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Showing posts from February, 2013

DELUSIONAL LOVE

It is a common deception to fall in love with a false image that we ourselves create. We imagine only the good about something or someone, only to subsequently discover that we have successfully ignored the truth. Human love is delusional because it is selfish at its core, so much of our love being based on meeting our own needs. Only a godly worldview can prepare us to properly love people or things. Father in Heaven, You love the imperfect perfectly. Grant me Your love, deliver me from my own.

GROUPTHINK OR GODTHINK

As believers we are called to be transformed rather than conforming to the pattern of this world. Many are swept away by the power of conformity, the desire to be accepted and the need to fit in overpowering the desire to fulfill divine purpose. Groupthink smothers innovation. Conformity squelches God-inspired creativity. Setting our mind on pleasing Him opens a cornucopia of creative power as God moves in and through us to others. Groupthink imprisons, Godthink sets us free. Beloved Creator of All Things, deliver me completely from inappropriate conformity and release Your transforming power in and through me to others.

DAYBREAK

Each new daybreak brings me closer to an unveiled look into the face of my Creator and Redeemer.The very thought of it brings forth both excitement and trepidation. It brings comfort to know that He Himself is preparing me for that moment. Then again, I know the actions and attitudes of my heart do not rise to His perfection. My constant lawlessness prevents me from even one deserved favor, yet I am absolutely assured of His limitless loving kindness. Father, once more I remember, only by Your grace and mercy do I stand.

LIP ALARM

We install security alarms in our cars, homes and businesses. We build fences and hire police and armies to secure our lives. However, the most dangerous instrument of harm and dissention is our tongue. Guarding my lips guards my life and the lives of others. Both life and death proceed from our mouths. Unfortunately, there is not a lip alarm; safety begins in the heart out of which the mouth speaks. Lord, You have my heart and lips; purify both.

MOVING MADNESS TO MOVING GLADNESS

Moving after living in the same house for 15 years is very confronting. While we have found no skeletons in the closets, we have found everything from lost treasures to absolute junk. How does a life collect so many unneeded accessories? Then it hits me how so many lost treasures and piles of junk must remain in the recesses of my soul. Times such as Lent are great opportunities for self-inventory. The biblically based disciplines of the faith lead us to discovery and freedom. Gracious God, thank You for leading me through a process of revelation and cleansing.

FOUNTAIN OF SORROW

How much of what we chase after is mere imitation of others? The aspirations of those around us influence us to want what they want. While this can be a positive motivator, more often than not it is a fountainhead of sorrow. Far better is a relentless pursuit of what pleases God. Father, Wellspring of True Joy, teach me to surrender every earthly appetite to You alone. Help me to resist all influence but Yours.

ARROGANCE

There is an unhappy future for the person who is arrogant. Relationship with God and others provides the deepest, most enduring happiness. Arrogance makes authentic relationships nearly impossible. Pride is such a deadly virus; the more of it one has, the less of it can be seen in oneself. Father, expunge from me every smidgen of pride. Cleanse me from its deceptive ways.

MOVING MOMENTS

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.

STILLNESS

As I awaken to the presence of God today the question rises, 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.

DIVINE PURPOSE

Our divinely created purpose, like genetic code, lies deep within us. The value and benefit of drinking from its waters far exceeds the strenuousness of finding it. Whenever I stray too far the goodness of God pulls me back. He formed me to do His will and no other aspiration will endure. Every humanly endowed desire must align with His plan. Father You created me with purpose and an innate capacity to fulfill it; I so need Your daily grace.

BALANCE

When something is compelling enough, I can usually find a way to make it happen. It is embarrassing to admit how often I am compelled by passing desires rather than things of eternal importance. No doubt, misuse of time, talent and treasures hinders my spiritual progress. Lord, You are perfectly balanced in all that You do. Help me to properly steward all that I have and all that I am for according to Your will.

