Tag: Vision

Nov 1 Your Word Paints a Picture

O Father, what an incredible picture You paint!

bible-1089930_640I cannot even imagine seeing what Ezekiel saw.

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

I can see it in my mind’s eye, but what a powerful movie it would make!  Every time I read the description of the four living creatures I find something new, and have tried to draw what You describe to increase my understanding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ezekiel 1:1-28

Oct 1 You are the strength of my heart

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.

your-righteousness-is-perfect_blog

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 62:8-12; 65:8-25; Psalm 73:1-28

Jun 15 Bring Salvation to all

Jesus breaks chainsFather, I live in a time when Your Word has spread to cover almost all the earth.  In Acts, this was just beginning.  Thank You for spreading the Word to Gentiles as well as people in the Jewish faith.

For Cornelius, You sent an angel directing him to Peter.  And to Peter, You sent a vision to prepare him to share the Good News with Cornelius and other Gentiles.  Thank You for including me in Your message of salvation down through the ages.

Father, I ask that You would continue to send angels and visions to those who have yet to hear of You and Your love for them!   All around the world, give each of these people understanding to see Your truth.

Lord, I have loved ones who have forgotten or walked away from Your loving care.  Draw them back to You.  Return to them the joy of their salvation.  Give them a hunger and thirst to seek and receive Your Good News again.

They have been living under the lies and deceitful influences of the world, the flesh, and the evil one.  Break their chains and set them free to love You again!

Your psalm tells “how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!“  I pray for this goodness and this unity in my family.   Please bestow this blessing on us so we can walk in Your goodness and Your mercy forevermore.  Amen

Acts 10:1-23; Psalm 133:1-3

Apr 23 Time Management

O Father, You have always been my God.  Even before I knew who You were, I saw the beauty of Your creation.  You put the mountains in place, You created the seas and all that is in them.  Yet even before there was earth and sky, You were there.

You are “from everlasting to everlasting.”

God's todolistYou tell me “a thousand years is like a day in Your sight.” Your sense of time is far different from mine.  I cannot even imagine it.

So I ask You, who knows time and all things, to teach me to live each day to the fullest.  Teach me how to measure out my energy for what is important.

Do not let me fall victim to the “tyranny of the urgent.”  Help me put thought into setting my priorities for spending my time and my energy.  Many things of value are not urgent, but are significant.  If I only deal with the urgent, the important things slip by.

I desire to live intentionally; not let my life pass by without doing all I can to honor and glorify You.

But already, days slip by, weeks, seasons and even years; and I wonder where the time went.   Father, do not let one more day pass that I do not consider what You want me to accomplish.  And show me how to make time for it.

Give me a revelation, a vision for the next part of my life.  Show me how to get from here to there in steps I can see.  Help me to know when something interrupts, whether it is a distraction or a divine opportunity.

I lay my life before You Lord.  Guide me.  Show me.   Thank You for the years I’ve already lived.  And let me live each new one for You.  Amen

Psalm 90:1-12

Mar 25 Help me see

eyeglasses-2003188_640Lord thank You for these pictures in scripture about the ability to see truth for what it is and to understand the meaning behind being a follower of Christ.

Your first picture reminds me that although a blind person who cannot see can help another blind person, there are blocks they will both stumble over due to their lack of vision.

Yet, how many times have I relied on the advice and guidance of another person, who is “in the dark” as much as I am when it comes to seeing things from Your perspective?  Rather than coming to You, I seek help from another “blind” person who is in no better spiritual position than I am.

Interesting that Your next illustration has to do with vision too.  Contrasting when I go to another for help, this next one shows that when I try and “help” someone else by fixing a problem I see in their life.

There’s a good chance I have bigger problems in my own life that should be a priority for my attention.  Only after my own bigger problems are dealt with can I see well enough to be of help to anyone else, should they ask.

In both these examples, my own lack of vision blinds me to the truth.  I need to remember to look to You for guidance, answers and perspective on issues in my life.  And before I look too closely at a friend’s life and shortcomings, I need to examine myself.  And then, again, seek Your help in correcting the issues I find there.

Another example You give has to do with how I act on what You tell me when I turn to You for the “vision” I lack.  It’s not enough to simply call on You for guidance.  It’s also imperative that I listen for Your response and do what You say!

Otherwise, all I do is based on my own, unreliable, limited understanding and will fold in on me like a house built with no foundation.

