Sunday, June 27, 2010

Vastly Personal • Isaiah 51

"For I am God, your very own God, 
who stirs up the sea and whips up the waves, 
named God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

I teach you how to talk, word by word,
and personally watch over you,
even while I'm unfurling the skies,
setting the earth on solid foundations,
and greeting Zion: 'Welcome, my people!'"

Isaiah 51:15-16

Almighty God
Vast enough to form 
galaxy after galaxy.

Big enough to hold
it all together 
in Your hand.

And yet,
You call me Your own.
You formed me deep within.
You know my thoughts
and the words I will say.

In silence 
I stand before You.

Thank You seems so small.

And yet, You welcome me.
You draw me close.
You show me the next step
and give me the next word to say.

Thank You, Father.
Thank You.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Psalm • Psalm 119:9-16

How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of Your Word. 

I'm single-minded in pursuit of you;
don't let me miss the road signs you've posted.

I've banded your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won't sin myself bankrupt.

Be blessed, God;
train me in Your ways of wise living.

I'll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from Your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches.

I ponder every morsel of wisdom from You,
I attentively watch how you've done it. 

I relish everything you've told me of life,
I won't forget a word of it.

Psalm 119:9-16

Friday, June 25, 2010

An Invitation to a Changed Life • Luke 5

"Push out into deep water 
and let your nets out for a catch." 

Luke 5:4

Jesus, You have so much for me, more than I could ever imagine.
Help me to trust You and follow You to the deeper water.

"If You want to, You can cleanse me." 
Jesus put out His hand, and said, 
"I want to. Be clean." 

Luke 5:12b-13

 Before You I stand, knowing my need.
Thank You that You can cleanse me completely clean.
And that You want to. 
Oh that I would run to You first 
for cleansing, restoration, renewal. 

"Your cleansed and obedient life, 
not your words, will bear witness 
to what I have done." 

Luke 5:14

 I pray that my life will be a witness
to what You have done in my life, Jesus.
May the change be true, not just words
exclaimed for all to hear.
Your cleansing, shining for all to see
as I humbly follow You.

As often as possible Jesus withdrew 
to out-of-the-way places for prayer.

Luke 5:16

As often as possible.
You went off to be alone with Your Father.
You stayed close. Listening to Him.
Abiding in Him.


Impressed by their bold belief, 
He said, "Friend, I forgive your sins." 

Luke 5:20

Bold belief impresses You.
Oh that I would be so bold in my faith.
Keeping my eyes on who You are, 
caring not for what the world thinks of me,
confidently carrying others to You.

"Who needs a doctor: 
the healthy or the sick? 
I'm here inviting outsiders, not insiders — 
an invitation to a changed life, 
changed inside and out." 

Luke 5:31-32

We all need You.
Forgive me for excluding others.
Withholding what I have been given.
Hungry, thirsty, clothed in rags —
You have all that we need 
for a life that is completely new.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Resist with Truth • Luke 4

The Devil retreated temporarily, 
lying in wait for another opportunity. 
Luke 4:13

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. 
The Devil is poised to pounce, 
and would like nothing better 
than to catch you napping. 
Keep your guard up. 
You're not the only ones plunged 
into these hard times. 
It's the same with Christians 
all over the world. 
So keep a firm grip on the faith. 
1 Peter 5:8-9

He comes to kill and destroy.
Spewing lies, that sound so much like truth.

A quiet suggestion.
A tiny twist of the facts.

Did God really say....?

The very Word of God
is our mightiest weapon
against the enemy of our souls.

Resistance through Truth
sends him scampering away.

Stay near, dear ones,
to God our Father.

Draw near to Him,
He'll draw near to you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Igniting Kingdom Life • Luke 3

"It's your life that must change, not your skin." 
from Luke 3:8

"What counts is your life. 
Is it green and blossoming?
Because if it is deadwood, it goes on the fire." 
Luke 3:9

"I'm baptizing you here in the river. 
The main character in this drama, 
to whom I'm a mere stage hand, 
will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, 
the Holy Spirit within you, 
changing you from the inside out. 
He's going to clean house — 
make a clean sweep of your lives. 
He'll place everything true 
in its proper place before God; 
everything false he'll put out 
with the trash to be burned."
Luke 3:16-17

You came to bring Life,
to ignite a Fire that consumes all that is dead,
to wash us clean, removing all this is impure
all that separates us from You.

