Thursday, March 31, 2011

Zechariah 10:2

The idols speak deceit,
diviners see visions that lie;
they tell dreams that are false,
they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep
oppressed for lack of a shepherd.

Glorious, Ever-living, Creator,

You are highly exalted! No other gods can give us greater gifts. The gifts You give cost more than we could ever pay. You are able to do just as You please. You give us puffy clouds and warm sunshine; pouring rain and howling winds; blue skies and majestic mountains; rolling seas and roaring thunder; fruitful plains and dry deserts; fragrant flowers and gentle breezes.

Instead of graciously accepting these pricey gifts, like spoiled, unappreciative children, we foolishly toss them aside without unwrapping them. Instead of longing for more of You, we wish for store-bought baubles made of silver and gold. Rather than seeking Your perfectly wise counsel, we seek the fabricated advice of fortune-tellers who offer us false dreams and little consolation. We are wandering like lost sheep without a shepherd, vulnerable to deadly attacks.

Forgive us, O Lord, for senselessly trading Your eternal treasures for temporary trash. God of Angels, step in and take care of Your flock! Remove the idols that we've allowed to clutter the temple of our hearts. Replace the barefaced lies with Absolute Truth. It's time for a good housecleaning. Purify our hearts, sanctify our souls, and breathe new life into us.

Open our eyes to see and appreciate the exquisite beauty of creation. Open our ears to accurately hear the reality of Your rich promises. Open our hearts to always believe You. Focused on You, we'll be a firm foundation for Your beautiful church by worshipping You above all the deceptive and unpredictable pleasures this world has to offer.

You are worthy O Lord to receive glory and honor and power, because You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being. Amen.

What have you exalted above the Creator in your life? Are you willing to give it up for Him? The consequences of clinging to your idols are severe. I encourage you to read Romans 1:18-32, and take time to do an internal housecleaning.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Isaiah 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

Darling Lamb of God,

You've carefully led us through Heaven's Gate to the flourishing meadow of rich, luscious life where the Son always shines warmly. Your gated community is a safe, secure haven where we can chew heartily on Your Word in the lush pasture of love and drink from the pure stream of Living Water. Living within Your limits, You faithfully take care of all our needs. There is no place on earth as calm and quiet.

Yet, we all, like sheep, have gone astray at one time or another. Disgruntled with our lot in life, we've deliberately chosen to wander off in search of greener pastures. Beyond our safe boundaries, we live dangerously, making unwise and ungodly choices that damage Your sacred reputation. We take many wrong turns and end up in precarious situations. Lost and lonely, we're easy prey for wicked people hungry to devour our sweet hearts. Craving attention, we naively eat their poisonous lies and die.

Rather than letting us perish in the grave, You lovingly look for us buried beneath the rubble of our wrecked lives. Voluntarily, You give Your life to save us. Though we've blatantly chosen to go our own way and do our own thing, You painstakingly, carry the deep gashes from our treacherous decisions on Your ripped, torn and crushed body fully accepting the blame for every wrong move we've ever made.

How can we ever thank You for giving Your life to safely bring us back into the sheepfold where we can heal and once again enjoy the peace and protection of Your prosperous presence because of Jesus, the Darling Lamb of God who was slain. Hallelujah! Amen.

Consider how far you have strayed from the sheepfold of God and the awful trouble you've gotten yourself into. Then consider the wonder of the Darling Lamb of God who came to save you by taking on all of your iniquities. What does this mean to you? How will you respond?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

John 10:9 Jesus said, "I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures."

Jesus, Lamb of God,

You are the Heavenly Gate! I exalt You and thank You for swinging wide the door of righteousness so that everyone who believes in You can come to the Father. Thank You for laying down Your life to make an opening for me to access my home in heaven. You are good and Your love endures forever! I sing for joy because You have done great things for me. You have led me from the broad road leading to ruin through the narrow Gate of Life.

Within the walls of Your gated community, there is safety, security, and shelter. Thank You, Father for saving me and sending me to Your unshakable kingdom where there is fullness of life. In the presence of Your majesty, I can graze on Your glorious grace day and night. Living within Your limits, my life overflows with mercy and love. There is no place in heaven or earth as peaceful.

Thank You for leading me through the Heavenly Gate to a prosperous place full of rich, luscious life where the Son always shines brightly. I celebrate glad tidings of great joy because I have found You, the One Way to everlasting happiness. Today, I'll eagerly exclaim, "Look, here's the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" so that those on the broad road to ruin around me will hear and be led through the Gate of Righteousness to the lush green pasture of Your eternal love. Amen.