Father, I desire to obey You so my efforts won’t be wasted; so what I do has a firm foundation, and will stand solid against any difficulty or challenge that comes.   And the challenges will come.  You are the solid foundation I can put my trust in and gain confidence from.

Open my eyes of understanding.  Do not let me turn to other blind people, but to the One who made my eyes and gives me sight.

And I will be glad and rejoice with You; happy and joyful!  Amen

Luke 6:39-49

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 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 2:1-13; Revelation 13:1-18

Dec 13 Holy, Holy, Holy!

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

clouds-2469126_640

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revelation 4:1-11 

 

 

Nov 3 Nourish me, Use me

Father, I am at a point where I “grieve and lament over the detestable things that are done” in my country.  Part of the problem is that people have been led astray by those who know better, and who should be teaching others what is right.

headinthesand

 

Part of the problem is that those who know, stick their heads in the sand in denial or so they will not be uncomfortable.

And part of the problem is that those who don’t know are not even searching for the truth.

I believe there will come a time when You will respond as You did in Ezekiel’s vision: with judgment.

You had all the people marked who grieved and lamented over the ungodly and detestable things done.  And then You sent “a man clothed in linen” through the city, killing anyone without the mark.

Father, take my head out of the sand!  Show me what I need to know and how to fight against things that are detestable to You.  Don’t let me live just for the sake of being “comfortable.”

If I am being led astray in any area of my life, get my attention and show me how to get back on the path You want me on.  Keep me on a diet of solid spiritual food, so I can be nourished by Your Word daily.

Grow me to maturity in You.   If I am to teach, show me who and how.  Do not let me call evil good; or good, evil.  But strengthen me to speak up for right.  Even in a society that has its values upside down.

Father, You also say to “make known among the nations what You have done.”  So help me know how to speak to unbelievers in a way that reaches them with Your truth.

Lord, I glory in Your Name.  I look to You.  I seek Your face, Your strength, Your blessing, always.  Amen

Ezekiel 9:1-11; Hebrews 5:11-14; Psalm 105:1-6

Nov 1 Your Word paints a picture

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

I cannot even imagine seeing what Ezekiel saw.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ezekiel 1:1-28

Sept 10 Give me understanding

hiking-691846_640

Father, what a vision You gave Isaiah! It’s as if he were privileged to peek into the actual Throne Room in Heaven itself! His eyes were opened and he saw and described amazing things that are like nothing ever seen on earth.

And once again, when confronted with glimpses of Your glory, the human response is the recognition of our unworthiness. In the presence of such greatness and holiness, human frailty pales in comparison.

You gave Isaiah a message for Your people. You directed him to say to King Ahaz in the face of military invasion: “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all”. It was true then, and it is true today. A paraphrase I heard growing up was “If you don’t know what you stand for, you’ll fall for anything.”

Because I believe You are God, Creator of the universe and the only Savior for all who You created, I can stand. My faith is the firm base I need to plant my feet on. You are a firm and solid rock.

Sometimes it helps to have scripture verses that remind me of these truths. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

Sometimes, it helps to remember statements of truth that are based on scripture. “God is who He says He is. God can do what He says He can do.”

Or to proclaim in song, “On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” These are some ways I find reassurance when I feel afraid or doubtful.

Father, I do not want to be “ever hearing but never understanding; ever seeing but never perceiving”, with my “heart calloused”, my “ears dull”, and my “eyes closed.” I want to “see with my eyes, hear with my ears and understand with my heart…and be healed.”

When You open my eyes and ears, I have understanding. And I can stand. Father, help me stand even in the face of the invasion of the enemy

Help me remember Your truths. Help me recall Your faithfulness to me in the past. These things build my faith even stronger. And give me a firm place to stand. Amen

Isaiah 6:1-10

 

July 31 Sight and Sound

“The earth is Yours, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it…” .

What a majestic place You have created! I watch a sunrise or sunset, and as the colors fill the sky, I marvel at the Creator who made every daily beginning and end full of such beauty. You have brought such splendor to the mundane!

The tiny wings of a butterfly, the miniature iridescent feathers of the hummingbird – these are resplendent with color and design. Who but You would have taken such care and creativity to craft such detail?

adult-beautiful-blue-eyes-206563

“Ears that hear and eyes that see – the Lord has made them both.”

accessory-adult-aged-1251174How amazing that we can behold so much of the beauty You created, simply because we have eyes and ears! The mere fact of their workings defies scientific explanation. The cells that make up an eye are so specialized, and they work together to produce an image in our brain in such a unique and complex way.

