Thursday, October 27, 2016

1 Peter 1: 24-25

1 Peter 1: 24-25
"All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever." 

Glorious One,
Thank You for the beautiful lessons of autumn. With a gentle breath from heaven the dry, yellowed grasses wave impassively in the chilly fall air. The leaves, while glistening with dazzling colors, begin to crackle and drop from their branches,  blowing here and there. The pretty pallet of posies that peeked in my window all summer has long since faded. As I reflect on the sights of the season, I'm reminded that life is short. Like the flowers, fame and fortune will fade. Good health will eventually wilt and wither. Beauty will flee like the falling leaves. 

 Only Your Word lasts forever. Your perfect promises are the same today as they were yesterday, and will be tomorrow. I've got to stop looking to people and possessions for pleasure. They could perish in a heartbeat leaving me disappointed and disillusioned. Instead, I need to focus on the power of Your everlasting promises. They are altogether trustworthy and all that I need to live happily ever after in the beautiful kingdom of heaven. Eternal glory is Yours because of Jesus. Amen. 

Take a fresh look at the sights of autumn. Life too is fleeting. How will you spend it? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Isaiah 64:6-7

Isaiah 64:6-7
We all shrivel up like a leaf,
       and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name
       or strives to lay hold of you;
       for you have hidden your face from us
       and made us waste away because of our sins.

O Divine Artist,
The vivid illustrations You paint in Your Word delight my imagination. Over the past several weeks, the dazzling autumn leaves dancing in the brisk fall air have mesmerized me.. Their elegant display of rich, stunning colors that seemed so full of life tricked me. Kissed by the warm sun, they quickly withered, weakened and were swept away by a gust of wind. The once stately trees are suddenly lifeless. Dormant, there's nothing pretty about them. 

So it is with my life. I try to elegantly display my wonderful works for a watching world. I've wasted endless time and energy trying to impress people. In pursuit of the dreams and desires of my heart, I've neglected to seek the plans and purposes of Your heart for me. Like the shriveled autumn leaves that once thrived with abundant life, I've fallen from the Tree of Life. Blown away by the compulsion to prove my value, my works have become worthless. Fruitless, there's nothing striking about me.

If I want to remain vibrant and productive I need to take time be with You daily. Diligently studying Your Word and communicating with You in passionate, persistent, heartfelt prayer You'll show me what's on Your heart and mind. When I turn around, face You, and accept the blazing Truth, my soul will dance like the autumn leaves. Devoted to You, my life will have a sacred and inexpressible charm about it that will naturally attract others to Your inexplicable beauty. In my life Lord be glorified because of Jesus. Amen.

Our works will shrivel up like the autumn leaves and be blown away; but our worship will last forever. I urge you to get connected to the Tree of Life by spending time in God's Word and passionate, persistent, heartfelt prayer. Ask Him to show you the desires of His heart and watch as He reveals His glory. Then, you will be impressed with Him and His work.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Psalm 104:1

Psalm 104:1
O LORD my God, you are very great; 
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

O Lord, You are incredibly awesome! Wrapped in an elegant garment of brilliant light, You are dressed in golden splendor and majesty. You stretch out the skies like an unending tent over the entire universe. You send glimmering rays from heaven to glisten on the water. A blazing Holy Spirit Wildfire ignites hearts and souls with Your glory.

As the brisk breeze blows puffy white clouds, You ride them like Your chariots. The   winds are Your messenger. Sometimes they quietly whisper, rustling the colorful autumn leaves. Other times they're a thunderous roar rebuking raging rivers into the ravines.

You are an amazingly sophisticated artist. You've wisely designed day and night, land and sea, plants and animals, man and woman, each with a unique purpose for Your pleasure. The earth is full of Your glorious goodness.

How many are Your works O Lord! Your glory endures forever! When I look on the magnificent high, jagged peaks rising abruptly from the flat valley, I am captivated by Your wonderful creativity. Gazing upon spectacular splashing waves suddenly lifting from the deep sea, I am spellbound by Your splendid beauty. Seeing You as You truly are, my only response is to exalt You in the beauty of Your holiness and sing praises to my Creator King. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, all thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea!  Amen.

Take a walk through nature and worship the ground you walk on. It's God's private property.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hebrews 1:3

Hebrews 1:3
Christ is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature. (ESV)

2 Corinthians 3:18
All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. (MSG) 

O Glorious Lord,
Thank You for autumn, the wondrous time of year when You naturally display Your radiant glory. The joyous explosion of color that bursts over the landscape breathes life into my soul. Blazing, multi-colored palettes of fall foliage are a spectacular   backdrop for Your jaw-dropping beauty. You are the exact imprint of the stunning vistas that mesmerize me.

As I spend time in Your nature, open the eyes of my heart and enlighten my mind to see the glory of Jesus. Forgive me for the excessive attention I pay to insignificant people and things. Have mercy on me for Christ's sake. Complete the fascinating design You began in me. Make me a showcase to display the magnificent, splendid, wonderful glory of Your grace.

Shine the light of the Gospel into my heart. Set me ablaze like the fall foliage as I focus clearly on Your glorious face. Transform me into Your brilliant, majestic, beautiful image. My blessed hope is in the day when I'll perfectly radiate Your glory because of Jesus. Amen.

