Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pursing Pleasure

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work,
and this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.

God Most High, You are supreme over all the earth; exalted far above all gods.

Thank You for the lessons we can learn from the wise King Solomon. He had it all – power, authority, prestige, money, success, wisdom, and knowledge – but in the end, it was all proven meaningless.

Lord, we too have passionately pursued pleasures – often denying ourselves nothing our eyes desired. Cheered by the wine of wealth, we’ve invested in folly by undertaking big projects: building extravagant homes, acquiring expensive treasures, and amassing a mountain of money. We’ve hired help and gone on exquisite excursions – refusing our hearts few pleasures.

Many of us enjoyed working hard with the wisdom, knowledge, and skill You gave us. We’re thankful for the rich rewards we’ve received for our efforts. However, when tragedy strikes, we quickly realize the futility of our accomplishments. In a heart beat it could all be gone. A hurricane could destroy it. A fire could burn it. An earthquake could shatter it. Sickness could render it useless. An accident could end it all. A lawsuit could consume it. And, the stock market could crash it. In the end our work could be as pointless as chasing the wind or catching a cloud! Nothing would be gained from it.

Help me, O Lord who sees everything from the high and heavenly throne, to live my life on purpose in the present. I don’t want to look back some day and realize that I’ve wasted it on empty activities. Show me what’s important to You, and I will invest my time, talent, and treasure in it in order to gain everything under the Son. Amen.

What pleasures and treasures are you pursuing? If disaster were to strike you today, how would you respond to the loss of them?

In light of the incredible loss from the financial crisis in our nation, and the world, I encourage you to seek and understand the true meaning of life. Read, reflect and respond to Ecclesiastes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

King Over the Flood

Psalm 46:1-3
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

King Over the Flood,
You are robed in majesty, armed in strength, and enthroned forever! High above the tidal waves of worry, You see the earth quaking as millions of people watch in terror while their stock portfolios plunge in the wake of the nation’s most momentous financial crisis since the Great Depression. The whole world is in an uproar as manmade mountains of money melt into the heart of the sea, and congressional leaders frantically battle the bail out bill.

Affecting everyone from Wall Street to Main Street, there’s no escaping the horrendous flood that’s likely to sweep over this once lush land and its exaggerated economy. Facing a tempest of fear, we’re watching our wealth submerge into the foamy sea of uncertainty, and confused about what to do to survive.

Yet, Your powerful and majestic Voice soars over the waters. Your thunderous promise is to be our refuge, strength and help in times of trouble. We need to open wide our Bibles and run into You! Your throne is firm, immovable and eternal. In You we will be blessed with peace and power when the rest of the world is plagued with panic and pandemonium. Knowing that You are the sovereign King over the Flood, we need to be still and know that You will be exalted among the nations.

Please dear Lord, give me ears to hear and faith to believe that You are who You say You are and You will do what You say You will do through every wild and roaring circumstantial storm to ascribe glory to Your holy name. Amen.

We are living in frightening times of uncertainty, but we’re not without hope. We have God’s great promises! He promises to be our refuge, our strength, and our help in times of trouble. Open your Bible and run into Him! In Him there’s no reason to fear. He is the sovereign King over the Flood. Do you believe Him?

Psalm 29: 10-11
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.

The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Worship in Spirit and Truth

John 4:23-24
Jesus said, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

Father in Heaven,
You are omnipresent. I can worship You any time and any place. You don’t care where I worship. You’re interested in how I worship. With Your Spirit hovering over me, I can worship … in the driest desert, the darkest valley, on the highest mountain, in the quiet country, in the busy city, in my home or in my car … wherever I am, You are there helping me worship. How do I know?

  • You have given me Your Holy Spirit and filled my heart with love. (Romans 5:5)
  • You have sent the Holy Spirit to teach me all things and remind me of everything You’ve ever spoken to me. (John 14:26)
  • When I don’t know how to pray, when I just can’t find the words, You help me in my weakness, by searching my heart. Without ever uttering a Word, the Holy Spirit speaks on my behalf according to Your will. (Romans 8: 26-27)

Full of Your love, when I study my Bible, You teach me, tucking the truth in the hollow of my heart. When the truth is in me, I can worship You in Spirit by obeying Your commands. Every where I go, every thing I do, think, or say can be a delightful act of worship when I deliberately chose to follow You. Because I am full of You, I will make music in my heart, meditate on Your Words, and pray without ceasing, always giving thanks to you, in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Everything you do can be an act of worship when You are filled with the Holy Spirit and the truth of His Word. Worship Him today with everything that’s in you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Drop Your Rocks

John 8: 1-11
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do You say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of You is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned You?"

