Tag: wisdom

Jul 14 Your Gift to me: The Bible

Father, David inquired of You through the prophet Nathan.  Back then people did not have all of Your Word for wisdom and direction.  And the Torah, the part of the Word they did have, was only known to the Priests.  So, since You spoke through the prophets, that’s where David went to know Your will.

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To hear from You now, I don’t have to go to a seer or prophet.  I can read Your Word.  Although it is not a privilege afforded to all people, it is still available to me freely in my country.  Your Word, the Bible, is rich in wisdom, instruction, correction, encouragement, and tells me of Your great love for me.

Time and time again I marvel at how words written so long ago have relevance and impact in my life today.  And how I can read a passage of scripture one day, but at another time, it jumps off the page to me with personal revelation and meaning.

Once David had heard from You, he sat before You in prayer.  He began by recognizing who he is and then acknowledging who You are.  That is still a good pattern for me to follow.

“Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?”  David wrote in Psalm 103, “You know how we are formed, You remember that we are dust.  The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower in the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”

My life is so temporary and short.  And I am formed from dust with the breath of the Living God in me to give me life.  All I am and all I have was given to me from, and is dependent on You, Lord.  I am weak and imperfect and I so easily fall into sin.  Who am I that You would concern Yourself with me?

“There is no one like You, O Lord, and there is no God but You.”  You Lord God, on the other hand, are One of a kind.

You are Supreme, Sovereign, Almighty, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Forever Faithful, Eternally Strong, Infinitely Wise, Unfathomably Creative, Immeasurably Imaginative, Inexhaustibly Compassionate, Unceasingly Merciful, and Everlastingly Loving.

I am forever grateful and eternally blessed to have You as my Father, my Savior, my Counselor, my Friend, my Lord.   Amen

I Chronicles 17:1-27; Psalm 103: 14-16

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June 10 I seek Your blessing

child-praying-hands-1510773_640 (1)O Lord, I desire to be blessed by You.  I fear You with respect to the acknowledgement of who You are: Creator, Savior, Deliverer, the one True God.

My attitude towards You is one of reverence and honor.  You are so high above me, yet You invite me to come to You, to approach You, and to be in Your presence.

That in itself is a blessing.  Your thoughts and Your ways are far beyond what I can think or even imagine.

Father, help me know Your ways and walk in them as I live day to day.  Show me how to honor You by living according to Your commands.  Give me the wisdom and discernment to know what is right and honoring to You.

And give me the strength of character to choose the right and turn away from the wrong.  Being obedient to Your ways keeps me under the umbrella of Your protection and blessing.

I ask for Your blessing all the days of my life.  For protection, prosperity, purposeful living in joy, health, wholeness, security – summed up in the word “shalom”: peace.  Thank You for Your shalom, for Your “peace.”   Amen

Psalm 128:1-6

June 8 Thank You for the people in my life

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Father, help me be more like Solomon.  When You told him “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.”  He was not quick with a Christmas list of desired material possessions.  Even before You granted him wisdom beyond all human possibility, he answered wisely.

He began by acknowledging Your kindness and faithfulness to his father David.  He focused on You, and what You had already done in his life.  Then he presented himself humbly – as an individual and as a ruler.  He recognized the enormity of both the blessing and the responsibility You had given him.  And in the face of this, he asked for wisdom.

Let this be a pattern for my prayer life as well.

Lord, I truly acknowledge Your faithfulness to me.  I can’t begin to understand all the pieces that You brought into place for my being here now, as one of Your children.

How interconnected are the lives of the people You orchestrated to impact my life: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, friends, Sunday school teachers, teachers, coaches, acquaintances, co-workers.  You not only coordinated who they were and how they influenced me, but where they were, as I moved across the country almost every year growing up.  That blows my mind!

You have blessed me in the roles I play to others: daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, wife, mother, friend, teacher, labor coach, and in the intimate way I have been able to relate to people at significant times in their lives.  I feel very inadequate to fill the needs of the people You give me opportunities to minister to.  On my own, I cannot do it.

Give me a discerning heart to speak to and relate to those You bring into my life.  Help me distinguish between right and wrong and be able to speak the truth in love into their lives as I live my life according to Your guidance.   Show me when to speak and when to keep silent.  Show me how to share the understanding You have given me when it comes to teaching and encouraging others.

Father, thank You for the blessing of all those You have brought into my life.  Help me care for them in Your love, in Your strength, and in Your name.  Amen

I Kings 3:4-9

June 7 Wisdom and Integrity

David spoke a wonderful charge to his son, Solomon. It is also my prayer.

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Father, help my children and loved ones, and myself be strong.  Not simply in physical strength.  But help us be of strong character, so we can stand and not fall in the face of temptation.

Help us be tough and resilient in the face of hard times.  And just as gracious and generous in the good times.  Let us be known as men and women who are obedient to You, following You in the kind of life You teach us to live.

Help us walk in Your ways in the everyday decisions of our lives, and choose what is right and just.  Help us conduct our business and relationships openly and honestly, speaking the truth in love.

Teach us to hold to Your moral standards in our conduct and attitudes.  Give us understanding and discernment when we are unsure.   Remind us to study and know Your Word so it can guide and enlighten us.

Help us live out our lives in faith before You, Lord.  Not half-heartedly, but with all our heart and soul; seeking Your wisdom, and applying it correctly to our circumstances.  Let this yield prosperity in all we do wherever we go .

Proverbs says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”  Let me, my family and loved ones know Your way.  Let us live our lives according to it and find eternal life with You.  Amen

1 Kings 2:1-4; Proverbs 16:25

May 27 Teach me

Father, while I am on this earth, I join with the psalmist in making these requests.

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Teach me knowledge and good judgment.  Lord I want to make wise decisions that support Biblical values.  Teach me what You desire of me.  Even if the arrogant disagree and slander me, keep me true to Your teachings.

Give me the understanding I need to be able to apply what Your Word says to my life and circumstances.  You made me and placed me in these times, in this family, in this culture.  So help me discern across time and culture, how to walk in Your truth and live righteously.

Father, comfort me with Your unfailing love.  Teach me and treat me with compassion.  When I am attacked or maligned, defend me.   Help me live according to all You show me in Your power and Your faithfulness.  Encourage me.  And give me Your peace.  Amen

Psalm 119:65-80

May 21 Family Victory

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Father in heaven, as You did for David, would You do for me and my family?  Would You “protect us and hand over to us the forces that come against us.”

David was fighting a real physical enemy.  Life and death were in the balance.

They were in hand-to-hand combat to regain what had been taken from them: their families and possessions.  David “inquired of the Lord” to seek Your will before he acted, and You promised him victory.

Father, I come before You today to seek Your will for my family; to ask if You will give us victory over the forces that are at work in the world today that pull us apart and away from You.

We do not fight hand to hand with a physical enemy.  But we live in a culture where family values are going by the wayside and Biblical values are not honored.

Parental authority is being eroded, parents are disrespected, children are rebellious and often rude.  We fight against selfishness, greed, hate, violence, immorality, materialism, the occult, witchcraft, and all the schemes of satan.

Father, especially in my family, would You give me wisdom as a parent to know when to speak and when to keep quiet, so I can offer wise counsel and not destructive comments.  Set a guard over my mouth to use words that are instructive, edifying and building up according to the needs of the one I seek to help.

Show me how to pray for Your perfect will in my children’s’ lives, not simply what I think will benefit them.  Keep me from comparing them to other friend’s children, or even each other.

Lord, keep the lines of communication open so conversations between us will be effective and filled with love and respect.

Give my children discernment so they are not swept away by the vain philosophies of men and the political schemes that do not support Biblical values.

Help them recognize and turn away from temptation when it would lead to greed, immorality, the occult or anything satan would use to draw them away from You.  Block their way when others entice them into ungodly activities.

Let them seek to bless with their words, and not curse.  Draw them to Yourself and instruct them in the way they should go to be in the middle of Your will and Your  blessing.  Remind them of their need for a Savior, and the joy of having a close relationship with You.

And I will give thanks that You are with me and You are my Helper.  Because of that, I will look triumphantly upon these foes.  I take refuge in You, Lord.  You are my strength and my Victory!  Amen

I Samuel 30:1-25; Psalm 118:7, 14

May 20 Wisdom, prophecy, life, death

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Wisdom, prophecy, life and death.  All are in Your hands.

David showed Your wisdom when he did not kill Saul, the one You anointed as king over Israel.  He prophesied when he said “the Lord Himself will strike him.”  David recognized that a man’s life and death are for You to determine.

Saul showed wisdom when he acknowledged his sin acting like a fool trying to kill a man who had spared his life twice.  He prophesied when he said, to David “you will do great things and surely triumph.”  He too, recognized that You had spared his life through David and that David’s life was not his to take.

The woman who acted as a medium recognized her life could have been forfeit for what she did, had You not allowed Saul to hear again from Samuel the prophecy You had already given through him: that Saul would lose the kingdom because of his disobedience and it would be given to David.  You also revealed that Saul would die the next day.

In one of Your most dramatic public miracles You demonstrated that You are the resurrection and the life by raising Lazarus to life.  It was Your wisdom to wait when the word came He was sick so that this greater miracle could be done.

You prophesied to Your disciples that “this sickness will not end in death” so that You would be glorified through the circumstances to follow.  And although the disciples didn’t understand at the time, You were given glory as many who saw, believed.

Caiaphas, who was the High Priest that year thought he was being wise, but actually prophesied when he said “it is better that one man die for the people than the whole nation perish.”   For You did indeed lay down Your very life so that Your people would have everlasting life.

Thank You that these important issues are in the hands of the One, Almighty God who judges justly and can be trusted because of Your faithfulness and love for Your people.

My life and times are in Your hands. I know that my life came from You and nothing can take it out of Your hands.

Give me wisdom to live each day in faith.  Show me how to use my gifts, talents, abilities and experiences to the fullest measure to bring You honor and glory every day that I have.

And then close my eyes in peace when the final day arrives, to reawaken in Your eternal presence.  Amen

I Samuel 26:1-25; 28:3-25; John 11:1-53

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 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 right thing.  Help me wait for the best thing.  Teach me to be wise.  Amen

I Samuel 8:1-22

Apr 24 God’s Protection

“Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail.”

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Father, this reminds me that although satan seems to have power on this earth, his power is temporary and limited.

He must ask permission to have access to even one of Your children.

So I can know, if there is oppression in my life from the evil one, (which I have not invited) that it is limited, and that it has first been filtered through Your fingers of love.  And that You, Jesus, are interceding, praying for my faith to be strong and sufficient, so I will not fail.

To do my part, I will praise Your name and Your character.  I will sing and make music, proclaiming Your love and faithfulness.  Your godly ability to be with me wherever I go and at all times has been a comfort so often.  Knowing that You will never leave me and that Your love is everlasting has brought me through difficult times.

I will remember Your deeds in my life and the lives of others.  The peace You have given me in times of stress and hardship have defied understanding.  You have calmed me down when circumstances were not calm.   You have shown me wisdom when I could not think of a solution.   You have encouraged me with visions that brought understanding and reassurance when I was afraid.

You have the power to create a universe and destroy it.  The beauty of Your imagination is seen in every sunrise and sunset.   The deafening crash of the waves is like a whisper of Your voice.

You are exalted, lifted up forever.  And yet, You bend down to me.

Even in Your unlimited power, You are gentle with me.   You nourish me to become like a strong palm or a tall cedar.

O Lord, let me flourish in Your court.  Let me still bear fruit in my old age; maintaining my knowledge and memory of You so that I may always proclaim that You are My Rock.  My Fortress,  My Deliverer.  My Salvation.  My God.  Amen

Luke 22:31-32; Psalm 92:1-93:5

Apr 21 Obey Your Word, walk in Your presence

In today’s scripture, You give two passages that tell me how to be blessed.  I acknowledge and desire to follow those instructions.

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Lord, help me “be very strong; to be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.  I will not associate with those who do not follow You by invoking the names of their gods or swear by them.  I will not serve them or bow down to them.  I will hold fast to You.” 

Lord, I can only be careful to obey Your Word if I know Your Word.  So I will read it and study to understand it.  I will pray and ask for understanding when I am confused or in doubt.

I will not ever call upon the names of other gods, because there is no other God but You.  There is none like You.  There is no other name under heaven by which I am saved.

Your power alone created the universe.  I will worship You alone, and seek Your direction and wisdom for my life.

The next passage tells me “blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence.”  Father, I give glory to Your name only, because of who You are and what You have done.  You are Most Holy God.  You are all-powerful and all-knowing.  You created the heavens and the earth.

You created man and set him in this place to have fellowship with You.  When he broke that fellowship by sinning, You made a way of reconciling man to You: through Your blood on the cross.  And because I accept that gift I can walk in the light of Your presence once again.

The light of Your presence is where truth is revealed, nothing is hidden, nothing is feared.  Your presence dispels darkness.  To be present with You is to talk with You and listen to You – Your responses in prayer, in Your Word and through the Holy Spirit.  It is to rest in You, fearing nothing.

So I rejoice in Your name.  I trust in Your righteousness.  You are my protection, my King, the Holy One.   And I am blessed.  Amen

Joshua 23:6-11; Psalm 89:14-18

Apr 17 Learn from the blind beggar

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“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.”

Lord, there are so many things I am trusting You for right now.  Things that I cannot see, 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.

Lord let me learn from the blind beggar.

First, when he heard You were passing by, he knew You could heal him and persisted asking for Your help.

So when I have a need, let me come straight to You; confident that You have the desire and the power to help.  And remind me to be persistent like he was.

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

And last, when You answer my prayer, as You answered the beggar’s, let other people see it and praise You!

Lord, as I bring my requests to You, I come praising You with all my heart.  I praise You that when I am under attack I can ask for Your strength.  I appreciate that sense of Your presence when I feel discouraged.

I exalt You for teaching me truth from Your Word and showing me how to apply it to my life; thus increasing my faith.  I glorify Your name as You guide me in Your wisdom, and give me discernment.

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

Apr 8 No Rock like our God

american-flag-1272115_640Lord, do not let ours be a nation without sense, with no discernment, like Israel was.

When You gave them an inheritance and set up boundaries for Your people according to the number of their sons, You shielded and carried them.  You protected them and guarded them as an eagle cares for and trains its young.

You nourished them with the best, and yet, when they became fat and sleek, satisfied, they turned from You.  They abandoned the God who gave them all they had, and sought other “gods.”   They became perverse and unfaithful, not caring that it would call down Your curses and judgment on them and their children.

Father, give me discernment so I can know when I am being tempted away from You with the values and philosophies of this world.  Help me be wise and understand that there are consequences to my decisions and actions.

Give me the ability to be able to think ahead and see where things will lead so I can choose what will lead me to a closer relationship with You.

Father, give the leaders of my country sense to see where they are taking our people with their choices as well.  Give them discernment and wisdom to know that Your judgment is real and You will not be mocked.  Our Constitution was written to govern a moral people, and when morality fails, we have little hope of living in safety or security.

I can already see signs that we have gone too far.   We, as a people – even Believers, have put You to the test and rebelled against You, the Lord Most High.  We have not kept Your statutes.  We have become disloyal and faithless.

Do not reject us O God.  Do not abandon us.  But show us the error of our ways; teach us to walk rightly again and make wise decisions that honor You.

Help me give You the place in my life that You deserve.

Remind me to read Your Word so it can guide and encourage me.  Recall to my mind, Your faithfulness to me in the past: all the ways You have protected and delivered me.

Speak to me when I pray to You, giving me direction.  Let me feel Your presence near me, assuring me of your love, healing my wounds, and giving me Your peace.

Thank You that You are the One True God, the Most High, who will never leave me or forsake me.  Thank You that Your faithfulness endures forever.  I praise You for Your unending love.  You are my God.  Amen

Deuteronomy 32:28-43; Psalm 78:56-64

Mar 21 Overabundant blessing!

fishinboat1O Lord, how often do I make my own plan, instead of seeking Yours, or going along with the one You started me out on?  How many blessings have I missed, because I went my own way?

The Reubenites and Gadites saw with their eyes, that the land they were on was good enough for them; and asked for it rather than waiting for the land You had promised to all the tribes.  In their view, what they were seeing was good enough, and it was given to them.

I wonder if they prayed about that decision?  Or how they sought wisdom on the matter?  Or if they were just tired of being on the move and wanted to stop and settle?

