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Showing posts from September, 2015

DAILY REPLENISHING

Things in life must be replenished. Clothes must be washed, pets must be fed again and again, homes must be repaired; so why do we think we must be filled with God’s Spirit or surrender to His Sovereignty only once? Many seem surprised to learn that daily replenishing is necessary for the people of God. Yesterday’s blessings perish quickly. Today I must again dig deep, remind my heart of God’s faithfulness and recommit to His will and ways. Lord Almighty, I renew my vows to You. Fill me afresh with Your Presence. I again put my hand to the plow and resolve to finish my course with fervor.

MIRACLES

Even a casual peek through the biblical window into the Heavenly City reveals a miraculous place. Things considered so precious here on earth will be no more than pavement and building material in the New Jerusalem. Resplendent with the Light of Our Savior, a Sea of Glass, a heavenly host beyond number; is it any wonder that God sends miracles into this world to proclaim the nature of the world to come. Lord God of Beauty and Power beyond description, I welcome Your marvels and mighty works in this world that announce a miraculous eternity in the next. Come quickly Lord.

TAKE A LOOK AT GOD

The diversity of people is as much a gift of God as any other treasure He offers. While differences engender many difficulties, they also provide ample opportunity to learn the many angles of love. Like a diamond turned in light, every person reveals another facet of God’s imprint upon each of us. Even those wholly unaware of His Person and Presence become a necessary part of discovering the breadth and depth of God’s love. Lover of My Soul, I praise Your for the beauty of Your image upon all Your creation. As I travel among those who bare Your image, teach me more of Your love as I give and receive it today.

FAITH NOT FOOLISHNESS

I have a lifelong tendency to take chances. Sometimes it serves me well, such as when spiritual opportunities present themselves; after all, a boat tied to the dock never knows the joys of open water. Being adverse to risk often keeps us from taking leaps of faith, But recklessness is dangerous. For instance, thoughtless words can easily damage relationships. Recklessness can endanger our physical wellbeing, our testimony to others or even our faith. Lord of Faith and Wisdom, bring Spirit-controlled balance to my character and behaviors today. Help me take leaps of faith not foolish plunges.

LOVE STUDY

Love requires study. A mother loves her child for many reasons, but one powerful source of her love is that she studies her child. Her intense desire to understand this tiny new person in her arms requires more than a mere glance or a passive ear. Real love requires study. If I want to dismiss people I don't understand I can simply place them in a prejudiced category I have available and leave them there. God never does that. Instead, His Eye is constantly upon us, His ears attuned to our slightest whimper. And as Father of All, He requires that we, as his children, seek to understand the other objects of His love. Selah.

REST WHILE RUNNING

Spiritual laziness is a constant nemesis. It is easy to be tricked into thinking that Christian activity is spiritual fervor. David had been a successful king for quite a while when “at the time of battle” he was in the palace instead of where he belonged. His moral fall came when he was enjoying the fruit of his efforts while ignoring his responsibility to remain at the battlefront. Each of us needs rest, but more importantly, we must learn to rest while we run. We must disengage from our own efforts but never from our daily obedience. Oh Lord my Keeper, deliver me from worldly contentment. In all my ways pull me toward You.

NO STRINGS ATTACHED

The Master saw Nathanael approaching and said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false." Nothing false, what an amazing endorsement! I long to be that kind of person but ridding oneself of falsehood is more difficult than I thought it would be. Progress has been made, but still I struggle. Learning to live with wide-open heart and hands requires maintaining a “no strings attached” attitude that only deep love for truth can sustain. Lord of Light, take me to the next level. Whatever is false, whatever is impure, whatever is disingenuous, exterminate from me now.

SOMETHING MORE

After hearing the advice and counsel of all others, even those worthy of highest regard, there are those occasions when no human input will suffice. After all earthly effort is fully exhausted there is something more, much more. In that crucial moment there is but one choice, we must turn our face to the wall and pray to the Lord Our God. No human intervention is necessary or welcome in that instant, it is holy space where only the Almighty may speak. It is not a place of desperation, it is where hope begins. O Lord my God, at the termination of my meanderings Your Glory is unveiled.

ARE YOU, TALKIN' TO ME?!?

I truly loathe being blamed for something I didn’t do. It raises my hackles and I go into full defensive mode. Thankfully, most of what I think of my accusers gets filtered before leaving my mouth. God’s constant work on my character and humility is having slow but steady affect upon my responses. Truthfully, it is far too easy to blame others for their misperceptions than to honestly examine one’s own contributions to the perceived issues.  Lord of Truth and Love, teach me humility that I may never miss a life lesson. Help me focus on pleasing You to my highest potential that You may be glorified in me.

RIDING THERMALS

While missionaries in Quito, Ecuador we lived within eyesight of a world-renowned location for Hang Gliding. We watched flyers riding rising warm air as it ascended up the steep cliffs. No power is required; the thermals provide the needed lift to skilled pilots. My daily walk with God is no different, the key being to trust His lifting power. Over time, skills are developed and improved to avoid dead air and steer only toward what lifts. Father, You are High and Lifted Up, transport me to the heights. Teach me to rely on Your provided power and to skillfully navigate the opportunities you bring.

