We’ve Made Our Bed

As I am up and about this morning, Father, I am grateful for all of Your many blessings. May I live out my life this day as an expression of that gratitude. May my actions towards others be a reflection of Your love and care for me. Amen.

Matthew 2:16-23 (<<click the green)

What a horrific act on the part of King Herod, to feel so threatened by the possibility of a new “king” that he would call for the annihilation of all the boys two years old and younger in and around the area of Bethlehem! If there was ever a man that could be labeled as wicked it was Herod.

We live in difficult times for there are many “wicked” people throughout our world doing (or contemplating) many horrific things. We may need to run but we need not be immobilized by despair. The evil of sin has run rampant since the beginning of time but God will not be thwarted.

Lord, I surely don’t begin to understand why bad things happen to good people or good things happen to bad people for that matter. You said that the Father “sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” (Matthew 5:45)

The old adage is true that we’ve made our bed, now we must lie in it. We have made the world what it is and we must live in it. We have been given free will to do as we please and on many fronts, we have made a mess of things but Your will will not be undone or held back.

Lord, I realize that this life will be full of hurt and pain but I also realize that I can be a catalyst for love and comfort. You can use me to accomplish Your will. I can be an instrument to thwart evil in the world around me.

The Apostle Peter shares these words of encouragement:

6So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

8You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6-9

Amen, so be it.

Sept 18th, Mon, 6:29 am

Turn Your Radio On

 

I’m a little stiff this morning, Father, but thank You for the opportunity to get so much done yesterday at home. I would ask for Your hand upon us today as we come together to worship You. May Your touch be felt by all. Amen.

Matthew 2:13-18 (<<click the green)

Where I live is on the outer range of a couple of radio stations to which I enjoy listening – a classical station out of Columbus and a Christian station out of Mt. Vernon. Before being able to listen online, I was unable to listen to either station in my home. If I had connected a radio to an antenna of some sort to boost the signal I might have but only in my truck, which has an antenna, could I listen to either of them.

In today’s passage, Joseph was attuned to God. An “angel of the Lord” appeared to him in a dream and Joseph quickly obeyed the Lord’s command – he took his family to Egypt, avoiding the wrath of King Herod. Joseph’s internal antenna made him able to tune in to God’s direction for his life.

Lord, how attuned to You are we? Do we have our dials set to receive Your signal? And if we do, are we listening to what You might have to say to us? Sounds like a lot of hoops to jump through but it is no more complicated than turning your radio on.

The song entitled “Turn Your Radio On” was around several years before Ray Stevens recorded it but a portion of his lyrics are as follows.

Don’t you know that everybody is a radio receiver
All you gotta do is listen for the call
Turn your radio on – turn your radio on
If you listen in you will be a believer
Leanin’ on the truth that will never fall
Get in touch with God – Turn your radio on

Lord, may I be constantly tuned in to You. May I have my internal antenna up because I am “in touch with You on a regular basis. Enable me to listen and act when You call. Amen.

Sept 17th, Sun, 6:53 am

WAITER!

Thank You, Father, for enabling me to get so much accomplished today. Everything is pretty much together for Sunday. Glad I can now just read through what is ready.

Matthew 2:1-12 (<<click the green)

It seems early to be reading through the first chapters of Matthew in that we tend to associate them with December and not September. Celebrating Your birth in December may be a man-made thing but regardless we can learn from the characters associated with Your coming to earth and the wise men definitely have some things to share.

It’s interesting to compare their mentality in coming to You and many of ours. They said, “…we have come to worship him.” They came to give. They came to honor. They came to extend proper acknowledgment of who You were (and still are for that matter). But why do we come to You?

So many times instead of bearing gifts, we come with our hands extended, expecting to receive.

Instead of seeking a church in which we can worship You, we look for what a church can offer us.

We are so full of ourselves that we demand that You show us who You are and expect You to give us a reason as to why we should stay around. We have the arrogance to say, “Here’s what the world’s offering me – can You beat it?”

Unfortunately, we seem to treat You more like a waiter than our Master and Creator. “Can I get a refill of my drink? I really shouldn’t have to ask. It’s your job isn’t it?”

