Tag: rescue

Oct 21 A Friend in need: have one…be one

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Father, You could have picked up Jeremiah and set him in a safe place far away from those who accused him and sought his life.  You could have lifted him out of that cistern Yourself!

He already had Your promise: “Do not be terrified…they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you.”   But You didn’t give the details of what that rescue would look like.

Father, I seek to be obedient to all You tell me to do.  But sometimes, even acting honorably, I have been misunderstood.

Lord, when I am accused wrongly, bring those who will act on my behalf.  Like Ebed-Melek did for Jeremiah, let there be those who will support, defend, and help me.

Also, Father, use me.

Let me act like Ebed-Melek, defending others who You have sent to do Your work.   Spur me to action when I hear of wrongs.  Show me how to help, being commanding and compassionate as he was.

He didn’t just drop a rope, but interceded with authorities, got clothing for padding, and brought help to lift Jeremiah out of the mud-bottomed cistern.

Help me Lord to be trusting in trials; that You will send help.  And give me courage to help those who need it.    Amen

Jeremiah 1:17,19; 37:1-38:13

Oct 15 Call us back to You

U Turn

Father, even now, You give Words to Jeremiah for the people’s salvation.  Your mercy is so great that even after all they have done, You will spare them, if only they will turn back to You.

This is Your heart.  That Your people will do the right thing.  That they will love You, and return to You.  That they will turn away from the things that are bringing them harm and death, and turn to You to receive life!

They had Your Word.  It had been found in the Temple when Josiah, King of Judah had the Temple repaired.  It caused a major revival in the young King, and in the people too, for a time.

But Josiah’s son, who came next, was not a godly king.  And the pull of idolatry was strong.  Your Word was not readily available to the people, so they relied on the leaders and priests to lead them.

Unfortunately, the priests had been doing their own thing for so long, most were not familiar with or devoted to Your Word.

god-2025655_640Father, I have loved ones who are also pretty much doing their own thing.  Yet You are calling them back to You with that same heart, wanting them to come to You and receive life.

My world is full of all kinds of idolatry, and the pull is strong.  Father, send someone into their lives who they will listen to.  Help them let go of the things that are causing them harm and leading them to death.

And let my faith be as strong as Jeremiah’s.  Even in the face of threatened death, He stood strong in knowing You were there.  You had told him: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”  And “Do not be terrified…they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you.”

Father, those words are for me too.  And just as You knew Jeremiah, even before he was born, You also know me.  Just as You rescued him, You have rescued me.

You are the Lord of peace.  Father, I so need Your peace.  From my own doubts in understanding Your direction for my life, to relationships that are not all they could be, to the direction my country and the world seem to be heading.

Please “give me peace at all times and in every way.”   I cling to You.  And look to You.  Only Your peace satisfies.  Amen

Jeremiah 1:5,17,19; 26:1-15; 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Jun 24 You are my rescuer

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“I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.  I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble.  When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who know my way…In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me.  Listen to my cry for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.”

Father, there are things in my life that are too difficult for me.  Things happening that I have no control over.  Some anger or frustrate me, but some break my heart and I can hardly bear it.  So I pour out my heart to You.

I tell You all my troubles because You care for me.  Because You can encourage and comfort me.  Because You can help me cope.  I know You can help me get a fresh perspective.  You show me how to take action when I need to.  And how to wait on Your deliverance when that is the case.

I turn to You because I am Yours; and You have resources I cannot even fathom or imagine.

When troops had come to capture Elisha, he was not anxious or worried.  You had already prepared deliverance for him and he was unafraid because You had opened his eyes to Your rescue.  With confidence, he answered his servant:  ”Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Then he prayed for You to open his servant’s eyes to see the “hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around them.”

I have never seen horses or chariots of fire come to my aid; but there have been times when, without a doubt, You organized my rescue; my deliverance out of a situation where I saw no escape.

I remember times when I was so frightened at the possibility of tragedy, and You gave me a picture of peace that carried me through.  You showed me new ways to face what lay before me, and encouraged me to go on.

“You are my refuge…I will praise Your name.  Then the righteous will gather about me because of Your goodness to me.”  I will share what You have done for me – not only to give You the praise and honor You deserve, but also to encourage other believers.  What You do for me, You do for them.  We encourage each other when we acknowledge Your deeds and give You glory.  And You are glorious!  Amen

2 Kings 6:15-17; Psalm 142:1-7

Jun 22 God Delivers

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“Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men and women; protect me from people of violence who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up dissension and war every day.  They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers in on their lips.  Selah”

 

Father, as I think about this, I think of those who have made, planted and exploded bombs to hurt and kill random people, or targeted specific ones.  And those who have taken lethal weapons and randomly attacked people around them.  Some kill themselves in the process; some lay booby traps for even further devastation.  The news reports on them and their stories.

Some have political agendas.  Some have emotional issues.  Some are simply evil, and enjoy the resulting death and destruction.

