Prayer for Today

 

Diversity face

September 1, 2015

Father, it has gotten to the point I hate watching the news. Killings are mounting up daily, and every day we see citizens killing citizens, police killing citizens and citizens killing police. It is just too much!

All types of movements are springing up and saying this life matters and that life matters, as if You didn’t make all life and all life doesn’t matter to You. Forgive us Father!

Lord, for those of us in the body of Christ who have been given the charge of loving You and loving mankind, help us to see human life; which born or unborn,  Black, White, Hispanic, Asian or other, is important to You.

When Jesus came to die for the sins of the world, it wasn’t just for Jewish sinners, Muslim sinners or Christian sinners. He didn’t just die for sexual sins or moral sins. Jesus loved all sinners enough to die for all our sins. Forgive us Father for acting like, and treating others as if their sins are greater than our own. For we have all sinned and fallen short of Your glory.

You have told us to love each other to the point that we are willing to lay down our lives for theirs. You did not tell us to judge them by their lifestyle, their tattoos or their hairstyles. Your word says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Father, increase our hearts capacities to love others like You love us; without finding fault, without holding our sins against us and without treating us as outcasts. You loved us back to wholeness in You; help us do the same for someone else that needs You as much as we need You.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

Scripture references:

John 3:16 – 18

Romans 3:22 – 24

Romans 5:8

I John 3:16

I John 4:7 – 8

 

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Go With What You Know

Slingshot

 

I Samuel 17:38 – 39

Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.”

In the scripture above David was going out to kill Goliath. That was his plan from the beginning; to kill the person who was bringing reproach against the God of Israel. Yes, there were other people who heard Goliath’s threats and they planned to do nothing. Yes, there were people who were better prepared, with more experience and better equipped than David to battle Goliath but they didn’t have the heart, the passion or the resolve of David to protect the name of the Lord.

Everyone is always talking about how David went out to kill Goliath with a slingshot and five smooth stones but I think David went out with much more than human eyes can see. First, David went out to kill Goliath with history. He knew what God would do in order to protect him. God had given David the strength to fight and kill a bear and a lion, two foes that were mightier and fiercer than any man.

Second, David went out against Goliath with courage. To fight a bear and a lion in order to save some sheep means David had a level of courage locked in his DNA that not everyone has at their disposal. It’s like the Marines, policemen, firemen or another first responder; while everyone else is running away from terror or a disaster, they are running towards it. Not everyone has what it takes to do these types of jobs. David had what it took to lay his life on the line for some sheep; certainly, he had what it took to lay his life on the line to protect the name and character of his God.

Third, David went out to kill Goliath with equipment he was accustomed to using when he was in battle. Saul tried to give David his equipment but David declined because Saul’s equipment didn’t fit David; it was not designed for the type of fighting David was used to doing.

There are things that God has told, or will tell, you do to that looks like someone else is better qualified to do, but they don’t have what it takes. They don’t have the heart, the passion or the resolve to do what God needs to have done. That’s why He’s asked, or will ask, you to do it!

You have everything you need to do what God has asked, or will ask, you to do. You have the history, the internal resolve and the equipment you need to get it done!

Oh yes, there is one more thing about David that should be admired and imitated; he didn’t procrastinate! He went out to kill Goliath right away. He didn’t give himself or anyone else time to talk him out of it.

When God asked us to do something we need to move out quickly and go with what we know!

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17

 

 

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Be Careful

No evil trio

 

Luke 6:45

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

When I was a child there was a song that our children’s choir sang that said, “Be careful little eyes what you see. Be careful little eyes what you see. For the Father up above is looking down with love. So be careful little eyes what you see.” The song went on to warn ears to be careful what they hear and little tongues to be careful what they say. I don’t know if children choirs still sing this song in most churches today, but I think they should because this song is correct in its warnings.

What we take in through our eye and ear gates is going to be what we put into our hearts and what comes out through our mouths!

If you know someone with a nasty attitude or a sour disposition and you HATE talking to them because you know they are going to be negative, nasty or uncooperative, it is because they have taken in nasty, negative uncooperative things. Jesus said it best in the above quoted scripture. We act, respond and deal with other people and things based on what’s in our hearts.

We take in so much without really thinking about it. We watch all types of TV shows, “The Have and Have Nots”, “Devious Maids, “Scandal”, “Modern Family”, “Blacklist” “Empire” and the list goes on and on. Do we ever stop and think about what we’re really taking into our hearts and minds? Do we really stop and think about the type of lifestyles we’re cheering for while we watch our favorite shows?

