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Showing posts from 2011

ANOTHER YEAR

At the stroke of midnight another year will pass, a sincere prayer of thanksgiving on my lips as it slips away. I will release this past year into the gentle current of time and will neither sorrow nor rejoice at its departure. No time for that, here comes the next. It too, must be embraced with gratefulness for new beginnings. Lord God, Alpha and Omega, all that I have, all that I am, all of my days are Yours.

THE VOICE

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.

FATHERS

I was thinking of my precious spiritual fathers. My life has been greatly impacted by the seeds of wisdom and prayerful oversight of three godly men. Two are now in heaven, the other I rarely see, but their impact on me will continue a lifetime and their fingerprints are on millions for generations to come. Lord, thank You for Costa, Russell and Paul and the many others who have poured seed into my life.

A CHANCE TO LEARN AND GROW

Difficult times bring many valuable lessons; most of the important changes I have made came as a direct result of crisis.  As the pressure rises, so does focus, intensity of seeking God’s face and grace to deal. While I do not intentionally seek more problems, there seems to be no shortage. Yet I can honestly say: “Thank You Lord for each opportunity to know You better. Thank you for EVERY chance to learn and grow.”

THIS WORLD

Attraction to God delivers us from the distractions of this world. While many things IN this world are wonderful gifts, crafted in intricate love by the Master Craftsman, things OF this world carry us in the wrong direction. Eternity awaits, therefore I must be vigilant with regard to temporary interests that could affect eternal rewards. Father, draw me close, You are beautiful beyond description.

FINDING SELF

A common statement is: “I need to find myself”. I have never had a problem with that.  This constant quest for self baffles me since I find my “self” far too often. Actually, I would like to reduce these daily discoveries. Far better is an unrelenting pursuit of the man God created me to be. Lord, help me to DENY myself and follow hard after Your will. Give me grace to put self aside and focus on You and others.

HIDDEN TREASURES

A stroll on a sandy beach provides hidden treasures placed there by the creative forethought of God. The ebb and 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 so right: "Glory to God in the Highest, Peace on earth, good will toward men." Lord of Wonders, teach me to pay attention each and every day.

MENDING THE BROKEN

Our Divine directive is that we not only recognize broken people exist, but that God wants us to do something for them. ACTING compassionately is much more difficult than HAVING compassion.  How I treat the broken, the difficult, the tedious, the dispirited, measures the true depth of my love for God. Lord, You ARE love, teach me more. Use me as Your hands to lift others without complaint or resistance.

RECKLESS

I have a lifelong 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 dangerous in other ways. For instance, reckless words can easily damage relationships. Lord of Faith and Wisdom, bring Spirit-controlled balance to my character and behaviors today.

AT REST

Calamities happen; crawling into a cave of self-pity only deepens the problems. “Why me?” Why now?” “Why this?” These questions only lead to greater sorrow. The right question is “What”…”What does the Lord require of me?” My need is simple: trust, faith and security in the knowledge that God is great and God is good. Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth, I am at rest in Your limitless care.

OTHERS

I am more determined than ever to press into God’s purposes. While some of the unbridled enthusiasm that characterized my youth has waned, disappointments are of less concern, patience has grown and trust in God’s work through me has increased. I now understand that what matters most is not what I do, but what I help others do. Lord, thank You for the joy set before me. Greater things yet await.

STUNNING

To think that God uses any of us for His purposes is stunning, but He does. Not only that, we are the only source of the image of God many have. I have no appreciable brilliance in myself, yet the Glorious One shines so brightly that when reflected only slightly, His Beauty is as dazzling as a full moon on a dark summer night. Father, shine on me; may Your brilliance cover every flaw, may others see You in me.

EYES UPON US

Our ways are in full view of the LORD; this is comforting and discomforting at once. I am blessed to know that God cares and monitors every step, yet I feel the constant pressure of complete surrender to His ways. I made my choice long ago: not my way, but His alone; so there. Father, I depend upon Your mercy, I trust in Your holy work in me and I desire to fully yield control to Your will and ways. Lord, make it so.

COOL BEANS

Our true measure of strength is best discovered in times of deep trouble or in times of great accomplishment. Should we falter in either we discover that what we had imagined as strength is revealed as something inferior. This is the journey of moving from human muscle to divine fortitude. Dear Father, You are The Lord Our Strength; My Fortress, My Deliverer in Whom I trust and My High Tower. Cool beans.