Making their “tongues as sharp as serpents” allows them to masquerade as “normal” until their deed is carried out.  The poison in their words allows them to fool people around them into thinking nothing is wrong.  Or possibly even lead others into the same darkness in which they operate.  Their lies and deceit create confusion even after the fact, so that truth is hard to discern.

Father, “keep me from the hands of the wicked; protect me from people of violence who plan to trip my feet.  They have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path.” 

“Do not grant the wicked their desires. O Lord; do not let their plans succeed…”

Father, beyond those who would seek to kill, there are those who would delight in keeping me from Your righteous path; from living a godly life.   Those who would enjoy the moral failure of any believer.  Protect me and my loved ones from any who would act or plan to draw us away from You, or cause us to stumble in our pursuit of a closer relationship with You.

Do not allow ego, misunderstanding, or emotions to lead me away.  Do not let me fall into hopelessness or depression that would keep me distant from You.   Protect my mind, my emotions, my body, and my spirit from any and all attacks,

“You are my God!  Hear, O Lord, my cry for mercy.  O Sovereign Lord, my strong Deliverer…”   Amen

Psalm 140:1-13

Apr 25 Remember – Commemorate

praise-1154566_640Heavenly Father, my memory is so bad when it comes to recalling all the times You have stepped in to rescue me.  There have been relatively small things and really big things where You have acted on my behalf or worked things out for me.  And at the time, words of thanks went up, but I wouldn’t say I did an adequate job of expressing my gratitude to You or cementing Your blessing in my memory.

Why is it I can remember toothpaste or cereal jingles from when I was a child, but can’t remember when You made a significant impact in my life?  If only I could write a silly jingle whenever I am thankful…

Your people were so greatly impacted with the victory over Sisera and Your defeat of his army, freeing them from twenty years of oppression, that they wrote and sang a song about it.  What a great way to commemorate the occasion and pass on what happened to others!  Perhaps that would be something that would improve my memory too!

Seriously – I could adapt the song “Jesus loves me…”

Jesus loves me this I hear

For He healed my young son’s ear

Doctors sang a surgery song

Jesus healed it – they were wrong!

 

Jesus loves me this I think

‘cause He saved our backed up sink

Others had costly plumbing jobs

But now our water drains, no clogs!

It’s no “Deborah’s Song” but the sentiment is genuine, the gratitude sincere, and I will remember this – and even sing it to friends!

Whether with songs or words, prayers or journals, I will be more intentional about recording the ways You impact my life and reveal Your love for me.  Ways that I can demonstrate my gratitude, record for my own memory, and share with others.  Thank You!  Amen

Judges 4:1-5:31

Mar 27 Not by bread alone…

Lord, today’s scripture passages are so rich, it is hard to chose one area of prayer focus.  In these verses You are instructive, encouraging, and even 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.

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I am holy to You, Lord.  That doesn’t mean I am perfect, but that I am set apart for You. And for Your purposes.

Like the Israelites, I have value because of who I am in Your eyes.  You did not set Your affection on me because I am the biggest, or best.  There is nothing I could have done to make You love me.  But You chose me.

You delivered the Israelites from slavery.  Because You love me, You promise to deliver me with a mighty hand from this world and its distressing values.  

You have provided for me in the past when I needed help, encouragement, and provision.  Although You provided physical sustenance for me, You have also taught me that there is more.

So I do not live on “bread” alone.  But my relationship with You and Your Word gives me peace and wholeness.  So I will spend time reading and studying Your Word, and listening for Your voice.

Often, especially in times of need – like the Israelites –  I am drawn to You.  And I need to be sure I give You the credit when You answer and provide. I express my thanks and gratitude in praise, in song, in telling others how You bring me through troubles and trials.

Every good thing I have has come from You.  It is You who make it possible for me to have the life I enjoy, to work and volunteer and help others.

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 13 Egypt or Wilderness?

direction-1033278_640The Israelites.

For several hundred years they had not been in charge of their fate and lived as slaves.  They never really had the freedom to choose what to do, where to go, or what to eat.  And had no time to worship You, or even think about what their future might hold.

All they knew: slavery = more of the same.

And while their freedoms had been stripped away, there was stability and security in what they had.  Barring illness or disobedience, they were provided for, albeit to keep them in working condition for the Pharaoh.

So in this newfound freedom after leaving Egypt, when problems rose, like no food or water for two million people, it was a big deal.  And they were not prepared to cope.

Those things had been provided for them before.  And even though their labor had been hard and bitter, it was at least predictable.   So during these times, it was so easy for one of them to look back to when there was a bit of security and minimal provision; and convince others that what was behind them was preferable to the unknown ahead.

Lord, how many times have I preferred the predictable to the unfamiliar?  It takes courage to step out in a new direction, to get up off the couch of complacency.

I go back and forth between disbelief at how the Israelites rebelled against You even in the presence of the observable and awesome miracles; and being able to understand where they were coming from.

