me and saved me from more tragedy and trauma than I know about. And have blessed me with a husband and children, and friends. I live in a beautiful place where every day I can look to the mountains and be reminded of Your strength and majesty. I can enjoy four seasons with all the consistent changes that come with them; weather, wildlife, life cycles of plants, flowers, trees. I have full use of all my senses that can take in the beauty around me and see your infinite diversity at work in birdsongs, floral aromas, the lushness of grass, the chill of fresh snow, the painted sky at sunrise and sunset.

As I think of all these things, my heart overflows with gratitude and thanksgiving. Forgive me for not voicing it every day. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You! For as many days as I have left on this earth, there will always be something to thank You for. And when I pass into that next part of our eternal relationship, “I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in my heart, and enter Your courts with praise!”

Matthew 20:29-34, Psalm 100:4

Jan 28 My forgiving Shepherd

TOSHIBA Exif JPEGLord Jesus, thank You for reminding me that I need to forgive others. The parable You share with Your disciples clearly depicts that I have been forgiven so much more than I can ever repay. From day to day, I forget that; and it seems so easy to harbor ill will toward those who hurt me, and want to see them punished.

It feels like if I forgive them, I’m letting them get away with something, releasing them from the consequences or punishment of their hurtful actions. Some who have grieved me don’t even ask for forgiveness.

The truth is: I am the one set free when I forgive. And I am being obedient. So I am doubly blessed when I can forgive others. Help me remember this the next time I face these circumstances. And show me right now if there is someone that I haven’t forgiven. Lead me through whatever steps I need to take to get right with them and right with You.

The 23rd Psalm is the first passage of scripture I memorized. You tell us to hide Your Word in our hearts, and this is one that I did. Thank You that You are my Good Shepherd. Don’t know that I like being characterized as a sheep all that much; they are such smelly, stupid animals. But I understand a lot of accurate parallels can be drawn. And the depiction of the care and protection the shepherd provides paints a wonderful picture of Your love for man and for me.

Thank You for providing for my needs. Thank You for knowing when I need to rest and be restored; and for affording those times of rest and restoration, making sure I have what I need physically and spiritually. Thank You for leading me in the path You have chosen for me; and for being there with me so there is no need to fear. When evil threatens, I am calmed and quieted by trusting Your presence and Your ability to defend me completely. I draw strength from Your promises to protect and provide for me all the days of my life, and then to take me to be with You for all eternity. My Shepherd. My Savior. Amen

Matthew 18:23-35; Psalm 23

Dec 27 A sheep in Your flock

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Father, the picture You paint for Zechariah of Your people is “the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd”.  Many times sheep get themselves into trouble on their own.  They wander away, eat what they shouldn’t, become prey for wolves or lions.  They get caught in thorns, fall into deep water, or become lost.  But no danger is greater than that of not having a good shepherd.

A shepherd provides for his sheep in so many ways.  He looks out for them.  He prepares good pasture by removing noxious and poisonous weeds before the sheep get there.  He makes sure the area has sufficient clean, still water for them to drink.  He protects them from predators, and goes after them when they wander off.  He carefully examines them to see if they are in need of medicine to keep them healthy and free from parasites.  He provides shelter from inclement weather, and moves them to new pastures before the grass becomes over-grazed or to completely new areas when the weather turns too cold.

Israel’s priests and leaders were not being good shepherds to the people.  And You pronounced “Woe to the worthless shepherd who deserts the flock!” 

But blessed am I – for You are my Good Shepherd!  You do not turn me over for slaughter.  “You are the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – You remain faithful forever.”!

When I get into trouble, You answer my call and come to my rescue.  When I wander, You call me back.  I know Your voice because You have called me by name, and I have learned I can trust that voice.  You give me the Holy Spirit that speaks to me and warns me away from poisonous things that would make me sick; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  You protect me from the evil one who prowls around like a predatory lion looking for someone to devour.
When I get caught in thorny situations, You provide a way of escape.  If I will but keep my eyes and ears open for Your leading, I will see the way out.  When I fall into deep water, or walk out there on my own, You are with me in the water, and You do not let the flood overtake me.  You are my Help!  You are my Hope!  You are my Good Shepherd.  And “I will praise You all my life”.  Amen

Zechariah 10:1-11:17; Psalm 146:1-10

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

Nov 27 You give all I need

Father, let me learn from the example of King Nebuchadnezzar.   Do not let me live proudly, exalting myself or taking credit for Your accomplishments and works.  I fully acknowledge that You are the “Most High, sovereign over all the nations of the earth….Your kingdom is an eternal dominion; Your kingdom endures from generation to generation”!  Father, I “praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything You do is right and all Your ways are just.”  And I only exist because of Your great mercy and love.

