Thursday, June 30, 2011

Genesis 24

Then he prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. ... 

Lord, may my walk with You be so tangible and desirable to others that they are inspired to pray to You.

Then the man bowed down and worshiped the LORD, saying, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of my master Abraham ... "Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms, and I bowed down and worshiped the LORD. I praised the LORD, the God of my master Abraham ..." ...When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the LORD.

This servant of Abe is a worshiper. Lord, I pray that he was Your servant, too.

Lord God of Abraham, please teach me the pure response of worship in reply to You.  Let me bow down before You and worship daily, let me praise You at every answer to prayer.  God, help me to introduce You to all who know You as someone else's God.  Make me faithful, keep me focused, let me bring You great glory.

 “I will go,” she said. 

Father, yes, I will go.  Let this always be my answer to Your direction.  And may I go quickly in obedience to Your invitation.

Genesis 23

Genesis 15 ... Then the Lord told him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.”

Genesis 23 ... So Abraham bought the plot of land belonging to Ephron at Machpelah, near Mamre.

I don't know if Abe consulted the Lord about this purchase. I don't know the burial practices of former Ur-dwellers.  I don't know if Abe knew he could initiate conversation with the Lord.  I don't know a whole lot.

I do know that I shouldn't do an endrun around God's promise to me so I can make a situation more tolerable, less sad, more convenient ... even when I want to do that very thing.  I can count on God to fulfill His promise, His vow, His Word to me and to give me the reserve and temerity to wait on His work to be completed.

Father, I long to walk in the audaciousness of obedience. Grant me eyes to see Your pleasure, Your perfect will, Your plan for me and the chutzpah to embrace and revel in that divine desire.  Keep me content, Holy Spirit, in areas where I will be tempted to buy some land to bury some bones so I won't have to look upon them.  Keep me close to You when I am grieving and weeping, lest I try to amend Your covenant with me.  Holy Spirit, protect me when my emotions show themselves to be more influential in my life than they were designed to be.  Be my Filter, my Frame, my Reference Point and my Firm Foundation for all of life and thought, Lord Jesus.  Let me not grow weary of well-doing, to the praise of Your very great Name!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Genesis 22

God tested Abraham.

I will not always recognize a test from You, Heavenly Father.  Lord, that You would find me faithful in all times. 

So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 

Lord, increase my faith and my faithfulness - may I personally take care of the rather difficult details of my tests/life instead of delegating them to others.  Help me God, to rise early in the morning, to properly prepare myself for the journey You provide, let me cut my own wood for the sacrifice You require and go expediently to the place of which You speak.  Strengthen me in spirit and grace for the testings.

On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.

May I not grow weary, Lord, in the journey to the place You describe - physically or spiritually.  May I take the whole craggy path up to the mountain where You will meet me.  'On the third day' reminds me of the three day trip the Israelites were to take from Egypt to go and worship You.  Let me be willing to take the three day journeys to worship You and witness Your provision, Your glory, Your power.

Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 

Father God, I can't imagine what kind of impression this story, this event had on Isaac, his children and Jews throughout history.  To have seen You as Creator, Judge with the flood, Promise Maker, Promise Keeper, Righteous with Sodom & company; but to know You now as the One who demands the life of loved and only son - even though You repented of the requirement - and not know Your much loved and only Son and His sacrifice must be so very complicated for them.  Lord, then to have such persecution for no reason other than their bloodline, that almost seems like the same kind of thing.  Hope must be difficult to grasp.   Would You please help me understand Your chosen people better; increase my passion for their salvation and for the descendents of Ishmael, too.  Let me love them well.

Lord Jesus, Abe was addressed once by God and Isaac before the sacrifice.  He answered immediately.  At the time of the sacrifice, God called out to him twice.  May I follow Abe's and Your divine example in obedience that it would take my name being called twice by the Lord God Almighty to delay my task.  Lord, I thank You that You make Your ways clear. 

God, I want to love You more that even when You give severe mercy to me, I would not look at any other's lot in life and wonder.  Your plan is right, Your commands are perfect, Your mercies are best...and Your timing is impeccable.  May I go with what I know and not slide with the tide.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Genesis 21

And Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me."... But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing.

Sarah laughs, predicts everyone will join her, and takes offense when a teenage boy does.  His laughter was a mocking one; but he was a teenage boy - who was born as a result of the 'Sarah solution.' Where is the grace and joy over her own baby?  How can Sarah permit another person to eclipse the glory from what God has promised and so amazingly delivered to her?  

In Sarah's life, I can see this wrong choice so clearly; but where do I do the same thing?  

Where do I exchange the grace and provision of God Almighty for the maintenance of my ego or to refurbish my insecurity?  

What did Hagar have that Sarah did not trump?  Hagar was still the maidservant; albeit, the mother of one of Abe's sons - but whose fault was that?  Sarah was Abe's wife, the wife of promise, the mother of a miracle, apparently still desirable.  She had position, prestige, power and pretty; she had Abe and Isaac, the child of covenant.

