Friday, May 31, 2013

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

I think my calendar threatened to take over me again yesterday.  As I looked through it and made note of the things I have coming up my heart got heavier and more anxious by the moment.  The frustration part of that is most of the things on my calendar are fun.  Camping with my dad and kids next week, vacation bible school at the end of June, trip to Tennessee with one of my best friends and our kids; all those things are things I am looking forward to.  I tend to get caught up in the planning phase and trying to make sure I don’t forget anything.  I want to make sure there is down time for me and the family so we can just sit at home and play too.  It seems wrong that I rejoice at the blank space on my calendar for today.  This verse reminds me to review my calendar through the eyes of Christ.  If the things on my calendar can be used to serve and honor him or to celebrate the blessings he has given me, it will be fine.  He has never failed to support me in my endeavors that bless him and I know he will never fail me going forward either.  I take a deep breath and go forward into my day knowing he will guide and strengthen me for whatever he has in store.

Thank you for reminding me that I am not on this journey alone.  I am not in charge.  Lift the burden of worry from my shoulders and help me dance in the day to celebrate your strength and support.  This is your day, I rejoice in it!  Amen.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Proverbs 13:24 “Those who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them.”

I cannot count the times in my life that I have heard the statement “spare the rod, spoil the child.”  Growing up, I thought this was talking about spanking or physical punishment for bad behavior.  As I talk with my women friends about our kids (only occasionally, you know) discipline is often a topic of discussion.  Only a century ago children were to be seen and not heard; speak only when spoken to.  Expectations have changed dramatically since then and for the most part it is good.  As I guide my children in the disciplines of self-control and respect for parents sometimes I think it would be easier if they didn't speak so often...  The rod is not for corporal punishment.  It is a tool shepherds use to guide the path of the sheep.  We are not called to squash the spirits of our children; we are called to be diligent to discipline.  As I grow in my discipline to God, I pray that learning will bless me in teaching my children discipline as well.  Then we can all step forward as disciples together in the kingdom of God.

Help me remember the rod as a tool, not as a switch.  Guide my words and my tone to be of your spirit and not of my wrath.  As you have been gracious and loving in my discipline, help me be gracious and loving in the discipline of my children.  Thank you for these words today.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.”

I have lost track now of how long my church has been without a “permanent” pastor.  We had an interim, which I love, for about two years and when he stepped down we thought we were really close to having a new pastor seated.  Here we are months later with another pseudo interim pastor who has agreed to stay with us through June and again it seems we are pretty close to having a new pastor seated.  It is hard to move forward without leadership.  Sheep get lost and wander off without their shepherd to guide them.  God has been gracious to my church in providing great leadership in the space between called leaders.  God has been gracious in moving people within the church to step forward and grow into leadership roles they didn’t think they would do.  As I prepare to lead the vacation bible school in a few weeks, I am feeling very much like one of those people.  I am so grateful for the people who volunteered to help me in this project and I pray it will be a blessing to the kids in the church and the neighborhood around us.  Let us encourage each other...

Soothe the anxiety that lurks below the surface.  We pray, we work and we fret.  Open our eyes to see the encouragement you have sent through others to ease the burdens we bear and guide us to be ballast for other people’s burdens as well.  Amen.

Tuesday, May 28, 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.”

My heart is with friends today.  I have a friend taking her daughter in for a medical test, I have a friend preparing for back surgery tomorrow and I have a friend that is moving away.  I was outside my home with my daughter yesterday and I noticed a young girl down the street that I had not seen before.  When I mentioned it to Rachel, she went and introduced herself and made a new friend.  A couple of weeks ago she made a new friend that has just moved in at the top of the street.  She makes friends so easily!  I, on the other hand, have to talk myself into going and meeting the new neighbors.  It takes me time to warm up to new people and when I do, I don’t like to say goodbye.  This benediction in Numbers has been going in my head all night.  I know my friend who is moving does so with a divided heart.  This day, I simply write to share this blessing with each of you.  I send it to you with love and hope that you will feel it pouring out over and into to you this morning.