Down the road it caused misunderstanding and cost lives.  It was not Your plan, but You allowed it.

When Jesus taught and healed in the town of Capernaum in Galilee, the people searched Him out and tried to keep Him from leaving.  Who wouldn’t want to hang on to a miracle worker?  Healer?  Gifted teacher?   But the will of the people did not line up with Your divine purposes.

It was not Your plan, and You did not allow it.

Jesus was not a fisherman.  But He got into a fisherman’s boat.  He instructed the men to put out into deep water and let down the nets at a time and place that made no sense by fishermen’s wisdom.   The men did, acting in obedience to Your sovereignty.

When they obeyed and went along with Your plan, they were blessed to overflowing!  They had to call a backup boat, and even then, the boats filled to almost sinking with fish!

It was Your plan, and although it made no sense by human wisdom, it brought overabundant blessing!

Dear Father, I want that overabundant blessing in my life!  I desire to align myself with Your will and Your purpose.  I lay down my wish to have it “my way” according to my own wisdom, in favor of Your revelation and Your blessing.

Help me hear Your instruction clearly.  Embolden me to act with godly wisdom.  Keep me on the path of Your plan.   And let me receive Your blessing with gratitude and thanksgiving!  Amen

Numbers 32:1-42; Luke 4:31-5:11

Mar 17 Growth

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Dear Lord, we know very little about Jesus’ childhood.  But we do know that He was remarkable.  From His eighth day, we know that “He grew and became strong, was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him.” 

And when twelve years old, He ”sat among the teachers in the temple courts, amazing people at His understanding and answers.”

We then learn He was obedient to His earthly parents and “He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

Father that is my desire as well, to grow “in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

I pray that You would help me grow in being able to understand, remember, and apply learning and knowledge to my life; which we call wisdom.  But not just from a worldly viewpoint.  I would desire to have godly wisdom, from the Holy Spirit, to teach me of You, to know You better, to see things from Your perspective.

Lord, help me grow in stature, which means maturity.  That may require reexamining and putting away some childish thoughts and behaviors.  It means not being led only by ego, or emotions or selfishness.  Instead, lead me to develop a responsible sense of accountability when it comes to my relationship with You and with others.

Lord, I mostly desire to grow in favor with You.  Show me where I am missing that mark, and turn my path back to You.  Before I act, let me ask, “Will this draw me closer to the Lord, or farther away?”

Sometimes I feel close to You when I am strong, because I know that my strength comes from You.  Other times I feel closer to You when I am weak and in dire need of Your help, encouragement, and guidance.  I believe my trust in and dependence on You also honors You, as Your strength is shown through my weakness.

Father, let my favor with man be such that I can be a witness to man, rather than being taken in by the traditions and values of man.  As You give me favor, keep me mindful that my home is in heaven – this is just a temporary stopover.

How wonderful it would be to be like Jesus in this.  Thank You for Your help.  Amen

Luke 2:36-52

Mar 5 All I am, All the time

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Your greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  That is a mouthful!

 

The Greek words from this scripture where You quote the Hebrew words don’t have the exact meanings of the English translated words that are used today.  But the idea is that I need to use all that I have to adore, worship, spend time with and follow You, my Lord.  There is no element of my life that is to be without Your influence.

For my heart, I think my emotions need to be measured by You, so I don’t get overly carried away or swept up into something without thinking.  I need to be aware of where my passions are leading me and find a place of balance.

When discouraged or depressed, I need to fight back against that inner voice berating me with negativity, by speaking Your truth in scriptures about my identity in You:

  “I am a child of God” John 1:12

“I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.”  Colossians 3:12

“I am forever free from condemnation” Romans 8:1

I heard once that people spend the first half of their lives trying to satisfy body and mind and the second half trying to satisfy their soul.  That inner part of me that seeks peace and wholeness gains it by recognizing the truth of Your Word.  So I will learn the real peace and wholeness that comes from You, not the world’s counterfeit found in popular philosophies.

My mind needs to seek “godly wisdom, which is pure, peaceable, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  The wisdom of the world is based on the logic of the mind, and the weight of pros and cons are only understood by a limited human viewpoint.

Godly wisdom is what must guide my choices and decisions.  As I seek this wisdom, protect my mind from thoughts that do not come from You.

I dedicate my strength to Your purposes: the strength of my body, of my will, my self-determination.  Help me realize when my strength is enough, and rely on Your strength to work through my weakness.

And I need to do this all the time?!  It is obvious that I can never achieve this on my own.  I will never be able to love You this perfectly.

Fortunately, “with God, all things are possible!”  So I rely on You, Lord, to guard and guide my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength; and to use them for Your glory.  This is how I desire to be obedient.  Amen

Mark 12:29-30; James 3:17; Mark 10:27

Feb 15 Me? A Disciple?

picture0223Holy Father, may I be like those You called to follow You as disciples.  May I be willing to leave my family, my occupation to go with You wherever You lead me, leaving behind the security I would lean on in place of You.

Although I was not present in Capernaum where You began teaching with such authority, let me learn from the amazing lessons in Your Word.

You have given me the Holy Spirit to teach me, correct me, guide me.  Make me sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Help me listen to godly wisdom when it comes to opportunities and circumstances; not just take the easy way, or most logical way.  I will call on You, and seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Though I may not have seen You perform miracles in Galilee, You have answered prayers and done miraculous things in my life and in the lives of others I know.  Let me be bold about sharing those experiences and so spread the word as Your disciples did.

“I have the assurance that You will contend with those who contend with me and will fight against those who fight against me.  You will take up shield and buckler, arise and come to my aid.  You will brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.  You will disgrace and put to shame those who seek to ruin my life; and turn back in dismay those who plot my ruin.“

As David wrote these words about the men who were literally seeking his life, I seek Your deliverance from the oppression of the powers of this present darkness at work in the world today; from the spiritual forces at work against You, and so also against me as I live in Your light.

“My soul rejoices in You.  I delight in Your salvation.”  I place my complete trust in You, for there is none like You.  I know that “Your wisdom will reward me.”  Thank You for being my Savior.  Amen

Mark 1:16-28; Psalm 35:1-4,9; Proverbs 9:11

Feb 13 I will testify and praise You

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So many prophecies fulfilled just in today’s verses from Matthew, Lord.

In so many ways, You made good on Your Word to send a specific deliverer by a specific pre-ordained way: a Savior who would be the Lamb of God and take away the sin of the world, if we would just accept and believe.

These were not easy promises to fulfill.  They were quite costly.  Jesus paid the ultimate price with His very life, in a painful and torturous way.  And even after His death, more prophecies were satisfied.

So many people, so many years, so many ways the plan could miss the mark, be off the prophecy just a bit.  But You brought Your plan down through the ages to fruition.  You accomplished the saving of man’s soul and his reconciliation to Yourself.

For these reasons as well as Your faithfulness, Your trustworthiness to Your promises, Your Sovereignty and power in accomplishing all You set out to do, “I will extol You!”

According to a dictionary, that means I will praise You, exalt You, commend, admire and worship You.  I will tell others of You with highest recommendations.   “Your praise will always be on my lips.  My soul will boast in You!“

I will invite others to glorify You and lift up Your name with me in song, in prayer, to other believers and to anyone who will listen.

I will tell them how You heard my prayers and saved friends and family from illness and injuries, how You protected them from bad decisions and bad people and bad situations.  I will share how friends at death’s door were returned to their loved ones, and how in Your mercy, others were spared from terrible pain.

I will let them know that You are in the business of revealing wisdom when I ask for help making decisions and don’t know the way to go.  When I have felt trapped, You made a way out of the situation I had never thought of or considered.

I will recall times when I was too afraid of what was about to happen, but You gave me peace and the courage to make it through by giving me songs, or visions, or specific scriptures to help.

I will share how there were times when I thought things were going so wrong, but You worked them out and brought blessings out of them I never thought were possible.

These are the things, the testimonies that I have tasted, and have proven over and over again that You are good.

Thank You – for being there for me every time I knew I needed You.  And thank You Lord for being there for me when I didn’t even know I was in need.  Amen

Matthew 27:32-66; Psalm34:1-8

Feb 10 Teach me

school-1063558_640Thank You Father, that You have promised to “instruct me and teach me in the way I should go.” Help me be a good student of Your instruction.  Give me the ability to hear You above all the other voices: anger, fear, temptation, discouragement, stress.

Strengthen me to pay attention, make note of, and follow Your teachings in my personal life, relationships and in setting priorities.

Thank You for providing me with godly counsel.  Of all the voices I hear, I trust Yours as the wisest.

The wisdom the world has to offer, although it may seem logical, is not always the best.  Thank You that I can know that Your instructions for me will always be in agreement with Your Word.

With the Bible as my textbook I can find examples to follow, characters to learn from, and encouragement for my journey.

Thank You for watching over me.  Unlike other teachers, You have the ability to be with me at all times, wherever I am.  Your Holy Spirit in me coaches me as I go along, so I am never far from Your guidance; if I choose to accept it.

“Do not let me be like a horse or mule which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to You.”  But let me respond to the loving leading and gentle touch that keep me on the path of righteousness in my thoughts, my words, my attitudes, my motives and my actions.

Surround me with Your unfailing love, and I will sing to You and rejoice in You, and be glad!

Psalm 32:8-11

 

Jan 16 Are you a wrestler?

wrestlersDear Father, it seems I am a wrestler.

Jacob wrestled with You one night. He held on till daybreak, and You blessed him. In Your blessing, he became part of the promise You gave to Abram: to make him father of a great nation, make his name great, and bless all the earth through him.

For Jacob (renamed Israel) was Abram’s (renamed Abraham’s) grandson. And down through their lineage, You came as Jesus Christ, Messiah and Savior, blessing all the world.

My wrestling is not so productive as Jacob’s.

With simple things: decisions, relationships, or issues which may be meaningless in the grand scheme of things; I spend time and waste energy grappling with whether or not I made a good decision. I review the options, second guessing myself, wondering and worrying about how other choices would have played out. There is no winning there, and no blessing in that.

So Father, help me seek Your godly wisdom in my decisions. Help me bring every choice to You and ask for Your perspective. You tell believers to ask when we need wisdom, and You will give it to us.

Show me how to hear Your voice of truth and then have peace about the decision when made, without revisiting it over and over.

Rather than continue to wrestle with relationships, Lord, I give them to You. Show me how to spend my time and energy, and who to spend it with. Beginnings and endings are hard for me, and I know sometimes You bring a person into my life for a season. But I struggle when that season is over, to know how to let go.

Most of my life I was the one who literally left, moved to a different place. I never really learned how to move on from being close to someone. How do I say good bye when there is no geographical separation? But hanging on too long isn’t working out either.

Move me into and out of the relationships You want me to have, so that I can give and receive the blessings You intended for each of us.

I also wrestle with issues in my life when I have had a single viewpoint. Some are things I learned as a child and accepted without question. Now I have grown and learned that things are not as absolute as I once believed. And even though these beliefs are holding me back and potentially harming me, it’s hard to let go.

Help me have discernment when it comes to examining issues that affect my life, my behavior, even my sense of identity.

Father, as I wrestle with all these things, let me take hold of and cling to only You.

Pry my fingers off of the things that are not important. And bless me as I cling forever to You. Amen

Genesis 32:22-30

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, to 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 14 Wisdom over deception

“Help Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men.

 Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue that says, ‘We will triumph with our tongues;’.”

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Arise Lord and protect me from those who malign me and take unfair advantage. Protect me from the deceit of the world, the flesh, and the evil one. “O Lord, You keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.”

You watched over and provided for Jacob when his father-in-law Laban cheated him and changed the terms of his wages ten times. You spoke and told him what to do and protected he and his family.

Father, protect me as well, when others seek to deceive and swindle and mislead me. I turn to You for godly wisdom. Let me listen for Your voice, and understand what You say, trusting Your wisdom over what may seem right by earthly intellect.

You sent Your disciples out “as sheep among the wolves.”  We, Your children, are often referred to as sheep. Thank You for being our shepherd; for watching over us, for driving away predators, for leading us to green pastures and still waters.

Thank You for calming us the way a shepherd does his sheep so we can rest. There are many ”wolves” who seek our destruction, to get us away from the protection of our Shepherd knowing that’s when we are vulnerable.

Proverbs tells us we are blessed when we find wisdom – that it is more profitable than silver or gold and more precious than rubies. Help me discern godly wisdom; not just the logic of the mind or the reasoning of man.

Lead me to seek “the wisdom that comes from heaven: pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” This is the wisdom that leads to righteousness.

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

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

 

Jan 5 I call to You

sky-2667455_640 (1)Psalm 5:3 says “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.”

This has become true as I read Your Word and it becomes the substance of my prayers. So today, I lay myself and my loved ones, one by one before You.

I ask for Your hand to be at work in each of these relationships, and in all our circumstances.

Father, You know what each of us needs better than I do, so I ask for You to work in each of our lives to bring about Your perfect will. In some cases, to break our own will where it is in opposition to Yours and set us back on Your path.

I ask to heal our bodies where there is sickness; to turn our spirits to You where there has been rebellion or going our own way; to soften our hearts so we seek You for help and direction.

Show us how to call out to You where there is disappointment or despair and give us a realization and acknowledgment of the blessings in our lives which come from You.

Where our troubles are the result of bad choices, teach us to learn from them so the experience is not wasted.

Where we are wrestling with spiritual forces, rulers, principalities, authorities, and powers of this dark world and the heavenly realms; destroy them Lord! Declare them guilty O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them and their evil plans from our lives .

I lay our lives at Your feet, knowing that You have the resources, the authority, and the power to achieve even more than I can ask or even imagine. I wait for Your hand to be made visible in the lives of my family and myself so that I can see and rejoice.

We take refuge in You, and in Your mighty power! Spread Your protection over us. Surround us with Your favor as with a shield.

We rejoice in You and we sing for joy! We love Your Name O Lord. Jehovah! Yahweh! Jesus! Messiah! For there is no other name by which we can be saved! Amen

Psalm 5:1-12

Jan 2 Keep me from “Serpent speak”

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

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

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

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

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

Father, do not let me make this mistake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 12 a famine of the Word

Famine hunger

Father, You showed Amos two punishments, judgments for Israel and then said “This will not happen.”  You relented, yielded, turned away from those judgments in favor of another.

What a heart You have for Your people that You withheld the punishment they deserved out of Your love.  You knew they would not be able to bear up under it or survive.

How often have You spared me from the punishment my words and actions, my sins deserve?  No doubt, daily.  Were You not my Sovereign Lord, I would not survive.  Thank You for Your mercy.

You told Amos “The days are coming when I will send a famine thorough the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the Words of the Lord.”

This was certainly fulfilled in the four hundred years between the Old and New Testaments, when no further prophetic word was given.  But it can also be true of our world today.  Right now, I can enjoy the freedom to worship You, to study Your Word, to attend church.  But even now, the reading and public speaking of Your Word is being called ‘Hate Speech.’

Hate Speech is said to offend, threaten, or insult groups based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.  Many universities, for years the havens of “free speech” have adopted codes prohibiting speech that offends any group based on the traits listed above.

While the intent is good, to protect people groups from racial slurs, intimidation, and threats, it is becoming more popular to also outlaw scripture and categorize it as “hate speech.”  Already Christian speakers on radio have been told to watch what they say about topics that are considered politically incorrect, lest they lose their funding and rights to broadcast.

Father, give the leaders of my country godly wisdom to know where to set the limits of public broadcasting, so that people are protected, but religious freedoms are not restricted.  Don’t let us throw out the baby with the bath water.

There may come a time in my country, where believers have to go underground, smuggle Your Word, and study it in secret.   Father, help me hide Your Word in my heart so I have a storehouse of scripture for times of famine.  Help me share what I know of Your Word with others so they can be fed on Your Word and not hunger or thirst, and turn to other gods.  While I can, let me feast on all that You show me in Your Word.  Let me never go hungry.

Thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for the freedom I have to enjoy it and worship You.  Thank You that I can trust my future to You.  I “put my hope in You both now and forevermore.”  Amen

Amos 7:1-6; 8:11-12; Psalm 131

 

Dec 8 May America blossom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nov 25 Live in the light like Daniel

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“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are Yours.  You change times and seasons;  You depose kings and raise up others.  You give wisdom to the wise   and knowledge to the discerning.  You reveal deep and hidden things; You know what lies in darkness,  and light dwells with You.  I thank and praise You…”  

Father, these words of Daniel’s are just as true today.  We still praise You!

