Friday, November 30, 2007

Praise Him For Who He Is

Psalm 34:1-3
I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.

O Loving Lord,
My heart throbs every time I bless Your beautiful name! In awe of Your splendor and majesty, I deeply inhale joyful praise and slowly puff out sweet, long-lasting adoration. You are the pure air I breathe, O God.

My soul yearns to brag about Your greatness:

Your holy love is deeper than the massive oceans.
Your divine wisdom is higher than majestic mountains.
Your mighty power is stronger than the thrashing waves of the sea.
Your unending mercy expands to the ends of the earth.
Your perfect peace is quieter than a whispering summer breeze.
Your exuberant joy twinkles brighter than the brightest star.
Your incomparable goodness is exceedingly greater than the fruitful farmlands.
Your infinite faithfulness is more trustworthy than the dawning of the day.
Your continuous forgiveness flows like a cool refreshing mountain stream.
Your wondrous grace is more awesome than the spacious skies.

There is none like You, O Lord. Thank You for giving me a vision of Your holiness. In the light of Your radiant glory, sorrow and suffering diminish, fear and shame disappear, and turmoil and restlessness dissipate, lost in the magnificent celebration of Your beautiful name. With thanksgiving, we bow down and worship You for Who You are. O how we exalt and glorify You because of Your Almighty, All-Powerful, Everlasting name! Amen.

Spend the day gazing of God’s beauty. What do you see? Make a list of His admirable characteristics. With a thankful heart, praise Him for Who He is all day long. Watch your heart lighten beneath praise and adoration.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Blessed Persecution

Matthew 5:10-12
Jesus said, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven." Jesus, Generous Giver of Great Gifts,Thank You for the promise of bountiful blessing when I choose to do what is right to follow You.

The kingdom of heaven is mine! A great reward awaits me in heaven! Hallelujah!

I admit that I am fearful of harassment, criticism, and rejection. It frightens me to be tested, ridiculed and mocked. It scares me to be scorned, criticized, and misunderstood. I’m afraid of being spat upon and beaten. Fear of man is the obstacle that hinders me from making right choices.

I want to live a life pleasing to You. I desire the rich, abundant treasure You promise in heaven. It’s mine to keep forever! Breathe fresh power on me. I want to serve You, my Master, with wholehearted devotion. I want to diligently work the fields, plant the seeds, water the crop, weed the thorns, and reap the harvest for You. I want to conscientiously serve You even when the scorching summer sun is searing my soul, and the wicked winter winds are wildly whistling, "worry". I want to have the heart and resilience of beautiful Queen Esther who in the midst of her difficult circumstances said, "If I perish, I perish."

I know how the story ends! If I thoroughly do my job, I will receive a fortune beyond my imagination when I arrive at my destination in the kingdom of heaven. People may think they’ve killed me, but when You call my name and I arise to claim my priceless prize, they will watch in bewildered wonder. Please give me a resilient Spirit so that I can focus on the end of the story and the riches of Your glory. Amen.

Claim the two promises: the kingdom of heaven, and a great reward. They are yours when you set aside your fears and courageously labor for the Lord. What is He asking you to do? It may involve a whole lot of effort, sacrifice and risk. He gave His life for you. Are you willing to give your life for Him? The rich rewards are only for those who obey and endure hardships.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Blessed Forgiveness

Romans 4:7-8
Blessed are they
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man
whose sin the Lord will never count against him.

Blessed Redeemer,
I believe You are the Most High and Holy Judge. Thank You for accepting my pitiful plea and declaring me “not guilty.” I’m so blessed! Humbly, I’m brought to my knees because of Your incredibly merciful verdict.

Overwhelming joy pours from my heart because Jesus, my Perfect Defender has served my death sentence for me. I believe my rebellious, deliberate, stubborn sins are forgiven and forgotten forever. I’m confident my daily unintentional, accidental sins will never be counted against me. Blessed assurance! Thankfully, I trust You to make me right in Your sight.

Breathe on me, Holy Spirit. Guide me with love and wisdom. Subdue my stubborn will. Tame my temptations. Control my conduct. Heal my hurts. Right my wrongs. And, put a smile on my face today that reflects the joy in my heart because my defiant disobedience has been redeemed by One blessed deal for the praise of Your glorious name. Amen.

