Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 21: Here We Are, Send Us!

Please read Isaiah 6:1-8

These meditations have been arranged to reflect the work God accomplished in the life of the Prophet Isaiah, with the expectancy that God would work in our lives, both individually and corporately, in the same manner.
We have sought to enable you to understand and taste of four particular aspects of the prophet’s experience, believing that there would be parallel results.
First, the prophet was brought face to face with his Creator and Savior, where he gazed upon the beauty of His holiness. Secondly, as the prophet was revived by his fresh view of the Lord, he was cut to the heart by his own unworthiness, which was remedied only as he confessed his weakness and the Lord cleansed him from his iniquity. As a result, his heart was transformed into a dwelling place of the Almighty. Finally, in response to all that the Lord had revealed to him, Isaiah declared, “Here I am, send me”, when the Lord made His needs known to him.

Lord, we pray that we may all grasp your beauty and that we might be moved to acknowledge your holiness. We confess that we are unworthy and unfit apart from you. But we give you thanks that you are merciful and gracious to us, that you prepare us to collaborate with you in your great endeavors. Lord, we give ourselves to you to serve in any manner you see fit as you enable us through your abundant grace.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 20: Enabled to Serve

“The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29)

What God has given He doesn’t take back. He does, however, expect faithfulness from those in whom He invests. We are responsible to Him for what we do with His endowments. The Parable of the Talents, where the wealthy investor entrusts his servant with his goods and rewards them accordingly, is evidence enough.
Unfortunately, we often allow our gifts to fall into a state of disrepair; they become inactive and inefficient. We quench the Spirit. But, we must understand that these gifts, big or small (in our own eyes) are of significance to body life. If you feel that your gifts and contributions are unnecessary or unappreciated, you need to consider Paul’s exhortation in I Corinthians 12 where he demonstrates the absolute need of each member of the body, and how they add to the overall well-being of the church.
God expects us to fight through fear and discouragement, and keep the glow of our gifts burning brightly. The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to not shift his gifts into neutral, but to stir them up constantly for the good of the Body of Christ (I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:6).
We serve the Church through the endowments of grace that God deposits in each of our hearts. The Apostle Paul recognized that everything that he accomplished was due to that amazing grace. He testified, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (I Corinthians 15:10). We must, for God’s honor and the good of others, keep our gifts in active service.

Thank God for the gifts He has given to each member of the Body of Christ and for your gifts in particular. Ask Him to forgive you, if you have allowed your gifts to sit idly even as people are in need. Seek Him to help you restore your gifts to vigor. Pray that, if He counts you faithful, to increase your gifting for the benefit of others and His glory.

Matthew 25:13-30

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 19: Spirit Filled Service

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20)

Before Jesus sent His disciples out to conquer the world, He instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, which was and is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told the disciples that this filling would be necessary for them to fulfill their mission. Through the Spirit, they received power to be faithful witnesses to His resurrection as seen in Acts chapter two.
It was so important to be constantly full of the Spirit that they experienced regular fillings from the presence of the Lord. In Acts 4:31, the word says, “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.” Note that they spoke the word with boldness, when they were full of the Spirit.
Should our experience differ from theirs? If we are called to fulfill the same mission Jesus gave the first disciples, and we are, shouldn’t we legitimately expect the same power from on high to come to our aid? Not only should we expect it, we should seek to be filled as they did and as the Apostle Paul instructed us in our Bible text above.

As you wait upon God, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. Tell Him that you are available, but that you need His presence to make a difference in the world through your service. Wait for a fresh anointing.

Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 16:25; Romans 12:11

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 18: Transforming Power

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15).

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)

Paul knew what Timothy needed, if he was going to be effective in the service to which the Lord had called him. The word, ministered through the Spirit, is God agent of change in the lives of all His children who desire to serve in His kingdom. God’s word reveals who God is and what He desires for each of us. It is the standard to which we constantly aspire.
What do we have to give others, if we don’t have His word? Jesus taught His disciples that we are to labor, not for the food that perishes, but for that food which endures to everlasting life (John 6:26-27). He challenged them to partake of His flesh and blood, which repulsed many who followed Him. But He was speaking metaphorically of His word. Later, He plainly told them, “My words are spirit and they are life.”
We must have the word in abundance in our lives to affect the transformation God is looking for in us, but that same spiritual food is medium by which we bless those whom we serve.
We may never preach from a pulpit in a church, but we are all called to manifest God's word to a dying world. St. Francis of Assisi was quoted as saying, “preach the word always, and use words when necessary.” Our example and testimony are the most powerful manifestations of the word of God that the world will ever know.

