Tag: trust

Jan 20 Indescribable Uncontainable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jan 18 every high and low

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Heavenly Father, thank You that I can trust You through the ups and downs, the highs and lows of my life.

There are times when things are going so well I feel on top of the world. And there are other times when it seems as if nothing is going right, and never will. It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything because everything seems to work out wrong and there is no sign that things will change for the better.

Israel’s son Joseph must have thought that when he was first thrown into a well by his jealous and conniving brothers, then sold to slave traders and carried off to Egypt far away from home. He was completely out of control of his own future at that point. But You were in control. And You had a master plan.

I know from scripture how Joseph’s life turned out: all for the good, and for the saving of his family. But I cannot see into the future to know the twists and turns my own life will take, or how it will turn out. And that is the challenge of life here on earth.

There are so many things I cannot control. They become a source of anxiousness, worry, and wringing my hands. Other things, I try to control, but they slip through my fingers like water or sand. They are the source of making plans, and back up plans, contingencies and manipulation; again, stressful. And there are the things that I seem to control and am pleased with, but am misled, because in truth, I am not in control at all. I only think I am.

I could continue to live this misguided life of false security, manipulation and anxiety. But I choose to lay it all down. Father, instead, I choose the peace of giving it all to You. This is where trust comes in. I choose to believe Your Word: that You have a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future, to never leave me or forsake me.

You have proven Yourself steadfast and trustworthy throughout the ages. You created the heavens and the earth and everything in them and have sustained them. You have kept Your covenants and Your promises to men; every one. You have given revelation and prophecy that so far, has all come true. By Your power, the earth turns and the sun rises every morning.

Just like in Joseph’s life, I trust that You will position me where I need to be, when I need to be there. I trust You to prepare me for what comes next. And to guide me through it by being with me.

I trust You will keep me safe. In You I take refuge. You are my Lord. Apart from You I have no good thing. In You I trust. Amen

Genesis 37:1-36; Psalm 16:1-2; Jeremiah 29:11

Jan 15 His eye is on the sparrow…

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Oh God my Father, I too, sometimes have days where I feel like the Psalmist David who writes this prayer for help in trouble. He sings his troubles to You O Lord, as he writes this to his chief musician.

Like David, I also pour out my heart to You, Oh God. There are circumstances in my life where I feel You have turned away from me, hidden Your face from me. I cannot see You, or feel Your presence and do not know when You will act.

I pray and call out for You to make it right: for healing, for restoration, for vindication, for strength, for wisdom, for justice. I can think of challenges, troubles, where I need each of these; and You know them too, because You know all things.

There are places in my life of such hurt and frustration. They cause sorrow to fill my heart. I feel as if I have fought a battle and my enemies have defeated me. My strength is gone. I cry out for You to hear me, come to me, and lift me up. Almighty God, do not let my enemies have the victory. Do not let them say they have vanquished me with rejoicing in their camp.

Even facing all this, I trust wholeheartedly in Your mercy. I know that my salvation is sure. All else pales in the light of Your love and care for me. Whatever happens to me here on earth, I know my future in eternity is secure in You.

So I will sing to You. I will lift up Your Holy Name. I will rejoice abundantly because of what You have done for me. You know the number of hairs on my head, and that is a number that changes daily! Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from Your will.

I trust in Your will completely. I trust the plans that You have for me, to prosper me and not to harm me; plans to give me a hope and a future. So in You will I rest. Amen

Psalm 13: 1-6; Jeremiah 29:11

Jan 12 Trust God with it all

Thank You for sharing the secret to prosperity with us in today’s Proverb. It is a simple statement, but holds the key.

You instruct us to “honor You with our wealth, with the firstfruits of our crops”. We so often consider “honoring You with our wealth’ to be tithing money to an affiliated church. Period. And while money is certainly a part of our ‘wealth’ it is not the only thing.

Some of us have a wealth of talent, some a wealth of personality, some a wealth of time, or of good health and energy. All these things are gifts from the Father of Lights from whom every good and perfect gift comes. So we need to consider giving of our talents, our time, our energy, our relationships, all in a way that brings honor to You.

Lord, help me think beyond the change in my pocket. Let me glorify You in how I treat other people, how I speak to them, how I look on them in my heart attitude. Let the bounty of Your provision to me in time and talent overflow onto those around me.

Help me spend the minutes in my day as carefully as the dollars in my purse, in a way that points to You, and brings acknowledgement and praise to You. Help me turn away from greed, selfishness, pride, arrogance; and reflect the righteous qualities of the fruit of the Spirit: goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, patience, peace, love, joy, and self-control.

The second part of the key is timing. The firstfruits of a crop are what is harvested before the rest of the crop is mature and ready to be gathered. Earthly wisdom would be to ‘get what you can, can what you get, and sit on the can’. It would be to bank a ‘sure thing’; and then wait to see if the rest of the crop comes in. After all, there could be floods, winds, freezes, insects or disease that could overtake a ripening crop and destroy it completely. Then nothing would be left to sustain the grower and give profit.

But You tell me to honor You with the firstfruits. It’s an exercise in trust.

It means I am willing to sacrifice a ‘sure thing’ because I trust the One who is in control of it all. Help me act in faith, being willing to show I trust in You and in Your will for my life, by giving You what is given to me first. Don’t let me be fearful of the future and stockpile the firstfruits for myself, then be satisfied with ‘tipping’ You if any is left over.