If you have nothing else to smile about today, be happy that your sins are forgiven and forgotten forever. That’s worth celebrating!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Continuous Praise

Hebrews 13:15
Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.

Blessed Lord Jesus,
O how I love the sweet sound of Your beautiful name! I’m utterly devoted to You because You saved me from hell and total annihilation. Not only that, but You presented me flawless before the glorious throne of my Most High God. You’ve made me indescribably pure, completely blameless, absolutely acceptable and extremely wise. I ought to be struck dead at Your feet, but You’ve put a spring in my step, a song in my heart, a smile on my face and given me a zest for living. The least I can do is continually praise You, even when it’s excruciatingly difficult.

It ought to be a joy and delight to praise Your glorious name forever and ever! Not only when all is well. Not just when I’m perfectly healthy and sound. Not only when my bills are paid and there’s food on the table. But, it is an incredible honor to stand by faith worshipping You during pain and poverty, crisis and confusion, desperation and disaster. In tough times when my heart can sing of Your great love, there is increased peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as my sorrow turns to sheer joy in Your presence.

Help me to continually focus and determinedly place my faith in You and You alone. I want to give you my unlimited, unrestrained affection! I want to build my faith on strong determined confidence in You, my Blessed Lord Jesus. Focused on You, I won’t be able to fear or doubt. My life will be a lovely hymn of adoration resulting from my perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief in You, my Blessed Lord Jesus whom I love with all my heart. Amen.

Think of the despicable shortfall of faith we exhibit during difficult times. Then, think of what Jesus has done for you. You deserve to die. You deserve eternal suffering. But, He has given you life abundantly. If you’re alive because of Him, ask Him put a spring in your step, a song in your heart, a smile on your face, and give you a zest for glorious living. Then, you will be a living sacrifice of constant praise.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Up From the Grave

John 11:38-44

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "Take away the stone," he said.
"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."

Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

God Over the Graveyard,
I’m overwhelmed by the length You go to show Your children how much You love them! You couldn’t stand to see me decaying in a cold, dark cave so You come to me, at just the right time, when the world was watching.

Compassionately, You ordered the tomb stone taken away. Unconcerned with the putrid smell of death, You cared only about me. It bothered You deeply that I was lay in a heap of ruins because of my sin sick soul. Stepping into the stinking shadow of our tomb, You loudly called me to come out. Hearing Your thunderous voice, I arose and came to You, tightly bound by bandages.

Risen from the dead by One voice, I trusted You to graciously breathe new life into me, revive my depraved spirit, and make me right in Your sight. Those watching witnessed a miracle as the ripped rags around me immediately unwrapped. Free from the bondage of my past, I’m compelled to go rescue the wrecked remains of others who are slowly decomposing in the same grim grave that once contained my own stiff corpse.

Please give me faith to believe that I will see Your glory when I hang out around the cemetery. Show me someone crying for release today. No matter who they are, or what they’ve done, I’ll eagerly walk in and set them free with the power of Your glorious redeeming name. Amen.

Realizing the sacrifice Christ made to step into the grave and redeem you, are you willing to hang out at the cemetery looking and listening for someone crying from the depth of their grave for release? The cemetery containing spiritually dead people is all around you. When you see and hear the cry, will you argue with Jesus like Mary about the stench, or will you compassionately go in despite the strong smell of sin and save souls for Him?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Blessed Be The Name of the Lord

1 Chronicles 29:35
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.

O Lord, It is a joy to give thanks and bless Your glorious name!

Truthful Teacher, I’m overwhelmed by the truths You teach with me when I open my Bible and my heart. Thank You for correcting my wayward thinking.

Healer of Hearts, there is no Doctor like You in heaven or on earth! Thank You for transplanting Your heart into mine, healing me and giving me a vivacious new life full of love and strength.

Almighty Attorney, You defend me from the allegations brought against me by proud people with personal agendas. Thank You for standing up for me.

Narrator of Life Changing Love Stories, You have written the brilliant biography of my life - a fantastic novel of drama, power, romance, and intrigue. Thank You for my life story.

King of Compassion, approaching Your divine throne, I’m overwhelmed by Your kindness. Your mercy and justice take my breath away. Thank You for your compassion.

Sufficient Supplier, You show me the secret to a satisfying life: Relying on your promises, looking for Your provision, and depending on Your power. Thank You for satisfying the desires of my heart.

