The Queen Mary

Thank You for a good night’s sleep and a little extra than usual this morning, Father. Guide this day as You see fit. May I accomplish what You deem important. Amen

Revelation 3:1-3 (<<click on green)

Lord, as I read of the church in Sardis a sermon illustration comes to mind. The church looked alive on the outside but was dead on the inside.

The Queen Mary was the largest ship to cross the oceans when it was launched in 1936. Through four decades and a World War, she served until she was retired and anchored as a floating hotel and museum in Long Beach, California. But when she was retired from active passenger service, it was discovered that part of her gleaming exterior was hiding something far less attractive and substantial.

Her three elliptical smoke stacks, 36 feet long, 23 feet wide, and ranging from 70 down to 62 feet in height, were made of sheets of steel over an inch thick. During her decades of service, at least 30 coats of paint had been applied to the massive smokestacks, forming a shell around the steel interior. But when they were removed, after her decommissioning, for maintenance it was discovered that they were nothing but shells. When lifted off the liner and placed on the docks, they crumbled!

Over the years, the thick steel of which they had been made had turned to rust from long exposure to heat and moisture. The beautiful exteriors of the smokestacks revealed a rusty, crumbly interior that spoke not of beauty and elegance but of deterioration and decay. The external appearance was hiding the internal reality.

Lord, help me to be the real deal down to my core. May what people see have no pretense. May I “hold…firmly” to what I “heard and believed at first…” Amen.

July 20th, Thurs, 8:52 am

Morning Star

Good evening, Father! Overall today was a good day. It started catching up to me at the end of my shift but you enabled me to push through to the end. May what is left of this day be pleasing in Your eyes. Amen.

Revelation 2:24-29 (<<click green)

Lord, when I read this passage two things, in conjunction with each other, jumped out at me. One is a portion of verse 25, “hold tightly to what you have until I come.” And the other was a note from my study Bible* in regards to giving them the “morning star” if they “are victorious”. verses 26, 28

So I will remember my connection, the note states,

“Christ is also called the morning star in 22:16. A morning star appears just before dawn, when the night is coldest and darkest. When the world is at its bleakest point, Christ will burst onto the scene, exposing evil with his light of truth and bringing his promised reward.”

Lord, You put those two things together in a marvelous way! I know it is no surprise to You but it is very cool for me. I guess I never realized the significance of the morning star until I read that note. Many people feel that we are living in the last days of this earth. I don’t know and even You said. “Only the Father knows.” (verse 36b of Matthew 24:1-36)

My goal as one of Your many followers is to hold tightly to what I have until You come and to give the opportunity for many others to hold on as well. I must admit the world seems to be getting scarier every day that passes. But I refuse to be overwrought with fear! For I know the Morning Star and it may yet get colder and darker but, without the least inkling of doubt, I know You will burst on the scene…and all will be as it should. “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

July 19th, Wed, 7:25 pm

Turn Away

Once again a new day begins, pristine, a clean slate. The past is past and only possibilities lie ahead. Father, together let us continue to build upon the foundation You have set. May I follow You this day. Use me to impact my world for You. As Your Word teaches us to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen.

Revelation 2:20-23 (<<click green)

Lord, in this passage “Jezebel” is guilty of encouraging believers to take part in a lifestyle that is in opposition to Your will. She extolled “sexual sin” and eating “food offered to idols”.

In and of themselves are sex and food evil? No, of course not! Both are gifts from You! Where the trouble arises is when we take these gifts and use them outside the parameters which You have set. That is the way it is with all sin. It is when the “ME” factor takes control. It is when “I” want to do it “MY” way.

Our acts of sin are bad enough but we compile our sin when we refuse to “turn away from [our] immorality.” The applicable word here is “repent.” I understand repentance as an about face – we turn from sin and turn to God. It doesn’t do any good to just try to stop sinning. It has a nasty tendency to lure us back in. And to just stop sinning does take care of the stains we have incurred from sins we have committed. Turning to God, admitting our sin and seeking His forgiveness, takes care of the sin – it is totally eradicated! And then we can live in the power of our relationship with Him to ward off yielding to those sins again.

Lord, thank You for Your everlasting love. You are truly long-suffering. Help me this day to stand strong against whatever sins would cross my path. My strength is not sufficient – but Yours surely is! Amen.

July 18th, Tues, 6:21 am

Grow

A full weekend but a good weekend! Thank You, Father, for Your watching over us in our travels. Thank You for Your presence. Thank You for the love You have given us and the love we have for each other. I pray for Your guiding hand throughout the up-and-coming week. Amen.

Revelation 2:19 (<<click green)

One of the most important aspects of our relationship with You, Lord, is that we are to grow. We should be having “constant improvement” in the areas of love…faith…service, and…patient endurance.”

My study Bible* reminds me that, “Because the times are critical, we must spend our days wisely and faithfully.” Lord, do I do that? In a recent sermon, I reminded my congregations that You have given every one of us exactly 86,400 seconds to use at our discretion. Do we use them “wisely and faithfully”?

I realize that we all need down time but It can be easy to accomplish nothing with the time we have. Others can run from sun up to sundown busying themselves with all kinds of things. But if we are not seeking “constant improvement” in the areas of “love…faith…service, and…patient endurance” what good is it all?

Lord, help me today to examine what I do and how I do it. May the many aspects of my life be pleasing in Your sight. Help me to conscientiously be moving forward in my relationship with You. “Because the times are critical” may I be constantly be seeking Your directive in every facet of my life. Amen.

*Life Application Study Bible New Living Translation

July 17th, Mon, 6:52 am

Random Thoughts

Good morning, Father, thank You for a wonderful day yesterday! It was a beautiful day to travel and it was wonderful spending time with family we too rarely get to see! Be with me this day as we come together to bring You the praise and worship You deserve. Amen.

Lord, these thoughts have been on my mind for a couple of days now and I want to get them out of my head. I’m sure that I am not alone in thinking about my relationship with people with whom I interact on a regular basis. In thinking about this last week, the thought came to mind, “If people really knew me would they still like me?” Not a single one of us is perfect. Even if they are only things we mull over in our mind, we all have thoughts of anger, impatience, distaste, shallowness, greed, stubbornness, lust, hate, whining, futility, boredom, disdain, selfishness and the list goes on and on… “If people really knew me would they still like me?” …much less love me…

Some of these things may lay about our minds fairly regularly, other things just pop in on occasion…none of them are pretty, and none of them are things people want to see or hear. So for many of us, they stay inside. There may be a couple of people that see them peek out on occasion but all in all, we keep them to ourselves. We don’t like seeing them in the lives of others and we know others don’t really care to see them in us either.

But You, Lord…You are different. You see every single thing that projects up onto the screens of our minds. You miss nothing. We cannot hide anything. It is astonishing but in spite of it all, You not only still like me…You love me!

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. Ephesians 1:4

In the sphere of time, You have never not loved us! With all of our faults, with all of our failings, with all of our imperfections – and You know them all – You love us!

Lord, may we love ourselves because You love us. May we love others because You love us. It’s a challenge but we have the perfect example…You! Amen.

July 16th, Sun, 6:16 am

Doing it right for once.