Friday, April 30, 2010
Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
Father in Heaven-
Thank you for giving me the miracle of a Christian home. This home is not mine. It belongs to You. Often the details of entertaining consume me. I want to impress people with my meticulous well kept place, my creative decorating, and my gourmet cooking. I am so busy with the preparations that I forget WHO I am serving.
Empower me to put people before things. Instead of putting away the dirt, I will put away my pride and allow others to see my humanness. Shape my home into a place free of false pretensions where people can relax and be themselves.
Open my heart to a needy family in my community. I will obediently open my home as a place of rest and healing for them. It is my desire to use the gifts You've lavished on me to glorify You. I am Your humble servant, please show me how to practice biblical hospitality for Jesus name sake. Amen.
The root word of hospitality is "hospital." Hospitals are places to rest and heal. Our homes should be places where people can come to rest and heal. Do you receive exquisite meals at a hospital? Are hospitals fussily decorated? Do hospitals only serve friends and family?
Think of your home as a hospital. Consider inviting to your home: the single or elderly neighbor who is always alone, the neighbor who's recovering from surgery, the family that just received devastating news, the neighbor that's unemployed, or someone new to your community.
What's keeping you from demonstrating biblical hospitality? Are you willing to put aside your agenda to be more hospitable?
Thursday, April 29, 2010
for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
But let them not return to their foolish ways.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
so our land will be filled with his glory. NLT
Amazing, Loving, Wonderful Lord,
You are beautiful beyond description! You display Your brilliance and glory radiantly in the rich colors of creation. Even though we ignore You, You faithfully bless us with Your prosperous presence each day. You're right where You've always been, doing what You've always done, creating spectacular miracle moments from heaven on high.
If we would just look up to You, acknowledge Your greatness, and admit our stupidity, You'd forgive the awful things we've done. Lovingly, You'd rescue us from death and destruction. You'd revive our stone-cold hearts with Your precious blood, giving us a fresh new start. Gladly, You'd restore our laughter.
God of Help, I'm concerned for the impotent church that desires to reach lost people with pleasant programs and plans that exclude the Truth. If we want to live in the prosperity of Your presence, we must diligently study Your Holy Word, paying careful attention to what You say when we open our Bibles each day. Listening to You, we'll know right from wrong, never having to live foolishly again. Accepting and respecting Your authority, love and loyalty will miraculously come together. Goodness will bond with peace and our great land will be inexplicably blessed with everlasting happiness. Our vividly changed lives will spectacularly display Your brilliance and glory because of Jesus. Amen.
Pray for revival in the church, and let it begin with you. Study God's Word daily so that you will know the Truth and obey it. Choose to live differently, wisely, brilliantly, according to God's Word so the His glory will shine through you, drawing others to Him like colorful neon light.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,"Will you give me a drink?"
The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Thank You for the lessons I learn when I take time to sit with You at Jacob's well in Samaria. From the time I was little I was taught to separate myself from the world. I've been warned about places I should not go and people I should not be seen with. Surely, prominent people would judge me by the company I keep.
The lesson You teach me at the well is not to discriminate based on race, religion, gender, or government. This woman was from a dreadful place, a despised race, and living a disgraceful lifestyle. Under no circumstances would a respectable Jewish man talk to such a dishonorable character. You could have haughtily turned Your back on her saying, "I don't relate to people like that." But, instead You risked Your reputation to approach and speak to her.
Your Word says that if I have faith in You I will do what you did and even greater things. Surely, You will judge me by the company I keep. The truth is You didn't keep company with outgoing, good-looking, or successful people. Even though You were a King, You associated with the forlorn, the friendless, and the forgotten. In order to do great things I'm going to have to radically change my mindset.
