Monday, September 30, 2013

Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full.”

This verse seems to be a continuation from the scripture that was read in church yesterday.  There are numerous passages in the bible that talk about caring for the poor.  We know nothing of poverty; most of us cannot even begin to fathom it.  We live in abundance and even those who beg on the street are not as poor as some in other places in this world.  I was called out yesterday.  I have a can or two of food in my car to pass out on the street corner and I donate money to the church to help the needy, but then I turn right around and come back to my cozy warm house and my refrigerator full of food.  I have never even gone to a homeless shelter or to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving Day.  I live with blinders on most of the time.  I cannot take my children and go crawl under the viaducts in Denver searching out the poor and needy because I am called to keep them safe and out of harm’s way as much as I can but I have been called out to do more.  I need to bridge the gap as the pastor so aptly put it.  Will you join me?

Only you know how I can serve, please guide me toward your purpose.  I long to be a better disciple every day and with you as my guide, it will happen.  I lift the poor, homeless and down trodden in prayer this morning.  Help me lift them with my hand as well.  Amen.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

2 Kings 22:11 “When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.”

Earlier in this chapter scripture says “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord... he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.”  When the book of the law was discovered and brought to the king, he was forlorn.  He went into mourning for his nation and then he systematically went through the nation eradicating the idols and places of worship that were not for the God of gods.  He scrubbed his nation clean of sin as much as he could.  Years ago I went on a spiritual retreat.  My spiritual director at the time (I didn't call her that but she was that) gave me a ritual to follow so I could release the past that haunted and taunted me and begin to move forward anew.  In a way, it was a ritual to eradicate the “idols” and things that kept me from worshipping the one true God.  The symbolism was powerful at the time and I can still remember that moment of release.  As I look at my life currently, I realize there are things that are, again, keeping me from worshipping in truth.  Are there idols in your life and heart?  Are there things you need to eradicate from your world?

You know our hearts and you know we long to worship you in truth and in light.  We come to you seeking guidance and cleansing so that we can release those things that keep us from living fully in you and in your kingdom.  Help us move closer to you each day until the day you come.  Amen.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

John 3:5 “Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.’”
This verse still has me thinking even as I attempt to write about it.  Water is the life source on earth.  Without it nothing can survive; all things would perish.  Spirit is the life source for souls.  Without Spirit our souls cannot survive, they would perish.  When we are created we are filled with a spirit and our bodies are filled with water.  We are born through the waters of the womb into a world of water and earth.  From that moment on we search, on a spiritual level, for the Spirit to nurture our souls.  The water of baptism is a symbol of being cleansed and renewed, born new into the Spirit of God.  When we accept the truth of God we are born into His kingdom.  As the waters recede from the floods in Colorado, we will see renewal and new growth.  Let this be a reminder of the renewal in the kingdom of God.  As we move into our day, washing dishes, doing laundry and daily tasks, let the sound of water remind us of the renewal we are offered in water and Spirit through Jesus.  Then take a moment and thank God for his kingdom and the path he shows us so clearly.

Help us understand as Nicodemus sought to understand.  We do not always grasp your message but our spirit speaks with yours and the message comes through.  Cleanse and renew us, help us live in your kingdom even now.  Amen.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Psalm 136:1-2 “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.  O give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

I am blessed.  When I take time to think about it I cannot begin to count the blessings that God has given me.  He does not just bless me though, He blesses us all.  He blesses us with homes and family, friends and neighbors.  He blesses us with challenges and hardships so that we can grow in ways He knows we need to grow in.  He blesses us with seasons.  Spring brings renewed growth and warmth of days, summer brings long hours of sunshine and days of play and rest.  Fall comes with a crispness of air and colors in the foliage to brighten cloudy days and winter brings quiet rest and cold crisp snow that waters the earth.  All these seasons bless us in ways we do not always see.  He blesses us with his love that endures forever.  I encourage you to take some time today and search your heart for the blessings in your life.  When you find them thank the Lord for he is good and his love does endure forever.

