Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March, 2014

THE SIN OF SILENCE

It is one thing to speak up when I personally feel the sting of mistreatment, but will I remain silent when I see others undergo injustice? Frankly, suffering for doing good is a commendable characteristic before God, but silently watching others suffer wrongdoing when it is in our power to act is condemnable. Yes, I am my brother’s keeper. Being able to see and feel beyond personal pain is an indicator of godliness. Faithful Lord, Caretaker of the Distressed, make my heart tender to the agony of others. Give me courage to rise up and act on behalf of those being crushed. Forgive me for the sin of silence.

AN EFFECTIVE LIFE

Pursuit of self-pleasing imaginations launches us into a seductive world of speculative fantasies that are empty and dangerous. I do not merely want to live, drifting aimlessly each day; I sincerely desire an effective life. A purposeless focus leads to long walkabouts in barren lands but earnest pursuit of godliness positions us for heavenly empowered accomplishment. To You, Dearest Father, belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are Yours. Grant me good discernment and divine resolve in my daily quest to make a lasting difference for Your KIngdom.

TRUTH

While wisdom and gentleness with others who disagree is a good approach to resolution, the truth must be spoken and advanced. Fearing what people think above the fear of displeasing or dishonoring God is a dangerous trap. Truth, no matter how softly and delicately delivered, is at once freeing and offensive. I welcome the truth only when I am prepared to receive both its benefit and its discomforting demand that I respond with change. Sovereign Lord of Love and Truth, help me know Your life-giving truth and boldly declare it to others. Let kindness be my motivation and method for proclaiming truth to others.

BY FAITH

The simple biblical phrase “by faith” opens a universe of understanding and divine power. By faith, I may confidently approach the Throne of Grace, despite feeling unworthy to do so. By faith, I can freely love others without terrorizing fear of rejection or misunderstanding. By faith, I can dance and through the Valley of the Darkness of Doubt with magnificent, indestructible and irreplaceable remedy. Victorious Lord, Your faith launching promises grant me uncluttered assurance, release unbounded joy and thrust me forward in the way of everlasting! By faith I enter this day in peace and power.

'TIS SO SWEET

Most of the calamities in my life have been situations that I never worried about or even thought about before they happened. On the contrary, the circumstances I did worry about subsequently almost never manifested. The lesson? What a waste of time it is to try to think my way through life! The path of listening to God’s Word and Spirit while serving, trusting and giving thanks is a far superior path. Good Shepherd of my soul, I praise & thank You today for Your superintendence, guidance, protection and love. Today I will take You at Your Word, casting my cares upon You. 'Tis so sweet.

GRACE FOR TODAY

Every soul passes through times of loss, betrayal, rejection and failure. Having suffered a painful trial in the past does little to take away the sting of a new trial, even if it is similar to ones passed through long ago.  Prior grace will not relieve the dark night of the soul; fresh grace is our sole relief. I must again return to the foot of the cross and behold the Son.  Grace for today is given freely to those who seek it in renewed surrender. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, and pour Your living water into my thirsty soul. While pain is an incessant intruder, my heart belongs to You alone.

SEASIDE DELIGHT

Most of my life I have lived near an ocean. Perhaps the fascination and magnetic hold it has is its similarity to its Designer and Creator. The sea offers unlimited bounty, yet its rewards remain mostly unseen until they surface. There is mystery and beauty, great power and peaceful bliss. The ocean cannot be controlled, nor defied, but it will carry those who enter it to unimagined new places. Giver of Life, I thank You for revealing something of Yourself in the things You’ve created. I stand in awe of Your Power and Beauty and am eternally thankful for Your bounty and blessings.

SURE FOUNDATION

You never know how strong someone is until they are seriously tested under heavy pressure. I have often been amazed at the fortitude of some when the really difficult tests come and equally amazed at the weakness of others who seemed so powerful until tested. Like buildings, the visible structure of someone’s life can seem outwardly beautiful, but it is the foundation that will determine its survival in upheavals and storms. Lord of All, You are my Rock and Sure Foundation. All that has been built on sinking sand within me must go. On the bedrock of Your Word I dwell safely.

FICKLE FEELINGS

The words we use are an indicator of our deepest beliefs. Never in my lifetime have I heard the words “feel, felt or feelings” used more than now to describe what guides our actions. Words such as “principles, truth, duty and honor” are generally reserved for what motivates outstanding heroes. In other words, life guided by fickle feelings is “normal,” but life guided by true character is special. The farther our culture slips away from Biblical culture the more anemic it becomes. O Lord My Helper, let truth be my only guide. Create in me a clean heart that I may bring honor and glory to Your Name.

