Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mark 12:30-31 “you shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Halloween is my least favorite holiday.  I don’t really remember when my heart changed from enjoying the candy and dressing up to wishing it would simply go away.  Yesterday my seven year old asked me what my favorite part of Halloween was.  I finally came up with candy corn.  I know several people that love this day.  They look forward to it with relish and glee.  I cannot understand it; believe me I have tried.  As I prepare my kids in their costumes and pass candy out to the neighbor kids I will keep this passage in Mark in my heart.  This is the only evening of the year I will see many of my neighbors and their children.  This is a night where kids are filled with happiness and maybe the only night they receive something for nothing.  Maybe I can find a way to make this night a manifestation of love.  I am sure going to try.

Let your love fill my heart today so that I am able to love you and love others as you teach us to.  Protect the children and people out and about tonight and keep all of us safe in your arms.  I pray the love of Jesus would permeate this evening for your glory and your kingdom.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”

Amen, Hallelujah, right on brother!  I am certain when Paul wrote this letter he never thought his words would be used as scripture.  Could he fathom his letters being studied and memorized phrase by phrase to keep believers growing in the heart of the Lord?  I seriously doubt it.  Yet, many of the best known verses are writings of Paul.  The scripture he was referring to in his letter was the Old Testament.  It is easy for us to discount the Old Testament writings as no longer relevant.  Why do we need it since we have the New Testament; isn’t newer better?  We are no longer under the law since we have been washed in the redemption of the Jesus and we live in His grace.  Only since I have begun deeper study of God’s word have I truly realized the grace and love of God flowed through the Old Testament just as it does in the New.  I love to study scripture and the more I read and learn the more I can say Amen and Hallelujah to this statement from Paul.

I cannot begin to thank you enough for the scriptures that I have at my fingertips whenever I want it.  I pray for those who do not have it or risk their very lives to have it.  Pour your words into our souls so we hold it with us wherever we are, whatever we do, wherever we go.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ecclesiastes 5:2 “Never be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be quick to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few.”

It is hard to listen when we are talking.  I heard these very words come from my mouth to one of my children within the last few days.  Oh, we are capable of hearing while talking but hearing is not listening.  We have something we want to say and it seems to take precedence over whatever we may need to hear.  When I read this passage I had to stop and really think about how I could benefit from its words.  I mean, we can take anything and everything to God; He is here among us not in some distant land, right?  I know there are times I come to Him and in my prayer I never stop “talking”, I never stop to listen.  He is in heaven; He is above all and all wise and yet I ask and ask for things I know nothing about with my tiny limited view.  As I continue to study the word of the Lord I realize I know so little and so, as a student and disciple it would be best for me to do more listening and a lot less talking.  I know I can come to the Lord with anything at any time.  I do believe it should not be frivolous. 

I come to listen and learn.  Silence the requests and concerns, quiet the chatter and chaos and open my ears and hands to receive what you would share today.  Guide us all in your divine way and your path of righteousness.  I ask these things in Jesus name and now I wait and listen... Amen

Monday, October 28, 2013

Psalm 40:3 “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”

This Psalm is beautiful to read if you have ever been in the “desolate pit” as it is written.  We all go through times of being there and when we are in the middle of it, we strain to see or feel the Lord in there with us.  When I am in the bog of mire it takes me a while to muster the voice to call out to Him.  Sometimes it takes me a while to realize I am even in trouble.  Life can be going along pretty well, all things are aligned and flowing smoothly and then it flows smoothly right down into the miry bog.  Oops!  How did this happen?  The good news is that when we are there, we can cry out to the Lord and He hears us.  We can still seek the Lord and find Him there.  He will draw us up and set our feet upon a rock making our steps secure again.  In that moment, He puts a new song in our mouths, a song of praise.  If you are in the pit, trust and wait on the Lord, He will come.  If you are not in the pit, lift your voice in praise to the Lord that your feet are stepping firmly because of Him.  Keep praising and praying striving to be faithful as He is to us.

