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Showing posts from November, 2014

THE GREATEST GIVER OF ALL

The Biblical maxim “it is more blessed to give than to receive” is not just good advice for us; it is a revelation of God’s nature. He doesn’t need a thing, but has everything to give. And He wants to. It blesses our Heavenly Father when we align our lives in such a way for Him to be able to open the windows of heaven to us. We never need to beg God but must meet His conditions to receive. They are, in short: belief, humility, generosity, obedience, stewardship and compassion. Great and Glorious Giver of All Things, clear away all greed, selfishness, fear or any other hindrance that I may be an open channel of Your blessings to others.

DIAMONDS ON MY DRIVEWAY

Passing by the front window at daybreak I looked on the driveway and received a wonderful surprise, there were diamonds everywhere; beautiful sparkles were spread across the otherwise dull concrete. Upon further examination, it was dew on small leaves reflecting a combination of moonlight and dawning sunlight. Again, God had transformed the ordinary into something resplendent with beauty. King of Majesty, I stand amazed in Your Presence. As surely as you spread momentary treasures on the ground you spread eternal treasures throughout my life. I am very grateful.

THE VOICE

When we encounter barriers to doing what we want we attempt to reconfigure truth to fit our desires, placing our feelings as the highest level of authority. God designed us to live with certain inward and outward restraints. When we consciously abandon the safety of Scriptural values and accountability for a path of self-determined constraint it is a sure path to destruction. To reject truth-molded principles as our inner compass is to align ourselves with the forces of darkness. Lord God, I desperately need Your Voice, THE VOICE. Corral me in to a life of love where I may run freely and safely.

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 need not be corralled into moments when we feel obliged; gratefulness and praise must become 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.

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.

INHERITANCE

As the firstborn son of Isaac, Esau had the inheritance and authority of his father. But he showed contempt for his birthright when he traded it away for a bowl of soup.  How foolish. Yet, I too, show contempt for my Heavenly Father each time I shrug off my rights as a child of God for temporary things. Over-attachment to momentary needs or desires can plunder my spiritual inheritance and corrupt my sense of purpose and destiny. Blessed Lord, You are my Strength and my Portion. Forgive my inclinations to trade-off heavenly heritage for makeshift satisfaction. Preserve my heart for You Alone

THE RIGHT THING

Dong the right thing is never done in a vacuum; there are always other things pulling on us in that moment. Personal interests must be conceded each time good is chosen over evil. The confusing fog of self-justification can be an amazingly powerful elixir, but the love walk sobers us faster than a dip in in an icy spring. Letting love be our guide not only makes good choices desirable, walking in love makes doing the right thing consistently achievable. Failures remind me I am still a rookie. Loving Father, Your love never fails. Dispel the darkness of self-centeredness and fortify me with Your Grace.

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

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. A Mighty Fortress is our God! O Lord My Strength and Deliverer, in Your Divine Care I run freely through the darkest valley.

EARLY MORNING BRIEFING

The human mind is governed by earthly needs, desires and fears and is hostile to trusting in the unseen. The concept of a Sovereign, Caring and Attentive Shepherd of our souls is appealing, but our minds must be trained to live under a new order of life, giving first place to the Lordship and Authority of God. Understanding the true situation is a critical first step; He is Lord, I am NOT. Each day must begin with an early morning briefing with the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. Lord of All, I submit this day to Your plans and cast my concerns before You. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.

CUTS BOTH WAYS

Potiphar's wife accused Joseph with an absolute lie and he was imprisoned. Once anger is aroused truth becomes irrelevant. Two years later, Joseph is miraculously put into the second most powerful role in Egypt. Sadly, Potiphar, who had been so blessed, nor his wife are mentioned again. The lessons here are many. Lying and believing unsubstantiated lies strip away our blessings and set us aside from usefulness in the Kingdom. Steady faithfulness delivers us from traps of the enemy and qualifies us for greater things. LORD OF TRUTH, in Your Mercy, put Your coals of fire to my ears and mouth.

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.

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 I reach 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.

