Sunday, April 28, 2013

Help Me to Follow You

Loving God,
Instead of following You,
Instead of looking at You,
I am too easily distracted and hypnotized
     by the glaringly garish lights of the neon world around me.
I foolishly reach for shiny fool’s gold,
     for worthless, glossy baubles of transient joy.
Silly me! I don’t dig for the diamonds hidden in Your Word,
I don’t take time to search for the pearls of Your Wisdom.
I am too busy gawking at beautiful man-made idols
     instead of looking at You.
I need to continually stare at You, Lord. 
I need to see You, really see You.
“Be Thou my vision, Lord! Be Thou my vision!”
Help me to keep my eyes focused on You.
Help me to follow You.

Loving God,
Instead of following You,
Instead of listening for Your still, quiet voice
I am too eager to hear loud, garbled, worldly noises,
     the cacophony of voices speaking all at once,
     but never making any sense.
I am fascinated by the sounds of a world
     which wants to speak
     but never listen.
And I do not hear You.
Too often I listen to worldly messages,
     dangerous, unhealthy, destructive messages,
     tempting me to give up my soul.
Lord, give me the strength to ignore, to turn off
     the blaring sounds of worldly influences.
Deafen me to the Siren’s soothing song,
      deceptively luring me away from You.
Forgive me for my foolishness, my lack of wisdom.
Forgive me for listening to the voices of idols.
Give me the strength and the will to hear only Your voice.
Help me to listen when You call my name.
Help me to hear You disclose Your will for me.
Help me to follow You wherever You lead.
Fill my heart with Your love.
Keep me close to Your heart.
Thank you, Lord, for loving me in spite of myself.
In Christ’s name I pray.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thanks and Praise for Restored Sight

Lord Jesus,
I thank You and praise You
     for the awesome wonders You have placed in our universe,
     for the awesome wonders You have revealed in medicine and science,
     for the awesome wonder of being able to restore badly weakening eyesight
         by  replacing a natural ocular lens with an artificial, corrective lens .
What a miracle it is to be able to see without prescription glasses
      for the first time in almost  sixty years!
Thank you, Lord, for the miracle, the joy of stronger, keener sight in old eyes.
Thank You for giving wisdom and knowledge to researchers in all fields of medicine.
You are a great, almighty, and loving God.
I praise You, I thank You, I glorify You,
     I ask that You always keep me close to Your heart.
                            In Christ’s name, I pray. 

"It Is Well With My Soul"

It is Well with My Soul, a beautiful, inspiring hymn, which was movingly sung at a sister in Christ’s memorial service by her church choir, is an impressive testimony of one man’s refusal to let personal tragedy destroy his faith in God.  For more than a century, the tragic story of Horatio Spafford has given hope to others.   
Spafford, a devout Christian and faithful Bible student, was a wealthy Chicago lawyer who enjoyed a successful legal practice and a beautiful, happy family.   His friends included Dwight L. Moody and other well-known Christians of his day.
Unfortunately, his young son died in 1871, and in that same year he lost almost every real estate investment he had in the Great Chicago fire.  To give his wife and four daughters a vacation and time to recover from the tragedy, and to join friends in an evangelistic campaign in England, he scheduled a boat trip to Europe.  At the last minute, however, he had to stay behind to take care of some unexpected business, but he sent his wife and daughters ahead.
During the voyage, the ship his family was on collided with another ship and sank. His wife Anna, alone survived, and sent him a telegram, “Saved…alone.”  As soon as he could, Spafford boarded another ship to sail to meet Anna in England. The captain of this ship notified him when they were crossing over the spot where the tragedy had occurred. Later, In his cabin, unable to sleep, Spafford said to himself, “It is well; the will of God be done.”  Later he wrote his hymn based on those words. Philip Bliss, whose life story is also tragic, wrote the music for the hymn.
"When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll,  Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say:  It is well; it is well with my soul."

Does Prayer Change God's Heart?

