Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Proverbs 3:6 “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

There are several people I know that are searching for the path God has set before them.  They are in my prayers because I know how hard it can be to find the path.  At times it seems like the path has not been traveled in a long time.  It is grown over with grasses and bushes, almost completely hidden by trees and undergrowth.  This morning I hear something anew in this verse.  If we acknowledge him in everything we do, everything we say and all we are, our view of Him becomes so much clearer.  As we seek to serve him the path begins to open up without so many brambles in the way.  If we acknowledge him when we nourish our bodies at meals, while we sit in traffic driving to work, running busy errands and shopping for groceries His presence is clear to us.  As we seek to live in Him and focus on Him, the distractions and barriers that were so insurmountable become less and less until the path before us is unmistakable.  It sounds so easy, doesn't it?  It is by the grace of God that we get to try over and over again.  Start today.  Start again tomorrow and then again next day to acknowledge him in all your ways, He will guide you. 

You are my heart’s desire but the world distracts me.  I pray that you will strengthen me and all those reading this so that we do acknowledge you in all our ways.  I know it is the only way, I ask you to show me your way again today.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

John 6:33 “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Life giving food... I need more of that.  Just yesterday, I read another article in a magazine about how fast food clogs up parts of our brains and bodies creating blockages that cause long term damage.  The more of that food we eat, the more our bodies cannot manage and we become diseased over time.  I struggle to eat healthy food.  I try to buy vegetables and fruit, I research and shop for the best grains and the least processed foods.  There is so much information out there I do not know what is really true sometimes.  The bread that feeds our souls is just like this.  There is junk food, fast food and healthy food for our souls.  It is tempting and easy to take in the fast food and the junk food and sometimes it is hard to decipher what is really healthy.  This verse brings clarity to the mystery.  The bread of God gives life.  Any other bread we take in might taste good but over time it brings disease to our souls.  His Spirit will guide us if we will listen so that we can be sure to partake of life giving bread and leave the other options alone.  Let us pray!

I cannot stop thanking and praising you for You are awesome.  Thank you for life, thank you for life giving food.  Through your Son and your Spirit, you continue to offer life, health and well-being.  Help us pass up the fast food and come straight to you for life giving bread.  It is only in you that we will find it and find true life.  Amen.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mark 6:31-32 “He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”

Boy, how I needed to read this passage.  I have written many times about how much I appreciate my quiet time in the morning.  Spending time alone with the Lord is invaluable to me.  This morning my 3 year old walked into my room just moments before my alarm went off and has been awake ever since.  When he came in, I gently guided him back to bed and then a few minutes later he startled me while I was praying.  I put him back again and turned on his music to give him something to listen to and hopefully lull him back to sleep; it was only 5:20!  Now 30 minutes later I sit at the computer and hear him playing in his room.  My husband is up early because we have a lot of snow on the ground so getting to work will take longer.  From this point on, there will be no quiet or rest.  With the sermon on Sunday encouraging me to pursue spiritual disciplines and this scripture this morning, I am encouraged to continue pressing on.  Will you choose one to pursue?  Will it be meditation, prayer or fasting?  Do you feel called to study, worship or celebrate?  I long for a bit of solitude... maybe tomorrow.

Thank you for the blessings of family and children.  Thank you for the moisture in the snow we received.  Thank you for the much needed rest.  Help me see the love and joy in this day and in all days.  Amen.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Isaiah 30:21 “And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘this is the way walk in it.’”

Have you ever been going somewhere, had a map and yet you got completely lost?  I really like to use maps and directions when I am going somewhere new but as good as the internet map sites are they are not perfect and not always up to date.  There have been a couple of times when I followed the map and eventually realized I could not find the place I was looking for so I called them.  They graciously “walked” me the rest of the way to my destination.  Step by step they told me what to look for and which way to go.  As I think about how the Spirit works it is much like this.  There are times I think I have a good map and good directions in life and all of a sudden I am lost.  God is gracious.  When we call out to Him for guidance, He is faithful.  If we quietly listen, staying focused on his guidance, he will not let us down.  He will guide us step by step, until we reach our destination.  We don’t need a cell phone or Wi-Fi for His guidance, prayer works just great!