Great God who governs from beyond the galaxies, You are the Mighty Magistrate righteously ruling and reigning over all the earth. Patiently, You pardon people who plea with You. Thank You for Your righteousness.

Irresistible Lover of My Soul, You light up my life, making my heart happy. You are absolutely precious to me! Thank You for loving me intimately.

Victorious Lord, You’re the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Blessed Angels. I celebrate the sweet victory You’ve given me through Jesus Christ. Thank you for the glorious conquest!

Indescribable Light, because You made Your home in my heart the Light is always on. Darkness has disappeared and I never have to stumble again. Thank You for releasing me from darkness.

Negotiator of Great Deals, the bargain You made for me is unbelievable! You’d serve my death sentence so that I could be free. Thank You for defending, saving, and freeing me.

Good and Gentle Shepherd, You are my powerful Protector and one and only Owner. O how Your sweet voice resonates deep within the inner ear of my soul. Thank You for taking care of me.

Prepare your heart for worship this weekend, by perusing your Bible and thinking about Who God is to you. Thank Him for Who He is.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Psalm 107:22
Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving
and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.

Father in Heaven,
As a gesture of appreciation for Your miraculous mercy toward me, I’ll joyfully show the world the wonder of Your amazing love by:

Self-expenditure – I’ll gladly abandon my own dreams for absolute loyalty to You, determinedly following You wherever You lead.

Attitude of gratitude – I’ll quickly and gratefully stamp out my personal agenda in order to enliven a broken heart.

Crucifixion of self – Deliberately, I’ll kill my spirit of intolerance and indifference in order to allow You to freely work through me to do anything You choose.

Radical love – Because of the extravagant love You’ve shown me, I’ll readily demonstrate extreme compassion to those outcast by society.

Immediate obedience – Out of fear and respect of Your almighty authority, I’ll willingly do any assignment You give me without hesitating or complaining.

Full devotion – Attached to no one but You, I’ll notice the people and situations that burden You.

Individuality broken – In order to effectively aid and assist You, I’ll allow You to crush me and shape me into Your perfect image.

Challenge – I’ll intentionally accept assignments that may be beyond my mental and physical abilities, fully trusting You to energize and equip me.

Endurance – The power of Your Word, coupled with praise and prayer will strengthen me.

Thank You, Lord for filling me with the sweet aroma of Your love. Let my life pleasantly emulate Your essence this holiday season, attracting others to Your fine fragrance because of Jesus. Amen.

God gave up His Son for Your benefit, ask Him what He wants You to give up for His benefit this holiday season. Then, obey immediately, without hesitating or complaining, cheerfully offering Him your sacrifice with a thankful heart.

O. Chambers writes in My Utmost For His Highest: We know something is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it immediately. If we are to climb to the height God reveals, it can never be done later – it must be done now … Always guard against self-chosen service for God … God chose the test for Abraham, and Abraham neither delayed nor protested, but steadily obeyed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Almighty, All-bountiful, All-gracious God,
It’s sheer pleasure to worship You with heartfelt adoration and undivided attention. Your unfailing love has put a song in my heart, a spring in my step and a smile on my face. I believe that You are Lord, my God, Creator of everything. Thank You for making me intricately and uniquely with Your strong hands. I’m Your most valuable possession. O, how I praise You!

My Good and Gentle Shepherd, knowing You intimately is the greatest joy and blessing. Your voice is music to my ears. Willingly, I follow You. With steadfast devotion, You lead me to the lush, rolling meadows in my Bible where I can devour the rich delicacy of Your Word. Faithfully, You guide me through barren deserts to refreshing streams of Living Water that quench my thirsty soul. Along the way, You staunchly defend me from the wolves of sin and temptation that hound me. Thank You for protecting and providing for me.

With unbridled excitement, I enter the heavenly gate and come into the safety of Your beautiful sanctuary. My thankful heart, tells of Your tender kindness and continuous mercy. I sing of Your infinite goodness and everlasting compassion. Your enduring love has set my feet a dancing. O how I love and worship You for all You’ve done for me, Jesus, my Wonderful Savior, Redeemer and Friend. Amen

Prepare your heart for Thanksgiving, by pondering God’s goodness. Make a list of all the gifts He’s given you. Thank Him for each one, offering Him a sacrifice praise!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Keys to the Kingdom

Hebrews 12:28
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.

