Thursday, March 31, 2011

Revelation 5

"...Behold, the Lion..." is what John is told.  John sees a Lamb.  The Lamb that was slain who alone was and is worthy.  

Without the Lamb, I cannot approach the throne nor appreciate the Lion.

Father, I thank You for Your Word to me today.  Holy Spirit, I am grateful to You for taking me through Revelation.  You are my Counselor.  Jesus, I praise You that You are exactly Who I need when I need - and I always need.  I praise You for being the Lamb, the Lion, the Peace, the Price, the Only Worthy One, the One Who was Slain, my Ransom.  I praise You that wherever I am, You are and You are all that I need. To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever! May I never forget You are the Lamb who was slain for me, may I never neglect giving you blessing and honor and glory and might - even though I need You to teach me the way of living a life worthy of You.  You are amazing.  I am overwhelmed.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Revelation 4

8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

    "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was and is and is to come!"
 9And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
 11 "Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
   to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
   and by your will they existed and were created." 

How does my response to God compare?  

How often do I attribute holiness to the Lord of my life?

How do I live in answer to God's ultimate and omni-worthiness?

God, please recalibrate my passion for You.  My life is Yours so help me live in such a manner that I am always aware that I am responding to You - because I am, whether I realize it or not.  Teach me to tremble at Your Word, at Your Name.  Please shatter the papier-mache' worship-life I have and reanimate me to be engaged with You in the fashion for which You created me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Revelation 3

In chapters two and three, the Lord addresses five of the seven churches with, "I know your deeds."  The remaining two are greeted with, "I know your tribulation and poverty" and "I know where you dwell."  
I am struck anew with how personal the Sovereign King of the Universe is and how He responds to faithfulness and infidelity.

The second help I receive is from verses 8 and 2:  I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.  Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.   I have almost no influence or power; but I can be alert in order to obey and be true to His Name that I may finish the work He has set before me, (continually reminded of the "faith without works is dead"). 

Oh, Sovereign Lord and my Father, I thank You for these Words which stir in me a stronger desire to make my life high fidelity to You.  Yet, You know how small and frail I am, how prone I am to taking naps rather than fighting for the faith.  Keep me alert and watchful, grant me spiritual night-vision and keep me in Your timezone.  Direct me in caring for the responsibilities You have entrusted to me that I may keep Your Word and not deny Your Name.  Please increase my capacity for discernment in the spiritual that I may bring glory to Your Name.  Help my spiritual siblings to be strengthened, alert and faithful, too.  Praise You.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Revelation 2

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

This is "to the churches" and not just this one church.  These words are intended to be heard, received and heeded. 

To the one who conquers or To him who overcomes...

A massive war is waged in which one must endure and conquer in order to receive the rewards listed: 
  • to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God, 
  • not be hurt by the second death, 
  • I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it,
  • (this one is preceded with enduring until victory and keeping His commands until the end)   I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.
  • (from chapter 3) will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
  •  I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. 
  • I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 
  Lord, Thank You for this section of Your glorious Word.  Please do Your work to  make me one that has ears to hear.  Then, let me hear, tune my heart, ears, mind and spirit to You that I would clearly receive and obey Your words.  Let them marinade in me so that they cause the change You intend  - Your Word does not return void.  Help me to overcome, to endure til victory, keeping Your deeds triumphantly and faithfully.  I admit, I don't really understand what all this means; but You said it, I receive it and I gratefully expect it.  You are God.  Alone.  Praise You.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Revelation 1

Revelation is an exact testimony to be read aloud, heard and obeyed of the revelation given to show God's slaves what is coming.   Blessings accompany the knowing and believing of this word.

God is reassuring me in these words that He does want me to read and understand what is contained in these scriptures.  He gave them for that reason to be read, heard, and embraced.  This encourages me as I have always been extremely reluctant to seriously study this book.  

May I receive the blessing from properly approaching and participating in and with this Word.  May the Life of the Word transform me for the glory of God.  Thank You for Your personal invitation and reassurance.  I bow to You and trust Your plan.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

3 John

You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.... Beloved, ...  imitate ... what is good.  The one who does good is of God. 

What investment am I making into the Kingdom that is done in a manner worthy of God?  

How is my worship?  
My testimony?  
My reputation?  
My interaction with others?
Who or what at am I sending on in a manner worthy of God?

I do not lack for activity and relationship; but what am I sending on in each of these areas that is worthy of GOD?

