Friday, August 31, 2007
A happy heart makes the face cheerful,
but heartache crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 17: 22
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Father in Heaven-
I praise You for Your incredible ancient wisdom.
A casual glance at the world, with its wars, hatred, violence and evil makes me sad. Every day I see and hear horrible accounts of hurting people who in turn, inflict injuries on others. It grieves me that so many people in my community are crushed and hopeless. Yet, in the midst of crisis and catastrophe, there are stories and images that provoke a chuckle and a smile.
Thank You for the great gifts of laughter and cheer. A merry heart is used to bring healing and wholeness to that which would otherwise be brittle and broken. You know we need a good dose of cheer in these difficult days to bring a smile to our faces. A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down curing a crushed spirit and broken heart.
Please dear Lord, help me to unwrap Your enduring joy, peace and contentment when everything else around me seems to be falling apart. I don’t have to stay in the dark dungeon of despair. Since You sent Your Son to rescue me, my glum days can change to glad days. With my heart, soul and mind focused on living happily ever after in the kingdom of heaven, I’ll naturally smile and warmly greet others with a kind and encouraging word. Please make me a bubbling fountain of laughter where people can come, drink and be healed for Your namesake. Amen.
Who can you offer a spoonful of sugar today? There are hurting people everywhere. Take time to stop and notice them. Smile and offer them a kind word of encouragement. It may just be the medicine they need to cure their crushed spirit.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
Then he rebukes them in his anger.
Father in Heaven,
I picture You sitting on Your majestic throne in the sky watching the world go by with a twinkle in Your holy eye. From Your high and lofty perch You see prideful people pushing for position and power. Defiant individuals ignorantly try to outwit You with their outrageous schemes. The puny presumptuous plans of man must amuse You! After a while, You get good and mad, furiously shutting them up by cleverly chiding them like You did the Pharisees:
The picture of the hopelessly blind religious scholars straining a gnat out of their drink, but swallowing a camel is ridiculous. (Matt 23:24)
The illustration of the foolish Pharisees cleaning the outside of their cup so it sparkles in the sun, while the inside is covered in maggots of greed and grime is comical. (Matt 23:25-26)
When talking about entering the Kingdom of Heaven, You told many silly stories to make Your point. The one about the camel going through the eye of a needle is ludicrous. (Mark 10:25)
I can only imagine the sparkle in Your eye when You taught about the fault-finder. "Why do you notice a speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye, but not notice the big hunk of wood in your own eye? (Matt. 7:3)
There are many times when I’m rebellious and rude. Boisterously demanding control, I insist on breaking loose from You and doing things my own way. From Your throne in heaven, You must smirk at my stupidity. Then, You reprimand me through extremely embarrassing situations that make me look like an utter fool.
O Lord, when You look down on me from high in the sky, I don’t want to look so ridiculous, nor do I particularly want to experience Your rebuke! Please temper my arrogant attitude with Your sweet Spirit so that You will witness me joyfully worshipping You as I serve others for the glory of Your name. Amen.
When God looks down on you what does He see? Do you think He’s pleasantly beaming because of your joyful worship, or scornfully laughing at your foolishness?
Be careful! Use your head and learn your lesson from the past experiences of the Pharisees, or God might humiliate you.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
When the LORD restored his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream!
We were filled with laughter,and we sang for joy. And the other nations said,"What amazing things the LORD has done for them."
Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us!What joy! NLT
Loving Lord of Laughter-
I rejoice that You’re not a God of sadness, but the Lord of joy. Thank You for the gift of laughter. I respectfully recognize that You’re a holy, reverent, authoritative Judge. I also know, at the end of the day, You’re a loving Father with a lighter side who comes home to play and amuse His children. You created us for Your pleasure. Along with the dark realities of corruption, affliction and loss, there is lighthearted laughter, and liveliness. Throughout Your Holy Book, there are celebrations and laughter. Feasts, parties, reunions, and weddings abound in Your Kingdom. There’s many occasions to celebrate.
It’s an honor to celebrate each other’s victories over challenges. It is our way of thanking You for the great things You have done. Our hearts dance and leap for joy when a lost sibling returns home. Love tickles our hearts when You perform a miracle before our very eyes and restore them. Your home is not always sober and solemn. It is often a delightful place of amusement, excitement, and enjoyment. As Your beloved children, we have the right to play, pray and laugh together!
Please help me to adopt a lighter attitude and see the funny side of every day situations. With a light heart, I will be resilient when times are tough. Anger and anxiety will dissipate when I exert enthusiasm, excitement and energy. Bless me with a sense of humor that will infect the unbelievers I meet today with a contagious chuckle. When I laugh with them, our hearts will bond. They will want to join in the party when they see the fun we have together because of Jesus. Amen.
Imagine! Christians can have fun! Have a good belly laugh with someone today. It’s likely to be contagious! Humor is the healing balm that covers hidden hurts and heartache.