COLD TILE FLOORS

Cold tile floors and bare feet are an unpleasant wintery mix. Warm socks properly applied are a welcome fix. Simple reminders that little problems become big problems if not addressed, yet are often easily overcome if timely care is taken. Delayed prayer, postponed forgiveness, ignored relationships; these are life’s land mines. Lord, help me catch the little things that spoil my soul.

SEEDS

Each new circumstance offers the opportunity to give a little bit more. While I am not capable of meeting every need out of my known resources, I can do something. God does not hold me accountable to do the humanly impossible, but when it is in my power to act, I must. A small seed sown now portends a harvest in the future. Father, may my heart be ready to sow, all I have is Yours.

STILL WATERS

The river behind our home is very still today. Everything above is nearly perfectly reflected upon it. That’s what God wants of me. My issue? Ripples. What God sees of Himself in me is too often distorted by every shifting wind. This is my daily battle. Father, in Your peace I have calmed myself and quieted my ambitions. I am content in Your care. Glorify Yourself in me and lead me beside still waters.

BETTER THAN LIFE

No matter how determined my inward lawlessness remains, God’s grace is far greater. Internal rebellion stubbornly resists, but will ultimately be defeated by His immense love. He towers over my weaknesses and sweeps me up into His victorious goodness; helplessness turns to strength, fears into boldness. Oh Lord my God, my strength and my redeemer, Your loving kindness is better than life.

IMPOSSIBLE MANIPULATION

As absurd as it sounds, I’ve attempted to manipulate God. In classic Wizard of Oz fashion, I pray with a sincere tone while hoping: “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Well, it doesn’t work like that; His attention is precisely upon the man behind the curtain. Nailed. He Who has no pretense is intolerant of it in His children. Father, forgive my insolence. I love Your truth and want to walk fully in it.

TRANSFORMING PRAYER

Praying to God is like nothing else. It requires openness, thoughtfulness, humility and sincerity, things that do not come easily to me. He is never taken in by what I say; no fakery works here. But why would I need pretense? He knew me before I was born, knitted me together in my mother’s womb, knows my thoughts, redeems me and keeps me. Lord, to behold You in prayer transforms my soul.

REFLECTIONS

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!

DISAPPOINTMENTS

I typically do not lug past disappointments very far, new ones instead take their place; there is always a steady supply. In fact, disappointment has become a useful character builder and motivator for me, an effective tool in the Master’s capable hands. My greater challenge is weariness, especially when I fail to remember: “the Lord is my Strength.” Father, You clothe me with salvation, I will ever sing for joy.

ANYWHERE

The accessibility of travel has dramatically changed over my lifetime, bringing home a simple point: I can get practically anywhere from where I am. It is easy to feel stuck in life, but in fact, with firm decisions and determination, we can move forward from wherever we are. The belief that we CAN is vital to taking the first steps. Lord, thank You for pointing to the means and direction for pursuing Your best.

NO SUCH THING AS ORDINARY

Ordinary actions should be as much the worship of God as the sacrifice of the altar or the work of the high priest when he went within the veil. God calls us to do whatever we do in faith and obedience to Him. There is no secular versus spiritual; there is only surrendered obedience and faithful stewardship. Lord, keep me. Do not let me swerve into false a dichotomy. Father, there is only You.

WHEREABOUTS

Our whereabouts are not our choice alone. Abraham learned the importance of hearing and obeying, even though he did not know where he was going. God called him to an unknown place; it was there where his inheritance awaited. He was WHERE he was supposed to be, WHEN he was supposed to be there. Lord, may I never miss You voice that calls me to a place, and may I always be on time.

TWINKLE OF TIME

Every moment is full of secrets and marvels! God is always present therefore every second is brimming with all that He is. He is here. This twinkle of time is permeated with wisdom, provision, opportunity, life, light, victory, and peace. 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.

LOW HANGING FRUIT

Every sunrise God provides new opportunities to grab low hanging fruit; incredible moments unfold to the person who learns to pay attention. How many times have I rushed by, missing a divinely arranged circumstance? Yet, the goodness of God provides another diurnal course.  How shall I do? Father of New Beginnings, help me to see Your daily lessons. May I not miss a thing from dawn-to-dusk.

MORE THAN INSTINCT

I saw a huge deer step out of the brush and stand erect, towering rack aloft, a mix of curiosity and fear in his eyes, ready to run at a moment's notice. I've seen that look many times at a hospital bed, across my desk as a couple shares their story, in the mirror. God created us, not as instinctual animals, but "in His image". Thank You Lord for Your Word, Spirit, understanding and discernment.

