Deep Love

Father, I pray that You would strengthen me and my resolve. Yesterday, I touched on our time together but other things lured me away. Not that they were evil things but our time together is of utmost importance. Help me to get up when I need to and for You to be the first thing on my agenda. Amen.

James 1:22-25 (<<click here)

Lord, we’ve been in a relationship for some time now. You have always (literally!) loved me and for a majority of my life, I have loved You. I’ve loved You but at varying degrees. As a child, it was simple and pure. As a teen, it was real but other things began to vie for that love. As I continue to grow and mature into adulthood, my love has been tested…and sometimes I have failed. My love has been thin and many times insubstantial. But You have never given up on me.

And because of Your commitment, because of the depth of your love… I am where I am today. My love is deeper than it has ever been, though it is by no means as deep as it can go. Help me, Lord, to go deeper still. As the old hymn puts it, “Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus daily let me go…”

A big part of that love is immersing myself in Your love letters to me – Your Word the Bible. It is challenging, it is applicable to my everyday life even though it is thousands of years old. But as today’s passage stresses, I can’t just “listen” to it, I “must do what it says.” To truly be effective in my life I must allow it to affect my “behavior and attitudes,” as the notes in my Study Bible* point out.

I know it does. I feel Your presence, Holy Spirit, and You regularly bring to mind Your Word. May I continue to listen and may I continue to do what it says. Amen!

Aug 19th, Fri, 7:00 am

*New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible

You Are the Rudder

Father, daily I am enjoying the book of Puritan prayers loaned to me by a dear friend. May this portion of today’s reading be my prayer.

Thou hast loved me everlastingly, unchangeably,
               may I love thee as I am loved;
            Thou hast given thyself for me,
               may I give myself to thee;
            Thou hast died for me,
               may I live to thee,
                  in every moment of my time,
                  in every movement of my mind,
                  in every pulse of my heart.
May I never dally with the world and its allurements,
               but walk by thy side,
                  listen to thy voice,
                  be clothed with thy graces,
                  and adorned with thy righteousness.

Lord, oh what a life I would have if I were able to live it this way. Following You is not boring. It is not out of touch with the reality of life. It is not about avoiding contact with the world.

It is living life to its fullest. You are the rudder that keeps the ship of my life headed to the correct port instead of just aimlessly floating about with no direction whatsoever. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for all that You do and all that You are. May I stay the course and daily remain at Your side. Amen.

Aug 17th, Wed, 7:23 am

Grafted In

grafted

Oh, Father, the gentle, flowing thoughts of this early morning hour bring me great comfort. The world is crazy and is seemingly spinning out of control but You are the deep settled peace running beneath it all. May my thoughts be on You. May Your peace flow through me to touch the lives of others. Amen.

James 1:21 (<<click here)

Looking more closely at the second half of this verse, James directs us to “humbly accept the word God has planted in our hearts.” The KJV uses the word “engrafted.” Lord, we are spiritual beings created to have an intimately close relationship with You. But because of sin, we are rebellious and wild. Solely because of Your sacrificial death – a death we deserved because of our sin – can Your word be “engrafted” “in our hearts, for it has the power to save our souls. We are incapable of saving ourselves – salvation is found only in You.

Your word is “engrafted” in us but Romans 11:17 says that we are also grafted in” to the tree of Your making so that we can now tap into the blessings and promises of God, “sharing in the rich nourishment from” its root.

Lord, I readily acknowledge that I am utterly dependent upon You for my spiritual vitality – the sustenance I so desperately need comes only from You. I am eternally indebted to You for engrafting Your word in me and for engrafting me in You. There is no place I’d rather be! We both realize that I must remain in You throughout my life here on earth – outside of You, I am lost. How I long for the day when I won’t just have Your presence in me but I will live in Your presence for all eternity!

Aug 16th, Tues, 5:33 am

In It, Not of It

Father, it is a morning of thanks. Thank You for the good sleep over the weekend. I am so grateful for Your presence and direction in yesterday’s service. And thank you for the opportunity to be with family. No matter the circumstances, I am grateful that you are by my side. Thank You, Father.

James 1:21 (<<click here)

In this passage, we are admonished to rid ourselves of the filth and evil in our lives.” In the culture in which I live, Lord, this is a great challenge. The world is replete with it. I can’t turn a TV on, walk through a checkout like, flip through Facebook or stand in any given public gathering of people without being exposed to it.

I may be exposed to it on a regular basis, and would have to be a recluse with no access to technology, to avoid it but ultimately it is my choice as to how I respond to it. I see it but that doesn’t mean I have to embrace it or take it in. I don’t have to read it or watch it or even look at it. You enable me to turn the other way – help me to do so.

That can be tough enough but the real challenge is abiding by John 17:14-19. Lord, in this passage You state that we “are not of the world, even as [You are] not of it.” But the challenge comes in living out our commission of being sent into the world.” We cannot simply run and hide. In Your strength alone can we stand strong as we are sent “into the world.”

I cannot impact the world for Your kingdom, Lord, from a distance. I must be in the midst of the fray. It is dangerous. I might get hurt – seriously even. But I cannot shirk my responsibilities. The battles must be fought if the lost are to be reclaimed! Lord, “protect [me] from the evil one” and use me as You will! Amen.

Aug 15th, Mon, 6:06 am

Gracious

In all honesty, Father, I’m having a hard time sitting here this morning. I am achy and restless. But I know that You are here and that You are eager for our time together – it is important to You. So I am here, too. Because You love me, I am here. Because I love You, even though I might wish to be elsewhere, I am here. Love is a great motivator for doing important things, whether we really want to or not.

I’m grateful that You are a big enough God to hear me out and to still love me. You already know it’s in my head, so why not get it out on paper. You are well aware that how I feel physically and mentally has no bearing on how I feel about You.

Lord, may I be more like You. May I see others, those I love and those I don’t even know…may I see them for who they are and still care about them. May I not take offense because they are hurting and that’s what shows when they interact with me. May I love them regardless. Help me to be big enough to be gracious – for that is what you are to me. Enable me to be merciful and compassionate. I have no excuse for that is what you extend to me.

More about Jesus would I know
            More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,

            More of His Love who died for me. ~ Eliza E. Hewitt, 1887

Aug 12th, Fri, 7:11 am

Doing it right for once.