Thursday, March 28, 2013

He is Risen

"I remember a story about an event in Red Square Moscow 
after the terrible days of the Russian Revolution and the 
establishment of the atheist Union of Soviet Socialist Republic.
The people of Moscow were being addressed
by one of their new leaders, who spent over half an hour
proving to the populace that there is no God.
His arguments were incontrovertible and the people
standing were silent and subdued.
Then a priest standing with the people 
asked to say three words.
He stood in front of the crowd, 
raised his arms and cried out:
The entire mob erupted joyfully,
He is risen indeed!
Madeline L'Engle
The Rock that is Higher

The truth of our faith is stronger than any
rational arguments of atheism.
This risen Christ is the hope we have for all we do.
Today, I am grateful for this season of resurrection.
In the light of the empty tomb,
darkness and confusion must give way.
At our darkest hour, God was setting the stage
for the defining moment in history.
Dead things come to life.
Old things become new.
The end of the story is not the end.
It is the beginning of a beautiful new season,
a season where we recognize that natural laws
do not bind us to the earth realm.
Supernatural laws lift us up and out of this realm,
into a far more glorious and supernatural realm.
The realm where He is seated,
high and lifted up.
Resurrected and alive.
This is the life we are invited into this season.
Christus resurrexit!
This truth gives me great courage
and the greatest hope.
In the darkness and in the light, 
my faith holds on and 
rises again.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Banking it on the Buds

The little bud covered in snow
displayed the paradox,
the great standoff between seasons
One day of snow does not
a victor make
The forecast decrees
spring wins by day's end
When life, no matter how dormant,
 appears on the scene,
bank it all on the buds

The natural seasons give us such powerful
images of God's multi-faceted design.
We experience them in the spiritual as well.
This past season has been a winter
all the way around.
Life went dormant;
it had a beauty of its own,
but it felt confining, took effort 
and left me sometimes cold.
Some things seemed to die during winter
and I desperately wanted them to be re-lifed.
God's presence was in the midst.
By grace, I clung to His voice of hope
when my eyes could not see nothing.
But seasons end.
And there has definitely been an announcement
that the winter is over and spring is here.
The ground is beginning to thaw.
The winds are beginning to warm.
Both are beginning to release life.
There is a bit of a battle in both realms
to believe that which has been dormant
will indeed come to life.
But I am declaring a new day,
setting my mind on new beginnings. 
What has been will be no more.
My mind is set on restoration.
I am banking it all on the buds.
“Rise up, my darling!
Look, the winter is past... 
The flowers are springing up,
the season of singing birds has come,
and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
The fig trees are forming young fruit,
and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.
Song of Solomon 2:10-13


Thursday, March 21, 2013

He Will Perfect That Which

I give You thanks Lord with all my heart; 
On the day I needed You, I called; 
You answered and infused my soul with strength. 
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You revive me; 
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.
Psalm 138:1,3,8

This last verse has been a lifeline to me.
I have meditated on it and declared it.
The Lord is dialoging with me about
being wiling to risk everything on its truth.

Do you really believe that 
I WILL perfect those things?
I am intimately aware of
those things heavy on your heart.
Do you believe that I will perfect them all?

Today, I make a list of those things 
which concern me that I might not 
spend time fretting over the vague.
There are very specific things which concern me,
and when I list them, they do not loom so large.
Especially in light of Your promise to perfect them.
I choose to see You already in the process 
of completing and making perfect those things
which I have often been contending for alone--
carrying the weights and lifting the burdens
which were not meant for my arms.
I slip into the yoke and adjust the fittings
that the burden may be light.
 My yoke is comfortable, gracious, and pleasant,
and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
You see things from an already perfected perspective.
I want to see the way that You see.
Today I see You perfecting 
everything which concerns me.
By Your mercy and grace.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I Will Bless You

And the Lord said to Moses,
Say to my people:
The Lord bless, watch, guard, and keep you;
The Lord make His face to shine upon and 
be kind, giving favor to you;
The Lord make His face shine on you
and give you peace.
In this way, they shall put My name upon them, 
and I will bring them good and bless them.
Number 6:22-27

Oh, the Lord is so good.
He gives patterns in His Word 
for us to follow, and in this verse, 
He is telling His people how to pray.
Tell the people to ask the Lord to bless them.
That His kindness and favor would shine on them.
That His name and His presence go with them.