We are blessed beyond measure; forgive us for not seeing the blessings and not thanking you for them.  Open our eyes to see the many blessings you shower on us each day.  We are blessed through your word and through community, through struggle and ease, through friends and family... it is an unending list just like your unending love.  Thank you Lord.  Amen.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Joshua 5: 14 “... And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and he said to him, ‘What do you command your servant, my lord?’”

I am not sure what my response would be under these same circumstances.  Joshua is in the presence of the commander of the army of the Lord.  He looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a sword.  If I saw someone standing in front of me with a deadly weapon I would tremble.  Maybe Joshua trembled but he confronted him to find out who he was.  When he was told, he fell to the ground in worship and asked what the commander wanted.  I cannot imagine another response.  When I read this passage I began to wonder if we miss these moments or if they just don’t happen.  Do we receive direction from the Lord through angels or other people and not even recognize that we have had an encounter with the Divine?  I know it has been a LONG time since I fell to the ground in front of the Lord and at that moment it was not for worship.  Do I stand on holy ground and ignore the presence and voice of the Lord?  In this world of technology and distraction, chaos and business I suspect we miss these moments more than we realize.

Please forgive my callousness to your presence and guidance.  Remove the blinders and distractions I have in place so that I cannot miss your presence and guidance.  Thank you for your messages, your guidance and your mercy.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hebrews 12:14-15 “Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled.”

I have written about my garden before but I couldn't help writing about it again.  Gardening is not a passive pursuit, at least not in Colorado.  The plants I want to grow need nurturing and tending.  I need to go out there and water and prune and harvest regularly.  I could grow weeds without even trying; I think weeds will grow anywhere!  If I am not careful they sneak in between my good plants.  Their roots go deep into the soil tangling with the roots of my plants.  The roots of bitterness mentioned in these verses work the same way.  They sneak their way into our hearts without us every realizing it and they begin to uproot the good fruits that are growing in us.  They can defile the fruit that comes from our hearts and in turn defile the hearts of others we pass that bitterness on to.  This is why we come to the Lord.  He is the Master Gardener and will destroy any bitter roots that cause trouble to our spirit.  When we come to the Lord, we pursue peace and we seek his holiness; in turn we are able to go forth pursuing peace with everyone.

Search our hearts for bitterness and trouble.  Prune and tend our hearts with your peace and holiness so that we are able to pass those blessings on as you call us to.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ezekiel 14:6 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.”

Elders came to seek counsel with Ezekiel and this is the result.  God is angry because they come with hearts filled with idols, stumbling over their sins.  When I look around our society I wonder about idols.  We have sports players that are icons to many kids and adults but they are human and fallible.  We have numerous television shows that search out the best talents in singing or dancing or numerous other entertainments.  One show even has the word idol in its name.  We use that term loosely in this society don’t we?  How often do we come to the Lord filled with our idols and stumbling over our sins without even being aware?  God has made it clear throughout the bible that He does not want to share our worship with anyone or anything else.  We can enjoy the talents and competitions on the TV, we can cheer for our sports teams but we need to keep those things and people in proper context.  When we come to the Lord, ask Him to search our hearts so we know we come cleansed of sin and free of idols.  When we seek his help, he is faithful.

Help us see clearly the ways we are drawn away from you and to others.  Help us keep you as our top priority, our only focus.  When we seek you first, all sin falls away.  Open our eyes, ears and hearts to receive you and only you.  Amen.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Galatians 1:6-7 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

Oh, how easily the Galatians were deceived and drawn astray... our generations are not like that; or are we?  I think back to the story of Jim Jones in the 1970’s who led a group of people to their deaths.  He preached something to them that made them turn to his ways rather than the true gospel.  TV evangelism has been plagued with controversy and mockery for a long time but so many people send their life savings and follow their teaching as a gospel whether or not it is the true gospel.  Whenever I hear of a mega-church where thousands are drawn in I wonder if the gospel is being preached in truth there too.  I am not the one to say who is preaching truth and who is preaching lies;  I am saying we need to search our hearts diligently and pray to the one true God to lead us in truth and keep us from being deceived.  Just as there were many deceptions for the Galatians, there are many for us today.  Only His truth will set us free.

