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Showing posts from July, 2016

HIGH AS A KITE

Watching a kite soaring high while still bound to earth got me thinking; the disciplines that at times tie me down are actually designed by God to lift me higher. Left to the wind alone a kite will fly but soon crash. The string that holds it back actually gives it lift as it is let out slowly, the wind carrying it to dizzying heights. In the same manner, left to my own devices, I too, will crash. It is both the wisdom of God and the goodness of God to tie me to divinely designated restraints. Father, thank you for the commitments and responsibilities I sometimes resent. You created me to soar, and with Your binding hand and lifting breath, there are no limits.

OUCH!

It is no bother at all to simply categorize someone we don’t like under a cherished prejudice and ignore or even revile them. To mistreat, disregard or malign others is to show contempt for their Maker. I must never forget that the differences I sometimes resent have God’s fingerprints on them. When I was once complaining to God in prayer about someone I heard a very clear message in my heart: “The way you treat My children reveals the depth of Your love for Me.” Ouch! Father, help me to love as You love. Thank You for confronting my preconceived notions and leading me to deeper devotion.

BIND ME

I do love God, but I realize that much of my love is polluted by self-interest and need. When I feel blessed, which is the result of His unfailing goodness, the intensity of my love rises, but steadily fades into the background as my interests shift. When I am in need, I hunger more for Him, but my love-level diminishes as comforts increase. Though He knows my fickle ways, He never backs away. While I necessarily depend upon the unconditional love He offers, returning it consistently is still far too difficult. Dear Father, help me today to be steadfast in my love for You and others. Free me from my wanderings and bind me to Your side.

AN OILY START

My calendar stays full, but the real issue is whether my lamp is full; when the Bridegroom arrives will any oil be found in my lamp? I cannot depend upon past spirituality as this day approaches already filled to the brim, so early will I seek Him, now will I praise Him. The first tear of repentance floods the soul with grace, the first word of praise uncaps a well of joy, a single Promise proclaimed in earnest faith sends demon hoards scattering! Lord God of Mercy and Goodness, I praise you afresh. May Your oil of gladness flood my soul and ignite full-flamed. Darkness now scampers away as Your Light dawns! Let’s roll!

HONESTY

Human honesty is typically poorly timed and clumsily delivered. The reason is simple; the underlying motivation to the phrase: "let me be honest" is most often grounded in selfishness rather than divine love. God speaks truth with the purest of motives while we do not. We mostly speak up when we are in fear of losing something or being harmed. Honesty in this case is no more than our intent to control our surroundings. God speaks truth as an act of love, granting the hearer the chance to know the perfect way forward. Father, You are Love and Truth, teach me Your ways. Purify my heart and put Your coals of fire to my lips.

ETERNAL DAYBREAK

The sun is up again. That may seem trivial, even irritating at times, but after a dark night of the soul, the penetrating rays of light bathe the heart with renewed hope. How wise of God to give us a reset each new day. Yesterday‘s troubles will again attempt to be reintroduced into this fresh start, but something has changed within; I am now one day closer to heaven and one more day distanced from this world. Yes, darkness will again attempt to take hold, but will not prevail. My Sweet LORD, You are my Eternal Daybreak. What joys Your children know! What peace You grant to ones who open their eyes to You Love and Power! Selah!

PARTNERS WITH THE ALMIGHTY

Too often, I give preference to my own thoughts and ways rather than those of the Almighty. Even after so many self-generated disappointments, at times I continue to cling to useless ideas and postponed compliance. However, each new act of obedience to God begins a chain of unending blessing and invites additional opportunities to make genuine spiritual progress. That we are granted such collaboration with the “The Great, I Am” is remarkable enough, but to understand that He actually designed us to partner with Him is at once humbling and too wonderful for words. Dearest Father, my life for You. Teach me to obey swiftly, completely and consistently.

OUR SOLE RELIEF

Every soul passes through times of loss, betrayal, rejection and failure. Having suffered a painful trial in the past does little to take away the sting of a new trial, even if it is similar to ones passed through long ago.  Prior grace will not relieve the dark night of the soul; fresh grace is our sole relief. I must again return to the foot of the cross and behold the Son.  Grace for today is given freely to those who seek it in renewed surrender. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, and pour Your living water into my thirsty soul. While pain is an incessant intruder, my heart belongs to You alone.

THE LIGHT

The level of our honesty with others is dependent upon our openness to God. Since He knows all things, it is utterly ridiculous that I would ever attempt to close any part of my will to His Presence, but honesty does not come easily since it always requires a price. For our own sake He will accept nothing less than humble submission, therefore pretense must be painfully stripped away, piece by piece; shades of truth must be renounced, no exceptions allowed. Lord of Truth and Light, eradicate every shadow in me. Let Your radiance bathe every crevasse, every corner. Lord, I rejoice in Your Light, help me walk in it today.

THE PLUMB LINE

A small weight suspended from a string provides a straight vertical line. Family, friends, current culture and even sincere Christians around us are only relative measures.  I may feel justified in my actions yet be completely off course in the eyes of God or I may be right on target, but wrongly judged or guided by others. What I need is a precise plumb line by which I can see whether I measure up to God’s will and ways; human opinions simply will not do. Lord of Righteousness and Wisdom, Your Spirit and Word accurately expose my pretenses and shortcomings. Deliver me from falsehood from any source and establish my steps according to Your ways.

