Friday, November 30, 2012

Acts 3:4 “Peter looked intently at him, as did John...”

This passage starts off almost like a children’s story.  Once upon a time...  the story in this passage of Acts is one of healing and testimony.  I know when I go to church I am not expecting to be called into healing and preaching and I don’t think that was the expectation for Peter and John that day either.  They were simply going to temple to pray.  The difference is that they were going with their eyes open and their hearts listening.  When I go, I am keeping my kids close to me in the parking lot; I am making sure I locked my car.  I sit in the pew shushing the kids and looking for the next hymn we will sing.  Would I even notice if a new person was there or am I so wrapped up in my routine that I do not see?  The person they brought healing to that day at temple was not new.  He was brought there to ask for alms from the people coming to pray.  Peter and John looked intently at him.  How much more would I see if I looked with intention?  How much more could I serve?

As I go through my day, help me go through it with intention.  It is easy for the routine to take over and then I go through the motions without being engaged.  Engage me in each task and each person I meet so that I am fully aware and ready to do your will at every moment.  Help me live intently following you.  Amen.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Matthew 15:18 “but what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles.”

I cannot tell you how many times as a kid I heard and said “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me!”  I know I was not very old when I realized what a ridiculous statement that was.  Broken bones will heal within a matter of weeks but the pain and suffering from harsh words can last for years, even for a lifetime.  Words are so powerful and this is one reason I tend to hold my tongue.  I really try to keep the meditations of my heart to myself.  I know I can learn so much more if I do not speak and when I am feeling the need to lash out, I know I may say something I cannot take back and the pain I could cause from a simple statement...  I do not wish to inflict pain.  Part of the drive to get up early in the morning and spend some quiet time with my Lord is to search and cleanse my heart.  I ask Him to bring to light any darkness that lurks and eradicate it from me so that I can go forth into my day filled only with His light and love.  When I allow this to happen, I know the words that come from my mouth are gentler, kinder, more patient.  My words are guided by the Spirit in my heart.  If only I would allow that Spirit to guide my words always.

Forgive my sins and the sins of others against me.  Keep my thoughts and tongue in check so that the words of my mouth are always guided by your Holy Spirit. I ask these things of you through Jesus, my Redeemer.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always”

I think little kids have rejoicing down pat.  I can easily picture my kids dancing and singing songs, making music and laughter because they do it a lot.  My six year old likes to sing her reading lessons to me and is planning to have a dance for her birthday.  She would have a party every day if she could.  Part of it is just her personality and her desire to be with people but I know there is a rejoicing in her heart as well.  It is not always easy for us to find rejoicing in our hearts.  Sometimes we carry a very heavy load that weighs us down and that makes it so hard to rejoice.  I was thinking back to the time when my Mom was still alive and battling her cancer so hard.  How can I rejoice in that?  Now that the deep sorrow is less, I can rejoice that I was able to spend precious time with her.  We were not caught up in the daily tasks but we were able to just spend time together for the simply joy of it.  I rejoice that I helped care for her as she used to care for me.  I rejoice that the relationship with my Dad is so much deeper; we treasure him even more with my Mom being gone.  If we search deep and long, we can rejoice always amidst whatever our life is handing us right now.  Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!

Thank you for opening my eyes to see the possibilities.  Place a song in my heart and a dance in my step so that regardless of what I am doing, I am also rejoicing.  I lift my voice, my life to you in hopes that I will be glad and rejoice always.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

1 Peter 3:4 “rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight”

My little girl loves to dress up.  She likes to play dress up with her princess dresses but even more she likes to wear fancy dresses that sparkle and twirl.  We are quickly coming upon the time of year where there are many holiday parties and church services that we can dress up and adorn ourselves with beautiful clothes for.  Stores are filled with fancy dresses and suits to make us look beautiful and handsome for whatever our event may be.  We are inundated with ideas that our hair should not be allowed to show gray, our wrinkles should be hidden or erased, all so we can present ourselves as “beautiful”.  Today’s verse reminds us that true beauty, ageless beauty comes from within.  Our spirit shines through whatever we put on the outside of our bodies.  Take time this season to seek the Spirit of God.  This Spirit brings us to a place where we can be gentle and quiet.  Then as we move into our days, we are able to shine that inner beauty of gentleness and quiet out into the world.

