Monday, January 31, 2011

Psalm 27:8

When You said, "Seek My face,"
My heart said to You,
"Your face, LORD, I will seek." NKJV

O King of Glory!
Thank You for calling me to come look for You. My heart readily leaps at the chance to seek Your face, Lord! I want to see Your Majesty. Heartily, I'll search my Bible until I find You. Hear my voice when I persistently call to You through prayer. Be merciful and answer me. Don't hide Your face from me for long.

Help me to remove the shroud that's obstructing my view of You. When I can't see through the pain of my problems, wipe the tears from my eyes. If busyness is blocking me, slow me down. As difficult decisions distort my sight increase my dependence on Your divinity. While criticism causes me to lose concentration, give me confidence and courage to keep looking. Blinded by thick darkness, shine forth the bright light of Your love. I desire to discover You in the daily grind. In all circumstances, I long to commune with You. Against all odds, Lord, I will forsake everything for the sole purpose of seeing Your Majesty. Please show me Your glory through Jesus my King. Amen.

The King of Glory invites you to seek His face. Without delay the Psalmist spoke from His heart, accepting the divine invitation. What about you? Will you heartily accept His invitation without hesitating? Open your Bible, search the Scriptures, consistently call out to Him in prayer, and You will see Him for Who He really is.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Isaiah 58: 13-14

"Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Don't pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord's holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
and don't follow your own desires or talk idly.
Then the Lord will be your delight.
I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance
I promised to your ancestor Jacob."
I, the Lord, have spoken!

Lord of the Sabbath,
You are holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and You have spoken to me! You know that I'm stressed out, burned out and need time out! Thank You for designing a day for me to rest! Forgive me for neglecting it.

You set the pace by working hard for six days to make the entire universe. Then, You stopped and enjoyed the fruit of Your labor. The problem is my work is unending. I keep going and going and going, until all of my energy's spent and there's nothing left for You, my family or me. If You, the infinite source of energy, needed a day to rest, how much more do I need it?

Help me, by the power of Your Spirit, to intentionally make time to unwind. When I'm worn out, I make poor decisions that desecrate Your holy name, and hurt my family and me. Slow me down, Lord!

Setting aside my long to-do list, I'll deliberately spend an entire day quietly reflecting on what went well and what went wrong in my week. I'll thank You for my successes, admit my failures, and plan to do better next week. Letting go of everything, I'll concentrate on honoring You in everything I say and do. With my heart at ease and my mind clear, it will be a pleasure to praise and worship You for Who You are and what You've done.

Spending time with You, I'll discover remarkable peace and inexplicable joy. Free from obligations, my weary soul will enjoy a quiet day. My rich reward will be a revived heart, re-energized Spirit, and renewed strength. Rested, I'll consistently make right choices that bring glory to Your name. The noticeable change in my heart will draw others to You, the perfect designer of the day of rest. Amen.

The Lord has commanded, "Keep the Sabbath day holy!" Hard as that is in our current culture, it's not optional. To disobey is to dishonor the Lord of the Sabbath.

For one month, intentionally keep every Sunday open. Take a nap. Read a book. Take a walk. Play games. Visit the sick or elderly. It's very difficult, but you'll notice a remarkable difference in your demeanor and long for that day of rest each week.

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,
I praise You for choosing and adopting me into Your royal family. Because You've made me righteous, I have no defects. All of my deformities were concealed at the foot of the cross where You turned my brokenness into beauty. You lavished me with wisdom and understanding to know the mysteries of Your good, pleasing and perfect will. Now, I'm 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 they don't speak or act like you. In order to serve them for God, you need to know their values and traditions.

Resolve to build bridges with non-believers by asking 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, January 26, 2011

Luke 10:30-37

Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

Jesus, You are the Perfect Teacher!
Thank you for teaching me who my neighbors are! They are the people around me who have been stripped of their dignity. Kicked by random acts of cruelty, punched by persistent problems, and knocked unconscious by bullies, their spirits have been left to disgracefully die.

