Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Unattended Garden

Proverbs 24
30-34 One day I walked by the field of an old lazybones,
and then passed the vineyard of a lout;
They were overgrown with weeds,
thick with thistles, all the fences broken down.
I took a long look and pondered what I saw;
the fields preached me a sermon and I listened:
"A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
with poverty as your permanent houseguest!" MSG

Wise and Wonderful Lord,
Your Words paint a powerful picture that causes me to stop and think about what my life will look like if I neglect spending time with You. Unattended, wild grass and weeds will grow up everywhere. The roots of thick prickly briars, my unconfessed sin, will choke out what was at one time vibrant vegetation. When I become indifferent and inattentive to Your Word, my life will fall apart like the broken down fence. O Lord have mercy on me! Show me how to guard against neglect. Don’t let me become sluggish or lazy in my walk with You.

You are the Divine Gardener. Your Word, the Holy Bible, is pure Miracle Grow for my withering soul. Every time I come to You, You faithfully water me with miracle food that perks me up, filling me with vitality. You pull the weeds and prevent them from strangling me every time I confess to my mistakes. You immediately repair the broken pieces of my life when I bring them to You in prayer. When I miss a day or two, I begin to droop imperceptibly. When I miss three or four days, I really sag downward. Eventually, I’ll die spiritually. O Lord help me to be responsible in my daily walk with You! My life depends on it.

There’s a world of wrecked believers all around me. They are lying in ruins like the broken picket fence, choked out by the unattended weeds of their own sin and shame. Many have neglected their responsibility to You for so long that they’re virtually dead. Please show me a believer who needs miraculous new life today and I’ll use the gifts You’ve given me to immerse them in Jesus, reviving their spirit for Your name sake. Amen.

How is your relationship with Christ? Are you guarding it carefully? Are you leaning on Him in the hard times, or have you abandoned Him?

Jesus loves you! He hasn’t turned from you. You’re redeemed and forgiven. He’s waiting for You to turn back to Him

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Life Saving Truth

Hebrews 2: 1-3
1So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. 2The message God delivered through angels has always proved true, and the people were punished for every violation of the law and every act of disobedience. 3What makes us think that we can escape if we are indifferent to this great salvation that was announced by the Lord Jesus himself? It was passed on to us by those who heard him speak. NLT

My Life Preserving Lord,
O how I love Your Word! It is the Truth that saves my life. Completely right, fully trustworthy, and thoroughly tested, it awakens my conscience, warning me of dangers. I shudder to think that I could become lazy, spiritually negligent, caught up in prayerlessness, and go for days without seeking You!

I need You, Jesus! Securely fastened to You, I won’t be afraid when I flow down the river of difficulty. Clinging to You, I won’t drift away and drown in the sea of despair. When I’m confused Your Words will counsel me. Consumed with sadness and sorrow, they will comfort me. When I’m weak and weary, ready to quit the fight, Your Words will give me strength to persevere. O Lord, how can I flee the consequences if I disobediently drift away from You? Surely, I will sink in the sea of sin!

Please give me a deeper desire to diligently seek You daily! I don’t want to let life’s craziness and confusion distract or disturb our friendship. Help me to listen carefully through the constant noise and commotion so that I won’t be carried away by false teachers and fall from my secure position. I need to hear the Truth with my heart, stand on it, read it, pray it, obey it, and walk in the light of it every single day of my life!

Growing in the truth and knowledge of my Life Preserving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I’ll gladly give You all the glory and honor from now until the end of time! Amen.

The Bible clearly warns that it’s possible for devoted believers to drift from Jesus.

What will you do today to draw closer to God? If you aren’t taking active steps to stick by Him, through Bible Study and prayer then you’re drifting into dangerous, unchartered water without a Life Preserver!

1 Corinthians 10:12
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!

2 Peter 3:17
Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Persistent Prayer

Luke 18: 1-8
1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'

4"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' "

6And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

Honorable Judge~
Your great compassion and mercy are unending. I am dreadfully needy like the widow, but have not been as persistent with my prayer life. Rather than constantly complaining to You about my on-going problems and pressures, I easily give up and give in. Forgive me for my lack of faith! Thank You for reminding me that I should always pray and not quit! If an unjust person buckles under my continuous badgering how much more will an honorable and patient Judge like You pity me when I keep pestering?

