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Showing posts from October, 2014

SAY LESS, DO MORE

We live in an era when there is a growing chasm between words and actions. It seems the proliferation of so many gadgets for 24/7 communications has worsened the problem. The sheer volume of things said so easily to so many contributes to falsehood. There is no duplicity in God, what He says, He does. He ”watches over His Word to perform it.” It is time to say less and do more. Lord of Truth and Action, help me to live by deeds rather than mere words. Purge from me all that is false. May my love for others be honest and my words bathed in wisdom, grace and truth.

ANGER DANGER

There is no progress made by stirring up acrimony and outrage. Mild anger can move us into action and needed change, but it can easily metastasize into animosity, infuriation and hatred. The Biblical admonition is “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” It goes on to admonish us to deal with anger swiftly. All to often we interpret that to mean we should hurry to the source and change the circumstance or person making us angry, but the starting point is to let God work in our heart first. Lord of Unfailing love, I confess a quick temper as sin. Help me first examine my heart before reacting to circumstances.

LEANING IN

We each spend countless hours planning for things that never happen. In fact, most of what has actually occurred in my life I never planned for at all.  I am at peace with that, having mostly accepted the fact that God establishes my steps. He is working me into His plan, not the other way around. I will not cease making new plans, but will do my best to hold them loosely, knowing that God is in control and that whatever He does is perfect. Father, I trust Your infinite wisdom. What comfort there is in leaning into Your everlasting arms. You work all things for our good and grant us joy divine.

ANOTHER GIFT

The quietness of early morning is a daily gift from God. As the world awakens around me so does my soul. Light appears on the horizon and exposes what was previously shrouded in darkness. In the same manner, the Lord’s Light penetrates the deepest darkness of my heart and brings forth repentance, cleansing and joy. New faith is released to walk in His unfailing love and fresh resolve to steer clear of known traps arises. O Lord My Maker and Redeemer, I welcome Your truth. May faithfulness replace my unwillingness. Heal my self-inflicted wounds and use me to heal others.

A CLEAN SLATE

Considering my constant bent toward lawlessness, I am eternally grateful for God’s forgiveness, which bears no grudges. Though I deserve judgment and rejection, His unmerited kindness redeems my worst ways with no lingering resentment, antipathy or malice. True repentance brings cleansing so pure no stains remain; no record of our wrongs kept. My daily sorrow and confession to the Savior offers a clean slate.  How may I thank him? By extending this very same grace to others. Blessed Redeemer, I bow before Your indescribable benevolence. You are my Rescue and Relief.

BITING THE TONGUE

So many problems are rooted in reckless thoughts that tumble from our lips as reckless words. Only fools believe that we should say whatever we think. Every thought must first be brought under obedience to the Word and Spirit of the Everlasting One. Unfiltered speculations must not be allowed to roam freely in our minds and should never exit our mouths. Things spoken become life or death to the speaker and hearer; therefore they require God’s constant guidance.  Lord of Love and Truth, may all my thoughts be surrendered to You. Help me guard my tongue and let love rule my heart.

HIGH AS A KITE

Watching a kite soaring high while still bound to earth put me to thinking, the disciplines that at times tie me down are actually designed by God to lift me higher. Left to the wind alone a kite will fly but soon crash. The string that holds it back actually gives it lift as it is let out slowly, the wind carrying it to dizzying heights. In the same manner, left to my own devices I too will crash. It is both the wisdom of God and the goodness of God to tie me to certain restraints. Father, thank you for the commitments I sometimes resent. With Your binding hand and lifting breath, there are no limits.

OUCH!

It is no bother at all to simply categorize someone we don’t like under a cherished prejudice and ignore or even revile them. To mistreat, disregard or malign others is to show contempt for their Maker. I must never forget that the differences I sometimes resent have God’s fingerprints on them. When I was once complaining to God in prayer about someone I heard a very clear message in my heart: “The way you treat My children reveals the depth of Your love for Me.” Ouch! Father, help me to love as You love. Thank You for confronting my preconceived notions and leading me to deeper devotion.

