Friday, March 31, 2006

Vessels of Love

Romans 12:3-8
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

O Great God,
I’m deeply grateful for all that You have given me. You’ve uniquely shaped me into a pleasantly perfect pot to pour out Your amazing love.

Glazed by Your glorious grace, I don’t want to think of myself higher than I ought. It’s only because You skillfully sculpted my mind with sacred Scriptures that I’m useful for service. Apart from You, I’m nothing but a hard-pressed, mindless object.

It’s an honor and privilege to be part of Your extravagant collection of fine art. I can’t begin to imagine the variety of vessels You’ve created:

Some are brushed with brilliant boldness to articulate Your Word, while others are simply stroked to serve.

Some are tinted to teach while others are embossed with encouragement.

Some are colored generously to contribute to the needs of others, while others are diligently decorated to lead.

Some are filled with more faith, while others are made with more mercy.

Each vibrant vessel in Your gallery is glazed to reflect the light of Your love. Each one is exceptional, expensive and serves an extraordinary purpose. Together we make an exquisite collection.

Dear Lord, with heartfelt devotion, I dedicate my distinctive design to You for service in Your kingdom. You made me and You are my rightful Owner. Wherever You need me to go I will go. Whatever You need me to do I will do. Please dear Lord, make me a blessing today for the praise of Your name. Amen.

God has made me colorful and bold to articulate His Word. I will use my distinctive design to serve Him by writing the Prayer Pal daily for the glory of His name.

God has made me __________________________ to ________________________.
I will use my distinctive design to serve Him by ________________________________.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Master Artist

Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

O Great God,
You are the most famous artist of all time. I could search the whole wide world and find no one as creative or talented as You.

Unscrupulous con artists continually corrupt Your creation. The world presses people into cookie cutter patterns that perform for power, possessions and pleasure. It uses symbols of status to stamp us with success. When we conform to their hard pressed image we become heartless, mindless and lifeless like plastic toys and trinkets.

You however, have a unique technique for sculpting original works of art that are eternally beautiful, valuable and useful. All we have to do is stay soft and pliable in Your meticulous hands every day. Throughout the lifelong process, our eyes will turn toward You, our Designer, when we open our Bibles. Meditating on Your sacred Scriptures will form our true character. They’ll expose the rough spots of rebellion that need to be scraped away. They’ll correct our cracks, flaws, and blemishes. They’ll squeeze us and change us into Your perfect plan. Through the heat of life we’ll come out of the fiery furnace uniquely shaped and glazed with Your glorious grace.

With Your Holy Word permanently etched on my heart, my mind will be altered to live Your way. Please don’t let con artists squeeze me into the rigid mold of the world. I want to remain soft and pliable in Your skillful hand where I can be created into a pleasantly perfect pot to pour out Your extraordinary love. Please dear Lord, transform my mind today, making me an eternally beautiful, valuable vessel for the praise of Your most creative name. Amen.

What pattern of the world is pressing you today? What will you do differently to prevent con artists from corrupting you?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

Merciful King,
Up close and personal, I stand in awe of the expanse of Your magnificent mercy:

  • I’m enthralled by Your never ending patience
  • I’m surprised that You would pardon me from the penalty for my sin
  • I’m astonished that You would purchase a hateful, hostile enemy like me with Your precious blood
  • I’m absorbed by Your power that purifies me
  • I’m attracted to the perfect peace in Your presence
  • I’m overwhelmed by Your faithfulness to Your promises
  • I’m perplexed that You foreknew, chose, predestined, called and glorified me
  • I’m delighted that You adopted me, just as I am, wretched and weak, to be Your dearly loved child

In view of Your unending compassion, I will take time to be holy, joyfully dedicating my entire life to Your service. Every day as I perform my regular routine I want the watching world to see me worshipping You in the beauty of holiness.

  • I’ll dress in humility and love in the morning when I rise.
  • I’ll tenderly love and gently speak to my children rather than being harsh and agitated
  • I’ll build up my spouse with words of encouragement instead of cutting him (her) with criticism.
  • I’ll go to work with a smile on my face because my identity isn’t in my mundane job, but is in who I am in You.
  • I’ll not only endure and tolerate difficult people and situations, but I’ll show them Your love and kindness.
  • I’ll drive peacefully down the highway, ignoring rude and outrageous drivers.
  • I’ll quiet my competitive spirit during recreational activities, allowing others to win, knowing that I’ve already won the Grand Prize – You!