LITTLE THINGS

I picked up a small stone in my shoe while walking. It was so small that I could hardly see it, but I could go no farther until it was removed. Little things are often our demise. To God everything is small in comparison, yet He scrutinizes even the tiniest details. There is a lesson here: do not ignore lingering issues that need attention. Father, nothing is hidden from Your eyes, help me to see and act diligently.

HEARTBREAK

Heartbreaks develop tentacles that reach into our whole being. Particularly painful is the regret associated with perceived failures. Heartbreaks, and the regrets they foster do no good unless they become motivation for growth. Heartaches placed into the Master’s hands become pathways for spiritual progress. Lord, You make all things new. I’m joyfully growing one heartache at a time.

DUTY TO DELIGHT

A sense of Christian duty drives much of what I do. This seems fine on the surface, since I owe God everything. Each day I must repeatedly choose to do the right thing for duty’s sake. There is a more noble way: God seeks those who DELIGHT to do His will, those who out of grateful, love-filled hearts make His work first priority. Father, I desire to join the ranks of those who move from duty to delight.

STEPPING OUT

As it was for Abraham, it is for us, every step of faith holds the promise of inheritance; eyes lifted, territory added.  Will I depend upon my known resources alone, or will I hear and obey, trusting, advancing? I choose the latter. Freezing fear and doubt have never worked. Stepping forward in yielded obedience is the only way. O Lord my Rock, strengthen my resolve to fling myself forward into Your will.

LIP ALARM

We install security alarms in our cars, homes and businesses; build fences and hire police and armies to secure our lives. However, the most dangerous instrument of harm and dissention is my tongue. Guarding my lips guards my life. Both life and death proceed from our mouths. There is no lip alarm; safety begins in the heart out of which the mouth speaks. Lord, You have my heart and lips; purify both.

TEMPORARY INSANITY

I sometimes envy the arrogant. Unbelievers and believers alike can surround their hearts with selfishness and seemingly prosper, free of common burdens. Then I enter the sanctuary of God’s Word and Presence and come to my senses. Happiness is no durable substitute for joy. The temporary cannot compare to the eternal. Lord, forgive my bouts of temporary insanity.

COMING

Advent means “arrival or coming.” The roughly four-week Season of Advent that begins this Sunday is a time of anticipation, of preparation, of longing for Christ’s presence. Advent is the prologue of the GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. It is the preface to the narrative of God’s passionate pursuit of the people He made for His love. Advent is the preamble to the chronicle of our redemption. Lord, I await.

THANKFUL

Genuine thankfulness mostly eludes me. Somehow gratitude quickly morphs into another version of my incessant need to be happy. But today I awake with authentic thankfulness: my amazing wife, family, friends, victories, lessons, hope, faith, still waters, tall mountains, blue skies and stormy passages alike. God is good and His mercies never cease. Father, to You I give thanks.

DICIPLINE

I am thankful for the rather strict discipline I received as a child. God designs each of us with a unique package of tendencies and abilities; many of mine require clear boundaries. Without internal and external borders we stray wherever our desires, opportunities or appetites lead us. Only a fool ignores discipline or hates correction. Father, I feel Your Love in the rod of correction, it is a welcome refuge.

FINGERPRINTS

Lanky silhouettes of palm trees against a backdrop of soft pinks and light blue sky, wisps of moss dangling quietly from massive oaks. It is morning and God's fingerprints are already all over this day. The Magnificent One has previously passed this way. Whatever awaits me, God has erstwhile touched each moment. I am at peace. Holy and Mighty One, help me fix my eyes upon Your glorious handiwork today.

STILL

“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.

NEW HEIGHTS

A kite soaring high while still bound to earth put me thinking: the disciplines that tie me down are designed by God to lift me higher. Left to the wind alone, a kite will fly but soon crash. The string that holds it back actually gives it lift as it is let out slowly, the wind carrying it to dizzying heights. Father, thank you for the commitments I sometimes resent. With Your binding hand and lifting breath, there are no limits.

ANNOYED

Generally speaking I have grown much more patient through the years, but at times I am far too easily annoyed. This is one of the ways darkness continues to plague my soul. Annoyances build, frustration sets in and soon I forget how unimportant they really are. In this condition, problems seem huge and God seems small. How foolish. Father, forgive my imprudence. Help me keep my bearings.

UNDER MANAGEMENT

Emotional excitement often masquerades as spiritual fervor, being dazzled can feel like “being led”. It is not good to have zeal without discernment and wisdom, nor to be hasty and miss the way. The Word and Spirit must not be used to support our decisions; they must inform, guide, cleanse and direct them. Father, keep me on the path. May my heart and mind stay in constant surrender to Your management.