Thank God that the Gate of Heaven has been open to you! Share the joy of your discovery with someone traveling the road to ruin.

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"

John 1:29
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

Jesus, Lamb of God worthy is Your Name! All power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise belong to You, the precious Lamb who was slain!

Your limitless love is too much for my meager mind to grasp! Globally, it has no boundaries. It extends beyond the barriers of my selfish little sphere to the entire world. Broader than my partialities and preferences, it's inevitably predestined for ALL people. No one - no, not one - is worthy of Your Holy Love. From the purist to the vilest, we stand equally condemned in Your most high and holy supreme court, utterly insufficient and speechless.

Shamefully destitute, our only recourse is to come to the foot of the cross where You, the unblemished Lamb of God, took on the imperfections and blame of the entire world, dying for the benefit of all mankind. Falling on our absolutely wretched faces, all we can do is cry out, thanking You for Your boundless mercy and unending grace freely offered to all who voluntarily come. Admitting our deficiencies, we reach out to You in sheer desolation, allowing Your precious blood to wash away our misery, guilt and disgrace making us at-one with You.

At-one with You, our consciences will be thoroughly clean and our hearts will be miraculously healed. Free from death and despair, we'll be able to live a radical life of love serving others for You. We will be Your instruments of peace. Enthusiastically and unashamedly, we'll see You and shout, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" People all around us will stop, look and fall on their faces, crying "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb of God who was slain."

To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

What can we say to such magnanimous love? We are acceptable to God not because of our obedience, but because of the death of Christ. He came for no other reason than to take away the sins of the world. How will you respond to Him?

Take it to heart by reflecting on the lyrics and listening to Just As I Am.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Jesus said, "Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:7b


Your Word is wonderful! Thank You for the sparrows You send to our windows in the spring to remind us that we're worth more than the birds of the air!

Please don't let me feel discouraged by the darkness of shadows. Don't let my heart be lonely. Be my portion and constant Friend. You promise to constantly keep Your eye on me. Watch over me. Don't let my heart be troubled. Let me hear You tenderly say, "Don't be afraid, my child. You're worth more than many sparrows." Let me rest on the goodness of your precious promise where doubt and fear will cease. Lead me through the dark valleys by shining Your light ahead of me so that I can vividly see and follow You.

Just as Your eye is always on the sparrow, watch over me at all times. Within Your sight and light, let me sing joyfully. When I'm tempted to fear, when storm clouds arise, when songs give way to sighing, and when all the hope in my heart dies ... remind me that I'm worth more to You than many sparrows. Draw me back to the Light and lead me safely until I reach heaven's gate where You'll welcome me home.

Please dear God, take away my fears today in the name of Jesus. Amen.

God commands: Don't be afraid

He promises: You are worth more than many sparrows.

Do you believe God? Will you rest on His promise today? You are worth more than many sparrows. He provides for them and will sustain you even more. Do not be afraid. Trust Him.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Isaiah 40:11

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

Good and Gentle Shepherd,

So tenderhearted and compassionate, You certainly love Your sheep! You carefully lead us to the lush mountain pastures in our Bibles where we can graze to our heart's content on the fertile food of Your Word. Faithfully, You guide us through barren deserts to refreshing streams of Living Water to quench our dry and thirsty souls.

Along the way, You protect us from animalistic humans who threaten to attack our character. Prone to wandering off, we slip into clefts of criticism and condemnation, plunge into ravines of rejection and ridicule, and sink deep into depressions of disgrace and despair. In our times of trouble, You never fail to hear our cry, find us and set us free. Your sheep are Your most prized possession!

Bruised and bloodied from the fall, You meticulously bandage our broken hearts. Scooping us up in Your powerful arms, You hold us close to Your loving heart and carry us to safety. Resting in Your presence, we have nothing to fear. You are bigger than the people, problems and pressure pursuing us.

Thank You dear Shepherd for diligently doing Your job twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, year in and year out. Because of Your hard work I'm alive and well. I know from experience that danger lurks around the bend. It's crucial that I trust and obey You. Huddled in Your flock, there's protection, provision, and perfect peace because of Jesus. Amen.

Are you sticking with the Shepherd or have your wandered away from the flock? You are valuable to Him! He wants to take care of you, but you need to follow Him.