"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn You," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave Your life of sin."

Gentle Justice-
I humbly and ashamedly bow at Your feet seeking mercy and grace. Forgive me for all the times I have insulted others for their immoral, improper behavior. Trying to show my disapproval, I disgraced and dishonored not only them, but also You. I am no better than the hoity-toity, hypocritical religious leaders and Pharisees! My own inappropriate and indecent behavior is inexcusable!

I’ve bashed friends, family, and acquaintances with sharp stones of criticism. I’ve battered, bruised and broken spirits with the heavy rocks I’ve hurled. I am so sorry, Jesus. Who am I to accuse others when:

  • I’ve committed murder by killing Spirits with unkind words
  • I’m guilty of adultery by flirting with someone of the opposite sex
  • I’ve divorced my spouse by not loving him/her biblically
  • I’m guilty of gossip every time I spread personal information about others
  • I’m addicted to food, television, sports, shopping, soap operas (name your excessive behavior)
  • I send and receive personal email at work, robbing my employer of time
  • I lose my temper with my children, spouse, and/or co-workers
  • I don’t regularly spend time in Bible Study and prayer
  • I disrespect You by shopping, running errands, and doing chores on Sunday, breaking the Sabbath

The list could go on and on. There is no sin I have not committed in my heart and mind. Like this woman, some day I will stand alone with You. You alone will judge me. With Your help, I’ll graciously accept Your forgiveness and walk away from the temptation that persuades me. By Your grace, I will show the same mercy to others that You’ve shown to me. Thank You Jesus, for teaching me this important lesson on judgment and forgiveness. Please just give me more Holy Spirit power to apply it to my life for Your namesake. Amen

Who are you accusing? Apply the lesson Jesus taught by dropping your rocks. You are no better than the person you charge.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Perfect Defense

Romans 3:21-26
But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight--not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.

For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus. NLT

Most High and Holy Judge,
Thank You for making a way for me to get out of the mess I’ve made of my life. I was worthless, godless, and lifeless until I trusted Your Son to defend me. He graciously took my case even though I couldn’t ever pay Him. He didn’t care if I was rich or poor, strong or weak, good or bad. It didn’t matter if I committed murder, adultery, or was rebellious. It made no difference if I lied, cheated, or stole. He promised to willingly and freely represent anyone who comes to Him, entrusting Him with the true, hard facts of their life. Blessed assurance!

Transferring my case to Him, I believed He would fairly and faithfully represent me to You. I was flabbergasted when You declared me “not guilty”. Tears rolled down my face when I learned that my Defense Attorney negotiated an unbelievable deal for me! He would serve my death sentence so that I could be free. That’s amazing grace and incredible love.

Thank You, Jesus for defending, saving, and freeing me. Thank You, Your Honor, for Your merciful pardon. Because of the great transaction You made on my behalf, I’m able to stand before You, holy, blameless and pure, no matter who I am or what I’ve done. Out of deep, heartfelt gratitude, I ask that You empower me to dedicate and live my life for You no matter the price. All glory is Yours forever and ever because of Your unfailing love and faithfulness. Amen.

Do you realize the magnitude of the deal that’s been negotiated for you? We deserve to die, but our great Defender took our punishment so that we can go free. We don’t deserve that! How will you show gratitude for the most amazing transaction of all time?

Just as I am thou wilt receive
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve
Because thy promise, I believe
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No Condemnation

John 3: 16-18
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned.

My Divine Savior,
There is none like You. You are the Peace Prize of Heaven sent into the world as a generous gift from God who created me for eternity. No one – not my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my children, my pet – can love me like You do. You’re extremely passionate about protecting and preserving me. Receiving the Peace of Heaven from Your great big, colossal heart guarantees that I will live happily ever after in the kingdom that never ends.

