Friday, September 28, 2007

Extreme Challenge

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! I love to tell the story of Your unfailing love and faithfulness! I was weak and unworthy of even the simplest spiritual assignment when You called me by name and gave me an extreme challenge. You mandated that I tell the whole world the life changing story of Your loving kindness.

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 agreed with You and stopped arguing, You sent the Holy Spirit to train me. Using the Bible, You taught, tested and equipped me. I learned to trust Your wisdom and seek Your advice. My empty mind was filled with knowledge and my hollow heart was filled with Your faithful love. Your vivacious energy gave me courage and confidence.

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, but with You I can achieve unbelievable things. All that I am and have I owe to You, my Teacher, Father and King. Blessed be Your glorious 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 you’re 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!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Soar Like An Eagle

Isaiah 40:31
Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Everlasting God~
You are the Creator of everything. Because You have unlimited power, You never grow tired or weary. You are always available to re-energize me and refresh my strength during the seemingly hopeless storms of life. Like an eagle, in the midst of the storm, I spread my wings of faith to embrace the wind. Placing my dependency on You and You alone, I’ll experience quiet wonders:

· Your bliss balances my burdens
· Your power pick ups my problems
· Your peace pacifies my pain
· Your tenderness touches my troubled heart

Soaring will become an adventure of discovering just how faithful You are when I’m in the stratosphere over the storm. It will be an exhilarating experience! I’ll no longer be content to stay inside where it is relatively safe and secure. I’ll want to walk outside and live by faith in the midst of the storm.

Please use the storms in my life:
· To take me higher in my relationship with You
· To fall deeper in love with You
· To grow stronger my faith in You
· To walk more vigorously with You
· To bear more fruit for You

Use the wicked winds of life to grow my wings of faith. Just as the strong gales make it possible for the eagles to soar, so sin, suffering and sorrow make it possible for me to rise above the tempest of temptation. Please dear Lord, just give me more confidence to wait through the mourning with renewed strength, and not grow weary. As I fly, I will focus on Your beautiful face and live for Your future glory because of Jesus. Amen.

What storm are you facing? Are you soaring through it with Holy Spirit power?
Extreme Challenge

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Chasing the World

Psalm 62:1-4
I wait quietly before God,
for my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.
So many enemies against one man--all of them trying to kill me.
To them I'm just a broken-down wallor a tottering fence.
They plan to topple me from my high position.
They delight in telling lies about me.
They are friendly to my face,
according to what they have done. NLT

Almighty God-
My soul silently waits for You. My rest is in You alone. You are my rock and my salvation. Nothing can ever separate me from You! I run to You for shelter and protection. There, I calmly, quietly, patiently wait for the wicked world to pass.

The world is pursuing me, tempting me to join in the pursuit for power, prestige, possessions, and pleasure. Everywhere I turn, there is another demand for my time, talent, and treasure. The Prince of Darkness fully intends to topple me from my lofty and safe haven with You. All around me, people delight in his lies. They try to lure me by speaking persuasive words that sound good, pleasing and delightful, but in their hearts, they are deceitful. Before getting too excited about new attractive ideas, I will carefully examine the things I hear against Your Word. Please fill me with more knowledge and wisdom so that I can determine if I am hearing the Truth.

The temptation to abandon You can sneak up on me as a whisper of doubt. I will overcome the whisper of temptation by pouring out my heart to You. You will help me as I pray and diligently study Your Word. I will be devoted to You because You are strong, loving and dependable. I will love You with all my heart and soul. I will follow and fear You since You are my hope and my salvation. I will do my best to keep Your commands because I long for the promised reward to those who love and obey You. I believe You when You say, “The Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done.”

Instead of chasing the world, I am choosing to pursue You, Jesus, the One and Only. Amen.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Called to Be Free

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

If you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

You have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5: 1-14 (select verses) NLT

Father of Freedom!
Today, I gratefully claim the generous gift of freedom You’ve given me in Jesus. With Your help, I will stand firm and never again be tied and bound to out-dated, man-made, rule-keeping religious systems. I am FOREVER FREE! Hallelujah!

Forgive me for all the times I have fallen away from Your amazing grace! Forgetting the exorbitant price You paid for my pardon, I accidentally allow my plans and projects to isolate me from Your love. Obligated to them, they control my time, talent and treasure. Before I know it, I’m buried beneath busyness, involuntarily imprisoned by persistent practices and polished performances. Suddenly and subtly, I find myself separated from You, caught up in the ridiculous rat race where the pace is set by the world, and the only reward is exhaustion and entrapment. Distracted and deceived, I’ve mistakenly taken a dangerous detour.