What could the world have, another person offer or the enemy entice me with that could blind me to what God has already given me?  I am His maidservant; but also His daughter, the child of His choosing and desired by the King of Kings.  I am pretty sure that beats any position, prestige, power or pretty that can come my way in the natural.  

Yet, those ethereal things can captivate my imagination, my heart, my mind.  What am I thinking?  Like Sarah, I have a choice.  

Lord, help me to never stray from the cross, from what You've done for me, from who You say I am and from graciously responding to Your mercy.  Lord, I love You, I love Your grace, Your provision.  Let me not believe a lie about being satisfied elsewhere.  Do not allow my ego, my fear, my heart to direct my path, my choices, my relationships.  I need Your help to stay faithful to You; please keep my eyes on You and cause me to choose well, for Your glory's sake.

"O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above."  (Robert Robinson)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Genesis 19 - A "Lot" of Trouble

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.  And they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them." 

How young was young?  

Those sons-in-law who were to marry the daughters of Lot were in this group. 

Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.  Behold, I have two daughters ... and do to them as you please."

Seriously?  Were females so incredibly disposable back then?  Was this some paganized form of eastern hospitality and/or did Lot value his daughters so little that he would offer them as hors d'oeuvres to wickedness?  When would that mindset have taken hold?  Abraham longed for offspring and Lot would throw his out?  If Lot recognized these holy visitors for who they were, would he have thought that this was a holy-pleasing solution? 

But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.

Blindness, frustration, exhaustion, inability to satisfy the desire and a bit of stupidity, too, if they could not find the door when they were at the entrance of the house.  A physical representation of the spiritual situation.

And as they brought them out, one said, "Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away." And Lot said to them, "Oh, no, my lords ...Let me escape there (to Zoar)." 

Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar.

Afraid, after all he had been through.  What could man do after what he had witnessed and survived?  Was he singled out, saved and sheltered only to be put in danger?  Why didn't Lot try Uncle Abe? 

 Lord God, I thank You for your gift of salvation and for the times You save me - especially from myself.  Father, I know I have been a Lot with Your provision and I praise You that You didn't chuck me out the door to wickedness for my repeated offenses.  Please help me to rightly esteem those You have put me in relationship with.  Let me not "know" the world, let me not sacrifice another to the world's appetites, let me value what You value and shun that which displeases You.

Holy Spirit, please stir in me an all-consuming appetite for holiness.  Let my choices be for You, Your fame, Your glory and never for compromise with flesh, the world or the enemy.  Please make plain to me the stupid stuff I am tempted to do and strengthen me to resist, rebuke and rebel against such.
Lord Jesus, please help me to say, "Your will be done," rather than, "Oh, no, my Lord."  Please help me to embrace the path You provide and to obey carefully when given instructions, particularly exit instructions.  May I live in gratitude, in love, in confidence, in right response to You and not in fear and unbelief. Thank You for saving me, time and again.  Please help me to ask You for help, wisdom, provision and whatever else I need when I am faced with a dilemma.  Let me not make my own arrangements and live away from Your supply ... in the hills ... in shame.

Friday, June 24, 2011


For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.

The LORD promises and makes good on His promises.  I have a part in keeping the way of the LORD and doing righteousness and justice so that the LORD may bring what He has promised. 

LORD God, please help me to respond in faith and abidance to You and Your words to me.  Let me not taint the instruments of provision with unbelief, idolatry and self-will.  I desire the fullness of Your plans for my children, my household and me.  Holy Spirit, keep me from trying to add to or manipulate the Father's plan to accomplish His purposes.  He is able and faithful to effect His plans.  Lord Jesus, please help me to be faithful in all manner of obedience, motive and detail; even as You were, that the LORD may bring what He has promised.

And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

LORD God, I thank You and praise You for Your precious Holy Spirit's presence.  Holy Spirit, thank You for putting up with me and my folly.  I thank You that You have filled "my place" with Yourself; but let me never presume that Your ways are mine.  No matter how much You love me and incline Yourself to me, LORD, please let me remember that I am the created, the creature.  You are the Creator and Bringer of Life.  Humility, Father, I cry out for humility and that which is pleasing and glorifying to You.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Genesis 17

This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

The Great I AM made covenant with Abe and his boys.  The covenant response for them was to be circumcised.  
Even in Paul's time the circumcision was a huge deal.  Ever since I understood what this requirement was, I have wondered how did they determine the obedience of another, especially a new member of the community?  Was this really part of the 'welcome to the neighborhood' ritual?

I know this is a rather small issue; but it has been a real question for a while.  (yes, I have asked it out loud and been laughed at pretty consistently)

Today the Lord answered my question as He drew my attention to the words "the sign of the covenant between me and you."  I praise Him for that.  

Sure there was a circ'd formality back then; but then as now, the significance was not the cut; but the relationship of God and man.  It was not about what man did; but that he was willing to do it and carried through on his heart's setting of obedience for him and his family.  It was a private affair between a person and his God.

Today, He gives us the sign of His new covenant as our seal.  Again, that gift is very personal, private and extravagant as it signifies the relationship between God and His child.  There will be physical evidence for those who look and see; but the most important part is the individual, intimate bond of that divine covenant.

