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Showing posts from August, 2015

ROADBLOCKS

When I take an honest look at the distracted unreadiness of my soul I realize why God’s blessings so often delay. It is the goodness of God to withhold divine action until I am properly postured to receive. I don’t like roadblocks, but ultimately they are placed there for my protection. The reliable discipline of the Great Shepherd prepares me for His very best. I am not ready when I want to be ready; I’m ready when He says I’m ready. Glorious Lord, You are so good. I get turned around, but You lead me in the way I must go. In all my straying You faithfully guide me back to You.

EARTHLY MIXTURE

The Apostle Paul declared: “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” Therefore it is clear; God speaks to and through each of us. As in all things created, His voice and knowledge are not limited to reading Scripture alone; they are manifest within us as well. We are warned not to “add to”” His words, but we mix in carnal things nonetheless. So it is not lack of His voice and knowledge from which we suffer, rather, it is the endless additions we pile upon His revelation that hurt and confuse us. Holy Father, by Your Spirit, cleanse all earthly mixture from Your Manifestation in and through me.

SEER OF THE UNSEEN

Each day presents new battles, unforeseen foes lurking just beyond view. There is simply no chance I can be fully prepared for everything that awaits me, yet, how sweet the joy that fills my heart; victory rests in the Seer of the Unseen. Come what may, the Lord is my triumph, the unforeseeable clearly in view of Almighty God. While I struggle to find a way forward, I possess blessed assurance in the knowledge that God will make a way where there is no way. King of Kings, into Your hands I cast every care, You are my strength O Lord. In the moments of conflict may I ever trust in Your unfailing love.

BLINDERS

Blinders are used to keep a horse focused on what is in front of it, protecting it from being distracted or scared by what is behind or to its side. Maintaining a constant focus on God’s call and mission for our lives has the same effect. Consider the transformation of John from an unloving young man arguing over who was “the greatest among them” and collaborating with his mother and brother for the best seats in Jesus’s coming kingdom to the “Apostle of Love”. Blessed Lord, shade my eyes from earthly distractions. Keep me focused on Your will and deliver me from unhealthy human comparisons.

THE WAY FORWARD

The temptation to simply drift along a lazy river of complacency is persuasive. The volume of life’s complications can cause us to disengage from our responsibilities, even withdrawing from active pursuit of the will of God. As past disappointments pile up and the desire to take risks is smothered, soon divine purpose becomes a mere shadow. Sincere confession of false motives, mistaken priorities and reliance on the wrong things brings heavenly relief and opens the path forward. Father in Heaven, awaken my heart with daily passion for Your will. Make me, mold me, fill me, use me.

SEAMLESSNESS

What makes a ride in one of the world’s finest cars so special? The difference between an average automobile and the world’s finest is determined by the details. For instance, the near perfection of interior seams; doors, instruments, stitching, all precisely uniform is dazzling. While I have no interest in possessing such a car, I want my life to reflect the same quality of craftsmanship. There should be absolutely no separation between what I believe, what I say and what I do, in other words, seamlessness. Only the Perfect One can accomplish this. Lord, I place my many imperfections into Your perfecting hands.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE

There are no surprises for the Alpha and Omega; He who was, and is and is to come is fully prepared to handle whatever happens. So often I confidently act on what I think I know only to be tripped up by ignorance or deception. God alone is completely devoid of the blinding fog of falsehood, there is nothing hidden or unknown to the Almighty. I am therefore dependent upon divine guidance and amazing grace. O Lord My God and Great Physician, I welcome Your daily examinations and treatments. Deliver me from my many appeasements of human frailty.

DEFEATED BROKENESS

God, who created everything from nothing, is never put off by the size of my needs. Words such as unbearable, unapproachable, incomprehensible, inconceivable, invisible, untouchable, unsearchable, unchangeable are earthly concepts; they do not exist in His celestial vocabulary. By one breath life came to all mankind, by one word darkness is replaced with light, by one act of love, redemption was wrought for the whole world for all time. Gracious and Majestic Lord, the more I learn of Your greatness the more my brokenness is defeated. I will praise Your name forever and ever!

