Thursday, July 31, 2008

Holiness of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Creative Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Life Saving Truth

Hebrews 2: 1-3
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. The message God delivered through angels has always proved true, and the people were punished for every violation of the law and every act of disobedience. What makes us think that we can escape if we are indifferent to this great salvation that was announced by the Lord Jesus himself? It was passed on to us by those who heard him speak. NLT

My Life Preserving Lord,
O how I love Your Word! It is the Truth that saves my life. Completely right, fully trustworthy, and thoroughly tested, it awakens my conscience, warning me of dangers. I shudder to think that I could become lazy, spiritually negligent, caught up in prayerlessness, and go for days without seeking You!

I need You, Jesus! Securely fastened to You, I won’t be afraid when I’m in the current of difficulty. Clinging to You, I won’t drift away and drown in the sea of despair. When I’m confused Your Words will counsel me. Consumed with sadness and sorrow, they will comfort me. When I’m weak and weary, ready to quit the fight, Your Words will give me strength to persevere. O Lord, how can I flee the consequences if I choose to float away from You?

Please give me a deeper desire to diligently seek You daily! I don’t want to let life’s craziness and confusion distract or disturb our friendship. Help me to listen carefully through the constant noise and commotion so that I won’t be swept away by false teachers and fall from my secure position. I need to hear the Truth with my heart, stand on it, read it, pray it, obey it, and walk in the light of it every single day of my life!

Growing in the truth and knowledge of my Life Preserving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I’ll gladly give You all the glory and honor from now until the end of time! Amen.

The Bible clearly warns that it’s possible for devoted believers to drift from Jesus.

What will you do today to draw closer to God? If you aren’t taking active steps to stick by Him, through Bible Study and prayer then you’re drifting into dangerous, unchartered water without a Life Preserver!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Voice in the Storm

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

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

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

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

“Come,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lessons in the Storm

Lessons in the Storm

Job 38:1-3, 24-25, 35-37
Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
"Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge?

Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Perfect Storm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mighty Sea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bird of Paradise

Psalm 57:1-2, 5
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

Be merciful to me, O Bird of Paradise. Be merciful to me! It’s a jungle out there!

Conceal me under the cascading plumage of Your beautiful wings high in the branches of Your holy habitat. Perched in the shadow of Your presence with a bird’s eye view of the world, I’ll trust You to fulfill Your purpose for me. Close to You, an agency of heavenly angels will surround me with sounds of love and faithfulness. O beautiful Lord, my soul is safe in You.

With my heart hanging on You, I’ll be prepared for rainy seasons when problems pour down, tribulations thunder, and spiteful words strike. In anxious moments and frightening storms, from beneath the warmth of Your ornamental feathers my tongue will be Your glory. My soul will awake with the morning songbirds and sing of Your boundless mercy and unfailing truth.

My prayer O Lord, is that You will be high and lifted up in my surroundings when I sing of Your grace in turbulent times. Waiting for the wicked world to pass by, my actions and attitudes will crown You with glory and honor and majesty while You work out Your perfect plan in the stress and strife. O that my performance will resonate to all the earth that You are the prettiest Bird of Paradise worthy of all man’s praise. Hallelujah! Amen.

What trouble is chasing you? Picture God as a beautiful Bird of Paradise inviting you to take cover under the shadow of His wings until the problem passes. Fly to Him and be safe. In the shadow of His presence exalt Him and let His glory be seen throughout the earth in you.

Monday, July 21, 2008

An Overwhelming Flood

Nahum 1:7-8
The LORD is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
but with an overwhelming flood
he will make an end of Nineveh.

Almighty, Avenging God,
You are a jealous God who will not tolerate being belittled by idols made with human hands. As the wealthiest, most powerful, independent nation on earth we have arrogantly ignored You, igniting Your indignation, like Nineveh in Nahum’s day. In a star-struck stupor, and addicted to our stuff, our judgment is impaired and we’re unprepared for the devastating floods that are coming when You judge our land.

Right now we are witnessing floods of monumental proportions:

Deluged by debt, millions of Americans are losing their homes to foreclosure. America’s suburban dream is collapsing in the flood of foreclosures.

Battered by a gloomy crisis of confidence, the federal government is moving quickly to shore up lending institutions, as inflation rises and energy prices soar, leaving in its wake a swelling sense of insecurity in our savings.