Holy and Awesome God-
Your splendor and majesty are breathtaking! My imagination’s running wild! I picture You seated on a glowing, golden throne high above the earth. I’m spellbound by the brilliant train of glory surrounding You.

It’s a treat for my mind's eye to visualize Your majestic kingdom as my heavenly home. I eagerly anticipate the jubilant celebration as thousands and thousands of adoring angels encircle You in beautiful worship. My heart is flooded with overwhelming joy as my name is read from the Lamb’s Book of Life. With all due respect, I confidently rise and approach the throne of grace hand-in-hand with my Best Friend, Jesus, Your Son. He presents me to You as pious, perfect and pure. Lovingly, You open Your arms wide, welcoming me to stay in the most elegant, enormous mansion my eyes have ever seen because of my relationship with Him. The keys to heaven are handed to me! It’s a gift too wonderful for words, too great to grasp!

Knowing You deeply, intimately, and personally is a joy and an honor. Because Your unshakable kingdom is in me, I’m stuck on You. When the fragile world around me is shaken and shattered, I won’t fall apart. Instead, with reverent awe, I’ll cling to You, praising You as the King who reigns with triumphant power in my heart. Your kingdom is mine forever and ever because of Jesus. Hallelujah! Amen.

The unshakable kingdom of God is in you too. Worship His Majesty with thanksgiving, in honor of all that He’s given you – a promised home in His heavenly kingdom where you’ll live happily ever after! Imagine it!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Single-Minded Devotion

2 Corinthians 11: 3, 4
I fear that somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent. You seem to believe whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach about a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

Truthful Father-
You are teaching me how important it is to carefully listen to Your instruction and know Your Voice. How can I detect false teachers if I don’t know the Truth myself? Because ignorance makes me vulnerable to deception, I need to urgently grow in the knowledge of Your Word so that I won’t make foolish mistakes and be misled.

From this day forward, I will be an honest seeker and biblical scholar by diligently studying the Holy Scriptures. As I do, fill me with divine knowledge and wisdom so that my devotion will remain pure, sincere and simple. Protect me from smooth-talkers who have a message that sounds good and makes sense. Hearts are full of deceit. I need to be on guard, always verifying the Truth by searching my Bible. Your Word alone will be my authoritative guide.

There are so many confusing distractions around me, threatening to side track my faith. Just as Eve lost her focus in the Garden of Eden by the sly and slippery serpent who twisted the truth, things cleverly disguised as good and moral can fool me too. Satan and his servants are the master’s of disguise. Give me eyes to see through their charades in the Church, as they masquerade as godly ministers. Hide the Truth in my heart so that I will not fall for their schemes.

Lord, with all my heart I want to be single-mindedly devoted to You, believing the One and Only Truth, Jesus Christ through whom I pray. Amen.

What are you doing to ensure you know the Truth and are not led astray by false teachers? They really are quite clever and cunning, and they are everywhere. John the Beloved warns us, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Don’t listen to any “authoritative preacher” who contradicts the Word of God.

Jesus’ warning is loud and clear, “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (Matthew 24:4, 11)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

God Is Near

Deuteronomy 4:7-8
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?

Governing God!
Thank You for this great nation, the United States of America. Who are we that You should choose to shed Your grace on us? What other nation is so great to have their gods near to them the way You are near to us when we seek Your face and pray? We are fortunate that our founding fathers built this nation on Your sacred laws. Forgive us for taking the freedom to fellowship with You for granted.

While You have blessed us with an amazing heritage unlike any other nation in the world, we are a nation in captivity to our own prosperity. In our liberty, we’ve made light of Your greatness and become greedy. Forgetting the enormous price You paid for us, we’ve left Your commands subtly slip from our hearts. Contemptuously, we’ve added to them and taken away from them to satisfy our lustful desires. We’ve become arrogant, defiant, and down right disobedient! Have mercy on us, O God!

Many courageous men and women have fought to keep America free so that we can worship You. For their sake and Yours may we turn around, look back, and remember ancient history. You bless those who are obedient and punish those who are blatantly defiant. Today, I ask that as a nation we would be still and remember that You are God – exalted above the nations! You’re still in control, Your sacred laws still apply, and You’re still near to those who call on You because of Jesus. Alleluia. Amen.