Lord, open my eyes and my heart, gift me with creativity to be able to send into Your Kingdom in a manner worthy of Your Name.  Lord, teach me what that means and sustain me that I may conduct myself and my 'sendings' in a manner worthy of You.  You are worthy of anything and everything; please show me how to pour out of my alabaster flask that which is pure nard and not mediocrity to You. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

2 John

love one another = walk in His commandments

I love best when I obey best.  

Love and worship God exclusively, honor Him, His Name and His day relentlessly, love others and myself identically.

Adherence to these commands yields loving best.  Not complicated.  Until I figure myself into the equation.

Father, help me love and obey just as You desire.  Please cure my self-preservation instincts and let me remember to trust that You have me so I can be useful to You for loving others.  I know You are completely trustworthy.  You are perfectly faithful.  You are Flawless.  I am overwhelmed.   Please keep me close that I may not miss a word You have for me.  You and I both know how I distract; Holy Spirit, please teach me or grant me focus.  Thank You that You have spoken to me.  May I be faithful with Your gift.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

1 John 5

And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 

The one who has the victory in overcoming the world is the one who, in faith, believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Overcoming is based on believing.  How actively and persistently do I believe in Jesus?  How does this faith permeate the minutes of my day? 

Lord, let me not falter from this truth.  May this ever be before me in my mind, in my heart and in my life ... that I may walk in victory through each encounter of my day and night.

Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)--[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life]. Amen (so let it be). 

After all the admonitions to love and promises of eternal life, confidence before the Lord, answered prayers, interceding for others lives, knowing God and being in Him; we, as little children, are told to keep ourselves from anything which would abide in our hearts rather than God. All of the gifts God has for us and the very great promises He makes and keeps (because He is the Covenant Making and Promise Keeping God and can do not less) might possibly distract us - me from allowing Him to abide in my heart and life.

Little girl, daughter of God, keep Your heart open to the Only One who can love and deliver eternal life.  Your confidence before Him will only come from keeping Him on the throne of your heart and life.  Fight for Him to abide unchallenged and unrivaled in your heart.  As He abides in your life and heart and mind, you will thrive in His Kingdom and bring Him glory.  Keep yourself from anything which seeks to usurp your very great King, your precious Father. 

1 John 4

... because as He is, so also are we in this world.  (NASB and ESV)
... because we live like Jesus here in this world.  (NLT)
... In this world we are like Jesus.  (NIV)

How am I like Jesus? 

How does the world make the connection to Jesus from my life?

Jesus, I want to live like You in this world.  So much of what You had to do and what You experienced are not part of my life; but that does not mean that the qualities You displayed, the love You gave, the sacrifices you offered ... the 'how You lived' is not withheld from me. I can choose to devote myself to God and His Word, I can daily lay my life and my preferences/comforts down that others may come to the Kingdom.  I can join my spiritual siblings in living a life worthy of Your life ... if I choose to.  Please help me to daily, hourly, even by the minute choose Your life for mine.  You are my Inspiration. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

1 John 3

But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.

When God created the devil, He knew what was going to be required and did so anyway.  That was the Sovereign and Inerrant Lord's supreme choice.  The best.

When I know something is going to hurt, be costly and unpleasant I flinch in the planning phase.  I do my best to rethink and reroute.  Not my God.

How much do I imitate the creature Satan in desiring things God does not have for me rather than desiring God?

Lord, again I come to You needing to have You make me brave.  I am truly not one who enjoys suffering and discomfort; but You have called me to a bigger life than what I would write.  Help me to have a heart like Yours, one that takes the tough route because it's the right route.  Help me to plan bravely and loyally and to follow through with Your will in the same fashion. You make me strong.  You make me courageous.  Because of You, I am able to do all that You have for me.  Keep asking me these hard questions that I may desire only You, and You alone.  Make it so, King, make it so.

Monday, March 21, 2011

1 John 2

20But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21I write to you ... because you know it (the truth), and because no lie is of the truth. ... 27But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it (the anointing) has taught you, abide in Him.  

The anointing from the Holy One, abides in me; yields knowledge, truth and a sufficiency in learning from the anointing.
The anointing teaches abide in Him.

The anointing abides in me that I may abide in Him.  The anointing teaches - note the present, ongoing sense of the verb - me what I need to know and the anointing has taught me to abide in Him.