Lord, I thank You for putting the pieces of this puzzling situation together for me.  I thank You for putting to rest this old and perhaps silly question with Your revelation.  Thank You for Your New Covenant and Your gift of the Holy Spirit.  Please help me to live fully in obedience and to delight in the relationship You have provided me.  And please, let me give abundant evidence to any who look to see that I bear Your covenant sign.  What grace, what love, what presence You have given me.  

I thank You, also, for showing me that the circ'ing had to happen before the promised Isaac would be conceived. The promise of Isaac was hope that though the cutting would hurt, it would not be fatal or result in futility.  The promise of Isaac was hope that though the cutting would hurt, it would not be fatal or result in futility.  Isaac really was fruit of the covenant and obedience.  Lord, I receive Your ordering of my steps.  Help me to live with that kind of fruit, too.  You are good. 

One other thought that came my way was that when God created man, He created him in such a fashion as to supply the "cut-away-able part" for circumcision.  Man didn't have to cut off a vital part; a finger joint, a toe.  Nor did he have to maim or mutilate himself as is the man-made fashion in many cultures.  God provided what He required.  He is so good.  And what comfort that may have offered to Abe in a few years when he makes the trek with Isaac to go and worship on that mountain.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Genesis 16

And Sarai said to Abram, "Behold now, the LORD has ... Go ... it may be that ...  ."  

As demonstrated in the Garden and now here, a wife has amazing influence over her husband.  Even Sarai's reasoning is potent as she attributes her predicament as what God has done to her, yet it is she who must resolve the problem.  Never mind that Abe is the one hearing directly from the King of the Universe.

The firm direction to go and act is predicated on the very ethereal "perhaps" this will fix the dilemma.

Lord God, all things pass through Your hands and You are sovereign at all times.  Thank You for being beyond time and influence.  Lord, keep me from misusing the attention my husband gives me for godless and unbelieving plans.  Help me to not play the victim when I am not.  Help me to be content and useful as You whisper Your promises to him and to trust You to work out all that You have in store for us in Your perfection; even when Your ways cause me to tremble.  I submit my "git'r done" tendency to You and ask that You glorify Yourself through my life when, how and as it pleases You.  Restrain me and train me to not fix things which are not broken; no matter how incongruous Your promises and my life appear.  Please, please keep me from acting in response to "it may be that ... " when I haven't even heard from You nor prayed about what it may not be.  Father, help me steward Your great Name, Your promises, Your salvation as honorably and faithfully as You created me to.  I can't do it apart from You; and help me to never try.

Genesis 15

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless,... Behold, you have given me no offspring, ..."

Abram has been victorious in battle, encountered royalty and probably Deity, liberated his dear nephew and family; yet, when the Most High God speaks encouragement of God's protection and reward, Abe immediately brings up his childlessness.   In the wake of that triumph, Abe is given comfort from God, treasure and worth from God - and Abe says, "Umm, God, what about that earlier promise of offspring?  Remember that one?"
Abe was still believing God for the earlier promise.  Was he so resolved to have that promise fulfilled that he hindered his receiving the next blessings, the next revelations, the next whatever from God?  Was Abe stuck?  

Am I stuck?  Even mildly resistant to a new thing because I haven't YET received/accomplished the old thing?

Am I allowing a past promise to be the only frame I have to interpret my life?  Shouldn't God be my sole frame and focus?

Am I not fully engaged in today, and therefore, missing out on God today because I am refusing to budge from a word from God yesterday?

God Most High, You have done great and wondrous things for me.  Thank You for Your gracious acts on my behalf.  You are faithful and You keep Your promises.  You do not lie, nor do You change.  I praise You for You.  

Please help me not hog-tie subsequent interactions and growth with You because I am stuck on a prior promise whose time has not yet come to be revealed.  Holy Spirit, please grant me vision to see where I am shackling the grace offered to me because I am camping on the porch of previousness.  I know that continuing in a faithful walk with You means I have to be moving - dynamic spiritual motion.  So, please give me a good, ol' spiritual giddy-up that I may receive all that You have for me today and still be grateful for all that You have promised and done already.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Genesis 14

Abram takes 318 men to soundly defeat a king's triumphant army of armies, takes custody of all the captives and spoils of war, meets up with a new king who is also a priest of God Most High, who blesses and refreshes Abe, and one of the defeated kings in the King's Valley.  Is is me, or this the stuff of legend?

God's blessing of those who bless Abe will be blessed and those who curse will be cursed is really kicking in here.  Abe was promised that he's be a great nation, too.  Yet, Abe will not become that nation at the cost of another's kingdom.  Grace, patience, contentment, peace; a richness in his soul which yields a generosity in his life.  

The life of Abe is more incredible when the new non-confrontational king/priest blesses him and Abe gives the king/priest a tenth of all the swag.  Finally, the loser king requests or demands his people back; but allows Abe to keep the booty, (Abe refuses to possess the plunder).

The interesting points for me are that:

1.  Abe would take on such a quest in his elder years (he was 75 years when God busted him out of his little life in Ur),
2.  such a small number could subdue such a large number and quickly, 
3.  the king/priest would show up before the request of the defeated king, 
4.  the defeated king would have the hutzpah to ask anything of the mighty Abe.  

