Friday, July 30, 2010

No other gods... • Daniel 5

"You are his son and have known all this, 
yet you're as arrogant as he ever was. Look at you, setting 
yourself up in competition against the Master of heaven! 
You had the sacred chalices from His Temple 
brought into your drunken party so that you and your nobles, 
your wives and your concubines, could drink from them. 
You used the sacred chalices to toast your gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, 
wood and stone — blind, deaf and imbecile gods. 
But you treat with contempt the living 
God who holds your entire life from birth to death in His hand. 
Daniel 5:22-23

He knew better.
Yet he did not learn.
He refused to acknowledge You.

So puffed up in arrogance,
yet so ignorant of You and Your ways.

How foolish he was to honor
metal and stone,
instead of the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
Creator of all, who held the king's life in His hands.

Oh that I would be zealous in honoring You.
Make me wholly devoted to You alone, Lord.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Choosing the Wilderness

Just a few more thoughts that I had on Daniel 4. :-)

Wouldn't it be great if all it took to turn us away from our sin was a warning? 
But far too often, we hang on needing to go through 
the wilderness of despair until we see the damage being done 
and finally we let go of it, smash it to bits, 
turn from it and run to God.

Nebuchadnezzar had a wildly vivid dream, 
had his top advisor and Godly man Daniel 
come and interpret it for him, had a clearly laid out warning 
regarding his sin and what to do, and still, he hung on.

Fortunately for him, God is true to His Word.

Seven years out in the wilderness. 
Living like a wild animal, eating grass, crazy as a loon.... 
and then he turned and worshiped God.

Oh that all it took was a warning, a dream, 
an insight from a friend, a whisper from the Holy Spirit!

Oh Father, soften my heart. 
Give me a hatred, a complete and 
thorough hatred for sin, so that I will not even allow it near me. 
Fill me with love for You, draw me close, 
help me to see that You are all I need.

Make a Clean Break • Daniel 4

"Make a clean break with your sins 
and start living for others. 
Quit your wicked life and 
look after the needs of the down-and-out. 
Then you will continue to have a good life."

Daniel 4:27

Leave it behind.
Don't look back.
Sever the connection.
Turn and live.

He loves us so much!
Oh how He loves us!
Even evil, prideful, self-obsessed kings...
He loves them, too.

Sin brings death.
Clinging to my pride
chokes me, cuts me off
from the Life giving flow.

This life is not about me.
It is not for me to build myself up,
to live in comfort, avoiding all that brings pain.

As I choose to lay it down,
giving myself to You, to others,
You lift me up, You give me life.

"It is my privilege to report to you the gracious miracles 
that the High God has done for me. 
His miracles are staggering, 
His wonders are surprising. 
His kingdom lasts and lasts, 
His sovereign rule goes on forever."

Daniel 4:2-3

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Complete Trust • Daniel 3

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, 
"Your threat means nothing to us. 
If you throw us in the fire, 
the God we serve can rescue us 
from your roaring furnace and anything else 
you might cook up, O king. 
But even if He doesn't, 
it wouldn't make a bit of difference, O king. 
We still wouldn't serve your gods or 
worship the gold statue you set up."
Daniel 3: 16-18

Firm, unwavering, steadfast.

Complete faith
that You are able,
that Your way is best,
that You can do what You say You can do.

God, thank You that You are able.
You are high above all the earth and all who are on the earth.
Earthly kings and gods are nothing compared to You.
You made fire and flood, they are nothing compared to You.
Thank you that I can trust you completely with my life.
You may choose to save me from the flames, or
I may be called to walk through them.
But You will always be with me.

Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called your name. You're mine.
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place,
it won't be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.

Isaiah 43:1-3

In the same way I was with Moses, 
I'll be with you. 
I won't give up on you; 
I won't leave you. Strength! Courage! 
Joshua 1:5-6

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Secret Teller • Daniel 2

"Blessed be the name of God, forever and ever. 
He knows all, does all: 
He changes the seasons and guides history, 
He raises up kings and also brings them down, 
He provides both intelligence and discernment, 
He opens up the depths, tells secrets, sees in the dark — 
light spills out of Him! God of all my ancestors, 
all thanks! all praise! You made me wise and strong. 
And now you've shown us what we've asked for. 
You've solved the king's mystery."
Daniel 2:19-23

Faced with the impossible
Daniel went straight to God.

An unknowable dream,
death looming,
he acted wisely, seeking time,
completely confident that
His God could save him.

Truth was revealed,
the mystery was solved.
Daniel praised God,
acknowledging that He
was the Secret Teller.

