Thursday, January 31, 2013

Psalm 107:20-21 “He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction.  Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.”

When I was a kid, I used to say that sticks and stones could break our bones but words would never hurt me.  People’s words are powerful.  They can build you up or tear you down.  They can bring forth feelings of love or feelings of hatred.  Our words are something to be used with care but they are nothing compared to the word of God.  We can speak of our hopes and desires, our plans and thoughts but when God speaks it is so.  From the beginning of time, when God spoke it happened.  He created everything from the stars in the sky and all the planets to the smallest flower petal with his words.  Since the time I began studying his word, I have seen transformation in my life beyond explanation.  He has guided, corrected, comforted and blessed me with his word.  He has brought healing and kept me from destruction.  I have seen this in so many lives and so today, I give thanks to the Lord for his steadfast love and his wonderful works to humankind.

There is much sickness and destruction in this world.  When we suffer, often times we forget or do not realize we should call out to you.  Lift the voices of our souls to cry out to you for healing and restoration.  Thank you for the healing you bring through your steadfast love and grace.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways.  The Lord be with all of you.”

In my prayer time this morning it seems that peace was my overriding request above all other things.  There are people battling sickness and disease, others seeking protection or guidance for certain things in their lives.  Sometimes I am so busy telling God what I think He needs to do for someone I forget for a moment that He knows what needs to be done, not me.  At the end of each of Paul’s letters, he has a closing or a benediction.  It is easy for me to just gloss over those verses and move on to the next thing but today I pause.  No matter what else Paul has said in his letters, when all is said and done, he wishes grace and peace on the church people he was writing to.  How would that change our days if our exchanges with others ended with a benediction of grace and peace?  If there is a person you are not looking forward to conversing with, would it help if you see them in this light of bestowing God’s peace on them in all times and in all ways?
This is my prayer for each of you this morning.  I pray that God will fill you with his peace and that you will feel the presence of his grace abiding in you today.

Thank you for opening my eyes to see this little verse tucked in at the end.  There is nothing this world needs more than your peace.  Be with each of us today and let your peace flow through us and out into the world around us.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’”

I had a picture in my mind as I meditated on this verse.  I was a record, an LP.  If you don’t remember those, ask someone a generation older than you to explain them to you.  The needle started playing on the outside edge and as it moved in, there was a scratch on the vinyl.  The needle would jump back and start again only to find the scratch again and again.  The needle was not able to go past the scratch until it was manually picked up and guided to a new spot on the record.  When I was young, we had a record player and records.  If there was a scratch too deep, we simply had to throw out the record, it was no good.  When I look at me as a record, I am filled with scratches.  If I were left to my own resources I know I would be no good and would need to be thrown away as trash.  This verse gives me hope.  Humans cannot repair a scratch too deep on the vinyl but with God, all things are possible.  He can pick up the needle and move it but He can also repair and mend the scratches on the vinyl until they are made new.  Let our days be filled with music and trust in the Lord that if there is a skip, He will be faithful to us in repairing it so the music goes on uninterrupted.

You know our hearts beyond what we know of our hearts.  Thank you for stepping in and not leaving us to our own devices.  Give us the courage to call on you for help and to trust in you to keep the music going as you designed.  Amen.

Monday, January 28, 2013

John 9:33 “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

This verse comes from a passage where the Pharisees are investigating a healing that Jesus gave.  The man had been blind from birth and Jesus gave him sight on the Sabbath day. This got the Pharisees all upset.  Jesus did not fall into their rules and procedures.  He broke the mold on so many levels and that made some of the people very uncomfortable.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in keep things as we think they should be that we lose sight of the truth.  We cling to our rules, our precepts and our laws as if our very lives depend on it.  Jesus did not conform to human laws and neither does God.  If we trust in that truth, we are able to let go of our man made rules and be free in His truth.  God will enable us to accomplish whatever He calls us to do.  His holy power healed the blind man and His power will guide you in the tasks He has planned for you when he time is right.  We are all called to live in Love, to love God and love each other as he loves us.  Whatever else we do, this is the law of God.  Living under this law allows us to do whatever we do to the glory of God.

