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Showing posts from January, 2015

UNHOLY MIXTURE

After a lifetime of the dealings of God there still remains so much more to be transformed within me. Even when acting with best intentions an unholy mixture of selfish ambition and vain conceit continues to pop up. This is very disappointing but provides daily motivation to continue the process of full surrender. I cannot promote the best interest of others while in hot pursuit of my own. Omnipotent Lord of the Universe, You hold the worlds in Your hand, yet You bend low to bring loving care to Your creation. I know that if I am to love as You do I must do so with the humility and purity You have.

DIVINE FOCUS

A new day offers another shot at obedience. Complications, diversions and agitations are always present, but the chance to serve God THIS day will not return. As compelling as distractions might be, I must let them fall behind. Today I will seize the day by passionately pursuing the opportunities God presents. I will not permit fears, disappointments or carnal longings to hold me back. This is the day the Lord has made! Dear Father, deliver me from disorientation and direct my steps. In Your Mercy, release fresh fire and divine focus to my heart. I delight to do Your will.

PASSING SQUALLS

Blessings and disappointments arrive frequently to every person’s life, but 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 shines brightly 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 engulfed in passing squalls.

ENDURING MERCIES

The forgiveness of God is undiminished by my constant downfalls; He is forbearing and compassionate beyond description. I am duty bound to obey His will, but more importantly, I want to do so. I delight to do His will, being inspired to try harder by His Enduring Mercies. His Unrelenting Goodness overcomes my unruliness and my wildest pursuits lassoed and bound by His Inexhaustible Love. Oh sweet Lord, though I owe You my all, You never demand what I cannot pay. Though at times I serve clumsily, You patiently provide for my daily need, all the while treating me as a beloved son.

WORD OF GOD SPEAK

The earth whirls along, sunlight advancing across its face. As it does darkness flees light’s approach. God is already voicing commands into this day. His Word precedes every moment and then holds it in place as it appears. Still, He is not finished. As each split second unfolds in His mighty grasp, He proclaims His will into it and pronounces His blessing upon it. He invites each of us to hear His Voice and then provides unique grace to obey. This is the day the Lord has made. Good morning Lord, this day is Yours already and I am rejoicing to be in it. All is well. I am thankful to be Yours. Word of God Speak!

SPECIAL REPORT FROM EARTH

I find myself praying with the intensity of a “breaking 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, mind and actions. Lord of All Things, shine the Light of Your Presence upon that which You desire to transform. 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.

AND THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN

The person who builds walls, allowing others in only if they meet certain preconditions, has inadvertently constructed a self-imposed prison. While thinking they have wisely assembled a protective fortress against disappointments they have guaranteed a lifetime of sorrow and loneliness for themselves. This behavior actually shuts out God’s Presence as much as it shuts out people and leads to unfettered selfishness. Fools find little pleasure in unfiltered kindness. Father, deliver me from all efforts to have my own way which lead to contempt and unthoughtfulness toward others.

A PILGRIM'S PROGRESS

Each time I think I understand God’s ways and means He turns the diamond; new facets of His splendor emerge and my perspective is advanced. For the true believer there is no settling down where we are in this life, every pilgrim must progress. Not only am I satisfied in this constantly changing status, I am genuinely thankful for it. I am being pulled toward eternal purpose that I cannot fathom but instinctively know awaits me. Lord, though I struggle in Your arms, You never let me go. Keep me moving toward Your perfect will. Help me never miss a turn or stop unnecessarily.

PRAYERFUL FAKERY

Prayer requires genuineness, openness, thoughtfulness, humility, faith and sincerity. These are things that do not always come easily to me in necessary proportion. At times I fall back on ancient prayers forged long ago, but He is never taken in by mere words. No fakery works, ever! Then again, why would I need pretense? He knew me before I was born, knitted me together in my mother’s womb, knows my thoughts, redeems me and keeps me. Lord, forgive my relentless pretension. Draw me deep within Your Tabernacle. To behold You in prayer and praise transforms my soul.

A FIRST CLASS BRIAR PATCH

On a recent walk through the woods a few steps off the beaten path thrust me into a first class briar patch. This was no low-grade sticker bush; this was head to toe entrapment. Stepping into quarrels can feel the same. I immediately want to stop the hurting but every poorly executed move away from the pain sticks me with even more. It is in these moments when only full surrender to God can deliver us, His wisdom being the only safe exit. Oh Lord My Guide; I earnestly seek Your Wisdom. Help me steer clear of treacherous mockers and keep my heart free of offense. Bathe my soul with Your freeing Love.

EARTHQUAKE

I have been through many small tremors, but only once through a genuine earthquake. Having lived already lived in Costa Rica for a couple of years I had become so accustomed to small tremors that I didn’t even notice the big one until the ground began to truly heave. It is disorienting to discover that everything can be shaken at once and it can last for such a long time. We don’t expect the very ground on which we live to convulse, but sometimes it does. In those bewildering moments, on what will I stand? Father, You have proclaimed: “The Lord will be your confidence”. Lover of my soul, You’ve set my feet on solid rock.

