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Showing posts from April, 2015

SO IT BEGINS

Darkness fades, now morning approaches. Yesterday’s passing offers a fresh start. New beginnings, what a glorious gift! A brand new day is ready to unfold. The foundation I now lay, speaking to God and hearing His voice, establishes firm footing no matter what the day may contain. So it begins: the Word, prayer, praise, surrender, resolve, forgive, thank, bless, believe, declare, commit, love. Okay, I’m ready now. Lord, thank You for another day, Your mercies are new every morning. Your Word and Spirit scatter seeds of faith in my heart. Awaken me now to faithful following. Very cool indeed.

FUTURE FORECAST

Everything I do or don’t do today affects my future. The person who doesn’t look ahead ends up blindly staggering down a crooked trail without realizing it. The future cannot be controlled, nor should it be feared, however, the seed I put in the ground now is the best forecast of what is coming. He who has given me this moment also holds all my tomorrows in His Mighty Hands. Lord of All, You are rightly praised by all creation. Grant me grace to confidently trust Your daily superintendence, guidance, provision and sheltering right arm. You are my refuge today and hope for all eternity

HELPING HANDS

One of life’s greatest gifts is a reassuring hand on the shoulder. It is almost miraculous how in the blink of an eye a simple gesture can wipe away concealed pain or encourage a step of faith. We attempt to burn away the fog of sorrow, confusion or fear with our words, but quiet presence combined with a pat on the arm is also a wonderworking cure. How often have I missed the opportunity to offer something so valuable, yet easy to give? Father, help me today to be Your hand extended to someone’s moment of need. Thank You for Your constant, gentle touch. Let me be your helping hand.

ARRESTED

The basic human instinct for harmony, symmetry, balance and rhythm is continually assaulted by the unpredictable anarchy that each new day brings. Striving to enter rest is the daily conundrum of the soul. It seems that most of my energy is exhausted in resistance, only to find rest in abandon. The work of God’s Spirit is precisely to bring order and truth out of chaos by leading us to still waters. Lord, what sweet whisperings await the relinquished heart! Arrest me--body, soul and spirit. Teach me to succumb to Your promptings BEFORE running headlong into walls. Constrain me to “Come Unto” before I ”Go Therefore.” At Your feet is the better part.

DOUBT BANISHED

There is no evidence that things, which troubled me yesterday, will not return with even more intensity today. Yet, I awaken anew with the joy of knowing that God is good and His power is not depleted. The Almighty’s abiding love stands guard over His creation, His provision feeds the birds of the air and clothes flowers with beauty. He never slumbers nor sleeps and His treasury and power are never exhausted. Holy Father, banish from my heart every vestige of doubt that You are Lord of All, all of the time and in every way. Deliver me from lugging yesterday’s consternations into this glorious new day.

NO TOWER NECESSARY

I can hardly remember what it was like to search for information without pushing the “find” button on a device. However, the wisdom of God remains unsearchable by earthly means. No amount of human effort can open the treasures of heaven; Babel’s Tower in modern form still will not reach high enough. Yet, God pours out limitless insight to the one who humbly approaches Him with childlike humility and curiosity. Father, Creator and Caretaker, You withhold no good thing from Your children. Your promises are “yes and amen”. Teach me the difference between “No” and “Not Yet”.

ARTIFICIAL LIGHT

A moth sees the attractive glow of a candle and is pulled to its death. In the same manner that explorers find their way by charting a course relative to the North Star, moths too, use the moon as a navigational tool. They are naturally attracted to light. Artificial light throws off their ability to triangulate and they lose their way, often flying into a candle or light bulb to their death. The same is true with people. When the light of Scripture and Spirit is replaced with human opinion disaster is immanent. Artificial light is both attractive and dangerous. Father, may the True Light of Your Word and Spirit guide the course I follow.

HERE WE GO AGAIN

While still shrouded in lingering darkness, I observe the advance signs of a new day dawning. Both body and soul are pulling out of the stupor of slumber and the light and hope of today is rising. With God’s pardon and care I will escape the shadows of fogginess and walk fully in the light of a new beginning. This new day is a gift and I am thankful for another shot at improvement and accomplishment. Lord, dispel the murkiness of wrongdoing within me and cut me loose from all that binds me to disobedience. Help me take hold of what You now put before me in this day You have made.

PRIVILEGED FRATERNITY

Much of my time is spent in a wide variety of leadership meetings. My life has been so greatly enriched, formed and challenged by the cornucopia of insights, giftings, serious thinking and humor of these precious moments. Difficult decisions managed by imperfect people under constant pressures in challenging circumstances. How precious are these times of collective wisdom, prayerful discourse, surrender, trust, discovery and faith. Lord, thank You for those willing to lay down their lives for others, I am not worthy of such privileged fraternity and enterprise. Make me a better leader. Make me a better man.