As a nation we’ve been absolutely blessed because our founding fathers had faith, wisdom and understanding to build on God’s laws. There is no other nation in entire the world like ours. Yet, bit by bit, the foundation is disintegrating because we fail to seek God’s face and take advantage of the amazing freedom we have to fellowship with Him.

Today, take time to be still before God. Pray that our leaders would respect the sacred ancient laws on which this great nation was built. Seek Him for our land.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Hypocrite Like Me

Matthew 23:27-28
Jesus said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Holy Instructor and Informer,
Sometimes Your teaching really hurts and today is one of those times. I’m reminded just how much I’m like the Pharisees. I have a lot of head knowledge that hasn’t been transferred to my heart because there’s a stiff neck in between. I’m often so busy trying to do the right thing that I’m ignorant of the most important thing - my relationship with You. Forgive me for trying to look good outwardly, when inwardly my heart is a wrecked and rotting tomb.

Because I love and adore You, I want a humble heart like Yours. With an impartial heart, I’ll drop all pretenses in order to treat others with dignity and respect. Gently shaped by Your hands of compassion, my double-standards will vanish beneath a generous flow of forgiveness. Twisted and turned toward You, the important things of the law--justice, mercy, and faith--will matter more to me than redundant religious activity.

My callused heart has long been contaminated by criticism and condemnation. Disinfect it with a strong solution of kindness and compassion. My corrupt mind has been polluted by the mega media’s negative worldview. Sanitize it with a potent potion of prayer and praise. With a pure heart and clean mind my neck won’t be so stiff and sore. Instead, I’ll be supple, sincere and sensitive, satisfying You the Teacher and Transformer of my soul. Amen.

We’re all hypocrites capable of putting on a brilliant display of many seemingly harmless evils. Noticing the shortcomings of others, we skillfully twist our views, turning them into comments of ridicule and criticism, instead of prayer and praise.

God’s Word says, “If you think you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors.” Romans 2:1,2 MSG

Turn toward Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to replace your hypocrisy with Christlike humility and honesty. With a radically changed heart, the important things of the law--justice, mercy, and faith--will matter more than religious activity.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Stiff-necked People

Deuteronomy 9: 13-14, 17
And the LORD said to me, "I have seen this people, and they are a stiff-necked people indeed! Let me alone, so that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven.”

So I took the two tablets and threw them out of my hands, breaking them to pieces before your eyes.

O Sovereign Lord,
There’s a striking similarity between ancient Israel and the corrupt, rebellious and unruly world today. Our nation is in terrible shape! The Sacred Laws that You inscribed with Your fingers have been deliberately broken. Your Holy Name has been desecrated. With You out of sight and out of mind, we’ve become a country full of senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless fools who expect blessing despite our defiant disobedience.

O Lord, stir up in me a heart like Moses. He knew You intimately; therefore, he knew what was on Your heart and mind. He knew how angry You were over the blatant misconduct of his nation. Twice, he spent 40 days and 40 nights alone in Your holy presence, passionately interceding, fasting, and crying out for You to spare his people from annihilation. He believed with all his heart that You would answer him, and didn’t leave Your presence for any reason until You responded to his urgent appeal.

Lord, I can’t spend 40 minutes fasting and praying, let alone 40 days and 40 nights! Have mercy on me! Radically change my heart, O God. Draw me into the same kind of deep love relationship that Moses had with You. I want to be so enamored with You, that I’ll desire to spend endless hours in Your presence without thinking for one minute about food or drink. Fully possessed by You, I’ll fervently plea to You to spare this nation from complete obliteration. With One heart and One mind, I won’t give up until You answer me. Lord, teach me to diligently pray with enthusiasm and expectation so that Your name will be blessed in my homeland. Amen.

Dr. Henry Blackaby asks, “What kind of praying have we been doing to lead our nation to the mess we’re in?” What changes need to be made in Your life so that God can work through you?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Worship Before Work

Revelation 2:2-5
Jesus said:
“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me again and work as you did at first. If you don’t, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.” NLT

O Precious Lord, Who knows all and sees all,
Thank You for speaking directly to my humble heart. Nothing goes unnoticed by Your holy eyes. You see my labor of love and enduring perseverance. You know how hard I try to avoid impropriety. With all my heart, I seek the truth, steering clear of liars. Without complaining, I put up with the harassment of belligerent people. You’re aware that it’s exceedingly difficult to live morally in this corrupt culture where personal choices and alternative lifestyles are not only acceptable, but also tolerated. Graciously, You praise me for doing what’s right in Your eyes.

