This day…

Father God,

Thank you for THIS day:

  • the one with the problems I don’t have solutions for,
  • the one with the questions with no answers,
  • the one with the wearied spirit I don’t always talk about,
  • the one with the people-shaped problems,
  • the one with the needs I can’t meet and the issues that are WAY over my head,
  • the one with the hurts that haven’t healed and the frustrations that didn’t even make this list.

Thank You for THIS day–

  • the one with all the beauty I might have seen, but not commented on because I was in a rush,
  • the one with all the people I love, but haven’t told today,
  • the one with all of the blessings I overlooked because I was too focused on the blessings I’m still asking for, and
  • the one with the difficulties I might have allowed to loom larger than even You.

Help me to reset and refocus my vision on You, the Giver of all life and the Source of all strength. Help me to seek You first and walk in the way You have prepared for me and choose You and Your way even when it might seem strange or at odds with conventional wisdom and, perhaps, even against the advice of my most trusted ones. Give me the eyes  to see You even when I might feel overwhelmed by the doubt and darkness in the world around me. Help me to bless and not curse my own life by choosing to be less than You have called me to be. Give me courage to choose the God-thing over the good thing and give me the opportunity to speak Your name in praise as I do so. Soften my heart and sharpen my desire for Your Word. Grant me deeper understanding so I can share more of You as I move through Your world and help me to use the resources You’ve provided just as You have intended. Grant me peace, Father, and help me to rest in You and give You praise for all my questions because You are all my answers.

Thank you for this day, Father God. Thank you for Your grace in THIS day.

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Boxes

My old house is empty except for a few things left behind as simple staging. Isn’t that funny? Towels, but no laundry; soap, but no dirt. Setting the stage…for new owners whose lives and livings will be totally different from yours in the same space. It’s actually a bit odd when you think about it, but we set the stage every single day by choosing what we’ll put out for public display in our lives and what we’ve determined that we’re going to take to our grave without sharing.

My new house is full of boxes. The boxes are labeled according to what room they were in back in the old house. I always do that. I label the boxes according to the paint color on the walls of the old house and then I label the doors of the new house according to those same room colors. It means, theoretically, that you’ll have some clue where your stuff is when you need it…assuming you knew where it was located in the old house. (Sometimes it is just a theory. Sometimes the boxes get put in the wrong colored rooms. Yes, that happens.)

I walked through the boxes on Sunday morning and I thought about how our lives are a bit like all those stacked items in containers. We have what we put out on display for everyone to see…and we have those things that we keep contained or hidden or private. Sometimes we keep those things so well hidden that we don’t even share them with those closest to us…for lots of reasons…some of them good and some of them not.

No matter what you’ve chosen to display or hide today, this is your friendly reminder of one very important thing.

God sees it all.

He knows it all.

He knows the hows and the whys and the wheres and all of the details that we’ve managed to forget or remember wrong or even just chosen to stew over.

God sees inside your boxes and He loves you anyway.

There is nothing inside of you that He doesn’t know about and already have a plan to use it for your eventual good. He’s promised to do so, in fact, but He’s also very polite.

He will not barge in and unpack your boxes…your attitudes or your hurts or your prideful things…unless you ask Him.

Ask Him today.

It’s always better to have help with the heavy stuff…and we’re all going to need it eventually, anyway.

Prayer for today:  Thanks for knowing me so well and still loving me, God!  Help me trust You enough to let you unpack all the boxes and the baggage that I have stubbornly refused to unpack before You–as if You didn’t already know all about it!  Give me eyes to see You in the common things of life and help me to remember You love me even when I make mistakes or forget to be grateful.  Use whatever You choose to create a deeper bond between us and make me more like Your Son.  I am Yours…baggage, boxes and all.  Oh, and God, thanks for being mine, as well.

It’s Monday, God…

It’s Monday, God, and we need You…again…still.

Help us to remember our need for worship in our work and remind us of how very worthy You are to receive our praise no matter where we are and what we face this week.