I love you.  Thank you for the blessings you have given me in this life and that you have planned for me on this day.  Thank you for the blessing of friendship.   As the friends you have brought into my life have blessed me deeply, I ask that you guide me to be a blessing to my longtime friends and new friends as well.  All honor and glory are yours.  Amen.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Proverbs 8:10-11 “Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.”

We are in the process of sorting through stuff.  When I got married we combined all our stuff and since then we have accumulated more stuff.  Every time I go down to the basement the old adage “you can’t take it with you” echoes in my mind.  I have collections that have not seen the light of day in years and when I look around my house there is not a place to put them if I were to set them out on display.    It seems to be a common desire to want to gather more things, more treasure, and more money.  These tangible treasures make us feel worth more, I think.  These verses in Proverbs tell me something different.  If everything was gone, all my possessions, my home and my bank account what would I have left?  I would have the love of the Lord, my relationship with God and the knowledge and wisdom He has given me.  No matter what happens in this life, we will always have those internal gifts that are God given, thank the Lord!

You tell us your kingdom is not of this world and these verses clearly remind us of that.  Help us seek true treasure through you and your Spirit rather than clinging to the earthly treasure that only lasts for a moment of time.  Thank you for your instruction and your guidance.  They keep us walking forward to a deeper and stronger faith in you.  Amen.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Jeremiah 3:15 “I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”

This passage in Jeremiah is another story of God seeking the hearts and repentance of his people.  They cheat, they lie and they turn their backs on Him.  He is angry, but He still calls to them, still wants them to come back and be in relationship with Him again.  Nothing has changed in thousands of years.  We still cheat, lie and turn our backs on Him.  When I came to this verse in my reading, it nearly jumped off of the page at me.  What an incredible promise and I am eternally grateful that He has delivered and continues to deliver shepherds after His own heart to guide us.  He sent Jesus, the Christ and the Holy Spirit who still resides with and in us.  We have His word and His called servants that guide us as well.  The Spirit and the word will help us discern whether the shepherds are after His own heart, if we listen for guidance.  I take courage through this passage and this verse.  In this time of false prophets and fallen shepherds I know God still provides true shepherds and people after His own heart to feed us with knowledge and understanding.  I praise and thank Him for this!

Your promise elates me today!  You are faithful to us beyond the walls of time.  Thank you for giving us a continual source of food through your word and your Spirit.  Thank you for shepherds to feed us with knowledge and understanding.  Help us grow stronger in you each day.  Amen.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Psalm 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.”

Today my family will gather together to celebrate birthdays.  My son will be four years old this week and whether I like it or not I have another birthday this week too.  I love the fact that my family has always celebrated these little milestones together.  Some people I know raise their eyebrows at how often we get together but I treasure those times.  As I think back four years and the moment I held that tiny little boy in my arms the blessings of his life in mine comes to me anew.  I think of his little hands and feet, his stark blue eyes filled with wonder and the generous soul that is contained by this precious body.  God knit all of this together; each cell, each hair and the very essence of his being.  Then He blessed me and my family by placing this sweet child in our presence.  I struggle more with reveling in the wonderful work that I am so I will start with my children.  God knit each and every one of us together physically, mentally and spiritually.  He placed us where He knew we needed to be and I praise Him today for that.  You are one of his wonderful works!

Tears fill my eyes when I think of the blessings my children have brought to my life, how can I thank you?  Help me see the wonderful creation they are becoming and help me see the wonderful creation I am becoming all through your loving and gracious hand.  I celebrate your wonderful works on this day! Thank you Lord!  Amen.

Friday, May 24, 2013

James 1:19-20 “You must understand this, my beloved, let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.”

I only have to turn on the TV to find anger.  I only need to listen to my children bicker over toys or treats or any trivial thing to feel anger in myself.  This morning as I was trying to sit in silence, waiting for the Lord it became crystal clear to me why this practice is called a discipline.  We do not learn this in our society at all.  There is no silence and there is very little listening at all.  We learn to wait; we learn not to interrupt but that is not the same as listening.  I will be giving a direction or information to my daughter and cannot even finish a sentence before she has begun talking over me.  She has pointed out a few times recently that I also interrupt her.  This is how our society works.  As I prepare to teach reading, writing and arithmetic today I tuck this scripture in my heart so that, by God’s grace, I may do better at listening and not so much speaking.  Maybe this will keep frustration and anger at bay...

