Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I am a Friend of God

Psalm 25:14
Friendship with the LORD is reserved for those who fear him.
With them he shares the secrets of his covenant. NLT

Living and Loving God,
In awe of Your greatness, I marvel at the affection You show me. Thank You for giving me the key to Your friendship.

While You are altogether perfect and pure, I’m completely crushed and cruddy. Humbly, I come to You with my broken and contrite heart. You carefully pick up and save the pieces of my life shattered by sin. Meticulously, You fix me with the bond of Your redeeming blood. Gently, You immerse me in the sparkling Living Water of Your Word, scrubbing away the scum until I glitter and glisten with Your glory. Fixed and flushed, You fill me with Your powerful purifying presence, making me fit to be Your dearly beloved friend.

I can’t wait to hear Your Voice. You’re my Prayer Pal! When I call out to You in prayer, You always answer. Trusting You, I open my Bible and You clearly speak to me. You show me Your thoughts and plans. You give me wisdom and knowledge to understand Your unfamiliar and mysterious ways. Respectfully, I listen to Your wise counsel and commands. Looking up to You, I believe every Word You say. I want to please and obey You. Impressed with who You are, I don’t want to desecrate Your name or berate Your reputation. You are Holy God and I am merely a sinner in need of grace!

Because I honor and respect You, You invite me to come be with You, just as I am. Beside the warm fire in my heart, You share with me Your secrets and promises. I’m consumed by Your persistent love for me. You never lose Your patience! You’re always kind and forever faithful! Gently, You take my hand and guide me to Your hidden treasure. O the irresistible joy that fills my heart when I see all the riches You have for me! I just want to stay near You! I never want to break away from this sweet fellowship! I am tickled that You have chosen to confide in me! I am Your beloved friend because of Jesus! Hallelujah! Amen!

Wow – what a promise! God guarantees us His friendship when we love and respect Him! Friendship with a Holy God is almost unimaginable! It’s the most valuable gift we’ll ever receive when we choose to believe Him!

If you haven’t accepted God’s priceless gift of friendship, I encourage you to go to Him in prayer. Give Him your sin shattered life and tell Him you want to be His lifelong companion. Then, spend time cultivating the relationship by reading Your Bible, praying, and fellowshipping with His other friends. Obey Him and He will fill you with overwhelming joy!

Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14

Monday, July 30, 2007

The King's Friend

Proverbs 22:11
He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the King for his friend.

You are my King and Beloved Friend! A pure heart is what I seek! As I read Your Word, speak to me softly showing me how to stay wholesome. Teach me Your rules for clean-heart living. I’ll recite them and rejoice in them more than riches. Reflecting on every morsel of wisdom from You, I’ll relish everything You tell me about life in order to resist doing wrong. I’ll give You my fullest respect by being submissive. Please write Your Words on my heart, O Lord, so that I can live decently as Your cherished friend.

Anoint my lips with grace so that the words that flow from them will bring dignity and honor to You. I want to speak softly and tenderly proclaiming truth, humility and righteousness. Tame my tongue to talk pleasantly and peacefully. I only want to express things that are good and helpful to build others up and bless them. With love and forgiveness on my lips, I will praise You, my King.

O King of my heart, I know that You love what is good and hate what is wrong. Create in me a clean heart. Give me a gracious tongue. Your throne endures forever and I want to be known as Your forever friend because of Jesus. Amen.

Do you have a pure heart and gracious speech? Jesus says, “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” What are you putting into your heart?

This verse made me think of a little childhood tune …
O be careful little ears what you hear
O be careful little ears what you hear
For the Father up above is looking down in love
So be careful little ears what you hear.

O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
So be careful little eyes what you see.

O be careful little tongue what you say
O be careful little tongue what you say
For the Father up above is looking down in love
So be careful little tongue what you say.

O be careful, dear reader, what you hear, see and say! Fill your ears and eyes with things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy then what comes out of your mouth will please the King.

To learn how to have a pure heart, I suggest reading Psalm 119:9-15.
To learn how to have gracious speech, I suggest reading Ephesians 4:17-32.

