- 2014Nov 27
Giving thanks today to the Source of all blessings and gifts. For we know that every good thing comes from above, from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17).
Father, we thank You for every blessing, for every gift, for our families, our friends, for shelter and clothing, for work and for play. We thank You especially for hearing us when we call, for rescuing us from the dominion of darkness and transferring us into the kingdom of Your beloved Son, in whom we have forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14) Thank You for calling us out of darkness and into Your marvelous light! (1 Peter 2:9) Thank You that even when we were dead in transgressions, You made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with Him in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 5-6) O Lord, thank You that You have not left us alone, but You sent Your Spirit to help us and guide us in all we do. (John14:26)
We thank You for this great country of ours, for bringing us so far, for establishing us and protecting us. We ask that You move in the hearts of every American today. Point us toward You. Establish us in Your word. Capture our hearts, Lord, as only You can. Send a wave of revival all through our land, we pray.
We thank You and praise You, in Jesus' name, Amen.
- 2014Oct 26
"You have left your first love." The words jumped off the page at me and I melted into a puddle of tears.
I had come back to Bible study after taking a couple of years off. Prior to that, I had spent years studying, leading, teaching and writing Bible studies. Then my life seemed to fall apart. A few dear friendships disintegrated. My marriage was in jeopardy. And we left our church of 14 years. I felt like I had been hit by a speeding train. I was grief-stricken, scared and very confused. The following two years were incredibly painful.
My faith was shaken. Spiritually, I went on autopilot. I loved God, but for a while I held Him at arm's length, because He scared me. I went through the motions with Him. I prayed and still read my Bible, but I stayed in the shallow end.
After a couple of years, a friend invited me to Bible study. I protested. She insisted. So I went. It was a study on Revelation. I thought that would be safe. End times, lots of symbolism, facts and timelines. No heart stuff. Perfect.
Little did I know that the first week of homework would leave me weeping on the floor. In Chapter 2 of Revelation, Jesus speaks to the Church at Ephesus and on that particular day He spoke to me. "I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance…, but I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first." (Revelation 2:2-4)
You see, when my life started to fall apart, I went into overdrive to put all the pieces back together again. I stopped Bible study and all ministry and focused on my marriage and relationships. But down deep, in the place no body knows, I was brokenhearted. I thought the One I loved most had let me down. I was wrong about that.
God was so faithful to restore my marriage, my friendships and most importantly, my relationship with Him.
Do you need restoration? Are you like me and think that God has let you down? I can promise you that no matter what you are going through, He is for you and not against you. And He wants you to return to Him.
Father, I come to You, in reverence and humility. You are good, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness. (Numbers 14:18) But this life can leave us broken and bruised. We can so easily become cynical and hard-hearted. From hurt. The enemy would have us believe that You have disappointed us or held out on us. O God, quicken us to know that You are always for us and never against us. (Romans 8:31) And that nothing can separate us from Your love. (Romans 8:35)
Lord, I know firsthand that we can close the door to our hearts because we're afraid of You. O God, knock the door down and draw us to Yourself. You are the answer to all our questions and the solution to all our problems. Come after those of us who have been knocked down by life. Those who are hurting so bad they can't pray, perhaps they can barely function. Father, you are close to the brokenhearted and save all those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) Come nearer, Lord.
Show Yourself to those who are running away from you that You are the good Shepherd. And that You have laid down Your life them. (John 10:11) To give us all life. To the full. (John 10:10) O Lord, my heart is so tender to those who feel their life is falling apart. Wrap them in Your loving arms and speak to them. Your word that brings life and healing and hope.
Restore them, O God, put a new song in their mouths, a song of praise to You, then many will see and fear and will trust in You. (Psalm 40:3) In the name of the Healer and Restorer, Jesus, Amen.
- 2014Oct 24
A couple of months ago I received an email from a friend. Attached was an article about movements going on within the church. When I say church, I mean, the church at large. Particularly, in this country. The article did some name calling and addressed issues that left my head spinning.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and another friend forwarded a few more articles about the same concerns for the church. This time it was obvious the Lord was trying to get my attention. And He did.
I've been increasingly concerned about trends which have infiltrated our churches and are leading people away from the truth. Things like pragmatism, which is basically man's philosophy of doing and creating that which brings about desired results. Working the church like a business. Bringing in volumes of people. Adjusting the message so that it's attractive to the skeptics. Sound familiar?
How about relativism? This is the belief that various things are true for different people. No absolutes. Meaning, what's true for me may not be true for you, etc… And it's trickling in to the pulpits. Churches are changing their views on sin. Doctrine they have held for centuries that is based on God's word. Why are they changing their minds? Because of the pressure of a relativistic society which doesn't support absolutes.
We are in real trouble here. We need to wake up from our spiritual slumber and be alert to what's going on in the body of Christ and stand for Truth.
Father, I come before You today asking that You wake us up. I ask that You open our eyes and quicken our minds to the knowledge of what's going on around us and in our churches. You are clear in Your word that we are to extract the precious from the worthless in our worship of You. (Jeremiah 15:19) You are a holy God. Lord, wake us up from our spiritual sleep and strengthen the things in us that remain. Complete those things in us that are pleasing in Your sight. (Revelation 3:2) Make us remember what we have received and heard and move in our hearts to repent if we have strayed from Your truth. Lord, You have called us to be separate, holy to You. (2 Corinthians 6:17) Help us to love others and yet never compromise the truth of Your word and Your ways.
Father, Your eyes move to and fro throughout the earth that You may strongly support those whose heart is completely Yours. (2 Chronicles 16:9) Lord, give us singleness of heart. Put a new spirit within us. Take the heart of stone out and give us a heart of flesh that we may walk in Your statutes and keep Your ordinances and do them. Then we will be Your people and You will be our God. (Ezekiel 11:19-20)
Father, we will fall for the tricks of the enemy every time if we don't know You and know Your word. O God, I earnestly ask that You write Your law on our hearts, put Your law within us. (Jeremiah 31:33) Make us ever watchful, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for us to awaken from sleep, for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. (Romans 13:11) Lord, help us to be careful how we walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of our time, because the days are evil. Let us not be foolish, but understand what Your will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
In Jesus' name, Amen.