Please dear Lord, help me to get back on track! I want to chase after You with all my heart, running the race of my life. The course is clearly set in Your Word, the Holy Bible. Following it, I will voluntarily lay aside my preconceived plans and projects to radically love others, winning the promised grand prize of exhilarating life and amazing freedom.

Thank You for repeatedly showing me that outward appearances are inconsequential. The more important matter is the inward shape of my heart expressing itself externally in the form of love. Please show me who I can love today and I will obey for the glory of Your name that has set me forever free. Amen.

You have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. Claim your promised freedom today! God is calling you to get free from the rat race once and for all. Run the race of your life, following the predetermined course set in God’s Word. Then, instead of bound by rules and regulations you will be truly free to love.

“Many contemporary churches operate in this system of guilt. When our people are crying out for communion and rest, we ask them to teach another Sunday School class. When they falter under the load, we admonish them with Scriptures on serving others. One wonders what would happen if all activity motivated by this type of guilt were to cease for six months. Much of organized Christianity would collapse even as the Pharisees saw happen to their own religious system. As Jesus talked about thirst and rest, He brought people to the reality of their heart.

It is impossible to live the spiritual life in the ontological lightness of doing because our hearts and minds become enemies rather than allies. Neither are free to love or serve. The problem is not that people are not important enough to us. It is that they are too important – we need their approval too much.

But what if we are to listen to our hearts, and hear it as a need to faint, a need to lay down our “doings’ and simply make our needs known to Christ and rest in him?”

Brent Curtis and John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance

Monday, September 24, 2007

Chosen Child

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

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

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

Until I get there, I will be seized by sin, suffering and sorrow. I will be attacked by anger, anxiety, and anguish. I will be stripped by shame, stress and stupidity. I will be flogged by fear, and beaten by bitterness and boasting. I may even be shackled and sent to prison for my passionate pursuit of righteousness. In the midst of my misery, I will not be afraid. Instead, I will rejoice and give thanks to You for accomplishing Your will in my life. Singing sweet songs of salvation in my sadness, and powerfully pleading for patience during pain, I will smile when I feel like crying. When others held hostage around me hear my heavenly hope, their chains will come loose, and they will be saved and set free if they choose to believe.

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

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

Friday, September 21, 2007

Guidance in the Night

Psalm 16:7-8
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;

even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me.

Because he is at my right hand,

I will not be shaken.

Wise and Wonderful Counselor,
Thank You for graciously guiding me. Your timeless Words are extremely wise. Your timely advice is always right. Teach me to make good decisions that will please You. Tune my ears to recognize Your Voice, my mind to understand Your Words, and my heart to obey Your Ways. When I’m too exhausted to think clearly, in the silent night of my soul, speak to me. Tomorrow is sure to be another exhilarating day with more unexpected twists and turns.

Please go ahead of me. I’m utterly dependent on You to lead me through uncertain situations. It is vital that I remain in constant communication with Your Command Center by reading my Bible and praying. You know the way that will lead me to all the jewels of Jesus. Willingly, I’ll take Your strong right hand, walking through briars, thorns, and thickets. I won’t try to avoid pain, trouble and failure. Connected to You, they won’t hurt me.

Dear Lord, please give me the courage to hold on tightly, trusting that You know exactly where You’re taking me. Following Your reliable instructions, I’ll be secure and steadfast. Looking forward to the riches of heaven, eternity with You and everlasting happiness, my heart and lips will cheerfully sing a sweet song to the glory of Your dependable name. Amen.

I need God’s counsel for __________________________________________. Pray, asking Him for wisdom. Open Your Bible and listen to His Voice. Obey His instruction and He will reward You with divine insight – the Truth! Then, you, too, will know that He is trustworthy and dependable. Praise Him!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

River of Life

The angel showed me a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let each one who hears them say, “Come.” Let the thirsty ones come—anyone who wants to. Let them come and drink the water of life without charge. Rev. 22: 1, 17 NLT

Holy, Holy is my God Almighty
Holy is His Name Alone
Glorious River of Life,
There’s perfect peace in Your pristine presence. You are a steady stream of Living Water, gaily flowing down from above into my heart. You meander through the fearfully dark valleys of despair and blistering deserts of discouragement. Sometimes You’re a rushing torrent, other times a quiet trickle.