O Holy Justice, no matter what I’ve done, I don’t have to be afraid of You. With confidence, I can come up to Your sacred throne fully expecting to receive infinite mercy and incomparable grace. Instead of punishing me to death as I deserve, in love, You’ll pardon and release me to live with You forever because of the Peace of Heaven in my heart, purchased with Your priceless blood. Alleluia! Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

God’s Word says there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it!

Is any man condemning you; making you feel guilty for something you’ve done but have admitted and accepted responsibility for? Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

The truth is: God absolutely loves YOU, your sins are forever forgiven and you are completely free to get up, go and LIVE in peace.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Comforting Friend

Job 16:2-5
"I have heard many things like these;
miserable comforters are you all!
Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing?
I also could speak like you,
if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
and shake my head at you.
But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you relief.”

O Lord!
Let me learn from this suffering servant, Job. He was a man with a pure heart and right motives who had the utmost love and respect for Your Highness. Living in constant fear of You, he consistently made right choices. While he was a wealthy, confident and strong man, he was also a responsible parent and committed spouse who provided a comfortable lifestyle for his family. Teaching them to honor and glorify you was his passion and purpose.

When his entire world caved in and he was buried deep beneath the debris of depression, despondent and destitute, his friends were horrible comforters. Instead of consolation, they offered him criticism and condemnation. The words they heaped on him hindered his healing. Uncomfortable and uncertain of what to say, rather than silently supporting him, they spit long drawn-out speeches and futile suggestions in his face. There was no empathy or encouragement; only obnoxious, empty opinions.

O Holy Spirit, teach me from this example how to be a comforting friend. Let the words from my lips strengthen and soothe sad souls. When I don’t know what to say, give me the grace to stick around, remain silent, and just listen. Give me a gentle and quiet spirit that brings relief to those who are broken by grief. I can’t take away their pain, but I can hold their hand, cry and pray with them. My words don’t have to eloquent; they just need to be simple, sincere, and sweet.

Please dear Lord, show me who I can support in their heart struggle today. With a pure heart and right motives, I will go in Your strength and comfort them with kindness to bring glory, honor and praise to Your name. Amen.

Do you know anyone who is devastated and heartbroken? How can you encourage and comfort them with your lips? Be careful that the words you heap on them are helpful and not hurtful. The Devil would love to use you for his vicious attacks like he did Job’s friends.

Ask the Lord to set a guard over you mouth, and keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3)

Friday, September 19, 2008

God's Handiwork

Psalm 8:3-6
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands

O Lord my God, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! The poet who wrote these verses years ago was properly dazzled by the night sky; however, if he could have looked through the Hubble Telescope for a scant ten minutes he would have undoubtedly fainted in wonderment. Even with our biggest and best telescopes directed at the stars that are billions upon trillions of miles away, we still can’t see the outermost edge of the universe. It’s mind-boggling to consider the cosmos as Your handiwork! I stand in reverent awe of Your enormous creativity.

What is man that You care so much for him? Compared to the cosmic galaxies, man is minuscule. Compared to You, we are nothing. If there is anything more stunning than the sheer scale and splendor of the universe, it’s the revelation that in all of Your greatness, we really do matter. It’s bewildering that You made us in Your image, crowning us with glory and honor. Though we’re nothing in contrast to the magnificent magnitude of creation, we’re extraordinarily valuable because we carry the signature of our Heavenly Designer. Because of our great worth in Your sight, You’ve assigned us the awesome responsibility of taking care of Your wonderful works.

Please dear Lord, give me a deeper understanding of who You are as the Divine Artist of the universe. Balance it with a healthy, humble view of myself as Your valued curator. With an accurate perception, I’ll worship You rather than the works of Your hands. Appropriate insight, will make me more cognizant and appreciative of Your gloriously brilliant works of art. Mindful of Your priceless creation, I’ll protect it, display it, and love it in honor of Your holy and majestic name, O Lord. Amen.