Your word is my guide, thank you!  You know each of our struggles and frustrations.  Help us stop and truly listen.  Open our ears to hear your soothing voice; open our eyes to see your love in each other and open our hearts to receive the guidance you so freely offer.  As I strive to live in righteousness let me remember to forgive others and to receive forgiveness when we fall short.  Amen

Thursday, May 23, 2013

John 6:26 “Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.’”

What do you desire?  What do you seek and work for?  This crowd that Jesus was talking to had just received bread and fish from him the day before.  When they woke from their camp out and realized the disciples and Jesus had moved on they crossed in boats to search him out in Capernaum.  When they find him this verse is his response to them.  They came to have their bellies filled again and nothing more.  How often do we come to the Lord for immediate gratification?  How often do I ask him for something that is of little or no real value in the eternal world?  Do I come to him for my own benefit and my own purpose or do I come to seek his knowledge and wisdom, his healing and guidance regardless of where it leads me?  I can picture myself in the crowd without a problem and so I know I would easily fit in to the group asking for instant gratification.  He promises to provide for us better that he does for the lilies in the field.  Why do we ask for those daily needs?  As I go out into the beautiful spring day, I search my heart for motive.

Thank you for your word.  Protect my heart and soul from selfishness.  Open my eyes and my heart to the true value of spiritual growth, trusting that you will continue to give me exactly what I need in the moment I need it.  Thank you Lord.  I pray I will bless your kingdom today.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Last night was the annual talent show for the homeschooling group I belong to.  There were acts up on stage and works of art and other projects on display as well.  My daughter chose to hand out programs but as the evening went on she asked me if she could change her mind.  She wanted to perform.  I can’t help but wonder at her motivation.  I had to explain that the docket was full; she would have to wait until next year.  As I thought back on all of the talent I saw last night I realized how easily we fall into the sin of pride.  There were really good musicians, dancers and artists showing their talents.  There was good stage presence shown by some.  Only God knows their hearts and motives, I did not see anyone gloating over their performances.  I know how hard I work to prepare for my performances but when the time comes I need to turn it all over to God.  He is the one who inspires me to share music with others.  I need to remember to give Him the glory and honor in all I do.  When I feel pride sneaking in, and it does, I recall this verse.

Thank you for the many gifts you have given your people.  Your word says you have given each of us gifts to use for your kingdom and your purposes.  Help us strengthen the gifts you call us to use, whatever they are, and keep our hearts true in remembering to give you the glory in everything we do.  Amen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Colossians 3:1-2 “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”

For some reason today has started off with my mind running a mile a minute.  When I was going to sleep last night my thoughts were of Kyle turning four next week and my birthday two days later (which I would be fine to skip).  This morning I was thinking of all the things I need to do and the things I forgot to do yesterday and the things that could be done that are not even on my list and... You get the idea.  Needless to say my quiet time was not very quiet today.  When I get like this I have learned that I need to take deep breaths.  I breathe deeply three times to center myself again and it forces me to slow down a little bit.  In that moment I can set my mind on things that are above and release the tension that surrounds my list of to-dos.    Christ tells us not to worry about tomorrow.  Focus on Him and things that are above,   my to-do list will happen in its time.

