Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dare to be a Daniel

Daniel 1: 3-4, 17, 19
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility- young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.

To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's service.

Most High King of Heaven,
You have chosen and adopted me into Your royal family. Because You have made me righteous, I have no defects. All of my deformities were made perfect at the foot of the cross. The ashes of my sin were made into beauty. You have lavished me wisdom and understanding to know the mysteries of Your good, pleasing and perfect will. I am qualified to serve You, my high and heavenly King.

This world is not my home. My home is in heaven. Like Daniel, I am a foreigner in a strange place. The wholesome language I speak is uncommon here. The Christian literature I'm familiar with is abnormal. It's imperative that I adapt to the way of life in the community where I live, work and play.

You've put me here to spread the Good News that Your kingdom is available to everyone who believes. I can only do that by earning the trust and respect of those around me. Please give me the desire to be like Daniel. I need to go beyond the pleasant walls and protection of my church and immerse myself in a corrupted culture. Clinging to my faith and trusting in Your power, I'll infiltrate people with the truth about You in words they'll understand. By developing meaningful relationships and clear communication, I'll build bridges for them to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Please dear Lord, give me a courageous heart and determined mind to follow You beyond my perceived limits. Give me extraordinary wisdom and knowledge to fluently speak to those who differ from me. Use me to connect my community to Your glorious kingdom for the praise of Your name. Amen.

You don't have to go to another land to learn a new language. Study the current culture in your community. You'll probably discover that people don't speak or act like you. In order to serve them for God, you need to know their values and traditions.

Dare to be a Daniel by building bridges with non-believers. Ask God to give you the wisdom, knowledge and courage of Daniel to boldly live out your life in your neighborhood. Find a non-church related group and begin interacting with them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jesus' Food

John 4:34
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work."

Sovereign King of the Smorgasbord-
Forgive me for craving the wrong things! I think more about nourishing my body than my soul. Please fill me with so much of Jesus that I will desire nothing more. There is an endless line of hungry people right behind me if only I'd open my eyes and notice!

People are starving for something more! I've been indulging in the never-ending feast of Bread and Water without consideration of the destitute and diseased following me. They will perish without proper nourishment.

Empower me to do Your will and share the Bread of Life and Living Water, my Sweet Jesus, with the hordes of hungry and throngs of thirsty begging for something better. Let me serve them passionately, persistently, and pleasantly, making it my personal business. Its hard work but the wages and benefits are eternal. No other employer offers an eternal life insurance policy. No other business in town offers forgiveness, redemption, and healing. No other place serves all-you-can-eat love and compassion. Only at the Savior's Smorgasbord will people eat and be satisfied.

The hours are limited, closing time is near. I must urgently accomplish the mandatory mission to feed the multitudes by giving them Jesus. Open my eyes to see discouraged, dissatisfied, and disgusted individuals:

Ravished for redemption, riches and relationships
Famished for forgiveness, friends and fellowship
Starved for salvation, security and sympathy
Hungry for healing, honor, and a hero
Longing for love, life and laughter

I will immediately bring them to Your Smorgasbord where they can gorge themselves with grace and be satisfied with the name of Jesus. Amen

There's a starving society surrounding you! You've been given a mission - to do the will of Jesus, feed them. Will you obey?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Immitating Jesus

Matthew 9:35-36
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

You are the King of Compassion!If I follow You, I can easily see what You have been doing. The problem is I'm prone to wandering. Distracted by my own agenda, my mind is so focused on finishing my mission that I'm oblivious to the multitudes surrounding me. Forgive me for my lack of compassion! Open my eyes to see the lost souls entangled in the rush of life. Give me a sensitive spirit to stop and set them free. You're not asking me to sell church. You're asking me to:

Teach them by the example of my peaceful lifestyle what it means to know the Shepherd and be sheltered in the safety of His arms.

Preach the Good News by telling them the story of how You rescued me from Satan's snare and brought me to the safety of the sheepfold.

Nurse their wounds caused by the disease of despair and sickness of sin.

Please give me a heart like Yours to teach, preach, and heal. Please fill me with fresh faith and Holy Spirit power to notice the harassed and helpless hordes crying for release. I will follow You and do the things I see You doing to bring glory and honor to Your name. Amen.

Ask God to put the name of one lost sheep on your heart and in your mind today. Begin to pray specifically for their release.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Believe Ask and Obey

John 14:12-18
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."