Humbly, Daniel shared with
the king what was revealed.
Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom
would one day come to an end,
but God was building an eternal
kingdom — world without end, Amen!

Daniel sought no glory for himself,
but boldly proclaimed God's Word,
giving Him all the credit and all his gratitude.

Through Daniel's humility,
Nebuchadnezzar saw God revealed
and acknowledged Him as
"the God of all gods, the Master of all kings".

"But there is a God in heaven who solves mysteries, 
and He has solved this one." 
Daniel 2:28
Dear Lord, I thank You that You are the God in heaven
who solves mysteries. I thank You that You can see in the
dark and that nothing is a surprise to You. 
I am so thankful that I can come to You with the
mysteries in my life and know that You know the answers,
You, who spills light, can lead me and show me
the way to go. Thank you, Lord!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Determining to Obey • Daniel 1

Four young men from Judah — Daniel, Hananiah, 
Mishael, and Azariah — were among those selected.
Daniel 1:6

But Daniel determined that he would not defile himself... 
Daniel 1:8

God gave these four young men knowledge 
and skill in both books and life. In addition, 
Daniel was gifted in understanding 
all sorts of visions and dreams. 
Daniel 1:17

Daniel and his friends were placed in a very challenging 
and unusual situation. Here they were, exiles in Babylon — 
removed completely from their homeland and 
all that they had ever known as they grew up in Judah. 
And now, here they were, being trained up in the 
Babylonian culture in order to be of service to the king.

They were young, possibly VERY young. 
They were given new names. Their Jewish names celebrated God. 
Their Babylonian names celebrated Babylons gods. 
They were being schooled in the language and ways of the Babylonians.

This all must have seemed so big and scary and wrong! 
How could being trained up in the ways of Babylon be serving God? 
How could being totally immersed in a 
Godless culture be the right thing to do? 
They so easily could have turned from God 
and all that they had learned growing up.

God had a plan and a calling for them. 
They stayed strong. They firmly trusted God. 
They determined — made a purposeful choice and acted on that choice — 
not to defile themselves.

Daniel took a chance, a big chance, 
by requesting that they eat different food. 
But, he made his request respectfully and full of trust in God.

God granted them favor with the head of the palace staff. 
He blessed their obedience. 
He further blessed them with knowledge and skill 
and even gave Daniel special gifts.

These gifts were given to further serve 
God and others with their lives.

As a mother, I am challenged to raise up my kids 
in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. 
I am challenged to demonstrate trust and reliance 
on God for my kids, so that they learn from my example. 
The mothers of these Hebrew boys must have been faithful 
in the training up of their children, for these young men 
to be so faithful to God in the face of so much adversity.

What also stands out to me is how 
God blesses obedience. He is so faithful. 
He called these young men to a big task, 
but as they followed Him in obedience, 
He gave them what they needed 
to do what He called them to do.

"May God Himself, the God who makes everything 
holy and whole, make you holy and whole, 
put you together —spirit, soul, and body — 
and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. 
The One who called you is completely dependable. 
If He said it, He'll do it!"
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Remember His Words • Luke 24

Then they remembered Jesus' words. 

Luke 24:8

Oh that I would remember
Your words, Jesus!

Your words are Life!
Your words are Truth!

You lead me in the way I should go.
Your Word is full of Your words.

As I read, as I memorize Your words,
I pray that You will help me to
always remember what You say to me.

Your Word is a Lamp to my feet.
Your Word is Truth.
Your Word stands firm —
Your Word lasts forever.

When I live my life
remembering Your words,
I know You more,
I know what pleases You,
I know what You are like,
I know how You want me to live.

Open Your word to me, Jesus!
Fill me with the fire of Your Word.

"Didn't we feel on fire as He 
conversed with us on the road, 
as He opened up the Scriptures for us?"

Luke 24:32

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Clear Direction • Luke 22

They left, found everything 
just as He told them.... 
Luke 22:13

To the vast crowds
You were a mystery
Speaking in parables
That few could understand

But to those who left all
To follow You
To the ones who knew You
Believed in You
Loved You
You explained, clarified, taught, led

So clearly and carefully
You told them every step
Telling them what to do
How to do it
What to expect

You provided for every detail
They just had to listen and follow through

"Keep your eyes open as you enter the city...."
"He will show you a spacious second-story room..."
"Prepare the meal there"

You told them You would be betrayed
One of them would betray You
Lead by serving
Denial will occur
Prepare for the time to come

You did not leave Your own
In the dark

You will not, do not
Leave me in the dark

You lead me in the way I should go
You tell me what to do
You provide for my needs

You gave all
So that I might live

Oh how You love us!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Desperate for Jesus

A blind man was sitting beside the road 
asking for handouts. 
When he heard the rustle of the crowd, 
he asked what was going on. The told him, 
"Jesus the Nazarene is going by."

