Posts

Showing posts from February, 2015

RAIN

DEAD ZONES

A human tendency is to construct habits or circumstances with which we feel comfortable. These “comforts” are a trap, constricting, compressing and confining us. Comfort zones quickly become “dead zones”, stealing away true potential. God reveals His ardent love by propelling me into the joy of breaking through again and again. Would I ever step out in faith without His prompting? Would I cast anchor without approaching storms? I will never know, for His love never ceases. King of Glory, thank You for Your Divine impulse, Your compelling love and Your relentless pursuit.

FULLY AWAKE

Dream World, then the first level of real world consciousness, eyes open, repeat, repeat, alert—that was hard. I’m fully awake now. On the Mountain of Transfiguration the disciples were very sleepy and they too slipped into the unconsciousness of deep sleep, but “when they became fully awake, they saw his glory.” At times I slide into a sleepy state in my spiritual walk as well, only vaguely seeing God’s image in me. Fully awake, see His glory, this sounds very good. Lord, AWAKEN me, ALL of me. Let the brightness of Your dawning bathe my soul. Leave nothing untouched. Joy in the morning!

OVERCOMING INDIGNATION

It is impossible to think myself out of being offended. Actually, the opposite is true; the more I mull over offenses and discuss them with others, the more indignant I become. Our fuming deliberations deepen the pain, entrenching us in sullen exasperation and excessive defensiveness. Forgiveness is the key to turning our sorrows into joy since it places the situation into God’s hands; letting go of the wheel is the only sure path to healing. O Lord My Keeper and Defender, into Your hands I commit my heartbreaks. Keep me out of the way of Your divine work so Your Mercy may prevail.

EARTHQUAKE

I have been through many small tremors, but only once through a genuine earthquake. Having 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.

SECULAR OR SPIRITUAL?

Ordinary daily actions should be viewed as the worship of God as much as the sacrifice of the altar or the work of the high priest when he went within the veil. God calls us to do whatever we do in faith and obedience to Him. Even the most routine, mundane things of life become holy when done “unto Him.” There is no secular versus spiritual for the true believer; there is only surrendered obedience and faithful stewardship. Lord, you carefully formed me and placed me in this world. Keep me in a right frame of mind as I live before You. Do not let me swerve into false a dichotomy. Father, there is only You.

MANDATORY MAINTENANCE

Several doors in my life are creaking; the front door, back door and car doors. Lubricant should clear this up easily, however, it does no good for it to be present but not applied. This chorus of creaking is now a crisis and I can bear it no longer. Maintenance is mandatory. My inner life is no different; I often allow spiritual creakiness to become a crisis before taking action. Again, the solution can be present yet remain unapplied. Father, grant me grace to act. May dryness of soul have no place in me. Thank You for the oil of joy, which bathes and penetrates each part offered to You.

MERCY MONGERS

Mercy is but another word for God’s love in action. Why is it so hard to offer mercy to others while we cry out for it for ourselves? Somehow, we justify our own need as worthy of mercy while disqualifying others. When God is merciful to those we feel are unworthy of it, we are perplexed and offended. Honestly, there are many times when I do not understood why God allows things to unfold as they do, but how is it that I still rise up in such defiance of His Mercies? Loving Father, forgive my insolent demand that You deny Your very Being; You ARE love. Grant me grace to walk in Your Merciful Kindness.

A ROMPING RHINO

“Main Street, U.S.A.” is based on Walt Disney’s boyhood memory of a small town in which he lived in the early 1900’s. Rows of gingerbread-styled homes and businesses, American flags, a train station, horses and music combine to make it a magical stroll into Fantasyland. It is fun entertainment, but it is all a facade. It seems convincing enough, but it’s nothing but an imaginative veneer. Much of what we seek in life is propped up with facades and imaginations. As architects of our own fantasies we see what we want to see, then truth comes rolling in like a romping rhino in a china store; reality is a game-changer. Lord of Truth, I have many delicate things balanced on flimsy shelves. You knock down fantasies and facades so spiritual realities can break through.

THE SIN OF WORRY

I have often fallen into a trap of feeling something was urgent or desperate, when in fact, it never was. I have wasted innumerable hours trying to think my way past problems only to later discover they never existed as I had perceived them. It is wise to be on our guard, but anxiety drains away life and is in direct contradiction to God’s command: “Do not be anxious about anything.” Instead, we are to let prayer and praise reshape our worries into expectation of God’s intervention. Lord, I cast my cares upon You. You are the answer to every question, the provision for every need. All is well; I am safe in Your Hands.

