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Showing posts from November, 2011

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.