Truthful King~
I can hardly believe my ears! You promise that I will do even greater things than You did! That's an overwhelming oath. I will go places Your feet never went. I will claim new territory for Your kingdom, captivating people for You. Along the way I will witness unbelievable miracles. How can that be? I am merely human. You are God and You are everywhere! I'm thankful that You lay out the plan for me:

1. Believe what You say is true
2. Ask in Your name
3. Obey

Working in Your power, with the Counselor, Comforter, and Helper living in my heart, I will have the strength to impact my community, country, and world. This sounds like a simple strategy. My Spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. Please dear Lord, give me more faith to believe Your promise. I want nothing more than to be absolutely committed to You and the work of building Your kingdom. With all my heart I desire to accomplish great things for You in the power of Your mighty name. Amen.

Are you willing to follow God's 3-step plan to bring lost and lonely people to His kingdom? Do you believe God? Do you love him enough to obey?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Build Up Faith

Jude 1:20-28
Dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear - hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Blessed Lord,
You teach us exactly how to live a life devoted to You in preparation for the future when we'll live with You forever in Paradise.

First, we should build ourselves up in our "most holy faith," by opening our Bibles, Your Holy Word spoken to us. Through it, You entrust us with Your priceless treasury of promises. We build an incredible fortune when we believe and obey Your costly commands. Safeguarding the invaluable Truth in our hearts will change us profoundly, pervasively, and permanently into Your holy likeness.

In addition to opening our Bibles, we are to pray in the Holy Spirit. We should confidently come to You, just as we are, broken, weak and poor. Speechless, because of pounding pain or overwhelming joy, You'll translate our inarticulate sighs. When we don't know what to pray, You'll do it for us. Blessed assurance!

We should surround ourselves with Your love. In the shelter of Your strong arms, You'll protect, prosper and prepare us. We'll be closest to You every time we open our Bibles, pray, and hang out with other believers.

Encased in Your extravagant love, we need to be a witness to the world by telling our life changing stories to everyone. We need to patiently persevere with those who hesitate to believe us, get down to business rescuing those who are on the road to destruction, and show loving kindness to those who are corrupt and callous without becoming like them. We must trust You to protect us by Your constant presence and power.

Lord, let me take these lessons seriously, putting my most holy faith into action while I wait to live happily ever after in Your magnificent kingdom. All glory to You, O God, who can keep me from stumbling. I rejoice that I can stand tall in Your luminous presence, holy and pure because of Jesus my Savior who alone is worthy of glory, majesty, and power from now until the end of time. Amen.

God's Word tells us exactly how to prepare for the future.

Build up your faith
Pray in the Holy Spirit
Surround yourself with His love
Witness to the world

Do you believe Him? What one thing will do differently today to prepare for tomorrow?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Live as Citizens of Heaven

Philippians 1:27
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.

You are the Perfect Pattern for godly living. As much as humanly possible, I long to model my life after Yours.

Help me to understand and obey the rules of Your magnificent heavenly kingdom that are clearly posted on the pages of my Bible. Do not let me wander away from Your Word. I want to reflect Your beauty in everything I say and do. In the laboratory of love, show me any aspect or activity in my life that will tarnish Your image. Concentrating on You, I'll accept Your gentle instruction, allowing You to polish me.

With Your Words, in all their richness, alive in me, I'll conduct myself in a manner that accurately represents the kingdom of heaven on earth. Love and patience will show my strong faith. Peace will reign in my heart. Praise and thanksgiving will always be on my lips. My kindness and humility will give others an honest impression of You.

Please send godly people into my life so that I can see Your principles in practice and apply them to my own life. Seeing others imitating You will help me to grow in Your likeness. Hearing them tell about Your work in their lives will inspire me to persevere. As I study Your Word and watch others, I'll become a living Bible, persuading and motivating others to bring glory, honor and fame to You. Amen.

What impression do people have of Christ when they see or talk with you? What changes do you need to make in your life to honor Him?As Christians, we are to represent Christ. When those around us say, "I didn't know you were a Christian," we have failed to represent him as we should. We are not merely Christ followers; we are His representatives to others.We are therefore Christ's ambassadors. 2 Corinthians 5:20

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Showing the Way

Colossians 4:5-6
Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone. NLT

Holy God~
I praise You for showing me the Way to eternal life. I now have the responsibility to show others the Way. When You brought the message to me it was not only with words but also with all-consuming power. Assure of who You are and the great distance You went to rescue me from death and decay, I'll confidently point others in the right direction by my attitudes and actions.