You know my task driven personality, you created it.  Please pry open my heart and hands to release that list from my grasp.  Only then can I grab your hand and let you lead me along the way.  When I let you guide me things go much better so keep my eyes focused on you and let me breathe your love and peace deeply into my soul today.  Amen.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

This is a time of celebration in the church.  The Holy Spirit that John forecast in this verse was sent in a powerful way to the disciples in Jerusalem and the message of Christ was proclaimed to nations.  At first reading of this verse the baptism by fire sounded ominous to me, but when I thought back to the references of fire in the bible I realized the fire of God is not the fire I understand and hold in my hearth on a cold winter night.  Moses saw fire that did not consume a bush, it was God.  A pillar of fire led the Israelites from Egypt, it was God.  Fire did consume the altar completely and powerfully in a display against the god Baal.  Tongues of fire rested on the disciples as the Holy Spirit came to rest in them.  The fire of God is purifying, cleansing and renewing.  It is powerful but not destructive.  As I think back on my baptism with a little sprinkle of water on my forehead I wonder about a tongue of fire.  It may not rest over my head but I have felt it stir in my heart.  The Spirit moves me to action; He moves us all.

Your power is unfathomable to me.  I only know I have seen your work in me despite my human frailty.  You used me in ways I never imagined and I can only imagine that you will continue to do so.  I offer myself to you; I am yours.  Amen.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation; repentance from dead works and faith toward God,”

Our spiritual journey is like school in a way.  Just as small children begin with the foundation of the alphabet and counting we begin with learning about Jesus Christ and our salvation.  Children cannot learn to read and add unless they have the foundation of letters and numbers and we cannot learn to live toward perfection unless we have the foundation of faith in Christ and God as our Redeemer.  As the school year comes to an end the foundations and steps my kids have learned are on my mind.  I do not want them to slide back down but when they have a few months off, not really using those skills, I know we will need to step back and review.  The same is true in our spiritual walk.  If we do not use what we have learned we will slide back and have to review and relearn what we already knew.  This passage in Hebrews encourages us to continue learning and growing.  Use the knowledge we have gained and strive to learn and grow even more.  This is how we “go on toward perfection”. 

There is no summer break in your kingdom.  Your Holy Spirit came to the disciples and has never withdrawn for a break.  Renew our strength and desire to learn and serve.  Help us build onto what we already have and continue growing in you.  Amen.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.”

I am encouraged and relieved by the message in this verse and in this passage of Psalms.  I was feeling discouraged by the lack of trust or faith I must have in the Lord when I came to this scripture.  I know God has given many people the gift of healing; physicians and nurses, psychologists and pastors to name a few.  There are many tools we have today that assist us in physical and mental healing and I praise the Lord for those people and those tools.  For myself, I know that my biggest malady is not physical, it is spiritual.  I seek the Lord to fill me up as I have written about so many times and yet it is all too easy for me to seek human fulfillment for a spiritual hunger.  I can spend time with my family and friends and I am blessed by the love I receive from them.  I can get hugs and kisses from my kids which are a treasure to me.  All of these people are gifts from God that ease my heart most of the time.  There is an emptiness that cannot be filled by humans.  I need Him.  Only He can bring wholeness to spiritual brokenness, only He can bring the balm of Gilead.  This verse promises just that.  He heals our brokenness...

I thank you for the healing you have brought to my heart and to the hearts of so many.  I thank you for the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ and the Spirit you sent to guide our every step.  Call our hearts into your presence so that we may receive your healing touch today.  Amen.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Psalm 117:2 “For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  Praise the Lord!”

This morning when I woke up I was already singing praises.  That does not happen every day but when it does I take joy in that moment.  I spent my prayer time trying to praise and thank the Lord for the people and their situations instead of petitioning for them.  I thanked the Lord for medical care, for support systems, for friends and for faith.  I praised the Lord for the freedom of religion, freedom to homeschool and freedom to seek knowledge.  I praised the Lord for the founding fathers and the vision they had for this country.  I thanked him for downtime and inspiration, energy and rest.  It was hard not to ask the Lord for anything but to turn each request in to a prayer of thanks and praise.  This verse called me to do that today.  His steadfast love is great toward us and He is always faithful; forever and ever.  Praise the Lord!