Give us sight to see your truth.  Help us set down our chains that bind us, whatever they may be.  Guide our steps into freedom granted through your unending love and help us to live under the law your love this day and all days so we can do what you call us to do.  Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Luke 22:61-62 “The Lord turned and looked at Peter.  Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him ‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.”

I guess Peter was probably scared.  He had just been with Jesus in the garden praying after supper and now Jesus was under arrest and being questioned.  At supper Jesus told Peter he would deny him and Peter didn't believe him.  Now during the questioning, three different people gave Peter the opportunity to fess up that he was a follower of Jesus.  All it took was one look from his Lord at the sound of the crowing and Peter woke to the realization that he had denied the Lord; he denied that he was with him three times.  There are all kinds of justification I can come up with for Peter.  He didn't see any reason to be arrested.  Someone needed to stay outside of the circle to observe and tell others what happened.  How often do we try to justify our action or inaction?  How often, without really trying, do we deny Jesus in our daily lives?  When we wake up and realize the Lord is looking at us, we are blessed to know he looks in love and forgiveness.

When the bitter tears of condemnation fall, wipe them away with your forgiveness and mercy.  When we fall away and turn our backs, call to us and open our ears to hear you.  Cleanse our souls with your precious blood so we are able to go forward again, new creations abiding in your love.  Amen.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Psalm 89:17-18 “For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted.  For our shield belongs to the Lord...”

I am nothing without God.  I am a speck of dust; a withering leaf blowing in the wind and then gone.  As I sat in mediation I acknowledged to God that all I accomplish, anything I say or do that is right, belongs to Him.  It is his protection and guidance that allow me to honor him instead of disgracing him.  Without his Spirit, I would be lost beyond recognition.  I am a vessel to be filled and used for His kingdom.  He lovingly created me knowing each and every part of me.  I am His creation, His child, and because of this I seek to please Him.  I can only step forward in hope because I know that He is faithful; He is my strength and my shield.  I take hold of the hand of God and He pulls me to my feet.  I lift my hands and heart in praise and adoration of the Almighty, my Rock and my Redeemer.  He created each of us in love and He will give us what we need to serve Him.  Call on His name and step into your day with the comfort of His Spirit leading the way.

Pour your grace into every crevice of my soul.  As it seeps in and brings healing and restoration, strengthen my spirit with yours.  Thank you for your continued guidance and love through every moment.  Thank you for protecting me from so many unknown attacks.  I lift your name on high and praise you on this glorious new day.  Amen.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Acts 5:19-20 “But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors brought them out, and said, ‘Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life.’’’

What an amazing experience!  Imagine being locked up in prison and then, right in front of the prison guards the doors open and you are set free.  As you walk out in amazement you are told to go out and tell the story...  This passage in the book of Acts tells about Peter and the apostles being arrested and imprisoned for sharing the gospel story of Jesus.  The Sadducees were jealous of the healing the apostles were providing through God and the people they were converting with their story.  The thing is if you believe the gospel truth, you have shared this amazing experience.  God frees each of us from our prison of sin when we confess to Him and turn away.  Often times we are released from our prison only to sit there in the darkness unwilling to go out as we have been directed.  Just as God sent Jesus to lead us into abiding Love, he sends his Spirit to guide us out of the prison we are in and into the break of day to share our story of freedom.  Wherever you are and whatever chains bind you, call on the Lord, accept and revel in the freedom he provides.  Celebrate and tell the message of this amazing experience!

You have set us all free; I sing praises and songs of thanksgiving to you for that blessed truth!  Help us step out in courage and faith, sharing your freedom with all!  Amen.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

1 John 4:10-11 “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.”

This sounds so easy on the surface, doesn’t it?  We have received love beyond our comprehension from the Divine and He calls us to share that love with others.  The spirits in this world that John writes about just before this passage whisper lies to us.  They do not want us to feel loved or to love others.  I have heard and have known for almost all my life that God loves me.  He has given more than I could ever begin to give back in love.  With these verses fresh on my heart, how can I deign to ask Him for anything?  How do I have the audacity to whine or complain or petition for anything?  He has already given everything; He gave it all in Love.  As I go forth into this day I am humbled once more.  I have been at the foot of His throne and made clean once again.  As we all go into this day, let us encourage each other, lift one another up and let us love one another.  Listen to the Spirit of Truth and live in the Love of God.