Families are struggling to keep their heads above water with climbing fuel and food costs. Fighting to save their homes, feed their children, and pay for fuel, they’re just trying to ride the tide hoping they won’t be carried away in the surge.

We’re living in scary times. Could this steady flow of instability be the overwhelming flood that will destroy our rich and self-sufficient land? Could You be igniting Your indignation on our star-struck, stuff-stuck nation? I don’t know. But, Your Word is true – an overwhelming flood is in the forecast and I want to be prepared.

Submerged in a devastating crisis, I don’t want to be afraid. You are a high rock on which I can confidently climb. On You, I can assuredly rest until the tide of trouble recedes. You promise to care for those who trust in You. Now, please give me the faith to cling to You and bravely watch with wonder while You work to bring glory to Your name on earth. Amen.

In two days alone last week, I collected the following headlines from the front pages of two newspapers:

Signs of a growing crisis: ‘Relentless flow’ of bad economic news suggests there’s no easy way out

‘Payback’ for debt-fueled growth?

Across the economic spectrum, predictions of tough times ahead

A move to ‘calm people’s fears’: US puts in place backstop plan to boost Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac loans

Pondering these frightening headlines in my heart I began to wonder, how many in the Church are being swept away by the overwhelming flood of fear? Fear of losing their homes and possessions? Fear of losing their financial security? Fear of how they’ll pay for fuel to heat their homes and food to feed their families?

God didn’t make us to be star-struck or stuff-stuck. He made us to be stuck on Him. He didn’t intend for us to live in homes that are larger than we can afford, or to depend on the performance of our portfolios. He made us to live simply, find satisfaction in the small stuff, and rely on Him for our daily provision.

If you are caught up in the devastating financial flood that’s sweeping through our nation, get your eyes off the stars, unload your stuff, climb up on the Rock, cry out to the Lord, and trust Him to take care of you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Healing Hands

Luke 13: 10-13
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Holy, Healing, Helper-
I praise You with all my heart. Great are Your works. Glorious and majestic are Your deeds. Thank You for causing Your wonders to be remembered forever.

I’m living in a world where people are beat up and put down. They’re paralyzed by problems; crippled by conflict; blind to beauty; deaf by distraction; disabled by disappointment; incapacitated by inconsistency; sick with sin; and suffering from selfishness.

Open my eyes to the heart-wrenching needs of the people who pass by me every day. With Your help, I will immediately stop what I am doing and focus on them. With Your healing hands, I’ll touch them with kindness and encouragement. By Your grace and compassion, my actions will show them how much you love them. Since my words may be the only positive thing they hear in a day, please make them gracious and uplifting.

By Your love and power, I will be the healing hands of Jesus to the hopeless and helpless, weak and weary, troubled and terrified. I will be a holy encourager for Your glorious kingdom so that Your name will be magnified above the earth. Eternal praise belongs to You, always and forever because of Jesus. Amen

Jesus noticed this crippled woman in the crowd. Instead of shying away from her, He spoke to her. Imagine how blessed she was to hear His healing words!

Likewise, Jesus has called us forward, healed us of our infirmities, and sent us out to be his healing hands in the world. Find someone who needs encouraged today. Focus on them. Fix them with an inspiring word.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Eternal Investments

Luke 18:18-23
A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"

"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.

Truthful Teacher,
O how honest You are! Your Word is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into my innermost thoughts and desires, exposing them for what they really are. Everything about us is bare and wide open; seen by Your ever-living eyes; nothing can be hidden from You to whom we must explain all that we have done.

Like the rich religious leader, we often come to You with zeal and determination to purchase our ticket to heaven. Recognizing that You are the Grand Ticketmaster, we politely approach You and smoothly ask, “Good Master, what will a ticket to heaven cost me?” Unimpressed with our performance, You slash right through the thick flattery and cut to the heart of the matter.

Rather than accepting our personal affluence and influence, You painstakingly point out the one thing we lack, demanding the high price of our personal security and identity. Freely, we can join You on the journey to heaven, but first we’ll need to sell our creature comforts, investing the cash in the coffers of heaven – society’s rejects – the undeserving, unattractive, and undesirables. Sadly, like the rich religious leader, we turn and walk away without a word. The price is more than we’re willing to pay.