He yelled, "Jesus! Son of David!" 
Mercy, have mercy on me!" 
Luke 18:35-38

 Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. 
There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, 
the head tax man and quite rich. 
He wanted desperately to see Jesus, 
but the crowd was in his way — 
he was a short man and 
couldn't see over the crowd. 
So he ran on ahead and climbed up 
in a sycamore tree so 
he could see Jesus when He came by.
Luke 19:1-4

Two men
Two blind men
One physically blind
One spiritually blind

Desperate for Jesus

Crowds of people
blocked their way
kept them from Jesus

Deep desire
Drove them

Yelling out
Climbing up
They reached for Him

And He came

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Complete Dependence • Luke 18

Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, 
"Do you have any idea 
how difficult it is for people 
who have it all to enter God's kingdom? 
I'd say it's easier to thread a camel 
through a needle's eye 
than get a rich person 
into God's kingdom."

"Then who has any chance at all?" 
the others asked.

"No chance at all," Jesus said, 
"if you think you can pull it off by yourself. 
Every chance in the world 
if you trust God to do it."
Luke 18:24-27

"Mark this: Unless you accept 
God's kingdom in the 
simplicity of a child, 
you'll never get in." 
Luke 18:17

Simple faith.

Trusting completely in You.
That is all You require.
That is all You desire.

Complete reliance on You,
like an infant in her mother's arms.

Only You can
supply all that I need.

Only through You
can I really live.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pictures of Faith • Luke 17

from Luke 17:

"Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. 
If he responds, forgive him. 
Even if it's personal against you and 
repeated seven times through the day, 
and seven times he says, 
'I'm sorry, I won't do it again,' forgive him."

The apostles came up and 
said to the Master, "Give us more faith."

But the Master said, "You don't need more faith. 
There is not 'more' or 'less' faith." 
(vs. 3-6)

"Does the servant get special thanks
for doing what's expected of him? 
It's the same with you. 
When you've done everything expected of you, 
be matter-of-fact and say, 
'The work is done. 
What we were told to do, we did.' " 
(vs. 9-10)

One of them, when he realized that he was healed, 
turned around and came back, 
shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. 
He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. 
He couldn't thank him enough...
(vs. 15-16)

"Your faith has healed and saved you." 
(vs. 19)

"If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, 
you'll lose it, but if you let that life go, 
you'll get life on God's terms."
 (vs. 33)

Jesus just told the disciples to do something very difficult.
Forgive, again and again.
Even when it seems that the person will never change.
Even when it's personal.

They just didn't see how they could do that.
More faith is what they thought they needed.
They just needed to obey.

Jesus illustrated His point
with a story about a servant
who was expected to do his job,
even when it was hard —
without any thanks.

Faith obeys.

Does gratitude to God
reveal our faith in Him?

Did the leper who returned to
give thanks to Jesus
received salvation as well as healing?

Was this because his faith was revealed
in his gratitude?

Faith gives thanks.

Only God and what He has for us will last.
Anything else, everything else we
try to hold on to — insist on keeping —
will be burned.

If we let go of our wants, our control,
God can give us all that He has for us.

Faith lets go of what we think we need
and grasps onto God.

Faith lets go and accepts from Him.

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Thoughts on Luke 16:9

I had some further thoughts on Luke 16:9 that I wanted to share.

This Kingdom Life is not only about striving to be good,
adhering to the Law as carefully as we can,
dotting each "i" and crossing each "t".

We are to concentrate our attention on the bare essentials:
The Gospel, loving God, and sharing the The Gospel with others.

There are people all around us who need Jesus.
They need us to be able to relate to them where they are at.

We will run into adversity as we live this Kingdom Life,
seeking the Lost – offering them the Bread of Life.

We need to do more than just keep ourselves from falling into sin.
We need to stick to the basics of our faith and creatively give out what we have been given.

"I want you to be smart in the same way — 
but for what is right — 
using every adversity to stimulate you 
to creative survival, to concentrate your attention 
on the bare essentials, so you'll live, really live, 
and not complacently just getting by on good behavior."
Luke 16:9

Creative Survival • Luke 16

"I want you to be smart in the same way — 
but for what is right — using every adversity 
to stimulate you to creative survival, 
to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, 
so you'll live, really live, 
and not complacently just get by on good behavior."
Luke 16:9

Problems and trials will come.
You have told us this is so.
So we are not surprised when they come.

