Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2009

COMPATIBILITY

Chilly air and palm trees do not seem compatible. Then again, God assembles things that are far more complex. Friendships, marriages, families, congregations, causes, peoples, nations; God brings the diverse together for the benefit of each; when His love prevails it works. Lord, You rock! I stand in awe of Your wisdom, attention to detail and persistent goodness. Fill me with love for others.

PERCULATED PRESENCE

Another day. Family, work, sick friends, needs, the future, lost neighbors, world news, weather, past mistakes, obedience, dirty car...my mind is racing. How crowded the mind can be. Jesus, infiltrate my every thought today. You Lord, are THE authorized interruption in every moment. Each second is Yours, help me to receive You unopposed. May Your Presence percolate in & through me today.

MIRACLES

Miracles happen every day; I must consecrate myself in preparation for the amazing things God will do. Should I wait for signs of something happening before making preparatory changes? Absolutely not! Consecration anticipates the wondrous works of God. Lord of Wonders, I yield to Your will and ways. May my heart and mind anticipate Your glory. Help me to prepare for Your works.

LIGHT

When you see light, you don’t need additional confirmation; It is obvious what it is. When there is light in VIEW, it is not hard to find the source. This gives new meaning to “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” This doesn’t sound complicated. Father inHeaven, You are the Light, help me to “let:” grace to yield, humble service to others.

TRUTH

As morning light breaks, previously obscured details emerge. Light reveals. It is commonly said: “truth hurts.” Yes it does, but not as much as deception. I can’t say that I welcome the truth easily, but ultimately, I love the truth. It washes the soul like nothing else. When it comes bathed in love, well…perfect. YOU LORD ARE LOVE. YOU LORD ARE TRUTH. I’m good with that; very good.

THE VOICE

I have never heard God speak audibly, yet I do know His voice. No doubt, He is continuously broadcasting, but there are so many competing voices. My hearing is most acute when I realize that I am in a state of need. How do I ever forget that? He speaks, I die. He speaks again, I live. Lord, I LOVE your voice. Speak to whatever in me that must die, that I may hear and live. I await Your voice.

ANGELIC JOY

Happy Angels sang their chorus: “"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Though they were not those who needed redemption, they compassionately sympathized with mankind’s condition. They gladly descended from their bright seats above to proclaim good news, great joy: “a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Father, may I pronounce the Gospel with angelic joy.

DEVOTED

As I consider this past year many things come to mind: I had to let go of dear ones, I walked with many through shadowed valleys, I inwardly flourished in the midst of a dry and thirsty land, I passed through “dark nights of the soul,” I saw welcomed fruitfulness. In the final analysis, I’m inclined to say: Shouts of joy and victory resound in the hearts of the devoted; the LORD has done mighty things!

UNFORSEEN

Each day presents new battles, unforeseen foes lurking just beyond view. There is simply no chance that I can be fully prepared for what awaits. Yet, how sweet the joy that fills my heart; victory rests in the Lord. Come what may, the Lord is my triumph. King of Kings, into Your hands I cast every care. You are my strength O Lord, in the moments of conflict may I ever trust in Your unfailing love.

HIDDEN TREASURES

A stroll on a sandy beach provides hidden treasures placed there by the creative forethought of God. The ebb & flow of tides opens the treasury of the seas. God sees to it that each day, no matter when or where offers the same: hidden treasures. The angels had it right: "Glory to God in the Highest, good will toward men." Lord of Wonders, teach me to pay attention.

SECRET CHAMBERS

God openly invites us into His secret chambers. Nonchalant pride should never characterize my approach to the Holy and Mighty One. Carelessness is an uninvited companion that sometimes accompanies my intimacy with God. Lord, forgive my presumptuousness. May I never abuse Your Goodness by an inappropriate sense of entitlement. High and Lofty One, You are Glorious.

DIVINE ACTIVITY

Many seem to struggle with the idea that God works mightily through the ordinariness of everyday life. We hope for mountain top moments or dramatic signs to convince us that the Holy One is paying attention. Yet, it is life itself that is the signature of His work. My very breath is evidence enough of His Divine Activity. O Giver of Life, Thank You for another day of discovery, help me to see Your hand.

THE WORD

The Word of the Lord surrounds us. The universe itself is formed and held in place by God’s declaration. He speaks; there is light. He speaks again; there is mankind. There is no language, no place and no heart where His voice is not heard. Praise to You, O Lord my Maker, my Healer, my Deliverer and my Defender; teach me to hear and to promptly obey your decrees. May Your Word flourish in me.

DIAMONDS

Diamonds on the driveway. Passing by the front window at daybreak I looked out to see beautiful sparkles spread across the otherwise dull concrete. Upon further examination, it was dew on small leaves reflecting a combination of moonlight and dawning sunlight. Again, God had transformed the ordinary into something resplendent with beauty. King of Majesty, I stand amazed in Your Presence.

UNFAILING LOVE

Though everything in this world can be shaken, God’s unfailing love never is. Truth administered in His unmitigated love is the only thing that can uncover what is wrong with me. It is also the only thing that can fix me. Lord of Love, thank You for appointing your love and faithfulness to protect me in this life, that I may inherit eternal life. In Your hands I will pass through every tempest in confident peace.

LEARNING

Life is jam-packed with opportunities to grow; there is so much to be learned. Yet, understanding is useless if we are never able to acknowledge truth. Once acknowledged, I must embrace it, put it into practice and be transformed by it. Lord God, You alone are the Fountain of Truth. Grant to me this day a willingness to learn. I confess my ignorance, I await Your instruction.

