Tag Archives: evil

Down the Front

Father, it is a joy to be with You this morning. May I be attentive as I see what You have for me. Draw me close to Your side. Give me a heart that wants to be like You more than anything else. Amen.

Revelation 3:4-6 (<<click the green)

One of my biggest challenges in life is keeping food off the front of my shirt. Inevitably something of vibrant color will do so, especially when I am out in public.

It happened a couple of Sundays ago. We decided to run into town after church and grab a quick bite at a well know Mexican food place. I kept my burrito in the wrapper for extra protection, leaned over the tray in a precautionary move…but to no avail! One bite and a chunk of tomato covered in meat sauce fell to my thumb, rolled down my hand and tumbled over the front of my shirt! So for the rest of the afternoon, I walked Napoleon-style with my hand over my shirt trying to cover the stain! And of course, we ran into people we knew…no surprise there!

Verse 4 here speaks of the few in Sardis who had not soiled their clothes with evil.” Sin leaves a mark, stains are unavoidable. Trying to cover them up is futile. Lord, You see it all. You witness the act and You are keenly aware of the aftermath. The older I get the more I realize that I, in and of myself…I, in my own strength and power…I simply cannot stand against sin. Inevitably I will take a bite out of something I shouldn’t be biting and it will roll down the front of my shirt and my clothes are soiled. Only in You, Lord, can I be victorious! Only in You can I avoid the temptations. Only in You can I stand strong against the evil that wants to entrap me.

Lord, may I be faithful to You. May I be victorious so that I too may “walk with [You] in white” for only because of You will I be found worthy. Amen.

July 21st, Fri, 6:49 am

Rain on Us All

As I look out this morning as the day is just beginning, it has started to rain. Father, the day is just beginning and it is not bright, though the sun is up. In the early light, everything is a dark green – the grass in the front yard, the cattails across the road creating a border to the soybeans and then corn behind them and then the line of trees forming the backdrop under a cloud laden sky.

And it continues to rain, beating down on the highway, pelting the bay window – nothing is missed, everything is wet. Lord, You have brought to mind this morning a passage from the Gospel of Matthew – a portion of Your Sermon on the Mount – and You spoke of rain.

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48 (emphasis mine)

Lord, You equally bless us all –no one is missed, everyone gets wet – and You are not just speaking of rain here. You are speaking of how you feel in regards to us all. You, in all Your holiness and perfection, choose to love us in all of our sin and imperfection. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that You are “patient…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Lord, Your word is clear. As I read the passage from Matthew again I cannot miss it – no further explanation is needed– we are called to love and pray for our enemies. Help me, Lord, help me to be like You. Amen.

July 10th, Mon, 6:31 am

Not What I Expected

http://miniature-calendar.com/170520/

Thank You for a restful night’s sleep Father…and for waking me for our time together. Guide my thoughts both now and throughout the day ahead.

Revelation 1:12-16 (<<click green)

Lord, I’ve read and heard this passage many times in my life but what You look like here has not stuck in my mind. When I picture You, it is not like this. But I cannot box You in. I cannot limit You to my perceptions.

In these verses You, Lord, are the “Son of Man.” My study Bible* expounds on some of the detail. You are in a long robe with a gold sash across [Your] chest.” This “reveals [You] as the High Priest who goes into God’s presence to obtain forgiveness of sin for those who have believed in [You].” Thank You, Lord, for the salvation You extend to me!

Your white hair “indicates [Your] wisdom and divine nature.” Thank You, Lord, for Your all-encompassing wisdom – know all You do, You still love us and embrace us!

Your eyes “like flames of fire” “symbolize judgment of all evil.” This brings to mind Charles Wesley’s hymn, “And Can It Be” and this verse,

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray
I woke the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, when forth, and followed Thee.

Thank You, Lord, for freeing me from the evil that had me bound!

Thank You, Lord, that though You were not what I expected…but You surely are what I needed. Praise Your name!

June 15th, Thurs, 6:48 am

Love in the Center of It All

Father, the day is ahead and there is much to be done. I would pray that You would guide my thoughts and my actions. May I squeeze as much from it as I possibly can. May I bring glory to You through it all. Amen.

Revelation 1:4-6 (<<click green)

Here I am, Lord, at the beginning of the book that speaks of the end. For those who have had any exposure to teachings from this book we think of many horrific and terrifying things – and those will come as we move forward. Even our own culture paints the apocalypse as being that way, full of evil, death, and destruction.

Lord, You will be our judge, there is no doubt about it. But first and foremost we have to get it in our heads that we were not created to be judged – we brought that upon ourselves – it was our choice, it has been our actions that have made judgement a necessity. In all of our existence from the beginning of time until the end of time, we have been created to be loved. Love is at the center of it all!

As we begin reading these verses we don’t see anger or judgment or condemnation. In the first words of John’s letter to the seven churches we see, “peace”, “grace”, and “love”. John 3:17 tells us,

“God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”

God, You love us…period. The hymn “To God Be the Glory” has a line that clearly states Your intentions towards us,

“The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.”

Peter in his second epistle addresses the question of scoffers who say, “What has happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again?” v4 and he answers the question in verse 9,

“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”

Lord, as I begin my journey into this book, help me to look at all that will transpire through Your eyes and with Your heart. May I be a man after your own heart as I interact with people of all races and creeds, for You love them all. Amen.

June 7th, Wed, 8:23 am

I Am a LION!

A brisk morning to come and sit with You, Father, but my heart is warmed by Your presence.

1 John 4:4-6 (<<click here)

“…the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” v4b

Lord, if we sit and think too long on the rampant evil and wickedness that surrounds us, it is way too easy to become fearful. And if we are not careful we become immobilized. Like turtles, we withdraw into our shells thinking we can just hide from it all.

Now I admit evil and wickedness are way strong that I am…but I am no longer a child of evil and wickedness. I am a child of the Lion of Judah and Your Spirit, oh Lord, lives in me. Evil and wickedness may be stronger than me but You are “greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

So, Lord, as I look about me, yes it’s scary – it’s overwhelming. But I am not a turtle. I am a LION for I am Yours! And that means, in You, I am brave. In You I am powerful. No matter how much evil make shake the rafters…and may want to shake me, as well, but I will stand firm in the fact that I have peace in You.

You proclaimed in John 16:33,

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Amen – so be it!

May 8th, Mon, 6:33 am