Please dear Lord, increase my faith so that I’ll persistently plead with You like the widow. I’m worn down by my physical and spiritual battles. Enduring a barrage of troubles and heartache, I’m tired of the stress and weary from the fight. I’m ready to give up! I long for an easier way! It’s tempting to slip away to a place far from people, away from my problems and struggles; to a place where things are quiet and peaceful. But, Lord, I don’t want to miss the blessings You have for those who stick with You through the trials.

By faith, I’ll hang around and incessantly cry out to You day and night. As I persevere, please develop my character, faith, and hope. In time, when You’re sick and tired of hearing me You’ll respond with the right answer to my situation. Please have mercy on me, Your chosen child. Hear my prayers and answer quickly! Give me faith to endure and believe that You won’t put me off permanently. I know that You love me deeply because of Jesus. Amen.

Is there something that you’ve given up praying for because you feel like God isn’t listening? Don’t give up! Be persistent like the widow. God may postpone answering, but His delays always have good reason. If you stick with Him, He will develop your character, faith and hope. You’ll see justice in due time.

If you know that God loves you, you must believe He will hear your cry for help.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

All Creation Worships

Job 37: 22-24 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty. The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power … therefore, men revere him for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?

God of All Creation-
You are holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! All creation worships You! Thank You Lord, for showing me Your pristine beauty and majesty. I’m in awe of Your magnificent creation. You are a God of many wonders.

You take my breathe away as my eyes gaze in utter amazement at the fantasyland of dramatic and spectacular weather-sculptured high buttes, spires and rock formations in crimson, rust, tan and cream. From the top of a copper-colored canyon, nearly 7000 feet in the azure celestial skies there is wonder in everything I see. The pillar of cloud coming off the mountains speckled with emerald green oaks and pines reaches toward heaven making Your presence and power known.

My heart dances for joy at the sight of the little stream splashing gaily down the mountain, tumbling over smooth rocks. As I silently stand marveling at my surroundings, I hear Your quiet whisper in the gentle breeze, "This is Your church, this beautiful land. Worship me here."
From the mountaintop, I look down on the creation of the most awe-inspiring artist of all time. It is Your pleasure to give me these delightful sights. In Your divine presence, my heart is filled with gladness. Witnessing Your sovereignty over all nature, I’m reminded that You are sovereign over my life. Thank You God for revealing Your golden splendor and awesome majesty to me. I’m celebrating the beauty of Your holiness. Amen.

If you traveled to the beach or mountains for vacation this summer, did you take time to notice God's pristine beauty, and worship Him in His magnificent creation? Take a walk this weekend, notice His amazing creation, and worship Him.

The magnificent landscape in Sedona, AZ inspired me to write this Prayer Pal in February 2005. I’m looking forward to worshipping God at the beach this weekend. Prayer Pal will resume next week.

Photo Artist Unknown

Extravagent Love

Luke 7:36-50
36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to come to his home for a meal, so Jesus accepted the invitation and sat down to eat. 37 A certain immoral woman heard he was there and brought a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.

Jesus said, "47I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love." 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven."

50 And Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Precious Lord,
You are King of my heart and Lord of my life. I seek You with all that is within me! Willingly, I risk ridicule and rejection from my family and friends who can’t see beyond my reputation. I’m not worthy to come into Your pure, perfect presence. My past is embarrassing, but I humbly come looking for Your promised mercy and grace. O Lord, my God, I admit that I have done many wrong things. Even my best attempts to make right choices and do good works fall far short of Your high standard. Like this dear woman, I bow down at Your feet.

Confessing my mistakes, I pour out my broken heart, on You. My fresh tears of remorse fall like rain on Your feet as I weep over my shameful life. My behavior has offended You. I’m sorry, Lord, have mercy on me! I need You, Jesus, to change me and pardon me from my past!

I love You and want to be in right relationship with You. I want You to sit on the throne of my heart and reign over my life. Because of Your unending love and ceaseless compassion, I’ll give my life to You as priceless perfume. My praise and adoration will be a sweet and fragrant offering, when I bow down to touch other immoral outcasts with mercy and grace. I’ll kiss Your feet every time I show kindness to those who offend me. Reviving and restoring broken hearts will be my expression of gratitude. Please show me someone who is friendless or fallen and I’ll gladly risk ridicule and rejection to restore their reputation for the glory of Your name. Amen.

Jesus has rescued all of His followers whether they’re extremely wicked or exceptionally good, from death and destruction. There is no sin He won’t forgive, if we humbly come to Him and admit our mistakes. Do you need to seek His forgiveness? If so, I urge you to go promptly to Him. Fall at His feet. Accept responsibility for your actions. He is faithful and just, promising to forgive your sins and heal your hurts, no matter how bad or how deep.

