Tag: sin

Sept 8 Consequences

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

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

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

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

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

Yet the Israelites did just that, continuing in idolatry.  They turned away from You.  In pursuit of other gods, they continued to make meaningless offerings to You as one of the many “little g” gods they worshipped.  Meaningless because their hearts no longer belonged to You.

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 1:1-2:22

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Sept 7 Recognition -> Repentance

prayer-1308663_640 (1)Father, just as in many prayers, a sense of needing to repent of personal sin follows a recognition of Your amazing presence; today’s Psalm of asking for forgiveness follows yesterday’s Psalm of Your glorious appearance.   It’s no wonder that when I focus on You and Your righteous character, I feel completely inadequate and unworthy.

But praise be to the Lord of Hosts that I have forgiveness in Your unfailing love!  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”

Father, I turn from my sin and confess to You, agreeing with You that it is sin.  Cleanse me Father, blot it out according to Your mercy.  And show me Lord, when I start to go my own way instead of doing what You have shown me is right.  Even now, bring to mind anything I must confess and turn away from in any area of my life.

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Father, I bring my thoughts before You: angry, selfish, envious, lustful, greedy, prideful, and any others that would lead me away from You.

I offer You my attitudes: critical, judgmental, argumentative, materialistic, lukewarm towards You.

I desire to align my speech with what will honor You, and ask forgiveness for words spoken that are crude, hurtful, hateful, grumbling, complaining, divisive, misleading, or lies.

Lord, in my relationships, forgive when I have been disrespectful, manipulative, unforgiving, dishonest, improper physically or emotionally.  I give You my relationships and ask that You would remove any that are ungodly.  Close the door on those that do not encourage godliness in me.

Father, forgive me for setting other things in priority over spending time with You, for not following through on all You have shown me to do, for continuing to do anything You have told me not to do.

Forgive me for allowing ungodly influences into my life by the things I watch or read or eat or drink or do that are not healthy for me, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually.

Lord God, “cleanse me… and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow…Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”   According to Your unending love and Your great compassion.  Amen

Psalm 51:1-10

Jul 22 Heal our land

flag needs prayerO Father, Solomon knew the people so well.  Even as You inhabited the Temple, and Your Glory shone all around, he knew Your people would turn away from You.  He prayed for Your forgiveness and mercy, and You answered with a promise we can claim today.

“If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Father, I belong to You.  I am called a Christian after Your Name “Christ.”  So it is my responsibility to intercede: pray for my community, my country.   That also makes it my responsibility to humble myself and turn from my sin.

It’s so easy to point a finger at corrupt people who take advantage of and mislead others.  Or to ask for forgiveness for “corporate sin” – the sin committed by others in my nation or society as a whole. But You did not stipulate only the guilty looking people confess, but Your people.

I cannot get away from the need to confess my personal sin too.

So Father, I humble myself before You.  I have not measured up in so many ways.  I do not deserve the blessings You pour out on me.   Show me where there is wickedness in my life: my words, my actions, my attitude.

Forgive me when I have spoken but should have held my tongue.  Forgive me when I held my tongue but should have spoken.

I have allowed fear to dictate when I was willing to stand up for You.  I have allowed my comfort to set the limits of my generosity when it comes to giving of my time and talents and treasure.

Lord I seek Your face to bring a spiritual awakening and revival upon my country.  Renew the Biblical values this country was founded on.  Let Your people once again know Your presence, Your power and Your blessing.

“I love You Lord.  You are my strength.  You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.  I call to You, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”  Amen

2 Chronicles 6:12-7:16; Psalm 18:1-3 

Jul 20 Direct my path

shield-490808_640Father, like Solomon who built a Temple to house Your glorious Name, I long to build something of substance with my life that will bring You recognition and glory.  It doesn’t have to be magnificent, or expensive, or what the world would judge as spectacular.   But it is the desire of my heart to be part of something special: a legacy that, when I leave this earth, others who come behind me will see my faithfulness and be pointed to You.

Paul left a different kind of testament to You with the letters he wrote.  His explanations, though sometimes long and arduous, explain the basis of much of my faith.

He explains that before You came and died on the cross, I was a slave to sin.  But because I put my faith in You, and am united with You, crucified on the cross with You; I died to sin.  I am no longer its slave, because death frees one from the bondage they lived in.

So I am raised from the dead with You, a free believer – no longer a slave to sin!  You set me free with Your death and resurrection!  Since my life is with You, and I live it freely; if I sin, it is because I choose to, since I am no longer a slave to it.

Lord, help me choose daily, to walk away from sin.

Show me how to walk with You in righteousness; how to live my life as a testimony to You.   Empower me to face the choices I have to make every day.  Don’t let me just pick what is the easiest, or safest, or most popular.   Let me look at my options from Your perspective.  Let me make decisions based on the long, eternal view, not just for the immediate benefit.

I trust You.  “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.”   Amen

2 Chronicles 3:1-17; Romans 6:1-23; Psalm 16:1-11

Jul 10 Time for Reconciliation

08_Hezekiah_Assyrians_JPEG_1024Father, You allowed the people of Judah and Israel to be taken captive, out of and away from the land You promised them:  a land flowing with milk and honey.  This land, chosen from all the earth, would be their resting place where they could live in peace and worship You as they had promised to do.  They would live out the covenant You had made with them and enjoy Your blessings all the days of their lives.

This land would produce crops enough to support the people.  It would yield grass enough to support all the livestock so they would be healthy enough to reproduce with abundant milk to nurse the young.  The flowering plants would provide ample pollen so the bees could make lots of honey.  Thus: a land flowing with milk and honey!

But the people were unfaithful to You.  They did not do what they had promised to do, and worshipped idols like the pagan cultures around them.  They gave offerings of all kinds to stone and wood figures.  And even sacrificed their precious, living children as burnt offerings.

Yet even in Your judgment of their unfaithfulness and idolatry, there was a limit.  For You had promised that “if Your people, who were called by Your name, would humble themselves, and seek Your face, and turn from their wicked ways, that You would forgive their sin and heal their land.”  And at the end of their set time, they did indeed seek You.   And You brought them back.

O Father, thank You for this picture of reconciliation.  It mirrors what You offer me.  There are consequences when I sin.  But You have promised that when I humble myself and turn from my sin, and seek Your forgiveness, that You will forgive my sin.

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Lord, there are so many ways I fall short of Your standard.  I miss the mark.  There are things I do that I shouldn’t, and things I should do that I don’t.  I have spoken wrong words, done wrong things, thought wrong thoughts, and had wrong attitudes.

Lord, as You bring these to my mind, I agree with You that they are sin.  I confess my sin and do not try and justify or legitimize it.  I turn from it and ask for Your forgiveness.

Thank You that You forgive.  Thank You that Your blood pays the price my sin deserves.  And that You purify me from my unrighteousness.   Thank You that You are a God of second chances…and third…and fourth…  And that You have the power to free me from my sin.

And beyond that, when other believers also agree with You about what is sin in their lives, You hear their payers.  Father, our culture is sin sick too.  Open our eyes to the unfaithfulness and sin in our lives.  When we call to You, and humble ourselves and turn away from that sin, You are able to heal our land.  We need You Father, heal our land!  Amen

1 Chronicles 9:1; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 John 1:9

Jun 12 Thank You

“O Lord, hear my voice.  Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.  If You, Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with You there is forgiveness.”

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Thank You Lord, that You hear my voice and my prayer.  Thank You that one of Your qualities is omnipresence: You can be everywhere at once.

I never have to worry that You are too busy, or that I have to wait on the other people in the world for You to be listening and responding to me.  Thank You that in the quietness of my heart, I can turn to You anytime and You are there.

Thank You that when I turn from my sin and ask for forgiveness, You remove my sin from me and never bring it up again.  People remind me of my failures and mistakes, some more than others.  But with You, there is never a backhanded comment, or dredging up my past faults.   When You forgive, it is over and done with.