IDOL WORSHIP IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD

In my travels I have seen a plethora of idols and idol worshipers, men, women and children bowing before false gods. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much idol worship in my neighborhood. Or is there? Any time we confer more importance or authority to a created thing rather than to the Creator of All Things we are, in effect, worshipping idols. Everything in life, even life itself, must be held loosely. I must learn to take hold of eternal things with vise grip determination and bow the knee to God alone.  Glorious Father, Great I Am, to You alone belongs all glory, honor, praise and servitude.

THE STAGE IS SET!

How God must love the world He created! It is a canvas onto which He strokes His finger daily, painting and repainting backdrops for every forthcoming scene. He adds exquisite sound and light to bring out the best of every detail, adding mystic beauty to each moment. It is a stage He has set and invites everyone to behold. He writes the scripts, produces, directs, chooses and trains every actor and then outperforms them all. He takes joy in the comedy, sorrows in every pain and patiently awaits a happy ending that He Himself will perform. Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! I marvel at You!

GOD'S FACE AND HAND

In everyone’s testimony there are stories of someone impacting their life with a listening ear, an act of kindness, an offered prayer, a word of encouragement or needed guidance. How many opportunities to be the face and hand of God to someone do I squander? Divinely appointed moments rarely occur in our spare time, so I am often rushing by these occasions to do something seemingly necessary. This is the daily test, to allow God to determine what is truly important. Almighty Lord, You never rush by a need. You never brush off my silent pain. Please forgive my audacity and help me turn aside to do Your bidding.

BREAK THE CHAINS

Snowflakes seem inert, especially as they float down to the ground, however, each year many lives are destroyed by avalanches, collapsing roofs and a myriad of other heavy snow accidents. In like manner, petty offenses, small annoyances and little irritations can accumulate and become deadly for our souls. Unforgiveness rarely begins as a single event; instead, it creeps in slowly and piles up. Our pathway to safety is to close each day with forgiveness for other. Lord of Forgiveness and Mercy, break the chains of unforgiveness within me and fill me with Your love.

O JOY DIVINE!

Happiness is a makeshift imitation of the Joy of the Lord. Being happy is a delightful feeling, but cannot last since it is rooted in passing circumstances. Divine Joy is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit and cannot abide in a divided heart. Constantly seeking satisfaction from the things of this world robs us from heavenly realities. The joy I seek is already mine in Christ, yet is experienced only in full surrender. I must not fear it, squelch it, and most importantly, not substitute it with something inferior. O Lord My God, You first, no excuses. Your Joy is my strength; I can run through a troop and leap over a wall…joyfully.

GOOD RIDDANCE

Over a lifetime, my collection of memories has become way over-crowded. Like a worker in an old china shop I search through the shelves of my mind stacked floor to ceiling. An unexpected benefit is that there is little room for yesterday’s petty disappointments. Things that I would have previously dragged along simply slip away into the Sea of Forgetfulness. An unforeseen godsend of spiritual maturity is an increased power to truly forgive and forget. Lord, thank You that I have a fresh new day and for the disappearing negative memories that could have cast shadows on today’s hope.

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 people’s 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.

A SOUND MIND

There is no dependable substitute for divinely guided discernment. We need good judgment to distinguish between inspired thoughts and selfish fantasies because they often appear the same at first glance. The immature mind driven by personal desires can be easily confused. The Word and Spirit combine to dissipate our delusions, subdue our speculations, and dispel our wild imaginations. Lord of Peace and All Wisdom, teach me to truly submit my thoughts to You today. You Who blanket the earth with Your divine care, remove from me all deception and may Your glory and soundness fill my mind.

