White Flags

Father, this morning I gratefully come to be with You. You are with me every minute of the day and I am sorry to say that I don’t always acknowledge You. I strive to not ignore You when You prompt me to act or speak but so many times the world is loud and I cannot hear. Sometimes I am just running ahead of You. It makes me think of a child and his mother. But even a child learns to hear his mother’s voice over the din of the crowd. And even a child learns not to run too far ahead so as to seperate himself into danger.

Father, Fanny Crosby said it well, “I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice, And it told thy love to me; But I long to rise in the arms of faith and be closer drawn to thee. Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord…”

Father, with all my heart I want this to be my cry. I’m Yours,  Lord, I hear Your voice and it says You love me. But I don’t want to stay where I am – I want to be lifted up “in the arms of faith” just to be closer to You. Pull me closer to You every day. Show me Your heart so that I’m drawn to You. Amen – so be it.

Colossians 3:18-19 (<<click here)

Lord, this is definitely one of those passages that has been misunderstood on a lot of fronts. We see words like “submit” and all kinds of red flags go up! Lord, You didn’t intend for there to be red flags but white flags. When we surrender ourselves to Your love, You call us to serve You in love. And in so doing we will love others and serve them in love. All of our relationships should be driven by love!  – husband/wives, parents/children, employers/employees. Whatever relationship we find ourselves in must be governed by love.

I will not demand my own way if I truly love. I will not hurt, I will not tear down, I will not berate. I will help, I will lift up, I will encourage.

Lord, fill up my love reserves! Help me today to love – no hesitations, no holding back, no limits! Help me to love, for You surely love me – it’s the least I can do!

June 26th, Fri, 6:30 am

Yeilding

Father, thank You for a good night’s rest, I would ask that Your hand would be upon me this day and that I would be focused and that my preparations for worship Sunday would align with what You want to accomplish. Work through me to advance Your kingdom here on earth.

Colossians 3:16-17 (<<click here)

Lord, may I never cease to be astonished at how You work in my life! I sit down and write out my opening prayer, before reading this morning’s text and already You are guiding my thoughts in the directions it should go! Praise You, Lord!

I’m to “Let the message about [You], in all its richness, fill [my life].” I’m to “teach and council… with all the wisdom” You give me. You direct me in my song selections for worship. I am so grateful that You work in my life. Help me to keep in mind at all times that I am Your representative to the world.

As I sit here this morning my mind touches on many words that deal with yielding to You – submission, control, direct, guide, give over myself; and I’m sure there are many more. From a human perspective they, many times, have a negative connotation, slavery and servitude come to mind. But in my relationship with You the words are not negative but bring a sense of peace and security. For this relationship is not based on fear, or greed or hate or with intent to hurt and destroy. Our relationship is based on LOVE! I yield to You because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that You want what is best for me. And even though I may not always understand, You see the big picture of my life. I love You. I trust You. What better reason do I have for giving my life to You!

June 25th, Thurs, 7:29 am

Referee of Peace

Dear Father, thank You for being with me this morning. Then again You are always with me, thank You for waking me so that I can spend some focused times with You. I love our time together – quiet, uninterrupted, unrushed. Thank You, Father, for this wonderful gift!

Colossians 3:15 (<<click here)

Lord, yesterday we looked at a harmony of love and todays verse begins with “and” so it continues that progression of thought. When we do the clothe ourselves with love we are called to “let the peace that comes from [You] rule in our hearts.”

Now, Lord, You know that unlike many of my friends and family, that when it comes to sports I am a take it or leave it kind of guy. But I do think Paul, the writer of Colossians, liked sports. According to my NLT Application Study Bible, the word rule is “from the language of athletics” and it’s saying that peace, Your peace, should rule in my heart – peace is to be the umpire or the referee when I “play” with others, if you will. Even I know the importance of officials in sports. They make sure the rules are followed, they settle disputes and they do all of this while in the middle of all the action.