He tells us to ask for these things because
He wants to give them to us.
I will bring them good and bless them.
Tell them to ask for it!
 Jesus, I want more of Your presence everyday.
Your presence is the source of all blessing.
I ask that You bless, watch, guard and keep us this day.
I ask that Your face shine upon me and that You
would give favor to me and those I love.
I ask for Your mercy, Lord, 
that we may experience the
glory of Your goodness.
In whatever way seems good to You, Lord,
I ask that You would 
bring us good and bless us.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Be My Strength Every Morning

Lord, be gracious to me;
I long for you.
Be my strength every morning,
my salvation in time of distress...
You are my sure foundation,
a rich store of salvation and 
wisdom and knowledge.
Isaiah 33:2,6

I have heard the Lord speak this morning.
He spoke about graciousness and strength.
About being my sure foundation for this day.
Nothing helps posture me for the day
like the sound of His voice.
He speaks these words over all those He loves.
My child, though you ebb and flow
between uncertainty and confidence,
I remain steadfast and constant.
I am your strength and your salvation,
the foundation for all you are.
The fear and unrest you feel come because
you carry your own burdens.
Your burdens are as nothing to Me,
so let me carry them.
Today, I lead you beside still waters
and I restore your soul.
There is a depth of peace I want 
to fill you with this day.
Not a peace for the moment,
but a quietness and confidence in
My love for you that lasts forever. 
Those things that concern you, 
combined with thoughts that are not Mine,
leave you feeling overwhelmed.
You know the way back:
repent and take My yoke, for My burden is light.
Listen no longer to the one whispering the lies.
Hold on to My word and My truth.
I am leading you this day--
I delight in You.
Rest in Me and allow Me to bring
My peace deep within.
All your burdens will transfer to My care and 
you will be free to live life fully, 
as I have planned for you.
So, breathe in the air of heaven
and My strength will accomplish all 
I have purposed for this day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

That's Life

I have set before you life and death, 
the blessings and the curses; 
therefore choose life, 
that you and your descendants may live
and love the Lord your God,
obey His voice, and cling to Him. 
For He is your life...
Deut 30:19,20
The other day, I was talking with a friend
about some of the trials we were facing and, 
at one point, we commented that 
challenges were just a part of life.
The next day a prophetic word came out
that described a vision of two evil opponents
dancing around in a boxing ring looking for 
someone to contend with.
One was named the Destroyer and
the other was named the Devourer.
No one was fighting with them, however,
because on their backs were the words
"This is just life."

It is the assignment of the devil
to "rob, steal and destroy."
Many of the things we have had taken
are not just the natural consequences of life;
they are the works of the enemy in our lives.
Deuteronomy 30 tells us that we need
to choose life, not accept it.
Jesus is our life and, as we choose Him,
we choose the blessing, not the cursing.
We choose the abundance, not the paltry.
We choose to believe that life--
in the truest sense of the word--
is about fullness.
I repent for confessing that 
life is just what happens to me.
I will allow the life of Christ to contend 
with the Destroyer and the Devourer.
It is His life in us that is really life.
I want to inventory what the enemy has taken
and demand a double payback.
When a thief is captured, 
he must pay double for what he stole.
Exodus 22:7
The next time that I say, 
"That is life,"
I will be referring to 
the life of Christ in me.
It is the only life worth acknowledging.
It is the only life worth living.
THAT is life.
For me to live is Christ--His life in me.
Philippians 1:21


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Because He Loves Us

He turned the curse 
into a blessing for you 
because the Eternal God loves you.
Deuteronomy 23:5
No matter what we are going through, 
our God can break upon the scene
and take what appears to be meant for evil
and change it for our good.
He takes the curse and 
turns it into a blessing.
Because He loves us.
Our lives are His stories
written daily by His loving hand.
The page we are on today 
is not the end of the story.
It may be the end of a chapter, 
but it is not the end of the story
until we breathe our very last.
And even then, the story goes on.
He is intricately involved in our lives,
knowing everything about us.