As we dress for our days or our parties, whatever we have to do, remind us to “dress” our hearts for you.  Lay your Spirit of gentleness and quiet in our hearts so as we go and go and go, we do it with that precious underlying beauty that only you can give.  Use us to be agents of peace and quiet; of gentleness this day.  Amen.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

I am a bit concerned about my day already.  It started out with a song in my heart and has already gone awry since then.  I did not sit and listen.  I could not seem to gather myself into quietness and wait.  I already have an energy of impatience surrounding me and it is Monday, a school day.  As I write this I know I need to find a quiet place within me and wait for the Lord.  I cannot allow this chaos and frazzled beginning to take over my day.  This is where the discipline kicks in.  It is not always easy to follow a discipline and prayer and quiet time is no different than other disciplines.  There are so many things that can get in the way, they seem more important or we just want to get those things done first to get them out of the way.  The problem is we get so busy with other things that we push prayer and quiet time right out of the daily routine.  Before we know it, those moments of waiting for the Lord have disappeared and we have lost touch.  I know I need this quiet prayer time and I need it every day.  It teaches me patience and discipline; it blesses and strengthens me.  It keeps my priorities straight.  I go back now, encouraged to wait... wait for the Lord.

Gather me close so I cannot run on without you.  Quiet my heart and mind so I can just be in your presence.  Remind me to breathe and relax, enjoy and take in this day with you right here with me.  Help me wait for you Lord.  Amen.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power.”

Ah, the clichés that come to mind as I read this verse.  Talk is cheap, put your money where your mouth is... clichés become what they are because there is truth in them.  We can say we love the Lord until we are blue in the face (there is another one) but unless we live it out, our words are empty.  We must put our energy, our power, into action to back up our words and when we move into action the kingdom of God becomes alive.  His kingdom is not a far off palace in the sky, a destination that we will someday go to.  It is very easy to see it that way.  Someday, when I die, I will go to the Lord and reside with Him but that is a whole different reality.  His kingdom is in the here and now.  He lives in the hearts of his disciples and through his followers his kingdom is manifest today.  This will only happen if we move beyond our words and our speeches and step into action.  We need to show his love and mercy.  We need to live in his peace and righteousness.  We need to serve all of His children.  It is in these actions that others will be drawn into the kingdom of God. 

Soften my heart and open my hands to release the power I have and receive your power instead.  It is only through your power that I can serve your kingdom.  Stop my chatter and move me into action.   As you lead, I will follow.  Amen.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Matthew 6:22-23 “The eye is the lamp of the body.  So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if you eye is unhealthy, then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

Have you ever heard that the eye is the window to the soul?  If you look carefully into someone else’s eyes you can see so much about them.  We don’t often make eye contact in this society and I suspect it is because we like to hide our souls from others.  As I sat in my front room “chewing” on this scripture passage the light from the sun was streaming in the window.  Our souls are like homes; a place to be protected from the elements outside with windows to allow light in and for us to look out.  Do you live in a light filled home or in the utter darkness of a cave?  Is your soul being filled with true light or sitting in darkness only remembering what light looks like?  Spiritual blindness can be healed.  The Prince of Light will eradicate darkness in your soul if you ask Him to.  He will come in and deep clean until the windows sparkle and no speck of dust blocks the bright light shining in.  Do not wander in darkness anymore.  Do not live life in utter darkness or even in shadows.  Allow the light of God to cleanse and heal you; be filled with his Light and Love today.

