Monday, March 31, 2014

Genesis 11:1,4 “Now the whole earth had one language and the same words...Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves: otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’”

Can you imagine everyone speaking and understanding the same language across the world?
It is hard to fathom all humans sharing one language but it sure could make things easier.  Not only are there many languages but dialects within languages, and nuances within words, and body language also vary.
The story of the tower of Babel comes right on the heels of the rebuilding after the flood.  God was starting over with descendants of Noah and within just a few generations it seems like the people had forgotten to worship God again.  They want to build a tower so they could make a name for themselves in the heavens.  Pride and self-righteousness were swirling in their hearts once more.
We struggle with these same sins today.  No matter who we are or how well known we may become we cannot achieve oneness with God unless we are humble in our hearts.  He tears down our self-built towers and takes us to our knees so that he is able to build us up as he designed us to be.
One day we will all share language again and in that time, we will lift our voices in one accord giving glory to the One, the Almighty God.

I pray the message you have today will speak to our hearts and souls.  Forgive any selfishness or pride we harbor and bring us to a place of humility.  Help us be open to your shaping of our lives so we learn to glorify you in all we say and do.  Amen.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Acts 4:31 “When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spike the word of God with boldness.”

Has prayer shaken you?
This morning many of us will gather in churches across our country and around the world to worship God and come to him in prayer.  Each week, we go to church.  We join in prayers, listen to scripture readings, hear a sermon and sing a few songs.  We drink coffee, visit with our friends and then we go back to our home and our mundane lives.
Can you imagine joining together in prayer and then having our world shaken?  What would happen if we prayed the prayer these disciples prayed and meant it?  Would our churches be shaken out of our mundane worship and routine practices?
If my church was physically shaken this morning it would cause panic and we would all likely think we were experiencing an earthquake.  I do not wish for panic and I am sure God does not want to cause panic in our hearts either.  It would be amazing to watch the effects of a shake in our hearts as a community though.
I pray this prayer for boldness today.  I pray the Holy Spirit fills me and all those willing to receive it so that we are shaken to a new level of service in the Lord.  I pray we are shaken into boldness for the gospel of our Lord.

Holy Lord,
We are timid in the world.  We do not want to offend or step on toes or alienate anyone.  Give us courage to be bold and even in our boldness to be loving and kind.  As your Spirit guides us allow the fruits of the Spirit be evident in us.  Shake our world so we can shake the world around us, all for you.  Amen.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.”

You have likely heard that you cannot take “it” with you.
We gather things all of our lives.  We have houses, cars, bank accounts, and accomplishments.  We have weaknesses, failures, broken dreams, and broken hearts.  We cannot take them with us.
When we begin our journey we pack our suitcases and load up the trunk trying to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything.  Most of us just as likely as not, have packed everything including the kitchen sink.
What do we need to bring with us when we come to enter the narrow door that Jesus talks about in this passage?  We do not need our wallets or ID, he knows us.  We do not need our credentials, he created us.  We do not need our bags or anything else, he provides all we need and desire.
To enter through the narrow door we must come empty-handed.  We need to be bare and wide open in our souls to truly enter into the kingdom of God.  We must leave our pride and our weakness; we must leave our self-righteousness and our self-condemning.  We enter with nothing but love for the Lord, our God.
He helps us be prepared; he prepares us.  During this season of Lent, let us allow him to lift the burdens and baggage from us.  Allow him to lighten the load we carry so that we truly begin to understand how to enter the narrow door.

Help us release the things we do not need to bring with us.  Guide and teach us as we step closer and closer to your kingdom.  Fill us with your love so we know we need nothing else.  I pray these things through Jesus, our Redeemer.  Amen.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Habakkuk 2:17-19 “Though the fig tree does not blossom. And no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation.  God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.”

Are you in a season of plenty or a season of want?
There are times in our lives that we are filled to overflowing with an abundance of blessings from the Lord.  It gives our heart joy and happiness to dance and sing to the Lord because we can see and experience the abounding love and grace from him.  We are able to see the fig trees in blossom and fruit on the vines and it is easy to rejoice in the Lord during these times.
There are also times like we see described in this passage.  Our gardens do not grow and they produce no fruit.  We struggle to rub two pennies together and we cannot see where the next meal might come from.  Even if the bank account is not suffering our hearts might be.  We are unable to see the fig trees in blossom or fruit on the vines and it is hard to rejoice in the Lord during these times.
It is during these times of hardship, whether tangible or spiritual that we dig deep to find fire in our soul that burns for the Lord.  This fire, our faith, is what God gives us so we can exult in him and rejoice in him, always.  Rejoice in him, our salvation, our strength; our God.