MINUSCULE

One glance upward into a starry night immediately puts things into perspective; our troubles and achievements, no matter how massive, are minuscule in comparison. While engulfed in the daily grind true perspective can be easily lost. I must remind myself throughout each day to take regular glances toward the heavens in prayerful thought and praise of the Almighty. Even a moment in meditation of God’s promises, a twinkling of soulful surrender, lifts my heart to the heights. Lord, To You, glory in all things! Grant divine perspective to my diurnal march as I turn my eyes toward You.

PURSUIT OF PURPOSE

Purposeful living is not as courageous as many suppose, it is more a matter of surrender; acknowledging that God has designed and placed each of us in this life according to His aspirations. I cannot fulfill His created purpose for me while trying to copy someone else, nor can I force anyone else to adopt my own. While others may be called to similar paths to which I am called, the things that rivet my attention and fuel passionate, personal response are as unique as fingerprints. O Lord, My God and King, help me this day step boldly into Your will without fear or useless attempts to modify Your plans.

HOLD THE LINE

A common cry in the midst of battle is the command: “Hold the line!” From our earliest records of warfare, keeping a strong line is a critical element for supremacy over the enemy. Though I remain temporary captive to human frailty, I am never alone in this fight for spiritual advance. My Commander and Chief does not simply pass orders from above, but is also with me each day to my left and right, never, ever abandoning His position. Lord God Almighty, when I am weak Your strength brings victory. Human anxieties are put into retreat by Your all-surpassing power and unfailing love.

SEEDTIME AND HARVEST

Everything we do or say is seed in the ground; the people we meet, family, friends, co-workers, even strangers passing by are soil. We rarely know the full story of how our life impacts others, but it is sobering to realize there is a harvest, both good and bad from the seeds I have sown. In the case of the good seeds sown I pray for a bumper harvest. As for the bad seed, I pray for crop failure. Lord of Seedtime and Harvest, forgive me for forgetting how significant each action is. Help me display Your goodness to those You place in my path. May only good seed be spread from my life.

ASSOCIATIONS VERSUS BROTHERHOOD

I approach people with belief that they are created in God’s image and so I look for the God-imprint within them, even in those who refute His existence or contort it into some vain philosophy. This method has been mostly successful but has its downsides. It requires keeping my own internal compass accurately calibrated to God’s Word and Spirit. It also demands that I chose carefully how closely I walk with someone, or how far. With wisdom, I may associate those with whom I cannot have brotherhood. Lord, give me increasing discernment. Help me choose comradeship wisely.

STOKING THE FIRE

On a camping trip, the night’s roaring fire becomes the next morning’s bed of coals. Lack of attention will eventually extinguish its potential for revival. Like a fire, love must be fed. If not regularly fueled, passion will eventually grow cold. Sadly, a heart cools so gradually that it is not easily recognized until it is nearly frigid. Life devoid of affection, life with no eagerness, life with no passionate mission is no life at all. Lord of Love, fill my heart with passion for You and help me love others purely. Blow upon the coldest embers within my heart and set me ablaze for Your will and ways.

THE MASTER'S TOUCH

Today's sunrise looked as if God dipped His finger in florescent paint and stroked a soft orange, backlit ribbon across a silvery blue background. A beautiful mosaic of white to grey and tan to blue clouds thinly weaved like giant ropes, quickly scrolls north to south. WOW! What else has the Master crafted into this day? I will watch for His work. Perhaps He will stroke the canvas of my soul, covering over useless space only to delicately create something exquisite in its place. Lord, I desire Your Holy craftsmanship. May my heart be a ready landscape; I welcome the touch of Your holy brush.

BEYOND THE VEIL

I decided to write down thoughts drifting through my mind as I contemplate the passing of another friend. Last week I said goodbye to my last living spiritual father, and this week, a spiritual brother.
These recent passings caused me to cast off from the shallows into deeper waters. As I review my life I can hardly remember the things we all work so so hard to obtain. I remember with some fondness a few, but how many cars have I owned? How many pairs of shoes? How many great meals? I frankly cannot remember, nor does it matter. These things come and go, never to return.
Then it broke through like sunbeams through the clouds: what matters most is slowly being removed from this life and sent to the next. Nothing marks life like family, friends, spiritual mentors and the people we meet. No material thing has formed my character, or held my hand in a crisis. A favorite shirt or vacation spot cannot give wise counsel or offer a listening ear. What has mattered most and has lasting impact …

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.