Please banish darkness from my soul.  Bring your warm and loving light in and place it where the darkness hides.  Make me a true child of your Light, allowing my soul to be full of light and nothing else.  Let me shine for you!  Amen.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ephesians 4:2-3 “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

When my family gathers for celebrations it is always quite a sight.  Normally there are about fifteen of us all together.  The kids run around playing, the men sit in the family room talking and watching sports and my sisters and I, along with our grown girls are usually in the kitchen talking and preparing the food.  I love these times and I love the conversations we share during clean up as well.  I know we all come from different places in our lives and we do not agree about everything but I appreciate that we can come together, share our thoughts and feelings and walk away still feeling the love and peace of the Spirit between us.  We have learned to be humble and gentle, patient and loving.  It wasn’t always that way to be sure.  I love my family with all my heart and even though we do not all share the same thoughts and beliefs; the love is deep and true.  I know this is unity, and it can only come from the Spirit He gave us.

Thank you for the deep love and peace that runs through the hearts of my family, I am so very blessed.  Help each of us reach out as you call us to, in humility, gentleness, patience and love.  Guide us in your Spirit of unity so that we may spread your peace and love to everyone.  Amen.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Galatians 5:22-23 “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control.  There is no law against such things.”

Today is a day of gathering and celebrating the bounty we all have.  We gather with friends and family or sit in quiet reflection on our own but this day has been set aside in our nation since the birth of it.  As we look at the table overflowing with food let us take a  moment to remember tables that have very little or no food.  Let us take a moment to remember food lines to receive a free turkey dinner and the people who need those free meals to receive this blessing.  Regardless of whether we are in need, or if we are singing songs of praise for the bounty we have, we need to remember the deeper bounty that we have all been offered for the taking.  When we receive God’s Spirit, when we accept Him into our lives, He gives us living fruit.  These fruits are gifts we receive and gifts we are to share with others.  As we prepare our meals let us also prepare to share love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  In these gifts we are truly and deeply blessed.  Through the sharing of these gifts we can all raise our hands and hearts in thanksgiving to our God.

Thank you for all you have given us, we are truly and deeply blessed.  Help us share the bounty in our homes as well as the bounty in our hearts.  Move us in your Spirit.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Psalm 25:2 “O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.”

As I look at my life it is hard to imagine a tangible enemy.  There are bad guys and bad things happen but there is no one hanging over my head waiting to take my freedom or my life simply because I exist.  I cannot imagine the feelings that some people around the world have, fleeing from their homes, taking only what they can carry on their backs.  Other people suffer taunting and abuse from captors as they are imprisoned either physically or mentally.  We all have our enemies, some more “real” than others.  Selfishness, fear, worry, hatred, hopelessness; these are a few of the less tangible enemies that I struggle and I know I am not alone in this.  When I keep my trust in God and allow Him to guide my heart these things have no control over me.  They seem to fade away and I am left with only the deep and true love of God filling my heart.   I trust in Him and He will keep me from shame.  He will guide my steps in righteousness and my enemies will not exult, Praise God!

You protect us like a mother hen, wrapping your wings around us to keep us warm and safe.  When we step out into the world you are still there.  Help us trust in you at all times and in all things so that we glorify you and do not shame ourselves.  When we walk with you our enemies are powerless; you are all powerful!  Hallelujah and Amen. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Psalm 25:1 “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.”

As we quickly move into the holiday season people are feeling a wide range of emotions.  Joyful and loved, happy and excited, sad and lonely, broken and discouraged, stressed and hurt, peaceful and calm; all these feelings fill our hearts and the hearts of people all around us.  This morning I pray for each of you that you would lift up your soul to the Lord.  If you are joyful and happy, lift your soul to Him.  If you are sad or lonely lift your soul to Him.  In your stress and hurt lift your soul to the Lord.  In your peace and calm, lift your soul to our Lord.  Whatever you are feeling, whatever your circumstances, where ever you are, lift your soul to the Lord.  He will meet you in any place and any time.  As I sit here writing with the “thousand” items I need to get done running in the background of my mind, I keep repeating this verse to my heart.  This season of decorating and baking, teaching and ringing bells,all this and more brings a busy time that threatens to overwhelm me.  I will make this verse my mantra for this season, and maybe beyond that.  He will give me whatever I need whenever I lift my soul to Him.  Just knowing and believing in that brings much relief to me.