Jesus said, “We had to celebrate and be glad.” Luke 15:32
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"
"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.
O how honest You are! Your Word is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into my innermost thoughts and desires, exposing them for what they really are. Everything about us is bare and wide open; seen by Your ever-living eyes; nothing can be hidden from You to whom we must explain all that we have done.
Like the rich religious leader, we often come to You with zeal and determination to purchase our ticket to heaven. Recognizing that You are the Grand Ticketmaster, we politely approach You and smoothly ask, “Good Master, what will a ticket to heaven cost me?” Unimpressed with our performance, You slash right through the thick flattery and cut to the heart of the matter.
Rather than accepting our personal affluence and influence, You painstakingly point out the one thing we lack, demanding the high price of our personal security and identity. Freely, we can join You on the journey to heaven, but first we’ll need to sell our creature comforts, investing the cash in the coffers of heaven – society’s rejects – the undeserving, unattractive, and undesirables. Sadly, like the rich religious leader, we turn and walk away without a word. The price is more than we’re willing to pay.
Forgive me O Lord for being so short-changed and short-sighted. Please touch my lifestyle with Your love. Show me the possessions that possess me. Willingly and wisely, I’ll sell them or give them away, to make a safe investment in Your heavenly kingdom. In return, You’ll bless me with Your identity and the eternal security of living with You in heaven forever and ever. Amen.
Jesus expects us to get rid of anything that has become more important than God. If your basis for security has shifted from God to what you own, it would be better for you to get rid of the possessions. Identify the possessions that possess you. Sell them or give them away, investing the proceeds in the coffers of heaven.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Jesus told them this parable:
"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
Thank You dear Shepherd for diligently doing Your job twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, year in and year out. Even though You’ve always faithfully led and fed Your flock, we still tend to stray into seemingly greener pastures. Unaccompanied and lost, we fall into the clefts of corruption where we’re condemned to die. The longer we’re gone, the deeper we sink into the depression of disgrace. Alienated, we have no idea that You’ve been looking for us ceaselessly since we walked away. If only we’d cry out, You’d hear us and find us. One lost sheep matters to You.
Bruised and bloodied from the fall, You’d scoop us up in Your powerful arms. Holding us close to Your loving heart, You’d carry us to Your warm and cozy home where You’d meticulously wash our wounds and bandage our broken hearts. Ecstatic at the recovery of Your most prized possession, You wouldn’t reprimand us. Instead, You’d call all your friends and invite them to the grandest gala in all of heaven and earth. Proudly, You’d show off Your trophy of grace.
Please, dear Lord, bless me with a burning desire to search for Your missing masterpieces – fallen brothers or sisters who have wandered away from the flock. With Your strength, when I find them, I’ll pick them up and carry them into the warmth of my home where I’ll compassionately restore them. Rather than scolding them for their foolishness, my heart will leap with indescribable joy as they recover and are released to the flock bringing everlasting happiness to the Seeker of Lost Souls, Jesus. Amen.
Does it disappoint you to know that the gala events in heaven will be given when the trash of this world is found? The world’s trash is God’s treasure – those human hearts thrown out by society. Every human being is a masterpiece created by Him. His Word says, “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14:31
Since every single soul is inestimably valuable to Him, He doesn’t stop seeking until He finds the hidden treasure. Reap the blessings of heaven by searching for a fallen brother or sister. When you find them, be the healing hands of Jesus. Pick them up and bring them into your home. Help them heal and join God’s celestial celebration! Overwhelming joy will fill your heart.
If you’ve wandered away from the flock (the church), it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or how far you’ve strayed. The Shepherd won’t stop searching for you until He finds you. Make His job easier. Cry out to Him. He will hear and find you. Once He brings you back, He will restore you fully, releasing you to live unashamedly in the flock.
Friday, August 24, 2007
How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
"They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.”
"I said, 'You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High.'
But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler."
O Great God who governs from beyond the galaxies,
You are the Mighty Magistrate righteously ruling and reigning over all the earth. From Your high and holy throne in heaven, You pronounce explicit orders for maintaining justice and peace. Without ever blinking an eye, Your global gaze is inescapable.
Obviously my poor performance hasn’t gone unnoticed or You wouldn’t ask, “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?” You know that I’m inclined to show favoritism to influential individuals who can increase my position. You’ve watched me inaccurately interpret Your Word to intentionally impress prominent people. You’ve seen me inappropriately intimidate the inferior to prevent them from being promoted. As a representative in the courts of heaven I’m utterly ignorant and ineffective! I can’t begin to understand holy justice!
I admit that I’ve taken advantage of my deputy duties and made poor decisions. Humbly, I come to Your most high bench, pleading with You to instruct me. Beneath the Cross of Jesus, teach me holy justice. Under Your gracious authority, I’ll practice integrity, defending the powerless and making sure the underprivileged get a fair deal. With Your help, I’ll boldly stand up and speak out for the innocent, publicly indicting those who abuse them. Under Your Wise Counsel, I won’t tolerate social injustice.
