Thursday, August 28, 2014

There is a saying “that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger.”  However, I don’t think that is quite what James was saying in this passage.
I struggle with finding joy in my trials, let me tell you.  I lament, I grumble, I pout, and I whine.  The list of my poor behavior when being tested goes on but I need to keep up some kind of appearance, right?
Home school has always been a challenge; some days easier than others.  This year I have two kids to teach and it has been interesting, to say the least.  I am reminded, daily, that I do not understand boys very well.  I know my five year old boy is typical in that he cannot seem to sit still for more than a nanosecond and his attention span...  I do my best to teach while on the move but there are some things and sometimes we need to sit.  This is just one example, on the surface, of the trials I need to consider a joy, and I have it easy!
Seriously, I tuck these verses away in my heart knowing I will need them a lot.  Face trials with joy because they make us and our faith stronger.  I pray it be so.


How many times have I come asking forgiveness for my shortsightedness?  I cannot count them!  Your Word is my strength and I hold onto it for dear life.  Guide my thoughts, my actions, and my words so that, rather than laments, I spread joy to the world.  To your glory I pray.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I am such an “inside-the-box” person, just like the disciples were in this story.
So often I cannot imagine how to accomplish what is being asked of me by God.  Even as I write I ask why?  What real good could come from my continued writings, what am I really supposed to do?
The disciples clearly hear Jesus say “you give them something to eat.”  What?  How could we do that?  That makes no sense to us, we couldn't possibly...  Jesus gathers the meager stock of food they have and asks God to bless it.  With God’s blessing, a miracle takes place.
How often do I miss out because I do not allow God to work through me?  Do others miss out because of it?
As I put soup and canned fruit in my car, as I write my pondering on scripture, as I teach my kids, I ask for God’s blessings on these.  Now I need to listen and follow his lead, a miracle just might occur...


I cannot see as you see.  Please forgive my unwillingness to participate fully.  Make clear to me the path you have set before me and, Lord, please bless that path and all who are a part of it.  Use me as you will, to your glory.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Yesterday I hosted the home school co-op at my house.  We are studying the human body in science and the project was to investigate our fingerprints.
As I think about the kids that were standing around my table I could tie together siblings pretty easily even if I did not know the kids.  Most of them look enough like each other that it is apparent who belongs with whom.  Still, none of us are the same.
Just as our fingerprints indicate, we are each individually created and formed by the Creator, the One True God.  No one shares an exact match of fingerprint with anyone else.  Even identical twins do not share these prints.  Like there are no two snowflakes exactly alike (as far as we know) there are no two people that are exactly alike.
Go into the day celebrating your individuality.  Praise the Lord for he has fearfully and wonderfully made you; you are unique and special!


Thank you for the reminder of your care and love for each of us through these verses and through our fingerprints.  Help us use our unique gifts and personalities to serve you.  Unite us together with our Christian brothers and sisters so we work together to further your kingdom until you come.  Amen.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The tree leaves rustle with a breeze this morning.  The birds are not so vocal in their songs.  The sun brings light to the sky, first a glow of pink and quickly turning it to a light blue.  A new day has begun.
In this quiet moment, I am awe struck at the splendor of God.  The world is full of his creation and his splendor is shown throughout it.  I go through my days with blinders on, stuck in the mundane tasks of normalcy.  This morning I see, for a moment, the beauty of the earth, the beauty of his people, and the holy splendor of God all around me.
As I prepare to go worship in church, I hold this feeling of deep worship in my soul.  I remember all that God has done for me, with me, and through me and I tremble before him.  I do not tremble in fear, I tremble in awe.
I join the voices of nature; I join the voices across nations and throughout the earth, in praise and worship to this, the Almighty, the One True God.  All glory, laud, and honor to you Redeemer King!


I am at a loss for words this morning.  You know my heart and I know the Spirit intercedes where my language falls short.  Thank you for this time with you.  Thank you for leading me beside still waters and restoring my soul.  I praise your holy name and still tremble at the foot of your throne.  You are an awesome God and I forever worship you.  Amen.

Friday, August 22, 2014

I do not like the word grudge.
The word sounds dark and heavy to me; kind of dirty, like mud.
I like to think of myself as a fairly forgiving person.  I tend to let things roll off of me without sticking too much and I am, most of the time, able to see value in people.  That is like forgiveness, right?
I forgive my kids and my spouse for the things they do and say that they do not even know hurt me or things they say in a moment of anger to hurt me.  Have I forgiven all of the people in my past that have hurt me?
Forgiving debts is something banks used to do and, in a way, still do.  After 7 years of bankruptcy, records are expunged, the debt is forgiven.  I know I have held things in my heart for much longer than 7 years and it is well beyond time to expunge them from my records.
I search my heart, I ask the Spirit to show me where any grudges hide in the depths of me.  I want to be free from them and release the debts forever.  Forgiveness is freedom for everyone.