Forgive me O Lord for being so short-changed and short-sighted. Please touch my lifestyle with Your love. Show me the possessions that possess me. Willingly and wisely, I’ll sell them or give them away, to make a safe investment in Your heavenly kingdom. In return, You’ll bless me with Your identity and the eternal security of living with You in heaven forever and ever. Amen.

Jesus expects us to get rid of anything that has become more important than God. If your basis for security has shifted from God to what you own, it would be better for you to get rid of the possessions. Identify the possessions that possess you. Sell them or give them away, investing the proceeds in the coffers of heaven.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jesus' Friend

John 15:15
Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

O Lord!
I am overwhelmed with gratitude that you no longer call me “servant,” but “friend.” A servant is hired and works for his employer out of obligation and slavish fear. Unaware of the intricacies of the master’s plan, he is merely a laborer who is required to show up, forced to follows orders, and begrudgingly aims to please man. Bound by duty, he has no rights, insight or freedom.

Friends, on the other hand, work cooperatively and confidently for one another out of heartfelt love and devotion. Privy to the master’s wise plan, friends voluntarily show up, gladly follow His instructions, and mutually benefit from the effort. Wrapped up in respect, a friend has incredible privileges, perceptions, and preferences. What a difference being a friend makes!

Thank You for searching me out by Your Spirit while I was a servant to sin, and calling me to be Your friend. Entrusting me with the deepest secrets of Your Father’s heart, You taught me about the free gift of grace, and convinced me to accept it. Willingly, You showed me Your divine plan and purpose for all people, and empowered me to employ it.

Now by Your grace, and in the power of Your Spirit, I’ll stay connected to You and zealously live a life of love. Because of Your faithfulness to me, I’ll freely, humbly and prayerfully go wherever You send me to show and tell others the amazing story of Your gospel glory, knowing that You’ll be right there beside me softening hearts and driving them home to the truth of heaven. O Lord, I delight to do Your will! Thank You for calling me friend! Amen.

Jesus calls you friend and has entrusted you with the deepest secrets of His Father’s heart: the free gift of grace for all people. You have the inside scoop – His plan and purpose for all people, and are empowered to employ it. If you sincerely love and adore Him, remain faithful to your friend and go in His strength, and tell the gospel story. You can trust that He’ll be right there working along side of you to drive home the truth.

Monday, July 14, 2008

God's Symphony

Psalm 33:1-4, 21
Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.
For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.

Creative Composer and Conductor,
You’ve written a symphonic song in my soul fit for a King. My heart is the harp that harmoniously believes You. Mastering the magnificence of Your mercy, my mind makes a marvelous accompaniment. With clean hands, pure motives, my eyes on You and a lot of practice, I’m able to perform a concerto of thankful praise worthy of Your holy ears.

Long before Handel, Mozart or Beethoven, You orchestrated a work of unequaled portions. Your Holy Word is a classical masterpiece that perfectly expresses truth and righteousness. Larger than life, it contains drama, death, rebirth, strife, and resistance. The fact that it is still published, respected, recognized and read worldwide after thousands of years is a testament to its power and impact. The more I read it and know it, the more impressed I am with it, and the more I appreciate it.

Please dear Lord, help me to develop an exquisite taste for the harmonization of Your Holy Composition. With my eyes fixed on You, my ears tuned to You, and my heart set on You, I’ll use every endowment I possess to rhythmically pursue You. My heart will be full of holy joy and goodness as I earnestly love others in Your name, meticulously playing each self-contained movement as an opus of divine praise.

Watching from Your lofty throne in heaven, You won’t miss my glorious showing of grace. In unison with You, my heart will perform the Hallelujah Chorus because of Your holy Name. May Your unfailing love rest on me, O Lord, because I put my hope in You. Amen.

Praise is appropriate and fitting of anyone who has clean hands and a pure heart. Even if you can’t play an instrument, you ARE the instrument. You are part of God’s Great Symphony. You will accompany Him beautifully when your heart is in unison with His.

His Word is the most famous composition ever written. If you haven’t developed a keen interest in it, Mozart’s biographer says in his book that “The masterpieces of the Romans and Greeks please more and more through repeated reading, and as one’s taste is refined – the same is true for both expert and amateur with respect to the hearing of Mozart’s music [or classical music].” The bottom line: the more you know a piece the better it becomes.