On the other hand, You also notice that my worship has been deluded by works. My love for You and others has grown cold. In the struggle to maintain sound teaching and moral and doctrinal purity, I’ve taken for granted Who You are. I’ve placed the significance of service above my affection and adoration for You. More concerned with what I do for You than who I am to You, I’ve fallen away from You. My usefulness is diverted and my testimony is tarnished.

Thank You for shining the light of Your Word on my heart. Broken and ashamed, I come back to the Cross. Falling on my knees, I admit how far I’ve backslid in my love relationship with You. Forgive me for spending endless energy on activities while neglecting passionate, prolonged time in prayer and studying Your Word. Lord with all my heart, mind, soul and strength I want to make You my priority again. Consumed with You my joy and zeal will return, allowing me to effectively shine Your light of love on others.

O Lord, that I may love You more today than yesterday and that my light would burn brightly before man for the glory of Your holy name. Amen.

O. Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest, October 19: The great enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ today is the idea of practical work that has no basis in the New Testament but comes from the systems of the world. The work insists upon endless energy and activities, but no private life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing … In our Lord’s life there was none of the pressure and the rushing of tremendous activity that we regard so highly today, and a disciple is to be like his Master. The central point of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship with Him, not public usefulness to others.

Have you put work ahead of worship? I challenge you to stop and evaluate what you’re doing. Is your relationship with the Living Lord right? If not, the command is clear, “Turn back to Him again and work as you did at first.” If you choose to disobey, the consequence is clear, “I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.”

What did you do when Jesus first found you?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Turn Around

Matthew 4:17
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

2 Timothy 4:3-4
The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth.

God of Wonders,
I marvel at the power of Your Voice. Thank You for opening my spiritual ears to hear the very first word out of Your mouth to believers, “Repent!” I hear You commanding the Church and me to turn around. We’re going in the wrong direction! We don’t listen or pay attention to You, but follow the stubborn inclination of our misguided hearts.

We don’t want to admit the depth from which we’ve fallen. We no longer love You, or our brothers and sisters. We bicker, squabble and argue over insignificant matters when we should be falling on our knees in unity of mind and soul praying for radical change. We use not only our hearts, but our sanctuaries as a front to worship our manmade gods.

Our leaders are feeding us a pack of sugar-coated lies and we swallow them because we don’t open our Bibles and seek the Truth. Afraid we won’t come back if we know the reality of our depravity, we’re not taught to obey Your rules. We’d rather praise and dance than fall on our face in reverent fear of You. The Church You set apart for holy worship has become a place to carry out our outrageous sacrilege. Have mercy on us for desecrating Your Holy House!

Living Lord, I want to experience the fullness of Your presence and power. I admit that I was heading in the wrong direction. Frustrated by lack of results, I gave up praying for change in the Church, but because of the power of Your Word, I just made a U-turn to follow You. Fuel my heart, O Lord, with renewed passion to radically pray for change that will bring You the honor and glory You’re worthy of. Amen.

Whew! God has just stirred up my heart! Do you hear the first words from our Lord’s mouth when He began preaching to His followers? “Repent!” This word is for you and me, friends - not for the unbelievers. We’re going in the wrong direction and need to do an immediate U-turn. I urge you, turn around and follow Jesus before it’s too late – the kingdom of heaven is near.

For additional reading, I recommend Jeremiah 7. It’s a very clear illustration of the condition of the Church today and the results of disobedience.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Listen Carefully

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rejected Law

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

Holy God~
Creator of everything~
Your invisible qualities have been clearly seen since the beginning of time. The earth and sky proclaim Your almighty power and divine character. There’s no excuse for not knowing You! You, O God, deserve our praise forever and ever!

Even though we know You perfectly well, we fail to accept and worship You as the One and Only True God. We pretend to know it all, but are really quite ignorant. Foolishly, we’ve traded Your prosperous, pristine beauty for worthless, tarnished trash. We’ve shrouded the Truth with wicked lies.