Bring forth the things I need to forgive so they are clearly before me and no longer tucked away, weighing me down.  Work in me, and through me, to be a forgiving and gracious person; I want to be like you.  Help me forgive, expunge the records.  Thank you, Lord, for your forgiveness.  Amen.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

This nearly jumped off of the page as I read.
I immediately thought of my kids; not just my kids but their playmates as well.  They are all at an age where lies and deception become a real temptation.  They say what they think you want to hear so they can get what they want or avoid what they don’t want.
My daughter and I were talking about lying a few days ago and she asked why I never lie, or if I do.   My quick answer was that I learned the value of truth and the lies always cause damage even if you never get caught by another person.  My kids lie because they want and they know they will not receive what they ask for because of their desired purpose.  Am I different?
What do I ask for from God?  What is the true reason I ask?  This is something that requires soul searching on my part.  It is easy to say what I ask him for but do I deceive myself in the reason for asking?  Today I ask the Lord to reveal this truth to me.


Is it part of our human nature to be selfish?  I see it from the time we are small children and slowly as we grow we learn to move beyond our selfishness.  You know for me it is not always a forward motion.  Forgive me for not seeking, not asking, asking wrongly.  I know you are not done with me yet, I come to you ready to move forward again.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When I read this passage I picture a knight in shining armor.  I see heavy chain mail and heavy plated armor covering every part of the body to protect it from harm.
As I prayed and pondering this scripture today I thought Paul likely visualized a Roman soldier.  I imagine the armor they wore was still substantial and weighty but not to the degree of the medieval knights.
God’s armor is really not like either of these.  Truth does not weigh us down, it sets us free.  Righteousness lifts us up, it does not press heavily on our chests.  If I were to visualize the armor of God it would be weightless yet impenetrable.  It would shimmer and shine with an almost iridescent light, the light of God.  It does not sit on the outside of us either, it comes from within; it comes from the Holy Spirit, who resides within us.
We never know when an attack from the enemy will be.  It is unlikely we will hear the battle charge coming, he is much more subversive.  So, be ready.  Pray, study, learn and trust in the Lord.  Be strong in His power.


Let us not lean on our own “power” when fighting these battles, we are not strong enough.  Thank you for your Spirit and your power, thank you for giving us these things to fight the battle with.  You know when the battle comes, work within us so we are ready in that time.   In Christ, Amen.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I have had a love song running in my head over the last couple of days and this morning I woke up knowing I wanted to just tell God that I love him.
I love how creative you are God.  When I look around at creation so big and so small I am in awe.
I love the promise of change you bring.  You change the seasons, you change our hearts... and I am glad those changes come from you.
I love how merciful you are.  All through the Bible, all through time until whenever tomorrow ceases, your mercy abounds.  You are so merciful.
I love how giving you are.  You give each of us life.  You give us love.  You give us all we need and so much more that we could imagine to desire.  You are so giving.
I love that you are steadfast and solid.  Even as you bring change all around, you are unchanging.  When chaos seems to run rampant, you are firm.  In the midst of any storm, any fear, anything, I love your steadfast firmness.
I love that you love me.


It feels good to be loved.  I say I love you but do other people know that I love you?  I say I love you but do I show my love for you?  I pray that my love would be evident to everyone but mostly to you.  Help me show and share my love for you today.  Amen.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What is your favorite drink?
I have to say my favorite thing to drink, over all, is coffee with cream.  I love the warm smooth feeling of it.  I like the way the cream and the slight bitterness of the coffee blend together just so.  There are other things I enjoy drinking, but coffee is my top choice.
As much as I enjoy my coffee I realize it cannot give me what my body truly needs, hydration.  I drink a lot of water too.  I tell my kids water is the life source to our bodies; without it we would not survive.  I try to drink a lot of water.  My body longs for it.
As much as I know I need water I realize it cannot give me what my soul truly needs, God.  As much as my body needs water my soul needs the renewing love and grace of the Lord even more.  The Lord is always here but I am not always fully aware of his refreshing presence.  I lift my heart and my hands in worship and praise to the living God, the God of true life today.  Come, join me and be filled with his living water, given for good of our souls.