Thank you for blessing us with your presence and grace.  Thank you for hearing our cries and coming to our rescue again and again.  Help us wait for you.  Open our mouths in praise and thanksgiving to you so others may learn of your great love.  I praise you today.  Amen.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Romans 8:31 “What then are we to say about these things?  If God is for us, who is against us?”

Patriotism runs deep.  We learn it from the time we start school with the pledge of allegiance.  We learn to stand up for our team, our family, our nation.  We learn how to be loyal to important things and this is a good lesson.  As I was praying over this verse I thought about the nations and the divisiveness that is in today’s world.  The breakdown of unity is everywhere, it infiltrates everything.  This verse calls me to remember and celebrate that there is something bigger than that.  There is something bigger than loyalty to teams, family and nation.  There is God.  I am pretty sure He does not really care who wins the World Series or who wins the high school football championship.  I am not sure he even cares about the boundaries drawn in the sand from one nation to another.  I believe He cares for us individually and as a people.  As we come under his wing and learn to be loyal to Him as our Lord, we can begin to claim the strength and hope in this verse.  If the King of all, the Creator of all we know and things we do not know, our Savior and Redeemer stands for us, who stands against us? Nothing can stand against the Almighty and so I lift my hands in praise to Him this morning.

You are mine and I am yours, all else will fade in time.  When I become discouraged bring the hope of this message to me again.  Thank you for your love and mercy today and always.  Help me be merciful and loving to others.   Amen.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lamentations 3:40-41 “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord.  Let us lift up our hearts as well as our hands to God in heaven.”

It was in the news the other day that the Air Force cadets do not have to include “so help me God” in their oath anymore.  Other branches of the military had removed that phrase some time ago and now it looks like the Air Force is following suit.  I wonder how long it is before the pledge of allegiance is attacked.  One person I was talking to said the people who are doing this are not true Americans, but I wonder what a true American is anymore.  When others look at our nation from the outside in, what do they see?  Is there evidence of a united nation, under God, indivisible?  I cannot answer how our nation looks from the outside but I know how I see it from where I sit.  I am drawn back to the Lord and the knowledge that we have something we can do about this current state of affairs.  We can test and examine our own ways and return to the Lord.  As we lift our hearts and hands to God, let us seek His truth and light.  As we renew our hearts with God, let us pray for our nation and its leaders to seek His truth and light as well.

It is hard for me to hope for this nation, yet scripture tells me to pray for my people and my nation.  Your word tells me to pray for leaders of nations and all in authority.  I pray for those people and our nations this morning.  Draw us all back into you.  Lord, in your mercy, hear this prayer.  Amen.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Psalm 101:2 “I will study the way that is blameless.  When shall I attain it?"

Perfectionism runs deep in my family roots.  I struggle with it just as my Mom did and I see it in my young daughter already.  The problem with perfectionism is that we set ourselves up to fail.  Then we know this and are prone to not even try because we cannot attain the desired outcome.  I have learned, to some degree, to accept that I will not attain my goal in this lifetime but I strive toward it to be the best that I can be.  This is the legacy I want to pass on to my children.  As I study more of God’s word I realize how far from the goal I am at times.  I read and study the words of love and grace, comfort and guidance, correction and refining.  Through this practice of discipleship I come closer step by step to the person I am created to be.  Are we created to be perfect, blameless?  We have been tarnished with sin from the beginning and only the redemption through Christ can wash us clean and set us before the Lord our God as blameless.  It is only through Him that I could ever attain it.  Now we must go and live it.

