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Showing posts from July, 2011

DARK TO LIGHT

Awake in darkness, yet light approaches. Whether I know it or not, daybreak is marching toward me. Soon the world around me will be bathed in brilliance; a new day is dawning. God is good, so very good. Lord, help me to recognize Your approach in my darkest moments. May I seize new beginnings, divine opportunities, a fresh start. Awaken my heart with readiness and fervor.

FICKLE FEELINGS

Today’s disappointments often overshadow a lifetime of blessings. Clouds may temporarily block the rays of light the sun provides, but even in the darkest storm, sunlight still brightly shines above. I must remind myself to rise above the tempest of temporary letdowns and to remember God’s everlasting goodness and mercy. Father, forgive my fickle feelings. I will forever praise You and exalt Your Name.

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 God. Lord of Creation, teach me to truly submit my thoughts to You today.

GREEN GRASS

Our grass is so green. A mix of rain and sunshine, air above and worms underneath, has produced richness of color. Its abundant life is obvious to all. 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 rain, sunshine; even worms underneath. May authentic growth be evident to all.

DIVINE FOCUS

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

NO REDO

There is no redo button for the past. Each new day is a brand new opportunity to refine the art of recovery. Yesterday’s mistakes are transformed by today’s commitment to the Cross and it’s redeeming power. Each setback offers opportunity to renounce self-reliance. Holy Redeemer, I offer no excuses, only admission and abandon to Your holy work in me today. I repose beside still waters.

FREEDOM

The oft quoted: “It’s a free country man,” reveals that freedom is generally misunderstood. It is true that I am free, free to obligate myself to do the right thing. There is no bondage in obedience to the will and ways of God. What often initially seems like freedom is actually a path to enslavement. Father, I thank You that You do not leave me without guidance. Your command is my path to true liberty.

DESIGNED FOR PARTNERSHIP

Each act of obedience to God begins a chain of unending blessing and invites new opportunities to make genuine spiritual progress. That we are granted such partnership with The Almighty is remarkable enough, but to understand that He DESIGNED us to partner with Him is at once humbling and too wonderful for words. Dearest Father, my life for You. Teach me to obey swiftly and completely.

NAVIGATION

At age thirteen I began driving boats, spending endless hours on a large lake. Those years of experience did little to prepare me for the complications of navigating tidal waters. On our first outing as a young adult we headed to shore without paying attention to channel markers and ran aground at full speed. Father, forgive my arrogance when I ignore the navigation signals You place along my path.

INFLUENCE

How much of what we chase after 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 a 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. Help me to resist all influence but Yours.

MY NEMESIS

Too often, I give preference to my own thoughts, my own ways. After so many self-generated disappointments, still I cling to useless ideas and delayed obedience. We obey the one we love the most. So there it is, my nemesis: selfishness. The more I repudiate egocentrism in every form, the easier obedience to God becomes. Lord, I desire Your ways, not my own, more than life itself.

DUPLICITY

We live in an era when there is a growing chasm between words and actions. There is no duplicity in God, what He says, He does. He ”watches over His Word to perform it.” It is time to say less and do more. Lord of Truth and Action, help me to live by deeds rather than mere words. Purge from me all that is false. May my love for others be honest. May I find Your Grace to take bold and steady steps.

THE EXQUISITENESS OF OBEDIENCE

A heart too tied to this world knows little of the exquisiteness of obedience. To do the will of God in ways large and small uncaps a wellspring of joy within. Happy feelings accompany “bargain-basement choices,” but joy eternal fills the heart of those who know extravagant obedience. “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.”

TIDAL LIVING

The river behind our home is tidal. Each day it rises and falls, widens and narrows, providing a constantly changing panorama. Every tidal cycle quietly deposits new debris and lifts away what had been previously dropped by. In many ways, my whole life is tidal. People come and go, problems and blessings arrive unannounced, then slip away. Father, You are always at work, I love Your ways.

GOOD GRIEF

Angry pursuit to the rear, an opening sea ahead, empty desert beyond, when your back is against the wall you can only move forward. I get it. Most of my significant progress has been forced. The goodness of God doesn’t always look so good at first glance, but in the end, He works His will IN us and THROUGH us. Glorious Lord, I praise and exalt you. You formed me for Your will and You guide me into truth.

STANDING

Standing at the edge of the sea offers many joys; calm, angry, or in between, its beauty and girth touches my soul. Caressing waves lap the feet, a steady chorus of sounds soothe the mind, sand between the toes, wind on the face, warm sun, wonderful creatures. O Lord My God when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hand hath made. Majestic Father and Creator, I adore Your handiwork.

