Endurance

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Father, thank You for your loving patience. You’ve helped me conquer so many things in my life but You well know that I am far from perfect. Every time something comes up that needs to be addressed, may I yield to You. Help me to lay it at Your feet – it does me no good to ignore the need for Your touch and to think I can take care of it on my own. This day I submit to Your continued Lordship over my life. Amen – so be it.

Hebrews 12:2-4 (<<click here)

Endurance… Lord, Your life amongst us was truly a living example of endurance. But even with that before us, many of us struggle. It just seems so much easier to give up and throw in the towel when the going gets tough.

Many things in life bring us great joy and fulfillment – marriage, family, kids, work, church, homes, yards and this list goes on. But they can also bring us great heartache, stress and fatigue. So many things are worth our investments of time and energy. We just have to endure.

Karen and I have spent this last couple of days edging around flower beds and mulching. It is a lot of hard work! It’s hot. It’s dirty. Our bodies have protested quite a bit. It’s not been easy but it has been well worth the effort!

This summer we will celebrate 30 years of wedded bliss. Has it always been easy? No. Has it ever crossed our minds to give up? Maybe. But we didn’t and, oh, my, it has surely been well worth the effort!

I have walked with the Lord now for most of my life. I have had many challenges and struggles. I have failed and fallen, more times than I can recall. But, Lord, You have been rock solid. You’ve never given up on me. You stood with me through thick and thin. You have called me to endure. I have, only because of You, and it has truly been worth it all. Thank You, Lord, for Your loving patience. You are my inspiration. Praise Your Holy Name!

June 1st, Wed, 6:20 am

Fix My Eyes

Father, thank You for the many blessings You have bestowed upon me. I am grateful for family and friends, for the freedoms I have, for the faith that sustains me through all the ups and downs of life. Thank You, for the work You have done in my life…

Hebrews 12:2 (<<click here)

The only way we can “run…the race that is set before us…” v.1 is by “fixing our eyes” as the NASB* puts it. When we “keep our eyes” on You, Lord, when we “fix our eyes on” You, that is when we succeed in our Christian walk.

Thinking on this reminds me of a character from Disney/Pixar’s movie “Up”. His name is Dug, a golden retriever who can talk.  He is lovable but easily distracted. In any conversation, even in mid-sentence, his attention can be distracted and he will call out “Squirrel!”

Lord, I am just too easily distracted. It’s one thing if it happens in our time together each morning but it is another thing all together when I’m trying to run the race. Distractions can be disastrous! I can end up where I never intended, off the straight and narrow and stuck in the mire of a debilitating situation.

I cannot count the number of times that I have been steadily, faithfully following You and a little distraction slows me down enough that sin then trips me up. It sure wasn’t my initial intent but it can be where I end up.

Help me, Lord, to fix my eyes on You. It’s the only way for me to “run with endurance the race God has set before” me.

May 31st, Tues, 6:24 am

*New American Standard Bible

Peace in the Ups and Downs

Father, reading “Our Daily Bread” this morning connected it with a sermon You gave me a couple of weeks ago. Both dealt with John 14 where Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit indwelling us. This is something I realize but what comfort I find in being reminded of it. May Your presence in me this day influence my every word and deed. May the peace You give me be evident to all. “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.”

Lord, I thought I was going to read a passage and write on it this morning but You have touched my heart in my opening prayer and I feel compelled to carry on.

In our world “peace” is elusive. Left to us, on a global scale, it is impossible but on an individual basis it is difficult but surely attainable. We all yearn for peace. But our problem lies in the fact that just about all of us search for it in every nook and cranny but fail to look to You – the Prince of Peace. Even Your children are hard pressed from time to time to find it.

Part of our problem is that we feel we have to take care of things ourselves – we shouldn’t have to ask anyone to help us. That would show that we are weak. We may not want to acknowledge it but that’s what we are! We are weak. In and of ourselves we cannot find peace – or we can’t hold on to it.

But probably the biggest contributing factor to our dilemma is the fact that our relationships with You are shallow. You desire deep relationships with us, but we are too busy. Or more likely, we fear giving ourselves over to You thinking that life as we know it will cease to exist – no more fun, just holed up with a Bible somewhere.

But, Lord, nothing could be farther from the truth! When we give ourselves over to You, there is freedom! And there is…peace.

This is a reality, Lord, for I have experienced it firsthand. I have followed You for most of my life but until I gave myself totally over to You, my life was a rotating course of ups and downs, ins and outs. And getting to this point is more than mental assent – it’s more than a wish. It is a deliberate, conscientious act…and I believe it comes with setting aside our precious time and investing it in a heart-to-heart, transparent, honest daily time with You. Only then can we find the treasured trophy of peace, hope and love that You have for us.

Help me, Lord, to stay the course. Thank You for calling out to me. Thank You for having the where with all to answer. Amen.

May 27th, Fri, 6:21 am

Baggage

What a privilege to sit with You this morning, Father. That You would want to take time to be with me, the fact that You love me enough to do so, is almost beyond comprehension. Thank You…

Hebrews 12:1 (<<click here)

  “… strip off every weight that slows us down…”

Baggage…we all have this tendency to want to lug it around – at least spiritually. But why do we do that? It’s sure not something we enjoy in life! When I travel, and it’s time to move my suitcase, I sure don’t want to carry it or drag it any further than I have to. It’s heavy. It’s bulky. It’s cumbersome. It just slows me down and keeps me from experiencing my travels.

So why do I do it spiritually? Sometimes they’re not very big but I feel more comfortable having them with me – little security blankets. For example, it’s very easy for me to over analyze. Should I say this, do that, will they laugh with me or think I’m weird. Will it show I care or drive others away? Not a lot of weight but it sure slows me down.

“Unmentionables” can be a problem, too. They’re not something we want others to see but quite often they’re there. We get tangled up in them and they can cause us to fall. Addictions trip us up for sure – drugs, alcohol, porn, gambling.

“Collectibles” aren’t something we would normally take on a trip but spiritually we can make a habit of it. We can’t seem to let go of the guilt of our past – things we’ve done, things we’ve said, Lord, if we’ve asked You to forgive us then they are no longer of concern to You. Help us to cast them aside.

Lord, help us drop the baggage. We don’t need any of it for You provide all we need.

May 25th, Wed, 5:56 am

Sing Unto the Lord a New Song

Father, today, as is every day, is a day to lift Your name in praise. A reading yesterday brought to mind Psalm 98 and that in turn reminded me of a singing group from my early days in college by the name of CHALICE. They had set this psalm to music and I just loved it. (I still have in on vinyl as they say, today.) They used the King James and it is absolutely beautiful. Father, I lift Your name in praise this morning!

   ♪♫♪ Psalm 98 ♫♪♫

O sing unto the Lord a new song;
For he hath done marvellous things
His right hand and his holy arm,
Hath gotten Him the victory.
O sing unto the Lord a new song.

The Lord hath made known his salvation:
His righteousness hath he openly shewed
In the sight of the heathen.
In the sight of the heathen

He hath remembered his mercy and his truth
Toward the house of Israel:
All the ends of the earth
Have seen the salvation of our God.
Of our God.

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,
All the earth: make a loud noise,
And rejoice, and sing praise.
Make a loud noise,
And rejoice, and sing praise.

O sing unto the Lord a new song;
For he hath done marvellous things
His right hand and his holy arm,
Hath gotten Him the victory.
O sing unto the Lord a new song.

May 24th, Tues, 6:26 am

Doing it right for once.