I am filled with praise and joy for the love and grace you give me every moment, every day for eternity.  I have seen your hand working in my life and in the lives of others.  The evidence is clear; you are truly faithful and loving.  Thank you for filling me with those blessings and allowing me to be a servant of yours, spreading joy, praise and love to the world around me.  Amen.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Matthew 6:6 “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

This instruction from Jesus has always intrigued me.  I think about all the times my family gets together on holidays or birthdays and the prayers that have been lifted over those meals.  I can hear the voices of family members saying “you should pray, you do a much better job than I do.”  I have yet to be a liturgist in my church; partly because I am such an introvert at heart the desire to get up there and speak in front of the congregation is not very strong.  Also the prayers they read are fluid and deep.  I love listening to those words with my heart instead of reading them with my eyes and mouth.  I see people, on occasion, praying over their meals at restaurants.  I used to think that was awkward or strange but as I grow in my faith I think I feel like I am intruding in their prayer if I don’t grant their privacy, yet if they are praying in public do they desire privacy?  I think the message Jesus was giving here is this:  when we pray, we need to seek God and not the accolades of other people.  When we pray in public we risk receiving praise from others.  The purpose of prayer is to commune with God.  Now I need to go pray about this more...

I love our private times of prayer.  Help me teach my children how to pray as you taught me.  Help us all keep prayer in our hearts and love in our hands as we seek to serve you.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, my whole life long.”

I love the message of this verse, I have known it for years and clung to it during challenges times in my life.  When I picture goodness and mercy I see myself walking on a sunny path that is surrounded by beautiful wildflowers and soft puffy white clouds in azure skies.  That is what mercy looks like in my mind.  As I turned this verse over in my meditations this morning a new view came to mind.  God goodness and mercy are always with me but if they follow me they are also behind me.  What do I leave in the wake of my journey?  As I move forward, striving to follow as a disciple of God do I leave goodness and mercy for others or do I leave brokenness and selfishness in my path?  The more I seek the Lord and His ways I trust and believe I will dwell with him for eternity, for my whole life.  Now I also am aware that I need to strive to bring goodness and mercy for others to follow as my legacy to the love I have for my Lord.  Goodness and mercy might follow me because I leave some as a trail for others to follow.  I can only hope for this.

As I receive your gifts of goodness and mercy, help me open my heart to give those gifts to others as well.  Protect me from being a person of destruction and damage and guide me to be a vessel of mercy, bringing a piece of your kingdom to others each day.  Amen.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.  Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

Mirrors must have been a fraction of what they are today based on Paul’s description.  I know when I look in my bathroom mirror I can see every gray hair and every wrinkle or line in my face.  What came to my mind when I pondered this verse were transition sunglasses.  You know the ones that are clear when you are inside and turn dark when you go out in the sun?  I think Paul might use that analogy...  for now we see through dark sunglasses in a dark room but then we will see face to face.  Now I know through a blinding fog, then I will know fully...  We are set for another sunny and hot spring day in Colorado.  I can clearly see the sun already over the horizon as I write.  We deceive ourselves if we think this verse is really about our eyes.  We must see with our souls.  Clear the fog; take the shades off of the eyes of your soul so you can see more clearly the face of the Lord.  As we continue to seek with our soul’s eyes, we will begin to see more clearly.  What a blessing that is!

Thank you for this verse and thank you for cleansing our soul’s eyes to help us see better.  Keep our focus on you so we can learn to trust even more that we will see clearly.  You promise us if we seek we will find.  Bless us with a clear vision of your kingdom in our world today.  Amen.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hosea 6:1 “Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up.”

I really don’t like to put my kids in “time-out” but there are times that it must be done.  They push the boundaries, make bad choices and disobey so there must be some kind of discipline invoked before they get completely out of control.  I am sure, based on their reactions, that they feel like I have torn or destroyed them when they are sitting on that stair or in their rooms.  It is only a short time and then we talk about it, hug and move forward in a new way.  This verse reminded me of this scenario so much.  How often do we turn our backs on the ways the Lord has taught us, defying his word and guidance, disobeying his commands?  Before we get completely out of control, he “tears” us down and disciplines us.  He tries to get us to turn around and focus on him and his path again.  When he has disciplined or torn, he will heal.  When he takes us down a peg or two he will pick us up again.  I search my heart today to find how I am disobedient to the Lord so I can turn around before I get out of control. 