One day, possibly soon, each of us - rich and poor, strong and frail, wise and foolish - will drop down dead and appear before Your throne equally naked and empty-handed. The only riches we’ll retain from our lives here on earth are those we’ve invested in the treasures of heaven: society’s rejects. For that reason, I’m committing my time and talent to practicing holy justice for the honor of Your everlasting kingdom. Amen.
It’s so much easier to defend the way of the world than it is to fight for the Kingdom of God. God has asked you a profound question, “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?” What is your response?
Loving undesirables isn’t a natural tendency. The only way to cultivate a heart for the hidden treasures of God is to ask the Holy Spirit to grow it in you. Read the Gospels specifically looking for those whom Jesus defended. At the top of a blank piece of paper make three columns. Label the columns: Good, Bad and Ugly. As you read, place the people Jesus defended in the appropriate column. It may surprise you.
May the Lord richly reward you as you seek to save the His treasures.
There was an article in the local newspaper entitled, “She’ll Rest in Peace in Style.”
The Queen of Mean’s last property is fit for a king. Leona Helmsley, for years the imperious head of a multi-billion-dollar real estate and hotel empire will spend eternity in a $1.4 million suburban mausoleum with a magnificent view, alongside her beloved husband, Harry. She previously moved her husband’s remains after becoming dissatisfied with his old neighborhood.
“You know what they say: location, location, location,” said Philip Zegarelli, mayor of Sleepy Hollow, NY, the quiet Westchester County town where Helmsley will be buried this week. “It’s a very nice setting, well picked and well positioned.”
One thing is for sure: The day she died, the Queen of Mean stood stark naked and empty-handed, squirming like a worm before the throne of the Mighty Magistrate; right next to the drug-addicted bum who slept on the street outside of her prestigious property. The magnificent view from her eternal resting place pales in comparison to magnificent view from Heaven, Our Father’s House. Location, location, location! The only prime real estate is in the Kingdom of Heaven!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath."
The Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?"
When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches."
Kind and Compassionate Healer of Hearts,
So often I miss the wonder and delight in Your marvelous work. Unhappy that someone undesirable has received an unfair advantage, I hurriedly stomp off in a huff. I’d be happier to see an animal untied, than an undeserving human set free. I’d be more contented leading pigs to pond water, than sin-scorched souls to the fountain of forgiveness. I worry more about feeding my Chia Pet protein enriched plant food, than I do about nourishing hungry hearts with eternally rich Bread of Life.
Lord, have mercy on me! I’m no better than the hypocritical religious leaders. When I consider my own lack of compassion, I’m left speechless and ashamed! A person of unclean lips, I’m unworthy of even carrying Your sandals. I need to turn around and look at You.
Please enlarge my heart and bless me with a burden for the hidden treasures of Your heart: the rejects of society. In the garden of my growing heart, plant a tiny, little seed of grace that will gradually develop into a strong limb for disadvantaged people to safely land. Perched on the firm branch of my faith in You, sin-scored souls will drink from the River of Life, Your love, flowing out of me. I’ll generously feed their hungry hearts the Bread of Life, Your Word, coated with irresistible honey from the Rock. Nestled securely on Your life-saving limb, they will heal and become whole. Instead of resenting them, I’ll rejoice when You restore and release them.
Please show me someone deemed unworthy by society and I’ll offer them comfort on my sturdy branch of faith for the benefit of Your beautiful everlasting Kingdom. Amen.
Do you despise people who perpetually receive government handouts? Does it repulse you that your tax dollars pay to incarcerate prisoners? Do you resent when Jesus calls forward the unworthy and unattractive and offers them the same amount of grace He offers you? Do you think you deserve more than them because you have a job or have never been charged with an offense?
Listen to the words of Jesus. He says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He doesn’t promise the kingdom of heaven to the rich and well-kept, but to the needy.
Admit your own hypocritical tendencies. Then, ask the Holy Spirit to enlarge your heart and bless you with a burden for the hidden treasures of His heart. Ask Him to give you the awareness of Christ to notice the undesirables; the compassion to speak to them and for them, and the power to heal them. Then look for an opportunity to let someone land and lodge on the life-saving limb of Your faith in Jesus Christ.
Is your faith strong enough to sustain their heavy load?
Monday, August 20, 2007
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Holy, Healing, Helper-
I praise You with all my heart. Great are Your works. Glorious and majestic are Your deeds. Thank You for causing Your wonders to be remembered forever.
I’m living in a world where people are beat up and put down. They’re paralyzed by problems; crippled by conflict; blind to beauty; deaf by distraction; disabled by disappointment; incapacitated by inconsistency; sick with sin; and suffering from selfishness.