You change completely,
removing all that is false,
all that brings death.

Green and growing,
thriving with abundance.

Full and overflowing,
sustaining and fresh.

Baptize me in the River of Life.
Wash me clean.
Fill me with Your Life.
Ignite Your Fire in my soul.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Savior for Everybody • Luke 2

The angel said, "Don't be afraid. 
I'm here to announce a great and joyful event 
that is meant for everybody, worldwide
A Savior has just been born in David's town, 
a Savior who is Messiah and Master."
Luke 2:10-11

"Glory to God in the heavenly heights, 
Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him."
Luke 2:14

"With my own eyes I've seen Your salvation; it's now out in the open for everyone to see: A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations, and of glory for your people Israel."
Luke 2:30-32

So quietly You came.

Lord of all.

Angels threw a surprise party for shepherds,
sharing the life-changing, world-rocking news:
You arrived!

You came for everyone,
young virgins, faithful young men,
shepherds, old men, old women,
Gentiles and Jews.

You came for me and for them.

Oh that I will run with the shepherds —
proclaim with Simeon and Anna —
God is with us!

Oh come, let us adore Him!

Monday, June 21, 2010

No Impossibilities • Luke 1

"Nothing, you see, is impossible with God."
Luke 1:37

"Blessed Woman, who believed what God said, 
believed every word would come true!" 
Luke 1:45

"Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, 
God's Sunrise will beak in upon us, 
shining on those in the darkness, 
those sitting in the shadow of death, 
then showing us the way, 
one foot at a time, down the path of peace."  
Luke 1:78-79

With You, nothing is impossible.

Your Light breaks through
the deepest dark,
cuts through the darkest confusion,
enlightens total misunderstanding.

All that we see
that blocks our way
making progress impossible —
is merely a stepping stone for You.

In Your mercy
You use broken, earthen vessels
to carry out impossible tasks
for Your glory.

Your mercy engulfs us
removing the chains that have bound us,
bringing freedom, forgiveness and healing.

Your Light comes and breaks through our darkness —
lighting the way, removing the shadow of death,
showing us the steps we are to take.

You take an old man and an old woman
and make them new parents.
You take a humble, young virgin and make her
the mother of the King of Kings.

You bring new life to old hearts,
worn and beaten down by the world.

You take faithful belief
and flood it with life —
filling mouths with new songs.

With You, nothing is impossible.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Psalm

You're blessed when you stay on course, 
walking steadily on the road revealed by God.

You're blessed when you follow His directions,
doing your best to find Him.

That's right — you don't go off on your own;
you walk straight along the road He set.

You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
now You expect us to live it.

Oh, that my steps might be steady,
keeping to the course you set;
Then I'd never have any regrets
in comparing my life with Your counsel.

I thank You for speaking straight from Your heart;
I learn the pattern of Your righteous ways.

I'm going to do what You tell me to do;
don't ever walk off and leave me.

Psalm 119:1-8

Friday, June 18, 2010

Simply Follow • Ecclesiastes 12

But regarding anything beyond this, 
dear friends, go easy. 
There's no end to the publishing of books, 
and constant study wears you out 
so you're no good for anything else. 
The last and final word is this: 
Fear God. Do what He tells you.
Ecclesiastes 12:12-13

Spending lots of time reading good books,
reading the Bible, going to Bible studies,
spending time in studies and research
may sound good and very spiritual,
but if I put all of that above God and doing what
He tells me to do, it is all worth nothing.

It all comes down to this:
Fear God and do what He says.

If I'm so worn out from getting up
before the sun to have devotions
that I cannot serve my family
in love, with patience and energy,
am I really doing what God has told me to do?

Lord, thank You for making it so simple, really. 
I need to love and honor You above all else. 
I need to do what You say. 
You are the Source of all I need, all that I am. 
You will tell me what to do and how to do it. 
Thank you that I can trust You completely. 
Please help me to love you with my whole being, 
and to show my love for You through my obedience to You. 
Please forgive me for getting distracted 
and going my own way over and over again. 
Thank You for always drawing me back to You.
Jesus said, " 'Love the Lord your God
with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.'
This is the most important, the first on any list.
But there is a second to set alongside it:
'Love others as well as you love yourself.'
These two commands are pegs; 
everything in God's Law and the Prophets
hands from them."

