Saturday, March 31, 2012

1 Samuel 22

... But the servants of the king would not lift their hands to strike the priests of the Lord.  And the king said to Doeg, “You turn and kill the priests!” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck the priests, and killed on that day eighty-five men who wore a linen ephod.

Holy Spirit, please help me to be wise and strong in my obedience; may I resist evil commands and embrace Your goodness.  May I know the difference and behave honorably, as I bear Your Name.  I want my life to bring You praise and glory. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

1 Samuel 21

crazy like a fox. innocent/harmless/guileless/simple as doves; but crafty/wise/shrewd/cunning/sagacious like serpents ….

Interesting to me that David walks into Philistine territory with The Sword of Goliath. It was certainly identifiable as a Philistine weapon; if not even traceable to a prior Philistine owner. David has some moxie; he runs from Saul – probably more to save Saul’s life than from fear (in my opinion) – straight into the enemy’s camp. The enemy he is known for routing and annihilating. The king-in-the-wings is confident of his King of the Universe, the Sovereign God. 

Lord, I desire to be that bold and sure of Your hand on my life. I want to have great exploits in Your Name; but I also don’t like to even get sweaty … conundrum. I am, by nature, a wimp and a pursuer of peace; but I desire to be valiant and courageous for You. I don’t even have the scope of imagination to dream of what You might like for me to do – but I want to. Even when I whimper, I do want what You want. I don’t want to get to the end of this little life and know I played it safe. I don’t think that’s what You call any of us to do – But I want to play it honorably, nobly, worthily – I want this time to count for Your Kingdom, not my comfort. I just keep waking up in ordinary circumstance. Open my eyes to the Kingdom calls in the dailyness of my life. Rebuke the mundane, the mediocre, the middling from my life-tunes playlist and install Your recherche’ roster for the call of duty You have privileged me to fulfill. You are worthy. I want to live that way.

First World Babylon Problem 3.30.12

Being stuck at a left turn light for several iterations because the guy in front of me is not on the trigger plate.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

First World Babylon Problem 3.29.12

Spring Break challenge for kids:  who can eat two ginormous snow cones and not vomit. 

The dichotomy: A friend kneeling in Africa, hugging a crying orphan.  Ginormous tears, ginormous love. 

1 Samuel 20

…there is but a step between me and death…

Oh God this us true of each of us. You guard that step, thank You. I pray that i would live ever mindful of that short step, seeking to be about Your kingdom’s business and not my own. Draw me close, my King that I would be increasingly absorbed with You and Your purposes. May i be as determined to see You reign as Jonathan was for David. I thank You for good and faithful friends, as they are gifts from You – You tender hearts and make them so compatible and loving. May I steward well the relationships You grant me. Thank You my ever-trustworthy Father.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First World Babylon Problem 3.27.12

Pandora won't load on my smart phone anymore.  ={

1 Samuel 18

So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. … Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul. … And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him. 

Oh Lord, that Your Church would behave wisely and very wisely. Grant us wisdom and let us use it. Lord, fear comes without You; You left Saul and he was afraid of David. LORD, let me realize that when I fear, I am not keeping You in my thoughts nor my heart. Holy Spirit, remind me that fear of man is unwise, the beginning of wisdom is fearing You. Make it so, teach me Your ways, let me go out and come in before You, for You.

First World Babylon Problem 3.27.12

Burger King made me wait for 12 minutes for my "drive-thru" order.  Even then I had to go in and get it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

First World Babylon Problem 3.26.12

Another FWB problem: I am on empty (but that doesn't mean completely empty) in both the car and the truck.

1 Samuel 17

David said that he had done these things; but it was the LORD Who had delivered him in those instances. David engaged in the physical doing what he was supposed to do … God of the Universe did the actual delivering.

Lord God, Commander of the Host Armies, my King, I praise You and thank You for Your very great and faithful deliverance of me. Holy Spirit, keep me devoted to the Kingdom that I may stand firm and fulfill my responsibilities in this arena – always mindful and confident of the deliverance which comes not from my hand, but from on High.

Also, precious Lord, Davey’s brother identified pride and insolence in him … that is always a battle for Your people. Please teach me to engage that giant as intently and defiantly (as I am Yours, not mine….self-pride has no part in Your handmaiden – let me rebel against it, in Your Name) as Dave did the one from Gath. I want to walk humbly with my God, not have a prideful and/or insolent anything. Slay that part of me and deliver me…help me to do my part on the battlefield.

