Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Beautiful Pots

Isaiah 64:8
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

O Perfect Potter,
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.

You have a distinctive 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 skillful hands every day. As we wait quietly 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 image. Through the heat of life we’ll come out of the fiery furnace strengthened with Your power and glazed with Your glory.

With Your Holy Word permanently etched on my heart, it will be radically changed to look like Your heart. Knowing Your heart and mind, I’ll be concerned for the things that burden You.

Lord, I want to be yielded and still in Your dexterous hand where I can be shaped into a pleasantly perfect pot to pour out Your extraordinary love. Please transform my heart and mind today, making me an eternally beautiful, valuable vessel for the praise of Your most creative name. Amen.

Oswald Chambers writes, "Unless we have the right purpose intellectually in our minds and lovingly in our hearts, we will very quickly be diverted from being useful to God … Paul’s whole heart, mind, and soul were consumed with the great purpose of what Jesus Christ came to do, and he never lost sight of that one thing … ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:2) … God is at work bending, breaking, molding and doing exactly as He chooses … We have to be in God’s hand so that He can place others on the Rock, Jesus Christ … Let Him have His way." –My Utmost For His Highest, October 25.

Do you know what’s on the heart and mind of God? Are you burdened for the things that burden Him? Ask God to lay His heart over yours. Pray repeatedly, the lyrics to this beautiful hymn …

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907.

Monday, October 30, 2006

My Extreme Encounter with God

Following is a testimony of my Extreme Encounter with God experienced at the Mid-west Prayer Conference in Terre Haute, IN from October 26 -28.

God is good! Thank you for your faithful prayers. The Mid-west Prayer Conference was beyond my expectations. I’m ecstatic to tell you that God did a mighty work and gave me a boat load of blessings!

On Thursday morning, in my time alone with God, I read O. Chambers:
Submitting to God’s Purpose – October 25

  • Unless we have the right purpose intellectually in our minds and lovingly in our hearts, we will very quickly be diverted from being useful to God. … Paul’s whole heart, mind, and soul were consumed with the great purpose of what Jesus Christ came to do, and he never lost sight of that one thing…
  • God is at work bending, breaking, molding, and doing exactly as He chooses. We have to be in God’s hand so that He can place others on the Rock, Jesus Christ, just as He has placed us …
  • Once God has placed His call upon you, woe be to you if you "turn aside . . . to the right or the left . . ." (Deuteronomy 28:14). He will do with you what He never did before His call came to you, and He will do with you what He is not doing with other people. Let Him have His way.

That afternoon, as I drove from Cincinnati across the state of Indiana to attend the conference I continually prayed the song, "Have Thine Own Way Lord, Have Thine Own Way! You are the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after your will, while I am waiting, yielded and still."

That evening, Dr. Blackaby challenged us to know what’s on the heart and mind of God. He asked us if we were burdened for the things that burden God. During the altar call I left my seat, got on my knees in the aisle and again prayed, "Have thine own way Lord, have thine own way" … I asked God to lay his heart over mine and give me a burden for the things that burden him.

Friday morning, Dr. Blackaby taught from Matthew 26 and told us that this is the kind of praying God lays over our hearts. The Son read the heart of the Father. "My soul is sorrowful even unto death."

He challenged us, "Would you be willing to allow God to take you to a different kind of praying?" I wrote in my notebook, "Yes, Lord! Take me there!"

Then he called us to join God in the battle at the altar. God has called us to go with people into battle. Blackaby said, "If God has moved in your heart, you need to move from your seat." I knew that God had moved in my heart, so I got on my feet and moved. I went to the altar, looking for an inconspicuous space in the distance. I knelt down before my Lord and thanked Him for equipping me for the battle. He laid a very heavy burden on my heart for a Prayer Pal reader’s family. And, as I prayed, I began to weep. And, I wept. And, I wept. And, I began trembling and weeping. I suppose this is the closest I’ve ever been to a Gethsemane experience. Before I knew it there was a woman on her knees beside me, with her hands on me, holding me as I wept and prayed for this family. She began praying for restoration for me. She didn’t know what was on my heart. This went on for what seemed like 5 or 10 minutes, maybe longer. I was finally able to tell her it wasn’t my restoration we needed to pray for but the restoration of this family. She prayed over me, with me for the burden on my heart.

