Saturday, August 31, 2013

Psalm 139:15-16 “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.  In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.”

I have always doubted that God actually has a book that he logs things down in and I am still sure he does not have pen and paper in hand.  As I pondered these verses I could see God as a scientist.  He created water by combining hydrogen and oxygen; he created plants that generate oxygen and people that generate carbon dioxide; plants and people work together for survival.  The complexity of the science grows from there and never ends.  Scientists keep logs about what they do, how it worked and what didn’t work.  If God has a book, I see it more like a book of memories rather than experiments.  The Supreme God of all does not forget his creations; He does not forget anything.  He formed each and every one of us from frame to soul and placed us in this time and space together for a purpose.  Maybe He is less a scientist and more the Divine Artist and we are his works of art...

There is nothing seen or unseen that you did not create.  Thank you for the beauty that surrounds us, creations that please all of our senses.  Help us see ourselves as part of that beauty and move in the rhythm you created us to.  Guide each of us, your works of art, in the dance of life.  Amen.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mark 7:37 “They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’”

My children suffer from something I call selective hearing.  It is something I have seen in other children as well; quite the phenomenon.  I can be speaking to my kids with them looking at me and even answering me but somehow they did not hear what I said.  How is this possible?  I know as I sit here and write I am pointing to my children with one finger and three more are pointing right back at me.  How often does God speak to me, I respond and yet it is clear that I did not hear or chose not to listen? I might as well be deaf and mute!  There are times Jesus is quoted as saying “let those with ears hear”.  I want to be one with ears to hear.   I do not want to miss what Jesus is saying to me or to us as a people.  Just as what I say to my kids is usually of some importance, what Jesus is saying to us is of vital importance.  He is teaching us how to live in the kingdom of God; are we hearing?  As a new day begins, I pray for ears that hear and a tongue that speaks for he has done all things well!

Thank you for your healing touch.  Forgive our deaf ears and mute tongue.  You speak and we are not sure we hear or we choose not to hear.  Open our ears to hear your message clearly and without doubt.  Open our tongues to share and speak your message to others as well.  Help us speak and praise you for all you have done so well.  Amen.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

I read these promises from the Lord and they bring a wave of light and love that cannot be expressed in words.  The promises are always there but sometimes I read them and they do not leap off of the page.  Today they did.  Israel and I continue to vex the Lord throughout our days and sometimes He gets angry.  Even in his righteous anger, his steadfast love and mercy flow and he turns to us in love.  This passage in Isaiah is filled with love and compassion from the Lord to his people.  I cannot help but sing praises as I receive his grace pouring over me like a gentle warm rain, washing away the dirt of yesterday, today and tomorrow.  This awesome Creator of the Universe and beyond, this God of all things is our shepherd; our Father.  He is our Redeemer and our friend; our comforter and our guide.  He provides everything we need and everything our hearts truly desire; He is God of peace and compassion, God of healing and everlasting love.  Hallelujah and hallelujah again!


I call on your name this morning to bring healing and peace to those who suffer.  I praise you for the healing you have already sent and the protection we never even see.  Guide us through this day in hope and praise for you.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

I am berating myself a bit this morning.  The alarm went off as usual but I just couldn’t wake up.  My head cold is getting much better but it got the best of me this morning.  I woke up an hour late and just couldn’t get myself into quiet mode as I looked at the clock and knew I needed to start getting the kids up and around for school.  Sigh...  I tried to rush through and grab a verse from the Lord quickly but nothing was clicking.  Now that my little boy is dropped off at preschool and my daughter is getting herself ready for the day I finally have a few moments of quiet time.  It was tempting to just forego it today but I knew I missed it yesterday morning because we did a “campout” at my Dad’s house.  I need my quiet time, we all do and I will not break this discipline I have grown in.  This verse reminds me why this is so important to me.  My daily quiet time allows me to center around God, to sit in His presence and listen for His message to me.  When I take time to do this, I feel better equipped to have God at work in me, enabling me to will and work for His good pleasure.