Forgive us for listening to other voices and being drawn away from your gospel truth.  Rescue us from any deception that has its grip on us and bring us back to wholeness in your gospel, in your truth.  I ask this through the redeeming love of Jesus Christ and for the glory of your kingdom.  Amen.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Don't judge, don't condemn, forgive; easier said than done at times.  I was sitting in a park while the kids played.  I looked over to a nearby bench and saw a man lying down, asleep.  This sparked conversation with my mother in law about homelessness.  Several minutes later the pool building was ready to open and the man rose from the bench to go in.  He was clean cut, his clothes were clean and nice and the bag that was his pillow appeared to hold a laptop computer.  He was not homeless... did I judge?  How often do I condemn kids I see on the street or my own kids as guilty without hearing their story?  If I hear I do not truly listen because I have already made up my mind... condemned... then there is forgiveness.  That is a whole other level isn't it?  It only takes a few minutes of remembering the grace I have received before I know that I must pass that along to others.  I am not judged without grace; I can bypass judging others.  Grace overrides any condemnation I receive and so I am able to override condemnation I would pass on others.  By grace I am forgiven and by grace I am able to forgive.

Thank you for grace.  You do not judge or condemn without grace and you teach us to do the same.  We receive your forgiveness through grace and ask us to do the same.  Help us grow stronger in your grace each day.  Amen.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Blessings to you!  I will be off the grid for the next several days so there will be a break in posts on my blog.  I will be back to posting next Sunday the 22nd but until then, may God be with you.

Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”

This passage was part of the readings in church yesterday.  When we came to this verse in the reading my heart nearly jumped from my chest!  The joy of the Lord is my is indeed.  When I was young and would sing the song with these words in it I always thought it meant as I grew stronger so would my joy in the Lord.  When I thought about this statement again recently I realized it is two sided.  My joy in the Lord is my strength and the Lord’s joy in me is my strength.  Both of these things feed me when I am enduring trials and temptation.  I cling to the Lord and he strengthens me.  I also cling to the faith that as I endure the Lord delights in me.  There are other wonderful verses in this simple song to the Lord that come to my mind occasionally and each of them causes me to pause and ponder the true meaning behind the words.  Today we keep the words of Ezra in our hearts; we go our way, eat and drink, sharing with others and rejoicing in this holy day of the Lord for the joy of the Lord is our strength!

Thank you for joy and strength, love and guidance.  Fill our hearts with your joy and joy for you as we go into another day of unknown blessings from you.  Amen.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

James 2:18 “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’  Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.”

Actions speak louder than words.  On the surface it could be read that James says we are justified by works and not by faith but if we read more deeply he says our works speak to our faith.  He is saying actions speak louder than words.  I can proclaim my love of the Lord to all I see and know but if I do not follow my words with acts of love I preach a false message.  When we are filled with the love of God, how can we not act in love?  The question I ask myself this morning is how do I show my faith?    James says the royal law is to love our neighbors as ourselves.  If we show love to our neighbors this would speak to our faith, would it not?  I can sit in my house and pray for my neighbor which is good but I can also go to my neighbor bringing love to them in action.  Feeding the homeless, donating and provided food and shelter for those who have none, donating time and energy to assist those in need; these are works that show faith, these are ways to love our neighbor.  As our faith grows so should our works.  This is not because works justify us but works show our faith and spread the word of Love.  We can show we are Christians by our love...