MIRACULOUS ORDINARINESS

Many seem to struggle with the idea that God works mightily through the ordinariness of everyday life. We hope for mountain top moments or dramatic signs to convince us that the Holy One is paying attention. Yet, it is life itself that is the signature of His work. My very breath is evidence enough of His Divine Activity. O Giver of Life, Thank You for another day of discovery, help me to see Your hand.

SPIRITUAL FATHERS

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. I could always count on honest counsel. They cared for my soul. 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.

TRUTH IN LOVE

Human honesty is often poorly timed. The reason is simple; the underlying motivation to "be honest" is grounded in selfishness rather than divine love. God speaks truth with pure motives while we do not. We mostly speak up when we are in fear of losing something or being harmed. Honesty in this case is no more than our intent to control our surroundings. Father, TRUTH IN LOVE, there is no other way.

SELF-GENERATED EXCUSES

Generally, I am not easily bamboozled. The great exception to this is my self-generated excuses to not do something I should. Sadly, I often find my internal arguments for non-action quite impressive. I give thanks and praise to the Spirit of the Living God, Whose constant and compelling promptings counter my self-deception and provoke me to action. Lord of Truth and Light, I am earnestly listening, fall afresh upon me.

GOD'S HOLY GRIP

I am well acquainted with God’s Holy Grip. When I press in it is gentle, soft but firm. In moments when I am being pulled away, or straining against it, I feel His Powerful Grasp tightening. There are startling moments of feet dangling over a precipice, yet I am still in held firmly in the Savior’s Clutch. Father, thank You for Your Mighty Hand. You uphold, guide, prod, restrain and comfort me. Your love endures forever.

AS THE DIAMOND TURNS

Each time that I think I understand God’s ways and means He turns the diamond; new facets of His splendor emerge and my perspective is advanced. There is no settling in this life for the true believer, every pilgrim must progress. I am not only satisfied in this constantly changing status, I am thankful for it. Lord, though I struggle in Your arms, You never let me go. Keep me moving toward Your will.

DAILY PASSION

The temptation to simply drift along a lazy river of complacency is persuasive. The volume of life’s complications can cause us to disengage from active pursuit of the will of God. Past disappointments pile up, the desire to take risks smothered by the volume of decisions and divine purpose becomes a mere shadow. Father in Heaven, awaken my heart with daily passion for Your will. Make me, mold me, fill me, use me.

THANKFUL

Sustained, 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. His path laid out for me often includes valleys, shadows and death, but restores my soul and brings me to rest along still waters. Father, to You I give thanks and praise.

PARDON

God’s pardon can neither be earned nor exhausted. The love and forgiveness of God is compared to the oceans in Scripture: “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Many of the largest mountains in the world are completely covered over with water, never to be seen by the multitudes. So it is with the forgiveness of God, our confessed sins are engulfed in His mercy, swallowed by His grace. Holy Father, at Your feet we fall in gratefulness and assurance.

SLIM CHANCE, BRIGHT HOPE

Faith works best in those divinely orchestrated instances in which we are delicately poised between a slim chance and bright hope. The type of “bright hope” of which I speak is rooted in biblical promise revealed by the Spirit, not the flimsy class of hope that is mere desire, optimism or desperation. So I begin this day mulling over God breathed words and listening to the indwelling voice of the Comforter, Counselor, Convicter and Convincer. Lord, I am listening.

SCHLEPPING YESTERDAY'S CONCERNES

I usually let each day begin fresh, but I realize that I am still schlepping yesterday's concerns. This will not do. Anxiety about the past or the future can obstruct valuable moves forward and neutralize God's daily whisperings. Blessed Father, I must hear from You today. Forgive my moments of worry as I now cast my cares upon You. I will listen for your instructions and am pleased to do Your will, Your way.

STUBBORNESS

Self-regulated stubbornness is like deep darkness; it causes us to keep hitting the same obstacles over and over, yet never understanding what makes us stumble. The path of those with submitted hearts is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Divinely infused wisdom accompanies the soul of the determined, yet surrendered. Father, not my will, but Yours.