O, Great and Most Holy Anointing, please teach me how to abide in all ways, in all days in Him.  I need Your instruction about how to do the things You have taught me.  But first, I need to abide always and readily in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Only in this holy relationship can I authentically live without loving the world and overcome.  May I abide in Your Word that I may abide in the will of God.  Keep me from being lured away into acting or believing that somehow I am a chameleon branch grafted onto the True Vine, choosing to appear to bear fruit for God one season and for the world another.  I am Yours and the fruit is of You.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

1 John 1

... in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

In Him or in darkness, in the Light or in unrighteousness, in Truth or in sin, in fellowship or in deception. His Word is either in me or it's not. Can't be both, or a little of both. Either I am cleansed or I am unrighteous. In the Light or in the dark. Can't walk both lanes, as each one requires all of me...all of you.

 And I cannot help foster any thought in others that they are saved if I understand them to be in darkness.  Fellowship happens when you both have the same invitation - not with party crashers.  Hypochristianity is not Christianity ... it is an either/or proposition.

Lord, let Your Light always identify me - to myself, to others and to the enemy. Thank You for putting me in the Light - allowing me the privilege of walking in the Light. Teach me to fellowship in the Light.  Help me to shine Your Light appropriately and in a readiness born of prayer and preparation.

2 Timothy 4

... preach the word ... reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction ... be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 

Paul's words to Timothy do not include "enjoy yourself" or any prayers for comfort.  Timothy is charged with serious work, apparently in the face of serious opposition.  He is told to do the work, fulfill the assignment, preach God's word, rebuke, reprove....  Pretty terse instructions for the very beloved spiritual son of Paul.  

When do I pray for sobriety in all things, to do my work, to satisfy my calling?
I find I am much more comfort-oriented in my prayers for others and myself.  What a wimp, (a weak, ineffectual, meager-faithed, pusillanimous person).  Spiritual pansy.  Why do I think the life given to me from the full-life sacrifice of my precious Jesus should be a funtivity?  It sure wasn't for Him.  Why am I so quick to pray away the hardship, the opposition and the work rather than enduring, persevering and fulfilling?  

God, You are worthy of me enduring, persevering, sweating for You and Your Kingdom.  You are worth my fulfilling my ministry.  I confess I want my Christian walk to be "constantaneously" like Christ's life; but I know that is not right.  Please help me to be strong and courageous; to stand firm and not be afraid; to fight the good fight of faith; to press in to You for Your glory's sake and my sanctification's sake.  I thank You that You don't just wad me up and throw me away.  I thank You that being sober in all things doesn't mean that I can't laugh and enjoy the life You have provided for me.  I thank You that You have given me a calling to be Your daughter and for the work You have custom-designed me to do.  Please continue to draw me to You so I may fulfill my ministry, I may perform my work and I may love You the way I was created to love.  You are my Hope.

Friday, March 18, 2011

2 Timothy 3

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Scripture is profitable  ...  I wondered if the word profitable might mean beneficial or instructive.  I went to the Greek in hopes of discovering a more precise definition and found that it is the word ophelimos, which means profitable.  Paul uses it previously to Timothy regarding godliness being profitable for all things and to Titus and all believers to engage in good deeds as they are profitable to all men.

So, God's Scripture is profitable, gainful, advantageous, helpful, good for teaching, reproofing, correcting, training in righteousness yielding an equipped and competent believer.  

My question is am I employing God's Word for the profit, gain, advantage and good of those in my life and me?

Since it is help for teaching, why do I not base what I learn and teach, everything on the Word?  

This eternal source of life, truth and wisdom will rebuke if I submit myself to its correction.  Do I apply myself to be reproofed, corrected and trained in righteousness; or do I prefer to read it to see what new thing I can learn?  

God, I confess I know what Your Word can do - You promise and You keep Your promises - and yet, I regularly fail to sit before You asking You to reproof me, to correct me.  God, I recognize if I want to be trained in righteousness, I must yield to the full intent of Your Word.  Help me to seek the complete purpose of Your Scriptures and not just the feel good, help me through this hardship, learn a new thing propensity that I have.  I long to be a humble woman of Your Word and not a spiritual flibbertigibbet.  Thank You for Your very great promises and Your very great faithfulness. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2 Timothy 2

Timothy appears to have been discouraged.  Paul's exhortation to be strengthened in Christ's grace, let others help teach, suffer difficulty like a good soldier would, hang in there and earn the reward of obedience.  Paul continues with the encouragement of dying for Christ means living with Him, enduring yields co-regency with Christ and Christ is faithful despite our reliability.  (A warning of denying Christ brings a denial of us by Christ.)  Timothy must be a workman who accurately handles God's Word, instructive, patient when wronged, gently correcting, not quarrelsome, and the list continues.  Tim really seemed to need a word of how to do his job...what to avoid and what to embrace. 