REMEMBRANCE

“Do this in remembrance of me.” These words spoken at the Last Supper are not a merely an encouragement to recall, it is a command to participate. The Table is not reflection alone; it is activation. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. Lord, help me embrace and act upon these realities: grace to fully die, grace to live the risen life, grace to prepare myself and others for Your return.

ORDINARY

A bush, fire, dirt…unremarkable things. On a mountainside in Sinai, the ordinary was transfigured into the miraculous. God’s Manifest Presence transformed dirt into sacred ground, a fugitive into a deliverer, a shepherd into a national leader. Father, nothing is ordinary when infused with Your Presence. Help me to “turn aside” in the midst of the commonplace and see Your Glory today.

LOVE

Those who know little of the supremacy of God's love live in a persistent state of fear. Fear siphons away life. It drains our joy. It is a thief, murderer and destroyer. God's love is constant, purifying, constraining, motivating, healing, forgiving, freeing...perfect. You ARE love, and I may only know You IN love. En...large my capacity to receive Your love and offer freely it to others.

FOOTPRINTS

Huge storms throughout the dark of night; superseded by soft, warm light of the morning. This morning prompts my remembrance of God's pattern: dark to light, storms to calm, mourning to dancing. Joy comes in the morning. Yesterday slips away, a new day is dawning. I have never been here before, but You My God have trod... these moments. Cause my steps to land only in Your footprints.

A NEW DAY

Sleep reminds me of pushing "restart." The screen goes black, silence, then light, whirring, clicking and there it is: a fresh start. God is so smart, though He never sleeps nor slumbers, He knew that we would need to re-boot. Each day, while still carrying the information of the past, offers a new beginning. Lord, I t...hank You and praise You for you indescribable wisdom and nurture, Help me take hold of this new day.

TOOLS IN GOD'S HANDS

I begin this day in thankfulness for those who have helped shape my life. Some welcomed, others disdained. Biblical characters, historic figures, family, friends, spiritual fathers & mothers, authors, actors, teachers, strangers, detractors and enemies; all used by the Master Craftsman to form me. Lord, bless each one today. Let me be a tool in Your hand for shaping others.

PRESENCE

I hunger for God’s Manifest Presence today. The moment I offer unconditional love to others I experience God’s Presence. His daily habitation is assured by simply walking in genuine love toward the people He loves and redeemed at such a great price. Opportunities to love others are His invitation to move higher; to walk closer. Oh Lord my God, make it so this day.

OPTIMISM

I’m often told that I am an optimistic person. In fact, optimism is a feeble substitute the greatness of God. Simply stated, He is ABOVE ALL THINGS. When doubts and fears arise, ultimately I am roused to my senses by an indisputable fact: Jesus IS Lord of all. My God & my Strength, You alone are the High & Lofty One. M...ay I never place hope in anything but You, my Lord, my God, my Hope.

ETERNAL VALUE

When something is compelling enough, I can usually find a way to make it happen. It is embarrassing to admit how often I am compelled by passing desires rather than things of eternal importance. No doubt, misuse of time, talent and treasures hinders my spiritual progress. Lord, You are perfectly balanced in all that You do. Help me to properly steward all that I have and all that I am according to Your will.

CREAKINESS

Several doors in my life are creaking; front door, back door, car door. Lubricant should clear this up. Maintenance...I seem to respond better to crisis; okay, it’s a crisis now. My inner life is no different; I allow creakiness to become a crisis before taking action. Father, grant me grace to act. May dryness of soul... have no place in me. Thank You for the oil of joy, which penetrates each part, offered to You.

LESSONS

The lessons of God are embedded in every moment. Development of deeper understanding requires patience. This is not spiritless pursuit that often plagues the soul; rather, it is hunger-driven yearning to comprehend deeper truths. Each circumstance offers gifts that are easily missed by the impatient. Lord of Wisdom, calm me down when I rush past concealed, but discernible treasures.

FOG

This morning’s dawn is veiled with light fog. I strain to see details that I could otherwise see. The obscurity focuses my attention to what I WANT to see, what I NEED to see; things of less importance fade into the background. Yes Lord, I think I get it. Help me today to focus more carefully on what You want me to see... each moment. Cause the non-essential to fade into the background.

RAIN

Rain, and lots of it. The frogs are rejoicing; I should too. God knows the needs of every creature and makes provision. He IS “The Lord Who Provides.” Like all divine supply, if I don’t get it when I think I need it, I always need it when it does appear. Lord God, You are my Daily Bread. Help me to trust both Your PROVISION and TIMING. I rejoice, whenever it appears...Rrrribbit.

POWERFUL THINGS

I saw part of the Leonids meteor shower this morning; over 500 meteors per hour can be seen during its annual passage. What a great reminder that there are powerful things hurtling by every day that can be easily missed. How often do I simply slumber through amazing opportunities? Lord of All Creation, awaken my senses. Help me to be more observant and responsive to what You send by.

PRIDE

After years of God’s dealings, I still have so much pride in my heart. It lurks just behind a veneer of intentional humility. Though I sometimes diagnose it before it pops out in my words or actions, more often than not, it is too late. I am truly grateful that I can recognize it at all. This too, is the working of God. Glory to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit for Your holy work of deliverance. Blessed riddance.

THOUGHTS

Ideas come from somewhere. Some are harmless, others inspired, still others, toxic. The mind is surely our most constant battlefield. Lord, teach me to recognize the difference between good ideas that emanate from You and bad ideas that come from other sources. Teach me to put good ideas into action to serve others. Grant me the patience to work in Your timing. I await.