Forgive me for missing our special time together and thank you for the rest to heal my body.  Thank you for these encouraging words to guide our hearts and actions today and each day, knowing you work in us to glorify your kingdom and your purposes.  We are yours; you are ours.  Amen.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Deuteronomy 5:7 “you shall have no other gods before me.”

What is your number one priority?  What is the first thing you think of when you wake up and the last thing you think of when you lay down?  What things do you look forward to doing or seeing or hearing more than anything?  I love ringing handbells; making music.  I love writing and reading and I love (apparently) being on the computer checking in on my social network. Oh, and I love my sleep!  But when all is said and done, I love my Lord above all.  Do my actions and words reflect that?  Do I place other things before God?  I believe we all do this on occasion.  Our hearts get distracted with our own desires and wishes, we let go of the truth that God is God and that we are not.  We begin seeking fulfillment in other things like money, entertainment or in other people.  When we take our eyes off of the Lord our God and focus on something or someone else for our fulfillment we have placed another god before Him.  When we begin to serve those things or people instead of the one true God, we have become idolaters.  Join me in the search for things that have taken the place of the Lord our God.  He will reveal those things to us so that we can release them and repent unto the Lord.  In his infinite grace, when we turn back to Him, he forgives and continues to love.

Please show me what I need to confess to you so that I can acknowledge those and release them.  You are the one true God.   Guide me to keep you as my God always.  Amen.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

2 Corinthians 3:16-17 “but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Picture this with me:  We are being led down a path with a veil over our faces so we cannot see.  Our hands are bound and our feet are shackled so we cannot go where we are not led.  We move in darkness and fear.  Something we hear causes our hearts to stop.  We pause and listen again.  Someone is calling us; someone is calling our name!  How can this be?  We continue down the path in darkness not trusting our own ears or hearts.  Then we hear it again.  The voice is clearly speaking to us.  Risking nothing (for we are being led to death) we turn to the voice and the veil is lifted.  In that moment we see nothing but pure Love and Light.  As we are filled with the presence of our salvation He removes the bindings from our hands and feet.  He releases us from the captors that were leading us in darkness and fear and in Him we are truly free!  As we rejoice in our freedom from bondage let us keep our eyes focused on the Savior who freed us, let us keep listening to the voice of the Spirit who calls us and leads us in Love and Light.  Let us dance and sing in joy to the Lord who sets us free!

I lift my voice, my hands and my heart in adoration and thanksgiving for the freedom you bring to all; to me.  Guide my steps going forward so that I grow into the being of light and love you are creating me to be.  I live in freedom!  Amen.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Psalm 13:5-6 “But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

Blessings from the Lord never cease.  Since the beginning of time; since the moment He created us He longs for us to call his name and embrace Him as Lord.  When I have strayed from the path in the past, I heard voices clearly telling me there is no hope.  The enemies of the heart are harder to battle since we cannot see them but they are just as real as anything we see with our eyes.  In the heat of battle the Spirit fights with us and for us.  When we grow weak, the Spirit is strong for us.  We may falter but we will not be forsaken.  Trust in the steadfast love of the Lord.  If you are feeling lost or forgotten, shake off the lies that are telling you that and shout to the Lord.  If you recognize that you have been saved and redeemed by the Lord, let your heart rejoice in the salvation of the Lord.  As you reflect back on your days, look for the bounty of the Lord pouring out over you and then join me in singing to the Lord because He has dealt bountifully with you and with me!

Thank you again for all you have given.  I cannot begin to say thank you enough times or in enough ways for the bounty and love you pour into my life.  Help my heart sing in praise and thanksgiving, help my life be a thank offering to you and a testament to your steadfast love.  I ask all of these things in the name of Jesus, our Savior and friend.  Amen.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Revelation 21:6 “Then he said to me, ‘It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.’”

Yesterday I was online looking at pictures of stars.  There are blue stars and red stars; there are yellow stars and green stars.  When I look up into the night sky in a dark place, I am in awe of the vastness of God’s world.  This week my kids and I have all been under the weather with coughs and sore throats.  It is pretty easy to have a pity party when you don’t feel good and neither do the kids.  When I was looking at stars yesterday I carried that sense of awe with me the rest of the day and into the night.  God created the heavens...  we know of no end to the heavens and to think the Creator of all wants to ease our pain, soothe our suffering and rejoice with our joys is mind boggling.  As we follow the path of our earthly journeys it would be good to remember that we are here for only a blink of an eye and then we move into a new and eternal realm of being with the Alpha and the Omega.  This great and Almighty God wants to commune with you and me.  Wow!