RESPONSIBILITIES BEYOND KNOWN CAPABILITIES

Leadership comes with many difficulties but the blessings far outweigh the perils. How thankful I am for the benefits of serving others. Relational responsibilities place a continual demand upon my soul that provokes me to grow. What would I know if there were not a constant compulsion, a daily requirement to know more? The needs of others, the need for answers; these are necessary for my own spiritual development. Holy Teacher, I thank You for entrusting me with responsibilities beyond my known capabilities. Help me faithfully apply my heart to the lessons learned.

EARTHLY OBSESSIONS

The Lord deals straightforwardly with my many failings, yet bears no grudge against my weaknesses.  Though I stray from the boundaries of His will He never tires of searching for his wandering lambs. When I scamper away from His Presence He finds me wherever I have roamed. Though His rod of discipline is rightfully applied it is never done in disgust. When I stray into danger, He lifts me to safety with His staff and does not abandon me as I deserve. O Lord My Great Shepherd and Keeper, hallowed be Your Name! Deliver me from the earthly obsessions and draw me near to Your side.

THUNDER RIVER

One of the world’s great rivers is the Zambezi. It begins as nothing more than rain runoff, then grows and flows for over 2200 miles, passing through six nations on its way to the Indian Ocean. One of its many features is Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world. The Scriptures advise us: “Do not despise the day of small beginnings”. Many of the wonderful, powerful things God does in the earth begin as a mere trickle. So it is with the river of God within us. A mere trickle can eventually carve into every area of our lives. Lord of All Creation. Pour out Your Presence in me. Make my life a thundering witness of Your Glory and Power.

HEARTBREAKS

Every soul experiences heartbreaks. They accumulate and develop tentacles that reach deep into our whole being. Particularly painful is the regret associated with perceived failures. Heartbreaks, failures and the remorse they foster do us no good unless they become motivation for learning and growth. People often let heartbreaks simmer too long which leads to hardening of the heart, but heartaches placed into the Master’s hands become pathways for spiritual progress. Lord, You make all things new. I’m joyfully growing one heartache at a time. Help me not miss a thing in this process.

GOOD SENSE

Discretion is a precious gift from God. If I ignore its protection I suffer the consequences. Just because I can say or do something doesn’t mean I should. The lack of discretion in modern culture harms us all. Time spent with thoughtful people increases my tendency to make responsible decisions and guards me from inappropriate recklessness. Good judgment does not lock us away from the world around us, but empowers us to walk safely in every circumstance. Giver of All Wisdom, grant me foresight and good sense today. Guard my mouth and actions by Your Spirit.

IDEAS

Ideas come from somewhere. Some are harmless while others inspired, still others toxic. The mind is surely our most constant battlefield. Imagination can take us to the far reaches of the universe or plunge us into the depths of squalor. Scripture declares: “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts.” Only a mind that seeks God’s truth will be guarded by it. Lord, guide my mind and heart. Corral my wanderings and teach me to recognize the difference between good ideas that emanate from You and bad ideas that come from other sources. Lead me in the way of life.

THE HEALER'S HANDS

As a young boy I always had a splinter or two somewhere in my body. I mostly learned to deal with them myself, but when they really became painful I would seek help. I still remember how difficult it was to extend my injured finger to another who could not actually feel my agony. But I learned that to get better my injury had to be exposed. It still does. All my pain must be trustfully placed into the Healer’s Hands. Merciful Lord, You are the Great Physician, into Your Tender Grasp I entrust every sorrow. Even while I am being made whole, make me an instrument of Your healing love for others.

CURBING THE GARBAGE

The garbage collection begins very early in my neighborhood; waiting until the designated morning to take it to the street is risky indeed. So is waiting to deal with internal garbage. Inappropriate thoughts, bad attitudes pridefulness, small or large sins; all these must be sent curbside as soon as possible. If I ignore the debris and just let it pile up it will soon transform my heart into a place where anything can be dumped. Holy and Righteous One, cleanse my soul from worldly rubbish. Forgive me for delaying removal of those things that pollute. Help me cast to the curb all that displeases You.

DREAMWORLD

I awakened this morning working on something with real-world intensity. As it turns out I was dreaming and all my sleep-world labors were useless. It felt authentic and I perceived it as reality, but achieved absolutely nothing. Now I am actually awake, but will I do any better? Will I accomplish something of lasting value? Lord of Truth, I confess my capacity for false perception. Grant to me authenticity that pleases You today. Rouse me from the slumber of self-deception and help me put my energies toward the eternal.

EXAGGERATED ANNOYANCE

I can tell when I am being selfish, most of us can. One of my indicators is exaggerated annoyance. When I am being humble as I should, the foibles and minor insults of others do not linger in my mind. When I am being selfish every annoyance is amplified. Instead of letting them fade away as a mature person should, I take them personally and begin a running list. Once this has started a web of annoyance is spun and I'm the one trapped in it. Father, You who are capable of all things, rid me of the sins of pride and judgmentalism. Grant me a greater portion of Your boundless patience.