DEEPER

I am, of late, being drawn into a deeper place. This newest spiritual advance requires little outward action, however, a lot is happening inwardly. Past growth means little here, no, only the present. Attitudes, commitments and practices are being put to the test; fresh excitement and passion is gurgling. Shepherd of My Soul, thank You for fresh winds. Help me to not take shortcuts. Be magnified in me.

DIVINE PURGINGS

Each day, I am increasingly aware of how little ACTUAL control that I have. This is good. I do not warrant unmitigated control of my life. My record is anemic where I HAVE attempted to be my own final authority. Oh yes, nonstop attempts. Master, I am at peace with surrender to Your control. Grant me DIVINE PURGING today that I may more easily yield to your primacy. My life is Yours alone.

RECKLESS WORDS

So many problems are rooted in reckless words. It is foolish to believe that we should say whatever we think. Every thought must be brought under obedience to Christ. Unfiltered thoughts must not be allowed to roam freely in our minds and should never exit our mouths. Lord of Love and Truth, may all of my thoughts be in submission to You. Help me to guard my tongue. Let love guide my words.

I AM

“I Am that I Am.” Who introduces himself like that? Only God; only He CAN! It says little, but then again, it says everything. God’s simple self-description is sufficient for every longing, for every need. The very thought of the transcendent I AM dispels all of my fears and grants instant, unmitigated hope. Lord, I know that, You are the GREAT I AM, grant me grace to know You more.

ANGER

I saw unrestrained anger yesterday. It was ugly, painful. I am eternally thankful that long ago, God expunged vitriol from my soul. Even the slightest ripple of hatred grieves the surrendered heart. I still get angry more that I should, but realize now more than ever what a protective gift the love of God truly is. Lord of Love, thank You for the powerful force of forgiveness. Strengthen my resolve to walk in love.

GENEROSITY

What divine protection and transformational power belongs to the generous heart! Greed is a daily intruder, a bothersome and dangerous squatter. Long ago, I committed my heart to live to give, live to lift, live to bless. Yet, greed’s relentless pursuit attempts to throw me off track. Lord, grant me a generous spirit today & deliver me from selfishness. Help me open my heart and hands to others.

THE UNRESTRAINED HEART

The unrestrained heart is an easy target for enticing arguments that lead us astray. In addition to His Word and Spirit, God’s loving protection is provided by our conscience, responsibilities, disciplines, values and even fears. Lord God my Keeper, let me not be overcome by allurements, and empty arguments. Help me to stand strong in times of overwhelming tiredness or selfishness. I am Yours.

THANKFUL

Little things, big things, almost anything...these are the things I often take for granted. When I do, I quickly forget that they ever even existed. How sad...how foolish. A thankful heart is the key to freedom from taking things for granted. Lord, THIS day I praise you for...well, everything. Help me to recognize Your constant provision and to be genuinely and continually thankful.

THE PAST

What a waste of time it is to wish that past things had happened differently. The past is the past; I mustlearn from it, appreciate it & get over it. THIS DAY offers authenticopportunity. Will I seek God today? Will I obey His voice? Will I act forcefully, with kindness, with joy? Lord, I praise You for this new day, shine in me, through me, before me. Bind my heart to Your plans; lift my eyes to the horizon.

BIRDS

Still in the passing dark of early morning, yet I hear birds singing. Why does a bird awaken with a song in its heart? I suppose it awakens excited about the prospect of eating worms. Actually, I have much more to look forward to and I am not nearly as enthusiastic as they. Lord, I am VERY THANKFUL for what awaits. You have already ordered my steps for this new day. Chirp, chirp. I feel better already.

GRACE

Grace is perfectly distributed by God. He that spins the worlds on His fingers has sufficient grace apportioned for every moment. Yesterday’s grace will not do for today, tomorrow’s grace cannot be coerced. Like manna in the desert, grace comes for each day, each instant. Gracious Father, help me to accept and walk in Your provision of grace today…now.

JOY

My attempts at self-planned happiness are utterly useless. Human engineered enjoyment is a short-lived, pitiful substitute for the Joy of the Lord. God’s joy is strength giving, shout invoking, song releasing gladness of heart. Father, How great is the joy of Your Presence; Lord, You are my joy and my delight. Forgive my failed attempts to find fulfillment anywhere but in You.

WEARINESS

Weariness awakens selfishness and drains away kindness and consideration for others. Weariness is an indicator of self-dependence and loss of vision. When I become weary, God reminds me why I serve in the first place. Father, I owe You everything and I owe others Your love and kindness on which I necessarily depend. I am excited about serving You and your work.

NEVER ALONE

The walk of faith carries us down solitary paths at times. Daily personal obedience can seem lonely since it is custom designed by God specifically for each of us. The human heart can be desperately lonely in the midst of a crowd, yet fully satisfied solely in the presence of just One…THE ONE. Heavenly Father, Eternal Creator, help me today to walk in private fidelity. Help me keep my eyes on You.

THE POTTER

Human interaction is confrontational. At some point, every relationship challenges the resident selfishness within us. It is true: “Iron Sharpens Iron.” Confrontation without bitterness is one of life’s best gifts, providing a powerful, life-giving, transformational force of good. Lord, You are the Potter, mold me into the man that pleases you. Thank you for those who You use to shape me.