Friday, July 27, 2007

God's Love Language

John 14:21
Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

Jesus, You are the Lover of my Soul!
My heart leaps for joy at the sound of Your Voice! Your Words are more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. You disclose to me the deepest desires of my heart. Motivated by love, I long to please you, live in the prosperity of Your presence, and experience Your unlimited power. In loving responsiveness, I want to walk in Your way, forging an intimate, everlasting friendship with You.

Please dear Lord, give me the faith of Abraham who heard Your voice and obeyed, even when it didn’t make sense. You loved him, revealed Yourself to him, and called him Your friend. Jesus, I want nothing more than that kind of relationship with You. I want to be Your friend!

Today, as hard as it may be, I surrender my life to Your good, pleasing and perfect will. I willingly abandon my spouse, children, hobbies, career, dreams, and treasures, no matter where they came from or how they affect my life, in order to accomplish Your great commission. Intentionally, I’ll forget the past, leave the future in Your hands, and give the present completely to You. Full of Your amazing love, I’ll recognize Your eternal plan for me and joyfully respond with obedience.

Please increase my faith so that I can experience in a mighty way the realization of Your promised love to those who obey You. Amen.

What do your actions tell about your faith in God or lack thereof?

Here are two more ways you can tell if you are a friend of God:
1. We have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 1 John 3: 21b – 22

2. We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 1 John 2:3

He speaks - I obey
I pray - He answers

Obedience is God’s love language.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

God's Special Treasure

Malachi 3:16-18
Then 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. "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. 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 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 – a rich inheritance and a guaranteed place in Your palace in Paradise 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?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Treasures in Darkness

Isaiah 45:3
I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches.

I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord,

the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. NLT

Keeper of the Hidden Treasure,
O how I cherish Your promises! I can be absolutely sure that You’ll lead me to the vast cache of valuables that are veiled in the Vault of Your Word.

Taking Your hand, You’ll lead me to the precious Pearls of patience perfected in the patriarchs who journeyed through the valley ahead of me. You’ll guide me to opulent promises more stunning than rainbow-colored Opals refined in dry and desolate deserts. Steering me through the hidden passages of Scriptures, I’ll have unimpeded and unlimited access to Your most precious possessions. In the Treasury of Your Word, I’ll be awestruck by:

Truth more timeless than Topaz
Righteousness radiating more richly than Rubies
Everlasting love more beautiful than Emeralds
Almighty Power greater than ancient Amethyst
Saving grace more splendid than Sapphires
Understanding more brilliant than Diamonds
Redemption more reflective than pure gold
Endurance more genuine than Garnets
Security more sure than Spinels

O Lord, I stand in awe of You! You are Sovereign King, Owner of Everything! Your gracious generosity takes my breath away. To find the infinite inheritance of heaven, I simply need to follow You through the intimidating valleys of darkness and intensely dry deserts of despair, accepting Your treasured promises one by one as a token of Your terrific love and kindness toward me, the child You chose and called by name. Alleluia, thank You Jesus. Amen.

God promises to give you treasures that are hidden the Vault of His Word; secrets only unveiled in the valley darkness. If you’re presently confused, in the dark, not sure where God’s leading you, open your Bible and ask Him to show you what’s most valuable to Him today. Consider the Word He gives you a gem of great worth. Claim it. Write it on the tablet of your heart, reflect on it throughout the day, and remember it’s a gift to you, the child He chose and called by name.

Spinel is the great impostor of gemstone history: many famous rubies in crown jewels around the world are actually spinels. The most famous is the Black Prince's ruby, a magnificent 170-carat red spinel that now adorns the Imperial State Crown of England in the British Crown Jewels after a long history: Henry V even wore it on his battle helmet! The Timur ruby, a 361-carat red spinel now owned by Queen Elizabeth, has the names of some of the Mughal emperors who previously owned it engraved on its face: an undeniable pedigree! http://www.gemstone.org/

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Healing For Repentance

Hosea 14

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your petitions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise. Assyria cannot save us, nor can our strength in battle. Never again will we call the idols we have made ‘our gods.’ No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.”

The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your idolatry and faithlessness, and my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever! I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. It will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like those of beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedar forests of Lebanon. My people will return again to the safety of their land. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

“O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who looks after you and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green, giving my fruit to you all through the year.”

Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But sinners stumble and fall along the way.

God of Grace, have mercy on me! Admittedly, I’m conceited and controlling, insisting on having my own way. Thoughtless and inconsiderate, I’m absolutely self-absorbed, self-assured, self-righteous, self-reliant, self-seeking and just plain SELFISH. Demanding my own rights, I’m completely disrespectful and irreverent, denying Your supreme authority over my life. Vigilantly looking for virtues in others, I cease to be virtuous myself. O Lord, how I’ve disappointed You. Please be gracious, forgive me, and accept my sweet sacrifice of praise.

Heal me of my selfish idolatry and faithlessness. Let Your limitless love fall fresh on me like silver teardrops from heaven. Watered by them, I’ll burst up from the dirt of despair like a lovely lily in springtime. My roots will go down deep and I’ll stand firm, free and fragrant like a tall cedar in Lebanon. I’ll produce many off-shoots and become a sheltering forest where others will find relief from the heat of hell. My beauty will be widespread like that of a hearty, ancient olive tree. I’ll grow gracefully like a golden grain of wheat. My vine will be famous for producing fresh, flavorful, fragrant fruit.

O Lord, my God, You are the everlasting Tree of Life. You protect me and provide for me. Everything I need is found in You. In the shelter of Your presence give me wisdom to fully understand Your generosity and goodness. Carefully listening to Your time-proven, trustworthy teaching, I’ll stand firm on Your powerful promises. My heart’s desire is to live well by You and grasp all the blessings You bestow on those who walk close beside You. Following You, I will be faithful, fulfilled and fruitful and Your holy name will be glorified. Amen.

Confess your waywardness, asking the God of Grace to forgive and heal you. Then, claim all the powerful promises contained in these verses. Following Him, you will be faithful, fulfilled and fruitful.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Living Blessed

Psalm 65:4
Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.

Glorious, Gracious, Generous God!
I am so abundantly blessed and enriched because You lovingly chose to adopt me and brought me to live in Your heavenly manse. As Your beloved child, I have access to all the good things of Your holy house. Overwhelmed by Your incredible kindness, I’m too stunned to speak. My only response is adoration.

Compassionately bringing me in from the cold dark world, You cleansed my heart with fire, branding it with the seal of sweet Spirit to show that I am one of Your valued possessions. You forgave and forever forgot all of my faults and failures. You healed all of my hurts and gave me hope. Determined to restore my beauty, You traded my torn and tattered rags for a perfectly seamless robe of righteousness. You crowned me with compassion and kindness, and adorned me with humility, gentleness and patience. Putting a joyful song in my heart, You filled me with love. No longer hanging my head in shame, I’m able to proudly stand up and proclaim: “I’m a child of the King.”

You changed my stinking thinking by providing me with a positive perspective and power to overcome enormous obstacles. Hiding beneath Your almighty shadow, I can constantly duck down and pray. Obediently listening to You, I can count on Your promised protection. It’s in Your presence that You strengthen and sustain me to overtake the demons determined to destroy my soul. With courage and confidence I can triumphantly claim the conquest. If You are for me, who can be against me?

O Glorious, Gracious, Generous God! You’ve given me so much more than I deserve! This world is not my home; heaven is. Help me to look past the present, hide in Your presence, and fill up on the good things of Your holy house. Alleluia! Amen.

Do you hear God’s Word? If He chose you, you are blessed to live near Him. He promises to fill you with all the good things of His house. Ponder the good things of God today. Take a piece of paper and write the letters A-Z down the left hand margin. Throughout the day, as the good things of God come to your mind, write them down on the page. You will then have a list to carry with you so that you can recall God’s glorious, gracious generosity. Pull it out to help you look past your present problems. Use it to hide in His presence and constantly fill up on the good things of His holy house.

In Discipleship Journal (Page 20, July/August 2007) there is an interview with Gracia Burham. She and her husband, Martin, served with New Tribes Missions in the Philippines. In 2001, they were taken hostage by a militant Islamic organization. After 376 days in captivity, Martin was killed in a gunfight. Garcia was wounded but freed.