HUNGERING PILGRIM

Difficult times bring many valuable lessons. Most of the important changes I have made came as a direct result of a crisis.  As the pressure rises, so does my focus and intensity of seeking God’s face. Fresh grace is granted to the hungering pilgrim to deal with unplanned circumstances. While I do not intentionally seek more problems, there seems to be no shortage. Nor, however, is there ever a shortage of God’s Mercy and Goodness. Glory to You Lord God Almighty, thank You for each opportunity to know You better. In my darkest hour You sweetly lead me toward your heavenly light.

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.

BITTER CUP

I am not a very picky eater, but have faced things difficult to mouth and swallow. It is said, “you are what you eat” and there are things I just don’t want to take in or become. Thank God Our Redeemer is not so choosy. Upon facing the bitter cup of Gethsemane He readily drank it down. God swallowed our death-marked souls whole and for a moment, He too, became what He drank. But what He became could not remain. Glorious God and Savior, in rising from the dead You overcame sin. Rather than us permanently turning You into sin, You have now eternally turned us into righteousness children.

UNDER THE KNIFE

I am in the debt of those who have touched my life. Like surgical instruments in the hands of the Great Physician, God has pressed people into my daily pilgrimage to cut away what harms me from within. I have often resented those used for the deepest cuts, only later to realize that they have done me great good, even if they intended otherwise. There are some who I simply must have nearby because of what radiates from them to me, each exposure granting life, love, laughter and learning. Father, keep me under the knife and thank You for all whom You choose to use.

SO LOVED

I feel sad for the child of God who knows so little of God’s Love only their own needs can be seen. The biblical narrative “God so loved the world” is on my mind. “So loved.” These words prick my heart a thousand ways. Even one drop of God’s pure love upon the heart changes everything; reordering priorities, provoking a sense of purpose and opening our eyes to the needs around us. Once love enters it comes with such conviction it releases effusive joy and faith to act. Blessed Father, God of Glory, Your Love demands so much, yet offers everything. Make me a channel of Your love.

MAKE ALL OF ME ALL FOR YOU

Jerusalem is one of the world’s most ancient cities. Thousands of years of building and rebuilding has left its oldest sections buried deep underground. Almost constant excavation guarantees new treasures are unearthed daily. The work of God’s Spirit has the same effect within me. He exposes and removes the rubble and residue of the past. His Holy Work surfaces deeply imbedded treasures; divine attributes implanted long ago that are designed for God’s purpose for my life today. Lord God, Worker of Miracles, Grantor of Good, expose every part of my heart to Your Light and make all of me all for You.

ANOTHER LAP

Every second is precious, each moment being an irreplaceable gift of time. He that holds time in His grasp pours it forth like grains of sand. I desire to make wise and effective use of this day as it unfolds. Without God’s help this would be Impossible, but the gift of new opportunities to act is accompanied with a daily allotment of grace, wisdom and faith. There is no lack in our Heavenly Father’s supply and He withholds no good thing from His children, so I will have all I need to step ahead. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Teach me Your ways and thank You for another lap.

SLIPPERY SLOPE

It is a common malady to confuse exercising biblically granted divine authority with being an authority on the divine; confidently condemning those who differ in their beliefs or practices. From there it is a slippery slope, which drops us into the pit of judgmentalism. Discernment has great value, but we easily slip into unfair conclusions and declarative pronouncements that are careless and hurtful rather than helpful. Lord, help me to discern in a highborn manner. Teach me to think and speak things bathed in Your love. Protect me from the earthly habit of categorizing those different than me.

ABANDON

Doing God’s will does not depend upon perfect conditions. In fact, negative circumstances are practically a requirement for things done in faith. If something is easily within grasp faith is not essential, but seeing and doing the impossible requires taking action on what is not yet seen. As I step forward in faith I usually have only fragments of clarity, not the whole picture. Trusting God to pull the pieces together while navigating through obstacles is both cleansing and exhilarating. Father, thank You for the unique joy faith brings. Grant me grace to live in full abandon to Your will.