These challenges shouldn't stop us in our tracks,
we need not be immobilized by indecision or fear.

You love creativity.
You are creative!
You made us in Your image.

You want us to get out there in Your mighty power
and creatively live!

With You, we can move mountains!
With You, we can find a way through the water,
crossing on dry land.

Stir me up, Lord!
Energize me to move,
ignite me with Your creative fire.

Help me to see beyond
what is good, ok, safe.

I want to soar with You,
painting the world around me
in bold strokes full of the color of Your glory.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Psalm • Psalm 119:33-40

God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what You tell me —
my whole life one long, obedient response.

Guide me down the road of Your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!

Give me a bent for Your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.

Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.

Affirm Your promises to me —
promises made to all who fear You.

Deflect the harsh words of my critics —
but what You say is always so good. 

See how hungry I am for Your counsel; 
preserve my life through Your righteous ways!

Psalm 119:33-40

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Psalm • Psalm 119:25-32

 I'm feeling terrible — I couldn't feel worse!
Get me on my feet again. 
You promised, remember?

When I told my story, you responded;
train me well in your deep wisdom.

Help me understand these things inside and out
so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.

My sad life's dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
build me up again by your Word;

Barricade the road that goes to Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don't let me down!
I'll run the course you lay out for me
if you'll just show me how.
Psalm 119:25-32

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lost and Found • Luke 15

"The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. 
His father came out and tried to talk to him, 
but he wouldn't listen. The son said, '
Look how many years I've stayed here serving you, 
never giving you one moment of grief, 
but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? 
Then this son of yours who has 
thrown away your money on whores 
shows up and you go all out with a feast!'

"His father said, 'Son, you don't understand. 
You're with me all the time, 
and everything that is mine is yours — 
but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. 
This brother of yours was dead and he's alive! 
He was lost, and he's found!'"

Luke 15:28-32

I once was lost,
but now am found...

I was the lost sheep
You left all to find.

The misplaced coin
discovered in a coat pocket.

Safe in the fold,
warm in Your comfort
have I forgotten?

Do I realize what is mine?
Do I remember all that You are, all that You do?

Am I fretting in the kitchen,
serving, working hard to do what needs to be done —
striving in my own strength,
forgetting all that is Yours is mine?

Am I complaining, resenting my calling
as others seemingly run free doing whatever
they please?

Remember, Christa,
remember all that He has done for you —
all that is yours because He calls you "Mine".

Kingdom eyes see Him,
catching glimpses of His handiwork
within and all around.

Kingdom minds remember and rehearse
the benefits of being His child.

Kingdom mouths open quickly in praise,
letting all who will listen know
what He has done.

Kingdom hearts rejoice and celebrate
when one who was lost is found,
joining in with the angels as they dance with joy.

Thank You, Father
for all You have done.
Please help me to stay focused on You.
Help me to grow into my Kingdom life,
that sees You all around, that is quick to remember
and share all that You have done,
and is quick to celebrate when
those who are lost are found.

O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I'll bless His holy name!

O my soul, bless God,
don't forget a single blessing!

Psalm 103:1-2

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Leaving Behind • Luke 14

"Is there anyone here who, 
if a child or animal fell down a well, 
wouldn't rush to pull him out immediately, 
not asking whether or not it was the Sabbath?"

"If you walk around with your nose in the air, 
you're going to end up flat on your face. 
But if you're content to be simply yourself, 
you will become more than yourself."

"The next time you put on a dinner... 
Invite some people who never get invited out, 
the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. 
You'll be — and experience — a blessing."

"Simply put, if you're not willing 
to take what is dearest to you, 
whether plans or people, 
and kiss it good-bye, 
you can't be my people." 
Luke 14:5, 11-13, 33

To follow You
is to walk away
from all the ways, things, thoughts, people
that hold me back
from Life.

I leave behind
false pictures of who I am
and who others are.

I leave behind
rules and boxes
that stifle love and healing.

I leave behind
excuses, inadequacies, comfort
for accepting, including, selflessness.

To follow You
I must leave behind
all that is mine —
to gain all that is Yours.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Time and Attention • Luke 13

 Then He told them a story: 
"A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. 
He came to it expecting to find apples, 
but there weren't any. He said to his gardener, 
'What's going on here? 
For three years now I've come to this tree 
expecting apples and not one apple have I found. 
Chop it down! 
Why waste good ground with it any longer?'