Thank you for never quitting on us.  Just as a parent with their child, you continue to guide, reprimand and correct.  You continue to love, heal and pick us up to start again.  Thank you for your words in Hosea to call us into action before you must act on our behalf.  Help us stay true to you in this world of deceit and distraction.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Leviticus 23:3 “Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work; it is a sabbath to the Lord throughout your settlement.”

I have been looking at my calendar and shaking my head.  Every day has numerous things written on it to remind me of appointments and commitments so I don’t forget something.  The other day I went to pick up my son from preschool.  When I got there all the parents were in the room, visiting and eating treats with their kids.  I must have had a look of horror my face and I know I was near tears thinking I forgot something on my calendar.  His teacher came to my rescue quickly assuring me that this had been only on the note handed to me that very morning, the note I didn't read.  I had too many things to do and set it aside for a later time.  We are all so busy all the time that the idea of a Sabbath day seems absurd if not a waste.  I used to think I didn't have time for an hour with the Lord but now that I do it regularly I cannot imagine not having the hour each morning to spend with the Lord.  I know a day with the Lord would be even better... now to put that on my calendar...

Thank you for the rest you graciously give us despite our lack of time with you.  When we have a day of rest, call us into your arms of love; infuse us with your presence.  Entice us to make this a habit so that we follow you more closely and receive even more blessings from being with you.  Amen.

Friday, May 10, 2013

1 Timothy 2:8 “I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument”

Without prayer, I am nothing.  Without prayer I am easily distracted, frustrated and argumentative.  We, as humans, are a selfish bunch.  It is in prayer that I find compassion and forgiveness for myself and for others.  It is in the prayers for others that I am brought to a place of peace and love for my neighbor.  There is much in the world that we can justifiably be angry about.  There are injustices and atrocities in the news every day.  We can choose to dwell on those and let the poison of their darkness seep into our souls bringing us back to angry and argumentative places, or we can seek the Lord.  We can lift up our hands, calling on the Lord to make us holy.  We can bring those things that break our hearts to the Lord knowing that He is all mighty and all knowing.  Just as children cannot always see the plan a parent has and they think life is unfair, we cannot know the heart and mind of God.  We can pray and trust.

Thank you for Paul’s words to remind us to come to you in prayer.  Through our salvation in Christ, we are made holy and so we can come in prayer, lifting our holy hands to you.  Help us release anger, frustration and bitterness and receive grace, mercy and compassion in place of those.  I ask these things in Jesus name and for your glory.  Amen.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.”

Spring rains are falling in Colorado.  The ground is soaking it in, the grass is drinking deep and the earth around me breathes a deep sigh of thanksgiving and satisfaction.  As I sat at my kitchen table this morning I could not block out the overwhelming songs coming from the birds outside.  I cracked the back door for a moment just to sit and listen to the soft drum of rain falling and the birds singing their songs of praise and jubilation.  In my mind I could almost see them dancing and playing in the rain like children they sounded so happy!  Yesterday my kids were out playing in the rain with the neighbors.  What some don’t realize is that rain in Colorado is cold!  After they were thoroughly soaked I brought them in for a bath to warm them up and a nice cozy supper for their tummies.  Even the kids are celebrating this moisture for the Lord’s earth.  Step away from the news of the day with me and soak in the rain just as the earth is doing.  Let the moisture refresh our souls and lift our spirits until we cannot help but sing like the birds and dance like children.  The earth is the Lord’s and all who live in it!

Thank you for the blessed moisture on this thirsty earth.  Thank you for the song of birds to draw me into the beauty of the morning.  Help me see the beauty of your earth and to be a part of caring for it rather than a part of destroying it.  I rejoice in you and your world today.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Leviticus 23:22 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your filed, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the alien: I am the Lord your God.”