In view of Your magnificent mercy, I’ll intentionally stop and share Christ’s love and leniency every chance I get. Please dear Lord, don’t let me miss any opportunity in my busy day to worship You. In the power of Your Spirit, I’ll willingly give up all my ambitions and desires to walk and work with You for the praise of Your merciful, loving, redeeming name. Not my will, but Yours be done. Amen.

How has God shown his mercy to you? In view of His mercy, how will you respond?
I will worship him by ________________________________________. Don’t just think about it, do it!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Vast View of God

Romans 11: 33-36
33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
35"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Wise and Knowledgeable King,
Please expand my view of You. From afar, You are an intriguing blip on the horizon. Reduced by distance, You are too manageable to be marvelous and too small to be significant. However, as I come closer, I am absolutely astonished by the vast view of who You are and what You have done for me.

  • I marvel at Your extravagance and generosity
  • I’m awestruck by Your wisdom and knowledge
  • I’m mesmerized by the hidden treasures in Your Word
  • I wonder at Your pathways that are too complex to chart
  • I’m amazed at Your never-ending brilliant mind
  • I’m captivated with Your constant rightness
  • I’m stunned at Your unlimited resources
Up close I can see and experience You as the Creator of everything. I can touch the power that makes all things exist. I can be certain that You intend all things for Your glory. Please dear Lord, draw me closer and keep expanding my view of You. I want to be obviously caught-up in knowing You deeply. As my view of You becomes greater, my view of my man will become smaller. Rather than living to please people, in view of Your grace and mercy I will passionately pursue a purposeful life pleasing to You. I will praise and adore You now and forever more. Amen.

What is your view of God? Do you see Him from a distance and unapproachable, or up close and touchable? Walk nearer to Him and He will expand Your view. One thing I see when I come nearer to God is ________________________________.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Grafted In

Romans 11:17-24
17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for another wonderful word picture to teach me who You are, and who I am. You are the Divine Gardner. Jesus is the solid trunk with deep roots, wounded for me. I am nothing but a dead branch that’s been gently and graciously grafted to Him. Completely connected to You, the sap of Your Spirit nourishes every part of my being – heart, mind, and soul. Drinking from the deep spring of Living Water, I’ll grow in Your everlasting light and never die. Saturated with the fertilizer of Your Word, I'll produce luscious fruit for You.

Though I stand tall, radiant and confident, I have no grounds for bragging. Apart from You I’m nothing but deadwood. I’m totally dependent on Your strong root system to give me abundant life. I know that You will ruthlessly cut off every unproductive limb and preserve it for future grafting.

O Holy Gardener, prune me and clip me, even though it hurts. Shape me into the fruitful branch You want me to be. Cultivate me to produce baskets full of sweet succulent fruit to adorn Your glorious temple. In Your hands, carefully and skillfully tend to my branch making me the shoot that displays changed lives for the glory and splendor of Your name. Amen.

The only reason you’re on the Divine Tree is because your graft "took:" when you believed, and because you’re connected to the belief-nurturing root. So, don’t be cocky or arrogant. How can you be humbly mindful of the root that gives you life?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Alive, Safe & Free

Psalm 66:8-16
8 Praise our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
13 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you-
14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
15 I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.
16 Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.

Great God~
I shout for joy and sing the glory of Your name! Your deeds are awesome and Your power is great! I have seen You, Lord! This is what You’ve done for me:
  • You spoke to me loud and clear through Your Word, the Holy Bible. When I heard and believed, You saved me from despair and destruction.
  • As I climbed out of the hole of horror, my feet began to slip, but You grabbed me firmly and prevented me from backsliding.
  • You sent me into the fiery furnace and turned up the heat. Suffering through intense heat perfected my character, making me more precious and valuable.
  • You brought me into bondage and laid many burdens on my back. In my weakness, Your strength was evident.
  • You led me through many troubles, toils and snares, and by Your grace, You guided me safely to Your immaculate kingdom of rich blessings.
In mercy and compassion, You gave up Your life to save me. Therefore, I’m bringing all of my prizes and presents to You as an act of worship. I’m doing what I said I’d do when You found and rescued me from the dark ditch. Because of Your love and mercy, I’m alive, safe, and free. I’m going to tell anyone who will listen the amazing thing You did for me. You are an awesome God and Your power is great! Amen.

