Friday, January 31, 2014

Isaiah 66:2 “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine, says the Lord.  But this is the one to whom I will look to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word.”

Words are powerful, no doubt about it.
We can build up with our words and we can tear down with our words.  We can bring comfort and we can bring pain with our words.  The old adage “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” is so false.
From the beginning God’s word spoken from his mouth made things happen.  He speaks and it is so.  With his spoken word He created the heavens and the earth and all that is in it.  When I try to wrap my mind around that, it brings me to place of trembling.
This God, powerful beyond my imagination, Creator of all things seeks to be in relationship with us.  When we come to him in worship and prayer, He is already waiting for us.  He listens for the quiet turning of our attention to Him.
As I sit and listen to cars warming up in the cold and window and driveways being scraped free from snow and ice, I think of the word of the Lord.  He brings the moisture in the snow and He brings the sun to warm and melt away the cold.  The stars are hung in the sky because He put them there and they stay because He causes them to stay.  His power and strength are more than I can fathom.  I study His word to learn more and love more.  Today I am humbled by His glorious word and His glorious world.

I need you every hour, every moment of every day.  Even when my mind races on to some other distraction my soul searched and reached for you.  You created me, I am yours.  Thank you for being such and incredible and loving Father.  Thank you for breaching the gap so that we are all able to come in humble and contrite spirits knowing you wait in love and mercy through your gift of Jesus Christ.  My heart trembles in your presence today.  Amen.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.”

If it feels good, do it!
It seems to me this is the mantra of our society.  People do things and believe things that from the outside seem ludicrous but they likely think the same thing about what I believe.
How do we know what is truth?
We like to hear things that are pleasant to our ears, not challenges or reproach.  Is what we listen to sound doctrine; is it truth?  Oh, how can we know what is truth?
I must take time to listen with intent.  I must block the noise and whispers of society and deception and sit in the presence of the One and listen.  He has given us the Spirit to guide and protect us but if we do not listen, we have chosen to wander away.
Even with the Spirit within us we have free will.  We can choose to listen and obey or we can choose to step away.  I know from experience that stepping away never works out well for me and often times not well for those around me either.
Seek truth.  Take time with the Lord in silence, listening.  The more we do this, the easier it is to discern sound doctrine from myth and we can step forward in faith with truth in our hearts.

We like to feel good but we don’t like the discipline that goes along with feeling good.  We wander away from your truth and sound doctrine, enticed by myths and deception.  Open our eyes to see that those myths will lead to destruction and that the sound doctrine will lead to goodness and life.  Open our ears and hearts to hear and feel the Spirit guiding us in truth.  Give us knowledge and faith to trust and follow only your Spirit so we remain in you.    I ask this through the grace and love of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hosea 6:3 “Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

I love to watch the sun rise.
The colors of pink, orange and yellow in the morning sky are a soothing way to start the day.  If there is nothing else I can count on for the day, I can count on the sun rising over the horizon and a new day starting. His appearing is as sure as the dawn.
When I come to my quiet time, the petitions and prayers are running through my mind, the tasks of the day are vying for my attention as well but I come seeking the Lord.  I come in an attempt of quietness in the presence of the Lord.  In the moments I am able to sit in stillness He comes; he comes as sure as the dawn.
In this cold wintertime it is a far reach to remember what a spring rain is like.  We are bundled up with coats and boots, hats and gloves to keep the cold away.  I can picture warm sunshine and green trees along with budding flowers and birds singing.  I can picture springtime in all its fullness and the afternoon rains that come to give moisture and nourishment to the earth.  Rain sprinkles down onto grass and flower, seeping into ground for thirsty roots.  God rains down his love just like this.  His presence seeps down into our souls, giving us a much needed drink and nourishment in him.
I come seeking to know the Lord.  He is like the dawn; He is a refreshing and renewing rain to my soul.  I want to know him more.

We are so very blessed to have your presence with us whenever we seek it.  We are blessed to know beyond doubt that just like the sun, you are there every day without fail.  Calm our chaos and remove the barriers we put up that block your presence from us.  Help us fling open wide the doors of our hearts so we may know you more and receive you like the earth receives spring rains.  I pray this in thanksgiving and love for you forever and ever.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Psalm 33:2-3 “Praise the Lord with lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.  Sing to him a new song; pay skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.”