THE BLESSINGS OF A STORM

Having lived the bulk of my life in Florida, I am well acquainted with huge storms. They can be disastrous yet still offer blessings. Dangerously weak trees are often ignored until naturally culled by powerful winds. Devastating droughts can be cured by a single tropical storm. In the midst of a terrible tempest, total strangers come together with kindness, compassion, bravery and generosity. No one in his right mind wishes for a hurricane, but we must remember, God can turn any tragedy into a blessing. Redeemer of Our Souls, You transform our darkest night into resplendent light! You are truly Lord of All!

ROCK MY WORLD

God is never taken in by my words, no matter how sincere they seem. Frankly, nor am I. I too, must see follow-through in my actions to genuinely believe in what I say. Often, I have been at that divine tipping point where intent teetered toward sincerity, then rocked back toward selfish contentment, only to again settle for spiritual complacency. But God’s Persistent Love will not abandon me begging from a barren heart. My Lord, My God, You lovingly rock me forward till I cast my eyes onto Your fullness, then nothing else will do. May I completely fall firmly and permanently into Your arms.

ONE DAY CLOSER

The quiet shouts with a chorus of silent beauty, morning is dawning. One day closer to forever. The darkness slips away as light rushes in and my soul awakens to another moment of God’s unfailing love. I haven’t been here before, so I must not presume that it is like any other day I’ve traversed. New beginnings. Though I am new to this moment, the Alpha and Omega has already meandered through it, depositing His blessings along His way.  Lord, show me Your ways this new day. Fill my heart with fresh expectation. Use me to lift others and to speak truth bathed in love.

ENVY

Modern culture wars against godliness in ways we often fail to see. The constant emphasis on wealth, popularity and power pulls us in the wrong direction. Wishing that I had the good fortune of someone else seems innocent enough, but it is nothing more than envy. Envy displaces thankfulness and undermines trust in God. Rejoicing in God’s care and provision has the opposite effect; releasing hope in my soul as I consider God’s goodness. Holy Father, deliver me from the evil, yet subtle web of covetousness. I am at peace with the course You have laid out for me.

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

With the Red Sea ahead, the dust-filled sky above and Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit, God’s counsel seemed impossible: “Do not be afraid, the Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.” Seriously? Be still? Every human instinct is to try to mitigate circumstances such as this. Yet, when all efforts fail we are not without recourse. When we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place it is time to climb. God had said to Moses: “I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand.” Father, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Cover me with your mighty hand and make me still.

GOD FIRST

“Early will I seek You,” sound advice from a shepherd boy turned King. No doubt every day quickly filled with bleating sheep, constant demands and approaching dangers, but David had learned by experience, God first, that’s it.  Why delay? Like a road trip, starting late means additional traffic. Prayerful meditations do not belong bumper to bumper on a crowded freeway, the cares of this world cutting into holy space. Other things can wait. O Shepherd and King of my soul, early will I seek You. Help me set aside encroaching thoughts and concerns that I may seek You first and always.

NAIVE INSOLENCE

The pressures of creation’s temporal desires cannot change the Creator’s eternal purposes. Simply stated, not my will but His must prevail. After all, who has a better record? My whim’s come and go, but the entire universe is held together by His thoughts and words. This is why my thoughts, words, attitude and actions must come under His full command. The dual power of His Word and Spirit rescues me from the quicksand of foolishness. Glorious Father, forgive my naive insolence. You Alone know all things. Your Word is the path of life. Teach me to fully depend on Your guidance.

KEY TO EVERYTHING

I have a plethora of unused keys. It is a mystery to me how I have possession of so many and yet have no clue what they open. Strangely, I have a difficult time discarding them, knowing that they must open something somewhere. Wouldn’t it be great to have just one key that opens everything? In fact, I do have the key to everything. Isaiah declares: “the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” Awe and respect of God’s first position in all things opens the locked away treasures of this life and the world to come. Almighty God, You are the Key to all things, Your boundless majesty and wisdom openly available to the trusting heart. I am grateful that what You open no one can shut, and what You shut no one can open.