May my efforts bring You much glory and make You crazy-famous in my little life. In the Name and for the Name of the LORD of Hosts. At the end of this battle, no one but the brothers knew David’s name; but everyone knew the Name of his God. Crazy-famous, Lord…You alone are worthy.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

1 Samuel 16

For I have provided Myself a king …
Yes, LORD, You are the Provider, Jehoveh Jireh. You have not need nor lack, You provide even for Yourself. Grant me restraint that I would wait on You and Your perfect supply.

So Saul said to his servants, “Provide me now …”
LORD, please let me rest in Your schedule and succor. Let me not seek assistance from man unless You so direct me. But first, let me run to You when my spirit is dodgy or troubled. I want to praise You, not man.

First World Babylon Problem 3.25.12

First World Babylon problem: I have a red, rash-like reaction to the paba-free, oil-free, non-greasy feel, dermatologist tested, dermatologist recommended, non-comedogenic, hypo-allergenic, fragrance-free,  spf 70, penetrating/protecting several layers deep, 100% UV protection sun shield. 
In other words, I think I'm allergic to my sunscreen. No worries, I'll take a pill for it and be fine in 4-6 hours, else I will re-dose. Problems aren't really problems in FWB, are they?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

First World Babylon Problem 3.24.12

So, the Starbucks FWB situation I promised and may I say, I really like their tea and their facilities, before I begin.

And, it wasn't so much a problem as a hostage situation.........

The other night, I ordered and large (venti, I think...i don't speak SB so good) hot tea with a large (whatever) cup of ice and I paid for it (that part is important). Several people behind me stepped up, ordered their fancy, fru-fru some-kinda-latte-ociatta "beverages" and snacks. Four separate groups received their mysterious thick, green drinks and steaming cups of dark brews from the acrid underworld (not a fan of coffee, anyone's coffee); but I could not get my cup of hot water poured over two teabags and a cup of ice despite my polite requests - repeated polite requests and my standing stupidly at the counter expecting to grab my simple lil cuppa. 

I sat down, I got up, I sat down, I asked "please, could I?" I was told that they were taking care of it and it was almost done and just a couple more minutes and I'd be called when it's done. I assured them I was happy to babysit my tea; but they declined. I promised them that I was really okay with taking it and working out the details myself; but they said, "No. It's complicated." Several things ran quickly through my head - not one of them made it to my mouth...thank You Holy Spirit. 

I tried my best to look puzzled and not annoyed, saying that it would be NOT-complicated for me and that I would STILL be pleased to see the thing out (and could I please have my tip back!). The trio behind the counter offered that it was close to being done, then they could shake it over ice (or something like that - it was like a foreign language they were speaking...) Then, one of those darling lil barristas in black and green spoke in a confidential (and a bit condescending) stage whisper, "We don't want you to pour it out on the floor and we would have to clean it up." I again offered words to the effect that I would take care of the whole thing - clean up and all. Then, the "gracious" one steps in and states, "Well, we don't want you to spill the hot water on yourself and get burned....." I pledged that I would not, under any circumstances spill, burn or report such activity to anyone, even if such things would happen (like I would waste tea! humph!). 

I quietly asked God to help me and He did. For some inexplicable reason, they did hand over both cups, without gunfire, collateral damage or any further begging from me. The thing is, I have ordered my tea like this from this very place ever since they opened...It wasn't a new dance I was trying to teach them. So, when you hear me say I want my tea, straight up, on the rocks, not shaken, not stirred, and nobody gets hurt; please know: 1. fan of 007 2. I must be in Starbucks 3. I really do know people are more important than tea - it's just a lot easier to remember when the cup is in my hand. =+} thanks for hanging in there for the rest of the story.

1 Samuel 15

The Lord desired to punish the Amalekites for what they had done to Israel. God, You  look after Your people. You take their abuse, neglect, mistreatment seriously; even though You allow it. Your timing is purposeful and I trust You in it.