List all the ways God’s shown His mercy to you. Praise Him!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

He Watches Over Me

Jesus said, "Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12: 7b

Your Word is wonderful! Thank You for the sparrows You send to our windows in the spring to remind us that we’re worth more than many sparrows! You are awesome!

Please don’t let me feel discouraged by the dark shadow I’m in. Don’t let my heart be lonely. Be my portion and constant Friend. Keep Your eye on me. Watch over me. Don’t let my heart be troubled. Let me hear You tenderly say, "Don’t be afraid, my child. You’re worth more than many sparrows." Let me rest on the goodness of your precious promise where doubt and fear will cease. Lead me through this dark valley by shining Your light ahead of me so that I can see and follow You.

Just as You’re eye is always on the sparrow, watch over me at all times. Within Your sight and light, let me sing joyfully. When I’m tempted to fear, when storm clouds arise, when songs give way to sighing, and when all the hope in my heart dies … remind me that I’m worth more to You than many sparrows. Draw me back to the Light and lead me safely until I reach heaven’s gate where You’ll welcome me home.

Please dear God, take away my fears today in the name of Jesus. Amen.

God Commands: Don’t be afraid

God Promises: You are worth more than many sparrows.

Do you believe God? Will you rest on His promise today?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Beautiful Feet

Romans 10:15
15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
"Your God reigns!"

Your Majesty,
I want to ascend the Most High and Holy Mountain into your pristine presence. I want to worship You on the perfect pinnacle of peace. My feet are sore and swollen from sojourning through sickness, suffering and sin. I don’t have strength to climb. If I have found favor with You, may I please have an appointment at Your Beauty Bar? I’m in dire need of a power pedicure!

Please pamper me with Your precious promises! Prepare me to scale the steep slope. Soak my stinging feet in the fountain of forgiveness flowing with pure water from the wound in Your side. Scrub away all the dead sin cells. Use the buffer of Your blood to buff away the burrs of bitterness. Cut away the calluses that clog my cold heart. Flush away the filthy odor from the fungus of unforgiveness.

Massage my aching feet with the sweet fragrant oil of the Holy Spirit. Stimulate them until they are soft and smooth. With a silky new layer of skin, alleviated of ailments, and improved circulation, my feet will be strong enough to safely and steadily climb to the pinnacle of Your presence.

From the Most High and Holy Mountain, I will shout the good news about how You found me and fixed me at the fountain of forgiveness. I will gleefully shout "My God reigns!" My glad greeting will lead others to You where they too will experience extravagant, exfoliating grace. With new heavenly souls, together, we will joyfully celebrate our healing.

Please dear Lord, bless my beautiful feet. Shape them for service and set them on a perfect path pleasing to You. Amen.

God gave me a power pedicure in the valley of death. My feet were sore and swollen. My heart ached like never before. It felt so good to let Him pamper me with His promises when I was weak. I came away strong enough to climb a mountain and shout, "My God is an awesome God! His love endures forever!"

If your feet are sore and swollen from sojourning through sickness, suffering and sin, make an appointment at God’s Beauty Bar for a power pedicure. Let the Prince of Peace pamper you with His promises and prepare you to climb into His presence. What will you tell the world about your experience?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Confess & Believe

Romans 10:9-13
9For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed." 12Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives his riches to all who ask for them. 13For "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." NLT

O My God~
You are beautiful beyond description! When I open my Bible, You open Your mouth telling me exactly what I need to preserve my life. Your Words are wonderful!
I want the world to know that You are King of my heart and Lord of my life. I love You with everything that’s in me. Risen from the dead, You reign!

You’re my all
You’re the best
You’re my joy and righteousness
And, I love You, Lord.

Supremely seated on the throne of my heart, I submit my whole life to Your costly commands. Seeking Your counsel minute by minute, I relish every fragment of your advice. Respecting Your wisdom and knowledge, I always try to obey You. In return, You promise to generously give me all the riches of heaven. Thank You, Jesus!

O Lord, I cherish Your costly commands and precious promises. They give me hope and comfort in all my trouble! Today, I’m claiming Your unfailing love and the salvation You promise. With all my life, I’ll guard the treasures You give me and tell the whole world, "My God reigns." From the throne of my heart, Lord, be glorified. Amen.

God commands:
Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. Who will you tell today, "Jesus is Lord of my life?" Don’t be afraid, open your mouth and speak!