Open my eyes to the heart-wrenching needs of the people who pass by me every day. With Your help, I will immediately stop what I am doing and focus on them. With Your healing hands, I’ll touch them with kindness and encouragement. By Your grace and compassion, my actions will show them how much you love them. Since my words may be the only positive thing they hear in a day, please make them gracious and uplifting.
By Your love and power, I will be the healing hands of Jesus to the hopeless and helpless, weak and weary, troubled and terrified. I will be a holy encourager for Your glorious kingdom so that Your name will be magnified above the earth. Eternal praise belongs to You, always and forever because of Jesus. Amen
Jesus noticed this crippled woman in the crowd. Instead of shying away from her, He spoke to her. Imagine how blessed she was to hear His healing words!
Likewise, Jesus has called us forward, healed us of our infirmities, and sent us out to be his healing hands in the world. Find someone who needs encouraged today. Focus on them. Fix them with an inspiring word.
Oswald Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest, August 21
“Blessed are the poor in spirit …” (Matthew 5:3).
The New Testament notices things that do not seem worthy of notice by our standards. If I have no strength of will and a nature without worth or excellence, then Jesus says to me, “Blessed are you, because it is through your poverty that you can enter My kingdom.” I cannot enter His kingdom by virtue of my goodness—I can only enter it as an absolute pauper.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Lord of Love,
The only way I can begin to pay You back for Your infinite love is to love others. In love You came down from heaven to bless, choose, adopt, accept, redeem, and forgive me while I was unattractive, unworthy, and unlovable. The least I can do is obey You.
- I won’t let myself starve; therefore, I need to feed the hungry.
I make sure that I’m properly clothed before leaving the house; therefore, I’m expected to dress the destitute.
- I put a warm and cozy roof over my head; therefore, I’m required to find shelter for the homeless.
- I don’t want to be cheated or deceived; therefore, it’s necessary for me to be honest and fair to others.
- I despise being stabbed with hateful, hurtful words; therefore, I can’t kill the spirits of others with my own unkind works.
- I’d be angry if someone tried to interfere with my marriage; therefore, I’m obligated to stay out of someone else’s marriage.
I don’t want anyone to covet my possessions; therefore, I can’t be jealous when someone has something bigger or better than me.
The only way I can properly respond to Your immeasurable, inexhaustible love is to behave decently as a Christian child by fully obeying Your law of love. Please dear Lord, clothe me with power and love to make a difference where it matters today because tomorrow may be too late. Open my eyes to see someone who needs love today and I will obey no matter the cost because I appreciate the high price of the love You lavished on me. To You who rules on the throne of my heart forever and ever be the glory. Amen.
In light of God’s incredible gift of love given to you, what will you do today to obey His command to love your neighbor as yourself? Admit your own selfishness. Repent and reach out in love to someone in a difficult situation. Do it today because tomorrow may be too late.
Today I will reach out in love by _________________________________ as a token of appreciation for the high price Jesus paid for my pardon. I will do it today because tomorrow may be too late.
Friday, August 17, 2007
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
God of Hope,
Your Words are wonderful! They’re more precious than silver, more brilliant than diamonds. Thank You for preserving Ancient History to teach me. In the classroom of my heart I gain knowledge, wisdom and discernment. I develop insight to help me differentiate between right and wrong. Reading and studying Your Great History book, is the wisest thing I could ever do. It prepares me for the biggest test of my life – loving and accepting others.
Fully aware of the facts, I’ll know that my selfish pride and prejudice leads to dissension, disagreement, and disconnect. Following Your perfect example, I’ll offer my body as broken bread. Just as You gave up Your rights to glory and power, I’ll give up my rights to recognition and rewards. Because You left Your lofty, holy and pure position in heaven and came to earth to bear my sin and shame, I’ll leave my hoity-toity pedestal of prominence to bear with the faults and failures of others. Since You graciously removed the barrier of sin that separates me from You, I’ll voluntarily take down the walls of intolerance that divide me from others. United, we’ll glorify You with one heart and one mouth by accepting one another.
Familiarity with the past will help me better understand the future. Primed with faith, I’ll have endurance, encouragement, and confidence to keep an optimistic outlook of loving unity throughout each day. As I diligently read and study my Bible, Your Ancient History book, please fill me with joy and peace. I trust that the Hope of Heaven will spill from my heart by the power of the Spirit that is within me. May my attitudes and actions bring praise to our glorious family name forever and ever! Amen.
The lessons we learn from God’s Word are tremendous! If we seriously take the time to study and practice our lessons, we’ll fulfill our call to be holy. We’ll be people of peace and joy. A delight to be around!
What lesson is God teaching you in the classroom of your heart? Are you practicing it? Are you ready for the biggest test of your life – to love and accept others unconditionally?
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I am the LORD your God, Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
"If my people would but listen to me,if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!
Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever.
But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."
O Lord my God!
