Prayer for Today

peace rock

Bible reading challenge:

Read all the scriptures referenced at the bottom of each pray. Today, fill in the lines below with your prayer requests.

September 28, 2015

Father You are my peace. More than just my peace, You are my Shalom. You are the reason I am complete; nothing missing out of my life, nothing out of place. You are the fulfillment of everything I need, when the need arises.

When everything seems to be going to hell in a handbasket, You lift up a standard again the enemy. Not just my enemies in the world, or my immortal enemy, but you lift up a standard against my enemies that rage in me.

You lift up a standard against the fear, doubt, anger, envy and jealousy that war in me. You lift up a standard against low self-esteem, low self-worth and my feeling guilty and ashamed of things I have done. Your love for me lifts me above the fray of the world and my shortcomings. When nothing else can help, Your love lifts me and gives me peace.

Lord, no matter what goes on today, help me to rest in Your peace. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Scripture references:

Psalm 34:4 – 5                                  Romans 5:1

Psalm 103:11 – 14                             Romans 8:1 – 4

Isaiah 59:19                                       Philippians 4:7 – 9

Isaiah 61:7                                          I Peter 5:7

John 16:33

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Marigold or Rose?

 

     Vanilla Marigolds  cropped-good-as-gold.jpg  

  

Psalm 73:1 – 3

“Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.  For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

 

I planted a new flower bed in my backyard this spring. I worked on the flower bed for days because I wanted to plant 6 new roses, which I did, but along with the roses I planted some marigolds. Five of the roses I planted died and the one that is still alive is struggling but the marigolds are thriving and blooming like nobody’s business.

I’m sure if my one struggling rose could talk it would be angry, envious and jealous of the marigolds. If that one rose had eyes, it would be sick of seeing vanilla colored marigolds blooming and taking over the space that was meant for the rose.

Here’s the deal; marigolds are perennials, they die after their blooming season. They do not have longevity of live. They are here, blooming and looking beautiful one season and in the trash the before the next season is over. On the other hand, roses are annuals; they live and bloom for years. I have some roses that are almost 20 years old. As long as I can keep my one surviving rose alive during the winter season, it will live and bloom next season and for years to come plus, the rose will get stronger as it lives through the winter seasons.

My marigolds are like the rich wicked people in this life; oh, they are living well now, they are wealthy, rich, attractive and carefree…today, but how about long-term? Those of us who are in Christ are like the rose; we may be struggling, but we have been promised abundant life in this age and eternal life in the one to come. The wicked don’t have those promises to lean and depend on.

It is easy to see the arrogant wicked people and feel the pang of jealousy or envy but we can’t allow what we see in them to cause us to lose our hope in God. We can’t allow their seemingly carefree life to cause us to think our goal of keeping our hearts pure before the Lord is in vain (Ps. 73:12 – 14).

We must remember that there is more to live than just money, fame and fortune. There is love, peace, joy, contentment, integrity, honesty, hope and truth, all found in our relationship with God through Christ Jesus.

You and I may cry out, “Lord, why can’t I have just a little of their money?” But, they may be crying out, “Why can’t I have peace of mind?” See, we only see the outside of the situation; we only see what the camera shows us, we can’t see their hearts but it’s not about what we see, it’s about a relationship with God and believing, even when we’re struggling, that long-term God will always be true to His promises to us.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” II Corinthians 1:20

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The Same but Different

cropped-julians-pix-6691.jpg

James 1:13 – 15

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

I have a dozen roses in my front yard. I basically care for each of them the same way; I feed and water them at the same time, clip them when they need it and make sure the soil nutrient levels are correct. I care for them equally.

My Double Delight rose, which is pictured above, is right at my front door because it’s beautiful and has a strong honey sweet aroma. When you walk up to my door and Double Delight is in bloom, the last thing you smell before you come into my house is the sweet fragrance of the rose. YUMMY!

The problem with the Double Delight is it is susceptible to black spots and yellow leaves. It is so susceptible to the disease that I have to pay special attention to the rose all summer because if I allow the disease a little room it will destroy every leaf on the Double Delight and defoliate the rose completely.

Right next to the Double Delight I have the John F. Kennedy rose; which is beautiful too but in a very different way than the Double Delight. The John F. Kennedy rose is not susceptible to black spots or yellow leaves but, Japanese Beatles LOVE the John F. Kennedy but they don’t really care for the Double Delight. So, even though the two roses are sitting right next to each other in the garden, they have too different challenges that I have to content with in order to keep them alive and healthy.

It is the same way for us in the Body of Christ. We have been engrafted into the Body of Christ by His redemptive blood and His finished work on the cross. We have been made spiritual siblings and yet, we are all tempted and drawn away from God by our own temptations.

What tempts you to turn away from your relationship with Christ may not bother me at all and what tempts me may not cause you to think about it twice. You see, just like my roses, we are individuals with different challenges, needs and desires. Coming to Christ doesn’t make us clones, it makes us saved. We are still the people we were before our salvation.