BOUNDLESS

Love and hatred are similar in one way; they both have no limits. While we have each felt at least a little bit of the all-consuming power of hatred, we have almost no experience with unlimited love. This is why we struggle with the amazing love of God. Can He really love without limits? The Bible states it clearly: “God is love.” Since He doesn’t “have” love, but rather, “is” love, to limit His love would be to deny who He is. Lord God Almighty, I want to understand the depths of Your love and offer it freely to others. Teach me to receive and give of Your boundless, immeasurable, inexhaustible love.

GODHANDLED NOT MANHANDLED

A look out the window revealed a double rainbow, a sign of God’s promise descending from heaven to earth times two. What an unexpected but delightful reminder that though I may forget, God never does; He watches over His Word to perform it. I can rest assured that The Lord of All stands good for everything He declares. My futile attempts to manhandle circumstances are useless since His promises assure I can trust Him to Godhandle what is to come. O Lord My Champion, I am defeated by Your Love that I may now run within Your Victory, blessed be Your Name.

INCONVENIENT FOLLOWING

Walking within the Will of God is by definition inconvenient; anything that imposes upon our human desires is bothersome. Following His promptings cannot be done without constant rearrangement of personal priorities and commitments. Daily infusion of Word and Spirit is vital, but no less so than openness to hear and obey. I am not significantly better at this process now than when it first began in my life, but I am making steady progress. Lord, Your relentless pursuit and unmitigated love are my strength and hope. Grant me grace for immediate obedience. Help me knuckle under.

DITCHING DISAPPOINTMENT

I typically do not lug past disappointments very far, however, new ones take their place as quickly as I let past ones go; there seems to always be a steady supply. But, while disappointment is something I would rather avoid, it has become a useful character builder and motivator for me to try harder, becoming an effective tool in the Master’s capable hands. I will not grow weary in doing good if I remember the Lord is my Strength and my Redeemer. Father, You clothe me with salvation and fill me with joy as I cast my cares upon You. Help me keep my eyes fixed on You through passing storms.

THE PLACE I NEED TO BE

I have traveled to many wonderful places and am often asked which is my favorite. Though many delightful locations come to mind, my favorite place is where I am needed. There is no place better than to be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. God designs each of us to fulfill His purpose and there is simply no better zip code on earth. I do, however, have a place on my bucket list I haven’t been; I envision where I need to be spiritually, but it still eludes me. I want to be there, but obviously not yet enough. Blessed Lord, take me to the place I truly need to be, a place of genuine humility, unfettered love and fruitful servanthood.

CHIRP, CHIRP

Still in the passing darkness of early morning and already, I hear birds singing. Why does a bird awaken with a song in its heart? I suppose it wakes up excited about the prospect of eating worms. I have much more to look forward to, yet I am not nearly as enthusiastic as they. Lord, thanks for the reminder. This day is prepared by Almighty God and I am destined to be in it. Gracious Father, awaken my heart to Your whisper, though I don’t know what today will bring, I am very grateful to be in it. You have ordered my steps for this new day and will not abandon me. Chirp, chirp, I feel better already.

LOVE LIFTS

“Love Lifted Me;” the title of an old hymn with a life-altering message. Whether being given or received, love lifts. Like a tidal rise in a harbor filled with boats, love lifts. What a powerful force love truly is! I can change my daily experience, even when I have limited power to change my circumstances, simply by acting in God’s Tender Love. A deeper understanding of His Divine Affection opens the floodgates and empowers us to pour it out to others, even to the most unlovable. Lord of Love, use me today as a downspout of Your love. Help me offer it without limitation. I already feel the lift!

BETRAYAL

Judas resented Jesus receiving the gift of perfume on his feet and later sold Him out for thirty pieces of silver. We attempt to put distance between Judas’ betrayal and our own distrust of God’s choices, but betrayal always lurks in the heart of the person who does not have the trust issue dealt with. Either God is Good and Trustworthy or not; we cannot pick and choose which of His ways we will accept. An absence of thankfulness always precedes accusing God of not caring for our needs. Great Shepherd and Father, though I do not always understand Your choices, I am at rest in your tender care. Lord, You are Wise and Good; end of story.

EVIDENCE

A commonly expressed human desire is to see a miracle as a rationale for belief in God. Many seem to struggle with the idea that God works mightily through the ordinariness of everyday life. We hope for mountaintop moments or dramatic signs to convince us that the Holy One is paying attention, yet it is life itself that is the signature of His work. My very breath is evidence enough of His Divine Activity. O Giver of Life, thank You for another day of discovery of the intricacies of Your constant Presence and Work. Help me to see Your hand and hear Your voice throughout this day.

NOW OR NOT?