SOMETHING NEW

I increasingly realize that all the parts of my life are interconnected. If I completely surrender even one part to God, all parts are positively affected. Like yeast into a bowl of dough, each entry of grace begins to work its way throughout the whole, becoming the driving force of change. When I don’t even know where to start, God’s Spirit always does, overcoming my ignorance and resistance. I am truly grateful for daily, targeted, unrelenting conviction that initiates the Kingdom’s advance in me. Gracious Lord, I am Yours, help me to yield something new to You today. Leave nothing untouched.

ALL-KNOWING BRILLIANCE

I must ultimately surrender to God alone. My own will or even the best intentions of others will never do. The most difficult discovery is just how much resistance is imbedded in our souls, along with, so much darkened counsel we receive from those around us. Job and his buddies come to mind. We are each created in God’s divine love for purpose and destiny; to ignore the will of God is to deny His exquisite love and all-knowing brilliance. Lord of All, forgive my insolence. May Your intent for my life never be shadowed by clouds of reluctance or the confusion of ignorant voices.

MY LAWLESSNESS DEFEATED

As I contemplate the wondrous work of the Savior my heart is lifted from its broken state.  The continual drumbeat of fears, doubts and darkness of this present world slip away in this one thought: God Himself defeated my lawlessness by one act of redeeming love. If it were necessary that I redeem myself I could not even offer my last breath as collateral since even that is God’s gift. But alas, Glorious God, You are the very One who gathered dust from the earth, made us in Your image and now restores life in us by the same holy breath. How wondrous You are, to You be glory forever

FICKLE FEELINGS

The words we use are an indicator of our deepest beliefs. Never in my lifetime have I heard the words “feel, felt or feelings” used more than now to describe what guides our actions. Words such as “principles, truth, duty and honor” are generally reserved for what motivates outstanding heroes. In other words, life guided by fickle feelings is “normal,” but life guided by true character is special. The farther Human Culture slips away from Biblical Culture the more anemic it becomes. O Lord My Helper, let truth be my only guide. Create in me a clean heart that I may bring honor and glory to Your Name.

POTENTIAL

The slightest touch of a rudder can change the course of a vessel. The same is true of my soul. While I often seek something colossal to shift my course, God mostly uses small things to guide me into His best. Scripture warns us to not despise “the day of small things.” Every great oak begins as an acorn. How can something with the potential to populate the entire planet with trees fit in the palm of my hand? Yet, it can. Father, remind me to pay attention to Your smallest touch. Guide me today into the center of Your will. May the full potential You designed me for be thoroughly realized.

AUTHENTIC LIBERTY

Selfishness, and the self-deception it generates, is incredibly powerful. It can easily turn liberty into indulgence, moderation into excess and freedom into irresponsibility. There can be no outward liberty without internal freedom. It is my own wandering heart that undermines my capacity to practice genuine liberty. God provides many pathways out of the valley of selfishness; none more effective than daily repentance and full embrace of the cross-centered life. Master of All, help me to love You first and always. Deliver me from self-generated anarchy and grant me authentic liberty.

THE GRIP OF GOD

Raising multiple children informs parents of how dangerous life can be; parking lots are transformed into minefields of danger. Every stop begins with a stern reminder of the rules of disembarkation. Number one rule: “Hold Daddy’s hand.” I am well acquainted with God’s Holy Grip. When I press in it is gentle, soft but firm. In moments when I am being pulled away, or straining against it, I feel His Divine Grasp tightening. There are startling moments of feet dangling over a precipice, yet I am still in held firmly in the Savior’s clutch. Father, thank You for Your Mighty Hand. You uphold, guide, prod, restrain and comfort me. Your love endures forever. Help me take hold of You.

COMPASSION

Our Divine directive is not that we simply recognize the existence of broken people; God wants us to do something for them. It is good that so much public discussion is given to compassion, but acting compassionately is much more important than feeling compassion. To be truly compassionate I cannot view the masses from the mountaintop, but must learn love in the trenches of life. How I treat the broken, the difficult, the tedious, the dispirited, even the mean spirited measures the true depth of my love for God. Lord, You are Love, make me more like You. Use me as Your hands to lift others without complaint or resistance.

SURPRISE!

People surprise me; they change so little, but then they do. Brilliance suddenly emerges from an underdeveloped mind. An otherwise stable person walks off the deep end. The spiritual sleepwalker awakens. A long-lost friend gets in touch. I too, can change, be brilliant, go deeper, awaken and show-up. In each case, my will must engage with an opportunity for change to occur. Ever Present Lord, today is a superb day for surprise. Lift my eyes above the daily grind and pull my heart toward worthwhile things. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Take my life and let it be all for You.

GREENHOUSE EFFECT

Approaching Moscow by train in winter is a long trip through a frozen landscape. It seems impossible that life can exist in such conditions, yet the seemingly dead trees and snow covered fields will be alive with beauty by springtime. On one such trip I was invited to a simple greenhouse behind a friends home. There, in the dead of winter, were summer green plants. Worship and praise has a greenhouse effect in our souls, providing conditions for life in the midst of a barren environment. Lord of Life, I will praise You at all times! Faith springs alive in my heart, warmed by Your Glorious Presence.

