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Showing posts from June, 2019

FUTURE FORCAST

A farmer cannot control how weather will affect his future crops, but it is guaranteed that if no seed is put into the ground, no harvest will come forth. Everything in my hand is a seed; my time, my talents and my treasures. The future can’t be controlled, nor need it be feared. The seed I put in the ground today is the best forecast of what is ahead.Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 (NKJV). Everything I sow or don’t sow today affects my future. 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 sow the right seed today and confidently trust Your daily guidance, provision and sheltering right arm. You are my refuge today and hope for all eternity.

GRASPING FOR THE WIND

]“Therefore, I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind,” Ecclesiastes 2:11 (NKJV). The seemingly universal mantra “Follow your dream” is constantly declared from kindergartens to Ivory League classrooms, from kitchen tables to pulpits, from boardrooms to backyards, but is it sound advice? Actually, dreams can mutate into nightmares or become no more than “grasping for the wind”. For the person of faith, dreams, like every other human desire, must be bathed in holy surrender to the Giver of Life. I refuse to knowingly substitute an earthly dream for my heavenly calling. God’s dream for my life must become my relentless, singular pursuit. Lord God, Your Sovereign Will does not diminish my life it makes it worth living! Pull me deeper into Your purpose and plans.

BEFORE ALL ELSE

“O God You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory,” Psalm 63:1-2 (NKJV). Daybreak is very quiet. God’s whispers seem more easily heard in the gentle rollout of a new day. Soon the world awakens and the still of dawn is lost in the cacophony of life. An indispensable characteristic of the God-directed life is seeking, hearing and obeying the voice of God. So, I push away the rushing horde of things this new day brings and remember Jesus’ words to Mary as others complained and she sat at the Master’s feet, “but one thing is necessary, Mary has chosenthe good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”Dearest Lord of Life, early will I seek You. Thank You for the blessedness of silence. Teach me to hear accurately and obey swiftly.

SKINNY MIRRORS

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing,” James 1:22-25 (ESV). I saw a news report describing how “skinny mirrors” are designed to make you look thinner and are utilized in the changing rooms of many retailers. Have we become so enamored with imagery that we would actually spend money to intentionally lie to ourselves? Yes, we would. However, lying to myself has no actual benefits; self-deception is toxic and dangerous. James speaks of God’s Word being a mirror; it never lies or projects a false image. We may ignore or forget the truth, but truth never changes. Lord Almighty may Your Blazing Truth and Unen…

WHAT AND HOW

We are commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV), “Pray without ceasing”. This sounds impossible for most of us but remaining in a prayerful attitude of listening to God, speaking to God, seeking His Will and acknowledging His Presence should be the daily bread of every child of God. Work, play, ministry, study, exercise, fellowship, pondering; this is WHAT I do. But remaining in a state of prayerfulness should always be HOW I do what I do. Many mistakes can be avoided by maintaining a listening ear and surrendered heart in whatever we are doing. Most of Jesus’ miraculous ministry happened along His way to somewhere. Dusty roads became places of miracles because he was always plugged into the Father’s heart. LORD, help me live this out each and every day. May my temporary circumstances never drown out Your Eternal Voice.

JOYFUL SUFFERING

“Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for THE NAME,” Acts 5:41 (ESV). Rejoicing!? They had just been jailed, almost put to death, severely beaten, commanded to stop preaching the Gospel and finally released. Then they rejoiced for being worthy to suffer! You cannot fake this level of dedication and faith. No one likes to suffer, but it seemed small compared to what they knew. They had left everything and walked with Jesus. They heard His teaching, saw the miracles. His arrest, His beatings, crucifixion, entombment and resurrection. He ascended into heaven as they watched! Their present circumstance of persecution could not rise high enough to overwhelm their joyful call to serve their Redeemer! LORD, awaken in me faith that rejoices no matter the circumstances I suffer for Your Glory.

BACK ON COURSE

“The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them,” Proverbs 11:3 (ESV). I have taken plenty of costly shortcuts in life, but thankfully, my moral compass is permanently set on integrity. This means that while I am prone to make wrong turns along the way, I always have a way back home if I will pay attention. When I realize my mistakes and turn around, I end up headed back on course in the right direction. Integrity is a guidance system that is often ignored but never fails when practiced. Though a price will always be paid for ignoring it in the first place, integrity’s trustworthy calibration will turn disaster into delight if trusted and practiced. Glorious God, Your Ways are beyond compare. Thank You for Your Word and Spirit’s work within me and through me.

THE 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 33:5-6 (NIV) states: “The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; 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.