Believe in your heart that He is risen from the dead and is present. If you are a believer He has made your heart His kingdom. If He’s not already seated on the throne in your heart, ruling over you, invite him to the supreme position of honor and respect worthy of a King. Obey Him, implicitly.

God Promises:
You will be made right with Him.
You will be saved.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Love Drives Out Fear

Romans 8:35-39
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 4: 16-18
16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Lord of Love,
I come to You seeking mercy and grace. Forgive me for fearing man. Please drive out my fears in the name of Jesus, Your Son. Every day I worry about what others will think of me, say about me, and do to me. I’m concerned that they will kill my ambitions, hopes, and dreams. Frightened of man’s condemnation, I live in constant apprehension. Paralyzed by fear, I’m tentative to open my mouth and speak for You. I’m sorry, Jesus.

Today, I’m claiming the truth! Your love drives out fear. You didn’t give me a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of love, power and sound mind. With Your Spirit living in me, I have no reason to worry. You and You alone are the Ultimate Judge. In Your Supreme Court, I’m already declared innocent and spared eternal punishment. Thank You, Jesus.

Nothing anyone thinks, says or does can separate me from You. From this day forward, I’m choosing to focus on Your perfect love living in me. Relying on it, I will conquer my fears. Please dear Lord, quiet my heart and give me confidence to trust in Your perfect love for the glory of Your name. Amen.

Do you worry about what others will think of you, say about you, or do to you? Do you live apprehensively as a people-pleaser? Resolve your fears by focusing on God’s endless love. Then, allow Him to love others through you.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Come Clean

Reflections from Psalm 51
10Create in me a pure heart,
O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Have mercy on me O God, according to Your unfailing love and great compassion. Blot out my blemishes, wash away my wickedness, and cleanse me from corruption.

I know that I have broken Your sacred laws and blatantly disobeyed You. I admit I’ve done bad things. They haunt me relentlessly. I’ve hurt others causing You pain and grief. I haven’t acted like the child of a King. I’ve been rebellious since the day I was conceived.

Cleanse me in the refreshing fountain of forgiveness! Wash away the gunk and grime so that I’m whiter than the glistening snow. Hide Your face from the ugly stains marked by the consequences of my poor choices. The marks that won’t go away are embarrassing. Please don’t pay attention to them.

Create in me a pure heart, O God by cleansing me from the inside out. Renew a steadfast spirit within me. Fill me with wholesome thoughts and desires. Please don’t cast me from Your presence! Don’t take Your power from me. I need it to live above my foolish faults and failures.

Sparkling in the Son shine I can hear joy and gladness again. I can come close to You and experience the rich full life as a child of the majestic, Most High King. Gladly, I will bring my friends to the refreshing fountain of forgiveness, praising You for Your righteousness along the way. Lord, please put a merry melody in my mind. Remove my guilt and shame so that I can sing a sweet song for You.

Build me up from my brokenness and make me prosperous in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Do you feel that you can’t come close to God because of something terrible you’ve done? God can and will forgive any sin if you tell Him about it. He will always cleanse you, but not always remove the stain. Though clean, there is often a mark left behind from the sin.

David was truly sorry for his adultery with Bathseba, and for murdering her husband to cover it up. He knew his actions had hurt many people. He repented and God mercifully forgave him. No sin is too great to be forgiven - including adultery and murder.

Go to the refreshing fountain of forgiveness. Admit your sin, and it will be flushed away forever by the blood of Jesus. Praise Him for His precious promise!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

My Favorite Things

Sitting by a campfire, on a warm spring night, singing "Favorite Things," my heart fluttered with these thoughts… When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad.

When distress bites,
When sin stings,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Lord Jesus,
You are the Designer of my favorite things! Thank You for writing Your Word on my heart. Bitten by disaster, discouragement and disappointment; stung by sin, suffering and sickness, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.

  • How great is the love the Father has lavished on me, that I should be called a child of God! And that is what I am! He is my Father! I am His beloved child. (1 John 3:1)
  • In love, I am blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed and forgiven. (Ephesians 1:3-8)
  • I am an heir of His most treasured possession, Jesus. (Romans 8: 17)
  • I am forgiven of ALL my sins; healed of ALL my diseases, redeemed from the pit, crowned with love and compassion, and satisfied with good things. (Psalm 103: 1-5)
  • My name is written in heaven; a room is reserved for me, in His name! (Luke 10:20)
  • He did not give me a spirit of timidity, but rather a spirit of love, power and sound thinking. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Focusing on who You are, and who I am in You, is my favorite thing. When I claim Your promises my sadness turns to joy. I praise and exalt You for the riches that are mine because of Jesus! Amen.