But Saul and the people spared … all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed. Holy Spirit, please help me to be strong through total obedience, keep me from the sin of partial obedience. Save me from the lie that doing less than or more than what You ask me to do – even with a grand reason/justification is okay. Obedience is specific. I praise You that I don’t have to be perfect; but I must be pure in motive and careful in action. Let me not think that I can save what God condemns (and conversely, I can condemn what God has saved).

And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night. … Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul…. LORD, grant me that sensitivity to You, (I want this, but I know that I also fear this – I choose to pursue You).
Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel … Father, I pray that I would be more disturbed by my sin than my reputation. Please, Jesus, keep me following Your example…ever-seeking the glory of the Father and not my own. Holy Spirit, grant me no rest when sin is given welcome in my heart, mind, life, strength, soul. CONVICT ME and CONVICT ME further still. I desire that repentant life that I may be a clean vessel for Your gloriousness.

And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king … ” God, You created Saul. You anointed him king over Your precious people, you made him handsome and tall and very appealing. He had everything the world says is important, yet he believed he was little in his own eyes. He had Your favor; but he refused Your opinion of him, choosing to believe that he was insignificant in some way. His choices were wrong, he sacrificed wrongly, he obeyed wrongly, he pledged wrongly. None of this would limit You; but he did not pursue You and that is a problem. God, he worshiped his insecurity more than he did You. Holy Spirit, immunize me from the drunken boundarylessness of insecurity. May I always believe You over me, the world, the enemy, any media message or even my mirror. Your words are life to me. May I fulfill the anointing You have given me, to the praise of Your great and increasingly famous and glorious Name.

Friday, March 23, 2012

First World Babylon Problem 3.23.12

First World Babylon update: Laundry has been rolling all day long. The FWB problem is there is so much laundry to do. We have so much in this world. Help me make good choices, God.

1 Samuel 14

being only mindful of me….There he built an altar … it was the first altar he built to the LORD.

No altar for the kinging, no stone of remembrance for any previous battles, no standing rocks to commemorate his God and HIS promises … Father God, this makes me sad. Help me to see where I am mindlessly going about life and am only mindful of me. Only by Your mercy, grace and omni-omni-ness does anything happen and the good comes from You. Make me a commemorator, let my life be a monument of Your grace and may I grow in grace and gratitude all the days of my life.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

1 Samuel 13

Can I just say that I had no idea that Saul, when he was kinged, was old enough to have a son who could wield a sword and spear and command 1000 soldiers …This same man was hiding in the baggage. Wow. and Gideon gets the rap for being frightened.

Saul said, “… and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.”

God, You are the priority, You are the only One with the answer to any question I will ever have. You are the only One who dispenses favor and grace. May I never forget to seek Your favor and mercy. May I walk in obedience, in Your power, by Your Spirit. Holy Spirit, please captivate me and keep me tender to Your attention that I may never have to force myself to sacrifice to You. Please help me to do the hard things; but please let my heart always be set on preferring You, sacrifice to You – that daily, living, sitting still before You that I may die to myself in order that You may live through me. I thank You, Jesus that You are both King and Priest for me. I am grateful for Your trust to follow You in Your majesty and faithful service. Thank You for paying the whole cost for me – and allowing me the privilege of being Yours on that altar of life’s sacrifice.

First World Babylon Problem 3.22.12

First World Babylon problem ... we fixed what we didn't know was broken so we can fix what we did know was broken. It's complicated, folks (that's a quote from a barrista at our local Starbucks... another first world Babylon situation for sure. I'll tell you that story tomorrow.) Meanwhile, prophetic utterance: gather dirty clothes and make yourselves clean, set yourselves apart, for tomorrow, we do laundry. Praise the LORD!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First World Babylon Problem 3.21.12

So, First World Babylon problem update: The washer was (finally) picked up for repair (which will be over $600 - but Lg has said they are taking care of that minor detail, PRAISE GOD), now one of the hoses is ruined (no one's fault) and the other faucet is broken (sigh). So we now look for a plumber and hope that it happens before the washer is repaired... It is not easy to have or not have a washer ... but I choose contentment on this day (as we are well into the third month of this grueling dance of ... i don't even have words for this). God is good, laundry is dirty; but it's okay. We are well. And this so isn't a big deal is the grand scheme of things.

1 Samuel 12

And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. That’s truth, thank You Lord. May I never forget. May I never go after. May I always see the emptiness of the world and the fulness of my God.