GRUDGING OBEDIENCE

Since God sees into our souls as easily as looking into a fishbowl, grudging obedience will not suffice. While others may be fooled, the Lord Almighty knows the underlying thoughts andintentions of every person’s actions. We know joyful compliance puts a smile on our Heavenly Father’s face since 2 Corinthians 9:7 (ESV) tells us, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”. Resentful obedience of any form leaves us empty and does not produce in us the purpose God intends. Willing, prompt submission releases joy but grudging submission drains the heart. Unless obedience is done promptly and with the right attitude it is nothing more than polite disobedience. Oh Lord, Keeper of My Soul, teach me to love You without reserve in all that I do.

AN OPEN DOOR

“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name,” Revelation 3:8 (ESV). God knows what He’s getting into by assigning any of us to His divine work. He “knows our works”, the good ones, bad ones and all the in-between ones. So how can He use us considering our spotty record? Because God knows “we have little power”, but that’s no problem, He has plenty! So, what are the qualifiers? “You have kept my Word”, meaning You esteem His will above your own and “have not denied My Name”. In spite of your frailties you obey His Word and you do not deny His Name. That’s it! It is Him “who opens, and no one will shut, who shuts, and no one opens,” (vs. 3:7). LORD, I truly can do all things in You calling and strength! Father use me as You will.

THE SHEPHERD'S VOICE

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand,” John 10:27-28 (ESV). I do hear His voice. Sometimes very faintly. Other times, quite clearly. His voice has many tones; at times quietly emerging within a string of thoughts. Other times, through someone else’s voice, or in my own mind as I read the Word or hear myself speak, but I definitely hear it. I truly desire to hear more clearly and often, but I’m sure that my own willingness to obediently follow His Voice is critical to the accuracy of my hearing. While my standing as a child of God is secure, my walk with God is very dependent upon constantly hearing and following His directions. LORD, there is “no speech nor language where Your voice is not heard”. No excuses. As said young Samuel: “Speak; for Thy servant heareth.”

AN AMBASSADOR IN CHAINS

In Ephesians 6:19-20 (ESV), the apostle Paul solicits prayer: “that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” His prayer requests reveal three critical points: 1. The words we speak must be God’s Words, not our own. 2. We must boldly and faithfully speak them. 3. We are all “ambassadors in chains”, representing Him and His Kingdom. In other words, we represent Him, not ourselves and we do so from whatever station in life God chooses for us. Frankly, so many others I know seem to do a much better job representing the Gospel than I, but I cannot be a copy of someone else since we are each designed according to God’s choices to be used for His will. Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me. Make me, melt me, fill me, use me. LORD, So be it.

A STOREHOUSE OF TRUTH

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever,” Psalm 86:12 (ESV). God must be glorified in all we do. Honor is not merely acknowledging Him; it is offering Him our first, our best and our all. The heart that recognizes the authority, wisdom, power and goodness of the Great and Mighty One will have no trouble trusting Him through both storms and temptations. We waste our efforts storing up earthly things only to see them slip away on the tides of life; but he who learns to store God’s Word in his heart will never lack. Troubles come, but a storehouse of Truth nestled in the soul is a continuous wellspring of life and provides what we need for every occasion. Glorious El Shaddai, to breathe Your Name expunges my soul of all fear and releases unrelenting hope and assurance! To ponder and speak Your Word is an unending supply of manna in desert places.

EARTHLY INFECTIONS

In the same manner unwashed hands carry viruses that cause infectious diseases, the soul can be laden with unseen but deadly dangers. Strangely, we are far more careful to wash our hands after touching contaminated objects than to consider the perils of contamination of the heart. “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 (ESV).Unfettered, unguarded exposure to wrong-spirited people is dangerous. We drink bottled water to protect our bodies, but freely drink from the cesspools of unfiltered conversations or unbridled self-indulgence. High and Lofty One, cleanse my heart of all worldly infections and may Your Word and Spirit deliver me from mindless exposure to those who love discord, debauchery and darkness.

GOD-SOURCED, NOT CROWD-SOURCED

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them,” Matthew 18:20 (NKJV). While faith must be personal and God-sourced, not Crowd-sourced, let there be no doubt that there is a unique presence of God that manifests within a unified gathering of believers. God is present “in the midst of them”. Public worship can easily become routine being nothing more than going through the motions. Often, the pastor is blamed, but frankly, the responsibility of genuine worship falls upon each of us. Again, worship must be God-sourced, not Crowd-sourced. I must arrive to the gathering of believers as a worshipper not a consumer, already worshipping not waiting to “be inspired”. My heart must be already seeking and moving toward God, not dependent upon being moved toward God by others. LORD, pull my heart toward You. Make me a true worshipper in Spirit and in Truth.