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

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

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

Acknowledge and cry out to God for the sin of our nation today. Pray for changed hearts and transformed minds. Admit and turn from your own wicked ways.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Overflowing Love

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

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

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

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

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

Pay attention to your words and actions today. Do they epitomize holiness? Look for an opportunity to express God’s holy love to someone.

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

Monday, November 05, 2007

Called to Be Holy

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

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

The moment I heard Your voice and responded, I was given access into Your courts. From the billions of people in the world You chose me to be a holy, pure and blameless messenger to proclaim the Good News of Your kingdom to a dark and desperate world. Out of deep love and gratitude, I’ll respectfully submit to Your authority by obeying Your commands.

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 15:33 warns: Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Friday, November 02, 2007

Useful Vessel

Spirit of the Living God fall fresh on me; melt me; mold me; fill me; use me.

Isaiah 6:8
I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to my people? Who will go for us?"

And I said, "Lord, I'll go! Send me." NLT

Living God,
You are holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,
You are King of my heart and Lord of my life,
I have mysteriously seen Your divine glory in the temple of my heart when Jesus came in and freed me from the dark dungeon of my past. In the light of Your amazing love, I ashamedly admit that I’ve made many terrible choices and done a lot of awful things. I’m tarnished, broken and unfit to be in Your holy presence; yet, I have seen and felt Your greatness. With a single merciful touch You blotted out my mistakes, forgot my failures, and removed my shame. Graciously, You asked me to clean up my act and represent Your heavenly kingdom on earth.

Seated on the throne of my soul, the flame of Your Holy Spirit continuously burns away all the impurities within me. Because I’m easily contaminated and corrupted by the current world culture, You’re continuously crushing me and reshaping my heart into a perfect pot to continuously pour out compassion. Cleansed with the precious blood of Jesus, I’m filled to overflowing with extravagant peace, exuberant joy, and exceptional hope. Over time, the painful purification process sets me apart and makes me a useful messenger for Your glorious kingdom. Purified others can see the face of my King exalted in me. Lord, I am polished and ready for Your exquisite service. Please use me! Willingly, I’ll go in the power of Your name declaring that You are my Holy God and King. All glory to You for the changes in me! Amen.

Are you willing to allow God to completely destroy you and reshape you into His image to use as He sees fit? Transformation is an on-going process. It is painful, but the end result is an elegant and exquisite display of God’s glorious grace. Recreated, He may ask you to go to places that you’d never dreamed of going; places that you said you’d never go. He may send you on exhilarating adventures. Are you willing to experience the wild side of our Holy God? He’s not concerned about your safety. He’s concerned about rescuing lost souls hiding in dark and perilous places.

Before we can be of any use to Him, we must fully yield to the Potter’s hand, the Refiner’s fire, and the entire purification process. Cry out to our Holy God. Admit your mistakes and weaknesses. Allow Him to fully redeem and use you as a representative of His kingdom here on earth. There is no greater thing!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Full of Joy and Peace

Spirit of the Living God fall fresh on me; melt me; mold me; fill me.

Romans 15:13

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

Refreshing …
Fall on me! Wash me! Fill me!

I am dirty cup, O God. Wash me with sparkling Living Water, the priceless blood of Jesus, so that I shine radiantly. Wipe away the bitter brew of criticism and condemnation, replacing it the pleasant taste of peace. Remove the pungent solution of pride and prejudice, and fill me with the delightful taste of joy.Everything I do and say is an everlasting testimony for or against You. People everywhere are watching me, waiting to see my response to difficult people and tricky situations. As I walk and talk with You today, reading my Bible and obeying Your commands, please let Your extraordinary peace rule my heart. Fill me to overflowing with more of Your exuberant joy so that in the face of trouble or tragedy the hope of heaven will supernaturally splash out of me onto others for the honor of Your glorious name.

Glistening with Jesus joy, in the midst of difficulties, others will come and drink from my cup full of luscious Living Water. When they taste the sweetness of Your love in me, and realize that my hope is in You, they too will long to be filled. Please dear Lord, crush me, shape me and fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. Amen.

What is contaminating your cup? Will you hand it over to the Maker and allow Him to wash it, and fill it with joy and peace so that you can pour out hope on others? Surrender the cup of your life today so that you can be a sparkling witness naturally drawing others to the Hope of Heaven – Jesus Christ.