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Showing posts from August, 2012

WEARINESS

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.

SEASONS

Every season of life brings its own joys and disappointments. Letdowns seem to accrue more easily than gladness. King David found it necessary to remind himself of God’s blessings and to command his own soul to praise God. A quick inventory of things for which I can be thankful ignites my soul, releasing joy and praise. O Lord my God, my heart is jubilant as I contemplate Your goodness.

STILL A CHILD

Nothing clears the mind of clutter quite like a conversation with a three year old: innocent curiosity, unrestrained laughter, simple words, clunky attempts at philosophical and technical concepts, humble openness. We are commanded to “change and become like little children” to enter the Kingdom of God. Father in Heaven please forgive my outlandish pretense; I am Your child, teach me Your ways.

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.

RESCUE

Upon being cast into an angry sea the only hope is to cleave to whatever floats and hope for rescue. It may be the sea itself that deposits the lost soul on shore or perhaps the timely kindness of a passing stranger. Most likely, however, rescue will be at the hands of those who have long before made it their heroic mission. Father, by whatever means You choose, I cleave to Your Grace, Mercy and Providence.

A HARDENED HEART

It is dangerous to face truth with a hardened heart. Lack of godly understanding becomes an open door to unfiltered thoughts tainted with pain, prejudices and disappointments. Since we are partly deceived until truth arrives, we form a narrative that seems airtight but contains falsehood. Fortresses of thought must then be defeated before truth can enter. Father, in Your love tear down strongholds of deception in me and in us all.

THE RIGHT COURSE

A moth sees an attractive glow and is pulled to its death. Moths use the moon as a navigational tool. Lesser light, though still attractive, throws off their ability to triangulate and they lose their way. The same is true with people. When the light of Scripture and Spirit is replaced with human opinion disaster is immanent. Father, may the light of Your Word and Spirit guide the course I follow.

MORE THAN ENOUGH

Many things happen I cannot control; yet there is God. While my current state of affairs may not change, with Yahweh (“He Brings Into Existence Whatever Exists”), I can change. That is enough. We each waste valuable time imagining that different circumstances would produce a better outcome. Trust is the more excellent way. I can do no better than that. Lord, You are more than enough.

PAIN

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!

THE EXQUISITENESS OF OBEDIENCE

A heart too tied to this world knows little of the exquisiteness of obedience. To do the will of God in ways large and small uncaps a wellspring of joy within. Short-lived happy feelings accompany bargain-basement choices, but joy eternal fills the heart of those who know extravagant obedience. Lord of Unquenchable Glory and Irrepressible Peace, deliver me from earthly sorrow and align my heart and will to Your own.

KINDNESS

Though past disappointments may linger, there is no loss in offering authentic kindness. When practiced without ulterior motives, we touch for a moment the glory and nature of God. Even if it is abused or rejected by those to whom it is offered, kindness benefits the giver inwardly and invites the promised blessing of the Almighty. Father, You are kind beyond description, make me more like You.

GREATER LOVE

Even when we are sincere, human love runs shallow. Firmly lodged boulders of selfishness lie just beneath the surface, regularly protruding through. My love compared to the great affection of God? He does not HAVE love, God IS love. Human love is mostly rooted in circumstances. God’s wondrous love is His very Being; it is uninfluenceable. Holy Redeemer, while not a stranger, I still know so little of Your love. Teach me to love as You do.

BREAKTHROUGH

How many more steps to breakthrough? I don’t know. I never know until AFTER the final step, so I walk. IN faith, I walk. BY faith I walk. In confident persistence, I walk. Through valleys of doom, I walk. Past shadows of fear, I walk. Over mountains of doubt, I walk. Through jungles of entanglements, I walk. Shepherd of my soul You are with me, Your rod and staff comfort me, my cup overflows, so I walk.

EVERY MOVE I MAKE

I remember the comforting encouragement of a teacher’s hand gently folded over my own as I drew my first circles. It felt like I was controlling the movements, but I know better now. Nothing has changed. Every movement I make in the right direction still requires a guiding hand. Lord, I am thankful You never let go. I need Your divine touch more today than ever. Help me learn the rhythm of Your embrace.

A DEEPER PLACE

I am, of late, being drawn into a deeper place. This newest spiritual advance requires little outward action, however, a lot is happening inwardly. Past growth means little here, no, only the present. Attitudes, commitments and practices are being put to the test; fresh excitement and passion is gurgling. Shepherd of My Soul, thank You for fresh winds. Help me to not take shortcuts. Be magnified in me.