Everything I do and say is a witness for or against You. People every where are watching me, waiting to see my response to difficult people and tricky situations. Before I go out of the house each day, please dress me in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Clothe me with an even-temper and quickness to forgive. Never allow me to leave home without wearing LOVE or tucking peace in the pocket of my heart.

Walking hand-in-hand with my brothers and sisters, I'll appreciate the family You've given me. I'll praise, encourage, and respect them. Open my mind to Your Holy Word spoken to me through older and wiser siblings. Listening to their real life experiences will help me make sensible choices.

I want to make the most of every opportunity to be a witness for You. People will die today without knowing the Way to living happily ever after. I have the answer that will save them from death and destruction. You are the One and Only Way. Please give me courage to exercise Your all-consuming power that's within me to share Your love with a lost soul today. Because You have shown me true love, I will graciously, tenderly, and effectively show it to others through my words and conduct for the sake of our glorious family name. Amen.

Do your words and conduct truly represent our Christian family name? People are watching us, waiting to see how we'll react to situations. Pay attention to how you respond to situations today. It is your witness to a watching world. Will anyone see Jesus in you? What will you do to live wisely, making the most of every opportunity to represent the Kingdom of Heaven on earth today?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Light Me on Fire

Acts 2:3-4
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, Light the match and breathe on me! Set me on fire! Brand me with Your signature so that I'm Yours alone! I want to be a Christian in my heart, blazing with the zeal of Your love. With intense heat, burn away anything that isn't of You. Turn my stubborn will to soot. Melt my cold, hard heart until it glistens with righteousness. Then, teach me with tongues of living flames what You would have me do.

Ignite me with divine power. Make me spiritually combustible today! Exploding with love, I'll be tenderhearted and merciful. Bursting with joy for my salvation, I'll glow brilliantly for You. Blast away my sin, so that I crackle with kindness. Fully ablaze, I will not live for myself. Consumed by Your love, I'll live to please only You. May people recognize me on the outside by Your flickering flame that's burning in my heart. Lord, let Your righteousness shine through and be glorified in me today for Your name sake. Amen.

If you are a believer God has branded His seal on your heart (Eph 2:9). What do people see when they look at you? What do they see in your actions? Do they match the seal of God's love burned on your heart? If not, I encourage you to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to ignite a fire in your heart so that others will see Jesus when they encounter you.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mandatory Mission

Matthew 28: 16-20
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Lord of the Universe,
I ascend the Most High and Holy Mountain to the Pinnacle of Your Presence. Bowing down in awe of Your majesty, I worship and adore You in the beauty of holiness. You are the One and Only True and Living God. Raised from the dead, You are Ruler of heaven and earth! All authority belongs to You! Your power is vast and victorious. I never want to doubt that "My God Reigns!"

You are the King supremely seated on the throne of my heart. I submit my whole life to Your final costly command. Clearly, Your parting Words commission me to GO to every community in every country telling people of every culture to repent and believe in You for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Proclaiming the Good News, I'll persuade people everywhere to pursue You. Practicing extravagant love, I'll teach them by example to obey You.

Please fill me with Holy Spirit power to GO with brave boldness. Open my eyes to see all the sick, sad souls surrounding me. Open my ears to hear the sound of people marching to hell. Give me a sensitive spirit to stop and share the Only Way to eternal life. It's not optional. It's a mandatory mission from the One I call King, Lord and Master. To disobey would be disrespectful insubordination!

I claim the powerful promise that accompanies this great commission. You pledge to be with me all the days of my life. You will never ever leave me! Since I can't fathom the thought of anyone spending eternity with Satan, I'll courageously and confidently conquer my fears and GO as You command. One day every tongue will confess You are God, one day every knee will bow to the glory of Your Most High and Holy Name. I exalt You, O Lord, above the heavens. Let Your glory be over all the earth! Alleluia! Amen.

Do you believe the One who rules the universe? Do you acknowledge Him as your King, Lord, and Master? If so, you've been given a mandatory mission to spread the Good News: Our God Reigns! It's as easy as ABC.

A = Admit you are a sinner
B = Believe Jesus died for your sins
C = Commit your life to Him

Friday, April 17, 2009

It is the Lord

John 21: 1- 7, 12
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them,"Friends, haven't you any fish?"

"No," they answered.

He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some."When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!"

None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.