Thank you for your word today; open our hearts to receive it.  As we strive to grow in you and your love, help us receive your grace completely.  Move us to be gracious to others for it is by grace that we become blameless in your sight.  Guide our steps in becoming who you created us to be.  Amen.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

2 Timothy 2:8 “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David – that is my gospel,”

We are a forgetful people.  I think back and remember things that were so important or so ‘in’ that have passed by and new things have taken their place.  When I was growing up there was no way to see a movie except to pile into the car and go to a theater, then we got VCR s and now we can watch movies with a push of a button on a remote or computer or phone.  We used to have to go to the library or bookstore if we wanted a new book to read.  We would browse the shelves looking for something that piqued our interest.  Now we search on our computer or phone and download to our tablets and we never have to turn a page or step out of our home if we don’t want to.  Who needs theaters and libraries we have everything we need right at our fingertips.  We can even have groceries delivered to our home that we order on the computer...  In this world of instant gratification and daily new upgrades remember Jesus Christ.  As we move closer to the holiday season let the memory of Christ fill our hearts and souls so that we never forget and we remember anew that He is unchanged and unchanging.

You are the constant in our ever changing world.  Your love and gift of mercy were poured out for us so long ago and they still stand ready for the taking.  Help us step away from the new-fangled and embrace the tried and true; you and your love.  Renew the gospel within us.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

James 4:14-15 “Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.’”

I am a planner by nature, not the most organized planner but a planner none the less.  I am slowly learning but I know the tendency is still strong because both of my children knew the word agenda at a VERY early age.  I often ask my spouse what his plan or agenda is for the day because I know he is also a planner.  When I read this passage I don’t think James is telling me to have no plans whatsoever but I have learned that my plans need to be malleable and not set in stone.  God’s plan is bigger and better than any plan I could ever come up with and he uses others to remind me of this on occasion.  I get asked about homeschooling about once a week.  “Are you going to do this all the way through?”  I hear the answer coming from my mouth “I will do this until God tells me to do something different.”  Do I really live like that?  Do I allow God to guide me in all my plans?  I know the answer and so I take this moment to thank the Lord for His grace and forgiveness, I thank Him for a new day.

Forgive me and my busy mind that jumps ahead on a regular basis.  Help me stay in the moment more often and just allow you to guide me forward as you will.  Open my senses to see, smell, touch, taste and hear your blessings this day.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2 Kings 5:10 “Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.’”

The story of a mighty warrior who suffers from leprosy may or may not be one you know.  Through amazing channels he is given the chance for a complete healing but when he receives this simple instruction he is annoyed and angry.  He is used to pomp and circumstance, he is used to having people show him honor and respect because of his status.  When Elisha doesn't even bother to come out and greet him, Naaman is incensed.  Through the encouragement of his servants he follows through with the instructions from the prophet and he is healed.  As I read this story I wondered how often we miss instruction or blessings from God because we are bothered by or even ignore the messenger.  On occasion (a rarity I am sure) I have heard and listened to a voice or message and been blessed by it but I have no doubt that like Naaman, people have had to chase after me and encourage me to hear and follow the simple words of God.  I need to lay down my pride and expectations; I need to come to each day in humility and thankfulness for it is in this way I am able to hear more clearly.

Thank you for the story of Naaman to teach us again that you speak in many different ways.  I ask you to remove the barriers I have that keep me from receiving your word in the fullness that you provide it.  Through Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Psalm 89:1 “I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.”

I am often intrigued by the songs we sing in church.  I like to look up the scripture reference listed on them if they have one so I can tie the words in the hymn to scripture and scripture to song.  Maybe this is one reason I spend so much time in the Psalms.  The Lord knows how music speaks to my soul and the Psalms are songs of old.   It is an interesting practice to put the Psalm to a tune; there are several in our hymnal at church...I am not sure the music always fits the but it is still something worth trying.  Allow the words of your favorite hymn come back to you in a quiet moment.  Ponder the words and their meaning and if you feel compelled look them up to see if they too are scripture.  I love the feeling I get when I realize some of my favorite songs come from scripture.  If I can sing and memorize the word of the Lord and the same time, that is a blessing in abundance for me!  So today, on this brisk fall morning I sing of the steadfast love of the Lord.  I open my mouth to proclaim his faithfulness to you and to all who will listen.  He is steadfast and faithful, He loves you and me so lift your voice with me in songs of praise this morning!