I lift my soul to you and ask that you would give me strength so that I continue to lift my soul to you.  You meet me wherever I am and you know what I need most.  Be with those who are struggling so much right now and help them lift their souls to you to receive your blessings too.  Amen.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Psalm 25:5 “Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.”

What is truth?  A saying comes to mind when I ask this question; perception is reality.  Is truth a matter of fact or belief?  People like to believe they know the truth and most seek to find the truth.  There is a problem with this if we seek with our eyes and hands, only using our human minds.  We are so easily deceived that what we want to believe can easily seem to be truth to us.  If we search for truth with our hearts and souls we are more likely to find the voice of God.  If we seek His truth, the truth of the One, the Creator and Ruler of the Universe, we will find real truth.  He will teach us because He created and loves us.  He is our salvation; He will not turn from us when we seek Him.  As I sat in my quiet time this morning giving thanks for all the blessings in my life and lifting prayers for blessings to be sent to others I know and love I felt the love of God deep in my soul.  His word is His truth.  Seek Him, follow Him and live for Him as He lived and died for you.  Love as He loves.  In this, we will see his truth unfold before our very eyes.

We lift our hearts in praise and thanksgiving this morning.  Even when we do not see the abundance you have given us it is still true, we live in abundance.  As we seek your guidance, lead us in the path of your truth; Love, divine love.  Give us generous hearts to share your love and blessings with all those around us so we can all praise your holy name.  Amen.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

John 6:27 “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.  For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.”

Today the church I belong to is saying good bye to our current pastor and we begin a phase of transition once more.  After church we will have a big potluck luncheon to celebrate the blessing of his presence with us and send him on with the knowledge that he brought many gifts to us in his time with us.  There seems to always be food involved whenever there is a gathering for church.  We will bring pies next Wednesday to our Thanksgiving vesper service and I am sure when we decorate the church a few days after that there will be food then too.  More important than the food we bring to nourish our bodies and delight our taste buds is the food we receive from the fellowship and love we share with each other.  The love of God flows easily among this crowd of believers and with this love, we also find it in our hearts to love one another.  This eternal food, God's divine love will nourish us if we will receive it from Him.  Take time today to learn more about the life and teachings of the Son of Man.  Taste a bite of his delightful eternal food.  I will look for you at the feast!

Thank you for teachers that guide us in your words and your teachings.  Help us take that food into our souls and remember that it all comes from you, the Holy One; the one true God.  As we eat today, feed our souls even more.  Amen.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Isaiah 43:15-16 “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.  Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters.”

We are quickly coming upon a season filled with wonder and joy.  It can also be filled with activity and busy times that begin to overwhelm and drag us down.  The stores have already decorated for the holidays; they waste no time at all in trying to get us into the Christmas spirit of giving.  As we step toward a national day of thanks let us quiet our hearts and search deeply for things we are truly thankful for.  Take time to sit quietly in thankfulness so that spirit may feed you during the hustle and bustle of the next weeks.  As we prepare for concerts and dinners, parties and guests, let us also prepare our hearts for the receiving of our Lord and King.  It is He that can make a way of dry land in the midst of the sea.  He can lead us calmly and peacefully through the season of rush and run.  As we get ready to step into the rushing waters of the holiday season, remember to keep hold of the hand of our Lord.  He will make our path straight and true to the stable where we can sit in the presence of our Redeemer once again.

It is easy to let the waters of the season simply run over us and pulls us down into danger of drowning.  Help us keep our eyes and hearts focused on thanking you and preparing for your most precious gift.  As we move into the holidays, help us remember the holidays are truly Holy days.  Amen.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Psalm 78:52-53 “Then he led out his people like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.  He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid; but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.”