Lord, may I never treat You like the genie in the bottle who is there to make my wishes come true. May I keep myself in the proper place of humility and contriteness. Lord, You love me, You sought me out when I was lost. When I come before You may it be with head bowed and eyes closed. Worship is do You. You deserve the best that I have to give to You. I don’t deserve anything good – only death and condemnation. But You graciously – mercifully – give good to me regardless. May I be a wise man as I come to worship You. Amen.

Sept 14th, Thurs, 8:28 pm

Why Don’t You Call Me Home?

Good morning, Father!  Thank you for a good night’s sleep (I wasn’t up even once) and my shoulder isn’t aching at all. Praise You for this beautiful day!

Philippians 1:20-26 (<<click the green)

Lord, I pray that throughout my life that I would have the perspective of Paul, torn between joining You (i.e. leaving this earth, it’s hardship and heartache) and staying here to lift up and encourage people on their journey with You.

Reading this passage I cannot help but think of wonderful followers of You who at the end of their earthly lives were so overwhelmed by physical adversity that their only desire was to leave this earth and join You. I could never think poorly of them for they were pillars of faith, mentors, individuals who taught me much of You and things I do in following You I gleaned from their influence (Grandma Provance and Rev. Tom Lasley). But they despaired and questioned why You let them linger here – why You didn’t call them home. You had Your holy reasons and I am sure You understood their responses. It makes me cry even now to think of their heartache in their last days!

Lord, You know my heart and You surely know my love for them. Help me continue to embrace their great love for You and how they strove to serve You and talked with You for they loved You dearly but I would ask that my heart’s desire, regardless of what would happen to my body or mind – and only You know the possibilities – would be that You would grow me to the point that I would give up being with You, and all that means, so that I could encourage one more person in their walk with You, would say one more prayer lifting up the down-trodden that they would persevere and overcome by standing faithfully by Your side.

I pray here and now that You would give me a heart for the lost, that I would be constrained to have the heart and soul of Pastor Rick Warren’s dad whose final breaths on this earth were “Got to save one more for Jesus!” over and over again! Lord, please give me Your heart, Your love for Your world! At this point it is not me – forgive me! I plead for Your courage to speak exactly what needs spoken!  I plead for Your tenacity to never give up on people but to be persistent in pursuing them for Your glory!

“Open My Eyes that I may see!” what You see!  Feel what You feel!  And act as you would act! Help this to become my overwhelming desire. “Mold me, make me, fill me, use me!” Praise and glory to Your Holy Name!

May 14th, Thurs, 6:55 am

You Cannot Do It

Oh my goodness, Father, my eyes are having a hard time staying open this morning! Help me to see what You have for me today. “Make me a blessing to someone today.”

Matthew 1:20-25 (<<click the green)

From a very early age, most of us don’t like being told that we cannot do something. It gets us into all kinds of trouble either doing (or trying to do) it anyway or throwing a fit because we can’t. For that matter that’s what got Adam and Eve into trouble at the outset of time. They were told they could eat from every tree…except one. And of course which tree did they eat from? The one from which they were forbidden, bringing condemnation on the entirety of humanity for the rest of time.

Yet today we fight against being told we can’t do certain things. We continue to be ravaged by sin – it is a constant battle for us all. But one thing we can’t do? We cannot save ourselves from the onslaught of sin and its repercussions.

Romans 6:23 tells us that, the wages of sin is death…” We cannot save ourselves from the ramifications of sin. We are condemned to death. We, in and of ourselves, can do absolutely nothing about it. We can try all sorts of things to conquer sin but all of them fail. We are doomed.

But…that is where God steps in. In our passage today the angle of the Lord explains to Joseph all that is going on with Mary. The son she carried “was conceived by the Holy Spirit” and Joseph was to “name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” The name Jesus means, “The Lord saves”.

Romans 6:23 begins with, “For the wages of sin is death…” but the last portion of the verse exclaims “but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I love the phrase in my study Bible* that says, “Jesus didn’t come to help people save themselves; he came to be their Savior from the power and penalty of sin.” (emphasis mine)

Thank You, Lord, for the salvation You freely extend to us all. We may not like to hear it but we cannot save ourselves. As the meaning of Your name proclaims “The Lord saves.” I am so grateful that You do, for I surely cannot.

*Life Application Study Bible New Living Translation

Sept 12th, Tues, 6:44 am

Doing it right for once.