Thank You for the life saving invitation to come, drink and live. Seared by sin and suffering, parched by problems and pressure, and dehydrated by difficult dilemmas, I’m dying of thirst. Graciously, I come. Freely, I drink from the endless Glorious River of Life, Your Word, the Bible. As I spend time reading, reflecting and responding to it, let the Spirit of Truth fill me. With each sip of sacred Scripture, strengthen, sustain, and satisfy me. Open my eyes to see people who are dying of thirst, desperate for drink. Saturated with Your love and joy, I’ll eagerly invite them to come, drink and live at the Glorious River of Life. Amen.

Did you hear the Spirit of God say, “Come and drink the water of life?” He is expecting you! Go sip the sweetness of His Word. After you’ve been strengthened, sustained, and satisfied, go invite another sin scorched soul to come, drink and live. It’s an open invitation!

I will invite ___________________________________ to the Glorious River of Life today.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Extreme Challenge

Philippians 4: 6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

O Great God of Peace~
Humbly I come to You admitting my anxiety and fear. Facing an extreme challenge my stomach is bound in a bundle of knots! By faith, need to step out, buckle up to You, and grasp Your Word with all my might. With my adrenalin pumping, I need to deeply inhale Your sensational power in preparation for the dreadful drop of uncertainty ahead.

Together, we’ll wind through the nauseating twists and turns of trials and tribulations. In the dark tunnel of distress, I’ll scream out, tantalized by terror! You’ll hear the cry of my heart and bring me into the radiant light of Your presence. Suddenly, I’ll see and know that You were always right there beside me; holding me. The safety mechanisms of faith guarded me from danger.

Although I was scared to death, I’ll gladly go again for the sheer thrill of experiencing the joy of Your unexplainable power and peace. Confident of Your almighty protection, I’ll turn my problems to praise, my agony to adoration, and my worry to worship. You didn’t bring me this far to let me fall. I believe that You have a plan bigger than I can imagine around the next sharp bend. Please dear Lord, give me courage to face scary situations fearlessly trusting in the power of Your Almighty name. Amen.

What extreme challenge is God asking you to take? Don’t be afraid to step out, buckle up to Him and grasp His Word with all your might. Under His protection, you will experience the sensation of His peace and He will bless you with sheer joy as you experience His power!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Playing in the Pit

Psalm 40: 1-4
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust.

Faithful God,
I praise and adore Your Holy Word. If I would just slow down and talk to You through prayer, You would faithfully listen to me! If I would just turn around and face You, perusing my Bible, You would speak to me! The problem is I’m too busy wallowing in the ditch of despair. Up to my neck in mud and muck, I’m constantly trying to pull myself out of sticky situations. Unfortunately, the harder I try, the deeper I sink.

I need You, Jesus, to come to my rescue! Come, pull me out of the hopeless pit! Set my feet on solid ground. Wash away the slime of sin. Cleanse me from the miserable mire of my mistakes. Rinse away the froth of fear. Breathe new life into me. Put a joyful song in my heart. Steadily and securely, I’ll walk in Your ways, singing praises to the One who sought, found and saved me from severe destruction.

Please dear Lord, pay attention to my plea! Pick me up while I wait. Bless me with joy and peace to go where You send me in Your name, proclaiming the Way, the Truth and the Life. Amen.

Are you despondent in the ditch of despair, exhausted trying to dig your way out? Stop digging and wait for Him. Peruse your Bible and pray, asking for His help. Then, He will:
1) Pay attention to your plea
2) Pull you from the pit
3) Plant your feet on solid ground
4) Protect your steps
5) Put a joyful song in your mouth

Waiting patiently on the Lord will pick you up from your despair, causing you to praise Him. It will make you shine like the Son, lighting the way out of the pit for others who are up to their necks messy situations. In your current circumstances, are you grumbling or glistening for Him?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Whining in the Wilderness

Psalm 106:13-15
But it wasn't long before they forgot the whole thing, wouldn't wait to be told what to do. They only cared about pleasing themselves in that desert, provoked God with their insistent demands. He gave them exactly what they asked for— but along with it they got an empty heart. MSG

O Dear God!
It makes me sick to think how much I’m like the Israelites! I have seen Your mighty works! I too was a slave. Addictions, attractions and afflictions owned me. I was held captive by power, prestige, and possessions. Satisfaction, security, and significance seized me. The excruciating work was unending. I was hopeless and helpless until You came along and miraculously purchased me. Setting me free, You promised me a bigger, better and brighter future – a gloriously beautiful home in heaven, and a fortune beyond my imagination. I was eager and excited to pursue a new life with You.

