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Showing posts from August, 2009

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.