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Showing posts from August, 2011

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.

GOD'S WAY

One of the characteristics of the fallen nature of man is that we still have the same genetic code of our created purpose, but continually seek to fulfill it with our own stipulations. I counteract the inward advantage God gives me to achieve His best by dishonest surrender. Dearest Lord, abandonment to Your will on Your terms is the only legitimate path. Help me today to obey authentically.

ENEMY LOVE

I have little capacity for doing good to those who do me harm, yet I am commanded to love my enemies. Definitely still working on this. God openly gives without partiality or contempt, even to those who refute His very existence. His example is my only hope. Lord, even, when I turn away from Your merciful goodness, You do not cast me aside. As rain flushes a gutter, You wash away my guilt.

BLISS OF IGNORANCE

I am ignorant about so many things, yet I am good with that. A quick and curious mind has not always served me well. There is a blessedness in not knowing. The arrival of unfiltered information often torments my soul. O God Our Maker, help me to know only those things that bring life. Surround me with Your Presence and teach me to distinguish between the knowledge of good and evil.

TRANSFORMATION

Transformational change requires more than wishing. While ultimately it is a work of God’s grace, our part is critical. I must learn to take direct, prompt action, only to be halted by the very One who has taught me to move ahead. Wait, wait, wait; okay now. Such is the spirit-guided life. Like manna in the wilderness, lessons are there every day to be taken. Lord, I thank You and exalt You for Your daily work in me.

FIRST BREATH

Adam’s first breath came directly from the mouth of God; a pile of gathered dust turned to life. Even still, the Lord declares mastery over death, imparting life by what proceeds from His mouth. Every last corner of darkness in me will be filled with the Light of His love pursuit as His Words of Life are spoken. Oh Lord my Creator, You own every part of me. Help me breath deeply.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Disappointments are as much a part of life as breathing; reality rarely matches expectations. Dwelling on letdowns, large or small, can lead to discouragement and discontent. There is a more excellent way. Today I choose to lay hold of divine proclamation: “all things work together for good.” Lord I do love You and know that Your purpose is never thwarted by passing circumstances. It is well with my soul.

TRANSITION

The sun is rising in a glowing eastern sky while a beautiful moon still hangs on 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, transition…”O Mighty God, when I behold the wonder of nature’s beauty, wrought by words of Thine.” I proceed into this day in peace and joy.

THE MOTIVATOR

Love is an incredible motivator. The key is learning to love the things that God loves the way God loves. His love is unselfish therefore His love is pure. My love, on the other hand, is filtered through a swamp of self-centeredness. Only a trickle of pure love makes it through to others. There is hope however since I at least can now admit it. Father, I want Your love to surge through me to those You love, Your way.

GOD'S PRESENCE

Each day, each moment is laden with God’s Presence. It is as if I were standing next to a tree filled with ripened fruit; I can simply reach out and grasp its bounty. What will God offer me today that could change someone’s life? Will I even notice? Lord, thank You for Your bountiful blessings. Help me to see and take hold of Your provision. Let me not consume without regard to others.

LOVE LINK

God wants to love others through me; I sometimes cringe at His choices. There is pain in the offering, but there is no escape. To experience His love opens our heart to the surge of His love for all. While I mostly enjoy this process, there are moments when I wish to shut off the valve after quenching my own thirst. Lord of Love, forgive me for holding back. Take my life and make it Yours.

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, not my own. Deliver me from mortal pride.

TEMPORARINESS

There is an unexplainable freedom in the painful discovery that nothing in this life is permanent. The human soul, created to live in eternal covenant, longs to find it. So much so that we ignore the temporariness of this world, pretending earthly things are more transcendent than they can possibly be. Eternal Father, You alone are boundless. You have set eternity in our hearts that we may rightly measure this life.

THE MARGIN OF THE RIVER

That God works through us is an astounding notion, laden with so many wounds of a fallen world. In one crossing, the nation of Israel put to rest past betrayal of brothers, 400 years of straw and mud, 40 years of burning desert. The Lord Almighty still opens the waters of new beginnings. Eternal Father, today I again stand at the margin of the river. Help me step away from all behind and to seize what is ahead.

PREFERENCES

Gladness is easier to embrace than letdowns. Yet, both have enduring value if I have the right perspective. The multitude of unrelenting challenges life brings has done more to strengthen my character and soften my heart than the many joys I have known. The magnitude, multitude and frequency of problems press me deeply into God’s hands. Father, keep me from the snare of my preferences.