Do you appreciate the depth of His mercy? Are you grateful for His forgiveness? If so, how will you offer yourself extravagantly to Him?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hanging on to Hope

Lamentations 3:22-33
22The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. 23Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. 24I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!"

25The LORD is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him. 26So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. 27And it is good for the young to submit to the yoke of his discipline.

31For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever. 32Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love. 33For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow. (NLT)

Faithful and Merciful God-
I rejoice in Your infinite love and compassion. I’m alive and well today because of Your amazing grace. Just as You faithfully turn the darkness of night to bright morning light, I trust You to revive and restore my broken heart. At the end of my rope, I’m hanging on to You because there’s simply nothing left. You are my only hope!

Because You are constantly good and always right, I seek You with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Quietly, I wait for You to work out Your plan and purpose for my life. My Great Instructor, I willingly and silently sit under Your wise counsel expecting You to teach me an important lesson through this present hardship.

Please fill me with more of Your holy power to control my attitudes and actions in the face of adversity. I need Your strength to persevere. Helpless, I’m depending on Your endless supply of love to sustain me. Quiet my heart, calm my soul, and open my mind to receive Your abundant love and mercy. I desperately want to trust You to turn my present darkness to extraordinary brightness through Jesus, the Perfect Light. Amen.

Are you hopelessly at the end of your rope? When you’re helpless, what do you hang on to? If you hang on to God, He promises to sustain you with His unfailing love and compassion. Connected to Him you’ll be able to persevere under pressure.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Preparing for the Future

Jude 1:20-28
20Dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

22Be merciful to those who doubt; 23snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

24To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Blessed Lord,
Thank You for teaching us exactly how to live a life devoted to You in preparation for the future when we’ll live with You forever in Paradise.

First, we should build ourselves up in our "most holy faith," by opening our Bibles, Your Holy Word spoken to us. Through it, You entrust us with Your priceless treasury of promises. We build an incredible fortune when we believe and obey Your costly commands. Safeguarding the invaluable Truth in our hearts will change us profoundly, pervasively, and permanently into Your holy likeness.

In addition to opening our Bibles, we are to pray in the Holy Spirit. We should confidently come to You, just as we are, broken, weak and poor. Speechless, because of pounding pain or overwhelming joy, You’ll translate our inarticulate sighs, praying for us. Blessed assurance!
We should surround ourselves with Your love. In the shelter of Your strong arms, You’ll protect, prosper and prepare us. We’ll be closest to You every time we open our Bibles, pray, and hang out with other believers.

Encased in Your extravagant love, we need to witness to the world by telling our life changing stories to everyone. We need to patiently persevere with those who hesitate to believe us, get down to business rescuing those who are on the road to destruction, and show loving kindness to those who are corrupt and callous without becoming like them.

Lord, let me take these lessons seriously, putting my most holy faith into action while I wait to live happily ever after in Your magnificent kingdom. All glory to You, O God, who can keep me from stumbling. I rejoice that I can stand tall in Your luminous presence, holy and pure because of Jesus my Savior who alone is worthy of glory, majesty, and power from now until the end of time. Amen.

God’s Word tells us exactly how to prepare for the future.

  • Build up your faith
  • Pray in the Holy Spirit
  • Surround yourself with His love
  • Witness to the world
Do you believe Him? What one thing will do differently today to prepare for tomorrow?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Worship the King

Psalm 95:1-7
1 Come, let us sing to the LORD!
Let us give a joyous shout to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing him psalms of praise.
3 For the LORD is a great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 He owns the depths of the earth,
and even the mightiest mountains are his.
5 The sea belongs to him,
for he made it.His hands formed the dry land, too.
6 Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the LORD our maker,
7 for he is our God. NLT

Lord, You are a great and awesome God! You are King of kings! Maker of mighty mountains and surging seas! Owner of the depths of the earth and lofty skies! You rule and reign from heaven on high!

In reverent awe, I come just as I am, humble, meek, and poor, to worship You in the splendor of Your sovereignty. I’m not worthy to climb the mighty majestic mountain into Your presence. I can’t stand on this holy ground without purifying my heart. With a clear conscience, I’ll enter the beauty of Your holiness to adore You with deep devotion.

Because Your precious Son bought me with His priceless blood, I’ll come before You with thanksgiving exalting You above the heavens. Seeing Your radiant face, I’ll kneel before Your throne and anoint Your feet with the sweet aroma of joyful praise.