DISCERNMENT

There is no dependable substitute for divinely guided discernment. We need good judgment to distinguish between inspired thoughts and selfish fantasies; they often appear the same at first glance. The immature mind, driven by personal desire, can be easily confused. Imagination is a gift from God, but must be brought under obedience to Christ. Lord of Creation, teach me to truly submit my thoughts to You today.

NEW GROWTH

Spiritual nutrition will not change what only repentance can transform. It is late fall, but our grass is still summer green. Small, stubborn patches where it will not grow must be removed before new growth will appear. Nutrition will not do, only removal. Lord, help me to establish the right sequence. Where dried patches lie, grant me grace to truly repent and sow in me that which You desire. I’m excited!

INTENTIONS

I intend to have a good day. God has carefully placed me into the circumstances of this day, providing every resource and opportunity for it to be a day of destiny and fulfilled purpose. My good intentions for today must become action empowered by surrendered obedience. I intend to have a good day…Lord Almighty, help me with my follow through. Provoke me to finish well.

HOLY CONSTRAINT

I realize now more than ever, God keeps me. He surrounds me like a wall. This has, at times, felt constraining; HOLY CONSTRAINT, what divine joy, what genuine FREEDOM. Why do we wear ourselves out to get what can never satisfy? Father, grant me the wisdom and discipline to show restraint. With Your Love and Grace You hem me in, forgive my attempts to dislodge Your hold.

BLESSINGS

Blessings come in many forms. Some are HUGE and obvious, but most are simple and come unannounced: a thought, a smile, a taste, a touch. It strikes me how unpretentious God is. He can work on any scale, but instead, designs into each of our lives a constant stream of unembellished blessings. Lord God of the Universe, Source of All Blessings, I praise You for Your Amazing work.

SPIRITIAL LAZINESS

Spiritual laziness is a constant nemesis. It is easy to be tricked into thinking that Christian activity is spiritual fervor. David had been a successful king for a while when “at the time of battle” he was in the palace instead of where he belonged. His moral fall came when he was enjoying the fruit of his efforts. Oh Lord my Keeper, deliver me from worldly contentment. Pull me toward You.

NEW BEGINNINGS

I’m standing just offstage; the curtain is about to rise on a brand new day. Past performance informs the moment, but this hour has never been. Will I confidently step forward in grace and mercy, or will I drag along yesterday’s shortcomings, misgivings and calamities? Lord of New Beginnings, You have given me this new day. Let Your light wash over me. May the glory of Your brightness be seen in me.

GOD'S GOODNESS

I marvel at the goodness of God. He uses us for good in spite of our limitations and failures, then allows us to enjoy the fruit of our efforts that are only successful because of His grace. As the hymnist wrote: “I stand amazed in the Presence.” Oh Lord My Helper, thank You for your kindness. May I be ever aware of Your work in me and through me. Use me as You will.

MOUSE STEPS

MOUSE STEPS produce little forward advance, but are often the prelude to the monumental. I prefer GIANT STEPS, but they must be taken with greater caution and forethought. There is a time for each. Everything God does with mankind must seem like mouse steps to Him. Eternal Lord, You who holds the universe in Your palm, thank You for Your patience and delicate care. Make me more like You.

RECKLESS

I have a reckless streak. Sometimes it serves me well, such as when spiritual opportunities present themselves. Being adverse to risk often keeps us from taking leaps of faith. But recklessness is quite dangerous in other ways. For instance, reckless words can easily damage relationships. Lord of Faith and Wisdom, bring Spirit-controlled balance to my character today.

SUPREMACY

There is no substitute for the supremacy of Christ. He alone must be enthroned in my heart. Most of my troubles are rooted in stubborn attempts to pull away from His dominion overthe length and breadth of my life. Until all that is mine is conceded, all that is His will elude me. Oh God my King, I acknowledge Your Lordship, help me to relinquish every portion. Grant me grace to knuckle under.

AWAKENINGS

Waking up each day is a curious process: alarm, consciousness, minimal awareness, eyes open, foggy recognition, acknowledgement, action. Interestingly, I awaken to the things of God in a similar manner. Lord, help me today to awaken to You swiftly and consistently, especially in things of eternal value which have been heretofore dormant in me. Use me to awaken others.

FRIENDS

I am blessed with friendships; close friends, distant friends, common interest friends, casual friendships, difficult ones, easy ones, new ones, life-long friends, covenant friends. Friendships are lifting, challenging, provoking, inspiring, demanding, instructive; I am rich beyond measure. Lord, thank you for my friends. Help me today to be a better friend to others.

DISCRETION

Discretion is a precious gift from God. If I ignore its protection I suffer the consequences. Time spent in Scripture, prayer, worship, thoughtfulness and with discreet people increases my discernment and guards me from self deception. Good judgement does not lock us away from the world around us, but empowers us to walk safely among all. Giver of All Wisdom, grant me foresight and good sense today.

MASTER ARTISAN

Sunset, daybreak, the steady hand of God turns the earth through another day. His grip is sturdy, forceful, capable, secure. My life is firmly in His grasp. As the Master Artisan of the universe, not one detail is missed as He rotates the object of His love in His hand. Lord God, Father and Creator, I am at peace; You will finish the work You have begun. My life for the Gospel, Your work and will be done.

EASY

I prefer things to be easy. Will I never learn? Effortless, carefree subsistence ultimately leaves me empty, shallow, selfish and without purpose. It is the daily grind of keeping a steadfast heart that produces the genuine joy found only in faithful obedience to God. Lord God, Fountain of Truth and Wisdom, another day, another lesson, oh joy...no really...OH JOY ETERNAL! My heart is inclined to learn.

