Tag: world

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

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May 5 To save You reach around the world

hands-600497_640Lord God, You amaze me at how You use simple, ordinary people, men and women, to accomplish Your purpose.  You sent believers all the way to Moab, at least sixty miles across the desert during a famine to reach Your faithful servant Ruth.

She made the famous statement, “Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, your people will be my people and your God my God” to her mother-in-law Naomi.   Her faith and trust in You led her to be part of Your amazing plan of salvation, as she was in the lineage You were born into.

Here in the flesh You stopped in a Samaritan town and spoke to an immoral woman; something a respectable Jew would not have done.  And in doing so, brought her the message of Your salvation.  Through her, You saved many Samaritans that day.

You chose for me to be born into a believing family.  Wherever I was, You were there with me: Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, France, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Virginia, Colorado.  All through those formative years, You made Your presence known to me.  Even though everything else about my life changed: house, school, church, community, friends; You were always there.

There are so many who still do not believe You are who You are – Creator, Savior, King of Kings, Master, Wonderful Counselor, the One True God.  But I know that You will move heaven and earth to reach them.

You can use natural and divine events, travel across continents, reach into unrespectable communities, to make Yourself known.

You can speak through a hurricane or a whisper, reveal Yourself in a majestic mountain or a delicate flower.   I trust You can bring the loved ones I pray for to a saving knowledge of You.

Help me do my part.  I can pray for them.  I will let them see me praise You in good times and in bad.  I will love them, and do my best to give them godly assistance and direction.

Show me when to speak and when to hold my tongue.   Show me how to behave in a way that will draw them to You.  Help me remove any stumbling block that would keep them from coming to You.

Lord I thank You and praise You in advance for the celebration in heaven when they come to know You as Savior and live to glorify Your Name!  Amen

Ruth 1:1-22; John 4:4-42

May 3 Breath of Life

What an interesting picture You painted for the man I call “Nic at night:” the Pharisee who came to You at night to ask questions.  When he asked about being part of the Kingdom of God, You said to enter the Kingdom of God, one “must be born of water and the Spirit.”

breathofGodOne birth is from a watery darkness, the other a spiritual darkness.  Our physical birth is from a dark, water-filled womb into the light of the sun here on earth.  Our spiritual birth is from the dark realm of the evil one into the Light of the Son and into the kingdom of God.

Adam and Eve are the only humans born only of the Spirit.  You created their bodies and breathed Your breath into them, giving them physical AND spiritual life.

The Hebrew word “ruach” is translated as breath and spirit.  They were spiritually alive and were able to walk and talk and have relationship with You.

When they sinned, the punishment was physical and spiritual death.  Physically, their bodies would die.  And spiritually, they were separated from You and no longer had the same intimate fellowship with You.

Every human being since them was born by water, but is not spiritually alive until Your “ruach,” Your breath or spirit enters them.  This happens at their spiritual birth.

Probably the most well known scripture is in today’s reading.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  This is Your provision for that spiritual birth.

When a person believes the truth of Your sacrifice and accepts that offer of Your sacrifice paying for their sin, Your “‘ruach,” Your Holy Spirit enters into them.

person-864804_640Thank You Father for Your great love.  Thank You for having a plan of spiritual birth giving me eternal life even after sin had entered the world and affected every human being.

Thank You for being willing to make the tremendous sacrifice for me to be able to join the Kingdom of God.  Amen

John 3:1-21

May 1 I believe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 1:29-51

Apr 14 Your Word over deception and lies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 83:1-18

Apr 10 Make me like Moses, Joshua, and Rahab

O Lord, You encourage me with people like Moses and Joshua and Rahab.  You took these three ordinary and flawed people and used them mightily for Your glory, to bring about Your plan.

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It gives me hope that You can use me too.

You brought Moses, born of slaves, cursed by Pharaoh to be killed in the Nile, out of the deadly waters and empowered him to be Your instrument in freeing Your people from slavery and leading them to the Promised Land.

Father, help me be obedient to all You say to me, as Moses was.  Use me in Your plan.  Let it be said of me as it was of Moses: when she was old “[her] eyes were not weak nor [her] strength gone.”

Joshua was willing to voice his faith and trust in You when the prevailing views were opposed.  You made him strong and very courageous.  Help me “obey Your law” and “not turn to the right or to the left from it” so I may be successful wherever I go.