I CAN CHOOSE

Today I can choose whom and how I serve. I could surrender to things that alarm or seem unchangeable. I could resent, despair or obsess over what has passed me by. I could dream of what could have been or should have been. Then again, I can put each moment, each desire, every person, hope fear or dream into the nail-scarred Hands. I can declare that God is great and greatly to be praised! I can leave behind the squalor of doubt and fear and join the company of heaven in eternal praise. Lord God Almighty, Giver of Choice, I thank You that today I CAN choose, and I gladly, gratefully, eternally choose You!

LIFE AND DEATH

What comes out of my mouth has more effect on my life and the lives of those around me than most anything else. As powerful as we know words are, we often carelessly spew them out to our own harm or that of others. On the other hand, we often fail to release the power of life and blessing that words contain. Simply stated, life and death are in the tongue. Since my mouth speaks from the overflow of my heart, I must fill it with truth and bathe my lips in love. Holy Father, my lips are Yours. Make my mouth a portal of life, not death and my words a fountain of blessing, not harm.

NEEDED ANSWERS

As soon as I awaken each day my mind is bombarded with unresolved problems; there is never a shortage of them. My first inclination is to share my anxiety with others, yet I know the answers are not there. Turning to the wrong source will only deepen my sorrows; so instead I will cast my cares upon Him who cares for me like no one else can. I will throw myself headlong into the nail-scarred hands and rest in the knowledge that His love never fails. Lord, I yearn for Your consoling voice and towering wisdom. Instruct me from Your limitless knowledge and strengthen me with Your benevolent power.

STILL TOO EASILY IRKED

Generally speaking I have grown much more patient through the years, but I am still far too easily irked. This is one of the ways darkness maintains a foothold and continually plagues my soul. When annoyances are permitted to hang around without constraint they huddle together and increase in number. In this unrestrained condition of self-indulgence, problems seem huge and God seems small, anger pops up like burnt toast. How foolish. Father, forgive my imprudence and help me keep my bearings. Remind me how annoying I must be to You, yet You are eternally patient with my deficiencies.

LITTLE FOXES

I generally do better in a big crisis than when faced with relentless small annoyances. It seems that the size of a difficulty elicits different responses within me. With really big problems I quickly realize that I must, of necessity, turn it over to God. With small problems I feel confident to handle them on my own, but as the volume of issues arises I soon find my boat overloaded and sinking. A raging bull is an obvious threat, but we are biblically warned it is the “little foxes that ruin the vineyard”. Lord, forgive my stubborn self-reliance. Help me entrust to Your Mighty Hands all things, both large and small.

WHAT, HOW, WHY

My early years were spent learning WHAT to do, followed by decades of learning HOW to do what I do better. I am still learning “what and how”, but more recently the focus has shifted to WHY I do what I do. Perhaps it takes a lifetime of journey to get to the question of motive. The ebb and flow of people and circumstances eventually strips away every veneer, depositing a simple prayer in our hearts: “Father, not my will, but Yours be done.” Lord, reveal and cleanse my deepest motives. May Your perfect will come forth in me and through my activities today. Shine Your Light into every corner of my soul.

STUMBLING STEPS

While living in the Andes Mountains our family would often camp just below the snowline on Cotopoxi, an Ecuadorian volcanic mountain of over 19,000 feet. Air was thin and there was no artificial light for miles; the nights were ink black. It is difficult and perilous to walk on uneven ground shrouded in darkness, but this is how it often feels in this world for the person trudging the “narrow way”. Thankfully, we are not alone. Father of Light, I would fall into the abyss were it not for your care. Shine upon my stumbling steps. True Light of My Eyes and Heart, guide me to Your perfect will.

BLASTED

The construction of highways through mountainous terrain has always intrigued me. Millions of tons of rock must be repositioned; most of it can only be unearthed with explosives. A violent process produces a safe and peaceful journey for subsequent travelers. It occurs to me that my soul must also be “unearthed” to live a life prepared for heaven. Only God’s Word can construct a freeway through the mounds of waywardness, stubbornness and hardheartedness. Father, You offer a thruway of truth and guidance through worldly obstructions. Grant me daily grace for the journey.

INTRUSIONS

The scriptures lay it out very clearly, one wrong should not be returned for another. Forgiveness is not an optional “add-on” to the believer’s life; it is the very core of our faith. We throw ourselves back into the abyss by clinging to offenses all the while being wholly dependent upon God’s constant mercy. How I handle these intrusions of unforgiveness is a predictor of my own future relationship with the Redeemer since He warns: “Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.” Heavenly Father, I release all my offenses into Your hands. Cleanse my heart from every smidgeon of acrimony toward others.

EXPOSING DECEPTION

Deception is a primary tactic in both human and spiritual battles. This is accomplished by intentional misinformation or creating an artificial visual falsehood. Diversionary measures are used to cause the opponent to react to the wrong circumstances and to waste their resources. Thankfully, in spiritual warfare, the weapons and war tactics granted to us by God are not fleshly, carnal weapons; they have God’s might with them. He grants us discernment to expose the enemy’s deception. Almighty King of the Universe, You disperse darkness and cause the enemies of Your Kingdom to flee.