Thank you for your unending grace and mercy.  Thank you for your unending love for me and all of your children.  Protect us from the spirits that lie, and open our ears only to your Spirit of Truth so that we live in your Love and are able to share it with all people.   It is only because of you that I live and breathe.  Thank you for this day to love. Amen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Numbers 11:4 “The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat!’”

The stories of the Israelites and their relationship with God are a mirror for own relationships with God.  From the beginning God sought to love and be loved by his chosen people.  He blessed them and he cursed them.  He did everything to  get their attention and devotion.  He rescued them from slavery and bondage.  Then during the journey to freedom, the Israelites become ungrateful again.  God was providing manna; giving them daily rations of food to maintain their health.  He gave them water to satisfy their thirst but these things were not enough.  They wanted more.  God guided them by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night.  The Israelites wanted more.  How often do we close our eyes to the many blessings we have been given by God only to come to Him asking for even more?  We live in a country where abundance is the norm and instant gratification is expected.  It would be good for us to remember that God has chosen us.  He rescued each of us and during our journey to the Promised Land He provides for our every need.  Take time this morning to simply say thank you to God.

Forgive my ungrateful heart.  Open my eyes to see the blessings you give so freely to me and open my hands to share those blessings with others.  Thank you Lord.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hebrews 12:11 “Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

When I read this passage I had to pause for a moment and consider the word discipline here.  Growing up I always thought of discipline as punishment but they are not necessarily the same thing.  There are two sides to the word discipline in my mind.  There is the discipline a parent gives to a child or God gives to us as his children.  Rather than thinking of it as punishment I think of the verse 4 in Psalm 23 that says “your rod and your staff – they comfort me.”  The rod and staff are tools to guide and nudge, not a stick to beat with.  God uses them to pull us out of the brambles and back onto the path.  He uses them to keep us from falling into the brambles in the first place.  The other use of discipline in my life is as study or discipleship.  I am learning to pray, study, meditate, etc.  These are disciplines I have taken on to become a better disciple of Christ.  With His word and Spirit as my guides, I slowly move forward in my disciplines and in my discipleship.  His rod and his staff, they still comfort me.

Help me be as gentle as you are when I discipline my children.  As they grow up, I pray that my discipline will encourage them to seek yours in earnest.  Help me train them in grace.  I pray that they will want to be disciples of yours, and that they will also find comfort and joy in your discipline and in becoming your disciples.  Amen.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Psalm 37:31 “The law of their God is in their hearts; their steps do not slip.”

My seven year old daughter recently started attending a Christian kids club once a week.  I put her in this program as part of school and to give her another social outlet.  Each week they start the program time with pledges.  Along with the pledge of allegiance to the American flag, they pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s word.  They promise to hide the Word in their hearts that they might not sin against God.  They first time I heard this I almost choked.  Are they really teaching kids that living a sinless life is possible?  I know I jumped to conclusions on that one but I had to stop and consider it carefully.  I have talked with my daughter about human nature and sin to the degree I believe she needs to hear and understand it.  I also know that as I study and learn more scripture, it changes my heart and my life.  I hope the law of God will be written deeply in the hearts of my children as well as my spouse and me.  The deeper that law of Love is embedded the easier it is to get back on track.  Tuck a new verse into your pocket or purse.  Tuck a new verse into the depths of your heart.


The words you place in my heart are truly precious to me.  They guide my words and my deeds much of the time.  Forgive me when I forget them or ignore them, falling out of step.  Thank you for your Spirit who guides me back.  Amen.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Genesis 45:5 “And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”

Do you remember the story of Joseph and the beautiful coat that his father gave him?  Joseph had dreams that he proudly shared with his older brothers because those dreams told how he would be more powerful than they were.   God really did have big plans for Joseph.  First, God needed to give Joseph a heart of humility and servitude.  It took years from the time the brothers sold him into slavery (instead of killing him outright) until he was finally placed in the position of power that he held in this passage.  It took years for him to gain the perspective that maybe there was more to his story than being the favorite son and being hated by his brothers.  What plans does God have for you and me?  What wandering journey are we on to shed unwanted characteristics we have and step into our role to further His kingdom?  As I look back on my life so far, I can clearly see the hand of God guiding and correcting me.  I can see His grace and mercy protecting me.  Look back and see for yourself. God has plans for you too.