You are a Faithful Father eagerly waiting to feed and fill Your beloved children a large variety of strength enhancing nutrients. When we open wide our Bibles and listen to You, we will be fed the finest wheat – Bread of Heaven spread with pure, sweet, sticky honey from the Rock of Jesus Christ.
Full of Your power performing goodness, we’ll kill our enemies with kindness. With tender hearts and humble minds, we’ll sincerely express compassion to our worst critics. We won’t retaliate when people say unkind and untrue things about us. Instead, we’ll pay them back with a blessing. Uncomfortable, they will shrink back in shame.
Give us a heart pure as honey from the Rock, so that no one will ever stop us from doing what’s right. Even if they try to prevent us from doing good, when our hearts are stuck on You, we’ll be blessed with stamina to persevere through the pressure. With a clear conscience, the accusations people throw at us won’t stick. Their remarks will ricochet back at them, making them look ridiculous.
O Bread of Heaven! Give us a voracious appetite for the finest of wheat found in Your Holy Word. Opening our mouths, we fully expect You to fervently feed us and fill us. Then, bless us, break us and use us to feed the Bread of Life covered in pure, sweet, sticky honey from the Rock on those who despise us. You’ll be glorified and we’ll be satisfied. Alleluia! Amen.
The Father is eager to feed and fill His beloved children if we will listen to Him and follow His ways. Open your mouth, by opening your Bible. Ask Him to feed you and fill you with the finest of wheat – Bread of Heaven smothered in pure, sweet sticky honey from the Rock of Jesus Christ.
If you listen to Him and follow His ways, you will kill your enemies with kindness.
God’s Word says “Who is going to harm you if you do what is good?” 1 Peter 3:13
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The law itself is holy and right and good.
But 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.
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 lured by his lies, choked by his charm, or suffocated by sin. He wants to use Your wise Words for his wicked ways.
O Lord, hide Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You. Teach me knowledge and good judgment. Let me understand so that I can obey with all my heart. I don’t want sin to ever rule over me.
When I’m confused, Your law counsels me. When I’m in a sinking ship in the sea of sin, it’s the life preserver that saves me. When I’m consumed with sorrow and sadness, it comforts me. When I’m weak and weary, it strengthens 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.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Jesus said, “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
Your Spirit is my wise and wonderful Counselor sent from the heart of God. While living in our land, You left an enormous legacy for ordinary, uneducated people like me. Your well-preserved Ancient Words recorded by a beloved disciple two thousand years ago, point me to the power of Your Spirit.
When Your Words descended on the open pit of heart like a tongue of fire, they arrested and convinced me that I was heading toward eternal destruction on the highway to Hell. Guilty of violating every one of Your holy standards for living, they fully persuaded me to turn around and peruse a radically different lifestyle.
Certain that You have gone to the Father in Heaven and are watching every move I make, I want to respectfully respond to all kinds of people and consistently make right choices that will result in rich everlasting rewards. As I spend time with You in Bible Study and prayer, clothe me with Your sweet spirit of compassion. Advise me in my daily decisions so that my actions will always be kind and courageous, and my attitudes will always be positive and encouraging, proving that the ruler of godless living, Satan himself, has been rightly judged, convicted and condemned. .
With Your help, I will quietly leave a legacy of love that points others to the life changing power of Your Spirit, and honors Your time-tested wise and wonderful advice. All glory to my Counselor, Comforter, Helper and Friend. Amen.
Jesus left the legacy of His Sweet Spirit for you. What legacy will you leave for others: one of love or one of nagging condemnation?
We’ll never persuade people to stop pursuing worldly pleasures with long-winded arguments. We’ll never convince people that they’re going down a dangerous road to death and destruction. Heeding the wise and wonderful advice of God’s Spirit is the only way to change the world. Following Him, our attitudes and actions will speak louder than words.
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with more of His power and love. Full of His goodness, you will be known for your pure heart and honest motives, proving that the ruler of this godless world has been judged, tried, and convicted.
Monday, August 13, 2007
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned.
My Divine Savior,
There is none like You. You are the prized Peace of Heaven sent into the world as a generous gift from God who created me for eternity. No one – not my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my children, my pet – can love me like You do. You’re extremely passionate about protecting and preserving me. Receiving the Peace of Heaven from Your great big, colossal heart guarantees that I will live happily ever after in the kingdom that never ends.
O Holy Justice, no matter what I’ve done, I don’t have to be afraid of You. With confidence, I can come up to Your sacred throne fully expecting to receive infinite mercy and incomparable grace. Instead of punishing me to death as I deserve, in love, You’ll pardon and release me to live with You forever because of the Peace of Heaven in my heart, purchased with Your priceless blood. Alleluia! Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
God’s Word says there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it!
Is any man condemning you; making you feel guilty for something you’ve done but have admitted and accepted responsibility for? Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
The truth is: God absolutely loves YOU, your sins are forever forgiven and you are completely free to get up, go and LIVE in peace.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters … for God has accepted him.