Father, thank You for this reminder that speaks again to the reassurance I have in You. You are the One with the power and the might and the authority and the sovereignty over all things. It reminds me that I can trust You with all things in the present and the future. I choose to trust You with my words, my actions and my prayers. Amen

Proverbs 3:9-10

Jan 11 Be like Rebekah

rebekah_at_the_wellpainting of Rebeca by Michael Deas 1995

Oh Father, may we be like Rebekah. For when she heard all that was “from the Lord”, how You had worked to prepare a way for her, she did not delay; but went quickly in obedience, anticipating all You would bring her. When given a choice to go or to stay and wait, she chose to go immediately. She gave up all she knew: the familiarity of family, of people, of a place and a style of living. She set out with a stranger, whom You had blessed and led to her.

Give me Rebekah’s courage. Let me be willing to go when You say ‘Go’. Let my faith and trust in You be so strong, it overpowers all other concerns, worries, or obstacles in my path.

Rebekah received a blessing before she left: “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.” I ask for that blessing for myself as well. Let the words You have given me, the spiritual light and life You have placed in me go out from me and be multiplied. Let it birth a spiritual blessing to thousands upon thousands And let these who are spiritual offspring be empowered to be victorious against their enemies, by controlling the enemy’s impact on their lives, and possessing their gates; locking the enemy behind them.

Later, when Rebekah was confused by what was happening to her in pregnancy, she “went to inquire of the Lord”. You gave her an answer and a revelation.

May I be like Rebekah in this as well. When I am confused, let me draw close to You and seek Your perspective and explanation. Let me not lean on my own understanding. But give me a fresh understanding of my difficulties and a revelation that directs my path and encourages me in the way I should go.

Like Rebekah, help me place all my sense of security in You. Even when there is no evidence to point to that would give me security by the world’s standards. Even when circumstances seem radically out of control and way beyond my comfort level.

In every relationship, every decision, every circumstance, let me turn to You; because You are able and willing, and deserving of my trust. You have promised never to leave me; never to forsake me. You can handle whatever comes. I choose to trust You. Thank You. Amen

Genesis 24:52-61; 25:21-23

Dec 26 In God I trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 24 Search my heart

Father, it is the condition of my heart that You are concerned with. Through Zechariah, You told the people of Bethel that it was not simply the observance of anniversaries, holy festivals, feasts and fasting, which pleased You. It is true that those things can be done as acts of worship to honor You, the Lord Almighty. But they can also be done for the sake of the activity. You alone know the hearts of the people involved; whether they participate to please themselves or to honor You.

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Father, today help me examine myself. Search my heart, look at my motives. Do not let me simply ‘go through the motions’. Fill my spirit!

When I praise You, I will do it with a full and sincere heart.

When I give money or time or energy, I will do it gladly as an act of worship.

When I read Your Word, I will do it with an open mind and spirit to hear and receive what You have to say to me.

When I feast or fast, I will do it not for the recognition of others, but for an audience of One – You. And whether I am celebrating Christmas or Passover I will do it with sensitivity to the spiritual meaning, not just what history or the world has made it to be.

Father, I acknowledge and thank You for Your deeds. I celebrate and trust the way You do things. I don’t always understand, because Your ways are not my ways – but I trust them. And I cannot wait until every knee bows to You, and every tongue confesses that You, indeed, are Lord! Amen!

Zechariah 7:1-14

Dec 22 Patient endurance

board-928392_1920Father, what amazing visions You have given Zechariah and John! Besides the plain meaning of their words, I know there is another level of understanding to be grasped. There is symbolism, and foretelling of what is to come.

Zechariah records You saying “…in that day…many nations will be joined with the Lord and become Your people. You will live among [them]”.   He records that You declare “I myself will be a wall of fire around [Jerusalem] and I will be its glory within.”

John is recording a vision that will ultimately get us there; when You are living in peace with many nations, in Jerusalem.   But before that comes, there will be this time of turmoil and woe and devastation that John refers to with dragons, beasts, blaspheming and idolatry.   Are these real beasts? Are they people? Are they nations or other powers? Even with great study and debate, some of these answers are not yet revealed.

Will I be alive during these times? Again, that is not yet known. But You do say “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” So Father, give me the patient endurance I need. Teach me to be faithful. Nothing even remotely close to this turmoil has happened to me, yet I find myself often in a state of impatience and doubt.

Lord, I look at my life and am impatient to have my family all living their lives for You. I am anxious to get to a place in life where finances aren’t an issue, and where my children are all successful and happy. I am frustrated when my loved ones don’t do things the way I think they should. I am restless to have a closer, deeper, more meaningful relationship with close family members.

I fear my country is going the wrong direction. I grieve that young people are being deceived away from patriotism and godly values. I see unjust people prospering and wonder if my being faithful to godly values really counts for anything. And I wonder how long my faith can endure all this.

Father, help me to endure, what I need to endure. I trust that You will give me what I need when I need it. Grow my faith big enough that it can shelter others under it, so their faith can be nurtured and grow too. I know You have a plan. I trust in Your plan. For my life. For today. For tomorrow. For the future. For eternity. Amen

Zechariah 2:1-3:10; Revelation 13:1-18

Dec 19 Rejoice…and sing!

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

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

I know songs that praise Your name, Your power, Your attributes. I sing to You at the top of my lungs, with my hands help up, facing the sun, or the mountains, or looking up to the sky. I drive around with praise music playing loudly and sing along. I can sit at the piano and sing with my eyes closed, to the music so many have written to help me glorify You. Or I can quietly bow my head or fall to the floor and sing, barely audibly – but knowing You can hear me.