If you've lost your way and are stuck, cry out to Him. He'll find you right where you are, pick you up in His strong arms, and carry you close to His heart to the safety of His presence where there's protection, provision and perfect peace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Psalm 85:8-9

I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
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 King,

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 the rich colors of creation.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Romans 1:21, 28-32

Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

King of Creation,

Your invisible qualities have been clearly seen since the beginning of time. The heavens proclaim Your perfect nature. The skies display Your brilliant handy work. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make You known. Even though their voice is inaudible their message has moved through the whole world and their words to the ends of the earth. Everyone everywhere sees Your glory. There's no excuse for not knowing You. You, O God, deserve our praise forever and ever.

Even though we know You perfectly well, we fail to accept and worship You as the One and Only True God. We pretend to know it all, but are really quite stupid. Foolishly, we've traded Your prosperous, pristine beauty for worthless, tarnished trash. We've shrouded the Truth with lies.

Pornography, homosexuality, and adultery have become acceptable standards. We tolerate the killing of unborn babies, while viciously fighting to save animals. We cry out, "God bless America", but we've removed You from the classroom, the courtroom and the currency. We deny Your intelligent design, deliberately, spitting in Your face, as we invent new ways to ruin the rich life You intended for us. We're a nation full of senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless fools who expect blessing despite our defiant disobedience.

Something has gone terribly wrong! This isn't the way You created it to be! Have mercy on us for disrespecting and desecrating your Holy Name, O God. There's no fear of Your sacred laws or holy judgment. It's a free for all world. Though Your Word is freely and readily available, it also freely and readily rejected. We've rebelled against You, our Creator, and we don't deserve to live.

I'm thankful that Your Word convicts me of my wrong beliefs and behaviors. I want to relinquish my tarnished treasures in order to live happily in your beautiful, prosperous presence. By Your strength that's within me, change the desires of my heart and mind. With all due respect, I'll love and obey You, bringing honor to Your perfect nature, Jesus, my Creator King. Amen.

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

Monday, March 21, 2011

Leviticus 26:11-13

I will live among you, and I will not despise you. I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt so you would no longer be slaves. I have lifted the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk free with your heads held high.

O Holy One,

I am mesmerized by Your greatness! Your power has left me speechless. Your love has taken my breath away. I'm awestruck by Your mercy and justice. Though You are preeminent and transcendent beyond my comprehension, I marvel at Your immanency. I'm flabbergasted that someone with Your prominence and power would leave the Celestial City to live with me.

Did I hear You correctly, Holy God who rules the universe? You will not despise me? You will walk with me? You will be my God? I will belong to You? It's unfathomable that someone in Your eminent position would rescue a beat up, burned out, unkempt ragamuffin like me. Yet, by Your grace, You saved me and made my corrupt heart Your home. Possessing me, You placed me right in the middle of Your royal family with everyone else who doesn't deserve to be there. That's amazing!

I cherish the distinguished position You've given me. Knowing that I'm loved by the greatest King of all time, I no longer have to hang my head in shame. Walking with poise and dignity, I'm free to follow You all of my days because I believe Your precious promises: You will live with me; You will not despise me; You will walk with me; You will be my God; I belong to You; and my burdens have been uplifted by the blood of Jesus, Your splendid Son. Hallelujah! Amen.

Do you believe the promises from the mouth of God? They're His gift to you. Write them on the tablet of your heart and remember them! It is imperative to believe the words of the King more than you believe anything else.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Hovering around him were mighty seraphim, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with the remaining two they flew. In a great chorus they sang,

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty!

The whole earth is filled with his glory!"

The glorious singing shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire sanctuary was filled with smoke.

Then I said, "My destruction is sealed, for I am a sinful man and a member of a sinful race. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD Almighty!"

Then one of the seraphim flew over to the altar, and he picked up a burning coal with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, "See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven."

Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to my people? Who will go for us?"

And I said, "Lord, I'll go! Send me." NLT

Holy God,

With all due respect and reverent awe I come into Your divine presence. Silently, I fix my eyes on Your inexplicable, splendor and majesty. High above the cosmic galaxies, beyond the stars and moon, is Your lofty throne. The earth and everything in it is Your footstool. Never ending fabric from Your robe flows seamlessly from heaven to earth. Jubilant angels harmoniously sing of Your holiness, while the entire world epitomizes Your brilliant glory. I shudder at the vision of Your unsurpassed excellence.

Aware of Your magnificent holiness, I fall down in utter fear of You. Ashamedly, I admit that I've made many terrible choices and done a lot of awful things. I'm tarnished, broken and unfit to be in Your holy presence; yet, I too have seen and felt Your greatness. With a single merciful touch You blotted out my mistakes, forgot my failures, and removed my shame. Graciously, You asked me to clean up my act and represent Your heavenly kingdom on earth.