Forgive me for all the times I've:

Hurt someone and walked away like the robber
Unkindly passed by someone suffering because of my arrogance like the religious leaders
Reasoned my lack of love by standing around and talking about it like the experts in the law
Tried to capitalize on a bad situation like the innkeeper

Teach me to be merciful like the Samaritan who was the smallest among all of these men, yet had the biggest heart. Please remove the scales from my eyes and show me an injured soul today - someone who is different from me in race, creed, or social background. I will stop and nurse their wounds no matter the cost. With corrected vision, I will see interruptions as divine opportunities to show Your love to people in distress. May mercy flow like a river through me because of Your amazing love. Amen.

Open your eyes and look for someone to share the love of Christ with in a practical way today whether it's convenient or not.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Philippians 3:17

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.

Jesus, You are the Perfect Pattern for godly living. I long to model my life after Yours.

Help me to understand and obey the rules of Your magnificent kingdom. Do not let me wander away from them. 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 accurately represent 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.

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors.

Monday, January 24, 2011

John 13: 4-5, 14-15

He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Jesus said to them, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."

Jesus, My Lord and Teacher,

You reign in power with full authority over heaven and earth. Yet You left Your heavenly kingdom and became fully human to teach me Your ways. Out of deep devotion to Your Father, You voluntarily laid aside Your own rights and privileges to model the attitude of a servant.

Thank You for stooping down to wash filthy feet in order to teach me how to humbly serve You and others. If You, the Prince of Heaven, can take on the unappealing task of washing muddy feet then who am I to stand around, watching, and waiting for someone else to do the dirty work?

Humble my heart today. Fill me with a willing spirit and power to get up and go do whatever needs done for Your glory. Full of Your power, I will ...

Shamelessly stoop down to do unpleasant tasks

Eagerly serve others even when it's untimely

Risk my reputation to reach out and touch the unattractive

Value the dignity of human life more than my power or position

Express the full extent of Your love, even to the unappreciative

Father, with all my heart I want to be more like Jesus. Open my eyes to see who I can serve today. Out of love and respect, I will do whatever You ask, anticipating the rich reward You will give me because of Jesus. Amen

Are you willing to follow Christ's example? Whom can you serve today?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Romans 2:1

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Holy & Righteous Judge,

Forgive me for donning the robe, stepping behind the desk, and pounding down the gavel to announce the "guilty" verdict. I am just as bad! I have no excuse! It's easier to look straight ahead at someone else, than it is to look down at myself. If I point a finger at others, four fingers are pointing back at me.

When I put on Your holy robe and thump Your sacred gavel, playing judge, I'm setting myself up for discipline. You do not like when I step behind Your divine desk because I'm unworthy and unqualified to be there. Forgive me for filtering Your grace through my opinion, and watering down Your mercy with my own narrow-mindedness. I can't understand Your holy standard, let alone reach it!

I don't know the whole story. How can I judge a book when the chapters aren't all written? Only You know the whole truth. You are the Amazing Author of every story and uniquely write each ending. If You began a good story about someone, You will finish it with a perfect ending. I believe You.

I think of the thief dying on the cross next to You. In the last paragraph of his life story, he acknowledged You and asked You to remember him. In the end, You pounded the gavel and proclaimed him "not guilty", assuring him a place in Paradise. While the watching world convicted him, You patiently pardoned him. You are so kind and merciful. Teach me, Your Honor, to be non-judgmental for Your name sake. Amen.

God is a Father of many chances. He holds back His judgment on us, allowing us time to change our mind. He expects us to do the same to others. Talk to God about who you need to show mercy today. Then, step aside, remove the robe, put down the gavel and let Him announce the verdict. He alone is worthy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Isaiah 32:15-18

Till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
and the desert becomes a fertile field,
and the fertile field seems like a forest.

Justice will dwell in the desert
and righteousness live in the fertile field

The fruit of righteousness will be peace;
the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.

Rushing River of Life,

Pour over me like fresh falling rain from heaven. Expose the ruins of my unresponsive heart. Dredge up the debris from my dreadful decisions. In the current of Your merciful love, sweep away my damaged reputation. Then, rise up like a cool spring in the desert. Flow over the badland of my soul, and cultivate it into a fertile field.