My daughter has just started violin lessons.
She has learned how to hold the bow properly and how to hold the violin.  She knows how to take care of the instrument and is beginning to learn how to make it “sing.”
She comments regularly how loud the notes are when she uses the full portion of the bow on the string and I have to encourage her to make it loud; to make a joyful noise, not a mousy noise.
As I read these verses I realized how little I make loud shouts of praise to God.  I sit quietly praying in the morning.  I sing the hymns in church trying to blend in with the crowd. 
I am an introvert but the Spirit still resides in me and occasionally urges me to praise the Lord with melody of a new song and with loud shouts.
It might be time to march around the house on this cold and snowy day.  It might be time to make instruments that drum and get out the toy guitar to sing a new song to the Lord.  Join our raucous praise to God this day.  Crank up the radio or shout your own song but let’s sing praises to the God of God, the Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings this day and all days!

Help us stamp out the cold of winter that has settled in our bones and warm up our instruments and voices to praise you this holy day.  Each day we rise is another day you have made and another opportunity for us to serve and praise your Almighty and gracious name.  I pray that whatever we do and whatever we say will be in praise to you today.  Amen.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Jeremiah 3:22 “Return, O faithless children, I will heal your faithlessness.  ‘Here we come to you; for you are the Lord our God.’”

These are the words God longs to hear from his children; all of his children.
I like to think I am faithful but it is always good to search my heart with the Lord for areas that are lacking.  Just last week I sat in the doctor’s office with my daughter and realized there needs to be more testing done to make sure she is healthy and all systems are working as they should.  After we walked out of that consultation and I answered all of her questions I could feel the anxiety growing in my body.  As the day wore on the heaviness grew.  The kids and I went for a walk, that didn't work.  I baked cookies, that didn't work.  By the end of the day I knew I was not trusting in the Lord over this matter, I felt faithlessness creeping in.
When push comes to shove I trust in the Lord and my faith in Him holds but why do I have to get to that point before I step up?
This morning I am grateful for the grace we receive from the Lord our God through Jesus and I take heart in the promise of healing in this verse.  I thank God for the faith He has instilled in me and I pray for the lack of faith in my soul to disintegrate so that one day I will never falter with my faith in God.

Thank you for the faith you place in our hearts through your Spirit.  As we face this day, strengthen our faith as we need it and let our strength glorify your name.  Heal our faithlessness as you promise in your word in Jeremiah so that we go forward more deeply and fully in your Spirit.  I pray these things through my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mark 13:5-6 “Then Jesus began to say to them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray.  Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.’”

Stranger danger.
We teach our kids about stranger danger to keep them safe and hope they are never led away into danger.  Do we practice this in our own lives?
Every now and then I remind my daughter of the ground rules for stranger danger and between myself and her (typically oldest child) my son receives that same training.  I cannot watch them every second of the day so I pray that the training they received and the voice of caution in their hearts will protect them if the time ever arises.
When was the last time we, as adults, checked in with the voice of caution in our hearts?  We are so busy with our work schedules and church schedules and social networks and on and on.  We lament about the things going on in the world and there is much we could lament about but do we check in with the Spirit, our counselor and guide?
It is only through his protection and guidance that we stand a chance of keeping safe from the ‘strangers” lurking.  If we are not tuning in now it will be even more difficult to tune in when we really need it.
I need to revisit stranger danger with my kids again, it is time. 
I need to revisit stranger danger in my soul again, it is time.

I get such a heavy heart when I meditate on this message.  There are so many that I pray would be protected and safe but I know your word says many will be led astray.  Let these words reach some into protection so fewer will be lost, I pray this through my Lord, Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Habakkuk 3:2 “O Lord, I have heard of your renown, and I stand I awe, O Lord, of your work.  In our own time revive it; in our own time make it known; in wrath may you remember mercy.”

This prayer of Habakkuk speaks to my heart.
I cannot imagine what He was experiencing as he wrote this prayer but I suspect his prayer was at least as earnest as mine is today.  He had not seen the Messiah come yet.  The Israelites knew about him but had not seen him yet.  God had done many splendid works from the beginning of time and we are all able to see those and stand in awe of the Lord.
Those of us reading this verse today have seen the coming of the Messiah, we have seen the redemption and the revival and we know of God’s mercy, yet...
We wait.  We can join in the words of this prayer because we still wait for the completion of his plan.  I look out and see a pink and orange sunrise gleaming in the sky and in the midst of the muck in the world, it gives me peace and hope.
We watch the news, we see the destruction all around but we can hold hope and peace in our hearts because we have heard of the Lord’s renown.  We know he was and is and will be merciful to us.
I will not stop working for the Lord as I wait.
We cannot know his timing but we know he is faithful and in his time all will come to completion.  Mercy and love prevail today and tomorrow.