After all these years of season after season, You are still the One who keeps the world in order.  And after generations of kings, You are still the One who holds their hearts and all power in Your hand.

All wisdom and knowledge are Yours.  Hundreds of years of human advancements and scientific discovery and technology, haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to understanding this amazing universe You created!

Father, Daniel held tightly to his beliefs about You and his convictions about how to live a godly life.  And he did so in the midst of being kidnapped and taken a thousand miles away from home and family.  As a young man it would have been so easy for him to simply go along with whatever his captors pushed on him.  But even far away from family and the worship he knew, he knew that You were with him.

At that time, people worshipped pagan gods who they believed had power and influence over a specific thing like rainfall, crops, fertility or a particular place.   But Daniel knew You were the One True God over all these things.  And that no matter where he was, You were there.

“Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel.”

And You were faithful to Daniel.   You allowed him to be faithful to the ways he had been taught and gave him success.  In addition to this, You gave Daniel and his four friends wisdom and understanding far beyond that of all others.

Father, help me be like Daniel.  Strengthen me to live the way You have taught me, and not give in to the pressures of whatever society offers.  Let me stand out so others will see that I live differently from the pagan ways of my culture.

Let the light that dwells in You, shine through me.  Amen

Daniel 1:1-2:23

Nov 22 Teach me “application”

hand on BibleWhat an amazing Psalm is the 119th Psalm!  It is the longest Psalm.  It has more verses than 14 Old Testament books and 17 New Testament books.

Within it is found the verse that lies in the very center of Scripture – halfway between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21.

This Psalm was constructed with twenty-two stanzas, each beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew Alephbet.  And within each stanza, each of the eight verses begin with the letter of the stanza.

In almost every verse, there is a word that describes Your teaching: Word, law, commands, statues, decrees, precepts.  And almost each one teaches how to handle Your Word or be led and taught by it.

It is said that King David used this Psalm to teach his young son, Solomon the Alephbet.  It represented all the letters, but also illustrated spiritual truth of how to live a godly life.  So as I read it, Father, I also pray these verses as a guide for living according to Your Word.

“I will obey Your Word.  Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law…do not hide Your commands from me.”  Help me see beyond the Words to the meaning You have for these Words in my life.  Show me marvelous things that deepen my devotion to You

 “…Teach me Your decrees.  Let me understand the teaching of Your precepts; then I will meditate on Your wonders…strengthen me according to Your Word.” 

Father, beyond word studies and context references, reveal deeper meanings to me through Your Holy Spirit.   Show me how to be sensitive to the timing and teaching You use to increase my awareness and discernment.

Understanding Your Word brings me strength!  What an awesome gift!

Father, I choose Your truth and obedience to Your laws.  “I set my heart on Your laws.  I hold fast to Your statutes.“  “Be gracious to me… and do not let me be put to shame.”

I would rather You take my life than allow me to dishonor You.  I am Your servant.  You are my Master.   It is only by Your mercy and Your Word that I have life.  Amen

Psalm 119:17-32

Nov 21 You Word is Treasure

Father thank You for warning me not to trust in earthly riches.  Wealth, possessions, gold and silver are not the treasure I seek.  They can lead to greed and the sins that greed temps a person to commit.

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Rather, I treasure Your Word.  It gives me a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about how to receive Your blessing: something of far greater value.

You Word says I will be blessed when I “walk according to the law of the Lord…keep Your statutes and seek You with all [my] heart.”

I can keep my way pure “by living according to Your Word.”   So Father, “I seek You with all my heart: do not let me stray from Your commands.”  I desire to be blessed; show me how to walk in Your path.

Lord, I will “hide Your Word in my heart”.  I will read it, honor it, study to understand it, memorize it, and do what it says.  When I do not understand it, I will pray for clarity of meaning and how to apply it to my life.

When people around me say one thing and Your Word says another, give me the conviction to be obedient to Your truth.  Help me see through the misleading lies and the deceiving values of society and not be tripped up by them.  Give me the strength I need to be true to You.

Because You tell me how powerful prayer is, I will pray

prayer conversations candle

giving thanks when I am happy

for healing when I am sick

for help when I am in trouble

for the wisdom to stay on Your path

for forgiveness when I have sinned.

Father, help my prayers be powerful and effective.

Besides me, so many people need Your help in so many ways. I believe praying for them is one way I can help; perhaps the best way I can help them.

So, like Elijah, I pray earnestly and in faith, knowing that You are the One who can answer.  You have the power, Lord.  And You have the will.

We are all Your creations, Lord.  Thank You that You love and care for us.  Amen

James 5:1-20; Psalm 119:1-16

Nov 19 Your Word is wisdom

Father, James says Abraham’s “ faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”

bible-839093_1920I pray that my life and faith will be the same.

I understand that my actions alone will not save me.  That salvation comes by believing in You and accepting You as Lord of my life.

But I can also see that my actions bear out what I believe.   And since actions are what others can see, others will know my faith by my actions.

In addition to my actions, my words speak a lot about who I am and what I believe.   So set a guard on my tongue!

I have learned by experience that words cannot be unsaid.  Once spoken, their impact is made.  Father, forgive me for the times I have spoken without thinking, and in doing so, caused hurt to someone.

Forgive me for the times I spoke after thinking, but was wrong in the way the message was delivered.  For it is not only the words chosen, but also the way they are spoken that carries meaning and can cause trouble.

Words can tear down, damage, hurt, berate, mislead, manipulate, and deceive a person.  But they can also lift up, encourage, enlighten, inspire, bless and show love.   Father, give me wisdom for how and when to use my words.

Help me see through the “wisdom” the world offers.  Before I speak or act, let me think through what I “think” I want to say.

The wisdom of the world can come from my own flesh: a kind of “sensual wisdom” based on my own thoughts and feelings.  It will produce self-satisfaction and pride, and ultimately, guilt – as James tells me my own desires can lead to sin.

Or it can come from others in the world, leading to approval and acceptance from the crowd.   It produces disorder, and You have told me I should not be conformed to the pattern of this world.

Or it may be demonic wisdom that brings envy, immorality and leads me to worship other things, eventually producing fear.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  This wisdom produces the Fruit of the Spirit in me.

Father, help me listen, and discern Your wisdom from all the others.  I desire to hear from and follow You alone.  Amen

James 2:18-3:18

Nov 16 Helpful Last Words

postit-1975188_640Father, the book of Hebrews is winding to an end, and it seems the author has thrown in as much good advice as he can before his good-bye.

“Keep on loving each other as brothers. 

Do not forget to entertain strangers…

Remember those in prison…

Marriage should be honored by all…

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…”          

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

Help me remember to do these things the writer of Hebrews has listed here.

I am told to “imitate the faith” of spiritual leaders and “consider the outcome of their way of life.”  In Ezekiel’s time, it was the spiritual leaders who neglected to teach the people what they should know, and led them astray.  They were the “shepherds of Israel” and they took advantage of the sheep.

Today we also have spiritual leaders whose lives do not honor You.

So I ask for Your wisdom and discernment so I will not ”be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.”   There are so many philosophies and teachings in the world today that make claims to do everything from bringing inner peace, to fantastic wealth and fame, to grow hair on bald heads!

There are so many counterfeit faith systems that are designed to make me feel good, while pulling the wool over my eyes, and leading me away from You.  Very famous and powerful people buy into these ”religions.”

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

Thank You for the blessing at the end of Hebrews.  I pray these words for myself and for my loved ones.  It is what I seek with all my heart

“May You, the God of Peace…equip [me] with everything good for doing Your will, and may You work in [me] what is pleasing to You.”

Father, may I have Your peace in whatever circumstances the world or the evil one throw at me.  May I know and feel Your peace even in the challenges and the hard times.  Provide whatever I need to accomplish whatever You have for me.  Lead me to what will please You.  And may the success bring You glory!  For ever and ever.  Amen

Ezekiel 34:1-10; Hebrews 13:1-24

 

Nov 15 Help me live in peace

“…live at peace with all men and be holy…”.  Allow “no bitter root to grow up.”  Make moral decisions now because the consequences may be too much to bear.

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Because of my human nature, these are sometimes very difficult things to do.  Give me Your peace so I can reflect peace to those around me.  Help me see what is important and what is not so I will not be part of foolish arguments, but will be able to live at peace with men, and women too.

When I feel wronged, or hurt, angry, disappointed or jealous; help me see from Your perspective so the root of bitterness doesn’t poison my relationships.  When circumstances seem unjust or aren’t going my way, diffuse my anger before it ”causes trouble and defiles many.”

Let me consider what You would have me do in response to any circumstance, rather than just react from an emotional place. Help me live my life with the understanding that I am Your creation, here for You purposes.  Give me guidance and wisdom to be the best wife, mother, daughter, friend, neighbor I can be.

Father, thank You that I can approach You every time I need support in any of these areas.  Not like in Moses’ time where anyone who touched even the mountain where You were had to be killed. You have done with Your precious blood what the blood of goats and lambs could not.  I can now come to You directly, and hear Your voice without perishing.

I want to live in peace as Paul suggests.  You are my help.  And there is none like You: The Prince of Peace.  Amen

Hebrews 12:14-49

 

Nov 13 I am in awe

iceland-1751463_640Father, the city and leaders and people of Tyre had everything worldly possible to bring them success in material possessions and reputation.  Yet, they fell.

They took pride in their commerce and accomplishments and that pride kept them from worshipping You.  They saw themselves as gods.  And Your judgment fell on them.

Lord, do not let me think more highly of myself than I ought.   Thank You for Your example of being a humble servant.   As I try to follow Your example, if I ever think too much of myself, refocus me on Your greatness.

Psalm 111 reminds me that ”Great are the works of the Lord…glorious and majestic are His deeds.”   When I ponder all of creation, I am amazed by Your imagination!  I am captivated by the diversity in size and color and design!  I am overwhelmed by the power of Your mountains and seas and winds.

I love seeing pictures of majestic waterfalls, lush green jungles with brightly colored birds, schools of shiny fish swimming in the sea, brilliant flowers, water-colored sunsets.  All this is just a part of what You do.

Besides creating and sustaining all this, You have created the intricacies of each human body: from the tiniest of cells to the diversity of faces and fingerprints!

And not just bodies, but You know the mind and spirit of each individual on the planet.   You’re indescribable – uncontainable – unfathomable!  You blow my mind!

And a wondrous part of who You are is that You do not just set all this in motion and then sit back to see where it goes. You involve Yourself in the life of each of Your precious creations.   You speak, protect, provide, lead, feed, forgive, save.  And all that You do is just and right.

You have provided these later generations with Your written Word.   It teaches Your truth and Your character so all can know You, and Your faithfulness, Your uprightness and Your salvation.

You say “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”   The Hebrew word “yare” translated as “fear” here, is used in this sentence referring to a person in an exalted position: You.  Thus, the meaning includes a reverence, a standing in awe, whereby the individual recognizes the power and position, and renders the proper respect.

Father, I acknowledge Your power, Your sovereignty; and give You all honor and praise!  Let me continue to grow in wisdom.

How great and awesome You are!  “To You belongs eternal praise.”  Amen

Ezekiel 27:1-28:19; Psalm 111:1-10

Nov 9 The Shepherd’s Rod

shepherd rodFather, I can see a pattern in Your treatment of Your people.  You revealed Yourself to them in Egypt and told them to “get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt.”  And although You delivered them, they continued to worship a golden calf.  Yet You did not destroy them, “for the sake of Your Name”.

In the desert they rebelled again, but You did not pour out Your wrath, “for the sake of Your Name.”  Then their children, who You led and protected in the desert, rebelled, not following You; but, “for the sake of Your Name” You preserved them.

Generations later, the nation of Israel continued to defile itself, and You acted to “disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries.”  However, You would not let them inquire of You, and spoke only through Ezekiel the Prophet.

It was always Your purpose that they would be Your people and You would be their God.  And Your judgment of them was just, as they “passed under Your rod.”

Father, I come now, to seek You, to inquire of You.  There are so many things in my life that I need Your wisdom about, Your guidance, Your direction.  I need Your strength to bear up under the challenges, and Your peace to sustain me through them.

I need Your patience where I need to wait, and Your boldness where I need to act.  I want to see where You would have me join You in Your work so I do not spend my energy on fruitless endeavors.

My part in this is to be sure my life is rid of idols.  I will examine my actions, my attitudes, my relationships, to be sure nothing and no one is stealing my passion to live for You.   I want to “pass under Your rod” for Your inspection and loving care.

This is the same rod of which the Psalmist wrote “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”

A shepherd uses his rod for many things.  One is to have the sheep pass under it.  It is a way of counting to be sure every sheep is where it should be and accounted for.

It is also a way of inspecting them.  As each sheep passes, the shepherd looks to see that each is well fed, rested, and not ill.   As the rod parts their hair, inspection is made of the skin for wounds, parasites, anything that would indicate a need for further care.

Father, I am a sheep of Your pasture.  Inspect me.  Look for any sign of weakness or disease in me.  When so, heal me and I will be healed.

Strengthen me with Your Word and with Your presence.

Be sure that I am where I am supposed to be.

I too, am called by Your Name.  So I desire to live in obedience so that Your Name will be preserved and honored.  Father, let my life glorify Your name.  Amen

Ezekiel 20:1-38

Oct 24 the Answer IS Your Word

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Father, what a wonderful list of things to both pursue and stay away from, for my own good!  I love that You say to “flee the evil desires of youth” because not all desires of youth are evil.  Being young doesn’t mean one is evil, just that one might be more susceptible to evil.

When I was younger, it was more important to me to be “right” so I would press my point and become involved in unproductive arguments.  You refer to them as “foolish and stupid.”  I agree, and have since learned the value of a soft word and gentle instruction.

Even so, You share that “…in the last days…people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power…swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth”.  Paul saw this already in his day.  I see it all around me.

It almost seems there is an entire generation described above.  Paul says: “they will not get very far because…their folly will be clear to everyone”.  Unfortunately, with an entire generation behaving like this, it appears as the norm.

Television shows and media portray fathers, police, authority figures as idiots, not worthy of obedience or respect.  More and more our political leaders and sports heroes turn out to be corrupt cheaters.  Some of our children grew up knowing You and were taught Your values, but they have turned away from You in this permissive and deadly society.

But there are many who love You and follow You.  Let them be role models and mentors to this generation and the next.  And let me live a godly life as an example.

I seek and value You and Your characteristics, but sometimes pride and ungratefulness, for example, rear their ugly heads in me.   I have Your Word as my guide.  Your Word is effective for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”   And it will “equip me for every good work.” 

For all of us the answer is in Your Word, and IS Your Word.  Keep it in the forefront of my mind as a guide.  But also let me use it wisely in gently correcting and praying for others.  Father, return this generation of self absorbed, materialistic, pleasure-seeking people to the godly values that will save them.  They have been deceived.

Open their eyes Lord, before it’s too late.  Bring the Prodigal sons and daughters home.  Amen

2 Timothy 2:22-3:17

Oct 8 Worship the Creator not the created

idol-1067151_640Jeremiah points out the worthlessness of the idols that the people made for themselves.  They were made of wood or stone.  They had to be carried from place to place.  They had no awareness and no power.  Yet the people superstitiously bowed down to them.

What a stark contrast to You!  There is “No one like You, Lord”.

You made, literally created, the earth!  You imagined it, and then spoke it into being.  When You speak, it trembles.  When You thunder, the waters storm with hurricane force.  “You are the Creator of everything that exists.”

If I were to worship anything else, I would be as Jeremiah described his people, and the whole human race: “stupid and foolish…without knowledge”.

Jeremiah also encourages me not to fear the predictions of those who look elsewhere for their wisdom.  So I need not be afraid of false prophets, horoscopes or those who seek to divine the future from the stars.  You made the stars.  So I worship the Maker, not what was made.

Paul was in chains for speaking out about who You are.  That is not a current threat where I live.  Help me “be wise in the way I act towards outsiders, and make the most of every opportunity.  Let my conversation be full of grace and seasoned with salt, so that I may know how to answer everyone.”

Show me when to speak, and what to say.  And when to hold my tongue.   So many people are put off of Christianity because of the actions and attitudes of Christians.  Let me be a beacon of light to others as I walk the walk, and talk the talk in grace and love.