Paul continues with a word against "wrangling about words," avoiding worldly chatter and ungodly talk and refusing ignorant speculations.  Tim struggling with words receives a note from his spiritual father which says, in essence, "No more stupid talk!"  

How am I to receive that word today?  Where am I struggling in doing my job because of words?  Where am I engaged in "stupid talk" and not being diligent in my assignment?  How do I allow others words to derail me from the Kingdom's service? Why am I not discerning enough to recognize  a true question from a devil-distraction?

Father, I get hung up on words...I love words, you know this.  The meanings, the usage, the fun, the precision...I love communication.  Thank You for that.  But, I often become stuck when I trip right over someone's words.  Please keep me from initiating the conversations about which You warn.  Please keep me from being derailed by ungodly chatter, ignorant speculation and word wrangling. Let me know when I need to verbally step in and when I can let it ride...and let me have the courage and self-control to obey.  Keep me from "stupid talk" today.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2 Timothy 1

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 

Timothy received a gift from God...a spiritual gift from the laying on of Paul's hands.  Timmy needs encouragement to "fan into flame" that God-gift so he may use and exercise it to God's glory.  Timmy is exhorted, too, that he has been equipped with power, love and self-control.  Fear is not part of the gifting from God.  I understand this to say that Tim is fearful about using his spiritual gift, even to the point of ignoring it.  

I  have been gifted with mercy, though I am uncertain how to operate the gift.  It seems to have been delivered in the "on" position - and there is not "off" switch - I have searched!  As a result of not being able to control or understand my present,  I find myself a bit fearful in operating the mercy gift ... The gift is a very wet gift - lots of tears, with not a few aches - heartaches, that is.  God has been so instructive, of late, in that He has pointed out others with the mercy-load and allowed me to peek at their lifestyles.  

I am still not certain the usefulness of the gift; but I KNOW that it is useful and important as the Designer of the Universe would not make an inconsequential gift.  I look forward to His further instruction and my comprehending how to best implement the blessing of mercy.  I take these words to Timmy very personally...I am done being least for today.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jude, Hey, Jude

Jude continues in warning the Church about the devious interlopers who sneak in and work to destroy God's grace by perversion.  This nefarious influence must have been so prevalent, as this warning has come time and again from the various writers of our precious Lord's Word.  

Is this any less a true word for us, for me?  

In the first century church, the wolves came looking and behaving, at first, like  "regular" believers.  As they  made themselves comfortable in the setting, their true nature became known.  Perhaps by that time, these God-haters were such a familiar fixture in the family that they were not immediately identified as the immoral and ungodly sort they were.  Perhaps their influence or service was relied upon and the new believers found it difficult to  accuse any in whom they felt indebted.  They crept in unnoticed...they were in.  IN!

I think that the Father has kept our local body in a sort of protective custody; I know He has certainly protected me from and in this kind of external influence.  Maybe this is our heads-up that that's about to change.  The training wheels are being removed and we are to proceed in our wisdom and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Another consideration comes to me in this scenario of attack; one which involves thoughts and my mind.  When the heinous workers of hell send  a "me-mail" which creeps into my mind, without me realizing what it is?  What if I embrace a pit-designed thought as one of equal merit with the traffic report.  Not that I really count on the traffic report...not that it affects me much...but it's in there...and I am, somewhat, mindful of the "info".   If I allow either thought to dwell, soon it becomes part of the decor of my plans.  I must arrest the offender as it arrives; else it will begin to flourish and defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.

Jude describes what these conniving fiends are (whether physical or spiritual). 
These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.  When my thoughts begin to whine and fuss about how I am not getting what I want or need, how significant yet overlooked or speak with intentions which are not pure; I can know I have let something creep in.  I must clean my mind's house by demolishing arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and ... take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 

Jude further instructs me on contending for the faith.  The only Wise God is my God and He alone is able to keep (me) from stumbling and to present (me) blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy.  Furthermore, I must, in God's tender affection, build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

I have prayed for you.  Now, may mercy, [soul] peace, and love be multiplied to you, my dear spiritual siblings.

Monday, March 14, 2011

2 Peter 3

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness...

These words follow the reminder that the world previously was deluged by water and perished.  In light of the recent earthquake in Japan and subsequent tsunami, I am struck by God's challenge and direction to me through Peter, that old fisherman.