Words escape me when I come to you this morning but you know my heart and your Spirit intercedes for me.  Open our ears and close our mouths so that we may hear the guidance you so lovingly give to us.  Thank you gentle Shepherd.  Amen.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Philippians 2:4-5 “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.  Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”

This morning we are getting ready to head up to the mountains for a day of play in the snow.  I have not skied in several years and I am looking forward to it.  There is a part of me that would rather stay home, not deal with the traffic and the chaos of checking my daughter in at ski school.  Since my son is too young to ski at the area we are going to, He and my husband will go tubing in the morning and then I will switch with my husband in the afternoon.  The grump in me says this is all such a hassle.  I don’t even get to ski with my husband or my kids today.  Poor me.  I choose this day to be a blessing rather than sit in the darkness and gloom of pouting.  As we drive I will pray for those on the road with us.  As I ski down the slopes I will give thanks for the beauty and the stillness that surround me.  As I spend time with my family this afternoon, I will share in the joy of their experiences this day.  This day, my heart will be filled with the joy and peace that only He can give.  I will share this heart of joy and peace with my family so they will find joy and peace in this day as well.  I will love as He loves.  In this way, I will strive to be of the same mind as Christ.

I lift my heart into your hands.  Fill me with love, peace, kindness, self-control, patience, goodness, generosity, faithfulness and gentleness.  I want to be like you.  Amen.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Psalm 91:1-2 “You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”

There are days I feel like my mind never stops whirling.  If I were a cartoon, there would be so many conversation bubbles that nothing else would be in the frame.  This morning when I came to sit in my quiet time, it was a challenge to reign myself in and simply be in the presence of the Most High.  It is so easy for me to get caught up in the business and troubles of the world around me and when I do, they threaten to overwhelm me.  In His mercy, God led me to this passage in Psalms today.  I live in the shelter of the Most High.  I can breathe deeply and find deep peace in his shadow.  Like sitting under the shade of a beautiful and strong tree, He refreshes me.  The world around me can threaten to drag me down but He is my fortress, and He will shelter me, keeping me safe in His presence.  I lift the people I love, the sorrows of my heart and the brokenness of the world to the Lord.   I rejoice because He is the Almighty.  All are welcome in the fortress of the Lord, come abide in his loving and gracious shadow.  Release your worries and troubles and trust in Him.

I am humbled by your mercy over and over.  I thank you for this passage to remind me that you are, in fact, the Most High.  Regardless of all else, you are my Lord, my protection; my shelter in the storms of life.  I will abide in You.  Amen

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

Last night when I was putting my daughter to bed, I sang a song I know with these words in it.  I wasn't sure I remembered all of them correctly so when I was done tucking her in I came to look it up on the computer.  It is always such a nice surprise when I find that a song I sing in my heart is based on a scripture.  The passage right before this blessing talks about the Nazirites setting themselves apart for the Lord; to be holy unto him.  As I read all the things they did to be holy in the sight of the Lord I asked myself this: How do I set myself apart to be holy unto Him?  Through the sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God, we have been given the gift of forgiveness.  It is because of this, we can be holy in the sight of the Lord.  Do I blend in to the world around me or am I different?  Do people who don’t know me ever wonder what is different about me?  Take time this morning to soak your soul in this blessing of old.  When we are filled with his grace and blessings, we are different.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Help me make a difference in the world around me by sharing the grace and the peace you have poured out on me.  Remind me that I am made holy in your sight, guide me to live in that holiness and cleanse me once more when I falter.  Thank you Lord.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2 Corinthians 5:6-7 “So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Have you ever played the game where one person is blindfolded and another leads them?  It is a trust building game and I have seen it played in church youth group settings.  Sometimes it feels like we wander through our days blindfolded with no one guiding our steps.  We stumble and bump into things.  There are times we have someone guiding our steps but unbeknownst to us, they are blindfolded too.  It is the case of the blind leading the blind.  While we are here on earth the body gets in the way of seeing the truth in full.  There is hope.  The Holy Spirit lives within us and is our guide.  He will guide us more readily and safely than our best friend holding our arm and whispering directions in our ear.  Actually, He is our best friend and he is holding us, guiding us and whispering direction in our ear.  With Him as our guide, we do not need our eyes to see.  Trust in the Lord; walk with him in faith and in confidence.  One day we will see all His glory, until then, He guides us in truth.