My soul’s deepest desire is to be with you.  Help this yearning drive my words and actions as I continue my journey toward the day I bow at your holy throne in glory. Nourish my soul as you know its needs.  I pray this through Jesus, my friend and redeemer.  Amen.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Does this verse bring comfort or worry?
I know some people who do not want the government watching and knowing everything they do and I believe that makes sense.  The government is made up of people fallible and human creatures like you and me.  One thought is that if I am not doing anything I shouldn't, let them look.  This is how it is with my kids.
My kids are quickly getting beyond the age when they say, “Mom, don’t look at me...”  I know when I hear that I need to see what is going on.  Most of the time it just gets really quiet or I hear whispers and giggles, then I know I need to keep my attention focused in that direction because things are likely to go south quickly.
Jonah ran away from God.  The thing is we can’t really run away from God.  Scripture tells us God is everywhere; God sees all things and people.  Not only does he see our physical beings, he sees into our hearts.
I take comfort in this scripture and in this knowledge.  God is faithful and merciful and I thank him for that today.


Search my heart for hidden evil.  I hide it from myself but I know you see all.  I ask you to cleanse my heart and soul once again so I am, through the blood of Jesus Christ, pure and holy in your presence.  I pray for guidance and protection by your Spirit so that all I do and say is good in your sight.  Amen.

Friday, August 15, 2014

This morning I was stretching my muscles and thinking about how the Lord stretches our souls.
He does not push us or stretch us beyond our abilities in him but sometimes it feels like it.  When I stretch my leg muscles start out tight and there is a little pain to loosen them up for the day.  When God stretches us there may be a little pain to loosen and strengthen us as well.
Today I plan to do a trial run school day.  My son is just starting home school and we haven’t worked out a plan with each other yet.  I know I will stretch him in learning and it may feel a little bit painful at times, for both of us.  I do not wish to cause pain to my children but I know they need to learn and I am called to teach them.  I love them beyond words, they are my children.  Even when tears of frustration fall, even when voices of anger rise, even when tender hugs abound, they are my children and I love them.
We are God’s children, he loves us beyond words.  Take a moment to feel his loving arms holding you and loving you today.


Bless each of us as we begin another day.  Keep that tender knowledge in our hearts that you love us; we are your precious children.  Hold our hands and guide us, stretch us and grow us in your love and truth today and all days.  Amen.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What am I doing, where am I going and why am I doing it the way I do it?  These are questions I have been asking myself a lot lately.
I know we each have things that threaten to bring us down whether they be physical maladies, mental struggles or spiritual battles; maybe some of each.  Occasionally I come to the Lord asking why?  Paul answers: We are what he has made us, created in Christ for good works.  Couldn't I do good works better without the brokenness in my life?  Ah, but the brokenness I experience is what keeps me coming back to the Lord.  If life were all peaches and cream, would I feel the need for mercy and guidance?  Would I feel the need to be saved, would I be grateful for all the blessings or would I take them for granted?
Today is a new day; maybe I will eat better, get better exercise and be more productive in my day.  Whatever I do I hold this verse in my heart.  I am what he created me to be, in Christ. I am called to do his work.  This is my way of life; this is the way to live.


I do not live for my salvation, I live because of it.  I do not work to earn your grace; I work in thanksgiving of your grace.  When I get down on myself remind me again that I am created in Christ, just as you designed me, to live the life you have given me.  I give my life to you, Lord God.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I meditated on this passage just a couple of months ago – why am I back here again?
I don’t know about you but occasionally the Lord leads me to a very familiar scripture over and over again.  Sometimes I gain new insight from it, sometimes it is a reminder to me; a checkpoint.
What have I done about this lately?  Even as I continue my journey of healthy living I wonder if I need to alter my perspective a bit.  I easily dismiss the idea that this physical body I reside in is the temple but when I read scripture I am admonished.  This slightly short, slightly saggy, physical body is a temple to the Lord.
We paint and repair our homes as they need it and as we are able, we also need to care for our temples; our bodies.  It would be remiss to allow a temple to fall into disrepair. 
So there it is:  I work on my body, I work on my spirit, and I work on my mind, all together, all separate.  In this work I will come to love the Lord with all that I am.