THE STAGE

To openly live a life of faith is not a proclamation of personal perfection. In fact, the opposite is true. My imperfections become the stage upon which the amazing grace and relentless love of God are displayed. In my weakness, His awesome strength is discovered and brought to the forefront. Glossing over our foibles presents a false image of the believer’s life and in the end does more harm than good. Lord, You are my Fortress and Deliverer, reveal Yourself in me. May my failings spotlight Your exquisiteness. May my need for constant redemption encourage others to seek the same. 

CUTS BOTH WAYS

Potiphar's wife falsely accused Joseph; Potiphar believed her and Joseph was imprisoned. Once anger is aroused truth becomes irrelevant. Two years later, Joseph is miraculously put into the second most powerful role in Egypt. Sadly, Potiphar, who had been so blessed with Joseph’s presence in his household, is never mentioned again, lies cut both ways. The lesson here is sobering; lying and believing unsubstantiated lies strip away our blessings and set us aside from usefulness in the Kingdom, whereas, steady faithfulness delivers us from traps of the enemy and qualifies us for greater things. LORD OF TRUTH, in Your Mercy, put Your coals of fire to my ears and mouth.

PERSPECTIVE

What looks like a life-ending boulder rumbling and tumbling down the mountain toward me is no more than a harmless granule of sand to the Lord Almighty. What looks like a measly kernel of corn to me is in God’s eyes a never-ending supply of harvest after harvest. It is abundantly clear, I must face life with God’s perspective and not my own. Father, what is heavy for me is light as a feather for You and what is beyond my reach is centered in the palm of Your mighty hand. Open the eyes of my understanding to see the greatness of Your power and the depth of Your unending love.

BANISHED DOUBT

There is no guarantee that things which troubled me yesterday, will not try to 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.

BLESSED MEDDLINGS

While my private thoughts may be hidden from others, all my thoughts, wishes, fears, motives or aspirations are in full view of the Lord. He examines all my paths, not only those I have already taken, but even those I consider pursuing. This would be a moment by moment battle of wills if I were still of the impression that my life was my own, but this issue is settled; I must decrease, He must increase. Though at times I forget to acknowledge His ever-present examinations, He never, ever looses track; not even for a millisecond. At times this is disconcerting, but even my consternation is a sign of His Blessed Meddlings. Glorious Father, it is true, I am Yours. Have Your way in me…in spite of me.

SILLY SQUABLES

Three tiny birds have developed a territorial interest just outside our back door. They are really cute, but each day is filled with puffed up feathers, lots of irritated chirping and little hops at each other. It all appears pretty comical to me, but it seems deadly serious to them. I imagine many of our earthly squabbles seem as petty to God as these daily bird fights seem to me. There are serious enemies in life, but much of our energy is wasted on the inconsequential. Father Above, keep me focused on what really matters. Help me ignore daily irritations and keep me laser-focused on fighting the true dangers.

DRAGONSLAYER!

“The great dragon was cast out!” These Biblical words proclaim our ultimate victory. We blame Satan and others for leading us astray, but no one can force us down the wrong path. Enticements, fears, deceptions and insecurities are powerful enemies; but the child of God is never defenseless in battle, we have mighty weapons at our disposal. Our greatest weapon is the wisdom and assurance truth brings. The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit; it is the Dragon Slayer! O LORD My Victor, may Truth fill my heart so that no weapon formed against me may prosper. May Your Word so penetrate my soul that it becomes an undefeatable weapon in my hand.

STOP, LISTEN, OBEY

I have spent far too much time looking for things I myself placed but can’t remember the location. I have learned all to well that panic and frustration never help. In seeking important answers and direction for life the same is true; I may actually know the answer, but anxiety and selfishness freezes my hearing. There is an order of discovery for spiritual and material guidance: listen for God’s voice, treasure His commands, tune out confusion and tune in wisdom. Finally, concentrate on understanding how to act on what you hear. Lord of Wisdom and Guidance, help me to calmly stop, carefully listen and to swiftly obey.

BOUNDLESS AFFECTION

One of the most uncomplicated, yet transformational descriptions of God’s nature is the Biblical statement: “God is love.” In this beautifully simple phrase we learn a lot about our Maker, but we also learn about ourselves. Since we are created in the image of God, we too, are created with the capacity and desire to both give and receive love. When disappointment in human love sets in it shuts down something deep in our soul. Unrequited love can steal away our created purpose; only God’s pure love can heal us and put us back on course. Lord of Love, restore my soul. Let me drink deeply from Your Sea of Boundless Affection and make me whole that I too may love without limits.

GIVE SPACE

Two words came to mind while in prayer: ”give space.” The Presence of God can occupy space of any size, but His residence may not be recognizable while hidden in the junk pile of an overstuffed life. It is amazing how quickly every bit of storage area in any house, office, car or garage fills. Frankly, since we know every empty space so easily gets jam-packed with unessential things, the question becomes: “How overstuffed is my soul space? Does the Savior find “any room in the Inn?” Lord of Light and Life, You own me through and through. I desire to yield every space to You. In Your loving kindness grant me grace for some inner housecleaning today.