We read and watch all types of videos and stories on-line. We watch and read stories of people fighting each other in the street, bullies mistreating other people at school, teachers being hit and beat while they are trying to teach their classes, near pornographic dance moves and again, the list goes on and on. And we sit there looking and listening, in taking without thinking that these images and words are going to manifest themselves in us at one time or another.

I know I’m guilty of leaving of eye and ear gates open to feeding my heart ungodliness. So how about you? What are you taking in through your eye and ear gates?

“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10

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Out of the Box

Created Chosen Called

August 12, 2015

Genesis 1:26

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

When I purchase a rose for my garden, I have a plan. I know where I’m going to put the rose, the nutrient levels I need the soil to possess and how to feed, water and protect the rose until its root system stabilizes in its new environment. I have a plan that the rose doesn’t know anything about.

The rose is shipped to me in a plain brown cardboard box. There is nothing in the box with the rose except other bare root roses that I may have purchased at the same time. If I purchased a single rose, it is in the box by itself.

I can only image how the rose must feel when I plant it in its new place. It goes from being in a dark empty box without soil or water into an open air space with at least six hours of sunlight, soil, vitamins and food. What a shock to its fragile system!

I’m sure if my roses could complain they would. They have probably become use to living in the dark bareness of the box but, in order to live, the rose must have the sun, soil, water and food, things that the roses can’t get while in the box. So, they may have become accustom to living in the box, if they stay there, they will die.

Yes, God does the same thing to and for us. You and I ask God for growth; financial, spiritual or personal growth so we can do more, have more or become more for the Kingdom of God. He answers our prayers and responses to our request. He begins to move us from our dark and confining boxes to new places where we can grow. And what do we do? We complain!

We wanted to grow where we were, in the confines of the boxes we have put ourselves in! We don’t want to change, we don’t want other things to change, we don’t want to do anything different, and we just want to grow where we are. Sorry! It doesn’t work that way!

God did not create us to be confined to dark, lifeless boxes. He created us to live in His Son and in the sun. What does that mean? It means God created us to live our spiritual lives in the light, soil and be feed by the life of His son AND to live our natural lives in the abundance here on earth. God never designed us to live in lack or less than. Neither in this life nor the one to come.

In order for us to grow, God has to move us to a place where the totality of who we are can be used and displaced as we experience new things. God is taking out of our boxes because He wants us to live and not die in the dark empty lives so many of us are now living.

Yes, it’s time to come out of your box!

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” II Corinthians 9:10

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Dying on the Vine

 

Tomator rotting on vine

I Corinthians 12:4-6

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in men.”

For the first time in my life I decided to grow a vegetable this year. I was talking to the farmer where I purchased my flowers and told her what I wanted to do and she suggested a table top tomato plant. She said they were easy to grow, easy to maintain and I could put them someplace where I would see them every day so they wouldn’t die on the vine.

She was correct on all points: the table top tomatoes are easy to care for and maintain, plus they sit on my deck so I see them every day and I can watch them as they flower, fruit and mature right before my eyes. If only our spiritual gifts were as easy to grow, maintain and watch. Maybe then so many Christians wouldn’t allow their gifts to die on their spiritual vines.

There have been several times I almost gave up writing Daily Prayers and Words for Today. I often thought “no one reads them any way” or “what I’m doing isn’t helping anyone” or, and here’s the best excuse I had for giving up this portion of my ministry, “who am I to try to help people live a fuller life in Christ. I struggle with stuff every day, how can I help them?”

During these times of defeat I’d still write the Daily Prayers and the Words for Today but I wouldn’t send them out. Then, I’d get an email from someone saying, “hey, where’s the daily reading?” Sometimes I’d know the person but often times I didn’t. I realized that what God had me doing in this portion of my ministry was important and helpful to people other than just me. And, if I continued to be selfish with what God was giving me, then the fruit that other people needed would die on the vine in my spiritual garden.

We all have spiritual fruit which grows out of our gifts. EVERYONE has at least one gift, according to I Corinthians 12:11, given to us by the Holy Spirit and, the Holy Spirit made the determination of who got which gift.

Sometimes we allow our fruit to die on the vine because we don’t value the gift we’ve been given. Selah!

“All these are the works of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.”

I Corinthians 12:11

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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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Weeds or Roses

Good as Gold
Matthew 13:24 – 28

‘“Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.  When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.  “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’  “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.”’
For the last few days I have been working in my backyard. This year I decided to plant roses in the back portion of my yard which meant I had to removed grass and weeds from the place where I wanted to roses to go.