If we gaze at the horrors of this time let us also gaze on the blessings and mercies of this time.  Keep our eyes open to see beyond the death in this time and place and guide our vision to see the Life in this time and place as well.  You are still working and whether it is in my time or not, I know your plan will be fulfilled and mercy will triumph over all.  I praise you and thank you for this hope we can hold in our hearts until you come.  Amen.

Friday, January 24, 2014

2 Corinthians 3:4-5 “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.  Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God”

We have a joke in my small circle of friends.  We tease each other regularly that whatever it is “it is all about me.” 
When my kids get a little too wrapped up in their desires and wants I remind them that it is not all about them all of the time.
It is easy for us to get a little puffed up about ourselves at times.  Things go along well, we are feeling successful and good about ourselves and we are easily led into taking credit for all that has happened and that is happening in our lives.
I know when I get into this pattern I am about ready to receive some humble pie from my Lord and my God.  He is faithful and gracious to remind me that I can do nothing without him but all things are possible through Christ who strengthens me.
My strength and achievements are not my own.  I work for the Lord and He works through me.  All that I do, I do for him and to his glory.  How easily I forget; how easily my focus turns back to me and it seems once again to be all about me.
I turn to the Lord and acknowledge him in me today.

You search my heart and know me inside and out.  Search out my selfish claims and pride and cleanse me from these sins.  Help me see the truth that it is all about you and to live my days accordingly.  My life is yours; I pray I serve you well.  I can only do what I do because of you.  Thank you God for all you give me.  Amen

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Revelation 5:13 “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea and all that is in them, singing, ‘To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’”

Can you imagine the harmonies in this symphony?
This verse in John’s vision makes my heart sing for joy.  All of creation from beginning to end and top to bottom singing in one voice of praise to the Almighty; what a glorious moment!
Today there will be daily tasks to complete, food to prepare, errands to run, work to do.  The busy moments distract us from the song.  They block out the sounds of the symphony.
Even though not all of earth joins in the chorus I know every creature in heaven is already singing praises like this to the one on the throne and to the Lamb.  In the fullness of time, all other creation will join in.  When all has been fulfilled and there is nothing but glory and light all around, we will all be able to sing.
This morning as I get ready for a new day I hope my heart stays light as it is in this moment.  I pray my soul will continue to sing with creation praises to my God and King.

Thank you for this vision that we hold in our hands and hearts.  There is much I do not understand in this world but this verse reminds me that all will come to be as you intend it to and so I let go of this struggle and embrace the song of creation.  Open my ears to hear the song and lift my voice to join in the chorus of praise to you this day.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hebrews 2:1”Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.”

I have not swum in the ocean for years but I remember some things about my experiences in those deep waters.
Once when I was old enough to be a good swimmer but young enough to enjoy playing in the ocean my sisters and I went out a little way.  We couldn't touch the sand with our feet but we knew how to tread water so we were fine.  What I didn't realize was the tide was pulling us further away from shore.  By the time I realized it we had much more swimming to do that we thought when we wanted to get back to shore.
We were not paying close attention and we drifted away.
This verse in Hebrews warns us of the same thing in our spiritual lives.
We learn and grow in our faith until we think we know what we are doing.  We go out into the world and think we are doing swimmingly (I couldn't pass that one up).  We do not realize we have drifted away.  We get lulled into complacency and when we look we are much farther out than we thought we were.
If you have drifted out, come back.  If you are still near pay close attention just as the writer of Hebrews encourages us to so we do not drift into dangerous waters.

Your word is our guide and your Spirit is our protector.  Help us stay close and not drift away from your truth and life. As we grow in our faith give us the courage to step out but let this verse whisper in our ear to pay close attention.  I ask these blessings in the name of my Savior, Jesus, the Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Matthew 8:25-26 “And they went and woke him up, saying, ‘Lord, save us!  We are perishing!’  And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you of little faith?’  Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm.”