Thank you for your Spirit and your Word to guide us each day.  Help us listen to our hearts and your voice more than trusting our eyes which are easily deceived.  Help us place our trust in you, allowing you to lead us in truth and light today and all days.  I ask this through the name of Jesus my Redeemer, Savior and best friend.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more.”

So often, when I am sitting in prayer or study of scripture, time flies by.  I gaze at the clock and cannot fathom where the time went!  Sometimes one hour seems like five minutes.  There are certainly days and times where the clock never seems to move.  I remember days when I used to work outside of the home, many of us were watching the clock, waiting for it to reach the blessed time to leave for lunch or leave for the day.  It seemed to take forever!  When we are enjoying ourselves, having a good time and feeling happy, time moves more quickly and when we are weighed down and struggling through the moment at hand it seems it will never end.  As I begin another day in the season of Lent, I am reminded to pray.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing.  This Psalm reminds us to live in hope and praise God more and more.  Today I will serve the Lord in whatever I do, I will pray in hope and give thanks and praise for all the blessing He has already given us.  Will you join me?

Guide my heart and my hands so that my thoughts and my deeds may be a good prayer to you.  Let the meditations of my heart and the words of my mouth lift praises to your name.  Open my eyes to see the many blessings you give and the work of your hand in this world.  Thank you Lord!  Thank you for your grace and mercy, thank you for everything.  Amen.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Deuteronomy 83 “He humbled you by letting you hunger, them by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to may you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

A few years ago you would not see gluten-free anything on the shelves at the store and now it is everywhere.  I know people who are gluten intolerant, people who are allergic to wheat and people who choose not to eat wheat for other reasons.   They still find food to eat.  Yesterday’s scripture was in Luke regarding the temptation of Christ.  He was led into the desert, fasted for forty days and was tempted by Satan.  Jesus quoted this verse in response to Satan’s call for Jesus to turn stone into bread.  As you eat your meals, (whether or not you eat bread) I encourage you to take time to remember this fast of the Lord.  Just as we nourish our bodies with food that He provides, we must nourish our souls with the words of His mouth.  Celebrate and give praise; the word of the Lord will truly feed us for eternity!

Thank you for your word and thank you for your Spirit that guides us in it.  You provide our nourishment; help us to gather what we need just as the Israelites gathered manna in the desert.  Then, as we partake, help us give thanks and praise to you, our provider!  Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

1 Timothy 2:1 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone”

This is one thing I really love to do; I love to pray.  When I come to the Lord in my prayer time I feel his presence surround me and that time with Him is a treasure.  It isn't always like this though.  There are days I can’t seem to focus or stay grounded enough to really enjoy my prayer time but I don’t give up, I keep practicing because I know it takes discipline.   Prayer is just one of the disciplines I am interested in learning.  There are disciplines of celebration, fasting and service, as well as disciplines of sacrifice, confession and study.  The list goes on and I know it will take a lifetime to learn even a drop about each of them.  I know some call to me and some do not so much.  During this season of Lent, many people sacrifice something in remembrance of the Lord’s ultimate sacrifice for us.  As Paul encouraged Timothy to pray, I encourage you to pray.  Grow closer to the Lord during this time before Easter.  What are you feeling drawn to learn?  If you seek, you will find it.

Thank you for the breathtakingly beautiful sunrise this morning. Thank you for all the gifts you give us each day.  Thank you for the gift of prayer.  Guide us all; friends, foes, nations and world to the foot of your throne so we may come to praise you in one voice now and forever.  Amen.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Galatians 6:9-10 “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.  So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.”

Do you ever feel like you are missing something?  We all get up each morning, get ready for the day and go do whatever our job is.  A lot of us went through school to learn so we could do our jobs, so we have spent years walking a certain path and yet, some of us go through a change and realize we are missing something.  When I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to be an elementary school teacher.  I studied psychology because I wanted to be a child psychologist.  Life intervened and I worked in banking for almost 2 decades before I had the opportunity to stay home and be a mom.  As I look back at the last few years, being a mom and raising my kids with the guidance of the Lord is my calling.  Teaching is my calling.  Whatever we do, however we serve; can you feel the strength of the Lord building you up?  When we are doing right, he will continue to fill us with what we need to serve well so don’t give up, let us work together for the good of all!

