Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In The Cemetary

Romans 3:23-24
All have fallen short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. NLT

John 11:38-44
38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39"Take away the stone," he said.

"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."

40Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."

43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." NLT

My Gracious Redeemer~
Thank You that Paul’s letter didn’t stop at the cemetery where I was dead, buried and rotting like Lazarus. O Jesus, I’m overwhelmed by the length You go to show Your children how much You love them! You can’t stand to see us decaying in a cold, dark cave so You come to us, at just the right time, when the world is watching.

Compassionately, You order the tomb stone taken away. Unconcerned with the putrid smell of death, You care only about us. It bothers You deeply that we’re laying in a heap of ruins because of our sin sick souls. Stepping into the stinking tomb, You loudly call us to come out. Hearing Your thunderous voice, I arose and came to You, tightly bound by bandages.

Risen from the dead by One voice, I trusted You to graciously breathe new life into me, revive my depraved spirit, and make me right in Your sight. Those watching witnessed a miracle as the ripped rags around me immediately unwrapped. Free from the bondage of sin, I will now go rescue the wrecked remains of others who are slowly decomposing in the same grim grave that once contained my own stiff corpse.

Please give me faith to believe that I will see Your glory when I hang out around the cemetery. Show me someone crying for release today. No matter who they are, or what they’ve done, I’ll eagerly go in and set them free with the power of Your glorious redeeming name. Amen.

Are you willing to hang out at the cemetery today looking and listening for someone crying from the depth of their grave for release? When you see and hear the cry, will you argue with Jesus like Mary about the stench, or will you compassionately go in despite the strong smell of sin and save souls for Him?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Prayer Pal Interruption

There will be no more Prayer Pals posted until the week of January 30th. Feel free to browse the archives to read previous prayers.

As always, I encourage you to read, reflect and respond to God's Word even if I'm not here to help you!

Prayer Pal

Friday, January 20, 2006

Be Still and Know That I Am God

John 16:20-22 Jesus said, "20I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.

Jesus, My Dearest Heavenly Friend,
Thank You for speaking the truth to me today. I’m resting on Your promise that this present pain will turn to everlasting joy when I’m united with You in Paradise.

Today, I ask for patience to bear the cross of grief and pain. Intense pressure overwhelms me. In anguish, I cry out to You for release! Swallowed in a sea of sadness, I beg You my constant and trusted Friend to soothe my sorrow. Faithfully stay with me through the duration of this crucial life-changing event.

With You by my side, I’ll grip Your strong hand, and inhale Holy Spirit power. Totally consumed by You, I’ll concentrate on the joy that lies ahead. I’ll hear You say, "Be still and know that I am God. I’m right here by Your side. I won’t leave You. Breathe."

With my mind focused on the prize of Paradise in front of me, I’ll take a deep breath and see beyond today’s pain to tomorrow’s pleasure. My sorrow will soon subside. My fears will be long forgotten. My grief will be gone forever. O how I wait with great anticipation for the day when pure joy replaces these bitter tears of sadness. I just want to live happily ever after with You, Jesus. Until then, please give me more faith to rest on Your promises and trust in Your Almighty Name. Amen.

Today, I carry the cross of pain and grief for several sisters in Christ. Perhaps you’re carrying a cross too, either your own, or someone else’s. Rest in the promise that your grief will turn to joy. Reflect on the lyrics to "Be Still My Soul."

"Be Still My Soul"
By Catharina von Schlegel, 1697- ?
Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1813-1897
Copyright Public Domain

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and bless├Ęd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, be leaving, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My Defense Attorney

Romans 3:21-26
21But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight--not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. 22We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.

23For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. 24Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. 25For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. 26And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus. NLT

Most High and Holy Judge,
Thank You for making a way for me to get out of the mess I’ve made of my life. I was worthless, godless, and lifeless until I trusted Your Son to defend me. He graciously took my case even though I couldn’t ever pay Him. He didn’t care if I was rich or poor, strong or weak, good or bad. It didn’t matter if I committed murder, adultery, or rebellion. It made no difference if I lied, cheated, or stole. He promised to willingly and freely represent anyone who comes to Him, entrusting Him with the true, hard facts of their life. Blessed assurance!

Transferring my case to Him, I believed He would fairly and faithfully represent me to You. I was flabbergasted when you declared me “not guilty”. Tears rolled down my face when I learned that my Defense Attorney negotiated an unbelievable deal for me! He would serve my death sentence so that I could be free. That’s amazing grace and incredible love.