"The gardener said, 'Let's give it another year. 
I'll dig around it and fertilize, 
and maybe it will produce next year; 
it it doesn't, then chop it down.'" 

Luke 13:6-9

"Put your mind on your life with God. 
The way to life — to God! — 
is vigorous and requires your total attention."

Luke 13:24

Thank You, for Your patience, Lord.
You have not chopped me down yet.

Please help me to place my
whole attention on You.

Please help me to be willing
to take the time and the effort
needed to know You,
to grow in You,
to follow You.

Please give me patience for
those around me who
appear to be stagnant, barren, fruitless.

Help me to see myself in them.
Help me to encourage them to join me
in working the soil of our lives
so that together we can grow
in our love and knowledge of You -
producing life giving fruit in due season.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Changing My Audience • Luke 11

 "Here's what I'm saying:
Ask and you'll get;
Seek and you'll find;
Knock and the door will open.

"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. 
Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, 
hide-and-seek game we're in."

Luke 11:9-10

I had read chapter 11 this morning and was writing 
down many verses that were jumping out as I read, 
but was unable to spend any more time on writing out a share. 
And now I see why.

After spending some time over coffee with a 
couple of dear friends, I realized that there are at least 
a few things in my life that I need to be seeking God's direction on. 
There are also some needs that I need to bring before Him as well.

This evening I found myself wishing that I could talk 
with a very dear friend and have her tell me what she thinks 
God wants me to do in a certain area of my life.


I could almost hear God chuckle as He 
reminded me of the verses in Luke 11 
that I read this morning.

I need to do the work of asking, seeking, knocking. 
I need to have the faith that He is listening 
and that He will answer and provide 
for each and every need that I have.

Instead of walking around thinking about my questions 
and my needs, I just need to change my audience! 
I am a daughter of the King of Kings! 
I have direct access to the ear of God! 
I can simply ask for what I need, 
and know that He will answer. 
He's not into playing games, 
or making me hunt down His will for me. 
He loves me! He has my best in His will!

Thank You, Lord!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dancing in Blessing Showers

 "Now it's time to change your ways!
Turn to face God so He can wipe away your sins,
pour out showers of blessing to refresh you,
and send you the Messiah 
He prepared for you, namely, Jesus.

Acts 3:19-20

No fire and brimstone.
No scary words yelled with spit flying,
hands pounding as the wooden pulpit rocks.

Turning from sin, darkness, death.
Turning towards forgiveness, light, life.

Oh how You love us!

I turn to You.
Wipe me clean.
Pour out Your blessing showers
and I'll dance with Jesus
splashing in the puddles of 
grace, mercy, and joy.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday Psalm • Psalm 119:17-24

 Be gracious with me and I'll live a full life;
not for a minute will I take my eyes off Your road.

Open my eyes so I can see
what You show me of Your miracle-wonders.

I'm a stranger in these parts;
give me clear directions.

My soul is starved and hungry, ravenous! —
insatiable for Your nourishing commands.

And those who think they know so much,
ignoring everything You tell them — 
let them have it!

Don't let them mock and humiliate me;
I've been careful to do just what You said.

While bad neighbors maliciously gossip about me,
I'm absorbed in pondering Your wise counsel.

Yes, Your sayings on life are what give me delight;
I listen to them as to good neighbors!

Psalm 119:17-24

Friday, July 2, 2010

You're Here! • Luke 10

"See what I have given you? 
Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, 
and protection from every assault of the Enemy. 
No one can put a hand on you. 
All the same, the great triumph 
is not in your authority over evil, 
but in God's authority over you 
and presence with you. 
Not what you do for God 
but what God does for you — 
that's the agenda for rejoicing." 

Luke 10:19-20

"The Master said, 'Martha, dear Martha, 
you're fussing far too much and 
getting yourself worked up over nothing. 
One thing only is essential, 
and Mary has chosen it — 
it's the main course, 
and won't be taken from her.'"

Luke 10:41-42

You are here.
God has come
to live in the world
You have created.

To walk this road
along side me
before me
behind me
inside me.

The victory
is in submitting
my life
my self
my all
to You.

Your wonderful power
and might
at work
right here
right now.

clouds my view
makes me forget
You are here.

Remind me, Lord
that You are always with me
always at work in me
and around me.

Hanging on Your Words
I commune with You.

Focusing on You
I rely on You
to work through me.

I rejoice in You
and celebrate the 
work of Your hands.