NOW

Another day. Yesterday? Gone. Tomorrow? Beyond the horizon. What I have is now. It is time to ignore what should have been or what might be; what does the Lord require of me THIS day? Mind in the game. 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 better attention today.

MAGNET FOR TRUTH

What a joy it is to discuss the ways and will of God with someone who has a listening ear; they will have already been sprinkled with seed ready to be nourished, the humble heart is a magnet for truth. While each of us struggles with understanding, God promises treasures to seekers, open doors to ones who knock. Lord, we may seek and find only because in Your love and patience You seek us.

A HARDENING HEART

What are the signs of a hardening heart? There are many: indifference to spiritual issues, prayerlessness, refusal to listen to God or obey His promptings. Perhaps the most ominous sign is when we cut ourselves off from passionate believers, seeking rather to associate with those of little or no genuine faith. Lord, keep me stirred. Thank you for the power of fellowship and the witness of burning hearts.

ON ALERT

I never know what will move me until it does. Many things catch my passing interest, but few things awaken my soul or provoke me to change. At times things from the depths of God’s heart call to the depths of my own. These moments mostly emerge without my intentional provocation, but do require alertness and response. Lord, help me stay alert; I do not want to miss Your whisperings. I will wait and watch.

FOGGY

It’s foggy this morning. No, not outside, 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 am nonchalantly opening the package without tearing the wrapping paper. Nice. My God, Maker, Restorer and Shepherd, thank You for these gentle moments.

ANNOYANCE

I can tell when I am being selfish, most of us can. One of my indicators is annoyance. When I am walking in humility, the foibles and minor insults of others do not linger in my mind. When I am being selfish, every annoyance is amplified, I take them personal and start a running list; a web of annoyance is spun and I'm the one trapped in it. Father, please help me keep my heart humble today.

OPEN - CLOSE

Every day requires new restraint and fresh release. As a jellyfish moves through the water, expanding and contracting, so we move through life. This process is disconcerting to the uninformed, but to the spiritually awakened, this routine becomes a welcomed process, and a sign of breakthrough. Lord I love Your ways and praise You that You do not leave me trapped in stagnation. Open, close, I’m good with that.

RENEWED

While passing interests come and go, something far greater is at work deep inside the God-seeking heart. The Almighty Himself lays a foundation of desires that please Him and draw us to His purpose in the innermost center of the person that follows hard after Him. Therefore we do not lose heart, being inwardly renewed day by day. Father, my heart, my life, my all is Yours. Have Your way alone.

BE STILL AND KNOW

As I awaken to the presence of God today would a gushing river of words accomplish more than speechless silence? The words of the psalmist come to mind: “Be still and know that I am God.” Rather than complex wordsmithing that does little more than occupy my own mind as I pray, I will let go of my concerns in quiet trust. Lord, You are enthroned over all. In peace do I praise You.

THE HEIGHTS

So many things in life are dependent upon others, but I need no one else’s permission to do what is right. In fact, more often than not, well meaning people will attempt to guide us away from genuine godliness, justifying compromised behaviors with calls for normality. I think not. Our goal must be the rarified air of the heights of consecration to God’s ways. Yes Father, High and Lofty One, teach me Your ways.

WISDOM

I come to crossroads daily. Wisdom is always there like a friendly farmer at a roadside produce stand: easily seen if you look, lots of fruit simply waiting to be chosen. I want to stop and browse, but so much to do, in a rush I drive forward, often to my own harm. Life’s choices require God’s input. Father of All Wisdom, forgive my haste. Help me to take the time to choose wisely. Thank You for Your constant Presence.

MISSING TEETH

Children provide immense joy: bright faces, quirky questions, simple solutions, boundless energy, missing teeth. It is, at once, comforting and humbling that God sees me as His child. When I offer my lips in praise, does He see cupcake icing on the perimeter? Does He grin when I ask “are we there yet”? Lord, I AM Your child and I desire to imitate You in every way.  Show me Your ways this day.

ENTITLEMENT

There is a small degree of difference between a grateful heart and a prideful heart. A grateful heart says, “Look what the Lord has done”; the prideful heart declares, “Look what the Lord has done FOR ME. The words “FOR ME” tilt us toward our nemesis: a sense of entitlement, which diminishes the forbearance and benevolence of God. Lord, You are Good and to Your grace I owe my all.

CREEPING SLOWLY

Searching out God’s will can feel like walking through a pitch-dark home with which you are not familiar; creeping slowly, touching each obstacle, trying to determine what it is. I must always remember: God has night vision. He knows exactly where I am at all times. How often He removes or places something in the path I’ll not know in this life, but I can trust His steady guidance. Lord, Your ways are wonderful.