Show me what it means to “Devote myself to prayer, being watchful and thankful”.  I strive to express my thanks in prayer and allow time for You to speak to me, not just deliver a list of requests.

Thank You Father, that You, the matchless King of the Universe, hear my prayers.   And thank You that You answer them.  Help me to be watchful for Your answers.  And wait on Your timing.  I trust in the Creator of all things.  Amen

Jeremiah 10:1-16; Colossians 4:2-6

Oct 6 Your Word is my path

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“Stand at the crossroads and look;  ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it,  and you will find rest for your souls”.

Father, destruction was coming and You instructed Your people with this verse.

Yet they did not obey or follow You.  Do not let me reject Your wisdom.  Today I stand seeking.  I look to You to guide and direct my thoughts.  Show me the way to go. Help me be steadfast to walk in Your way.  I trust Your leading.  Even if it is not the “popular” path.  Or the one that seems “logical” at the time.  Or the “easiest” one that seems to be clear of obstacles.  Give me strength to be obedient to what I hear You saying.

Paul said it this way:  “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

There are many followings today, many belief systems that are portrayed in the media as right and credible.  Do not let me be misled by these false, socially acceptable representations.  You have taught me the truth.  And I have aligned myself with You by faith, by public profession, by baptism and by the way I choose to live.

Just as false religions lead me away from You, so do the attitudes that would bind me to legalistic practices that come from man.  Such rules and regulations that many keep, and look down on those who do not, are just as damaging.  Their obedience is based on human commands and teachings of men’s interpretation.  Believers are Your Body.  And when the members of Your Body obey only each other, they have lost connection with You, their Head.

Bottom line Lord: let me hear Your voice, and obey what You tell me.  Let me truly live my life for an Audience of One.  You.  Amen

Jeremiah 6:16-21; Colossians 2:8-23

 

Oct 5 I look to You

Father, my country is so like Your people of old.  Your Name is not honored.  You are ignored, or worse.  You poured out Your judgment on them.  Will You also pour out Your judgment on my nation?

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Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see,   who have ears but do not hear…Should you not fear me, declares the Lord?  Should you not tremble in my presence? ”

Father, draw us back to You – my nation, my family, myself. I proclaim You as my Lord and Savior.  And I see Your warnings in this evil world.

Let “no one deceive me with fine-sounding arguments”.  Do not let me be persuaded to go against what You stand for by some reason of relative morality.  Do not let my values be swayed by society’s sense of right and wrong when they do not agree with Yours.

My roots are in You, let them go down deep and drink in Your strength and wisdom. Let my faith stand strong, unwavering as I live a disciplined life in You. Show me from Your perspective, how to make decisions that will lead me in the way that will honor You.

Caution me when I am in danger of going the wrong way, or have taken a wrong turn.  Don’t let any experience be wasted, but help me learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others.

I offer You all thanks and praise, Lord.  You saw the earth when it was formless and void, and in Your mighty power created all I see.  You made light with Your Word, made the mountains and the seas.  You fashioned every bird and fish and animal.

All creation is under Your authority.  You set the limits of the waters of the earth.  Nothing can prevail against You and Your will.  Thank You that You care for me.  That You teach me and love me as Your beloved child.  That You strengthen and uphold me.

You are Lord and I am blessed.   Amen

Jeremiah 5:19-31; Colossians 1:28-2:7

Oct 4 Fill me!

overcoming-1697546_640“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will 

through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives

so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way:

bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.   

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Father, I continually ask You to fill me with the knowledge of Your will: not my own or anyone else’s.  Do not let me be distracted by the glitter of what the world would show me I could do or have.  Or be swayed by trying to please others to earn their approval.

Do not let me be led astray by my own sense of pride or selfishness.  But give me a true understanding of how You have created me, with specific gifts, talents, personality and temperament, and how You would use those to accomplish Your will through my life.

Lord, would You do this through all the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives: not the wisdom of the world, or the logic of the mind, or the sense of the flesh.  For these are the influences that so often affect my mind and decisions.

I seek the wisdom that Your Spirit gives through Your Word in scripture, and in prayer and meditation as I open my ears and heart and spirit to You alone.  Close my ears to all other sources that would seek to lead me away from You and Your purposes.

Father, give me Your strength, that comes from Your power.   Strengthen me physically when I need it.  I do not desire to do great physical feats, but Father, sometimes my energy wanes long before the end of the day or the task.  And as I age, I can feel weakness creeping into my body.  Fortify my organs and my immune system to function according to how You created them to function.

Lord, I also need Your support mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.  Empower me in all these areas with Your strength working in and through me.

Father, I ask for these gifts so that I may live the life You died to give me; pleasing You, doing good works that will bring glory to Your name.  And that I would accomplish these in Your power and in Your timing.  This will help me know You better and deepen our relationship.

I offer up sincere thanks and praises with total joy, as a beloved and blessed child of Yours.  Amen

Colossians 1:1-17

 

 

Oct 2 Direct me

Father, Paul had much to be proud of: his lineage, his heritage, his education, his religiousness.  But he considered it all worthless compared to knowing You.  Lord, I agree.  There is nothing I have become or attained that can compare to my relationship with You and the salvation and blessings You have given me.  So I desire to live the life You died to give me.

jogging-2343558_640All that is behind me, all that has come before, Father, I let go of, so that I may fully embrace whatever it is You have for me now.

Paul put it this way: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I too, move my focus from earthly things, to heavenly priorities, where my real home is.  I believe You can give me the wisdom to make decisions with an understanding of Your purpose for my life.  I believe You will fill me with the courage I need to act.  And I believe it is by Your power that all You purpose for me will be accomplished.

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Open my eyes to all I must let go of.  Show me where attitudes and priorities must change.  Help me see the direction I should go.  I will remember Your faithfulness to me.  I will recall Your power.  And I will trust in Your purpose and Your love for me.  Amen

Philippians 3:4-14

Sept 19 “This is the way…”

road-sign-64059_1280Father, You have described those who do not follow You and those who do.  And unfortunately, I sometimes display the characteristics of both.

You say “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”  And yet there are times when I do not remain quiet and trusting.  “Yet”, You tell me “the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.”

What an amazing God You are!  Even when I am not faithful, You are patient and merciful to me!

Father, You have promised, “As soon as You hear, You will answer me.”  And have said that “my ears will hear a voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”  I could ask for nothing more.

Even now, as I call out to You, I know that You can hear my voice and will answer me.  Father, there are circumstances in my life that present options and opportunities, choices.  And I must decide.

Fear would freeze me where I stand, preventing me from moving ahead in any direction.  But I believe that You have wisdom in all these areas.   I believe You have the ability to see into the future, to know which is the right way for me to go.

You also know my past, and the way that You created me, with strengths, gifts, and talents, as well as weaknesses.  So You know what You have already prepared me for, and what is best for me.

Father, I have access to the wisdom of the world.  I have friends who would probably tell me what they think I want to hear.  But I desire to live my life by Your wisdom.

Be the voice that I hear behind me, in my ear, telling me which is the way to walk.  Show me which path to take.  Show me when to wait and when to go forward.  Open my ears and my Spirit so I can hear and understand what You tell me.

And give me the boldness to be obedient to what You tell me.

“And I will sing…my heart will rejoice.”  I will rest in my salvation.  And will remain in quietness and trust.  These will be my strength.  Amen

Isaiah 30:15-21

Sept 11 Seek God’s Wisdom and Blessing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 8:1-9:21

Sept 5 Fear God and keep His commandments

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Father, there are so many things Solomon saw and experienced and wrote about: wise men and fools, hard work and laziness, feasting and mourning, rich and poor, old age and youth, life and death.

He ends with this: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of this matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”  

My whole purpose is to honor and revere You! To acknowledge who You are, and respect You for it. To do what You show me to do. And not do what You caution or command me not to do.

It is not to amass wealth. It is not to leave a legacy of institutions or businesses. It is not to make scientific discoveries. It is not even to compose a masterpiece, write an inspiring book or create a memorable work of art.

The Psalmist adds his wisdom to the collection as he reminds me “you can’t take it with you.” Riches cannot add time to the length of my days. And none of these things can come with me past my life here on earth.

But You, Father, will be with me for eternity. It is You who will “redeem my life from the grave, and take me to be with Yourself”. You “will bring every deed into judgment…”.

And Solomon says he has written down “sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching true and reliable words, so that you can give sound answers to Him who sent you.” Meaning that if I abide by his counsel, knowledge, teachings and words, I will be able to give a godly account of my life here on earth.

 So Father, teach me to apply this wisdom. Show me how to make decisions about my life that keep me focused on the right things and set godly priorities.

Do not let me chase after meaningless things: riches to boast in, prideful reputation, positions to exalt myself.   Help me remember that You are my future. And whatever blessings You bring into my life, are to be used to honor You.

Let me have a true understanding of the wisdom that comes from You. Amen

Ecclesiastes 10:1-12:14; Psalm 49:1-20; Proverbs 22:20-21

 

Sept 4 Apply my heart to what You teach

Wisdom

Father, I do desire to have Your wisdom. So I will heed the words Solomon wrote.

“A good name is better than fine perfume.” I want my name to stand for loyalty, honor, noble character and honesty.

So help me act in a way that when people hear my name, they will think well of me. And they will know that You are my God and that I am Your servant.

“Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city.” Wisdom is greater than power. So when a wise person corrects me, let me learn from it. Let me reject pride that would keep me in ignorance. Help me embrace patience. Do not let me be quickly provoked, or waste time yearning for ‘the good old days’.

Let me not simply seek the approval of fools. Instead, help me turn and apply wisdom to the present circumstances of my life. Rather than be a fool, I want to recognize and learn from wisdom. Let it shelter me, preserve me, and give me an advantage.

Father, in this wisdom, let me be obedient to the authorities You put over me. Give me a wise heart so I will know the proper way to act at the proper time.

There are many things that only You know and I will never understand or see the reason behind it all. That is as it should be. But regardless, let me always seek the way of Your wisdom.

Help me “pay attention and turn my ear to the sayings of the wise; apply my heart to what You teach…so that my trust will be in the Lord”.   For You are “Great and most worthy of praise…You are my God forever and ever; You will be my guide even to the end.” Amen

Ecclesiastes 7:1-19; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 22:17-19

July 12 Give me victory

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Father, I want to be like the men You sent to be with David to make up his great army. These were men described as “armed for battle…ready for battle…brave…experienced…of undivided loyalty…armed with every type of weapon.”   I want to be ready for the battles I face.

My flesh wars with me, tempting me into sin. The world around me seeks to draw me into its ungodly values. The evil one desires my destruction. Give me the discernment to know right from wrong in these confusing times and the courage to be loyal to You. Help me be prepared to stand up for what is right.

You have given me weapons: Your Word, prayer, Your promise of wisdom when I ask for it, other believers around me for support. I know the power there is real. I have seen it over and over again. I have experienced Your blessings and amazing responses to prayer time and time again.

I also desire to be like the “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” Give me insight into the political and national issues and wisdom to understand the agendas behind the movements going on in my world today. Help me see the truth of things. Teach me to understand how to follow You and show me how to respond rightly.

Do not let me stand alone, Lord. You sent Paul “so that he might impart to you [other believers] some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”   In a similar way Lord, let me encourage and strengthen other believers around me, and let them encourage my faith.

Father, thank You for the friends and all those You have sent to walk beside me. Thank You for those who have prayed for me and for the prayers I make for them.

Your armor is the best. Your plan is sure. And I have read the end of the Book – You win!! I am so glad to be on Your team! Thank You for choosing me. Amen

I Chronicles 12:19-40; Romans 1:11-12

July 4 We depend on You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

June 18 You know what I need

prayer answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 16 God is my King

Oh Father, Israel suffered through king after king who “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”   I marvel at how patient You were in not wiping them all from the face of the earth – the kings and all the people who followed them into idolatry.

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But You were teaching them that earthly kings can never be what You would had been for them. The people asked for an earthly king to be like the other nations around them, when You had been their Protector, their Guide, their Deliverer.

Father, in the world today, and in my country, people “do evil in the eyes of the Lord.” And Your patience continues. Individuals in my country know the truth. You have given us Your Word: the Bible. You have raised up people like Billy Graham who speak Your truth. And You have sent the Holy Spirit to Your believers.

We cannot blame it on our leaders. We are each accountable for what we do with Your Truth.

I choose You as my King. Everything I have comes from You. I trust in Your guidance and protection. I seek Your enlightenment in solutions to difficulties. I want Your will and Your plan for my future, my family, and my country.

Father, would You raise up godly men and women to be leaders of our communities and our countries. Give them strength of character to continue in their godly faith as they govern and rule in Your name. Let it be said of this generation, that they returned to the Lord, and were blessed. Amen

I Kings 15:25–16:34

June 8 Thank You for the people in my life

Father, help me be more like Solomon. When You told him “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.” He was not quick with a Christmas list of desired material possessions. Even before You granted him wisdom beyond all human possibility, he answered wisely.

He began by acknowledging Your kindness and faithfulness to his father David. He focused on You, and what You had already done in his life. Then he presented himself humbly – as an individual and as a ruler. He recognized the enormity of both the blessing and the responsibility You had given him. And in the face of this, he asked for wisdom.

Let this be a pattern for my prayer life as well. Lord, I truly acknowledge Your faithfulness to me. I can’t begin to understand all the pieces that You brought into place for my being here now, as one of Your children.

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How interconnected are the lives of the people You orchestrated to impact my life: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, friends, Sunday school teachers, teachers, coaches, acquaintances, co-workers.

You not only coordinated who they were and how they influenced me, but where they were, as I moved across the country almost every year growing up. That blows my mind!

You have blessed me in the roles I play to others: daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, wife, mother, friend, teacher, labor coach, and in the intimate way I have been able to relate to people at significant times in their lives. I feel very inadequate to fill the needs of the people You give me opportunities to minister to. On my own, I cannot do it.

Give me a discerning heart to speak to and relate to those You bring into my life. Help me distinguish between right and wrong and be able to speak the truth in love into their lives as I live my life according to Your guidance.   Show me when to speak and when to keep silent. Show me how to share the understanding You have given me when it comes to teaching and encouraging others.

Father, thank You for the blessing of all those You have brought into my life. Help me care for them in Your love, in Your strength, and in Your name. Amen

I Kings 3:4-9

 

June 7 Wisdom and Integrity

wisdom integrity pathDavid spoke a wonderful charge to his son, Solomon. It is also my prayer.

Father, help my children and loved ones, and myself be strong. Not simply in physical strength. But help us be of strong character, so we can stand and not fall in the face of temptation. Help us be tough and resilient in the face of hard times. And just as gracious and generous in the good times. Let us be known as men and women who are obedient to You, following You in the kind of life You teach us to live.

Help us walk in Your ways in the everyday decisions of our lives, and choose what is right and just. Help us conduct our business and relationships openly and honestly, speaking the truth in love. Teach us to hold to Your moral standards in our conduct and attitudes. Give us understanding and discernment when we are unsure.   Remind us to study and know Your Word so it can guide and enlighten us.

Help us live out our lives in faith before You, Lord. Not half-heartedly, but with all our heart and soul; seeking Your wisdom, and applying it correctly to our circumstances. Let this yield prosperity in all we do wherever we go .

Proverbs says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Let me, my family and loved ones know Your way. Let us live our lives according to it and find eternal life with You. Amen

1 Kings 2:1-4; Proverbs 16:25

May 21 Family Victory

Father in heaven, as You did for David, would You do for me and my family? Would You “protect us and hand over to us the forces that come against us”.

bhwhat-makes-a-family-holy-David was fighting a real physical enemy. Life and death were in the balance. They were in hand-to-hand combat to regain what had been taken from them: their families and possessions. David “inquired of the Lord” to seek Your will before he acted, and You promised him victory.

Father, I come before You today to seek Your will for my family; to ask if You will give us victory over the forces that are at work in the world today that pull us apart and away from You.

We do not fight hand to hand with a physical enemy. But we live in a culture where family values are going by the wayside and Biblical values are not honored. Parental authority is being eroded, parents are disrespected, children are rebellious and often rude. We fight against selfishness, greed, hate, violence, immorality, materialism, the occult, witchcraft, and all the schemes of satan.