For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake (cuz no one had anything to do with it. He alone chooses and He chooses rightly), because it has pleased (it is His pleasure not mine that should concern and motivate me) the Lord to make you His people (no one makes God do anything). Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you (my duties do not fade because of the gray on my head); but I will teach you the good and the right way.

There, God, even when it was seemed too late, Sam is still calling them to accountability. Wonder why they didn’t repent of this action before or even now. I am just sick with his words to them. Why didn’t they beg him to unking Saul. Perhaps, they thought they got their king and kept their God happy, too, with their promises… Oh, compromise. Haven’t they noticed they are not good promise-keepers? Lord, grant me vision to see when I am trying to work a situation that I might have my king and my KING, too. I know there are no dual-reigns when it comes to You. May I constantly choose You to be the only King in my life, no kings-in-waiting, no little princes in the background…Only You. Holy Spirit, make me ill before I reasonable embrace a compromise with You. Make me very ill if I am trying to unreasonably cheat…Let no reason, no logic, thought of self-preservation, no wordly-wise wisdom nor untamed passion, have any ground to set itself up against the knowledge of You, Your great Name or Your word. God, I don’t want to be gullible anymore.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

1 Samuel 11

... for today the Lord has accomplished salvation in Israel.

Elohim, I pray that today, You would accomplish salvation in Israel and beyond.  I pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.  I pray that the descendants of Abraham would know You as the One True God and worship You in unity.  My Messiah, I pray for those who come from Abe, Issy and Jake, that they and their families would embrace You as their Messiah.  Holy Spirit, it is well-said that this will not be by power, nor by might; but by You.  Make it so, Lord God, make it so. 

... and renew the kingdom. 

Oh God, what beautiful words.  That we would be faithful in Your purpose to renew the Kingdom, everyday.  To You alone belong honor and glory and majesty and praise.  May we ascribe all to You that we can.  and then some.

Monday, March 19, 2012

First World Babylon Problem 3.19.12

First World Babylon problem: There's not another Thai restaurant around for miles that is open on Monday.

1 Samuel 10

If I lived close to a prophet, then I am certain I would be plunking down payments often to see what the LORD said about where my (don)keys went and what to do about those teenaged people living in my house ; but I wonder if it would ever be just to see what He wanted to say to me. Sort of a lunch date with God. Would I treat this as such a common thing – that near access to the divine – that I would neglect the opportunity for the greater things? The short walk would seem unappealing as the question was so very significant, difficult, devastating; so beyond the regular ways of finding the answers.

If I lived far from a prophet, I can imagine that I would not inquire much as the travel would be hard, the need may pass before I could get to the answer and back, the perceived effort required would exceed the perceived value of the the answer. (ouch) A faithful pursuit of God’s words would require a lifestyle which planned for that trip. Would I plan accordingly? Would I insist on making room in the schedule and rhythm of life and community to regularly seek His answers from a distant locale?

What would these choices reveal about what I believed about God?

Thank You precious Lord that You have given me this time and place, Your divine presence in this very accessible jar and Your words at my fingertips. I confess that sometimes, I still behave as if You are a distant commodity rather than living with me. Other times, I ask You all of the little and inconsequential things; but I take on the “weightier” matters myself…or with my family and friends. God help me to live in full response to Your full availability to me. To neither think of You as a cheap method of finding my (don)keys nor too far to consult. I know You are the Sovereign LORD of the Universe, the King of the World, Time and Beyond, the Ancient of Days; but I also know that You are my God, my Messiah, my Counselor and Advocate. Help me to pursue You with all I am, knowing that You are here and with me. I praise You.

… God gave him (Saul) another heart …. valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched.

Thank You for giving me another heart and for not merely touching mine. I pray that You would continue to touch my heart all the days of my life, that I may follow valiantly after You, my King.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

1 Samuel 9

Thorough searching for donkeys. Dedication to the task.

“Come, let us return, lest my father cease caring about the donkeys and become worried about us.” Concern for his father and what is important to him.

“Well said; come, let us go.” Received wise counsel, humbly and graciously.

“Please tell me, where is the seer’s house?” Well-mannered.

