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Showing posts from November, 2013

GRUDGING OBEDIENCE

Since God sees into our souls as easily as looking into a fishbowl, grudging obedience will not suffice. While others may be fooled, the Lord Almighty knows the underlying thoughts and intentions of every person’s actions. We know joyful compliance puts a smile on our Heavenly Father’s face since Scripture reveals 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.

RECKLESS GALL

That God cares for people at all is baffling considering how depraved we are without His moment-by-moment work within us. Yet those He created in His image hold His heart and constant attention. Disrespect for others is an ominous sign of disrespect for the Creator Himself. Frankly, I struggle to accept God’s unconditional love for me, must less offer it to someone else. But in fact, I cannot claim to be His child while harboring hatred or disregard for those He loves. Father, Lover of My Soul, pour Your pure love through me to others, especially those I disdain. Forgive my reckless gall.

THANKSGIVING

Ten lepers were cured, but only one returned to express gratitude. King David found it necessary to remind himself of his many blessings. Our tendency to focus on what we lack in life robs us of enduring gratefulness. Giving thanks to should not be corralled into moments when we feel obliged; gratefulness and praise must be our lifestyle, thankfulness and praise a forethought, not an afterthought. God of all Blessings, Sustainer of All Life,
Giver of all Grace, I thank You and praise you for Your Unceasing Goodness.  You are my Light and Salvation. To You be glory forever and ever, amen.

MIRACLES

Miracles happen every day, so I must first consecrate myself in preparation for the amazing things God will do. Should I wait for signs of something happening before making necessary changes? Absolutely not! With God, all things are possible, so I must stop and consider whether I am ready for a Divine Encounter. Consecration anticipates the wondrous works of God. Lord God of Wonders and Might, I yield to Your will, Your ways and Your timing. May my heart and mind expectantly prepare for Your Glory. Teach me to live with fervent readiness and expectation of Your works.

STAINED GLASS MASQUERADE

As a child I did not mind playing alone. I would simply dream-up elaborate scenarios filled with interesting things to do. Pretending is an essential pathway to development for children, but is a passageway to self-deception for adults. While imagination and creativity have lifelong value, to masquerade as something we are not is falsehood. As I have matured, seamlessness between who I want to be and who I actually am has become crucial. Heavenly Father, may Your maturing work in me produce increasing authenticity. Help me not gloss over weaknesses and deliver me from cover-ups.

TEARS

While raising our children we became accustomed to tears; each day offered many. Most of the tearful moments were a result of minor disappointments or injuries, but occasionally there was genuine heartache. A single tear poised on the cheek of a sorrowful little face was riveting. Everything else stopped while full household attention was given to that one anguished soul. It is the same with God. Lord of All Comfort, one small teardrop of true repentance unleashes angels, archangels and the company of heaven to my troubles. You turn my tears of sorrow to tears of joy!

LOVE LIFTS

“Love Lifted Me;” the title of an old hymn with a life-altering message. Whether being given or received, love lifts. Like a tidal rise in a harbor filled with boats, love lifts. What a powerful force love truly is! I can change my daily experience, even when I have limited power to change my circumstances, simply by acting in God’s Tender Love. A deeper understanding of His Divine Affection opens the floodgates and empowers us to pour it out to others, even to the most unlovable. Lord of Love, use me today as a downspout of Your love. Help me offer it without limitation. I already feel the lift.

SAND THROUGH THE HOURGLASS

Like sand slipping through the hourglass, each moment appears and quickly slips into the past. I often feel the sting of lost opportunities, mistakes and unchangeable past events. An eternal perspective rotates the impulse of our lives; instead of dwelling on the past, we are pulled toward an unlimited future filled with hope. What is behind becomes a footnote as eternal purpose unfolds and God’s beckoning calls us higher. Glorious Father, compared to Your Everlasting Greatness, everything else is trivial. Nothing of this world has value unless it brings You glory. I joyfully move forward.

THE FOG OF WAR

The battlefield presents constant dangers that accelerate disorientation and fear in its participants. This confusing uncertainty is known as the “fog of war”. The complexity of life can make a home, neighborhood, school, office or even a house of worship seem like a place of battle. When cherished places become battlespaces the fog of war can cause allies to attack one another. These moments require calm confidence and good communication. Father, help me recognize that You are my Trusted Commander and Your people are not my enemy. Keep me rightly focused in battle.

NO CRINGING ALLOWED

God wants to love others through me but I sometimes cringe at His choices. Not that I think I am more worthy of His love than others, it is just so difficult many times. There is no escape. To experience His love opens our heart to the surge of His love for all. While I mostly enjoy this process, there are moments when I wish to shut off the valve after quenching my own thirst, but He will have none of this nonsense. Restricting the love-flow from His heart to my heart to others is a heinous crime. Lord of Love, forgive me for holding back Your love from others. Make me an open-valve fountain of blessing.