FIRM FOUNDATION

“On Christ the Solid Rock I stand.” Words of the great hymns are resounding in my heart today. I have been in an earthquake; it is deeply unsettling when earth shifts, that which has always been stable heaves beneath. These are moments of authentication. Rock of Ages, You are the only Firm Foundation. Lord, plant my feet, all other ground is sinking sand…all other ground is sinking sand.

PRETENSE

Living by pretense is no life at all. The raw, straightforward simplicity of the Gospel rips away pretentiousness. Christ’s example of love, obedience, truth and power awakens virtue and exterminates fraud. Lord God Almighty, shine Your blazing Light of Truth in me today. Illuminate the dark corners of my soul with Your brightness and strip away every veneer.

DIVINE AUTHORITY

We sometimes confuse DIVINE AUTHORITY, which is a gift of grace, with being an AUTHORITY ON THE DIVINE: confidently condemning those not like us. From there it is a slippery slope. Discernment has great value, but we often move into judgment and dec...larative pronouncements that bring division. Lord, help me to discern, think and speak things ONLY bathed in Your love.

FEAR OF GOD

Fear of God delivers us from every other fear. It contains no trepidation, anxiety, panic or horror, only reverential respect and deference to His nature and will. Fear of God opens our understanding, fills our lives with true praise, grants peace in a storm and empowers us to love others. Forgiveness is rooted in it, holiness and kindness too. Lord, I fear You Alone, my heart is at rest.

MORNING SUPRISE

Today I arose late. Extra sleep, what a nice gift. Then a beautiful morning surprise: the river glistening, golden sunlight, abundant greenery, azure sky blotted with wispy clouds and a double rainbow ground to the heavens to ground. I stand amazed. O Lord my God, You shout Your glory in all that You make. You clothe the day with exquisiteness, then place two strands of jewels over it. I begin in awesome wonder.

PAIN

Pain has a unique way of capturing all of our attention. Life without agony of some variety seems impossible. I must not let sorrow of any sort have more than momentary notice or it will sequester everything around it. Giving, loving, serving require doing so THROUGH pain. Lord I believe; those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. Harvest comes. I rejoice.

HOLY TENSION

Jesus declares "Come Unto Me." Jesus declares: "Go into all the world." There is no confusion in these juxtaposed commands. I must learn to live obediently, constantly in this holy tension. I cannot offer to others out of an empty well, I must not hoard for myself that which belongs to the world around me. Lord, teach me to come…teach me to go…my life, for you.

NO FRAUD

A relationship with God must be real. In our other interpersonal connections we are accustomed to holding back, doling out our true person in controlled spurts. There can be none of this with God, He KNOWS us; we cannot fool Him. No fraud. What deliverance and freedom we can know in unrestrained surrender! Lord, You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb, I am Yours.

BEYOND COMPREHENSION

My mental grasp of God is unnecessary since His greatness is beyond human comprehension. I don’t have to wait for more understanding of His works and ways to praise Him. He is worthy of outrageous, extravagant acclamation and adoration NOW. Great is the Lord and worthy of all honor and glory! My heart and mouth are full of praise to You my God and my strength.

ARRESTED

Striving to enter rest, the daily paradox of the soul. It seems that most of my energy is exhausted in resistance, only to find rest in abandon. What sweet whisperings await the submitted heart! Lord, arrest my body, soul and spirit. Teach me to succumb to Your promptings BEFORE running headlong into walls. Constrain me to “Come Unto” before I ”Go Therefore.” At Your feet is the “better part.”

MERCY

The mercy of God requires no conditions. By the time we need mercy, nothing more CAN be done, that is why we need it. We who know little of unconditional love struggle with the very idea that God offers mercy of this nature. Don’t get me wrong…grace and mercy are murderous. Every last strand of selfishness will succumb to their work. Most Merciful and Gracious God, do your holy work in me today.

IMPEDIMENTS

Will God SPEAK to the depths of a heart not OPEN to His voice? Can I expect God’s guidance in issues closed to His counsel? In His love He DOES speak through humanly held barriers, standing just outside the door knocking. Holy Father, I seek hope that only You may bring, uproot every impediment to Your voice within me. I long for Your words my Lord. Your words.

THANKFUL

I woke up thankful today. Thankfulness floats close to the surface for me, but it is usually not my first reaction. Constant, auto-response gratefulness requires a level of surrender that still eludes me. Typically I must first navigate through a maze of my own thoughts and emotions BEFORE I reach the bliss of thankfulness. Today, I am there; thank You Father for the early gift.

CARPE DIEM

A new day, another shot at obedience. Complications, diversions and agitations are always present, but the chance to serve God THIS day will not. As compelling as distractions might be, I must let them fall behind. Today I will "carpe diem" by pursuing the opportunities that God presents. Dear Father, deliver me from disorientation, direct my steps. Thank You for divinely guided focus.

ABIDING PEACE

Sunday Morning…mist, empty streets, Word, Spirit, peacefulness...check the clock, everything changes. Hurry up, finish dressing, get out of the way, through the doors, so many details, greet, greet, conversations, find a seat, the band begins, eyes closed...mist, Word, Spirit, peacefulness. Lord, teach me more about ABIDING peace. Today.

FULLY AWAKE

I awakened this morning working on something with real-world intensity. As it turned out, all my dream world labors were for naught. It FELT authentic, I perceived it as reality, but achieved nothing. Now I am fully awake, but will what I do accomplish something of lasting value? Lord of Truth, I confess my capacity for false perception. Grant to me authenticity that pleases You today.