Our struggles are the same, our issues are the same, our aptitudes are the same, and the things we are susceptible to are the same. The difference is how we handle the struggles and the issues. The difference is how we handle the temptations. We are all the same; we all have struggles, issues and temptations but we are all different in how we handle them. None of us have any room to throw stones at someone else.

This is why we can’t judge someone else’s walk in Christ. We can’t judge how God is using them, or not, when or how. We don’t know all the particulars in that person life. Only God knows that and He is the one that directs the steps of us all.

One reason I love gardening is because flowers don’t have the ability to look over at another flower and try to compare themselves, whether for better or for worse. They don’t have the ability to see what I’m doing to one plant that I may not be doing to or for them. There is no envy or jealousy between plants like there often is between people.

While we are all the same in Christ because God is not a respecter of person, we are all very different and He treats us different according to His call on our lives.

 

“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.” Galatians 6:4

 

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Being Destroyed from the Inside Out

 

Japanese beattle on rose

I Corinthians 3:16 – 17

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”

I HATE, HATE, HATE Japanese Beetles!!! Can I say it again, I HATE JAPANESE BEETLES!!! They destroy everything in their path but they love roses. NASTY LITTLE CRITTERS!!! Okay, I feel better.

Japanese beetles grow underground where you can’t see them and hatch in late spring, early summer when my roses start to bud and bloom. They fly, crawl and have a hard shell which makes them difficult to kill. They get inside the rose buds or underneath the rose leaves and eat my roses from the inside out.  I can check my roses in the morning and they will look fine but, when I go out to look at them later the same day they have holes straight through the heart of them.

When I first moved to Maryland and started caring for my roses I didn’t know what Japanese beetles were because I didn’t have to deal with them in California or Texas. I was talking to a friend one day and telling him about this bug that was eating my roses and nothing I used got rid of them. He identified the pest and told me to get some Sevin and that would do the trick. That afternoon I went to a nursery and picked some up. My friend was correct. As soon as I started spraying my roses with Sevin the beetles began to fly away and die.

Now that I’ve lived in Maryland for over 20 years I know how to deal with the beetles. As soon as the humidity starts, I begin two-a-day spraying; once in the morning and again in the evening. The humidity seems to be the trigger for the beetles to come out and destroy.

We have things that are eating us from the inside out. Things like hate, envy, jealousy, pride, low self-esteem and feeling less than are just a few things that eat at our spirit persons.  There is also the spirit of control, you have to control everything and everyone or everything is wrong. Then there’s a competitive spirit, you have to win and be first in everything even when no one else knows there’s a completion underway.  The list of things eating us from the inside out goes on and on but there are three solutions; The Word of God, prayer and professional help.

We need to identify the triggers that cause our internal bugs to start their eating frenzy within us. We need to pay attention to our feeling and emotions when this happens, also called self-awareness and we need to spray our internal bugs with the God’s word and prayer. If necessary, we need to seek professional help to deal with our internal bugs. It’s okay! The goal is to kill that which is destroying you from the inside out.

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other; so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:16 – 17

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They’re Baaack!!!

 

Ephesians 6 12

Romans 6:6 – 7

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

It’s easy for me to get discouraged when I’m doing something new and old problems, issues and even some old people seem to pop up in the midst of my new stuff. It’s just like weeds popping up in my yard in the same places that I’ve evicted them no too long ago. The truth is I evicted them but I couldn’t eradicate them.

I worked hard to get rid of the weeds and grass from my new rose bed. I dug, pulled and trenched around the new bed so I could remove the unwanted stuff and keep it out. Unfortunately, after a heavy rain, the weeds are back and the grass is trying to return to where it used to live.

I looked out the window of my home office and saw weeds and grass growing and all I could think was, “they’re baaack!!!”

I was feeling sad, frustrated, let down and discouraged. All my heard work down the drain, then, I resigned myself to the truth; this is going to be an ongoing battle, not a one time effort. So, I went out, grabbed my garden tools and headed to the yard. This means war!!!

The same scenario is true when we start obeying God and begin to live our lives according to His will. We dig up doubt, fear, concerns about money, unforgiveness, past pains and disappointments. We dig up the pain of hurt feelings, envy and jealousy, guilt and shame. We pull them out, remove and evict them from the soil of our hearts with fasting, prayer, reading and studying God’s Word. We think we’re good, and then one day something or someone sends rain on our lives. Before we know it, we are battling the same weeds we removed from our lives because we evicted them but did not eradicate them.

We must resign ourselves to this truth: This is a never-ending battle! We will continue to contend with fear, doubt, guilt, shame, etc. as long as we live in these bodies. The good news is we have already won the war through our relationship with Jesus Christ.

So grab your spiritual gardening tools; your Bible, your favorite Christian authors’ books and Bible studies. Turn down your plate or, turn off the television or your computer and get to work clearing out those weeds. This means war!!!

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

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