Open our eyes to see the blessings you pour out even in the seasons of want.  Open our hands to shares the blessings you give in the seasons of plenty.  Kindle the fire within us so we exult in you and rejoice in you always.  Amen.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Psalm 103: 8-9 “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  He will not always accuse, nor will he keep is anger forever.”

My children love to push each other’s buttons.
I am not sure they are even aware that they do it anymore; it may be innate at this point.  They needle and prod and cajole each other until somebody loses their temper and either lashes out or breaks down into tears.  I do not understand it but I am certain my sisters and I did it to some degree growing up as well.
We all like to know where the boundary is; we like to know our limits.  My children are still learning the boundaries and limits of my husband and myself.  They push and test those boundaries often as well.
As I read this Psalm, I was filled with gratitude for the love and grace of God.  I looked at my life and how I still push and test the boundaries with God every now and then.  I continue to needle and prod and cajole until somebody loses their temper.  Even when I have angered the Lord, his love is still overwhelming.  Even in the midst of his rebuke his forgiveness is there overflowing like a rushing stream into a dry river bed.  So often he does not accuse, he does not get angry, and he remains true in his grace.
I am blessed by the Lord’s mercy and grace.  Today I lift my voice in praise of this loving and gracious God.

Thank you for your everlasting love, grace, and mercy.  Thank you for your patience and kindness regardless of our sins.  You correct, guide and redeem us in love.  We are blessed by your grace and mercy; we are redeemed through your steadfast love.  Thank you for Jesus.  Thank you for loving us always.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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

I have a plan.
I like having plans and I like it when my plan goes as expected.  How often does this happen?  That is a different story.  When I am structuring my plan around the plan God has for me, it usually goes fairly well.  When I stray from his plan and stubbornly search for my own way... not so much.
The kids in our neighborhood will be on spring break next week.  I usually try to give my daughter break during the same times so we are not trying to have school while all of her neighborhood friends are free to play.  When we have a day or two of struggle through school I always question whether or not a break is a good idea.
My daughter, like me, loves to make plans.  Yesterday she told me she has already planned out all of next week.  Huh?  How can an eight year old plan without consulting the grown up?  I felt my ire go up as soon as she told me she had made plans.  Her actions and words say that she thinks she is in charge.  It takes all of my strength not to remind her in unkind and unloving ways that she is not in charge.
How often does God feel like this with me?  I take the reins and go rushing forth with my plans, forgetting that I am not in charge.  I still need to learn to trust in the Lord with all my heart and do not rely on my own insight.

My desire to control has reared its ugly head again.  Please forgive me and help me learn well how to trust in you and stop leaning in my own ways.  As I learn this, help my children also learn this so that we all glorify you in our actions and our words.  I pray this through Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Psalm 98:4-6 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth, break forth into joyous song and sing praises.  Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.  With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.”

I love to listen to the songs of nature.
There are the songs of the birds, of course, each one singing in full song whenever they share their song with the world around them.  There are others; the wind and the trees, the babbling brook and the rhythm of the water on the edge of a lake.  What other songs do you hear?
Do you hear the song of the blossoming flowers or the awakening trees?  Does the sound of a spring rain bring music to your heart?  If you truly listen, you will hear the joyful noise of the world around you.  You will hear the songs of the earth and all that is in it.  Will you join in the song?
With voice, hands, and feet let us make a joyful noise to the King of kings.  With whatever we have and with all that we have let us join together in raucous praise to the Lord, our God.  He has done marvelous things and his steadfast love will never end.  He sent Jesus to reconcile us to him so that we may join him in the throne room anytime.
All praise, glory, and honor are his, today and all days to come!

I lift your name on high this morning.  As the sun begins to peek over the horizon let the light remind me how your light fills each of us with your love.  My heart sings praises; open my mouth to sing your praises too.  Let the work of my hands and the words of my mouth sing praise to you, bring honor to you, and serve you completely and forever.  Hallelujah and Amen!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Luke 4:16 “When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom...”