With my hands, I’ll extol You. With my lips, I’ll lift You up. With my feet, I’ll serve You. With my tongue, I’ll sing of Your unfailing love and faithfulness. Gladly, I’ll give my life to You in worship. Please receive my humble sacrifice of praise because I love and adore You above all, my great God and King. Alleluia. Amen.

Prepare your heart for corporate worship by focusing on God’s reverence. Then, go in awe of Him and be blessed!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Christian Family Rules

Romans 12:9-16
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Father in Heaven~
Thank You for clearly posting the Christian Family Rules:

  1. Unconditionally love your brothers and sisters even when they’re unlovable, undeserving, and unresponsive
  2. Don’t feed your mind evil thoughts; instead fill it with truth, righteousness, and purity.
  3. Lay aside selfishness; delight in treating each other with respect and common courtesy.
  4. Never give up!
  5. Serve me enthusiastically.
  6. Persevere under pressure.
  7. Let your hope of heaven make you glad.
  8. Never stop praying.
  9. Take care of each other.
  10. Welcome strangers into your home.
  11. Ask me to bless everyone who mistreats you.
  12. Be happy when others are happy.
  13. Be sad when others are sad.
  14. Be friendly with everyone.
  15. Don’t be proud.
  16. Be willing to do menial tasks.
  17. Be willing to interact with people who are different from you.
  18. Don’t be a know it all.

Father, only by Your grace can I stand before You as Your beloved child, adopted, redeemed, and forgiven. Because I love and respect You with all of my heart, I will do my best to obey the rules of Your house. Please fill me with more of Your love, grace and power. Show me who I can love in Your name today. Amen.

Which of these rules do you have a hard time obeying? Ask God to fill you with more of His power to overcome your selfish desires. Then, look for an opportunity to enthusiastically serve someone in a difficult situation.

Today I will lay aside my selfish desires and love ______________________________ in the name of Jesus. (fill in the name of someone whom you will show God’s love.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Debt of Love

Romans 13:8-10
8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Luke 6:31
Jesus said, "Do to others as you would have them do to you."

Lord of Love,
The only way I can begin to pay You back for Your infinite love is to love others. In love You came down from heaven to bless, choose, adopt, accept, redeem, and forgive me while I was unattractive, unworthy, and unlovable. The least I can do is obey You.
I won’t let myself starve; therefore, I need to feed the hungry.

  • I make sure that I’m properly clothed before leaving the house; therefore, I’m expected to dress the destitute.
  • I put a warm and cozy roof over my head; therefore, I’m required to find shelter for the homeless.
  • I don’t want to be cheated or deceived; therefore, it’s necessary for me to be honest and fair to others.
  • I despise being stabbed with hateful, hurtful words; therefore, I can’t kill the spirits of others with my own unkind works.
  • I’d be angry if someone tried to interfere with my marriage; therefore, I’m obligated to stay out of someone else’s marriage.
I don’t want anyone to covet my possessions; therefore, I can’t be jealous when someone has something bigger or better than me.

The only way I can properly respond to Your immeasurable, inexhaustible love is to behave decently as a Christian child by fully obeying Your law of love. Please dear Lord, clothe me with power and love to make a difference where it matters today because tomorrow may be too late. Open my eyes to see someone who needs love today and I will obey no matter the cost because I appreciate the high price of the love You lavished on me. To You who rules on the throne of my heart forever and ever be the glory. Amen.

In light of God’s incredible gift of love given to you, what will you do today to obey His command to love your neighbor as yourself? Admit your own selfishness. Repent and reach out in love to someone in a difficult situation. Do it today because tomorrow may be too late.

Today I will reach out in love by _________________________________ as a token of appreciation for the high price Jesus paid for my pardon. I will do it today because tomorrow may be too late

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Psalm 122:6-8
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
"May those who love you be secure.

7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels."

8 For the sake of my brothers and friends,
I will say, "Peace be within you."

9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

This Scripture has very special meaning to me. A very dear friend asked me to pray for the peace of Jerusalem for her family. I had no idea what that meant, but the Holy Spirit taught me through a very wise old man and this Scripture that it means we should pray for peace, protection and the prosperity of God’s presence for one another. What a blessing and a privilege it is to carry one another to the King’s throne in prayer!

I wrote this Prayer Pal for my friend and her family. You can pray it for your friends and family too.

