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Showing posts from December, 2014

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!

OCEANS OF BLESSING

Looking at the ocean is full of life lessons. What you see on the surface tells very little of its true volume and hidden abundance, while significant activity can be seen on top the real action is only discovered by going deeper. There is always much more over the horizon 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. You are the Well that Never Runs Dry, the Dawn that Never Dims and the depths of Your Love may never be exhausted.

TRANSFORMATION

Transformational change requires more than simply wishing for it. Ultimately, transformation is a work of God’s grace, but our part in the process is vital. I must learn to take direct and prompt action, yet remain willing to be halted by the very One who has commanded me to move ahead. “Wait”, “wait”, “wait”, “okay now”; such is the spirit-guided life. Like manna in the wilderness, lessons are present each day to be taken. And also like manna, yesterday’s gathered provision is not tomorrow’s.  Lord, I thank You for Your daily work in me. I do not resent Your pace or doubt Your choices.

LIFE SOURCE

Like pure, refreshing water hidden underground in a desert cavern, our created purpose 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 from His plan the Goodness of God pulls me back to my only enduring source of life. He formed me to do His will and no other aspiration can be substituted for it. Every earthly desire must align with His divinely engineered plan. Father You created me with purpose and an innate capacity to fulfill it. I so need Your daily grace. Help me to drink from Your still waters.

JOY TO THE WORLD!

To the brokenhearted, joy. To the falsely accused, joy. To the misunderstood, joy. To the disappointed, joy. To the repentant sinner, joy. To the imprisoned or condemned, joy. To the lonely, joy. To the rejected, joy. To the abandoned, joy. To the widow and widower, joy. To the newborn or elderly, joy. To the calloused heart, joy. To those proclaimed terminally ill, joy. To those trapped in darkness, joy. To those with waning hope, joy. To the cowardly or brave, joy. To the guilty or just, joy. To rich or poor, joy. JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD HAS COME!

HIDDEN TREASURES

A stroll on a sandy beach provides hidden treasures placed there by the creative forethought of God. The ebb and flow of tides opens the treasury of the seas for those who stroll along the shore. God sees to it that each day offers the same to all mankind, wherever we are on earth; hidden treasures carefully placed by the Hand of God. The angels had it right: "Glory to God in the Highest, good will toward men." Lord of Constant Wonders, teach me to slow my pace and pay greater attention to Your quiet handiwork. Open the eyes of my heart to Your daily divine deposits.

CLAY

I enjoyed playing with modeling clay as a child since I could take shapeless material and mold whatever my imagination and childhood skills could conceive. Working with clay is messy and very time consuming. Learning the texture and feel is a significant part of the process. Life is different now; I am no longer the sculptor, I am now the clay. The Master is continually shaping my life and character. My role is simple; I must remain pliable, sinking deeply into the Potter’s hands. Father, Creator of All Things, mold me and make me after Your will. Teach me to welcome the texture and feel of Your mighty hand.

THE WORK OF FAITH

As the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry drew near he warned them of impending testing, especially for Peter. He revealed Peter would need to “turn back” and “strengthen the others". Most interesting is the prayer for Peter’s faith to “not fail”, yet it seems he DID FAIL by denying the Lord. This Biblical incident reveals a secret; the work of faith is as much repentance and testimony as it is resistance of the forces of darkness. Peter could have hated himself, but unlike Judas, his faith turned his collapse into success. Majestic Father, I marvel at Your Wisdom and Ways.

FALSEHOOD GONE WILD

My heart is the lens through which I view myself. If allowed to run wild, pride will prevent me from ever seeing things as they truly are. Once false realities crystalize we pray with the mindset of a Pharisee: “Thank God I am not like other sinners.” Prideful comparisons such as “I am better than him” or “I deserve better than her” are a steep, slippery decent into the abyss. Freedom from arrogant falsehood demands leaving human comparisons behind by beholding the Lamb of God. Lord, make me like You. Forgive my self-deception and strengthen my embrace of the Cross. May truth and love run freely within me.

FACE TO FACE

I enjoy strolling through art galleries, and especially like meeting the artists. In those moments, the artist becomes more appealing than the art. In like manner, each day offers yet more reason to turn away from this world and lift my eyes to the next. It is not that I don’t have affection for this life and the cornucopia of wonders, peoples, joys, tastes, experiences, challenges and blessings it provides; it’s just that I increasingly see God behind what I behold and long to meet the Master who creates the masterpieces. Holy Father, I see You through the veil, but one day I will see You face to face.