Where is your home?
I have heard it said that Jesus did not have a home and when I think about his life here on earth I would concur.  He was born in Bethlehem but did not really live there.  The family settled briefly but had to flee to Egypt and they stayed there until it was safe to come back to Israel.  Did Jesus feel like Nazareth was home?
I have lived in Colorado all of my life.  In fact, if I drew a circle with a 50 mile radius around Denver, every place I have lived would be in that circle with room to spare.  Denver, Colorado is my home.  When I go visit my Dad, who lives in the house I grew up in, am I home?  When I walk in the door to the house I live in now, am I home?  Where is my true home?
Home is where my heart is, so I have heard.  That might change where my home is then.  My heart and soul is not in Denver Colorado.  It does not long to remain in the house of my childhood or even in the house I live in now.  My heart longs to live in the Lord.  Home is in the Lord.
Jesus may not have had a home on earth but He has a home and he calls us to come live with him.  His home is our home if we are willing to come.

These words do not flow easily today; help them speak despite their weakness.  As we search our hearts during this season of Lent, help us remember that we are at home in you, no matter what we do, or, where we go.  We are always welcome home in you through your love and mercy; through your amazing grace.   Amen.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Worry must be human nature or at the very least, a common weakness of humans.
There seems to be a fine line between concern worry.  When I go to bible study and we share prayer requests, most of the time I hear concerns.  Once in a while I can sense worry under-girding the request as well.  I know I am prone to worry myself.  I used to be teased about creating something to worry about if I didn't have something to worry over already.
I was paraphrasing this verse just the other day to my daughter and then this morning it popped off of the page at me.  Is worry creeping into my soul again?
Something I gain from this message today is that we need to live in the moment.  We need to be where we are right now; not where we were before and not where we are headed.  I know I struggle with this a lot.  I am slowly learning to face forward and stop looking back so much but I jump ahead regularly.
Today I take a deep breath, read this verse one more time and open my hands and heart to release the worries of tomorrow and the pain of yesterday.  I hold these words in my heart and live for the Lord today.

This passage reminds us all to trust in you and not to worry.  You provide all our needs and you give us our deepest, truest desires.  Why do we lose sight of that so easily?  Forgive us our worrying hearts and lead us forward into your loving arms once more so that we can live in you and live for today.  I pray that all we say and do today will honor you.  Amen.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

John 6:32-33 “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’”

The Israelites thought they were starving to death so Moses prayed to God for help.  God sent manna, bread from heaven, to feed his people.  Jesus reminds the people listening to his lesson in this passage, that Moses did not feed the people, God fed the people.  Now, God has sent bread from heaven again, this time to save us forever.
I love the smell of fresh baked bread.  Even if I am not hungry the aroma makes my mouth water and my tummy growl.  Bread nourishes our bodies.  It feeds us and gives us energy to sustain us during the day.  Without some source of bread, we struggle to find a source of food that will do for us what bread will do.
How much more do we need the bread of heaven?
He nourishes our soul and gives us energy to sustain our souls.  Just the thought of him, the “aroma” of his everlasting love and mercy, make my heart and soul hunger for him.  If you have not tasted this precious bread, I encourage you to try it.  There is nothing like it in this world.  If you have tasted, let us come again to receive renewal and nourishment from the Bread of Life!

Thank you for these words of John.  Thank you for feeding us eternal nourishment so that we can abide with you and in you forever.  I pray for those who do not partake, those who cannot hear your voice, or smell the aroma of your love.  Open their souls to receive you and life in abundance through you.  Amen.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.  And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

I am not a lady of many words.  I do not talk unless I have something to say and I do not always have something to say.  There are times I wish I had something to say, words of comfort or encouragement; words of wisdom.
When I come to the Lord and manage to shut down the chatter and distractions in my head, the quietness is a blessing.  There are times, however, that I manage to sit in stillness and the quiet is deafening.  I do not know how to pray.  A name or person will come to my heart in prayer but I do not know their needs.  My own heart aches in its very depths and I cannot speak for it.
I cling to these words of Romans when I am speechless at the throne of God.  The Lord God knows all things and I trust that he will move according to his plan.  The Spirit prays for me and the ache in my heart is eased.
Even if I do not know what to say or I do not feel the draw to come to the Lord, I come.  I am blessed, each time, through the Spirit of God.  Let each of us allow the blessing of the Spirit’s prayers to wash over us, and through us, renewing us today.

Thank you for your words of encouragement and comfort.  Thank you for standing in the gap when I am unable to lift words to you.  Thank you that I do not need words, I only need you.  Quiet the chaos and distractions in our hearts again so we can hear you, feel you and be blessed by you.  In turn help us be a blessing to you and your kingdom.  Amen.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Psalm 57:1 “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by.”