In the center of the field, build Your home. Move onto the lush land of my heart. Plant the good seed of Your Word in the soil of my soul. Thoroughly, water it with divine wisdom and grace. Tend to me patiently, teaching me to grow Your way. Raise me up to make right choices and produce good fruit. Rooted in You, others will clearly see the beauty of Your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and restraint growing in me.

In Your presence, I'll quietly rest, knowing that I've done what's right. I'll always trust You to protect me from the prickly weeds of proud, power-hungry people that threaten to disturb my peace. Under Your tender loving care, I'll live a secure, serene and satisfied life.

Holy Spirit, rain down on me! Water the waste land of my heart with Your amazing grace, carry away the awful debris from my past and raise me up to consistently make right choices that will bless Your holy and righteous name. Amen.

Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and show you the damage caused by your poor choices. Humbly acknowledge where you're mistakes and resolve to live right this year.

The rewards will be rich: peace, quietness, and confidence forever.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Matthew 9: 10-13

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Merciful Father-

I continuously marvel at the fact that You love, chose, and adopted me despite my indecent life, impure motives, and improper attitudes. Mercifully accepting my broken life, You took me into Your heavenly workshop and turned me into a sacred masterpiece fit for a King. My beautiful new eyes will easily recognize lost and lonely souls. With a divine perspective, I'll be able to see beyond their faults to their possibilities.

Unnoticed, unhealthy people all around me are dying for the gift of friendship. Like Matthew, I'll find common ground with them. Risking my reputation, I'll spend time mixing and mingling with them, showing them Your tender mercies. Exposed to You they may be radically changed into valuable works of art for Your purpose and pleasure.

Father, forgive me for making this life a popularity contest. Often I'm more concerned about my rituals, routines, and reputation than I am about restoring relationships. It's not about ME. It's all about YOU. Please enlarge my heart and fill it with more of Your merciful love. Open my eyes to see who needs a touch of Your greatness today and I'll obediently reach out to them in the spirit of friendship because of Jesus. Amen.

Invite a lost and lonely soul into the core of your life today. Be courteous and authentic to them. Spend frequent time with them. Allow the Master to touch them through you.

God says, three times in his Word, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Matthew 9:13, 12:7 and Hosea 6:6. He doesn't want our rituals and routines! He wants our relationship! And, when our hearts are enlarged and full of Him, we'll have a spirit of forgiveness and restoration.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Luke 12:22-23

Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes."

Jesus- You are such a tender loving Teacher. This is a hard lesson for me to learn. Please stick with me until I figure it out! Every day I worry about:

Life - What if this or that happens?

Food - What should I put in my stomach today? Low fat or low carbs? How many calories and how much fiber does it contain?

Body - Am I too short, too tall, too fat, or too skinny? What will people think of me?

Clothing - What should I wear today? Black, brown, blue, white, blue, green, red, yellow? Do I look good?

Forgive me for wasting my time worrying about insignificant things. I should be more concerned with where I'll spend eternal life, what I'll feed my mind, and the condition of my heart. Instead of looking at fads and fashions, I should thoughtfully walk through a field of wildflowers, gazing with wonder on their fabulous form. They never spend one minute primping or shopping; yet, they look dazzling.

Lord, I desperately need more faith to believe that I'm more valuable than flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow. Rather than worrying about my life, I resolve to trust You more this year. Living in Your presence, I'll realize the magnitude of Your love and follow Your perfect plan, trusting You to take care of all my needs day by day.

Giving my entire attention to what You're doing at the moment, I won't get worked up about the future. When tough times come, I'll trust You to sustain me for the glory and honor of Your life-giving name. Amen.

What temporal things are you worried about? What do you gain from worrying about these things? Resolve to trust God more this year by looking at life from an eternal perspective.