Jeopardizing my social status, I'll have to force myself to spend time in places I never dreamed of going, with disreputable people. I'll have to set aside my prejudices and proactively look for them where they are, relate to them as they are, and walk with them - stride by stride toward You. Please open the eyes of my heart and energize me with holy courage and compassion to intentionally go into unnatural and uncomfortable social settings for the explicit purpose of building bridges to the kingdom of heaven in Jesus name. Amen
How are you willing to risk your reputation to keep company with the kind of people Jesus associated with? What radical changes do you need to make to your lifestyle?
Surely, we will be judged by the company we keep. There's nothing wrong with hanging out with good and godly friends. The problem occurs when they're the only people we choose to associate with.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Lord of the Harvest,
You are such an awesome teacher! I marvel at the way You teach me each day as I spend time with You reading my Bible. Doing the work of the gospel alone is intimidating, exhausting, and not at all the way You intended it to be. You don't expect us to "go" single-handedly, but rather to "go" collectively.
You've shown me that two are better than one. Together we can strengthen and encourage one another. We can pick each other up after a fall, protect one another and hold each other accountable. As a team that has witnessed Your miracles, our testimony is extremely powerful and effective. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Please dear Lord, give me a clear vision of the ripe crop right here in my community. Equipped with power, passion, and prayer, I'll dedicate my skills to diligently work plucking people for Your kingdom. The harvest is plentiful! I expect You to send other faithful followers to join me in the field. Together, we'll gather the unsaved souls in our neighborhood. Knowing that You're following right behind us, we'll be confident that You'll pick up our produce and carry them right into Your glorious kingdom in Jesus name. Amen.
Who is ripe for picking in your neighborhood? These disciples weren't better educated, more capable, or of a higher status than other followers of Jesus Christ. They had no unique qualifications.
If you've received Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, you're equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to unleash the power and to give you a clear vision of the harvest field. Then mobilize a prayer team and go to work. Think of creative ways to show Jesus to your neighbors. Pluck the fruit one by one expecting the Lord of the Harvest to be right behind you picking them up.
It's our job to bring the people to Him. He does the work of saving them.
Here are a few creative ways to reach out to your neighbors:
1. Have a picnic. Invite another family of believers, along with one or two unsaved families. Tell stories about what God has done in your life.
2. Join with another believer to organize a pick-up game of kickball or basketball with the children in the neighborhood. Teach them to "play" like Jesus - fair and square.
3. Set up a lemonade stand and offer free lemonade and hotdogs on a hot summer day. Initiate conversation with those who stop by. Listen to their problems and offer to pray with them. Your generosity will show and tell them about Jesus.
4. Offer to do yard work for a shut-in person, single-mother, or a person with special needs. It's the perfect time to plant posies that will bloom all summer for them to enjoy as a reminder of Christ's love for them, as shown through you. Your kindness will show how much you love them.
5. Hold a Vacation Bible School for the neighborhood children in your backyard. On the last day invite the parents and share the simple truth about Jesus.
Monday, April 26, 2010
High and Heavenly King,
I praise You my Savior for finding me in the dark dungeon of despair, detained by dirty deeds. My Knight in Shining Armor, You rescued me and brought me out into the luminous light.
I was saturated in sin when You sought me.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Truly, You are the Son of God! Your generous gift of grace is amazing! It came to me in the promised gospel when You lovingly called my name. Gratefully, I acknowledged You, believing that You lived, died, and rose into heaven.
The moment I responded to Your call, You adopted and accepted me into Your family. You chose me to be a holy, pure and blameless ambassador, representing the kingdom of heaven to a helpless and hopeless world. Setting me free from evil and temptation, You put holy fear in my heart and insisted that I live within Your limits. Out of sincere respect and honor, I'll obey the parameters You set for me.
While I wait in the quietness of Your presence, teach me to be holy as You are holy. Search my heart and mind. Speak to me through Your Holy Word. Point out any wrong way in me. Immediately, I'll turn around and go in a different direction. Bless me with wisdom, knowledge and understanding of Your will and Your way. Then, I will make wise choices.