My new challenges from this passage are:

1.  despite my meager resources and influence, they will be sufficient for the cause of God Most High - so don't sweat the apparent lack of the physical when God Most High invites me on an adventure.
2.  God knows how old or young, experienced or naive, equipped or naked, able or incapable I am.  He is not disturbed by my battle experience or previous failures.  Nor does He want me to do anything but obey faithfully.  My resume' is not important, either way.
3.  When God Most High blesses me with swag, it is profoundly important to tithe on it (return a tenth or better to Him) at my first opportunity.  The enemy, the world, the phone solicitors will have other plans for the resources and will come calling.  I must make sure to remove faithfully the portion dedicated to God lest I become distracted or greedy.
4.  The Lord can give me victory in an area; but it is not mine exclusively.  I am to share the liberty He provides me with those He brings to me.  His battle, His victory, His swag, His call on the dispensation.  
4.5 .  The victories God gives me are not to make me rich and famous at another's expense.  They are His, for His glory and not my own.
5.  Life with God Most High is not for the faint of heart.  

God Most High, King of Peace and Priest Forever, I praise You for the truth You give me.  Let me celebrate You in every facet of the adventure You call me to.  May I be brave enough to withstand and relish all of the questing You have appointed for me.   May I live in godly liberty that others can share richly, abundantly in Your triumph.  Help me to steward well, faithfully and promptly all that You entrust to me and to yield all the glory to You, Your Name and Your Kingdom.  I praise You that my background is not a deal-breaker nor a deal-maker.  You are God alone! 


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Genesis 13

Abram trusts God.  When Abram leaves the choice up to Lot, Abram trusts God.  I imagine that Abe anticipated the sort of choice that Lot would make; but he, in quiet grace, received the deal that Lot struck...despite the promises that God had made to him.  Abe did not manipulate the situation to ensure that he would get what God said.  

In Abe, I see a contentedness with the God-provision, a God-confidence in (business and personal) decisions, and a God-honoring humility which trusts and waits. 

Lord, I want to be content; but I am easily distracted by the shineys of the marketplace and the opportunities of world's offerings .  Help me to rest, fully sated in You and Your grace for me.  I know, I really know that You are more than enough for me; let me live fully and revel in that God-satisfaction.  Holy Spirit, I praise You for Your direction and wisdom for me.  I pray that I would walk, talk and thrive in You so my God-assurance would be evident to all.  Please cultivate in me godly humility.  I want to bring praise to Your Name; but I can become impatient which leads to doubts and making decisions based on my self-will.  We know what a bad idea that is!  Please grow my faith, my trust and my belief that I may walk in increasing humility before You.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Genesis 12

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. ..."  So Abram went, as the LORD had told him;...and they (Abram, his wife, his nephew Lot, their servants and all their belongings) set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. 

The Lord directs and He accomplishes.   The Lord said "go," Abram went and arrived there.

Oh Lord, may I always go when You say "go" and continue until I arrive.  I realize that I cannot get where I am supposed to be unless I leave my comfort and my familiar.  I cannot arrive without the goodbye first.  But Lord, I do want to arrive.  I want to be where You have made me to be.  I want to do it in Your time.  I want to do it to the praise of Your Name.  I want You to be glorified in my goodbye, my going and my arriving.  Only You can accomplish this.  Do it, Lord. 

After the silence of God in Job's many chapters, I am refreshed to see how the Lord speaks repeatedly to Abram.  I am challenged by Abram's seeming immediate obedience and his building altars to the Lord in response to God's words and provision.   

How can I better obey my Lord God, more immediately, more specifically, more faithfully?

How careful am I to commemorate the Lord's inclining Himself to me? 

How well do I remember His words, His promises?  

How tangibly do I honor God in my life?
Lord, please teach me the art of altar building.  Help me improve my obedience to You.  May I never stop calling on Your Name.  Thank You for revealing Yourself to me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Job 42

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
   but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
   and repent in dust and ashes.

Job was a blameless man, one on whom the Lord could place a bet.  After Job endures the loss and "counsel" of his friends; he describes his initial relationship with God as having heard of God.  After the loss and God's answer to him, Job says he now sees God and that causes him to loathe himself and repent.

Job's circumstances had not been restored at this point.  He only had an answer from God - one where God greatly reveals Himself to Job.  Job's situation was the same except the Lord God reached out to Job and showed Himself to Job.   And for Job, that was sufficient to redirect his focus from his life to God.  He repents and despises himself.  

I have the entire Word of God, in many translations, the Holy Spirit keeping me in actual contact with the Holy God, and the assurance of salvation - yet, why do I not respond like Job?  Where is my repenting, my utter abandonment of myself when I consider my God?  How can I do anything but worship Him and lay myself aside when I consider Him?