When asked what kept her going during her captivity she responded: “God’s Word. Once early in our captivity, Martin and I were discouraged. We had endured yet another gun battle, some of the group were wounded, and we were starving, stinky, and tired. Martin said, ‘Garcia, let’s remind ourselves of what is true.’ We began reciting Scripture to one another: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:13) “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies.” (Ephesians 1:3)We didn’t feel loved and blessed, but we reminded each other that these things were true nonetheless.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Do Not Be Afraid

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

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

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

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

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

God commands: Don’t be afraid

He promises: You are worth more than many sparrows.

Do you believe God? Will you rest on His promise today? You are worth more than many sparrows. He provides for them and will sustain you even more. Do not be afraid. Trust Him.

Photo Copyright http://www.promiseofgod.com/%20sparrow/

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Creative Power

Psalm 33:8-9
Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the people of the world revere him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

My Creator King,
Your dramatically designed world compels me to stop and wonder at who You are. Praise supernaturally pours from my heart when I recognize that You are the Maker of EVERYTHING. This is Your world and everything in it belongs to You. Your magnificent creative power far surpasses man’s prowess and imagination.

Man can make spectacularly tall buildings, but they’ll never reach the limitless sky. We can send a man to the moon, but no one can go near the sun. Impressive men can rule and reign over nations, but ultimately they will bow before Your Majesty. You, Almighty God, spoke one word, making the whole world for Your plan, purpose and pleasure. It’s inconceivable to even the most intelligent mind.

You speak, crippling a busy city with a hurricane or snow storm. One strong breath from heaven can create winds that slow our supersonic jets, making us late for important destinations. That same burst of air from Your lips can pick up our sturdy homes, turning them into match sticks. At the sound of Your thunderous voice, heavy rains, lightening and hail force the cancellation of our public events. The high seas command the respect of even the best built ocean liners. Your mouth immobilizes the earth.

I thank You Father, for everything and anything that humbles me before the mystery of life. When my heart is laden with fear and anxiety attacks my soul, help me remember that You’re bigger than anyone or anything. Please keep me from the folly of worshipping people and their inanimate objects. You alone are God and I bless Your holy name. Amen.

Today, consider the greatness of God. In awe of His marvelous power, let go of your fear of people, and worship Him alone by trusting Him to take care of you, His treasured creation.

Reflect on the lyrics to this beautiful old hymn:
This Is My Father’ World
(Copyright Public Domain)

1. This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

2. This is my Father's world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:
he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.

3. This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Life Saving Truth

Hebrews 2: 1-3
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. The 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. What 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.

Monday, July 16, 2007

More Lessons in the Storm

Matthew 14:22-33
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It's a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.”

“Lord, if it's you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Truly You are the Son of God. I bow down and worship You in the beauty of holiness because You have revealed Your glory to me during the storms of my soul. Gigantic waves of sin and suffering buffet me. Howling gusts of doubt and distress threaten to disturb my peace. My distorted night vision is terrifying. Fear of the unknown and unseen cripples me.

Through the dismal darkness of a restless night, I long to hear Your voice calling me to “Come.” I want boldness and courage to be like Peter. While the other eleven sat in the boat paralyzed by panic, Peter recognized Your voice and took a giant leap forward. With my eyes fixed on You, I too will step out of my comfort zone to accomplish the impossible.

Please give me faith to focus on You, forgetting the fierce waves and ferocious wind. Forgive me for all the times I’ve fearfully stayed in the boat and missed divine endeavors. I’m sorry for the times I was skeptical of Your power, presence and provision. Even in my faithlessness, please graciously reach out and save me!

Lord, I just want to know Your voice, and obey Your call. In difficult situations and challenging circumstances, please keep Your mighty hand on me. Gazing on the glow of Your face, I’ll confidently walk by faith and experience the exuberance of Your power. Those who sit worried and watching will wonder at what they’ve witnessed. Mesmerized by the miracle, they, too, will believe that You truly are the Son of God. Together, we’ll bow down and worship You for the great things You have done in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Do you hear the Voice in the night calling you to “Come?” Will you risk stepping out of the boat or remain in the boat gripped with fear? I encourage you to fix your eyes on Jesus and step out in faith. With your eyes fixed on him, He will give you the power to walk on water through your fearsome storm too.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Holiness of God

Psalm 77:13
Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?