MY DAILY BREAD

Modern day marketing has turned buying things we want into a seemingly necessary part of developing healthy self-esteem; the problem is it doesn’t work. Filling our lives with more stuff makes us happy for a while, but then we are forced to clean out drawers, closets, attics, garages and storage units just to make additional room for new things, which, in turn, makes us unhappy. King Solomon could acquire anything he wanted, and in fact did. He later stated: “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul”. Lord God, help me keep my head by giving You my whole heart. Make wisdom my daily bread.

MARCHING FORWARD

Faith, that joyful certitude that unlocks heaven’s rewards is never bound to earthly circumstances. Faith unleashes divine promises, matchless wisdom, clarity of vision and a steady walk through the unseen. If a mustard seed’s portion can toss a mountain into the sea, then it can certainly clear our way forward. Through faith I find refuge in blessed assurance, triumphant peace in the midst of storms and laughter in the face of adversity. Lord of Hope, Your Words are the fountainhead of faith, therefore I will meditate daily on Your Holy Declarations. By faith, in faith and through faith I will march forward.

SPECIAL REPORT FROM EARTH

I sometimes find myself praying with the intensity of a frontline news reporter, informing God of earthly events as if He is hearing about them for the first time. Prayer should never be an attempt to enlighten the Greater One who already knows everything that can be known. Rather than pointing to circumstances, my prayers should allow circumstances to point to me, to what needs to change in my heart and actions. Lord of All Things, shine the Light of Your Presence upon that which You desire to transfigure. Make me a point of light to others and grant me strength, wisdom and endurance to take my position in the transforming work to which you call me.

WHERE AND WHEN

Our whereabouts are not our choice alone. The Patriarch Abraham recognized the importance of hearing and obeying God’s directive voice. He was called to a faraway place where his inheritance awaited his arrival. While it was unknown to Abraham, God had already chosen and made holy the ground where he was being sent. Obedience without hesitation meant Abraham ended up WHERE he was supposed to be, WHEN he was supposed to be there. Lord, may I never miss Your Voice calling me to a new place of trust and obedience. And may I never delay arrival to Your chosen moment.

LEASHED TO HIS HAND

While I prefer to see myself as strong and steady in my pursuit of God’s will and ways, the reality is I am easily distracted. Like a dog being walked on a leash, passing interests cause me to pull against the safety and needed guidance His handhold provides. I do not resent the Lord’s firm grip, but in moments of preoccupation with temporary emotional satisfaction I forget He is actually taking me somewhere. So I must again begin a new day reminding myself to yield to the Master’s touch. Glorious God and Father, bind me to Your Presence and Purpose. Lead me in the way of everlasting.

BREAKTHROUGH

How many more steps to breakthrough? I don’t know. I never know until after the final step, so I keep walking. In confident persistence, I walk. Through valleys of doom, I walk. Past shadows of fear, I walk. Over mountains of doubt, I walk. Through jungles of entanglements, I walk. The journey of faith does not end when we want it to end; it ends when it is over. That is God’s call, not mine. Shepherd of my soul You are with me each step. Your rod and staff cheer me up, relieve my weariness and give me grit to finish. My cup overflows and Goodness and Mercy are right behind me. So I walk.

NEVER ALONE

I can never walk alone; there simply is no place where God is not present. While in moments of foolishness I may ignore His Presence or attempt to hide from His Presence, He will never ignore mine. All that seems far beyond my reach is safely held in the palm of His hand. What is incalculable for me is already tallied by the One Who Was, and Is, and Is To Come. There is no cry He cannot hear, no pain beyond His healing, no enemy beyond His victorious power, no darkness greater than His radiance. Father of Mercy, Lord of Grace, You are worthy of all praise and majesty forever!!

SURE FOUNDATION

A large oak tree is a majestic sight, its branches spreading high into the sky and reaching out all around. But that is only half of the story. Its root system is as large underground as its girth above ground. As with a huge building, the visible structure is only as strong as its foundation. So it is with life on this earth. What is visible to others is only half the story. If we are rooted in shallow ground our future is weak and unsteady. If our foundation is God’s Word and Will we are positioned for eternity. Father, You are the one and only Sure Foundation, keep me rooted in You alone. All other ground is sinking sand.

VIEW FROM THE TOP

Catastrophes have a way of being all consuming; the worse the situation, the more absorbing it is. The beginning point for moving forward is to enthrone God in our praise. As we behold and magnify Him the circumstances of life come into proper perspective. Praise validates the sovereignty of God in our own soul, arresting fear and releasing faith. The effect of praise provokes us to proclaim His greatness to others. Lord, You are High and Lifted Up and greatly to be praised! From the heavenlies even the largest mountain is small. I glorify and adore You O Lord My Shepherd and Keeper!