Although I know prayer changes my heart, I’m not sure if it changes God's heart.  I think prayer makes God happy because he wants to communicate with his children; and He wants His children to want to communicate with Him, to choose to include Him in our lives.  He wants to be the most important part of our lives, important enough that we will willingly spend time each day sharing our sorrows and our joys with Him. I don't know if that will change His heart though because He knows all that is going on in our lives; and, while we may not like something God does, we must acknowledge that He always does what is best for us.  He wants us to surrender completely to Him and let Him act through us. 

Now, back to the  question: does prayer change God’s heart?  We should not pray for the purpose of changing God's heart--we can't, and we shouldn't--there is nothing that needs to be changed about God's heart--it is perfect.  Instead, we should pray that He will give us the strength and wisdom to accept His will for our lives.  When we pray the Lord's Prayer, we say "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." We should always pray that all things be done in accordance with His will--He is the potter; we are the clay.  I need to let Jesus come into my heart and make Him feel so welcome and necessary that He will never leave. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Praise to You, Creator God

Lord,  I know You are God,
     Maker of Heaven and Earth,
It is because You are God,
     I glorify You,
     I praise You,
     I serve You,
     I worship You,
     I love You,
     I submit my life to You.
I constantly wonder at Your creation:
     the tiniest insects,
     the weirdest sea animals,
     the strongest and weakest mammals,
     the most fascinating reptiles.
You created all aspects of life:
     the many shapes, sizes, and forms,
     the plants and animals,
    knitted together to make your creation work.
You have created a beautiful universe:
     the sun, moon, stars, and clouds,
     the majesty of the tall mountains,
     the spectacular caverns and canyons,
     the diversity of the trees and flowers,
     the inexorable motion of the seas,
     the waves endlessly teasing the shore.
You created mankind to be Your children,
     Gave us the unselfish gift of free will,
     Loved us in spite of our willful, wicked ways,
     Redeemed us with the  blood of Your precious Son,
     Restored us into a rightful place in Your kingdom.
     Gave us a room in Your house,
     Are saving us a seat of honor near Your throne.
How You love, Lord!  The strength of Your love!
Teach us to love like You love!  
How good You are to Your children, Lord!!
Teach us to be good to each other!
How good You are, Creator God!!  How good You are!!
Thank you!!! Praise You!!!  Alleluia!! Alleluia!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Lesson from the Opal

Do you know about the Opal? It is made of desert dust, sand, and silica. It owes its beauty and preciousness to a defect. It is a stone with a broken heart. It is full of minute fissures which admit air and the air reflects the light. Its lovely hues and that sweet lamp of fire ever burns at its heart. We may be conscious only of the cracks and desert dust, but so He makes His precious opal. We must be broken in ourselves before we can give back the lovely hues of His light.  -Frank Boreman

I don't want to be broken, but I learned to trust God and rely on Him completely at a time when I myself was broken into a thousand shards. Once upon a time, long, long ago, I found myself at the bottom of a tangible darkness, unable to catch my breath, wondering what was going to become of me.  In that most desperate moment, utterly dejected, I prayed "Find me, Lord, because I can't find myself. Help me because I can’t help myself." And, He heard my prayer; He assured me that He would provide for my needs; He lifted me out of that friendless pit of depression I had fallen into. From that moment, I have been so very blessed and have felt so very loved.  I got the victory of a lifetime from my brokenness---and God got my undivided attention, my love, my life!!!   

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Reflections on April 14 Prayer of Confession