Isaiah 40:25
To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.

Hosea 11:9
I am God, and not man—the Holy One among you.

Holy God,
There is none like You! You are vastly different and far greater than Your creatures. Who can grasp Your unlimited wisdom? Who can comprehend the depths of Your love? Your awesome love and absolute justice are above my limited understanding; they are holy.

Your exquisite love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens; Your faithfulness to the skies. You sit enthroned above the earth. You stretch out the heavens like a canvas, making a gigantic tent for Your home. Gazing down on us from Your high and lofty view, we must seem like molecular organisms. Yet in Your vastness, nothing gets lost or goes unnoticed. I can’t possibly appreciate Your astronomical loyalty.

Your power is that of the Almighty; it can be compared to no one else’s. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains – unattainable, majestic, and beautiful. Your justice and mercy are deeper than the ocean – inaccessible, pristine, and titanic. In Your transcendence, You reduce princes to paupers. I stand in awe of Your magnificent holiness.

Please dear Lord, expand my view of Your preeminence. Gasping at Your supremacy, I’ll tremble in Your awesome presence, fearing You and You alone because You alone are the Lord God Almighty, and You alone are holy, holy, holy. All glory, honor and praise belong to You, the One Great God, who rules and reigns over all the earth from heaven above. Hallelujah! Amen.

Take some time alone with God today, meditating on His holiness. Read Psalm 36:5-9 and Isaiah 40:22-26.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lessons in the Storm

Job 38:1-3, 24-25, 35-37
Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
"Who is this that darkens my counsel

with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;

I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?

Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm?

Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?

Who endowed the heart with wisdom
or gave understanding to the mind?

Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens?

Holy, Holy, Holy are You Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of Your glory! Woe is me! I think I know it all and have all the answers, but Lord have mercy, I cannot speak. I’m confused, lost and completely in the dark. My knowledge is miniscule and my view is distorted. Who do I think I am to question You, Lord God Almighty, Ruler of All Nature? Like Job, I cannot explain such common events as summer storms.

Holy Maker of All Nature, You do whatever pleases You in heaven and on earth. You shroud Yourself in darkness, veiling Your face with thick storm clouds. From Your high and holy throne Your thunderous voice rumbles, commanding the lightning to electrify the earth. The whole world witnesses Your magnificent display of power and trembles. Holy, Holy, Holy are You Lord God Almighty.

From Your secret, sacred hiding spot, You come in awesome majesty. Opening Your mouth, You roar like a ferocious lion causing the wicked, wild winds to whip and whistle. At the clap of Your hands the rain crates from heaven tip, drenching the dry and desolate land. The whole earth experiences Your exuberance and exalts You: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty.

O Lord, You are unsurpassable in power! Your sovereignty is unquestionable. An unparalleled genius, no one can ever outwit You. You are God above all gods! Have mercy on me for my unrestrained controlling character. It is You who endows me with wisdom. Apart from You I am an unintelligible fool!

Help me to always remember my insignificant, imperfect, and ignorant position before the immortal, invisible and incomprehensible King of Glory. With this proper perspective of You, I’ll submit myself like the summer storms to Your supreme authority because You are Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. Alleluia, Amen.

God speaks through the summer storms. The next time you experience a scary storm think of God’s challenge to Job. Just who do you think you are to challenge the Lord God Almighty? Consider Who is in control and submit to His supreme authority. Remember His right to your absolute love, the wretchedness of your offenses against Him, and your unquestionable need of His mercy and grace.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Perfect Storm

Matthew 8:23-27
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"

Thank You for opening my eyes to see the wonderful things in Your Word. By them You preserve my life. In them I find confidence, comfort and courage.

Often I find myself in the same boat as the disciples – caught without warning in a dangerous situation. In the ferocious storms of the soul, I lose power and am in the dark. Colossal waves of worry crash over me. Mighty moaning winds of fear and doubt violently toss me about threatening to throw me into the wicked sea of unrighteousness. Hopeless, helpless and paralyzed, I cry out to You, “Lord, help me! I’m drowning!”