Thank You for knowing that no one can stand when compared to Your standard and example of perfection without Your covering of mercy and righteousness.  And thank You for providing exactly that in the blood You shed on the cross.   It completely pays the penalty my sins deserve.

“In Your Word I put my hope.”  Its promises are true.  Its instruction is sure.   Father, bring my loved ones to put their hope in You too.   In You, they will find unfailing love and full redemption.  Turn their hearts back to You.  Open their eyes to Your truth.

Pull back the veil of lies and deceit they have believed.  Rip away the evil one’s trickery and schemes that have drawn them away from You.  Help them see that You alone can redeem them.  I wait in anticipation of their deliverance and salvation.  Amen

Psalm 130:1-8

Jun 11 Still our prayer today

prayer-708389_640“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth below – You who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way.  You have kept Your promises…with Your mouth You have promised and with Your hand You have fulfilled it – as it is today.”

“The heavens, even the highest heaven cannot contain You…yet give attention to Your servant’s prayer and plea for mercy, O Lord my God.  Hear the cry and the prayer that Your servant is praying in Your presence today.”

“When Your people (I) sin against You – for there is no one who does not sin – …and when they (I) have a change of heart…”and turn back to You will all their (my) heart and soul…then from heaven, Your dwelling place, hear their (my) prayer and plea and forgive…all the offenses.” 

“Praise be to the Lord!  Not one word has failed of all the good promises You gave through Your servant Moses.”  You are with me; You will never leave me or forsake me.  Turn my heart to You to be fully committed to walk in all Your ways and keep Your commands.  May You uphold my cause, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and there is no other!  Amen!

The words of Solomon at the dedication of the Temple

I Kings 8:10-61

May 1 I believe

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” 

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In today’s scripture You come onto the scene and are recognized as Messiah, the Lamb of God, the One who saves!

You came in the flesh, to my physical world to sacrifice Yourself to make a way for me to be reconciled to You.  You are the Only Way.  Yet there are still people who do not recognize You for who You are.

John recognized You because he was spiritually aware.  You revealed to him that the one on whom he saw the Spirit of a dove come down and rest, was the Son of God.  He saw the Spirit rest on You so he could know for certain, proclaim and testify that You are the Son of God.

Two of John’s disciples first followed You because they had studied with John.  They knew the scriptures, the prophecies and trusted John’s testimony, so they believed.  Nathanael believed because You knew things about him You could not have naturally known.

Lord God, You call and You save.  But it is my personal decision whether to respond to or ignore Your call.

I accept Your free gift of eternal salvation, but there are so many who do not.

Lord God, Your Word says it is Your will that every single human being would be saved from the penalty of their sin.  That penalty is death, eternal separation from You.  You desire that they would answer Your call and accept Your payment for that sin and be reconciled to You.

Some will come to You because they are aware of spiritual truth, like John.

Some will come because they study out the scriptures for themselves, or because someone they trust will share with them, like John’s disciples.

Some will come because they see You doing things, miracles, that are not naturally possible.

Father open the ears of those who do not yet know You, so they can hear Your call to them.  Sensitize their minds, hearts, and spirits so they are ready to accept Your salvation.  And show me how I can speak or act in a way that will draw people to You.  Use me to point them to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

A time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  I can’t wait!  Amen

John 1:29-51

Apr 14 Your Word over deception and lies

“O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.  See how Your enemies are astir, how Your foes rear their heads.”

enemy-God-greatI live at a time in the history of earth, when You have permitted satan to have limited power here.  With lies and deception, vain philosophies and worldly desires he confuses people and leads them astray.

He holds up the pride of accomplishment and the lusts of the eyes and of the flesh as the pinnacle of human achievement.  He elevates satisfaction and pleasure with material gain no matter the cost in human suffering.

And he stalks those who would seek to lead a godly life and bring You glory; hoping to derail their efforts and sideline them completely.

When I was born, I was automatically on satan’s team because of my sin nature.  Because Adam sinned, all sinned.  There is only one way to be reconciled to You and be on Your team:  accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Jesus’ blood paid the price, the penalty for my sin.   Once on Your team, satan can never have me on his team again.  And because that makes him mad, he tries to ruin my team efforts or keep me off the field entirely.

I admit sometimes I am still misled by satan’s lies.  He deceives me to believe that I am not worthy, or good enough to be on Your team.  If he gets me discouraged enough, depressed, despairing, or distracted, I may just sit myself on the sideline.  He is cunning in his ways to deceive.  And he plots against Your players on all fronts: personally, professionally, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

But Lord, Your armor is the best.  Your protection: absolute.

Thank You that I can protect my mind, my thoughts, from the evil one and use my faith as a shield.

Thank You that I have a weapon: Your Word, to use against his lies and deceiving ways.

And thank You for fighting with me, to give me victory!

Father, make Your enemies like refuse on the ground; “like tumbleweeds that blow along, like chaff before the wind” that is blown and dissipates till it is no more. Consume Your enemies “like a fire consumes the forest or sets a mountain ablaze” as You “pursue and terrify them with Your hurricane power.”

“They will perish in disgrace, O Lord.  And know that You alone, are the Most High, over all the earth.”  Amen

Psalm 83:1-18

Apr 13 God’s plan – not mine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua 7:16-9:2

Apr 12 I confess and You bless

maninfiledO Almighty God!

O Lord who is omnipotent,

all powerful,

omnipresent,

at all places

at all times,

and omniscient,

knowing all things.  It is hard to imagine the scope and depth of Your power and presence because it is so far beyond anything that is humanly possible.

Forgive me when I forget that You know all things, and try to hide my sin from You.

How foolish of me to think that I can keep something hidden from You and go on like it never happened.  You knew that some of the Israelites held back plunder from the victory at Jericho.  And there were consequences for their disobedience.  It cost thirty-six men their lives in a battle, and ultimately, the lives of all those who hid their sin.

It is so human of me, and yet so wrong, to think I can ask You to answer my prayers with blessing, when I am hiding sin.  I cannot expect You to bless me in my marriage, for instance, if I am gossiping, spreading disunity among my friends.  Before I can ask for Your favor, there are things I need to confess.

It’s not that I am telling You something You don’t already know.  The Greek word for confess is “homologo.”  It means “same word.”  So I am simply agreeing with what You already know; and with Your assessment that my action or attitude is sinful.

And You promise that when I confess my sin and turn from it, You are faithful, and will forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness and guilt.

Just like the Prodigal Son, when I return to You and confess my sin, You run to me, throw Your arms around me and celebrate my return to right relationship with You!

O Father, I desire miraculous victories like the Battle of Jericho in my life.  Keep me from temptation.  Help me quickly see sin for what it is and turn from it.

And when I stray from You, bring me to my senses and set my feet back on the path to You.  That is the path of blessing and victory! Amen

Joshua 7:1-15; Luke 15:11-24; I John 1:9   

Apr 3 Our laws are Your laws

Father, I am amazed by how much of the moral code You gave in Torah (the first five books of the Bible) is represented in our legal system today.

JohnAdamsQuote585The last several days’ readings are filled with issues represented in our country’s legal code.   Standards are set for maintaining property lines, fair measures in trade, witnesses being necessary rather than relying on hearsay testimony, determination of false testimony and punishing it.  It is not merely causing a death, but consideration of motivation behind the act that is judged; whether there is “malice aforethought.”

You deal with property law when passing an inheritance, capital punishment, homeowner’s liability, divorce, charging interest on loans and how to handle collateral.  In all Your determinations You call for justice to all, and for mercy in the care for the underprivileged and marginalized.

Our second president and signer of the Constitution, John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Our constitutional and legal values came from the Bible.  You knew, way back then, what our society would need today.  And provided for it.

Even beyond our country’s laws is Your law of sin and death.  And when I fail and sin, You have made a way of placing me back in right standing with You.  You took upon Yourself the penalty of my sin, and paid my debt.