I often feel I'm waiting on God to do something; answered prayer, doors of opportunity, spiritual breakthroughs, needed resources. But I sometimes wonder, am I waiting on Him or is He waiting on me? In a sincere effort to not rush ahead of divine timing we often hesitate to take the first step. However, delaying action until conditions are perfect only extends the wait. While I mustn’t force things before their time, I can act in faith on what I do know. Lord, grant me grace for now to obey with limited information. Teach me to take one step at a time and to stay sensitive to Your promptings.

MY TEACHER'S HAND

After so many years I can still remember the comforting encouragement of a teacher’s hand gently folded over my own as I drew my first circles. It felt like I was controlling the movements, but now I know the truth. Though I took credit for my improved drawing, those teachers were humble partners in my development. Nothing has changed; every move I make in the right direction still requires a guiding hand.  You O Lord are my Teacher, guiding me into Your highest and best. I am thankful You never let go. I need Your divine touch more today than ever. Help me learn the rhythm of Your embrace.

EYES OPENED

Concerning the work of God in our lives, there is always more to the story than we can possibly know. Whatever we see as we face difficult or complicated circumstances is never the full picture. Like Elisha’s servant, we too need our eyes opened to the full measure of the Lord’s surrounding Presence. The divine purpose behind every moment far outweighs whatever temporary discomfort we may feel in the process. In these occasions there is no substitute for knowing God’s love and promises. O Lover of My Soul, I praise You for Your faithful care and power to save.

SPRINGING INDIGNATION

I am not an angry person, yet indignation still rises in me far too easily. I can honestly say I have no lingering malice toward anyone and do my best to keep short accounts. But sometimes, after just a few turns of the crank, anger will spring up like a Jack-in-the-box. It still startles me. Jesus was angry without sin; I am still working on that one. I must learn to “cleanse the Temple” without wishing to “clean someone’s clock”. Lord, help me bridle my emotions so I may respond to situations in a way that pleases You. Remind me of the depth of Your Mercy toward me at my moment of indignation toward others.

BACK TO SCHOOL

Time spent pondering the life-transforming power of God's presence is time well invested. Bidden, or not bidden, He is always present, but awareness of His presence is a major game changer. Upon awakening, I must acknowledge and welcome God’s Presence. Throughout the day, I must practice disciplines that cultivate God’s Presence. At the close of each day, I must trustingly rest in God’s Presence. Dearest Lord, grant me grace to pull away from the dizzying anxiety of this world and lay my head on Your chest. Calibrate my breath to Yours and help me be schooled in Your Presence.

HOLIER-THAN-THOU

The heart that understands the unmerited grace God offers will not fall victim to a superiority complex toward others. If we are still under the delusion that we are blessed because of our moral rectitude or exceptional knowledge, then prideful judgmentalism is assured. Religious arrogance paralyzes spiritual progress and sets us up for a fall. I like to think I left all sanctimonious tendencies far behind, but they still pop up like burnt toast. Lord, have mercy on my earthly ways and make me more like You. May my pursuit of piety never produce a holier-than-thou response to others.

AWESTRUCK

I so admire those who care for those with debilitating illnesses or severe disabilities. The deep admiration I feel for these caretakers is rooted in my own sense of being so easily overwhelmed by the very thought of it. Then when I consider how low God must bend to care for my brokenness I am both grateful and embarrassed. He is never put-off by my weaknesses, rather, it seems the more I offer them to Him the more I sense His love, presence and compassion. O Lord My Caretaker, You never turn your back to the broken. Your love is undiminished by the volume of our frailties. I am awestruck by Your unlimited love.

I CAN

The deepest darkness of night cannot hold back the morning light, nor can circumstances restrain hope. I am not referring to the garden-variety of hope wishful thinking produces; I am talking about hope that is rooted in God’s Promises. God’s Word is an inexhaustible fountain of hope from which I may contently drink at all times. God’s Calling comes fully loaded. The very thought of the transcendent “I AM” dispels my fears and grants instant, unmitigated hope. Lord of Hope, You are the Great I AM and in that declaration my heart knows “I CAN” do all things through Your strength.

TUNED-IN

Modern technology constantly introduces new words to our daily conversation while making some words obsolete. I grew up during a time of dial-tuned radio receivers that had to be carefully “tuned in”. I spent countless hours slowly turning a large dial until the signal became clear. Hearing the voice of God requires the same type of careful tuning while shushing the cacophony that constantly competes for our attention. There is no auto-tune for my heart, so I must give hearing God’s voice my full attention. Father, I treasure Your command to “be still and know”. Help me quiet down and set my heart on wisdom.

SOUL TIES

The people with whom we cast our lot significantly impact our lives; we must therefore choose our associations wisely. It is never easy to pull away from human attractions, but Scripture repeatedly warns us to avoid bad company that corrupts our character. Rather than experiencing the pain of pulling away, we can get ahead of the problem by choosing to associate with those of good character. No one is perfect, but we must tie our heart to those who earnestly pursue God’s will and ways. Gracious Lord, awaken good discernment within me. Thank you for those who provoke me to love and good works.