Generosity does not come easily to some.  Kids struggle with it on the very basic level.  They cling to their toys and will “fight to the death” to keep it.  I see it with my own kids and I see with their friends.  As we grow and learn to share we realize that it makes our hearts feel good to share with someone else.  Seeing the gratitude on someone’s face eases our desire to hoard.  I don’t personally know very many people who actually harvest fields but the principle in this verse still holds true.  We have been blessed beyond words and whatever we have received in blessing, we are called to share first with God and then with our neighbor.  The verse uses the words poor and alien but I believe this is synonymous with our neighbor in today’s world.  As we prepare to plant gardens, receive another paycheck in the bank or prepare our evening meal, let us remember to share. 

Thank you for the blessings you have given to us in such abundance.  Help us see and remember those who have less or none and compel us to reach out in love and share.  Open our hearts and our hands to receive the blessings of generosity by being generous to others.  Amen.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mark 6:34 “As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.”

Compassion is a beautiful thing.  Just saying or thinking the word brings softness to my heart and focus to my mind.  I get wrapped up in my daily tasks, wanting to check off each thing on my list and get things accomplished.  I get irritated when things or people get in the way of those tasks being crossed off.  What would it have been like if Jesus came to shore with my mindset?  He would have been annoyed that the people would not give him his quiet time.  He would have been frustrated that they were so needy and couldn’t seem to get along for even a little while without him.  I am glad that He was filled with compassion for them and that He is filled with compassion for us today.  I hope this story will guide my heart today as I teach my children, as I clean my home and as I prepare to make music for others this evening.  All these things can be done with a heart of compassion.  We, too, are like sheep.  Let’s follow our good shepherd and share the compassion he gives us with those around us.

Thank you for your teachings and your unending compassion for us.  Write your message of love and compassion on our hearts so we learn it well from you.  Soften our hearts in compassion for others as we follow you.  Amen.

Monday, May 6, 2013

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.”

I am glad to say I do not have the same gifts and services as the governor of my state.  I am glad I do not have the same gifts and services that a TV or movie star has.  It is interesting how I look at others and sometimes I really cannot fathom how they could do what they do, or why they even want to.  The orchestration of the world and all that is in it is mind boggling if I stop to think about it.  Each person created for a specific time and a specific space, placed just so by the creator of all things.  Just as in a symphony orchestra there are a few stray notes and things don’t always go perfectly, so it is with life on earth.  The Maestro knows what gifts we have and what services we are created for.  He will help us find the instrument that fits us best and then beautiful music will begin to happen.  No matter who we are, where we live and what we do, the same God who created me created you.  God of all placed the desires to serve and the gifts to serve with in your soul and mine.  Listen to the music as we all practice our parts today.

Thank you for music in my soul.  Help me see and appreciate all the gifts you give others that work in conjunction with mine to make music in your world.  I pray that we will make beautiful music for you today.  Amen.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Acts 5:20-21 “’Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life.’  When they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching.”

This story of the disciples, now apostles is hard for me to imagine.  They are preaching, telling the story and message of Jesus to everyone that will listen.  They bring healing to so many people and the church leaders are worried and jealous.  They get thrown in jail, an angel of the Lord breaks them out in the middle of the night and tells them to go out and spread their message.  I know nothing of real persecution for anything I do or say.  In the news this week, there is a Rear Admiral in the Armed Forces of our nation who is stepping forward in faith.  There has been a push to stop military personnel from sharing their faith in the last few weeks and this man is refusing.  I pray for this military man of God, he is a soldier for our country and he is a soldier for God.  As I write my devotions and seek to increase the depth of my faith walk, I wonder what will come of it.  He will give me the strength to withstand whatever comes.

Please protect our military and give them voices to honor you in the midst of this push to quiet them.  Protect us as we seek to further your kingdom in a world that does not seem to want it.  Encourage us to trust in you and share your message wherever you call us to.  Amen.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Revelation 21:4 “he will wipe every tear from their eyes.  Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

I am missing my Mom today.  Over the last week a few things have jogged memories of her and I just miss her.  Last week in Sunday school the kids and I were talking about this passage.  We talked about scrapes and bruises but we also talked about disease and death.  As we come closer to Mother’s Day and the celebration of having Moms and being Moms the knowledge that my Mom is not around seeps in.  I look so forward to the day when there is no more war, no more sadness or anger.  The day when the lion lays down by the lamb and spears are broken down into plowshares will be a glorious day indeed.  In the meantime, I am blessed to have people in my life that will wipe my tears and bring love and joy in the midst of mourning and crying.  These are the glimpses we have of the new Heaven and the new Earth.  I rejoice in these gifts of Love from God.