MIRROR, MIRROR

As a child it was fascinating to stare into mirrors, each reflection revealing details I previously missed. I soon learned that the quality of the mirror and lighting made a huge impact on what I saw. As I’ve aged this experience has grown increasingly less pleasant, so I now prefer dim reflections. When it comes to the inner man the opposite has occurred. Having paid the price of human deceptions I yearn for authenticity within, no matter the consequence. Lord of Truth and Light, while there is pain in the discovery, I want the transforming power of truth to transform my falsehood into Your image.

OPEN, CLOSE

Every day requires additional constraint and fresh release. As a jellyfish moves through the water, expanding and contracting, so we move through life. This process is disconcerting to the uninformed, but to the spiritually awakened, this routine becomes a welcomed process since it is a sign of forward progress. Unwillingness to accept necessary shrinkage or fear of expansion leaves us to just drift along with the surrounding current, casting us onto the dry shore. Lord I love Your ways and praise You that You do not leave me trapped in stagnation. Open, close, I’m good with that.

THE ROADSIDE STAND

There is nothing fancy about a roadside fruit stand, its treasures there for the taking. But its bounty will never belong to those whose rush by without pause. So it is with wisdom. On the hilltop, along the road, at the crossroads, she takes her stand crying out to all who will hear. Daily wisdom is not a luxury; it is absolutely essential. Each morning my mind is still half-filled with yesterday’s leftovers with more pouring in upon awakening. It is then I must brake hard and seek God’s voice. Father, teach me to watch and listen. I seek Your Face and hungrily await Your divine instruction.

CHURNING CHALLENGES

I marvel at the skill of professional whitewater kayakers, perhaps because they demonstrate that extreme dangers and incredible adventures inhabit the same space. To simply follow human instinct apart from divine purpose and guidance is like being thrown into cascading rapids. To navigate the churning challenges of relationships, health, prosperity, ambition and mission I need God’s constant help. Seeking Him should never be a last resort. Father in Heaven, Giver of Life, I realize skillful living requires Your will, Your way, Your timing, Your path and Your choices. I yield this day to Your Hands.

CURIOSITY CONTROL

It can be very dangerous to stroll through the wrong neighborhood. There is plenty of evil in this world that finds us even when we are making wise choices, so why make ourselves easy targets? The answer is curiosity. The wonderful gift of inquisitiveness, which motivates a child to learn, leads to medical discoveries, and motivates space exploration, can also be perilous. Curiosity, under the guidance of godly wisdom is a benefit, but influenced by spirits of darkness, can be deadly. Almighty Father of Wisdom and Blessing, keep my curiosity under Your control. Guide my steps in the path of life.

ZEAL!!

Zeal without knowledge can be brutal, but Christianity without fervor is a   waste. Fervency must be first bathed in love before applied. However, zealousness, like expired food left abandoned in the back the refrigerator will expire, sadly lost down the disposal for lack of use. God is zealous, yet with the perfect counterbalance of wisdom. Lord, grant me ardor, determination, devotion, diligence, drive, eagerness, earnestness, enterprise, fire, gusto, hustle, inclination, initiative, intensity, passion, perseverance, readiness, sincerity, spirit, stick-to-itiveness, urgency and wisdom this day.

FINAL VICTORY ASSURRED

I live in a moment-by-moment spiritual battle. I wish I could say it was solely a five-star, gallant fight against dark forces in high places, but frankly, it is much less noble than that. While it is, in fact, a spiritual battle, mostly it is a constant internal resistance of self-centeredness, self-indulgence and self-interest. Though I am sincerely God’s servant, the enemy’s minions are always insidiously present, lurking within the shadows, pulling at me. Shepherd of My Soul, thank You for sending relentless conviction and unending Mercy; by Your Grace and constant help, final victory is assured.

STOP, LISTEN, OBEY

I have spent far too much time looking for things I myself placed but can’t remember the location. Panic and frustration never help. In seeking important answers and direction for life the same is true; I may actually know the answer, but anxiety and selfishness freezes my hearing. There is an order of discovery for spiritual and material guidance: listen for God’s voice, treasure His commands, tune out confusion and tune in wisdom. Finally, concentrate on understanding how to act on what you hear. Lord of Wisdom and Guidance, teach me calm myself, to listen carefully and to obey swiftly.

ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE

Many seem to feel it necessary to wear their faith like armor against the surrounding world. Taking the Biblical example of the apostle Paul to heart, I prefer to make a thoughtful effort to fit in with those around me wherever I go. Paul’s strategy of becoming “all things to all people” was not an effort to hide his faith, but rather, an intentional commitment to offer bridges of love to those he encountered. It doesn’t take long for others to notice the effects of God’s Presence in our lives. Holy Lord, we are grateful Your Presence shelters us while empowering us to effectively share Your Grace with others.