I come to you again this morning asking forgiveness for my idleness and inaction.  Please guide my mind, heart and hands in your Divine Love.  Help me be an agent of Love to others so they too come to have faith.  Amen.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Genesis 3:8 “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

My four year old son and his friend were playing yesterday.  When I came down stairs they both had innocent looks and said “nothing, nothing!”  What they don’t realize is that when they try to act innocent or run and hide from me it tells me right away I need to find out what they are up to.  When I come into a room where they are playing and I hear them say “hurry, hide” I know they are likely up to no good.  This is how I see this part of the story of Adam and Eve.  They had disobeyed God and were trying to cover themselves from nakedness when they hear God coming.  I can almost hear their voices saying “hurry, hide!”  Just as I know I need to call my kids out, God calls them out as well.   We cannot deceive Him or hide from him.  Our sins are already known by him but He calls us out so we can come clean and start over.  Even in His disappointment, he does not cut off relationship with us; He cleanses and renews us, and starts again.  Our God is an Awesome God!

Forgive us for trying to hide our failings from you.  Help us come out from hiding to confess our sins and renew our relationship with you.  Strengthen our trust in you for all things until we only rely on you, and live in truth always.  Amen. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Colossians 1:13-14 “He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

How do you experience forgiveness?  What does it feel like to forgive someone else; what does it feel like to forgive your own self?  Do you accept the forgiveness offered through Jesus?  These are the questions rattling through me this morning.  As I prayed for light and love to surround my loved ones and all those I lifted in prayer I realized I had not sought forgiveness for my sins or the cleansing purification that comes through his forgiveness.  For me, forgiveness feels like coming from a mud pit into a warm soothing shower or coming from being weighed down by heavy magnets to floating and flying in joy and light.  It is like coming from shadows and darkness where I cannot see and having light and warmth fill me until I glow in the light and love of the Lord.  We all commit sin but we must not abide in sin.  When we sin, we have the hope to call on the Lord to cleanse us, purify us and make us like him.  On this rainy, rainy day in Colorado let the raindrops remind us of forgiveness.  Let the rain help us release our sins and be washed clean in the forgiveness of the Lord.

The rain is relentless right now; keep us safe and protected from damage and harm.  Allow us to see beyond destruction of the water to newness and renewal it will bring.  I pray your forgiveness will wash away our sins like rain.  Amen.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Exodus 3:2 “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.”

Have you seen the horses that wear blinders near their eyes so they can only look forward?  It keeps them from being spooked or distracted by things going on around them.  I believe we live with blinders on most of the time.  We are taught from a young age not to stare at something or someone that is different.  We avert our eyes from anything we think is not good or right.  What if Moses had done that same thing when the burning bush appeared?  The scripture does not say he approached to put out flames or that he was worried about the blaze catching the desert on fire; he was intrigued and saw that the fire did not consume the bush.  He experienced the Lord in a whole new way because he looked and saw; he did not run away.  How has the Lord appeared to us and we either discounted it or averted our eyes because of fear or discomfort?  Invite the Lord to show you a burning bush.  His fire burns but it does not consume so let’s join Moses in coming closer to see this great sight.

Your fire still burns, light it anew in our hearts.  Take the embers and coals and heat them again with your blaze bringing us from cool to blazing hot with your love.  Keep your fire burning within us letting nothing douse it so that we are led by it always.  Thank you for opening Moses’ eyes and thank you for opening our eyes too.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Isaiah 30:18 “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you.  For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.”

Waiting is not my strength.  I know I have written about this in the past and sad to say, I am not much better at waiting than I used to be.  On this day of remembrance I look back over the history of our country.  Waiting is not something we, as a nation, have been very good at either.  When we face adversity we bind together and become a strong and united force.  We rush forth to do justice, redeem the situation or strike back for injustice that has been committed against us.  How often do we wait for the Lord?  How often do we seek His grace and mercy in the midst of adversity or any other time?  When things are flowing smoothly it is easy to see and feel the grace of God pouring down over us but when the going gets tough, we often get tough right along with it.  For one moment let us lay down our personal agendas, our national agendas and whatever else we hold tight in our fists.  Let us open our hearts and hand to the Lord and wait for Him.  He waits for us, He will be gracious and merciful to us if we will just receive it.