INFORMATION OVERLOAD

The “Information Age” has become the “Age of Confusion”. Misconceptions spread so rapidly that they go unchallenged while new ones continually pile on. In a world jam packed with half-truths, deception, exaggeration and pretense the soul grows weary from the daily stampede. A sound, biblically informed internal compass combined with spiritual guidance and trustworthy comrades help me navigate the constant onrush of illusions. Father, thank You that while huddled in the storm, I rest safely in Your hand where truth prevails, love lifts and sinking sand turns to Solid Rock.

RECOVERING FROM A LEAKING HEART

A spirit-filled life, filled to the brim, is my goal…but my heart leaks. It fills up; then leaks. I have learned that yesterday’s infilling means nothing for today. Each and every day my heart must again be turned toward God afresh, replenished with truth and made a tabernacle of praise. It must be searched, cleansed, inclined to hear, willing, contrite, guarded, softened, thankful, freed from deceit and chasing after God. Well, it sounds as if my heart will have another busy day. Lord, my heart belongs to You. You have created it to hear from You and follow after Your will. May the Lamp of Your Love shine brightly within me today.

FACE TO FACE

I enjoy strolling through art galleries, and I especially like meeting the artists. In those moments, the artist becomes more appealing than the art. In like manner, each day offers yet more reason to turn away from this world and lift my eyes to the next. It is not that I don’t have affection for this life and the cornucopia of wonders, peoples, joys, tastes, experiences, challenges and blessings it provides; it’s just that I increasingly see God behind what I behold and long to meet the Master who creates the masterpieces. Holy Father, I see You through the veil, but one day I will see You face to face. What joys and wonders await!

INSIDE OUT

We desire to exert influence on the world around us precisely because God created us to do so. Deep within our soul lies the imprint of God’s commanded purpose for all mankind: “Be fruitful, increase, multiply, rule, fill the earth”. These are divinely programed mandates within our internal guidance system; alertness to God’s Word and Spirit awakens and intensifies these innate longings. To do nothing empties our heart and leaves us spiritually listless. Lord and Redeemer of All Nations, thank You for creating me with Your purposes imprinted within. Show me how to turn what is inside out and live Your Love out loud without reserve.

GOD'S HOLY GRIP

Having the steady hand of a teacher draped over my own as I learned to write never seemed confining. Actually, the opposite was true; the gentle, firm guidance of my teacher’s hand liberated me to boldly attempt what had been very difficult on my own. And now, as a grown man, I do not resent the hand of God guiding my life. While I am still prone to strike out on my own, it is far better to fall into the grasp of Almighty God than into the hands of any other. O Lord my Teacher and Guide, into Your Holy Grip I gladly yield. Guide my choices according to what is best and move me as You will.

CELEBRATING DEPENDENCE DAY

I am marveling in my freedom today. Not the freedom granted by human laws or governments. Nor the freedom gifted by calm seas, mountain vistas or open plains. I am marveling at the inward freedom that gushes forth from the fountain of life deep in my soul. Still, there are many embedded obstacles stubbornly resisting the liberty God grants, yet I am increasingly free to choose to whom I yield. That is right, freedom is not independence, it is the ability to choose whom you serve, to obligate oneself without unsolicited interference, true freedom is dependence upon God alone. Dearest Lord, I am Yours. My all for You.

TIDES OF LIFE

Tidal waters have always fascinated me; they are constantly advancing or slowly receding. The rise and fall of each cycle is very subtle and easily missed, but it happens without our permission and is beyond our control. So it is with everything in life; as one friendship dwindles, another strengthens. Youthful growth turns into retreating health while foolishness shrinks away and wisdom takes its place. Treasured things deteriorate and unimagined new things emerge. Father Above, You are the Eternal Constant and with every loss You provide a tidal deposit as a parting gift; I truly marvel at Your wisdom and love Your ways.

LESSONS IN THE DESERT

Many lessons are imbedded in Israel’s trek through the wilderness. The LORD Himself intervenes on behalf of those who treasure His commands; He is a sword and shield to those committed to His ways. In a dry and thirsty land, water flows from a rock to the one who seeks Him. Daily manna over barren sand is granted to the God-enamored and the shadowing cloud of the Almighty covers them from the scorching heat. Internal deception is exposed and judged and His Glory appears to those who tabernacle with Him. El Shaddai, You are God and there is no other. You extend heaven’s glory and provision to Your chosen ones!

THE SUMMIT

Too often I have hindered the approach of what God has designed for my tomorrow by over-attachment to things of yesterday. Like a hiker who tries to lug along too much, I sometimes strike out without first discerning between what will be absolutely necessary and what is merely an emotional connection that must be surrendered. To follow hard after what is best I must lay aside every hindrance. Our vision for the future is critical to the decisions we make today. Father, You are my only hope to reach the summit. You are already present in that yet unseen place You are calling me to trod. I trust Your provision and divine care; You never miss a thing.