You can exercise rigorously, eat right, put on a pretty face and dress in the latest fashions, but it's all meaningless if you don't have a pure heart. When you appear before God's throne, He's not going to look at your fine physique, pretty face and fashionable wardrobe. He's going to examine your heart. Work out with Him by reading your Bible carefully. Feed on His power packed promises. Clothe yourself in righteousness, humility and love from the armoire of God. Then, you'll have nothing to worry about because you'll look and feel splendid.

Psalm 123:2

Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the LORD our God. NKJV

Merciful Master in Heaven,

I am Your humble servant who looks up to You with respect and admiration. Under Your control, You treat me with loving kindness. You assign my work and reward me. While working for You is hard, it's also a joy and a delight.

Looking upward, I'll have a vast view of You. From Your vantage point, my perspective will be fundamentally different. I'll find You in the doctor's office and the law office. I'll see You in the parking lot and the shopping mall. You'll be in the board room, as well as, the play room and classroom. You'll be on the plane soaring across the skyway and in the car zooming down the highway. I'll notice You on the production line and in the check-out line. I'll spot You in my pain, as well as, my pleasure. I'll even see You in the darkest people and places. You'll be in my home and in my heart.

Watching You, I'll clearly see signals to do Your work. Sometimes You'll simply tell me to pray. Other times, You'll instruct me to lovingly encourage and comfort. Occasionally, You'll ask me to boldly speak out for what's right. You'll likely expect me to show mercy and kindness to intolerable people. You'll probably require me to go outside of my comfort zone to do tasks that don't come easily. Wherever I see You Lord, I'll stop, listen, and do whatever You ask to bring glory to Your high and holy name.

Open the eyes of my heart Lord! I want to see You! You are my Master and immediate obedience is necessary. For my hard work, You will richly reward me with the tender mercies of Your Son. Amen.

Your focus should continually be on the Lord. If your eyes are wandering you'll miss encounters with Him.

How have you seen God working around you recently? I'd love to hear! Leave a comment on facebook or on my blog where I have posted My View from God's Vantage Point.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My View From God's Vantage Point

Recently, I attended a mandatory business conference in Florida. I absolutely dreaded it. Where I was going booze flows like water, sexual immorality runs rampant, and greed and arrogance abound.

The Holy Spirit woke me earlier than usual the morning of my departure. I needed to spend intense time alone with God before going into the dangerous combat zone. Opening my Blackaby Study Bible to Psalm 123 God spoke to me:

Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the LORD our God,
Until He has mercy on us. NKJV

Blackaby reminded me that my focus should continually be on the Lord. If my eyes are wandering I’ll miss encounters with Him.

I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "You need to look for Me every where you go! Look for Me in the airport, I’ll be there. Look for Me on the plane, and you’ll find Me. Don't miss me in the midst of the mundane meetings. Write down every time you see Me. You’ll be surprised. I Am every where.”

So, I went with eyes wide open and this is what I saw:

On the plane God sat me with two other believers. The young gal seated next to me was the daughter of a Pentecostal pastor on her way to FL to attend a private Christian college. The young man next to her was a politician who attended a Christian college in Texas where he was nominated as a Rhodes Scholar and chosen to study in Oxford England. He said “luck” got him into that prestigious program. I looked him right in the eye and said, “You weren’t lucky, you were blessed.”

He told us he was going to be speaking at his church about a politically sensitive issue. God gave me the boldness to challenge him to be biblically correct rather than politically correct.

Arriving at the Disney Boardwalk Resort, I was struck anew by the extremely creative minds that dreamed and made this fantasy land. I was impressed with the mind boggling talents God gives to people.

At dinner Monday night God sat me next to a colleague whose father past away in August. Because I’ve been down that road, I was able to comfort and encourage him.

Tuesday, I had the privilege of taking my customer and his wife to dinner along with several managers. At dinner, I had the opportunity to share my faith and Prayer Pal with all of them.

Wednesday morning, the Vice President of Sales who is a believer approached me and said, “We need to talk.” To my puzzled look, she responded, “About something we have in common - our faith.” God didn’t make a way for us to talk at the meeting, but He did tell me to regularly encourage, comfort and urge her to live a life worthy of her calling. I’ve marked my calendar to pray for her on the 10th day of every month.