Matthew 22:37-40

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Banish Anxiety • Ecclesiastes 11

...banish anxiety from your heart 
and cast off the troubles of your body, 
for youth and vigor are meaningless. 
Ecclesiastes 11:10 NIV

It slips in so quietly
wrapping its fingers over my shoulders
tightening as it grows.

As thoughts come
urging me to give up - give in -
this is all too much for me, really....
what is wrong with me....
why can't I handle this?
I just want to pull the covers up and hide.

Recognition seeps in.
Anxiety has come.

Lord, hear my cry!
Open my ears to Your voice!

I throw my anxiety to You,
please remove it from me.

I put my trust in You.

I choose to remember who You are,
what You have done.

I am not alone.

You are my Strength.
Your are my Ever Present Help.
You are the Almighty King.
You are my Safe Place to Hide.

My mind, my soul, my heart
finds rest in You alone.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thinking Leads • Ecclesiastes 10

 Dead flies in perfume make it stink, 
and a little foolishness decomposes much wisdom. 
Wise thinking leads to right living; 
stupid thinking leads to wrong living.

The words of a wise person are gracious. 
The talk of a fool self-destructs — 
he starts out talking nonsense 
and ends up spouting insanity and evil. 
Fools talk way too much, 
chattering stuff they know nothing about. 
Ecclesiastes 10:1-2, 12-14

How I think is so vital —
it affects everything
I say and do.

One foolish thought —
one deadly lie
left to fester and grow
does so much damage.

What comes out of my mouth
reveals what is going on
in my head and my heart.

Hurtful words find their source
in a mind churning with lies.
Leading my feet down a dark, lonely path —
the lies grow deeper and stronger
as I feed them with foolish decisions,
rehearsing them with every step I take.

The light of Truth
breaks the power I have given to the lies —
revealing them for what they are
and changes the way I think.

Wisdom, springing from truth,
brings light to my mind,
guiding me down the right paths,
teaching me words of life.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, 
I plead with you to give your bodies to God 
because of all he has done for you. 
Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—
the kind he will find acceptable. 
This is truly the way to worship him. 
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, 
but let God transform you into a new person 
by changing the way you think. 
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, 
which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Really Living • Ecclesiastes 9 Jesus-Style

 Seize life! Eat bread with gusto! 
Drink wine with a robust heart, oh yes — 
God takes pleasure in your pleasure! 
Don't skimp on colors and scarves. 
Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day 
of your precarious life. Each day is God's gift. 
It's all you get in exchange for the 
hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! 
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. 
And heartily! This is your last and only chance 
at it, for there's neither work to do nor thoughts 
to think in the company of the dead 
where your most certainly headed. 
Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

... cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ — 
the Message — have the run of the house. 
Give it plenty of room in your lives. 
Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. 
And sing, sing your hearts out to God! 
Let every detail in your lives — 
words, actions, whatever — be done 
in the name of the Master, Jesus, 
thanking God the Father every step of the way. 
Colossians 3:15-17

Do your best. Work from the heart 
for your real Master, for God, 
confident that you'll get paid in full 
when you come into your inheritance. 
Keep in mind always that the ultimate 
Master you're serving is Christ. 
Colossians 3:23-24

Live creatively, friends. Make a careful exploration 
of who you are and the work you have been given, 
and then sink yourself into that. 
Don't be impressed with yourself. 
Don't compare yourself with others. 
Each of you must take responsibility for 
doing the creative best you can with your own life. 
Galatians 6:1, 4-5

Solomon's words are wise
and are very good advise.

To take this gift of life
we've been given
and run with it.

Live life to its fullest.
Take joy in each day.

On our own,
left to our own devices,
living only for our own pleasure
will eventually become burdensome and stale.

And lonely.

Full, exuberant lives
may be exciting and wild —
they still lead to death —
without Jesus.

Believing in Jesus
yet clinging so desperately
to what we have.
Hiding, hoarding, holding back,
playing it safe...

that's not living!

Jesus came to give us
real life, wild and free,
creative and full —
spreading life and love
all around.