How am I to live in a world where I did not perish in a flood or earthquake?  It could have been me.  Why wasn't it?  What is my response to a God who even the winds and the waves obey?

I understand the that the current events are an opportunity for repentance for did He spare me and not others? Let me turn even more directly to godliness and holiness.  Let me set no unclean thing before my eyes or my mind's eye.  Let me encourage my sisters and brothers in the faith towards repentance as well.  

Everyday we live is one day closer to the end of either my life or this life.  Why don't I live in the urgency of the day?  As a pregnant momma begins her work of delivering her baby, she behaves in a way which is markedly different from other days.  The arrival of this day may surprise her; but she has known to anticipate this time for a while.  This momma knows to not pig-out as that may come back up.  She knows not to zip out of town or try to have a pedicure.  She maybe even dresses differently.  She orders her steps and makes careful arrangements; maybe even working from the plans for this day she made earlier.  As the pains increase in frequency and duration, her thoughts become increasingly focused on the task at hand...fewer things have her attention...more and more fades into the periphery.  That clarity of focus becomes brighter and more defined as the time draws nearer and nearer.  

Since I know on Whom and what I am supposed to be focused; WHY do I dawdle in the remaining time?  Why don't I make every effort to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ and glorify Him with my life and passion?  Why is there a crowd allowed in the attention room of my heart?

Lord God,  Thank You for Your kindest mercy, Your unknowable Ways and Your incredible Majesty. Teach me repentance.  Help me turn from the passions of this temporal place to the glories of Your Name.  Keep me there.  I want my life to be holy and godly; but I fail.  You prevail.  Holy Spirit, prevail in me, through me.   I want to grow in the knowledge and grace of my Lord and Savior; cultivate me.  Be my Passion.  Be my Heart.  Be my All.  And use me to encourage and rally my brothers and sisters in the faith for this singular purpose.

"We just did not expect such a thing to happen. It's just overwhelming."  a quote from H. Sato of Japan.  What so hits me in this is the blending of mercy and judgment from my Perfect God.  There are those that hit death square on when this occurred.  Some were ready, some were not.  Some thought they were and were wrong.  God had determined before time that this was to be.  Those that are left have an opportunity to turn from their expectations to God.

 I feel a need to pray for those who have been left behind...that they not be overwhelmed by the events so much that they miss God.  And I cannot imagine what they are experiencing in the wake of such an event; but I know that God is there and still drawing as He wants none to perish.  And, as I think about those left behind, I realize that I am in those ranks.  You are, too.  We are those to whom mercy accorded us more time.  What will you do with it?  They did not expect such a thing to happen to them...where are we blinded by our expectations and beliefs about what can and cannot happen?  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Epic Fail, Epic Prevail

Sometimes, the God of the Universe will invite me to try a new experience and I will, with amazing clarity, focus and conviction, give Him an impressive (at least to me) list of reasons  why that suggestion would prove to be an epic fail.  It amazes me that I can, without a moment's notice, argue myself into a place of loss without even contemplating any effort towards the offer or consideration of success.  Why would the Lord of All Time and Space bring something to me that He did not wish me to encounter?  Does He want me to practice saying "I am so very flattered; but no, thank You"?  I don't think that's it.

So, why is my knee-jerk (emphasis on jerk, by the way) reaction "NO!"?  Were I to imagine this as an opportunity to dance with Him, albeit, to new music and on an unfamiliar dance-floor, perhaps I could envision a positive outcome...possibly, a good learning experience...perchance, I may discover that I am good at that dance...maybe the experience would be an epic prevail...if I would only trust Him.

Why would He ask me to dance if He thought I should refuse Him?  Why invite me to join Him if He really wanted me to do something else?   Do I hallucinate in thinking that I can ruin the God of Heaven and Earth or mess up His plans?  Why do I judge poorly so many things about myself in light of the fact that He has considered the offer valid and worthy?  Who am I to say "no" to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings?  That answer is never right to earthly monarchs; how much more egregious to the Sovereign Lord?

I hope He still wants to dance with me...

2 Peter 2

For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

What I yield to will be my master.

God, help me to yield only to You and Your great purpose.  Keep me from hungering and thirsting after food that won't acceptance, relationship, status...and let me fill myself on You.  Where I crave acceptance, remind me that I am accepted in the Beloved; where I long for relationship, sing to me and cause me to remember that I am my Beloved and He is mine; where I desire a place in this world, bring me to Your cross and show me anew where You took my place.  You are all I need, more than I could ever hope for and beyond my wildest and most daring dreams...You are mine.  I yield to You. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2 Peter 1

By knowing God, He has given me whatever I need for life and godliness...He has given me very great and precious promises so I can join in His divine nature.