“Your divine power has given [me] everything [I] need for a godly life…”  “You have given [me] Your very great and precious promises…”.  Thank You Father, that I have all that I need.  I have prayer as a way to hear from and talk to You.   I have Your Word as a guidebook.  In You I have the Holy Spirit who reveals spiritual truth to me.  You have promised me Your eternal love, Your constant presence, and Your faithfulness in my protection and provision.   All this because You are my personal Savior.

Since I belong to You, and You have given me all I need; help me to live in, and treat people with the qualities that will lead me to be an effective and productive servant of Yours.  Peter tells me these qualities are: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love.  Some of these are the Fruit of the Spirit and will grow in me as I am obedient to Your Spirit’s leading.  Help me embrace opportunities for each of these qualities to grow in my life.

Recently I found myself walking with a group in the dark.  I had a small flashlight which came in handy as the sidewalk was a broken and uneven surface.  At first, I thought it would be best to shine the light way ahead of us so we could see where the path curved or stopped at a curb or was cut off by bushes.   But it became clear that we could walk with the most certainty and speed when the light shone brightly on the very next step we were to take.  Looking ahead is good to get a sense of direction, but we needed the close, step by step guidance to be sure our ankles did not turn or slip off the narrow path.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Your Word, the Scriptures, are that light for me.  When I am not sure which option is best, Your Word tells me “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart and lean not on Your own understanding.”  When I feel frustrated with some results, You tell me “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you]will reap a harvest…”.  Or when I feel discouraged, alone and depressed, You tell me “I have carried you since your birth…I will continue to be with you and sustain you, even when you have gray hairs.  I will always carry you; I will always sustain you; I will always rescue you.” [paraphrased to personalize]

Your Word helps me see that next step and take it.  Thank You Father, that You care so much for me that even in the darkness of this world and its ‘wisdom’ You have made a way for me to stay on Your path and keep moving ahead safely.  Amen

Daniel 4:1-37; II Peter 1:1-21; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 46:3-4

 

Nov 26 Prayer, Praise, Provision

Father, thank You for Peter’s reminder that as the end approaches, believers must be earnest in prayer, share Your deep love with others, and use our Spiritual gifts.  Some of these sound so easy.  None of them are.  I can do none of them without Your help.

Thank You for giving me the ability as a believer to come to You in prayer.  I love my conversations with You!  Sometimes I feel closer to You when I walk around the lake, or through the trees, or can see the mountains.  When I am surrounded by Your amazing creation, You often give me a word of instruction or encouragement.  You have taught me things by watching geese flying above, or ducks feeding in the pond, or sunlight shining through dark clouds.  You have shown me how to be humble through the faces of blossoms that track the sunlight across the sky, or sunflowers that have heads so heavy with seed that they bend low.

It is so easy to praise You in the presence of Your beauty.  But rejoicing in suffering is harder to do.  Sometimes, my side of the conversation is sobbing and tears.  It is anxious pleading with pain.  You reach out to me then too.  There is nothing You cannot handle.  There is nothing too big or too small to bring to You.  Thank You for this life-saving and life-giving privilege of prayer.

Father, teach me how to show Your great love to others.  It feels easy to do with strangers.  Kindness to a stranger is short-lived.  Help me to be loving and forgiving and hospitable to those I know. Show me how to be humble, and not grumble.   And especially to those I know well, give me perseverance to act and speak in love for the long haul.

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

In all these things, let me also be aware of “[my] enemy the devil” who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”.  Help me see through his lies and deceptions.  Help me avoid his traps and temptations.   Strengthen me to resist him in all his cunning ways.   Make me strong, firm and steadfast.  Yours is the power forever.  I know You will never fail me.  Thank You.  Amen

I Peter 4:7-5:14