Jesus, You are the Lord, the great I AM, who is always with me. On bright days, Your presence warms my heart. On deep, dark days filled with discouragement and disappointment You are just as present. On days of despair when all hope is gone and the net of my heart is empty, my vision is distorted by tear soaked eyes. I can't recognize You standing right in front of me. I can't hear Your voice. Are You there?

Please open my eyes to see while others just stand still staring. Open my mind to perceive while others parade around pondering. Many will watch, but I want to see, hear, and believe. Give me crystal clear vision to recognize You! I long to know You more dearly so that I can see You more clearly. When You affectionately call me I want to know Your voice. Unclog my ears so that I'll hear You say, "Friend, haven't you any hope?" Then I need faith to follow Your simple command to toss the empty net of my heart into the sea of blessings. You will fill it beyond my wildest imagination and exceed my immediate need! I'll jubilantly shout, "It is the Lord!" and others will notice You because of my faith.

Please dear Lord, take my desperate dilemma and turn it into innumerous blessings for Your glorious name. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and faith to believe. Amen.

What is your hopeless situation? Do you see the Lord standing in front of you? He's there if you look beyond the tears. He's calling, "Friend, haven't you any hope?" Tell him today that you want to know Him more dearly so that you can clearly see Him, hear Him, and believe Him when your heart is empty.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Walking and Talking

Luke 24: 13-16, 28-32
That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.

They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: "Stay and have supper with us. It's nearly evening; the day is done." So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.

Back and forth they talked. "Didn't we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?"MSG

O how wonderful you are! You walk with me and talk with me every day. How often do I fail to recognize You in my circumstances? Heartbroken and feeling abandoned tears flow down my face as I discuss my situation with friends. I must look ridiculous when I am wallowing in self-pity while You are right beside me! Open the eyes of my heart Lord, so that I can vividly see You in my midst.

Please dear Lord, when I am down in the dumps and crying the blues give me Your lantern and compass. Give me Your map. Help me to find the way to the sacred mountain, to Your presence. There, I will enter the place of worship and SEE my exuberant and magnificent God right in the middle of my hopeless situation! I will gaze into Your eyes and praise Your holy name. You will turn my frown into a smile.

Every day You talk to me like a friend through prayer and Bible study. You set my heart on fire. There's nothing more thrilling than Your voice. It stirs up warmth in the hollow of my heart. Help me to BELIEVE You when You speak to me. Help me to live in absolute expectancy, trusting You to do what You say You will do. Lord, You have captivated my heart! Please ignite others with the flame of this Holy Spirit wild fire burning within me. I want more than the blessing of my daily bread! I want ALL of YOU, JESUS! Amen.

Do you see Jesus in the middle of your hopeless situation?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blessing of Peace

John 20: 19-22
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"

After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

Prince of Peace,
It's comforting to know that no door can shut out Your presence. There is no lock strong enough to keep You out! Blessed assurance! I cherish the moment when You came, stood in the living room of my heart and spoke a blessing of peace to me.

What a joy it was to see Your mighty nail-pierced hand and feel the warmth of Your amazing love. It's the hand that was hammered to the cross to blot out my blemishes, erase my errors and fix my flaws. It's the hand that forever changed me and gave me new life. There is precious peace in Your pardon.

I rejoice at the sight of the spear-torn flesh in Your side. From it spewed the innocent blood that made me holy, pure, and blameless in Your sight. A fountain of water flowed from Your wound to heal me of mine. Because of Your torn flesh, nothing can separate me from You - no grief, no fault, no fear. There is peace in Your presence.

Finally, You breathed on me and filled me with Your Spirit. You empowered me to go persuade people to drop their differences and pursue friendship with You. I am required to confidently and courageously tell the life-changing story of my extreme encounter with my crucified Lord. There is peace in Your power.

Please dear Lord, come, stand in the living room of my heart today. Breathe a fresh blessing of peace on me. Renew the Holy Spirit power within me and remind me of my mandatory mission. Then, I will go speak a blessing of peace to others for the praise of Your glorious kingdom. Amen.
Have you seen the nail-pierced hand and spear-torn flesh of Jesus? If so, go tell others the difference it made in Your life. It's not optional.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

He's Alive

Matthew 28:1-10
Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to see the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn't here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come; see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples he has been raised from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember, I have told you."

The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to find the disciples to give them the angel's message. And as they went, Jesus met them. "Greetings!" he said. And they ran to him, held his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there." NLT

God of Hope,
My Living Lord,
I feel the fear and joy of the women who were at the tomb that glorious Sunday morning when You arose from the grave giving them the amazing gift of the resurrection - eternal life.