Lord, I thank You that You do not look only at the handsome and tall people; but that You preferably esteem the inward qualities and consider the fruit of the person as beautiful. Saul was a package the people would be attracted to; but he was more than the trapping of the wrapping.

Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us.” And he went on. “But you stand here awhile, that I may announce to you the word of God.”

Thank You Lord that Your words are personal and private for each of us. You do not deal in generic-icities. And thank You for a Pastor who teaches Your truths and how to hear You. You have blessed me greatly in this day. I praise You.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

1 Samuel 8

… for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me.
Give me eyes to see when I seek that which You have not given me as a move to choose apart from Your perfection, Your infinite wisdom, Your supreme sovereignty. Even when I whine and wiggle on the altar of living sacrifice, I do (overarchingly) want what You want for me.

… you shall solemnly forewarn them …
Not sarcastically, not haughtily, not quietly, not threateningly, not manipulatively… but solemnly.
Forewarn. Not wait until it’s too late; make sure they know and choose with knowledge the path they take. Forewarning comes from a heart of love, not pride, malice nor insecurity.

God, may I hear Your words and speak them in love, with the solemnity and precision they deserve. May I always remember that You clothe us in strength and dignity and exercise that authority in my lateral relationships. I pray that no one You entrust to me will ultimately resist or reject You. To You alone be praise and glory.

“… “No, but …”
God help us. Please keep me, stop my mouth, hinder my senses if these words attempt to be my response to You. Move me, break me, shake me, Lord; but don’t let me react in this spirit.

Friday, March 16, 2012

1 Samuel 7

“If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the (lesser) gods … from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the (enemy).”

First, return all your heart to the Lord -from wherever, whomever and whatever I have enamored myself with. Repent. I confess. All of it.

Put away anything which you allowed to be your god – GET.RID.OF. anything which commands me or demands me or deceives me, anything I choose to let move, influence or romance me in a way only God should.

Prepare your heart for the Lord – Take the time to be before the Lord. Not a drive-thru experience. Nor is this a purely passive endeavor, I must choose to participate in and pursue the purity and holiness my precious God has provided me. Teach me pursuit of the holy, my Rabbi.

Serve Him only – Is my first goal God? Is it the overwhelming passion and point of every moment that I, with the wholeness of my being and self, bring Him glory through my obedience in every reflection, remark, reaction, relationship, result and redo of my life and strength? Make it so.

The Lord’s deliverance will come. I praise You and expect You, my Lord and my God, my very great Messiah. You have come and You will come again. And You continue to deliver in all the meantimes in between.

God, I am so grateful for the choices You have allowed me to partake of – that You have given me relationship with You. Holy Spirit, please help me to respond rightly all the days of my life. Help me to really believe and live out of the truth that this life is gossamer dreams relative to the sacrosanct spiritual realm. Grant me vision for the eternal and a heart to engage therein.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

1 Samuel 6

Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He did mighty things among them, did they not let the people go, that they might depart?

The pagan enemy gets it. Why don’t we? Why won’t we remember? Please soften our hearts and our necks that we would believe and yield, oh my God. You desire obedience, not sacrifice. 

… the ark of the God of Israel … You are their God, they are Your people. You are so strongly identified with them that their enemies, while acknowledging Your power and might, wanted nothing of You when they realized that You and Israel are a package deal. Lord God, I pray that my life would be as closely associated and bound to Your Name. That all would know that we are a package deal – only by Your extreme grace and provision to me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

1 Samuel 5

The Philistines took the ark of God from Ebenezer (a.k.a. God is my help) to cohabit with their god. I can’t imagine that even dagon (the dumb piece of craftsmanship) would have thought this was a good idea.

Lord God, please keep me close to the place of Your divine help….let me not leave Your provision of succor and remedy. Holy Spirit, keep me from trying to separate You from Your blessing, power and holiness. You are my Help and my Comfort. I pray that Your Presence would be as obvious on me as it was on the Philistines … and I thank You that You have made me a rightful bearer of Your Name. May I bring You glory in the gift You have graciously bestowed on me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

1 Samuel 4

Lord God, help me to regard Your glory as well as these did. Your very presence indwells me, I am Your glory-bearer …. may I be as aware and concerned for Your Name and Your gloriousness as You have created me to be. I am Your glory-bearer, may i be faithful.

Monday, March 12, 2012

1 Samuel 3

there was no widespread revelation…….