Thank you for the lesson to remind me that even though my body is not spirit, they are intertwined.  As I work on each one help me see the connectedness and the benefit in all.  Do not let me neglect any so that I continue to move toward complete love in you and through you.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I saw a quote the other day on the internet that said something like “I know God is not finished with me yet” and this scripture reference was listed with it.
Whenever I have read this in the past I always understood it corporately, not individually.  I decided to look at it on a more personal level today.
I was talking with a friend recently and we were lamenting that we seem to be fighting the same battles that we were fighting years ago.  Are we so dense that we cannot move beyond that struggle or is that our “cross” to carry?  I mentioned to her that he battle is the same but it manifests differently through time.  I have written before about how tired I get, fighting the same battle.  This verse renews my hope and reminds me that the journey is not over and there is always much to learn until that time.
Instead of grumbling about my battles, I look for the growth that has come because of them.  I rejoice that the Lord is with me in the midst of them.  I praise him for continuing to do good work in me and through me until he comes.


Forgive my short sightedness yet again.  Thank you for the new view on this scripture and on my earthly battles.  Thank you for the promise in these words of Paul’s that remind us you are still working in us and through us.  Thank you for your steadfast love and mercy through Christ.  Amen.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My mom taught me an old saying that goes something like “they cut off their nose to spite their face.”  Who, in their right mind, would do that?  They are only hurting themselves!
Yesterday our church said goodbye to our musician and began the process of saying goodbye to our pastor.  It is very apparent that our church is due for a shakeup of some magnitude.  We currently have no paid staff!  Where do we go from here, how do we begin again?  Do we keep on keeping on?
The leadership of the church has spent time in prayer; our deacons and our elders.  A few of the older generation reminded us all to pray to the Lord during this time of change.  I remind us to listen, to be still in his presence so we are able to hear his word for us.
Each of us would do well to learn this on a personal level as well.  I slide into auto-pilot mode pretty easily but the Lord seeks true relationship with us, not rote babble.
Seek him, listen and learn.  He will revive, restore and save each of us.  We will rejoice forever in his holy name!


I lift up my church; I lift up the hearts of your people, and this broken world.  Tune our hearts, minds, and souls clearly and solely to you.  In that revival, we rejoice in your love and your salvation.  Thank you and hallelujah!  Amen.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

This reminds me of Palm Sunday services in church.
We stand in our fellowship hall, each person holding a palm frond, waiting to process into the sanctuary.  When the time is right, we process and we sing praises and hosannas to the Lord.
One day we will stand in the true throne room, in the full presence of our Lord and our God.  We will join the great multitude from all nations, every tribe, and every tongue.  We will lift our hands and our voices in worship and in praise to the one who saved us.
I know many, myself included, who long for the day when this takes place but as I read and prayed over this passage I was reminded that we do not wait until that day to worship and praise his holy name.  We have been saved and he is worthy of our praise this moment; every moment until the new beginning and for eternity. Verse ten says “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  Hallelujah and Amen!


I lift my heart and my hands in humble worship to you.  I lift my voice in praise to your holy name this day.  Hold my gaze Lord, I pray.  Keep my eyes focused on you, the one true God, today and forever.  Amen.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Growing up in Colorado, like I have, I know very little about the real workings of a lighthouse.
Lighthouses sit on the edge of land, tall and sturdy.  They are built to shine light all around them dispelling darkness and fog that are dangerous to the ships and boats coming in to land.  They are not built in the forest glades or in a gully; they are purposely set on high ground so they are easily seen.
If we are the light of the world, as Jesus says, should we not also be easily seen, set on high ground to shine light?  Are we not called to dispel darkness and fog in the world so all can come home in safety?
We cannot shine our own light though.  We are shining the light of God.  Just as the lighthouse keeper gives light to the beacon for the ships, God fills us with his light and we are able to shine out to the world.
Shine your light for all to see.  If you do not have light then seek the safety of God’s light and come home to him today.  Then you, too, will be filled with his light.


Thank you for filling me with your light.  Please use me on whatever shore, whatever hill... wherever you need me to shine and spread your light, dispelling darkness and fog until all come home to you.  Amen.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Two gates: one well maintained and a paved path leading to it and beyond it and another hidden in the ticket partially grown over and only a hint of a path.
Which gate would you use?
I used to tease my kids and their friends when they were just toddlers for taking the path of most resistance.  They were just learning to walk and it seemed like they would choose to walk through toys and over toys, risking a fall when they simply could walk around the toys with a free and clear path.  We are taught from early on not to make things harder than they need to be.  Here Jesus tells us something different.  He tells us to defy logic.  Take the hard path.
When I see obstruction and challenge and difficulty I am often troubled by it and wish for it to go away.  I want to lock this passage away in my heart so when I am stumbling along the difficult and narrow path I remember that this is the path leading to life, to God.  Will you join me on this ardent journey?