Sadly, I’ve lost focus and forgot all that You’ve done for me. Wandering in the wilderness, I can no longer see heaven on the horizon. The hope I had for a great fortune is gone. I’ve lost sight of You and am unhappy. I don’t like the uncomfortable living conditions. It’s not what I expected. Sin, suffering and sorrow have scorched me. I’m parched by problems and pain. Kicking and screaming like a spoiled child, I want to go home! I crave the pleasures and treasures left behind. I can’t wait for You! I’m going to do it my way!

O God, have mercy on me for my little faith! I don’t want to be like the contentious Israelites! I see what happened to them. You gave them exactly what they asked for – but along with it they got an empty heart! Please don’t let my heart be empty! Fill it with to overflowing with Your love and power. Then, in the midst of my misery, I’ll rejoice and give thanks to You for accomplishing Your will in my life. I’ll be able to sing sweet songs of salvation in my sadness, and powerfully plead for patience during pain. Full of You, I’ll smile when I feel like crying and keep walking vigorously toward the heavenly home Your promised because of Jesus. Amen.

Are you like me, unable to wait while wandering in the wilderness? I encourage to you to make a list of all the miracles God has done for you. Carry it with you as you walk with Him and remember His promises! He didn’t promise it would be easy. He did promise to supply you with sufficient strength to endure all situations. Will you believe Him?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Satisfaction, Security, Significance

Phil 4: 11-13, 19
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Jehovah Jireh,
My Sufficient Supplier,
Thank You for showing me the secret to a satisfying life: Relying on your promises, looking for Your provision, and depending on Your power.

Satan tries to seduce me with human solutions to satisfaction, security and significance. Cleverly, he convinces me that I can’t be happy without certain possessions. Subtly, he persuades me that I’m insignificant without a prominent position. Masterfully, he manipulates me to look for respect and approval from powerful people. Cunningly, He confuses me, complicating my problems by making them seem bigger than really are. Discontent with who I am, where I’m going, and what I have, it’s tempting to reach into his bag of tricks for an instant, momentary solution.

The more I know You, the less likely I’ll be to buy into his smooth sales pitch. Full of Your wisdom, I’ll be wary of his gimmicks. Relying on Your promises, I’ll have a clear perspective. I’ll realize that trinkets and treasures can’t buy eternal pleasure, only Your precious blood can. Prominent positions aren’t as prestigious as they appear when I understand that all authority belongs to You. Suddenly, people I perceived to be strong will appear weak and unimportant. Abruptly, the dimension of my difficulties will diminish when I realize that they’re part of Your plan to purify and perfect me for a greater purpose.

I need to hang out with You more frequently reading Your Word, praying ceaselessly, and socializing with other believers. Then, I’ll be able to rest on Your promises. Knowing who You are will supply me with the satisfaction, security and significance I’m seeking. I’ll be content when I believe that I am who You say I am: Your beloved child, an heir to an unimaginable inheritance. I’ll be satisfied knowing where You’re taking me: heaven, my glorious, eternally beautiful home. And, while I wait, I’ll be happy with what You’ve given me: peace, provision and a quiet place for my soul to patiently rest.

Please help me to be joyful and thankful in all circumstances believing that You’ll generously supply all my needs in the name of Jesus, Your Son. Amen.

What are you relying on today for your source of satisfaction, security and significance?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Seeking God

Lamentations 3:25-26
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

Merciful Lord,
I’m thankful for Your on-going instruction on how to wait for You. When I feel lost and alone, I shouldn’t grumble, complain or make a lot of noise. Rather, I should be still, silently expecting You to lead me to the good fortune I’m seeking.

You’ll open up the sacred Treasure Chest of Scripture when we’re alone together. Diligently, I’ll dig through it perusing each costly command and precious promise. While I wait, I’ll ponder them, prayerfully asking You, the Owner, perplexing questions. In response, You’ll give me a complete understanding of Your amazing grace and incredible love. I’ll discover that there is nothing more valuable than Your priceless blood that purchased my pardon. Accepting it will prosper me with glorious power to endure problems and pressures peacefully. Carrying the bright and beautiful jewels of power, peace and patience in my heart will illuminate the Way through the darkness of difficulty to heaven where I can anticipate living happily ever after with You.