I knew that I had a radical encounter with our Most High God. And, I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I am equipped to do battle for Him on behalf of this family.

When the service ended I went to the lobby thinking, "I’ve got to go back to my motel room and wash my face and fix my make up." But, God had other plans.

Life Action Ministries, an organization that does revival crusades, was at the conference. I was part of one of their crusades two years ago to that very day. As a result of their crusade at Manor Church I began writing Prayer Pal. I was compelled to thank them for their ministry and tell them how God used it in my life. As I told them about Prayer Pal, I began crying again. I shared with them how God is using Prayer Pal to minister to extremely broken hearted people. They were awestruck and immediately prayed over my ministry and me. Their hearts were deeply touched.

When the evening session was over, I was compelled to walk up to Dr. Blackaby. I shook his hand and said, "I have to tell you, I’m another life radically changed by Experiencing God. You taught me how to read, reflect and respond to His Word, and today I write a daily devotion called Prayer Pal that God has sent world wide and into the prison. His response was filled with immense warmth and courtesy toward me.

Now, wait ‘til you hear this, dear ones, Dr. Blackaby asked if he could pray for me. Right then and there, he laid his great big hands on me and prayed over my ministry and me! Before I knew it there were hands all over me and I was completely covered by prayers of strangers. And, again I wept and trembled before our Lord. When he was finished, he said, "Beth, you will never be the same again." He knew that I had a direct encounter with the Living God.

During his session on Saturday morning, he reflected on two of the stories that were shared with him the previous night. Mine was one of them. He encouraged us to take time to process our experience with God. The teaching was from Mark 6. The disciples had just witnessed the miraculous feeding of the 5000 when Jesus told them to get in a boat. A storm came up and Jesus walked to them on water. Jesus was about to pass them by (47) because the disciples hadn't taken the time to process the miraculous feeding (52).

Blackaby advised us to take time before Sunday morning to process our experience with God. If we don't understand this encounter, then we won't understand the next one.

He took us back to Gesthemane ... after the agonizing prayer, there was great suffering. He told us to expect to suffer for the commitments we made. So, again, I went forward and thanked God for His mighty presence and committed to obey Him no matter the cost. I was thankful to have a quiet night alone in my hotel room to process all that God had done to me at the conference.

I’ve received more than the boat load of blessings! Thank you for watching and praying with me! May the love in my heart pour out onto your heart. I love you with the love of Jesus!

All glory to God from whom all blessings flow!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Shepherding Hearts

Dear Reader,
Since I will be out of town, there will be no additional Prayer Pals this week. Feel free to browse through the archives on my blog. May the Lord bless you as you seek Him.

Prayer Pal

John 14:12 Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing."

Matthew 9:35-36
35Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus, You are the King of Compassion!
If I follow You, I can easily see what You have doing. The problem is I’m prone to wandering! I’m distracted by my own agenda. With my mind focused on finishing my mission, I’m oblivious to the crowd surrounding me. Forgive me for my lack of compassion! Open my eyes to the lost souls entangled in the rush of life. Give me a sensitive soul to stop and set them free. You’re not asking me to sell church. You’re asking me to:

  • Teach them by the example of my peaceful lifestyle what it means to know the Shepherd and be sheltered in the safety of His arms.
  • Preach the God News by telling them the story of how You rescued me from Satan’s snare and brought me to the safety of the sheepfold.
  • Nurse their wounds caused by the disease of despair and sickness of sin.

Please give me a heart like Yours to teach, preach, and heal. Please fill me with fresh faith and Holy Spirit power to notice the harassed and helpless hordes crying for release. I will follow You and do the things I see You doing to bring glory and honor to Your name. Amen.

Ask God to put the name of one lost sheep on your heart and in your mind today. Begin to pray specifically for their release.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Gentle Shepherd

Isaiah 40:11
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

Good and Gentle Shepherd,
So tenderhearted and compassionate, You certainly love Your sheep! You carefully lead us to the lush mountain pastures in our Bibles where we can graze to our heart’s content on the fertile food of Your Word. Faithfully, You guide us through barren deserts to refreshing streams of Living Water to quench our dry and thirsty souls.

Along the way, You protect us from animalistic humans who threaten to attack our character. Prone to wandering off, we slip into clefts of criticism and condemnation, plunge into ravines of rejection and ridicule, and sink deep into depressions of disgrace and despair. In our times of trouble, You never fail to hear our cry, find us and set us free. Your sheep are Your most prized possession!