A DEATHBLOW TO DARKNESS

It is unsettling to think about the wickedness is in this world. At the very same moment I am striving to do good, someone is seeking to do harm. This would lead to fear if I did not know that in spite of the dark forces of evil I am not unarmed. The heaven-sent weapons of our warfare are mighty. When the enemy rises to attack me, thinking there are no troops on guard, the One Who Never Sleeps Nor Slumbers rises to my defense. O Lord My Victor, with You on my side the battle is checked and eternal victory is sure. To call upon Your Name is to bring a deathblow to every work of darkness!

HIGHER THAN I

From the earliest age I have been a climber. For me, it has never been about the climb itself; it is the heights that call to my soul. While I still get a bit nervous at the edge, I simply like to be up high. Seeing things from a higher position gives life a different perspective. I have progressed from trees to mountains to airplanes, but the fascination with an elevated view has never waned. Perhaps it is an imprint from the Almighty. As King David’s heart grew faint, he cried out: “Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” Yes. Lord God Most High, draw me to Your heavenly perspective on all things.

OCEANS OF BLESSINGS

Looking at the ocean is full of life lessons. As an example, what you see on the surface tells very little of its true volume. While there is significant activity on top, the real action is only discovered by going deeper. There is always much more over the horizon and it is headed your way. Every wave deposits treasures on the shore but effort must be made to find them. Eternal God and Maker of All things, You made the seas as but a token of Your Wonder. Lord and Father, You are the Well that Never Runs Dry, the Dawn that Never Dims and the depths of Your Love may never be exhausted.

EXPOSING DECEPTION

Deception is a primary tactic in both human and spiritual battles. This is accomplished by intentional misinformation or creating an artificial visual falsehood. Diversionary measures are used to cause the opponent to react to the wrong circumstances and to waste their resources. Thankfully, in spiritual warfare, the weapons and war tactics granted to us by God are not fleshly, carnal weapons; they have God’s might with them. He grants us discernment to expose the enemy’s deception. Almighty King of the Universe, You disperse darkness and cause the enemies of Your Kingdom to flee.

GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY

I woke up thankful today. Thankfulness usually floats close to the surface for me, but ordinarily it is not my first morning reaction. Constant, auto-response gratefulness requires a level of surrender that still mostly eludes me. Typically I must first navigate through a maze of my own thoughts and emotions before reaching the bliss of thankfulness. A strong sense of gratitude, love and appreciation is not rooted in circumstances; it flows from a deeper understanding of God’s goodness and love. Today, I am there quickly and without conditions. Thank You Father for the early gift. You are so very Good.

LAND MINES

Cold tile floors and bare feet are an unpleasant wintery mix. Warm socks properly applied are a welcome and easy fix. This is a teachable moment, reminding me that little problems become big problems if not addressed yet are easily overcome if proper care is taken. Delayed prayer, deferred forgiveness, ignored relational issues; all these are life’s land mines. Postponement does not deal with problems it only makes them worse, dangerously hiding them until they explode. Lord, help me catch the little things that spoil my soul. Remind me to be proactive when facing dilemmas.

CELESTIAL INTERVENTION

Many things may temporarily stir emotions, but the soul cannot be awakened without Divine Initiative. It is the spark of the Lord Almighty that instigates deep searching or gnawing spiritual hunger. A horse will not walk straight without a hand on the reigns and I will do no better. We must never forget the constant need for God’s guiding touch upon our souls. Lord of Glory and All Wisdom, You stir my heart and steady my steps. You O Lord Who are capable of all things will order my steps and lead me to secret places of the Most High. I gratefully welcome Your celestial intervention.

DIVINE DOWNLOADS

Constant updates are required for the operating systems and applications we all use. Between my phone, computer and other devices there are multiple downloads each day. This is really nothing new; my whole being has required daily adjustments for as long as I can remember. I must be sorted through, spirit, soul and body, until every part is pure and wholly consecrated to God. Yesterday’s surrender is insufficient for this new day. Precious Lord, I am thankful for Your constant work in me so that You may work through me. Divine Downloads are my urgent need and daily desire.

A MIGHTY FORTRESS

It is perfectly normal to believe that if we gather enough fame and fortune we will be protected from calamity. However, when life falls apart there is no enduring safety for the self-dependent. Only those with principled character, a biblical worldview and a genuine relationship with the Almighty will withstand the onslaught life brings.  No one can be insulated from disaster, but the God-seeker knows where to turn and finds peace and prosperity within the tempest. O Lord My Strength and Deliverer, in Your Divine Care I run freely through the darkest valley. A Mighty Fortress is our God.