You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. NLT
Father in Heaven~
Thank You for cultural diversity.
Some cultures believe eating meat is immoral.
Other cultures require women to cover their heads.
Certain cultures permit and promote alcohol and gambling.
Specific cultures forbid any and all activities on the Sabbath.
Particular cultures celebrate holy days that others don’t recognize.
Some cultures perform rites and rituals that I don’t understand.
Other cultures celebrate communion and baptism differently.
Certain cultures believe there is an appropriate dress code for church.
Some cultures like to worship You with traditional music while others like to worship with dancing, guitars and cymbals. Even theology varies within society. Who am I to determine who is right or wrong, strong or weak?
Forgive me, Lord, for being brutally opinionated! You accept everyone and command me to do the same. Every one of us will stand before Your throne and give an account to You. You will judge each of us according to what we’ve done. That means You will judge my intolerance and criticism of people who are different from me.
Help me dear Lord, to love my brothers and sisters in this hugely diverse family. You’ve adopted us from various and vast backgrounds. We bring with us a variety of human traditions. Your kingdom is not about rituals and religion. It’s about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Open my mind to love and accept those who think, perform and act different from me. Exercising self-control when I treat others with loving tolerance, I’ll please You and glorify Your holy name. In my life Lord be glorified. Amen.
Have you ever stopped to think about all the disputable matters that we allow to affect our worship? God just wants us to get along! Our principle should be: in essentials: unity; in non-essentials: tolerance, in everything: love. Identify one issue in the church that irritates you. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with love to tolerate and accept the situation. Set aside your selfishness for the sake of Jesus! After all He did for you; it’s the least you can do for Him.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
"I have heard many things like these;
miserable comforters are you all!
Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing?
I also could speak like you,
if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
and shake my head at you.
But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
Let me learn from this suffering servant, Job. He was a man with a pure heart and right motives who had the utmost love and respect for Your Highness. Living in constant fear of You, he consistently made right choices. While he was a wealthy, confident and strong man, he was also a responsible parent and committed spouse who provided a comfortable lifestyle for his family. Teaching them to honor and glorify you was his passion and purpose.
When his entire world caved in and he was buried deep beneath the debris of depression, despondent and destitute, his friends were horrible comforters. Instead of consolation, they offered him criticism and condemnation. The words they heaped on him hindered his healing. Uncomfortable and uncertain of what to say, rather than silently supporting him, they spit long drawn-out speeches and futile suggestions in his face. There was no empathy or encouragement; only obnoxious, empty opinions.
O Holy Spirit, teach me from this example how to be a comforting friend. Let the words from my lips strengthen and soothe sad souls. When I don’t know what to say, give me the grace to stick around, remain silent, and just listen. Give me a gentle and quiet spirit that brings relief to those who are broken by grief. I can’t take away their pain, but I can hold their hand, cry and pray with them. My words don’t have to eloquent; they just need to be simple, sincere, and sweet.
Please dear Lord, show me who I can support in their heart struggle today. With a pure heart and right motives, I will go in Your strength and comfort them with kindness to bring glory, honor and praise to Your name. Amen.
Do you know anyone who is devastated and heartbroken? How can you encourage and comfort them with your lips? Be careful that the words you heap on them are helpful and not hurtful. The Devil would love to use you for his vicious attacks like he did Job’s friends.
Ask the Lord to set a guard over you mouth, and keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3)
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.
My intercessor is my friend
as my eyes pour out tears to God;
on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as a man pleads for his friend.
"Only a few years will pass
before I go on the journey of no return."
I appeal to You in heaven on high where You witness every move I make. You know everything about me. You have searched my heart. There’s no hiding anything from You. You know when I stand or sit, when I come in or go out. I’m never, ever out of the sight of Your holy penetrating gaze.
You’ve seen my sin, suffering and sorrow. You’ve listened to my friends angrily attack my character. Their arrogant arguments and long-winded lectures have pierced Your perfect ears. Without knowing all the facts, they lay blame on me based on their biased beliefs. Even though I’ve not intentionally done anything wrong, they attempt to coerce a confession. I’ve been judged, rejected and ridiculed. Stripped of my status, my shame has not gone unnoticed. Depressed and disgraced, I pour out my tears to You, O God!
I need an Almighty Attorney to defend me from the allegations brought against me by proud people with personal agendas. They don’t know my heart; but, You do because You’re my heart’s Constant Companion. Knowing me personally, intimately, and deeply, You are the Only One who can honestly reveal all the evidence against me. It’s only a matter of time until I die and I need my case heard and settled quickly, once and for all.
I am so grateful to have You as my Witness, Advocate, Intercessor and Friend negotiating for me in the presence of God, the Sovereign Justice. Because I have the most Almighty Attorney in all of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ, even though I’m guilty as charged, no accusations against me can stick! I won’t receive the punishment I deserve. Alleluia! Praise the Lord! I will absolutely be pardoned because of Your respectable reputation and righteous name. Amen.