GOD'S HOLY GRIP

I am well acquainted with God’s Holy Grip. When I press in it is gentle, soft but firm. In moments when I am being pulled away, or straining against it, I feel His Grasp tightening. There are startling moments of feet dangling over a precipice, yet I am still in held firmly in the Savior’s clutch. Father, thank You for Your Mighty Hand. You uphold, guide, prod, restrain and comfort me. Your love endures forever.

KINDNESS

Though past disappointments may linger, there is no loss in offering authentic kindness. When practiced without ulterior motives, we touch for a moment the glory and nature of God. Even if it is abused or rejected by those to whom it is offered, kindness benefits the giver inwardly and invites the promised blessing of the Almighty. Father, You are kind beyond description, make me more like You.

GROWING THROUGH SERVING

How thankful I am for the blessing of serving others. Relational responsibilities place a continual demand that provokes inward growth. What would I know if there were not a constant invocation to know more? The needs of others, the need for answers; these are necessary for my own spiritual and emotional well-being. Holy Teacher, help me faithfully apply my heart to the lessons learned.

SUPPLY

Last week I complained about the lack of rain. This week? Unbelievable abundance. Okay, it’s true, I see lack too quickly and provision too slowly. Somehow, after all these many years, I can still be quite childish; “Not yet” does not mean “no.” Lord, thank you for the simple lessons that force me to press more deeply into you. Teach me to accept the gait and volume of Your supply and to praise You at all times.

GREEN AGAIN

A large patch of dead grass in our yard had become rock hard on the surface; the destructive work of moles. No new grass would grow until I broke up the crusty remains of past greenery gone bad. A little penetrating digging along with sunshine and water has the patch almost fully green again. My soul is no different. Father, tear away every crusty surface of my heart. Pour light and living water over me.

THE UNKNOWN

Many years ago we awoke to a swarm of termites in our bedroom. Very unsettling. Like termites in the wall, fear of the unknown quietly gnaws away our stability. I must keep in mind that nothing is unknown to God. He has no abstract knowledge; for Him it is all applied knowledge since nothing exists without Him. Father, You are the only reliable source for unmasking the unknown.

ANGER

I am not an angry person, yet it comes to me too easily. I have no malice toward anyone and keep short accounts. Still, anger pops up like burnt toast. Jesus got angry without sin; I have to work on that one. I must learn to cleanse the Temple without cleaning someone’s clock. Lord, help me to bridle all of my emotions to respond in a way that pleases You. Remind me of Your mercy at my moment of indignation.

DARK TO LIGHT

The transformation between the dark of night to morning light never loses its fascination. Some days easily, others reluctantly, like metal to magnet I am drawn to its power to awaken. Perhaps, it is because there are so many parallels between sunrise and the way God pulls me into His will. Each day He quietly moves into my darkness. Lord of Light, I welcome Your approach. I must now change. Yes, this is good.

GOD BLESS AMERICA

On this day which Americans celebrate the birth of a nation my heart is at once thankful and troubled. The very foundation of our freedom is being shaken by our unguided pursuit of it. In the steady hands of the Almighty hearts can rightly balance one’s own freedom with that of others. Only authentic, divinely navigated love will suffice. Lord God, bless us with Your light and lead us in Your truth.

GOD'S GRIP

It is incredibly comforting to know that I live in the firm grasp of God; His grip on me is much firmer than my grip on Him. His Word clutches the strings of my heart, His Will clings to my own, I cannot simply pull way.  At times I struggle against His embrace, only to be pulled tighter by His Holy Hand. Father and Master, thank You for Your encircling Love. Your love has no limits, Your kindness has no measure.

CLOSER

Each new daybreak brings me closer to an unveiled look into the face of my Creator and Redeemer.  The very thought of it brings forth both excitement and trepidation. It brings comfort to know that He Himself is preparing me for that moment. Then again, I know the actions and attitudes of my heart do not rise to His perfection. Father, once more I remember, only by Your grace and mercy do I stand.

MORE TO THE STORY

Concerning the work of God in our lives, there is always more to the story. Whatever we see as we face difficult or complicated circumstances is never the full picture. The divine purpose behind every moment far outweighs whatever temporary discomfort we feel. In these occasions there is no substitute for knowing God’s love and promises. Father, Lover of My Soul, I praise You for Your faithful care.