When the raging storms of life overtake me, often I respond as though You’re asleep and unaware of the terror in the night. Forgive me for failing to recognize Your presence, protection and power. I’m nothing but a coward with a faint heart and crippled faith. How many blessings do I miss because of my fear in the storm?

Beneath the raging tempest of even the perfect storm are still waters deep within the sea. When gale winds scream like demons in the dark, please give me faith to stop what I’m doing, let go of the troubling thoughts, and plunge into Your Word. Then, the rampant storm will subside and there will be peace beneath the surface, in the hollow of my heart. Deep within the sea of my soul, I’ll find confidence, comfort and courage to wait through the fearsome fury and dreaded darkness. With One voice, You’ll preserve my life, irrevocably changing me because of my extreme encounter with the One who calms the seas and quiets hearts in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Is a storm surrounding you? Are the mighty moaning winds of fear and doubt violently tossing you about threatening to throw you into the sea of unrighteousness? Ask him for faith to believe in His presence, protection and power. Then plunge into His Word, and discover the peace beneath the surface, in the hollow of Your heart.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Psalm 93:3-4
The seas have lifted up, O LORD,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.

Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the LORD on high is mighty.

O Lord God Almighty,
You are the Maker of the spacious steel blue seas teeming with countless creatures. A continuous column of white-capped waves wildly pound their applause while living organisms, large and small, gaily dance beneath them lifting praise to Your high and holy name. Girded with surging strength, who is like You, O Lord? All creation worships You!

You, O Lord, are mightier than the roaring water and stronger than the billowing breakers. When we surrender to Your almighty authority, admitting our faults and frailties, You hurl them into the deep, dark sea of forgetfulness covering them completely with the blood of Jesus. Powerful torrents of mercy sweep over ALL of our BIG bad behaviors. Steady streams of grace from heaven flood over our middle-sized mistakes. And soft showers of love fall from your throne washing away our tiny little temptations.

I just want to join the celebrating sea and shout, “Glory! Hallelujah!” when the waves of glory roll over me! Hallelujah, thank You Jesus for surging over me! Amen.

If you sit by the sea this summer, ponder the mighty power of God. Give Him your sins and He will hurl them into the deep dark sea of forgetfulness. Gratefully receive His forgiveness and join the sea by lifting up your voice to praise His high and holy name.

Micah 7:19 You will hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Like A Mighty Sea
My soul today is thirsting for living streams divine,
To sweep from highest Heaven to this poor heart of mine;
I stand upon the promise, in Jesus’ Name I plead;
O send the gracious current to satisfy my need.

Like a mighty sea, like a mighty sea,
Comes the love of Jesus sweeping over me;
The waves of glory roll, the shouts I can’t control;
Comes the love Jesus sweeping o’er my soul.

I see the clouds arising, the mercy clouds of love,
That come to bring refreshing down from the throne above,
The earnest of the shower, just now to us is giv’n,
And now we wait, expecting the floods of grace from Heav’n.


The show’rs of grace are falling, the tide is rolling in,
The floodtide of salvation, with power to cleanse from sin;
It’s surging through my being and takes my sin away,
It keeps me shouting glory! through all the happy day.


It’s coming, yes, it’s coming, it’s coming down this hour,
A torrent of salvation in saving, cleansing power:
I hear the billows surging, I see them mount and roll;
O glory, hallelujah! they’re sweeping through my soul.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Romans 11:17-18

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 06, 2007

Psalm 67:5-6
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us. NKJV

O Glorious God, You are my God!
Thank You for Your Living Word that tells us exactly how to work the land to produce bountiful blessings! We need to join together as believers and plow the field with praise even in the midst of our own problems and pain. Then the whole world will see how You work. The godless will see how You save. We need to joyfully shout:

S Our God is a God who saves! (Ps. 68:20)

A Awesome are You, O God!
You give power and strength to Your people. (Ps. 68:35)

L Your love stands firm forever. (Ps. 89:2)
You’re eagerly waiting to give the gift of eternal life to everyone! (Rom. 5:17)