Bruised and bloodied from the fall, You meticulously bandage our broken hearts. Scooping us up in Your powerful arms, You hold us close to Your loving heart and carry us to safety. Resting in Your presence, we have nothing to fear. You are bigger than the people, problems and pressure pursuing us.

Thank You dear Shepherd for diligently doing Your job twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, year in and year out. Because of Your hard work I’m alive and well. I know from experience that danger lurks around the bend. It’s crucial that I trust and obey You. Huddled in Your flock, there’s protection, provision, and perfect peace because of Jesus. Amen.

Are you sticking with the Shepherd or have your wandered away from the flock? You are valuable to Him! He wants to take care of you, but you need to follow Him.

If you’ve lost your way and are stuck, cry out to Him. He’ll find you right where you are, pick you up in His strong arms, and carry you close to His heart to the safety of His presence where there’s protection, provision and perfect peace.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 92:1-5
It is good to praise the LORD
and make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
and the melody of the harp.
For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD;
I sing for joy at the works of your hands.
How great are your works, O LORD,
how profound your thoughts!
O Lord Most High,
It’s a delight and honor to sing of Your wonderful works. In humble adoration, I gratefully thank You for Your ever loving kindness each morning. Your unbelievable mercy has kept me from complete obliteration. Each evening, I fondly remember Your incredible faithfulness. With a cheerful song in my heart, I love to tell of Your excellent greatness! My eyes have seen Your magnificent handiwork!

Merrily, I sing the praises of my drastically changed life. Your marvelous grace has miraculously covered all my past, present and future. Clothed and unashamed, I’m free to come into Your holy presence and worship You. With sheer confidence, I can stand up and assuredly sing with all my heart, "How great is my God!"

Jesus, You mean the world to me! The amazing works of Your hands have made me glad. I’ll sing of Your love forever because of the blessed promise I have in Your gloriously beautiful name. Amen.

It is good to praise the Lord! Bless Him for keeping you from complete obliteration! If you’re alive today, thank Him! It’s only by His amazing grace!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Eternal Word

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

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

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

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

Photo copyright of Freefoto.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Clean Heart Living

Psalm 119:9-11
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

Blessed Writer of the Word,
O how I cherish the wisdom recorded in Your Holy Scriptures. It teaches me about Your holy character and divine nature. An amazing documentary on love, it tells the dramatic story of my rescue from deadly peril and endless pain. It reveals that You chose and adopted into Your holy family. I must; therefore, learn to love You and live like a divine child.

It is essential that I open the Book of Life, my Bible, and read it fervently. It will teach me precisely how to live with integrity in a relativistic society that doesn’t take You seriously. The more time I spend studying and applying Your rules for righteous living, the more I’ll become like You. Gradually, my heart will become more sincere and my mind unadulterated.
Out of deep heartfelt devotion, I’ll passionately pursue You. Spending intense time alone with You, my heart will synchronize with Yours. Rather than tirelessly trying to make people happy, pleasing You will be my life ambition.

Daily digging into the sacred Treasure Chest of Your Word, I’ll uncover Your costly commands and precious promises. Gingerly picking each one up, I’ll meticulously study them. Memorizing their fine details, I’ll recognize their great worth during conflict and crisis. Tucked securely in the pocket of my heart, they’ll prevent me from offending You.

O blessed Writer of the Word, thank You for imparting me with wisdom to do Your will, Your way for the glory and honor of Your holy name. Amen.

How can you practice clean-heart living? The Bible says it’s easy as 1-2-3 …
  1. Live according to God’s Word.
  2. Seek Him with all your heart and obey His commands.
  3. Hide His Word in Your heart so that you won’t offend Him.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Listen Carefully

Psalm 85:8-9
8 I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
But let them not return to their foolish ways.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
so our land will be filled with his glory. NLT

Amazing, Loving, Wonderful Lord,
You are beautiful beyond description! You display Your brilliance and glory radiantly in the rich colors of creation. Even though we ignore You, You faithfully bless us with Your prosperous presence each day. You’re right where You’ve always been, doing what You’ve always done, creating spectacular miracle moments from heaven on high.