Just a single cell or a few together would not operate a functioning eye. There were no small steps that cold have evolved into a working eye. Yet, we see.

Father, Thank You for the gift of hearing and seeing. Beyond all the elegance I perceive in Your creation, I ask that You would also open the ears and eyes of my spirit to understand Your Word, Your ways, Your thoughts, Your purposes, and Your will for my life. I want to “see” all You have for me. Amen

Psalm 24:1-2; Proverbs 20:12

June 15 Bring Salvation to All!

Jesus breaks chains

 

 

Father, I live in a time when Your Word has spread to cover almost all the earth. In Acts, this was just beginning. Thank You for spreading the Word to Gentiles as well as people in the Jewish faith.

 

 

For Cornelius, You sent an angel directing him to Peter. And to Peter, You sent a vision to prepare him to share the Good News with Cornelius and other Gentiles. Thank You for including me in Your message of salvation down through the ages.

Father, I ask that You would continue to send angels and visions to those who have yet to hear of You and Your love for them!   All around the world, give each of these people understanding to see Your truth.

Lord, I have loved ones who have forgotten or walked away from Your loving care. Draw them back to You. Return to them the joy of their salvation. Give them a hunger and thirst to seek and receive Your Good News again.

They have been living under the lies and deceitful influences of the world, the flesh, and the evil one. Break their chains and set them free to love You again!

Your psalm tells “how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!“ I pray for this goodness and this unity in my family.   Please bestow this blessing on us so we can walk in Your goodness and Your mercy forevermore. Amen

Acts 10:1-23; Psalm 133:1-3

Mar 25 Help me see

eyeglasses-2003188_640

 

Lord thank You for these pictures in scripture about the ability to see truth for what it is and to understand the meaning behind being a follower of Christ.

 

Your first picture reminds me that although a blind person who cannot see can help another blind person, there are blocks they will both stumble over due to their lack of vision. Yet, how many times have I relied on the advice and guidance of another person, who is ‘in the dark’ as much as I am when it comes to seeing things from Your perspective? Rather than coming to You, I seek help from another ‘blind’ person who is in no better spiritual position than I am.

Interesting that Your next ‘illustration’ has to do with vision too. Contrasting when I go to another for help, this next one shows that when I try and ‘help’ someone else by fixing a problem I see in their life. There’s a good chance I have bigger problems in my own life that should be a priority for my attention. Only after my own bigger problems are dealt with can I see well enough to be of help to anyone else, should they ask.

In both these examples, my own lack of vision blinds me to the truth. I need to remember to look to You for guidance, answers and perspective on issues in my life. And before I look too closely at a friend’s life and shortcomings, I need to examine myself. And then, again, seek Your help in correcting the issues I find there.

Another example You give has to do with how I act on what You tell me when I turn to You for the ‘vision’ I lack. It is not enough to simply call on You for guidance. It is also imperative that I listen for Your response and do what You say! Otherwise, all I do is based on my own, unreliable, limited understanding and will fold in on me like a house built with no foundation.

Father, I desire to obey You so my efforts won’t be wasted; so what I do has a firm foundation, and will stand solid against any difficulty or challenge that comes. And the challenges will come. You are the solid foundation I can put my trust in and gain confidence from. Open my eyes of understanding. Do not let me turn to other blind people, but to the One who made my eyes and gives me sight.

And I will be glad and rejoice with You; happy and joyful! Amen

Luke 6:39-49

Dec 9 Blessed is he who reads and hears and heeds

trumpeter-921677_1280Father, I believe “the Day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand…”. You gave Daniel dreams about the end times. You showed Ezekiel, and now Joel and John. All these prophets heard from You at different times, yet the message was the same. The time has come to “Blow the trumpet…sound the alarm…”.

I do not pretend to know the day or time, but I know that each day that goes by, is one day closer. It will be the end of everything known: the earth, the sun, moon and stars. But there is still time. You desire that all people will ”return to You with all [their] heart”.   Amazing things will happen. There will be spiritual signs, “wonders in the heavens” and many will be saved – everyone who calls on You. And there will be a new day, with blessings for Your people. And You will avenge.

John writes that You will bless everyone who “reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it…” In John’s Revelation, he not only saw with great detail: “dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.  The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” but was also given the interpretation of the meaning of what he saw. And all this was to be passed on to the seven churches so believers would know what was and what is and what is to come.