Thank You, Jesus for defending, saving, and freeing me. Thank You, Your Honor, for Your merciful pardon. Because of the great transaction You made on my behalf, I’m able to stand before You, holy, blameless and pure, no matter who I am or what I’ve done. Out of deep, heartfelt gratitude, I ask that You empower me to dedicate and live my life for You no matter the price. All glory is Yours forever and ever because of Your unfailing love and faithfulness. Amen.

Do you realize the magnitude of the deal that’s been negotiated for you? We deserve to die, but our great Defender took our punishment so that we can go free. We don’t deserve that! How will you show gratitude for the most amazing transaction of all time?

Just as I am thou wilt receive
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve
Because thy promise, I believe
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Useless, Godless, Lifeless

Romans 3:10-12
10As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

Woe, God! You blow me away and bring me to my knees by reminding me of my corruption! There is no one who does good and that includes me. Everyone stands guilty before You.
It doesn’t matter how well I perform or how much I achieve. It is impossible to measure goodness against Your perfect standard. I confess my ignorance and arrogance. I don’t understand You, nor do I seek to know You. It’s easier to turn away like a foolish atheist than it is to believe and obey You. Self-centered, I want to take the comfortable, easy route. O God, I’m useless, godless, and lifeless!

Holy God, Righteous Judge, I plead with You for mercy and forgiveness in the name of Jesus, the One and Only Mediator who can defend me. I cry out to You for amazing grace and will not rest until I’m united with You and made holy. Change my heart. Capture my mind. I long to be obedient to You and live in the prosperity of Your presence. I want to choose right over wrong every time. Please breathe power into me and make me strong enough to BELIEVE and TRUST You for the glory of Your magnificent name. Amen.

When was the last time you admitted your godlessness and sought mercy? Would you rather reflect on God’s strength than your weaknesses? Today reflect on your weakness, than call out to Him for strength.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Entrusted With The Very Words of God

Romans 3:1-2
1What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.

Psalm 19: 7-14
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Almighty God,
Thank You for entrusting me with Your Holy Scriptures. O how I love Your perfect law! It revives my soul and gives me renewed life. Your trustworthy ancient teachings last forever! They are the same today as they were yesterday and will be tomorrow. I can depend on them to give me wisdom and guidance. You are always right. Forgive me for doubting You. It’s obedience that makes my heart glad. When Your commands shine brightly, they expose the misery of my sin. In the light of Your law, I will not trip and fall.

I long to worship You forever because You are holy, pure, and fair. I am a despicable sinner in dire need of a Savior! Your Word is worth much more than the finest gold. It is priceless! It is more delicious than the richest chocolate. Immersed in it, life couldn’t be sweeter!

When You teach me, I am warned of danger. When I wholeheartedly apply Your instructions to my life, I am greatly rewarded. Knowing Your Word comes with responsibility. To whom much is given, much is expected. Please don’t let me neglect my responsibility to go share Your story.
Living in the prosperity of Your blessing is my dream. Relying on Your Word, I will make right choices every time. Because I love You, I will obey You. Let my words and thoughts be like a pleasing song to Your ear, O Lord, because You are my Redeemer. Amen.

Think about your responsibility to know and trust God. Consider His inevitable judgment against rebellion and indifference. Commit yourself to obey Him, whatever, whenever, and wherever He asks.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I Want To Be A Christian In My Heart

Romans 2:28-29
28Don't you see: It's not the cut of a knife that makes a Jew. 29You become a Jew by who you are. It's the mark of God on your heart, not of a knife on your skin, that makes a Jew. And recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics. MSG

Holy Spirit, Light the match and breathe on me! Set me on fire! Brand me with Your signature so that I’m Yours alone! I want to be a Christian in my heart, blazing with the zeal of Your love. With intense heat, burn away anything that isn’t of You. Turn my stubborn will to soot. Melt my cold, hard heart until it glistens with righteousness. Then, teach me with tongues of living flames what You would have me do.

Ignite me with divine power. Make me spiritually combustible today! Exploding with love, I’ll be tenderhearted and merciful. Bursting with joy for my salvation, I’ll glow brilliantly for You. Blast away my sin, so that I crackle with kindness. Fully ablaze, I will not live for myself. Consumed by Your love, I’ll live to please only You. May people recognize me on the outside by Your flickering flame that’s burning in my heart. Lord, let Your righteousness shine through and be glorified in me today for Your name sake. Amen.