Jesus, You are the Good Fortune that I seek. In You, are all the riches of heaven that will satisfy the deepest desires of my heart. Please give me more patience to seek You while I wait for the glory of Your name. Amen.

What are you seeking while you wait for your trial to end?

I encourage you to peruse your Bible for God’s commands and promises while you wait. Examine them carefully. Cover them in prayer. When you do, you’ll discover the Good Fortune you’ve always been seeking and be satisfied.

Jeremiah 29: 13-14
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

While Waiting

Psalm 37:1-9
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

Patient Teacher,
I’m overwhelmed by the secrets You share with me when I open my Bible and my heart. Your Word corrects my wayward thinking. All these years I’ve been waiting for passing pleasures. Fame and fortune will fade. Good health will eventually wilt and wither. Beauty will flee like a dying flower. The hustle and bustle will come to a screeching halt when I appear before Your holy throne. In the meantime, I’m waiting in the outer courts to see You. In the classroom of my heart You tell me precisely how to be productive while I wait. This is a difficult lesson for my stubborn soul. Please help me to practice until I can perform it beautifully for You.

While I wait, I should:

  • Believe that You’ll be faithful to Your promises (v3)
  • Do good deeds (v3)
  • Remain in the place where You put me without wandering off or wishing for greener pastures (v3)
  • Enjoy Your provision and protection (v3)
  • Hang out with You, enjoying your friendship as I read Your Word and pray (v4)
  • Hand over everything to You – my life, my family, my job, and my possessions – with confident expectation that You will care for them better than I can (v5)
  • Be calm and quiet in the waiting room – no grumbling and complaining about the long wait! (v7)
  • Never be envious, angry, or anxious (v1, 7, 8)

For practicing patience, You promise to give me the desires of my heart – a deeper, more intimate relationship with You. You are the only Way to peace and everlasting happiness! While I wait, You promise to sustain me and keep me safe. You’ll make me glow with the purity and warmth of the Son. Please help me practice relying on Your loving kindness and sovereignty. I’ll perform beautifully, for You my King, by trusting in Your power, protection and provision day by day. Waiting won’t be a waste of time, but a worthwhile investment in the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

What will you do while you wait?

Wow! God taught me several lessons today that will require a lot of extra practice to perform!

1. It’s easy to desire someone else’s fame, fortune, health or lifestyle. I need to learn to be content where I am, with the things I have.

2. Caught in the hustle and bustle of the world, I realized that my irritation and anxiety while waiting in traffic, doctor offices, and airports is a waste of energy. While I’m huffing and puffing about the situation, I could practice praying!

3. Often, I pursue passing pleasures, without even pondering God’s promises!

Minutes after I wrote this, I went to the post office to buy some stamps. I walked in and noticed that the guy in front of me had about six huge boxes to ship! With a big sigh and roll of my eyes, I huffed out the door to the self-service stamp machine. I was not happy!

Two hours later, I found myself in a line at the grocery store with a seemingly incompetent cashier. Again, I found myself irritated and annoyed! Aware of my attitude, I began to pray for her.

This is going to be difficult journey!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Live Intentionally

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

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

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

On a beautiful September morning six years ago, an unimaginable tragedy came out of the blue crumbling lives in the blink of an eye. You just don’t know when your life will be interrupted by a tragic event. It is imperative that you live each day like it’s your last. Don’t miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Give someone a hug today. Call a friend. Be a friend. You too, could find your life suddenly shattered.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Life's Speedway

Psalm 130:5-6
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

I admit I’m a most impatient child! Even though You promise special blessings for those who quietly wait, it’s a very difficult assignment for me! I’m living in a fast-paced world where we drive fast cars through fast food restaurants, gobbling the grub as we speed down the freeway. Instant cash at ATM’s and instant information on the internet provide for instant gratification. And I wonder why waiting is hard!

Please dear Lord, slow me down! I want off this race track! Rather than speeding to keep up with everyone else, worrying about my security, career and relationships, I want to deliberately depend on Your provision and protection. Instead of pursuing power, prestige, and possessions for pleasure, I want to down shift, allowing You to take me to everlasting happiness. Zooming through life I miss out on opportunities to serve You; consequently, also losing the rich rewards You pay Your workers.