Let me not be tempted off Your path by the world or it’s values, but cling to what I know is right in Your eyes.  Let me not ignore what Your Word, the Bible tells me is true.  Remind me to read it so I know what is in it.  How else will I know what is right?  I know, like Joshua did, that You are “with me wherever I go” so I will not be terrified or discouraged.

And even when all around me are situations and powers that represent and support the lure of the world and the lust of the flesh, let me be like Rahab, listening to and trusting in the Holy Spirit.  By doing so she saved her family.  Strengthen me to be willing to take risks for you.

All these remind me of a song from my childhood: “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me.   I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.”

Father, help me be brave enough to stand alone if need be, on Your Word.   Let me be so sure of how You are leading me that there is no fear in standing up for You.

Speak to me and give me understanding.  Show me how to apply that understanding to my life in ways that bring honor to You.  Thank You.  Amen

Deuteronomy 34:1-Joshua 2:24

Feb 4 Eternal Priorities

 

Three words I never want to hear: “Woe to you.”

With these words You gave warning to the Pharisees and called them into account for their actions and deeds.  Even now, it’s so easy to say “I would never be like them!”  I do not want to follow in their footsteps, like judging others while projecting seeming innocence.  So correct me if You see in me what You saw in them.

They had their priorities backwards, saying the gold was more valuable than the temple it was in, and the sacrifice more valuable than the altar it was offered on.

Help me make and keep my priorities straight.  Help me understand the true value of things as they are in Your economy so I do not elevate the profane and dishonor the holy.

Many of the things the world places value on are not truly valuable.  The world sees from a limited, short-term perspective and often places more significance on the created thing, than the Creator Himself.

Help me see things for their eternal value.

I love Your humor when You say they “strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!”  Teach me to see the bigger picture and focus on the important things and not be legalistic over the smaller insignificant ones.

I can get so carried away with the urgent that sometimes I don’t make time for the important things.   Show me how to spend my energy and time on what is significant.

You paint a striking picture when You describe a cup: clean on the outside but dirty on the inside; or a whitewashed tomb, clean on the outside but full of death on the inside.  You see not only the outward appearance, but see into man’s heart to know him.

Let me be as concerned with being pure and clean on the inside as I am with being presentable on the outside.   Help me be authentic and transparent; so my walk agrees with my talk.  Let me put as much time into developing my character as my wardrobe.

I desire to be all You have created me to be.  But it is so easy to follow the way of the world and look for the easy way – to make a big deal over what the world says is a big deal.  I know that most of the world does not seek You to worship You or follow You.

Broad is the path that leads to destruction.  Help me find that narrow way, and stay on that path: the one that brings joy and not woe.  Amen

Matthew 23:13-39; Matthew 7:13

Jan 11 Be like Rebekah

rebekah_at_the_wellpainting of Rebeca by Michael Deas 1995

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 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 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 1 Love what’s eternal

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

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

sandpapercrossedHelp me love my brother and sister: other believers who You have put in my life.

Some of them are so loving to me that it is easy to love them back.   They have been like “iron sharpening iron.”  We hone one another to be better and “sharper. “

But some are like sandpaper to me.  We do not get along, and although they may “sand off’” some of my rough spots, mostly they are just an irritant and cause sore, raw spots that hurt.  These people are harder to love.  They are the ones I need Your help with.

Remind me that each one of them is one of Your amazing creations who You love greatly.  I know that You love them; show me how to do the same.

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

The first two are the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes.”  The word lust here is a “strong desire of any kind, good or bad, but evil if not submitted to the will of God. “

So whether it is for intimacy, or pleasure, or just comfort, I would usually rather feel comfort than pain, a full stomach than hunger, warm and safe than cold and fearful.  It can be hard to turn away from things that offer me a sense of satisfaction in food, comfort or safety.   But I need to be sure my flesh and my eyes are not pulling me to just go my own way and satisfy worldly appetites.

Father, show me how to maintain proper limits and boundaries.

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

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

I John 2:1-17

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

Oct 17 Pray for others

Father, as I worship You, and speak to You in prayer, it is most often to give thanks with praise and to intercede for myself and those close to me.

But today in scripture, You urge me to pray, intercede and give thanks for all people.