We do not walk this narrow, difficult road alone.  Even though there are obstacles and challenges so big, you are with us; you promise that you are always with us.  Help us find and choose the narrow path to life; to you.  Amen.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Most people don’t really breathe as well as they could.  We often just take in shallow breaths and manage with that.
Yesterday when I was out for my cardio walk I was seeing how far I could jog before I lost my breath.  I concentrated on taking in deep breaths.  Breathing in all the way to the bottom of my lungs and filling them with air as best I could to receive the most benefit of oxygen.  I jogged farther than I ever have before and I did not lose my breath.
How often are we like this spiritually as well?  We take in the bare minimum that we think we need and manage with that.  Sunday sermon or a daily verse and we go on without much more.  I am tired of getting by.  I am fed up with the bare minimum, settling for less.
Breathe deep!  Take in as much as you can for the most benefit that you can receive.  God wants us to live and live abundantly, not just sneak by.  I want to shout these words from a mountain top so all would hear – God wants us to live – live in Him and truly live!


How do I share your love and your Word with more people?  How do I testify to the changes you have made in my life so more people will seek, find, and live too?  I long for the day when I stand among a vast multitude of deeply living souls and we can all celebrate true life in you together.  Until then, please use these words as you will.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I like to know the plan.  I plan the day, the week; I plan out things.  I really like it when things go according to the plan too but that rarely happens.
When I was younger I used to pray that God would show me the blueprint of my life so I could live according to his plan for me.  I lamented that it would be so much easier if I could just see the plan!  As I have become more seasoned I realize the value in letting things unfold as they will.  I am learning that I do not need the blueprint; I need to keep moving forward.  I need to listen and trust in the Lord. 
When I look around at the world I could become like Daniel, overcome and sick for days.  He was distraught at the vision and he wrote that he did not understand it.
What I know is that God is faithful and eternal.  Whatever comes to pass, I will hold fast to him and remain in him to the end.  I pray this for all people through Christ’s mercy.


Let us not be deceived or downtrodden by the things of darkness that we see today and that we read about for tomorrow.  Our hope is in you, Lord.  Keep us strong in you and compel us to grow in you each day so that when the end is here, we stand firm with you forever.  All glory, honor, and praise to you this day and all days.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The pages of a book are dark when they are hidden and closed within the binding.  The writings on the scroll are hidden in darkness until the scroll is unrolled to expose the words.
Do you remember cootie catchers?  It is a game kids use to tell each other’s fortune.  They unfold different flaps to find the clue to the next flap and after a few clues, unfolding a few flaps, the fortune is revealed.  If only...
Flowers open to the sun, plants turn their leaves toward light and our souls wait to unfold to the words and love of God.  We cannot receive understanding without study.  We must open to the word and be open the word to be enlightened.
As I gather things together in preparation for school I picture my kids unfolding to knowledge.  It is so rewarding to see the light of understanding in them when they learn something new.
We cannot gain insight or understanding from the cootie catcher.  Pull The Book off of the shelf, dust off the cover, unfold the pages and let light and understanding come to your heart.


There is much to learn and understand, we have more than a lifetime to do it.  If we understand only one thing let us understand your unending love.  We hear it, we read it; help us truly understand and believe it.  Unfold our hearts to your light and love today and all days.  Amen.

Monday, August 4, 2014

What a tender vision I saw when I read this.
Ruth came to Bethlehem as a widow with her mother-in-law Naomi.  They did not have much more than the clothes on their backs.  Ruth had been gleaning grain from fields to feed herself and Naomi and now, through the instruction of her mother-in-law, she sat at the feet of Boaz.
Mosaic covenant stipulated that the Hebrew community of faith would take care of the disadvantaged.  They were called to care for the poor, the widows, the orphans.  That call was passed on to us through Jesus.
We are still in the midst of summer and it is hard to imagine someone needing a cloak, or a coat.  The weather can turn quick in Colorado though.  It won’t be long before frost covers the grass and we will see our breath in the air.
Who is our next-of-kin?  Who sits at our feet waiting to see if we will spread our cloak over them in an act of love and protection?  We are all brothers and sisters through Jesus, our Lord.


Give us hearts of compassion and the means to share with others what blessings you have poured out on us.  You know what our brothers and sisters need most.  Use us to provide for those needs.  Help us spread your love throughout the world as we spread love to those around us.  Amen.