But for those who do not accept Your payment, there will be a reckoning.   If they refuse Your gift, they will spend eternity separated from You.  They will be held accountable for the decision they make, whether to accept You as God, or reject You.

Thank You for being a just law-giver.  Strengthen me to turn away from sin and obey the laws You’ve given us. Bring our country back to a godly moral standard.

Thank You Father, that You who judge, are just. Amen

Deuteronomy 17:1-25:16

 

Mar 23 A blessed life

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

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He 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 11 from beginning to end

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Thank You Lord, is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited and reconciled, into fellowship with You.  Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through.  Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world!  You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence.  And eventually died physically.  They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the desert when Korah sinned against You and rebelled, You swallowed him up in the earth with his followers.  Yet sin continued. As did sacrifices as a way to enter Your presence, first in the Tabernacle, then the Temple.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people.  Yet all have not accepted that gift.

One day Your world will be free of sin again, as You judge all the living and the dead, even the angels, and create a new heaven and a new earth.

You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes.  They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever.

I am eternally blessed to be Your child.  Thank You.  Amen

Numbers 16:1-40; Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:7

Mar 8 Only You

Thank You for having mercy on me O Lord.  Thank You for withholding from me the penalty that my sins deserve.

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I praise You that Your mercies are new every morning; that You are not like a human, who would reach a limit of forgiveness or loving kindness.

I am so fortunate that I am not dependent on my own goodness or ability to “earn” any kind of favor from You, but that I am at the mercy of Your great, unfailing love and boundless compassion.

Because of this, Lord, You blot out my transgressions, wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from all my sin.  And because Your love for me is so great, You only show me what I can bear at any given time.  Your Holy Spirit convicts my heart, but does not condemn me.

I will be cleansed only when You cleanse me.  Only You have this power.   You can wash me whiter than the pure, sparkling snow.

You do not desire legalism or jumping through hoops to earn forgiveness; but desire my own recognition of my sin, and my true repentance.

Father, I ask You to do a work in me and purify my heart.  Renew a spirit in me that will not give way to these sins again.   That way, when I do sin, it will break my heart and make me aware immediately, so I can turn from it and return to You.

Return the joy of Your salvation to me Lord, and all that it means.

I am ever grateful for Your forgiveness, for Your cleansing, so I can again be in Your presence.  I open my mouth and declare that all blessing and honor are due You.  To You I give all glory, all praise, all thanks.  Yours is the power and strength forever. Amen

Psalm 51:1-19; Revelation 7:12

 

Feb 28 Words can hurt

leo-350690_640“When words are many, sin is not absent…”

O Lord, twice I have learned the truth of today’s Proverb.

Twice I have given full vent to my anger, spewing words at another person.  And both times the eruptions have caused me much grief.

Even though I felt completely justified at the time for the hurt they had caused in my life or my child’s; the damage to the relationships and the way I felt afterwards was not worth the momentary release of anger and frustration.

The examples I have heard about words spoken are so true:  you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube – you cant put all the feathers back in the pillow, you can’t un-break an egg… because you can never undo the impact of words after they’ve been heard.

“…but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

Since those two occasions, I have become “wise.”    When the anger builds up and the words are on the tip of my tongue, the memory of those two outbursts come to mind immediately, and I am able to hold my tongue and think before I speak.

Thank You for imprinting them so indelibly on my memory to keep me from sinning in this fashion again.  Thank You for teaching me that these words which so easily roll off my tongue are not the godly way to handle situations.

Keep this lesson in the forefront of my mind so that my witness will not be wasted.  Let me honor You with my words.  Amen

Proverbs 10:19 ESV

Feb 25 Lord have mercy…

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Oh Lord, the commands You give Your people look like the Prime Time TV line up on any given night, or the most popular movies   Our “entertainment” is filled with murder, vampires drinking blood and every form of sexual immorality.  The culture and society of my country have become so profane – I am ashamed.

Looking historically, this nation has become all that Egypt represented in Exodus.  I look at this Psalm, and I pray for the United States: “Lord, have mercy on us, as a nation; heal us, for we have sinned.”

“Deliver us in times of trouble, protect and preserve our life; bless us in this land and do not surrender us to the desire of our foes.  Sustain us on the sickbed of immorality and restore us from our bed of illness” 

“O Lord, have mercy on us; raise us up…Praise be to the God of Israel (and hopefully the God of America) from everlasting to everlasting.  Amen”

Leviticus 17:1-18:30; Psalm 41:1-13

Feb 21 Healing and Forgiveness

Dear Father, even though You no longer walk this earth in the flesh, Your power is still present here.  Each believer has the Holy Spirit and can call on You in prayer to effect Your purposes.

prayer-888757_1920So we bring our loved ones and the people of the earth before You.  We ask for healing from physical ailments.  We ask for an end to suffering, whether at the hands of ungodly persecutors, or by the powers of this present darkness that work for the evil one.

We ask for salvation to come to those who are lost and in need of a Savior.  Lord, be the light in their lives that heals and frees and saves.

Like Jairus, I put my faith in Your power to touch and heal.   You are a God of miracles.

I also realize that when I intercede, or pray on behalf of others, I need to be clean before You.  Unconfessed sin can get in the way of our communication.  David says that his sin caused health to leave his body, guilt to overwhelm him.

I too need to confess my sin before You and ask forgiveness.  Show me the sin in my life Lord, and as I agree with You and turn from it, cleanse me anew.

Thank You for Your forgiveness.  Thank You for purifying me from all sin’s unrighteousness.  Thank You for allowing me, like Jairus, to ask in faith for Your healing.

Help me pray in Your will, because I trust that Your will is the absolute best for each of us.  And help me rest in Your answers and Your timing.  Amen

Mark 5:21-43; Psalm 38:1-22

Feb 17 Sacrifice for all

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Lord God, it strikes me as I read this passage in Leviticus, that all these offerings are for unintentional sin.

This is a sin that the person is unaware of when they do it.  Then, when they become aware of their sin, they are to bring the appropriate animal, lay their hand on it as it is sacrificed in a way of transferring the sin to the animal who pays the price for the sin: death.  These are ways to restore relationship with You when there is no intent in the sin.

When the sin is deliberate, intentional, there is often no sacrifice, no substitute to bear the penalty.  Death is the penalty.  The person who sins is accountable for that debt.

But praise to You, Lord!  You have made another way for sinners to be restored into right relationship with You.

When Jesus came, He ate with and spent time with “sinners” to show them the good news.  There was now going to be a sacrifice that would pay the penalty for their sin!  The blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Your blood, would take away the sin of the world.  All the sin.

Because “Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the heavens, and Your faithfulness stretches to the skies; because Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, and Your justice like the great deep,”  You have preserved man, and provided him with salvation!

Both high and low among men and women and children can come to You and find refuge in the shadow of Your wings.  For within You is the fountain of life.

And when I have You, I have life!   Amen

Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-17; Psalm 36:5-9

Feb 6 Little by little

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“Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” 

How well You, my Heavenly Father know me.  You know my strengths and also my weaknesses and limitations.

And You will never give me more than You know I can handle.

The challenge is: it is often more than I realize I can handle.  But You are always gentle with me, and faithful.

With the Israelites, You knew they would not be able to take possession of all of Your amazing gift of the promised land at one time.  You knew the blessing was too much for them with their limitations.  So You gave them what they could handle, and when they were ready, strong enough, You gave them more.

You’re like that with me too.  If I knew the full extent of the bountiful and abundant blessing You have in store for me, I would not be able to take it all in.  It would be too overwhelming and far too great for me to accept all at once.  So You show me the part I can accept, and work with me one step at a time.

Your forgiveness is a blessing.  But You are patient and do not overwhelm me by showing me all my sin at once.

Little by little, You teach me what is right and holy.  And little by little I see how I have fallen short of that, or have been downright disobedient.

