Good morning, Father! The fire is warm by my side though I can hear the cold wind blowing outside. And it is dark but I know the beautiful snow continues to fall.
Prior to the last couple of days, Ohio has experienced a “brown” winter season -lots of rain, which equals lots of mud. Most trees are bare, so much of the scenery is a brownish grey. But today… when the sun comes up today our eyes will behold a new and fresh landscape! Ohioans will wake to a carpet of shimmering white – snow has come! And it is beautiful!
Many live in a perpetual “brown” winter – not so much in the world around them but from a spiritual perspective. Life has rained upon our parade. Life is dreary. There is nothing vibrant, just a world of browns and greys. And that’s the way it is day after day after day. Life is a muddy mess and many are drowning in hopelessness.
Sin and all its repercussions overwhelm us. It is all that can be seen – seemingly a never ending panorama of gloom… and doom. And that doom is all too real. Without someone intervening it will lead to not just a temporary separation from God but an eternal one. In and of ourselves there is no light at the end of the tunnel – this is no hope.
But praise be to God, we have Christ! When Christ comes into the picture change and with it – hope – arrives . He covers over the browns and greys – the sin in our lives – with the pure snow of His love and forgiveness. And as long as we remain in relationship with Him the beauty of His presence remains in our lives.
Isaiah 1:18 reads,
“Come now let’s settle this, says the Lord,” Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow…”
The beauty and purity of newly fallen snow becomes a reality in our “brown” world – Thank You, Lord!
Jan 12th, Tues, 5:52 am
Some days, Father, it is difficult to sit and write – and this is one of them. My mind is distracted, going a multitude of directions. I’m a little off-kilter. I ask for Your forgiveness and that You help me to focus on the important not the trivial.
Titus 1:1-4 (<<click here)
I am still struggling and time is ticking away. I suppose I could compare myself to the island of Crete where Titus was sent to minister. The Good News had touched many lives but there was much to be done – to take numerous individuals all going different directions in life and attempting to bring them together as one body of believers would be the challenge.
Established mindsets are difficult to overcome. Even some who seemed solid in their determination to follow Christ would have issues with things that had long ago been laid to rest. As are we, the church is a living breathing organism. And as in any and every setting, the church continues to grow and decline, and mature and fall back. It is an ongoing endeavor both for the church and the individual to maintain their relationship with You, Lord, through all the many ups and downs. We kid ourselves if we think it doesn’t happen to us or that it only happens to us. All of us must continue to strive to keep our relationship with You alive and well. Jesus, You are there for us, You don’t give up on us, You forgive us when we fall but We are the ones who must decide to move forward – to not give up, but to advance.
Lord, help me to keep in line with You – to not throw in the towel but to keep on, keeping on!
Jan 11th, Mon, 6:34 am
Father, today is Your day – and not just because it is the Sabbath. If I am to be victorious in living my life for You, every day must be Your day. I must keep my eyes focused on You. Help me, Father, to do so.
2 Timothy 4:19-22 (<<click here)
And for Paul, that’s a wrap. No more letters. No more missionary journeys. From his life-changing encounter with You, Lord, on the road to Damascus, his life in its entirety was devoted to You. As he writes the final lines in his final letter, he looks briefly back remembering some whom had traveled with him, and prayed with him and had supported and worked alongside him. He had diligently worked to spread the Gospel far and wide and had strived to assure that it would not die with him but through the lives of people, like Timothy, would continue to impact the world.
Lord, what an example! Paul held nothing back and due in part to his tenacity the Good News of the Gospel continues to effect lives today. You were able to use Paul during his lifetime and You continue to impact the world with the words inspirationally given to him.
I am no Paul, Lord, but I give myself to You to use as You will. Help me to listen and when I have heard, may I act. And when I act may I do so with wisdom and courage so that I, too, may proclaim Your word to a world that truly needs Your Good News!
Jan 10th, Sun, 6:32 am
Even at this early hour Father, my mind is starting to roll. Help me to put the brakes on and to stop smack dab in the middle of Your presence. I need Your guiding hand or who knows where I’ll end up! Thank You Father, for Your steadfast love for me. I am so grateful that You never give up on me.
2 Timothy 4:13-18 (<<click here)
Reading this passage, Lord, I am made aware that the end is very near for Paul. This is his second and final imprisonment in Rome and he knew it. It must have been evident because even his supporters are much fewer in number. It sounds like things had moved pretty fast – no time to gather his things – not even his coat – just hauled off. And when he stood before the judge the first time he was alone. Scary stuff! But he is quick to share that truly he wasn’t by himself but You stood with him.
I’m sure when Timothy read this letter it was scary for him, too – I mean who wouldn’t be! This wasn’t going to end with a reprimand and a slap on the wrist. Death was looming ever closer. But Paul writes, “Timothy, please come as soon as you can” v.9
In the midst of everything Paul stood tall and he was extending an invitation for Timothy to do the same.
I cannot help but think, Lord, would I do the same? I would like to think that I would. Help me, Jesus, to invest in our relationship – the stronger it is the stronger I will be. And absolutely nothing in this world is a fair trade – not even my life.
Lord, my life is Yours – do with it as You will. Help me to stand tall, each and every day. May I not slip into the shadows but step decisively into the light of Your will. My life may not be on the line but the advancement to Your kingdom, relies on my willingness – and those like me – to step up to the call! Use me this day as You will!
Jan 8th, Fri, 6:26 am
Father, thank You for all Your blessing during this past holiday season. I am so grateful for the time we got to spend with Massey as a family. I would pray that each of us would actively seek to deepen our relationship with You each day and that Your hand would be evident in all we say and do.
2 Timothy 4:11-12 (<<click here)
“Bring Mark…for he will be helpful to me…”
Lord, we don’t know don’t know all that has transpired but this is a turning point statement for Paul and a learning point for us. Early in Paul’s ministry, Mark had joined Paul and Barnabas in their journey and for whatever reason Mark quit. Later on Barnabas tried to bring Mark along once more but Paul said “no” which caused Paul and Barnabas to part ways. And then out of the blue, at the end of Paul’s life he says, “Bring Mark…”
Somewhere along the line Mark had had opportunity to prove himself and Paul hadn’t shut him out. All of us can change. And regardless we must be open to that change, either changing ourselves or accepting change in others. Both are tough to do.
The big point here is that life in You, Lord, is all about new beginnings. Every day brings with it opportunities to move forward. Help me Lord to be pliable in Your hands to change where I need to change and then help me to see others with eyes of discernment so I may accept and encourage positive changes in them as well.
Jan 7th, Thurs, 9:35 am