DAWN

In the dawning light of early morning it is difficult to see details; familiar trees are shadowy giants. I know there is depth, beauty, life, but I can’t see it…yet. Another day, God’s light breaking through, revealing, life sustaining. What wonderful mysteries lie just beyond perception? Elohim, Giver of Life, with wonder and excitement I anticipate what approaches…today.

THE WORD

There seems to be no shortage of those willing to add weights to those struggling to stay afloat. However, when God speaks, even in discipline, there is LIFTING of the soul. Every word from God imparts life, blessing, hope; its sharpness surgical, not blunt, its effect liberty, not incarceration. Anxiety weighs down one’s soul, Lord, Your Word pronounces ascent. My cup overflows, I am free.

HOLY CONSTRAINT

God keeps me, He surrounds me like a wall, He hems me in. This has, at times, felt constraining. HOLY CONSTRAINT. What divine joy, what genuine FREEDOM!! I am eternally thankful that He broods over me. I cannot escape His persistent love. Holy Father, help me to let down my guard. Pry-open every hairline crack, every corner, leave no part untouched.

SEASONS

A seasonal shift, change in the air; almost unperceivable at first, then obvious signs emerge. I love how God works in both nature and in me. There is always something afoot, new seasons arrive unannounced. Grace for where I have trod recedes, grace for what is next appears. Lord of Seasons, acclimate my heart to what approaches, more of You in me…much more.

TRANSITIONS

The sun is rising in a glowing eastern sky, while a beautiful moon is still hanging in the silvery western horizon. The Majestic One never slumbers, He speaks loudly through that which He has made. He frames my yesterday, today and tomorrow. Darkness, sunlight, transitions…O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all…I praise You my Lord, I proceed into this day in safety and joy.

THE QUIET SHOUT

The silence bursts forth in quiet shout, morning is dawning. One day closer to forever. The darkness slips away and my soul awakens to another moment of God’s unfailing love. I haven’t been here before, so I must not presume that it is like any other I’ve traversed. Lord, show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Fill my heart with fresh expectation. Use me to lift another…today.

SPILLOVER

It is convenient to assign blame to everything else, but what comes out of me is merely spillover from what is inside. This is unsettling. After so much time and so many attempts to transform myself, I again must face the truth, I am still a work in ...progress and only God can finish the work. So there it is: Lord, clay to the Potter, mold me and make me after Your will, I am waiting…yielded and still.

ANTS

Will I never learn the lesson of ants? I generally do better in big crises than with relentless small annoyances. It seems that the SIZE of a difficulty elicits different responses in me. In BIG problems I easily realize that I must turn it over to God quickly. With SMALL ones I foolishly feel confident to handle them on my own, but the volume of leaking joy empties me. Lord, in to Your hands I entrust my ALL.

ANGRY NATION

We live in an angry nation and it seems to be worsening. I get angry fairly easily, a lifelong malady. Rage and bitterness have long since been expunged. I have learned to keep short accounts. But mild to spicy anger still arises regularly. Far too much is damaged in my relationship with God to cling to anger or unforgiveness. Lord, deliver me from selfish entitlement and grant to me humble kindness at all times.

DIVINE QULAITIES

People are God’s principle means of developing divine qualities in us. As we learn to be truly grateful for this process we make huge spiritual strides. How would God provoke me to change without others? Raw truth, without the test of practical application…loving, forgiving, blessing, lifting, would leave me fundamentally unchanged. Lord, thank you for the relentless test of walking in love.

CHEERFUL TRUST

I am not capable of mapping God's incredible will. I must trust Him to reveal it in each step of obedience. He has promised to guide the steps of the righteous. The steps. I prefer more foreknowledge, more advanced guidance, yet faith is developed God’s way rather than mine. Lord, I am pleased to do it Your way. Teach me the daily walk of faith and cheerful trust.

DIVINE DISSATISFACTION

I have a WELCOME case of DIVINE DISSATISFACTION. God induced turbulence is ultimately terminal, blessed riddance. His goodness is what stirs discontentment with our current condition. He will not leave us in the squalor of yesterday’s spiritual hunger. Lord, thank you for provoking me to go deeper. May it ever be so.

GREENHOUSE EFFECT

Two words came to mind while in prayer: ”give space.” The Presence of God can occupy any space, but may not be recognizable in the junk pile of an overstuffed life. I once entered a simple greenhouse surrounded by Moscow’s late winter’s ice and snow. Inside were beautiful green herbs and vegetables; life in the midst of frozen tundra. Prepared and yielded space produced life. Lord, You own me. I yield space to You…now.

BAREFOOT & CRAZY

I heard the title of a country song: “Barefoot & Crazy.” I Thought of Moses; how a divine encounter knocked him right out of his sandals and sent him back to those he had escaped. That’s exactly what I want. Divine encounters, shedding of human things, bold, crazy obedience…YES. Lord Almighty, Great “I AM,” I ask for holy encounters that evoke radical surrender, barefoot & crazy.

HUMMINGBIRDS

We have a tree that hummingbirds visit regularly. I rarely see them come or go. I look, no bird, look again, there is one hovering. They come and go quickly. God’s blessings are the same; whether I see it coming or not, the next blessing may be as close as my next thought, prayer, act of kindness or obedience. Lord, I’m amazed by You. Your ways are divine.

SELFISHNESS

Selfishness is incredibly powerful. It can turn liberty into indulgence, freedom into irresponsibility. There can be no outward freedom without internal freedom. Mostly what binds me, what strips away my capacity to practice genuine liberty is my own wandering heart. Master, help me to love You first and always. Deliver me from self-generated anarchy. You alone are Lord.