The sun rises every morning and you call us to do the same.  Give us what we need to serve and praise you today.  Guide our steps so we do what is right in your eyes and help us see how we are working toward the harvest in your good time.  All glory and honor are yours forever and ever.  Amen!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Isaiah 46:9-10 “remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying ‘My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfill my intention’”

This passage in Isaiah deals with the worship of idols.  The people had fallen away from God and were praying to gods created by people.  These verses call to remind them that there is no other God before Yahweh, He is the Almighty.  He is the One, Alpha and Omega.  He spoke and it happened; He speaks and it happens.  What idols do I put before God?  What things or people keep me from praying to and serving the one true God?  Is it that one TV show I can’t miss?  Is it that instant connection to the happenings in my world via the internet?  Is the jealousy of what others have that I do not or is it the judgment of others that “worship” these idols?  Today I search my heart again, uprooting anything that pulls me away from the one true God and serving his purpose.  I will seek to serve the Lord in word and deed, working to assist in fulfilling His intention.

Show me where I err.  Bring to me the things that I have set before you so that I can banish them from me and focus on your presence and your purpose.  Forgive me for losing sight of you and your kingdom.  You are my God.  I lift your name on High and I worship you and serve you with all that I am and all that you are creating me to be.  Amen.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me.”

We move into a time of reflection and preparation again as the remembrance of Jesus death draws near.  Thousands of years ago He walked the earth and was teaching, healing and showing us how to abide in God.  Only He could foresee what was to come and he willingly continued on the path given to him.  Over the last few years I have chosen to sacrifice something during the season of Lent.  I choose something that distracts me from abiding in God or something that holds that potential.  I choose something that I desire or a frivolity that I often take for granted.  As those desires or distractions peek into my days, I take that moment to lift a prayer to the Lord, asking him to search the darkness in my heart and cleanse me of whatever sin I may have within me.  There is no darker valley that the darkness that lurks in sin.  Through the sacrifice Jesus gave so long ago, I am able to call on the Lord to walk with me through the darkness.  My tiny 40-day sacrifice is simply a token; a reminder to me of the sacrifice that He gave for me, for us all.

As we remember the journey to the cross and the reason you went there, guide our hearts in a journey of cleansing and healing so when that triumphant day of Easter is here, we can truly be filled with joy.  Help us prepare so we can sing Hallelujah with every ounce of our being.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Psalm 150: 3-4 “Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!  Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!”

Sometimes I feel a lot like Cinderella.  I have worked so hard, struggling in the trenches to get things done and when I finally clean myself up and get ready to present myself to the Prince, my finery gets torn to bits by the harsh desires of the world around me.  I wish I had a fairy godmother to spin me the finery that she had in the story.  The thing I come to remember as I see this unfold in my mind is that God sees me in all my finery through the eyes of Jesus.  I may think I am dressed in dirty rags from being dragged through the muck and mud but to Him, I shine like the sun because I have been washed in the blood and cleansed by the healing love of the Christ!  Let the ball commence!  Let the music play on and in thankfulness and with a grateful heart, I step forth and move to the beautiful music.  He is the Lord of the Dance, and even when I step on toes or if my hem gets torn a bit in the dance, I dance on to honor and celebrate all He has done for me; for all.  We all have rags to riches stories.  Take the hand of the Lord of the Dance; celebrate all He has given us!

Thank you for the beauty you created in me and in all your children.  Open our ears to hear the music and move our souls to dance in praise and honor of you.  You take our hands and lead us to the floor and the dance goes on!  Hallelujah!  Amen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hebrews 12:14 “Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

It feels like life is on a pendulum.  The rocking back and forth can be soothing and peaceful or it can feel extreme and fearful.  Babies like to be rocked and when they get a little bigger they move on to swings.  Children love to swing, some of them swing gently and others like to go fast and high.  As I think back to the times I would swing, it felt like freedom.  There is a breeze that blows on your face as you rush forward on the swing and the as you swing back, it gently flows forward.  There is freshness, a peace the flows in that back and forth motion.  Even as high as you go, you know that you will come to settle back into gentle peace in the end.  I hope that I can pursue the gently calming peace in the midst of chaos.  As we move into this day, I pray you will feel the gentle breeze of peace and freedom flowing in your soul.  Let it refresh you and bring you a new sense of calm that you can share with others.  Peace to each of you today.