Lord God, You are mighty and loving and worthy of all praise and worship.  I do repent of my careless approach to Your holy perfection.  Help me, Holy Spirit to never forget or be sidetracked away from Your glory, Your majesty, Your overwhelming presence.  Thank You for Job's story and his example to me.  What extreme grace You give; but no less than You paid.  Keep my eyes on You, my heart devoted to You and my mouth worthy of speaking of You.  Even in these things, I need You to do them.  Keep me constantly in pursuit of Your presence in my life, always hungering for Your Word and carefully obedient to Your plan.  May I bring You glory, for Your sake.

Thank You also for the lesson on the provision and significance of interceding for others.  Your wisdom is always perfect for everyone.  I worship You.

Job 41

Perhaps this thought hit me because I recently read Bryan Davis' series Dragons in Our Midst or I heard Kent Hovind speak on this subject years ago; but it sounds to me like a fire-breathing dragon is being described in this passage.  Just an observation.

He looks all mighty [beasts of prey] in the face [without terror]; he is monarch over all the sons of pride. [And now, Job, who are you who dares not arouse the unmastered crocodile, yet who dares resist Me, the beast's Creator, to My face? Everything under the heavens is Mine; therefore, who can have a claim against God?]

Who would dare to make a claim against the Supreme Creator of the Universe and the One who called the beastly leviathan into existence?  God asks Job about resisting God "to My face."

The continuing challenge for me is that Job has done nothing wrong, he is the one being bragged on by the Supreme Creator.  He has suffered tremendously and endured, in enigmatic Eastern fashion, the accusations and verbal assaults from his so-called friends.  And, God continues to single him out and show Job favor; severe favor, it seems.

God does not trouble Himself to correct the friends; but He is careful to speak to Job, His Job.  God raises Job's focus from the immediate to the eternal, from the plain of pain to the panorama of Majesty, from what is to Who is.  God loves Job perfectly and His compassion is displayed in His revelation of Himself.  God didn't "bless Job's heart" nor did He vindicate Job.  He soberly reminded Job of Who God is. 
This heavenly reminder encourages me in that Job had a great deal of need, he may have been close to falling completely apart; but God doesn't rush in and fix the situation or make Job feel better.  God reveals Himself.  He confirms Job's allegiance with His identity.  The One, to whom Job had dedicated himself, showed Himself to be exactly who Job understood Him to be and more.  
Where do I need to look again at the Majesty of God, to gaze upon the face of perfection and holiness so the surrounding details of this ethereal life may fade into the background?
How can I pursue the up-looking vision towards God and leave the mucking around in my mess behind?
Lord, restrain me, retrain me, re-frame me.  I forget, I get uncomfortable, impatient, distracted.  My focus falters and I dwell on where I dwell.  Let me not depart from Who You are, what You have done, how faithful You have been.  Father, thank You for Your unwavering love and grace which can't be manipulated.  Your Name is enough, Your fame is my goal, Your truth is true.   Let me not swerve from passionate devotion to You and Your Kingdom.  But I need You to give me the passion, the fortitude and the gumption to stay true to Your call.  Help me to be eternally fixated that I may bring You glory.  Help me to point others to Your glory and Who You are, as well.  Give me eyes to see any deception or lies I believe which result in a wrong focus and subsequently flawed response to You.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Job 40

... Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
“Brace yourself like a man;
   I will question you,
   and you shall answer me.
Would you discredit my justice?
   Would you condemn me to justify yourself? ..."

How often have I thrown God under the bus to justify my words, actions, responses?  How would I dare dream of such a response - and be able to carry it out?

Lord God, I am so sorry for behaving in ways which are not honoring to You but which still reflect on You.  I realize that I am the example You give to others of Yourself.  Help me to steward that trust with integrity and faithfulness.  Grant me such a passion for Your Name, Your justice, Your honor that I would launch myself into the path of the proverbial bus rather than disregard You in any way.  Lord, may I have Your discernment to restrain me from even participating in conversations or dialogues which would not ascribe glory and majesty to You.  Keep me from a common tongue; bless me with grace-speak from a graced heart.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Job 39

... for God did not endow her with wisdom
   or give her a share of good sense. ...

God does intend for some of His creatures to not be blessed with wisdom nor apportioned common sense.  People are the only ones to whom He offers wisdom.  God has given me a thinking brain; but He tells me, compels me to seek wisdom.  Scripture teaches wisdom is something I can grow in and attain; but I must participate in it, pursue it and value it.  Then I must choose to walk in it.  That right response to the Most High God.

Lord God, I  bless Your Name, Your Name is Wisdom.  Thank You for Your divine provision of wisdom; thank You for making wisdom available to me.  Thank You for giving me a teachable mind that can learn good sense lessons.  Holy Spirit, please grow me in humility and keep me teachable.  Let me learn what You have prepared for me to learn and not be concerned with what others are learning.  I echo Moses' request that You would teach me Your ways that I may know You better and continue to find favor with You.  Lord Jesus, help me to learn from You that I may obey as graciously and honorably as You.  Keep me yoked up with You, my Jesus. Even if I distract from the lesson or I kick against the goads, please let me kick until I bleed; just don't turn me loose to wander the field of life without You.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Job 38

Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm.

I wonder if Job really registered the storm after surviving such activity, loss and "encouragement." In the wake of all that Job has experienced, the LORD speaks.  The Sovereign King of the Universe, the One in whom all authority and power and majesty and might reside, speaks out of the storm.  The One Job had been waiting for. 