RUGBY SCRUM

Life often seems like a rugby scrum. While I know full well that God is always present and that all His ways are loving and faithful, still I strive. Each time I feel like complaining, I must remember that there is a much more powerful option...to glorify God in my distress. Lord, grant to me the willing obedience of Christ among the olive trees..."not my will"

GROWTH

Our grass is so green. A mix of rain and sunshine, air above and worms underneath, has produced richness of color. It is growing so well. How do I look to God today? To others? Do they see life bursting forth in me? Lord, fill me with Your life-giving Presence, by whatever means it may come. Help me to welcome both rain & sunshine. May authentic growth be evident to all.

CHASING AFTER

Chasing after God must be done in spite of many obstructions. I not only face the difficulty of human selfishness, but also the twisted theology of our day, that our personal fulfillment is on the same level as the will of God. The Cross can finish this. Father, pull me toward You when I pull away. Teach me to cleave to the finishing work of Your death, burial & resurrection…today.

ALERTNESS

Alertness to God at all times is my daily battle. I must not only escape the sticky web of human selfishness, but also the twisted theology of our day, that our personal fulfillment is on the same level with the will of God. Wrong. Lord, King of Ages, arouse my heart to hear and obey in each moment. Free me from self-centered intent. You alone are my Joy and Crown.

FRIENDS

How do new friendships come? Like summer rains, they often build surprisingly quick and seemingly come from nowhere. Actually, God SENDS rain and God SENDS friends. They are gifts from the Holy One. Lord, Friend of Sinners, thank you for granting me friendships, old and new. Help me to be a better friend to others. Lord, bless my friends today.

NEW BIRTH

The miracle of birth. So violent, natural, intrinsic. Suddenly, a new person is present. Hope, smiles, potential. Difficulties will unfailingly come; joys await, surprises around each corner, a new life. Each child born into my family is an autobiography of my own spiritual journey, a memorandum of my own walk of faith. Holy Lord, thank you for the miracle of birth, again.

THE MASTER'S TOUCH

Morning has broken. Golden hues over deep green grass; soft shades of pink layered over cool blues above. Silhouettes of palms & oaks gently swaying...God's fingerprints are all over this day. The Master’s touch brings exquisite comeliness to the commonplace. Help me, Lord to see Your majesty in all that I behold today.

PRUNING

The first time I saw a rose bush properly pruned it stunned me. It went from a healthy looking plant to a simple stick-like shadow of its former self. I thought it was ruined. I was wrong; it grew more beautiful and productive the next spring. It seems like most everything is now being pruned in and around me. Yes Lord, this is good. I am thankful and welcome Your holy work.

NO EXCUSES

At times I give myself permission to fail before beginning. I wonder how much more could be accomplished if I did not waste so much time inventing excuses. Would the person whose heart is truly yielded to God behave like this? More evidence that my journey of authentic surrender is incomplete. Lord, another day, another embrace of the Cross; cover-ups end here.

LOVER OF MY SOUL

No one can claim to have found God. He bends down to us. His love descends and awakens our love for Him. Heaven comes down; glory fills our soul. Lord God, Lover of My Soul, Your grip on me is much stronger than my grip on You. I am humbled and amazed by Your love pursuit. Forgive me for trying to struggle away from Your grasp.

I'M SMILING

While I have my moments of sorrow, I am thankful that God has gifted me with a happy heart. There is an unquenchable, unrestrainable joy nested in the heart of the willingly submitted. Hope abounds, outlasts, overcomes; corners turn upward. Then sings my soul. Lord of Deepest Joy, thank You; thank You again, and again and again. There it is…I’m smiling.

DIVINE IMPULSE

Every good thing is preceded by divine impulse; God is its origin. No pride may be taken in a righteous act since it can only be done in His grace. How easily I slip into pretentious vainglory. Even while acknowledging God, somehow I find a way to take at least some credit. It is no wonder that I must die daily. Righteous Lord, annihilate my arrogance by the Cross, that I may humbly do good.

GOD-CONFIDENCE

Self-confidence is synonymous with foolishness; a house built on sand. God-confidence is a much sturdier foundation. The God enamored faces every tempest with calm assurance, knowing the Greater One is always present; behind, within, before. Lord of Glory, YOU must increase, I must decrease. I CAN do all things, but ONLY in Your strength, never my own.

VALLEY LIFE

The view from the top? Breathtaking, exhilarating, fresh, majestic. The lowlands? Earthy, organic, unremarkable, commonplace; where life happens. I am enamored by the mountaintop but crops grow best on the valley floor. Lord God in the Highest, teach me faithfulness in the mundane, the unremarkable. Thank You for the transfiguring moments of the heights.

GRACE FOR TODAY

Having suffered a painful trial in the past does not take away the sting of a new trial, even if it is similar to past ones. Prior grace will not relieve the dark night of the soul. I must return to the foot of the cross again. Grace for today is given freely to those in renewed surrender. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, yes to You, no to all else.

SPIRITUAL ARDOR

Zeal without knowledge can be brutal, but Christianity without fervor is a waste. God is zealous, but with the perfect counterbalance of wisdom. Lord, grant me ardor, determination, devotion, diligence, drive, eagerness, earnestness, enterprise, fire, gusto, hustle, inclination, initiative, intensity, passion, perseverance, readiness, sincerity, spirit, stick-to-itiveness, urgency…and wisdom…this day.