You are the Prince of Peace.  Take the chaos of our days from us and help us be filled with your peace.  Allow your peace to flow from us out into the world so that all people would be drawn to it, coming closer to your holiness and closer to you.  Allow them to see you in us this day.  Amen.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Genesis 3:9-10 “But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’”

My kids love to play hide and seek and as they get older they get much better at hiding and keeping quiet while the person who is “it” searches for them.  Isn’t it interesting how we never stop hiding, even as adults?  We become masters at hiding what we do not want to be seen or even acknowledge ourselves.  Just as I often know where my kids are hiding, God knew then and He knows now.  He knows where we are hiding and what we hide.  He knows that we need to be the ones to come out on our own.  We need to be able to show what we are hiding before we can release it.  He will not snatch it or pry open our hands to force it away.  He does not come and yank us from our hiding places.  He calls “Ollie, Ollie, oxen free” and waits for us to come in when we are ready.  I heard him calling and I am coming out of hiding.  He will greet me with love and grace.  He will receive my hidden secrets with love and grace and as I release them to Him, the empty spots where those secrets were hidden will be filled with His love and grace.  Will you join me in the free space?

Forgive me for holding on so long.   I run to you now taking full advantage of the freedom you offer.  Take all my hurts, all my secrets and replace them with your healing love so I can go out and draw others in to your freedom too.  Amen.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Obadiah verse 15 “For the day of the Lord is near against all the nations.   As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.”

Is it just me or does it seem like our nation is in some kind of a tail spin?  If I watch the news or read articles on the internet, the stories tell me our nation is headed for financial ruin.  There are battles brewing about everything from gun control to immigration, gay rights to national defense.  Not only do battles wage on the national level, there are battles fought even on the individual level.  When I am making music do I seek reward from others; am I proud of what I do or am I seeking to bring hearts to God?  When I am teaching my children am I seeking power or seeking to bring hearts to God?  I cannot win the battles of the nation but what I can do is work to do the will of the Lord in my own heart and life.  Just as nations fail, we all fail.  The blessing we have is the unending grace of God through Jesus.  He continues to seek the hearts of Israel; He continues to seek our hearts.   Take time to pray for your own heart, hearts of those you love and the hearts of nations.  May God’s love and peace fill them all.

I pray for peace on earth and good will toward men but even as I utter the words, I know those things must come from me.  We are the people to share what you sent through Jesus.  We are the ones to spread your peace and good will.  Help us live as Jesus lived and help us be the people you created each of us to be, all for your glory.  Amen.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

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.”

Just yesterday I was writing about motive.  Why do we do what we do?  These verses move to the same rhythm.  When we are working in service to the Lord, we can still have impure motive.  There is a fine line between serving in thanksgiving and serving for approval.  I know there is no way I can ever work hard enough or well enough to earn God’s love or grace.  I have seen myself fall and fail too many times to think that I could succeed in pleasing God with my work.  It feels different when I am doing His work; seeking to serve the Lord in thanksgiving for the grace He has given to me.  I am not seeking approval or redemption through my hands, I am simply giving my work and my life in thanksgiving and praise to God who already gave all to me.  I have heard many people say that when they get to heaven they want to hear God say “well done good and faithful servant.”  I hope to hear that too but even more I long to hear the voice of God and see His face as He says to me “Welcome home my beloved child, welcome home!”

Thank you for all you give, fill our hearts so we can sing in joy and thanksgiving.  Help us live in your grace each day and compel us to share your grace with others so that this world can live in Love.  Let your light shine through us as a beacon so all the world can find the way home to you.  Amen.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Galatians 1:10 “Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval?  Or am I trying to please people?  If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Why do we do the things we do?  When I used to work outside the home, I would receive reviews from my boss on how I was doing.  Before that, in school, we received grades on the work we would produce and its quality.  When we were small children we would seek the approval of our parents or our friends.  From the time we are little, we learn to seek the approval of those around us.  As we walk the paths of our spiritual journeys we are awakened to a new purpose, a new reason to do what we do.  As Christians, we are servants of Christ, not servants of the world.  We may still be subject to human approval for tasks and jobs we have to do, but if we seek the approval of Christ in our jobs, we work to bring glory to him in whatever we do.  We quickly realize what things do not bring him glory and it is easy to lay those aside if we are living in him.  It is when we lose sight of him that we begin to serve humans and ourselves again.  As we go into another day of service, let’s keep Jesus in our sights.  Look for his nod of approval or a smile on his face and we will feel joy in what we are doing.  To God be the glory!