Forgive my grumbling.  How often do I lose sight of your hand?  Help me remember the different experiences in my life are molding me into the person you created me to be.  You are amazing God, truly amazing.  I pray we all bring honor and glory to you this day.  Amen.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Acts 4:32 “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.”

Sharing is a hard lesson to learn.  From the time we are small we struggle with the idea of sharing our things with others.  You can just sit in any home or preschool to watch the battle ensue.  “That is mine” or “I had it first” are daily reminders that we do not like to share.  Sometimes even as adults we are living as though we are still children.  We may not say those same things out loud but we shout them in our minds.  I am not feeling the call to sell all of my possessions and take my family to live in a commune.  I am saying this:  if, as Christians, we are of one heart and soul, how can we not share with one another?  Just as when we were children we had to learn, step by step, how to share, as adults we may need to remember step by step how to share.  I encourage you to take one step further than you have in the past to share with others.  Share by offering money or food.  Share by offering time or talents.  Share by offering prayer for one another.  As our hearts move closer to being one in the Christ, let us share.

Help these words move from my computer screen into my heart and soul.  You are the tie that binds and yet we often see each other as so different and separate.  Open our hearts and our hands to give and receive in blessing.  Amen.

Friday, January 18, 2013

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 “But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed;”

When I picture jars of clay I see brown earth colored pots that crumble and break so easily.  Once the potter has put them in the kiln and fired them they are stronger and much sturdier.  Sometimes they are glazed or painted to look more beautiful to the eye and then they are fired in the kiln again.  Regardless of the decoration on the outside of the pot, it is as useful as it was before it was decorated.  We are jars of clay made by the potter.  It is only through the Spirit of God that we can serve well in His kingdom.  It is through His grace and mercy that we provide grace and mercy to others.  It is through His words that we are able to proclaim His message to others.  The struggles and weaknesses we endure serve to remind us that it is not us, but Him that works through us.  He will not allow us to be crushed, brought to despair, forsaken or destroyed.  He renews us and we persevere so that His glory shines on.  There is joy in this passage, let us all be vessels of Light and Love and spread that joy to others.

Take this vessel and use it to your glory.  I am yours and you are mine.  Help all that I do and say, all that I think and pray glorify your holy name.  Amen.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

This psalm is one I memorized as a child and even though the translations have changed a bit since then, the message has not.  The first verse says it all.  It is not a command, rather a statement of trust.  As the good shepherd that he is, he provides everything I need; I will not be left without anything.  My study bible suggests rewriting this passage in today’s terminology.  Find a different metaphor than shepherd to use.  I did not do a very good job with that.  I cannot think of any really good metaphor, only truth.  The Lord is my Divine Parent; He provides everything I could ever need.  He gives me rest, he sustains me and refreshes me; he restores the very essence of my being.  He guides my path for his glory.  Even though I am surrounded by darkness and evil, I am not afraid because You are with me Lord.  Your guidance and correction bring me comfort in the midst of strife.  You bring me blessings and love, nourishment and renewal in the midst of battle.  You always bring more than enough, you give in abundance.  I have no doubt that your goodness and mercy will always be with me and I will dwell in your Love and Light forever.  For what it is worth, I like David’s version better...

Thank you for your love and guidance.  Thank you for the words of the psalmist that bring blessings to our souls.  Your word is our path and your Spirit is our guide.  Help us step out in faith, knowing you are there in all things.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mark 8:15 “And he cautioned them, saying, ‘Watch out – beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.”

At first glance when I read this passage I shook my head at the disciples.  Of course I have the benefit of knowing the whole story before hearing these words so it is easier to decipher their meaning.  Then I realize that deciphering the meaning is the least of the battles.  In the moment I shook my head the yeast of the Pharisee threatened.  When I think of the stories I know about the Pharisees, it seems to me that their yeast might be pride or piety.  Would the yeast of Herod be selfishness or self-righteousness?  I know these human characteristics draw us away from the kingdom of God.  When I am busy looking down on someone I am not looking at them in the love of Christ and when I am busy working on my plans and desires I am not furthering the kingdom of God, I am furthering the kingdom of Sally.  When these grains of yeast begin to grow, it is a recipe for failure.  I come to the Lord today, in humility, asking for cleansing of this bad yeast from my life.

