Tag Archives: gift

Filthy Rags

Father, there is such great assurance in Your presence. Thank You for going before me yesterday. I realize that it is an everyday occurrence but I don’t ever want to take it for granted. I am blessed. Amen.

Matthew 3:7-10 (<<click the green)

Wow! Reading what John had to say the religious leaders of his day makes me step back a bit. He sure didn’t sugar coat it. He pretty much laid it all out and they, within just a few moments, knew exactly what he thought about them.

In our Bible study last night we discussed people of “religion” if you will. Many feel that they have the bases covered because they are so diligent in following the rules and regulations. Many feel that their eternal destiny is secure because their daddy was a believer and his daddy before him and his daddy before him, etc., etc. But John made it very clear that none of those things proved anything.

As Isaiah proclaimed “our righteous deeds…are nothing but filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:5-7) Nothing we are, nothing we can say, nothing we can do is worth anything in regards to our standing before God – it is all worthless. The only thing that is worth anything is when we turn from our way and give ourselves over to God’s way. John calls to us as well, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.”

We cannot earn our salvation by our deeds – that is a gift from God alone – but we must show by our deeds that salvation has taken place.

Lord, I am grateful that You have offered me salvation. It was at great cost to You – your very life. You gave Your life when mine should have been forfeit – my sins should have resulted in my death. But You took my place. Lord… may I “prove by the way [I] live” that I have turned from my sinful ways and turned to You. May my life be living proof of that relationship. Amen.

Sept 26th, Tues, 6:47 am

A Gift

What a wonderful day You gave us yesterday, Father! It was so nice having a day together without a lot “scheduled” on our plate. What a blessing to have time to just enjoy each other’s company. Thank You for the wonderful gift!

Revelation 2:7 (<<click green)

Reading ahead just a bit, Lord, I never realized that each of the seven churches is promised a gift if they are victorious in standing with You. (It is totally awesome how regardless of how many times we read and hear Your Word that there is always something that we can learn! Great is [Your] faithfulness; [Your] mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23)

The gift extended to the Ephesians (and to us!) is “fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.” Of course, the “tree of life” stood in the Garden of Eden at the very beginning but when we chose to disobey – to sin – we forfeited that gift of living forever in Your presence. But when we repent of our sin and accept another marvelous gift from Your hand – salvation and the forgiveness of our sin! – we will once again be able to partake of “fruit from the tree of life”.

Lord, it just baffles me that people avoid a relationship with You. We have in our very small view of things that You are a cosmic killjoy, that all that You want to do is to burden us down with an impossible list of rules and regulations. We just want to have “fun” and You just want to take that away.

But in reality that is a total bald-faced lie! You alone are the source of true joy and fulfillment. Everything we cling to in this world will only let us down – it will leave us, it will fall apart, it the long run it will only bring tears and sorrow. But not You, Lord!

I love the way the Amplified Bible translates James 1:17,

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].”

Lord, may we accept all the wonderful gifts from Your bounteous provision! Amen.

June 30th, Fri, 6:26 am

Void in My Heart

Wonderful thoughts with which to begin, Father

Blessed Lord Jesus,
No human mind could conceive or invent the gospel.
Acting in eternal grace, thou are both its messenger and its message,
    lived out on earth through infinite compassion,
    applying thy life to insult, injury, death,
        that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.
Blessed be thou, O Father, for contriving this way,
Eternal thanks to thee, O Lamb of God, for opening this way,
Praise everlasting to the Holy Spirit,
    for applying this way to my heart. – The Valley of Vision

In and of myself I have nothing – absolutely nothing – by which I can bring glory to myself. As Your word says, Lord, “When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6

The good that is in me comes from You, Lord. You made us with a cavity that we are driven to fill. We live our lives attempting to fill it with an assortment of things but all to our dismay…for nothing brings us true, lasting satisfaction – that is nothing but You.

That is why it is called the gospel – it is the good news! That cavity within that void in my heart can be filled…but only with You. Father, You “contrived this way,” Jesus, You “opened this way” and Holy Spirit, You “applied this way to my heart.” The hunt for fulfillment is over! My wandering days are over!

    “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15

Sept 3rd, Sat, 5:14 am

Get Your Hands Dirty

I feel so driven. Father, to be here! After all the hit and miss of the last several weeks, it feels wonderful to come together with You on day number 5 in a row! May I make the most of this time set apart for us.

Titus 2:6-7 (<<click here)

“…be an example…by doing good works of every kind.”

One of the things the Church has struggled with over the millennia of its existence is the balance between faith and good works. Both are a vital necessity in our Christian walk. Foundational to our relationship, Lord, is that we act in faith believing that You gave up Your life in our stead for the sins that we – every single one of us – have committed. We are only saved by the grace of God – it’s gift and we can’t take any credit for it. And it’s important to note that we cannot earn it either – the good works we do cannot earn us salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

So here’s where the struggle comes – salvation is by faith alone but as James says, “Unless [faith] produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.“ James 2:17 Church history has seen extremes on both ends – those who claimed the salvation by faith and refused to do anything else because they felt they didn’t need to and those who felt that they had to work to earn their salvation by their works. But, Lord, both work hand in hand to make us the children we are called to be in You!

One of the biggest hurdles of the average follower of Christ today is motivating them to act on their faith. By no means does this mentally affect all believers but in many instances it is very difficult to get them to do anything. For many just coming to church is a great accomplishment. They’ve done their duty, so don’t ask them to do anything else!

Lord, help me to “be an example.. by doing good works of every kind” Help me to lead the way. Help me to motivate. Help me to put my actions where my faith is. Help us to love the world as You do – not just in word but in deed!

Jan 25th, Mon, 6:11 am

You Created Me to Love Me

Focus, focus on my Savior
Focus, focus on my Lord
It’s about our time together
As we delve into His Word.

Oh, my Father, thank You for waking me this morning! When You did it (5:23 am) and how You did it (my first thoughts were of You) enable me to realize how much You truly care for me. And with everything else clamoring for my attention, it shows me that, even from the dead of sleep, my heart’s desire is to be in the center of Your will with my life. Thank You for Your great love…

Thank You for Your palpable presence over the last several days…preparing for worship today, the funeral and all it entailed on Friday – along with all the meaningful interactions with so many people, that day, an enjoyable time with family yesterday, all the in between times with Karen – what a wonderful gift she is to me (thank You too for being with her through procedures and her evaluations with doctors). It is so reassuring to know that You are with us no matter what we do, no matter how mundane or special.

Thank You for Your guidance and protection. Quite often I think, “Why me? Why do I deserve Your attention?” But as You have reminded me in our time together this morning, I am dearly loved. I am Your child. You created me to love me. And Your heart’s desire is for me to love You back. May that be the driving force in my life – may my every word and action come out of my love for You, Your love for me and for Your love for all of Your children.

Jan 17th, Sun, 6:11 am