MOMENTS

Not one moment is trivial. Time is a gift from God therefore it is holy; The Lord Himself is within it. I should “discern the times” with great care. Past discernment will not do since I must discover the mystery within THIS moment and allow it to unfold completely. Lord Eternal, who was and is and is to come, deliver me from turning mysteries into formulas. Teach me to patiently take it all in.

SELFISHNESS

Selfishness is my constant companion. Over time I have learned how to manage it, put a better face on it, even slightly reduce it, but still it remains. Like a magnet, it pulls whatever good God accomplishes in and through me toward its vacuous appetite. Love is the only answer; love God, love others. Father, You ARE love, help me to know You better. Teach me to faithfully and consistently walk in love.

SHOULDER TO THE PLOW

Much of our effort produces little of measurable value. I have poured my emotions, energy, time and resources into things only to discover that all I expected from my enterprise came to nothing. Yet, it is the effort itself that has great value. Faithfulness, stewardship, passionate pursuit; these are divine treasures produced by effort. Lord, may I never grow weary in doing good. In Your mercy, keep my shoulder to the plow.

UNAWARE

A brief night of sleep carried me from one continent to another. Much was happening while I dozed. Busy pilots navigated across the Atlantic, flight attendants took care of safety and needs, powerful engines strained against gravity, all the while I was mostly unaware. Sounds like my life. Each day I live mostly unaware how much I depend upon others. Lord, forgive my denseness. Thank you for the many hands that carry me through the day. Bless each one.

THE ROYAL COMMAND

Diminished reverence for godliness releases anarchy and rebellion. When we desert the law of love, depravity and chaos rules. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is not a helpful hint for being a nicer person, it is the royal command of our Creator; the only path to a life filled with divine purpose. Father, You are Love. I love poorly, but I am willing to learn to let love govern my heart and ways.

FOLLY

Our own foolishness is often the source of our troubles, yet we blame God or others instead. Truth is, we need God’s help to crawl out of our self-generated pit. Joseph comes to mind: bragging lips, to a pit, to slavery, to a prison, to abandonment, to a seat second only to the king. His folly led downward to darkness, His Lord raised him up beyond his wildest dreams. Father, how pleasant it is to learn Your ways.

ARROGANCE

I awakened from a dream where I was in a moment of unbridled arrogance. Hubris is an ugly, irrational and inappropriate emotion. It is usually when I am feeling insecure or threatened that pride lifts its ugly head. At this stage of spiritual growth there should be none left, but arrogance clings to the soul with a vise grip. Lord God, forgive my insolence. A heart open before You must be devoid of arrogance.

AWAKEN

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.

TEST IN THE TEMPEST

It is easy to feel strong when all is well, but our true measure of strength is revealed in times of testing. Like a ship imperiled on the high seas, I too must turn the bow into the wind and crashing waves. A ship must have a helmsman; it is in mortal danger if it simply drifts through the storm. Father, keep my hands steady on the tiller and guide my course. Transform me in the tempest of Your choosing.

ANOTHER SUNRISE

Should I have no more than this day, the miracle is that I have it at all. God has granted me another sunrise. Each unveiling moment comes jam packed with opportunity, surprise, blessing, and challenge. I stand at an empty slate board with chalk in my hand. Blessed Giver of Life guide my hand. Strengthen my resolve to not simply drift along through this new day. Grant me discernment to unearth its treasures.

GLOOM TO GRATEFUL

Every life suffers losses, making it far too convenient to dwell on sorrows. Gnawing sadness will invade the soul of those who reside in the shadows of disappointments, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. A mere glimpse of the goodness of God melts away gloom and doom. Hope springs eternal to those who praise the Almighty. Lord, I lift You up, draw me nearer this day; You are the Crown of Life.

NEVER ABSOLUTELY RIGHT

I know that I am never absolutely right; perfect knowledge eludes the human condition. While we most often “feel” right, there is a huge body of evidence to the contrary. Past failures reveal that I must have God’s guidance as I determine what is “right” and trust His promptings as I navigate through decisions, especially before reaching conclusions. Father in Heaven, You alone know all things.

ALL THE HELP I CAN GET

I am by temperament an independent person, but a lifetime of experience instructs me that I need all the help I can get. There is no shame in interdependence. God designed each of us with strengths that others need and weaknesses that invite the strength of others. In this divine construct the hand cannot say to the foot “I don’t need you”. Father, thank You for blueprinting a life that leads to love.

