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TOO EASILY IRKED

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you,” (Ephesians 4:32). Kindness is one of the principle characteristics of a spirit-controlled life. Kindness activates love, forgiveness, tenderheartedness, patience, and a host of other godly virtues. Generally speaking, I have grown much more patient through the years, but I am still far too easily irked. This is one of the sinister ways the kingdom of darkness attempts to maintain a foothold in my soul. When annoyances are permitted to hang around without constraint, they huddle together and increase in number. In this undisciplined condition of self-indulgence, problems seem huge, and God seems small; then, full-fledged anger pops up like burnt toast! How foolish. Father forgive my imprudence and help me keep my bearings. I am aware of how annoying I must be to You, yet You are eternally patient and kind in spite of my deficiencies. Make me more like You, LORD.
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THE TRAIL OF TRUST

“TheLordis myshepherd; I shall notwant…” Psalm 23:1 ESV. You know what follows, but this simple opening phrase says it all! So, why give in to the convenience of discouragement? Despair offers no rewards, yet since it is so readily available it is easy to take its downhill path. The trail of trust is a much steeper climb, but trusting God grants previously unseen mountaintop vistas, still waters, and a restored soul. God never ceases His tender care, He is “Yahweh Ro‘i “, “The LORD My Shepherd”. Even when we drift away from the fold or run and hide from His care, "The Shepherd of Our Souls" never loses sight of His lambs, not even for a brief moment. Though at times we try, we simply cannot tread alone, for He will never, ever abandons one of His lambs. Blessed Father Almighty, from sinking sand, You lift me, With tender hand, You lift me. Truly, all is well today and forever on the trail of trust.

A NEW DAY DAWNING

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” Psalm 118:24 ESV. It is still dark outside, and yesterday’s light is long since gone. But daylight is quickly crawling over the face of the earth and is headed straight for me. Already, I prepare to step into the brightness of this new day the LORD has made. Isaiah proclaimed: “Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.” This new day comes front-loaded with potential for me to be further transformed into His image and to do His bidding on the earth. A new day is dawning, and I am already glad and rejoicing in it!Fresh Manna is spread throughout it. New things,greater things await!  Lord God Almighty, thank You for a brand-new opportunity to know You better and to do Your bidding. My heart is prepared with joyful anticipation to take another walk in the light.

THE EXQUISITENESS OF OBEDIENCE

“Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess,” Deuteronomy 5:33 NIV. Modern culture is increasingly swinging many people of faith into the dangerous mindset of the “Me-First Generation”. A heart too tied to this world knows little of the exquisiteness of obedience to the One who rules both heaven and earth. To do the will of God in ways large and small uncaps a wellspring of joy within, releasing a sense of purpose that nothing else in this world can offer. Short-lived happy feelings may accompany bargain-basement choices, but joy eternal fills the hearts of those who learn to practice extravagant surrender and who willingly embrace God’s choices over their own. Lord of Unquenchable Peace, deliver me from the sorrows of my own making and calibrate my heart and will to Your own.

SMALL THINGS

“For who has despised the day ofsmall things?” Zechariah 4:10 NKJV. Actually, I have many times, but I’ve since learned that most really huge things begin very small; little seeds produce huge trees, huge buildings begin as tiny marker flags, a quick smile between two people can lead to a multi-generational family. Most importantly, I’ve learned that for God, nothing is too small, and nothing is too big. I’m more easily drawn into the big things, but I’ve learned that faithfulness in the small things leads to great results in the big picture.”“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much,” Luke 16:10 ESV. Today’s small acts of faithfulness lead to great possibilities for tomorrow. Blessed Father, grant me the grace to be faithful in the small things and use me in whatever capacity that pleases You.

A RAGING INFERNO

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,” Ephesians 4:26 ESV. The powerful Santa Ana Winds are what fuels the California wildfires each fall. A fire needs plenty of air to reach its full potential. If ventilation is cut off, the flames die out. The same can be said of anger. While quiet, seething anger is dangerous, venting our anger openly to others can lead to a raging inferno. Every emotion has a proper place in life but when anger is permitted to run free without the needed controls of God’s Word and Spirit, our rage becomes our destruction. We are warned: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice,” Ephesians 4:31 NIV. Spreading our anger to others does not get rid of it, it only makes it worse. My consternations must be surrendered to God. LORD, snuff out the embers of anger within my heart. Smother every flame within me that is displeasing to you.

NO FEAR

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me,” Psalm 23:4 NKJV. This famous passage is jam-packed with powerful words! But my favorite is the word “through”. There are unseen blessings awaiting me at the end of every perilous journey. Though the trail to victory first descends into dark valleys full of frightening shadows of death, my feet shall again stand on the sacred ground of God’s holy mountain! To act with due caution is wise, but timidity is never a prudent course of action. Fear-governed thoughts and actions rarely lead us to the right conclusions; panic is not a reliable strategy. THE LORD is My Champion and My Victor, of whom will I be afraid? Fear of God delivers me from all other fears! Selah! LORD, thank You for leading me beside the still waters of Your Promises. In You, I peacefully rest.