AN EFFECTIVE LIFE

I do not merely want to live; I sincerely desire an effective life. Earnest pursuit of godliness positions us for divinely empowered accomplishment. Selfishness has the opposite effect, sending us into a world of speculative fantasies that are empty and dangerous. To You, Dearest Father, belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are Yours. Grant me good discernment in my daily quest.

ANOTHER DAY

It is too late to push away this new day; it is here, I must deal. So I embrace its treasures and troubles alike. It will all work for my good, as I am conformed into the image of Him who loves me and made me. Wisdom is waiting at every turn; delightful discoveries and teachable moments spread throughout. Father, I steady myself, prepared by Your Words and guided by Your Holy Unction. This will be good.

REALITY

As a child I spent much of my time pretending; creating elaborately detailed scenarios in my mind where I was central to all. While this is normal and beneficial for children, it does us no good at all as adults. Maturity requires humility. An overstated opinion of one’s importance is not only foolish, it is dangerous. Blessed Father, help me keep it real. Thank You for the honest mirror Scripture provides.

TRIUMPH

The life of faith is not a matter of imagined outcome. Biblical faith reaches for concrete, yet unseen reality; each step ignited by divine spark. Only actions first bathed in holy promise will be sufficiently purged of the darkness of doubt. Father, teach me to rest assured in Your Providence while straining toward Your will. You alone kindle true belief and You alone can carry me safely to triumph.

BETTER THAN HAPPY

Happiness is a makeshift imitation of JOY. Divine Joy cannot abide amidst a divided heart. The joy I seek is already mine in Christ, yet is experienced only in full surrender. I must not fear it, squelch it, and most importantly, not substitute it with something inferior. My Lord, my God, You first, no excuses. Your Joy is my strength. I can run through a troop and leap over a wall, joyfully.

SPIRITUAL PRIDE

Purpose, opportunities, spiritual enablements, natural abilities: God’s gifts to each of us. Unless practiced in genuine love for God and the people He loves, the exercise of these heavenly endowments can degrade into prideful showmanship, judgmental arrogance or disorderly conduct. How easily I slip into pride.  Dearest Lord, forgive my misuse of bestowed giftings. Deliver me from me.

INCREASE

The more I take care of something, the more attached to it I become. Meaningfulness and recompense directly correspond to what I have deposited. Such is sowing and reaping. More love? Scatter seed. Increased fulfillment? Help someone else find it. Peace? Be a peacemaker. Blessings? Bless, and keep on blessing. Father, Lord of Seedtime and Harvest, teach me more.

LOVE LIFTS

Whether being given or received, love lifts. What a gift! I can change my daily experience even when I have limited power to change my circumstances. A deeper understanding of God’s love opens the floodgates and empowers us to pour it out to others, even to the most unlovable. Lord of Love, use me today as a downspout of Your love. Help me offer it without limitation. I already feel the lift.

LIGHT IS COMING

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.

NO GRUDGES

Considering my constant bent toward lawlessness, I am eternally grateful for God’s forgiveness, which bears no grudges. Though I deserve judgment and rejection, His unmerited kindness redeems my worst ways. How may I thank him? By extending this same grace to others. It is not my place to determine who is in His true lineage. Redeemer, I bow before your indescribable benevolence.

INEXPLICABLE MYSTERY

I am continually amazed at how little I actually know about God. Each new discovery opens a universe of even more to know. It is reassuring to realize that this process is in His hands, not mine. He initiates the divine spark in us, then guides the process of learning; His Word and Spirit navigating us through inexplicable mystery. Father, You have brought me thus far, I hunger for more. Teach me Your ways.

HAND ON THE SHOULDER

One of life’s greatest gifts is a reassuring hand on the shoulder. It is almost miraculous how, in the blink of an eye, a simple gesture can wipe away concealed pain or encourage a step of faith. How often have I missed the opportunity to offer something so valuable, yet easy to give? Father, help me today to be Your hand extended to someone’s moment of need. Thank You for Your constant gentle touch.

BEHIND THE VEIL

Another friend has slipped behind the veil. It is bittersweet. Those left behind feel gnawing pain of loss, yet our hearts are bathed in peace; our dear one now stands before his Creator and Redeemer. These moments define our faith. Lord, in You death’s shroud of darkness is stripped away. When my last breath is taken perishable will be clothed with imperishable and death swallowed in victory.

GOD IS GOOD

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. Lord, You are Good.