TRUE CHAMPIONS

The righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. Proverbs 24:16 (ESV). All of us have taken a few falls in battle, life can be brutal at times. In my daily walk in this world I never know where the next test will be, but I know the power to rise from a fall is the signature characteristic of a true champion. Those who never learn to triumph over failure can be expected to stumble when the next calamity comes along, but the ones who have learned to rise again after stumbles are the true warriors in life. Victors stumble but never quit; they push ever forward and ever higher. LORD, You are my Mighty Warrior! You laid down Your life only to rise as Eternal Victor! Give me strength to rise from my falls, learn from them and lead others to final victory.

BY HIM, IN HIME, THROUGH HIM

Another day has dawned. How will it all unfold? Am I prepared for it? Will I have what it takes? So, I will now turn to God’s Word to prepare me for what is ahead: John 1:3 assures me that both I and this new day were formed by Him, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (KJV). And Acts 17:28 reveals “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being,” (KJV). Like a fish in water, my breath, my movement, my sustenance, my very being is formed and dwells within my Creator and LORD. I cannot do anything without Him, but in Philippians 4:13 I am assured that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (NKJV). Well…that just about sums it up; “BY HIM, IN HIM, THROUGH HIM”. Yes LORD, You’ve definitely got this! Therefore, so do I…let’s roll.

LIViNG WATERS

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water,” Jeremiah 2:13 (NKJV). Not every source of water is equal. On the surface, there is little difference between a spring fed lake and a retention pond. The sky reflects beautifully over both, but in one abides healthy, life-giving water, in the other is the runoff of surrounding streets and lawns; even its aquatic life is dangerous to consume and no one with good sense would drink from its contaminated waters. I do not want my soul to be filled with the tainted runoff of the world around me. I need the daily flow of living waters to flood my soul. LORD, In Your Mercy, pour Your cleansing truth into my soul and make my heart like a pristine mountain lake, teeming with life and welcoming all to safely enjoy its bounty.

GOD'S WORD, GOD'S WAY

“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless thingsand revive me in Your way,” Psalm 119:37 (NKJV). Many things that are attractive at first glance turn out to be worthless or harmful. To substitute “God’s Way” for an inferior, man-made model is not only treasonous, it is dangerous: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death,” Proverbs 14:12 (ESV). “Revive me in Your way” is one of the simplest yet most powerful prayers in the Bible. God’s Word instructs us in God’s Ways therefore no pursuit of God can be successful apart from reading, meditation-upon and obedience to His Word. We cannot “revive” what we have never imbibed. LORD, my confession is that of the psalmist: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” In Your mercy, instruct my heart with You Word and guide my feet into Your Ways.

MIRACULOUS MOMENTS

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;” I Corinthians 1:27 (ESV). In the Book of Acts, chapter 10, God gave two very different men in completely different cities, two perplexing visions that neither understood. Simon Peter and Cornelius the Centurion were on a collision course with divine destiny that only required their strict obedience, not their understanding. I too, have been sent on perplexing missions that turned out to be divinely-arranged, miraculous moments. God is never limited by my weaknesses, ignorance or confusion. He is only limited by my stubborn disobedience and unwillingness to trust Him. Father use me for Your divine purposes. Give me increased faith and abiding grace to take bold new steps of obedience.

GOD'S MANIFEST PRESENCE

David ponders in Psalm 139:7 (ESV): “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” Whether we invoke it, acknowledge it, welcome it, fear it, or seek His Presence, the simple truth is God IS present. The LORD Almighty is everywhere at the same time, but there is a clearly biblical emphasis on His Manifest Presence, not just His omnipresence. In fact, Moses recognized that the Manifest Presence of God is one of the primary distinguishing characteristics of the People of God when He queries: “How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” Exodus 33:16 (NIV). LORD, manifest Your Presence within me, around me and through me to others this day and always.

ANY WAY YOU NEED IT

I was reading in Matthew, chapters 5-8 early this morning. These passages begin with the Sermon On the Mount and include his trek from the mountain to the villages below. It struck me how straightforward and unvarnished He spoke to everyone gathered around Him; disciples, Pharisees, sinners and everyone in between. Truth has a way of hitting you the way you need it. Sometimes harsh, sometimes gentle, always powerful. As He descended from the mountain He was approached by a man with leprosy and healed him. Then, by a centurion with a servant back at home “paralyzed and suffering terribly”. DONE! Any way you need it, God has a way to deliver it! O Glorious One, when I need it You are always faithful to provide it in Your perfect time and in the way only You can! Blessed are You Father, Teacher, Helper, Healer and LORD of All.