The steps of a good man are directed 
and established by the Lord and 
He busies Himself with his every step.
Psalm 37:23
I love that verse.
The Creator and Sustainer of the universe
is busying Himself with my steps.
And the steps of those I love.
I can rest in that knowledge today.
The highest thing I can do concerning those 
mountains which I am facing 
and for the mountains facing those I love
is to intercede and trust that He is 
already working on our behalf.
He busies Himself with our every step.
Lord, Your great love for us
overwhelms me and gives me
great courage and 
deep peace.
I receive the mercy that You so 
generously pour out on Your people.
Your grace is sufficient for me.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lord Have Mercy

May Your mercy come to me, O God,

for my soul is safe within You, 
the guardian of my life.
I seek protection in the shade of Your wings

I cry out to God, the Most High,

to God who always does what is good for me.
Out of heaven my rescue comes.

He dispatches His mercy and truth

and goes after whatever tries to run over me.
Psalm 57
I love the word mercy.
It is God's kindness and compassion
toward those who deserve something else.
It requires an understanding of His love
and the ultimate price He paid to express that love.
It is all about Who He is.
So when I have nothing, 
when I find myself at the end of myself,
when I can do nothing to 
attract His blessing or favor, 
I cry out for mercy.
I pray along with the psalmist and say,
"May Your mercy come to me, God.
You are the Guardian of my life.
I am safe in the shade of Your wings.
You always do what is good for me."
I have been listening to a song by Brady Toops
called "Lord Have Mercy" that echoes this psalm.

When I cannot find my way, Lord have mercy
Should my heart begin to stray, Lord hav mercy
When I lay me down to sleep, Lord have mercy
When the road ahead gets steep, Lord have mercy
When I falter, when I fail, Lord have mercy
May Your kindness still prevail, Lord have mercy
When I see Your promises, Lord have mercy
Knowing well that I've been blessed, Lord have mercy
May I never cease to ask, Lord have mercy
Til I breathe very last, Lord have mercy

The song ends with this declaration
repeated over and over:
How great, how great
is Your faithfulness

My cry today is "Lord have mercy."
My declaration is "How great
is Your faithfulness!"
Over and over.
All day long.


Monday, March 4, 2013

The Great Because

This is My command: 
Be strong and courageous. 
Never be afraid or discouraged 
because I am your God, the Eternal One, 
and I will remain with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 
Every day provides opportunities
to chose courage.
It is not just a grandiose virtue necessary 
for the soldier on the battlefield
or the one in a dangerous situation.
It is for the everyday warrior, 
facing the pains and challenges
of everyday life--
physical, emotional, and spiritual dangers
constantly barraging and continually reminding us
of the broken and hostile world we live in,
a world dominated by forces let loose by sin. 
We have two primary options when deciding
how to relate with these challenges.
Will we be immobilized by fear
or meet the challenges with resolute courage?
Fear causes us to run, to tell stories, and to grow cold.
Courage calls forth strength and steadfastness of will 
to patiently endure the pains and challenges.
But the key here isn't just to choose wisely.
It isn't even the determination to live by command.
It is the complete confidence in the One who says,
"I am your God, the Eternal One, 
and I will remain with you wherever you go."
This Scripture give us the Great Because.
Never be afraid or discouraged.
BECAUSE I am with you.

On days when challenges--
from the smallest emotional prick
to the bigger fears and trials--
make us want to pull covers over our heads,
God comes to us with the Great Because.
You can always be strong and courageous.
I go with this knowledge today.
Deus est semper mecum.
God is always with me.
This profound truth will keep my heart 
grounded in courage.
I am grateful.