The same is true of your Bible, God’s Holy Composition, the more you read it and know it, the more impressed you’ll be with it, and the more you’ll appreciate it. Before you know it, you’ll have acquired an exquisite taste for it, and be filled with holy joy!

Live a life of praise by following the most Creative Composer and Conductor of all time!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Feasting on God's Word

Psalm 81:10, 13-16
I am the LORD your God,
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

"If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways,
how quickly would I subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!

Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever.
But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."

O Lord my God!
You are a Faithful Father eagerly waiting to feed and fill Your beloved children a large variety of strength enhancing nutrients. When we open wide our Bibles and listen to You, we will be fed the finest wheat – Bread of Heaven spread with pure, sweet, sticky honey from the Rock of Jesus Christ.

Full of Your power performing goodness, we’ll kill our enemies with kindness. With tender hearts and humble minds, we’ll sincerely express compassion to our worst critics. We won’t retaliate when people say unkind and untrue things about us. Instead, we’ll pay them back with a blessing. Uncomfortable, they will shrink back in shame.

Give us a heart pure as honey from the Rock, so that no one will ever stop us from doing what’s right. Even if they try to prevent us from doing good, when our hearts are stuck on You, we’ll be blessed with stamina to persevere through the pressure. With a clear conscience, the accusations people throw at us won’t stick. Their remarks will ricochet back at them, making them look ridiculous.

O Bread of Heaven! Give us a voracious appetite for the finest of wheat found in Your Holy Word. Opening our mouths, we fully expect You to fervently feed us and fill us. Then, bless us, break us and use us to feed the Bread of Life covered in pure, sweet, sticky honey from the Rock on those who despise us. You’ll be glorified and we’ll be satisfied. Alleluia! Amen.

The Father is eager to feed and fill His beloved children if we will listen to Him and follow His ways. Open your mouth, by opening your Bible. Ask Him to feed you and fill you with the finest of wheat – Bread of Heaven smothered in pure, sweet sticky honey from the Rock of Jesus Christ.

If you listen to Him and follow His ways, you will kill your enemies with kindness.

God’s Word says “Who is going to harm you if you do what is good?” 1 Peter 3:13

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Finding Knowledge

Proverbs 2:1-5
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.

Faithful Father,
Thank You for hearing my sincere request. When I told You I wanted to know You more, You immediately and affirmatively responded. O how it tickles You to show Yourself to Your children!

In order to KNOW the One Whom I believe, I need to take to heart the things You tell me in my Bible. Carefully collecting each costly command, I need to treat them like treasure and guard them with my whole life.

Please dear Lord, tune my ears to listen to Your advice and learn from Your counsel. I’ll develop newfound respect for You by not only assenting to the sound of Scriptures, but also by contemplating them until they become crystal clear.

When Your instruction becomes too muddled for my meager mind, I need to speak up with confidence and ask You for insight. Diligently following Your clues, I need to pan Your Word like a gold-digger looking for every valuable nugget of truth, not stopping until I find all the precious hidden treasure found only IN You.

Before I know it, I’ll be obsessed with the riches of wisdom, knowledge and understanding of Who You are which will lead me to fear and follow You, avoiding the perilous path of temptation and corruption in order to honor Jesus in whom all the treasures of heaven are hidden. Amen.

Do you yearn to understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God? He tells us in His Word exactly how to do it:

1) Accept His Words
2) Hide them in your heart
3) Tune your ear to hear his wisdom
4) Apply your heart to understanding
5) Call out for insight
6) Earnestly search the Scriptures

Get to know God better today by reading His Word. He will be tickled to reveal Himself to you when you seek Him with all your heart.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Godly Instruction

Psalm 25:12-13
Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ?
He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
He will spend his days in prosperity.