If you are a believer God has branded His seal on your heart (Eph 2:9). What do people see when they look at you? What do they see in your actions? Do they match the seal of God’s love burned on your heart? If not, I encourage you to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to ignite a fire in your heart so that others will see Jesus when they encounter you.

Acts 2:3-4
3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Playing Church

Romans 2: 23-24
23You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. 24No wonder the Scriptures say, "The world blasphemes the name of God because of you." NLT

Holy & Righteous God~
Thank you for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that opens the eyes of my heart! Lord have mercy on us! We are no different today than the legalist Jews of the early church. Forgive us, as a church, for calling ourselves Christians. We claim to trust Your law and brag about our relationship with You, as though we have a privileged position. We recite all the right words at the right times because we know the routine and the ritual.

We’ve become arrogant know-it-alls who’ve minimized Your sacred church to a social club. We encourage our friends to pay their dues and join our religious organization. We bring them in and clean them up so that we’re more comfortable being around them. We celebrate traditions and listen to watered down messages that make us feel good. Hanging out with others who share our smug thinking and elite lifestyle is enjoyable.

We’ve forgotten our foundation. Our mission is long lost. Rather than loving You, we desecrate Your Holy Name by leaving You outside. Instead of reaching out to our neighbors in love, we reject them and criticize their lifestyle. We serve ourselves rather than the poor, lame and weak who don’t measure up to our standards. Have mercy on us O God! Our behavior is deplorable! We’ve dishonored You in front of a whole watching world!

Lord, please turn Your sacred church back to the Truth and let it begin with me! I don’t want to know Your laws. I want to obey them. I want to seek You with all my heart and cheerfully follow You at any cost. Connecting people with church is meaningless. I want to connect them with Jesus. Please dear Lord, bless me with boldness to do what’s right in Your eyes today.

Write Your commands on my heart and do not let me stray from them. Make me, O God, Your guide for the blind and lamp in the darkness. Consecrate me and separate me from the club for Your glorious name sake. May Your kingdom come through me today because You alone are the Way, the Truth of the Life. Amen.

What does your lifestyle say about the church? If you truly believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, reach out and touch someone different from you for Him today. Connect them with Jesus and not the church.

Sadly, I grew up in a church club lead by false teachers. I know from experience that many exist today. We worshipped, read the Bible, celebrated the ritual of communion and baptism. We recited all the right words at the right time. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of church fellowship. Unfortunately, I was led to believe that confirmation class (initiation) and church membership were the way to salvation.

But Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." If you are relying on baptism, church attendance, membership, confirmation, communion, or any other symbol for your salvation, I urge you to stop right now, confess the error of your way, and acknowledge Jesus as the Only Way to eternal life. Then, go find a good Bible teaching church where you will learn the Truth. The symbols are important but they don’t reserve your room in heaven.

Acts 4: 10-12
It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11He is
" 'the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone.12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."NIV

2 Peter 2:1-2
1But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach their destructive heresies about God and even turn against their Master who bought them. Theirs will be a swift and terrible end. 2Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of them, Christ and his true way will be slandered. NLT

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Drop Your Rocks

John 8: 1-11

1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do You say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of You is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned You?"

11"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn You," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave Your life of sin."

My Beloved Savior-
I humbly and ashamedly bow at Your feet seeking mercy and grace. Forgive me for all the times I've insulted others for their immoral, improper behavior. Trying to show my disapproval, I disgraced and dishonored not only them, but also You. I'm no better than the religious leaders and Pharisees. My own unduly and unbecoming behavior is repulsive.
I've bashed friends, family, and acquaintances with stones of criticism. I've battered, bruised and broken spirits with the rocks I've cast. I'm so sorry, Jesus. I'll try to never throw another stone at anyone, no matter what they do.