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

As great and exalted as You are, You are still willing to come to the aid of Your people. When I call, You have answered. Many times You have come to rescue me. You see me wherever I am, and are right there beside me. You have defeated my foes, encouraged me and made me bold enough to act when I was too fearful. I love David’s words: “though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life”.

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

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

Dec 6 Rebellion to Repentance

american-flag-1020853_640“Hear the word of the Lord, you [Americans], because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: ‘There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.  There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land dries up, and all who live in it waste away;’”

Father, as Israel was in its idolatry and rebellion, so is America today. My heart grieves for the way my country and its people have fallen so far away from the godly, moral values America was founded on. When I was growing up, I heard older people saying that what one generation tolerates, the next takes to excess. At the time I was proud to be in a generation who was finding ‘freedom’ in establishing new social norms that were allowing equality between races and genders and socio-economic groups. But what I have seen is that many of those freedoms were taken advantage of, and prostituted for monetary gain, selfishness, power and corruption.

I see that in my country, there is no faithfulness to You. That even my freedoms to express my spiritual viewpoint are being stifled when they are not ‘politically correct’. The list You gave Hosea of “cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery” sounds like the description of most of what Americans call ‘entertainment’.  Forgive our sin Father, turn the hearts of the American people back to You and bring healing to our land.

You tell me “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken and endures forever.” Father, I know I will endure forever as I have eternal life with You. Help me now, in this life, not to be shaken from Your truth and what I know to be right. Give me strength of faith and of character to walk in obedience to You, not in the way of the world. Let me be faithful and acknowledge You in my land.

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so You surround Your people both now and forevermore.” Let me feel You surrounding me, encompassing me Lord: shielding and protecting me, lifting me up. Thank You that You are faithful to all Your promises. Amen

Hosea 4:1-3; Psalm 125:1-5

Nov 12 Make my Faith Light shine!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hebrews 11:1-16

Nov 4 Trust the plan

sky-414199_640Father, You had a plan when You punished Israel and sent them into exile. And when You brought judgment on the remnant.   You had a plan for bringing Your people back to the land and giving them a new heart, a new spirit and a better salvation.

You had a plan when You visited the ten plagues on the Egyptians. You could see into their hearts and used them as a tool of deliverance for Your people there.

I believe You have a plan for me and my life as well. Like Your people before me, it may not be what I expect. But I completely trust You. You may not give me visions like Ezekiel. You may not exile me from my home. You may not use another nation to exact my liberation. But I know that whatever Your plan – it is one that will be new and unique, designed perfectly for the gifts and talents You’ve placed in me.

Father, I trust that You will show me what I need to know, exactly when I need to know it. Lord, open my eyes and ears so I do not miss anything You want me to know. Make me bold enough to act on what You lead me to. Give me courage to persevere in the way You are showing me.

Lord, my own personality sometimes leads me in one direction that may or may not be Yours. Help me to let go of what I think I should be doing for You. Let me be satisfied with Your plan for me.   And seek only You. Amen

Ezekiel 11:14-21; Psalm 105:16-36

Oct 22 R – E – S – T

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

It is not just a place I run to in times of trouble, but because You are my God, I can live there all the time. I always have a place of safety and security.

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

R- relaxation

E- enjoyment

S- security and

T- triumph.

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

But I will see the wicked punished. I will receive help from Your angels. You promise to protect me, rescue me, answer my call, and always be with me. I have received Your salvation. I could not ask for more. Thank You.

Amen

Psalm 91:1-16

Oct 16 Trust God’s plan

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” These wonderful words of life and promise and hope that so many believers have claimed as personal encouragement were given first to a specific group of Your people who had rejected You and endured such hardship that they had been forcibly removed from their homes and land. They had been seized by a military force and taken to a foreign country to live as captives.

I cannot even imagine the trauma of being relocated like that. I would imagine escape back home would have been considered. Or revolt. Some attempt to regain freedom. But even if escape were possible, home was a thousand miles away! And now comes this letter from Jeremiah to say ‘Accept captivity! Settle down! Live in the new land. Pray for your new home! For seventy years!’

That must have seemed just the opposite of what they wanted to do. And the harsh word, that this was Your doing must have been confusing and hurtful. But then, in the same breath, comes Your promise to them. “When seventy years are completed in Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill My good promise to bring you back to this place”.

Father, I know I sometimes wonder if where I am is really the place You want me to be. I trust the plans You have for me. Even if it means I have to wait on Your timing. But please don’t let it take seventy years, Lord! David prayed, and I do too, “Bring joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You.” Thank You Lord, that You are “forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call on You.” Thank You that You do “Hear my prayer, Lord,” and “listen to my cry for mercy.” I praise You that You are “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”.

The Israelites must have looked at their circumstances and doubted whether it could really be Your will. Father, sometimes things don’t look too good to me either. And Iwonder how You will work things out for my good. But I totally trust that You will.   I completely “rely on Your faithfulness”.