Father I pray You would help me be courageous in accepting what comes from Your hand.  If it requires change on my part, let me be willing to take the necessary steps without whining and complaining.

Remind me of the times in the past when You have rescued, delivered and supported me through difficulties and challenges.  Let those memories add to my faith and increase my trust in You.

And I will say, “whenever I am afraid I will trust in You” and “walk before You in the light of life”.  Amen

Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 56:3,13

Feb 20 In the storms

i-know-notFather, so many times I act just like the disciples in the boat during the storm.

I choose to focus on the storm around me.  In the face of the strong winds, the high waves, the tossing of the boat, I look at the opposition, the circumstances that block my way, and the hopelessness of things turning out right.

All the time forgetting Your promises of protection.  Even though I know You are there with me, I do not see how You are at work in the situation, and I cry out to stir You to my cause.   “Lord, don’t You care…?”

Many times, I can almost hear You say the same words to me that You spoke then; “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”

Sometimes You do calm the wind and still the waves.  Other times You simply hold me in Your arms while the waves buffet me.  And sometimes You inspire me and increase my faith with a vision of future calm waters and blue skies, reassuring me that it will be all right.

Thank You for being with me in the storms.  Thank You for speaking to me in songs, scriptures, promises, and visions.

Thank You for the truths You give me in Psalm 37: “My salvation comes from the Lord; You are my stronghold in time of trouble.  You help me and deliver me; and save me. Because I take refuge in You.”  Amen

Mark 4:35-41; Psalm 37:39-40

Feb 7 God-given gifts

positive-1136861_640Lord God, You tell me that the kingdom of heaven is like a master who entrusts his servants with talents, then returns to receive their earnings.

I desire to be a good and faithful servant and to return to You more than was given me.  Yet I have always feared I would be the one who returned to You, only Your original investment.

By nature, I am not a risk taker.  I have a fear of losing what I have, or having it taken from me.  So I typically behave conservatively so as to not risk loss.  It seems to be a safe method of operation that has helped me maintain a prudent life.

However, I am beginning to see that what You have given me: the gifts entrusted to me, are not for me to hoard or hide.  They were given for the purpose of sharing; and in that sharing, a multiplication of blessing takes place.

I so want to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  And it is occurring to me that in order for that to happen, I need to step out of my safety zone where I am comfortable, and take some risk.

It is something I do not do easily.  And I will need to rely on You for encouragement and even some daring.  But I can be reassured by Your words in I Timothy 1:7  ”God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind.”

And I can know that when I am obedient, You will protect me.  Regardless of the outcome, You will never leave me.

Please help me overcome my fears of being ridiculed, shamed, making the wrong choice, or disappointing You.

Help me recognize the next opportunity You place in my path.  And help me learn to let go of and use Your gift so it can multiply the blessing to myself and others, and please You: a win, win, win!

Thank You for Your words penned by David, which I echo as my prayer:

“In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in Your righteousness.  Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.  Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me. 

Free me from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge.  Into Your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth. . . I trust in You!  I will be glad and rejoice in Your love…”  Amen

Matthew 25:14-30; Psalm 31:1-7

Feb 1 Exodus Deliverance Prayer

Father, I pray this for many who are undergoing trials which seem overwhelming right now.

I pray that according to what the Holy One did for those who left Egypt when He delivered them out of the hand of Pharaoh at the Sea of Reeds in Exodus 14:19-31, He will do for you in your time of trial, difficulty or crisis.

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[He interposed Himself between Pharaoh’s army and His people who were in the desert trapped up against the Sea of Reeds.  He kept them safe all night as He prepared their way of escape.  He threw the enemy into a panic and vanquished them.  He gave them safe passage, making a way where there seemed to be none. And He gave them a wonderful deliverance.]

May God physically place Himself between you who He loves and has redeemed and whatever threatens your safety, your security and welfare; and personally assume responsibility for your protection – not because you deserve it by anything you have done, but for the sake of the eternal relationship He has with you.

May He keep vigil over you and send His almighty spirit to make a way of escape to deliver you.  May He watch over you through the night, the dark time when you cannot see His hand at work on your behalf – may you feel His protection even in light of seemingly overwhelming circumstances when you focus on the enemy.

As in Exodus 14:21 when God sent the “Ruach kadim” generally translated as ‘east wind’ but literally meaning ‘the breath that was from before the first that was in the very beginning’ (reference to Genesis 1:2 when the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the waters, and the Ruach [the breath or Spirit] of the Holy One moved over the face of the deep) may you feel the Ruach or Spirit of God moving in whatever challenge is facing you, as He makes a way of escape for you.

May He set panic in the heart of your enemy and send them into confusion so they may not harm you.  May none of their weapons find their targets.  May they even turn on themselves in the confusion.