  • When I speak hateful words that kill spirits, I have committed murder.
  • When I flirt with someone of the opposite sex, I have committed adultery.
  • If I have not loved my spouse biblically, I can’t condemn divorce.
  • When I don’t regularly spend time in Bible Study and prayer, I am no better than the person who sleeps in on Sunday morning and worships the mattress.
  • If I overeat regularly, I can't convict the drug or alcohol addict.
  • Taking tablets, pens, and paperclips home from work is stealing, and makes me thief.
  • When I talk about others, no matter the situation, I'm guilty of gossip and slander which in
  • Your eyes is as bad as killing or stealing.
  • Going shopping, running errands, and doing chores on Sunday dishonors You and the Sabbath.
The list could go on and on. There is no sin I haven't committed in my heart and mind. Like this woman, some day I will stand alone with You. You alone will judge me. With Your help, I will accept Your forgiveness and walk away from the wicked world that entraps me. By Your grace, I'll show the same mercy to others that You have shown to me.

Thank You Jesus, for teaching me this important lesson on judgment and forgiveness. Please just give me more Holy Spirit power to apply it to my life for Your namesake. Amen
Apply the lesson Jesus taught by dropping Your rocks. You are no better than the Pharisees either. Lord, have mercy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Playing Judge

Romans 2:1-4
1You may be saying, "What terrible people you have been talking about!" But you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you do these very same things. 2And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. 3Do you think that God will judge and condemn others for doing them and not judge you when you do them, too? 4Don't you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don't you care? Can't you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin? NLT

Holy & Righteous Judge,
Forgive me for donning the robe, stepping behind the desk, and pounding down the gavel to announce the "guilty" verdict. I am just as bad! I have no excuse! It’s easier to look straight ahead at someone else, than it is to look down at myself. If I point a finger at others, four fingers are pointing back at me.

When I put on Your holy robe and thump Your sacred gavel, playing judge, I’m setting myself up for discipline. You do not like when I step behind Your divine desk because I’m unworthy and unqualified to be there. Forgive me for filtering Your grace through my opinion, and watering down Your mercy with my own narrow-mindedness. I can’t understand Your holy standard, let alone reach it!

I don’t know the whole story. How can I judge a book when the chapters aren’t all written? Only You know the whole truth. You are the Amazing Author of every novel and uniquely write each ending. If You began a good story about someone, You will finish it with a perfect ending. I believe You.

I think of the thief dying on the cross next to You. In the last paragraph of his life story, he acknowledged You and asked You to remember him. In the end, You pounded the gavel and proclaimed him "not guilty", assuring him a place in Paradise. While the watching world convicted him, You patiently pardoned him. You are so kind and merciful. Teach me, Your Honor, to be likewise for Your name sake. Amen.

God is the Father of many chances. He holds back His judgment on us, allowing us time to change our mind. He expects us to do the same to others. Talk to God about who you need to show mercy today. Then, step aside, remove the robe, put down the gavel and let Him announce the verdict. He alone is worthy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Godless Religion

Romans 1: 32
32They are fully aware of God's death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

1 Thessalonians 1:4-5
4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.

Holy God~
Thank You for the convicting power of Your Word. Thank You for coming to earth to show me how to live a godly life. Thank You for dying a shameful death to show me how to endure suffering and shame. Thank You for going away so that the Holy Spirit could come to me with deep convicting power.

I read down Paul’s sin list in Romans 1:18-32 and think … not much has changed in 2000 years. People are still degrading their bodies with sexual impurity. Pornography, homosexuality, and immoral relationships have become an acceptable standard. Divorce is commonplace. Sacred marriages are few and far between. It’s a free for all world. If it feels good do it. There’s no fear or respect for Your righteousness and holy judgment.

We cry out, "God bless America", but we’ve removed You from the classroom and the courtroom. We refuse to acknowledge You by denying Your intelligent design. God, have mercy on us for disrespecting and desecrating your Holy Name. Though Your Word is freely and readily available, it also freely and readily rejected. We are guilty and deserve the death penalty. That must make You very sad.

We see how quickly You snuff out life in hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes. Ignorantly, we question where You are when bad things happen. Still, we refuse to bow to Your thundering voice of authority. We are a nation full of hard-hearted fools who expect blessing despite our defiant disobedience. Have mercy on us, O God!

Search my own heart and convict me of my wrong doing. I desperately want to love and obey You. I want to live right before You. Come, Holy Spirit I need You … in the almighty and powerful convicting name of Jesus, my Only saving grace. Amen.

Will you acknowledge and cry out to God for the sin of our nation today? Will you pray for changed hearts and transformed minds? Will look within your own heart first?

John 16:7-11
Jesus said, "7But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned."