Father, especially in my family, would You give me wisdom as a parent to know when to speak and when to keep quiet, so I can offer wise counsel and not destructive comments. Set a guard over my mouth to use words that are instructive, edifying and building up according to the needs of the one I seek to help. Show me how to pray for Your perfect will in my children’s’ lives, not simply what I think will benefit them. Keep me from comparing them to other friend’s children, or even each other.

Lord, keep the lines of communication open so conversations between us will be effective and filled with love and respect. Give my children discernment so they are not swept away by the vain philosophies of men and the political schemes that do not support Biblical values. Help them recognize and turn away from temptation when it would lead to greed, immorality, the occult or anything satan would use to draw them away from You. Block their way when others entice them into ungodly activities.

Let them seek to bless with their words, and not curse. Draw them to Yourself and instruct them in the way they should go to be in the middle of Your will and Your blessing. Remind them of their need for a Savior, and the joy of having a close relationship with You.

And I will give thanks to You. You are with me and You are my Helper. Because of that, I will look triumphantly upon these foes. I take refuge in You, Lord. You are my strength and my Victory! Amen

I Samuel 30:1-25; Psalm 118:7, 14

May 20 Wisdom, prophecy, life, death

Wisdom, prophecy, life and death. All are in Your hands.

hands-reaching-outDavid showed Your wisdom when he did not kill Saul, the one You anointed as king over Israel. He prophesied when he said “the Lord Himself will strike him”. David recognized that a man’s life and death are for You to determine.

Saul showed wisdom when he acknowledged his sin acting like a fool trying to kill a man who had spared his life twice. He prophesied when he said, to David “you will do great things and surely triumph”. He too, recognized that You had spared his life through David and that David’s life was not his to take.

The woman who acted as a medium recognized her life could have been forfeit for what she did, had You not allowed Saul to hear again from Samuel the prophecy You had already given through him: that Saul would lose the kingdom because of his disobedience and it would be given to David. You also revealed that Saul would die the next day.

In one of Your most dramatic public miracles You demonstrated that You are the resurrection and the life by raising Lazarus to life. It was Your wisdom to wait when the word came He was sick so that this greater miracle could be done. You prophesied to Your disciples that “this sickness will not end in death” so that You would be glorified through the circumstances to follow. And although the disciples didn’t understand at the time, You were given glory as many who saw, believed.

Caiaphas, who was the High Priest that year thought he was being wise, but actually prophesied when he said “it is better that one man die for the people than the whole nation perish”.   For You did indeed lay down Your very life so that Your people would have everlasting life.

Thank You that these important issues are in the hands of the One, Almighty God who judges justly and can be trusted because of Your faithfulness and love for Your people. My life and times are in Your hands. I know that my life came from You and nothing can take it out of Your hands.

Give me wisdom to live each day in faith. Show me how to use my gifts, talents, abilities and experiences to the fullest measure to bring You honor and glory every day that I have. And then close my eyes in peace when the final day arrives, to reawaken in Your eternal presence. Amen

I Samuel 26:1-25; 28:3-25; John 11:1-53

 

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 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 right thing. Help me wait for the best thing. Teach me to be wise. Amen

I Samuel 8:1-22

Apr 17 Learn from the blind beggar

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“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.”

Father, 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 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, as You answered the beggars, 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. Guide me in Your wisdom, and give me discernment.   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

Apr 11 Courage for the next step

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“Hear me O Shepherd of Israel, You who led Joseph and his people like a flock” to greener pastures in Egypt because there was an extreme famine in the land. “Hear me, You who sit enthroned between the cherubim” on the golden Ark of the Covenant that Moses had made so the High Priest could seek Your face and wisdom in making atonement when Your presence dwelt there in the form of a pillar of cloud. “Awaken Your might! Come and save me!”

As the Israelites went into the Promised Land to take possession of all You had promised them, lead me, Lord, to what You have for me. Let me see and possess all the blessings You have prepared for me. Do not let me miss out on Your blessing because I am too afraid to get my feet wet! The Israelites had to step into the floodwaters of the Jordan River before You stopped the flow of water to let them pass. Sometimes I also must take a step of faith to see Your provision in my life. Show me that step so I can also come into all that You have for me.

What a missed opportunity that would have been, had they not had the courage to do as You said! The same for the people You spoke about who were invited to a great banquet. They made every excuse to stay away. Although they were acceptable excuses for the day and time, they missed out on the bounty, provision, and the very salvation You had prepared for them.

I am sad to say that very often, I delay our time together because there are errands to run, shopping to do, bills to pay, or meals to fix. These are all things that really do need to be done, but it shows that my priorities are not right. How sad that I sometimes choose checking email over hearing from the God and Creator of the Universe who makes time to speak with me!

“Restore me O God. Make Your face to shine upon me that I may be saved.” Restore me to right thinking so I will set my priorities straight, Lord. Make Your face to shine on me so I may walk in the light of Your radiant presence. Show me when I need to take a step of faith and get my feet wet. When I make excuses, remind me of the rich banquet of blessing I am missing by not spending time with You. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness. Amen

Joshua 3:1-4:24; Luke 14:7-24; Psalm 80:1-3

Apr 7 No Rock like our God

american-flag-1272115_640Lord, do not let me be a nation without sense, with no discernment, like Israel was. When You gave them an inheritance and set up boundaries for Your people according to the number of their sons, You shielded and carried them. You protected them and guarded them as an eagle cares for and trains its young.

You nourished them with the best, and yet, when they became fat and sleek, satisfied, they turned from You. They abandoned the God who gave them all they had, and sought other ‘gods’.   They became perverse and unfaithful, not caring that it would call down Your curses and judgment on them and their children.

Father, give me discernment so I can know when I am being tempted away from You with the values and philosophies of this world. Help me be wise and understand that there are consequences to my decisions and actions. Give me the ability to be able to think ahead and see where things will lead so I can choose what will lead me to a closer relationship with You.

Father, give the leaders of my country sense to see where they are taking our people with their choices as well. Give them discernment and wisdom to know that Your judgment is real and You will not be mocked. Our Constitution was written to govern a moral people, and when morality fails, we have little hope of living in safety or security.

I can already see signs that we have gone too far.   We, as a people – even Believers, have put You to the test and rebelled against You, the Lord Most High. We have not kept Your statutes. We have become disloyal and faithless.

Do not reject us O God. Do not abandon us. But show us the error of our ways; teach us to walk rightly again and make wise decisions that honor You. Help me give You the place in my life that You deserve.

Remind me to read Your Word so it can guide and encourage me. Recall to my mind, Your faithfulness to me in the past: all the ways You have protected and delivered me. Speak to me when I pray to You, giving me direction. Let me feel Your presence near me, assuring me of your love, healing my wounds, and giving me Your peace.

Thank You that You are the One True God, the Most High, who will never leave me or forsake me. Thank You that Your faithfulness endures forever. I praise You for Your unending love. You are my God. Amen

Deuteronomy 32:28-43; Psalm 78:56-64

Mar 17 Growth

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Dear Lord, we know very little about Jesus’ childhood. But we do know that He was remarkable.

From His eighth day, we know that “He grew and became strong, was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him.”

And when twelve years old, He ”sat among the teachers in the temple courts, amazing people at His understanding and answers.”

We then learn He was obedient to His earthly parents and “He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

Father that is my desire as well, to grow “in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man”.

I pray that You would help me grow in being able to understand, remember, and apply learning and knowledge to my life; which we call wisdom. But not just from a worldly viewpoint. I would desire to have godly wisdom, from the Holy Spirit, to teach me of You, to know You better, to see things from Your perspective.

Lord, help me grow in stature, which means maturity. That may require reexamining and putting away some childish thoughts and behaviors. It means not being led only by ego, or emotions or selfishness. Instead, lead me to develop a responsible sense of accountability when it comes to my relationship with You and with others.

Lord, I mostly desire to grow in favor with You. Show me where I am missing that mark, and turn my path back to You. Before I act, let me ask, ‘Will this draw me closer to the Lord, or farther away?’

Sometimes I feel close to You when I am strong, because I know that my strength comes from You. Other times I feel closer to You when I am weak and in dire need of Your help, encouragement, and guidance. I believe my trust in and dependence on You also honors You, as Your strength is shown through my weakness.

Father, let my favor with man be such that I can be a witness to man, rather than being taken in by the traditions and values of man. As You give me favor, keep me mindful that my home is in heaven – this is just a temporary stopover.

How wonderful it would be to be like Jesus in this. Thank You for Your help. Amen

Luke 2:36-52

Mar 5 All I am, All the time

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Your greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” That is a mouthful!

 

 

 

The Greek words from this scripture quoting the Hebrew words don’t have the exact meanings of the English translated words that are used today. But the idea is that I need to use all that I have to adore, worship, spend time with and follow You, my Lord. There is no element of my life that is to be without Your influence.

For my heart, I think my emotions need to be measured by You, so I don’t get overly carried away or swept up into something without thinking. I need to be aware of where my passions are leading me and find a place of balance.   When discouraged or depressed, I need to fight back against that inner voice berating me with negativity, by speaking Your truth in scriptures about my identity in You:

“I am a child of God” John 1:12

“I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.” Colossians 3:12

“I am forever free from condemnation” Romans 8:1

I heard once that people spend the first half of their lives trying to satisfy body and mind and the second half trying to satisfy their soul. That inner part of me that seeks peace and wholeness gains it by recognizing the truth of Your Word. So I will learn the real peace and wholeness that comes from You, not the world’s counterfeit found in popular philosophies.

My mind needs to seek “godly wisdom, which is pure, peaceable, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”; whereas the wisdom of the world is based on the logic of the mind and often the weight of pros and cons as they are understood by a limited human viewpoint. Godly wisdom is what must guide my choices and decisions. As I seek this wisdom, protect my mind from thoughts that do not come from You.

I dedicate my strength to Your purposes: the strength of my body, of my will, my self-determination. Help me realize when my strength is enough, and rely on Your strength to work through my weakness.

And I need to do this all the time?! It is obvious that I can never achieve this on my own. I will never be able to love You this perfectly. Fortunately, “with God, all things are possible!” So I rely on You, Lord, to guard and guide my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength; and to use them for Your glory. This is how I desire to be obedient. Amen

Mark 12:29-30; James 3:17; Mark 10:27

Feb 15 Me? A Disciple?

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Holy Father, may I be like those You called to follow You as disciples. May I be willing to leave my family, my occupation to go with You wherever You lead me, leaving behind the security I would lean on in place of You.

Although I was not present in Capernaum where You began teaching with such authority, let me learn from the amazing lessons in Your Word. You have given me the Holy Spirit to teach me, correct me, guide me. Make me sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in my life. Help me listen to godly wisdom when it comes to opportunities and circumstances; not just take the easy way, or the way that seems logical. I will call on You, and seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Though I may not have seen You perform miracles in Galilee, You have answered prayers and done miraculous things in my life and others I know. Let me be bold about sharing those experiences, and so spread the word as Your disciples did.

“I have the assurance that You will contend with those who contend with me and will fight against those who fight against me. You will take up shield and buckler, arise and come to my aid. You will brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. You will disgrace and put to shame those who seek to ruin my life; and turn back in dismay those who plot my ruin.“

As David wrote these words about the men who were literally seeking his life, I seek Your deliverance from the oppression of the powers of this present darkness at work in the world today; from the spiritual forces at work against You, and so also against me as I live in Your light.

“My soul rejoices in You. I delight in Your salvation.” I place my complete trust in You, for there is none like You. I know that “Your wisdom will reward me.” Thank You for being my Savior. Amen

Mark 1:16-28; Psalm 35:1-4,9; Proverbs 9:11

Feb 10 Teach me

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Thank You Father, that You have promised to “instruct me and teach me in the way I should go.” Help me be a good student of Your instruction. Give me the ability to hear You above all the other voices: anger, fear, temptation, discouragement, stress.

Strengthen me to pay attention, make note of, and follow Your teachings in my personal life, relationships and in setting priorities.

Thank You for providing me with godly counsel. Of all the voices I hear, I trust Yours as the wisest. The wisdom the world has to offer, although it may seem logical, is not always the best. Thank You that I can know that Your instructions for me will always be in agreement with Your Word. With the Bible as my textbook I can find examples to follow, characters to learn from, and encouragement for my journey.

Thank You for watching over me. Unlike other teachers, You have the ability to be with me at all times, wherever I am. Your Holy Spirit in me coaches me as I go along, so I am never far from Your guidance; if I choose to accept it.

“Do not let me be like a horse or mule which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to You.” But let me respond to the loving leading and gentle touch that keep me on the path of righteousness in my thoughts, my words, my attitudes, my motives and my actions.

Surround me with Your unfailing love, and I will sing to You and rejoice in You, and be glad!

Psalm 32:8-11

 

Jan 16 Are you a wrestler?

Dear Father, it seems I am a wrestler. Jacob wrestled with You one night. He held on till daybreak, and You blessed him. In Your blessing, he became part of the promise You gave to Abram: to make him father of a great nation, make his name great, and bless all the earth through him. For Jacob (renamed Israel) was Abram’s (renamed Abraham’s) grandson. And down through their lineage, You came as Jesus Christ, Messiah and Savior, blessing all the world.

My wrestling is not so productive as Jacob’s.

wrestlersWith simple things: decisions, relationships, or issues which may be meaningless in the grand scheme of things; I spend time and waste energy grappling with whether or not I made a good decision. I review the options, second guessing myself, wondering and worrying about how other choices would have played out. There is no winning there, and no blessing in that.

So Father, help me seek Your godly wisdom in my decisions. Help me bring every choice to You and ask for Your perspective. You tell believers to ask when we need wisdom, and You will give it to us. Show me how to hear Your voice of truth and then have peace about the decision when made, without revisiting it over and over.

Rather than continue to wrestle with relationships, Lord, I give them to You. Show me how to spend my time and energy, and who to spend it with. Beginnings and endings are hard for me, and I know sometimes You bring a person into my life for a season. But I struggle when that season is over, to know how to let go.

Most of my life I was the one who literally left, moved to a different place. I never really learned how to move on from being close to someone. How do I say good bye when there is no geographical separation? But hanging on too long isn’t working out either. Move me into and out of the relationships You want me to have, so that I can give and receive the blessings You intended for each of us.

I also wrestle with issues in my life when I have had a single viewpoint. Some are things I learned as a child and accepted without question. Now I have grown and learned that things are not as absolute as I once believed. And even though these beliefs are holding me back and potentially harming me, it’s hard to let go. Help me have discernment when it comes to examining issues that affect my life, my behavior, even my sense of identity.

Father, as I wrestle with all these things, let me take hold of and cling to only You. Pry my fingers off of the things that are not important. And bless me as I cling forever to You. Amen

Genesis 32:22-30

Jan 14 Wisdom over Deception

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Jan 6 Choices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 2 Keep me from Serpent Speak

snake-1322240_1920O Father, Proverbs tells me “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Lord, I do not wish to be a fool. Help me keep my sense of awe and respect for You. I yearn for Your wisdom and instruction. Keep me teachable and open to hear Your voice and see Your wonders.

I completely acknowledge You as Creator of the Universe and all that is in it. You alone possess the Sovereignty and Authority and Power to rule over and be Lord over all. What an infinite imagination to think up all the combinations of flowers, birds, animals and insects! And not just how they look, but how they sound, and smell! I am amazed by You!

Surely, Eve must have been amazed by You too; walking in the Garden of Eden that You created! Yet she gave in to temptation.   She listened to the serpent and was deceived. (And I’m still blown away that she didn’t seem surprised at all that a serpent was speaking!) When the serpent misquoted You, she did not check it out. And when he told a half-truth, that she would “be like” You, she believed it. She trusted what she understood with her own eyes and logic instead of coming to You.

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

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

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” This sounds like she was being perfectly logical, if it weren’t for the fact that You had already told her it was wrong! Sometimes I can logically think my way into a wrong answer too. Remind me, Father, to come to You, to seek Your perspective above all others. Whether considering an opportunity, or dealing with a hardship: if there seems to be wisdom the world offers, or a logic to my mind, or a sense in my flesh, let me submit them all to You.