And as I acknowledge my sin and accept Your forgiveness, I am blessed as You purify me from unrighteousness and free me from guilt and shame.

boy-1916204_640You know me so well, Lord.  And knowing what I will face, You prepare me with exactly what I need to meet each challenge, accept each blessing and appreciate Your hand at work in my life.

Go before me to prepare the way.  And prepare me, Father, to see and accept all that You have for me.

Help me be patient for Your timing.  Guide me and empower me to take the steps You have prepared for me.

Do not let me run ahead or lag behind.  But build me up, increase me, till I am ready to take possession of all that comes from Your hand.   Amen

Exodus 23:27-30

Jan 6 Choices

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

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

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

Help me weigh the consequences and ask, “Will this draw me closer to God or take me further away?”

And as I move forward, let me be mindful of Your voice, trusting that You will guide and protect me.

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

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

Help me act in faith when You call. Help me believe and trust in Your promises. Even when You do not act according to my expected or desired time table.

Even when it seems like things are not going the way I have prayed they would.

Even when it seems worse than at the beginning.

Even when I cannot see You at work.

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

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

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

Jan 2 Keep me from “Serpent speak”

O Father, Proverbs tells me “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  Lord, I do not wish to be a fool.  Help me keep my sense of awe and respect for You.  I yearn for Your wisdom and instruction.  Keep me teachable and open to hear Your voice and see Your wonders.

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I completely acknowledge You as Creator of the Universe and all that is in it. You alone possess the Sovereignty and Authority and Power to rule over and be Lord over all.

What an infinite imagination to think up all the combinations of flowers, birds, animals and insects!  And not just how they look, but how they sound, and smell!  I am amazed by You!

Surely, Eve must have been amazed by You too; walking in the Garden of Eden that You created!  Yet she gave in to temptation.   She listened to the serpent speak and was deceived. (And I’m still blown away that she didn’t seem surprised at all that a serpent was speaking!)

When the serpent misquoted You, she did not check it out.  And when he told a half-truth, that she would “be like” You, she believed it.  She trusted what she understood with her own eyes and logic instead of coming to You.

Father, do not let me make this mistake.

When I hear a voice tempting me with something You have already spoken about, help me remember what You’ve said.  If I do not, remind me to come to You for direction.  Keep me from rushing to accept what is said without checking it out.  Let me be wise to the tactic of using just enough truth to sound right as a scheme to derail me.

Lord, do not let me be misled by falsehoods or half-truths.

It is not just the voice of the evil one, but also this world and my own flesh that lead me down a wrong path, away from You.  Many temptations lure me to be more or have more than I am, playing into greed or pride, a sense of self-importance, inflated ego, fame or fortune.  But as seen here, this temptation was only half true, and had a huge price.

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.”  This sounds like she was being perfectly logical, if it weren’t for the fact that You had already told her it was wrong!

Sometimes I can logically think my way into a wrong answer too.  Remind me, Father, to come to You, to seek Your perspective above all others.  Whether considering an opportunity, or dealing with a hardship: if there seems to be wisdom the world offers, or a logic to my mind, or a sense in my flesh, let me submit them all to You.

And thank You Father, that even when I make mistakes and sin; as with Adam and Eve, You have shed Your blood and covered me.  You have made a way for me to be back in fellowship with You, forever.  You are amazing!  Amen

Genesis 3:1-24; Proverbs 1:7-9

Dec 8 May America blossom

easter-1270523_1920O Father, I pray that America will return to You.  “[Our] sins have been [our] downfall!  Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” 

It is not just a return to simpler times that I seek.  I do not wish to go back to covered wagons or shorter life expectancies because of disease and wars.  But I long for my country to worship You; to acknowledge all we have been so generously given is from You.

Lord, other powers, philosophies or ideologies cannot save us.  We need to return to You and receive Your healing.

Father, as in Jude’s time, many men have “slipped in among us” to lead us away from You.  In Jude’s words, “godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny You” as Sovereign and Lord.

Show me how to see these people, these philosophies for what they really are, and not be misled by them.   Jude’s warning is just as important today as it was then.

Proverbs says: “When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but the righteous will see their downfall.”  Father, the wicked seem to be truly thriving today.   And sin has increased.  How long can it go on before You bring their downfall?

Your discipline will bring peace; Your correction will bring wisdom.  When America returns to You, the people will be blessed again as You “heal [our] waywardness and love [us] freely…Your anger turned away.”

America and its people will “blossom like a lily” and “like a cedar of Lebanon will send down roots…young shoots will grow”.

All this, I pray for my country, my family, myself.  Help us return to You so we will acknowledge and praise You!  Reveal the wickedness and godlessness that has led us astray.  Let us accept Your correction and discipline and grow wise in our faith.  Let us send down roots into Your rich, spiritual soil and blossom.

“To You, who is able to keep [me] from falling…be glory, majesty, power and authority…before all ages, now and forevermore!  Amen”

Hosea 14:1-9; Jude 1:1-10, 24-25Proverbs 29:16

 

Dec 2 Your Word is still our prayer

Father, these words of Daniel, oddly enough, seem to apply to my country and me in these times.   America has enjoyed Your blessing and protection, but her people have turned away from You and Your values.  Judgment and punishment are at our doorstep, and our only hope is to return to You.  If we do not, I fear a great judgment is coming our way.  So using the very words of Daniel, “I pray to You, the Lord my God and confess:


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“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps Your covenant of love with those who love You and keep Your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong.  We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from Your commands and laws.   We have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our [government officials], our [spiritual leaders] and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.

“Lord, You are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people [Your believers] and the inhabitants of [our cities] and all [America], both near and far…because of our unfaithfulness to you.   We and our [government officials], our [spiritual leaders] and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against You.   

You, the Lord our God are merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against You; we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws You gave us through Your servants the prophets.   All [America] has transgressed Your law and turned away, refusing to obey You.

“Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, [we are in danger of them being] poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.   You [will fulfill] the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster.  Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.  [And we are in danger of the same fate.] 

Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster [will] come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to Your truth.  You [will] not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for You, the Lord our God are righteous in everything You do; yet we have not obeyed You.

“Now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for Yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.   Lord, in keeping with all Your righteous acts, turn away Your anger and Your wrath from [America]. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made [America] and Your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of Your servants.  For Your sake, Lord, look with favor on [America].   Give ear, our God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of the [country] that [has borne] Your Name. 

We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy.   Lord, listen!  Lord, forgive!  Lord, hear and act!  For Your sake, my God, do not delay, because [America] and your people bear your Name.”  Amen

Daniel 9:1-17

Nov 30 Lead me in the Light

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Father, 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 sin is 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 1:5-10; Psalm 119:169-176

Nov 14 Help me run the race

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

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

Father, point out to me anything that is a hindrance to my being obedient to You; so I follow the course You have laid out for me.

I know You give me choices.  There are many things I could do, many ways to spend the energy You give me that would serve You and be a blessing to others.  But I also believe that when I am able to use the talents and spiritual gifts You have given specifically to me, I will experience more growth and more fruitfulness.

In that role I believe I will have more perseverance, more joy, and more success than if I go off on my own.  So I will fix my eyes on You, look to You for direction.  Open my eyes to see You, and all You have to show me.

From Psalm 112: I pray that “[my husband and my sons] will be blessed as men who fear the Lord, who find great delight in Your commands.  [May their] children be mighty in the land.  [Would You place] wealth and riches in [their] houses and [let their] righteousness endure forever. 

Even in darkness, let light dawn [for them].  [Let them] be gracious and compassionate and righteous men.  Let good come to [them when they are] generous… and conduct their affairs with justice.  [Father, let them] never be shaken from their faith.” 

“[Lord, let them] have no fear of bad news; [but let their] hearts be steadfast, trusting in You.  [Whatever comes, let them] have no fear; and in the end, look in triumph on their foes.  [Let them] scatter abroad their gifts to the poor.  [Let their] righteousness endure, and lift [them] high in honor.”

