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Showing posts from May, 2012


I love the early sunrise and late sunset of summer. More light, my soul craves it. Each new daybreak God brings all that is obscured by darkness into the light. It is so natural, so repetitive, that we lose sight of the blessing it is. Dark to light: God’s daily gift. Luminous Lord, drive all darkness from my soul. Give light to my eyes and keep my lamp burning. May others see Your radiance reflected in me today.


Since divine correction and instruction are the way to true life, God places learning stations throughout each new day. My tendency is to brush past each lesson too quickly, confident of what I think I know. But God’s goodness wins out, and despite my attempts to move on, I find myself back at the same learning station again and again. Dear Father, here I must make a full stop, thank You for Your persistent tutelage.


Weariness awakens selfishness and drains away kindness and consideration for others. It is an indicator of self-dependence and loss of vision. When I become overwhelmingly tired, God faithfully reminds me why I serve in the first place. Father, I owe You everything and I owe others Your love and kindness on which I necessarily depend. I am excited about serving You and the people You created in love.


A mental grasp of God is wholly unnecessary since His greatness is beyond human comprehension. I don’t have to wait for more understanding of His works and ways to praise him. He is worthy of outrageous, extravagant acclamation and adoration NOW. Great are You Lord and worthy of all honor and glory! My heart and mouth is full of praise to You my God and my strength.


My early years were spent learning WHAT to do, followed by decades of learning HOW to do what I did. More recently the focus has shifted to WHY I do what I do. Perhaps it takes a lifetime of journey to get to the question of motive. The ebb and flow of people and circumstances eventually strips away every veneer, depositing a simple prayer in our hearts: “Father, not my will, but Yours be done.”


I realize now more than ever God keeps me, He surrounds me like a wall. This has, at times, felt constraining; HOLY CONSTRAINT, what divine joy, what genuine FREEDOM. Why do we wear ourselves out to get what can never satisfy? Father, grant me the wisdom and discipline to show restraint. With Your love and grace You hem me in, forgive my attempts to squirm away from Your grasp.


The mercy of God requires no conditions. By the time we need mercy, nothing more CAN be done, that is why we need it. We who know little of unconditional love struggle with the very idea that God offers mercy of this nature. Don’t get me wrong, grace and mercy are powerful, every last strand of resistance to God’s ways will succumb to their advance. Most Merciful and Gracious God, do your holy work in me today.


A bush, a fire; seemingly unremarkable things. On the Sinai mountainside the ordinary was transfigured into the miraculous. God’s Manifest Presence transformed dirt into sacred ground, a fugitive into a deliverer, a shepherd into a prophet. Father, nothing is ordinary when infused with Your Presence and Power. Help me to “turn aside” in the midst of the commonplace and see Your Glory today.


Having been raised in the flatlands of the Florida coast, my first trip into the mountains as a twelve-year old boy was a huge surprise. As we climbed into the Appalachian foothills the first discovery was how far we could see behind us. While living in the past is useless, learning from where we have journeyed imparts wisdom and discretion, a powerful twosome. Father, teach me to see from the highest place.


Imagined happiness can never offer the authenticity of the joy that God provides. Since human happiness is rooted in temporary circumstance, with ebbs and flows like tidal waters, we learn to anticipate its departure soon after its arrival. No so with the joy of the Lord. No, this sticks. It’s not as giddy, but offers exquisite texture and is loaded with extras. Lord, I love Your joy, no substitute will suffice.


Pain has a unique way of capturing all of our attention. Life without agony of some variety seems impossible. I must not allow sorrow of any sort to have more than momentary notice or it will soon sequester everything around it. Giving, serving, or any act of selfless love requires doing so through pain. Lord, I earnestly believe Your words: “those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” My harvest is on the way.


The hardening of the heart is a slow process. It may begin as a particularly prized opinion or commitment to a specific course of action; even procrastination is a path to hardness. Excuses are made, all contrary opinions are cast aside; no authority is trusted. In the end it becomes resistance to truth. Father, grant me a pliable heart. May nothing I think or do be held so dear that truth may no longer penetrate.


The simple phrase “by faith” opens a universe of understanding and divine power. By faith, I confidently approach the Throne of Grace. By faith, I can love others without terror. By faith, I can march through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. By faith, my heart is filled with the abundance of the unseen. Lord of Faith and Goodness, Your Promises grant me uncluttered assurance; point me in Your way.


I often hear: “This nation was founded upon Judeo-Christian Principles.” It seems far more important that it is founded by “Principled People”. Be it a nation, family, business, congregation, or neighborhood association, without principled people the institutions become dependent on enforcement of rules. The inward law of the Spirit is far superior to outward law. Lord, let Your light guide my behaviors.