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

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

Dec 17 Two things I ask

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

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

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

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

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

Proverbs 30:7-9

 

Dec 12 A Famine of the Word

Father, You showed Amos two punishments, judgments for Israel and then said “This will not happen”. You relented, yielded, turned away from those judgments in favor of another. What a heart You have for Your people that You withheld the punishment they deserved out of Your love. You knew they would not be able to bear up under it or survive. How often have You spared me from the punishment my words and actions, my sins deserve? No doubt, daily. Were You not my Sovereign Lord, I would not survive. Thank You for Your mercy.

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You told Amos “The days are coming when I will send a famine thorough the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the Words of the Lord.”

This was certainly fulfilled in the four hundred years between the Old and New Testaments, when no further prophetic word was given. But it can also be true of our world today. Right now, I can enjoy the freedom to worship You, to study Your Word, to attend church. But even now, the reading and public speaking of Your Word is being called ‘Hate Speech’.

Hate Speech is said to offend, threaten, or insult groups based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits. Many universities, for years the havens of “free speech”, have adopted codes prohibiting speech that offends any group based on the traits listed above.

While the intent is good, to protect people groups from racial slurs, intimidation, and threats, it is becoming more popular to also outlaw scripture and categorize it as “hate speech”. Already Christian speakers on radio have been told to watch what they say about topics that are considered politically incorrect, lest they lose their funding and rights to broadcast.

Father, give the leaders of my country godly wisdom to know where to set the limits of public broadcasting, so that people are protected, but religious freedoms are not restricted. Don’t let us throw out the baby with the bath water.

There may come a time in my country, where believers have to go underground, smuggle Your Word, and study it in secret.   Father, help me hide Your Word in my heart so I have a storehouse of scripture for times of famine. Help me share what I know of Your Word with others so they can be fed on Your Word and not hunger or thirst, and turn to other gods. While I can, let me feast on all that You show me in Your Word. Let me never go hungry.

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the freedom I have to enjoy it and worship You. Thank You that I can trust my future to You. I “put my hope in You both now and forevermore”. Amen

Amos 7:1-8:14; Psalm 131

Dec 8 May America blossom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 25 Live in the Light, like Daniel

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“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;  wisdom and power are Yours. You change times and seasons;  You depose kings and raise up others. You give wisdom to the wise   and knowledge to the discerning. You reveal deep and hidden things; You know what lies in darkness,  and light dwells with You. I thank and praise You…”  

 

 

 

Father, these words of Daniel’s are just as true today. We still praise You! After all these years of season after season, You are still the One who keeps the world in order. And after generations of kings, You are still the One who holds their hearts and all power in Your hand. All wisdom and knowledge are Yours. Hundreds of years of human advancements and scientific discovery and technology, haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to understanding this amazing universe You created!

Father, Daniel held tightly to his beliefs about You and his convictions about how to live a godly life. And he did so in the midst of being kidnapped and taken a thousand miles away from home and family. As a young man it would have been so easy for him to simply go along with whatever his captors pushed on him. But even far away from family and the worship he knew, he knew that You were with him.

At the time, people worshipped pagan gods who they believed had power and influence over a specific thing like rainfall, crops, or fertility or a particular place.   But Daniel knew You were the One True God over all these things. And that no matter where he was, You were there.

“Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel.” And You were faithful to Daniel. You allowed him to be faithful to the ways he had been taught and gave him success. In addition to this, You gave Daniel and his four friends wisdom and understanding far beyond that of all others.

Father, help me be like Daniel. Strengthen me to live the way You have taught me, and not give in to the pressures of whatever society offers. Let me stand out so others will see that I live differently from the pagan ways of my culture. Let the light that dwells in You, shine through me. Amen

Daniel 1:1-2:23

Nov 22 Teach me to apply Your Word to my life

hand on BibleWhat an amazing Psalm is the 119th Psalm! It is the longest Psalm. It has more verses than 14 Old Testament books and 17 New Testament books. Within it is found the verse that lies in the very center of Scripture – halfway between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21.

This Psalm was constructed with twenty-two stanzas, each beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew Alephbet. And within each stanza, each of the eight verses begin with the letter of the stanza. In almost every verse, there is a word that describes Your teaching: Word, law, commands, statues, decrees, precepts. And almost each one teaches how to handle Your Word or be led and taught by it.

It is said that King David used this Psalm to teach his young son, Solomon the Alephbet. It represented all the letters, but also illustrated spiritual truth of how to live a godly life. So as I read it, Father, I also pray these verses as a guide for living according to Your Word.

“I will obey Your Word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law…do not hide Your commands from me.” Help me see beyond the Words to the meaning You have for these Words in my life. Show me marvelous things that deepen my devotion to You.

“…Teach me Your decrees. Let me understand the teaching of Your precepts; then I will meditate on Your wonders…strengthen me according to Your Word.” Father, beyond word studies and context references, reveal deeper meanings to me through Your Holy Spirit.   Show me how to be sensitive to the timing and teaching You use to increase my awareness and discernment. Understanding Your Word brings me strength! What an awesome gift!

Father, I choose Your truth and obedience to Your laws. “I set my heart on Your laws. I hold fast to Your statutes.“ “Be gracious to me… and do not let me be put to shame.” Father, I would rather You take my life than allow me to dishonor You. I am Your servant. You are my Master.   It is only by Your mercy and Your Word that I have life. Amen

Psalm 119:17-32

Nov 21 Your Word is Treasure

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Father thank You for warning me not to trust in earthly riches. Wealth, possessions, gold and silver are not the treasure I seek. They can lead to greed and the sins that greed temps a person to commit. Rather, I treasure Your Word. It gives me a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about how to receive Your blessing: something of far greater value.

You Word says I will be blessed when I “walk according to the law of the Lord…keep Your statutes and seek You with all [my] heart”. I can keep my way pure “by living according to Your Word”. So Father, “I seek You with all my heart: do not let me stray from Your commands.” I desire to be blessed; show me how to walk in Your path.

Lord, I will “hide Your Word in my heart”. I will read it, honor it, study to understand it, memorize it, and do what it says. When I do not understand it, I will pray for clarity of meaning and how to apply it to my life. When people around me say one thing and Your Word says another, give me the conviction to be obedient to Your truth. Help me see through the misleading lies and the deceiving values of society and not be tripped up by them. Give me the strength I need to be true to You.

Because You tell me how powerful prayer is, I will pray. I pray for the wisdom to stay on Your path.  I pray giving thanks when I am happy.   I pray for healing when I am sick. I pray for help when I am in trouble. I pray for forgiveness when I have sinned. Father, help my prayers be powerful and effective.

Besides me, so many people need Your help in so many ways. I believe praying for them is one way I can help; perhaps the best way I can help them.   Father, like Elijah, I pray earnestly and in faith, knowing that You are the One who can answer. You have the power, Lord. And You have the will. We are all Your creations, Lord. Thank You that You love and care for us. Amen

James 5:1-20; Psalm 119:1-16

Nov 19 Your Word is wisdom

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Father, James says Abraham’s “ faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did”. I pray that my life and faith would work the same way. I understand that my actions alone will not save me. That salvation comes by believing in You and accepting You as Lord of my life. But I can also see that my actions bear out what I believe.   And since actions are what others can see, others will know my faith by my actions.

In addition to my actions, my words speak a lot about who I am and what I believe.   So set a guard on my tongue! I have learned by experience that words cannot be unsaid. Once spoken, their impact is made. Father, forgive me for the times I have spoken without thinking, and in doing so, caused hurt to someone. Forgive me for the times I spoke after thinking, but was wrong in the way the message was delivered. For it is not only the words chosen, but also the way they are spoken that carries meaning and can cause trouble.

Words can tear down, damage, hurt, berate, mislead, manipulate, and deceive a person. But they can also lift up, encourage, enlighten, inspire, bless and show love.   Father, give me wisdom for how and when to use my words. Help me see through the ‘wisdom’ the world offers. Before I speak or act, let me think through what I ‘think’ I want to say.

The wisdom of the world can come from my own flesh: a kind of ‘sensual wisdom’ based on my own thoughts and feelings. It will produce self-satisfaction and pride, and ultimately, guilt – as James tells me my own desires can lead to sin. Or it can come from others in the world, leading to approval and acceptance from the crowd. It produces disorder, and You have told me I should not be conformed to the pattern of this world. Or it may be demonic wisdom that brings envy, immorality and leads me to worship other things, eventually producing fear.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” This wisdom produces the Fruit of the Spirit in me.

Father, help me listen, and discern Your wisdom from all the others. I desire to hear from and follow You alone. Amen

James 2:18-3:18

Nov 18 Quick to listen, slow to speak

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Father, James continues in giving good advice for righteous living. I ask You to help me to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. I can remember being told that ‘children should be seen and not heard’.   And ‘think before you speak – after all, you have two ears and only one mouth’; the message being that you should only speak half as much as you listen.   And ‘count to ten’ when you feel yourself getting angry so as to allow time to cool down and think before acting on your anger. I was taught these things as positive ways to get along with people. I did not know then they had Biblical roots for godly behavior!

 

So, help me truly listen to others with my mind and heart; not just count off time till it’s my turn to say something. Help me focus on the person speaking and what they are trying to convey. Then let me measure out my words carefully and respond, not just react. And if what I am hearing is not to my liking, and I have a strong emotional response, guard my tongue so I do not create conflict. But help me be a peacemaker.

Father, I am trying to follow James’ suggestion. He says “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”. So help me listen more intently and pay attention to what You have to say to me in Your Word. Do not let me miss anything You have to show me or teach me or say to me as an encouragement. Father, I want the blessing in doing this: Listen more and speak less. Teach me how to keep “a tight rein on [my] tongue”.

Father, You made my ears and my tongue. Help me use them to bring You honor and glory. Holy are You, Lord! Hebrew translation: Hallelu Yah! Amen

James 1:19-26

Nov 17 Persevere with God’s perspective

road-sign-940630_640 (1)Father, help me “consider it pure joy whenever [I] face trials of many kinds”.   Even though I know You tell me that these trials produce good things in my life: “perseverance”, making me “mature and complete, not lacking anything”; I do not always rejoice when difficulties come my way. And I don’t feel like I am being made “complete”. I often feel just the opposite, as if I am being broken down.

Father, give me Your perspective on these events and circumstances when they happen.   Let my first thoughts be to come to You to ask for what I need. Often what I need is wisdom. So remind me to “ask You, who gives generously to all without finding fault”.   Help me recognize Your wisdom when I hear it. And then be bold enough to act on what You tell me.

Lord, I want to persevere under trials because You say I will receive a blessing when I endure. Part of that blessing comes simply from my turning to You.   By being in relationship with You, hearing from You, and seeing Your deliverance, whatever that looks like. Thank You Father, for the times You have been there for me in the past. It builds my faith in Your ability and in Your desire to help me in the future.

I can identify with the Psalmist, who says: “I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.” Like the Psalmist, I have felt “overcome by trouble and sorrow”. There have been times when I did not see a way that anything good could come from my situation. But You, who are “gracious and righteous…and full of compassion” saved me, delivered me, showed me a way to redeem the situation. And usually it was in the most unique way, that no one else I had gone to had thought of.

How can I thank You? “How can I repay the Lord for His goodness to me?” I cannot ever repay the debt I owe You, Father. But I can sing my praises to You. I can tell others of Your great goodness. I can tell others of Your faithfulness to me. I can live joyfully in Your deliverance, and live faithfully as Your servant.

No matter what happens, I will rest in You. I will rejoice in You. I will live my life to bring glory to Your name. Amen

James 1:1-8; Psalm 116:1-19

Nov 16 Helpful last words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 13 I am in Awe

Father, the city and leaders and people of Tyre had everything worldly possible to bring them success in material possessions and reputation. Yet, they fell. They took pride in their commerce and accomplishments and that pride kept them from worshipping You. They saw themselves as gods. And Your judgment fell on them.

Lord, do not let me think more highly of myself than I ought.   Thank You for Your example of being a humble servant.   As I try to follow Your example, if I ever think too much of myself, refocus me on Your greatness.

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Psalm 111 reminds me that ”Great are the works of the Lord…glorious and majestic are His deeds”. When I ponder all of creation, I am amazed by Your imagination! I am captivated by the diversity in size and color and design! I am overwhelmed by the power of Your mountains and seas and winds.

I love seeing pictures of majestic waterfalls, lush green jungles with brightly colored birds, schools of shiny fish swimming in the sea, brilliant flowers, water-colored sunsets. All this is just a part of what You do. Besides creating and sustaining all this, You have created the intricacies of each human body: from the tiniest of cells to the diversity of faces and fingerprints! And not just bodies, but You know the mind and spirit of each individual on the planet!   You’re indescribable – uncontainable – unfathomable! You blow my mind!

And a wondrous part of who You are is that You do not just set all this in motion and then sit back to see where it goes. You involve Yourself in the life of each of Your precious creations.   You speak, protect, provide, lead, feed, forgive, save. And all that You do is just and right. You have provided these later generations with Your written Word.   It teaches Your truth and Your character so all can know You, and Your faithfulness, Your uprightness and Your salvation.

You say “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. The Hebrew word ‘yare’ translated as ‘fear’ here, is used in this sentence referring to a person in an exalted position: You. Thus, the meaning includes a reverence, a standing in awe, whereby the individual recognizes the power and position, and renders the proper respect. Father, I acknowledge Your power, Your sovereignty; and give You all honor and praise! Let me continue to grow in wisdom. How great and awesome You are! “To You belongs eternal praise”! Amen

Ezekiel 27:1-28:19; Psalm 111:1-10

Oct 11 A tree planted by the water

This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.  That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes…  But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’”

bank-250252_640Father, what a clear picture comparing those who trust in You and those who do not. I have lived in the desert. I have seen bushes living in the wasteland. They do not grow tall. They don’t look healthy. They barely look alive. And they don’t last long. And I have seen tall, lush, full, green, long-lived trees that grow by the water. What a contrast!

 

new-jersey-77916_640Lord, let me be the tree planted by Your water! When planting, one plans the location based on the needs of the tree. Its roots grow quickly in the direction of the water. Because of this, the tree is saturated with the moisture it needs to withstand periods of even extreme heat and drought. There is enough to sustain green leaves that gather the sunlight to store as energy. There is always sufficient energy and life in this tree to produce fruit in season.

I desire this blessing, so I will turn away from trusting in man’s philosophies and knowledge. I will not count on my own strength to accomplish what the world would lead me to do. But I will turn to You for guidance. I will trust in Your wisdom, Your strength, and Your purpose for my life. As You are the Living Water, I drink deeply of Your love, Your truth, and Your provision for me. My roots are my faith, which is solidly grounded in the truth of who You are; and my identity which comes from You. So when ‘heat’ comes, hardship and trials, it is You who sustains me and Your power that produces fruit in me.

Even now, Lord, I seek direction on issues I face. Please speak to me and give me Your perspective and insight. And make me bold to act on what You say. I place my confidence in You. And this is the confidence that I have: not that things will always turn out well, but that regardless of how they turn out, You will be there with me, and use it for good.

Father, You are the One I praise. You are the One I serve. You are the One I worship. You are my Hope and my Healer, my Savior and my Strength, my Fortress, my Refuge and my Reward. And I am blessed. Amen

Jeremiah 16:16-17:18

Oct 7 Guide my attitudes, actions

Father, the scribes and priests of old had Your Word, but even they did not live by it or teach others correctly. They rejected Your wisdom, but called themselves ‘wise’.   Since I seek Your wisdom, help me get my focus off earthly concerns, and onto heavenly things.

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The ‘earthly’ things have to do with the negative side of my flesh.   These are the things You punished Israel and Judah for. In addition to spiritual idolatry that took their worship away from You, they treated each other with greed and deceit. They were shameless in their lusts and immorality. These are the things I must put to death in my own flesh. Because You gave me a new life in saving me from the penalty of my sin, I seek to live that life in You.

As You are from heaven, those ‘heavenly’ traits I must cultivate are “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience…forgiveness…love.” Father, help me have these character qualities and treat others with them. When faced with situations, show me the appropriate response that will be framed in these attributes.

One thing I know will be difficult for me is to forgive others who I believe have wronged me.   Sometimes the consequences of their actions are far-reaching and have harmed my loved ones as well. But it helps me to remember that You have seen everything. And vengeance belongs to You. It also helps me when I realize all the things You have forgiven me. And that I need to forgive others as You have forgiven me.