THE FINISH

There are those who are convinced they have run their course just before the final leg. A good start and a strong race doesn’t matter in the end, it is only the finish that truly matters. The Apostle Paul’s words ring as powerfully today as they did two millennia ago, “I fought a good fight, I kept the faith!” Keeping the faith in spite of what appears as certain defeat is the pathway to the supernatural. Finishers are overcomers. Lord Above, You open the windows of heaven to those who do not quit. My passionate aim is to fight the good fight and finish the race till at last I fall into Your Arms.

NO BIG DEAL

The development of technology and communication has produced a world where distance offers few barriers. I may now add to my daily personal concerns those of the entire planet; a super typhoon and nuclear negotiations combine with the woes of a leaking pipe and troubled transmission. A casual approach to prayerfulness and godliness will not do in this hour, I must rise to the increased challenges by developing greater character and deeper spirituality. Holy Father, nothing is too big for You to handle. Bridle my earthly impulses and speak Your peace to my storms.

TRANSFORMED

The transformation between the dark of night to morning light never loses its fascination for me. Some days easily, others reluctantly, like metal to magnet I am drawn to its power to awaken. Every second brings subtle change; the landscape must be carefully observed as all that can be seen is transfigured. There are so many parallels between sunrise and the way God pulls me into His will. Each day He quietly moves into my darkness, His resplendent Presence renovating my soul. Lord of Light, I welcome Your metamorphic approach to every square inch of my soul. Yes, this is good.

NOTHING WASTED

Much of our human effort produces little of measurable earthly value. I have poured my emotions, energy, time and resources into things only to later realize that what 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.  Time and energy is never wasted when expended in pursuit of God’s will. Lord, may I never grow weary in doing good. In Your mercy, help me keep my shoulder to the plow. Use me to encourage others to stay the course.

HEY, ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?

I truly loathe being blamed for something I didn’t do. It raises my hackles and I go into full defensive mode. Thankfully, most of what I think of my accusers gets filtered before leaving my mouth. God’s constant work on my character and humility is having slow but steady affect upon my responses. It is far too easy to blame others for their misperceptions than to honestly examine one’s own contributions to the perceived issues.Lord of Truth and Love, teach me humility that I may never miss a life lesson. Help me focus on pleasing You to my highest potential that You may be glorified in me.

MY TEACHER'S HAND

After so many years I can still 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. Though I took credit for my improved drawing, those teachers were humble partners in my development. Nothing has changed. Every move I make in the right direction still requires a guiding hand.  You O Lord are my Teacher, guiding me into Your highest and best. I am thankful You never let go. I need Your divine touch more today than ever. Help me learn the rhythm of Your embrace.

I BOW THE KNEE

God’s Presence is intimate and welcoming.  He greets us with open arms and grants us acceptance on the basis of what our Redeemer has accomplished for us. We must never take for granted the high privilege of worship; it is only by mercy and grace we enter in. Presumptuousness is a vile tag along that can accompany the liberty we feel in His Presence; however, a nonchalant casualness should never appear in my approach to God. Holy and Almighty Father, forgive my recklessness. May I never show contempt for your kindness by inappropriate brazenness. I bow the knee to Your Majesty.

SKULKING PRIDE

Even after years of God’s dealings with me, far too much human pride still remains. While increasingly pushed out of the spotlight, it still stubbornly skulks around in the shadows, giving way only in forced increments. Though sometimes diagnosed and stopped before popping out in words or actions, far too often, it leaps back on center-stage in full-blossom. God’s Goodness will not leave me in this unreliable state. Thank You Father, Son and Holy Spirit for Your holy work of deliverance from swaggering pretentiousness. Blessed riddance. I must decrease, You must increase.

PASSING SQUALLS

Blessings and disappointments arrive frequently to every person’s life. It seems much easier to remember the letdowns. Today’s disappointments often overshadow a lifetime of blessings. Clouds may temporarily block the rays of light the sun provides, but even in the darkest storm sunlight still brightly shines above. I must remind myself to rise above the tempest of temporary letdowns and remember God’s Goodness and Mercy. Father, forgive my fickle feelings. May your extended Hand of Blessing always be met with my hands lifted in praise, especially while in passing squalls.

IDOL WORSHIP IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD

In my travels I have seen a plethora of idols and idol worshipers, men, women and children bowing before false gods. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much idol worship in my neighborhood. Or is there? Any time we confer more importance or authority to a created thing rather than to the Creator of All Things we are, in effect, worshipping idols. Everything in life, in fact, even life itself, must be held loosely. I must learn to take hold of eternal things with vise grip determination and bow the knee to God alone.  Father, Great I Am, to You alone belongs all glory, honor, praise and servitude.