Monday, January 09, 2006

Longing to Know God

Romans 1:28
Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.

Holy and Awesome is Your name O God!
Eternal praise belongs to You! It is a delight to reflect on Your great works and wonders. Your deeds are glorious and majestic. Gazing on the marvelous masterpieces You’ve created is pure and perfect pleasure for the eyes of my heart. Your righteousness endures forever! Your Words are the treasure that I seek. I desire nothing more than to live in the blessing You promise to those who love and honor You. How can I love and respect You, if I don’t KNOW You? Please fill me with deeper knowledge of who You are so that I will live a holy, blameless and pure life.

May my actions show a watching world my high respect and total dependence on You. You are the source of all my wisdom. I am an ignorant fool without You. Open the ears of my heart to hear Your voice and receive Your instruction. As I receive Your wise and godly counsel, crown me with glorious grace to understand. Adorn my neck with a sparkling chain as a reminder:

  • To love and honor You
  • To live in awe of Your power and,
  • To obey Your Word

May I pass on this all-surpassing knowledge of Your greatness and power to those I come in contact with today so that they too will KNOW You, love You, and fear You because of Jesus. Amen.

Do you consider it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God? The consequences for your choice are clear. Again, I encourage you to take time to be holy. It’s a life-long process. Ask God to give you the desire and power to know Him more each day.

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Psalm 111:10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

Friday, January 06, 2006

There's No Excuse For Not Knowing God

Romans 1:20-25
20From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.

21Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. 22Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. 23And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes.

24So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. 25Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen. NLT

Glorious God, Ever-living Creator,
You are highly exalted! No other gods can give us greater gifts. The gifts You give cost more than we could ever pay. You are able to do just as You please. You give us puffy clouds and warm sunshine; pouring rain and howling winds; blue skies and majestic mountains; rolling seas and roaring thunder; fruitful plains and dry deserts; fragrant flowers and gentle breezes.
Instead of graciously accepting these gifts, we often toss them aside without unwrapping them, like spoiled, unappreciative children. Instead of longing for more of You, we wish for trinkets and trophies made of silver and gold. Forgive us, O Lord, for trading Your eternal treasures for temporary trash.

Chiseled mouths can’t speak. Painted eyes can’t see. Carved ears can’t hear. Wood and metal can’t breath. They are dead! When we choose to keep and value them we become like them – spiritually dead.

Have mercy on me, Living God! Remove the idols that I’ve allowed to clutter the temple of my heart, Your home. It’s time for a good housecleaning. Purify my heart. Sanctify my soul. Breath new life into me. Open my eyes to see the priceless treasures You offer me. Open my ears to hear Your voice. Open my mouth to speak loving words of encouragement. Open my heart to every spiritual blessing You have for me. Be exalted O God, above all the silver and gold trinkets and trophies this world has to offer. My Creator, You are worthy of all my worship and thanksgiving forever and ever because of Jesus. Amen.

What have you exalted above the Creator in your life? Are you willing to give it up for Him? The consequences of clinging to your idols are severe. I encourage you to read Romans 1:18-32, and take time to be holy.

Psalm 135

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I Love To Tell The Story

Romans 1:16-17
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed.

Jesus, You are an Amazing Author, Wonderful Writer, and Super Storyteller. You have written the brilliant biography of my life. It’s a fantastic novel of drama, power, romance, and intrigue – all the stuff of best-selling books. I love to tell my story of Your extravagant love! You found me broken, in desperate need of repair. Crippled and bent over from humiliation, shame, and rejection, you called me by name to come forward. I could not stand up straight. Because of my excruciating pain, I could not clean myself properly. Dirty, smelly and helpless, You graciously, compassionately, and lovingly found me, focused on me, and fixed me. Mysteriously, You cured and restored me.

The story doesn’t end there. It turns from a dramatic rescue, to a beautiful romance. After, You found me and fixed me, we fell passionately in love. A faithful lover, You’re true to all Your promises. You uphold me when I fall down. You lift me up when I’m weak. You supply my needs and satisfy the desires of my heart. You’re the lover of my soul. I’m deeply and eternally devoted to You. Because of Your incredible love for me I will live happily ever after in Your glorious kingdom!

I will proudly tell of the dramatic, life-changing power available to everyone who believes You. The intriguing story of my remarkable rescue and miracle makeover will lead others to Your everlasting kingdom for a touch of greatness. Please show me someone who needs to hear a marvelous love story today, and I will share mine with them for the praise of Your glory! Amen.