KIDS R US

I am continually amazed at how little I actually know about God. Each new discovery opens another universe of more to know. Children seem to have the advantage in divine discovery since they are not encumbered with a need to know how it all works. Interestingly, as I grow older I seem to be reverting back to a childlike approach. It is reassuring to realize that this whole process of spiritual growth is in God’s hands and not my own. He initiates the divine spark in us, then guides the process of learning; His Word and Spirit navigating us through inexplicable mystery. Father, You have brought me thus far, I hunger for more. Teach me Your ways.

GOOSE ON THE LOOSE

People have a natural tendency to simply follow the herd. It is easier to go with the flow of whatever is popular, faddish or commonly admired. The steep price of a drift along lifestyle is failure to find your divinely created purpose. We are each carefully knit together for God’s specific will and can never rise to God’s best going along with the crowd. I must continually find that sweet spot of being IN the crowd but not OF the crowd, Lord, protect me from wandering aimlessly. Keep my pace in cadence with Yours. Teach me to be comfortable in the gaggle but to be willing to fly at the front.

MANIPILATION

God cannot be manipulated by my obedience; no amount of clever posturing succeeds in reshaping His will or ways. The Almighty sees right through every attempt I make to take control of circumstances that He alone must govern. Doing the will of God must be an act of love and abandon, not a contrived form of leverage. Self-dependence is not only unnecessary; it is renunciation of His Grace and Lordship. It is the humble acceptance of His Sovereign Authority that invites unrestricted blessing. Father, cleanse my soul of every smidgen of poisonous pride and feigned innocence.

WELL DONE

The walk of faith is no skip through the park. Each step is defiance of the comfortably understood, easily taken or popularly accepted. Those who choose this path turn their face to the wall and cry out to God as the distance between this world and the next increases. Soon they breathe the rarified air of the summit, where only those who dare to have their own ways vanquished abide. But not for long, there are more mountains to traverse until this earthly trek is complete and we hear His Divine Declaration: “Well done faithful servants." Father, where You lead I WILL FOLLOW!

SACRED STEPS

The table is set for a new day. As Creator and Host, only God knows exactly what is prepared to be set before me. I must now leave behind simple-minded ways and ready myself for new insight, higher life and greater things. Am I up for what today will bring? Only the day will tell, but the One who provides it will also carry me through it. This day I will walk on sacred steps, the Alpha and Omega has already trod this moment in advance. Lord, today is the day You have made; I am good with that and already rejoicing. Lift me in Your arms and carry me through with faith and joy.

STREAMS IN THE DESERT

The Hebrew people’s biblically recorded journey from Egypt to the Promise Land offers many lessons. It was in the desert where the idolatrous influence of Egypt and the deep scars of enslavement were confronted. While wandering through open wilderness God’s people learned to chase after the cloud and trust God’s daily provision. Climatic moments brought the Ten Commandments, deliverance from enemies, cleansing from cultivators of sedition and most importantly, learning to do God’s will God’s way. Lord, thank You for streams of life that only the desert can reveal.

PATHWAY TO POWER

Our true measure of strength is best discovered in times of deep trouble or in times of great accomplishment. Should we falter in either we discover what we had previously imagined as strength is revealed as something far less. The tests of life are not our enemies; they are our instructors, our healers.  Metal is forged in the furnace and so are we. The journey of moving from human muscle to divine fortitude is the pathway to God’s unlimited power. Dearest Father, You are The Lord Our Strength, Our Rock, Our Fortress and Our Deliverer. Forgive my attempts to make it on my own.

PATCH REMOVAL

The lawns around our neighborhood are summer green but a few spots are brown. Stubborn, hardened patches where the grass will not grow must be removed before new growth will appear. Nutrition will not make a difference; only penetrating digging will make the patches green again. My soul is no different; spiritual nutrition will not have lasting effect on what only repentance can transform. Father, tear away the crusty surfaces of my heart. Where dried patches lie in my soul, grant me grace to truly repent. Plow my heart with Your Word and sow in me that which You desire.

KEEP SMILING

I am often unaware that I am smiling; then a stranger smiles back and I notice. While I have my moments of sorrow and disappointment, I am thankful that God has gifted me with a happy heart. There is an unquenchable, irrepressible joy nested in the heart of the willingly submitted. Plenty of troubles drop by and attempt to establish permanent residence, but where the Word and Spirit abide hope abounds, outlasts and overcomes every infestation. Lord of Everlasting Joy, my heart is filled. There it is; joy has come in the morning and I’m already smiling.