Father, I am grateful for the peace and love You give me. Let them be the overarching qualities of my life. Let all I do bring Your peace and Your love into the lives of those around me.   In Your name. Amen

Jeremiah 8:8-13; Colossians 3:1-17

Oct 5 I look to You

anthony-tori-120173.jpgFather, how like Your people of old, is my country now. Your Name is not honored. You are ignored, or worse. You poured out Your judgment on them. Will You also pour out Your judgment on my nation? Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see,   who have ears but do not hear…Should you not fear me, declares the Lord? Should you not tremble in my presence? ”

Father, draw us back to You – my nation, my family, myself. I do proclaim You as my Lord and Savior. And I see Your warnings in this evil world

“Admonish and teach me with all wisdom”. Caution me when I am in danger of going the wrong way, or have taken a wrong turn. Show me from Your perspective, how to make decisions that will lead me in the way that will honor You. Don’t let any experience be wasted, but help me learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Let “no one deceive me with fine-sounding arguments”. Do not let me be persuaded to go against what You stand for by some reason of relative morality. Do not let my values be swayed by society’s sense of right and wrong when they do not agree with Yours. My roots are in You, let them go down deep and drink in Your strength and wisdom. Let my faith stand strong, unwavering as I live a disciplined life in You.

I offer You all thanks and praise, Lord. You saw the earth when it was formless and void, and in Your mighty power created all I see. You made light with Your Word, made the mountains and the seas. You fashioned every bird and fish and animal. All creation is under Your authority. You set the limits of the waters of the earth. Nothing can prevail against You and Your will. Thank You that You care for me. That You teach me and love me as Your beloved child. That You strengthen and uphold me. You are Lord and I am blessed.   Amen

Jeremiah 5:19-31; Colossians 1:28-2:7

Oct 4 Fill me!

“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.  For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

 overcoming-1697546_640Father, I continually ask You to fill me with the knowledge of Your will: not my own or anyone else’s. Do not let me be distracted by the glitter of what the world would show me I could do or have. Or be swayed by trying to please others to earn their approval. Do not let me be led astray by my own sense of pride or selfishness. But give me a true understanding of how You have created me, with specific gifts, talents, personality and temperament, and how You would use those to accomplish Your will through my life.

Lord, would You do this through all the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives: not the wisdom of the world, or the logic of the mind, or the sense of the flesh. For these are the influences that so often affect my mind and decisions. I seek the wisdom that Your Spirit gives through Your Word in scripture, and in prayer and meditation as I open my ears and heart and spirit to You alone. Close my ears to all other sources that would seek to lead me away from You and Your purposes.

Father, give me Your strength, that comes from Your power.   Strengthen me physically when I need it. I do not desire to do great physical feats, but Father, sometimes my energy wanes long before the end of the day or the task. And as I age, I can feel weakness creeping into my body. Fortify my organs and my immune system to function according to how You created them to function. Lord, I also need Your support mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Empower me in all these areas with Your strength working in and through me.

Father, I ask for these gifts so that I may live the life You died to give me; pleasing You, doing good works that will bring glory to Your name. And that I would accomplish these in Your power and in Your timing. This will help me know You better and deepen our relationship. I offer up sincere thanks and praises with total joy, as a beloved and blessed child of Yours. Amen

Colossians 1:1-17

Sept 25 Unity and Maturity

hand-453220_640Father, the words Paul writes to the Ephesians become my prayer today. Help me “live a life worthy of the calling I have received.” Help me understand the life You have called me to. In dealing with others, help me be less self-centered and more God-centered in the way I treat people, make decisions, and respond to circumstances.

Every day, let me ask: ‘Am I living the life You died to give me?’

Toward that end, help me be “humble and gentle”. Show me how to walk away from pride, arrogance, conceitedness, and that attitude of superiority that so easily entangles me. Teach me to “be patient”, and treat people with love. When I am frustrated, let me bring that to You so You can disarm it before it becomes anger and resentment.

Father, with so many people who call themselves by Your Name, there will be differences. Help me to see past the differences that don’t matter in order to support the unifying beliefs that do make a difference. Help me use the gifts You have given me, spiritual and otherwise, to build up Your body, believers, so that we all become a mature, complete body with You as the head.

Then I will no longer be “tossed back and forth by the waves, blown here and there by … the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” Help me become so familiar with Your Word that I recognize the crafty, deceitful teachings of the world. Bless me as I make time to read and study Your Word, Your love letter to me. Reveal its meaning and show me how to apply Your wisdom to my life.

Thank You Father, that Your Word is true. That it teaches. That it encourages. And guides. And comforts. And helps me grow more and more in step with You. Amen

Ephesians 4:1-16

 

Sept 24 Strengthen me

“O Lord, out of Your glorious riches, would You strengthen me with the power through Your Spirit in my inner being.” Father, You own the cattle on a thousand hills, the earth and everything in it is Yours. And not just Your right of Sovereignty over all things, but the richness of Your character allows You to pour over me all that I might ever need.

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Father, would You strengthen me:

physically – give me Your healing in all the areas of my body where there is illness or weakness.   Increase my strength and stamina to be able to do the work You set before me;

mentally – when I need to focus, or clear my mind of distracting thoughts. Give me the ability and the diligence to take every thought captive to You, and to be alert to dangers around me. Do not let my thinking become muddled by the vain philosophies of man or the half-truths and lies of the evil one;

emotionally – give me relief from discouragement, sadness, fear, anger, guilt, anxiousness. Help me deal with my circumstances according to Your wisdom and not be led by my emotions;

spiritually –bolster my faith with the remembrance that no matter what – You are in control – that even if the fig tree does not blossom, no grapes appear on the vine, the olive crop fails and the fields produce no crops – I can still rejoice in You! And spiritual strength to recognize and combat the enemy, dressed in my spiritual armor.

Father, would You do this so that “You will dwell in my heart through faith”. Help me to “be rooted and established in love”. Lord, like a tree planted by the water, let my spiritual roots go down deep into the soil so I can draw deeply of Your love. You are love, so You are the true source of love that can strengthen and fill me. Father, help me understand Your love: “how wide and long and high and deep” it is. I ‘understand’ Your love in that I read about it. But Father, help me really know it, in my heart and in my spirit; not just in my head.

When I can fathom Your love, I will have wisdom that surpasses knowledge. And I will be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of You.”

Thank You that “You are able to do immeasurably more that I can ask or even imagine, according to Your power that is at work in me.” I give You all the glory and praise, for ever and ever. Amen

Ephesians 3:16-21

 

Sept 22 Hope in the darkness

book-1936547_640O Father, these are some of the verses that have come to me in the darkest times. Times when I truly thought there was no hope. Times when I was at the end of all I could think to do to save myself from what appeared to be dire and dark circumstances that I believed held no happy ending.

These words are spoken by Your prophet Isaiah who is telling how it will be when the judgment of Israel is over. “You are the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth! You will not grow tired or weary…You give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak…those who hope in You will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.”

What hope that gave me Father – because I was weary and weak. But because I know You as my Savior, I believed that these verses were true of me. It’s like You were speaking right into my heart then, and since then. You were promising to give me Your strength and power. You promised to renew my strength. When I felt like I could not take one more step, You empowered me to “walk and not grow faint”.

You told me “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my Righteous Right Hand.” And even more than that, You sang it to me. I could hear a melody in Your words. It became a theme that I could sing to myself over and over – Your words of encouragement and empowerment. I still sing them today.

Thank You Father, that Your Word, written down so long ago, has power and influence and still speaks right now. And not just to me, but to any and all who will seek You there.

And these words of Paul – I love them and have prayed them over and over again for myself, my family, and my loved ones. I pray them now, again Father, for everyone reading this prayer. “I give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know [1] the hope to which He has called you, [2] the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people [that’s us], and [3] His incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Father, speak these words of comfort and empowerment to all who need to hear them from You.   When the evil one whispers ‘you’ve failed again, there’s no hope’, Let them know what it means to “not fear” and “not be dismayed”.   Give us victory! Amen

Isaiah 40:1-41:16; Ephesians 1:1-23

Sept 16 God’s plan for all of us is the best plan for each of us

time-1739630_640Father, what an amazing plan You set out before Abraham so long ago. He believed You even at a time when there was no evidence to show Your plan was working. You have truly kept Your promise to him in blessing the whole world through him and his offspring. For through his descendants came salvation on the cross. And we who believe are all the seed of Abraham, and the children of promise.

Father, I belong to You as much as Gilead, Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah. And just as Your promises to Abraham were true, so are Your promises to me. You will “aid me against the enemy”.   With You I will “gain the victory and You will trample down my enemies.”

Lord, You kept Your word across hundreds, thousands of years. But just like Abraham had to wait till Your timing was right, help me wait on Your perfect timing in my life as well.

I desire to see all my enemies thwarted and in defeat immediately. I would rather see my children and loved ones freed from the lies and deceit of the evil one right now. I long to see their lives and mine free from the influences of the world and the flesh, living in total victory over all that is not godly.   But I also know that You know better than I what is best for all of us. Help me rest, content in Your time table, ready to rejoice at each and every victory.

Father, fulfill Your plan for my sons.  Make my sons’ hearts of wise. Do not let them be misled by the ‘wisdom of the world’ or the philosophies of men, or the frailties of the flesh. But let them see through the falseness that masquerades as truth in the world today. Then my heart will be glad, and I “will rejoice when their lips speak what is right”.

I know that You, who have kept Your plan in place since the creation of the world, are faithful and able to accomplish all You have promised. Thank You. Amen

Galatians 3:6-9; Psalm 60:1-12; Proverbs 23:15-16

Sept 11 Seek God’s wisdom and blessing

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

First they “rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah”. These were the softly running streams of Northern Israel that brought water to provide abundant harvests of grain, but represented the provision You afforded them as a blessing.   Yet the people were not satisfied with what You supplied. They sought other gods. So You brought against them “mighty floodwaters of the River – the king of Assyria with all his pomp…to overflow all its channels, run over all its banks and sweep onto Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck.”

flood-664712_640The Assyrian Empire was centered on the Tigris and Euphrates, two of the largest and mightiest rivers. The Assyrians would spill over into Israel and flood up to their necks. Not the kind of water that was useful for life, but a devastating, destructive flood.

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

Next, Your people ignored the signs and prophecies You gave them, and instead, sought the wisdom and guidance of mediums and spiritualists.   In my world, there are so many places people can go to discern a direction for their lives. Palm readers, mediums, and spiritualists still exist. Tarot cards and daily horoscopes have become a guide for actions people take in their relationships, their finances, their business and social lives. “…Should not a people inquire of their God?” Lord, I will seek wisdom from You. In Your Word and in prayer, Father, speak to me, direct me. Show me the way to go when I have decisions to make. Do not let me be drawn to the darkness of the occult.

Also, when judgment began to fall on the people, their response was not humility and repentance. Instead, “they say with pride and arrogance of heart, the bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” In their arrogance, they missed the message You had for them to come back to You, to worship You. Instead they responded only to the destruction, seeing it only as a construction problem; saying they would rebuild with stronger, more resilient materials.

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

Father, if and when You send me a message like this, tenderize my heart to see to the real problem. Do not let me ignore the spiritual issues in my life. Prompt me to respond to those with humility and repentance. If all is right between us, the rest will take care of itself. It is not by might I will endure, but by Your grace, Your mercy, Your love, compassion and provision. And it is the same for my country. Tenderize our leaders’ hearts to see the real problem, to seek You, worship You, and turn to You for guidance. Thank You for these lessons. Help me remember them. Amen

Isaiah 8:1-9:21

Sept 5 Fear God and keep His commandments

hand-1245939_640Father, there are so many things Solomon saw and experienced and wrote about: wise men and fools, hard work and laziness, feasting and mourning, rich and poor, old age and youth, life and death. He ends with this: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of this matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

My whole purpose is to honor and revere You! To acknowledge who You are, and respect You for it. To do what You show me to do. And not do what You caution or command me not to do.   It is not to amass wealth. It is not to leave a legacy of institutions or businesses. It is not to make scientific discoveries. It is not even to compose a masterpiece, write an inspiring book or create a memorable work of art.

The Psalmist adds his wisdom to the collection as he reminds me ‘you can’t take it with you’. Riches cannot add time to the length of my days. And none of these things can come with me past my life here on earth.

But You, Father, will be with me for eternity. It is You who will “redeem my life from the grave, and take me to be with Yourself”. You “will bring every deed into judgment…”. And Solomon says he has written down “sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching true and reliable words, so that you can give sound answers to Him who sent you.” Meaning that if I abide by his counsel, knowledge, teachings and words, I will be able to give a godly account of my life here on earth.

So Father, teach me to apply this wisdom. Show me how to make decisions about my life that keep me focused on the right things and set godly priorities. Do not let me chase after meaningless things: riches to boast in, prideful reputation, positions to exalt myself.   Help me remember that You are my future. And whatever blessings You bring into my life, are to be used to honor You. Let me have a true understanding of the wisdom that comes from You. Amen

Ecclesiastes 10:1-12:14; Psalm 49:1-20; Proverbs 22:20-21

Sept 4 Apply my heart to what You teach

WisdomFather, I do desire to have Your wisdom. So I will heed the words Solomon wrote.

“A good name is better than fine perfume.” I want my name to stand for loyalty, honor, noble character and honesty. So help me act in a way that when people hear my name, they will think well of me. And they will know that You are my God and that I am Your servant.

“Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city.” Wisdom is greater than power. So when a wise person corrects me, let me learn from it. Let me reject pride that would keep me in ignorance. Help me embrace patience. Do not let me be quickly provoked, or waste time yearning for ‘the good old days’. Let me not simply seek the approval of fools. Instead, help me turn and apply wisdom to the present circumstances of my life. Rather than be a fool, I want to recognize and learn from wisdom. Let it shelter me, preserve me, and give me an advantage.

Father, in this wisdom, let me be obedient to the authorities You put over me. Give me a wise heart so I will know the proper way to act at the proper time.

There are many things that only You know and I will never understand or see the reason behind it all. That is as it should be. But regardless, let me always seek the way of Your wisdom. Help me “pay attention and turn my ear to the sayings of the wise; apply my heart to what You teach…so that my trust will be in the Lord”.   For You are “Great and most worthy of praise…You are my God forever and ever; You will be my guide even to the end.” Amen

Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:18; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 22:17-19

May 20 Wisdom, prophecy, life, death. All are in Your hands

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David showed Your wisdom when he did not kill Saul, the one You anointed as king over Israel. He prophesied when he said “the Lord Himself will strike him”. David recognized that a man’s life and death are for You to determine.

Saul showed wisdom when he acknowledged his sin acting like a fool trying to kill a man who had spared his life twice. He prophesied when he said, to David “you will do great things and surely triumph”. He too, recognized that You had spared his life through David and that David’s life was not his to take.

The woman who acted as a medium recognized her life could have been forfeit for what she did, had You not allowed Saul to hear again from Samuel the prophecy You had already given through him: that Saul would lose the kingdom because of his disobedience and it would be given to David. You also revealed that Saul would die the next day.

In one of Your most dramatic public miracles You demonstrated that You are the resurrection and the life by resurrecting Lazarus to life. It was Your wisdom to wait when the word came He was sick so that this greater miracle could be done. You prophesied to Your disciples that “this sickness will not end in death” so that You would be glorified through the circumstances to follow. And although the disciples didn’t understand at the time, You were given glory as many who saw, believed.

Caiaphas, who was the High Priest that year thought he was being wise, but actually prophesied when he said “it is better that one man die for the people than the whole nation perish”.   For You did indeed lay down Your very life so that Your people would have everlasting life.

Thank You that these important issues are in the hands of the One, Almighty God who judges justly and can be trusted because of Your faithfulness and love for Your people. My life and times are in Your hands. I know that my life came from You and nothing can take it out of Your hands. Give me wisdom to live each day of it in faith. Show me how to use my gifts, talents, abilities and experiences to the fullest measure to bring You honor and glory every day that I have. And then close my eyes in peace when the final day arrives, to reawaken in Your eternal presence. Amen

I Samuel 26:1-28:25; John 11:1-53

May 19 not my first thought…

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Lord, make me wise like Abigail. When a word was brought to her of disaster hanging over her household, she acted quickly, boldly and with diplomacy. Quickly, before those set on her destruction could reach her, she sent gifts of food and drink to them. Boldly, without seeking her husband’s approval or permission, her plan was enacted. Diplomatically, she bowed before David, took responsibility and asked him to spare himself from burdening his conscience with needless bloodshed. All the while she praised his conquests and acknowledged his godly honor.