To respect God’s majesty we must compare ourselves to His greatness. When we look at creation: the cosmic galaxy, mighty mountains, or titanic ocean we feel small. To feel small is a healthy way to get back to the reality that God is big and people are little. Humility, however, means proper respect for God, not self-worthlessness and self-depreciation.

God considers us highly valuable. He has chosen us to be the crown of His creation. He has entrusted us with His fine art. How do you treat God’s creation? Use your resources wisely because He holds you accountable for your stewardship.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Job 16:19-21
Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.
My intercessor is my friend
as my eyes pour out tears to God;
on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as a man pleads for his friend.
"Only a few years will pass
before I go on the journey of no return.

Almighty Attorney,
I appeal to You in heaven on high where You witness every move I make. You know everything about me. You have searched my heart. There’s no hiding anything from You. You know when I stand or sit, when I come in or go out. I’m never, ever out of the sight of Your holy penetrating gaze.

You’ve seen my sin, suffering and sorrow. You’ve listened to my friends angrily attack my character. Their arrogant arguments and long-winded lectures have pierced Your perfect ears. Without knowing all the facts, they lay blame on me based on their biased beliefs. Even though I’ve not intentionally done anything wrong, they attempt to coerce a confession. I’ve been judged, rejected and ridiculed. Stripped of my status, my shame has not gone unnoticed. Depressed and disgraced, I pour out my tears to You, O God!

I need an Almighty Attorney to defend me from the allegations brought against me by proud people with personal agendas. They don’t know my heart; but, You do because You’re my heart’s Constant Companion. Knowing me personally, intimately, and deeply, You are the Only One who can honestly reveal all the evidence against me. It’s only a matter of time until I die and I need my case heard and settled quickly, once and for all.

I am so grateful to have You as my Witness, Advocate, Intercessor and Friend negotiating for me in the presence of God, the Sovereign Justice. Because I have the most Almighty Attorney in all of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ, even though I’m guilty as charged, no accusations against me can stick! I won’t receive the punishment I deserve. Alleluia! Praise the Lord! I will absolutely be pardoned because of Your respectable reputation and righteous name. Amen.

When sin, suffering and sorrow seize your soul, the enemy will attack you, disguising himself as your friends. They will blame your problems on your behavior; but God’s Word says their accusations carry no weight. In the end He will listen to the evidence presented against you by Jesus who is His One and Only Witness, your Advocate, Intercessor, and Friend. There is nothing more important than being in the right relationship with Him. He will speak on your behalf.

You are going to die. And, it may be very soon. When that happens, you will fall into the holy hands of the Sovereign Justice, God Himself. It is urgent that you set yourself right in His sight – and if possible in the eyes of others. The only way to do that is by trusting in the respectable reputation and righteousness of the Almighty Attorney, Jesus Christ. He is the Only One who can speak in God’s Court. You are utterly dependent on Him.

On September 12, 2008 25 people were killed when a Metrolink commuter train collided with a freight locomotive near Los Angeles. People routinely traveling that beautiful summer day had no idea it would be the end of their life’s journey.

If the same thing were to happen to you on your way home today would you be prepared to stand before the Sovereign Justice?

My Faith Has Found a Resting Place
My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device or creed;
I trust the ever living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
He’ll never cast me out.


My heart is leaning on the Word,
The living Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s Name,
Salvation through His blood.


My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stumbling Blocks

Luke 17:1-3
Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.”

O Lord My God,
Have mercy on me! Increase my faith and change me from the inside out! Search my heart and reveal my weaknesses so that I can be on guard against sin. Because we live in a fallen world surrounded by all sorts of evil and temptation we’re bound to stumble and fall. Sometimes I’ll set-up the obstacle, other times I’ll trip over it.

O righteous God who searches hearts and minds, search me and point out any offensive way in me. Shine Your light on my heart and reveal my weaknesses and vulnerabilities so that I’ll notice the obstructions in front of me. With eyes wide open I’ll avoid the dangerous pitfalls that I’m most likely to plunge into.

Where I’m strong give me grace to be sensitive to my surroundings so that I won’t hinder others. Show me the weaknesses and susceptibility of my family and friends. Aware of the difficulties that cause them problems, I’ll practice love, patience and self-restraint. Woe to me if I cause someone to fall! I’d be better off dead!

