Friday, June 30, 2017

John 12:24

Driving through the beautiful, bucolic farmlands of south central Pennsylvania, I noticed the gloriously golden wheat fields and pondered these words spoken by Jesus.  

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But, if it dies, it produces many seeds.  John 12:24

Glorious Father-
Thank you for this beautiful word picture. Like a grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies to live anew, I lay down all my dreams and worldly desires to follow you. Plant me wherever you want to produce a harvest for your Kingdom. Press down on me, crush me, and break me. Soften me and release me to press upward to reproduce an enormous multiplication of blessings.

God please crucify me with Jesus - fully yielded, completely surrendered, totally submitted. Use the problems and challenges that are part of my every day life to put me to death. Then raise me, like a kernel of wheat to an abundant ... victorious ... blessed ... fruitful ... powerful ... Christ-like ... Spirit-filled life. I love you Lord and want to be more like you! In Jesus name, I surrender all. Amen.

What do you need to surrender in order to reproduce abundant blessings for the Kingdom of God?

Make a deliberate determination to be interested only in what interests God. Intentionally, remove everything from your life that keeps you from following God's dreams and plans. Concentrate on the Son who did not give up when He had to suffer shame and die on a cross. He knew of the joy that would be His later. This joy will be yours too, if only you will die to yourself and devote your life to Him.

O. Chambers writes (06/19) in My Utmost For His Highest, "The secret of a disciple's life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that "falls into the ground and dies" - it will spring up and change the entire landscape.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Psalm 126

Psalm 126
When the LORD restored his exiles to Jerusalem,
it was like a dream!
We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
"What amazing things the LORD has done for them."
Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us!
What joy!

Restore our fortunes, LORD,
as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest. NLT

How Great You are O Sovereign King! There is none like You!

Lord, overwhelming sorrow tries to take me away from You. Battered and bruised by the battle with the enemy, a fountain of tears flow from my eyes. Wounded and worn out, I weep. Gripped by grief, I'm a miserable mess. Rescue me! Restore my fortune! Bring me back to the peace of Your presence.

Help me to plant kernels of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and discipline in the soil surrounding my sadness. I will gently water them with a steady stream of tears. And, then I will patiently wait through the season of sorrow for the promised heavenly harvest.

When I joyfully return with baskets full of bountiful blessings I will share a foretaste of glory divine with those around me. They will notice that You have done amazing things for me! Together, we will sing, laugh and celebrate a yield of sweet succulent spiritual fruit. I believe that You will turn my hard situation into an enormous reward for the praise of Your glory! Amen.

What has taken you away from your Sovereign King? It could be sin, addiction, false teaching, idolatry, ministering to someone needy, transition, a new job, busyness, or love to name a few. Identify the thing that holds you captive and break free! Plant the seed of His Word in the soil of your situation, water it with your tears and patiently endure while it grows. Then reap the bountiful blessed harvest and celebrate the amazing things the Lord has done! 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Luke 12:7b

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

Thank You for the sparrows You send to our windows 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. My heart will never be lonely with You as my constant companion and caretaker. You promise to always watch over me. With You in me, my heart will not be troubled. Near to You, I will 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.

Just as Your eye is always on the sparrow, I by faith I will trust You to keep Your eye on me. Within Your sight, I will 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 ... help me to remember that I'm worth more to You than many sparrows. Draw me close to You and lead me safely through this perilous world to 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.

A mama sparrow recently built her nest in the birdhouse outside my kitchen window. I was blessed to watch her prepare a safe haven for her little ones. It reminded me when we hide God's Spirit in our hearts, He surrounds our souls with a safe shelter.

A short time later the baby birds were born. I was blessed to see their mama faithfully bring them food. She feed them bit by bit while I watched from the kitchen window. God reminded me that He will feed His children too, bit by bit.

Soon, the cute little birds spread their wings and soared from the safety of the birdhouse to a branch on the tree, and into the wild blue yonder where they will weather all kinds of storms. As we trust God with all our hearts, He will teach us to spread our wings and soar above the storms of life.  

Fly little birdies! Fly! 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Psalm 85:8-9

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 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 foolish 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 nearly right, 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 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 that His glory will shine through you, drawing others to Him like the rich colors of creation.  

"Discernment is not knowing the difference between right an wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right." Charles Spurgeon

Monday, June 26, 2017

Romans 1:21, 28

Romans 1:21, 28
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.

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 ignorant. 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 joyfully 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 reject political correctness in order to love and obey You, bringing honor to Your perfect nature, Jesus, my Creator King. Amen.

America is on the brink of destruction. 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?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Isaiah 40:11

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.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Leviticus 26:11-13

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! I'm flabbergasted that someone with Your preeminence and power would leave the Celestial City to live with me.

It's unfathomable that someone in Your prominent 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 grace!

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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Isaiah 6:1-3

Isaiah 6:1-3
I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other,
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven's Armies!
    The whole earth is filled with his glory!"

Holy God,
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.

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?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Matthew 9:35-36

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 simple lifestyle what it means to know the Shepherd and be sheltered in the safety of His arms. 
Preach the Good News by telling them the story of how You rescued me from Satan's snare and brought me to the safety of the sheepfold.

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

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

Monday, June 19, 2017

Psalm 34:9, 11

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. Approaching Your throne, with overwhelming gratitude I BELIEVE You will teach me to love and respect You. 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.

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 Cliff 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.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Matthew 24:3-8

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 level-headed, 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?"  

Friday, June 09, 2017

Romans 1:5-6

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.