God my Savior,
I want to know You more! Aware of Who You are:

My rock, my fortress and my deliverer
My strength, my shield and my song
My light, my hope, and my salvation
A just judge, lawgiver and witness
A stronghold in times of trouble
Everlasting God and the Creator of the ends of the earth
True and living God, Enthroned as King for ever and ever
A sure foundation, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge
A jealous and avenging God
A God to be feared

When I put You in Your proper place, and acknowledge Who I am before You:

A weak and wounded warrior
Hypocritical and egotistical
Powerless and prideful
Incapable and inadequate
Helpless and hopeless
Unattractive and unacceptable
Independent yet dependent
Slothful and small-minded
Materialistic and merciless
Indifferent and intolerant
A sinner in need of grace

THEN You will instruct me in the way I should go – the way You’ve chosen for me. I desire nothing more than to live and move and have my being IN You and Your prosperous presence. Move ME (and my Miserable Ego) out of the way and move me into Your prosperous presence. There, instruct me according to Your Word and because of Who You are, I will listen and honor Your fearsome and holy name. Amen.

Spend time searching through the Psalms. Identify Who God says He is. Meditate on His characteristics, putting him in the proper place. Then, consider Who you are apart from Him.

Then, open your Bible and follow Him! He will instruct you, through His Word, in the way you should go and lead you to the prosperity of His presence and the Promised Land.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Knowing Who I Believe

2 Timothy 1:12
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

Resurrection and Life,
Even though Paul was locked in the dungeon of despair he KNEW beyond a shadow of doubt Who he believed – YOU – Jesus Christ, who died to defeat death, destroy the Devil, and rose to illuminate immeasurable power and immortal life. Having known You personally and relationally, he unquestionably believed every Word inscribed in the Sacred Scriptures. With unwavering trust, he was completely convinced in the midst of his crushing circumstances that You would guard the good work You began in him until the day You returned.

Oh dear Lord, I want to KNOW You more intensely and more intimately! I don’t want to simply assent to the sound words of Scriptures, I want to listen to them, learn from them, and love them with all my heart. Through them, I will develop absolute assurance in Your insurmountable strength in the face of adversity. Instead of being ashamed, I will be fully persuaded that even when I’m inaccessible, dead or alive, You will take care of and safely guard everything I entrust to You:

My family and friends
My marriage and home
My career and finances
My health and provision
My heart and mind
My life and ministry

Holding fast to the Sacred Scriptures, I’ll find serenity and security in the solid substance of Truth. With the boldness of Paul, when I’m locked in the dungeon of despair, I will be a spectacular source of spiritual support to others who are disappointed and discouraged because of Who I know – Jesus, the Resurrection and Life. Amen.

Who are you believing and entrusting with your valuables? Are you completely convinced that the one whom you believe is able to keep everything you give to Him until the day He returns? Tell God you want to know Him more, so that you will have the extreme confidence of Paul in the midst of dangers and difficulties.

Friday, July 04, 2008

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.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

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.

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

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?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Law of Love

Romans 13:8-10
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Lord of Love,
The only way I can begin to pay You back for Your infinite love is to love others. In love You came down from heaven to bless, choose, adopt, accept, redeem, and forgive me while I was unattractive, unworthy, and unlovable. The least I can do is obey You.

  • I won’t let myself starve; therefore, I need to feed the hungry.
  • I make sure that I’m properly clothed before leaving the house; therefore, I’m expected to dress the destitute.
  • I put a warm and cozy roof over my head; therefore, I’m required to find shelter for the homeless.
  • I don’t want to be cheated or deceived; therefore, it’s necessary for me to be honest and fair to others.
  • I despise being stabbed with hateful, hurtful words; therefore, I can’t kill the spirits of others with my own rude remarks.
  • I’d be angry if someone tried to interfere with my marriage; therefore, I’m obligated to stay out of someone else’s marriage.
  • I don’t want anyone to covet my possessions; therefore, I can’t be jealous when someone has something bigger or better than me.

The only way I can properly respond to Your immeasurable, inexhaustible love is to behave decently as a Christian child by fully obeying Your law of love. Please dear Lord, clothe me with power and love to make a difference where it matters today because tomorrow may be too late. Open my eyes to see someone who needs love today and I will obey no matter the cost because I appreciate the high price of the love You lavished on me. To You who rules on the throne of my heart forever and ever be the glory. Amen.

In light of God’s incredible gift of love given to you, what will you do today to obey His command to love your neighbor as yourself? Admit your own selfishness. Repent and reach out in love to someone in a difficult situation. Do it today because tomorrow may be too late.

Today I will reach out in love by _________________________________ as a token of appreciation for the high price Jesus paid for my pardon. I will do it today because tomorrow may be too late.