Please dear Lord, expand my view of Your dominion. Gasping at Your supremacy daily, I'll tremble in Your awesome presence, fearing You because You alone are the Lord God Almighty, and You alone are holy, holy, holy. No one else can touch my heart like You do. All glory, honor and praise belong to You, the Sovereign King, who reigns over all the earth from beyond the spectacular spacious skies. Hallelujah! Amen.

When we get a right view of God, we get a right view of ourselves. This helps us to remember that He is big, and people are little. Rather than living our lives to please people, we need to devote our lives to pleasing Him. Do you have a clear view of God's holiness?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Psalm 34:9,11

Let the LORD's people show him reverence,
for those who honor him will have all they need.
Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the LORD. NLT

Holy One of Israel,

With all due respect I come to You, bowing down before Your majesty. Silently, I gaze upon Your mysterious, glorious presence. Approaching Your throne, with overwhelming gratitude I'm certain that You'll teach me to love and respect You. It is an incredible privilege to sit under Your divine instruction. Please give me a tender heart, a teachable spirit, and a yielded will to learn to properly honor and revere You above every other person or thing that exists.

Admittedly, I'd prefer to learn in a comfortable, pleasant setting, but because of Who You are, I'm willing to attend the classroom of Your choice even if the conditions are rough and harsh. You know the best place to impart wisdom on me. Using the Holy Bible as my textbook, I'll learn of Your inconceivable love and Your holy anger. I'll understand that while You're compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love, You also punish the guilty. Love and justice are both expressions of Your holiness that I need to be familiar with.

O wise and wonderful Teacher, tune my ears to listen amidst all the commotion and confusion going on around me. Help me to remain poised and focused on the importance of each perfectly planned lesson. Empower me to tirelessly study Your Words every day of my life. Write them as notes on my heart so that I'll remember them through life's challenging tests. Above all, may I always keep in mind, that You are and have the Only right answer, JESUS. As I grow by grace, in the knowledge of Your holiness, I'll be eager to do Your will, Your way because I am respectfully Yours. Amen.

Consistent Bible reading is a tough assignment! You may need help with it. Ask someone to pray for you. Get a "study buddy" - a brother or sister you can meet with regularly to share the lessons you're learning in the classroom of your heart. In doing so, you'll be praising and honoring your holy God, blessing one another, and inspiring each other to persevere through the difficult tests.

Reverence is much more than sitting quietly in church, it includes doing God's will His way.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Matthew 24:3-8

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains."

Thank You for preserving Your ancient words. When I come to You privately and revel in my Bible, You reveal incredible insights and instructions for interpreting the times I'm living in. Your Word warns me and tells me what to watch out for. Because Your trustworthy promises preserve my life and provide me hope, I don't have to worry.

O Lord, Your Word is faithful and true. Knowing it keeps me from being deluded by a diluted "gospel." Because I delight in it, be gracious to me and give me discernment to understand Your teaching so that I will be able to detect such dreadful deceivers.

Wars and rumors of wars are rampant. Nations are rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. But, Your kingdom, O God, is an everlasting kingdom. One day all nations will fall beneath Your feet, and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that You are Lord. Your unchanging Word, is my unswerving confidence.

The earth may tremble and tumble into the heart of the sea, but Your Word, O Lord, will stand firm forever. When all I see is tragedy and sorrow, Your unfailing love will be my comfort and my strengthen. I will not perish when You are my shelter and my song.

Righteous Lord, I ask that You equip me with farsighted courage to hold on to Your Holy Word because it will be my holy hope as the days get darker. With my eyes on You and my eternal destiny, I will be a levelheaded, clear-thinking, still-believing follower of Christ to the end bringing glory and honor to Your everlasting name. Amen.

God's Word warns us about the events we are witnessing. He instructs us to watch out and not be alarmed.

What are you doing to protect against deception? Do you know truth for yourself or are you relying on others to discern it for you, spoon-feed it to you, and protect you from error?

What is your response to all the upheaval in the world? How will you "see to it that you are not alarmed?"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Psalm 10:12, 14

Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. You, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

Almighty Lord,
You are still in Your holy temple seated on Your heavenly throne where You will remain King forever and ever. From Your sanctuary high in the sky, You watch everyone closely, examining every person on the face of the earth. No one anywhere escapes Your holy gaze.