If we would just look up to You, acknowledge Your greatness, and admit our stupidity, You’d forgive the awful things we’ve done. Lovingly, You’d rescue us from death and destruction. You’d revive our stone-cold hearts with Your precious blood, giving us a fresh new start. Gladly, You’d restore our laughter.

God of Help, I’m concerned for the impotent church that desires to reach lost people with pleasant programs and plans that exclude the Truth. If we want to live in the prosperity of Your presence, we must diligently study Your Holy Word, paying careful attention to what You say when we open our Bibles each day. Listening to You, we’ll know right from wrong, never having to live foolishly again. Accepting and respecting Your authority, love and loyalty will miraculously come together. Goodness will bond with peace and our great land will be inexplicably blessed with everlasting happiness. Our vividly changed lives will spectacularly display Your brilliance and glory because of Jesus. Amen.

Pray for revival in the church, and let it begin with you. Study God’s Word daily so that you will know the Truth and obey it. Choose to live differently, wisely, brilliantly, according to God’s Word so the His glory will shine through you, drawing others to Him like a colorful neon light.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Rejected Law

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

Holy God~
Creator of everything~
Your invisible qualities have been clearly seen since the beginning of time. The earth and sky proclaim Your almighty power and divine character. There’s no excuse for not knowing You! You, O God, deserve our praise forever and ever!
Even though we know You perfectly well, we fail to accept and worship You as the One and Only True God. We pretend to know it all, but are really quite stupid. Foolishly, we’ve traded Your prosperous, pristine beauty for worthless, tarnished trash. We’ve shrouded the Truth with wicked lies.

Pornography, homosexuality, and adultery have become acceptable standards. We tolerate the killing of unborn babies, while viciously fighting to save wild animals. We cry out, "God bless America", but we’ve removed You from the classroom, the courtroom and the currency. We deny Your intelligent design, deliberately, spitting in Your face, as we invent new ways to ruin the rich life You intended for us. We’re a nation full of senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless fools who expect blessing despite our defiant disobedience.

Something has gone terribly wrong! This isn’t the way You created it to be! Have mercy on us for disrespecting and desecrating your Holy Name, O God. There’s no fear of Your sacred laws or holy judgment. It’s a free for all world. Though Your Word is freely and readily available, it also freely and readily rejected. We’ve rebelled against You, our Creator, and we don’t deserve to live.

I’m thankful that Your Word convicts me of my wrong beliefs and behaviors. I want to relinquish my tarnished treasures in order to live happily in your beautiful, prosperous presence. By Your strength that’s within me, change the desires of my heart and mind. With all due respect, I desperately want to love and obey You, bringing honor to Your almighty power and divine character, Jesus, Creator of everything. Amen.

Will you acknowledge and cry out to God for the sin of our nation today? Will you pray for changed hearts and transformed minds? Will you admit and turn from your own sin?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Holy Law

Romans 7:12-13
12But still, the law itself is holy and right and good.

13But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my doom? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God's good commandment for its own evil purposes.

Righteous King~
Honorable Ruler of Heaven & Earth~
I tremble in fear of Your Highness. Standing in awe of Your holy, right and good law, I praise You with an upright heart. Your spoken Word is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. It’s pure joy to my heart, mind and soul, guaranteeing my rich heritage forever.

Completely righteous, fully trustworthy, and thoroughly tested, Your rules awaken my conscience, warning me of dangers. Satan has set a snare for me. Don’t let me be baited by his perfidious lies and deceptive charm. Distorting the truth, He’ll try to persuade me that You are behind his treacherous shenanigans. He plans to mutilate me and sever my relationship with You.

O Lord, my God, I know that You are forever good. Nothing bad has ever come from You. Please hide Your Word in my heart so that I won’t be seduced by sin. Teach me knowledge and good judgment. I need wisdom to differentiate between fact and fiction so that I’ll choose to do what is honorable, right, and good in tricky situations. Connected to You, fear and shame will never rule over me.

When I’m confused, Your law counsels me. Drowning in a sea of sickness, it’s the life preserver that saves me. Consumed with sorrow and sadness, it comforts me. Weak and weary, Your Word encourages, strengthens and fortifies me. Blinded by the shadow of darkness, Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

I’ll delight in Your laws, meditate on them daily, and try to never neglect them. Use them O Lord, to preserve my life, according to Your love through Jesus I pray. Amen.