It is interesting to watch little kids as they learn to spread their wings and separate from their parents to a certain degree.  At first they are fearful but they learn to trust that their parents will be there.  They gain trust and then only occasionally do they run back to touch home base and reassure themselves of that protection and safety.  Sheep are even more trusting with their shepherd.  They put complete trust in their shepherd.  They know the call he makes and will come when they hear him calling.  They call to him in earnest when they come into any kind of trouble and keep calling, knowing he will come to their rescue.  God is our shepherd and as he did so long ago he will keep us in the safety of his love, guiding our every step if we will listen.  He leads us in safety and whenever danger comes his power will overwhelm that enemy like the sea washing over the Egyptian armies long ago.  Trust in the Lord to guide you, listen for his voice and follow as an obedient child, like a sheep to his shepherd; He will keep you safe.

Thank you for your protection and your guidance.  Help us to hear you and trust in your voice so we are not led astray.  Wipe away our enemy of darkness so we can shine in your glory and step forth faithfully into your kingdom.  Amen.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”

The laws can be frustrating and sometimes seem unnecessary.  Have you ever been sitting at a red light knowing you could turn right but the sign says you may not turn on red?  As a child I know there were “laws” my parents had that I just could not make sense of and it make them hard to follow.  I cannot imagine trying to keep over 600 laws for my religion, I can see how easy it would be to get so caught up in following the laws that I would forget to live.  This statement of Jesus seems odd.  He picked grain and healed people on the Sabbath.  He preached words that stung the leaders of the church.  What it really comes down to is this:  If we love God with everything we are and have, and we love our neighbors as ourselves we are following the teachings of Jesus and we are fulfilling the law.  The next time I am sitting at one of those intersections where the law just doesn’t make sense to me, I will try to remember this: I cannot see the reasons for the law but I cannot see everything.  Trust and obey, love God and love my neighbor.

Thank you for sending Jesus to save us and to fulfill the law.  Help me live as he calls us to; in love.  May all I do and say reflect the love you have given to me onto those around me so that we are all shining in your love.  Amen. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2 Timothy 1:7 “for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”

Do I hide behind the mask of shyness?  As I was thinking about this verse and reviewing my days in search of cowardice I wondered how much I am shy and how much I am a coward.  I know I am an introvert so there is some truth in my lack of "outgoingness".  I also know there are times I do not step forward with my thoughts and feelings because I do not want to risk anything.  It is those times I feel I am being a coward.  The Lord guides us when we allow him to.  It is my spirit that is weak and cowardice but He has given us all a spirit beyond that human one.  The Holy Spirit that resides in us when we accept Him is the spirit of power and love and discipline.  This Spirit will guide our own into self-discipline and call us forth to be a person of power and love in the Lord, Jesus Christ.  There have been times when I have stepped out of my comfort zone and spoken my thoughts as I felt I should and the times I did that in love; it has always been a good thing.  Whether you are a very forthcoming person or a bit shy like me, let us all allow the spirit of power, love and self-discipline to guide our words and deeds so we may glorify God in all we do.

Forgive my cowardice and my lack of trust.  When you nudge me, help me recognize it and listen to you.  Open my heart to allow your spirit to guide mine.  I want to live the life you call me to; I want to walk the path you have for me.  Amen.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Psalm 138:1 “I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise”

It is a great start to the day when I wake up singing praises in my heart.  I woke up singing and went downstairs in my warm home to start a fresh pot of coffee.  As I sipped my coffee and read scripture at my kitchen table I became very aware of the many blessings I have been given.  Just these material possessions are so abundant.  My children do not know what it means to truly want and not receive.  I don’t mean they get everything they ask for, but they do not lack for anything.  How many people in this city wonder where they will find food or money for their next meal?  There is a movement in this city, in this country to help those in need.   There are food banks and shelters; there is monetary assistance for those who cannot make ends meet.  There are clothes drives and coat drives as the weather begins to get colder.  All these things and more are the work of God caring for his beloved.  Let’s join in the movement to care for our brothers and sisters and while we work to share the love of God, let’s sing songs of praise and thanksgiving for we are truly blessed by Him!