V You will rescue the weak from violence. (Ps. 72:14)
You will give them victory and crush their enemies. (Ps. 60:12)

A Direct access to Your wide open spaces of grace and glory are available to all who know Your Son. (Rom. 5:2, Heb. 4:16)

T You will take Your people into glory; (Ps. 73:24)
And, free them from tyranny and torture. (Ps. 72:14)

I Instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance;
They will inherit unimaginable blessings and everlasting joy! (Isa. 61:7)

O You will rescue the oppressed,
because their lives are precious to You. (Ps 72:14)

N There is no condemnation for those who belong to You! (Rom. 8:1)

O Lord, let us together be happy and shout for joy because You judge us fair and square. Even though You’ve seen the depth of our debt, You’ve graciously paid it in full with the blood of Your Son.

Display Your exuberance in us, O God! Let Your face shine on us. Mark us with grace and blessing so that the whole world will witness what a wonderful Savior You are! Hallelujah! Amen!

Jesus says you will be judged by the fruit you bear. (Matthew 7:17-19)

God’s Word clearly tells us how to be blessed with everlasting fruit. We, the people of God, all of us together, need to start singing His praises!

Instead of complaining we ought to be complimenting.
Instead of arguing we ought to be agreeing.
Instead of blaming we ought to be blessing.
Instead of grumbling we ought to be grateful.
Instead of accusing we ought to be interceding.

At all times we should praise Him with our words. Then, the whole world, not just our individual communities, will see how He works. As we shout for joy during our difficulties people will hear and be saved!

Join me in plowing the fields with praise! Together we will be blessed with fruit that lasts forever. When you intentionally turn your complaints to praise, God will surely smile on you and bless your heart.

God’s Smile – His affirmation comes in the form of grace and blessing. When God smiles on you, you can feel it in every part of your life. – Henry Blackaby.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Psalm 89:15-17, 24
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD.

They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation.
They exult in your righteousness.

You are their glorious strength.
Our power is based on your favor.

My faithfulness and unfailing love will be with him,
and he will rise to power because of me. NLT

O Lord God Almighty!
There is none like You!
You are my glory and my strength! Walking in the light of Your presence, I’m pleased to proclaim Your wonderful works. Pondering what You’ve done sets my heart a dancing! I was weak and unworthy of even the simplest spiritual assignment when You chose me, changed me and charged me with telling people everywhere about Your unmistakable reputation for changing lives.

An ordinary person with no extraordinary talent or training, I was inadequate and unqualified for the job. Nevertheless, You persistently pursued me, promising to empower me. When I finally stopped and surrendered, You sent the Holy Spirit to train me. Using the Bible, You taught, tested and equipped me. In the brilliant light of Your presence, I learned to trust Your wisdom and seek Your advice. Soon my empty mind was filled with knowledge and my hollow heart was filled with Your unending love. Your vivacious energy gave me the courage and confidence to conquer my fears.

Before I knew it, I was doing the impossible. Surprisingly, my accomplishments were exceeding my expectations! Knowing who You are and what You can do was the secret to my success. Apart from You I am incompetent and incapable, but with You I can achieve unbelievable things. All that I am and have I owe to You, my Glorious Strength. Blessed be Your wonderful name! Amen.

God calls us to perform tasks we can’t do with our own brains or abilities to prove his unfailing love and faithfulness. What extreme challenge has He given you? Has He asked you to take the test of sickness and suffering? Or are you experiencing a job loss and financial challenges? Maybe your assignment involves legal matters that are complex and beyond your comprehension. Perhaps He’s asking you to move to a new job, state, or country. Whatever the assignment, stop arguing and agree to the task. Admit your weakness and ask Him to teach, test and equip you. As you learn to trust His wisdom and seek His advice, you too will accomplish unbelievable things and people everywhere will witness God’s unmistakable reputation for changing lives.

Apart from Him you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
The Parable of the Weeds
Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'

"'An enemy did this,' he replied.

"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'

"'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"

I love the stories You tell! You create a vibrant vision of Your glory. The pictures You paint with Words are crisp and clear. Perusing and pondering them, I will discover the Only Way to eternal life and happily-ever-after living.