Father, open my eyes to the truth of where I am right now. If I have gotten myself off Your path, show me how to return to it. If I am where You want me to be, help me hear your voice of encouragement. Help me feel Your presence here with me. And if waiting is involved, help me wait patiently, prayerfully, praise-fully, and productively.   Show me those plans as I need to see them. My hope and my future are in You. Amen

Jeremiah 29:1-14; Psalm 86:1-17

Oct 1 You are the strength of my heart

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sept 17 Shalom Shalom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 26:3-4

Sept 2 A Time for everything

wood-bench-986347_640“Be still and know I am God”.  What a great reminder! When I come to You, Father, I know that sometimes it’s on the run, and I just quickly dash off a prayer of need, or thanks, or praise to You. But it’s in those times when I really prioritize spending time with You that I can calm myself: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – and truly sink into Your presence, that I am rewarded with a fresh realization and a deeper understanding of who You really are.

Lord, right now, I still my physical body, and ask You to quiet my mind, calm my emotions, open my spirit to hear only Your voice; and be sensitive to only Your presence. It takes a moment or two, and some deep breaths and reciting this verse to myself. “Be still and know I am God”.

As worrisome thoughts enter my head, I give them to You. One at a time, You take them and ease them away from me. You can handle whatever it is, because You are God. I know this. Not just ‘I-read-it-in-a-book’ know it. But ‘I-fully-understand-and-completely-trust’ know it. You are God and there is no other. You are God and there is no other.

If I have trusted in any other gods, Lord, I renounce them: youth, appearance, energy, vitality, children, financial security, what I can do for others. There is a long the list of things that I sometimes gain my identity from. But I lay each of them down. My identity, who I really am, comes only from You. Forgive me for trusting in anything else.

I seek Your direction Lord, for the rhythm and timing of my life. Solomon wrote it all out Lord. You have created “a time for everything under heaven”. “A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…” It goes on. And I realize Father that I need to, I want to seek Your will for the rhythm and timing of my life. Father, help me know when to “keep” and when to “throw away”. I am already sensing I am moving into a time of not keeping so many things. Help me know when to “speak” and when to “be silent”, when to “search” and when to “give up”, when to “embrace” and when to “refrain from embracing”.

As I read each pairing I can feel You speaking to me. You lead me to a place in my spirit where either one or the other makes sense in different areas of my life. Thank You Lord. Thank You for always being there when I show up to just “be still, and know that You are God.” Amen

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Psalm 46:10

 

Sept 1 Unworthy but loved and blessed

Finally Father, I am to the end of the book of Job where You literally spoke to him. And when he actually beheld You, after all his suffering, and all his questioning, all he could say was “I am unworthy…”

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It is an emotional response from a man at the end of himself, beholding Your immensity and magnificence. But it is also a statement of fact, that is true for me and every one of Your creations. I am unworthy. Unworthy of Your attention, of Your blessing, of Your love. And yet all that I enjoy in my life and in my relationship with You has nothing to do with my worthiness, or my ability to somehow earn anything from You. I am blessed and loved and cared for, because of who You are. Your love transcends my unworthiness. Your faithfulness trumps my undeserving state.

Job follows Your statements of greatness with, “I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted.” And I echo those words, Father.

I know that You can do ALL things. I have no doubt that You can heal all my infirmities. You can take unhealthy tissue and make it whole again. You can heal my relationships and make them god-honoring. You can guide my children into Your wisdom and give them a hunger and thirst for You.   You can bless them with godly mentors and success in all they put their hand to.   You can return the prodigal son to right relationship with You.

Father, I believe that there is nothing in this world, or above it, or below it, that can thwart Your plans. I trust that the plans You have for me and all my family are plans to prosper us and not to harm us, and to give us hope and a future. I know that You are faithful to complete the good work You began in each of us. Even if we have chosen to leave the path You have laid out for each of us, I trust that You will call us back. You know best how to reach each of us. Father, open our ears to hear You, and open our hearts and spirits to desire to obey You.  Strengthen our spirits when our flesh is weak.

I praise You Father, that this power resides in You.   And that in Your love and grace, “You made [Job] prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before…You blessed the latter part of his life more than the first.” Thank You for this example of Your goodness and Your blessing.   Thank You for this story of his faithfulness to You. I pray that I too, at the end of my life, no matter what comes, I will be able to say “blessed be the name of the Lord”. Amen

Job 40:1-42:17

May 15 Faith like David

painting-david-and-goliath(picture by Malcolm Gladwell)

Father, let my faith be like that of David.

As a child I learned of the battle of David and Goliath. I have seen it reenacted in pictures, on felt boards with paper figures, in Claymation, live with children or adults in costume, and in movies about the Bible. I think most people know of it as it has been referenced in many tv shows, movies, and news stories to describe any underdog fighting an overwhelmingly huge giant, whether in sports or business, countries or individuals.

In three main ways, I ask that You would grow my faith to be like David’s.

1 – He was able to look beyond himself . He did not just take Goliath as a personal threat the way the soldiers did, but recognized someone in defiance of You. Like most people, I interpret things in light of how they affect me, or my family. That limits the scope of the solutions I can perceive. It puts the focus on me to find a solution that I can perform. David saw an affront to You, making it Your battle. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

2 – He trusted that You had already prepared him for the battle. “When a lion or bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it, and killed it.”

And because of that, was able to turn from pressure to do what others suggested – the armor, helmet and sword.   I trust that You have already brought circumstances into my life to teach me how to deal with things. And that this has prepared me for what is to come. You have already intentionally, purposefully, given me spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, and experiences to make me who I am. Help me use those things instead of feeling like I have to conform to what others expect of me. Give me confidence in Your preparation for whatever battle confronts me.