You bless us beyond “things” and we cannot begin to see it all.  Open our eyes to the true blessings you have bestowed on us and hear our songs of thanksgiving.  Give us hearts of generosity so all may be blessed as we are.  I sing praises to you with my whole heart. Amen.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

Change is inevitable in this world.  The changing of the seasons, a change in leadership to our country and change in our personal lives.  I have watched a drama unfold on Facebook over the last few days that has me praying more than usual.  A lady I have recently befriended through homeschooling channels just found out she has an aggressive breast cancer to battle.  I know many people who have had similar battles and I have always hoped and prayed for their healing.  We have all seen people battle disease and win and we have all seen people battle cancer and lose.  I wonder if, in the end, they felt they lost.  This life on earth is a blink of an eye in the vision of eternity.  We make grand plans for ourselves and our families and they do not always come to pass do to circumstances beyond our control.  In the half of a blink that I have lived so far I have seen true evidence of this verse unfold.  Out of darkness comes light, out of pain coming healing and out of struggle comes growth.  Whatever your path is, keep your eyes focusing on God and good will prevail, I know it, He promises it.

You are the master planner.  Help me trust in you with everything that I am.  Take my life and use it according to your purpose so that I may be a part of the greater good in this world and the next.  I give it all for your glory.  Amen.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Bragging is something people are really good at.  If they don’t like to brag about themselves then they surely will brag about someone they know and love; a child, a spouse or some other family member.  We like to feel good about ourselves and maybe that is where this comes from.  We like to feel privileged and special.  As I revisit these verses I have known since childhood, they take on new meaning.  I am only now coming into any true knowledge of grace and acceptance that I cannot ever be good enough on my own doing.  Still with these things gained I know I must work for the Lord.  Each day of mine should be fully dedicated to serving the King of my heart.  As I work for Him this verse needs to resonate in my soul.  I work for Him in gratitude only.  The work I give to the Lord does not get graded in heaven or set aside in a pile to be counted at the end of my life to see how much I did.  God’s grace and redemption is a gift to us and we can freely accept it but we cannot earn it.  Just as our love is given to one another freely so it is with God.  His love and grace are waiting for the taking, have you accepted it?

Thank you for your love and thank you for your grace.  We can dance and sing because of these gifts!  We have been saved, Hallelujah!  Amen.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I started my morning meditation in Exodus thinking about having no other gods before the one true God.  The first commandment reminds us that God rescued us from slavery, pulls us out of oppression and in gratitude we are called to worship and follow Him. As I was pondering that, this passage came clearly to my heart.
The bible tells us too, that God is Love.  There is nothing that makes me feel closer to God and His love than when I am worshiping Him and intentionally spending time with Him.  When I step into the daily tasks of my life, how do I keep that love flowing?
Yesterday my daughter and I helped move some food into a room for organizing our food bank at church.  I told her what that food was for to help her realize there are people who struggle in our midst.  If I can teach my children and myself to take care of our brothers and sisters in this world, then I know the love of God will flow among us.
It is in how we love each other that we show our love of God.

Help me reach out to my brothers and sisters in Love.  I do not want to judge them because they are different; I want to embrace them because you created us all.  Remove the barriers I put up and replace them with divine love.  Let your love flow from me to the world around me.  Amen.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Deuteronomy 6:7-8 “Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.  Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead”

What are the things that we pound into our heads and the heads of our kids over and over again?  There are so many important things that we try to instill in them as our parents did in us.  For example:  Don’t talk to strangers, look both ways before crossing the street and eat your vegetables are all things I was taught as a child that would keep me safe and healthy.  What if I had been given scriptures over and over again to keep me safe and healthy?  I went to church as a child and learned songs and bible verses growing up.  Either I never heard it or it was not explained to me the value and the importance of keeping these things written in my heart.  What would our nation be like today if we all loved our neighbor as we love ourselves?  As I teach my daughter math, reading, writing and science, I hope I teach that these things are important.  I hope I teach that loving God and loves others as He loves us are most important.