When you’re bitten, stung, and sad what are a few of your favorite Bible verses? Claim them. Memorize them. Then, when you’re feeling sad, remember them and you won’t feel so bad.

I encourage you to write them on a note card, carry them with you wherever you go, post them on the bathroom mirror and throughout your home and office. Remember them!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Mysteries of God

Romans 8: 29-30
29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Almighty God,
I stand in awe of You! I can’t begin to understand Your wisdom or Your ways! You …

  • Foreknew me, choosing me from the very beginning to be your beloved child
  • Predestined me, molding me to look like Your firstborn Son
  • Called me by name, inviting me to come to You
  • Justified me, declaring me "not guilty" and in right standing with You
  • Glorified me, polishing and perfecting me to shine like Jesus
Your ways are a mystery too complex for my simple mind to grasp. Please reveal Your secrets to me at the right time and place. Listening carefully to the clues You provide in Your Word, the Bible, I’ll discover the secret to being the person You made me to be. Obeying the Words You whisper in my ear will magnify, glorify and honor Your Mysterious Name. Amen.

From the beginning God knew you, shaped you, called you, justified you, and glorified you! How can you claim the treasure? What will you do with it? Perhaps, thank the King!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

God is For Me

Romans 8: 31-34
If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Revelation 1: 13-16
13Among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man,"dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance."

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty!
You are so good to me! You graciously give me all things! Your promises are precious! They sustain me through severe suffering and seclusion.

Gazing on Your majesty, I see Jesus, the Son of Man who experienced suffering, seclusion, and shame. He is beside You, dressed like a High Priest in a robe reaching down to His feet. He understands my pain and problems, and is pleading to You on my behalf.

The golden sash around His chest tells me He is a King who has full authority over everything that takes place in my life. His soft white hair reveals His wisdom and purity. He knows exactly what to allow into my life to make me holy, pure and blameless. Through my troubles He is transforming me into the likeness of His Son.

With angry eyes blazing like fire, He is serious and will avenge anyone who tries to hurt me. His feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace, ready to trample in judgment anyone who condemns me. Justification and condemnation belong to Him and Him alone! He will not tolerate anyone else doing His job.

When He speaks, His thunderous voice roars like the sound of water rushing over Niagara Falls. It drowns out all other sounds. With my attention focused on the Living Word of God, I can’t hear those who criticize and convict me. I only hear His piercing voice pardoning me.

He holds me in His strong right hand like the seven stars. Nothing can snatch me from His mighty grip of grace. He holds on to me tightly even when I let go of Him.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Lords Army is in charge of me. He gives me the weapon I need to combat the enemy, the Sword of His Word. Swiftly taking it, I confidently march forward inflicting anyone who insults me.

Gazing on the radiant face of the Son of Man, I know that in my desolation and isolation He is overruling me. No one else can accuse or defend me. He alone is the Holy, Almighty Judge and NOTHING can separate me from His love.

Thank You Lord for Your priceless promise in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Who is accusing you, God or man? Whose authority are you under, God or man? Who is pleading your case, God or man? In whom will you place your trust, God or man?

Choose to believe God and you will be blessed!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Preoccupied by God

Revelation 1: 9-13
9I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea."
12I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man,"

Most Holy, Majestic King,
Thank You for a fresh vision of Your glory! Like John, I too suffer in solitude. Reading about his sweet, submissive spirit in seclusion strengthens my faith.

Cut off from his hopes, dreams, and plans for the future, he surrendered himself to You in worship. Then, You spoke to him in a loud voice. Not only did he hear Your voice, but He turned around and saw you too. You will do the same to me. When I open my Bible and read with the expectation, You’ll speak. If I’m willing to stop what I’m doing and turn around, I’ll see and know the person behind the Words.

Focusing on Your wonderful face, I’ll have a fresh vision of who You are. Looking beyond myself, gazing on your beauty, I’ll see a holy, majestic, and wise King. My problems will grow strangely dim in the light of Your glory and grace.

Please dear Lord, let me be so preoccupied with your voice and your splendor that I won’t have time to think about my suffering and solitude. Give me patient endurance to take my eyes off myself and my difficult circumstances so that I can grow in my knowledge and personal relationship with You. I want to know You more, in my suffering, Jesus! Amen.