Spend some time today reflecting on your dramatic story. Then, share it someone who needs rescued from a desperate dilemma.

Reflect on the words to the hymn I Love to Tell the Story.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Persistent Pursuit

Mark 10:46-52
46 And so they reached Jericho. Later, as Jesus and his disciples left town, a great crowd was following. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road as Jesus was going by. 47 When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus from Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"48 "Be quiet!" some of the people yelled at him.But he only shouted louder, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"49 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, "Tell him to come here."So they called the blind man. "Cheer up," they said. "Come on, he’s calling you!" 50 Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.51 "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked."Teacher," the blind man said, "I want to see!"52 And Jesus said to him, "Go your way. Your faith has healed you." And instantly the blind man could see! Then he followed Jesus down the road. NLT

Jesus, Son of David,
Have mercy on me! I am nothing more than a spiritually blind, filthy beggar with no social standing sitting along the road begging for scraps when You pass by. I can’t see You, but I know from the noise that You’re there. I believe You are Jesus, Son of David, the promised Messiah who can offer me more than money for a meager meal.

My friends and family kick me and tell me to "shut up and sit down." They’re embarrassed by me. In their eyes, I’m unattractive, unclean and unworthy of Your time and attention. Their critical, heckling voices clatter loudly, attempting to rob me of my dream. They don’t know that You are my Only Hope. Undaunted by their shout of doubt, I persistently pursue You until You hear the cry of my heart, stop and call me!

Tossing off the shroud that reveals my weakness, I jump to my feet and come to You. Exuberantly, I beg You for healing! I want to see! Open the eyes of my heart! Immediately, I receive blessed vision, not because of my bold enthusiasm, but because of my deep, heartfelt faith. Suddenly, I see the frail and feeble destined to remain on life’s disabled list. Instantly, out of gratitude for Your grace, I ditch my disgraceful lifestyle of a blind beggar to follow You.

Detecting others desperately in need of the Almighty Doctor, I stop with You to bind their broken hearts and give testimony to Your glorious name. To Jesus, Son of David, the Almighty Doctor who opened the eyes of my heart, be the glory and honor forever! Amen.

Persistently cry out to Jesus with all your heart, don’t give into the naysayers who don’t have faith to believe, ditch the shroud of your sin, jump to your feet and run to Him! He will heal you too! Then, obediently follow Him and do the things you see Him doing. You too will rise above your disability and do great things!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Called to Belong to Jesus

5Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus,
Truly, You are the Son of God! Your generous gift of grace is amazing! It came to me in the promised gospel, through the ancient words of Holy Scripture fulfilled, when in love, You called my name. Stepping beyond my familiar boundaries, You presented the Good News to me. Gratefully, I accepted it, believing that You:

  • Descended from heaven as a human,
  • Were given the power to be the Son of God,
  • Died and ascended into heaven to rule and reign with our Father there.
The moment I heard Your voice and responded, I was adopted and accepted into your beloved family. You chose me to be a holy, pure and blameless ambassador, representing Your Kingdom to a helpless and hopeless world. You set me free from evil and temptation, assigning me a mandatory mission to serve You with wholehearted devotion.

I believe You are who You say You are: Most High God, Ruler of all Nature, the One and Only fair and righteous Judge of all mankind who put a holy fear and reverence in me. Out of respect and honor, I desire to obey You.

Lord, please help me make a holy hour for You each day. In Your presence:

  • Search my heart, know my thoughts, and diagnose my diseases. I will agree with your diagnosis, acknowledge my sins, and receive the antiseptic of forgiveness
  • I will quietly wait, allowing You time to take my thoughts captive
  • You will speak to me and bless me with wisdom, knowledge and understanding through Your Word
  • My lips will praise Your glorious name
  • I will carry my hurting brothers and sisters to You

As I spend time with You, You will transform me into a holy, blameless and pure servant. Through Jesus and for his name’s sake I pray. Amen.

Leviticus 19:2
"Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy."

If you are a believer, you have a call and a task. God has called you to be a holy, pure, blameless ambassador so that you can truthfully represent His kingdom on earth. Will you take the time this year to develop holiness so that you can represent Him truthfully to a watching world?

I encourage you to find the lyrics to the hymn Take Time to Be Holy. Meditate on the words and let them seep into your heart.