Holy Spirit, I don’t know how they prayed back in Eli’s and Samuel’s time; but I pray that these words would not characterize the time which You have given me. I pray for Your gracious words to be received afresh by Your people, I pray that Your Name and Your truth would be made known in widespread revelation, I pray for repentance to distinguish Your people, I pray for revival in Your church and salvation beyond, I pray that You, God of All, would establish the work of our hands, the words of our mouths and the wonders that will be done in and through us as confirmation of Your presence and plan. I pray that we would comprehend and live out the sufficiency of Your precious Word. I pray, Lord, that You would speak and that we would be hearing and receiving. Here I am, Lord.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

1 Samuel 2

Samuel grew before the LORD, in stature and in favor with the LORD and men, while Eli’s sons were corrupt and God desired to kill them.

Wow, LORD God, Eli’s track record was not good. His sons’ reputations must have been something Hannah knew about – and yet her son remained in the care of the Father of these reprobates. I wonder if they were part of what informed her praise/prayer from earlier in the story. Nonetheless, God, I praise You for Your excellent care of Samuel, Your protection, provision and perfect perception of him. Only by Your grace and power did he grow up in You and not become like Eli’s boys. I am blessed and encouraged that You can grow my kids up and other children, too, despite the flawed parents and influences they have. Thank You. You are not thwarted by the muckery of the miserable mortals who fail to love You with their whole hearts. Again, You are my hope. I praise Your precious Name. Please help me to cooperate with You and I pray that my children and theirs – and continuing until the end of time – would always heed the voice of You, Heavenly Father and God…the first time. God, I seek that all of those in my family, either by blood or by affection, would delight themselves in You and Your sufficient Word.

Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord….”

God, this is important. Eli knew the standard; You made sure there was no doubt about the consequences. You are so very consistent and detailed. Thank You that You change not. Holy Spirit, please soften my heart that I would be more praise-oriented and grateful to fulness of Your circumference of holiness. No one is holy like the Lord, my God and my Establisher.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

1 Samuel 1

I never noticed before that Eli didn’t know the nature of Hannah’s request. Only God and Hannah shared that information. I am even more impressed by her faith and faithfulness on her return trip to Shiloh as it seems like a trip to Mt. Moriah for a momma.

But God had plans for this boy and those plans required his full service to the Lord. By allowing Hannah to wait, she was inspired to pledge him to God and the young man was born at the time God had predetermined. This little guy would become quite influential in his life, by God’s plan.

Hannah probably thought this was her situation. Her need. Her answer to prayer. And it was. But it was also the Sovereign King of the Universe’s supply for the next generation and each subsequent generation who would call on the Lord or encounter His people. Lord, teach me to pray for the concerns of my life as well as the coming generations as You invite me to seek Your provision for my life. Increase my scope of vision, Holy Spirit.

Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “… And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” 

My Lord and my God, help me to not focus on what I don’t have, what circumstances I do have, what I wish were different; help me to remember You are better than any situation I could conceive. Please grant me contentment with You, and You alone. And I thank You for all of the grace You give me everyday.

Only let the Lord establish His word. Yes, Lord, in my heart, my life, my mind. Establish and confirm Your glorious Word in and through me, may I be faithful to bear Your Name well.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ruth 4

Going from Mara (bitter) to Nana (=}), what a blessing!  Rahab the prostitute to Grammy.  Who would have thought.  Ruth was a widow, and Boaz is mysterious but godly.  What a family gathering little Obed would have. 

What hits me is that this story ends with David, future king; but Naomi didn't know how significant this line would be in history, how the Lord would use these events - especially the tragic ones as they put her in position for God's rerouting her plans.  Ruth had no idea her choosing the God of Israel would lead to such ripples in the history of the world.  And Boaz, .... 

Lord God, You challenge me to be faithful and full of faith in the dailyness of the yes's and no's of my little life.  God, I often only think of the moment and fail to consider that perhaps the pond of life will ripple out in much glory to Your Name.  I desire to be more Ruth-like and Rahab-esque, to see You and pursue you with my whole heart rather than to live the life of a blessed child (of Yours) who grumbles about Your plans.  Holy Spirit, teach me joy.  Help me to rejoice and be grateful in all things...Let my knee-jerk reactions reflect pure trust in You and not  the mad mutterings of a miserable malcontent.  God You are enough.  I believe that.  May my family and I live that truth.  I praise You.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ruth 3

“My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? …” … And she (Ruth) said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.” … (And Boaz said,) “I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.” … Then he said, “Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.”