During the monotonous morning session, I prayed heartily for my customer who was presenting Wednesday afternoon. He did a blockbuster job with his presentation! Thank you, Jesus!

As I earnestly prayed, looked and listened, my eyes were opened to the darkness of souls.

Wednesday evening at a mandatory dinner, I sat across the table from a woman who unashamedly discussed her sexual preference and brazenly told us about her drinking binge the previous night, as she consumed more alcohol. Her friend immodestly displayed her figure while flirting blissfully with two married men seated nearby.

The older gentleman, lured into this young woman’s deceitful web, told me about his wife’s battle with cancer. Surgeries have left her severely disfigured. He mentioned that most men wouldn’t stick with a woman in her condition. Without a hint of religiosity, I gently asked him, “What makes you different? Why do you stay with her?” He responded, “I’m not a religious person, but my parents imparted to me the value of marital commitment.”

Later, as I was entering the elevator, I encountered his wife. Recognizing her from previous events, I greeted her warmly. She was severely disfigured and speaking was difficult for her. Heartbroken for their destiny, I took a walk alone and prayed for them. I told God if He put them in my path, I’d offer to pray with her. I didn’t encounter them again.

Thursday, I came face to face with arrogant, greedy people whose worlds revolve around their padded pocketbooks. They’ll tramp on anyone in their way, doing whatever it takes to make mighty money.

With eyes wide opened, God showed me the depth of sin in the world and the magnitude of problems. He burdened me to pray for lost souls and compelled me to intercede for Christians in the workplace.

I thank God for the benefit of working from home, isolated from the pressures of constant corruption. I praise Him for my Christian co-workers. I rejoice that His powerful protecting hand was on me as I traveled into the dungeon of darkness.

It’s good to be back in the light of my Christian home surrounded by Christian friends. However, observing the true depravity of mankind reminded me of the urgency of our mission to search for and rescue lost souls. It’s an enormous and strenuous job that is easily overlooked when we’re spending all of our time with other believers.

I encourage you, open your eyes and look around! God is every where; however, we believers tend to only notice Him in the nice places. Make the most of every opportunity to glorify His name!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Matthew 6:19-21

Jesus commanded: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

You are my most valuable Treasure. You are more lustrous than pearls, more majestic than sapphires, and more radiant than rubies. I rejoice in the richness of my relationship with You. Knowing You is more precious than the most brilliant diamond. Rare and beautiful, You've caught my interest and captivated my heart!

Like a fool, I've invested my money in worthless possessions, accumulating assets that could be destroyed in a heart beat. My warm and cozy home is full of meaningless treasures that could easily be stolen. Blessed with an overabundance of food, I'm never hungry. I've spent a small fortune on an extravagant wardrobe that I wash, wear and waste. Forgive me, Father, for overindulging in useless pleasures when others are just looking for a simple roof over their head, begging for a mere morsel to eat, and wearing my worn out wardrobe.

Because my heart and all that I have belong to You, I resolve to be more generous this year. Please touch my wallet with Your love. Show me who I can bless financially today. Willingly and wisely, I'll open my heart and my wallet, making a secure investment in Your heavenly kingdom. In return, You'll bless me with the everlasting riches of Your glorious name. Amen.

Thank God for all that He's given you. Consider all the ways you extravagantly spend money on unnecessary items while others struggle to survive. Out of heartfelt gratitude, resolve to be more generous and find someone to share your wealth with today.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Timothy 6:6-8

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Life Giving God,

You are the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords. You are immortal and live in unapproachable light. No eye has ever seen You. Highest honor, everlasting power, and interminable dominion are Yours forever and ever!

I'm exceedingly happy because of your incredible provision! You have given me so much more than I need. Help me to be content with what I have. It's difficult to flee from the advertising induced need for every new gadget and gizmo. In a materialistic world, distinguishing between wants and needs is tough. Teach me by Your Spirit to live a genuinely simple life, fulfilled with fewer belongings. I want to be rich in faith, hope and love.