3 – He voiced confidence in You and gave You the glory for the victory even before it happened! “…but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.   This day the Lord will hand you over to me…and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.”   My confidence is not always so certain. Sometimes I even try and do things with as little notice as possible, so if I fail, it won’t reflect badly on You.  This is another way I focus on myself, and what I can do. Help me see that the battle is Yours. And You can conquer all Your enemies! You will attain the victory!

Father, let my fear shrink and my faith grow! Let me look beyond myself to all You can do in and through me. I trust in Your purposefulness and Your preparation. Help me exemplify all this in the next challenge I meet. Amen

I Samuel 17:1-58

May 10 The Best Father

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O Father, how many times have I behaved like the Israelites here, and asked for something so I could be like everyone else? Instead of trusting Your will and the plan You had for me, I settled for what You allowed because I asked for it.

So many times the wisdom of the world seems right. It makes sense to the mind. It pleases the eye. It pacifies the emotions. But one can follow logic and still be dead wrong.   A person can feel like things are going well, when they are not. Things can look good, but be rotten to the core. This is proven each time someone is tricked or duped; because we trust our eyes and our logic.

But You, Father, can see the end from the beginning. You have a perspective that I do not.

I protect my child when I prevent them from a danger I can see that they cannot. To them, it may feel like I am restricting them, not protecting them.   Hopefully as they grow, they trust my judgment until they can see the dangers for themselves.

And sometimes, I need to let them make their own choices, even if they are unwise, in order to learn for themselves. For instance, when you eat a tube of raw cookie dough, there are unpleasant consequences, even though it tastes really good during the eating part.

Though I like to think of myself as independent and smart enough to make wise decisions, I have learned that simply lining up pros and cons and judging by worldly standards is not the only or even the best method. I have access to the God who created the universe! You have wisdom I could never in a million years attain.   And praises to You, You are willing to share it with me!

Father, when I want something, let me examine my motive. Help me discern what is best from Your perspective. Give me godly understanding that surpasses the world’s view. And help me accept that wisdom if it turns out that what I think I want is not the best thing. Help me wait for the right thing. Teach me to be wise. Amen

I Samuel 8:1-22

May 6 Faith=things hoped for but not yet seen

Lord, may my faith be like that of the royal official. He asked for You to come and heal his child who was close to death. You simply told him “Go, your son will live.” And he took You at Your word and left.shield-492992_640

Even before he saw it with his own eyes, the circumstances proved that You did what You said You would do. They even revealed that it happened exactly when You spoke!

Father, help me trust in You and what You tell me, even when I can’t see the results immediately.   When it is not in front of my eyes and the doubt of the world pushes in, don’t let my faith waver. When it doesn’t seem to be happening quick enough let me be patient and trust that Your timing is perfect.

Reminds me of an old country hymn. Part of the lyrics say: ‘Take Him at His word when it’s not lookin’ good, believe that He’ll do what He said that He would…’

I believe. Amen

John 4:43-54

Apr 17 Learn from the blind beggar

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and answer me.   Thank You for guarding my life. Father, I devote that life to You. You are my God and I am Your servant who trusts You.”

boy-2026186_640Father, there are so many things I am trusting You for right now. Things that I cannot see how, and have no evidence will ever happen. I guess that’s what faith and trust are all about: believing in what is not yet seen. There are so many hopes and dreams I have that may never come true. Yet I completely trust that if they are what is best for me or my family, You will bring them to be. Because You make Your servant glad, and bring me joy!   And out of that abundance, I will give glory to Your name.

Lord let me learn from the blind beggar. First, when he heard You were passing by, he knew You could heal him. Father, when I have a need, let me come straight to You with it confident that You have the desire and the power to help. And remind me to be persistent like he was.

Next, when You asked, he knew exactly what he wanted. Help me see my need for what it is, not hide it or deny it.

And last, when You answer my prayer, my request, let other people see it and praise You!

I praise You Lord, with all my heart, as I bring my requests to You. I ask for Your strength when I am under attack. When I am discouraged let me feel Your presence. Increase my faith as I learn truth from Your Word and apply it to my life. Teach me Your way. Help me walk in Your truth.   Let me always honor and revere You.

Thank You that I can call on You when I am in trouble. I know You will answer me. For all this and more, I thank You Lord. Amen

Psalm 86:1-17; Luke 18:35-42

Mar 20 Trust even in the desert

“God, You are my God! Earnestly I seek You. [My soul] thirsts for You and my body longs for You in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”desert-984125_640

Father, on this earth, in this life, it does so often feel like trudging through a desert with no water in sight. I have lived in New Mexico on the edge of the desert. When we drove anywhere, we never left without five gallons of water and provisions to spend the night in case we broke down or had a flat.   Some of the places were so remote we could not count on help coming quickly.   After hearing stories of people perishing, we learned to adapt to the environment and its challenges.

It’s beginning to feel like our country has become a spiritual desert. Oases of living water, wells of wisdom, pools of purity, have been blown over and filled in with the sands of sin and the dust of depravity. Truly, even those who call themselves Christians have been seared by the heat of materialism and humanism and tolerance, to the point that they are almost unrecognizable as followers of Christ. A desert indeed.

But I have seen You at work – in my life – the lives of loved ones! I have seen You answer prayer! I have beheld Your power and glory! And because of this, I will sing praise to You as long as I live! I will lift up my hands to honor You! Trying to fall asleep, I will count my blessings.