THE FINISH LINE

“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV). Junkyards can be eerily fascinating with so many stories connected to rusting heaps as they sit in inert silence. Unfortunately, many people’s lives end up in junkyard condition with their lives a messy collection of one smashup after another. God created us with the capacity to finish our race with the same potential we start with. Will my life finish as a rusty pile of past crashes or as an antique classic still running well? I choose the latter. O Lord My Creator help me race fast and strong all the way to the finish line. Infuse me with Your power that I may successfully charge ahead until my last breath. May the full extent of my purpose in this world be completely fulfilled when I pass the checkered flag.

GIVE IT A REST!

“For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night,” Psalm 90:4 (NKJV). Considering the words of the psalmist it becomes clear why it is so difficult to understand God’s timing on things. When a trial seems like an eternity to us, it is but a passing moment to Him. But both His actions and inactions are perfectly timed, and our panic does not change that. I must therefore learn to trust His perfect love and rest in Him. Zephaniah 3:17 (KJV) proclaims: “The LORD Thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” Wow! What a beautiful picture! LORD, by Your grace I will ditch my panic and worries. I will “give it a rest” and trust Your timing. I shall join the melody of Your song of joy over me and praise you with my whole heart. Selah!

PATCH REMOVAL

“But in accordance with your hardness of heart and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God," Romans 2:5 (NKJV). The lawns around our neighborhood are summer green but a few spots are an ugly brown hardened patches where the grass will not grow must be removed before new growth will appear. Nutrition will not make a difference; the crusty surface must be penetrated and the dead roots unearthed for good soil to be exposed. New seed, fertilizer and regular watering will make the hardened patches beautifully green again. My soul is no different; spiritual nutrition will not have lasting effect on what only repentance can transform. Holy Father tear away the crusty surfaces of my heart. Where dried patches reside in my soul grant me grace to truly repent. Plow my heart with Your Word and sow in me that which You desire.

A SINGLE VOICE

I was very surprised on my first trip to the Colorado Front Range many years ago to experience such powerful windstorms. A tempest was howling past my hotel window reminding me that something as inert as air becomes extremely powerful in certain conditions. In the same way, one-single voice can be as mighty as a hurricane in the right conditions. My voice is merely one tool among many that I used to express myself. Until that is, one of those moments when it carries a direct message from Almighty God. Job 37:5 (NKJV) proclaims: “God thunders marvelously with His voice;He does great things which we cannot comprehend.”When my voice is empowered by His Voice it changes everything. Speaking His Word can transform hearts, move mountains, calm storms, turn darkness into light or send the minions of darkness scampering away! 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.

THE CALL OF GOD

“So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying,‘Every son who isborn you shall cast into the river...’”Exodus 1:22 (NKJV). Moses was born as a slave with an imminent death sentence. From there, God promoted him to Pharaoh’s palace. Enraged by an injustice he witnessed Moses murdered an Egyptian soldier and had to flee to the wilderness. But a burning bush became a stepping stone to his highest positions in life; a Prophet, a Lawgiver, a Deliverer, the Leader of a nation. His calling was never subject to his circumstances, God made a way. He still does for each of us. The Call of God never looks neat and tidy. Most of it unfolds in the dark of night or in a personal wilderness; its power unleashed in private moments with God. LORD God, may I never turn away from the private places You design for me to hear Your Voice. Grant me grace to always obey.

GODLINESS, GODLIKENESS AND GOD-ISHNESS

In 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV) God’s Word declares: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness”.Godliness produces “God-likeness”, transforming our values and behaviors to reflect His. But we are warned against “having a form of godliness but denying its power,” in 2 Timothy 3:5 (NKJV). Godliness without power is not godliness at all. I call this type of false godliness “God-ishness” (yes, I made it up). God-ishness is an attempt to amend and reorganize God’s values and behaviors around our own. God-ishness is a powerless mockery of truth and is calamitous for our spiritual lives. God-ishness will never do when it comes to the spiritual conflicts we will encounter in life, only godliness will suffice. Holy Father help me take hold ofgodliness, faith and love.

HUNGER POWER

“Even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table,” Mark 7:28 (ESV). These were powerful words spoken out of the deep need of a gentile mother seeking God’s help for her child. Even when the disciples and The LORD Himself made it difficult for her to receive she would not go away, she would not lose heart, she would not quit! Psalm 107:9 (ESV) gives us further insight into unlocking the power of spiritual need: “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things”. And Proverbs 27:7 (NKJV): “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” A hungry heart is not easily offended. Too many people walk away from the help they seek because the journey of faith is more difficult than expected. Glorious Father, may I never tire of following hard after you. Only in Your Presence can I quench my thirsty soul, only You have the Words of Life and in Your will alone will I find rest.