After Saturday mourning, these faithful followers awoke earlier than usual. The sun's rays were just beginning to illuminate the new week when they somberly and silently went to sit by the sepulcher. O how I wonder what I miss when I don't seek You early in the morning. Undoubtedly, these women didn't expect the excitement that was about to unfold!

In the shadow of sorrow and sadness, the earth suddenly shook ferociously. A brilliant array of brightness bolted like lightening through the dark morning sky, jolting them from their feet. An angel, dressed in a glistening garment surrounded by the radiance of Your glory swiftly moved the huge stone aside and sat on it. He calmed their fears and proclaimed the Good News! You most certainly were alive.

The empty tomb guarantees it.
The angel assures it.
The women witnessed it.

As You promised, all my sins were buried in that tomb with You. My old way of life was gone forever, forgiven and forgotten in a cold, dark, empty grave. As You arose, so did I to a bountiful, beautiful new life. Hallelujah!

Because You live, I can face tomorrow.
Because You live all fear is gone!
Because I know You hold the future
And life is worth the living just because You live.

Fill me dear Lord with the same reverent fear and exuberant joy You gave these dear women. Exploding with excitement, I will go tell the Good News to all those around me! "Jesus is alive! A miracle has happened before my eyes. I have seen His shining glory, heard His gentle voice, and will never be the same again. Come and see!"

Holy Spirit, open the ears of those near me to hear this Good News. May someone receive the generous gift of life today because they have seen You resurrected in me. Glory to God in the highest. Amen.

O how I wonder what we miss when we don't seek to worship Him early in the morning. Undoubtedly, we miss many exciting encounters with the Lord! I challenge you to get up early tomorrow morning, while it's still dark outside, and go to the grave. Seek Him! There you'll find an empty tomb and abundant new life! Go quickly! Worship Him!

Monday, April 13, 2009

God's Sovereignty

Matthew 27:62-66
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Sovereign God,
I stand in awe of Your majesty, glory and supremacy. As the Most High Ruler of the universe, all authority submits to You - all the powers of heaven and all the peoples of earth. No one can interrupt Your mighty work. Thank You for the excellent illustration of Your vast sovereignty and divine providence on that holiest of holy days so many years ago.

While the women were weeping, waiting and watching, and the terrorized disciples defected in utter despair, this hostile odd combination of religious leaders were collaborating to eliminate the movement of Jesus' body. In fact, they had so much contempt for Your Son that they violated their scruples and marched right into the Praetorium to see Pilate. Instead of having their Passover devotions, they were dealing with the defiled Gentile government about securing the tomb.

Pilate, who was scornful and indifferent, had previously washed his hands of the verdict. Having enough of the whole ordeal, he quickly bought into their grand plan. Playing into Your hand, these hateful people were doing exactly what You predestined them to do in order to accomplish Your eternal purpose.

With the eyes of my heart open, I see how You brilliantly orchestrated this whole scene to fulfill the prophesy that Your Son would spend three days in a wealthy man's grave. You marvelously put in place the whole lot of pagans with their loathsome agenda to make sure that there was no way possible for the disciples to steal His body. The only explanation for the absence of it would be the resurrection.

Thank You, God, for revealing to me how You work ALL things for the praise of Your glory, according to Your intended plan. These arrogant fools thought they dealt wisely, but You outwitted them by using their strategy to rise up victorious and promote the splendor of Your everlasting dominion. Hallelujah! Amen.

Whatever happens in your life, whatever you can't understand, whatever you struggle with, whatever doesn't make sense, whatever trials you're facing, God's at work, fitting the pieces of the puzzle together to work out His predetermined plan and perfect will for your life. It's for His glory and your good. The same God who was in control of every aspect of Jesus' death and resurrection is in control of your life too. He hasn't ever abandoned His throne or relinquished His authority. Do you believe He providentially and miraculously controls all things?

In sudden death and despair God works for the good of those who love Him.
In cancer and catastrophes God works for the good of those who love Him.
In flops and failures God works for the good of those who love Him.
In accidents and hospital stays God works for the good of those who love Him.
In unemployment and financial disaster God works for the good of those who love Him.
In felonies and imprisonment God works for the good of those who love Him.
In trials and temptations God works for the good of those who love Him.
In divorce papers and broken families God works for the good of those who love Him.
In addictions and abortions God works for the good of those who love Him.
In infertility and injury God works for the good of those who love Him.