EVERY MOMENT

Every moment is full of secrets and marvels! God is always present therefore every moment is brimming with all that He is. Lord, You are here. This moment is permeated with wisdom, provision, opportunity, life, light. Lord, help me to see unveiled mysteries. Expose and heal my foolish pride that I, in genuine humility, may know Your works each moment, THIS moment.

NEVER ALONE

Never alone. A journey of faith is a private passage. While others are willing to join, ultimately there are times of single-space passage. When we feel desolate in our walk of faith it is not a desertion, but an INVITATION to walk closer to God. Ever-Present Lord, open my eyes to see your omnipresence. Teach me trust when You seem just beyond my grasp.

TRUE WEALTH

Needs are easily overestimated and blessings underestimated. Laughter, opportunities, work, challenges, friends, children; considering the multitude of blessings I enjoy, I realize how truly wealthy I am. Forgive me Lord in those moments when I abandon the splendor of thankfulness, to roam the squalor of cravings.

REST

Rest is a gift from God. In my sleepworld, dreams seem real, time means nothing, strength is replenished without effort, problems drift into the background. While I feel that I could use more of it, I am genuinely thankful for what I get. Lord, You give rest to my soul, refresh my spirit and quicken my body. Teach me to REST, and to be a sanctuary of rest for others. Another day, I am ready.

LONGINGS

Two little faces above a baby gate. I stopped and squatted to their level. Three-year-old boys are a trip. These guys I know well, but we’re still at the “I know you” stage; mostly silent stares, clunky questions, growing acceptance. Another face appeared. A girls this time. Introductions, lot’s of smiles, conversation with a cute lisp. It was difficult to walk away. The hunger for connection we each have proclaims our longing for God. Lord, You are Love.

BIG THINGS, LITTLE THINGS

God holds the universe in His palm, yet He stoops down to design unique, detailed magnificence into every tiny snowflake. Is anything too small for me to be thankful for? I owe each God-given, precious moment the care and attention that will bring forth lasting treasure. My Lord, my All, forgive my indelicate superficiality and help me to see Your hand in things both large and small.

SEEKING EARLY

“Early will I seek You.” Sound advice from a shepherd/king. Why delay? Like a road trip, starting late means additional traffic. Meditations of the Master do not belong bumper to bumper on a slow moving freeway; cares of this world cutting into holy space. No, God first, that’s it. Other thoughts can wait, must wait. Oh God, early will I seek You.

TODAY

Sunrise. Yesterday? Gone. Tomorrow? Beyond the horizon. What I have is today…now. Time to forget what should have been or what might be. What does the Lord require of me THIS day? The careless ease of self-confident fools destroys them. Too often, I drift over the line or drop a wheel off the pavement. Lord, I commit my ways to You, I will pay attention THIS day.

GRUMBLERS-R-US

Grumbling is a common malady of the human condition. In the final analysis, it is merely a symptom; the deeper problem is that we have an issue with God. At times we feel He is unfair, uncaring, or has treated others better than us. Yes, there it is again: SELFISHNESS. Lord of Love, may no root of anger toward You or Your ways ever find a home in my heart.

THE DAILY FEAST

Ospreys (eagles) & Pelicans feed from the river behind our home. The Osprey hovers, swoops, and delicately plucks a fish with his talons, gracefully flying away. The pelican pauses, then drops like a rock, head-first, full speed. Sitting on the water like a dazed boxer on the canvas, he spits out water and swallows the fish. They BOTH feast. Lord, thank You for my daily bread…whatever.

STILLNESS

“Be still and know.” It is not necessary that EVERYTHING be still, just that I am INWARDLY still. Today I must again cast off thoughts, cares and emotions that suppress God's Presence within me. Yesterday’s peace means nothing today. Only DAILY stillness will do. Prince of Peace, in You my soul finds rest. In the swirl of a new day’s turbulence, keep me settled down.

GENTLE MOMENTS

It’s foggy this morning. No, not the river, it’s me. I usually awake alert. But today, thoughts come half-finished, oozing rather than flowing. This is unsettling but strangely restful. Rather than jumping ahead in my mind to the busy day before me, I’m nonchalantly opening the package without tearing the wrapping paper. Nice. My God, My Maker, thank you for these gentle moments.

TRUST

Panic is not a reliable strategy. Fear-governed thoughts and actions rarely lead us to the right conclusions. Trusting God is THE ONLY sensible response to crisis. The peace God grants to those who lean on Him is the perfect environment for understanding and wisdom to emerge. Lord of Lords, this day is in Your hands...I am at peace.

DIVINE DIRECTIVE

Our Divine directive is that we not only recognize that broken people exist, but that God wants us to do something for them. ACTING compassionately is much more difficult than the HAVING compassion. How I treat the broken, the difficult, the tedious among us measures the true depth of my love for God. Lord, You ARE love, teach me more. Use me as Your hands.

THE SHEPHERD

Why give in to the convenience of discouragement? Despair offers no reward. The path to trust is more steep, but grants still waters, restored soul. Jesus is ALWAYS our Great Shepherd, even when we are wholly unaware of it. In the deepest valley I never trod alone. Oh Shepherd of my soul, from sinking sand, You lift me, With tender hand, You lift me, all is well.

GRACE

The more I understand of the grace of God the more I am amazed by it. It is saturated with truth, with life, with mercy, with power. My brokenness invites it, my pride resists it. I necessarily depend upon a limitless supply of grace, yet struggle to offer it freely to others. Gracious Lord, open my heart to receive and offer Your grace without measure, without restraint.