Thank you for your love and for song.  Put a song in our hearts and a dance in our step today.  Allow my day to be a song of praise for your love and faithfulness.  Amen.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Matthew 6:7-8 “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they  think that they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

There are many times that these verses come to mind and depending on the day they may encourage me or they may correct me.  I find myself searching for words to tell the Lord what I am trying to say or to give him enough praise and glory and honor.  There are other times I cannot even bring myself to use words and then I know I do not need them; that is a comfort to me.  I have asked myself why I even need prayer.  Really, if He already knows my needs what purpose does it serve?  Before the question was complete in my heart I knew the answer.  Prayer is not to benefit God.  He does not need our prayers, we need our prayers.  I know I need to pray for others each day because it helps me grow a servant’s heart.  I need the discipline of praying to the Lord so that I continue to remember He is the one who provides all our needs.  Today I encourage you to pray with me.  Pray with words, pray with songs, pray with dance or pray with silence.  Just pray.

Thank you for allowing and desiring our prayers.  Guide our hearts in prayer to you.  Open our eyes to see the blessings you pour out on us through prayer.  I ask this through Jesus who taught us to pray.  Amen.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Psalm 131:3 “O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore.”

I dare say worry is almost a national pastime.  I have had the opportunity to speak with several people over the last few days and listened to the prayers on their hearts.  Knowing those and the prayers on my own heart makes me see how we worry.  I used to be a worrier by nature, I didn't know how to exist without it but the Lord has worked with me a lot in this and I am beyond worry for the most part; or am I?    You have seen the concerns in my posts recently; I see my prayer journal every day.  Do I worry over these things or simply hold concern for them?  This little song tucked in the book of Psalms is a beautiful short song that leads us into a place of prayer and quietness.  It begins with guiding the listener or reader into a place of humility in the presence of the Lord and a quietness in their soul.  When we come to that place we are able to hear the verse of hope.  Join me today in releasing worries and concerns to the Lord.  Let us release our sense of control or lack of control to Him.  Then in humility and peace let us hope in Him from this time on and forevermore.

Thank you for this song and prayer.  Help us lock this scripture in our hearts so we may have it at the ready every moment we start to lose hope or begin to worry over things again.  Help us hope in you always and all ways.  Amen.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Psalm 33:22 “Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”

Yesterday morning the kids and I were in the car and I was reminding us all that each day is a new day.  The past few days have been days filled with challenge to authority, lack of listening and following directions; I was at the end of my rope on Wednesday.  I was no longer patient, kind or loving to my kids by late afternoon, I was filled with frustration and anger.  After the kids went to bed I had to come to a quiet place and seek the Lord and his love once again.  I had come to think I just needed to rule with an iron fist to get my kids in line.  Gently and lovingly, God reminded me that I need to rule with love.  Violence and anger do not teach love and obedience, love teaches love and obedience.  He renewed my hope and strength through his love and I knew His steadfast love again.  I was able to take a deep breath and ask forgiveness for the pain I may have inflicted through my words.  I called on the Lord many times yesterday and He was right there bringing me love and hope each time.  Today is a new day and I pray this verse for each of us.  “Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”

We are nothing without you.  We cannot serve and honor you if we do not hold your love in our hearts.    I come and ask once more, through the redeeming grace of Christ, pour your love into us today.  Thank you for your grace and mercy and thank you for the hope in our hearts for today.  Amen.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nehemiah 6:9 “– for they all wanted to frighten us, thinking ‘Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.’  But now, O God, strengthen my hands.”