His Word says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dark Fridays, Endless Saturdays

The women, who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. Luke 23: 50, 55-56

Thank You for the amazing lesson we learn from these devoted women who bravely followed You. Like best friends, they fearlessly walked with You through the dark, difficult valley of death. While the other disciples abandoned You under mounting pressure, these courageous ladies stayed at the Cross until every last gruesome detail was finished and cleaned up.

Heartbroken, they went home and prepared their most valuable possessions - spices and perfume, to lovingly and respectfully care for Your dead body. Deep in despair, they rested and waited through a long Friday night and endless Saturday mourning for the appropriate time to serve You.

We too will experience frighteningly dark Friday's - times of extreme crisis and confusion. During intensely disturbing, uncertain circumstances we can be like the disciples and go into hiding, or we can be like these courageous women and stick around until every shocking detail is worked into something magnificently beautiful. In their wildest dreams, they couldn't have imagined the spectacular ending to the story; but, because of their wholehearted love and commitment, they were the first to witness the miracle of Your astonishing resurrection.

O how often we miss the wonders of Your love because we walk away during duress. With our eyes on our own sad situation, we don't even consider offering our most valuable treasures to tenderly and reverently care for You. Please dear Lord, give us strength to endure excruciatingly painful conditions, sensitive hearts to serve You in the midst of our misery, and faith to remain at the grave through our grief.

Just as You turned their tragedy into triumph, we can expect You to turn our dark Fridays and endless Saturdays into brilliant Sundays for the glory of Your name. Hallelujah! Amen.

Between yesterday's tragedy and tomorrow's triumph will you leave God or linger at the grave until He's glorified?

Your Good Friday could be disease or death, affliction or addiction, divorce or separation, heartache or hardship, disaster or destruction. Whatever your misfortune, look forward with hope to Easter Sunday when your mourning will turn to joy.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. John 19:38-42

Holy Spirit,
Thank You for opening the eyes of my heart to see that I too am guilty of being a secret follower of Jesus like Joseph and Nicodemus. I call myself a Christian in my heart, but am afraid to admit it in front of people. Frightened of losing my prestigious place in the community, I too hide my faith in the closet. A people pleaser, I'm too scared of ridicule to stand out and publicly acknowledge my allegiance to You. Forgive me, O God, for my half-hearted commitment.

On that dreadfully dark Friday, these two casual disciples witnessed the unbelievable signs and wonders of the Cross. They experienced the unusual daytime blackout and the thunderous earthquake that shook open the gates of heaven. They saw the dead rise from the grave and knew beyond a shadow of doubt that You were Who You said You were. Recognizing the great distance You went and the exorbitant price You paid for them, they opened their mouths and spoke.

Having seen You die, their hearts were enlivened to ask for Your bloodied, bruised and battered body. Out of gratitude they bravely came out of hiding to give You a proper burial. Radically changed by Your death, they risked everything: their prominent positions, their social status, and their livelihoods to ensure that You were treated with deep heartfelt respect and dignity.

O Lord, will you kindly change my timid heart by Your death? Embolden me to come out of hiding, confidently stand up, open my mouth and speak out for You no matter the cost. With a fully devoted heart, I'll willingly risk my reputation to bring glory and honor to You because You died for me. Amen.

Are you a secret follower of Jesus Christ? Do you hide your faith from your friends and fellow workers? This is an appropriate time to come out of the closet and let others know your allegiance to Him.

Jesus has some strong words for us: "If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven. But if anyone denies me here on earth, I will deny that person before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33 NLT

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Testimony of the Centurion

Matthew 27:54
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"

Surely You are the Son of God!Thank You for the wonders and signs of the Cross that crushed the Roman centurion's immovable heart of stone and caused him to tremble.

On an ordinary day, there was nothing unusual or upsetting about his assignment. He had overseen executions many times before. Unconcerned with the merits of the case, he was only worried about watching and controlling the unruly mob that morning when the whole land was suddenly wrapped in an unnatural midday midnight.

Unable to see anything, he could only hear the voices of the angry bewildered masses, along with the agonizing cries from the accused. But from You, instead of cursing, he heard words that were peculiarly kind and considerate, as You miraculously focused on the needs of others during Your final horrific hours. You took the suffering that was inflicted on You calmly and quietly, baffling him.

After three frightening hours of midday darkness, the earth unexpectedly and violently quaked with a thunderous roar, shaking the very depths of his sin-scorched soul. He watched while the curtain of the temple was aggressively torn in two, the door to heaven was flung wide open, and cadavers mysteriously arose from their tombs. Woe!