Just yesterday I sought to live in love and grace.  Through your guidance there were moments I may have blessed others with those gifts but I know there were moments I did not.  Each day is a new day filled with promise.  Help me take the clean slate, given through forgiveness, and serve you well today.  Remove any yeast of destruction in me, I ask this through Jesus, who lives and reigns forever and ever.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Luke 15:20 “So he set off and went to his father.  But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put is arms around him and kissed him.”

This verse comes out of the parable of the prodigal son.  We all know the story even if we haven’t read it in the bible because there are so many of these types of stories in real life.  One of the kids takes his money and runs.  He lives in style, spending like there is no tomorrow and then the bottom drops out.  After trying to figure it out on his own, the boy comes home with his tail between his legs.  He hopes to be brought in as a slave, even to have a warm place to sleep and a bite of food or two.  He came home grungy and smelly.  He came downtrodden and ashamed.  His father was filled with compassion.  He was not concerned with how clean he was or what monies he brought back.  He did not require him to shower and present himself properly.  The father ran out to him and wrapped his arms around him and kissed him.  He welcomed him in love and grace.  This is the picture of God Jesus was painting.  This is the God we run to and the God we abide in.

Thank you for loving us just as we are; however we come, you embrace us with love and grace.  We cannot be presentable to you except through the redeeming blood of Jesus.  Your love knows no bounds.  Help us to share your love with others so they may come home too.  Amen.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Isaiah 35:5-6 “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;  then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy...”

When I look over my prayer list at a glance, it is filled with requests for healing of some sort.  I have several friends suffering diseases of some kind.  There are petitions for guidance and relief of worry.  Laced in among the requests I see joys.  A rejoicing for healing given and praise for reconciliation lay entwined between the petitions.   A few days ago we remembered my Mom’s passing away four years ago.  Last night I was informed that a dear friend’s Mom just passed away and I know one of the people I pray for daily is waiting for the call that their sister has passed on as well.  In the midst of sorrow and grief, it is hard to see the blessing of God.  As I look back at the time of my Mom’s illness and since then, there has been an abundance of grace and healing given to my family by God.  I look to the day of redemption for all with hope and rejoicing; these verses speak to that day.  There will be a day when we all join together and in wholeness and Love, sing for joy to the Lord, our God.  I will sing in hope on this day.

You are God of healing and grace; You are God of love and light.  Please open our eyes and unstop our ears, heal our brokenness so we can see, hear and leap for you.  Lift our hearts and voices in songs of hope and praise to you, the God of all.  Amen.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Psalm 139:7-8 “Where can I go from your spirit?  Or where can I flee from your presence?  If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.”

I hate to admit it but there is a part of me that wants to run away sometimes.  I have run away in different ways many times in life and only by the grace of God have I come to him on my wandering path.  As I meditated on this passage a couple of sayings came to mind: “you can run but you cannot hide” and “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”.  I am guessing that second one didn’t really mean running away, what do you think?  When I was just a child, I ran away from home.  I took my bike and with the help of my best friend I ran away to her house.  I was astonished and discouraged when we got there because as soon as we arrived, my bike and I were promptly placed in a car and driven back home.  That child, the one that wants to run from difficulty, still lurks in me.  I thank the Lord that I hear his voice louder than the little one telling me to escape.  I know wherever I am and whatever I do; the spirit of God is there.  He is always with me, He lives in my heart.  Whatever you are going through, whatever you are doing, take heart, God is with you.

We either honor you or dishonor you with our thoughts and actions.  Please forgive any dishonor I have brought on your name and guide my thoughts, desires and actions so that if I run, it is only into your Holy arms of Love.  Amen.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hebrews 1:3 “He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word...”

This is the side of Jesus we don’t really learn about as children.  We first learn of him as a tiny baby in Bethlehem and some people never move beyond that image.  Almost immediately the stories show him at a young age in Jerusalem for a festival.  He stays at the temple teaching while his parents frantically look all over the city for him.  When they finally find him, he cannot understand why they looked anywhere else.  We flash forward to the baptism of a 30 year old man who is starting his life ministry.  There are many stories and teachings to read from his ministry and it will take a lifetime or more to truly learn and understand them.  How do we see Jesus in those stories?  Do you picture him blending into the crowd or is there something different that makes him stand out?  The verse from Hebrews tells me He must have stood apart from the crowd because “He is the reflection of God’s glory”.  He is a gentle shepherd, a friend and leader, a teacher and healer.  He is also “sustains all things with his powerful word”.  He is no longer a baby in the manger; He reigns with power and majesty!