Stepping out,
running with our Savior,
boldly following where He leads,
thankfully acknowledging all He does for us,
joyfully accepting this gift of life...

now that is living.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Obeying the King • Ecclesiastes 8

Do what your king commands; 
you gave a sacred oath of obedience. 
Don't worryingly second-guess your orders 
or try to back out when the task is unpleasant. 
You're serving his pleasure, not yours. 
The king has the last word.
Who dares say to him, "What are you doing?" 
Carrying out orders won't hurt you a bit; 
the wise person obeys promptly and accurately. 
Yes, there's a right time and way for everything, 
even though, unfortunately, we miss it for the most part. 
It's true that no one knows what's going to happen, or when. 
Who's around to tell us? 
Ecclesiastes 8:2-7

You are my King.

No earthly king are You,
God of the Angel Armies,
Lord of Hosts.

You spoke the world into being,
You named the stars you created —
setting them in galaxies across
the black velvet vastness of space.

Your words are truth.
You can be trusted,
You never fail,
You never change.

To follow what You say,
to do what You command
sets my feet on solid ground
gives light to my eyes
and direction to my life.

You command out of love,
providing all that is needed
to obey.

You are my King
at Your feet I bow.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. 
Although I felt awful at the time, 
I don't feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. 
The letter upset you, but only for a while. 
Now I'm glad — not that you were upset, 
but that you were jarred into turning things around. 
You let the distress bring you to God, 
not drive you from Him. The result was all gain, no loss.

Distress that drives us to God does that. 
It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. 
We never regret that kind of pain. 
But those who let distress drive them away from God 
are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.

2 Corinthians 7:8-9

I clutched at my pain 
wrapped up in pride 
and ran for the darkness

Arrows launched in self-defense
wounded all around

Pride billowed 
like so much smoke
filling the air
snuffing out light

built up
adding to the fortification
increasing the distance
Deadly anger
dripped its poison
covered by the lies
of a proud heart

whirling thoughts

Where did this begin?

How can it end?

The mere flesh wound
became gaping and deadly
with self treatment.

Only the One 
who had been wounded 
for all
can truly heal.

Regret so deep
gratitude so wide
I bring my wounds
to You, Jesus.

So much has been lost.
Please restore.
Please renew.

Please revive.

Friday, June 11, 2010

All from Him • Ecclesiastes 7

On a good day, enjoy yourself; 
on a bad day, examine your conscience. 
God arranges for both kinds of days 
so that we don't take anything for granted. 
Ecclesiastes 7:14

It's best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. 
A person who fears God deals responsibly 
with all of reality, not just a piece of it.
Ecclesiastes 7:18

It all comes from You, Lord!

You allow good days to come
and You allow the bad as ones, too.

Thank You for the lightness and joy
the good days bring.

Thank You for the bad days, too.

In the midst of those hard days,
search my life, open my eyes to
where I need to repent, forgive,
be healed.

Lord, You see it all.
My sight is so restricted
and small.

As I come to You
help me to see with Your
grace and mercy.

Help me to walk patiently
trusting that You know
the way, You see the outcome.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where's the Joy? • Ecclesiastes 6

 Even if someone lived a thousand years — make it two thousand! — 
but didn't enjoy anything, what's the point? 
Doesn't everyone end up in the same place? 
We work to feed our appetites; 
meanwhile our souls go hungry. 
Ecclesiastes 6:6-7

It all seemed so good —
all the things I gave myself to.

Words of praise were given —
smiles of affirmation shined.

Come, this is just right for you —
you don't want to miss out!

Use your gifts —
they bless us so!

We miss out when you
aren't giving, sharing, doing.

Frustration grows
as weariness sets in.

Have to replaces get to.
Do I have to?

Shh. Shh.

Who's voice leads me?
Who leads me to quiet waters
and green pastures?

You give joy today —
Your burden is light
the yoke you place on me is easy.

All the words fill the air like smoke.
Clear them away Lord.

Speak to me in the silence.
I have quieted my heart,
I am tuning my ears to hear Your voice.

Teach me Your ways,
lead me in Your path.