I AM

A whispered declaration from a tired, thirsty throat on the darkest night of mankind sent the world’s finest trained soldiers falling to the ground, the great deceiver slithering away: “I AM!!”  No power in heaven or earth can usurp authority over Him. No circumstance of this life can eclipse the Light if His Glory. Almighty God, King of the Universe, to all my woes I say in peace: “YOU ARE”. Enough said.

GRUMBLING

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. Root out all murmuring from me.

MY HEART

My heart leaks; it fills, then leaks. I must guard it, continually replenish it with truth and make it a tabernacle of praise. It must be searched, cleansed, inclined to hear, willing, contrite, broken, circumcised, turned from stone to flesh, thankful, freed from deceit and chasing after God. Well, it sounds as if my heart will have a busy day. Lord, my heart belongs to You my King and my Redeemer.

SWIRLING CURRENTS

As much as I would like to have control over daily circumstances, the fact is I don’t. Clearly I can influence some things, but ultimately the swirling currents sweep me into perilous waters. This would be deeply frustrating, even frightening if it were not for the comfort of knowing God’s superintendence and sovereignty. Father, You direct my path, You never abandon me, You do all things well. Peace here.

DOOM AND BLESSING

Doom and Blessing seem always just ahead. At times, one appears more imminent than the other, but one or the other always approaches. As it turns out, neither ever arrive exactly the way I had previously imagined, nor have the impact I had envisioned. So I am left with this: fear God and keep His commandments. Blessed Father, because You love me it is all working for my good. I get it. Baruk ha Shem Adonai!!

SEED

Everything we do or say is seed in the ground. The people we meet, family, friends, co-workers, even strangers passing by are soil. We rarely know the full story of how our life impacts others, but it is sobering to realize there is a harvest, both good and bad from the seeds I have sown. Lord, forgive me for forgetting how significant each action is. Help me display Your goodness to those You place in my path.

PAIN TO PRAISE

Pain is personal; each heart knows its own bitterness. Outward laughter often masks inward grief. To the one who truly knows God as Father, those times become uniquely precious. Sorrows turn to joy that no one else can share, mourning becomes dancing, grief becomes gladness, pouting becomes praise; joy in the morning! My Lord, my God, You are Awesome and Beautiful in all Your ways!

CLEAR SIGHT

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 whirling by to drift into the background.

PRIDE

There is an unhappy future for the person who is arrogant. Relationship with God and others provides the deepest, most enduring happiness. Arrogance makes authentic relationships nearly impossible. Pride is such a deadly virus, the more of it one has, the less of it can be seen in oneself. Father, expunge from me every smidgen of pride. Cleanse me from its deceptive ways.

IMITATION

How much of what we desire is mere imitation of others? The aspirations of those around us influence us to want what they want. While this CAN be a positive motivator, more often than not, it is the fountainhead of sorrow. Far better is a relentless pursuit of what pleases God. Father, Wellspring of True Joy, teach me to surrender every earthly appetite to You alone. Teach me to drink deeply from still waters.

SKILLED LIVING

Skilled living requires respect for the Giver of Life. To simply follow human instinct apart from divine purpose and guidance is like being thrown into cascading rapids. To navigate the churning challenges of relationships, health, prosperity, ambition and mission I need God’s constant help. Seeking Him should never be a last resort. Father in Heaven, Your will, Your way, Your time, Your path.

COMPLACENCY

Complacency is a trap that we set for ourselves; we give ourselves permission to fail by yielding to its appeal. Front sliding prevents backsliding. Purposeful living under divine guidance produces a powerful momentum that pushes us through deserts, floods, storms, peaks and valleys. Lord, help me to “set my face like flint” toward Your will. Quicken my whole being to Your plan.

TOUCH

The slightest touch of a rudder can change the course of a vessel. The same is true of my soul. While I often seek something colossal to shift my course, God mostly uses small things to guide me into His best. Scripture warns us to not despise “the day of small things.” Every great oak begins as an acorn. Father, remind me to pay attention to the smallest touch. May Your gentle hand direct my path.

SET APART

Those who set apart time daily to imbibe God’s Word will indeed find themselves set apart. What a difference there truly is between the person who faces life on their own and those who are infused with Scripture. Read it, speak it, apply it, obey it. Lord of Truth, open my heart anew to the authority of Your Word. In Your mercy, form my ways and provoke me to drink deeply from the Wellspring of Life.

THE DIRECTOR

How God must love the world! It is a canvas onto which He dips His finger daily, painting and repainting backdrops for every forthcoming scene. He writes the scripts, produces, directs, chooses and trains every actor and then outperforms them all. He takes joy in the comedy, sorrows in every pain and patiently awaits a happy ending. Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! I marvel at You!