Storms can be scary.
A few years ago there was a tornado that touched down just a couple of miles from my house.  The tornado sirens had warned us and we were hanging out in the basement of our house listening to the wind howl and the golf ball sized hail slam into the side of our house.  The kids sat with me under blankets and we were all wishing the storm would stop.
I have never weathered a worse storm than this; I have only seen them on TV or read about them in the news.  They can be devastating.  I can easily imagine myself crying out to the Lord in a hurricane.
Spiritual storms are more terrifying to me.  There is no emergency broadcast system to warn us that the storm is coming.  We are not usually paying attention to hear any warnings the Holy Spirit is giving us.  We are coasting along in blue skies and gazing at the clouds in the sky trying to figure out what shapes they look like.  Before we know it we are in gale force winds and our boat is rocking and being tossed around like a rag doll.
Whether you are in the midst of the storm to beat all storms or sailing smooth on glassy blue waters, this passage reminds us that we are not alone.  Jesus, Son of the one true God, is along for the ride.  Pay attention and stay focused but do not despair.  Trust in the Lord, He will bring you through whatever happens.

Storms seem so destructive to us but after the storm has gone there is renewal and peace in its wake.  Help us cling to this when we are being tossed around so wildly.  Protect us from damage and destruction through the storm; keep us safe in your presence.  We put our trust in you Lord.  You remain with us always.  Amen.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Psalm 150:1 “Praise the Lord!  Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament.”

I love the word firmament.
It brings to mind, first, an umbrella of sorts.  The vast expanse of the sky overhead and all that is contained in it is the firmament.  It is easy for me to gaze into the sky and praise the Lord!  The stars and moon, the planets and galaxies beyond bring the awesomeness of God’s power to me.
God’s sanctuary is, in my mind, nature.  The trees and woods, the streams and lakes, the deserts and oceans are his sanctuary.  How close I feel to God when I am in nature.  I listen to the sound of water flowing gently or swiftly and it is soothing.  The sound of the wind rustling leaves or needles of trees is like a song.  I could go on and on about the overwhelming blessings I feel in nature but I won’t today.
We are set for a beautiful day outside in Colorado today just as we had yesterday.  I am chopping at the bit, if you will, to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and warmth.  I hope, wherever you are, you are able to get out into nature today.  If not, go there in spirit and join me in praising our God there.
God is great and we join the chorus of nature in singing his praises today!

Let us see your beauty and power in the sanctuary of nature.  Open our eyes to see your infinite love in the endless firmament of the sky.  Wherever we are, give us vision to see your grandeur.  Whatever we do, lift our hearts and voices in praise to you Holy God!  Amen.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Psalm 51:1-2 “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”

My kids don’t usually look dirty at a glance but I know they have been outside playing and whether or not I can see the dirt and dust it is there.
When I buy produce from the store, it looks clean and shiny, I cannot see any dirt or germs but I know I need to wash my fruit and vegetables when I come home to get them clean.
Sin is like this.  We may look clean and shiny on the outside, we probably even smell pretty good but we cannot see sin from the outside most of the time.
I clean my vegetables with vinegar or a mild soap and water to get them clean and ready to eat.  I clean my kids with soap and water to get them clean and fresh smelling and keep them healthy.
God cleanses the sin from us when we come to Him so that we can shine like the sun and be healthy in our souls.
I cannot see a ring around the sink when I am done washing my produce but I almost always see a ring around the tub after the kids are done getting clean.
I cannot imagine the ring I would leave when God has finished cleansing me from my sin and washing me thoroughly from my iniquity.  When God does the cleansing there is no trace of sin left when He is done.
We are washed white as snow.  We shine like the sun and we can dance in His mercy and steadfast love.  Hallelujah and Amen!

You know our hearts more deeply than we know them.  Your divine eyes see things we are unwilling or incapable of seeing.  I come to you this morning asking for your divine cleansing.  You are merciful and steadfast in your love so according to your word, cleanse and purify us.  Make us to shine in your glory.  All glory and honor are yours forever and ever.  Amen.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

1 John 2:15, 17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world.  The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.”

I cannot stop thinking about the recent rash of school violence that has been in the news.  I hadn't heard about it a few days ago but now as I am aware, it continues on an almost daily basis.
I have written about the world and its darkness many times and here I am again.  Darkness looms large in this world, there is no doubt.
My heart breaks for the children who live in fear that their school, their friends, their sister or brother might be the next one to fall.  My heart breaks for the families and children already touched by violence in their home or school.
I realize there are children around the world that would give anything to live in the security we have here, our fears are nothing compared to theirs.  If I stay in this place of fear, I begin to be filled with fear and fear is of this world.
Instead of allowing the fears of this world to overtake us, I call us to lift our fears and worries, lift our concerns and dismays, lift our outrage and anger up to the Lord.  Our hope comes from him and John reminds us that the world and its ways are passing away.  The Love and Light of God and those who live in Him will remain and live forever.  I cling to this hope.