Springtime in the Rockies has just arrived and the summer thunderstorms are not far behind.
When I was growing up, it seemed to me, we would get a thunderstorm almost every day in the summer.  The sky would get dark with black clouds, wind would begin blowing and then the lightning and thunder would start.  Sometimes we would get rain, but not always.
We still get our fair share of thunderstorms.  My kids do not like the lightning and thunder and they run to take cover when it starts.  We listen to the storm from inside our home and if the severe weather sirens start, we head to the basement to weather the storm there.
The storms rarely last very long and before we know it the sun is peeking out again and occasionally we are blessed with a glorious rainbow at the end of the storm.
Whether your soul is in the midst of a storm, or enjoying a nice sunny day, God is there.  He guides you when things are going beautifully and he will protect you when the going gets rough.  Run for cover when the storm gets too much and trust in the Lord that when all is said and done, the rainbow will shine.

Just as I can comfort the fears of my children, you comfort my fears.  Just as I wrap my arms around my children to keep them safe, you wrap your arms around me to keep me safe too.  Thank you for your protection and love.  Thank you for your guidance and mercy.  Help me take courage in your protection and step out in faith, keeping a lookout for the rainbows.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Titus 2:11-12 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly,”

I need to look back at my previous writings during Lent to see if there is a pattern but I can tell you, for sure, God is working on me this Lenten season.
I am not a big fan of onions but that is the analogy that comes to mind when I think of the layers God is peeling back in my soul.  I like to go through my days praising the Lord and living each day in love as much as possible.  The struggle comes when impiety or worldly passions rear their ugly head in my soul and I am wrapped up in my own selfish desires again.  When this happens, (and it invariably does) I wonder how I can even call myself a disciple of Christ.
Paul reminds me in this letter to Titus that I am not alone in this struggle.  We are all human and therefore, we all have impiety and worldly passions in us.  I cannot renounce them on my own and it is not a one and done fix.  Through grace we are saved.  His grace trains us to renounce these things.  This training is a lifelong process and I seem to forget this so easily.
As we move through Lent and slowly closer to the cross of salvation, let each of us cling to the grace we know Jesus brought.  I lift my heart and hands in thanksgiving and praise this morning that grace has saved me!  Hallelujah and Amen!

I know you are refining me more and more each day as I allow you to.  Give me the courage to continue so that I can, one day, be complete in your Light and Love.  Let me be a reflection of you in this world until you come again.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

a re-post from long ago during this season of Lent:

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The verses before this talk about Jesus being tempted; he does sympathize with us in our weakness.
I picture myself in front of the throne.  When I come to confess my sin I come in humility, with sorrow in my heart. When I see myself I am on my knees with my face down, tears streaming down my cheeks unable to face the King of kings, knowing I failed once again.
In my brokenness, in my humility, in my remorse, I do have the confidence to come without hesitation, without delay.  I know beyond a shadow of doubt that when I come, he gives me mercy and grace in abundance that I cannot fathom. He bathes me in his love and forgiveness until I shine like the sun.
I am often left speechless in these times and this morning as I picture this scene, I have no words to describe how I feel in God's amazing grace.

You overwhelm my senses.  No matter how I try to embrace and accept without question all that you give me, I am consistently astounded.  Thank you seems so small a gesture to give back so I give you my life in return for all you give me.  I am yours; use me as you will.  Help me to remember that you are always there, at the throne of grace to accept me, to heal me, to cleanse me and help me start anew.  Wow.  You are amazing...   Amen.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Proverbs 6:27-28 “Can fire be carried in the bosom without burning one’s clothes?  Or can one walk on hot coals without scorching the feet?”

When I read these verses I thought of the fire walkers in other countries.  I have seen them on TV once or twice; these people literally walk across burning coals in bare feet.  Why?  When you play with fire you are bound to get burned.  Who would even think of putting fire in a pocket to carry it around?
These verses speak to how it feels when you are living in the sin of adultery.  Desire burns in your heart like a hot coal in your pocket.  The steps into adultery are like walking on hot coals while thinking you will not scorch your feet.  I think all sin is like this to varying degrees.
When we keep our eyes focused on the Light and Truth we are filled with light and truth.  When we begin to desire something outside of those we begin stepping into darkness.  We lose all sense of focus and we begin to believe the lies of the deceiver.  We believe we can carry this burning fire or walk on these hot coals and not get burned.  We are deceived!
It is only when we feel the burning sting and the pain that comes with playing with fire that we wake up to see the truth again.  When we come back, humbly, to the Light and Truth and through God’s everlasting love and grace we are welcomed back to receive correction and healing.  Hallelujah!