Two kinds of people appear to be members of Your Kingdom. Those who believe You and those who believe in You. Thank You for showing me the difference.

The good seed are those individuals who know You as their friend. You’ve sown the seed of Your Word in the soft soil of their soul. They believe what You say and grow as children of the kingdom. They’re fertilized with the Holy Spirit and watered with the Truth. The Son shines on them. They grow and multiply, spreading the good seed of Your Word in the world where it produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. They are the rich golden grain of wheat that glistens and glows with Your glory.

The bad seed are the people who are familiar with You. The seed of Your Word falls on them but never takes root. They don’t know You personally; therefore, they can’t understand You. Sadly, they are children of the devil. Unlike the good seed, they are fed watered down truth and sugar coated lies by false teachers. They grow and multiply, spreading the shallow seed of deceptive philosophy that depends on human traditions and worldly principles. Outwardly, they look exactly like the wheat planted by You. However, upon careful examination after the harvest, You notice that their grain doesn’t glisten or glow with Your glory. Instead, it is black as night and of no value to Your Kingdom. You separate and throw these weeds into the fiery furnace where they will burn with eternal weeping and everlasting misery.

Lord, since the wheat and the weeds are growing together in the same field and impossible to differentiate with the naked eye, please help me to be non-judgmental. Only You can verify the weeds, and only You have the right to pull them. Forgive me for all the times, I’ve tried to uproot unbelievers and ripped out Your tender plants instead! Lord, I want to love You and everyone You’ve planted in the field surrounding me. Then, You will recognize me during the harvest by my glistening glow of Your glory. Amen.

God has impressed on me recently that there are two types of church members - those who are friends with Jesus and know Him personally, and those who are merely acquainted with Him. There’s a huge difference:

His beloved friends will admit their sin, believe that He died and rose to save them from destruction, and commit to following Him. They’ll trust and obey Him. Believing that He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do, they’ll live their lives to please Him. At the harvest, He will recognize them by their golden glow. If you are God’s good seed, you will love Him and others unconditionally. You will set aside your selfish interests for the benefit of others. What will you do today to show Him how much you love Him?

Acquaintances are only familiar with Him. They believe in Him, but don’t take Him at His Word. Denying the reality of sin, they twist the truth to make themselves and others feel good. Because they do not trust and obey Him, at the harvest, He will recognize them by the black grain they produce. If you’re growing as a weed in the field, it is of utmost importance that you befriend Jesus quickly or you will be thrown into the fiery furnace, guaranteed! God says so! Surrender yourself to Him today by:

Admitting with your mouth that you’re a sinner in need of His grace
Believing in your heart that He died and rose again to save you from destruction
Committing to follow Him from this day forward

Monday, July 02, 2007

Driving down through the beautiful, bucolic farmlands of south central Pennsylvania, I noticed the gloriously golden wheat fields and pondered these words spoken by Jesus.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But, if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24

Glorious Father-Thank you for this beautiful word picture. Like a grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies to live anew, I lay down all my dreams and worldly desires to follow you. Plant me wherever you want to produce a harvest for your Kingdom. Press down on me, crush me, and break me. Soften me and release me to press upward to reproduce an enormous multiplication of blessings.

God please crucify me with Jesus – fully yielded, completely surrendered, totally submitted. Use the problems and challenges that are part of my every day life to put me to death. Then raise me, like a kernel of wheat to an abundant ... victorious ... blessed ... fruitful ... powerful ... Christ-like ... Spirit-filled life. I love you Lord and want to be more like you! In Jesus name, I surrender all. Amen.

What do you need to surrender in order to reproduce abundant blessings for the Kingdom of God?

Make a deliberate determination to be interested only in what interests God. Intentionally, remove everything from your life that keeps you from following God’s dreams and plans. Concentrate on the Son who did not give up when He had to suffer shame and die on a cross. He knew of the joy that would be His later. This joy will be yours too, if only you will die to yourself and devote your life to Him.

O. Chambers writes (06/19) in My Utmost For His Highest, “The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that “falls into the ground and dies” – it will spring up and change the entire landscape.