Prince of Peace,
What a joy and privilege it is to carry my hurting friend to You in prayer. You know how much she adores You. Her family is precious to You. You know the depth of the trials they face daily. You understand their anguish and heart ache. Precious Savior, be real and active in their lives today. Let Your truth rule their minds. Guard their hearts with perfect peace. In the safety of Your presence, let them live happily, assure of Your divine protection.

Why should they fear man, when You went a great distance to save them from death and destruction? After paying an exorbitant price for them with Your life, You won’t abandon them now. Why should they be afraid when You command and calm the winds and waves? Why should they lose heart when they know how magnificent You are? Why should they give up on You when they know You have a loving plan to take care of them and give them a bright future? Please give them faith to trust in Your promises today.

Father in Heaven, watch over their lives. Keep them from harm. Give them courage and strength to bravely face each new challenge. As they seek Your touch of greatness, make them rich with good health and godly friends. Be kind and gracious to them because they love You more than life itself.

Lord, one thing I ask today – please bless my friend and her family with Your holy presence, perfect peace, and divine protection so that wherever they go unbelievers will notice their beautiful spirit and pursue the same peace they possess because of Jesus. Amen.

Too often we are quick to pray for our own needs and desires, and forget to intercede for others. Who will you intercede for today? Pray for their peace, protection, and prosperous presence of God.

Pray this Scripture for your church too! See the Prayer Pal from Friday, August 12, 2006.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Lighten the Load

Psalm 68:19
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.

Galatians 6:2
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

John 13: 34-35 Jesus said, 34"So now I am giving You a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved You, You should love each other. 35Your love for one another will prove to the world that You are my disciples."

Glorious Lord,
You are my wonderful Savior! When I stumbled and fell over shame, You found me, and compassionately picked me up in Your strong arms. Injured and weak from the fall, You resiliently carried my wounds on Your body to Calvary. There, You disinfected my sore soul with Living Water from the gash in Your side and cleansed me with the antiseptic of Your blood. You covered every mistake I ever made and ever will make.

Miraculously, You healed me and gave me a vivacious new life full of love and strength. You promised that I can cast all my problems and pressures on You any time, any day, any place. If I lean on You, I won’t stumble and fall from the weight of my anxieties. I’ll stand up tall under stress, affectionately praising Your mighty power!

All around me are indignant, hurting people who have stumbled and can’t get up. The weight of their troubles is more than they can bear. Please enlarge my heart. Fill me with a spirit of compassion to notice the fallen people in my path. Just as You mercifully care for me daily, I’ll graciously stoop down, pick them up, and carry their burdens. Since You went a great distance to save me, I’ll go the extra mile to lift up needy people. I’ll go out of my way to attentively listen to them, boosting their spirits with kind words of encouragement and prayer. Make me a mighty magnet to draw others to You for mercy. In doing so, I’ll fulfill Your command to love others, and show the watching world that I belong to Jesus through whom I live and pray. Amen.

If you know someone who’s struggling financially, deliver groceries to their door. I often use the buy one get one free specials at the grocery store, buying one for my family, giving the free items to someone less fortunate.

If you’re aware that someone has received devastating news, pick up the phone and call them. Just tell them you’re thinking of them and ask them to let you know how you can help.

Go visit an elderly or disabled person. Take along a balloon bouquet to brighten their surroundings.

Write a letter to a prisoner who’s been forgotten by society. Tell them about God’s forgiveness. Show them His mercy.

Offer to pray for someone who is hurting and do it on the spot. It will bless their heart to hear their name being carried to the throne!

Ask God to give you a spirit of forgiveness and forbearance. Ask for an enlarged heart and a spirit of compassion. I can guarantee He will be delighted to give you these things! Then, open your eyes. Look around and you will see someone close by who has fallen and needs your help. Show them that you belong to the family of God by lightening their load today.

Find someone with a load heavier than your own, and help them carry it today. It’s not optional!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Delighted to Worship

Psalm 122:1, 6-8
1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the LORD."

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
"May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels."
8 For the sake of my brothers and friends,
I will say, "Peace be within you."
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

Great God of Glory!
I can hardly wait to go to Your holy house this Sunday! It’s a joy and delight to worship You with other believers. Having practiced loving others actively and deeply this week, I can confidently come into Your presence with peace of mind and a pure heart expecting to see Your beautiful face. Please anoint my lips with grace to speak kind, encouraging words to others in the church family. With a sweet song in my heart I’ll lift heavy spirits and soothe sad souls for You. I’ll praise and adore You for the great things You’ve done through me in the name of Jesus, Your Son. All glory to God in the highest!