I am humbled at your love for each one of us in view of all you have made and all you maintain.  As I ask for healing in my family for these tiny encumbrances I also thank you for the healing you provide to so many every day.  I live my raspy voice in praise and adoration to you this day.  Amen. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Acts 11:21 “The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord.”

The persecution of Jesus disciples and followers was rampant.  Stephen had just been stoned to death for his preaching of the gospel truth and the believers scattered from Jerusalem.  They were afraid...  it is hard for me to imagine fearing for my life because of my faith.  I sit at my computer and send out scripture verses across the internet without a thought of danger to my being.  These followers feared for their life because of their beliefs.  I know there are places where persecution to the death still occurs but it is easy to forget about it.  These disciples that were scattered to different cities could not keep quiet.  They had to tell their story wherever they were.  Have you ever felt that way?  Have you ever felt such a strong urge that you could not ignore it; you had to follow it at all cost?  The Lord is always there; His hand is with us just as it was with these people so long ago.  As we begin a new day let us take a moment to feel the hand of the Lord with us.  Jehovah – shammah ; the Lord is there.

I come on bended knee this morning.  Your power and might are awesome and in the midst of that awe I feel your mercy and love pour out over me.  Be with each of us today as we go into this world to serve as best as we can.  Let us feel your hand with us giving us courage and strength, comfort and peace.  Thank you for being ever present.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

John 8:34, 36 “Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin... So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’”

If I were to stop reading this passage at verse 34 I would walk away without hope.  Who of us is without sin?  Is there a day that goes by where sin does not enter our hearts?  I have written about the shackles of sin in the past and I still see sin like that.  Each sin we commit through action or inaction places a little shackle around our hearts.  If we continue to live in sin, the shackles can completely imprison our hearts and we may not even see it.  I get frustrated with myself when I have to come to the Lord confessing the same sins over and over.  The sins may look different on the outside but they are still sins of selfishness, idolatry, pride...  When I turn my eyes from the Lord and I turn my eyes on myself or something else I no longer follow the truth.  Jesus gives us hope with his claim in verse 36.  “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  Claim that freedom today.  Our hope is in the Lord Jesus, He has, indeed, set us free!

I lift up the hearts of every person reading this simple devotion today.  Open our eyes to see where we have fallen short but do not allow us to despair.  Lift our voices to claim you and the freedom in forgiveness you have given to each of us.  Pour your healing love into us, filling us with grace and peace.  Help us go out in your Spirit; in your freedom.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Matthew 18:12 “What do you think?  If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?”

There is a wonderful woman in my bible study group that says we are all dumb sheep.  The first few times I heard her say that I didn't know quite what to think.  As I meditated on this passage I could see how I really am a dumb sheep, at least sometimes.  Good little sheep stay with the shepherd and do not stray away.  The shepherd has to leave the flock to go and rescue the strays and the good little sheep stay in their flock waiting for the lost one to join them again.  Isaiah tells us we are all like sheep, we have all strayed away.  Even as I shake my head at my lack of insight into the Lord, I realize he lovingly comes to pull me back in every time I am led astray.  I do not want to get lost; it just seems to happen so easily... He rejoices over us when we are returned to his fold and he does not want even one of us lost.  If you are feeling lost, call out to your shepherd, he will come and rescue you.  If you are feeling snug and safe in the fold, rejoice and pray for others who have been led astray.  Let us keep praying for one another until the Shepherd comes.

Why are we led astray so easily?  Our human nature gets the best of us and the next thing we know we are lost.  Thank you for faithfully coming to rescue us and bring us back to you.  Thank you for rejoicing when we return.  Amen.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hebrews 12:3 “Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.”