REST STOPS AND DEAD ZONES

Rest and comfort seem similar, but are actually quite different. Rest prepares me for what is next; comfort settles me into what has been. Everyone needs comfort, but too much of it feeds selfishness and feelings of entitlement, leaving us maladjusted for sacrifice. Rest stops are for those going somewhere; comfort zones become dead zones. The flesh defines rest as relaxation; Biblical rest is rooted in inward peace from God, and ceasing from doing things our way instead of God’s way. Father, teach me to enter Your rest and to esteem your Spirit’s comfort above all other comforts.

SHORTCUTS

Before satellite navigation was possible in a car our family was traveling in the Smokey Mountains. I took what looked like a good shortcut, but soon doubted my decision and stopped to ask a man if the road we were on would lead to where I was going. He answered “yes”, then surveyed our soccer mom van filled with children and said: “Mister, you don’t want to go that way.” We turned around and thankfully missed whatever peril he knew awaited us down the road. Father, keep me from taking perilous shortcuts as I journey this day. Guide me to what is best. May my choices please You.

THE TRAIL OF TRUST

Why give in to the convenience of discouragement? Despair offers no rewards, but since it is so readily available, we take its downhill path. The trail of trust is much steeper, but grants unseen vistas, still waters, restored soul. The Lord is always our Great Shepherd, even when we are wholly unaware of it or when we run and hide from His care. In the most dangerous places where no one else may come along, I never trod alone, for He never abandons His own. Shepherd of my soul, from sinking sand, You lift me, With tender hand, You lift me, from stormy gale, You lift me. All is well.

BEYOND THE VEIL

The ways and works of God are unexaminable. In my finite human condition I simply do not have the capacity to genuinely grasp the infinite nor pass judgment on the acts of the Eternal One. I am, nevertheless, among the eternally blessed knowing a few biblically revealed things: God is Good, He is my Healer, Liberator, Provider, Redeemer and Strength. Therefore, while acknowledging my earthbound limitations, I may now reckon upon that which is not of this world. Great and Mighty Father, I fall happily into your arms, knowing Your Spirit empowers me to live beyond the veil.

MIRACULOUS SPACE

Walking is merely a series of steps. Each stride distances me from something behind and propels me toward what is ahead. Giant ones, tiny ones, fast ones, slow ones, intense ones, easy ones; each step counts since no matter the size, progress is made. The walk of faith is no different. Every act of faith, whatever its size, draws us deeper into space where everything is possible. Lord, keep my steps firmly centered in Your will. If I should stumble I am safe, knowing I am remain in Your capable hands. Teach me to walk boldly in the midst of the miraculous as You guide my steps.

EFFECTIVE PRAYER

All too often my sincere praying devolves into another session of disquietude sprinkled with moments of praise, quotes of Scripture, requests for forgiveness and a few obligatory promises to change something. While I sincerely want to stay focused, I easily slip into thinking, planning and speculating. This sort of prayer is ineffective. Effective prayer is bathed in trust, thankfulness and empowered by the Word of God and enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Father of Boundless Greatness, guide my prayers and deliver me from the terror of my own imagined perils and fruitless attempts at self-planned deliverance.

PURIFYING LOVE

Divine love is an incredible motivator, activating a host of godly attributes. The key is learning to love others with God’s love, not our own. His love is unselfish therefore His love is pure. My love, on the other hand, is filtered through a swamp of self-centeredness, with only a trickle of pure love making it through to others. There is hope for me however since I can at least recognize the difference between His love and mine. Father, I want Your purifying love to surge through me to others. Sanctify my motivations and clear away the obstacles of pride and selfishness within me.

STEPPING IT UP

My daily course seems like it is mostly uphill, many days it feels like climbing with concrete shoes and heavy legs. But of course it feels as if I am scaling a mountain; Proverbs declares: “The path of life leads upward for the wise.” Every step forward is a step upward for the child of God. As we lift our eyes we begin to see the progress we are making. The Lord Himself is leading us from the lowlands of fallen humanity to the heights of His love and purpose. Heavenly Father, draw me near to You. Lift the weights of sin and rebellion from my heart that I may ascend post haste.

MISTAKES

One of the most commonly quoted maxims states: “We learn from our mistakes.” I should be absolutely brilliant by now. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to learn as quickly as I should since I continually repeat certain mistakes. Costa Deir, one of my spiritual fathers 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. Help me make good choices and grant me wisdom, spiritual advance and a few smiles.

LIFE AND DEATH

What comes out of my mouth has more effect on my life and the lives of those around me than most anything else. As powerful as we know words are, we often carelessly spew them out to our own harm or that of others. On the other hand, we often fail to release the power of life and blessing that words contain. Simply stated, life and death are in the tongue. Since my mouth speaks from the overflow of my heart, I must fill it with truth and bathe my lips in love. Holy Father, my lips are Yours. Make my mouth a portal of life, not death and my words a fountain of blessing, not harm.