God of Peace, as we gather in the splendor and majesty of Your holy presence, please fill the temple of our hearts with perfect peace. Satan wants nothing more than to wreck and ruin our fellowship with You and each other. Please place a throng of angels around our sanctuary to protect our precious family time. Hang a life size portrait of Jesus, Your Son, on the wall of each mind to remind us of Your prosperous presence.

As we come together to bless and adore You, give us endurance and encouragement, along with a gentle spirit of unity. Fill us with joy, peace and the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit as we trust You. Then with one heart and voice, we’ll enter into Your presence with our lives singing harmoniously. Overflowing with love, we’ll glorify You, our heavenly Father and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Do you delight in going to the house of the Lord? Do you enjoy the sweet fellowship God intends for your church family?

If you find going to God’s house a chore, then perhaps there is unconfessed sin your life, or your love for God has turned cold. Pray and ask God to search your heart and shine the light of His love on any dark places in your life. Ask Him to rekindle the fire of the Holy Spirit in your heart.

If you’re close to God and enjoy His presence, you won’t want to miss the chance to praise and worship Him.

Romans 15:5, 6, 13
5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Loving Magnificently

1 John 3:16-23
16We know what real love is because Christ gave up His life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters. 17But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help--how can God's love be in that person?
18Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions. 19It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord, 20even if our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21Dear friends, if our conscience is clear, we can come to God with bold confidence. 22And we will receive whatever we request because we obey Him and do the things that please Him. 23And this is His commandment: We must believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. NLT

Dearest Father in Heaven-
Your divine love is incredibly amazing! That You would leave Your beautiful, majestic, celestial home in heaven to come to this wretched, ugly, hell-hole on earth to rescue detestable, antagonistic humans is unfathomable. I might die for someone really special, like my spouse or my child, but I’d never die for someone who despises me. Yet that’s exactly what You did for me. While I was Your vilest offender, You intentionally died for me.

In light of the high price You paid to secure my freedom, I ought not think twice about giving up my comfortable lifestyle for unpleasant, unattractive, and despicable people. I believe You put arrogant, obnoxious, mean-spirited individuals in my life to teach me to love Your way. Remind me daily of my own idiosyncrasies. I don’t like to admit it, but You know I’m far from perfect. Instead of uttering idle, meaningless chatter, help me to actively, consistently, deeply love nasty, unlikable people the way You love me. Recognizing my own unworthiness, will be my first step toward tolerating and showing mercy to them.

Practicing extravagant love will clear my conscience and purify my heart. Then, I can worshipfully, penitently, and joyfully come to You with confident expectation that You will hear my problems, doubts, fears, and needs. Rejoicing in my childlike faith that believes in the name of Jesus, Your Son, You will reward my obedience by responding to my urgent requests.

Please dear Lord, fill me with so much of Your magnificent love and mighty power that my vibrant faith will be contagious, proving to the watching world that I am Your beloved child. Because I long to make You happy, I’ll try my best to obey You by loving others in the name of Jesus. Amen.

How can you show the selfless love of Christ to an unlovable person today? It’s not easy and it’s not optional. It’s a command from the High King of Heaven who has paid a high price for you. It’s the least you can do to honor and glorify Him.

Jesus didn’t come to rescue good people, he came to save sinners. He expects us to love them too; after all, we’re amongst the throng!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Showing the Way

Colossians 4:5-6
5Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone. NLT

Colossians 3:12-17
12Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

16Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father. NLT

Holy God~
I praise You for showing me the Way to eternal life. I now have the responsibility to show others the Way. When You brought the message to me it was not only with words but also with all-consuming power. Assure of who You are and the great distance You went to rescue me from death and decay, I’ll confidently point others in the right direction by my attitudes and actions.

Everything I do and say is a witness for or against You. People every where are watching me, waiting to see my response to difficult people and tricky situations. Before I go out of the house each day, please dress me in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Clothe me with an even-temper and quickness to forgive. Never allow me to leave home without wearing LOVE or tucking peace in the pocket of my heart.

Walking hand-in-hand with my brothers and sisters, I’ll appreciate the family You’ve given me. I’ll praise, encourage, and respect them. Open my mind to Your Holy Word spoken to me through older and wiser siblings. Listening to their real life experiences will help me make sensible choices.

I want to make the most of every opportunity to be a witness for You. People will die today without knowing the Way to live happily ever after. I have the answer that will save them from an eternity of misery. You are the One and Only Way. Please give me courage to share Your love with a lost soul today. Because You have shown me true love, I’m obligated to graciously, tenderly, and effectively show it to others through my words and conduct for the sake of our glorious family name. Amen.