Please cover me with humility, kindness and love to stand firm in all situations. I long to please You and glorify our family name. Amen.

Your faith is strong in an area if you can survive contact with sinners without being shaped into their image. It is weak in an area if you must avoid an activity in order to protect yourself from falling. Whenever in doubt, ask yourself: “Can I do it without sinning? Will my attitudes and actions influence others for the good?”

Identify your strengths and weaknesses. One thing I will do today is ____________________ (action) in order to prevent ______________________ (name of a person) from stumbling.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Disturbing the Peace

Romans 16:17-20
I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

O Wise and Knowledgeable God,
You are exalted in power and perfect in knowledge. There is no teacher like You. At the Living Word Academy held in the classroom of my heart, I begin to understand the mysteries of Your Will. I learn to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, fact and fiction. With the Holy Spirit as my teacher, and the Holy Bible as my textbook, I learn that You are altogether authentic, totally truthful, and really reliable.

Lord, I just need more knowledge of Your Holy Bible so that I can apply the Truth to all situations and circumstances in the laboratory of life. Proud people will try to disturb my peace by planting poisonous seeds in the soil of my soul. Subtly, they’ll distort the facts by telling cleverly invented stories. Cunningly, they’ll deflate one point while inflating another. Devious professionals will convincingly entrance me with demonic illusions. They’ll deceptively water down Your Word with smooth talk and flattery. If I feed the seeds they plant, division and dissension will sprout.

Your Word clearly and concisely counsels me to avoid them! By Your grace I will joyfully obey. If I pay attention in class and diligently study Your Word, it will leap to life preventing the seeds of deceit from sprouting in my spirit. Please dear Lord, be gracious to me. Teach me good judgment to distinguish between truth and lies. With my heart set on You, the problems and pressures that are pounding me will soon be replaced with perfect peace. God of grace be with me today, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Do you know God’s Word well enough to separate fact from fiction? I encourage you to spend time in the classroom of your heart, learning all you can about the Truth, so that no one will disturb your peace of heart and mind.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chosen Child

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 12, 2008

Worship the King

Psalm 95:1-7
Come, let us sing to the LORD!
Let us give a joyous shout to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come before him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing him psalms of praise.
For the LORD is a great God,
the great King above all gods.
He owns the depths of the earth,
and even the mightiest mountains are his.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the LORD our maker,
for he is our God. NLT

Lord, You are a great and awesome God! You are King of kings! Maker of mighty mountains and surging seas! Owner of the depths of the earth and lofty skies! You rule and reign from heaven on high!

In reverent awe, I come just as I am, humble, meek, and poor, to worship You in the splendor of Your sovereignty. I’m not worthy to climb the mighty majestic mountain into Your presence. I can’t stand on this holy ground without purifying my heart. With a clear conscience, I’ll enter the beauty of Your holiness to adore You with deep devotion.

Because Your precious Son bought me with His priceless blood, I’ll come before You with thanksgiving exalting You above the heavens. Seeing Your radiant face, I’ll kneel before Your throne and anoint Your feet with the sweet aroma of joyful praise.

With my hands, I’ll extol You. With my lips, I’ll lift You up. With my feet, I’ll serve You. With my tongue, I’ll sing of Your unfailing love and faithfulness. Gladly, I’ll give my life to You in worship. Please receive my humble sacrifice of praise because I love and adore You above all, my great God and King. Alleluia. Amen.

Prepare your heart for corporate worship by focusing on God’s reverence. Then, go in awe of Him and be blessed!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Live Intentionally

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Expanded View

Romans 11: 33-36
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Wise and Knowledgeable King,
Please expand my view of You. From afar, You are an intriguing blip on the horizon. Reduced by distance, You are too manageable to be marvelous and too small to be significant. However, as I come closer, I am absolutely astonished by the vast view of who You are and what You have done for me.