As you guide us let us guide our children.  As parent, aunt and uncle, friend and neighbor have an awesome opportunity to share the love we have for you with them.  Let the words bound in our hearts speak our love for you so we may be a living example to the children and others, drawing them all to your Divine Love.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.”

It is hard to see this nation so divided.  As I watched the election unfold I was thinking about the last several elections and how close the voting has been in each of them.  Our nation is divided.  Today there are many people rejoicing in the belief that the right choice prevailed and there are almost as many sitting in shock and disbelief at that same outcome.  Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on these verses call us to see the good work of God, not of man.  God gives us comfort and hope because through the gift of Jesus He is our Father.  Let’s release the grip we hold on our beliefs in the political arena and hold hands with each other in the love of our one Father.  Hold the hope in your hearts through him, take comfort in your hearts through him and be strengthened in those gifts so that we can go forward doing good works to His glory.  His word is truth and it says that God is good.  Trust and hope in Him and his grace.

Your hand is in everything whether we can see it or not.  Help us trust in your power and guidance.  Give us hearts filled with your comfort and hope so we can use our hands to serve you in word and deed.  Unite us together in our love for you so that we might all work together for your kingdom.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Psalm 47:2 “For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth.”

Today is election day; I am guessing I don’t need to tell anyone that.  The television ads and the phone ringing off the hook over the last few weeks would not let us forget for one moment that we need to choose the next leaders of our country.  People have high emotions and deep seeded beliefs when it comes to politics.  I do not participate in political discussions for the most part because I see no value in it.  I do not think I can sway another person to see things the way I do nor will they likely sway me.  In that case it just becomes an argument with no end.  As I was praying about my vote over the last few weeks it became very clear to me that my vote was not as important as it is made out to be.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it is our civic duty and a privilege to vote and I do not squander that.  Whoever sits in the Oval Office at the White House for the next four years is not really in charge though.  The senators and representatives that win their seat in congress do not rule this nation.  There is hope and comfort in this verse.  Our Lord, the Most High is King over all the earth.  Hallelujah and Amen!

I lift your name on high this morning.  Thank you for this verse to remind us who is truly in charge.  You are the ruler of our hearts and of all nations.  Your will be done.  Amen.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Luke 17:33 “Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it.”

It all comes down to perspective.  Do you look at the world from the outside in or from the inside out?  We are creatures of security.  We like to make sure we have what we need and desire and only then do we turn to think about others.  The problem is we do not know what we truly need and our desires are misaligned.  We get wrapped up in our own lives and lose sight of the bigger picture.  The squirrel is busy gathering nuts for himself and has no gumption to share with a squirrel that has less, but we are not squirrels.  This passage in Luke is powerful and I would encourage you to read verses 20-37.  There is so much to meditate on ...  As you go through today look to give rather than gather.  Find ways to share rather than hoard.  As you hear the voice of generosity calling, don’t look back at your storehouses first.  Trust in the Lord to continue to provide for you as He always has.  Release control and security for these things are truly in the hands of our God.  When we do that, we have gained true life, life with God.

I pray that these words jump from my computer screen right into the depths of my soul.  Help the peace and trust in you remind me that I am not in control and that you, the all-knowing God of the Universe are the one holding all the cards.  Keep my eyes focused on you so I can see the needs in this world and be the help you would have me be.  Amen.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mark 6:38 “And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have you?  Go and see.’  When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’”

Potluck meals are great.  You get to try new foods and there are always the standbys that you can count on.  Everyone comes and there is great company to go along with a great meal.  Have you ever been to a potluck where there was not enough food?  I know I have been to many where there was worry about having enough food but it never seems to run short.  I wonder about this story sometimes.  How can 5 loaves of bread and two fish feed 5 thousand people?  I imagine the disciples were thinking the very same thing.  There will never be enough!  I don’t know how it worked, I wasn’t there but I would guess the disciples may not know either and they were there.  What I learn from this story is that we are asked to give what little we have and then trust the Lord to use it as he will.  One gift of food from one little person seems useless.  Yet, that gift compounded by the love of the Lord fed thousands of people.  What can we give that the Lord can compound?  Let go and allow God to work with your gifts to magnify his kingdom.