You know our heartaches and our fears.  I ask you to remove fear and anger from our hearts before they overtake us and replace those with your peace and love.  I pray for all those children who live in fear that they too will receive the blessing of your peace and love in place of fear and doubt.  As we wait for your kingdom to be complete, give us the strength we need to persevere and the hope and trust we need to live in you forever.  Amen.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Jude vs. 19-20 “It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions.  But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit”

I remember watching my kids learn to stack blocks.
When they were small, just toddlers, they would stack one on top of another.  The blocks were precariously balanced and it would not take long for the stack to topple and fall.  As my kids grew they learned that the stronger the foundation was, the more likely it was that the stack of blocks would remain standing tall and strong.
Our faith is like a stack of blocks.  We need a strong foundation in order to keep the building tall and strong.
It seems there are some people who do not know or have never learned that they need a strong foundation to keep from toppling and falling. 
Our foundation in faith is built stronger by following the disciplines taught to us by Jesus.  He sent the Spirit to guide us and intercede for us.  He taught us to pray, worship, love and serve.  As we do these things we lay the foundation and strengthen it so that we do not fall to the world and its ways.
We are not called to be divisive but to exude wholeness.  We can only do this with the foundations of our faith.  I encourage you to study, pray and love with the Spirit guiding you each day.

Help us hear your Spirit clearly and without hesitation.  Guide us as we strive to strengthen our foundations in You.  As we grow strong let us be merciful and loving to others, assisting in building their foundations stronger through your Spirit.  I ask all these things through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Psalm 27:13-14 “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

I had not watched the news for the last few days and from what I saw and heard about yesterday I think I was better for it.
There have been more school shootings and violence in the last few days than I can begin to comprehend.  I wonder what else is going on in this world that I have missed seeing.
There is no doubt that when we watch or read the news, we hear many stories of bad things happening in our world.  There are natural disasters as well as human mad disasters.  There is violence and hate, there is sickness and disease; all this and more runs rampant.
What else do I see?
I see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  People reaching out to serve and help other people.  Healing and love are pouring out onto the sickness and diseased.  Freedom and restoration are being brought to those who experience violence and hate.  Soup kitchens feed the hungry, blankets, coats and shelters provide shelter and warmth for the homeless. 
We, God’s children, are charged with bringing the goodness of the Lord to the land of the living.  Reach out in love and light.  Serve in gratitude and peace.
Be strong in the Lord.  Let our hearts take courage in the Lord for we do see his goodness today and tomorrow.  Let us serve in this way as we wait for the Lord to move even more.

I lift up all those who are touched and affected by violence, hate, sickness and disease.  I ask your hand to move in goodness and love to dissipate these things of darkness.  Use us as you will to be your agents of light and love; agents of your kingdom so that goodness overtakes evil each day until you come again.  Amen. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

When I come before the Lord in my quiet time I can picture myself kneeling in front of His throne and bowing in humility.  As I move through confessions and into praise I feel myself being lifted by His holy hand and this verse becomes reality.
The question echoing in my soul today is this:  when are we before the Lord?
I believe the Lord, our God, is everywhere at all times.  He is never away from me or you; ever present.
Do I walk each step of my day as though I were in the presence of the One true God?  Do I remain humble and attentive to Him regardless what I am doing?  I wish I could say I do.  Being the human that I am, often times I focus on my needs and desires.  I quickly get caught up in my selfish ways and forget or neglect the wishes and desires the Lord has for me.  I get distracted with my own heartaches or struggles and slide into a view that is not filled with God.
I come before the Lord today, humble and contrite.  He knows my heart and the deepest desire I have to walk in His ways.  He knows my every thought and wish and He continues to lift me up.  As I grow closer to Him I see that He lifts me up in love and He lifts me up to continue in service to Him.  As He exalts me, I exalt Him.