God’s laws aren’t meant to restrict us, but protect us. Be thankful for their convicting power because it saves your life!

To grasp the goodness, righteousness and holiness of God’s Word, I encourage you to read the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119. Highlight all the ways God’s laws benefit you

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Extreme Faithfulness

Recently as I was contemplating current events, not only in my community, but also in the world, the Lord took me to this perfect Word picture describing the world in which we live. The harsh realities are startling.

Zephaniah 3:1-5
1How terrible it will be for rebellious, polluted Jerusalem, the city of violence and crime. 2It proudly refuses to listen even to the voice of the LORD. No one can tell it anything; it refuses all correction. It does not trust in the LORD or draw near to its God.

3Its leaders are like roaring lions hunting for their victims--out for everything they can get. Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time, who by dawn have left no trace of their prey. 4Its prophets are arrogant liars seeking their own gain. Its priests defile the Temple by disobeying God's laws. 5But the LORD is still there in the city, and he does no wrong. Day by day his justice is more evident, but no one takes notice--the wicked know no shame. NLT

My Forever Faithful King,
You are an amazing word artist. Your illustration of ancient Israel is strikingly similar to our disgusting, corrupt and unruly world today. Violence and crime permeate the whole earth. No place is sacred, clean or safe. Rebellious self-righteous leaders refuse to acknowledge Your Highness. They won’t listen to Your wise counsel. Pompous and proud, they ignore You.

Like rapacious lions waiting to pounce the most vulnerable prey, leaders use their influential positions to pad their pockets while plundering the poor. Judges behave like voracious wolves ready to rip apart Your Sacred Laws like a fresh carcass, leaving barely a trace of Your divinity. Everywhere false prophets are twisting the truth, attempting to capitalize on their sweet sounding lies. It’s difficult to know who to trust. Even our preachers desecrate Your Sanctuary
by using Your Holy Word as a weapon to maim and kill souls.

Lord, I just want to cry when I think about the mess we’ve made of Your beautiful land! We accuse You of failing to protect us when bad things happen, but in reality we haven’t heeded Your warnings. Not much has changed since the ancient days.

O Sovereign God, the one thing that makes my soul leap for joy in the midst of the current chaos and confusion is that You’re smack-dab in the middle of it with us. Man hasn’t changed and neither have You. Immersed in modern culture, You’re just as holy, righteous and sovereign as You were in the Beginning. You’ve never made a mistake and You’ve never failed. Consistently, day after day, for thousands of Years, You’ve patiently and lovingly pardoned countless people, saving them from death and destruction. Yet, wicked men and women without conscience or shame persist in evil. O Lord, how much longer will You tolerate us?

Please give me a deeper desire to walk humbly with You. Quiet my raging soul so that I’ll hear Your sweet voice rejoicing when I choose to do what is right in this counter-Christian culture. Until You bring me home, Lord, make me an everlasting witness of Your amazing love and extravagant grace to a wicked watching world because of Jesus. Amen.

If the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of your heart to the harsh realities of the world in which we live, I challenge you to live differently. How will you practice godly living in a counter-Christian culture?

You might want to begin by spending time in the Word daily so that you’ll be able to know and discern the Truth when you hear it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Extreme Forgiveness

Colossians 3:13-15
13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.

Father in Heaven,
As I recollect the tragic events of last week, I wonder at the watching world witnessing the epitome of good and evil. On one hand, we watched, stunned, as a violent madman unleashed his fury by massacring Your innocent children. On the other hand, the whole world observed the miracle of Your amazing love and extravagant grace as heartbroken Amish parents immediately extended forgiveness to the family of Charles Carl Roberts IV, the cold-blooded killer.

I praise You Father for offering me the absolute assurance of Your blessed forgiveness. I acknowledge that apart from You, I too, am capable of any heinous act. I’m thankful that You found me when death was staring me in the face and hell was hard on my heels. I’m ecstatic that You saved me from complete destruction, graciously forgetting every bad choice I’ve ever made. Now I have the responsibility to show others that same kind of mercy.

Forgive me for allowing petty grievances to annoy me. I get hot and bothered by such trivial matters. If I can’t tolerate the small irritants how will I ever be able to display Your brilliant glory during a crisis or catastrophe? Please pardon me for letting little things disturb my peace.