The centurion and those with him certainly noticed something drastically different about Your execution. Something significant and magnificent had happened. Shocked by the wonders he had witnessed, he realized that You were no ordinary man and he was full of terror, awe, alarm, and reverence. Convinced in His heart that You were innocent, He opened His mouth and confessed, "Surely, He was the Son of God."

The lesson in it for me is to not become so complacent with my service that I don't notice who I'm serving. Please give me a desire to know You more passionately, personally and powerfully. Open the eyes of my heart to see You for Who You are: The Son of God. Trembling with fear, awe, alarm and reverence, I will fall down, open my mouth and worship You, praising and glorifying Your Holy Name. Amen.

Have you come to the place where you have a deep heartfelt respect and reverence for Jesus Christ? Do you realize that this One who died on Calvary did so for YOU? Has this filled you with awe? Has this fact alarmed you?

The centurion moved from being complacent through becoming concerned to become committed. This is the process that you must pass through on your journey to faith in Jesus Christ. You may have heard much about Him, but don't really KNOW Him. As you witness the wonders and signs of the cross, you too may become concerned about entering the gates of heaven. Don't stop short - put your faith in the One who endured all this for YOU. Will you commit your entire life to Him?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Matthew 27:50-51
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.

O Living Word of God!
I'll never understand the depth of Your incredible sacrifice, nor will I comprehend the high cost of it. Even the most brilliant minds in the universe can't search out the greatness of it. Your wisdom, love and grace are inconceivable. You sure do use unpleasant and unusual occurrences to shake us up and get our attention!

Calvary's Cross was the place where Your Spirit unmistakably collided with miserable man. It was our outrageous errors and poor judgment that caused the brutal impact. Voluntarily dying in the wicked wreck, You gave up Your Spirit, absorbing the full price and pain of it with Your heart. The earth trembled, and rock hard, unmovable hearts shattered into a million little pieces. Mine was one of them.

The curtain separating me from You was aggressively torn in two from heaven to earth as Your body was violently ripped by the soldiers' whips, cruelly torn by the crown of thorns, horribly crushed by the weight of the Cross, and split in two by the piercingly sharp point of the carpenter's nails. In the repulsiveness of Your broken and bloodied body, I find the magnificence of an open door.

The veil of guilt and shame that kept me hidden from You was immediately stripped away to reveal all that it cost You to adopt me. By the way of Your precious, priceless blood I can boldly walk through heaven's door into Your High and Holy presence. Approaching Your gracious, glorious throne, in awe of Who You are and what You've done, I can bravely ask You, my Father, for help in my time of need, fully expecting You to sympathize with my weakness. At the seat of mercy, You will bless me with Your unbelievable compassion and unimaginable grace.

To You be all glory, honor and praise for the indescribable, inexplicable, incredible things You have done! Hallelujah, thank You Jesus! Amen.

Ponder the indescribable, inexplicable, incredible gift of the Cross while your heart sings To God Be the Glory.

Monday, April 06, 2009


Mark 15:24
They crucified him.


Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Suffering Servant,
I marvel at the mystery of the cruel and unusual punishment You endured for me on Calvary's Cross. Why would You, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe empty Yourself of divine power, live as a human, and humbly, obediently, and voluntarily suffer the shameful death of a slave? You took the punishment that was due me, allowing me to freely live. Oh my God, how is this kind of love possible?

When the soldiers swung the hammer, driving the spikes into Your flawless hands and feet, the blood began to trickle and then gush covering all of my faults and failures. All of my pains and disfigurements, all of my pretenses and deceits, all my passions and desires were completely killed - not controlled, concealed or counteracted, but crucified with You - dead and buried. On the Cross, my individuality was completely broken and my Spirit was made at-one with Yours. My death certificate was signed and sealed by Your blood.

At the same time, my birth certificate was signed and sealed by Your Spirit, giving me a revolutionary new life. I no longer have the rights and privileges of the past. I've been liberated to live a radically different lifestyle on a higher plane. Fully surrendered to Your supremacy, I am now Your suffering servant.

Search my heart O God, and show me anything that I haven't relinquished to You. I want to be completely eradicated of my former way of living so that the only thing remaining of my flesh and blood is Your beautiful life freely, copiously, and lovingly flowing through me. My sole motivation in life is to be so passionately, personally, and powerfully identified with You that with all my heart, mind, soul and strength I'll humbly, obediently, and voluntarily suffer to do Your will Your way because of Jesus, the Son of God who lives in me. Amen.