Keep your commandments written on our hearts so that we avoid playing with fire in the first place.  Help us see in truth and live in you in all ways.  When we get burned remind us that you are waiting for us to come receive forgiveness and healing through your amazing grace.  Thank you for that God!  Amen.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

James 3:8-10 “but no one can tame the tongue-a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  My brothers and sisters this ought not to be so.”

The poisonous darts from one’s mouth surely can sting.
I was not very old when I realized the power that words, and how they were spoken, held.  I could bring smiles or I could bring tears depending on what I said.  The saying about sticks and stones and words is just not true.
I read an article recently that was talking about smartphones and the impact it might be having on our youth in their communication style and skills.  When you see someone’s facial reaction to what you say it is more personal than when you type it on a screen and send it via the virtual world.  The impact to the other person is just as real but the sender is not privy to the reaction.
Not only does what we say impact others but it does impact us as well.  That honey or poison coming from our mouth feeds into our brains and our souls as well.  The seed is already deep within our soul or we would have the ability to say what comes out of our mouth.
This morning I asked the Lord to search my heart and soul for any poison that might lurk waiting to spew out toxic words.  I asked him to remove it and make me clean once more.

May the meditations of my heart be true and right in your eyes.  Keep poison from my heart and my mouth so that the words I speak are sweet and healing, like honey, to all those around me.  I ask these things through Jesus, the Christ, my redeemer.  Amen. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Isaiah 46:9-10 “...I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying ‘My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfill my intention,’”

There is nothing we can do or refuse to do that will change the end of the story.  Does this bring comfort and relief to you as it does to me?
I think about the story of Jonah in context of these verses and it confirms that God does not quit.  He could have moved on without Jonah and found a different way to get his word to the city of Nineveh but he went to great lengths to save Jonah and use him to fulfill his intention.
In the story of Moses, God could have tossed Moses aside when he balked at going to speak to Pharaoh and used Aaron or some other well-spoken Israelite but God’s intention and purpose will not be thwarted.
He called Jesus, his son, to rise up and be the ultimate sacrifice for all people so that there would be no more barriers between the Holy of holies and his people.  God knew his purpose would stand and his intention would be fulfilled in Christ.
What is he asking of you; what is he asking of me?  Do we balk at his requests?  He does not ask us with intention of failure; he gives us what we need to serve his purpose.  Trust and obey knowing he is God of gods.

Please forgive my lack of trust and faith.  I balk because I am incapable or it seems too hard for me to serve as you ask me to.  Give me courage to trust fully in you.  Instill in me a deep peace and an understanding that you are with me and your purpose and intention will be fulfilled.  Amen.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Matthew 7:12 “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”

This mantra is one we are working on in my home.
So often I see my kids trying to take advantage of one another and invariably one ends up with hurt feelings.  It pains me to see this deeply human behavior in my kids but I know it is in me and each of us too; we are all human.
Jesus calls us to treat others as we want to be treated.  Do I want to be left hungry with little or no good food to eat?  Do I want to be left a bridge to live under as my home?  Do I want to be judged and cursed because I look different or think differently that someone else?
Jesus took this command to the deepest level in his life.  He came to us, becoming like us and striving to bring us to him.  Ultimately he gave his life for us so that we might have life abundantly.  Do I embrace life in abundance?  Do I share the abundance I have received with others?
I feel a nudge from the Spirit that I could do more to follow this command.  I need to search my heart with the light of the Lord so all things are released to him.  I need to seek cleansing and new freedom in my redeemer so that I am able to serve others with a wholehearted love.  I come closer to the cross step by step to receive what he has for me, so I can share what I have with others.

As I walk this journey of life help me continue to release self and embrace others.  Help me live in love and grace, spreading these gifts instead of condemnation and rejection.  Through your love I have been saved, guide me to share your love so that others may be saved through it as well.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Psalm 66:16 “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.”