Thank you for coming down to teach us from the very basic to a depth we cannot yet grasp.  Thank you for the promise that you will sustain us. Your word is our guide, help us hear you and have ears to listen.  Amen

Friday, January 11, 2013

Acts 5:32 “And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Have you ever been a witness to something happening and then just kept quiet about it?  Maybe you weren’t sure what you saw or you didn’t want to get involved for some reason but you tucked it away in your mind and did not share that story.  Occasionally I hear stories in the news about witnesses coming forward years later to tell their story bringing justice or healing to another person.  What led that person to come forward?  Did that story lurk and simmer in their hearts the whole time or did they ignore it for a long time and then it popped up again somehow until they were convicted and had to share it.  The disciples had every reason to hide the story they had witnessed.  They knew they would be persecuted, jailed, beaten and possibly killed for spreading this story that they had witnessed.  That did not stop them.  The Holy Spirit gave them the courage and the strength to go forth and spread the gospel story.  The Holy Spirit will give us the courage and strength to share the love of God with each other and to love one another as He loves us.  Let us go out and Love!

You promise to give us what we need to serve you as you call us to.  Open our hearts to receive the guidance your Spirit gives so freely.  Help us move in Love and Light each moment of today so that all we are and all we do will bring glory to your holy name.  I thank you and praise you.  Amen.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Job 13:5 “If you would only keep silent, that would be your wisdom!”

We live in a world of noise.  Often times there is a television on in the background of homes, a radio or music on in the cars and talking, playing or banter of some sort going on all day long.  Even when it is quiet, there is the hum of a computer, the ticking of the clock or the barking of a dog.  Silence is a discipline I thought I could handle pretty well.  I am, by nature, a quiet person.  It is harder than I thought.  I am certainly fine with no TV and no radio.  I enjoy the time when everyone is sleeping and the house is quiet.  Getting my mind and heart to be silent in the presence of God is another matter entirely.  As I sat this morning trying to be silent, little thoughts and prayers would slip out.  My mind would wander off on a tangent or something would come to mind that I needed to do or pray about.  Maybe God brought those prayers to my heart.  As they came I quickly lifted them to the Lord and tried to silence myself again.  I like the idea of sitting, silently, in the presence of the Lord.  I want to just be with Him.  He knows my every thought so no words are necessary.  It may be true that silence is golden.

Thank you for the gift of quietness.  In this busy, chaotic, always on the go world, it is a blessing to sit in silence with You.  Your presence is renewing and healing, soothing and refreshing.  Help us all take time to receive this blessing of silence with you.  Help us listen, only listen.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Proverbs 23:26 “My child, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.”

Last night was a Mom’s night out with my homeschooling group.  The topic of discussion was building character in our children.  There were many helpful ideas shared and loads of resources referred to but when I come right down to it, I walked away with two things.  The first was to teach by example.  How I treat my children and how I treat others teaches my children character traits.  They learn what they see.  One of the ladies told how she grew up in a house of door slamming.  When her Mom was upset or angry she would slam doors.  As a girl she was not “taught” to slam doors but when she grew up, she says she could slam doors with the best of them.  Children learn what they see.  The word of the Lord is our guide.  As we learn to be children of God, giving Him our hearts and observing His ways, we are able to live according to those ways.  This is the second thing I walked away with.  I need to learn from the Word and I need to teach my children the Word.  As we both learn to walk a little closer to God’s ways, good character will grow.  In the meantime, I need to remember grace.