You know that Japan is reeling from a rapidly unfolding disaster of epic scale, pummeled by death, destruction, and destitution caused by the apocalyptic earthquake, tsunami, and damaged nuclear reactors that are threatening to spew deadly radiation. You know the excruciating agony and angst these precious people face as they desperately search for loved ones who instantly vanished into the heart of the sea.

You, O God, see the terrible torment of the survivors, and hear their heart wrenching cries for help. Arise, LORD! According to Your Word, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the helpless, the homeless, and the hopeless. As the victims reach out to You in utter distress, reach down from heaven and pick them up. Save them for Your name sake. Set their feet on the Rock of Christ Jesus, and shelter them in Your presence where they will be empowered, encouraged and comforted by Your unfailing love.

O Lord, my soul is consumed with compassion and sorrow as I continually see the stunning images coming from Japan. Amid immense misery and mourning, rise up and glorify Your name. Amen.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11

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

He says, "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
The LORD Almighty is with us.

Lord Almighty,
You are robed in majesty, armed in strength, and enthroned forever! High above the seismic wave, You saw the earth quaking and the world watching in terror as a massive wall of water devastated everything across a swath of Japan crumbling an empire into the heart of the sea.

In the wake of the world's worst earthquake, our hearts tremble and melt within as we see the desolation You have brought to earth. Yet, Your powerful and majestic Voice soars over the waters. Your thunderous promise is to be our refuge, strength and help in times of trouble. Rather than succumbing to fear, we need to open wide our Bibles and run into Your everlasting kingdom. Your throne is firm, immovable and eternal. In You we will be blessed with peace and power when the rest of the world is plagued with panic and pandemonium. Knowing that the Lord Almighty is with us, we can be still and silent believing that You are in control and will be honored everywhere on earth.

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

We are living in frightening times of uncertainty, but we don't have to succumb to fear. We have God's great promises! He promises to be our refuge, our strength, and our help in times of trouble. Open your Bible and run into Him! In Him there's no reason to fear. Be still and know the Lord Almighty is with us, and He will be exalted in the earth. Do you believe Him?

Pray for the people in Japan who are living through this unimaginable calamity.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Romans 1:5-6

Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus,
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 name sake, 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 Holy
William D. Longstaff, c. 1882
Copyright 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, March 10, 2011

I John 3:16-23

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.This then is how we know that we belong to the truth.

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, March 09, 2011

Daniel 1: 3-4, 17, 19

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

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

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

Most High King of Heaven,

You have chosen and adopted me into Your royal family. Because You have made me righteous, I have no defects. All of my deformities were made perfect at the foot of the cross. The ashes of my sin were made into beauty. You have lavished me with 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. TheChristian 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 corrupt 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 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, March 08, 2011

John 4:34

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 07, 2011

Matthew 9:35-36

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

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, March 04, 2011

Titus 2: 12-13

For the grace of God teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

God of Grace,
You are a most excellent Teacher. If only I'd stop, sit still and listen, You'd lead me by Your truth and teach me for You are the God who saved me! School me in Your ways so that I'll turn my back on godless, indulgent living. Take my hand and show me how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life while I wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of the Immortal, Invincible, Incorruptible, Almighty King.

Surely You desire for me to be grounded in the truth of the Bible. Help me to carefully study, prayerfully consider, and aptly apply great wisdom so that I won't be swayed by the smooth rhetoric of false teachers. Expand my knowledge so that I won't be deceived by devastating circumstances. Show me how to think clearly when emotions are tugging on the strings of my heart.

In this pagan and hostile world, instruct me to do Your will. By Your good Spirit, lead me on level ground. Following You, I'll exercise good judgment and carefully control my desires, tongue, and passions. Under Your divine discipline I'll willingly do whatever is good and right in all situations, no matter how difficult. You'll train me to be peaceable, considerate and humble toward everyone. My lips overflow with praise because You are the One who teaches me to be excellent and productive.

God of Grace, You have been so kind and loving toward me. By Your matchless mercy, You generously gave me a rich new life along with a hefty inheritance. Because You are faithful and true, I eagerly expect that some day soon, You will appear in all Your glory, sweep me off my feet, and carry me away to live with You forever and ever because of Jesus. Amen

Are you struggling with saying "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions? If so, ask the God of grace to teach you. He desires nothing more than for you to be grounded in the truth. Then, open your Bible and carefully study it. Prayerfully consider the Scriptures you've read, and aptly apply them.

Practice godly living while you wait for the glorious appearance of the King. "Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James 1:22.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

2 Peter 3:10-12

The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.