Father, if they are not as described here yet, bring them to this place.  Draw them to You.  Teach them.  Let them know Your voice and feel Your love.

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

Hebrews 12:1-3; Psalm 112:1-10; Proverbs 27:17

Nov 11 Forewarned and defended by You

“So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you.” 

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Father, these two “women” represented Your people.  So when You say “all women may take warning and not imitate you,” you mean all countries and all peoples can learn not to make the same mistake the Israelites made with idolatry.

I pray that my country will learn from Your example here and not imitate the idolatry of Samaria and Jerusalem.

Father, do not let this lesson go unnoticed. You are a just God and You judge rightly.   Those people only rejected the law of Moses and were judged.  How much more will those be judged who live now and know of Your sacrifice on the cross?

You have made a new way for people today to approach You.   It is a better way!  By Your shed blood, I have the privilege of approaching You boldly, with full assurance and confidence.

So I draw near to You with a sincere heart, and ask that You show me how to live, encouraging other believers, worshipping You, acting in love, doing good deeds, and defeating the enemy.

Father, the enemy uses all manner of evil to try to defeat me.   Help me, Lord; do not be silent.  Fight against those who are against You and who attack me and my family.

Show them that You are victorious while they are clothed with shame and disgrace.    And I will rejoice in my deliverance, extolling my Father with praise!  Amen

Ezekiel 23:1-49; Hebrews 10:18-25; Psalm 109: 1-31

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 7 New Covenant for Eternity

Father, even with the detestable ways Your people sinned; so much so that You compared them to an adulterous, unfaithful wife; You promised them restoration.

You made a way of atonement for them.  Not as we might see the restoration of an individual from one day to the next, but as a people, Your people.

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You are so much more long-sighted than we humans are.  We can barely see to the next day, but You look throughout eternity and see things from a different perspective.

Paul saw this new covenant.  What You gave Your people in the wilderness was a shadow of what was to come.  You showed them how to approach You in the Tabernacle – only through the earthly High Priest who was born into the line of Aaron, and who offered blood sacrifices.  What Paul saw, and what I have as a believer, is a new High Priest!  You!

With a shadow, something real has to cast that shadow.  The reality of what made the shadow of the old covenant, is when You, Yourself became my High Priest when You walked the earth as the Lord Jesus Christ, and made atonement for my sin with Your perfect blood sacrifice!

Paul quotes Jeremiah, saying “The days are coming…when I will make a new covenant…I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people”.

It hasn’t happened for all of Israel yet, but it has happened for me!  I have You in me, as the Holy Spirit.

Thank You Father, that I am in You, and that I have You in me!  Thank You for putting Your law in my mind – for bringing Your Word to me – for placing me in a country and at a time when I can read and study Your Word freely and openly.  Thank You that I was born to parents who worshipped You and gave me that example of worshipping and serving You.

Thank You Father, that You are in heaven now, on Your throne – in the true Tabernacle.  I long for the day when I will see You in all Your glory.  When every knee will bow and all will know that You are Lord.  And I will praise You forever!  Amen

Ezekiel 16:42-63; Hebrews 8:1-13

Sept 29 Remember and Praise!

note-152133_640Father, You looked down on the people You created, and what a disappointment! You saw them in their “sinful greed” and “willful ways.”  Even when they sought You with fasting, it was not in earnest.  And was not acceptable to You.  You told them how to behave to be blessed.  Yet they still did not respond as You had instructed.

Their sin separated them from You.  And so You achieved salvation for them by Yourself.   “As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says The Lord.  My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and My Words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips…from this time on and forever, says The Lord.”

Father, I wonder how I disappoint You when You look at me.  I so often think of my own needs and wants before others, and I want things my own way.  That sounds a lot like “sinful greed” and “willful ways.”  But because I am Yours, I have Your Spirit in me, and I have Your Word.  The Scriptures tell me how to live, and the Spirit prompts me in the right direction, even when I stray.  I am thankful that You do not give up on me.

You have been with me since my youth, giving me hope and confidence; helping me when I needed help, rescuing me when I needed saving.  Now, “deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.”

As I face things that seek to pull me away from the path of righteousness, my emotions are strained, my good intentions eroded, and my character taxed.   But I am “confident of this, that He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

It is You, Father, Your power that will work in me and through me to enable me to achieve all You have purposed for me.  So rather than focus on my troubles, I chose to focus on You!  I believe Your Word and I trust Your Spirit.

Father, even now, help me remember Your faithfulness to me.  Help me recall the times when You interceded to protect me, when You made a way of escape for me, when You stayed with me in the hard times and got me through them with a vision or a song or an answer to prayer.

As I remember them one by one, I will sing and give You praise!  I will recall and tell others of Your greatness, and Your goodness to me.

Thank You that You are “my rock of refuge, to which I can always go.”   Thank You that “You are my strong refuge.”

Thank You for these Words You sent me through David.  I can almost use them word for word to praise You.  They so elegantly voice the praise and thanks I want to express.  Thank You that You are my God.  Amen

Isaiah 57:15-59:21; Philippians 1:6; Psalm 71: 1-24

 

Sept 8 Consequences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 1:1-31

Sept 7 Recognition -> Repentance

prayer-1308663_640 (1)Father, just as in many prayers, a sense of needing to repent of personal sin follows a recognition of Your amazing presence; today’s Psalm of asking for forgiveness follows yesterday’s Psalm of Your glorious appearance.   It’s no wonder that when I focus on You and Your righteous character, I feel completely inadequate and unworthy.

But praise be to the Lord of Hosts that I have forgiveness in Your unfailing love! “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”

Father, I turn from my sin and confess to You, agreeing with You that it is sin. Cleanse me from it Father, blot it out according to Your mercy. And show me Lord, when I start to go my own way instead of doing what You have shown me is right. Even now, bring to mind anything I must confess and turn away from in any area of my life.

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Father, I bring my thoughts before You: angry, selfish, envious, lustful, greedy, prideful, and any others that would lead me away from You.

I offer You my attitudes: critical, judgmental, argumentative, materialistic, lukewarm towards You.

I desire to align my speech with what will honor You, and ask forgiveness for words spoken that are crude, hurtful, hateful, grumbling, complaining, divisive, misleading, or lies.

Lord, in my relationships, forgive when I have been disrespectful, manipulative, unforgiving, dishonest, improper physically or emotionally. I give You my relationships and ask that You would remove any that are ungodly. Close the door on those that do not encourage godliness in me.

Father, forgive me for setting other things in priority over spending time with You, for not following through on all You have shown me to do, for continuing to do anything You have told me not to do.

Forgive me for allowing ungodly influences into my life by the things I watch or read or eat or drink or do that are not healthy for me, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually.

Lord God, “cleanse me… and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow…Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”   On behalf of Your unending love and Your great compassion. Amen

Psalm 51:1-10

July 22 Heal our land

flag needs prayerO Father, Solomon knew the people so well. Even as You inhabited the Temple, and Your Glory shone all around, he knew Your people would turn away from You. He prayed for Your forgiveness and mercy, and You answered with a promise we can claim today.

“If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Father, I belong to You. I am called a Christian after Your Name ‘Christ’. So it is my responsibility to intercede: pray for my community, my country.   That also makes it my responsibility to humble myself and turn from my sin.

It’s so easy to point a finger at corrupt people who take advantage of and mislead others. Or to ask for forgiveness for ‘corporate sin’ – the sin committed by others in my nation or society as a whole. But You did not stipulate only the guilty looking people confess, but Your people.

I cannot get away from the need to confess my personal sin too.

So Father, I humble myself before You. I have not measured up in so many ways. I do not deserve the blessings You pour out on me.   Show me where there is wickedness in my life: my words, my actions, my attitude.

Forgive me when I have spoken but should have held my tongue. Forgive me when I held my tongue but should have spoken. I have allowed fear to dictate when I was willing to stand up for You. I have allowed my comfort to set the limits of my generosity when it comes to giving of my time and talents and treasure.