Going through the motions is a saying that epitomizes my feelings as of late.  I get so bone tired of the struggles of this life.  There is story after story of doom and gloom, hatred and violence, apathy and abuse.  As the day wore on yesterday and through the night last night the heaviness weighed me down.  By this morning I was really asking how much longer do I have to do this thing on earth?  What is the purpose if I am just going through the motions?  When I came to this verse in Hebrews, what more was there to say?  Consider Jesus.  He died so we could live, he died and rose and gave us the Holy Spirit so that we all would have God in our midst.  The Holy Spirit gives us hope in the midst of struggle.  As I sat in the arms of my Lord just soaking in the Love, I was reminded that it all comes down to basics.  Love; love as he loved us; love because he loved us.  When I hold love in my heart, I am not weary and my heart is renewed, so I press on in love and in hope.

Thank you for your love.  Thank you for coming and teaching us how to love.  Help us consider and remember you and your sacrifice that we might live and have life abundantly.  Lead us out in thanksgiving with renewed hearts to serve and love in this world until you call us home.  Amen.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Psalm 92:1-2 “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,”

Another gentle sunrise peeks over the horizon.  The crickets still chirp and the birds join in the song.  I feel a cool breeze coming from the open window and the refreshing air sooths me.  I woke with a song of praise in my heart and it continued to undergird my time with the Lord.  Even as I asked for cleansing and forgiveness of my sins, the praises were being lifted from a deeper part of my soul.  When we simmer soup the top layer needs straining and skimming to take off the undesired fat and scum, to clarify and purify the taste of the good broth below.  This is one way I picture quiet time with the Lord.  The scum and fat from the day before have piled up on us.  We come to the Lord to ask his forgiveness.  He skims the layers on the top, clearing away the scum and sin so we are clarified and purified.  In that process we have become new again.  He delights in us once more.  It is going to be a hot day today but as I lift my voice in praise and thanksgiving I will remember the soup pot and the skimming process and delight in his steadfast love.

Thank you for your love and forgiveness.  Thank you for cleansing and purifying so the good stuff can be tasted and experienced untainted.  Hear the songs of praise my soul lifts to you, open my ears to hear it too.  Amen.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Isaiah 30:15 “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall by your strength.  But you refused.”

So it continues on and on.  It is astounding to me that God continued to offer guidance and redemption to the Israelites over and over.  Sometimes they would come and other times they refused.  Throughout history He has saved his beloved people and yet they continue to turn back to their own ways.  In this passage of Isaiah, the people are rebelling against the word of the Lord; they are actively seeking an alliance with human forces without listening or seeking the guidance of the Almighty.  I do not condemn the Israelites because I am no different than they are.  I come and pray and sit with the Lord each day and I treasure that time beyond words.  Yet, how often is it that by the time my morning coffee is done I have moved into an agenda all my own.  There are times I feel the tap of the Spirit on my heart and I listen and obey but there are still times I refuse.  Just as the Israelites refused so long ago, I choose battle instead of returning and resting in the Lord to be saved.  The good news is this: it continues on through the redemption and grace of God.


Please forgive my refusals.  Forgive my hard heart and hard head.  Please remove the obstacles I have placed in the way and help me find my way back, returning to you; resting in you.  I call on your unending grace and mercy today.  Amen.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

It is hard to see the beauty in everything... maybe my definition of beauty is twisted.  We are here for such a short time on earth and yet we make each day seem as if it is the most important.  When things do not go the way we want them to, we worry, we stress, we cry to God.  If we remember that we are eternal beings, maybe things going bad for a year or two or five would be easier to put into perspective.  God is who created us.  He is the one who hung the stars and moon in the sky along with all the planets and then created the largest animal and the smallest leaf!  He is a God of love and beauty, he is creator of all and we are called to sit in awe of him.  I am guilty of questioning God and his path for me but for today; join me in contemplating the beauty and the eternity of God.