You know I relish the day when you come again and your new Heaven and Earth are fully and completely established.  I can taste it now but can hardly wait until you come.  Thank you for my Mom.  Thank you for the blessings she brought to me and thank you for the people that help fill that void and bring blessings straight from you.   Use me in your kingdom today so that I may be a vessel of your blessings and healing to others.  Thank you for wiping our tears.  Amen.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Psalm 145:10-11 “All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your faithful shall bless you.  They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,”

As a late spring snow melts and the earth warms again my tulips breathe a sigh of relief for the moisture and begin to open their colorful blossoms in the morning sun.  The sun comes over the horizon dispelling darkness and bringing light and day in a glorious beginning again moment.  Fresh coffee smell fills the kitchen and our bodies remind us that we need nourishment for the day.  In all these moments and the many more that will come today we can thank the Lord.  He is faithful to us and His kingdom will never end.  Every morning we trust that sun to be there and God is even more faithful than that.  He has blessed us beyond our ability to know from the time he conceived us and into our last day on this earth, He has blessed us already.  His kingdom is already established and the glory shines from it drawing hearts and souls into the Divine Love and Almighty power of all.  As one tiny piece of His creation I strive to serve his kingdom and bring blessings to His name.  All glory, laud and honor to My redeemer King...

Thank you for another glorious day to praise and serve you.  Open my eyes to see all of your creation as a small manifestation of you.  The beauty and creativity that surrounds us is unimaginable.  Let us lift our hearts to bless and honor you, our creator and redeemer.  Amen.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

James 2:8 “You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”

Who of us does not show partiality?  We all have people we do not understand and really do not wish to understand.  We all have people that repel us that we have no desire to know and in fact, turn away from knowing for whatever reason.  When I read these verses another pops into my mind right away.  Paul writes that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Here James tells us the same thing in a different way.  Yesterday was our last day of co-op classes for the school year and in preschool the bible story I shared was when Jesus charged his disciples to go out and spread the good news.  I had the preschoolers give each other hugs and tell each other “Jesus loves you”.  It was so cute to watch and participate in.  The shy ones took a moment to participate but in a moment all of them were doing it.  Today I want to share a hug with you and remind you that God loves you.  Feel His embrace around you and let it lift your heart so you can go out and love your neighbor today.

Your love never ends and you wait to pour it out into anyone who will receive it.  As you fill me, your vessel, pour your love out of me as you will to whomever you will.  My neighbor is not for me to choose.  Let me see others as you see them so that I can share your love without reservation.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Jude 1:21 “keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”

I woke up with the phrase “can you feel the love tonight” going through my head over and over.  There is a bit of a disclaimer here since yesterday evening was rehearsal with my handbell ensemble and we are playing songs from Broadway musicals including this one.  I tried to get it out of my head but then I realized that I could listen to that phrase and use it to lure me closer to God’s presence.  I feel like I write about love all the time but when I think about the message in the bible, I guess there is a reason for that.  This passage in Jude calls us build our faith, pray in the Holy Spirit and stay in the love of God looking for the mercy of the Lord.  Not only does He wants us to stay in His love, He wants us to be agents of His love so that everyone can experience it and join us in looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.  On this first day of May, whether the sun is shining bright and glorious or snow is falling, bringing moisture to the earth we can feel His Divine Love showering down into our very souls.  Keep that feeling of Love and go out into the world being a light in the darkness, bringing warmth to the cold and bringing love to the love starved soul.

Thank you for filling up of my reserves of love.  Open my heart and soul to share this love you give to me with others so that all may find your mercy and eternal life.  Amen.