I marvel at Your extravagance and generosity
I’m awestruck by Your wisdom and knowledge
I’m mesmerized by the hidden treasures in Your Word
I wonder at Your pathways that are too complex to chart
I’m amazed at Your never-ending brilliant mind
I’m captivated with Your constant rightness
I’m stunned at Your unlimited resources

Up close I can see and experience You as the Creator of everything. I can touch the power that makes all things exist. I can be certain that You intend all things for Your glory. Please dear Lord, draw me closer and keep expanding my view of You. I want to be obviously caught-up in knowing You deeply. As my view of You becomes greater, my view of my man will become smaller. Rather than living to please people, in view of Your grace and mercy I will passionately pursue a purposeful life pleasing to You. I will praise and adore You now and forever more. Amen.

What is your view of God? Do you see Him from a distance and unapproachable, or up close and touchable? Walk nearer to Him and He will expand Your view. One thing I see when I come nearer to God is ________________________________.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Depth of Love

Ephesians 3:14-19
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

I kneel before You Father astonished by the rich gifts You’ve lavished on me: the family name, the family image and the family fortune. Being chosen and adopted into Your family is the highest honor and greatest privilege I’ll ever receive. Nothing else will ever come close.

Today I’m claiming the priceless family promise of power to change the way I think and perceive myself. You don’t see me the way I see myself: unattractive, unworthy, and unlovable. You see me as Your beloved child. Please give me faith to believe and power to grasp:

The width of Your love: wide enough to reach the whole wide world, while also touching the homosexual, the prostitute, the adulterer, the murderer, the addict, the abuser, the abused, the obsessed, the rich, the poor and much wider than I can imagine.

The length of Your love: long enough to cover my entire life, longer than my rebellion, hatefulness, apathy, arrogance, ignorance, and much longer than I can visualize.

The depth of Your love: deep enough to feel my severely broken heart that no one else understands, deeper than my insecurities and fears, and still deeper than I could ever dream.

The height of Your love: high enough to stretch from heaven to earth to show me the way to all Your hidden treasures and higher than my simple mind can possibly understand.

Father, if I could comprehend and claim Your limitless love, then I’d look to You and You alone for love. I’d stop seeking approval from my parents, spouse, children, and friends. I wouldn’t fill my life with trinkets and treasures. I’d no longer crave the desires and lifestyle that once held me captive. I’d long for You and You alone.

Dear Lord, please fill me to overflowing with the inexhaustible love of Jesus today. With all my heart, I want to receive and accept the infinite love You bestow on Your children for the glory of Your name forever and ever. Amen.

Have you received and accepted God’s lavish gift of love, promised to His children? He’s not waiting for you to be perfect. It’s yours to claim today, just as you are. If you don’t feel worthy of accepting it, please pray and ask Him to give you the power to accept it. It’s a life changing gift.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Believing God

Hebrews 11: 1, 6
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Great God in Heaven~
You are the One and Only True and Living God~
You are King of kings, Lord of lords, God of gods~
There is none like You. Ruler of heaven and earth, all authority submits to You. You’re the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Just as You empowered, prospered, and protected Noah, Abraham, and Moses, You will empower, prosper, and protect me. Just as You directed and led Joshua, Gideon and David, You will direct and lead me. By studying Your Ancient Words, and paying attention in the classroom of my heart, I’ve learned that You’re always trustworthy and faithful. Though I haven’t seen You with my physical eyes, I’ve seen You with the eyes of my heart. I’m absolutely sure You are who You say You are, and will do what You say You will do. I’m certain You have a special plan for my life that involves something bigger than I can imagine; something only You can do.

Please dear Lord, give me faith to trust You to lead and guide me through tough times and rough terrain to the promised land of prosperity. Based on history, I’ll confidently expect a breathtaking surprise around frightening bends and unfamiliar borders. Earnestly, I’ll follow You up the steep peaks of pressure and down the slippery slopes of uncertainty. Please take away my anxiety and fear so that I can enjoy the exhilarating, exciting escapade that leads to rich rewards. With all my heart I want to please You by passionately pursuing You wherever You go. Please bless me today because I believe in the power of Your name. Amen.

How do you know that God exists? What one adjustment will you make in your life to pursue Him today? He promises to reward those who earnestly seek Him.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Treasures in the Darkness

Isaiah 45:3
I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches.
I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. NLT

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Soar Like an Eagle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Extreme Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Playing in the Pit

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

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

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

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

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

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