Do your words and conduct truly represent our Christian family name? People are watching us, waiting to see how we’ll react to situations. Pay attention to how you respond to people and circumstances today. It is your witness to a watching world. Will anyone see Jesus in you? What will you do to live wisely, making the most of every opportunity to represent the Kingdom of Heaven on earth today?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Extravagent Love

1 John 4: 9-11
9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Lord of Love~
Your amazing love is steady and unchanging! I can’t fathom its depth, comprehend its width or imagine its height. While I was unfriendly, unkind and unappreciative You sent Your One and Only Son, the Living Christ, into the world to offer His body and blood as a sweet sacrifice for me. Mercifully, You touched my callused heart, removing my hostility. You lovingly restored the damage that was done to our relationship making me right with You. Thank You Jesus!

I adore the beautiful, new heart You graciously gave me. It reflects Your sweet love, tender kindness, and generous goodness. It’s an honor and a blessing to live differently through You. Please open my spiritual eyes to see someone who is destitute, depressed, or demoralized. I will obediently and selflessly love that person through Jesus today. All glory is Yours because of Your extravagant Love. Amen.

Look around and find someone who is destitute, depressed, or demoralized to love extravagantly today. It’s not optional if you are the recipient of God’s love.

Bending Your Knee

John 13: 4-5, 12-17
4He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13"You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

Jesus, Humble Servant,
You are the perfect Teacher and Lord. You reign in power with full authority over heaven and earth. Yet willingly, You left Your heavenly kingdom, becoming human to identify with me. Out of love for Your Father, You voluntarily laid aside Your own rights and privileges. Stooping down to wash filthy, dirty feet, You taught me how to serve others meekly. If You, High King of Heaven, can take on the menial task of cleaning stinky, muddy feet then who am I to stand around, watching and waiting for someone else to do the dirty work?

Make me a servant, humble and meek. Lord, let me lift up those who are weak, and, may the prayer of my heart always be "make me a servant today."

Please give me a willing spirit and power to …
  • Concentrate on the work You’ve called me to do and not what others are doing
  • Base my identity in You and not seek the approval of man
  • Think like a servant and not a master
  • See my ministry as an opportunity and not an obligation

Father, I want to be more like Jesus. Open the eyes of my heart and show me who I can bend down to serve today in Your name. I will obey because I love You and anticipate the prosperous reward You will give me because of Jesus. Amen

Who can you stoop down and serve today?

Reflect on the words to this catchy little chorus. If you know the tune, make it the song of your heart today!

Make me a servant
Humble and meek
Lord let me lift up those who are weak
And, may the prayer of my heart always be
Make me a servant
Make me a servant
Make me a servant today.
© 1982 Maranatha! Music Words and Music by Kelly Willard

Friday, August 04, 2006

Encouraging Others

Malachi 3:16-18
16Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him. 17"They will be my people," says the LORD Almighty. "On the day when I act, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

My Dear Father in Heaven,
Your Words are dear to my heart. O how I’m blessed when I stop, sit and listen to You. It tickles me to hear You say that I’m Your special treasure. My worth doesn’t come from accomplishments or accumulated wealth; it comes from being Your dearly loved child. I’m a glittering jewel in Your treasury because Jesus paid for me with His life. I’m valuable because of Your love and mercy, not because of my personal successes or failures.

Lord, You know I’m living in a time of rampant ungodliness just like the prophet Malachi when he penned these words. All around me, arrogant people are proud of their achievements, flaunting their hoarded possessions, and seemingly enjoying a rich luxurious lifestyle. Those of us who are dedicated to You are growing weary waiting and wondering if walking with You is worth it.

Thank You for telling us how to persevere through troubling times of temptation. We need to hang out with other believers, openly talk about our struggles, and encourage one another. Rather than fussing and fretting about what we don’t have, we need to give thanks and praise You for what we do have. We have a powerful King enthroned in our hearts, a rich inheritance and a guaranteed place in Your palace where we’ll live happily ever after with You and each other.

It’s frightening to think that you listen to every conversation we hold and notice the way we treat each other. Admittedly, I don’t always sparkle with compassion. Because You write down and remember every kind word spoken, every pleasant phone call made, every cheerful letter written, every effort to gently console the downcast, we ought to generously and intentionally spread more love, mercy, and peace. Then, we will twinkle like treasured diamonds in the darkness.