Nehemiah had gone to Judah to help rebuild.  During his time there many officials from other lands tried to draw him away from his work; they were afraid the Jewish people would rebel if their city was rebuilt.  Their hope was that they could harm or discredit Nehemiah and cause the Jewish people to lose hope and stop rebuilding.    Now we are not in the process of rebuilding a city like Nehemiah was... or are we?  There is scripture throughout the bible that talks about Christians being and building the temple of God.  Jesus is the cornerstone and brick by brick we build up from there.  There are many who fear that building of God’s temple and many who try to dissuade us.  We have our own fears that cause us to drop our hands from the work, let alone the barriers and hardships others put in our way.  I turn to the Lord this morning with the words of Nehemiah’s prayer on my heart.  Let the story of Nehemiah give hope to your heart as well.  God is faithful to us and He will strengthen us when we seek Him.  “...O God, strengthen my hands.”

Erase the whispers of doubt and the barriers of failure from us.  Renew our spirits with yours so that we can go into this day with new energy to do your work.  Nehemiah guides my prayer today Lord.  Through your grace and mercy I ask you to strengthen my hands and my heart to serve you.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

When I began writing my devotions I didn't have a title for them, I simply had to put something in the subject line on my email.  I wanted to help people get back into the Word of God every day.  It was some time later that the importance and message of the title became clearer to me.  Yes, I want people to pull their bible off of the shelf, out of the closet or unpack it from the boxes buried from moves long ago.  I want people to join me in reading scripture each day.  As I have delved more into the Word I have learned on a much deeper level that the words on the page are simply that unless we seek to learn from them.  The bible can be a book that we read and put away like the newspaper or a piece of mail or it can be a conduit to the Word, the Christ that was in the beginning, is now and will always be.  I hope as you study, read and pray over the words you receive from the bible that you are transported into the presence of the Word of God.  It is in this place that we are changed.  I hope that we each are blessed with this experience of the Christ today.  The Word of the Lord; Thanks be to God!

I thank you for scripture that draws me into your Word.  I thank you for your ever present love and guidance through your Spirit and I pray for each person reading this, that they will receive your Word as you pour it out on them.  I ask all these things and praise you through Christ, the Word.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.”

I don’t care which side of the fence you sit on I am pretty sure we are all fed up with the struggle the government is experiencing right now.  I see posts all over the internet about it from all different sides but all saying the same thing.  As you can imagine based on my recent writings this governmental strife has been heavy on my heart.  This verse and the passage that holds it bring me to a place of peace and rest in the Lord.  I bend low on my knees asking forgiveness for my lack of trust in Him.  I know that He will prevail and yet I do not release my concerns over to Him completely.  Instead of praying with concern I believe I need to move beyond that and pray in trust of the Lord.  I encourage you to pull out your bible and read Psalm 37 or at least part of it.  I don’t know who you consider the wicked, I am not even sure who I consider the wicked, but what I do know is the Lord knows who is wicked and who is righteous and I place my trust in Him today.

I am a work in progress and I thank you for continuing to teach me and mold me in your ways.  I ask you to continue to work on my heart of true love and trust in you until the day that I never question the fact that you are working in every situation at all times.  Thank you for being faithful to us, help us be faithful to you in return.  In humility I pray, Amen.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Isaiah 50:5 “The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.”

The first colds of the season are going around and my kids both have a cough.  So far they do not seem terribly congested but I know that could come too if we are not careful.  We all know how hard it is to hear when our ears are congested, don’t we?  It is like listening to the world through a fog.   We want to hear but cannot seem to break through the barrier.  My kids don’t hear me but it isn’t because of their colds; they just don’t listen.  This is a phenomenon we all experience.  We speak directly to someone and they do not hear or listen to us.  I am just as guilty of this as anyone.  I tune out the noise in my world a lot and the voices of my kids and spouse get tuned out too.  How often do we tune out the voice of God because we choose not to listen?  I encourage you this day to pray for an open ear.  Let us ask God to remove the barriers and filters we have toward his voice so that we can hear clearly and also that He would move our hearts to be obedient to his call.  He does not ask us to do more than he gives us the ability and strength to do so let us strive to listen and obey.