All too often I take for granted the spectacular mysteries of life, failing to recognize Your stupendous provision. The vast beauty, splendor and majesty of creation are always there for me to enjoy. Family and friends are irreplaceable blessings to be cherished and protected. Best of all, You've given me the priceless gift of eternal life through Your Son. I have so much more than food and clothing to be thankful for!

Rather than chasing after meaningless possessions, I resolve to pursue a satisfying life of wonder, consistently working at what's right and pleasing to You, my Creator, who daily enriches me with amazing grace and everlasting love. Amen.

How will you simplify your life this year? How will you consistently work at what's right and pleasing to God?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Peter 4:9

Open your homes to each other without complaining.

Luke 14:12-14
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 clever 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 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? Resolve to aside your agenda to be more hospitable this year.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Psalm 39:4-5

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

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

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

You just don't know when your life will be interrupted by an unexpected tragedy. Resolve to live each day like it's your last. Don't miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Give someone a hug today. Call a friend. Be a friend.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Psalm 130: 5-6

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

I admit I'm a most impatient child! Even though You promise special blessings for those who quietly wait, it's a very difficult assignment for me! I'm living in a fast-paced world where we drive fast cars through fast food restaurants, gobbling the grub as we speed down the freeway. Instant cash at ATM's and instant information on the internet provide for instant gratification. And I wonder why waiting is hard!

Please dear Lord, slow me down! I want off this race track! Rather than speeding to keep up with everyone else, worrying about my security, career and relationships, I want to deliberately depend on Your provision and protection. Instead of pursuing power, prestige, and possessions for pleasure, I want to down shift, allowing You to take me to everlasting happiness. Zooming through life I miss out on opportunities to serve You; consequently, also losing the rich rewards You pay Your workers.

At break-neck speed my perception is poor and my vision distorted as in the darkness of night. I simply can't see clearly! Going at a slower, safer speed I'll begin to see You for who You really are: loving, kind and reliable. I'll come to depend on You for power, provision and protection. I'll learn to trust Your principles, promises and purposes. Concentrating on Your goodness, I'll find peace and hope in Your Word, the Bible.

Please fill me with patience to endure the long, silent night of my soul, eagerly expecting the definitive morning when the Son will rise and warm my heart with heavenly hope for Your namesake. Amen.

Most of us are waiting for something - a promotion or pay increase, a diagnosis or cure, the death of a loved one, a trial and verdict, a wayward child to come home, to overcome an addiction or bad habit, to win the lottery or lose a few pounds, for a voice to pick up the phone or a computer to respond ...

What are you waiting for? Are you impatient, like me, trying to devise your own schemes and plans to get ahead? I encourage you to slow down and go with God. In His Word you will find the only Way to peace and everlasting happiness.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Galatians 6:2

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

John 13:34-35
Jesus said, "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." NLT

Glorious Lord,
You are my wonderful Savior! When I stumbled and fell over shame, You found me, and compassionately picked me up in Your strong arms. Injured and weak from the fall, You resiliently carried my wounds on Your body to Calvary. There, You disinfected my sore soul with Living Water from the gash in Your side and cleansed me with the antiseptic of Your blood. You covered every mistake I ever made and ever will make.

Miraculously, You healed me and gave me a vivacious new life full of love and strength. You promised to continually carry all of my problems. Leaning on You, I won't stumble and fall from the weight of my anxieties. I'll stand up tall under stress, affectionately praising Your mighty power!

All around me are indignant, hurting people who have stumbled
and can't get up. The weight of their troubles is more than they can bear. Please enlarge my heart. Fill me with a spirit of compassion to notice the fallen people in my path. Just as You mercifully care for me daily, I resolve to graciously stoop down, pick them up, and carry their load. Since You went a great distance to save and strengthen me, I'll go the extra mile to lift up needy people. I'll voluntarily go out of my way to attentively listen to them, boosting their spirits with kind words of encouragement and prayer. Make me a mighty magnet to draw others to You for mercy. In doing so, I'll fulfill Your command to love others, and show the watching world that I belong to Jesus through whom I live and pray. Amen.