My joy comes from You alone.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Joy in the Present • Ecclesiastes 5

Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, 
both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, 
accepting what's given and delighting in the work. 
It's God's gift! 
God deals out joy in the present, the now. 
It's useless to brood over how long we might live. 
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Watch your step when you enter God's house. 
Enter to learn. That's far better than 
mindlessly offering a sacrifice. 
Doing more harm than good. 
Don't shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think. 
Don't be too quick to tell God what you 
think He wants to hear. God's in charge, not you — 
the less you speak, the better. 
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2

To walk this path
You have laid before me,
in joy, is possible today.

Taking delight
in the life I have been given,
finding purpose in the work
You've assigned my days
is a gift from Your hand.

I quiet my heart, silence my mouth
and enter Your presence.

Watching You,
Watering my heart and mind with
Your Word,
I learn how to live.

So deadly to my life, to my joy,
are the lying thoughts planted
by the one who would steal all
that I have, all that You have given.

Still before You
I shut out all the voices
training my heart to hear
You alone.

Quiet now,
I listen,
I receive,
I live.

When Your words came, I ate them; 
they were my joy and my heart's delight, 
for I bear Your name, O Lord God Almighty. 
Jeremiah 15:16

We use our powerful God-tools for 
smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers 
erected against the truth of God, 
fitting every loose thought and emotion 
and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. 
2 Corinthians 10:5

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 
Proverbs 4:23

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

True Friends • Ecclesiastes 4

It's better to have a partner than to go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down the other helps,
But if there's no one to help, tough!

Two in a bed warm each other.
Alone you shiver all night.
By yourself you're unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.
Ecclesiastes 4:4:9-12

Just this morning I have been reminded the priceless 
value of a true friend. I have a true friend 
who's desire is always for my best. 
And that is to take my hand in the midst of a trial,
in the midst of confusion, in the midst of sin, 
in the midst of pain and 
walk with me to the Throne of Grace. 
Together, we enter into the presence 
of our Lord and Savior and together we hear 
His voice and are changed by His grace and mercy.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus. 
Look full in His wonderful face. 
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim 
in the light of His glory and grace!"
Thank You, Father for the friends 
you have placed in my life who walk this road 
with me and walk with me to You. 
Sometimes they drag me kicking and screaming, 
sometimes they patiently wait and pray 
as they quietly point me to the Cross. 
Thank You for the power and blessing of 
believing friends who so enrich my life. 
Thank You for the love, acceptance and 
understanding that You are growing between us. 
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A New Covenant Look at Ecclesiastes 3

But in the end, does it really make 
a difference what anyone does? 
I've had a good look at what 
God has given us to do — 
busywork, mostly.  

Ecclesiastes 3:9-10

These words were written long before Jesus came
to show us how to live, long before He gave His life 
and paid the price for our sins and definitely long
before He rose from the dead to give us new life.

There are days when I feel that my life
is only busywork... Endless, mindless,
jobs that only need to be redone as soon
as they are completed. It becomes
so heavy and burdensome.

But Jesus came to give us real and eternal life,
more and better than we could ever dream of. (John 10:10)
While on this earth, Jesus showed us and told us
how to live. He told us that what we do
here on this earth is important. How we live,
what we do matters. It reveals what we believe.
It reveals what is in our hearts. 

I started looking up verses to list here 
that give examples that what we do is very important.
There are so many! The New Testament is full of them!
Our lives are to be full of loving God and loving others. 

The last thing Jesus charged His disciples with was this:

"God authorized and commanded me to commission you:
Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near,
in this way of life, marking them by baptism
in the threefold name: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you."

Matthew 28:18-10
Our lives are important, and what we do is just as important.

God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time — 
but He's left us in the dark, so we can never know 
what God is up to, whether He is coming or going.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

There are things we may never understand.
Questions that may always go unanswered.

And yet, He has not left us completely in the dark!

"But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, 
He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak
on His own; He will speak only what He hears, 
and He will tel you what is yet to come.
He will bring glory to me by taking from
what is mine and making it known to you. 
All that belongs to the Father is mine. 
That is why I said the Spirit will take 
from what is mine and make
it known to you."

John 16:13-15

As believers, we are not left alone to 
fumble through this life in the dark!

We have His Spirit within us to teach us, 
to remind us what He has taught us,
to pray for us in the will of God.