When I ponder autumn's beauty, I'm acutely aware that it is exceedingly more beautiful than me. I'm deeply moved and humbled. By nature, I do not live beautifully. My heart is too often consumed with concern about my glory rather than God's. This revelation through God's gloriously beautiful creation helps me keep things in perspective: God is BIG and beautiful. People are significantly smaller and less attractive.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Isaiah 40:31

Isaiah 40:31
Those who hope in the LORD 
will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint.

Everlasting God~
You are the Creator of everything. Because You have unlimited power, You never grow tired or weary. You are always available to re-energize me and refresh my strength during the seemingly hopeless storms of life. Like an eagle, in the midst of the storm, I spread my wings of faith to embrace the wind. Placing my dependency on You and You alone, I'll experience quiet wonders:
  • Your bliss balances my burdens
  • Your power pick ups my problems
  • Your peace pacifies my pain
  • Your tenderness touches my troubled heart
 Soaring will become an adventure of discovering just how faithful You are when I'm in the stratosphere over the storm. It will be an exhilarating experience! I'll no longer be content to stay inside where it is relatively safe and secure. I'll want to walk outside and live by faith in the midst of the storm.

Please use the storms in my life:
  • To take me higher in my relationship with You
  • To fall deeper in love with You
  • To grow stronger my faith in You
  • To walk more vigorously with You
  • To bear more fruit for You
Use the wicked winds of life to grow my wings of faith. Just as the strong gales make it possible for the eagles to soar, so sin, suffering and sorrow make it possible for me to rise above the tempest of temptation. Please dear Lord, just give me more confidence to wait through the mourning with renewed strength, and not grow weary. As I fly, I will focus on Your beautiful face and live for Your future glory because of Jesus.  Amen.

What storm are you facing? Are you soaring through it with Holy Spirit power?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lamentations 3:25-26

Lamentations 3:25-26
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

Merciful Lord,
I'm thankful for Your on-going instruction on how to wait for You. When I feel lost and alone, I shouldn't grumble, complain or make a lot of noise. Rather, I should be still, silently expecting You to lead me.

Alone with You, I'll open the sacred Treasure Chest of Scripture. Diligently digging through it, I'll peruse each costly command and precious promise. While I wait I'll ponder them, prayerfully asking You, the Owner, perplexing questions. In response, You'll give me an understanding of Your amazing grace and incredible love. I'll discover that there is nothing more valuable than Your priceless blood that purchased my pardon. Accepting it will prosper me with glorious power to endure problems and pressures peacefully. Carrying the bright and beautiful jewels of power, peace and patience in my heart will illuminate the Way through the darkness of difficulty to heaven where I can anticipate living happily ever after with You.

Jesus, You are the goodness I seek. In You, are all the riches of heaven that will satisfy the deepest desires of my heart. Please give me more patience to seek You while I wait for the glory of Your name. Amen.

What are you seeking while you wait for your trial to end?

I encourage you to peruse your Bible for God's commands and promises while you wait. Examine them carefully. Cover them in prayer. When you do, you'll discover the Good Fortune you've always been seeking and be satisfied.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Psalm 37:1-9

Psalm 37:1-9
Do not fret because of evil men 
for like the grass they will soon wither, 
Trust in the LORD and do good; 
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD 
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; 
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, 
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; 
do not fret when men succeed in their ways, 
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; 
do not fret-it leads only to evil.
For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. 
or be envious of those who do wrong;
like green plants they will soon die away. 

Patient Teacher,
I'm overwhelmed by the secrets You share with me when I open my Bible and my heart. Your Word corrects my wayward thinking. All these years I've been waiting for passing pleasures. Fame and fortune will fade. Good health will eventually wilt and wither. Beauty will flee like a dying flower. The hustle and bustle will come to a screeching halt when I appear before Your holy throne. 

While I wait, please help me to:
  • Believe that You'll be faithful to Your promises (v3)
  • Do good deeds (v3)
  • Remain in the place where You put me without wandering off or wishing for greener pastures (v3)
  • Enjoy Your provision and protection (v3)
  • Hang out with You, reading Your Word and praying (v4)
  • Hand over everything to You - my health, my relationships including family, my job, my possessions, my finances, and my time - trusting that You will care for them better than I can (v5)
  • Be calm and quiet  - no grumbling and complaining  (v7)
  • Never be envious, angry, or anxious (v1, 7, 8)
You are the only Way to peace and everlasting happiness! While I wait, You promise to sustain me and keep me safe. You'll make me glow with the purity and warmth of the Son. By trusting in Your power, protection and provision day by day, waiting will be a worthwhile investment in the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

Jesus is coming! What will you do while you wait?

Here are a few lessons God has taught me: 
  • It's easy to desire someone else's fame, fortune, health or lifestyle. I need to learn to be content where I am, with the things I have.
  • Caught in the hustle and bustle of the world, I realized that my irritation and anxiety while waiting in traffic, doctor offices, and airports is a waste of energy. While I'm huffing and puffing about the situation, I could practice praying.
  • Often, I pursue passing pleasures, without even pondering God's promises. 
Minutes after I wrote this, I went to the post office to buy some stamps. I walked in and noticed that the guy in front of me had about six huge boxes to ship! With a big sigh and roll of my eyes, I huffed out the door to the self-service stamp machine.

Two hours later, I found myself in a line at the grocery store with a seemingly incompetent cashier. Again, I found myself irritated and annoyed! Aware of my attitude, I began to pray for her.