Forgive me for thinking I might ever be able to wrap my mind around you.  We like to think we have things under control but we deceive ourselves.  Help us to see your beauty this day, this moment in time.  Help us see that you are the creator of all and that your creations are beautiful in your time.  Thank you for giving us this time, this earth, this journey.  Guide us on the journey so that we may be led closer and closer to you. Amen.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Acts 6:3 “Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task”

There are so many “menial” tasks to be done.  Cooking and cleaning, dusting and laundry and the lists continue.  When I ask my little boy to do something, he says “why do I have to do everything?!?”  Maybe this is how the disciples felt in this passage of Acts.  They were trying to teach and preach but they were too busy tending to the poor and needy.  As I watch the volunteers in my church maintaining the office duties I can see how it would be very easy to get bogged down.  They answer the phone, put the weekly bulletin together, work on the newsletter, assist with the food bank and there are interruptions all the time from people coming in for various meeting or other things.  If the pastor had to do all of that, how in the world would they find time to pray and teach?  Today I lift a prayer for those who serve in “menial” tasks.


I lift these many servants up to you this morning.  I pray the Spirit will uplift them in their service and they will find joy in their tasks, whatever they are.  I pray for leaders of the church – I pray that they find joy and thankfulness for these servants that allow them time to pray and teach. I pray the Spirit will fill all of these servants with wisdom to serve as you guide them to.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

John 7:37-38 “On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.  As the scripture has said ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water””

Living water paints a refreshing picture in my mind.  I see a crystal clear stream flowing through a green and lush meadow with tall trees shading the banks of the stream.  It is not silent flowing water, it dances over rocks in the stream bed and there are enticing splashing sounds over a small water fall.  The stream beckons to my thirst.  There is dryness in my mouth that I know will be satisfied by a long, cool drink from this stream.  I can almost taste the clean, cool water now.  Our soul thirsts for the living water Jesus offers.  He beckons to each of us to believe and to come and drink.  As we drink in his living water, it fills our soul and refreshes us.  It restores us and then from us the living waters flow to others.  This is the Spirit of God.  God pours his flowing living Spirit into our hearts and then the Spirit flows from our hearts bringing others to the living waters of God.  It is a beautiful picture in my heart and mind.

Thank you for your living word and living water.  I am continually refreshed by your Spirit through the grace of Jesus, my redeemer.  Allow me to be a channel for the flow of your living water to others so that all who are thirsty may come and partake in this beautiful living water.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight.”

I need to print this verse and paste it onto every book and tool I use for school.  As I prepare for school to start next week I hold trepidation in my heart.  How do I teach my daughter everything she needs to know in the best possible way?  How do I instill the love of learning in her heart?  I have curriculum for all of the subjects that need to be learned and the teaching manuals are pretty user friendly.  The struggle comes in teaching so she can learn and enjoy most of it.  The only way this year will be a success is if I lock this verse into my memory banks and my heart.  I need to keep it at the forefront of my mind and on the tip of my tongue so it is constantly there as a reminder of who is really in charge of our school and our learning.  He is invited to guide me as the teacher and my daughter as the student.  I prepare for this school year knowing we will both learn a lot if we will trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not rely on our own insight.

I teach because you lead me to teach.  Grant me the resources and support I need to be successful in teaching what you would have my children learn.  As they learn reading and writing, math and science, help them also learn to trust in you and not in their own knowledge.  As I teach and learn, help me trust in you as well.  Thank you for your promise to give what we truly seek.  Amen.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Genesis 2:7 “then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.”

Dust can be such a nuisance.  When we camped with my Dad earlier this summer, there was an abundance of dust.  My little boy played in the dust for hours each day and both kids were covered in it by the end of each day.  Kyle used his trucks and earth mover toys to push the soft dirt around and his imagination soared.  He had great fun.  Soft light brown dust is what I picture when I read this scripture.  Where I grew up the color of dirt and dust is light; there is not much substance to it.  The dirt that I garden with has substance.  It is dark and rich; you can smell the nutrients in it.  Either way, it is hard for me to imagine that dust or dirt being formed into a person.  God’s imagination is wild!  Every tree, plant and creature on this planet was created and designed by Him.  He took dirt and created.  He made all from nothing.  He made beautiful things from dust and gave them life.