Lord I seek Your face to bring a spiritual awakening and revival upon my country. Renew the Biblical values this country was founded on. Let Your people once again know Your presence, Your power and Your blessing.

“I love You Lord. You are my strength. You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. I call to You, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” Amen

2 Chronicles 6:12-7:16; Psalm 18:1-3

July 10 Time for Reconcilliation

Israel captivityFather, You allowed the people of Judah and Israel to be taken captive, out of and away from the land You promised them: a land flowing with milk and honey. This was to be their resting place. This land, chosen from all the earth, would be where they could live in peace and worship You as they had promised to do. They would live out the covenant You had made with them and enjoy Your blessings all the days of their lives.

This land would produce crops enough to support the people. It would yield grass enough to support all the livestock so they would be healthy enough to reproduce with abundant milk to nurse the young. The flowering plants would provide ample pollen so the bees could make lots of honey. Thus: a land flowing with milk and honey!

But the people were unfaithful to You. They fell away from what they had promised to do, and worshipped idols like the pagan cultures around them. They gave offerings of all kinds to stone and wood figures. And even sacrificed their precious, living children as burnt offerings.

Yet even in Your judgment of their unfaithfulness and idolatry, there was a limit. For You had promised that “if Your people, who were called by Your name, would humble themselves, and seek Your face, and turn from their wicked ways, that You would forgive their sin and heal their land.” And at the end of their set time, they did indeed seek You.   And You brought them back.

O Father, thank You for this picture of reconciliation. It mirrors what You offer me. There are consequences when I sin. But You have promised that when I humble myself and turn from my sin, and seek Your forgiveness, that You will forgive my sin.

Lord, there are so many ways I fall short of Your standard. I miss the mark. There are things I do that I shouldn’t, and things I should do that I don’t. I have spoken wrong words, done wrong things, thought wrong thoughts, and had wrong attitudes.

Lord, as You bring these to my mind, I agree with You that they are sin. I confess my sin and do not try and justify or legitimize it. I turn from it and ask for Your forgiveness.

Thank You that You forgive. Thank You that Your blood pays the price my sin deserves. And that You purify me from my unrighteousness.  Thank You that You are a God of second chances…and third…and fourth… And that You have the power to free me from my sin.

And beyond that, when other believers also agree with You about what is sin in their lives, You hear their payers. Father, our culture is sin sick too. Open our eyes to the unfaithfulness and sin in our lives. When we call to You, and humble ourselves and turn away from that sin, You are able to heal our land. We need You Father, heal our land! Amen

1 Chronicles 9:1; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 John 1:9

July 8 You are our Hope

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Be merciful to me, Lord…O Lord, heal me.” Father, there have been times when not only my body, but my soul have been sick with grief, with fear, with frustration. There are times when I do not understand why such bad things happen to good, seemingly innocent people and children.

Or why tragedies come: floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires. Such devastation is hard to watch as the suffering and loss is personalized by the news reporting teams. And that doesn’t even include man’s inhumanity to man as I hear about shootings and bombings and the violent plans of bloodthirsty men.

As hard as all this is to take in, there are the invisible tragedies as well. These are the spiritual disasters that occur when people are deceived and led away from You into lives of confusion and sin. As I see hate and mistrust grow in my family, community and nation I wonder where it will end. How bad can it get O Lord, before You come and deliver?

I see children rebelling, pulling away from the godly way their parents have raised them. When will they come to their senses Lord?

I see young people swayed into immoral lifestyles by the social tolerances of the day. What one generation has allowed in moderation, the next has taken to excess.

Greed runs rampant. Self is exalted. Consequences are non-existent. But the spiritual cost is beyond measure. While it all looks fun on the outside, many of these people are tortured in their personal life. They are trapped in a web of self-doubt and pain, discontented with life. The more they seek to satisfy ‘self’ the more dissatisfied and confused they are. The further away they get from Your truth, the more lost they are, and unable to even recognize truth.

“How long, O Lord, how long? Turn and deliver; save because of Your unfailing love.”

Your love and deliverance are the only hope.   For my family, my community, my nation. Father, turn the hearts of sons back to fathers. “Open the eyes “ of those who have been drawn away from You, “and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to You, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in You.”

“Father, hear my cry for mercy. Accept my prayer.” I long for and wait for the time when all Your enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; and will turn back in sudden disgrace.” And You will be remembered and worshipped as the One True God. In my family. In my nation. In the world. I need, we need Your mercy Father. And Your healing. Thank You that You hear my cry, and answer. Amen

Acts 26:18; Psalm 6:1-10

July 4 We depend on You

cross-1314136_640O Father, Your people didn’t think that judgment would come. But You sent Pharaoh Necho from Egypt in the west to take Judah’s king in chains and tax and oppress the people. Then Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon in the east came twice to burn Jerusalem and strip the land of the last of its treasures and people.

Your people went into exile, taken from their land, to be prisoners in a foreign place. It was just as You had promised. Your people ignored Your covenant and the prophets You sent and followed their leaders into disobedience and idolatry. And paid the price for their choices.

Father, You give me a choice today. You show me how to live by Your Word. You teach me right from wrong. Your values and morality are clear. But my society lives by a different standard. And most of the people believe You will not judge. Although You have the greatest love, You also hate sin. And You have said there will come a time for judgment.

I believe that time is nearing. Father, help my nation hear Your warnings and turn back to You. Help me in my own life, make choices that are according to Your Word. Help me not simply make the easiest choices, or the most popular ones; but give me understanding to know how to make the right choices. Let me live my life for an audience of One: You.

Help me recognize my own sin and turn from it. Strengthen me to do what is right even when it is hard. Let others see that I love You. And that I live my life accordingly.

“Let the kings be wise; and the rulers of the earth be warned. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. And all who take refuge in the Lord will be blessed.” Amen

2 Kings 23:31-25:30; Psalm 2:1-12

 

June 12 Thank You

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“O Lord, hear my voice. Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If You, Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness.”

Thank You Lord, that You hear my voice and my prayer. Thank You that one of Your qualities is omnipresence: You can be everywhere at once. I don’t have to worry that You are too busy, or that I have to wait on the other people in the world for You to be listening and responding to me. Thank You that in the quietness of my heart, I can turn to You anytime and You are there.

Thank You that when I turn from my sin and ask for forgiveness, You remove my sin from me and never bring it up again. People remind me of my failures and mistakes, some more than others. But with You, there is never a backhanded comment, or dredging up my past faults.   When You forgive, it is over and done with.

Thank You for knowing that no one can stand when compared to Your standard and example of perfection without Your covering of mercy and righteousness. And thank You for providing exactly that in the blood You shed on the cross.   It completely pays the penalty my sins deserve.

“In Your Word I put my hope.” Its promises are true. Its instruction is sure.   Father, bring my loved ones to put their hope in You too.   In You, they will find unfailing love and full redemption. Turn their hearts back to You. Open their eyes to Your truth.

Pull back the veil of lies and deceit they have believed. Rip away the evil one’s trickery and schemes that have drawn them away from You. Help them see that You alone can redeem them. I wait in anticipation of their deliverance and salvation. Amen

Psalm 130:1-8

May 1 I believe

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“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

In today’s scripture You come onto the scene and are recognized as Messiah, the Lamb of God, the One who saves! You came in the flesh, to my physical world to sacrifice Yourself to make a way for me to be reconciled to You. You are the Only Way. Yet there are still people who do not recognize You for who You are.

 

John recognized You because he was spiritually aware. You revealed to him that the one on whom he saw the Spirit of a dove come down and rest, was the Son of God. He saw that Spirit rest on You and could then know for certain, proclaim and testify that You are the Son of God.

Two of John’s disciples first followed You because they had studied with John. They knew the scriptures, the prophecies and trusted John’s testimony, so they believed. Nathanael believed because You knew things about him You could not have naturally known.