If you know someone who's struggling financially, deliver groceries to their door. Secretly pay their utility bill or their rent.

If you're aware that someone has received devastating news, pick up the phone and call them. Tell them you're thinking of them and ask how you can help.

Go visit an elderly or disabled person. Take along a balloon bouquet to brighten their surroundings. Your presence will make their day.

Relieve weary parents of small children by taking the children for an afternoon.

Write a letter to a prisoner who's been forgotten by society. Tell them about God's forgiveness. Show them His mercy.

Offer to pray for someone who is hurting and do it on the spot. It will bless their heart to hear their name being carried to the throne!

Ask God to give you a spirit of forgiveness and forbearance. Ask for an enlarged heart and a spirit of compassion. He will be delighted to give you these things! Then, open your eyes. Look around and you will see someone close by who has fallen and needs your help. Show them that you are a Christ follower by lightening their load today.
Find someone with a load heavier than your own, and help them carry it today. It's not optional!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Matthew 11:28-30

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." NLT

Jesus, You are my Personal Trainer.
Thank You for inviting me to come work out with You. I'm exhausted and bulging with burdens. I admit that I've lazily neglected my spiritual needs and put off coming, afraid of repeat failure. Loveless and loaded with lies, I'm tired of living like this. My heart and mind have been fed empty calories by false teachers preaching shallow theology. My soul is suffering from the stress and stain of tragedy and trouble. Constant problems and pressure have packed on the pounds and I'm absolutely miserable. I've been weighed down with worries and full of fear for too long. Lord, I'm sick and tired of carrying around this excess baggage! Because I don't want to spend the rest of my life feeling this lousy I resolve to lose weight this year.

In Your precise training program, You'll gently teach me a lifestyle that totally reflects who You are. Determined to get rid of this heavy load, I'm dedicated to Your demanding daily discipline. I'll eagerly get up and access the godly equipment in Your gymnasium every day. Actively using my Bible, I'll consume reasonable portions of strength enhancing nutrients. Vigorously working through Your Words will stimulate my messed up mind to perform perfectly. Coupled with the power of persistent prayer and praise, my bulging burdens will slowly shrink as I transfer the weight of them to You.

Completely trusting You with my problems will give me more energy and freedom to effectively serve and love others. Under Your gentle control my heart and mind will miraculously heal. Resting on Your powerful promises will inspire me to continue working hard toward my life long goal of being shaped into Your remarkable image. In my life, Lord, be magnified so that I can be more productive for You. Amen.

Have you resolved to lose weight this year? Consider giving the weight of your worries to Jesus. He's inviting you to "Come," work out with Him. He's offering to take your load and teach you to live differently. As you trust Him completely with your heart problems, the physical pounds may dissipate too.

Give your burdens to the Lord and he will take care of you. Psalm 55:22 NLT

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I Timothy 4:8

Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. NLT

My Divine Coach and Trainer,
Here I am - weak, out of shape and ready to get rid of the unnecessary stress and strain in my life. This year I resolve to get firm and fit with You. I know this fitness program will be extremely challenging, excruciatingly painful and very expensive, but the end result will be well worth it. Willingly, I'm surrendering my entire life to You, absolutely determined to improve my image from the inside out.

Giving You my best effort will be easiest if I have a few spiritual friends to train with me. Together, we'll encourage each other to persevere through the pain and doggedly practice the difficult maneuvers You teach us. Shutting out every other thought, we'll keep our eyes on You, and do exactly what we see You doing. As our hearts beat in rapid unison with Yours, we'll breathe in Your sensational power and blow out Your extraordinary strength.

Frequently refreshing with Living Water from the deep well of our Bibles will make us excitingly different. As we monitor our hearts and measure our progress, the noticeable change will motivate us to keep working out our faith with fear and trembling. Under Your rigorous daily discipline, we'll become firm and fit forever, taking on the strong physique of Your Son.