As you allow each day to be a new start for me, help me allow that for all your children as well.  As I realize character building is a lifelong task, open my eyes to observe your ways this day and every day.  Father, my heart is yours.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Psalm 103:1 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”

He has done great things so I bless his holy name.  I lift my voice in prayer and praise.  I fold my hands and bend my knee in worship and adoration of his greatness.   There is healing in the midst of sickness, restoration in the midst of brokenness, love in the midst of hate and light in the midst of darkness.  Where ever I look I can see struggles, hardship or evil lurking.  Where ever I look I also see strength, endurance and goodness overcoming it all.  We recently lay to rest one of our elder church members.  It is always so hard to say good bye to someone we know and love and tears of sadness freely flow as we grieve.  This week will mark the four year anniversary of my Mom passing away and the shadow of sadness is there.  Even in those sorrows and sadness I see blessing and love from God.  He brings compassion and mercy to us through his Spirit and through others.  He gives us his word to guide and to comfort us.  I could write for days about how much he has blessed me.  Can I do the same for how I have blessed Him?  I want to bless his holy name with all that is within me.

I lift you up this morning.  Help me serve and bless you today.  Use my hands, my words, and every part of me to bless you and serve your kingdom.  Thank you for all the many blessings you give each of us every moment, every day.  Help us live in gratitude and thanksgiving.  Amen.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mark 4:39-40 “He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’  Then the wind ceased and there was a dead calm.  He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid?  Have you still no faith?’”

I was looking back in my prayer journal over the last few days and seeing the blessings of prayers answered.  There has been healing from sickness and change of heart to reconciliation.  There have been other prayers answered in ways I could not have imagined.  There are times in each of our lives where we feel like we are on the boat in this passage.  The storm is raging and the boat is quickly filling up to the point of sinking.  Fear takes hold of us and we cry out to our Lord for rescue.  We feel like He left us in this storm without realizing our plight.  We call out to “wake” the Lord and make him aware of what we are going through, as if He did not already know.  I can just see my Lord calming the storms I have ridden through.  He comes and in his infinite mercy, he stills the winds and calms the waves.  He looks at me in love and says something similar to what he said to the disciples then.  “Why are you afraid?  Have you still no faith?”  After all he has brought me through, everything he has protected and guided me away from, how can I doubt?

You continue to amaze me to the depths of my soul.  In mercy, forgive my doubt and unbelief.  In grace, take my hand and lead me once more through sunny days and stormy nights.  I walk in trust, with you by my side.  Amen.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Matthew 2:1-2,12 “In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?  For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their country by another road.”

Today we celebrate Epiphany.  We remember the wise men coming to worship the baby Jesus.  Do you think they packed their bags and loaded up their camels in a hurry or were they thoughtful and deliberant?  I imagine they wanted to hurry but realized deep inside of them that they needed to take time and be prepared.  Matthew says they brought gold, frankincense and myrrh.  These are not gifts of haste.  I also imagine when they arrived they were ready to rest for a while.  They would pay homage and then take their time resting and preparing for the long journey home.  A dream warns them and they leave then by a different road.  They had an epiphany, an awakening when they saw the star and when they received this warning.  What epiphany will we receive if we are open and listening?  What road are we being led to take?  Just as He guided the wise men long ago, he guides us so we too can come and worship the Christ.

Thank you for the promise of steadfast guidance and mercy through Jesus.  Help us accept these gifts and then turn to worship Christ the King in adoration and praise.  Amen.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

This passage is familiar to so many people.  I would write the whole thing, verses 1-8 but I would run out of room to write and it would take away the urge for you to read it for yourself.  Two things came to me during the reading and meditation of this passage.  The first is this:  How can we measure time when we live in eternity?  There is no end and so what is the purpose in measuring something eternal?  Measuring time is like measuring a circle.  We can decide to begin at a specific point and measure from there but we simply continue around and around with no end.  My second thought is that in the midst of eternity there are truly times or seasons.  We watch the seasons on earth change, we see the seasons of human life from infant all the way to old age.  What is it time for?  What season is it now?  As the verses lead us is it time to be born or time to die; time to plant or time to reap?  Even in this passage the circle is evident.  As we plant we already begin to think of harvest.  As we break down we have already begun the process to rebuild.  This passage brings hope and peace to me today and I pray that it does for you as well.

Thank you for these verses.  Thank you for the bigger picture.  As winter continues on outside, moving closer to spring, so the seasons in my heart continue to move forward.  Help me release the old in order to receive the new.  Amen.