I thank You Father that You are the Sovereign God over all.  I praise You that You still speak and that nothing can eclipse Your words.  

God's words are not the expected compassion poured out on a grieving child; but they are truth.  They probably aren't what Job expected or wanted - I am not sure that any words would have "fixed" what was broken in Job; but God's words were right.  They are right.  
No matter what happens to anyone, it is still God who is in charge.  God who gets the glory.  God who sovereignly, wisely, and perfectly is still God.  It is not about me, my preferences, my fears, my name, my comfort.  

I am reminded to continue yielding to God; because that is the right response - and only by His grace am I able to know that.  That is all I can do, respond honorably to God.  Even if I don't, He is no less God nor less in charge.  My response affects my life and relationship with Him and subsequently everything else.  I can't afford to put the focus on me, no matter how much I want to, how naturally it happens, how much I think I know or have experienced. 

 It is God.  
     Only God.  
           Of God.  
               By God.   
                    For God. 
                         To the praise of God. 

Again, I thank You LORD for including me in Your plans to make Your Name great.  Please continue enabling me and giving me the desire to want to rightly respond to You.  You are trustworthy, always.  I choose You again, today.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Job 37

At this also my heart trembles
   and leaps out of its place.
Keep listening to the thunder of his voice
   and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
Under the whole heaven he lets it go, ...

Job's friend says his heart is trembling at the work of God; but he keeps talking.  He doesn't stop and honor the interruption, the glorious, divine interruption.  He just keeps pouring out and spreading his words around.

Lord God, Your are worthy of all honor and glory and praise.  If You choose to break in on a conversation (and please, You are welcome in any conversation I have, any time or place), I know You are always an interruption I need.  Please, let me yield to You and Your great plan when You divinely pause my role in life.  Oh, that I would be so responsive to You and Your activity that my heart would tremble when I recognize Your work.  Father, thank You for considering me in Your plans.  Your grace is perfect, Your plans are absolutely right, Your ways are wonderful and I praise You.  

Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.  Proverbs 28.14

Job 36

Look, God is greater than we can understand.
     His years cannot be counted.
  He draws up the water vapor
     and then distills it into rain.
  The rain pours down from the clouds,
      and everyone benefits.
  Who can understand the spreading of the clouds
      and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven?
 See how he spreads the lightning around him
      and how it lights up the depths of the sea.
  By these mighty acts he nourishes the people,
      giving them food in abundance.
  He fills his hands with lightning bolts
      and hurls each at its target.
 The thunder announces his presence;
      the storm announces his indignant anger.

Elihu is certainly smart.  No one would rebuke his credentials in knowledge; but his people skills are lacking.  His accuracy in speaking for the Lord is quite off.  He has not consulted the God of the Universe to truly know what He would have said, if anything.  And, yet, he purportedly speaks for God.

Father, please help me not to use any knowledge I may be entrusted with to do the work of love, encouragement, wisdom or a specific word from You.  Please teach me restraint that I may not use words to make much of You or a situation when I do not speak rightly and accurately.  I know You need no defense nor do You need my help.  Help my words truly bring You glory and accomplish Your purposes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Job 35

Then Elihu said: 
"... So Job opens his mouth with empty talk;
   without knowledge he multiplies words.”

The reoccurring theme in Job is ironically stated in Elihu's words.  Elihu, however is the one with empty talk and a multitude of words void of true knowledge of the event.  
How much of my talk is without meaning or substance?

How much of my conversation is excessive?

How concerned am I with blessing the Lord my God when I open my mouth?

How often do I choose to keep my mouth shut?

God, please help me not to multiply my words without knowledge; please let my utterances be meaningful, truthful and not lacking in content or context.  Let me bless You and Your Name when I do open my mouth; let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Job 34

Far be it from God to do wickedness,
And from the Almighty to do wrong.

He is good and what He does is good.  

He is right and what He does is right.

He is perfect and His ways are perfect.

No matter what it looks like, what it feels like, what it sounds like; God is good and does no wrong.
The Almighty
Sovereign of the Universe 
Holy Creator of Time, Space, Place and Life
Omni-Omni'd One
Glorious One
Lord of All
Commander of the Host Armies
Not Capricious
Lover of my Soul 
Lifter of my Face 
and more and more ...

Who is this God who reveals Himself to me, His creation.  Why would He have concern for such an insignificant creature, why would He suffer and die to buy me back?  I can't imagine the wisdom and power of His love and determination.  I am in awe.  No one else, Lord would do what You have done.  No one else would care to pay such a high price to fix such a broken people.  Only You could, only You would, only You have.  I praise You for Your grace on me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Job 33

I speak with all sincerity;
      I speak the truth.
For the Spirit of God has made me,
      and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

These words by Elihu are noble; but perhaps the sentences should be reversed for best application.  

I know the Spirit of God has made me and His breath grants me life...therefore, I speak sincerely (and gratefully) His truth.  Remember from whence I came and Whose I am before I speak in order that truth may issue forth to the glory of God, my Father, Christ my Redeemer and the Holy Spirit my Breath.