Lord God, You call and You save. But it is my personal decision whether to respond to or ignore Your call. It is my choice to accept Your salvation or reject it. I hear Your call and follow You. I accept Your free gift of eternal salvation. But, there are so many who do not. Lord God, Your Word says it is Your will that every single human being would be saved from the penalty of their sin. That penalty is death, eternal separation from You. You desire that they would answer Your call and accept Your payment for that sin and be reconciled to You.

Some will come to You because they are aware of spiritual truth, like John. Some will come because they study out the scriptures for themselves, or because someone they trust will share with them, like John’s disciples. Some will come because they see You doing things, miracles, that are not naturally possible. Father open the ears of those who do not yet know You, so they can hear Your call to them. Sensitize their minds, hearts, and spirits so they are ready to accept Your salvation. And show me how I can speak or act in a way that will draw people to You. Use me to point them to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.

A time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I can’t wait! Amen

John 1:29-51

Feb 28 Words can hurt

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“When words are many, sin is not absent…”

Lord, twice I have learned the truth of today’s Proverb. Twice I have given full vent to my anger, spewing words at another person. And both times the eruptions have caused me much grief.

Even though I felt completely justified at the time for the hurt they had caused in my life or my child’s; the damage to the relationships and the way I felt afterwards was not worth the momentary release of anger and frustration.

The examples I have heard about words spoken are so true: you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube – you cant put all the feathers back in the pillow, you can’t un-break an egg… because you can never take those words back, or undo their hearing.

“…but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Since those two occasions, I have become ‘wise’.   When the anger builds up and the words are on the tip of my tongue, the memory of those two outbursts come to mind immediately, and I am able to hold my tongue and think before I speak. Thank You for imprinting them so indelibly on my memory to keep me from sinning in this fashion again. Thank You for teaching me that these words which so easily roll off my tongue are not the godly way to handle situations.

Keep this lesson in the forefront of my mind so that my witness will not be wasted. Let me honor You with my words. Amen

Proverbs 10:19

Feb 25 Lord have mercy…

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Oh Lord, the list of these laws You give Your people looks like the Prime Time TV line up on any given night, or the most popular movies.  Our ‘entertainment’ is filled with murder, vampires drinking blood and every form of sexual immorality. The culture and society of my country have become so profane – I am ashamed.

 

Looking historically, this nation has become all that Egypt represented in Exodus. I look at this Psalm, and I pray for the United States: “I say Lord, have mercy on us, as a nation; heal us, for we have sinned.”

“Deliver us in times of trouble, protect and preserve our life; bless us in this land and do not surrender us to the desire of our foes. Sustain us on the sickbed of immorality and restore us from our bed of illness” 

“O Lord, have mercy on us; raise us up…Praise be to the God of Israel (and hopefully the God of America) from everlasting to everlasting. Amen”

Leviticus 17:1-18:30; Psalm 41:1-13

Feb 17 Sacrifice for all

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Lord God, it strikes me as I read this passage in Leviticus, that all these offerings are for unintentional sin. This is a sin that the person is unaware of when they do it. Then, when they are made aware of their sin, they are to bring the appropriate animal, lay their hand on it as it is sacrificed as a way of transferring the sin to the animal who pays the price for the sin: death. These are ways to restore relationship with You when there is no intent in the sin.

When the sin is deliberate, intentional, there is often no sacrifice, no substitute to bear the penalty. Death is the penalty. The person who sins is accountable for that debt.

But praise to You, Lord! You have made another way for sinners to be restored into right relationship with You.

When Jesus came, He ate with and spent time with “sinners” to show them the good news! There was now going to be a sacrifice that would pay the penalty for their sin. The blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Your blood, would take away the sin of the world. All the sin.

Because “Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the heavens, and Your faithfulness stretches to the skies; because Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, and Your justice like the great deep”, You have preserved man, and provided him with salvation!

Both high and low among men and women and children can come to You and find refuge in the shadow of Your wings. For within You is the fountain of life! And when I have You, I have life! Amen

Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-17; Psalm 36:5-9

Jan 6 Choices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 8 May America blossom

easter-1270523_1920O Father, I pray that America will return to You. “[Our] sins have been [our] downfall! Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” It is not just a return to simpler times that I seek. I do not wish to go back to covered wagons or shorter life expectancies because of disease and wars. But I long for my country to worship You; to acknowledge that all we have been so generously given comes from You.

Lord, other powers, philosophies or ideologies cannot save us. We need to return to You and receive Your healing.

Father, as in Jude’s time, many men have “slipped in among us” to lead us away from You. In Jude’s words, “godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny You” as Sovereign and Lord.   Show me how to see these people, these philosophies for what they really are, and not be misled by them.   Jude’s warning is just as important today as it was then.

Proverbs says: “When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but the righteous will see their downfall”.   Father, the wicked seem to be truly thriving today.   And sin has increased. How long can it go on before You bring their downfall? Your discipline will bring peace; Your correction will bring wisdom. When America returns to You, the people will be blessed again as You “heal [our] waywardness and love [us] freely…Your anger turned away”. America and its people will “blossom like a lily” and “like a cedar of Lebanon will send down roots…young shoots will grow”.

All this, I pray for my country, my family, myself. Help us return to You so we will acknowledge and praise You! Reveal the wickedness and godlessness that has led us astray. Let us accept Your correction and discipline and grow wise in our faith. Let us send down roots into Your rich, spiritual soil and blossom.

“To You, who is able to keep [me] from falling…be glory, majesty, power and authority…before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen”

Hosea 14:1-9; Jude 1:1-25

Dec 1 Help me love what’s eternal

Father, thank You for giving me Your Word so I will know how to live. Thank You that it usually does keep me from sin. But, if I mess up, thanks to You I have an advocate. Your atoning sacrifice bore the punishment and paid the price, “not only for [my sin], but for the sins of the whole world”.

John writes of how to live here, and also how to love. He says I am to love my brother and sister.   And I am not to love the world or anything in it. These are tall orders.

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Help me love my brother and sister: other believers who You have put in my life.Some of them are so loving to me that it is easy to love them back.   Some believers in my life have been like “iron sharpening iron”. We hone one another to be better and ‘sharper’. But some are like sandpaper to me. We do not get along, and although they may ‘sand off’ some of the rough spots on me, mostly they are just an irritant and cause sore, raw spots that hurt. These people are harder to love. They are the ones I need Your help with. Remind me that each one of them is one of Your amazing creations who You love greatly. I know that You love them; show me how to do the same.

Not loving the world is also a difficult task. While many things in the world are repulsive and easy to avoid, it was these same three things John mentions here that have drawn people into sin since Adam and Eve.

The first two are the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes”. The word “lust” here is ‘a strong desire of any kind, good or bad, but evil if not submitted to the will of God’. So whether it is for intimacy, or pleasure, or just comfort, I would usually rather feel comfort than pain, a full stomach than hunger, warm and safe than cold and fearful. It can be hard to turn away from things that offer me a sense of satisfaction in food, comfort or safety. But I need to be sure my flesh and my eyes are not pulling me to just go my own way and satisfy worldly appetites. Father, show me how to maintain proper limits and boundaries.

The third, “the pride of life” represents a moral arrogance or boasting of superior attitude or vanity. The world holds that the one with the best or the most wins. Your economy is different. It is not the elevation of possessions or self that will give me eternal life with You. Help me live a life of obedience to You and humility toward others.

I believe what John says: “the world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever”. Do not let me invest in what will pass away, but in what is eternal. Amen

I John 2:1-17

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 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

Sept 29 Remember and Praise!

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Father, You looked down on the people You created, and what a disappointment! You saw them in their “sinful greed” and “willful ways”. Even when they sought You with fasting, it was not in earnest. And was not acceptable to You. You told them how to behave to be blessed. Yet they still did not respond as You had instructed.

Their sin separated them from You. And so You achieved salvation for them by Yourself.   “As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says The Lord. My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and My Words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips…from this time on and forever, says The Lord.”