Here are the things I can think of that she could have done. She could have sat down and wept, bemoaning that fact that they would all be destroyed soon. Her pity party would have been well deserved, after all, it was her husband that caused the calamity, not her; she was just the victim here. She could have gone to her husband with a belittling tirade of accusations and complaining, insisting he get up and do something about it. Or demanded he fight David to defend them all. She could have met David with a ‘nobody asked you to protect our shepherds’ attitude. Or argued that legally there had been no contractual agreement. Or she could have packed her things and left her husband to be killed, running to safety, only to return when it was all over. She had lots of options!

My thoughts are not as wise or as noble as Abigail’s. Thank You Father for this example of someone who did not act out of helplessness, or fear, or anger, or self-righteousness, or any other of the characteristics I tend to go to when up against a wall.   Help me remember Abigail’s quickness, and boldness, and diplomacy the next time I am facing a hardship. I think she must have heard from You. Keep my spiritual ears open so I may too. Amen

I Samuel 25:1-44

Apr 8 No Rock like our God

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Lord, do not let me be a nation without sense, with no discernment, like Israel was. When You gave them an inheritance and set up boundaries for Your people according to the number of their sons, You shielded and carried them. You protected them and guarded them as an eagle cares for and trains its young. You nourished them with the best, and yet, when they became fat and sleek, satisfied, they turned from You. They abandoned the God who gave them all they had, and sought other ‘gods’.   They became perverse and unfaithful, not caring that it would call down Your curses and judgment on them and their children.

Father, give me discernment so I can know when I am being tempted away from You with the values and philosophies of this world. Help me be wise and understand that there are consequences to my decisions and actions. Give me the ability to be able to think ahead and see where things will lead so I can choose what will lead me to a closer relationship with You.

Father, give the leaders of my country sense to see where they are taking our people with their choices as well. Give them discernment and wisdom to know that Your judgment is real and You will not be mocked. Our Constitution was written to govern a moral people, and when morality fails, we have little hope of living in safety or security.

I can already see signs that we have gone too far.   We, as a people – even Believers, have put You to the test and rebelled against You, the Lord Most High. We have not kept Your statutes. We have become disloyal and faithless.

Do not reject us O God. Do not abandon us. But show us the error of our ways; teach us to walk rightly again and make wise decisions that honor You. Help me give You the place in my life that You deserve. Remind me to read Your Word so it can guide and encourage me. Recall to my mind, Your faithfulness to me in the past: all the ways You have protected and delivered me. Speak to me when I pray to You, giving me direction. Let me feel Your presence near me, assuring me of your love, healing my wounds, and giving me Your peace.

Thank You that You are the One True God, the Most High, who will never leave me or forsake me. Thank You that Your faithfulness endures forever. I praise You for Your unending love. You are my God. Amen

Deuteronomy 32:28-43; Psalm 78:56-64

Mar 23 A blessed life

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”kneeling-1989128_640

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 66:1-20

Mar 17 Growth

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Dear Lord, we know very little about Jesus’ childhood. But we do know that He was remarkable. From His eighth day, we know that “He grew and became strong, was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him.”

And when twelve years old, He ”sat among the teachers in the temple courts, amazing people at His understanding and answers.”

We then learn He was obedient to His earthly parents and “He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

Father that is my desire as well, to grow “in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man”.

I pray that You would help me grow in being able to understand, remember, and apply learning and knowledge to my life; which we call wisdom. But not just from a worldly viewpoint. I would desire to have godly wisdom, from the Holy Spirit, to teach me of You, to know You better, to see things from Your perspective.

Lord, help me grow in stature, which means maturity. That may require reexamining and putting away some childish thoughts and behaviors. It means not being led only by ego, or emotions or selfishness. Instead, lead me to develop a responsible sense of accountability when it comes to my relationship with You and with others.

Lord, I mostly desire to grow in favor with You. Show me where I am missing that mark, and turn my path back to You. Before I act, let me ask, ‘Will this draw me closer to the Lord, or farther away?’ Sometimes I feel close to You when I am strong, because I know that my strength comes from You. Other times I feel closer to You when I am weak and in dire need of Your help, encouragement, and guidance. I believe my trust in and dependence on You also honors You, as Your strength is shown through my weakness.

Father, let my favor with man be such that I can be a witness to man, rather than being taken in by the wisdom and values of man. As You give me favor, keep me mindful that my home is in heaven – this is just a temporary stopover.

How wonderful it would be to be like Jesus in this. Thank You for Your help. Amen

Luke 2:36-52

Mar 5 All I am…All the time

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Your greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” That is a mouthful!

The Greek words from this scripture quoting the Hebrew words don’t have the exact meanings of the English translated words that are used today. But the idea is that I need to use all that I have to adore, worship, spend time with and follow You, my Lord. There is no element of my life that is to be without Your influence.

For my heart, I think my emotions need to be measured by You, so I don’t get overly carried away or swept up into something without thinking. I need to be aware of where my passions are leading me and find a place of balance.   When discouraged or depressed, I need to fight back against that inner voice berating me with negativity, by speaking Your truth in scriptures about my identity in You:

“I am a child of God” John 1:12

“I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.” Colossians 3:12

“I am forever free from condemnation” Romans 8:1

I heard once that people spend the first half of their lives trying to satisfy body and mind and the second half trying to satisfy their soul. That inner part of me that seeks peace and wholeness gains it by recognizing the truth of Your Word. So I will learn the real peace and wholeness that comes from You, not the world’s counterfeit found in popular philosophies.

My mind needs to seek “godly wisdom, which is pure, peaceable, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”; whereas the wisdom of the world is based on the logic of the mind and often the weight of pros and cons as they are understood by a limited human viewpoint. Godly wisdom is what must guide my choices and decisions. As I seek this wisdom, protect my mind from thoughts that do not come from You.

I dedicate my strength to Your purposes: the strength of my body, of my will, my self-determination. Help me realize when my strength is enough, and rely on Your strength to work through my weakness.

And I need to do this all the time?! It is obvious that I can never achieve this on my own. I will never be able to love You this perfectly. Fortunately, “with God, all things are possible!” So I rely on You, Lord, to guard and guide my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength; and to use them for Your glory. This is how I desire to be obedient. Amen

Mark 12:29-30; James 3:17; Mark 10:27

Feb 15 Me, a disciple?

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Holy Father, may I be like those You called to follow You as disciples. May I be willing to leave my family, my occupation to go with You wherever You would lead, leaving behind whatever security I would lean on in place of You.

Being in Capernaum and Galilee made scripture so real. Walking these paths where you had been brought scripture to life. Reading Your words while standing in these places made me wonder if I would have had the courage to stand up and follow You.

May I learn from Your amazing teachings. Although I was not present in Capernaum where You began teaching with such authority, I can study Your Word and learn from it now. You have given me the Holy Spirit to teach me, correct me, guide me. Help me be sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. Help me listen to godly wisdom when it comes to opportunities and circumstances in my life; and not just take the easy way, or the way that seems logical according to the minds of man. I will call upon You, and seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Though I may not have seen You perform miracles in Galilee, You have answered prayers and done miraculous things in my life and others I know. Let me be bold about sharing these experiences, and so spread the word as Your disciples did.

“My soul rejoices in You. I delight in Your salvation.” I place my complete trust in You, for there is none like You. I know that “Your wisdom will reward me.” Thank You for being my Teacher, my Guide, my Savior. Amen

Mark 1:16-28; Psalm 35:9; Proverbs 9:12

 

 

Feb 10 Teach me

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Thank You Father, that You have promised to “instruct me and teach me in the way I should go.” Help me be a good student of Your instruction. Give me the ability to hear You above all the other voices: anger, fear, temptation, discouragement, stress. Strengthen me to pay attention, make note of, and follow Your teachings in my personal life, relationships and in setting priorities.

Thank You for providing me with godly counsel. Of all the voices I hear, I trust Yours as the wisest. The wisdom the world has to offer, although it may seem logical, is not always the best. Thank You that I can know that Your instructions for me will always be in agreement with Your Word. With the Bible as my textbook I can find examples to follow, characters to learn from, and encouragement for my journey.

Thank You for watching over me. Unlike other teachers, You have the ability to be with me at all times, wherever I am. Your Holy Spirit in me coaches me as I go along, so I am never far from Your guidance; if I choose to accept it.

“Do not let me be like a horse or mule which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to You.” But let me respond to the loving leading and gentle touch that keep me on the path of righteousness in my thoughts, my words, my attitudes, my motives and my actions.

Surround me with Your unfailing love, and I will sing to You and rejoice in You, and be glad!

Psalm 32:8-11

Jan 16 Wrestling

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Dear Father, I seem to be a wrestler. Jacob wrestled with You one night. He held on till daybreak, and You blessed him. In Your blessing him, he became part of the promise You gave to Abram: to make him father of a great nation, make his name great, and bless all the earth through him. For Jacob (renamed Israel) was Abram’s (renamed Abraham’s) grandson. And down through their lineage, You came as Jesus Christ, Messiah and Savior, blessing all the world.

My wrestling is not so productive as Jacob’s. With simple things: decisions, relationships, or issues which may be meaningless in the grand scheme of things; I spend time and waste energy grappling with whether or not I made a good decision. I review the options, second guessing myself, wondering and worrying about how other choices would have played out. There is no winning there, and no blessing in that.

So Father, help me seek Your godly wisdom in my decisions. Help me bring every choice to You and ask for Your perspective. You tell believers to ask when we need wisdom, and You will give it to us. Show me how to hear Your voice of truth and then have peace about the decision when made, without revisiting it over and over.

Rather than continue to wrestle with relationships, Lord, I give them to You. Show me how to spend my time and energy, and who to spend it with. Beginnings and endings are hard for me, and I know sometimes You bring a person into my life for a season. But I struggle when that season is over, to know how to let go. Most of my life I was the one who literally left, moved to a different place. I never really learned how to move on from being close to someone. How do I say good bye when there is no geographical separation? But hanging on too long isn’t working out either. Move me into and out of the relationships You want me to have, so that I can give and receive the blessings You intended for each of us.

I also wrestle with issues in my life when I have had a single viewpoint. Some are things I learned as a child and accepted without question. Now I have grown and learned that things are not as absolute as I once believed they were. And even though these beliefs are holding me back and potentially harming me, it’s hard to let go. Help me have discernment when it comes to examining issues that affect my life, my behavior, even my sense of identity.

Father, as I wrestle with all these things, let me take hold of and cling to only You. Pry my fingers off of the things that are not important. And bless me as I cling forever to You. Amen

Genesis 32:22-30

Jan 6 Choices

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

Lot looked with his physical eyes and did not seek Your wisdom in making his choice to move to the well watered land to the east. Often, You give choices and allow me to decide based on my own preferences. I do not always choose wisely. Remind me that when You offer a choice, I can still seek Your wisdom on the matter. Keep me from rushing headlong into decisions based only on what I think I see with my physical eyes. Or on what my flesh leads me to from misguided appetites.

Instead, teach me to see with Your eyes, from Your perspective; not looking only to the immediate appearance of reward. Help me think through and pray through decisions. Especially when they also involve my family, work, relationships, where and how to live.

When my choices take me places where You are not honored, help me recognize the evil around me, and separate myself from it. Give me self-restraint and self-control so I don’t tolerate evil or go along with it. Thank You for reminding me through Precept teachings, that “sin will: take me farther than I ever meant to stray, keep me longer than I ever meant to stay, and cost me more that I ever meant to pay. “

Realizing that choice often means change, help me think through all the consequences of my choice. In considering options, let me ask, ‘Will this draw me closer to God or take me further away?’. And as I move forward, let me be ever mindful of Your voice, trusting that You will guide and protect me.

Thank You also for the example of our father Abram. He heard Your voice and obeyed. He moved even when he did not have the whole picture, but simply started off for the land You would show him. Let me also be obedient without insisting on having it all laid out before me. Help me act in faith when You call. Help me believe and trust in Your promises. Even when You do not act according to my expected or desired time table. Even when it seems like things are not going the way I have prayed they would. Even when it seems worse than at the beginning. Even when I cannot see You at work. I know that Your thoughts are not my thoughts. Your ways are not my ways. And You have the advantage of infinite wisdom over infinite time and infinite sovereignty with infinite power.

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

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

Jan 2 Keep me from serpent speak

snake-1322240_1920O Father, Proverbs tells me “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Lord, I do not wish to be a fool. Help me keep my sense of awe and respect for You. I yearn for Your wisdom and instruction. Keep me teachable and open to hear Your voice and see Your wonders.

I completely acknowledge You as Creator of the Universe and all that is in it. You alone possess the Sovereignty and Authority and Power to rule over and be Lord over all. What an infinite imagination to think up all the combinations of flowers, birds, animals and insects! And not just how they look, but how they sound, and smell! I am amazed by You!

 

Surely, Eve must have been amazed by You too; walking in the Garden of Eden that You created! Yet she gave in to temptation.   She listened to the serpent and was deceived. (And I’m still blown away that she didn’t seem surprised at all that a serpent was speaking!) When the serpent misquoted You, she did not check it out. And when he told a half-truth, that she would “be like” You, she believed it. She trusted what she understood with her own eyes and logic instead of coming to You.

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

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

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” This sounds like she was being perfectly logical, if it weren’t for the fact that You had already told her it was wrong! Sometimes I can logically think my way into a wrong answer too. Remind me, Father, to come to You, to seek Your perspective above all others. Whether considering an opportunity, or dealing with a hardship: if there seems to be wisdom the world offers, or a logic to my mind, or a sense in my flesh, let me submit them all to You.

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

Genesis 3:1-4:26; Proverbs 1:7-9

Jan 1 Godly men

Oh Lord God – please bless my husband and sons. Do not let them heed or walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. Let them recognize this evil for what it is. Give them a hunger and thirst for Your counsel, Your way, Your truth and Your wisdom so they will be seated with those who know and follow You. Let their delight be in Your law, Oh Lord. Let them read it, memorize it, recall it and meditate on it, thinking about how to apply it to their own lives and circumstances. Let Your perfect law color their thoughts and attitudes.

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Let these men be like trees planted by streams of water, which yield fruit in season. Show them Your perfect will for their lives and Your timing so they will produce fruit that will honor and glorify You and Your name. Do not let them wither, but keep them strong and hearty. Let all they do prosper and bring You honor.

Allow them to see that the wicked cannot stand, but are blown away like chaff before the wind. And that the works of the evil ones will not prosper or enjoy Your gift of Salvation.

Lord, please watch over these men – keep them on the path You have set before them. I totally trust in Your perfect will for their lives. May they come to trust You and Your guiding hand.  May they feel You watching over them, and may that sense of Your presence be a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance . Amen.

Psalm 1:1-6

Dec 30 Eternity

 

heavenO Father, I can only think this Revelation of John’s is where many ideas of heaven are found: streets of gold, pearls for gates, “You will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”  It is how the New Jerusalem is described, after all mankind and angels have been judged, and the earth and heavens as we know them have been swept away.

It is certainly a place I would want to spend eternity.  You, Yourself, will always be present.  Your presence provides all the light that is needed.   And there is a promise, a security, in there being nothing “impure…shameful or deceitful” ever being there.   Only Your people, Your children, will inherit all this.

The Psalmist says “Sing to the Lord a new song, [sing] His praise in the assembly of His faithful people.”  That will truly be able to happen in this Holy City.

Father, as I prayed Psalm 1 on the first day of the Year for my husband and sons, I pray now at the end of the year, these Proverbs 31 verses for myself and for the women who will marry my sons:

May we be “wives of noble character…worth far more than rubies, bringing [our husbands] good, not harm all the days of our lives.”  May our “husbands have full confidence in [us] and lack nothing of value.”  May we “work with eager hands” to provide for our families’ needs.  May we have sharp mental skills, a good head for business and strong arms for the tasks You bring to us.   May we manage our households wisely and show compassion and charity.   Father, give us the wisdom we need to benefit our husbands and children, the energy we need to accomplish the work of our ministries, and the ability to reflect Your love to care for our families.

Thank You for Your promises of help while here on earth.  And thank You for the promise of my eternal future with You.  Your praise is ever on my lips!  Amen

Revelation 21:1-27; Psalm 149:1-9; Proverbs 31:10-24