Humans and animals come to the same end — 
humans die, animals die. We all breathe the 
same air. So there's really no advantage in being human.

Ecclesiastes 3:19

As humans, we have been made in the 
image of God, we are not merely animals.
As believer's God places His Spirit in us
as a seal to mark that we are His.
He is our promise that we will 
spend eternity with Him.

"God created human beings; 
He created them godlike, reflecting God's nature."

Genesis 1:27

"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm
in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of
ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts 
as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

There is Time • Ecclesiastes 3

"There's an opportune time to do things, 
a right time for everything on the earth."
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Living in step with you, Father,
trusting You to show me the way,
I will live in the season I am in and
embrace the purpose of this
particular time in my life.

Thank You that there is
time for everything.
I don't have to rush through
or pile on what there is not
time for right now.

Help me to do just what You
show me to do,
not worrying about what
I think I might be missing out on
or not doing.

There is time,
an opportune time for
everything under heaven.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Psalm • Psalm 113


You who serve God, praise God!
Just to speak His name is praise!

Just to remember God is a blessing —
now and tomorrow and always.
From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
keep lifting all your praises to God!

God is higher than anything and anyone,
outshining everything you can see in the skies.
Who can compare with God, our God,
so majestically enthroned, 
surveying His magnificent heavens and earth?

He picks up the poor from out of the dirt,
rescues the wretched who've been thrown
out with the trash, seats them among the honored guests,
a place of honor among the brightest and best.

He gives childless couples a family,
gives them joy as the parents of children.


Friday, June 4, 2010

All for Nothing • Ecclesiastes 2

 Everything I wanted I took — I never said no to myself. 
I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. 
I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task — 
my reward to myself for a hard day's work! 
Ecclesiastes 2:10

Then I took a good look at everything I'd done, 
looked at all the sweat and hard work. 
But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. 
Smoke and spitting into the wind. 
There was nothing to any of it. Nothing. 
Ecclesiastes 2:11

I work so hard every day
just to have it all undone —
just to have to do it all over again
and again...

settles in and I wallow.

What's in it for me?

Where is my reward?

Why do I do all this?

With my eyes locked tight
on me and my desires
all of my work is for nothing.

Dust in the wind.
Ashes blown to sea.

Lord, what are You whispering
to my heart today?

Do your best. Work from the heart 
for your real Master, for God, 
confident that you'll get paid in full 
when you come into your inheritance. 
Keep in mind always that the ultimate 
Master you're serving is Christ. 
Colossians 3:23-24

Don't hoard treasure down here 
where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust 
or — worse! — stolen by burglars. 
Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe 
from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious isn't it? 
The place where your treasure is, 
is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. 
Matthew 6:19-21

Heaven and earth will pass away, 
but my words will never pass away. 
Matthew 24:35

True, the grass withers and the wild flowers fade, 
but our God's Word stands firm and forever.
Isaiah 40:8

Live in Me. Make your home in Me just as I do in you. 
In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself 
but only by being joined to the vine, 
you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with Me. 
I am the Vine, you are the branches. 
When you're joined with me and I with you, 
the relation intimate and organic, 
the harvest is sure to be abundant. 
Separated, you can't produce a thing. 
John 15:4-5

Love one another the way I loved you. 
This is the very best way to love. 
Put your life on the line for your friends. 
John 15:12-13

Oh Father, I can be so "me" oriented! 
Too often I am striving to do what pleases me, 
what seemingly gains me the most, 
what makes me the most comfortable. 
But, so lovingly in Your Word, You show me that 
all that striving comes to nothing. 
When I am working for myself in my own effort, 
and apart from You, I can do NOTHING.

Connected to You, doing what You show me to do, 
in Your strength, filled up with Your Word — 
will produce fruit that lasts — treasure in heaven.

Forgive me, Father, for being so self-focused. 
Help me to live in You, working for You and for others. 
Please produce Your fruit in my life — 
everlasting fruit that glorifies You.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Utterly Boring • Ecclesiastes 1

Everything's boring, utterly boring — 
no one can find any meaning in it. 
Boring to the eye, boring to the ear. 
What was will be again, 
what happened will happen again. 
There's nothing new on this earth. 
Year after year it's the same old thing. 
Does someone call out, "Hey, this is new"? 
Don't get excited — it's the same old story. 
Ecclesiastes 1:8-10

I wake up in the dark
hearing the baby cry
wanting me to hold her,
wanting me.