Thank You for calling me out of all the people in the world to belong to You. Gratefully, I accept the responsibility that comes with it. For Your namesake, I'll willingly follow the rules of Your family so that others will see You when they're watching me. Amen.
If you are a believer, you have a call and a task. God has called you to be a holy, pure, blameless ambassador so that you can truthfully represent His kingdom on earth. What will you do to develop holiness so that you can represent the One and Only True God to a watching world?
Take Time To Be HolyWilliam D. Longstaff, c.1882Copyright Public Domain
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Dearest Father in Heaven-
Your divine love is incredibly remarkable! That You would leave Your beautiful, majestic, celestial sanctuary in the sky to come to this hideous hole on earth to rescue hateful humans is unfathomable. I might die for someone really special, like my spouse or my child, but I'd never die for someone who despises me. Yet that's exactly what you did for me. While I was Your worst offender, You intentionally died for me. Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus.
In light of the high price You paid to purchase my freedom, I ought not think twice about giving up my comfortable lifestyle for unpleasant people. I believe You put arrogant, obnoxious, mean-spirited individuals in my life to teach me to love Your way. Remind me daily of my own idiosyncrasies. I don't like to admit it, but You know I'm far from perfect. Instead of uttering idle, meaningless chatter, help me to actively love unlikable people the way You love me. Recognizing my own unworthiness, will be my first step toward tolerating and showing mercy to them.
Please dear Lord, fill me with so much of Your magnificent love and mighty power that my vibrant faith will be contagious, proving to the watching world that I am Your beloved child. Because I long to make You happy, I'll try my best to obey You by loving others in the name of Jesus. Amen.
How can you show the selfless love of Christ to an unlovable person today? It's not easy and it's not optional. It's a command from the High King of Heaven who has paid a high price for you. It's the least you can do to honor and glorify Him. Jesus didn't come to rescue good people, he came to save sinners. He expects us to love them too; after all, we're amongst the throng!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
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.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
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?
Monday, April 19, 2010
Jesus, 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.
Friday, April 16, 2010
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.
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 15, 2010
Jesus, 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 14, 2010
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 13, 2010
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 12, 2010
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 09, 2010
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 08, 2010
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 07, 2010
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 06, 2010
Jesus, My Redeemer,How can I ever thank You for buying me, not with corruptible coins made of silver and gold, but with Your incorruptible flesh and blood? Willingly enduring a violent execution, You descended into Hell to rescue me. After three days in a dark tomb, You defeated death and bounced back to glorious life - not as a stiff cold corpse, but as an able-bodied man who could walk and talk. Hallelujah!
My Redeemer lives!
Your empty grave guarantees it!
Your faithful followers witnessed it!
I believe it!
And, I know with full assurance that one day, possibly quite soon, the heavens will split open and You will appear on a great white stallion. Standing upon this earth with fire in Your eyes and a sword in Your hand, You will be endowed with integrity, nobility and strength. At Your appearance, every man, woman, and child will be knocked off their feet and acknowledge that You are Lord of lords, and King of kings. Undoubtedly, I will see my Faithful Knight, the Prince of Peace crowned with beauty and majesty. Though disease and death may destroy my body, and darkness may obstruct my view, I believe with all my heart that one day I will personally stand with heaving lungs and a throbbing heart, gazing on Your glory with my own two eyes. In Your power I will have a mountaintop view of the Triumphant One who bought me and set me forever free to live eternally. O how my heart dances with desire! Hallelujah! Amen.
How confident are you that one day soon the heavens will burst open and Jesus, your Redeemer, will to stand upon the earth? Do you believe that after this time of extreme darkness, disease, and even death that you will see Him in all His splendor with your own two eyes? Does the very thought of seeing the Risen Redeemer set your heart dancing with desire? O how my heart yearns within me! Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!
Monday, April 05, 2010
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
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!
Friday, April 02, 2010
Jesus, 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 01, 2010
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