Most High and Holy Judge,
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before You as attendants while You patiently wait for people to admit their mistakes and change their ways so that no one will be permanently destroyed.

But You will not be silent forever. Someday, and possibly quite soon, a raging fire will consume everything in Your way until the whole earth is exposed. From where the sun rises to where it sets You will summon all humanity for judgment. Please help me to:

Be holy by spending time with You each day in intimate friendship, reading Your Word, praying and making friends with other believers. I want to know and recognize You.

Be godly by demonstrating love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I want You to know me and recognize me by my Christ-like characteristics.

Be watching by remaining alert and paying attention so that I won't be surprised or alarmed when You show up.

Make every effort to be spotless, pure and at peace with everyone.

Be on guard so that I won't be misled by false teachers with a feel good message that twists the truth and justifies inappropriate activities.

Keep growing deeper in my understanding of You and Your amazing kindness.

Since everything here today will be gone tomorrow, it is essential that I live my life for You. I joyfully anticipate my new home in heaven where I'll live happily ever after with You, my Lord and King. Thank You for warning me of what's to come and telling me precisely how to prepare! I praise You for Your wonderful Words! Amen.

God clearly tells us that He will come at an unexpected time. Do You believe Him? Are you ready if He comes tonight? How will you prepare to meet Him? Will you recognize Him? Will He recognize You?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Psalm 119:9-11

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.

I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

Blessed Writer of the Word,

O how I cherish the wisdom recorded in Your Holy Scriptures. It teaches me about Your holy character and divine nature. An amazing documentary on love, it tells the dramatic story of my rescue from death and destruction. It reveals that You chose and adopted me into Your holy family. I must; therefore, learn to love You and live like a divine child.

It is essential that I open the Book of Life, my Bible, and read it fervently. It will teach me precisely how to live with integrity in a relativistic society that doesn't take You seriously. The more time I spend studying and applying Your rules for righteous living, the more I'll become like You. Gradually, my heart will become more sincere and my mind unadulterated.

Out of deep heartfelt devotion, I'll passionately pursue You. Spending intense time alone with You, my heart will synchronize with Yours. Pleasing You will be my only ambition. Rather than tirelessly trying to make people happy, I'll spend my energy respecting and praising You in everything I say and do.

Daily digging into the sacred Treasure Chest of Your Word, I'll uncover Your costly commands and precious promises. Gingerly picking each one up, I'll methodically study them. Memorizing their fine details, I'll recognize their great worth during conflict and crisis. Tucked securely in the pocket of my heart, they'll prevent me from offending You.

O blessed Writer of the Word, thank You for imparting me with wisdom to do Your will, Your way for the glory and honor of Your holy name. Amen.

How can you practice clean-heart living? The Bible says it's easy as 1-2-3 ...

1) Live according to God's Word.

2) Seek Him with all your heart and obey His commands.

3) Hide His Word in Your heart so that you won't offend Him.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Hebrews 10:22

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Most High God! You are the exalted One who lives forever. Perfect, pure and pristine, Your home is a high and lofty place. Even the most ornate palaces on earth pale in comparison. No one, including the most prominent and powerful people, has enough credentials to enter through Your gates, come into Your courts, or approach Your throne.

Your Word makes it clear that the only way to come close to You is with a sincere heart. You already know the truth. You see our earthly mansions for what they are: temporary dwellings full of worthless idols. We can't hide the blood on our hands from the spirits we've wounded as we've prayerlessly pursued positions for personal gain. No amount of sweetness can conceal the stench of our addictions, attractions, and afflictions.

Yet, You invite us to come into Your Most Holy Place through the curtain that is the body of Christ. When we humbly admit that we are filthy from the places we've been and the things we've done, we can absolutely expect You to sprinkle our hearts and cleanse our guilty consciences with the beautiful blood from Your broken body. The pure water from Your wounded side will surely gush over us, making us whiter than snow. What a relief it is to come near to You with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.

Fully forgiven and free, we'll have the strength to walk away from our obsession with prosperity and power. Led by Your Spirit, we'll desire nothing more than to enter into the Most Holy Place of the Invincible, Immortal, Incorruptible Almighty King. Hallelujah! Amen.

To draw near means to come close. Come close to the Cross honestly, openly, and truthfully. God already knows everything. There's no hiding anything from Him.

At the foot of the Cross we can trust that He will do what He says He will do - make us presentable to enter His gates, come into His courts, and approach the throne of the Most High King. Only with a clean heart and a clear conscience we can stand in the presence of the Almighty.

How will you respond?