INEXHAUSTIBLE MEANS

Every earthly resource is exhaustible. Trusting in whatever we have gathered for the future is as useless as when the Israelites tried to store away manna only to have it "breed worms and stink". Life deals blows that shake our hope, but allowing pain or fear to shape our behaviors is the wrong course of action. My earth-born inclinations are dispatched by the glorious victory wrought in knowing God’s limitless provision. If He wants to act He has inexhaustible means.  Lord Jehovah Our Provider, if You wish it, You can make all things new. Forgive my foolish temporal ways and lead me in the way of everlasting.

UNFAILING LOVE

Though everything in this world can be shaken, God’s unfailing love never is; it is not of this world nor bound by its frailties. Truth, administered in His limitless love, is the only thing that can diagnose what is wrong with me and the only cure for my wrongdoing. As a shepherd chasing down his wandering lambs, God’s passion for His people is relentless in its pursuit. Lord of All Mercies, thank You for appointing your love to heal my brokenness and my actions. In Your hands I will safely pass through every tempest, traverse every dessert and scale every mountain in confident peace.

EYES UP

While on a morning walk I scanned the bright blue sky above and counted over thirty contrails slicing across the azure canopy. The wispy white streaks silently announce the passing of high-flying planes filled with passengers and cargo. I would have missed it all if I not looked up. How much in life do I miss for failure to follow King David’s example: “I lift up my Eyes to the heavens.” Lord of Glory, You continually act within the heavenlies to enforce Your will in the earth whether I notice or not. Help me to keep my countenance turned toward You. To You I lift up my eyes.

DIVINE ARCHITECTURE

God designs and imprints each person’s individuality, however, autonomy is not a part of the divine architecture. Our necessary dependence upon God and subsequent interdependence with others is wired-in at the deepest level of our being. While it is true that I can build towering walls around my heart, pull in the drawbridge and consider all others intruders, to do so is to condemn myself to a self-imposed prison. Lord of Liberty and Purpose, You Alone are my Shield and Strength, my High Tower and Protector. Forgive my useless efforts to go it alone and incite my heart to openness and love.

FRONT-LOADED

Each and every day is front-loaded. God has already stocked today with valuable lessons, new opportunities, unique challenges, unexpected blessings, experiences, spiritual insights and another needed chance to leave lawlessness behind and to more firmly embrace redeeming grace. Today will provide a unique and powerful pathway to higher life that is divinely orchestrated from beginning to end. Dearest Alpha and Omega, thank You for today. It is holy, for You made it, placed me in it and have already brushed Your fingers across it. I am ready. Lead me to what is right and good.

MY FATHER'S SHOES

The desire to walk in bigger shoes is instinctive and rooted in mankind’s created purpose; we are being groomed for higher things. As a child I would commandeer my father’s shoes and walk around the house. It was clumsy, awkward, adventurous and a bit perilous; it still is. Now that my daily pursuit is to walk in my Heavenly Father’s shoes, I often experience the same perils I did as a child: feeing too small for shoes this size, being far too amateurish, inelegant and vulnerable. Lord, I am still a rookie, but I know that risk is reward when taken in pursuit of Your will. Stabilize my steps as I continue to learn.

GOD'S HOLY GRIP

I am well acquainted with God’s Holy Grip. When I press in it is gentle but powerful, soft but firm. In moments when I’m pulled away or straining against it, I feel His heavenly grasp tighten, His divine clench stiffening. There are those startling moments of feet dangling over a precipice, yet I am held firmly in the Savior’s clutch with no fear of being plucked from His hand. Father, I thank You for Your Mighty Handhold upon me. With Your loving embrace You uphold me, guide me, prod me, restrain me and comfort me. Though I sometimes try to pull away I do not resent Your holy restraint.

BRIDLED

Panic is not a reliable strategy. A life bridled by fear is easily turned in the wrong direction, plunging those driven by it into unrelenting darkness. Fearfulness shuts down our sense of purpose, power and direction, leaving us to roam aimlessly in desolate places. In contrast, a life bridled by the Word of God will always turn us in the right direction, filling us with God’s perfect love and expunging fear from our soul. Lord of Life, You set the captive free and set our feet dancing on the hilltops. Make Your Love my constant guide and use me for Your purposes. May my choices be wise and pleasing to You.

LIGHT ON THE WAY

Pitch blackness shrouds the early morning as thick as a blanket; low hanging clouds blocking any light from seeping through. It seems for the moment as though darkness has prevailed, but I know better. Radiant light is slowly crawling around the earth as it rotates on its axis and soon all that is around me will be resplendent. So it is for the child of God, the brightness of the Lord’s arrival sweeps away the darkness. Father, those who put their trust in You are never left in utter darkness. Let Your light shine in me and through me this today. May my whole life reflect Your Glory.

THE CURTAIN RISES

I’m standing just offstage and the curtain is rising on a brand new day. Past performance informs the moment, but this hour has never been. Only God has trod here, this moment is uncontaminated with the past. What is the full potential of this uncharted opportunity? Will I confidently step forward in fresh grace and faith in God, or will I drag yesterday’s shortcomings, misgivings and calamities into this unspoiled moment? Lord of New Beginnings, You have given me this new day. Let Your light wash over me. This new day is Your gift of life. May the glory of Your brightness be seen in me.