Thank You Spirit of God for my life and my breath.  Only You can animate me, fill me with right words and control my mouth that I would declare truth sincerely and gratefully and lovingly.  May I bring You praise ( and not me! ) with my tongue, may I give You glory with my mouth and may I love You better in my heart, mind  and life (including my speech) as You teach me more of You.  Make me a vessel yielded to You. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Job 32

Elihu begins humbly, having waited until the elders have spoken.  But indignation and anger fuel his words and the rest of this chapter is only about him, his opinions and how he is going to speak. 

Poor Job.  I wonder what he is thinking about now.

Lord, You give words to comfort, give direction and make wise.  When You trust me with Your words, please help me be faithful in sharing them.  Let me focus on You and Your glory, Your purpose, Your grace and then on the one who will hear Your words.  Keep me out of this equation when I am responsible for passing on Your truth; yet, let me be transparent with my life when it is useful to Your plan.  Your truth not my opinion, Your words not my frustration, Your grace not my anger. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Job 31

For I dreaded destruction from God,
   and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things. (what Job did do)

... if I have concealed my sin as people do,
   by hiding my guilt in my heart
   because I so feared the crowd
   and so dreaded the contempt of the clans
   that I kept silent and would not go outside—  (what Job did not do)

Job awe, fear and respect was of the majesty of God and His power.  Job did not have his heart set on earning the respect or high response of people.   His fear was not of the "crowd or clans;" but of God.  Job could be confident of his steps and choices as they flowed from his response to God and not man.

Father, please keep me so engaged with Your great majesty and presence that nothing man does impacts me before being rightly framed by You, Your Word, Your Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit, please help me seek first the Kingdom of God and that divine righteousness.  I confess that I am all too often wanting to please man.  I am addicted to the verdicts of mere mortals at the cost of putting God on hold.  I renounce that proclivity.  I want God's opinion to be mine, I want His majesty to rule my life, I want to live that Kingdom-minded, Kingdom-styled life He has called me to (the one He paid so dearly for).  I can't do this, nor will I even want this reliably without Your power in my heart, my mind and my mouth.  Teach me Your ways and let me walk in Your light.  Jesus, please keep me yoked up with You; even when I buck like a bronco trying to escape Your authority and lead.  I want You, I want You - even when I choose to be lazy or rebellious rather than to choose You, I.want.You.  I need You, too.  I desire to be a work with Your Name on it rather than mine, the world's or the enemy's.  To the praise of Your Name and no other, the greatness of Your Kingdom and the Majesty of God.  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Job 30

And now those young men mock me in song;
   I have become a byword among them.
They detest me and keep their distance;
   they do not hesitate to spit in my face.
Now that God has unstrung my bow and afflicted me,
   they throw off restraint in my presence. 

Be careful what and how I celebrate.  

Am I using anyone's name as a synonym for an unclean thing or unflattering way?

From whom am I keeping my distance?  

How do I treat those that detest me?  What would I do if someone spat in my face?

What is my response to those who throw off restraint in front of me?

How do I treat those for whom God has unstrung their bows, undone their plans, unfixed their anchors?  

What sympathy, care or prayer do I intentionally give for those who are afflicted?

Lord God, Your ways are not my ways.  I cannot imagine, think or ask big enough to anticipate Your plans; but often, I don't know what's going on.  I don't know what to say.  Thank You for these words which challenge me to celebrate right things and to commemorate them in an honoring fashion.  Keep me speaking truth and ensure that when I speak, it is not carelessly or disparagingly.  Give me a heart for those that You desire I engage with, despite my natural desire to avoid them.  Let me give grace in rejection; confident that I have Your acceptance.  Help me to quickly land on blessing others in the face of spitting - my face, that is.   Grant me wisdom and Your words for those who pursue wantonness in my presence or within my influence.  Let me be light and love for those who are stupefied and stuck in an endless loop from a sudden program deletion, back to square one due to unexpected and extensive changes to their life's blueprint or sifting through ashes in place of aspirations and ambitions.  Let me encourage and love in response to affliction and pain, help me to learn from Job's need that I may be useful to others.  His words break my heart, Lord.  What do You want to do with that?  Glorify Yourself in this, expand Your Kingdom for Your Name's sake.  Would You please give Job a hug from me?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Job 29

Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone upon my head, and (when) by his light I walked through darkness, as I was in my prime, when the friendship of God was upon my tent, when the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were all around me, when my steps were washed with butter, and (when) the rock poured out for me streams of oil!...When...when...when...when.

I need to be careful not too dwell on the glory of the days "when ... ."  I can't look so long or longingly at what used to be that I am not engaged in what is.  My faithful Father God never leaves me nor forsakes me; therefore, He is right now and so I must be.   

Lord, I thank You for Your ever-living, ever-loving, ever-lasting presence with me; even when I don't feel You here, I know You are.  I praise You for Your relentless presence in my life, help me to remember the wisdom from the sacred steps You have given me.  Yet, I need You to keep me from living in the "looking back at the good ol' days" and missing what is right before me with You. 