LOVE LIFTS ME

Most of my prayers have the same starting point, hacking my way through twisted vines of self-absorption to return to a path of obedience to God’s ways. It is still surprising to me how easily I get off track, the slightest turn plunging me into a ravine of darkness. Yet even from the bottom there is always light above. Father, thank You for Your lifting hand, Your light pulls me through the steep climb.

NEW GROWTH

Spiritual nutrition will not effect what only repentance can transform. Our lawn is summer green but a few spots are brown. Small, stubborn patches where it will not grow must be removed before new growth will appear. Nutrition will not do, only removal. Lord, help me to establish the right sequence. Where dried patches lie, grant me grace to truly repent. Sow in me that which You desire. I’m excited!

THE POTTER'S HAND

I enjoyed playing with modeling clay as a child. With sufficient time I could take shapeless material and mold whatever my imagination and childhood skills could conceive. Learning the texture and feel was a significant part of the process. Life is different now. I am no longer the sculptor; I am the clay. Father, Creator of All Things, mold me and make me after Your will. Teach me to welcome the texture and feel of Your mighty hand.

STEPS

I often feel I'm waiting on God to do something; answered prayer, doors of opportunity, spiritual breakthrough. Am I waiting on Him or is He waiting on me? Delaying action until conditions are perfect only extends the wait. While I cannot force things before their time, I can act in faith on what I do know. Lord, grant me grace for now to obey with limited information. Teach me to take one step at a time.

BOUNDLESS FAITH

Fear produces a fog of war that can cause allies to attack one another. Faith on the other hand, that joyful word that unlocks heaven's rewards, is never bound to earthly circumstances. Faith unleashes perfect wisdom, clarity of vision and a steady walk through the unseen. If a mustard seed’s portion can throw a mountain into the sea, then it can clear our way forward. Father, Your words are the fountain of faith.

PROGRESS

I have made steady spiritual progress throughout my life, yet many issues seem to recycle. I find myself fighting the same battles over and over again. It is comforting to know that my Creator and Commander will finish what He started. The final outcome is not dependent upon my own strength; the Lord Himself is at work. Father, banish from me every futile resistance. Mold me into a faithful servant.

PRIVATE PURGATORY

These times feel like a forced march through barren desert. While in fact, most trials are shared with many others, it can feel very personal, a private purgatory. God’s desire for me to be more like Him requires that I pass this way. A protracted, severe trial is a pristine environment for faith and faithfulness to develop. I am willing Lord, strengthen me that I may walk the distance. Provoke me to remember others.

I AWAIT

Patience is not my strongest attribute. I know that I need patience, I just don't like waiting for it. Difficult times inflame my determination for things to change more quickly. I show contempt for the riches of God's kindness when I am impatient with His processes. Lord, I truly do need patience, and the lessons it brings. Help me to accept Your pace, to not miss anything, to take it all in. Lord Eternal, I await.

READINESS

I awake today with inward readiness. Even the smallest thing can inspire me when I’m ready to receive. This day is brimming with everything I need for life and godliness. God has saturated every moment beforehand. What noble things await discovery? This is Your day Lord! I am rejoicing in it already. Grant to me good discernment. May Your will dominate every desire, Your presence every step.

LOVING ENEMIES

I have little capacity for doing good to those who do me harm, yet we are commanded to love our 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 resistance to Your ways.

UNEXAMINABLE

The ways and works of God are unexaminable. In my finite human condition I simply do not have the capacity to grasp the infinite. I am nevertheless among the eternally blessed knowing some things: God is good, He is my Healer, Liberator, Provider, and Strength. Therefore acknowledging my earthbound limitations yet reckoning upon my heavenly call, Holy Father I fall happily into your arms.

SUPREME LOVE

Those who know little of the supremacy of God's love live in a persistent state of fear. Fear siphons away life. It drains our joy. It is a thief, murderer and destroyer. God's love is constant, purifying, constraining, motivating, healing, forgiving, freeing, perfect. Lord, You ARE love and I may only know You by love. Enlarge my capacity to receive Your love and offer freely it to others.

BETRAYAL AND TREACHERY

Betrayal and treachery hurt the people affected by them, but in fact, it is a denial of God Himself. To attempt to seize control through lies or disinformation is an attempt to position one’s self as the sole proprietor of truth. Those who engage in these things often believe they are doing God’s bidding. Father, keep me bound to Your truth alone. Grant me grace to conduct myself accordingly.

JOYFUL COMPLIANCE

Since God sees into our souls, grudging obedience will not suffice. Joyful compliance puts a smile on our Heavenly Father’s face; He loves a cheerful giver. Resentful servitude leaves us empty and does not produce in us the purpose God intends. Willing submission releases copious fruitfulness and enduring peace. Oh Lord, Keeper of My Soul, teach me to love You without reserve in all that I do.