I know Him because of His grace, glory and goodness...nothing of me.  His divine power allows me to share in His divine nature.  His promises are my link to the divine nature.  

How am I walking out that divine nature?  What do I need to receive in order to have life and godliness?    How to participate in His divine nature?  How to believe His promises?

God, I want to receive Your divine power that I may know You better and may participate in Your divine nature.  Only by Your grace, only by Your goodness, only because of Your power.   Only for You.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Titus 3 Good Deeds and Pressing Needs

Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.

Good deeds are to meet pressing needs.  Not to just be good acts and ideas.  Spend myself on meeting pressing needs.  Not just feel good about doing a good thing.

God, the Only Wise God, You know which needs must be met -  You know which are requisite, which present a deprivation, where the shortages are...Keep me from doing good just for good's sake...or for my sake.  Give me Your understanding about the necessary versus the luxury; I desire, not the world's take but Your perspective on good works and pressing poverty.  Teach me, Holy Rabbi.   Illuminate me that I will be fruitful for Your purposes and to make You famous.  Otherwise, I will wear myself out and use up valuable resources meant for Your glory.  God, You are good. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Titus 2 God's Grace and Zombies

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. 

Zombieland is a movie where zombies, who are the majority of the population, are intent on devouring the remainder of the non-zombie population...creating more zombies.   A small group of people - non-zombies - attempt to live in the post-apocalyptic USA, a.k.a. Zombieland, without becoming zombies themselves.  As the story unfolds, the individual non-zombies come together and form an alliance. 

As I read the passage from Titus 2 this morning, I was reminded of the movie.  Kind of weird and fun, I know; but my God defines creative, (rule number 32: enjoy the little things).  

The picture the Lord drew for me was the world at large is the land of the zombies; most folks out there are the walking dead, seeking only to satisfy their own appetites as they go along, not considering the big picture of eternity...just the momentary need or pleasure.

In zombie-ology, redemption is not available for those gone dead; but God has brought salvation to all men.  The problem is not all have received the gracious gift.  Until a person receives that God-designed gift of salvation, he/she is like a zombie, an animated corpse who doesn't realize that real life is not what he/she is experiencing.  Christ's redemptive act purifies, sanctifies, heals the people for Himself bestowing life on the formerly dead.

To exacerbate the zombie-dilemma, the "living" must escape from the zombies for fear of being consumed by that culture.  In reality, believers often shun the spiritual zombies.  The living believers have no such concern of conversion; but they still seem to prefer their own groupings rather than embrace the spiritually dead.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  "What am I doing with it?" is the question that hits me. 

Father, what a tremendous visual parable for me of the world...of me a few years ago.  Help me not run from the individuals in this world and take Your grace with me.  God, I often do want to be quiet and blend in because I anticipate the reaction of those that don't have the spiritual view You have given me.  Help me to remember that one less zombie is one more Kingdom resident, one more servant for the Most High King...and that is my mission.  Help me to go, therefore, and reduce the zombie population by sharing the grace You have shared with me.  Find me useful in the recruitment of the walking dead and training of former zombies for the advancement of Your Kingdom.  To the praise of Your very great Name.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Titus 1 Know God?

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.
What do my actions speak about me?

When I am in my most "secular" moments, what testimony do my actions give of me?

What do I confirm or deny by my driving, spending, banking, music, movies, disciplines, __________, ...?

Would the Savior of the World invite me to listen to what's on my mp-3 player with Him?  Does He enjoy my media choices? My jokes?

Would the God of All Eternity drive any differently than I do?

What does my behavior speak to the world about my heart?  Am I denying Him with my driving, impatience, worry?  If the world can't tell that I am different, what in the world am I doing?

Holy Father, I am so sorry that I deny You by the way I act.  Please help me.  Search me and show me my ways, reveal to me my actions which are offensive to You and deny You.  Holy Spirit, open the eyes of my heart, increase my comprehension, capacity and discipline to testify of You with my mouth and my life.  May You find me faithful, Sweet Lord.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

1 Timothy 6 The Battle Goes to the Gentle

... But you man of God, ... pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith...    

  But you, daughter of God, make these your goal: 

                                                 godliness (this is certainly a theme in this letter)


                                                                                                   &  ....gentleness...

