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Showing posts from December, 2012

SO LONG, FAREWELL

It is truly heartfelt as I say: "Happy New Year to everyone." I do not mourn the close of 2012, yet, I predict that many future blessings will be rooted in it. It is the finish of a foundation on which greater things will later rest. This past year has amplified for me things learned long ago: Evil masquerades as self-righteousness, forgiveness is central to spiritual progress and truth offered in love prevails.  Lord, into Your capable hands I entrust both the past and future. Please do not let me ignore the lessons that have emerged in this pivotal year.

CHAIN OF BLESSINGS

Each act of obedience to God begins a chain of unending blessing and invites new opportunities to make genuine spiritual progress. That we are granted such partnership with The Almighty is remarkable enough, but to understand that He DESIGNED us to partner with Him is at once humbling and too wonderful for words. Dearest Father, my life for You. Teach me to obey swiftly and completely.

THE NATIVITY SHOUTS

That God would trust any of us with something as valuable as a little baby is difficult to grasp, but to think that He entrusted to our hands the Son of God is impossible to comprehend. From Celestial Throne to musty hay, from the praise and service of ten thousand times ten thousand to a bewildered young couple in a world ill-prepared to receive the King of Kings. The Nativity shouts the love and faith of God. My Lord, My God, My Redeemer, grant me this day Your love, Your faith.

THE BLESSING OF MISTAKES

It is often said that we learn from our mistakes. I should be absolutely brilliant by now. One of my spiritual fathers, Costa Deir once said to me, "Son, if all of your mistakes are new ones, you are making progress." I conclude that learning what not to do is a vital part of knowing what is best. Lord, guide me today through the maze of decisions along the way. Grant me wisdom, progress and smiles.

DOOM AND BLESSING

It seems that potential Doom and Blessing are 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!!

A POINTED LIFE

When each of us is created God places within us an internal compass that always points to true north, the direction of His created purpose for us. What does it mean to live a “pointed life?” It means when obstacles appear we may temporarily detour but true north never changes. A pointed life never looks to current surroundings as evidence of arrival. Lord God, grant me strength to resist diversion. Point me faithfully to Your destiny for me.

GOD'S DELIGHT

While having lunch at an airport restaurant I watched a young mother and her child. Her obvious delight in interacting with her baby made me wonder, does God delight in nurturing us?I remembered Zephaniah’s words: “He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Father, I am so humbled and amazed to think of You singing over us as You nurture our created purpose.

DIVINE NAVIGATION

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.

HATRED

There is no shortage of hatred in this world. Every human spends time on one side or the other of animosity, usually both. Anger leads to bitterness, bitterness leads to hatred, hatred leads to death. Proverbs declares: “Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.” Galatians places hatred in context: “idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions.” Wow! Father, deliver me from even the slightest element of hatred.

ALL THINGS CONSIDERED....

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 many “dark nights of the soul." I saw bountiful fruitfulness. I met amazing people. 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! Blessed be the Name of the LORD.

DIVINE IMPULSE

Every good thing is preceded by divine impulse; God is its origin. No pride may be taken in a righteous act since it can only be done in His grace. How easily I slip into pretentious vainglory. Even while acknowledging God, somehow I find a way to take at least some credit. It is no wonder that I must die daily. Righteous Lord, annihilate my arrogance by the Cross, that I may humbly do good.

TRAGEDY

Tragedy comes to nations, cities, neighborhoods, families and individuals. In this world you will have tribulation. Calamities happen, but crawling into a cave of despair deepens the problems. “Why me?” Why now?” “Why this?” These questions 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.

GRACE TODAY

Grace is perfectly distributed by God. He that spins the worlds on His fingers has sufficient grace apportioned for every moment. Yesterday’s grace will not do for today, tomorrow’s grace cannot be coerced into early arrival. Like diurnally apportioned manna in the desert, grace comes for each day, each instant. Gracious Father, help me to accept and walk in Your provision of grace today.

A DIVINE BUSHWACK

People surprise me. They change so little, but then they do. Brilliance suddenly emerges from an underdeveloped mind. An otherwise stable person walks off the deep end. The spiritual sleepwalker awakens. I too, can change, be brilliant, go deeper, awaken. Sweet! Ever Present Lord, today is a superb day for a Divine Bushwack. Change me and make my life more pleasing to you. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.

HOLY UNCTION

It is too late to push away this new day; it is here, I must deal. So I embrace its treasures and troubles alike. It will all work for my good, as I am conformed into the image of Him who loves me and made me. Wisdom is waiting at every turn; delightful discoveries and teachable moments spread throughout. Father, I steady myself, prepared by Your Words and guided by Your Holy Unction. This will be good.

I WILL LIFT UP MY EYES

While on a morning walk I scanned the bright blue sky above and counted over thirty contrails slicing across the azure canopy. The wispy white streaks silently announce the passing of high-flying planes filled with passengers and cargo. I would have missed it all if I never looked up. How much in life do I miss for failure to follow King David’s example: “I lift up my Eyes to the heavens.” Lord of Glory, you act within the heavenlies to enforce You will in the earth. Help me to keep my countenance turned toward You.

VICTORIOUS RELIEF

My mind is upon past memories today. Most are good, but we each have our regrets and losses. Human experience is replete with personal and public pain. Deaths, wars, floods, crop failures, there is no shortage of grief. For those who know their Shepherd, there is victorious relief from the ravenous thieves of life and peace.Father, You heal our grief and reassure us in our pain. I rest assured in my Saviors clutch.

ANYWHERE

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.

HAPPY HANUKKAH

Hanukkah, the eight-day “Festival of Lights” begins at sunset today. It is a celebration of victory for God’s people, a remembrance of a great miracle and rededication of the Temple and shining light to the world around. This is a time to commemorate the superintendence of Adonei ha'adonim (Lord of Lords), to pray for the Light of Messiah to be shone to all peoples in all places and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Blessed are You o Lord our God, Ruler of the universe! And to all…Shabbat shalom.

FOGGY BLESSING

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.

EQUILIBRIUM

Trunk to the ground, roots pointing skyward, a huge tree simply falls over. It is unsettling. Soil and water, the very things that nourish, can be its undoing when given in excess. It is the same with me. Only the Eternal Designer Who knit me together can help me keep equilibrium. Lord, guide me into balance and moderation. Keep me from seeking excessive sustenance outside of Your design or provision.

DAILY VOCATION

Our daily vocation coincides with God’s. That we may behold His work is wondrous enough, but that the Creator of the Universe grants us partnership in His earthly activities is breathtaking. To be a craftsman at the Carpenter’s side fills me with delight day after day. Lord, I rejoice to do Your bidding. May my work this day, every day be synchronized with Yours. Let’s roll.

LOWER THE DRAWBRIDGE

Mankind was not made to go it alone. Our dependence upon God and others is wired in at the deepest level of our being. While it is true that we can build walls around our heart, pull in the drawbridge and consider all others intruders, to do so is to condemn ourselves to a self imposed prison. Father of Freedom and Purpose, help me to tear down the walls. Incite my heart to openness and love.

AN EFFECTIVE LIFE

I do not merely want to live; I sincerely desire an effective life. Earnest pursuit of godliness positions us for divinely empowered accomplishment. Selfishness has the opposite effect, sending us into a world of speculative fantasies that are empty and dangerous. To You, Dearest Father, belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are Yours. Grant me good discernment in my daily quest.