When sin, suffering and sorrow seize your soul, the enemy will attack you, disguising himself as your friends. They will blame your problems on your behavior; but God’s Word says their accusations carry no weight. In the end He will listen to the evidence presented against you by Jesus who is His One and Only Witness, your Advocate, Intercessor, and Friend. There is nothing more important than being in the right relationship with Him. He will speak on your behalf.
You are going to die. And, it may be very soon. When that happens, you will fall into the holy hands of the Sovereign Justice, God Himself. It is urgent that you set yourself right in His sight – and if possible in the eyes of others. The only way to do that is by trusting in the respectable reputation and righteousness of the Almighty Attorney, Jesus Christ. He is the Only One who can speak in God’s Court. You are utterly dependent on Him.
On August 1, 2007 a heavily traveled bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, MN suddenly collapsed full of rush hour traffic. People routinely going home from work that beautiful summer day had no idea it would be the end of their life’s journey.
If the same thing were to happen to you on your way home today would you be prepared to stand before the Sovereign Justice?
My Faith Has Found a Resting Place
My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device or creed;
I trust the ever living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.
Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
He’ll never cast me out.
My heart is leaning on the Word,
The living Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s Name,
Salvation through His blood.
My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm.
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him.
O Wild and Wonderful One!
Your Word is both frightening and fabulous. It leaves me trembling and troubled, yet confident and courageous. It’s scary to think You allow storms to rage, putting me in mortal danger. Fiercely determined to bring me to the end of myself, You want me to be fully dependent on You. When the sun is shining and the sea is calm I don’t need a Savior.
You let the wild winds of the world whistle their threats to destroy me. Temptation sets my soul spinning like a tornado. Sucked into it, my heart is slammed, smashed and shattered.
Sorrow swirls around me bringing with it the gale winds of grief. Whirling and twirling, I’m consumed by its catastrophic cyclone. Confused by the chaos of uncertainty, I’m dizzy and disheartened.
You give sickness the right to swallow me like a titanic storm surge on the mighty sea. Sin is used to shake, quake and break the feeble foundation of my life. Hurricanes of hardship leave me destitute and devastated. Crippled and crying, I desperately need a Savior!
Divine Disrupter, in the midst of vicious whirlwinds, it’s comforting to know that You care for me. In the center of problems and pressure, You are my Savior. Bringing me into the safety of Your presence, You shield me and heal me. Trusting You with my troubled soul, Your supernatural power rests on me. In Your strength I can stand firm through the fiercest storms certain that You are thoughtfully and thoroughly working out Your perfect plan for my life – a plan that will bring glory to Your Wild and Wonderful name. Amen.
Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” God’s way is in the whirlwind and the storm. Are the wild winds whistling their threats to destroy you? Are the storm surges swallowing your soul? Trust the powerful promise of God: He cares for you!
His word says all the days of your life were written in His book before even one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16) He is the Author of your life story. He has a purpose and plan for every event in your life. He is not concerned about your happiness; He cares only about your holiness. Using hardships, He draws you nearer to His own dear heart.
Listen to and reflect on the lyrics of the age-old hymn: Near to the Heart of God
There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.
O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before
TheeNear to the heart of God.
There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.
Monday, August 06, 2007
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do You say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of You is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned You?"
"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn You," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave Your life of sin."
I humbly and ashamedly bow at Your feet seeking mercy and grace. Forgive me for all the times I have insulted others for their immoral, improper behavior. Trying to show my disapproval, I disgraced and dishonored not only them, but also You. I am no better than the hoity-toity, hypocritical religious leaders and Pharisees! My own inappropriate and indecent behavior is inexcusable!
I’ve bashed friends, family, and acquaintances with sharp stones of criticism. I’ve battered, bruised and broken spirits with the heavy rocks I’ve hurled. I am so sorry, Jesus. Who am I to accuse others when:
· I’ve committed murder by killing Spirits with unkind words
· I’m guilty of adultery by flirting with someone of the opposite sex
· I’ve divorced my spouse by not loving him/her biblically
· I’m guilty of gossip every time I spread personal information about others
· I’m addicted to food, television, sports, shopping, soap operas (name your excessive behavior)
· I send and receive personal email at work, robbing my employer of time
· I lose my temper with my children, spouse, and/or co-workers
· I don’t regularly spend time in Bible Study and prayer
· I disrespect You by shopping, running errands, and doing chores on Sunday, breaking the Sabbath
The list could go on and on. There is no sin I have not committed in my heart and mind. Like this woman, some day I will stand alone with You. You alone will judge me. With Your help, I’ll graciously accept Your forgiveness and walk away from the temptation that persuades me. By Your grace, I will show the same mercy to others that You’ve shown to me. Thank You Jesus, for teaching me this important lesson on judgment and forgiveness. Please just give me more Holy Spirit power to apply it to my life for Your namesake. Amen
Who are you accusing? Apply the lesson Jesus taught by dropping your rocks. You are no better than the person you charge.