Please increase my capacity to comprehend Your provision for me, my sensitivity to Your light for my path and my steadiness in walking out that which You have invited me to experience.  Remind me that my prime is with You and not in days past nor days ahead - only in Your presence.  I am so grateful that You have made a relationship with You possible for me and that You have brought me to You.  I don't know that I will ever be counted as Your friend; but I pray that I should be found faithful as Your servant and honoring as Your daughter.  

God, I know that when my steps are not smoothly set before me and provision seems to have dried up, I am tempted to think back on the times when life seemed easier and want to hang out there;  but You are still God, my God.  You are still faithful, You are still righteous, You are still good.  

Grant me passion for the now with You rather than the emptiness of the past (no matter how good it was!) and the unfulfilled plans of the future.  Where You are, there I wish to be.  And I want to be fully engaged with You now, not put it off nor think how it used to be. You Lord, not a memory; now, not when.  May I bring You glory now.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Job 28

But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man does not know its value,
Nor is it found in the land of the living....

God understands its way,
And He knows its place.  ...
He saw it and declared it;
He established it and also searched it out.
And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding

Neither man, woman nor child comprehend wisdom's ordering, arranging and worth.

Wisdom and understanding are not from the places where life, appetites and concern for promoting one's life are. 

Only God has the way of understanding.  

God saw:  regarded, gave attention to, inspected ...
He declared: recounted related,  took accurate account of, measured ...
He established:  determined, prepared, furnished ...
and searched:  examined, investigated, sounded, tasted, explored.

God graciously speaks to man telling us to "Behold" that which He has already thoroughly set up and put in place.  He has done all of the establishing and then He invites us to behold the thing which, without His instruction, escapes us completely:  

    Fear, recognize God's awesomeness and complete power, honor, reverence, be
                 focused on and enthralled by the Lord = wisdom
    Exit from or die to evil = understanding

Lord, You are such a loving Father and Lord, thank You for providing the way of wisdom and understanding to me.  I am not wise apart from Your gift, I do not understand or piece things together if You do not show me the instructions.  Thank You for Your presence and for Your specific command to fear You and depart from evil.  Increase my capacity to revere, focus and fear You.  Let me tremble when I read Your Word.  Impact me in the way which glorifies Your Name - in the small and the large, the physical and the spiritual, the emotion and the intellectual.  

Lord God, I pray that I would die to evil, wickedness and any unclean thing.  Lord, dry up my appetite for that which does not bring You glory.  Let me embrace a fast from evil, coarse talking, gossip, vanity, selfish ambition, unholy imaginings, wasteful things, stupid stuff and whatever else You know I need to lay down.  I need You.  I can't do this apart from You, as I feel I am a little ball in a big pinball game with unholy bumpers and filthy paddles.  Everywhere I roll, sin abounds.  I don't desire to walk in its way; but I keep running into it.  Help me to receive Your empowerment and encouragement to follow You in that fashion You created me to...especially in this dark and dirty world. To the glory of your great Name, may I help others along the way.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Job 27

Here is the fate God allots to the wicked,
   the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty:  
However many his children, their fate is the sword;
   his offspring will never have enough to eat.
The plague will bury those who survive him,
   and their widows will not weep for them.
Though he heaps up silver like dust
   and clothes like piles of clay,
what he lays up the righteous will wear,
   and the innocent will divide his silver.
The house he builds is like a moth’s cocoon,
   like a hut made by a watchman.
He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more;
   when he opens his eyes, all is gone.
Terrors overtake him like a flood;
   a tempest snatches him away in the night.
The east wind carries him off, and he is gone;
   it sweeps him out of his place.
It hurls itself against him without mercy
   as he flees headlong from its power.
It claps its hands in derision
   and hisses him out of his place.

Osama Bin Laden came to mind as I read these lines.  He does not prosper eternally and his legacy is dismal for his children.  

I think of Casey Anthony.  Her heir is gone from this world.

Then I think of me.  

My wickedness is no different than the charges laid to their names.  No, I haven't done what they have done; but they haven't done what I have done.  It's not a contest.  My actions are not roguishness; they are atrocities, depravities, vile heinousness against the only pure and perfect God.    Rebellion against the authority of the Sovereign King of the Universe.  

Father God, thank You for Your gift of salvation and for tendering my heart and mind that I could know You and receive Your grace.  Christ Jesus, I thank You that You paid for every bit of evil in my life - even knowing ahead of time all that I would commit.  I cannot ever repay or adequately respond to You for this sacrifice; I am grateful that You accepted me as Your Own.   May I be a faithful and loyal servant to the Most High God.  

I cry out to you for the families of Mr. Laden and Ms. Anthony.  I pray that they would each know You as their God, Christ as their Savior and the Holy Spirit as Your indwelling presence.  God, if You don't do this, it won't happen for them.  I plead mercy for these families.  I pray that they would rise up and be radical and public demonstrations of Your grace, love and justice.  And in their lives, You would be more famous than anything O.B. Laden or C. Anthony has ever done or dreamed of doing.  Praise You.

Proverbs 24.17a  Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles or is overthrown...

For there, but for the grace of God, go I...