HOLY MEDDLING

God’s eternity-based viewpoint on what is important is quite different than our own; nothing He does is unmindful of future consequences or careless. Many things I had initially considered enormous life issues, in fact, turned out to be insubstantial. On the other hand, behaviors, attitudes and circumstances I thought hardly worth mentioning have become His constant target. Such is the process of spiritual growth; it cannot be accomplished without divine directives. Heavenly Father, You do not abandon us to our own doings. I am wholly dependent and eternally grateful for upon Your Holy Meddling.

THE DAILY GRIND

I prefer things to be easy, will I never learn? Effortless, carefree subsistence for anything more than a short respite ultimately leaves me empty, shallow, selfish and without purpose. It is the daily grind of keeping a steadfast heart that produces the genuine joy found only in faithful obedience to God. Mountaintops are delightful, but little life can really happen there. No, the valley is where life really happens. Lord God, Fountain of Truth and Wisdom, another day, another lesson…oh joy! No really, OH JOY ETERNAL! Dearest Father, my heart is inclined to Your ways.

VICTORIOUS GOODNESS

No matter how determined my inward lawlessness remains, God’s powerful one-two punch of grace and kindness is far greater and will take out all remaining rebellion. Internal resistance stubbornly holds on, but will ultimately be defeated by His immense love. He towers over my weaknesses and sweeps me up into His victorious goodness; helplessness turns to power and fears into boldness. Oh Lord my God, my Strength and my Redeemer, Your loving kindness is better than life. Fortify my words of repentance with the breath of Your Spirit and give me heart and endurance to live in Your light.

MOVE ALONG

What a waste of time it is to wish that past things had unfolded differently. The past is the past; I must learn from it, appreciate it and get over it. Each new day offers brand new opportunities. My focus must fully turn from what was or could have been, to what is ahead. I will I seek God today. I will obey His voice. I will act intentionally and consistently with kindness, with joy and faith. Lord, I praise You for another sunrise. Shine brightly in me and through me to all who I encounter today. Bind my heart to Your plans; lift my eyes to the horizon. Help me show the way out to those trapped in past disappointments.

STEPPING IT UP

My daily course seems like it is mostly uphill, many days it feels like climbing with concrete shoes and heavy legs. But of course it feels as if I am scaling a mountain; Proverbs declares: “The path of life leads upward for the wise.” Every step forward is a step upward for the child of God. As we lift our eyes we begin to see the progress we are making. The Lord Himself is leading us from the lowlands of fallen humanity to the heights of His love and purpose. Heavenly Father, draw me near to You. Lift the weights of sin and rebellion from my heart that I may ascend post haste.

RUN FORREST RUN

“Run Forrest! Run!” These iconic words from one of this generation’s favorite films contain good advice. When confronted by the aggressive temptations of Potiphar’s wife, Joseph’s best choice was to run. I once saw a small bird flying full speed with a hawk in hot pursuit. They swerved, rose and fell, then darted into a patch of trees. I don’t know the final outcome, but it seemed disturbingly familiar; I am often that little bird. While the chasing hawk seems destined to win, I am not without advantages. Lord, You are our Hiding Place and Mighty Fortress. Help me run this race with speed and dexterity.

DARK TO LIGHT

I love the early sunrise and late sunset of summer. Light: the Creator’s first gift to creation. With each new daybreak God brings all that is obscured by the darkness of night back into the light. It is so natural, so repetitive, so normal we lose sight of the miraculous blessing it is. Dark to light: God’s daily gift. As it is with the earth so it is with my soul, my dark moments transformed to resplendent beauty, my mourning to laughter and my sorrows to gladness. Luminous Lord, drive all darkness from my soul. Give light to my eyes and keep my lamp burning. May others see Your radiance in me today.