I’m acutely aware that everything I do and say is an everlasting testimony for or against You. People everywhere are watching me, waiting to see my response to difficult people and tricky situations. As I walk and talk with You today, reading my Bible and obeying Your commands, please let Your perfect peace rule my heart. Fill me to overflowing with more of Your exuberant love and marvelous grace so that in the face of trouble or tragedy Your miraculous mercy will supernaturally spill out of me onto someone undeserving. O that I could be as gentle, peaceful, and forgiving as the Amish for the honor of Your glorious name. Amen.

Is there someone you need to forgive? In light of the undeserved forgiveness extended to you by Christ, you would be wise to show the same kind of mercy to those who’ve offended you. Can the watching world see God’s glory displayed in You through your attitudes and actions?

The following awesome testimony was printed in the local newspaper about Roberts’ burial: "About half of the roughly 75 mourners at the small Methodist churchyard bordered by cornfields were Amish. The interment was attended by the families of the Amish children who lost their lives."

Jesus leaves us with this example. Two thousand years ago as He hung on the cross dying a torturous death He cried out: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Persevering Through Pain

James 5:10-11
10Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

O Great and Powerful God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are Your purposes and mighty are Your deeds. Nothing is beyond Your control including Satan who ruthlessly and relentlessly torments me. You are fully aware of my tremendous distress and difficulties. My troubles do not surprise You. You’re with me always, full of compassion and mercy.

Thank You for Your ancient words, long preserved for my walk in this world. All I have to do is look at Job as an example of patience in the face of suffering. Rather than cursing and abandoning You, he depended and drew strength from You in his anguish. Please use my adversities to strengthen my faith. During difficult days I want to dig my roots deeper into You in order to withstand the storms.

I won’t hide my overwhelming despair. My emotions will show that I am human. Mourning my loss, I’ll continually worship You, Sovereign God, who has authority over everything. Like Job, I want to pass the test, proving that I can love You for who You are and not for what You give. Help me to find happiness and fulfillment in the one reality no one can take from me – Your great love for me.

Please dear Lord, make me a person of patience, faith, and endurance like Job. I long to pray continually and give thanks to You in all my circumstances, recognizing that difficulties will
transform me to be more like Jesus through whom I live and pray. Amen.

If a suddenly strong storm comes up today will you be able to stand firm through it? Will you be able to worship Him in it? I encourage you to dig your roots deeper into Jesus. He will strengthen you to withstand even the strongest storm. Spend time with Him reading your Bible and in prayer.

Read Job, chapters 1 and 2. Let him be an example of faith and endurance through the storms. Then, read Chapter 42, with hope.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ultimate Test of Faith

Job 1: 6-12
6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"

Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."

8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."

9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."

12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."

Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Most High and Sovereign King,
I know that You rule over the entire universe from Your throne in heaven. All power and might belong to You. Even the Prince of Darkness submits to Your almighty authority. Nothing can happen without your permission. Satan always has to answer to Your Highness. Knowing and believing the truth about your sovereignty makes it easier to obey Your command to rejoice and give thanks in ALL things.

When others mistreat me, I can give thanks. In the midst of misfortune, I can rejoice. Through difficult circumstances You’re building and strengthening my character. If I believe You are who You say You are, God Most High, who rules and overrules everything in heaven and earth, I will trust Your perfect love to see me through difficult tests and tough trials.

Just because I’m walking closely with You doesn’t mean You won’t allow bad things to happen. Many people have superficial faith, believing You when things are going well, but denying You when life gets rough. Adversity destroys superficial faith, but strengthens real faith. Do I really believe You? If I do, I will cling tightly to You. You will be my Life Line. Firmly attached to You with the belt of Truth, I will praise Your heavenly name, and recognize You for who You are and not for what You give.

Knowing that Satan has to ask Your permission to torment me helps me to understand. While You allow him to do so, to test my faith, You also put limits on him. He can take away my family and all my possessions, but He can’t destroy me! I am Yours! Please dear Lord, give me faith to believe so that I can stand firm like Job through the storms of life. Amen.