Help my heart continue to grow in knowledge and truth so that someday, with your help, I will remain humble before you.  Remind me often that you are there, with me, guiding me and calling me back to your ways every moment I am pulled away.  Thank you for your faithfulness, thank you for your everlasting love and grace.  I lift my eyes to you in humility and I take your hand to serve in your kingdom this day. Amen.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

1 Samuel 7:12 “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanaha, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’”

I woke up in the middle of the night and then again this morning with the song “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessings” running through my mind.
When I finally got up to start my quiet time I looked up the scripture reference for the song and this is where I was led.
Ebenezer means stone of help and Samuel placed the stone as a reminder to the Israelites that God had helped them defeat the Philistines and to remind them to remain faithful to the God who remained faithful to them.
I never understood that word in the song lyrics and I know it will mean even more to me the next time I sing it.  The song is a beautiful prayer and I encourage you to look it up and read all the words but ponder this for a moment:
How do you see the fount of Jesus?  How do you see the blessings and presence of the Lord helping you?
Is He like a stream flowing gently and calmly, allowing you to drink in peacefully what he brings to you?  Is He a cascading water fall or fountain that sprays water all around and calls to you with a thunderous beat to come and bathe in the shower of blessings?
What is your Ebenezer, your stone of help, that reminds you of the Lord and his faithful blessings to you?
I leave you with the lyrics from the first verse of this prayer song this morning.
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.”

What a beautiful song.  Help us find and set our stone of help so we always remember from whom our blessings flow.  Help us lift our voices in praise to you with this song or with any song so that we bless you as you have blessed us.  Thank you for all you have given and continue to give to each of us, You are and unending fountain of love and grace.  Amen.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Isaiah 40:14 “Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice?  Who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?

These words in Isaiah bring me to my knees.
So many times I come to the Lord in my quiet time so at ease and comfortable, almost lazy it seems.  This morning even before I was in the scripture I was aware of my lack of reverence to God.
Today I acknowledge the Almighty God, the God of the universe, the God of creation, the Alpha and Omega.
When I come to the foot of His throne I come to the One.  I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that He was here before there was anything.  He created light and enlightenment.  He wrote the laws of justice for all.  He is knowledge and understanding.  As I seek these things I seek Him.
I uncross my feet and sit up a little bit straighter.  I stop sipping my coffee and take in the presence of the Lord instead.  Even though He is All in all, He is my all in all.  I bow to Him in reverence and know that if I need to I can jump into His loving arms and be held and receive love and comfort, whatever I need, He provides.
My God is an awesome God, My God is a loving parent, My God is the Creator and Healer of all, My God is an awesome God, indeed!

As I seek knowledge, enlightenment, understanding and justice I seek You.  Keep my heart on the path of these things so that I am drawn closer and closer to You and your truth as I journey.  Thank you for the understanding of you as Almighty and Abba, one in the same.  Thank you for allowing me, your child, to come to you however I am and thank you for the reminder that I receive all things from you, Lord of lords and King of kings, my All in all.  Amen.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

John 1:32-33 “And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.  I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’’”

Most of us do not remember our baptisms.
We are usually baptized as infants and the most we have to remember it by is a certificate, maybe a special candle or blanket.  Some people are baptized as older children or adults; they come to the waters of their own accord.  This is Jesus’ story.
He was thirty years old and preparing for his ministry.  He came to the Jordan River to be baptized in water by John.  He came to receive in fullness what God had for Him. John says he himself did not know him but he was revealed to him by the Spirit of God.  John wants to be clear that is it not he that proclaimed and decided who Jesus was, God proclaimed Jesus His Son.
When I watch babies being baptized it almost always brings a tear to my eyes and a tug to my heart.  It is not their fancy clothes or wet hair and faces that affect me.  It is the promise and cleansing they receive; it is the joining of their spirits with all who have been baptized.  My spirit rejoicing with theirs tugs at my heart.
I remember the promises made at baptisms and it renews me in spirit.  I encourage you to read about the baptism, it is recorded in all four Gospels.  I pray the Spirit of the Lord will fill you anew and you receive blessing from the words and from the Word of God.  As the waters of the Jordan were abundant in his baptism so is the life He offers us through the Holy Spirit.  Praise God!

Help my meager writings touch the hearts of those who read.  Allow the message to come through despite the writings.  Help us recall our baptisms if not in memory then in spirit so we can go forth remembering we are cleansed and made new.  We are part of the big family of God and through your Spirit we are given new life.  I pray these things through Jesus, your Holy Son.  Amen.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Psalm 119:66-67 “Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.  Before I was humbled I went astray, but now I keep your word.”