You know our hearts and our ears.  Forgive us for turning a deaf ear to your voice and your call.  Please remove the barriers that prevent us from hearing your word and guide us in obedience to your word today. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Joel 2:12 “Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting with weeping, and with mourning;”

Not long ago the Pope called out to people around the world to pray and fast over a situation in Syria.  It amazed me how that situation just seem to drop from the radar after that.  Did the media just move on or did prayer and fasting move God to change hearts?  As I continue to watch the heat of politics in Washington D.C. I often lament over the state of our nation.  I wish someone powerful like the Pope would call for a fast and prayer over our nation but so far no one has.  As I read this passage in Joel this morning and prayed to the Lord I had to come asking forgiveness.  When I have felt the need to fast and pray I have ignored it.  When can I fit that into my schedule?  How can I do this effectively with my small children?  I have too much on my agenda today... the excuses mount.  I must ask myself where my priorities are once again.  I must ask the Lord to guide me in the steps He leads me in and I must be willing to trust and follow Him.  He hears us, he listens for our prayers and he waits for our dedication to His kingdom.  Today I lift the nations and their leaders in prayer, will you join me?

Our world is in constant discord.  Call us back to your truth and light.  Call us into a time of prayer and fasting so that we can remember that you are our priority.  Use us as you will for the blessing of your world.  Amen.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

1 Timothy 2:1-2 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we many lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.”

I confess I have stopped watching the news and my internet being down for several days was a mixed blessing.  I could skip all the drama in our nation’s capital for a few days.  I have lost faith in our political leaders and I would not blame God if He has turned his back on us in frustration and disgust.  Then I am brought to a passage like this one in Timothy that charges us to pray for everyone.  We are called to pray for our leaders and everyone in high places.  I know these leaders hold power in their hands but I also know that God is all powerful.  I may not hold faith in our nation’s leaders or the leaders of the world’s nations but I hold a steadfast faith in the Lord my God.  Regardless of what agendas the people have, His purpose will be served in the end.  I am reminded it would have been hard to see God’s plan in the throes of the arrest and trial of Jesus before his death but we know He was victorious, and He will continue to be...

You are my all in all.  Forgive my lack of trust and my tired heart.  Thank you for renewing my strength in you through these words.  I lift up the nation’s leaders and the world leaders that they may be used to serve your purpose and draw your kingdom closer to us.  Amen.

Friday, October 11, 2013

2 Corinthians 5:15 “Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.”

The message in this verse has two sides as I see it.  Everything is for our sake; Jesus came to earth and taught us how to live in love, he died on the cross and redeemed us in grace.  All of this was done for our sake.  As we accept his grace and love, we turn and share that grace with others.  This is the second side.  Everything is for His sake.  We live in love and teach others about the grace of God through the grace we share.  As others receive grace, they share it with more people and it spreads throughout humanity.  Whatever comes in our lives and in the passing days on this earth, one thing is constant.  God’s grace and the mercy He extends to us through Christ are continuous.  We are the vessels that pass His grace and mercy to this world until He comes again.  Everything is for our sake and everything is for His sake in return.  Glory and thanks to the Lord our God!


Thank you for your unending grace and mercy.  Thank you for sending Christ to teach us your ways and your truth.  Fill us with the urge to share these gifts in the world around us so that grace will fill the hearts of all people.  Then we will raise our voices in unison praising and thanking you.  What a joy that will be!  Amen.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Jeremiah 23:29 “Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”

I was reading this passage in Jeremiah on false prophets and these words nearly jumped off of the page at me.  Is God’s word not like a fire?  When I hear His truth it is like fire... it is a flame that purifies and cleanses my soul; it is warmth and a light in the cold and dark of this world.  Yes, His word is like fire.  Is His word not like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?  It is indeed like a hammer that breaks rock into pieces...  I can picture two instances in the last week where something someone has said to me has hit me like a brick on the head; like a hammer on my rock hard heart.  The words of those people echoed in my mind drawing me back into the word of the Lord.  He gives me instruction, guidance, correction, grace, love... I reject it.  Like a hammer, his word keeps coming back and breaking down the rock walls I have built up.  His word is like a hammer.  The fire and hammer of his word does not destroy anything but the lies and deceit that are barriers to our righteousness.  I praise and thank Him today for his word; for his fire and his hammer that bring us into wholeness.