So Your peace, wrapped in Your love, should be the guiding force in all I do – period. By nature (as You well know!) I quite often want things my way and it’s quite easy to follow that train of thought but from experience that is not the way of love or peace. If I let this mindset carry me along I will have some pretty blatant “personal fouls” along the way but usually it is subtle. I quite often will bend the rule of peace to get my own way; to get what I want. I try to get away with it hoping nobody notices. But when I do that, my garment of love slips off and peace is shattered.

Lord, help me to keep love securely in its right place in my life – enshrouding my whole being. And with that in place may peace be my rule and my guide – not the world’s shallow and temporary peace but Your peace – eternal and secure.

So many times in my life my choices are made with split-second decisions. The good I could do is either ignored or it is outright shoved out of the way for selfish reasons. Sometimes my actions are subtle, many times no one has any idea what I have done or not done. Sometimes my actions are blatant and people get hurt.

Jesus, please rule in all things of my heart even in those split second decisions. Give me a bent to the right, give me a leaning to love. Help me to place others before myself. They will truly know I follow You by my love and by the peace that rules my actions.

June 24th, Wed, 6:15 am

Conductor of Love

Father, even though it is overcast as we come together this morning I am truly grateful, as the old hymn says, that “There is sunshine in my soul today”! I would ask that You would give me opportunity this day to let the “sunshine” radiate through me. Help it to burn through the fog in which people find themselves to illuminate their vision of You. May the Son shine through!

Colossians 3:14 (<<click here)

Harmony in love, both are very fulfilling but to really be what they are I cannot have only one component. I can sing a solo a cappella and it can be nice but it’s so much more fun if it becomes a duet or a trio or a choir. Throw in some instruments and the possibilities are almost endless! Love is the same way. I can love myself but it is not nearly as enjoyable as loving someone else. Thinking of loving God and others has so many facets and possibilities. The breadth and depth of what that means takes my breath away!

When I work together and I am clothed in love, with all of my brothers and sisters in Christ what harmony is generated. Too many times lack of love brings discord in the faith community. Lord, help me to be a conductor of love. And enable me to allow love to permeate my being to the very core. Change me so that every thought, every action, every word, everything that motivates me is immersed and filled with love. Help me to be a sponge dunked in love, so that no matter how anyone interacts with me love will touch them in some way. It’s a challenge I know. It’s not my normal leaning. I want my needs, my comfort, my satisfaction. My love for others does come through but it needs to come through more! I pray that love in action becomes my leaning!

June 23rd, Tues, 8:22 am

I’m the One Who Needs Forgiven

Good morning, Father! I am so grateful that this has become a regular part of my schedule. I would ask that You would help me to never take it for granted but that I will always cherish our time together. And I think that’s what is foundational is that I cherish You! I have incalculable reasons why I should cherish You, I just need help realizing them. As Your Word directs, may I love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength!

Colossians 3:13 (<<click here)

Forgiveness – Lord, over my lifetime we have worked through so many incidents where I have needed to forgive. Most I can’t even recall but a few of them were huge! Being asked to step down from an associate pastor’ position with no reason given, being unable to refinance our home because of an employer’s comments, being encouraged to leave the nest of security in another associate pastor’s position to became a Senior pastor when I felt I wasn’t ready. In those situations the hurt, the confusion, the anger – they consumed my every thought it seems. In the heat of the moment, I was unable – make that unwilling to forgive. Together, You helping me, I have been able to forgive. Thank You, Lord that I no longer have to carry that baggage.

And looking back, I am the better for the experiences I have had. Sometimes things just don’t make sense – we just have to move on. Sometimes people are just apathetic to our situations, but we just must press on towards our goal – and sometimes we are the problem. Many times people love us and want what is best for us but we are blinded by fear and uncertainty. When the dust finally clears we find we are the ones who need forgiven.

Lord, thank You for taking the hard times, the extremely difficult times of my life and using them to make me stronger, to make me more sensitive to the needs and predicaments of others, to make me more and more appreciative of what You have done for me.

June 22nd, Mon, 5:58 am

Doing it right for once.