FULL SURRENDER

So many things in life are dependent upon others, but I need no one else’s permission to do what is right. Well-meaning people will often attempt to guide us away from sacrificial faith, bold steps of surrender or the embrace of lofty ideals. The concern for our potential failure leads others to recommend compromised behaviors with calls for normality. I think not. My goal is the rarified air of the heights of full consecration. High and Lofty One, though I am earthborn, because of Your great grace and help, I am not earthbound. Prepare me for Your Presence and guide me along the path of full surrender.

MYSTERIES AND MARVELS

The common Hebrew word for patience is “savlanut.” Its actual meaning is: “Take it all in, don’t miss a thing.” When I am patient I often see amazing things that I would have hurriedly brushed by. Every moment is full of lessons and blessings that are thinly veiled but easily missed. God is present in every place at all times; therefore, every second is brimming with all that He is. Each twinkle of time is permeated with wisdom, provision, opportunity, life, light, victory, and peace. Lord, help me to see veiled wonders. Heal my restless haste that I in may know Your mysteries and marvels.

HEART TENDERIZER

The human soul is deeply affected, living in a world where cruelty, pride and hatred run so freely.  Exposure to constant disappointments hardens the heart. Yet, deep pain in our soul can lead us toward God, reversing the hardened condition. As I have grown spiritually, a softness of heart has grown larger and easier to access. Like an uncapped spring, compassion bubbles to the surface of a life touched by the Ancient of Days. Blessed Father, tear down every wall of ambivalence toward others that is still resident in me. Let childlike tenderness toward you and the people You love dominate my soul.

SHINE

I don’t think the world is actually getting darker; there is simply less light shining into it. We are biblically chastened to not put our “lamp under a bowl.” Simply put, the light God has shined upon us must be displayed to the people around us; the darker the environment the more easily even the smallest light is seen. One reason we shade our lamp is the embarrassment we feel for the flaws we still have, but our message is about His perfection, not our own. Father of Light and Love, blow away the clouds of doubt and shine through me to the world around me today and always.

COMFORT ZONES

Every person needs comforting from time to time. One of the godliest things we can do is to bring comfort to others in their time of need. On the contrary, seeking to comfort myself almost always leads to disaster. Most sin is rooted in attempts to self-medicate. King David’s moral failure with Bathsheba happened as he created a comfort zone in his palace "at the time of war" when, in fact, he belonged on the battlefield. While a bit of comfort offers relief, too much mental meandering leads to wrong places. Lord, help me to abide in Your holy comfort. Deliver me from selfish sidetracking and keep me on task.

VANQUISHED FEARS

God is never limited by my circumstances. The same Sovereign Lord who hung the stars like ornaments is more than able to deal with my issues. The biggest mountains look miniscule from a few miles above the earth’s surface; I must trust the Almighty One who looks down upon my needs from heaven while holding the universe in the palm of His hand. Father, You tower over every lack and rule over all things. When I consider Your Awesomeness and the smallness of my problems my fears are vanquished. I am so grateful for Your long-suffering forbearance with my sagging heart.

LET'S ROLL

While life can feel pretty mundane at times, by His design 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. Though I am never allowed more than a peek at the blueprints, from time to time I catch a glimpse of what He is doing and am always amazed. Lord, I rejoice to do Your bidding. May my work this day and every day thereafter be synchronized with Yours. Let’s roll.

IT HURTS SO GOOD

After viewing an episode of the Three Stooges in which a bucket of water was placed over a partially opened door, I thought I would give it a try. As a young boy I could not get the container in place without spilling all the water so I used Lincoln Logs instead. I neither killed nor maimed anyone, but I did get in really big trouble. I sill require constant oversight and correction. Thankfully, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights, God demonstrates His love for me by His discipline. Heavenly Father, I do not resent Your correction, for by it You point me to the way of blessing and joy.

THE VOICE

While having dinner at an unusually loud restaurant I noticed a young couple seated in a corner booth. It was obvious they were on a first date and the surrounding cacophony didn’t seem to bother them one bit. The lesson is simple; we hear what we are dialed-in to hear. Life can be very noisy at times, but with desire and concentration I can hear God’s voice. If I treasure His words more than all others I will have a steady stream of His wisdom. Lord God, You do not hide truth from Your children. You store up wisdom for those who seek Your voice and guidance for those who follow Your ways

UNSEEN REALITY

As a child I spent a lot of time dreaming up impressive scenarios where I was a heroic character doing great things; usually fighting some powerful foe. The life of faith is not one of ineffectual daydreaming of imagined outcomes. Biblically formed faith reaches for concrete, yet unseen reality; each step ignited by a divine spark. Only actions first bathed in Holy Promises will be sufficiently purged of silly desires or the darkness of doubt. Father, teach me to rest assured in Your Providence while straining toward Your will. You alone kindle true belief and You alone can carry me safely to triumph.