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“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you,” Isaiah 60:1 ESV. The transformation between the dark of night to morning light never loses its fascination for me; I am drawn to its power to awaken. Every second brings subtle change; everything around is slowly transfigured as the rising sunlight brightens whatever it touches. There are so many parallels between sunrise and the way God pulls me deeper into His will. Each day He quietly moves into my darkness, His resplendent Presence renovating my soul. His Word reveals hidden treasures, and new details unfold. He unveils flaws that He immediately begins repairing, and His Glory illuminates previously unseen passageways forward. Lord of Light, I welcome Your transformational Presence in every square inch of my being. LORD, You are so good!
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“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side,’” Mark 4:35 ESV. Jesus left the multitudes on the peaceful shore and took His disciples into the storm. The apostle Paul was taken prisoner and into the storm. In each case, a miracle followed, not AFTER the storm but IN the storm. Some storms are spiritual, some emotional, some physical, and many are the storms of others into which we are drawn. There are private storms, cultural storms, political storms, doctrinal storms, church storms, family storms, and on and on it goes. But one thing they all have in common, there is no storm in which I cannot take the Savior’s hand and walk with Him on top of the tempest! LORD, my prayer is that of the psalmist: “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” 


We exercise our bodies to be healthier, yet we ignore our lips, even though they are even more potent than our strongest muscles. We are told in Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” The things I say can enlighten or deceive, bless or curse, release or entrap, stir love, or cause hatred. In a world where communication and the expression of ideas, opinions, and commentaries are more accessible than ever before, even greater caution should be taken. We should be careful to only speak truth embodied in love. My mouth must be a fountain of blessings, not a cauldron of poison. My words must always be saturated with kindness and wisdom. O LORD My Maker, fill my heart and lips with words of life. Let my words bring sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.


The St. Petersburg Airport was dreary, unfriendly, and cold in 1990 Soviet Russia. I was traveling alone, headed home after an exhausting week of ministry. Surprisingly, a small group of American college students was spread across the dimly lighted departure area. It was a sullen scene, but in an instant, everything changed. One of the young men stood on a chair and enthusiastically proclaimed: “Ladies and gentlemen, seated among us is Mr. Ted Williams, the greatest baseball player who ever lived.” It was true, and there sat Coach Bobby Knight as well; they had been filming a fishing show in Eastern Russia. At that moment, the whole place was transformed by the unexpected presence of greatness. Lord, You are greatness personified! Help me enthusiastically reveal Your Transforming Presence to others! 


“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” Ephesians 4:32 NKJV.   Kindness is one of the principal characteristics of a spirit-controlled life. Kindness activates love, forgiveness, tenderheartedness, patience, and a host of other godly virtues. Kindness and forbearance are both listed as “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22 and should be our constant guides while passing through times of turmoil, anger, disagreements, and fights. Kindness is a forethought, not a reaction. I often feel angry reactions pop up like burnt toast within me, but I have learned the critical importance of bathing my reactions with patience and kindness, especially in those moments. LORD grant me fresh grace today to be kind in all I say and do. And help my neighbors, friends, family, fellow citizens, and our nation to be kind.


“Fear the Lord and shun evil,” Proverbs 3:7 NIV. “Shun evil.” These are biblical words that seem archaic in modern church culture. A huge mistake we often make in dealing with evil is to focus on the host rather than the source. People can become so overcome by evil, they seem like evil personified, but the fountainhead of corruption is Satan’s rebellion. This is critical to understand because even very good people can do evil things. It’s complicated, but a key to godliness is learning to shun sin, not the sinner. Yet his is a mistake often made by sincere believers. The fear of God is a death blow to evil. Godly fear is to respect and reverence Him above all else. We are to love and obey Him as Father and Lord and to hate sin yet love sinners. O LORD my Redeemer, deliver me from evil and help me love You and others with Your Perfect Love. 


“No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him,” 2 Timothy 2:4 ESV. High-level strategic planning and oversight from our Commander in Chief are critical to victory, but wars are not won at Headquarters; battles are won on the battlefield. The soldier’s heart and mind cannot be on civilian affairs or on future dreams. Battlefield victory is achieved when each soldier is WHERE they are assigned WHEN they are scheduled to be there and WITH the training, needed resources, and personal commitment to finish the fight. The LORD has appointed each of us to our position in this spiritual battle for souls. He has prepared us for our individual roles and armed us for what is ahead. LORD, I await Your order to hold position or advance on the enemy as You command.