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

Use This Broken Vessel

Father, I enjoy our time together and I really feel incomplete when we don’t connect like this first thing. I want to praise You this morning for Your minute by minute presence in my life. Every day You help me, encourage me, direct me, correct me and more! Everything You do for me is because You LOVE me!

Colossians 3:12b (<< click here)

Lord, since You chose me to be a holy person that You love (12a) I must clothe myself “with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility gentleness and patience.” (12b)

This list may be short, but Lord it is a lot to process! I am not complaining whatsoever; I just want to get every possible benefit from it! So much to take in and learn from.

“tenderhearted mercy” – compassion (NIV), bowels of mercy (KJV), heart of compassion (NASB) Lord You call me to love others without reservation – to extend to them the love You extend to me

“kindness”– not harsh or rough, not brutal but a genuine desire to be benevolent to others – caring

“humility”– not full of myself, but thinking of others and their needs and feeling first

“gentleness”– amiable, mild, not severe or rough

“patience”– the beauty of provocation, annoyance, misfortune or pain without complaint, loss of temper or irritation

Wow! This is not a little list but a BIG list! And really it boils down to clothing ourselves with Christ! It is a lot to live up to. On some of these fronts, I have a decent handle most of the time but sometimes I fail miserably and of course patience is often a struggle.

Lord, all I can do is to give myself over to You every moment of my life! I see You working through me. I know there is still a lot of “bad” me to work around or sometimes through but with all my heart, soul and mind, I truly want these attributes – Your attributes – to shine through in how I live my life. Use this broken vessel to touch others, to love others, as only You can.

As the old song goes, “Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me. Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.”  (Daniel Iversion, 1926)

June 21st, Sun, 6:26 am

God Loves ME!

Father, thank You for the sleep I was able to get last night with no electricity after the storm until mid-morning. Help this day to go well, enable me to process information to do my job in a way that is pleasing to You, i.e. help me to do it with the utmost of my abilities and most importantly to let You shine through me in all I say or do.

Colossians 3:12-17 (12a)

Lord, You would think after all these years that I would stop being astounded when You bring this together but I am grateful that this is not the case! I had no idea what this morning’s passage contained – but You did!  And even as we came together this morning You were guiding my thoughts and heart! Praise Your holy name! Thank You Lord for your unfathomable love!

These 6 verses are too full of richness to swallow whole, so I will take them in small bites!

Lord You chose me (Ephesians 1:4) to be holy because You love me. It has been this way for all of time! Even knowing what I would do and say and think that would hurt You, You still loved me! I was created because You loved me and because You desired my love for You. I do love You, Lord! And I pray I will love You more and more each day! Help me to know Your love for me and that will fuel the fire for me to love You!

Half a verse is all I can handle today! Help me to chew and savor this small portion – God loves me!

June 19th, Fri, 6:45 am

Doing it right for once.