You satisfy my soul as my stomach is satisfied with the richest of flavors! The deepest of chocolates!

You have been my help during times of stress, sorrow, helplessness, fear, anger, doubt, and frustration. And also You have rejoiced with me in times of incomparable joy, happiness, thankfulness, relief, delight, and quiet contentment.

You are like a mother hen that spreads her wings of protection over her chicks. Like Your child, I run under Your wings and cling to You!

Thank You! That when I seek You, I find You. That when I hunger and thirst for You, Your Word fills me up. That when I cling to You, I am safe and protected. I give You praise! Amen

Psalm 63:1-11

 

Mar 9 The Olive Tree

olive and me

O Father, thank You for teaching me about the significance of an olive tree. As I studied in the Garden of Gethsemane, I learned of the value of all that the olive tree stands for and produces.

So I pray the verses with this thought: “As for me, I am like an olive tree flourishing in the House of God”

As for me, Lord, may I be like a green olive tree flourishing in Your House:

May I be alive, vibrant, and growing

May I produce abundant fruit in season,

May I have long thick roots that penetrate deep into spiritual soil.

May I grow protected from harm and harshness because I abide in Your House O Lord. Thank You that as my gardener, You tend to me personally to be sure I have everything I need to grow healthy and strong.

May I grow in community, surrounded by others, our roots and trunks intertwining like olive trees grow, without comparing myself to them, but shading them, and drawing needed shade from them. May I draw on the strength of being in community with the others You have placed around me so that I can persevere and remain strong even when the winds come, leaning on others and providing stability for them in return.

May I stand in the midst of others for years and years and years to come, even as the two olive trees that have remained in the Garden of Gethsemane are still living after two thousand and four hundred years, and are the same ones You knelt by on that fateful night You prayed before Your arrest and Crucifixion.

Let me be like the olive tree that is both beautiful to look at and amazing in purpose.

May others see me and see Your care, and be drawn to You through me.

As the olive tree produces food to eat, and oil for lamps, soaps for cleansing, and ointments for anointing and healing; let me be nourishment and light and cleansing and blessing and healing to those around me.

I will trust in Your loving-kindness and unfailing love for ever and ever –

Even when I am confused

Even when I can’t see Your will at work

Even when I don’t feel Your presence

Even when the world denies it

Even through tears and pain and sorrow

I will thank You for all You have done

I will hope in Your Name, for it is good

I will praise You – forever. Amen

Psalm 52:8-9

Feb 11 Omnipotent

Eye of God Nebula

eye-of-god-nebula

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

Not only did You have the imagination and endless creativity to think it all up, You had the power and sovereignty over the elements and forces to do the creating! How? I don’t know. Science is still wrestling with the questions of how our universe works. Theories come and go about physics, matter, gravity wells, space and time; more than I can grasp. Every generation we learn more, sometimes refuting what was previously believed. I don’t know that we will ever reach a level of truly understanding it.

But I know that when I see the diversity and organization, I marvel at it – and see past it to the Creator.   I can look through a microscope or a telescope and see things beyond my imagination that amaze me. I can observe connections and repeated patterns that cannot possibly exist by coincidence. The recognition and glory are due the Creator. “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him” meaning I will acknowledge Your handiwork and have the utmost respect for Your power and authority over all our world.

“The Lord foils the plans of nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” The Israelites were a stiff-necked people and disobeyed You over and over again. Yet still You made them Your chosen people, a people set apart, to this day. The disciples Jesus gathered around Him betrayed and denied Him, then scattered. And yet, they spread the word of salvation through the work of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection.

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

I praise You that Your plans stand firm. Thank You that the purpose of Your heart was to provide a way to reconcile us, Your creation, to Yourself again. I will sing of the mercy of the Lord! Your faithfulness endures forever! Amen

Exodus 32:1-33:23; Matthew 26:69-27:5; Psalm 33:1-11

Feb 8 Praying Your Words

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Holy Father, You care very much that Your people come to You to hear from You and worship You. You gave them the design in very specific instructions for the Tabernacle where You would meet with them, and details of the clothing the priests must wear when they approached You. Ever since man was sent from the Garden of Eden where he walked and talked with You, You have desired a return to fellowship.

I praise You that I can now go into the Holy of Holies where Your name and Your presence are. When Jesus died, the curtain was torn that separated that place from Your people.   I can boldly approach Your throne with my praises and my requests, seeking Your wisdom, Your providential guidance and Your abundant blessing.

But, as You are holy, I am still to be washed clean and robed in righteousness. I become clean by confessing my sin and accepting Your forgiveness. With Jesus as my Savior, when You look at me, You see His righteousness on me.   I too, am ‘Holy to the Lord’ as the priests were. I am set apart as Your child, to worship and serve You and receive Your blessing and Your amazing inheritance.

Your Words are holy. Sometimes I simply pray Your very own words back to You! It’s as if You already know what I need and have prepared the prayer for me.

“I trust in You. My times are in Your hands;” (they always have been whether I acknowledged it or not – my comings and goings, my living and dying, and all the moments in between, were already determined before even one of them came to be)

“Deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.” (whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual adversaries – You are Sovereign over them all and can defeat them all)

“Let Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing love.” (may I feel the impact of Your illuminating presence on my body, mind and spirit and be saved from harm not because of anything I have done or earned, but because of Your benevolent generosity and grace)

“Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I have cried out to You; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave.” (let me see victory in the utter defeat of our enemies and the fulfillment of Your justice; strengthen me to walk in Your way) Amen

Exodus28: 1-43; Psalm 31: 14-17

Jan 26 Do I get a map?