PANIC OR PEACE

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 learn to lean on Him in the midst of raging storm is the perfect environment for understanding and wisdom to emerge. Lord of Lords, this day is in Your hands. I am at peace.

COMPATIBLE

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.

UNFOLDING LIFE

There truly is a perfect time and way for everything. I am impetuous by nature and in haste have often moved too quickly. It is better to let things fully unfold. A furled sail is of little use. What blessing it is when zealousness and knowledge combine within the divinely appointed moment. Lord of all Wisdom, thank You for guiding my zeal. Grant me submissive, composed zeal.

WORDS

What comes out of my mouth has more effect on my life than most anything else. As powerful as we know that words are, we carelessly spew them out to our own harm or that of others. On the other hand, we often fail to release the power of life that words contain. Simply stated, life and death are in the tongue. Holy Father, my lips are Yours. Make my mouth a portal of life, not death; blessing not nuisance.

TRUTH IN LOVE

We are commanded to “speak the truth in Love.” In fact, most of what we pass off as honesty is grounded in fear. We typically tell the truth only when we are reluctantly exposed, or feel it necessary to protect something we value. This fare of “honesty” rooted in selfishness bears almost no resemblance to honesty motivated by love. Lord, You are impeccably honest, yet Your truth bathed in love makes me free.

ATTTITUDE

My attitude is a lens through which everything around me is viewed. We are commanded by God to keep our mind "stayed" on Him. How different would the world look if it were not filtered through a migratory frame of mind? Each emotion, each attitude, each thought surrendered reveals something amazing; the view instantly changes. Lord of Peace, may my attitudes be humbly yielded to You.

LETDOWNS

Life is replete with letdowns. Some are truly consequential, but most are petty. Yet, the small ones often stick together, mushrooming into something more ominous. If not diminished, discouragement will set in. Learning to cast our disappointments into the sea of God’s love is vital to spiritual advance. Father, may Your unfailing love be my comfort. Fill my heart with Your joy and teach me to console others.

ETERNAL THINGS

Everything we see and touch in this life is earthbound; nothing from this world may be carried into eternity. So why spend so much time each day in pursuit of temporary things? A shift of focus is in order. How we learn and grow, the good that we do, and most importantly, the love we express to God and others are eternal things. Lord, help me live with my heart beyond the veil. Keep my eye on the ball.

PASSION

Like a fire, love must be fed. If not regularly fueled, passion will eventually grow cold. Sadly, a heart cools so gradually that it is not easily recognized until it is nearly frigid. A life with no affection, no eagerness, no devotion is no life at all. Interestingly, awakening love for one thing often sets ablaze love for many things. Lord of Love, fill my heart with passion for You and help me love others purely.

LIMITLESS DOMINION

The murky confusion of black of night is instantly transfigured by the entry of even the smallest light. Many tremble at the onset of darkness in any form, but evil can be confronted without fear and done so bathed in vanquishing love. Demons flee in the presence of the Savior and destitute souls find deliverance, healing and peace. Father of Light, limitless dominion belongs to those who know You.

SURROUNDED

Some people seem inwardly wired for discipline; that is not the case for me. One of my lifelong challenges has been to keep my heart committed to restraint. When I have a clear goal in mind, disciplines become a bit easier, but I cannot afford lack of focus. Thankfully, God has me surrounded. He keeps me hemmed in. Glory to You oh Lord, thank You for daily purpose, for people with need and for a call to excellence.

DIAMONDS

Diamonds on my 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.

DAILY EXAMINATION

Succumbing to human frailty is a constant reminder that I must press into God’s hands. So often I confidently act on what I think I know only to be tripped up by ignorance or self-deception. God alone is completely devoid of the blinding fog of falsehood, nothing being hidden or unknown to the Almighty. I am therefore dependent upon divine guidance. Great Physician, I welcome Your daily examination.

READY

Life can come at you very fast. Things change, that’s it. It sometimes feels like I am again a five-year old with my arm out the window of a car trying to grasp the wind; lot’s of action and movement, little but the immediate experience to show for it. Having a Solomon moment here, so the conclusion: ”Fear God and keep His commandments.” Lord, that is enough. I am ready for another day.

DIVINELY COMPOSED

The salt marshes along the southern coast can be tricky to navigate. However, leaving the safety of the marked channels opens endless fishing, beautiful wildlife and a serene sense of privacy. Constantly changing tides and a kaleidoscope of colors from the diurnal passing of Sun and Moon seem divinely composed. Lord, remind me to explore the opportunities around me. Teach me to seek the unseen.