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What a huge task!  It broadens my focus and gives me a small sense of Your job: to care for and love every single person on the planet!  For they are each Your creation, and dear to Your heart.

As I begin, it helps me to think of categories of people.  So I pray first for all children.  Would You provide for their needs: physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Some are very well off, born to parents who love and value them and have the means to care for them.  Do not let them be misled to think they have all they need, when what they need most is You.

Other children are born into poverty, neglect, even abuse.  Father, protect them and let them feel especially close to You.  Reveal Yourself to them to encourage, empower and save them.   Teach them all to hear and understand Your voice and obey it, whatever their circumstances.   Bring a godly advocate into their lives who will stand up and speak for these without a voice.

Father, give every mother a heart for her child.  Guide them to love and care for their children; to protect them and pray for them; and teach them about You.  Give them the courage to correct them in love.

Lord, I lift up every man who is a father.  Help them to see the position of accountability they are in in regards to their family.  Show them how to provide for and love their children with a father’s love.  Do not let them harm or exasperate their children.  Impress upon them to set a godly example.

For men and women everywhere, whether married or single, Lord, bring them to a saving knowledge of who You are.  Cause them to hunger and thirst for the truth, whatever their current state or religion.  Place godly counselors and mentors in each life, who can lead them to You and encourage them in becoming believers.

Help them stand strong in the face of temptation, fear and doubt; recognizing the lies and deceit of the evil one, and turning from it.  Give them discernment and guidance for decisions they face.

Father, protect married couples in the face of the temptations of infidelity and other things that would seek to separate them: money problems, anger, greed, selfishness, violence.

Forces in this world seek to destroy marriage and undermine the system of family that You set up.   Father, overturn those forces.  Likewise, protect singles from the temptations of lust, loneliness, and the desires that would turn them to idolatry.  Show them how to live with godly values.

Father, for those leaders of anything, and people in positions of authority over families, communities, churches, businesses, nations; bring them to a saving knowledge of You.  Give them clarity in hearing Your voice in their personal and professional lives.  Give them the courage to follow wherever You would lead them.

Show them that with their position of authority comes responsibility and accountability.  If they are persecuting believers, stop them.  Open their eyes and change their hearts to know and follow You.  Place godly role models, mentors, counselors and accountability figures in their lives.  Give them godly wisdom to overcome obstacles, difficulties and problems to bring unity and peace to their respective arenas of authority.

Lord, as I pray, I picture elected Washington officials, African children, Muslim women.  All need Your touch on their lives.  Every one is someone special to You.  Every one is someone You died to save.

Let each one of them know how very much You love them.  And that You have a good plan and purpose for their lives.  Amen

I Timothy 2:1-6

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

 

 

Aug 2 You encourage me

photo by Joshua Earlejoshua-earleGreater is He

Father, thank You for the words of encouragement Hezekiah gave his men. The same words are encouraging to me today, because I know that no matter what hardship or battle or enemy I face, You are greater than any of them. And You are with me!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of” (fill in the bank with my hardship) “and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him! With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

The world will yell back at me exactly what Sennacherib said:

“On what are you basing your confidence?…Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the people of other lands? Were the gods of those nations ever able to deliver their land from my hand?…How then can your god deliver you from my hand? Do not believe it…”

The world and the flesh and the devil echo these words to try and make me doubt. My flesh will say that I am weak. That I am unworthy of Your help. The world will show me how many others have fallen before me – those stronger than me to begin with. The devil will try and get me to focus on my circumstances and question Your love for me.

But Your Word builds me up. It reminds me that I am Yours and You have promised never to leave me. You have given me armor, both offensive and defensive, to help me. The Helmet of Salvation bears Your insignia, in whose army I fight. And it protects my thoughts. So many battles are won and lost in the mind before even one arrow flies. It reminds me to take every thought captive so I can hold it up to truth.

The truth is, I am weak, but “Your strength is made perfect in my weakness”. I am unworthy of Your help. I can never ‘earn’ Your help. But Your help comes because of Your unchanging character, flowing from Your grace and mercy! It never was dependent on anything I could ever do.

Others may have fallen who were stronger than me, but I will be victorious because of Your strength, not my own.   And despite the devil, I will not judge Your love by my circumstance, but by Your Word. It says Your love never changes, it is everlasting, enduring forever. And I will choose to look at You, not focus only on my circumstances.