Help us release to receive, guide us in waiting as you wait for us.  Allow us to feel and see your grace and mercy in the midst of our day today.  Thank you for all of the blessings you give us, apparent and disguised.  Thank you Almighty God.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Psalm 34:8 “O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.”

I give you fair warning: this devotion could make you hungry!  What is your favorite food?  My kids know my common answer is ice cream.  I love that smooth cold vanilla flavor melting in my mouth; sweet and summery, not too strong.  There are other things I love the taste of: Tiramisu – that dessert transports not only my taste buds but my whole being to another realm!  I love the taste of warm pumpkin bread on a crisp fall morning; deep and rich.  There is also the aroma and taste of a hearty tomato meat sauce simmering to make lasagna...  when you taste something so good it does not only tantalize the taste buds.  Good tastings soothe you, renew you, and refresh you.  This is a small glimpse of what it is like to taste the Lord.  Try a sampling, just a small bite and He will transport you to a place beyond your imagination!  The Lord is good and He brings us true happiness and joy. 

As we partake in food today, let us pause to remember to taste your goodness as well.  You are ever present and in the midst of our meals, we can taste your blessings and goodness.  In the midst of chores, tasks, appointments; wherever we are we can taste you and your goodness.  Thank you Lord!  Amen.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Job 19:25 “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;”

I woke up late this morning... sigh.  I didn’t even hear the alarm much less cognitively turn it off before I rolled over back to sleep.  When I finally woke up I was sad to realize that I cannot get that time back so I must rush around a bit more this morning since we have more on our schedule today than past Mondays.  I couldn't really concentrate beyond my prayers for others and there was no quieting of my mind.  Despite all that, I feel the presence of God with me.  He has given me a song in my heart today to soothe the frayed edges of busy moments.  I write to share this song with you today; it comes from the book of Job.  Regardless of what our day holds and what we have on our schedule; regardless of what weighs on our minds and our hearts there is something we must remember and hold fast to in every moment:  our Redeemer lives!  As we work and play, pray and rest, eat and fellowship let us also rejoice that He will stand upon the earth and we will be welcomed home!

Thank you so much for your unending mercy and the blessing of song in my heart.  Let my actions and words be a blessing to you and the song of my heart be an offering to you.  You are my blessed Redeemer, Hallelujah and Amen!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

John 14:15-16 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.”

Since He created us He has sought our love.  Since He created us we have fallen short of the love He created us for.  When we live in love, we follow Jesus commandments.  He told us to love God and love each other.  Why is this so hard?  It is hard when we turn away from God and toward our selves.  I get wrapped up in my day, my agenda, my worries, my sufferings and before I know it I have forgotten anyone else around me.  Each time I stop loving it is like a shield of stone is put up.  If I am not careful I will be surrounded in stone shields and love will be blocked from coming in or going out.  Even then we are not alone.  In this passage Jesus promises to send another Advocate.  Even in the midst of our stone shields the Advocate, the Spirit, will break through and tear down those walls when we call out to the Lord.  If you are in a moment filled with Love, rejoice and give thanks.  If you are in a moment of stone shields and cold hearts, take courage in these verses and call on the Lord so you can be released and filled with His love again.  Rejoice, and go forth in love!

Thank you for your love and your promise to be with us forever.  Give us courage through your Spirit to go out in love; loving God and loving others.  In this way we can be agents of your kingdom and beacons of Light.  Amen.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Daniel 9:3 “Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.”