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Lord God, You are so wise. How often do I want to see Your plan for my life all laid out for me– at least the next chapter?
You gave Moses a look at all that was coming next. You shared Your plan to deliver the Hebrew people, saying “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… I am sending you to Pharaoh…” And Moses starts back-peddling! You answered all his questions and revealed the plan, promising deliverance and riches to the people. You told Moses what to say, and how Your mighty hand would compel Pharaoh and perform wonders. Yet still Moses balked.

Jesus told His disciples how the plan of salvation would play out. He showed how prophecy was coming to pass right before their eyes! They knew Elijah must come first – Jesus explained that John the Baptist was Elijah. How did they respond? They demonstrated “so little faith” and were “filled with grief”.

So I can see why You don’t show me the miles of path before me. I would probably balk and try to get You to change Your mind, or would display too much emotion and not enough ‘getting on board’ with the plan.

When I used to ride horses, I never told the horse in advance where we would be riding that day. I never brought a map and showed him where our trail would take us. I’m pretty sure he knew he would end up back at the stable, his home. But I would guide him along as we went. Sometimes we would stop and rest for a bit. We would go fast or slow, left to the stream, or right to the hilltops, according to my leading, my plan.

Because a horse could not read or understand a map, I never showed it one. I daresay I would not understand Your plan if You showed it to me either. “As the heavens are higher
than the earth, so Your ways are higher than my ways, and Your thoughts higher than my thoughts.”
And I’m okay with that. Because I trust Your thoughts, and Your ways, and Your plans; even if I can’t see or don’t understand them. And I know where I will end up: in my true home, spending eternity with You.

I agree with David who wrote, ”In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.” I put my trust in You. You have already delivered me from the evil one by dying on the cross in my place. You have saved me from that eternal death into eternal life. And I know that at the end of my ride, I will not be disappointed. Amen

Exodus 3:1-22; Matthew 17:10-27; Isaiah 55:9; Psalm 22:4-5

 

Jan 25 I trust Your perfect plan

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Oh God I praise You that nothing can thwart Your plans! Although evil is in this world, and is in positions of power and authority, it is nothing compared to You and Your ability to preserve Your will! I ask for Your will to be done in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones. Do not let any powers or influences get in the way of bringing Your will into our lives.

Whether in slavery or in prison, Your purpose was fulfilled in Joseph’s life. And in spite of the selfishness and greed of Joseph’s brothers, it played right into Your plan to save Israel’s descendants. Then hundreds of years later, when the new Pharaoh tried to kill the male Hebrew babies, You, again, had a plan for those children and the peoples’ deliverance. By human reckoning, it took a miracle – because a baby in a basket floating in crocodile infested waters would have no chance of surviving. But You provided for this Hebrew baby to be raised in the palace as Pharaoh’s own grandson!

Even when Jesus tried to explain Your majestic plan for the salvation of all people -His disciples didn’t understand it. Peter said to Jesus “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to You!” And Jesus had to rebuke him.

Even after Peter saw Jesus transfigured and walking with Moses and Elijah, and heard Your own voice saying “This is My Son…Listen to Him.” Peter tried to interfere as Jesus was taken into custody in the Garden of Gethsemane. If he had understood the whole plan, would he have done that?

I often cannot make sense of the twists and turns my life takes. There are times I don’t know whether to stay or go, to act or wait. I cannot see how things will play out but I make a plan. Even when I think I can, it doesn’t always turn out the way I expect. How many times do we switch to Plan B, or Plan C, or D,E,F…

How then do I make decisions? Move forward? Live my life?

I echo the words of King David: “For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.” I too trust in You, the Lord, the Most High. I ask You, Lord God to show me enough light for the next step I am to take. Help me listen for Your response and obey what I hear. And trust that even if it doesn’t make sense to me, it will turn out according to Your plan. I trust that Your plan is the best one for me – a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, a plan to give me a hope and a future.

I trust You. My security is in You – even when nothing I can see supports my feeling safe. Because of Your unfailing love for me, I can remain at PEACE. Meaning I can: Possess Equilibrium Amid Chaotic Events. You have the power, You have the ability and expertise, You have the sovereignty and the willingness to bring Your plans to fruition. So let it be done. On this earth. In this country. In my life. Amen

Exodus 1:1-2:10; Matthew 16:21-17:9; Psalm 21:7; Jeremiah 29:11

Jan 21 It’s all perspective

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Holy Father, Your will often puzzles me. I cannot see from Your perspective or understand the effects of actions looking forward into the future. Your servant John the Baptist lived as a righteous man. He was a believer and taught of Your kingdom. He even baptized Jesus! He was a great part of Your plan; yet he was beheaded by an unrighteous, evil, manipulative man. In our human understanding of ‘fairness’ that seems so wrong.

Yet, again, our perspective is not Yours. And our life here on earth is not the end of it all. There is also what comes after: where and how we spend eternity.

So can I still pray for things to work here out here on earth, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones? Yes. And can I ask in faith, believing, and not doubting? Absolutely!

But I must remember that You answer prayer from a greater perspective. My sight and my ability to see ‘the solution’ are very limited. Even in my own life, I have prayed and You have answered in ways far better than anything I had asked for, or could have even imagined.