May He vanquish your enemy before your eyes.  May they fall into the very pit they have dug for you and into the hands of a jealous and mighty God.  May He totally repel and defeat them on your behalf, because He loves you.

Do not underestimate the power of the Holy One, your covenant partner.  He knows what you need and will provide your safe passage to the place of fulfillment of your purpose in life.  You are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the works He prepared in advance for you.  And He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.  God can and will do whatever He has to do to make a way even when there seems to be no way.

And May our Lord give you an awesome aftermath, where you can tell others about the wondrous and mighty work of the Holy One on your behalf.  May He give you a heart of gratitude and thanks that acknowledges Him and gives Him the glory.  May your testimony be that in faith, you stood and saw the deliverance of the LORD.

based on Exodus 13:17-14:31

and teaching from The Rabbi’s Son, Torah Teacher

Jan 7 The Lord’s Prayer

religious-316272_1280Dear Father and Creator of us all, who dwells in heaven and whose name is holy, I pray for Your will and Your kingdom to be manifested here on earth as it already is in heaven where You reign.

Bless me with all I need today.  I trust that You know better than I do, what that is.  I gratefully accept what comes from Your hand.

Forgive my sin against You and others (specifically say the sins you repent of) and help me be forgiving of those who have sinned against me.

Lead me away from whatever or whoever would tempt me; and rescue me from evil.

I worship You, honor You, and give You glory.  Yours is the power eternally.  Amen

Matthew 6:9-13

Dec 19 Rejoice…and sing!

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In the midst of Zephaniah’s vision of absolute devastation, You speak of a remnant: “the meek and humble.”  They will “trust in the name of the Lord.”   And You will gather them, honor them, restore their fortunes, take great delight in them and rejoice over them with singing.

You sing!!

Father, thank You for inventing music!

Thank You for melodies I have learned, and words that give voice to my praise!  So when David says, “I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart… I will sing Your praise”, I can join with him and praise You!

I know songs that praise Your name, Your power, Your attributes.  I sing to You at the top of my lungs, with my hands help up, facing the sun, or the mountains, or looking up to the sky.

I drive around with praise music playing loudly and sing along. I can sit at the piano and sing with my eyes closed, to the music so many have written to help me glorify You.

Or I can quietly bow my head or fall to the floor and sing, barely audibly – but knowing You can hear me.

Your love and Your faithfulness are praiseworthy.  Your faithfulness to me alone gives me reason to sing and praise You.  And when there is no song that expresses my thanks, I just listen, and You teach me a new one!

As great and exalted as You are, You are still willing to come to the aid of Your people.  When I call, You have answered.  Many times You have come to rescue me.  You see me wherever I am, and are right there beside me.

You have defeated my foes, encouraged me and made me bold enough to act when I was too fearful.  I love David’s words: “though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life.”

I have faith, and I trust, that Your plan is the absolute best for my life.  And that You can make that happen.  I know that You will never, ever leave me.  I praise You for Your steadfastness, Your faithfulness to who You are, and Your faithfulness to me and my loved ones!   Many thanks.  Amen

Zephaniah 3:9-20; Psalm 138:1-8

Nov 28 Santa or Sovereign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel 5:1-31; II Peter 2:1-10; Psalm 119:113-128

Oct 15 Call us back to You

U Turn

Father, even now, You give Words to Jeremiah for the people’s salvation.  Your mercy is so great that even after all they have done, You will spare them, if only they will turn back to You.

This is Your heart.  That Your people will do the right thing.  That they will love You, and return to You.  That they will turn away from the things that are bringing them harm and death, and turn to You to receive life!

They had Your Word.  It had been found in the Temple when Josiah, King of Judah had the Temple repaired.  It caused a major revival in the young King.  And in the people too, for a time.

But Josiah’s son, who came next, was not a godly king.  And the pull of idolatry was strong.  And Your Word was not readily available to the people, so they relied on the leaders and priests to lead them.

Unfortunately, the priests had been doing their own thing for so long, most were not familiar with or devoted to Your Word.

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Father, I have loved ones who are also pretty much doing their own thing.  Yet You are calling them back to You with that same heart, wanting them to come to You and receive life.

My world is full of all kinds of idolatry, and the pull is strong.  Father, send someone into their lives who they will listen to.  Help them let go of the things that are causing them harm and leading them to death.

And let my faith be as strong as Jeremiah’s.  Even in the face of threatened death, He stood strong in knowing You were there.  You had told him: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”  And “Do not be terrified…they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you.”

Father, those words are for me too.  And just as You knew Jeremiah, even before he was born, You also know me.  Just as You rescued him, You have rescued me.

You are the Lord of peace.  Father, I so need Your peace.  From my own doubts in understanding Your direction for my life, to relationships that are not all they could be, to the direction my country and the world seem to be heading.