Christ Jesus, these words just roll around in my head today … the seeking of security, the complete obedience, the granting of the request, the known quality of virtue, the entering in of a place denied. I see Your life in these; Your complete obedience granted the request to provide security for the souls of others, Your choices and virtue allowed this salvation to come. I praise You. You went where none of us should or could have gone. I praise You that Your coming and saving is not a secret, though. Holy Spirit, help me to live in full and grateful response to all that my Messiah has done for me – my (lack of) security, my (lack of) virtue, my (lack of) qualifications, my (lack of) access. May I praise You with my life and bring others with me to the threshing floor, that they may also respond to Your perfect provision.

… and she (Ruth) came softly …Then Naomi said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out ….

Oh my God, please let my manner be to come softly and sit still before You, content to wait on You and Your excellent answers and timing. Forgive my arrogance for storming in as if You owed me anything. I thank You, though, for the boldness You have allowed me; but may I never forget that You are my King, You are my Holy Father, You are the Sovereign of the Universe. I am Yours and You are mine; but You are still over all! Blow my mind with these truths today, again and again and always. You alone are Worthy, Willing and Wise. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ruth 2

There was a relative of Naomi’s husband … His name was Boaz. …Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.” … So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done … 

Ruth chose to not allow her circumstances to overwhelm her to the point of making stupid decisions. She carefully evaluated where to go and then sought blessing on her choice. Her lifestyle gave her a good reputation. Her looks may have earned her the first look from Boaz; but her wisdom and perseverance kept the attention. 

Father God, I praise You for Your divine wisdom in placing me where You have and at the time You have. I do not know much; but I do know that You promise me wisdom, so I ask for it, that I may make godly choices. Lord, I don’t want to be lazy and just go with what is convenient or the path of least resistance, I want to evaluate with Your smarts the choices You offer me and choose well. Help me to persevere and work hard at that which You give me to do in order that I may have a good reputation as a daughter of the Most High. Please help me to fully respond to the favor You pour out on me, in me and through me, that I may bring You glory and make You famous in the barley fields of my life and anywhere else You may delight to drop me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ruth 1

Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

I can kiss (muwah, muwah) or I can cling. What do my actions say about my devotion to God? To my family? To those my Lord has entrusted to me? Lord God, thank You for my family and my circle. You know the troubles and decisions facing so many of them even tonight; I pray that they would cling to You. And they would know You cling to them. Blessing and honor, glory and power unto Your Name be praised. Help me, Holy Spirit know and pray for them to birth what You have in store for Your Name and for my precious people. Find me a faithful intercessor and not a slacker on these frighteningly serious matters of this temporal span. Help me cling to You in ever-increasing measure of love, faith and trust.

~I praise You that You never entreat me to leave you, – I thank You Father that You never ask me to leave You and that You never leave me nor forsake me
~Or to turn back from following after you; – I praise You that You never turn away from me, no matter if I get distracted
~For wherever you go, I will go; – oh Lord, take me with You; I want to go wherever You go, even when it it is looks hard and appears lonely and seemingly unfair – for I know that You are GOOD
~And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; – You have given me the privilege to be Your dwelling place, oh that I would always be a loving and gracious home for Your Presence
~Your people shall be my people, – Your people are precious to me, increase my imagination and heart for loving and praying for them according to Your glorious plans
~And You, God, are my God – the only true God
~Where You have me live and die, I will live and die, – and I welcome Your plans for me
~And where I will be buried, I know that will not be the end for You, God, have eternal plans for me
~The Lord do so to me, and more also, – as long as You are glorified and made much of
~And I praise You that nothing, not even death can part You and me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Judges 21

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. 

And each event gets crazier and crazier. Sin kills. Sin destroys. Sin is ravenous and without satiety.