Your word is so beautiful to my soul.  Thank you for the blessing of time with you and your unending desire to draw us into your presence.  Open our hearts and break down the walls of lies and bring your fire in to warm and purify us for you.  I praise you this day for all you do for us.  Amen.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Philippians 4:19-20 “And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  To our God and Father be glory forever and ever.  Amen.”

Yesterday one of the roads that had been destroyed in the recent floods was re-opened.  This road allows people to access small mountain towns within minutes rather than hours of driving again.  They were getting around with the other roads but their needs are met fully with this road.  There is a story of dry bones in a valley in the book of Ezekiel.  In the vision the bones are brought back together; life breathed back into them.  The story is about the nation of Israel and God’s promise to bring them back.  In a way both of these stories speak to me of God’s providing to us.  We can live and survive this life taking whatever road is available; we can live this life with no hope, as dry bones or we can live in Christ and his riches.  He offered true life to Israel and he offers true life to us.  His road may not always be easy but it is easier than any other road.  His life giving breath renews our dry bones completely.  Two stories to ponder and many more that show us God providing and fully satisfying our every need.  Join together calling on God through Christ and praising his name for all He has done and all He will do.

Thank you for giving us life.  Thank you for easing our troubles and satisfying our needs through your unending love and mercy.  I give you my heart of gratitude this morning and pray that I will bless and honor you with it today.  Amen.

Sunday, October 6, 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.’”
Every now and then I am led to scripture with this message in it.  This command comes from Leviticus originally and is then quoted in numerous places throughout the New Testament.  When I read it today I felt the need to seek out how I love my neighbor and how I could love my neighbor more.  I have written about this some in the past but I still have canned food and granola bars in my car to give to the needy standing on the street corners.  I give groceries to the food bank in my church and I pray for my neighbors.  What else am I being called to do in love for my neighbor?  I send out my daily devotions via email and blog for love of my neighbor.  That’s pretty good, right?  As I work on the lifelong task of loving God with all that I am, I am called into further service to love my neighbor.  So this morning I challenge us both to seek out ways to love our neighbors.  Let us ask ourselves the question: how will I love my neighbor today?  Let us push ourselves to answer the question with acts of love.
Just as your love never ends give us the strength and endurance to continue living in your command to love our neighbors.  Do not allow us to stop after one or two acts of love but move us into continuous acts of love so that your love will permeate the world around us.  Thank you for teaching us how to love through Christ.  Amen.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Psalm 8:9 “O Lord, Our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Yesterday we woke to our first snow of the season.   The trees were adorned with flakes of white frost on their leaves and branches, the grass was covered and rooftops were frosted white as well.  As I drove toward the mountains yesterday evening I was taken aback at the beauty of the snow frosted hills in the early evening sunlight.  In these moments I almost hear the earth singing praises to our Lord, its Creator.  The beauty around us sings to the majesty of the Lord; the beauty within us sings to the majesty of the Lord as well.  On this crisp fall morning it is easy for me to shiver under the gray skies but my heart is singing and it brings warmth to my soul.  Our Lord is majestic and this alone is reason to sing praises.  Lift your eyes to the beauty around you, lift your heart to the majesty of the Lord and lift your voice in praises to our King!  “O Lord... how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  Dance and sing for the majesty of the Lord!

Thank you for songs in my heart and gentle snows on the ground.  Thank you for allowing the beauty of nature to seep through the clouds of unrest in my soul.  Thank you for the warmth of your creation and the warmth of your love filling me up to overflowing this day.  I praise your holy name.  Amen.

Friday, October 4, 2013

1 Chronicles 29:12 “Riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all.  In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all.”