I am not Catholic but I became aware of a call from the Pope to spend a day of prayer and fasting today regarding the state of affairs around Syria.  As I sat in my quiet time and sipped my coffee I suddenly remembered my plan to fast.  The realization slowly came to me that this would not be easy to accomplish.  I had already blown the beginning of the day but that doesn't mean I should give up.  I thought maybe I could go for a walk or sit in my church and pray during lunch and then I remembered my husband needs to work today so I have the kids; sigh.  I will fast and pray but it will not look or feel like one of depth.  I take heart in knowing there are many praying over this troubled situation and not just today.  When we turn to the Lord our God in prayer, He longs to hear our deepest hearts desires.  He longs to commune with us and speak to us about his desires as well.  When we step away from our normal routine I think it helps us get in touch with the Divine.  When we cleanse our bodies and spirits of daily toxins, we are better able to function.  Let us pray...

You know our hearts and our worries; you know our words before we even speak them.  Guide our prayers and words as we lift them to you this day.  Hear the prayers of many and shower your mercy on us.  May your kingdom and purpose be fulfilled.  Amen.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hebrews 7:24-25 “but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.  Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

This passage in Hebrews brings peace and comfort to my soul this morning.  I have known for many years that Jesus is my intercessor to God but hearing again this morning helped me relax in the arms of Love instead of feeling the need to grovel.  I do not need to bring my own sacrifice to the table for my sins, Jesus has done that already.  So I come in joy and peace, I come in praise and thanksgiving and I bring whatever I can offer as a thank offering for the gift of salvation and the eternal grace He offers to everyone.  As our church prepares to welcome a new pastor I hope we remember she comes to the Lord just as the rest of us do; she comes as a sinner redeemed through the sacrifices of the eternal High Priest Jesus.  Some people are called to serve as priests or pastors but they can only serve for a blink of an eye because they are human.  Jesus priesthood lasts forever and the blessing for today is that because he lives forever, he always stands in the gap for us; he will always be the gateway to grace and forgiveness.  Join me in basking in the grace of our Lord!

Thank you for your eternal grace and love.  Thank you for scripture to remind us that we cannot achieve perfection; thank you for sending your eternal High Priest, Jesus the Christ who continues to bridge the gap forever. Amen.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Isaiah 55:12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

I have a few favorite coffee mugs that I like to use.  When I open my cupboard in the morning the messages on the mugs wait for me.  Faith... children... Jesus; which cup today?  I chose the one with fireworks on it with a message to celebrate Jesus.  This verse in Isaiah encourages us to continue the celebration.  Regardless of what is going on in our lives and our world one thing is constant and unchanging; God loves us and Jesus is our redeemer.  This is cause for celebration and so I search for joy in my heart this morning.  I ponder blessings and joyful things to bring my heart to a place of true and deep joy in the Lord.  Let us lay down our burdens at the door and kick off our shoes.  Come out into the fresh air and dance with me in joy for the love of the Lord.  Listen for the songs of the mountains and hills for they burst into song.  Look at the trees and join them in clapping hands to praise our Lord.  As we do this, we will be filled with his holy peace; what a blessing!

Thank you for your beautiful words this morning.  Thank you for celebrations and the reminder to step out in your joy.  We have much to be joyful for, help us see it anew.  Release us from burdens so we can dance in joy and be filled with your holy peace this day. Let me join the songs of the mountains and clap my hands with the trees in praise to you.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Matthew 7:26 “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”

I have not been to the beach in quite a while but I can still remember the feel of the hot sand under my feet.  When you walk in the sand it shifts under your feet so it is a real workout to get to wear you are going.  I don't know any kid who doesn't love to play in the sand.  They build sand castles or sand sculptures with their shovels and buckets and whatever other tools they can find.  I have even seen pictures of competitions with huge elaborate sand sculptures that I cannot fathom making myself.  No matter what we build with sand or on sand it is only a matter of time before the waves and winds tear it down.  Sand is not stable; it is a shifting sea of tiny pebbles.  If we want a stable foundation we need to build on solid rock.    This passage reminds us that Jesus is the solid rock for the foundation of our faith.  Hear his words and act on them so that we are not fools building our house on the sand!