I am not a big talker.  I am, by nature, an introvert and not very comfortable when I am out of my little bubble of well-known friends.
If you were to observe me in a gathering outside of my home you would see me sitting with a few close friends enjoying their company.  Even at family gatherings I do not strive or wish to be the center of attention.
I know there are people who share their testimony; I have not searched it on the internet but I would not be surprised if there are numerous recorded testimonies I could watch if I wanted to.  I cringe at the thought of standing up in front of a group of people sharing my story...
How do I tell others what God has done for me then?  Actions speak louder than words so I can share my testimony by how I live my life.  You learn some of my story in my devotions, in my schedule, in my demeanor.  If you come, get to know me and sit with me a while, you will hear what God has done for me.  I may not preach it from a hilltop but I cannot help sharing what God has done for me.  Come and hear...come and tell, let us glorify God together.

You stretch me from my comfort zone often and for that I thank you.  I do not want to stay cooped up in my little quiet world when I think of all you have done for me.  Give me the courage to speak and the courage to move in testimony for all you have done for me.  Help me share what you have done for all of us so any who have not heard will hear and believe.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Matthew 25:40 “And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’”

I get so wrapped up in my world that I lose sight of the world around me.
I was awake very early this morning and trying to go back to sleep but worries were keeping me awake.  I was thinking about all the things I need to accomplish on top of my normal daily duties.  I was worrying about upcoming medical tests for my daughter and how those fill her with overwhelming anxiety.  I was thinking about...
The list could go on and on.  When I am thinking about my world I am not thinking of the world around me.  When I am not thinking of the world around me I am not able to serve the world around me either.  This passage in Matthew reminds me there are bigger needs in the world than mine and my family’s.  I need to step out of myself and open my eyes to see the needs of others again.
As we walk this journey of Lent, let us each take a few moments to search our hearts deeply.  Look for the place God has created in us to serve others.  As I begin a new day, I begin with new vision, sight from the Lord to see the world around me and a renewed call to serve the least of these.

Forgive my shortsightedness for creeping back in and drawing my attention away from you and your light.  Help me release the small worries of my world to you so that I am able to embrace the people of your world and serve the people you bring to me to serve.    Let me be your light in word and deed today.  Amen.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Daniel 6:3 “Soon Daniel distinguished himself above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom.”

Have you heard of a teacher’s pet?
I am not talking about the guinea pig that the kids help take care of or the frogs that reside waiting for further examination.  I mean the student that stands out as the favorite, the one who seems to know all the answers and gets special attention from the teacher because they excel. 
When I read this passage of Daniel, I could easily see how Daniel might be viewed as the “teacher’s pet”.  This exiled Jew comes in and begins making a name for himself in the king’s palace.  He quickly moves up the ranks and before we know it he is being considered as ruler over the whole kingdom.
I never plotted to ruin the favorite students but I know I wished for that special attention.  It feels good to be acknowledged and to feel special.  These men were jealous of the attention Daniel received so they plotted against him.  In the end Daniel is redeemed and the conspirators are given the punishment they dreamed up for Daniel.  Whether you are distinguished among peers or not so much, let us all remember that God puts people in place for his purpose and we can trust in him to do what is right.

Give us sight to see what our purpose is in the place you have us right now.  Keep our eyes and hearts focused on you and not on the doings of others in the world around us.  You give us all the praise and accolades we need so help our works be for your purpose and glory so we work to please only you.  No human reward can compare with the rewards you give us.  Amen.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Luke 8:11,15 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God...but as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in a honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.”

If you live in Colorado with me we are not quite ready to begin planting gardens.
This parable of seeds being sown in different soils is one of my favorite.  It reminds me that we each have some of the different kinds of soil in us.  The hardened path does not accept any seed and the birds come and eat it.  The rocky soil accepts the seed but does not have moisture so the seeds wither and die.  The thorny soil accepts the seed but eventually the weeds choke out the seedlings that were growing and again there is no fruit to be had.
We have hardened parts of our hearts; we have rocks and thorns as well.  The good news is that we have good soil and a master gardener waiting to till and nurture the rest of the soil to make it good for receiving and growing seeds.
As we reflect on our hearts during this season of Lent, let us each take time to review what kinds of soil we have within us.  Take time to ask the Lord, the master gardener, to till the soil and make it good soil so we can be fruitful in this day.