I plop her back in her bed
and stumble out to the kitchen.

Dishes wait to go be put away,
my stomach grumbles to be fed.

Books, papers, toys, headphones
lay scattered in places they should not be.

Dust floats in the sunlight that
that shines through finger smudged windows.

Another day, full of the same things
that happened yesterday.

Dishes, dust, dirt.
Crayons, cries, crumbs.

Laundry waits to be folded,
the vacuum waits to be used.


Didn't I just do that yesterday?
The sameness never ends.

Where is the new, the fresh, the exciting?
Is this all there is to life?

The same Bible, the same verses,
pen and notebook wait to be used
as I ask You to speak.

Show me what You want me to see.

And there it is.
There You are.

You speak through Words
I have read so many times before.

The fresh Word floods my mind,
overflowing to my heart.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Counting on God's Rule to Prevail • Habakkuk 3

"God, I've heard what our ancestors say about You, 
and I'm stopped in my tracks, down on my knees."
Habakkuk 3:1

"Though the cherry trees don't blossom 
and the strawberries don't ripen, 
though the apple are worm-eaten 
and the wheat fields stunted, 
though the sheep pens are sheepless 
and the cattle barns empty, 
I'm singing joyful praise to God. 
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. 
Counting on God's Rule to prevail, 
I take heart and gain strength. 
I run like a deer. I feel like I'm king of the mountain!" 
Habakkuk 3:17-19

"But the person in right standing before God
through loyal and steady believing 
is fully alive, really alive." 
Habakkuk 2:4

All around is darkness,
no light can been seen,
no ray of hope comes
dripping into the shadows.

Crushing down,
the weight of it all seems
relentless, endless.

When will it end?


Oh the effort it takes to turn!
Forcing memories to come,
putting pen to paper,
the list begins.

it starts to form,
deep in the cracks,
it begins, drop by drop.

Creeping up over the treetops,
the first rays of light
break into the night.

As the remembrance continues
shaky legs strengthen,
faith bubbles up
and arms begin to raise.

You are the same all powerful One
who spoke the world into being,
who destroyed it all in the great waters
and restored it to life once more.

You are still the God who makes lakes into highways,
turns rocks into water pitchers and shepherds into kings.

Before You my heart sings and my mouth shouts praise!
You are the One and Only God!

When I choose to remember Who You are and
All that You have done,
Light bursts forth and the darkness flees.
Living water gushes forth and brings new life.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Afternoon Praise • Psalm 138

Thank You!

Everything in me says "Thank You!"
I kneel in worship facing Your holy temple 
and say it again: "Thank You!"
Thank You for Your love, thank You for Your faithfulness;
Most holy is Your name, most holy is Your Word.
The moment I called out, You stepped in;
You made my life large with strength.
When they hear what You have to say, God, 
all earth's kings will say
"Thank You." 

They'll sing of what You've done:
"How great the glory of God!"

And here's why: 
God, high above, sees far below;
no matter the distance, 
He knows everything about us.

When I walk into the thick of trouble,
keep me alive in the angry turmoil.

With one hand strike my foes,
with the other hand save me.

Finish what You started in me, God.
Your love is eternal —
don't quit on me now.

~ Psalm 138 ~

Really, Fully Alive • Habakkuk 2

"Look at that man, bloated by self-importance — 
full of himself but soul-empty. 
But the person in right standing before God 
through loyal and steady believing is fully alive, really alive." 
Habakkuk 2:4

Real life. Fully alive.

When I believe You,
living my life fully trusting You,
walking in the way You lead me —

I am Really Alive. Fully Alive.

Standing before You,
in full acceptance,
clean hands,
pure heart.

Not because of what I have done,
but by freely receiving what
You have done.

The way that I choose on my own
leads to temporary comfort —
temporary comfort that will
eventually completely rip apart
and destroy every part of me.

The damage is done not only
to myself, my own life,
my self reliance, my self-belief,
hurts and destroys lives that I may never see.

I lay it all down again,
my way, my self, my precious wants,
and walk away.

I believe in You.
I will wait for You.
I will be Fully, Really Alive.