I cannot permit my heart to have open borders; it must be guarded since everything I do flows from it. It is really simple, garbage in garbage out, treasure in treasure out. Like the physical body, my inward man must be nourished, protected and cultivated for it to stay healthy. A free roaming heart will stray into danger. Lord, Shepherd of my Soul, help me stay in Your shadow. Keep me safely in Your care.


As soon as I awake my mind is bombarded with unresolved problems; there is never a shortage of them. My first inclination is to share my anxiety with others, yet I know the ultimate answer is not there. No, I will cast my cares upon Him who cares for me more than any other. Lord, I yearn for Your consoling voice. Instruct me from Your limitless knowledge; strengthen me with Your benevolent power.


Discretion is a precious gift from God. If I ignore its protection I suffer the consequences. Time spent with thoughtful people increases my discernment and guards me from inappropriate recklessness. Good judgment does not lock us away from the world around us, but empowers us to walk safely among all. Giver of All Wisdom, grant me foresight and good sense today.


Chasing after God must be done in spite of many obstructions. I not only face the difficulty of human selfishness, but also the twisted theology of contemporary Christian culture; that personal fulfillment is on the same level as the will of God. A full embrace of the Cross will finish this. Father, pull me toward You when I pull away. Teach me to hold tightly to the finishing work of Your death, burial & resurrection.


God uses many marvelous silhouettes to reveal His love, character and ways. His unconditional, tender love is revealed so beautifully and uniquely in Motherhood. While all human expression of God's perfect love falls short, some come close. A mother with her small child, it is mystery revealed. Lord, thank You for all of the wonderful mothers in my life. I see reflections of You in them.


Sleep reminds me of pushing "restart." The screen goes black, silence, then light, whirring, clicking and there it is: a fresh start. God is so smart; though He never sleeps nor slumbers He knew that we would need to re-boot. Each new day still carries the information of yesterday, yet offers a new beginning. Lord, I praise You for your indescribable wisdom and nurture. Help me take hold of this new day.


It is always difficult to be judged by others, but it is far worse when those who condemn refuse facts that are contrary to their presumptions. An unwillingness to hear and consider beyond foregone conclusions is a sign of spiritual immaturity and those who choose this path disqualify themselves. Mature, godly love always leads to healing, enlightenment and freedom. Father, deliver me from all hardness of heart.


How foolish it is that we judge God’s character by what we perceive He allows. If something good occurs we consider God as good; something horrible and unexplainable, then He is of questionable character. Our challenge? Using knowledge that could fit on a pinhead to calculate formulas that frame the universe. Lord God Almighty, forgive my presumptuousness. Trust, there is no other way.


While I have grown spiritually over a lifetime I continue to struggle with the same basic human issues. This discouraged me as a younger man, but now my response is different. I am actually encouraged by the knowledge that it is grace upon which I must wholly depend; it always has been, it always will be. Father, that I must continually lean upon Your goodness provides a liberty that self assurance never could.


We confuse exercising biblically granted DIVINE AUTHORITY with being an AUTHORITY ON THE DIVINE; confidently condemning those not like us. From there it is a slippery slope.  Discernment has great value, but we can easily move into judgment and declarative pronouncements that are careless and hurtful rather than helpful. Lord, help me to discern, think and speak things bathed in Your love.


The Bible is brimming with music. After crossing the Red Sea Miriam danced with a tambourine & led Israel in a song. Psalms is the songbook for Israel. Jesus was born among a chorus of angels, and all of heaven seems continually filled with songs. Lord, You have placed a song in the heart of Your people, fill me with glorious praise. I joyfully join the happy chorus: “we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love”.


Life often seems like a rugby scrum. While I know full well that God is always present and that all His ways are loving and faithful, still I strive. Each time I feel like complaining, I must remember that there is a much more powerful option; I can glorify God in my distress. I can shout for joy, giving grateful praise to Him who is ever faithful. Lord, You are my Keeper; Your presence sustains me.


I have a welcome case of divine dissatisfaction. His goodness is what stirs discontentment with our current condition. He will not leave us in the squalor of yesterday’s spiritual attainment. God induced turbulence is ultimately terminal, bringing every unregenerate attitude or behavior into the open for disposal. Blessed riddance. Father, thank you for provoking me to go deeper. May it ever be so.


The basic human instinct for harmony, symmetry, balance and rhythm is continually assaulted by the unpredictable anarchy that each day brings. In art, the imperfect, the incomplete, the merely suggested are central to its beauty, its mystery. The work of God’s Spirit is precisely to bring order and truth out of chaos. Lord. Help me trusts Your artful work throughout this day. I will trust Your eye for beauty from ashes.