Ask God to search your heart and show you anything you haven't surrendered to Him. Then nail it to the Cross, no matter how painful. Crucified with Him, His blood will cover all of your faults and failures allowing you to live a victorious new life.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Lord of Love

1 John 4:9-10
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Sweet Father in Heaven,
How can I ever thank You for Your revolutionary love? Even though I've experienced it, I can't describe it - it's unspeakable. It's unending and unselfish. I can't do a thing to earn it and I certainly do not deserve it. It's unmerited and unconditional. I ought to be struck dead at Your feet. Instead, by Your supernatural, sacrificial, satisfying love, the blood of Your Son has completely cleared away the damage and destruction from my past. You miraculously put a spring in my step, a song in my heart, a smile on my face and gave me an abundant new life.
Because of Your radical, amazing love intentionally exhibited on the Cross at Calvary, I can enjoy an intimate experiential relationship with You. I can live like You and love like You, confidently expecting to receive the rich, divine, imperishable, eternal inheritance You promise. Living in Your presence, I'm full of praise, power and perfect love. Enamored by You, there's no room in my heart for fear or failure, criticism or complaints, pain or problems.God of Love, I just want to live in blessed adoration of You every day of my life demonstrating unwavering, irrepressible, triumphant faith in Your promises so that I can trust Your extraordinary love to make me at-one with Jesus through whom I live and breath and have my being. Hallelujah! Amen.

Look at the Cross. Consider Jesus hanging there in pain and agony. Consider the crown of thorns pressed down on His brow. Consider the stakes driven through His hands and feet. Consider the beating He had already endured, ripping flesh from bone, so much so that He was virtually unrecognizable. Consider what He suffered. He did it all for love. He did it for us - to prove His love. Do you believe Him? How will your respond to His remarkable love?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Vision of Glory

Romans 8: 18, 23-25
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Lord of Life,

Thank you for this time of year when daylight exceeds darkness. I've been eagerly waiting for this season to spring forward. Spring gives me hope during the winter when it's cold, dark and dead outside. Feeling depressed, troubled and weary, I anticipate glorious new life!

As I looked out my window today I noticed the bulbs that were dead all winter springing to life again through the soft, saturated soil. My heart fluttered with joy to think that in just a short time a pretty pallet of posies will peek in at me.

Like the flamboyant flowers, I too must die and decompose as I suffer through sin, sickness, and sorrow. Groaning inwardly, I waste away while patiently waiting through the frigid season of darkness. Still, silent and stiff, I look forward to the day when I will spring to life like a fresh vibrant bouquet that will never wilt or wither. Living eternally in Your glorious garden weeds won't choke me, thorns won't prick me and insects won't devour me.

As it is written, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what You have prepared for those who love You. Anticipating longer days full of warm, radiant sunshine, surrounded by mysterious new life, I can only imagine what You have in store for me! Life with You is the bright hope that sustains me through today's trouble.

Thank You Lord, for a fresh vision of Your glory! I praise and worship You with love and adoration because of the new life that awaits me in Christ Jesus. Amen.

What are you eagerly waiting for and what are you doing while you wait?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Blessed Perseverance

James 5:10-11
Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

O Great and Powerful God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are Your purposes and mighty are Your deeds. Nothing is beyond Your control including Satan who ruthlessly and relentlessly torments me. You are fully aware of my distress and difficulties. My troubles do not surprise You. You are with me always, full of compassion and mercy.

Thank You for Your ancient words, long preserved for my walk in this world. All I have to do is look at Job as an example of patience in the face of pain. Rather than cursing and abandoning You, he depended and drew strength from You in his anguish. Please use my adversity to strengthen my faith. During difficult days I want to dig my roots deeper into You in order to withstand the storms.

I will not hide my overwhelming despair. My emotions will show that I am human. Mourning my loss, I will continue to worship You, Sovereign God, who has authority over everything. Like Job, I want to pass the test and prove that people can love You for who You are and not for what You give. Help me to find happiness and fulfillment in the One reality no one can take from me - Your great love for me.

Please dear Lord, make me a person of patience, faith, and endurance like Job. I long to pray continually and give thanks to You in all my circumstances, recognizing that difficulties are Your will for me in Christ Jesus through whom I live and pray. Amen.

If you are facing a strong adversary, I encourage you to read
Job, chapters 1 and 2. Let him be an example of faith and endurance through the storms. Then, read Chapter 42, with hope.