ANOTHER ROUND

I fully intend to have a good day. God has carefully placed me into the circumstances of this sparkling new sunrise, providing every resource and opportunity for it to be a day of destiny and fulfilled purpose. My good intentions must now become action empowered by surrendered obedience. I can dwell no longer in the back alleys of yesterday, but must step boldly into this new day with fresh faith and expectant joy. Almighty Lord, my objective is clear, help me with my follow through. Keep me tightly in Your guiding hand and provoke me to finish well. Thank you for another round.

UNWRAPPED

The pursuit of the Perfect One while still wrapped in the imperfection of this life is our daily conundrum. Like Lazarus, we are made alive inwardly by the mighty words of our Savior: “Come forth!” And like Lazarus, we too must be unwrapped from the lingering linens of death. Others assisted his freedom as they also followed the Master’s command: “Loose him and let him go”. The freedom to which God calls us is accomplished in the same manner. Lord of the Free Indeed, help me not resist being unwrapped. Incline my heart to obey Your Word without hesitation and use me to help others be free.

HUNGRY

Hunger is a mystery to me; sometimes I try to be hungry but cannot, other times I am famished and thankful for even the smallest morsel. Spiritual hunger is no less a mystery. Today I awake 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. I am hungry.

A NOMADIC HEART

Exploring new possibilities is a part of the human construct that is a direct attribute of our Creator. Every person is born with an inward passion for learning, problem solving and adventure. The command to “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it” is a central part of our internal operating system. If these characteristics never fall under the daily guidance of Divine Superintendence, we will waste our lives wandering around in a personal wilderness. Lord God My Shepherd, bind my expeditions to Your perfect will. Keep my nomadic heart fixed on You alone.

FROM DUTY TO DELIGHT

A sense of Christian duty drives much of what I do, so each day I dutifully recommit myself to do the right things. This seems fine on the surface as a child of God but there is a more noble way. While a sense of duty is appropriate, God seeks those who delight to do His will. His eyes move to and fro over the earth searching for those who with grateful, love-filled hearts turn toward Him and make His will their first priority. Father, I desire to permanently join the ranks of those who move from duty to delight. At the end of my course may I be found faithfully marching in cadence with the truly God-enamored.

CARRY ON

Complacency is a trap that we set for ourselves; we give ourselves permission to fail by yielding to its appeal. Truth be known, standing still is actually backsliding. In battle, disobeying your commanding officer by retreating without orders is a punishable offense. On the other hand, obedient, purposeful living produces a powerful momentum that pushes us through deserts, floods, storms, peaks and valleys. Lord God, You are my King and Commander, help me to “set my face like flint” toward Your will. Quicken my whole being to Your plan. Give me strength to carry on without complaint.

DUE HONOR GIVEN

God must be honored in all we do. Honor is not merely acknowledging Him; it is offering Him our first, our best, our all. The heart that recognizes the authority, wisdom, power and goodness of “The Great I AM” will have no trouble trusting Him through both storms and temptations. We waste our efforts storing up earthly things only to see them slip away on the tides of life, but he who learns to store God’s Word in his heart will never lack for trust, wisdom and faith. Glorious El Shaddai, to breathe Your Name expunges my soul of all fear and releases unrelenting hope and assurance!

DELIVERANCE FROM LETDOWNS

Life is replete with letdowns. Some are truly consequential but most are petty. The problem is the small ones stick together, and if left festering, eventually mushroom into something truly ominous. If not diminished, discouragement will set in with depression soon to follow. Learning to cast our disappointments into the sea of God’s love is vital to spiritual advance. Each new day offers fresh opportunities to cast our cares upon the One who truly cares for us. Father, thank for Your Unfailing Love which is my deliverance from letdowns. Fill my heart with Your Joy and teach me to console others with the same care I have received.

I HAVE MY MOMENTS

I treasure the moments when God’s love flows freely through me to others. In those all-too-infrequent occasions when it does I sense something unearthly, I breathe rarified air. I know His love should always flow unencumbered, but sadly, perpetual self-awareness and pressings needs regularly restrict its unobstructed passage. On those occasions when the channel is open, His Divine Passion passes unhindered and I myself am more exhilarated and deeply fulfilled than at any other time. Lord, forgive me for monopolizing Your love by my neediness. Help me be a constantly open channel.