I went astray but now I keep your word.
I would love to say I have learned good judgment and have knowledge but I would be deceiving myself.  I can say I am learning good judgment and am gaining knowledge all through the grace and Spirit of God.
How do we know when someone has good judgment?  They make wise choices and live their lives according to God’s word and guidance.  Being able to discern, having good judgment is a gift from God, nothing we own within our own selves.  It grows in us as we grow in the Lord. 
The same is true with knowledge.  How can we learn or gain knowledge in the Lord if we do not spend time with the Lord?  How many years did I waste dipping my toes in the water before I finally jumped in with both feet?
This Psalm is a prayer and meditation about following the law of God.  It is about learning and doing as we are taught and finding the blessings of obedience.
I am reminded that through Christ the law I must learn is to love God and love my neighbor.  I go into today striving to live in obedience to this law of Christ.

You have written your word on our hearts, your word promises this to be true.  Help us listen to that voice, those words and your teachings that we know as we work and play on this day that you have made.  Keep us from going astray, guide us in truth and love so we do all things in glory to your Holy name.  I ask all these things through our Savior and teacher, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, January 10, 2014

John 6:67-69 “So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him ‘Lord, to whom can we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’”

Sometimes the teachings of Jesus are hard to swallow.
He challenges us to the very depths of our souls.  When things get hard, some turn away.  There are so many options for “worship” out there.  At every corner there are whispers of distraction pulling and tugging at us.
Living as Jesus taught and being accountable to the Holy One is not easy, Jesus knew this and spoke about it in several of his parables.  He also promised on many occasions that he would not leave us, he would be with us.  He encourages us to abide in him and he will abide in us.  His Spirit is in-dwelling and I find no greater hope and joy than that.
No matter where I am, no matter what I have done, no matter how I feel, I know that God is with me.  I do not wish to go away; I have received all I need from the Holy One of God.

Thank you for all your teachings and blessings.  Transform my day and my soul with your word and teaching.  Let me be a source of living water to others so I may draw others close to you glorifying you in every way.  Amen.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Genesis 3”3-4 “but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’  But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die.”

This story reminds me of peer pressure.
We learned rules and guidelines from our parents since we were tiny and we know them well.  We follow them because we do not want to upset our parents and we do not want to be in trouble.  Then someone, one of our “friends” comes along and starts asking questions.  They don’t come right out and say the rules are ridiculous but they question them until we question them and that is enough.
The serpent had just asked Eve about what they were forbidden to eat.  The seed of questioning had been planted.
I wonder what would have happened if Eve had told that serpent to be quiet and she had walked away?  If Adam and Eve had stopped listening to the lie of the serpent, they might have made life easier on all of us. 
We will never know.  I don’t blame Adam and Eve because I know I have listened to the sly whispers of lies on occasion too.  If they hadn't fallen to the lie, then their children likely would have, or their children’s children.
The serpent told Eve “you will not die” and because of God’s divine love, we live.  Walk away from the lies and step into truth with God.  This is life eternal, life with God.

Your grace was called on even in the garden with Adam and Eve.  They broke the rules and instead of them dying, you allowed them to live.  Quiet the voices that lie to us, the ones the draw us away from your ways.  Tune our ears to hear only you so that we may live in truth and light with you forever.  I ask this through Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hebrews 1:1-2 “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son....”

God speaks to us, do we listen?
I have written about this before but I know I need to be reminded and I trust you would also benefit from a reminder.  Do you hear God speaking to you in scripture or through the voice of the pastor in your church?  Do you feel His guidance through the guidance of friends, neighbors or kindly strangers?  Do you notice the still small voice of His Spirit keeping you on the path of His kingdom?
Maybe prophets are a thing of the past, a communication for our ancestors and no longer used by God; maybe.  Maybe the noise of our world has become so loud we cannot hear them when they speak and we do not see their writings through the gluttony of writings that are available to us.  Maybe the words of the Son are just what we need to focus on.  Jesus spoke and taught us many things through is words, his actions and his inaction.  He quoted the prophets in his teachings and so we also learn their words. 
However God speaks to us today, let us open our ears to truly hear and listen to His message for us.

The words of the prophets of old still lead us; the words of your Son guide us more clearly.  Allow us to hear your message to us clearly and without doubt.  Move us to lead lives in harmony with what you teach us and call us to do.  Keep us from distraction and straying from your truth but use us to bring your love and light to those around us so all will come to hear you and to know you.  Amen.