Would You “give me peace at all times and in every way.”  I cling to You.  And look to You.  Only Your peace satisfies.  Amen

Jeremiah 1:5,17,19; 26:1-15; 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Aug 16 Your eyes, Your ears, Your heart

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Father, thank You that I have a permanent righteousness that comes from You; so that I can know when You talk about “the righteous” in scripture, I am included.   And Your promises to them are true for me.  It’s like You are speaking right to me.

“Your eyes are on me.” What a powerful deterrent that is, realizing that You are watching me. It helps me remember that I am accountable to You for my actions.

You instruct me to “keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking lies”. And since I know You are watching me, that thought is enough to sometimes stop me in my tracks, and make me think before I speak or act. If I would think to impress someone or sway them to my argument with an exaggeration or lie, Your Holy Spirit reminds me that You know when I lie. And I would have to live with not only the consequences, but also that conviction and guilt if I proceeded with it.

You tell me to “turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.” It is so easy to step into sin, to follow a broad path that others around me are taking without a thought. But knowing “Your eyes are on me” challenges me to think about what I’m doing, regardless of what others are doing.

You remind me to be intentional about doing good. When doing good, it is not likely that I will do what is evil. So protection is built in to doing good and seeking peace.

But “Your eyes are on me” is also an awesome reassurance! I know that You see everything! Nothing that happens to me is beyond Your notice.   And You will rescue and defend me when I need help.

Your ears are attentive to my cry.”   You are as close as a whisper. And when I call, “You hear me; You deliver me from all my troubles”.   Does this mean I will never have difficulties? No. But I will always know that You are with me. That You will deliver me and give me Your peace.

“You are close to the brokenhearted.” Oh Father, I have been there. Circumstances in my life that have been the result of illnesses, accidents, injustice, evil – even my own ignorance or pride – they break my heart and bring me to my knees. But in it all, I know that again, You are here. You are with me. You will help me through, no matter what. You will lend me Your strength.

Thank You Father, that I have these assurances of Your attention, of Your presence, of Your power to save me. It is all I need. Amen

Psalm 34:11-22

July 30 The Good Shepherd

sheep-690198_640For many believers, the 23rd Psalm is a passage of scripture known by heart. Many more are familiar enough to recognize the phrases that describe the Shepherd’s care.

But what do all the references really mean? I have only seen sheep in petting zoos and on back roads in sheep country. I really don’t know very much about them. And the impressions I have are not too favorable toward them being a smart or regal animal.

But I have read a wonderful book written by an actual shepherd who takes each verse and explains it from the perspective of a shepherd, and why the sheep need and value each specific thing in this Psalm.

I understand that You, Lord God, are the Good Shepherd, who plans for, provides for, cares for, calms, protects, feeds, guides, restores, heals, comforts, and sacrifices for, even lays down Your life for, the sheep. And I am that sheep.

Thank You Father that You are my Shepherd. Other sheep have masters who do not care about them. They go hungry and become diseased, living a life without shelter or protection. But You provide all things for me. You meet my every need.

You provide a place for me to rest that is full of the nourishment I need and free from pests, aggravation from the rest of the flock, and fear of predators. You lead me where clean, fresh, shallow water stands still for me to drink from so I don’t become sick from dirty, poisoned water. Or get dragged down or carried a way in deep, rushing water.

When I become world-weary and feel discouraged, depressed, and are down-cast, You renew me. You give me hope, and bring restoration to my life.

Father, thank You for showing me a good, right way to live that will bring honor to Your name. Left alone I would go my own way and become entrapped in the selfish, greedy ways of the world. Thank You that even in the darkest places, where I am the most vulnerable, You go with me and protect me. You bring me through these valleys to a higher place.

You drive away the predators who seek to devour me with Your rod: a symbol of Your power, authority, and strength. Thank You that I have Your Word, and that there is power in it. And that it can also be used as Your staff, to examine, corral, and direct me. In Your protection and direction I am comforted.

I am blessed Lord, that You have walked this earth before me. You know every trial, every temptation I will face. And You have prepared me for it. Like a shepherd removes the poisonous plants before he brings his sheep to feed, You have prayed for me while I’m in this world. Even with enemies all around, You stand guard and intercede for me, praying for my faith to be strong.

“You anoint my head with oil” to consecrate and heal me.   For sheep, it is a life saving measure to drive out parasites that would lay eggs causing inflammation, blindness, and death.   The Holy Spirit in my life brings understanding and healing to me. And overflows my cup with abundance and blessing.

Yet even when there is suffering in my cup, Your suffering on the cross, and the life You poured out for me, pours over into my cup and overflows it with Your strength and vitality and blessing.

Because You are my Shepherd, You bring goodness and mercy into my life. But You can also help me leave it in my path, as a legacy to others. I can deposit into other’s lives, blessing, forgiveness, encouragement, inspiration, and peace. Help me do that.