Wait, gentleness?  Not doctrine, not sharing, not peace, not worship...but an intentional mildness of disposition, tenderness or kindness.  Gentleness.  And then to fight for faith...I can see all of this tying together except for the gentleness part.  

Why that unexpected quality?  

Our fight is not a physical fight; but it does require physical endurance.  The physical battle would come naturally; but to blend the battle mindset with a delicate gentleness is foolishness.  How do you set your sights on an enemy with the goal of annihilation and maintain a gentle attitude?  You don't...but the physical is not the enemy.  The physical can be pawns of the enemy; but not the enemy.

Just as in treating a fierce disease, one aggressively attacks the illness always keeping the patient's well-being in mind.  You don't kill the patient in order to wipe out the sickness.  The survival of the patient, the life of the sick one is the whole point.  That's the triumph.

A warrior is to be gentle.  Very encouraging news to one who is much more gentle than warrior-like.  So, in perseverance and righteousness, train for battle and be gentle, aspire to godliness, being faithful and loving so I can fight the good fight of faith.

Oh Mighty God of War and Victory, I praise You for ordering gentleness as a soldier's quality.  I love You more that You esteem tenderness as a worthy characteristic in the life of ministry.  Only You, only You.  Please teach me in the ways of Your wisdom to properly steward gentleness, righteousness, godliness, faith, love and perseverance.


Monday, March 7, 2011

1 Timothy 5 Lifestyles and Legacies

A couple of challenges hit me from this passage.  One regards some of the requirements of a widow authorized to have church support.  She must:

  •  have a reputation for good works - not a bad reputation for good works, half works or no works
  • have brought up children - not necessarily her own flesh and blood offspring...also, perhaps spiritual children are implied
  •  demonstrate hospitality to strangers - gracious hostess to folks she doesn't know, not rude nor insular
  • washed saint's feet - humble and particular service to those with dirty feet, also gracious service (and there are a whole lot of saints out there)
  • helped those who needed help when they needed help 
  • be devoted to every good work, not lazy nor procrastinating - not sold out to mediocrity
If these qualities are not cultivated in a woman's life, then idleness, gossiping, being a busybody are likely to be nurtured instead.  I recognize this passage refers to widows; but all widows began as wives, and before that as females.   So, I am warned about my daily life and passions as they project a future course.  Additionally, I am charged with encouraging others to devote themselves to every good work, too. 
And when the busybody goes to someone's home, it could be mine. I must be about the right activities and prepared to appeal and encourage her as I should...not to join her in the idle lifestyle and tantalizing gossip.

The opportunities discussed in this scripture are based solely on the woman's behavior and performance...not who she knows, who she married...

A lifestyle is a legacy in the making...some sins beat you to the judgment, some arrive when you do...good deeds can precede or accompany you, too...what is the legacy I want?  What is the reputation I wish to build?      It's happening now.  

Father God, You alone define purity and wholeness.  I want to be about the things which honor and glorify You, knowing that those things are pure and right and true.  My attention is often derailed by the things and the shineys of this world which redirect my focus and heart from You towards me, towards stuff, towards time.  I want a lifestyle which proves You...proves that You are sufficient and abundant for a girl.  I don't want to be famous for "almost".   You are my Fame.  I want to be faithful in lifestyle and legacy to You, the Only Wise God.  Please help me to live the life You created for me...I cannot do it without You.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

1 Timothy 4 Godliness and the Art of Surfing

Train yourself in godliness... for godliness is of value in every way as it holds promise in this life and the next.

Godliness benefits now and eternally later.  Win/win.  

It is not a gifting; but requires training to attain...never an "I have arrived" but an "I'm spiraling up" towards the goal of godliness.

I must participate - training for godliness is not a passive activity. Sadly, a sea of godliness won't wash over me and make me godly.  

Godliness is more like surfing; therefore, I must commit to the activity and equip myself for the purpose of surfing (being godly)  by learning what it does and doesn't look like (consider the godly examples God has provided me).   I must lay down the snorkeling equipment (sinful/other behavior) and pick up the surf board (Word of God).  I must get wet (leave the safe environs of the church or my bedroom) and I must try to get up on the board in the waves (practice godliness in the real world with real people with real issues).  Having the right attire helps, too, (putting on the Lord Jesus and the full armor of God) as formal wear would only hinder the surfing - no matter how darling the outfit.  I must assume the correct position (bow down and humble myself) or I will never get up, much less ride the wave.  Additionally, I must be on the right part of the board as one or both of us will flip wildly into the air (obeying the Lord's instructions, yielding to His priorities and not my preferences and going where He directs).  Be mindful of other surfers so I don't ram them with my board (esteeming them as better than myself and not running over them with my enthusiasm and efforts).  It always helps to make sure I am in full view of the LifeGuard and listening for His voice to coach me away from the rocks and sharks.  Never fight the LifeGuard when He comes to save me from whatever the sea holds for me.