When I revisit the creation story I am amazed all over again.  As I spend time with family and friends, as I sit under the shade of my tree and sip a cool drink help me remember this verse.  When I lament at the world and its brokenness, remind me that you make beautiful things from dust.  Thank you for the beauty you create out of what seems useless. Amen.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Psalm 6:9 “The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

Prayer is a blessing; it can also be a struggle.  I have a prayer journal that I write requests down in so I can pray for those people or circumstances on a regular basis.  I write them down so I remember them and so I can watch for the answer to prayers.  Before I was keeping my journal it was hard for me to see results of any kind in my prayer life.  I would pray for people and circumstances but then I would forget about them when the trouble ceased coming to my mind.  Through my journal I see sickness or trouble being transformed to healing and peace.  I see brokenness brought to wholeness.  There are some requests that I have not seen the answer I hope for yet.  There are some I may never see the answer because I cannot see a person’s heart.  The response God gives to prayer does not always happen in a snap of a finger or the length of time we seek.  It does not always happen in the way we think it would.  I know when we lift prayers of supplication to the Lord He hears and accepts our prayer.  Then we need to trust that He will do what is right and true.  That is the struggle.

You are sovereign, Ruler and Master of all.  Encourage us in our prayer times and help us see the answers you give clearly so we are encouraged even more.  Help our lack of faith, help us release our desires and turn our requests completely over to you.  Only you know what is right and true.  Amen.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

1 Peter 2:5 “like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

I think buildings built from stones are beautiful.  The builder finds the perfect stone to begin with, the cornerstone.  Then he chooses each stone after that based on how it will fit with the stones already laid.  It is like an intricate puzzle but the master knows each stone, he forms each stone for his purpose.  God shapes us into the living stone He needs for his holy temple.  Have you seen temples or churches that are made from stone?  Even though the stones are simply rocks from the ground they are placed together, side by side, layer by layer into a beautiful structure, a holy temple.  We are the holy temple of God.  When Jesus became our cornerstone we allowed the Spirit of God to come in and make us a living stone.  Rejoice in this today.  His kingdom is not somewhere and someday.  His kingdom is now and we are a part of his holy temple.  Let us offer spiritual sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving acceptable to God through Jesus.

As my kids collect little rocks and we look at the beauty in them, remind me of this verse in your word.  When they make towers out of Legos remind me we are all interlinked to work together. We are all living stones; we are all a part of your priesthood.  If we do not lift our voices, the stones of earth will cry out in praise.  I lift my voice in praise and worship to you, O God.  Amen.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Galatians 3:5 “Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law or by your believing what you heard?”

I am really struggling with this for some reason.  I thought I had moved passed this law versus grace thing in my journey but apparently not.  It looks like the Galatians were struggling with it too.  Paul is really laying it out to the Galatians in this passage.  He does not spell out what they were doing but he is very unhappy with their behavior based on the scolding he gives them.  I have a Christian friend who follows some of the Jewish law.  Her family observes Sabbath from Friday evening to Saturday evening.  They eat a kosher diet and they celebrate Jewish festivals.  I didn’t have the opportunity to talk with her about it before they moved away but it stirred up a lot of questions and this passage stirs up those questions again.  How should I be living my life?  Are there things I could be doing to live deeper in the Lord?  As I ponder those questions the answer seems so simple.  Believe in what you know and listen to the Spirit.

Help me let go of the ropes.  I like to try to run the show but I need to let go and let you.  Help me cling to what I know; Jesus is my Messiah, and your Spirit guides me as I listen.  Open my ears and my heart to your guidance as I continue to study your word and do your work in the world.  Amen.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

John 6:30-31 “Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat,’  Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.’”

I can already hear the voice of my little boy when he wakes up.  One of the first things he says is “Let’s eat breakfast.”  As it is in most households, our morning rituals include something to fill our tummies.  The bread we eat comes from the store and like the bread of bible times, it fills us up for a while and then we are hungry again.  We continue to feed out bodies as they continue to burn the food for fuel.  The true bread from heaven never wastes away; it does not get used up and need to be replenished.  Once we eat the true bread He stays with us, continuing to feed us.  Come receive the bread of life so that we are no longer hungry in our souls.  Come again not because we must, but because we can.  As we nourish our bodies again, let us renew the nourishment of our souls.