At break-neck speed my perception is poor and my vision distorted as in the darkness of night. I simply can’t see clearly! Going at a slower, safer speed I’ll begin to see You for who You really are: loving, kind and reliable. I’ll come to depend on You for power, provision and protection. I’ll learn to trust Your principles, promises and purposes. Concentrating on Your goodness, I’ll find peace and hope in Your Word, the Bible.

Please fill me with patience to endure the long, silent night of my soul, eagerly expecting the definitive morning when the Son will rise and warm my heart with heavenly hope for Your namesake. Amen.

Most of us are waiting for something – a promotion or pay increase, a diagnosis or cure, the death of a loved one, a trial and verdict, a wayward child to come home, to overcome an addiction or bad habit, to win the lottery or lose a few pounds, for a voice at Verizon to pick up the phone or a computer to respond …

What are you waiting for? Are you impatient, like me, trying to devise your own schemes and plans to get ahead? I encourage you to slow down and go with God. In His Word you will find the only Way to peace and everlasting happiness.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Way to the Throne

Romans 12:1
Give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. NLT

Thank You, Lord, for showing me the secret path to the high throne of heaven. It is not through weeping or working. It isn’t through studying or serving. Offering my time without heartfelt devotion is inadequate. Presenting my talent without wholehearted dedication is insufficient. Halfheartedly giving my treasure out of obligation is inappropriate. You don’t want religious ceremonies and showy performances. The only walkway to the peace, contentment and security of a throne-life is to follow You with all my heart.

It will please You when, by faith, I humbly come to the foot of the cross admitting my faults and failures allowing the bond of Your blood to fix and fortify me. Realizing the high price You paid to correct my defects will give me a deeper desire to walk Your way. I’ll willingly give up family, friends and freedom in order to spend time getting to know You better. The more I know You, the more readily I’ll abandon my ambitions in order to do Your will. Forfeiting my comfortable lifestyle and social status to suffer hardship will perfect my faith, make me shine purer and brighter, and draw others to You.

Believing that I am who You say I am: a chosen child who is holy and blameless in Your sight, today I choose to freely set aside my dreams and desires to follow You to the throne room of heaven where I’ll have access to Your almighty power, divine authority and perfect guidance. Claiming my proper position beside You, my eyes will constantly be drawn to You, my strength will only come from You, and my actions will be wholly pleasing to Your name. Hallelujah! Amen.

God is ready and willing to show you the way to the throne room of heaven where you will find peace, contentment, and security in all circumstances. He promises to share the secret path with the humble. (Psalm 25:9, 14)

He doesn’t care how much you weep or work; study or serve. He doesn’t care how good or bad you’ve been. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor; neat or unkempt. All He wants is your whole heart devoted to following Him wherever He goes at any cost.

David Wilkerson writes, “This is the sacrifice every believer must make if He is to know the mind of God. The Lord never shares his plans with those who hold onto their own devices. Why would He direct anyone who’s determined to go their own way?”

“Dear saint, the throne room is now open to you. Accept what Christ has done, and boldly take your position with him, by faith. He accepts your resigned will. Now, ask Him to open the eyes of your understanding. And confess, ‘I believe what the Lord says about me: that I’m a conquering prince. I also believe that I’m where He says I am: in the throne room of heaven. I’m sitting with Him in a place of authority over all of Satan’s works. Hallelujah, Amen.”

World Challenge Inc., Publications, Time Square Pulpit Series August 2, 2004

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Privileged Position

Ephesians 1:17-20, 2:6
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you: the riches of his glorious inheritance, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

O Glorious Father, how I love the words You speak to me. They are music to my ears. Buried beneath busyness and brokenness, I fail to remember my privileged and powerful position. Because You lovingly chose and adopted me, I am seated with You on the high throne of heaven where You rule over everything from galaxies to governments. No name and no power are exempt from Your almighty authority. You are in charge of it all, and have the final word on everything – always and forever. O Lord, give me deeper intelligence and insight into Who You are.

Flood my heart with light so that I can plainly see the rich and glorious treasures of heaven that belong to me, Your chosen child. Help me to understand and appropriate the greatness of Your almighty power at all times. The same force that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at Your right hand is available to me. Unleash it in me, O Lord, so that I can resist evil, overcome temptation, and continually live in the peaceful, pleasant prosperity of Your presence.

