Tag Archives: battle

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

Chased in My Dreams

This is my day for getting things done, Father. I would ask that You would place Your hand upon my shoulder. Direct my thoughts and actions to what You would have me do. Amen.

I’m not exactly sure what triggers them but quite regularly I have very realistic dreams…and last night was one of those nights. Something I ate may have caused me to dream but I have no idea what caused me to dream what I dreamed.

I guess it could be considered a “horror” type story line in that I was trying to escape from others trying to get me. One scene involved Karen and me in a fairly large, dimly lit room where we were sitting at a table with lots of other people sitting at tables.

Suddenly I jumped up and told Karen that we needed to get out of there. Others in the group were deceptively dressed in white attire and I heard voices saying, “We are dark, we need to get the light!” It was very obvious that they wanted me “dark” and not “light.” And then even more alarming was the fact that Karen was after me, too!

Now, it sounds quite silly but lying in my bed in the darkness of night, I couldn’t shake the feeling of foreboding. And to be honest, I looked over at Karen’s sleeping body more than once. It actually came to the point where I needed to pray about it because that was all I could think about!

Lord, as my fears began to diminish, I began to think of how in reality I am in a contest of sorts where I am a representative of “Light” (You) in a very legitimate battle against the “dark.” I don’t necessarily have people trying to convert me to the dark but my world sure does put forth a lot of effort and many of those things, as I’ve referred to many times, are not “flesh and blood enemies” but we are “fighting against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

Lord, today and in the days ahead help me. Sometimes I am weak. And even when I am strong, they can still get me. Help me to stand with my hand in Yours. That’s the only place where I am sure to be victorious!

Mar 16th, Thurs, 7:01 am

Addiction Defeated!

I am blessed, Father, to be Your child. The day ahead is full of potential and I would ask that You would enable me to use it wisely – to accomplish much and to love even more! 🙂

This past weekend I participated in clergy Ethics training with many of my fellow pastors in the United Methodist Church. I am an Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene but have graciously been given the privilege by both denominations to serve as a pastor for almost 14 years. One of the workshops I attended dealt with addiction and, Lord, I am in awe (though I shouldn’t be surprised at all!) as to what You are doing! Heroin addiction is a huge problem in our society – people are dying and families are being torn apart. And for those fighting its hold, it’s not just an uphill battle – it’s a sheer vertical battle! Secular attempts at helping these poor souls are moderately successful at best but, Lord, when You are part of the equation, we just need to hang on!

The pastor of the Bucyrus UMC (OH) is being used as an instrument of change and restoration. His background in law enforcement gives him a unique blend of gifts and abilities but I for one, am so grateful that he is faithfully serving You!  His church had been running 2 services already but after a group of recovering addicts asked for more teaching he started a 3rd service to meet their needs. They are welcomed. They are loved. They are trusted. And their lives have been radically changed! This year the service’s drummer, a former addict will become his associate pastor. Next year she will become the new pastor for that service!

All glory to You, Lord! You still change lives! You still lead Your people if we will follow! Bless this pastor, bless this young lady! May they continue to impact the world for You.

May 4th, Wed, 6:38 am

Portraying Christ

Father, there is absolutely nothing like this time of the morning together. It is just me and You. May I cherish every moment. May I hang on Your every word. May those words be “hidden… in my hear that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11

Titus 2:9-10 (<<click here)

Lord, this passage is applicable in today’s workplace. My work ethic and how I interact with my store’s leadership team reflects directly on You. They know who I am and know that I am a follower of You. I cannot control preconceived notions of what they think that means but it is my responsibility to live my live in such a way that You are portrayed in such a way that they are drawn to the idea of having a relationship with You and are not repulsed by it.

I must admit it is a constant battle. The tedium of everyday life makes it a challenge. I know You care about this aspect of my life in that I feel Your nudges to focus and be productive. I feel Your encouragement to love others as You would, even if they are bothersome or simply hard to love.

As I sit here thinking on it may love be the driving factor in how I do my job. May I think of Your love for me and may that result in my loving You and wanting to please You in everything I do.

Jan 27th, Wed, 6:54 am

Swept Under the Rug

Father, I am so sorry that I allow little things to build up to the point that I am spiritually off balance and fall. I know You are there for me. Early on I listen closely and swat down even the slightest thought that would lure me from You. Then over time my swat time lags, they I don’t swat at all – my indiscretions are small and seemingly insignificant…but over time they multiply and begin to pile up. Why I don’t just stop and call for Your help to sweep them all out, I don’t know. That would make sense. I continue to sweep my random thoughts under the rug. But over time there are more and more of them and some are bigger than others. I try to ignore them but that rug starts to get lumpy – so much so that I stumble on occasion – I don’t fall mind You, I just stumble. And I continue on in my self-imposed “ignorance.” Again, why don’t I just stop and ask for Your help? It’s not difficult. I know You want me to. But I convince myself that I can handle it. I’m good. I’ve got it under control…but I don’t. And You watch as more and more gets thrown under the rug, calling for me to allow You to help me but I’m distracted – focused on all kinds of things and not the matters that really matter. And then it happens, it’s just too much, I stumble…I try to keep my balance but I fall. Maybe I don’t fall as hard as I have in the past but I still fall – flat on my face. And why? It makes no sense! It is all my fault… I have no one else to blame…

But You are still there. You have not forsaken me. You have not given up on me. I yield once again (for the gazillionth time?) to Your loving hand. You reach down and help me up. I consent to pulling back the rug and am swept clear once more.

Thank You, Lord, for Your patience. Thank You for Your unfathomable love. Where would I be without Your mercy. I fall into Your mighty arms. I pray that You will help me. I am stronger than I once was but I willingly acknowledge that I am utterly incapable of anything close to success on my own. I am dependent upon You. Help me to respond to Your guidance. Help me to yield to You. Help me to sweep things out of my life and not under the rug.

It’s not easy writing these things down, knowing someone else is going to read them. But I know that we all have things that we sweep under our own rugs – things we battle against but sometimes they pile up. Maybe its gossip, or laziness, or food or sex or backbiting or selfishness or self-loathing… the list goes on but Christ is there – more than willing and more than able to help us. All we must do is to call out and He is there. He is for me… and he is for you, too.

Nov 12th, Fri, 5:00 am