Help us to hear from You as we walk this week and use us to be Your feet and hands to those with whom we share our time and place.

Help us not to shy away from the hard things of life, but to look for You in them, instead.

Help us remember that You are in control (and that our efforts to be so–are wasted).

Remind us of our blessings and give us the strength to choose joy and thankfulness in the midst of those things that may not look like blessings to us right now.

Teach us to see and hear with Your eyes, Your ears…and Your heart.

Love through us and work through us to reach others so that they can see You IN us and know that they can be loved in the same wild, wonderful and passionate way, God.

We are Yours.  Remind us of that when we succeed and when we fail.

We are Yours.  Remind us of that when we wake and before we sleep and in all the hours in between. 

We are Yours.  Use us as You choose to show others how they can be Yours, as well.

Strengthen our bodies for service this week, God, but—even more!—strengthen our hearts to love well and raise our spirits to be in communion with You no matter what task lies before us.

Grant us Your grace and Your favor and help us to extend those gifts to those around us this week.

Grant us joy, God!  Help us to be so full of You that our soul laughter becomes contagious and constant…and beautiful in Your sight.

Thanks for Your provision this week, God!  Thanks for being our Provider and Peace, our Shelter and our Hope!  We need all these things and more. 

Thanks for being the More—no matter what that looks like for each of us because

It’s Monday, God, and we need You…again…still.

I’ll fly away…and pray

During our morning worship yesterday we were treated to a gorgeous accapella rendition of the old gospel favorite “I’ll Fly Away.” It was sung by a very talented sibling trio…who then brought their classical music training and instruments to bear in a seriously rousing instrumental version.  It was wonderful.

Shortly afterwards, we stood, joined in silent corporate prayer and I found myself thanking God for the hope that we have in Him, but asking why we focus so much on the “some glad morning” portion of our life and ignore today.  Why do we wait to ‘fly’ to Him now–right now?  You know, today…when we need Him. 

Many of us have grown accustomed to the concept of ‘praying continuously’ since Paul instucted the church to “pray without ceasing” (NKJV)  in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  There are lots of ways to do this.  Many speak and practice the concept of ‘breath prayers’–simple 1-2 sentence phrases of prayer as they go about their day.  Others are proponents of marking regularly scheduled hours throughout the day with specific prayer topics for each assigned time.  Some people choose to be in a specific location, have a written list of requests, or meet with at least one other person and agree to pray for specific answers to previously determined needs.  Some choose silent prayers while others prefer voices lifted out loud or in accompaniment to music.

Regardless of our prayer method of choice, we’re making a deliberate attempt to communicate with God.  That’s an important part of any on-going relationship:  communication.  And yet, I wonder, what are we holding back?  What holds us back?  It’s not as if God isn’t aware of who we are and what we need–Scripture is very plain about this.  All I know is that for every person I meet, I’m absolutely certain that there is at least one thing that they’ve given thought to that they haven’t brought up before God.  Why is that?  If it is important enough to spend time thinking about, isn’t it the least we can do to ask God what HE thinks about it?

As for me, I’m determined to be completely and deliberately transparent before God.  He already knows what I’m thinking and why.  Should I try to hide it in our conversations? in my prayers?  Sounds a bit silly when you think about it, doesn’t it?…this trying to hide from an Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent God?  Perhaps it is that last little of illusion of control that we’d like to think we still possess.  He loves me–and you!–enough to send His Son to die for our sins, so it simply isn’t possible that whatever we’re spending time on will shock Him into rescinding His gift…and as for our ridiculous notions of control…well…that’s a joke.

So, practically speaking, we need to fly to him–RUN!–to Him today in our prayers!  We need to share those secret sins and sorrows, our goals, our requests, the concerns and needs of others…and yes, the things we’re afraid of and the dreams that we haven’t yet shared with anyone else.  Don’t wait any longer to build on and strengthen your relationship with the God of the universe–the One Who Loves YOU BEST!  Fly to Him in prayer today!  I promise you, it will make that “some glad morning” even sweeter!