What do you believe about God? Do you believe He is who He says He is? During difficult circumstances do you cling to the Life Line of God Most High or do You abandon Him? It’s a test of faith.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Live Intentionally

On an ordinary Monday morning 26 innocent children went off to school with their lunch pails, scooters and jump ropes. It was just another Indian Summer day in a quiet, picturesque community of horse-drawn buggies, green pastures, and neat-as-a-pin farms. Parents probably didn’t consider that their gentle, peaceful lifestyle would be forever interrupted that bright Monday morning when an unthinkable tragedy came out of the blue like jetliners on a beautiful September morning five years ago. In the twinkling of an eye, life can be forever changed.

Psalm 39:4-5
4'O Lord, let me know my end and how many days I have to live. Let me know that I do not have long to stay here. 5You have made each of my days as long as a hand is wide. My whole life is nothing in Your eyes. Every man at his best is only a breath. NLV

Heavenly Father~Creator of all living things~
Thank You for the fabulous, fragile gift of life. I will cherish every day as a valuable present from You, my loving Father. Forgive me for tossing miracle moments aside to worry about insignificant incidences. Often I spend more time securing my life on earth, than I do thinking about where I will spend eternity.

Life is short! I don’t have long to stay here. Enlighten my mind to Your Holy Spirit and fill my heart with more grace so that I’ll be ready when You call my loved ones or me home. This is a picture perfect day that You have made. I’ll rejoice and be thankful for it. Living in the blessing of each precious moment, I’ll joyfully love and serve others because today could be my last chance. Please just give me more of Jesus to focus on the most important matters today for Your namesake. Amen.

You just don’t know when your life will be interrupted by a tragic event. It is imperative that you live each day like it’s your last. Don’t miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Give someone a hug today. Call a friend. Be a friend. You too, could find your life suddenly shattered.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Prayer For Amish Families

My heart is deeply saddened this week for the families affected by the horrific Amish Schoolhouse tragedy. I live only a few miles from the peaceful countryside where this unspeakable devastation occurred. Today several of the families lay their precious innocent children to rest. Please join with me in praying for these gentle people.

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

God of Life~
I come to the throne of grace today with an enormously grief-filled heart for the families affected by Monday’s horrific tragedy in the serene farmlands of Pennsylvania. Guide each of their precious souls through the valley of darkness. They are utterly helpless and totally dependent on You, their Good Shepherd, to lead and protect them.

Gentle Shepherd please pick up these crippled lambs. Carry them in Your loving arms. Comfort their crushed spirits with a crimson blanket of peace. Heal their hurts with the priceless blood from Your wounds. Desperate and distraught, You are the Only One who can save them.

Please dear God, reach out and touch these humble, passive souls with Your amazing love. Shine the light of Truth on them so that they can see beyond the darkness of despair to the Golden City where Your glory shines brilliantly. There, their innocent children will live in Your splendid house forever because of Jesus. Amen.

If you wish to express your condolences to the families of the children who were killed or wounded in Monday's tragic shooting, you may send cards or letters to:

Amish Families
C/O The Bart Fire Company
Box 72, Bart, PA 17503 - Fire company officials will deliver the cards to appropriate families.
Amish typically don't carry health insurance for religious reasons. Their medical bills will be astronomical. Donations can be sent to:

Nickel Mines Children's Fund
C/O Coatesville Savings Bank
1082 Georgetown Road
Paradise, PA 17562
or www.coatesvillesavings.com

or Amish Schoolhouse Disaster
C/O Mennonite Disaster Service
1018 Main Street
Akron, PA 17501

Because Charles Roberts committed suicide his wife and three young children under the age of 8, are ineligible for life insurance benefits. Donations for the Roberts family can be sent to:

Roberts Family Fund
C/O Coatesville Savings Bank
1082 Georgetown Road
Paradise, PA 17562
or www.coatesvillesavings.com

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Overflowing Love

I Thessalonians 3:12-13, 4:7
12May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

Holy Lord,
I must constantly remind myself that You’re the perfect Model of holiness. You’re more loving and powerful than I can possibly imagine. I marvel at the beautiful new life You’ve given me. It’s Your plan to make me exactly like Your own dear Son. Please enlarge my heart with more of Your love. Strengthen me with Your almighty power so that I’ll be scrupulous and blessed in Your pristine presence.

Full of Your amazing love and great power, my lips that once spewed angry, hateful, filthy language will now sing lovely songs of praise and thanksgiving. My mouth that once deceived will now declare the truth. My tongue that ceaselessly complained will gratefully compliment. My lustful eyes that used to notice attractive people now compassionately see the problems and potential of others. My ears that listened to the pressure of people now tremble at the sound of Your voice. My hands that were once busy building wealth, instead build rich relationships. Please continuously replace my greedy desires with generosity and contentment.