Dear Jesus,
It is so hard to forgive others
…when they hurt me,
…when they hurt my family,
…when they hurt my friends.
I want to hit back,
I want to inflict pain,
I want to avenge their insults,
I want to make them sorry.
…And sometimes I do retaliate:
I deliberately hit back,
I cruelly hurt others,
I enjoy seeing their pain.
I am ugly and there is no health in me.
But, You, O Lord, You teach
   those of us would follow You
   …lessons of love
   …lessons of forgiveness
   …lessons of going the extra mile
   …lessons of turning the other cheek
   …lessons of loving others as we love ourselves.
You tell us we must forgive others
   as we want You to forgive us which means
   …willingly, completely, freely, without punishment.
But, Dear Lord, I want you to forgive me so much better
   than I forgive others!! Than I forgive myself!!
Forgive me, Lord, when I do not forgive.
Forgive me when I do not love others as You expect me to.  
Help me to understand the motives behind their behavior.
Fill my heart with love for everyone in my world.
Nag at my conscience until l freely forgive them
   and accept them into my world as You accept me.
Thank you, Father, for loving me at all times,
   when I am lovable and when I am unlovable.
   for loving me unconditionally and sacrificially.
Make me worthy of Your Love,
Make me just a little more like Christ.
It is in His name I pray.    Amen

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Xanthippe, the wife of Socrates, was a termagant, a shrew, a nag who made his life miserable. Once, when someone asked Socrates why he didn't beat her to make her behave better, he replied that if he made her behave better, he would improve her character; BUT if he learned to live with her behavior, he would improve his own character.   

Now, having been married to the same man for 46 years, I certainly—definitely-- know there are all kinds of dynamics going on in a marital relationship.  I’m also very sure that Xanthippe had some stories of her own to tell (and I would love to hear them!).  Nevertheless, I also agree that relationships with difficult people have the potential to strengthen and improve our character if we will only let them.

If we are truly following Christ, we must reach out to the difficult people in our lives; we must include them in what we do, we must listen to what they say, we must pray for them; we must love them.  We must forgive the hurts abrasive people hurl at us; we must work to restore broken relationships; and we must share God’s love and plan of salvation with everyone we meet so they too can have peace and joy in their hearts.

As my husband uses a sander to make a piece of wood smooth and splinter-free, God uses obstacles and challenges in our lives to smooth us and to remove the splinters from our characters.  We need the Xanthippe's in our lives to help remove our own rough edges, to train us to be God’s feet, hands and heart; but we must never forget that we ourselves must show God’s mercy and love to our Xanthippe's; we need to disciple to them and encourage them to join us in glorifying and enjoying God.  We are all His children, and He loves every one of us; we must, in return, love God and love each other---splinters and all!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Help Me to Be a Joy

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with humility that comes from wisdom.  James 3:13

Lord, I do not feel very wise,
I realize that I am not as knowledgeable of Your ways as I should be.
I do, however, know, with the utmost certainty, that You love me.
I know You continue to love me fiercely in spite of my fickle self.
I know You loved me enough to redeem my soul from a lifetime in hell.
I know You loved me enough to send Your beloved Son
   to suffer and to die  an ignominious death at Calvary
   as an atonement for my many, many sins.
Jesus was the sacrificial lamb substituted for me,
   substituted for all mankind.
Jesus bore that awful weight of the sins of the world
   in order to defeat death and the powers of darkness
  once and for all time.  
Thank You, Lord for paying my debt,
   for doing for me what I could not do for myself!!

For this gift of eternal life, a gift wrapped in the blood of Jesus,
   I am most grateful.
I want to show You that I am worthy and grateful for your sacrifice
   in my own small, feeble ways.
Help me to show my gratitude; help me to show my worthiness.
Lord, I would be a good ambassador of Your love to others.
I would be a beacon to light the way for others to come to You.
I want others to know the security and joy of being in Your presence.
Touch my heart and make me humble and servant-like.
Do not let me be proud or arrogant.
Help me to love others as You love them.
Help me to become more Christ-like, more sisterly, more open to others.
I pray that my deeds, my words, and my thoughts always please You.
Help me to live an honorable life, doing good works with humility.
Help me to grow in Your wisdom.
Hear and receive my prayers, Lord. 
Hear and accept my heart-prayers.
In Christ’s name I pray.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Too Busy Being Busy