I hate weeds and they are always around! I had to use a small pitchfork and hoe in order to loosen the weeds so I could pull them out by hand because I needed to remove the roots of the weeds. It has taken me two hours a day for three days, to area clear the grass and weeds and, I’m not done yet.

A big problem with converting an area this has been allowed to grow weeds unchecked is the roots of the weeds have a head start over my roses. The roots of the weeds are mature and well established while the roots of my roses are new and immature. If I allow the roots of the weeds to remain in place they will overtake my roses and choke them out.

We have weeds that have been planted in our hearts and minds. Our weeds have been planted by the words of others. Then, without our consent, the weeds in our hearts and minds talk to us when we true to do something new.  Our weeds say things like; “You’re not good enough.” “You will never make it, you just aren’t that smart.” You’re ugly/fat/too tall/too short, etc.” “You can’t do anything right.” “They will never accept you.”

On and on the weeds our enemies have planted in us lie to us. YES! They lie to us in an effort to choke out God’s purpose for our lives. In John 10:10 Jesus says, ‘“The thief comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”’ The enemies job was to kill our lives; destroy our dreams, chock out our hope and dash our desires for greater against the rocks of their lies. Our job is to plant and cultivate God’s word in our hearts and minds, which will uproot and destroy the weeds of the enemy.

It is time to take back our land that has been overrun by weeds. It’s time to uproot the lies we have been told down through the years and replace them with the truth of God. Then and only then, will we blossom, even in the wilderness.

Isaiah 35:1-2a

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.  It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing…”
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You Are the Salt of the World!

Salt shaker

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Matthew 5:13 (NIV)

If we have accepted Christ as Savior, You and I are the salt of the world. We have the power to heal, cleanse, preserve, create thirst, keep things afloat – like the Dead Sea, enhance an experience, take away stains, repel unwanted pests and add flavor to every life, situation or circumstance we encounter.

Salt is small and seemingly insignificant but, it is very necessary if we want to change the outcome of the flavor of what we cook or the look of what we clean. The same is true with us.

We may not be a big named preacher or someone others deem significant but we can give a smile to a cashier at the store, a kind word to a homeless person on the street or a shoulder to cry on for someone who is grieving. We can make a small donation to a local charity that’s working to make our community better or volunteer a few hours a week to that same charity. These things may seem small but they can make a big difference.

Christians are the salt of the earth. Everywhere we go and everyone we come in contact with should be changed by their encounter with us. This can be a very dangerous thing if the Christian the world comes in contact with is bitter, resentful, envious, and hateful or has a bad attitude. Christians with personalities like this in like putting too much salt in your food; it ruins the food.

Every time we’re going to encounter someone we need to ask ourselves these questions:

  1. Is my attitude going to enhance or ruin this encounter?
  2. How can I help clean away their stains?
  3. How can I help them stay afloat?
  4. Am I going to do anything that will cause me to be an embarrassment to God?
  5. Has my reputation been rightfully trampled by men?

Keeping these questions in mind will help us enhance our encounter with others verses ruining their view of Christ. We are the salt of the world. We are here to enhance other people’s lives one small act at a time.

Prayer for Today

God whisper

April 8, 2015

Father God there are so many voices vying for my attention. Often the voices I need to pay attention to are drowned out by the loud voices that I should pay the least amount of attention. Help me Lord!

Father the external loud voices are usually people who want something from me. These voices usually come from marketers and advertisers who want to tell me how I should look, how I should feel or what I should eat, drink or wear. They want me to know what their pill or drug can do for me. All these voices lead me to believe I’m just now good enough the way I am.

Father, on the other hand, my internal loud voices are usually my low esteem, my past failures, my fears and doubts, which all lend themselves to my ability to have paralysis through analysis. I end up getting stuck where I don’t want to be but I can’t move because all I hear are the loud voices screaming at me. Help me Lord!

Father God these voices yell at me daily! I often listen to them more than I listen to Your still small voice that is gently whispering Your truth to me. Help me Father to pull away from all the loud voices so I can hear from Your through Your Word, through prayer and meditation.

Father, I want to set aside time during the day to shut out all the loud voices just so I can hear from You. This is my sincere, earnest and heartfelt pray I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Scripture references:

I King 19:11 – 12

Matthew 14:23

John 10:27

Romans 10:17

 

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