O Lord, let the sweetness of Your excessive love flow out of me onto a hemorrhaging world. Even when my own pain is excruciating, with my eyes focused on Your holiness, I’ll emanate joy. In times of crisis and conflict, peace will exude me. Let my words and actions be a harmonious love song that draws others to Your healing and holy presence. In my life Lord be glorified for Your namesake. Amen.

Look for an opportunity to express God’s love to someone today.

God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us. - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Called To Be Holy

1 Peter 1:15-16
15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

Blessed King,
Approaching Your divine throne, with overwhelming gratitude I’m captivated by Your holiness! Your presence is pristine and Your power is terrifying. Though You are preeminent and transcendent beyond my understanding, I marvel that You come close to me. Shrouded in Your beautiful love, I’m unable to speak. Your mercy and justice takes my breath away.

The moment I heard Your voice and responded, I was adopted and accepted into Your beloved family. From the billions of people in the world You chose me to be a holy, pure and blameless ambassador, representing Your kingdom to a dark, desperate and hurting world. Out of deep love and gratitude, I’ll respectfully submit to Your authority by obeying Your commands.

Please help me to take time to be holy each day. The more time I spend silently in Your company and actively in Your classroom, the more I’ll become like You. As I peruse my Bible and pray, look deep into my heart. Teach me and test me. Scrutinize the words that flow from my mouth. Examine every one of my thoughts and motives. Show me anything that’s unpleasant to You. Make my heart sweet and mind pure so that others will see You gloriously exhibited in me. In my life Lord be magnified for the praise and honor of Your Holiness. Amen.

God is the Model of all holiness. He is holy in all His ways. If we are to be like Him, we must be holy in all that we do and say. In this life we will never be as holy as He is, but we should strive to be holy because He is holy.

Isn’t it true that we tend to behave like those we associate with? Who are you hanging out with? Who does your behavior and attitude reflect? People will mimic the God whom they worship.

Monday, October 02, 2006

God's Holiness

Isaiah 6:1-8
1In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. 2Hovering around him were mighty seraphim, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with the remaining two they flew. 3In a great chorus they sang,

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty!
The whole earth is filled with his glory!"

4The glorious singing shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire sanctuary was filled with smoke.

5Then I said, "My destruction is sealed, for I am a sinful man and a member of a sinful race. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD Almighty!"

6Then one of the seraphim flew over to the altar, and he picked up a burning coal with a pair of tongs. 7He touched my lips with it and said, "See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven."

8Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to my people? Who will go for us?"
And I said, "Lord, I'll go! Send me." NLT

Holy and Sovereign God,
With all due respect and reverent awe I come into Your divine presence. Silently, I fix my eyes on Your inexplicable, splendor and majesty. High above the cosmic galaxies, beyond the stars and moon, is Your lofty throne. The earth and everything in it is Your footstool. Never ending fabric from Your crimson robe flows supremely through Your royal palace. Jubilant angels harmoniously sing of Your holiness, while the entire world epitomizes Your brilliant glory. I shudder at the view of Your unsurpassed excellence.

Aware of Your magnificent holiness, I fall down in utter fear of You. Ashamedly, I admit that I’ve made many terrible choices and done a lot of awful things. I’m tarnished, broken and unfit to be in Your holy presence; yet, I too have seen and felt Your greatness. With a single merciful touch You blotted out my mistakes, forgot my failures, and removed my shame. Graciously, You asked me to clean up my act and represent Your heavenly kingdom on earth.

Please dear Lord, expand my view of Your dominion. Gasping at Your supremacy daily, I’ll tremble in Your awesome presence, fearing You because You alone are the Lord God Almighty, and You alone are holy, holy, holy. No one else can touch my heart like You do. All glory, honor and praise belong to You, the Sovereign King, who reigns over all the earth from beyond the spectacular spacious skies. Hallelujah! Amen.

When we get a right view of God, we get a right view of ourselves. This helps us to remember that He is big, and people are little. Rather than living our lives to please people, we need to devote our lives to pleasing Him. Do you have a clear view of God’s holiness?

Photo copyright Public Domain, Hubble Telescope visit http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album