Father, forgive me.
I was too tired to listen to that child
   who needed to talk to me today.
I was too busy with trifles
   to listen to her.
Forgive me.
I have been so caught up in worldly things
   that I have not ministered to Your lambs.
I need your help in remembering
   that problems are large to the young,
   (and often to the old!)
Help me to be a willing listener, Lord,
   even at the end of a trying school day.
Help me to recognize a young girl’s cry for help
   and give me the wisdom to say
   Just the right thing to make her feel
   more confident, more important
   more at peace with herself.
As for me,
Lord, constantly remind me to go to You
   before taking on the problems of the world by myself. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thank You for Your Love

I thank you for Your boundless love,
   Your grace that blows my mind.
Breathe into me enough of Your love
   and grace to willingly, cheerfully, share with others, 
those I know personally and those who are Your children,
Give me the strength  to show grace to those
   who hurt me deliberately or inadvertently.
Convince me to give others the benefit of the doubt
   when they fail to acknowledge favors I have done,
   when they overlook my hard work,
    the faithfulness with which I serve.
Cheer my heart with the assurance that You know
    Not only what I do, but the attitude of my heart.
Lead me to You; I am Yours.
Let me show Your love and kindness to others.
Lord, keep my heart free of jealousy.
Help me keep my eyes focused on You.
Let me remember that my purpose in life is to glorify You.
My purpose is not to be glorified by others.
I am not made to be an idol for others to worship.
While we humans are fickle, You are constant,
   like the sun you made and put into the heavens.
Keep my ears focused on hearing your assurances of love.
Let me hear Your encouragement, Your reassurance.
Let me hear Your voice, Lord.
Deafen my ears to those voices that call me astray.
Let me only hear Your calling, Your commands.
Drown out the enchanting, tempting Siren songs.
They tempt me to go where I should not go.
They tempt me to do things I should not do.
Lord, chase away the ugliness from my heart.
Work in me and through me to spread the Good News,
Let me share with others the joy of the resurrection
   of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Let me find those who need to hear it so they might be saved.
Protect my soul and don’t let me waste my life
   by hiding the message of salvation from others.
Father, let me remember the beautiful prayer of confession.
Let me earnestly, unceasingly ask for forgiveness of all my sins.
Indeed, my sins are too many to name, some purposely committed,
    Others are carelessly committed, but all are sins.
Forgive me for all my transgressions and
transform me into the child You want me to be.   
In Christ’s name I pray. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

I Would be a New Creation in You

2 Corinthians 5:17  (NLT) "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" 

I would be a new creation in You.
I rejoice to think of my sins being washed away,
 my heart becoming as white as snow. 
Make me worthy of Your grace, of Your sacrifices, of Your patience, Your love. 
Give me a new chance, a new possibility, and a new promise in all that I do.
Keep me from falling back into old habits,
   old addictions:  pride, jealousy, egotism, anger.
Keep my heart, my mind, my mouth focused on doing good to others.
Let all that I do and say glorify You.
Let my thoughts be pleasing to You;  
Purge all those thoughts which You find offensive,
Help me to bring them in line with what You find acceptable and gracious.
Lord, You know the conflicts that have taken place in Your church;
You know the problems;
You know the hearts of Your congregation.
Touch my heart and show me how to be kinder, more helpful,
      More loving to those in my world
Give me patience with those who annoy me,
      with those who don’t do what I think they should do,
      with those who are insensitive to the weaknesses and needs of others.
Show me and show others in leadership positions
      how to bring about a healing, 
      a revival in Your church.
Show us how to make Your church one that serves the community,
Show us how to serve as You would have Your church serve.
Do not let those of us who love You be gullible.
Do not let us offer flimsy excuses for not doing more for others.
Prod our hearts to do more, to reach out continuously to those
     who are less fortunate than we are.
Don’t let Your Bride settle for mediocrity in preparing for Your return.
Prick our consciences when we are tempted 
    to make excuses for our own short comings,          
Burden our hearts with a need to be honest and sincere
    in our dealings with others,
    especially when we act in Your name.
I praise You, Lord, for the glory of this day,
   for the joy of life, for Your Love.
                                                In Christ’s name, I pray.