And can I trust Your answer? Without a doubt! Even if I can’t understand the ‘why’ of it at the time. I know that Your love for me is great. And You are trustworthy. And Your sense of mercy and justice are right.

So no matter how things look from my perspective, I can proclaim boldly with the Psalmist, “As for God, His way is perfect!”

Matthew 14:1-12; Psalm 18:30a

Jan 18 Trust in every high and low

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Heavenly Father, thank You that I can trust You through the ups and downs, the highs and lows of my life. There are times when things are going so well I feel on top of the world. And there are other times when it seems as if nothing is going right, and never will. It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything because everything seems to work out wrong and there is no sign that things will change for the better.

Israel’s son Joseph must have thought that when he was first thrown into a well by his jealous and conniving brothers, then sold to slave traders and carried off to Egypt far away from home. He was completely out of control of his own future at that point. But You were in control. And You had a master plan.

I know from scripture how Joseph’s life turned out: all for the good, and for the saving of his family. But I cannot see into the future to know the twists and turns my own life will take, or how it will turn out. And that is the challenge of life here on earth.

There are so many things I cannot control. They become a source of anxiousness, worry, and wringing my hands. Other things, I try to control, but they slip through my fingers like water or sand. They are the source of making plans, and back up plans, contingencies and manipulation; again, stressful. And there are the things that I seem to control and am pleased with, but am misled, because in truth, I am not in control at all. I only think I am.

I could continue to live this misguided life of false security, manipulation and anxiety. But I choose to lay it all down. Father, instead, I choose the peace of giving it all to You. This is where trust comes in. I choose to believe Your Word: that You have a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future, to never leave me or forsake me. And You have proven Yourself steadfast and trustworthy all throughout the ages. You created the heavens and the earth and everything in them and have sustained them ever since. You have kept Your covenants and Your promises to men; every one. You have given revelation and prophecy that so far, has all come true. By Your power, the earth turns and the sun rises every morning.

Just like in Joseph’s life, I trust that You will position me where I need to be, when I need to be there. I trust You to prepare me for what comes next. And to guide me through it by being with me.

You will keep me safe. In You I take refuge. You are my Lord. Apart from You I have no good thing. In You I trust. Amen

Genesis 37:1-36; Psalm 16:1-2; Jeremiah 29:11; Deuteronomy 31:6

Dec 22 Patient Endurance

 

board-928392_1920Father, what amazing visions You have given Zechariah and John!  Besides the plain meaning of their words, I know there is another level of understanding to be grasped.  There is symbolism, and a foretelling of what is to come.

Zechariah records You saying “…in that day…many nations will be joined with the Lord and become Your people.  You will live among [them]”.   He records that You declare “I myself will be a wall of fire around [Jerusalem] and I will be its glory within.”

John is recording a vision that will ultimately get us there; when You are living in peace with many nations, in Jerusalem.   But before that comes, there will be this time of turmoil and woe and devastation that John refers to: with dragons, beasts, blaspheming and idolatry.    Are these real beasts?  Are they people?  Are they nations or other powers?  Even with great study and debate, some of these answers are not yet revealed.

Will I be alive during these times?  Again, that is not yet known.  But You do say “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.”  So Father, give me the patient endurance I will need.  Teach me to be faithful.  Nothing even remotely close to this turmoil has happened to me, yet I find myself often in a state of impatience and doubt.

Lord, I look at my life and am impatient to have my family all living their lives for You.  I am anxious to get to a place in life where finances aren’t an issue, and where my children are all successful and happy.  I am frustrated when my loved ones don’t do things the way I think they should.  I am restless to have a closer, deeper, more meaningful relationship with close family members.

I fear my country is going the wrong direction.  I grieve that young people are being deceived away from patriotism and godly values.  I see unjust people prospering and wonder if my being faithful to godly values really counts for anything.  And I wonder how long my faith can endure all this.

Father, help me to endure, what I need to endure.  I trust that You will give me what I need when I need it.  Grow my faith big enough that it can shelter others under it, so their faith can be nurtured and grow too.  I know You have a plan.  I trust in Your plan.  For my life.  For today.  For tomorrow.  For the future.  For eternity.  Amen

Zechariah 2:1-3:10; Revelation 13:1-18

Dec 19 Rejoice…and sing!

clef-593912_1920In the midst of Zephaniah’s vision of absolute devastation, You speak of a remnant: “the meek and humble”.  They will “trust in the name of the Lord”.   And You will gather them, honor them, restore their fortunes, take great delight in them and rejoice over them with singing.   You sing!!

Father, thank You for inventing music!  Thank You for melodies I have learned, and words that give voice to my praise!  So when David says, “I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart… I will sing Your praise”, I can join with him and praise You!  I know songs that praise Your name, Your power, Your attributes.  I sing to You at the top of my lungs, with my hands help up, facing the sun, or the mountains, or looking up to the sky.  I drive around with praise music playing loudly and sing along. I can sit at the piano and sing with my eyes closed, to the music so many have written to help me glorify You.  Or I can quietly bow my head or fall to the floor and sing, barely audibly – but knowing You can hear me.

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

As great and exalted as You are, You are still willing to come to the aid of Your people.  When I call, You have answered.  Many times You have come to rescue me.  You see me wherever I am, and are right there beside me.  You have defeated my foes, encouraged me and made me bold enough to act when I was too fearful.  I love David’s words: “though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life”.

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

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