When everything around me seems to be falling apart, help me to remember my high position next to Your throne in heaven. By faith, I will access Your authority and appropriate Your power, trusting that You who controls the cosmos and commanders will work out the details for my good and Your glory. Hallelujah! Amen.

God has given you a heavenly position and you can live a throne-life. His Word says, that He has chosen and adopted You (Ephesians 1:4,5) and seated You with Jesus in the heavenly realms where You can live contentedly. He didn’t set you there to live a joyless, despairing life under the enemy’s foot, but to live freely, victoriously and happily no matter your circumstances.

Ask the Lord to give you a fresh revelation of Who He is. Ask Him to open the eyes of your heart and show you His treasures. He promises to give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you may know that He is the Lord who calls you by name (Isaiah 45:3). He longs to give you power to crush the enemy under YOUR foot. Ask Him for it and begin living a throne-life.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Godly Laughter

Ephesians 5:4, 17
Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. Understand what the Lord wants you to do. NLT

Thank You God my Father for clearly differentiating between appropriate laughter and inappropriate laughter. In Your home there is no tolerance for vulgarity.

Laughing at obscene stories, foolish talk and coarse jokes is forbidden. Unfortunately, the world we live in is full of entertainment that is morally repugnant. The movie and television industry either makes comedy of that which is holy, right, and good, or has us cracking-up at the crude, profane, and disgusting. Magazines promote passion and pleasure, while radio blares blaspheme. This momentary humor is merely a short-lived vapor that passes quickly, leaving a void in the soul that will lead to the brink of destruction. Forgive me for finding this kind of filth funny.

Godly laughter on the other hand is an expression of our heartfelt appreciation for the generous gifts You’ve so graciously given us. As we hang out with You in Bible study and prayer, we’ll be entertained with wholesome stories that will build up our character. We’ll be amused and amazed by Your transforming touch of greatness on our lives. We’ll laugh at things that are good, right and true. Encouraging words that are lovely and admirable will put a smile on our face and a song in our heart. This life-giving laughter will fill the hole in our heart with love, joy, and peace that will lead us to everlasting hope.

Please dear Lord, give me a deeper appreciation for the good gifts You’ve given me. Help me to avoid being amused by immorality, and anoint my lips with praiseworthy words that will make a soul stooped over from the weight of sorrow smile because of Jesus. Amen.

Laughter speaks louder than words. Can people recognize that you are from the family of God by the things that make you laugh?

Be careful to understand the difference between biblical laughter and worldly laughter. One brings Him the glory, the other defamation.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Time to Laugh and A Time to Cry

Ecclesiastes 3:4
There is a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance.

Loving Father-
Thank You for divinely appointing times to weep and mourn, as well as, times to laugh and dance. When everything around me seems to be falling apart, the only way to find stability and security, peace and joy is to climb up on Your great big lap, pour out my heart, and trust You to work out the details for my good and Your glory.

You are the Creator of tears. They are absolutely precious to You! Collecting them in a bottle, You carefully record each and every one of them in Your book. I’m worn out from sobbing and You know it. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with tears because contemptible people blatantly disobey and disrespect You. Overwhelmed by the heavy weight of the burdens You’ve laid on my back, tears have become my steady diet while proud people knock on my door wondering where in the world You are. Overcome by pain and problems, I cry out to You for grace and mercy. Amazingly, in the midst of total chaos and confusion, You hear my heart-shattered soul weeping for release, and come to my rescue.

Lovingly You pick up my crushed spirit, carrying me into Your splendid home. Trusting You to tenderly wipe away my tears, my multitude of hurts begin to heal. Gradually, You fill the hole in my heart with love and laughter. With the anguish gone, I can jubilantly jump down from Your great big lap to dance, laugh, and celebrate Your love that is better than life. My lips glorify You, O Lord, the Creator of laughter and tears, who graciously restores broken hearts for the glory of Your name. Amen.

There is a time to weep and mourn, and a time to laugh and dance.

Read through the Psalms and look at the sorrows that made this man after God’s own heart weep: He mourns over sin – his own, as well as, the sins of others; in physical anguish, when his bones are crushed, he agonizingly pours out his heart to His Father in heaven; distressed in times of loss, defeat and discouragement he expresses heartfelt sadness. There is an appropriate time to weep and mourn.

On the other hand, God doesn’t want us to constantly sulk. He created laughter and dancing and ordered time for them too. The Psalms are full of appropriate times for laughter and dancing – usually after deliverance. Discover them and let your heart sing.

While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Hebrews 5:7