Friday, January 4, 2013

John 15:8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

In this passage of John, Jesus talks about the vine and the branches.  He is the true vine and we are his branches.  God the Father prunes branches so they bear more fruit and he cuts off branches that are not bearing any fruit.  I remember seeing a tree that had been planted or grown very close to barbed wire fence.  As the tree grew, the fence and its barbs were enveloped into the very meat of the tree.  The branch simply swallowed up the part of the fence that was in its way.  That can’t be healthy for the branch or the tree.  If I am that branch, and I easily could be, I need God to remove the barbs that I have swallowed up so that I can grow without hindrances or disease.  As He painstakingly and lovingly removes the disease and damage from me, I know he will bring healing to me so that I can bear more fruit for His kingdom.  I will follow Him to the ends of the earth and beyond.  His word speaks to my heart and His Spirit guides my path.  I am a disciple of the Lord and I strive to be a healthy and strong branch on His vine.

I am precious to you, we all are.  As we step into a new day, give us the strength to be your disciples.  Use your word and your Spirit to guide each of us and I ask you to bring healing and wholeness to me and all of your children, my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I ask all this for your glory and praise.  Amen.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Galatians 4:4-5 “...God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.”

I know a few adopted people.  Two families I know have adopted kids and countless others I knew growing up.  The thing is that maybe there were more but I never knew it.  Parents of adopted kids do not treat those kids any different than they treat blood related kids.  When someone decides to adopt a child, they open their hearts and bring that child in as their own flesh and blood.  I remember one of my friends growing up telling me they were even more special because they had been chosen and not just given.  God has chosen each of us as his adopted child.  He opened his heart and has brought each one of us in to his arms as his own flesh and blood.  It amazes me to think about that.  He sent Jesus to erase the barrier between all of us and Him.  Now, because that was done, we can run into the arms of our Father anytime.  We can come in joy, in sorrow, in anger, in frustration; anytime.   Let’s go out into this day with love in our hearts because we are special.  We have not only been created by God, but we are chosen, adopted children of the Almighty.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

As we prepare for the day, infuse us with your love.  Whisper in our ears and our hearts to remind us that we are your children; chosen and special.  Guide our steps in obedience and in celebration of your love.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

It is about all I can do to try and watch the news anymore right now.  The leadership of our country seems unable to move forward with anything.  There are battles about taxes and money and there are battles about gun control.  These issues are only a scratch on the surface of things they talk about but do very little about.  It is kind of like watching little kids bickering about who is smarter, bigger or stronger.  When I watch kids arguing about these kinds of things I can only shake my head and the lack of insight they seem to have.  Can’t they see that they are all created in their own unique way with strengths and struggles, each one of them?  As I gaze upon that picture in my mind, I can clearly see God doing the same thing to me.  Why do I compare myself to anyone else?  Why do I forget that I have been created in my own unique way with strengths and struggles to serve a purpose in His kingdom?  As I step into a new phase of growth and healing this year, I need to remember to trust in the Lord with all my heart, not in my (lack of) understanding.  Keep focused on Him through every step and His guidance and mercy will be clear to me.

Keep me close to you, I need you every step.  Guide each of us clearly in the path you have chosen and help our hearts give you the glory for everything good.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Psalm 57:10-11 “For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens; your faithfulness extends to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.  Let your glory be over all the earth.”

Let the New Year begin!  Last night reverie began to celebrate the New Year commencing.  Today the celebration continues with parades and family gatherings.  Releasing the old and embracing the new is cause for celebration.  As we continue our celebration today I encourage us to remember that each new day, each New Year is a time to praise the Lord.  He rules the nations and his steadfast love is as high as the heavens.  His faithfulness extends beyond the stratosphere; beyond the clouds.  Eat your feasts, set off your fireworks, and watch your football games.  Whatever it is that you do to ring in the New Year, do it with praise and thanksgiving to our God.  He is to be exalted above the nations and above the heavens; above all things!  As we lift his name we will spread his glory, let it be spread over all the earth so everyone can live in hope and peace.


Your name is above all names; your kingdom is above all kingdoms.  As we turn the calendar to the next year help us turn our hearts to you even more.  It is because of your love and faithfulness that we can celebrate new days.  Help us bring glory to you so that it fills the earth and all come to know you as the King of Kings.  Amen.

Blessings and a joyous New Year!