You are the rock and the cornerstone of our faith.  Without you our faith will tumble into the ocean and wash away in the waves.  Open our ears to hear your words for us today and guide our steps in wisdom, not foolishness.  Help us build on you, acting on your word, living as you call us to.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ephesians 5:15-16 “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.”

I hope someday I am wise.  I remember years ago my oldest daughter telling me that gray hair was a sign of wisdom and in a strange way I think she may be right.  The experiences we live through and learn from in this life can bring us wisdom as we change and grow from what we have learned.  The task is learning from our experiences.  The nations are at each other’s throats again and I wonder if nations can ever be wise.  We live in a nation that does not stand by.  Since the inception of the United States, we have been a nation who has fought for what we believe in.  The struggle is I am not sure we know what we believe in anymore.  Is our nation living as a wise people making the most of our time?  I cannot answer this in truth, I do not know.  I must release the nations and their actions to God.  I pray that He will use the nations to serve His purpose regardless of their own agendas.  As I turn to look at my own heart, do I live as a wise person or unwise?  Am I careful how I live, making the most of my time?  As I prepare for another day I keep these questions tucked in my mind so that I can question and seek to live in wisdom.  As I pray for wisdom in the battle of nations I also pray for wisdom in the battle of souls.  I trust and know that evil will not prevail for the Lord is good.

You know our hearts and you know the hearts of the leaders of nations.  I pray for all of these souls this day.  Guide each of us in wisdom and not in our own agendas.  Help us make the most of the time serving you and your kingdom with all we do so the days of evil can end forever.  All glory and honor to you, our true Ruler and King.  Amen.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Habakkuk 2:3 “For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie.  If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.”

There is much unrest in the world today.  I hesitate to watch or read the news because it causes distress in my soul.  The Middle East has been a tumultuous place for eons and will be until the end that Habakkuk writes about and I watch our nation with trepidation.  People have been looking for the end almost since the beginning.  I confess I am no different.  I do not look forward to the unrest and trials of the end times, I do not look forward to the dark days before end times but I am not convinced that we are not in the dark days now.  The hope I hold in my heart is this:  There is still a vision for the appointed time.  With all that is happening in the world there is still a plan.  With the darkness that seems to reign in power, there is still a Higher Power that rules above all.  I put my hope and trust in the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings.  No matter what the nations and leaders in this world decide to do, I know who the Master Orchestrator is and I trust that His vision will surely come.


Let us not lose hope in our hearts.  Thank you for this passage in Habakkuk to remind us that you are the true God and your vision will come in the appointed time, we simply need to wait.  Strengthen our faith where it is weak so that we may stand in your glory in your appointed time, and guide to do your work in the world while we wait.  Amen.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Matthew 8:29 “Suddenly they shouted, ‘What have you to do with us, Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time?’”

Whenever I read scripture about Jesus and demons I am taken aback.  How many stories are there where Jesus provides healing, teaching and service to people and yet they do not see and do not believe?  They question him, they doubt him and in the end they kill him.  The stories in scripture that tell of Jesus dealing with demons often clearly state the demons know who he is.  Not only do they know him, they are terrified of him.  This story in Matthew is a prime example.  These demons have been tormenting people so much that no one could pass through this way at all.  As soon as Jesus arrives they are shouting out to him, but not in torment and fierceness but in fear.  He casts the demons out with one word – “Go!”  I don’t know about you but when I read this passage, I remember who is the all-powerful and the ruler over all things.  I remember that he loves me and you and that at the end of the day, he redeems us all.  Let this story encourage you and strengthen you for the Lord is our God!

Thank you for your almighty strength and your unending mercy.  Help this story soak into our hearts so we recall it with ease when we feel tormented or fearful.  You have power over everything and you chose us to be your children.  Let us claim the peace and love you give.  Amen.