You are the bread of heaven.  You are the source of life.  I come to your table seeking refreshment knowing I have already received true bread.  I seek to grow in you more and more each day.  Renew your Spirit within me.  Help me share your Spirit with others so they, too, may receive true bread.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ephesians 3:7 “Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power.”

Doubt whispers in my ear.  Who am I to think I could write daily devotions?  How do I possibly think I am worthy?  As I read this passage of Paul’s letter I wonder if he heard the same voices occasionally.   We can wallow in those dark voices and allow them to stall us or we can listen to the voice of truth that reminds us we are forgiven children of God.  The grace of God overrides any voices of doubt or condemnation.  Paul was a persecutor of the gospel and the followers of it.  God struck him blind on the road to Damascus and brought healing and true sight to him over time.  As Paul began to understand and believe, he followed his calling to teach others what he now knew.  After years of living in ignorance I cracked open my bible and began to study God’s word.  God finally got my attention and his grace brings healing and true sight to me.  I cannot help but share what I experience.  It is through the grace of God that I have become a servant of the gospel.

You have given so much to us.  We trudge through our days unaware of the gifts we do not use.  Open our eyes as you did Paul’s so we truly see you and what you call us to do.  Pour your grace on us again so we become willing servants of your gospel truth, servants of you.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

John 3:1 “Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.”

Nicodemus had a quandary.  As a Pharisee there were expectations he had placed upon him, rules he was expected to follow and lead others to follow as well.  The rules had been written long ago and he was expected to help keep the status quo.  Jesus was stirring things up.  He was causing unrest in the people and unrest in Nicodemus.  Something was different about this man, Jesus.  Nicodemus meets with Jesus under cover of night.  I believe he did not want to be seen by anyone, he did not want to have to explain his actions.  He knew Jesus came from God, he proclaimed it that very night.  From then on Nicodemus is torn between what he believed and what he led others to believe.  He lived out his expectations as a Pharisee but two more times he is mentioned in the book of John stepping out of his role into faith in Jesus.  I am too much like Nicodemus.  I come to Jesus under cover of night.  During the day I live as people expect me to.  No one knows the struggle I hold in my heart between doing what is expected and following Jesus with abandon.  He calls to us, “Come.  Follow me.”

Your disciples followed you at all cost.  I live my comfortable life and follow you in a comfortable way.  When you call me out of my safe boundaries I balk.  Give me the courage to step out in faith; out of the darkness and into the light.  Lift my voice to shout from mountain tops, I am yours!  Amen.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body.  And be thankful.”

I woke with the song “O Holy Night” resonating in my heart and mind.  I do not remember the dream that preceded this song but the song continues on a repeating loop as I write.  It is strange to think of Christmas in August but the gift of Jesus at Christmas is something worth remembering all year long.  The peace of Christ that Paul writes to the Colossians about in this letter came on that Christmas night long ago.  It has never left.  Throughout his life he lived in peace and taught others the same.  Even in the garden when he was being arrested, he called off his disciples when they fought back; he knew his peace would reign forever.  We look at our world today and there is much strife, war never ceases.  In the midst of strife and war, if we look closely, we see peace intertwined.  In this battle of spirits there may be moments of to anger and hatred, but peace and love sweep in and turn the battle back.  Call on His name; let His peace fill you once again.  When we claim Jesus, his peace fills our hearts and souls.  Of this, we are thankful indeed.

World peace seems like a pipe dream but someday it will become a reality.  In the meantime, I ask you to fill my heart, fill the hearts of all who will receive, with your peace.  Let your peace rule our days.  Thank you for your everlasting grace and love.  Thank you for your peace.  Amen.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Psalm 34:1 “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

I had just walked back down the stairs after quietly telling my son he needed to stay in his room.  I walked down the stairs in prayer asking that I would be granted a quiet time despite my boy already being awake.  When I looked up this Psalm I felt ashamed.  All through scripture there are reminders to praise and worship; extol and lift up the Lord.  Be thankful always and be joyful.  Paul tells us these things again in 1 Thessalonians.  Be joyful, pray without ceasing, give thanks in everything, do good things...  As the Lord lifts the guilt from my heart for not always being thankful and I feel the gentle nudge of joy seeping in I relax into the “sonshine” and warmth of the Lord.  I lift a prayer for family and friends; I lift prayers for my neighbors and nation.  I lift a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for the blessings God has given me.  I lift praises to Him for redeeming me; for redeeming all.  Psalm 34:3 says “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.”  Let us lift our hearts, hands and voices in exaltation today!