We have things we must do and things we enjoy doing.  Help us find joy in all things as we seek to bring glory to your kingdom.  Help me teach my children to serve you above all else so they may find the true joy of serving you.  Amen.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Romans 8:15-16 “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.  When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

I love my quiet time.  Despite the tiredness in my mind and body the blessings of the Word of God lift me up.  I was focused on Genesis 1:27 which says God created us.  Then this little passage came to me.  From the very beginning of time God has loved each one of us.  He lovingly took time to form our fingers and toes, to shape our arms and legs just so.  Even more importantly, He set our spirit into the depths of our being and breathed his Spirit of Life into us.  There is a part of God in each one of us because He is our creator, our Father.  Look at the children in your life.  Oh, how human they can be but there is a beauty in them beyond words; they are precious and treasured. I cannot imagine my life without my kids.  They are a part of me and I am a part of them.  As we live together, we pour ourselves into each other and we will always be entwined.   This is how it is with God.  We are so precious to him.  We are his children.  I encourage you to look for God in each of his children you see today and remember that we are all precious to Him.

Forgive me for closing my eyes to the beauty you have set in each one of us.  Guide my steps today so I do not get ensnared in the traps of human failings but allow me to walk in grace, embracing your children in love.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Light has not yet begun to peek over the horizon.  Soon there will be a gentle glow as daylight begins and darkness fades in the morning.  Can we bring a glow of light in this world of darkness?  How can we bring forth the daylight of Christ?  When we infuse our daily tasks, our morning routine, whatever we do with the love of God we shine his light into the world.  When we seek to serve the Lord with our thoughts and our actions we shine the light of God in our day.  This passage talks about setting your light up on a hill for all to see.  Jesus reminds us that no one lights a lamp and then hides it so no one can see the light.  We turn on the lights in our homes so that we can see better and bring a sense of warmth.  When I take time to sense the light of Christ in my heart, I see more clearly and there is a sense of warmth coming from Him in the midst of whatever I am doing.  He calls us to share this light; to let it shine for others so we might bring glory to God.    I end with this ...”This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine...”

Disperse any darkness that lurks and let your light fill my heart and soul.  As I move forward in this day, help me to share your light so that darkness will flee from others as well.  I ask this in the name of my savior Jesus.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Psalm 57:7-8 “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast.  I will sing and make melody.  Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awake the dawn.”

Music is a language.  It does not use words to communicate its message but with notes strung together in a melody or harmony a message is shared with everyone who hears it.  Music can bring a message of love, strive or healing.  It can share a message of hope or despair; brokenness or wholeness.  When I struggle to find peace in my heart I know I can sing to the Lord and peace will come.  The songs in church are so beautiful to me because they put prayers and praises to music that resonates within my soul so deeply.  Music takes the message out of my head and moves it into my soul.  Whether you sing songs in your heart or with you voice, lift a song to the Lord!  Find songs on the radio or on a CD that draw you into the presence of the Lord.  Listen to the music of nature as it awakens and moves to the rhythm of the day.  Join me in songs of adoration and praise to the God of gods, the Lord of lords.  He is steadfast and merciful so I lift songs to awake the dawn and my soul will sing throughout the day.

May the music in my heart and voice bring you glory and honor.  Help the thoughts and meditations of my heart be music to your ears.  Open my ears to hear the music of others so we may join together in one voice singing praises to you and your Holy name.  Amen.