Going to the gymnasium is useful, but exercising a disciplined life with You daily is far more beneficial. When You are magnified in our bodies, we won't be ashamed and will have the stamina to endure all kinds of problems and pressures. Others will instantly recognize the drastic improvement in us and naturally be attracted to Your fitness program too. Amen.

Have you resolved to get more physical exercise this year? God's Word says that training for godliness is even more beneficial. What will you do to get firm and fit with Jesus?

Even if it's as little as 10 minutes a day, you can't afford to not train with Him. Find a study buddy and commit to working out together by doing a daily devotion. Share with each other what the Lord's teaching you. Together, you'll improve your image as you grow in His strength.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Galatians 5:25

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Father in Heaven,
Thank You for compassionately choosing me to be Your beloved child and adopting me into Your great big diverse family when I was an utterly rebellious brat. When you found me I was absolutely loveless, kicking, screaming and demanding my own way. Fiercely in pursuit of fame and fortune, I was rudely pushing and shoving anyone in my path. My all-consuming desires were never satisfied! A mountain of putrid garbage had accumulated in my mind and soul. Amazingly, You picked me anyway, and sent Your infinitely powerful Spirit to tame me from my wild and wicked ways.

Vitally dependent on Your divine discipline to break my bad habits, I resolve to relinquish control of my life to Your Spirit this year. Fully submitted to Your authority, I'll recognize Your commanding voice when I purposely read my Bible. Resolutely, I'll follow Your step-by-step instructions for functioning Your way. With Your Words embedded in my mind, Your love will be behind my actions and Your power will control my egocentric desires.

Under Your wise counsel and watchful eye, I'll learn to imitate Your unrestricted love. My heart will joyfully dance and my mind will peacefully sing as I tag along with You through all kinds of stress and strain. Firmly in Your grip of grace, I'll persistently endure difficult people and situations by repeatedly demonstrating Your undeniable loving kindness. Making the most of every opportunity, I'll welcome interruptions to help carry the burdens of others I encounter along the way. Trusting You to gently lead and guide me by Your Spirit, I'll live a drastically different life that magnetically draws others to the life changing power of Your Almighty Spirit. Amen.

Will you resolve to live by the Spirit this year by fully submitting to His authority and respectfully following Him step-by-step every day?

Can people recognize you as a child of God by your attitudes and actions? If not, humbly admit that you're a spoiled rebellious brat who needs tamed by His almighty power. Ask Him to teach you in the way you should go. Listen carefully to His instructions and willingly follow them no matter how difficult.

When you keep in step with the Spirit, the outgrowth of the Spirit will be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

Monday, January 03, 2011

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Dearest Father in Heaven,
I'm eternally grateful that You've saved my life by deliberately removing my dysfunctional, diseased heart and intentionally replacing it with the strong, healthy heart of Your dear Son. My heart now beats in vital unison with Yours. Since You munificently recreated my miserable old life into a magnificent new one full of love and power, I resolve to live a drastically different life this year by being:

Receptive of people who are fundamentally different from me
Empathetic, polite and kind rather than rude, arrogant and obnoxious
Content with the things You've given me instead of envying what others have
Recognizant of the good in bad circumstances
Ecstatic with the truth instead of misled by deception
Accepting of people's faults as opposed to being critical and judgmental
Tolerant of abrasive people and harsh conditions
Even-tempered and calm even when I'm angry, resentful and mistreated
Devoted, protective, persistent, hopeful and trusting to the end

Thank You, Father, for opening my heart and implanting Your Son. Radically changed, I'll graciously look beyond the diseased, dysfunctional lives of others. Generously, I'll pour out Your infinite mercy and amazing love on hurting, helpless, and hopeless people bringing glory to You through the new life You've magnanimously given me through Jesus, Your Son. Amen.
O. Chambers writes in My Utmost For His Highest, "If you are born again, the Spirit of God makes the change very evident in your real life and thought."

What radical difference has Christ made in your life? The above resolutions are from 1 Corinthians 13. Can you boldly stand in the light of God's truths without squirming and evading them? If not, continue surrendering yourself daily to the Great Physician until His heart is fully implanted in yours.