I am at the end of my rope with the government in Washington.  Many times over the last several months I want to throw up my hands in surrender knowing that the Lord could knock our country off of its feet for how we manage our blessings.  This passage in Chronicles brings renewal and peace to my soul.  It reminds me that we may think we are powerful and strong but any power and true strength is not ours; it comes from the Lord.  What blessings and honor we receive did not come to us from our own doing but they were gifts given to us from the Lord.  All that we have and all that we are belongs to Him.  I take a deep breath and continue my prayers for the leaders and the people of this country.  I pray we will serve the Lord and work toward his kingdom in whatever way He wants us to.  I pray that I will not be a hindrance but an instrument of light and love.  I pray that many will pray for this country and that we would all work together in His strength and His greatness for His glory.

Work through your servants as you do.  Guide us in your light and in the path you have set before us.  We have received riches and honor beyond measure from you, help us use these blessings to glorify you.  We are nothing without you; help us call on your strength to be built up for your kingdom.  Amen.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Psalm 38:9 “O Lord, all my longing is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you.”

Why do we pray?  Really, we come to the Lord in prayer bringing all our thoughts and worries, concerns and praises but the truth is He knows them all and He knows our prayers before we utter them so, why bother?  The answer is relationship.  Do you call your Mom or Dad just to check in?  Do you have a best friend that knows everything about you but you still have lunch together and share whatever is on your mind?  Do you have a mentor that guides you and teaches you; even the same lesson on life because you haven’t quite worked it out yet?  These are all relationships that you choose to be a part of and prayer is a huge part of our relationship with God.  Prayer causes us to check in and take some time to sit and commune with God.  He knows our longing and our sighing is not hidden but do we know what He has to say to us about it?  Wait for the Lord, He will answer.

Thank you for these words of hope and encouragement.  It brings me peace to know you are always aware of what we are experiencing and you care.  Help us pause in our busy times.  Help us stop for a moment and give you a call.  We need to hear what you have to say; help us listen.  I ask these things through our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Luke 2:37 “...She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.”

There are times I would love to step away from my daily life and simply sit and pray, kneel and worship, soak in the presence of the Lord as I breathe air into my lungs.  When I read this passage in Luke my first thought was “why am I in this passage?”  This is not a time of year we ponder the birth and upbringing of Jesus but then I read this little blurb about Anna.  After the death of her husband she devoted the remainder of her life to prayer and fasting in the temple of the Lord.  Before the words even completed my thought of how this is impossible for me I was corrected.  Jesus sent his Spirit to reside in us and so...we are the temple.  The Lord is with each of us every day and every moment.  Regardless of what we do and our calendar for the day we can spend our days worshiping in prayer and fasting.  I am sure Anna had daily tasks and things that needed to be done in the temple just as we do today.  As we move into this day let us remember we are the temple of the Lord and we can join Anna in prayer and worship wherever we are.

Thank you for this little reminder today.  Help me live my day and each moment honoring you.  Guide me to treat my body and spirit as a temple to you and honor it as a blessing to you.  As I wash dishes, teach school, cook dinner, let these tasks be done as a gift to you.  I ask these things through Jesus my Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2 Peter 2:1 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions.”

Voices and messages, doctrines and beliefs are touted over air waves, on television and on the internet.  There are books and sermons that abound and the messages are mostly similar but not quite the same.  When I read something that sounds similar to what I have heard before it causes me to pause and think.  When I hear something radically different than what I have learned before, it causes me to pause and think.  We do not want to be led astray by a false prophet.  We do not want to be brought to destruction through their false teachings.  How do we know what it true?  Often the message of the false prophets does not hit us in the face as blasphemy; they are much too sly for that.  Their message eases us in, gently and quietly, one slippery step at a time.  This fear of deception is one reason I stay disciplined in my time with the Lord.  He clearly shows us his truth when we seek it with our whole hearts.  Seek his truth with me today.

We no longer have traveling salesmen knocking on our doors to sell us anything but we now have “salesmen” trying to sell us spiritual junk.  Protect us and guide us in your truth so that we are not drawn into destruction.  All glory and honor are yours Holy God.  Amen.