Monday, February 4, 2013

1 John 3:23 “And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.”

I woke up with a start this morning.  I am an hour later than usual.  I thought I set my alarm, I checked it before I went to bed but somehow I was wrong.  It was hard to quiet my mind and soul to sit in the presence of the Lord and listen this morning.  When I was led to this passage my first thought was that we have already been there.  This message is written throughout the books of the New Testament.  I know I have written about this before.  Then it struck me.  If this message is written over and over again in the bible, it bears repeating.  People are forgetful.  We hear the messages and try to live according to the word but before we even blink we start to slide back our human ways.  I need to let go of the hands on the clock and hold the hand of my savior, Jesus Christ.  I need to release control of my day and allow the grace and love of Christ to be my guide for today.  I thank the Lord for that extra sleep and the blessing of still giving me quiet time.  I thank the Lord for my husband who let me sleep in out of kindness and consideration.  I thank the Lord for my kids who are still sleeping as I write this, by the grace of God.  Now I go forward in my day and do my best, with the guidance of the Spirit, to love as He commanded us to love.

Thank you for all you do and all you give.  We are blessed; help us live as a blessed people so we honor you.  Amen.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Amos 7:14-15 “Then Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’”

I am quietly thanking the Lord this morning that He has never called me to be a prophet and I hope and pray that He will not.  God uses unlikely characters to bring his message to the people.  He calls Samuel as a small boy, raises a small shepherd boy to destroy and giant and become King.  He makes Ruth a queen and brings salvation to the world through a small town carpenter and his betrothed.  The list of unlikely continues through his disciples and apostles and even on to today.  I still wonder at the call I follow to send his word to others, why me?  He uses the most unlikely of characters.  Amos was a faithful servant of the Lord as well.  He hears the word of the Lord as he is sitting watching his flocks of sheep and he obeys.  Are we listening to hear the words of God to us?  Will we hear and obey?

We are, by nature, a willful people.  So often we go through our days thinking we have it all under control and all is going according to plan.  We forget to seek your plan and we forget whose plan is true.  Encourage us to lift our prayers to you, O God.  Open our hearts and our ears to hear and follow your word for us.  Amen.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.”

I just want to say that when I read this Psalm, I thought I should memorize the whole thing.  The heading in my bible right above the first verse says “Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon”.  Who of us could not use a beautifully written confession?  David wrote this after he had been confronted by Nathan about the sin he committed with Bathsheba.  I lift a quick prayer that none of us reading this are in the throes of that particular sin, but sin is sin and we all fall short of the glory of God.  There is not one of us reading this or even any that aren't that could not use a prayer for cleansing and pardon.   It was easy for me to find sins of pride and selfishness, sins of thoughtlessness and hardheartedness.  I encourage you to open your bible to this chapter, or if you don’t have one handy, you can look it up on the internet (thank you God!).  Find a quiet space and ask the Lord to show you what needs cleaning.  He is faithful and merciful.  He will show you and then in your petition for forgiveness He will forgive!  This is the joy of our salvation!

Bend my will to yours.  Sustain in me a willing spirit that will call on you and receive your everlasting love and forgiveness. Give my voice courage to sing out your praises to all the earth.  Joy is mine, thanks to you!  Amen.

Friday, February 1, 2013

John 5:16 “Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the Sabbath.”

The Sabbath has been a day of rest since God created the world.  In Genesis the bible tells us that He blessed the seventh day and hallowed it and Jesus healed a man on the blessed Sabbath day.  If the Jewish leaders had believed Jesus was from God they would not have questioned his behavior but why are they questioning what Jesus is doing anyway?  Are they trying to keep the peace or are they trying to maintain control over their people?  Are they pointing out an infraction of the law or are they getting puffed up in their own rule following?  Rules are a good thing and they serve purpose but rule keepers can cross a line pretty quickly when they follow the rules simply for the sake of the rule.  Do we drive the speed limit because it is the rule or because it is a safe speed to drive?  God gave us the Sabbath as a day of hallowed rest.  In today’s society I suspect we would be persecuted for observing the Sabbath rather than what Jesus was experiencing here.  Take time in the next day to find some rest in the Lord.  Start with a tiny Sabbath hour and see what blessings you receive for it.

You call us to rest in you, to rest in honor of you and we never stop running.  We go from dawn to well beyond dusk every day and wonder why we feel so worn down sometimes.  Help us take time to rest in your presence and to thank you for the rest you so lovingly provide to us.  Amen.