WELCOME AS A TOOTHACHE

Some relationships are as welcome as a toothache. Yet, a painful tooth is a vital message: “something is wrong”. An unseen crack, decay, fractures, root issues, all reasons for pain, all reasons to get help. It occurs to me that God uses people to expose my cracks, decay, fractures and root issues. Father, thank You for sending people into my life to uncover my need for Your help and healing.

FRONT LOADED

Each and every day is front-loaded. God has already stocked today with valuable lessons, opportunities, blessings, experiences, spiritual insights, discipline. Today will leave behind a unique, powerful substance of experience that is divinely orchestrated. Dearest Alpha and Omega, Thank You for today. It is holy, for You have brushed Your fingers across it. Lead me to what is right and good.

COMMEDABLE FRATERNITY

Much of what we learn is accomplished by imitating others. Since we are predisposed to this, it is vital that we choose carefully those to whom we cast more than a glance. Covenant friendship, godly fellowship, spiritual brotherhood; all these provide needed guidance to our associations. Lord, You direct my steps; lead me into commendable fraternity. Use me to rightly influence others.

TAKE HOLD

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. Strengthen my resolve to ignore the temporary and take hold of the eternal.

SAVED

A recent conversation with someone who had just experienced the inward transformation of his initial spiritual surrender transported me back to my own. I recall with pristine clarity the wonder of that holy moment when every attempt to intellectually grasp is finally exhausted and the heart takes you in. Lord, after all our failed attempts at self-improvement, at last, You say the word and we are spotless.

HEART SURGERY

A wise heart accepts commands, but a stubborn heart is a fool’s heart. So how do we develop a tender heart? One step of obedience at a time. Foolishness can be easily overthrown with steady effort. Each successive surrender tenderizes; soon commands become daily bread. Lord, help me to lay aside rationalizations and cover-ups.  Soften my heart to Your promptings that wisdom may prevail.

THE DIVINE GRIP

No one can claim to have found God; our pursuit of Him is always preceded by His pursuit of us. 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 Our Souls, 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.

LIVING INTENTIONALLY

Life must be lived intentionally. If I had put forth as much effort into choosing the right thing as I do making excuses, I would be much farther along. Yet, I have another shot; the sun rises upon a new day and wisdom is calling out. Blessed is the person who listens. Yes Lord, I hear Your whisperings. Guide my choices; Your instruction is more precious than rubies and nothing in this world can compare.

9/11

9/11/01. I was praying with a group of pastors when the North Tower was struck, South Tower, the Pentagon, Pennsylvania. We watched in horror, wondering what it meant. Then it came to me, those who know little of God’s love and supremacy will live in a constant state of fear. They don’t understand that there are higher laws at work than our own. Lord, Your sovereignty will prevail. I have no fear.

FORWARD

Forward progress always includes letting something go. Everything in life, including life on earth itself, will eventually be swallowed into eternity. Looking ahead to what God is unfolding helps to ease the pain of current losses. Recognition of the goodness and wisdom of God grants peace in the process. Lord, keep me from getting uncorked when things change. I know that You work it all out for good.

ASSURANCE

My mind is upon past memories today. Most are good, but we each have our regrets and losses. Human experience is replete with personal and public pain. Deaths, wars, floods, crop failures, there is no shortage of grief. For those who know their Shepherd, there is escape from the ravenous thieves of life and peace.  Father, You heal our grief and reassure us in our pain. I rest assured in my Saviors clutch.

AWAKEN

The temptation to simply drift along a lazy river of complacency is persuasive. The volume of life’s complications can cause us to disengage from active pursuit of the will of God. Past disappointments pile up; the desire to take risks smothered, divine purpose becomes a mere shadow. Father in Heaven, awaken my heart with daily passion for Your will. Make me, mold me, fill me, use me.

STUBBORNNESS

Self-regulated stubbornness is like deep darkness; it causes us to keep hitting the same obstacles over and over, yet never understanding what makes us stumble. The path of those with submitted hearts is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Divinely infused wisdom accompanies the soul of the determined, yet surrendered. Father, not my will, but Yours.

RADIANT LIGHT ON THE WAY

Pitch blackness shrouds the early morning as thick as a blanket; low hanging clouds blocking any light from seeping through. It seems as though darkness has prevailed, but I know better. Radiant light is crawling around the earth and soon all that is around me will be resplendent. Father, those who put their trust in You are never left in utter darkness. Let Your light shine through me today.