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Showing posts from December, 2011


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 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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.