This is how I will triumph over challenges. Even in the conditions of today’s Psalm: “I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied…my enemies have increased and hate me fiercely…” I will put my eyes on You and not my circumstances. I will answer the lies I hear from the other voices, with Your voice of truth; as You voiced it through Hezekiah: I will be strong and courageous. I will not be afraid or discouraged.

I will remember that You are a greater power. And that You are with me! Praise be to You! Amen

2 Chronicles 32:1-23; Psalm 25:16-22; 2 Corinthians 12:9

July 9 You are my Refuge

“Lord my God, I take refuge in You; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.”

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Father, I don’t use the word ‘refuge’ too often. But from the time I was young, I remember hearing about ‘refugees’ escaping other countries because the circumstances they lived in were so bad they had to flee to even survive. Some came on boats with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They had no food, no other clothing, no source of help. But they believed if they could only reach America, there would be hope and the possibility of a new, safe, good life.

So a ‘refuge’ is the place they go. It is the place where there is safety, protection, relief, shelter, help, provision.   It allows security from the pursuit of danger or trouble. So as these people fled the threats of their government and political and physical danger to find refuge in America, so I can come to You to find relief from the onslaught of attacks against me.

The flesh, the world and the evil one are all influences that war against Your wisdom, Your plan and Your purpose for my life. So I ask You to come to my aid. Defend me against all that seeks to destroy me, my godly relationships, my adoration and worship of You, my ministry in Your name, and my freedom to read and study Your Word.

The evil one seeks to keep me fearful, discouraged, frustrated, and make my faith in You waver because of difficult circumstances. He desires my financial ruin, the destruction of my marriage, the smearing of my reputation, and personal moral failure. The enemy is always crouching at my door, waiting to devour me.

So I ask, “Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies… O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart…You will not back down from the fight, but will sharpen Your sword; and will bend and string Your bow. You have prepared deadly weapons; and have made ready Your flaming arrows.”

And “I will give thanks to You because of Your righteousness and will sing praise to Your name: The Lord Most High.” Thank You for being my refuge; for delivering me from the hand of the evil one who comes to harm, kill, and destroy.

You are more powerful than anything he can bring against me. You are more powerful than all the world can throw at me, or even that my flesh can tempt me with. I trust in You. You are my refuge. Amen

Psalm 7:1-17

 

June 23 Strengthen me

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“Lord, I call to You; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to You.”

“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

My mouth so often gets me into trouble. I speak before I think. Sometimes I hurt the ones I love. Sometimes my mouth leads me into gossip, or even lies to make myself look better in the eyes of others. Sometimes I reveal too much to people who don’t understand or appreciate it, like casting “pearls before swine”.

Instead, I would prefer to use my words to bless, encourage, teach, and show I care. Help me measure out my words like precious commodities. Teach me to take time to think before I rush into spilling out whatever is on my mind. Especially when I am upset, Lord, it is hard keep my mouth shut, instead of sharing my pain, frustration, or anger. Remind me I can come to You with anything and everything. You are the One who can offer healing, encouragement, and restoration better than anyone else.

Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. Keep me from the snares they have laid before me, from the traps set by evildoers. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.”

Father, if there is a lure, remove the worm and reveal the hook so I will not be caught and reeled in like a fish caught on a line. If there are hidden nets or snares, show me the truth behind the lies and deceit that would coax me into the trap.

Lord, I know there are times when the evil one is out to derail me. But there are also times when my own flesh and the world’s desires tempt me into things I should not be involved with. Father, keep me from those things too. Do not let me even toy with the thought of wanting them, or thinking I deserve them, or thinking I can get away with having them. I have heard that voice in my head tempting me, trying to justify behavior I know is wrong.

Strengthen me with Your power: in my thoughts, my words and my actions. In You, I take refuge! You are my Sovereign Lord, and my eyes are fixed on You! Amen

Psalm 141:1-10

June 15 Bring Salvation to All!

Jesus breaks chains

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 5 To save You reach around the world

hands-600497_640Lord God, You amaze me at how You use simple, ordinary people, men and women, to accomplish Your purpose. You sent believers all the way to Moab, at least sixty miles across the desert during a famine to reach Your faithful servant Ruth.

She made the famous statement, “Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, your people will be my people and your God my God” to her mother-in-law Naomi. Her faith and trust in You led her to be part of Your amazing plan of salvation, as she was in the lineage You were born into.

