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Showing posts from October, 2011

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.