Thank You Lord God for Your leadership and for Your divine provision of leadership over me. I can see why the folks would clamor for a king as this insanity had to be a scary thing for the mere mortals who desired to live regular lives. There is no mention of anyone being raised up in the spirit of Moses or Joshua … There just doesn’t seem to be any accountability for those nameless/faceless folks making the choices for the tribes and nation. It’s like they just made it up as they went. Holy Spirit, help me to yield and honor those You have put in place over me. May I not complain, rather inspire me with Your vision that I may be part of the solution. Where I entertain sin or welcome arrogance, please remind me of the waste of the young woman’s life and death that I may rethink (with Your pure and holy truth) my affiliation with such deadly folly.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Judges 20

Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man.

United as one man.  The unconscionably grievous and tragic crime against a young woman and her husband combined with the egregious response of dismembering her remains for national distribution to incite a visceral reaction to the situation; this is what brings unity for most of Israel?  And this to undertake a civil war. Oh, my.  

Lord God, I pray that unity is never this far away or that we will never need something so heinous as to stir unified sentiments within the Body.  Holy Spirit, keep us in Your rhythm, compliant and excited about the Kingdom agenda and focused on bringing holy glory to the great Name of our King.

I don't know if these descendants of Abe, Ike and Jake had trouble with the concept of holy or if they had keen understanding which I lack; but the desiring of the man by the townsfolk, the giving of the young woman, the matter of fact response to her corpse, the message her husband sent...where is the holy, where is their fear of You, where is their decency, their hospitality?  They had no fear of You or respect for Your divine law and that disregard manifested itself in the brutalization of a guest to their town.  And then, to have absolutely no repercussions from the local authorities is shocking and unbelievable.  

We need You, Father, we need Your holiness, Your wisdom and Your law.  We need You Holy Spirit, to cultivate in us the appetite for holy, the high view of our Lord, the desire and commitment to follow all the days and nights of our lives the Truth.  Jesus, my Messiah and Example, we need You to continue speaking Your way to us, to demonstrate that the holy path is noble, narrow; but very accessible if we choose to follow.  My Lord Rabbi, we need You to teach and illumine our minds and hearts with vision of the True.  Encourage us with Your humble example of triumph and resistance.  My Triune God, if You do not continue with us, we will be no different that the Gibeah-ites.   How I pray that we do not need such a severe jump-start on unity.  I praise You and thank You for the unity which is found only in You.  If we are not unified, we are untied.  So keep us  braided in Your strong cord of purity, holiness and integrity, to the praise of Your infinitely Wise and Good Name.  And please show me where I need to repent and how to pray regarding of the atrocities in my life.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Judges 19

Lord, help me let my children go when it is time to release them to their next phase of life; don’t let me keep them home longer than they are supposed to be here. Please don’t allow me to manipulate them for my heart’s sake; as it is not helpful for my heart in the long run. God, may You be praised in my parenting.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Judges 18

And there was no deliverer because it was far ….

Lord God, I praise You and thank You for Your faithfulness to me. You never wander off after a better  offer or try and trade up from me. Amazing. I am so grateful to You, too, because there is never a “far” with You; You are immediate, the Great I AM. Thank You because I know the peace I have is from You and not because I (am deceived to think I) am off the radar of the enemy. You are my ever-living, ever-loving, ever-present Defender and Great High Priest. I pray that I may fully, graciously and authentically respond to You today. Grow me up in You, Lord Jesus. Holy Spirit, please cultivate my God-gratitude and teach me to reciprocate according to Your design.   i long to finish our dance and to follow Your divine lead.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Judges 17

And Micah ordained the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. Then Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest.”

Lord God, please help me to not ordain people and things in my life to be my way to You, keep me from giving a home to anything – anything which ignorantly or rebelliously – sets itself up (oh You forbid, that I would empower the poser) to be my religion, my “faith” … as I recognize the despicable spirit behind such acts. LORD God Almighty, please keep my expectations on You and Your words and not on anything I may do or not.

And as this passage screams at me: Micah ordained his own priest, who welcomed this man in his own house, who paid compensation according to his own contract, who expected You to prosper his own self because he had acquired his own Levite. Micah is the god, he defined the way to You and established his own religious protocols – ignoring Your well-established words. YIKES, my Lord, please keep me from this abominable insanity. You, Jesus, are the only way.. You set up and depose kings as You please, You planned the Cross, You executed the Cross, You triumphed at the Cross and You give this to me. I thank You. You have already prospered me. I praise You.