Father, I wonder how I disappoint You when You look at me. I so often think of my own needs and wants before others, and I want things my own way. That sounds a lot like ‘sinful greed’ and ‘willful ways’. But because I am Yours, I have Your Spirit in me, and I have Your Word. The Scriptures tell me how to live, and the Spirit prompts me in the right direction, even when I stray. I am thankful that You do not give up on me.

You have been with me since my youth, giving me hope and confidence; helping me when I needed help, rescuing me when I needed saving. Now, “deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.” As I face things that seek to pull me away from the path of righteousness, my emotions are strained, my good intentions eroded, and my character taxed.   But I am “confident of this, that He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

It is You, Father, Your power that will work in me and through me to enable me to achieve all You have purposed for me. So rather than focus on my troubles, I chose to focus on You! I believe Your Word and I trust Your Spirit. Father, even now, help me remember Your faithfulness to me. Help me recall the times when You interceded to protect me, when You made a way of escape for me, when You stayed with me in the hard times and got me through them with a vision or a song or an answer to prayer.

As I remember them one by one, I will sing and give You praise! I will recall and tell others of Your greatness, and Your goodness to me.

Thank You that You are “my rock of refuge, to which I can always go”.   Thank You that “You are my strong refuge”. Thank You for these Words You sent me through David. I can almost use them word for word to praise You. They so elegantly voice the praise and thanks I want to express. Thank You that You are my God. Amen

Isaiah 57:15-59:21; Philippians 1:6; Psalm 71: 1-24

Sept 8 Consequences

What a loving Father You are. You instruct gently, and spell out exactly, what the truth is. You teach Your children how to do what will bring them the greatest reward. You remind them: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land”. You spell out the rewards and the consequences over and over again. When they become disobedient, You send others, prophets, to remind them and warn them off the destructive path and back onto the path of blessing

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

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

“But if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” That is the consequence of disobedience. Who would choose that? Who would give up the blessing of Your provision and favor, in order to be devoured by death? And yet, the Israelites did just that, continuing in idolatry. They turned away from You. In pursuit of other gods, they continued to make meaningless offerings to You as one of the many ‘little g gods’ they worshipped. Meaningless because their hearts did not belong to You any longer.

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

Father, I believe my country has been blessed and protected by You because we trusted in You. But now, we have turned away as a nation, ‘resisting and rebelling’. We no longer honor or even acknowledge You.   You have sent a warning and people who have tried to call America back. But we have not returned. We have chosen the path away from You. And You will bring judgment.

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

Isaiah 1:1-2:22

Sept 7 Recognition -> Repentance

prayer-1308663_640 (1)Father, just as in many prayers, a sense of needing to repent of personal sin follows a recognition of Your amazing presence; today’s Psalm of asking for forgiveness follows yesterday’s Psalm of Your glorious appearance.   It’s no wonder that when I focus on You and Your righteous character, I feel completely inadequate and unworthy.

But praise be to the Lord of Hosts that I have forgiveness in Your unfailing love! “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”   Father, I turn from my sin and confess to You, agreeing with You that it is sin. Cleanse me from it Father, blot it out according to Your mercy. And show me Lord, when I start to go my own way instead of doing what You have shown me is right. Even now, bring to mind anything I must confess and turn from in any area of my life.

Father, I bring my thoughts before You: angry, selfish, envious, lustful, greedy, prideful, and any others that would lead me away from You. I offer You my attitudes: critical, judgmental, argumentative, materialistic, lukewarm towards You. I desire to align my speech with what will honor You, and ask forgiveness for words spoken that are crude, hurtful, hateful, grumbling, complaining, divisive, misleading, or lies.

pray-2558490_640Lord, in my relationships, forgive when I have been disrespectful, manipulative, unforgiving, dishonest, improper physically or emotionally. I give You my relationships and ask that You would remove any that are ungodly. Close the door on those that do not encourage godliness in me.

Father, forgive me for setting other things in priority over spending time with You, for not following through on all You have shown me to do, for continuing to do anything You have told me not to do.   Forgive me for allowing ungodly influences into my life by the things I watch or read or eat or drink or do that are not healthy for me, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually.

Lord God, “cleanse me… and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow…Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”.   On behalf of Your unending love and Your great compassion. Amen

Psalm 51:1-10

Mar 11 from beginning to end

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Thank You Lord, is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited, reconciled, into fellowship with You. Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through. Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world was laid! That You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence. And eventually died physically. They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the desert when Korah sinned against You and rebelled, You swallowed him up in the earth with his followers. Yet sin continued, with more sacrifices being made as a way to enter Your presence, first in the Tabernacle, then the Temple.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people. Yet all have not accepted that gift.

One day Your world will be free of sin again, as You judge all the living and the dead, even the angels, and create a new heaven and a new earth. You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes. They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever. I am eternally blessed to be Your child. Thank You. Amen

Numbers 15:17-16:40; Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:7

Feb 28 Words can hurt

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“When words are many, sin is not absent…”

O Lord, twice I have learned the truth of today’s Proverb. Twice I have given full vent to my anger, spewing words at another person. And both times the eruptions have caused me much grief.

Even though I felt completely justified at the time for the hurt they had caused in my life or my child’s; the damage to the relationships and the way I felt afterwards was not worth the momentary release of anger and frustration.

The examples I have heard about words spoken are so true: you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube – you cant put all the feathers back in the pillow, you can’t un-break an egg… because you can never take those words back, or undo their hearing.

“…but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Since those two occasions, I have become ‘wise’.   When the anger builds up and the words are on the tip of my tongue, the memory of those two outbursts come to mind immediately, and I am able to hold my tongue and think before I speak. Thank You for imprinting them so indelibly on my memory to keep me from sinning in this fashion again. Thank You for teaching me that these words which so easily roll off my tongue are not the godly way to handle situations.

Keep this lesson in the forefront of my mind so that my witness will not be wasted. Let me honor You with my words. Amen

Proverbs 10:19

 

Feb 25 Lord have mercy…

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Oh Lord, the list of these laws You give Your people looks like the Prime Time TV line up on any given night, or the most popular movies Our ‘entertainment’ is filled with vampires drinking blood and every form of sexual immorality. The culture and society of my country have become so profane – I am ashamed.

Looking historically, this nation has become all that Egypt represented in Exodus. I look at this Psalm, and I pray for the United States: “I say Lord, have mercy on us, as a nation; heal us, for we have sinned.”

“Deliver us in times of trouble, protect and preserve our life; bless us in this land and do not surrender us to the desire of our foes. Sustain us on the sickbed of immorality and restore us from our bed of illness”

 “O Lord, have mercy on us; raise us up…Praise be to the God of Israel (and hopefully the God of America) from everlasting to everlasting. Amen” 

Leviticus 18:1-30; Psalm 41:1-13

Feb 17 Sacrifice for all

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Lord God, it strikes me as I read this passage in Leviticus, that all these offerings are for unintentional sin. This is a sin that the person is unaware of when they do it. Then, when they are made aware of their sin, they are to bring the appropriate animal, lay their hand on it as it is sacrificed as a way of transferring the sin to the animal who pays the price for the sin: death. These are ways to restore relationship with You when there is no intent in the sin.

When the sin is deliberate, intentional, there is often no sacrifice, no substitute to bear the penalty. Death is the penalty. The person who sins is accountable for that debt.

But praise to You, Lord! You have made another way for sinners to be restored into right relationship with You.

When Jesus came, He ate with and spent time with ‘sinners’ to show them the good news! There was now going to be a sacrifice that would pay the penalty for their sin. The blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Your blood, would take away the sin of the world. All the sin.

Because “Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the heavens, and Your faithfulness stretches to the skies; because Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, and Your justice like the great deep”, You have preserved man, and provided him with salvation! Both high and low among men and women and children can come to You and “find refuge in the shadow of Your wings”. For “within You is the fountain of life”! And when I have You, I have life! Amen

Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-17; Psalm 36:5-9