I choose to be in Your flock, Your household, forever! I will never leave. I want to be in Your presence, in Your care, all the days of my life, and then after that, for eternity. Amen

Psalm 23:1-6; A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller

July 23 Help me parent

hands-1022028_640Lord, I think of how far Rehoboam fell from the standards of his father, Solomon and grandfather, David. It is so sad that all the faith and wisdom died with the very next generation!

If David took such care to prepare the work of his son, why didn’t Solomon do the same with his son Rehoboam?

Earthly fathers are so flawed compared to You. Some do a wonderful job of teaching their children about You and reflecting the love and acceptance that You have for each of us.

Unfortunately, some do not. Some are the source of awful pain and harsh treatment. Sometimes their hardness even blocks their children from coming to know You for a long, long time.

But thanks be to You! “Who reached down from on high and took hold of me; You drew me out of deep waters. You rescued me from my powerful enemy, from those who were too strong for me…You were my support! You brought me out into a spacious place; You rescued me because You delighted in me.”

Thank You for providing salvation and hope for those who were not as fortunate as I in having a loving, caring father. Thank You that whatever the hurt, You can heal and protect.

Father, help me be a loving, caring, godly parent. Forgive the mistakes I’ve made. Help my children overcome them and find their way to the gifts and the purpose You have for them. And protect them from mistakes I’ll make in the future.

I look to You for wisdom in guiding and teaching them. Help me pass on a real and living faith to the next generation, whether my own children, or others You bring into my life. Help me live out my faith in a visible, tangible way that will be a light to their path and be an inspiration to their lives.   “Your way is perfect. Your Word is flawless”. Let my life illustrate that. Amen

2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19; Psalm 18:16-19

June 22 God Delivers

life-saving-swimming-tube-737370_640

 

“Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men and women; protect me from people of violence who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up dissension and war every day. They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers in on their lips. Selah”

 

 

Father, as I think about this, I think of those who have made, planted and exploded bombs to hurt and kill random people, or targeted specific ones. And those who have taken lethal weapons and randomly attacked people around them. Some kill themselves in the process; some lay booby traps for even further devastation. The news reports on them and their stories. Some have political agendas. Some have emotional issues. Some are simply evil, and enjoy the resulting death and destruction.

Making their “tongues as sharp as serpents” allows them to masquerade as ‘normal’ until their deed is carried out. The poison in their words allows them to fool people around them into thinking nothing is wrong. Or possibly even lead others into the same darkness in which they operate. Their lies and deceit create confusion even after the fact, so that truth is hard to discern.

Father, “keep me from the hands of the wicked; protect me from people of violence who plan to trip my feet. They have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path.”

“Do not grant the wicked their desires. O Lord; do not let their plans succeed…”

Father, beyond those who would seek to kill, there are those who would delight in keeping me from Your righteous path; from living a godly life. Those who would enjoy the moral failure of any believer. Protect me and my loved ones from any who would act or plan to draw us away from You, or cause us to stumble in our pursuit of a closer relationship with You.  Do not allow ego, misunderstanding, or emotions to lead me away. Do not let me fall into hopelessness or depression that would keep me distant from You.   Protect my mind, my emotions, my body, my spirit from any and all attacks, 

“You are my God! Hear, O Lord, my cry for mercy. O Sovereign Lord, my strong Deliverer…”  Amen

Psalm 140:1-13

 

 

May 18 My Good Shepherd

stained-glass-1751919_640

Sheep?? Father here you refer to believers as sheep again.   Those dumb, smelly animals that seem to have no sense at all! Without a shepherd looking out for them and rescuing them, they will perish. They walk into running water, and due of the weight of their wet hair can be pulled under and drown.

They walk into briers and thorny thickets and get their hair so tangled they can’t move and will stand there till they starve. Or they will wander away until they are too far from their protection and fall victim to predatory animals.

But in the same way, they are perfect to describe me. I can go after something I think I want, taking risks till I am in a place where I am lost, and no longer safe. I can find myself entangled in circumstances and relationships feeling like there’s no way out. I have found myself in over my head with things moving so fast around me I become unbalanced and in danger of being swept away. I too need a shepherd.

You describe Yourself as The Good Shepherd, who knows His sheep, who will not lose one of His sheep, and who lays down His life for His sheep. And takes it up again. And for my part, even a stupid sheep knows their Shepherd’s voice. And I have heard Yours.

You speak to me in Your Word of Your unconditional, sacrificial love for me. You encourage me with scriptures that offer inspiration and strength. You offer me direction with an inaudible voice in my heart. You amaze and bless me with the beauty and diversity of Your Creation: flowers, sunsets, vistas of mountains and beaches, a child’s face, a friend’s smile.

Thank You that You are my Good Shepherd, Lord. And that I am Your sheep. Amen

John 10:1-21

Mar 23 A blessed life

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”

kneeling-1989128_640He has brought me into life in a time and place of His choosing; to a family of His providence. He has watched over me and protected me from serious illness and injury, trouble and violence, time and again. There were times when I cried out to Him for deliverance from circumstances, and He delivered me, or gave me what I needed to endure. There were times when He rescued me from things that I was not even aware I needed rescuing from.