Thank you for sunshine and rain, thank you for snow and wind and thank you that spring is just around the corner.  Help us search our hearts for hardness, for rocks and for weeds.  Prepare us as good soil so that when we receive the seeds of your holy word that we hold it fast in our good hearts and bear fruit as you call us to.  Amen.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Psalm 91:11-12 “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.  On their hands they will bear you up so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”

Have you ever seen an angel?
Before we answer this question we must ask ourselves what an angel might look like.  There are numerous accounts in the bible of angel visitations.  Sometimes they come in all the glory of the Lord, shining like the sun and instilling fear and trepidation in the humans they encounter.  Sometimes they appear as a man; another human being bringing comfort or attending some other need.
You can read books and accounts online of angel visitations that happen in today’s world too.  There is no shortage of stories sharing accounts of angels bearing people up or guarding their ways.  Have you seen an angel?
When we dwell with the Most High we abide in him and him in us and his angels are among us.  We may never notice them but they are truly here.  They may come as a another person assisting, comforting, healing... they may come in all the glory of the Lord instilling fear and trepidation in our hearts but they come because the Lord God commands his angels concerning us, his beloved children.  Amazing!

How often have you sent angels to protect and guide me as I wander blindly down a path of destruction?  How many times have your angels protected me as I strove to do your work in this world?  I thank you today for your love and protection.  I thank you for guarding and guiding each of us on our ways.  Help us be a blessing, bringing honor to your kingdom today.  Amen.

Friday, March 7, 2014

1 Timothy 3:16 “Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.”

Do you ever wonder how you got where you are?  Do you wonder where you are going from here?
I look back at my life so far and there is no logical explanation to my path or my journey.  Why do some people choose this path of religion and some do not?  Doesn't the mystery call to everyone?
Mysteries that cannot be solved are hard for people.  There are shows on TV that are about unsolved mysteries, detectives in police departments across the country and around the world work to solve mysteries every day.  We like closure and completion, we struggle with the unknown.
The mystery of God through Christ is beyond my comprehension.  When I start thinking about it with my head it confounds me, I get frustrated.  When I set aside my thinking and begin searching with my heart and soul, I find peace and assurance.
The mystery of God will not be solved in my lifetime or in the time of earth as we know it.  I am left with this and I share it with you:  We are loved by the one true God, creator and redeemer of all.  We are called to share this love with each other.  This is my religion.

Do not let me be deceived, keep me clearly focused on your truth, your love, and your light.  Keep me from deceiving others and allow me to be a reflection of your love in this world.  Amen.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”

What is your most treasured possession?
Is it something you had longed for and after striving for it you finally hold it in your hands?  Is it a family heirloom, something that has been passed down from generation to generation and could never be replaced?  Is it not a thing but perhaps a person; not something you hold dearest but someone?
This verse was given to the Israelites as they prepared to enter the Promised Land.  As I sit and bask in these words I try to imagine what that would feel like to hear these words from the mouth of Moses, knowing it came straight from the God of gods.  As I sit and bask in these words I remember that because of Christ, you and I can claim these words as well.
Can you picture God holding his most treasured possessions in his hands?  Just as we would be with ours he is tender and careful with his treasures, he does not want to damage or break them, for we are irreplaceable.    He caresses and gazes on and adores each of us, we are his treasures. 
Go into this day knowing this:  You are holy to the Lord your God; the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.  Allow this statement to seep into your deepest soul and feel his gentle embrace of love as you go through your day.

I am humbled and honored to be a treasure to you.  I come on bended knee to be cleansed and received, to be made holy in your sight once more.  Remind me that I am a holy treasure to you; remind me that every person you created is a holy treasure to you.  Guide me to treat others as preciously as you do.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ephesians 4:4-5 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”

Does all really mean all?
When I think of a body, mine in particular, are there parts of my body that are unhappy about each other?  My eyes see other parts of my body and the condemnation begins.  I won’t go into details but there is always room for improvement and my eyes are the window for the brain to judge through.  My body works together as one unit but each part has its purpose.
What if we could look at the people in God’s creation in this light?  We are all of God, created by his hand and for his purpose.  Another part of the body may not be working the way we think it should but are we the ones who created it?  Are we the one who designed that part for a specific purpose?  Who are we to know what purpose and call that part has from the God and Father of all?
When Paul wrote this letter did he mean to only include Christians in the body?  Did he exclude the people who did not follow the gospel truth?  If parts of the body do not work as they were designed do we cut them off or seek healing and restoration for them?  Just a thought...

Remove the blinders from my eyes so I am able to see clearly, as you designed me to see.  Let me see other through your one Spirit and seek a bond of peace with all.  We are all yours; you are above us, through us and in us.  Help us see you in each other beyond anything else we see.  Amen.