Friday, August 03, 2007
But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight--not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.
For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus. NLT
Most High and Holy Judge,
Thank You for making a way for me to get out of the mess I’ve made of my life. I was worthless, godless, and lifeless until I trusted Your Son to defend me. He graciously took my case even though I couldn’t ever pay Him. He didn’t care if I was rich or poor, strong or weak, good or bad. It didn’t matter if I committed murder, adultery, or was rebellious. It made no difference if I lied, cheated, or stole. He promised to willingly and freely represent anyone who comes to Him, entrusting Him with the true, hard facts of their life. Blessed assurance!
Transferring my case to Him, I believed He would fairly and faithfully represent me to You. I was flabbergasted when You declared me “not guilty”. Tears rolled down my face when I learned that my Defense Attorney negotiated an unbelievable deal for me! He would serve my death sentence so that I could be free. That’s amazing grace and incredible love.
Thank You, Jesus for defending, saving, and freeing me. Thank You, Your Honor, for Your merciful pardon. Because of the great transaction You made on my behalf, I’m able to stand before You, holy, blameless and pure, no matter who I am or what I’ve done. Out of deep, heartfelt gratitude, I ask that You empower me to dedicate and live my life for You no matter the price. All glory is Yours forever and ever because of Your unfailing love and faithfulness. Amen.
Do you realize the magnitude of the deal that’s been negotiated for you? We deserve to die, but our great Defender took our punishment so that we can go free. We don’t deserve that! How will you show gratitude for the most amazing transaction of all time?
Just as I am thou wilt receive
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve
Because thy promise, I believe
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
You may be saying, "What terrible people you have been talking about!" But you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Do you think that God will judge and condemn others for doing them and not judge you when you do them, too? Don't you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don't you care? Can't you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin? NLT
Holy & Righteous Judge,
Forgive me for donning the robe, stepping behind the desk, and pounding down the gavel to announce the “guilty” verdict. I am just as bad! I have no excuse! It’s easier to look straight ahead at someone else, than it is to look down at myself. If I point a finger at others, four fingers are pointing back at me.
When I put on Your holy robe and thump Your sacred gavel, playing judge, I’m setting myself up for discipline. You do not like when I step behind Your divine desk because I’m unworthy and unqualified to be there. Forgive me for filtering Your grace through my opinion, and watering down Your mercy with my own narrow-mindedness. I can’t understand Your holy standard, let alone reach it!
I don’t know the whole story. How can I judge a book when the chapters aren’t all written? Only You know the whole truth. You are the Amazing Author of every personal novel and uniquely craft each ending. If You began a good story about someone, You will finish it with a perfect ending.
I think of the thief dying on the cross next to You. In the last paragraph of his life story, he acknowledged You and asked You to remember him. In the end, You pounded the gavel and proclaimed him “not guilty”, assuring him a place in Paradise. While the watching world convicted him, You patiently pardoned him. You are so kind and merciful. Teach me, Your Honor, to be likewise for Your name sake. Amen.
God is the Father of many chances. He holds back His judgment on us, allowing us time to change our mind. He expects us to do the same to others. Talk to God about who you need to show mercy today. Then, step aside, remove the robe, put down the gavel and let Him announce the verdict. He alone is worthy.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's judgment. For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God--all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God. NLT
Holy and Awesome God!
Your love is absolutely amazing! That You would leave your celestial home in heaven to come to this wicked world to save hateful humans is unfathomable. I might die for someone really special, but I’d never die for someone who despises me. Yet, that’s exactly what You did for me. While I was Your vilest offender, You intentionally died for me.
Laying down Your life, You bridged the great canyon that separated us. Your broken body made the Way for me to safely cross over into Your glorious everlasting kingdom. I no longer have to fear falling to my death and eternal punishment because You took my hand, called me “friend” and graciously brought me into Your presence. Hallelujah! Thank You Jesus!
I can’t begin to comprehend why You’d choose to save a horrible sinner like me. Your thoughts are greater than my thoughts and Your ways are wider than my ways. It’s a mystery I’ll never understand, but like a naïve child, I’ll believe that I’m Your “friend” because of Jesus.
Out of deep, heartfelt gratitude, I’ll rejoice in this wonderful relationship I have with You. Because You’ve proven Your divine love to me, I’ll trust You to be my best, most devoted, and loyal Friend to the very end. All glory to You for saving me from the hole of hell and sending me to Your magnificent, majestic, most high kingdom where I will live happily ever after because of Jesus. Amen.
God absolutely loves you! He died to save you from eternal punishment. What does that mean to you?
He restored your relationship with Him and made you his friend. What will your response be to this wonderful relationship?
1 Peter 1:22 says, "Love one another deeply and from the heart." Will you love others with the redeeming love of God - even those who hate you? How?