Thank you for this story.  Thank you for the reminder that I am not called to feed five thousand, I am asked to give what I have for you to feed the five thousand.  Please take my meager offering and use it to further your kingdom in ways beyond my imagination.  All glory and honor to you.  Amen.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jonah 4:1-2 “But this was very displeasing to Jonah and he became angry.  He prayed to the Lord ...’for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.’”

The injustice of it all... these rampant sinners in Nineveh didn't deserve the mercy of God in Jonah’s mind.  He didn't want to give them a warning and he certainly didn't want to see God’s grace given to them if they decided to repent.  When I read Jonah’s story it is easy to see from my bird’s eye view how selfish Jonah is being.  He disobeys God and through the mercy of God he does not drown but is rescued in the belly of a fish.  When Jonah repents and prays to the Lord, God allows Jonah to be delivered to dry land and try again.  Even after just receiving all this grace Jonah cannot bear the thought that others would deserve grace as well.  How often do we listen to a story on the news or read a story in the paper and cry for justice.  As we learn to accept and embrace the grace and forgiveness of God, let us also learn that His grace is for everyone.  Join me in praying for all people to turn from our selfish ways and follow him, seeking his grace and steadfast love.

Thank you for not sending me to Nineveh, I fear I may have run away just as Jonah did.  Forgive me for the times I have run from what you call me to do.  Encourage my heart to trust you and know that you are God of all people.  Amen.

Friday, November 2, 2012

James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” 

I am currently participating in a bible study on the book of James.  Last week this was one of the verses we read.  When I read this passage again the picture that came to mind was this:  We go to church on Sunday and listen to the bible verses and the sermon.  We sing our hymns and pray the prayers printed in the bulletin and then we go home to our daily lives.  The challenge lies in the daily living.  Does the word change how we live each day or do we hear it and discard it at the doors of church on the way out?  I have spent the majority of my life doing just that.  Oh I would never have admitted to that in the past but the reality is that the word and worship barely nicked the surface of my soul.  I would give to the poor and be kind to others but did I give from the depths of my heart or simply the extra fluff I had laying around?  Do I live in authenticity or do I show a facade of light to those around me?  I want do the work of the Lord in truth and in depth; I do not want to be a mirror, only reflecting back what is outside deceiving myself as well as other people.

Call me into authenticity.  Show me the truth of my heart so I can be changed and be true to you.  I do not want to be deceived and I do not want to deceive others.  As I hear your word, move me into action because of it.  Show me what to do again.  Thank you Lord, thank you.  Amen.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2 Kings 4:6-7 “When the vessels were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another vessel.’  But he said to her, ‘There are no more.’  Then the oil stopped flowing.  She came and told the man of God, and he said, ‘Go sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your children can live on the rest.”

I would put the whole story in my devotion but then I would run out of room on my page, it would be too long for some to read and there would be no reason for you to pull the bible off of your shelf and read it for yourself.  The reason I started writing devotions was to encourage others to get into the Word on a daily basis so I encourage you to get into the Word and read this story.  There are many stories in the bible and still in today’s world where God is faithful to us and provides what we need.  This widow asks for help and does not question what she is told to do.  She listens and obeys and she is rewarded for her faithfulness.  I know if it were me my temptation would be to think, I only have a little oil left, why do I need to gather vessels for that?  Jesus words “Oh you of little faith” come echoing into my heart.  He is faithful forever.  If we ask in faith He will provide whatever we need.


Help my unbelief.  I come to you so many times knowing you can provide but not knowing that you will.  When I doubt, remind me of this story and encourage me to follow in complete trust; you will never lead me astray.  Thank you for your faithfulness and for caring for all of us. I sing songs of praise and thanksgiving to you this day.  Amen.