Please dear Lord, show me someone who’s at their end of their rope and ready to give up on You. I’ll joyfully refresh their spirit with an extra dose of encouragement for the honor of Your worthy name. Amen.

Are you complaining that you don’t have a calling or ministry? Stop fretting and find someone who’s hurting. Refresh them with a kind word, a phone call, a letter or email. There are many discouraged and disheartened people in your church family who are longing to have their spirits lifted. Brighten someone’s life today with a kind word. God is listening and you will be blessed!

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve but your grief will turn to joy."

Do you believe the truth?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Gettin' Ready

2 Peter 3: 10-18
10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming … make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation…17… be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. NLT

Truthful God and Righteous Judge,
You tell it like it is … You’re poised and ready to speak again! This time You’ll give the signal for the judgment and destruction of desecrating doubters. I don’t want to be among them! Please help me to:

  • Be holy by spending time with You each day in intimate friendship, reading Your Word, praying and making friends with other believers. I want to know and recognize You.

  • Be godly by demonstrating love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I want You to know me and recognize me by my Christ-like characteristics.
  • Be watching by remaining alert and paying attention so that I won’t be surprised or alarmed when You show up.
  • Quickly, go tell the story of Your dramatic rescue to everyone and anyone who will listen because You’re not coming until everyone’s heard the message.
  • Make every effort to be spotless, pure and at peace with everyone.
  • Believe the truth about Your mercy and patience. You don’t want anyone to perish.
  • Be on guard so that I won’t be misled by false teachers with a feel good message that twists the truth and justifies inappropriate activities.
  • Keep growing deeper in my understanding of You and Your amazing kindness.
Since everything here today will be gone tomorrow, it is essential that I live my life for You. Joyfully, I look forward with great hope to my new home in heaven where I’ll live happily ever after with You, my Lord and King. Thank You for warning me of what’s to come and telling me precisely how to prepare! I praise You Jesus for Your wonderful Words! Amen.

God clearly tells us that He will come at an unexpected time. Do You believe Him? Are you ready if He comes tonight? How will you prepare to meet Him? Will you recognize Him? Will He recognize You?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Special Visitor

Luke 12: 35-40
Jesus said, 35"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 39But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

Dear Jesus-
In the classroom of my heart, there are so many valuable lessons when You’re the Teacher. Please help me to concentrate and apply the things I learn. Sometimes it’s hard to believe You, but all I have to do is look in my Bible and know that You will do the things You say You will do. I know You’re coming back. I want to be dressed and ready for service. I want my lamp to be burning brightly with a Holy Spirit flame so that no matter when You come You will see the light on and know that I’m expecting You. When You knock I’ll immediately open the door, recognize You, and joyfully welcome You inside.

I’ll prepare my heart by:

  • Being authentic and sincere
  • Being ready to witness with bold courage
  • Trusting You and not worrying or fussing about unimportant things
  • Being generous with my time, talent, and treasures
  • Being diligent about the work You have given me to do
Please dear Lord create in me an acute awareness of who You are so that I will know You. I don’t want to be caught off guard when You show up. When You come I hope You will find me living out my faith, doing something that pleases You so that I will not be ashamed. Amen.

What do you need to do to get the home of your heart ready for a special visitor who may show up today?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Family Gatherings

Hebrews 10:24-25
24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

High King of Heaven,
Thank You Lord, for my church family! I’m ecstatic for the opportunity we have to freely and regularly meet together to worship You. Forgive me for taking this great benefit for granted. Christians in many countries do not have this precious liberty. Because You have blessed me with this privilege I’ll willingly go out of my way to be helpful and kind to others any chance I get. It’s the least I can do to serve and honor You for rescuing me from death and destruction.

Because of Your amazing love, I’ll eagerly anticipate our regular family gatherings. Getting together to share our unique life stories honestly and openly is a wonderful way to worship You. It gives us the chance to persuade each other to persevere through problems. Noticing someone has strayed from the right path, we can gently lead them back with the light of love. When someone falls we can tenderly pick them up and wash their wounds. Not only do we encourage those who are hurting, but we also celebrate with those who are happy. When Your children gather together the fellowship should be delightful, like the aroma of sweet perfume.

Please dear Lord, teach me to be an imitator of Your love. Fill me to overflowing with Your merciful patience, kindness and goodness so that You splash out of me onto others. The day is quickly approaching when You will return. I want nothing more than for You to find us living harmoniously, blessing and praising Your glorious name despite our differences! Amen.

What is one way you can urge other believers on toward loving God and each other?

What is one way you can encourage other believers on toward good deeds?