Here in the flesh You stopped in a Samaritan town and spoke to an immoral woman, something a respectable Jew would not have done. And in doing so, brought her the message of Your salvation. Through her, You saved many Samaritans that day.

You chose for me to be born into a believing family. Wherever I was, You were there with me, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, France, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Virginia, Colorado. All through those formative years, You made Your presence known to me. Even though everything else about my life changed: house, school, church, community, friends; You were always there.

There are so many who still do not believe You are who You are – Creator, Savior, King of Kings, Master, Wonderful Counselor, the One True God. But I know that You will move heaven and earth to reach them. You can use natural and divine events, travel across continents, reach into unrespectable communities, to make Yourself known.

You can speak through a hurricane or a whisper, reveal Yourself in a majestic mountain or a delicate flower.   I trust You can bring my loved ones who I pray for to a saving knowledge of You.

Help me do my part. I can pray for them. I will let them see me praise You in good times and in bad. I will love them, and do my best to give them godly assistance and direction.   Show me when to speak and when to hold my tongue. Show me how to behave in a way that will draw them to You. Help me remove any stumbling block that would keep them from coming to You.

Lord I thank You and praise You in advance for the celebration in heaven when they come to know You as Savior and live to glorify Your Name! Amen

Ruth 1:1-22; John 4:4-42

Dec 1 Help me love what’s eternal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I John 2:1-17

Nov 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

Oct 17 Pray for others

Father, as I worship You, and speak to You in prayer, it is most often to give thanks with praise and to intercede for myself and those close to me. But today in scripture, You urge me to pray, intercede and give thanks for all people. What a huge task! It broadens my focus and gives me a small sense of Your job: to care for and love every single person on the planet! For they are each Your creation, and dear to Your heart.

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As I begin, it helps me to think of categories of people. So I pray first for all children. Would You provide for their needs: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Some are very well off, born to parents who love and value them and have the means to care for them. Do not let them be misled to think they have all they need, when what they need most is You. Other children are born into poverty, neglect, even abuse. Father, protect them and let them feel especially close to You. Reveal Yourself to them to encourage, empower and save them.  Teach them all to hear and understand Your voice and obey it, whatever their circumstances.  Bring a godly advocate into their lives who will stand up and speak for these without a voice.

Father, I ask that You would give every mother a heart for her child. Guide them to love and care for their children; to protect them and pray for them; to teach them about You. Give them the courage to correct them in love.

Lord, I lift up every man who is a father. Help them to see the position of accountability they are in in regards to their family. Show them how to provide for and love their children with a father’s love. Do not let them harm or exasperate their children. Impress upon them to set a godly example.

For men and women everywhere, whether married or single, Lord, bring them to a saving knowledge of who You are. Cause them to hunger and thirst for the truth, whatever their current state or religion. Place godly counselors and mentors in each life, who can lead them to You and encourage them in becoming believers. Help them stand strong in the face of temptation, fear and doubt; recognizing the lies and deceit of the evil one, and turning from it. Give them discernment and guidance for decisions they face.

Father, protect married couples in the face of the temptations of infidelity and other things that would seek to separate them: money problems, anger, greed, selfishness, violence. Forces in this world seek to destroy marriage and undermine the system of family that You set up.   Father, overturn those forces. Likewise, protect singles from the temptations of lust, loneliness, and the desires that would turn them to idolatry. Show them how to live with godly values.

Father, for those leaders of anything, or people in positions of authority over families, communities, churches, businesses, nations; bring them to a saving knowledge of You. Give them clarity in hearing Your voice in their personal and professional lives. Give them the courage to follow wherever You would lead them. Show them that with their position of authority comes responsibility and accountability. If they are persecuting believers, stop them. Open their eyes and change their hearts to know and follow You. Place godly role models, mentors, counselors and accountability figures in their lives. Give them godly wisdom to overcome obstacles, difficulties and problems to bring unity and peace to their respective arenas of authority.

Lord, as I pray, I picture elected officials in Washington DC, children in Africa, women in Afghanistan, the people of Thailand. All need Your touch on their lives. Every one is someone special to You. Every one is someone You died to save. Let each one of them know how very much You love them. And that You have a good plan and purpose for their lives. Amen

I Timothy 2:1-6

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