Thank you for forgiving me yesterday, today and tomorrow.  It is only through Jesus that I am made righteous to come into your presence.  I come blessing your holy name, joining together with many voices in praise and adoration.  I pray to you and lift praise to you this moment; this day.  I rejoice in you always and in all ways.  Amen.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

1 Peter 2:17 “Honor everyone.  Love the family of believers.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor.”

This verse is easy to say, challenging to follow.  I say I honor everyone but when I review my thoughts and deeper feelings, do I truly honor everyone?  Do I respect each person as I am called to?  I respect a person dressed in business attire and a conservative hair style but do I respect and honor the person who wears torn jeans and has a purple stripe in their hair?  I honor parents and children in the neighborhood but do I honor my husband and my own children?  I love the people in church who I know and get along with but do I love the people in church who rub me the wrong way or don’t have anything in common with me?  Do I honor the leaders of my country?  How do I look past what I disagree with in people and look deeper into the heart?  Peter says “Fear God.”  I believe this is the path to the other challenges he laid down.  Honor God most of all, love and respect and bow to Him; this is where I start.  Through this action I feel love and honor for the people around me.  Through the Spirit of God, I see beauty and the love each person deserves and I am able to honor them, with God’s help.

Change my view to see as you see.  Change my heart to live as you guide me to.  I am challenged to honor everyone, love everyone, honor authority and bow deepest to you.  Help me live as you call me to live.  Amen.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

John 11:44 “The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth.  Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’”

Jesus knew Lazarus was sick, he had been sent for by Mary and Martha to come and heal him.  Jesus chose not to come at that time saying Lazarus would not die but his illness would glorify the Lord.  He stayed where he was two days longer before his disciples urged him to go see Lazarus.  When they arrived Lazarus had been dead four days.  Jesus knew he had passed and told his disciples he was going to wake him up.  He saw Martha crying, He saw Mary crying along with many of their friends and because he loved them, he cried.  His heart was burdened and heavy with their grief; his heart is burdened and heavy with our grief.  When Lazarus came out of the tomb I suspect, after the initial shock of it all, there was a great celebration.  The story of Lazarus death and resurrection is a story of new life.  Just as he died and was raised by Jesus, so are we.  When we claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we die unto sin and step in a new life with him.  Whenever this happens, there is a great celebration and all the saints rejoice.  Praise be to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Thank you for the gift of redemption you brought to us all.  Open our eyes to see our own resurrection and how miraculous it is.  You weep with and you celebrate with us, you are Emmanuel, you are with us.  Hallelujah!  Amen.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Isaiah 35:6-7 “...For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water...”

Great Sand Dunes National Park is in southern Colorado.  In the middle of a mountain range there is this 29 miles of desert.  People visit there and climb the vast hills of nothing but sand.  The sand gets very hot in mid-day but if you visit at the right time of year there is a stream of water that runs at the base of the dunes.  Up on the dunes all you see is sand.  When you climb back down there is water, trees, life springs forth.  God’s grace is like a refreshing stream of water cooling the burning hot sand in the wilderness.  His grace brings foliage and growth, pools of water in the midst of a desert.  Our spiritual wilderness can be a chosen time that we step away from everything for some solitude.  It can also be a time of trial and loneliness we have not chosen.  Either way, the Lord is with us during these times.  We may feel the hot sand burning our feet but his cool waters are nearby and will soothe and cool us; He will refresh us.  He promises to deliver us and bring us everlasting joy.  Step out of the desert and into the oasis of God’s grace today.

Thank you for refreshing streams and pools of cool water in the midst of deserts.  Thank you for your grace that refreshes our souls wherever we are and whatever we are going through.  Lift our hearts in joy as we receive renewal from you today.  Amen.