FatherGod, Creator of the Surf, Teach me godliness, grow me in godliness, let me flourish in godliness.  I want to imitate You.  I want to be like You.  I want to participate in Your work as You have designed me to do. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

1 Timothy 3

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

    He was manifested in the flesh,
   vindicated by the Spirit,

       seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
       taken up in glory.

The mystery of our devotion is Christ.  He could have done anything ... in any way He wanted ... and He did.  He was born as a man, not holding tightly to His deity, the Spirit vindicated Him - but is not vindictive.  Angels witnessed Him and internationally He was made known and was (is) believed.  He, in glorious array, went up to Heaven.  This, what we can speak, is the mystery - what we can't truly understand.  Why?  How?  I can't even imagine.

Praise to You, the Only Wise God; Immortal, Eternal, Invisible.  I cannot think of why You would conduct Yourself in this fashion, when You can do anything.  Your ways are not my ways, oh Lord, Your thoughts are not mine.  Hearten me for Your ways, my God, strengthen me for Your pleasure.  And let me love You the way You created me to love You.

Friday, March 4, 2011

1 Timothy 2

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.

Priority one:  pray.for. all.people.
Urgently stated.

What a huge task that is...I don't even know how to pray for myself sometimes, God.  Lord Jesus, You prayed, You modeled prayer, You prayed for folks...even me.  Help me to follow Your lead, Your life in praying for all people.  Please, increase my heart for prayer  - even as You gave me the desire to begin with.  Grow me in my passion to engage in prayer with You.  Holy Spirit increase my creativity and endurance in prayer that I may  pray according to what You gave us prayer for...and not my self-aggrandized shopping list.  All glory and power and praise and fame to You.  Let me get this right...and I can't do that if You don't do it.  Help my priority to be prayer for all.  As You lead, as they need, without greed.  In Jesus Name!

1 Timothy 1

But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 

The whole point of being taught, of teaching is love loyally, virtuously, without guile and in integrity.  I can imagine Paul saying, "like I love you, man!" and "like Messiah loved us!!  That's what I'm talking about!"

Love is the goal.  the aim, the entire point of it all.  Love and love well.

May it be so, Father, make it so. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us.

Onesimus the slave was not very useful as a he is free in Christ and he is useful to both of us.  

As I walk in the liberty of being a slave to Christ, I can be very useful to Christ and to those with whom He has me in relationship.   Where I choose to resist His plan, I become a rebellious slave, a runaway slave, a slave who is fearful of her Master and one who has trouble with commitment; I am useless to everyone...except the enemy.  

Father, help me embrace that sweet freedom offered by my bondage to Your Son.  Holy Spirit, help me continue in the dying to self that I might live usefully to the praise of the Kingdom and the fame of the King's very great Name.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Colossians 4

Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].

Can I be gracious, inviting and winsome when I am frustrated, tongue-tied and speechless?  <nope>

How do I prepare for any question so I know how to answer anyone who puts a question to me?  <I can't intellectually possess every answer to every question>

But the charge is to allow my speech to always be gracious and properly salted (with Christ - the Living Word, the Truth, Ever-Present Help) so I may respond with the answer He gives me from His wisdom.  Not that I am to be IBM's Watson; but to graciously interact with another that I may earn the privilege of sharing Christ.

I am considering the distinct possibility of dreading my pharmacy visit, today.  Instead, I choose to dwell on the words of God, to allow His magnificence to flood my senses and to again be overwhelmed by His love and forgiveness of me.  

Father, I thank You for Your words regarding my words.  I need this today, this morning.  I pray for the encounter You have appointed for me today.  Grant me Your grace and seasoning that I may demonstrate Your concern for this one particular person and not my conviction that she is my nemesis...which of course, she's not...she is just being very useful to the true enemy.  God I ask You for this individual's soul...that You, in Your glorious might, would snatch her from the prison camp of the real foe.  Use me for Your glory's sake in her life as You know best.  Grace me up, Lord.