UNBECOMING AMBITIONS

I am sometimes surprised how quickly my mind attempts to take a blessed moment and turn it into a point of pride or personal advantage. A lifetime of divine dealings has not rid me of unbecoming ambitions. While progress has been made, selfish desires still lurk within, rising to the surface when stirred. Only by the charitableness and longsuffering of God, combined with unrelenting truth, can every vestige of unsurrendered soul be overcome. Father, I know You will finish what You have begun in me. Forgive my attempts to mix my earthly desires with Your heavenly ones. Lord, purify my heart and ways.

LEAK PATROL

Those who manage dams do not take cracks lightly. Leaks do not self-repair, they must be addressed or they will only worsen. The same can be said of the soul. When life’s pressures build, even the most spirit-filled heart can be drained. I must consistently seek fresh infilling and simultaneously take care of issues that siphon away God’s Presence. No one else can guard my heart; I must take personal responsibility to remain filled. Glorious God and Father, open the windows of heaven afresh. Grant me wisdom to recognize and attend to things that deplete my heart of Your Glory and Work.

NOT SO "SILLY" GEESE

A flock of geese lives nearby. Each one acts very independently and they all seem to argue a lot, still they remain together. Geese mate for life and when they fly as a group they do so with precision and perfect order. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The point? They go 70 percent farther together. Clearly there is a lesson here for me. In spite of the complications of living and working with others, there is far more benefit in mutual cooperation and love than in going it alone. Lord of Life, help me be faithful in relationships and teach me to be a good team player.

BIG MOUTH

Sometimes I feel like an observer as I listen to myself speak. At times, words overloaded with emotion and selfishness tumble out, yet sometimes, I hear God speaking. Our Creator places a powerful instrument on the front of our faces. The mouth can be a fountain of blessing and encouragement or a spirit-crushing hammer. The tongue of the wise spreads wisdom and life, but the mouth of the simpleton foolishly spews destruction. Blessed Father, help me speak only life, never death. Purify my heart and mind so only truth-empowered love exits my lips. Holy Spirit, govern me, guide me, and use me.

LOOKING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Life would seem pretty hopeless if it were constricted to man’s ways. To limit God’s promises and power to what we can now see or conceive is foolish indeed. The person of faith does not ignore facts, they simply see beyond them, looking ahead to what God is bringing forth. I cannot glimpse forward with my eyes on the past. I cannot look ahead with my eyes fixed on where I am. I can only peer beyond the horizon by lifting my eyes to heaven. Oh Lord My Helper and Redeemer, You are the Beginning and the End at once. Beholding You is to see what truly matters. I lift my eyes to You.

WORLD-CLASS SHADOW BOXER

I do not want to be a world-class shadow boxer nor an off-course runner. Each of us has stewardship of time, talents and treasures, limited resources to be invested in what really matters. Too often I have settled for less than God’s best, pulled off course by inward deception, a wandering heart or the influence of others. Strong finishers do not follow the crowd; they set their pace for the prize. O Lord My Guide, keep me on course. Have mercy on me and do not permit my mouth to grow calloused to the bit. May I remain tender to Your voice and the slightest pull on the reigns.

NOT-SO-RANDOM KINDNESS

Kindness attracts a crowd. I am not talking about being featured on the local news for a random act of kindness, I am referring to a much more meaningful crowd. A cluster of other divine characteristics crowding in surrounds genuine kindness; tenderheartedness, forgiveness and mercy always accompany kindness. One godly act breeds another, and so on it goes. Kindness should not be random at all; it should be central to our approach toward others at all times. Lord God, You are kind beyond measure, help me be like You. May kindness be the centerpiece of Your work through me.

SPINNING WHEEL

We are each spun round and round by the everyday swirl of life. It often feels as if I am a lump of clay spinning on a potter’s wheel. As a matter of fact, I am. The Master’s touch gently presses in, reshaping me for His envisioned purpose. Why do I still resist? My failed attempts at shaping myself should be evidence enough to yield to the Potter’s hands. The spinning wheel of life is an instrument of blessing in the hands of my Maker and Redeemer. Father I thank You for Your blessed work. Have Your way, I am yielded clay in Your hands. Mold me and make me into the vessel You desire.

BY INVITATION ONLY

God openly invites us into His secret chambers, but only fools rush in. Nonchalant pride should never characterize my approach to the Holy and Mighty One. Carelessness is an uninvited companion that sometimes accompanies my intimacy with God. His kind invitation to commune with Him must be accepted with face-to-the-ground humility. Lord God, forgive my presumptuousness and cleanse my heart and mind of lingering conceit. May I never abuse Your Goodness by an inappropriate sense of entitlement. High and Lofty One, King of Majesty, You are Great and Glorious.