I was so preoccupied looking at Jesus during my dad’s sickness and suffering, that like John, I was able to write beautiful Prayer Pals proclaiming God’s glorious grace. I saw the Lord!

What are you doing in the midst of your suffering and solitude? When you open your Bible God opens His mouth. If you turn around, change directions, and look up, you’ll see the voice behind the Words. How is He asking you to respond to your circumstances? A response can be a story, a painting, a song, or whatever He puts in your heart! Just focus on him and express yourself. Then, your troubles will grow strangely dim in the light of his glorious grace.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Knowing Jesus

Philippians 3: 7-11
7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

My Jesus, My Savior, My great and Glorious King,
You are the desire of my heart. All the power and possessions I once pursued are worthless. All the accolades and accomplishments I accumulated are insignificant. The pleasures and treasures of the world can’t compare to knowing You, Jesus. Please show me all the clutter in my life that needs discarded to make room for more of You.

I want to know You more and more each day. My deepest aspiration is to be more like You in every way. I’m inferior and inadequate. My trinkets and trophies can’t save me. They’re meaningless to You. All You want is all of me. Knowing You personally and intimately is the only thing that matters. By faith, I believe that You are my only saving grace. My relationship with You is the most important thing in all of my life.

After the home of my heart is cleared of the clutter, there will be plenty of room for Your all-consuming power. Using the mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead, I can overcome evil and temptation. In Your strength, I will die to my past addictions and attractions. Sharing in Your suffering, I will lay down my sinful life to follow You, Jesus.

Thank You for preserving History so that I can have heavenly hope. After the excruciating pain of death, joy comes in the mourning … beautiful life that never ends.

There is no greater thing than knowing You, Jesus. You mean the world to me. The most valuable treasure of all time is found in You – sweet salvation. With a song in my heart and a smile on my face I will praise You for Your greatness. You are my righteousness and I love You, Lord. Amen.

If you were standing before the throne of God and He asked you, "Do you love me with all your heart, mind, soul and strength?" could you honestly answer, "Yes, Lord, You are my most important relationship." What if He said, "Prove it"? If you couldn't answer Him with a "Yes, Lord", then you may want to print this Prayer Pal and pray it repeatedly until He consumes your whole heart.

What are you willing to give up to know Christ better? Time each day for Bible study and prayer? Approval from friends and family? Your personal plans, ambitions, and dreams? Knowing Christ is worth the sacrifice.

Today I will give up _______________________________________ in order to know you more, Jesus.

Go and obey. Jesus said, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching." John 14: 23

Thursday, March 09, 2006

God is Good

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

O God, My Loving Father,
I love you with all my heart. You are so good to me, always. Life isn’t always fair, but You are always good. I know that in all things You’re working out your perfect plan and polishing me to be more like Jesus. I believe with all my heart, mind and strength that You’ll turn my tragedy into victory!

  • In sudden death and despair You work for the good of those who love You.
  • In cancer and catastrophes You work for the good of those who love You.
  • In flops and failures You work for the good of those who love You.
  • In accidents and hospital stays You work for the good of those who love You.
  • In unemployment and financial disaster You work for the good of those who love You.
  • In felonies and prison terms You work for the good of those who love You.
  • In trials and temptations You work for the good of those who love You.
  • In divorce papers and broken families You work for the good of those who love You.
  • In addictions and abortions You work for the good of those who love You.
  • In infertility and injury You work for the good of those who love You.

I trust You, God to make a miracle from my misery! Looking forward to my hope in heaven, I’ll willingly accept painful situations that polish and perfect me like a precious pearl. In my life Lord, be glorified today through Jesus I pray. Amen.

God has used my dad’s cancer and long journey through the valley of death to polish and perfect my pearl of compassion. Because I’ve experienced the excruciating pain of loss, I’m able to weep with those who weep and comfort those who mourn. He has used my father-in-law’s sudden death to polish and perfect my pearl of love. Because something valuable has been suddenly been taken away, we’ve learned to love God and others more today because there may not be a tomorrow. God has made miracles from my miseries. He promises to do the same for you too.

In __________________________ (your tragedy) God is working to perfect my _____________________________ (a Christ-like characteristic). Fill in the blanks.