He allowed me an understanding of spiritual matters, so that I began to see how sinful I was, and in need of a Savior. And that He, Jesus Christ, in love, shed His blood to pay the price, the penalty my sin had earned. He showed me, taught me, that this is the only way to reconcile my sinful self with God, who is holy.

He has tested me and refined me like silver. And although the process is not complete yet, each step in the process brings me closer to being Christ-like. The best silver is put into the fire seven times and brought up to a temperature of heat that burns away the impurities, creating a purer, more valuable quality.   And though the process of purification is not comfortable, and is often painful, it yields a harvest of blessing.

He has blessed me with loved ones, with friends, with a sense of purpose in life. He has provided me with hope, love, and a heavenly Father I can trust. He has comforted me with scriptures, by singing me songs; with revelations of His perspective, by sending people to talk with me, counsel me, rejoice and cry with me.

He has given me the hope of an eternal existence with Him in the future, with promises that He will never, ever, no, not ever, leave me. He has forgiven my sin. He has promised that nothing will overtake me, but that He will always make a way for me to bear up under whatever He allows into my life.

How awesome are His deeds! How great is His power! Praise be to God!

Father, let me never forget these things or all that You have done for me. Let me never shy away from an opportunity to tell others about them and about You.   Amen

Psalm 66:1-20

Mar 13 Egypt or Wilderness?

direction-1033278_640The Israelites. For several hundred years they had not been in charge of their fate and lived as slaves. They never really had the freedom to choose what to do, where to go, or what to eat. And had no time to worship You, or even think about what their future might hold. All they knew: slavery = more of the same.

And while their freedoms had been stripped away, there was a stability and security in what they had. Barring illness or disobedience, they were provided for, albeit to keep them in working condition for the Pharaoh.

So in this newfound freedom after leaving Egypt, when problems rose, like no food or water for two million people, it was a big deal. And they were not prepared to cope. Those things had been provided for them before. And even though their labor had been hard and bitter, it was at least predictable. So during these times, it was so easy for one of them to look back to when there was a bit of security and minimal provision; and convince others that what was behind them was preferable to the unknown ahead.

Lord, how many times have I preferred the predictable to the unfamiliar? It takes courage to step out in a new direction, to get up off the couch of complacency.

I go back and forth between disbelief at how the Israelites rebelled against You even in the presence of the observable and awesome miracles; and being able to understand where they were coming from.

Father I pray You would help me be courageous in accepting what comes from Your hand. If it requires change on my part, let me be willing to take the necessary steps without whining and complaining. Remind me of the times in the past when You have rescued, delivered and supported me through difficulties and challenges. Let those memories add to my faith and increase my trust in You.

And I will say, “whenever I am afraid I will trust in You” and “walk before You in the light of life”. Amen

Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 56:3,13

Nov 30 Lead me in the Light

light-on-manFather, thank You that You are light. You are The Light! I desire to walk in Your light. I understand that there is nothing that You do not already know, nothing is hidden from You. Even if I were to walk in the darkness, You would still see everything.  When there is sin in my life, sin is darkness. And because I do not want to be in the dark, I will confess my sin before You.

I am like a sheep that strays from the safety of its shepherd. You are my Shepherd. Father, seek me when I get lost. Return me to Your presence.

When I agree with You about what is sin in my life, and turn from it, You are faithful to forgive that sin and restore my fellowship with You. Again, thank You.

Like the Psalmist, I pray “May my cry come before You” so You will “give me understanding according to Your Word”.   When I cannot see what direction to go, Father, shine Your light on the path I should take. Help me recognize the difference between light and darkness so I can avoid the darkness.

Father, “may my lips overflow with praise” and “my tongue sing of Your Word”. Do not let me forget to be thankful, acknowledging when You rescue me, when You reveal truth to me, when You encourage me. Remind me to not only ‘stop and smell the roses’ but to express my gratitude to the Creator for the roses and for a nose.

“Let me live that I may praise You”! My Creator. My Encourager. My Teacher. My Rescuer. My Restorer. My Shepherd. My Light! Amen

I John 1:1-10; Psalm 119:169-176

Nov 28 Santa or Sovereign

christmas-1808549_640

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

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

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

The Psalmist thought it was time for You to act against the evil people of his day. They are described as evil-minded, wicked, arrogant, ones who have divided loyalties and violated Your instructions. And in the hundreds of years since then, there has been so much injustice and evil done in the world, it is hard to believe You will hold off judgment much longer.

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

As is the psalmist, I am instructed and strengthened by You, I will “obey the commands of My God”, “meditate continually on Your decrees”, and “understand Your laws”. For truly “I am Your servant…I tremble in fear of You; I stand in awe of Your regulations.” I believe Your teachings that there will come a day when You will reign over all the earth; and a final judgment will be handed down by Your righteous hand.