POINT MY HEART

A heart solely focused on one’s own desires, over time, becomes barren, empty, and sterile. Compassion and concern for the needs of others releases a flood of creativity, fresh ideas and productivity. God formed us to “multiply and replenish” the world around us. The person who hoards love will, in the end, lose what little they have. The one who opens the treasures of love freely to others will be filled with an inexhaustible supply. Lord of Love and Life, point my heart toward what pleases You. Deliver me O God, from sin-rooted selfishness and move my heart by what moves Yours.

WISE GUY

As would a wispy dragonfly lightly perch on a leaf, wisdom can land in the most delicate of hearts. Wisdom tears through thorny thickets and boroughs deep into rocky soil. There is simply no heart God’s wisdom cannot reach. Yet that is but half the equation. A heart must be willing to accept divine infusion. Once allowed to enter she brings all her clan: prudence, discernment, knowledge, good judgment and much more. Lord of Wisdom and Truth, grant me a wise and understanding heart. Help me acknowledge You in all things that Your wisdom may enlighten every corner of my soul.

WHATEVER

The Osprey, a hawk as big and beautiful as an eagle hovers, swoops, and delicately plucks a fish with his talons, gracefully flying away. The pelican, an even larger bird pauses, drops like a rock, headfirst, full speed and mouth opening as it hits the water. Sitting on the water like a dazed boxer on the canvas, he spits out water and swallows the fish. Both the osprey and the pelican feast at the same table, one with graceful poise and the other with seemingly clumsy grit. Lord, thank You for my daily bread by whatever means You provide. I am genuinely grateful for Your constant care.

CURE MY FOLLY

I am encouraged to know that I am living according to a divinely guided plan directed from outside of my circumstances. The purposes of God are unaffected by the daily challenges this world presents. He simply works everything out according to His will. God never panics, never feels incapable and is never confused or deceived. Why would I ever want to run things without Him? Strangely, after many self-generated disasters, I still prefer to direct things myself. Blessed Lord, help me accept Your ways and means. Cure my folly and lead me to full surrender to Your sovereign authority.

FRESH MANNA

I am dependent on fresh manna each and every day. Like the ancient Hebrews traveling through the desert, I too, must have constant nutrition provided by God; imagination, entertainment or self-driven efforts are inferior, dangerous substitutes. The eternal impulse only God can give brings lifeblood to every moment. Religious devotion has its place, but an active relationship that leads to daily obedience to my created purpose is vital. Father Above, take my life and let it be all for you. Clothe me with Your Presence and guide my thoughts and desires into Your perfect plan.

VOICE

A Front Range winter wind is howling past my window and reminding me; something as inert as air becomes extremely powerful in the right conditions. Our voice can be as well. For the most part my voice is merely one tool among many used to express myself. Until, that is, one of those moments when it carries a message from the Almighty. When my voice becomes His Voice it changes everything. Speaking faith and love embodied in truth can move mountains. Father, You gave me the gift of voice. Put Your coal of fire to my lips and fill my heart and mouth with what matters.

LIFE UNLIMITED

The accessibility of travel has dramatically changed over my lifetime, bringing home a simple point: I can get practically anywhere from where I am. It is easy to feel stuck in life, but with determination, we can move forward from wherever we are. The belief that we CAN is vital to taking the first steps. The words of Paul ring loudly: “I CAN do all things…” Equally important to belief is the rest of Paul’s message: "through Christ who gives me strength.” Surrender to the Person, Power and WILL of God is key. In other words, I am limited only to God, nothing else. Lord, thank You for pointing to the means and direction for pursuing Your best.

MORNING GLORY

Pain is personal; each heart knows its own bitterness. Smiles and laughter often masks inward grief. To the one who truly knows God as Father, those times become uniquely precious. In times of intimacy with the Great Shepherd sorrows turn to joy that no one else can share, mourning becomes dancing, grief becomes gladness and pouting becomes praise! Just the mention of His name declared in bedrock belief shatters the darkness and opens the heavens! My Lord, my God, You are Awesome, Powerful and Beautiful! All Glory and Majesty are Yours forever and ever amen!

WHILE I WAS SLEEPING

The journey from the Western Hemisphere to the Eastern requires an overnight flight. A long night of restless sleep is the norm, but so much happens while I doze. On these global treks busy pilots navigate through dangers, flight attendants take care of passenger’s needs, powerful engines strain against gravity, all the while I am mostly unaware of the scene around me. So it is with life in general. Each day I live mostly unaware of how dependent I am on heaven’s helping hand. Lord, forgive my brutish presumptuousness. Thank You for safely carrying me through.