Believe God and you will be blessed!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

An Inarticulate Sigh

Romans 8:26-27
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Most High Priest,
I come to You with an inarticulate sigh which only You can translate. You feel the pressure that’s pounding me and know the greatness of my problems. I’m too wretched, weak and weary to even know what to pray, but You know my heart and mind. Seated at the right hand of God, my Father, You're constantly offering prayers on my behalf. Blessed assurance!

I don’t know the future, but You do. I may ask to be saved from situations that are intended for my good. I may ask for things that look good but would ultimately harm me. My feeble, finite mind can’t grasp Your plan!

I’m merely a child. I think I know what’s best, but really I’m quite na├»ve. You are my Abba, Daddy, and sometimes have to refuse my requests or require me to do something I don’t want to do. I admit that You are all-wise and know what is best for me.

All I can do is confidently come, just as I am, wretched, weak and weary. All I can say is, "Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit. Not my will but Yours be done, for the glory of Your Son." Amen.

You don’t have to say a word. God knows your heart and mind. Just come as you are, and allow Him to offer prayers on your behalf.

Last night as I was driving down the road, praying in the sanctuary of my car, I ended with "not my will but yours be done." It dawned on me that I should probably always make my requests to God, then finish with "not my will but yours be done. Amen." We can ask God for anything, but ultimately His plan will be done because He's in control of all things.

Not my will but Yours be done.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Hope for Tomorrow

Romans 8: 18, 23-25
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Lord of Life,
Thank you for this time of year when daylight exceeds darkness. I’ve been eagerly waiting for this season to spring forward. Spring gives me hope during the winter when it’s cold, dark and dead outside. Feeling depressed, troubled and weary, I anticipate glorious new life!

As I looked out my window today I noticed the bulbs that were dead all winter springing to life again through the soft, saturated soil. My heart fluttered with joy to think that in just a short time a pretty pallet of posies will peek in at me. Thank You for giving me a fresh vision of Your glory and new hope for tomorrow.

Like the flamboyant, fragrant flowers, I too must die and decompose as I suffer through sin, sickness, and sorrow. I groan inwardly as I waste away. Eagerly, I wait through the frigid season of darkness. Still, silent and stiff, I endure with expectation for the day when I will spring to life through the soft soil saturated with tears of sadness. Like the posies peeking in at me, my body will spring to life as a brand new vibrant bouquet that will never wilt or wither. I will live eternally in Your glorious garden where there will be no weeds to choke me, no thorns to prick me and no insects to devour me.

As it is written, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what You have prepared for those who love You.[a] Anticipating longer days full of warm, radiant sunshine, surrounded by mysterious new life, I can only imagine what You have in store for me! Life with You is my bright hope for tomorrow that sustains me through today’s trouble.

Thank You Lord, for a fresh vision of Your glory! I praise and worship You with love and adoration because of the new life that awaits me in Christ Jesus. Amen.

What are you hoping for?

[a] 1 Corinthians 2:9

Monday, March 06, 2006

Adopted by God

Romans 8:14-17
14Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Abba, Father,
I’m thankful and joyful that you chose and adopted me into your royal family, reserving a room for me in Your heavenly mansion. You will be my Father and I will be Your dearly loved child forever. You’ve lavished me with knowledge and understanding, illuminating the highway to heaven where I will find joy in your presence and eternal pleasures.

Upon arriving in the hallowed halls of heaven, You will wipe every tear from my eye. You will crown me with forgiveness, clothe me with a robe of righteousness, and cover me with the priceless jewels of Jesus, purchased with His blood. I will be made new. My heart leaps for joy at the very thought of my rich rewards.

Until I get there, I will be seized by sin, suffering and sorrow. I will be attacked by anger, anxiety, and anguish. I will be stripped by shame, stress and stupidity. I will be flogged by fear, and beaten by bitterness and boasting. I may even be shackled and sent to prison for my passionate pursuit of righteousness. In the midst of my misery, I will rejoice and give thanks to You for accomplishing Your will in my life. Singing sweet songs of salvation in my sadness, and powerfully pleading for patience during pain, I will smile when I feel like crying. When others held hostage around me hear my heavenly hope, their chains will come loose, and they will be saved and set free if they choose to believe.

Lord, You and You alone are my joy and delight. Your joy is my strength. No one can ever take this treasured possession from me. Please put a smile on my face that reflects the joy in my heart because of who I am in Jesus! Amen.

Knowing that you are God’s chosen child, what should your response be in the midst of suffering? How will you change your attitude in order to share in Christ’s glory?