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

Daniel 5:1-31; II Peter 2:1-22; Psalm 119:113-128

Oct 22 R – E – S – T

cross shadow

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; 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 always have a place of safety and security.

What I find there is rest. As I have spelled out before, I find elements of:

R- relaxation

E- enjoyment

S- security and

T- triumph.

Your shelter. Your shadow protects me in every way possible.  It 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

Psalm 91:1-16

Oct 15 Call us back to You

Father, even now, You give Words to Jeremiah for the people’s salvation. Your mercy is so great that even after all they have done, You will spare them, if only they will turn back to You. This is Your heart. That Your people will do the right thing. That they will love You, and return to You. That they will turn away from the things that are bringing them harm and death, and turn to You to receive life!

They had Your Word. It had been found in the Temple when Josiah, King of Judah had the Temple repaired. It caused a major revival in the young King. And in the people too, for a time. But Josiah’s son, who came next, was not a godly king. And the pull of idolatry was strong. And Your Word was not readily available to the people, so they relied on the leaders and priests to lead them. Unfortunately, the priests had been doing their own thing for so long, most were not familiar with or devoted to Your Word.

Father, I have loved ones who are also pretty much doing their own thing. Yet You are calling them back to You with that same heart, wanting them to come to You and receive life. My world is full of all kinds of idolatry, and the pull is strong. Father, send someone into their lives who they will listen to. Help them let go of the things that are causing them harm and leading them to death.

And let my faith be as strong as Jeremiah’s. Even in the face of threatened death, He stood strong in knowing You were there. You had told him: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” And “Do not be terrified…they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you.” Father, those words are for me too. And just as You knew Jeremiah, even before he was born, You also know me. Just as You rescued him, You have rescued me.

Lord, evil was alive and well in Judah, and also when You walked the earth, it is alive and well in my time, and in my country. I echo Paul’s words to the Thessalonians: Father, “deliver [me] from wicked and evil people…strengthen and protect [me] from the evil one…direct [my] heart into Your love and perseverance”. Father, strengthen me to “never tire of doing what is good”.

You are the Lord of peace. Father, I so need Your peace. From my own doubts in understanding Your direction for my life, to relationships that are not all they could be, to the direction my country and the world seem to be heading. Would You “give me peace at all times and in every way”.   I cling to You. And look to You. Only Your peace satisfies. Amen

Jeremiah 1:5,17,19; 26:1-27:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18

May 18 My Good Shepherd

stained-glass-1751919_640Sheep?? Father here you refer to believers as sheep again.   Those smelly dumb animals that seem to have no sense at all! Without a shepherd looking out for them and rescuing them, they will perish. They walk into running water, and due of the weight of their wet hair can be pulled under and drown. They walk into briers and thorny thickets and get their hair so tangled they can’t move and will stand there till they starve. Or they will wander away until they are too far from their protection and fall victim to predatory animals.

But in the same way, they are perfect to describe me. I can follow something I think I want, taking risks till I am in a place where I am lost, and no longer safe. I can find myself entangled in circumstances and relationships feeling like there’s no way out. I have found myself in over my head with things moving so fast around me I become unbalanced and in danger of being swept away. I too need a shepherd.

You describe Yourself as The Good Shepherd, who knows His sheep, who will not lose one of His sheep, and who lays down His life for His sheep. And takes it up again. And for my part, even a stupid sheep knows their Shepherd’s voice. And I have heard Yours. You speak to me in Your Word of Your unconditional, sacrificial love for me. You encourage me with scriptures that offer inspiration and strength. You offer me direction with an inaudible voice in my heart. You amaze and bless me with the beauty and diversity of Your Creation: flowers, sunsets, vistas of mountains and beaches, a child’s face, a friend’s smile.

Thank You that You are my Good Shepherd, Lord. And that I am Your sheep. Amen

John 10:1-21

Dec 27 A sheep in Your flock

sheep

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

Nov 28

santa-sleigh

Father, so much of the world looks for a god who is like Santa Clause.  They want someone who is happy, always smiling, and will give them whatever they ask for.  They like to speak of love for everyone and unending tolerance.  But You are a Holy God.  And because of that You will have justice for all or there would be love for none.

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

The Psalmist thought it was time for You to act against the evil people of his day.  They are described as evil-minded, wicked, arrogant, ones who have divided loyalties and violated Your instructions.  And in the hundreds of years since then, there has been so much injustice and evil done in the world, it is hard to believe You will hold off judgment much longer.

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

Instructed and strengthened by You, I will “obey the commands of My God”, “meditate continually on Your decrees”, and “understand Your laws”.  For truly “I am Your servant…I tremble in fear of You; I stand in awe of Your regulations.”  I believe Your teachings that there will come a day when You will reign over all the earth; and a final judgment will be handed down by Your righteous hand.

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

Daniel 5:1-31; II Peter 2:1-22; Psalm 119:113-128