Proverbs tells me that “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction”.   And right here, You are giving a revelation!   Father, let me read and hear and heed what You have given here and in the whole of Your Word! Do not let me “cast off restraint” and walk in the way of the world. But let me sound the alarm to call people’s attention to Your wisdom, Your Word, and the blessing You want to give to all: salvation and eternal life with You! For the alternative is still eternal life, but separated from You. Vengeance is Yours. And You will avenge when the end comes. You are allowing time so all may come to You. And You have sent Your Word so all can know. I pray that all will “hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Amen

Joel 1:1-3:21; Revelation 1:1-20; Proverbs 29:18

Sept 6 A Day of Rejoicing!

PrayerPraiseMorningO Father, Your Word paints a glorious picture of You returning to judge Your people! I can see it in my mind’s eye as a massive, wall-sized painting with rays of light gleaming from Your figure, and shadows playing in the storm clouds around You with strikes of lightening flashing out. Just like a painting the old masters would have painted – like Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Or maybe as a majestic motion picture, with powerful, turbulent action between the fire and the storm like Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments.

When I speak Your Words, the action begins as You appear in slow motion: “The Mighty One… God… The Lord… You speak and summon the earth…You are perfect in beauty, You shine forth…A fire devours before You and around You a tempest rages…the heavens proclaim Your Righteousness.” The most beautiful, powerful being imaginable appears in the sky, advancing slowly. Flames precede You, lashing out with almost blinding light and incredible heat. And around You, clouds, dark and terrible, build; billowing and blowing, roiling up and out, far and wide, with flashes of lightening shocking the sky. And from the darkness of the storm, rays of light shine forth out of Your very being. Your voice thunders through the heavens and rumbles down to the earth causing trembling in the rocks and ground.   And in the background, the booming voices of ten thousand angels sing out, glorifying You!

“The heavens proclaim His righteousness” and I fall on my knees in reverence of You to join in the praise to honor You. What a day of rejoicing that will be! To be in Your presence. To see You in Your glory. What a powerful vision! To You, I offer all praise, all honor, all thanks. Amen

Psalm 50:1-7

Dec 23 I feel like a boat

ahlbeck-1542568_1920Father, how interesting that it appears both Zechariah’s and John’s revelations seem to be referring to similar times in the future.  There is much I do not understand, but while one speaks of a “flying scroll” that is a curse and will destroy thieves and those who swear falsely by Your name, the other talks of eternal torment of those who worship the beast and its image.  Similar ends for similar people.  Another vision is of iniquity portrayed as a woman in a basket with a lead cover, being taken to Babylonia, and in John’s vision, it is time for the earth to be harvested and crushed in the winepress of God’s wrath.  Your wrath will also be poured out on Babylon!

All this is still a time that You say “calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep Your commands and remain faithful to You”.   Again, I ask that You would grant me the patience and endurance I need to get through whatever is coming, and grow my faith even stronger.  I do not know when this will happen, or if I will even be alive during these times.   But without Your strength, I fear my faith would fail.

David says, “When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who watch over my way”.  I echo those words Lord.  I know that You can see me and can tell how I am dealing with whatever I am going through.  I know this, because in the past, You have been there with a word of encouragement, a call from a friend, a letter from someone, a song, a verse – exactly what I have needed, exactly when I have needed it.

You know me so well.  You created me.  You knew beforehand the purpose of my life, the places I would go, the perils I would face.  Like a carpenter chooses the type of wood to match the force of the stresses that will be brought against the boat he is making, You, my good and wise Carpenter, lovingly chose how I would be made.  You carefully and masterfully fashioned me to create exactly what You envisioned I would need to weather the storms You knew I would have to face in my life.

I don’t know my own strength, but You do.  You built strength into me that will only be demonstrated by the storms I weather.  So, with confidence and faith, I will enter the darkness, the high winds, the deep swells, the powerful surges, the rain, thunder and lightening.  I will let them crash around me, and wash over me, and I will see my deliverance on the other side.  Where the waters are calm.   And the winds are favorable.   And the sky is blue.   And my Carpenter, who is my Creator, my Heavenly Father, my Savior, my Lord, stands smiling.  Amen

Zechariah 4:1-5:11; Revelation 14:1-20; Psalm 142:1-7

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 21 Shield my head

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 13 Holy, Holy, Holy

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

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

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

I can hear the living creatures say in unearthly voices that resound with deafening volume and fill my senses, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come”. 20161212_235154

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

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

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

Revelation 4:1-11