Thank the Lord for the transforming power of His word in your life as it renews your mind and enlightens you like sun breaking at dawn. Ask Him to make you strong in the word and bold to live it and give it freely to others.

John 1:1, 14; Acts 18:24; Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:16; II Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 4:12; I John 2:14

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 17: Weakness Breeds Strength?

“but he (Jesus) said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:9-10)

Who doesn’t feel weak for the task? We do everything we can to hide, disguise, and make excuses for our weaknesses. Pride gets in our way of God’s intent. When we come to those valleys we can’t or won’t cross, He wants us to look to Him who opened the Red Sea. Maybe our problem isn’t Red Sea sized, but it is, none the less, more than we can handle.
It’s here that so many of us turn back. I thought God wanted me to do this, but there’s just no way it’s going to work! Really? Maybe God brought you out to the borders of impossibility to show you His power and glory. Maybe He wants to demonstrate how His grace can turn your weakness to power.
The Apostle Paul, in our scripture verses today, was desperate to be delivered from the powers that were arrayed against him. He prayed three times. The Lord’s response was, “My grace is sufficient for you...” Paul, instead of being puffed up, humbled himself and embraced his weaknesses knowing that the Lord was about to do something beyond his own ability.
When you think you can’t, think again. Rejoice in your weakness and take a step of faith to serve others in the power of God’s grace.

In humility, ask God to cloth you with His strength by giving you a generous portion of His grace. Tell Him that you won’t turn back from the call, when things get too tough. Thank Him than He knows what you need and that He will supply it in good measure.

I Corinthians 1:25-29; Hebrews 4:14-16; Ephesians 3:14-21; Colossians 1:29

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 16: I'm Ready to Go!

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." (Isaiah 6:8)

At the right time, after the prophet’s iniquity was erased and his guilty conscience relieved, God offered him a stake in His business. We jump too early. The work is barely begun and we think we’re ready, but the transformation and preparation of the heart of a man or woman of God is a meticulous work, which only the One who searches the hearts to their core can understand and accomplish. He won’t send us out to the wolves unprepared. David killed a lion and a bear before he “did in” the giant.
God works on His own time table and He doesn’t always let us know what it is. He, and only He, knows when the work is complete in us for the task at hand. “If the vision tarries”, God told the Prophet Habakkuk, “wait for it; it will surely come”.
Isaiah was willing to wait, but when the time came, he was in perfect step with God. He didn’t even know what God wanted him to do; it didn’t matter. Because he had seen the God he served, he was willing to go without knowing. A heart so yielded may be what God is working in you. It’s a precious and costly thing.

Tell the Lord, in prayer, that you are ready to go now or wait a bit more. Assure Him that you are His and He can do with you as He pleases when He pleases. Thank Him that He is working in the secret places and preparing room for you to give and serve generously.

Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6; 2:13; Hebrews 13:20-21

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 15: Confession to Cleansing

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:8-9)

A worldly man gives no consideration to the condition of his heart before he embarks on a new enterprise, but God begins at the heart. Those whom He calls to serve Him and consequently men, are first brought face to face with their own unworthiness and inability to serve acceptably.
When the Lord gave Isaiah the vision of Himself, Isaiah fully grasped his own condition and he recoiled at himself and the people he would serve. But God did not leave him in his desperation; He immediately sent His angelic messenger to the aid of His prophet-the man He would send to do His bidding.
He spoke a word of comfort to him of sorts. He sent the angel with a lively coal from off the altar and touched the prophet’s lips, and declared that all of his iniquity was taken away. The prophet had seen the darkness inside himself, but God didn’t leave him with the vision burning in his heart and no way to fulfill it
What darkness hinders you from being acceptable to the Lord for His good service? Confess it now and God will remove the barrier. He will make you a vessel of honor, fit for His own use.

Ask God in prayer to show you what you can’t see yourself. Pray that He reveal the secret things that might hinder your service at this time. Ask God to bring His correction with abundant mercy. If He shows you anything over the next few days, humble yourself and confess.

Psalm 139:23-24; Hebrews 12:1-14

Week Three: Grace for Service


Can we do anything on our own? At first glance we may be inclined to think that we can. But standing in the face of our affirmation are the words of Jesus; “... apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5a). His words strike deeply into our heart as He brands all of our efforts, apart from Him, as useless. However, when we finally recover from the blow, we can clearly see how true His analysis is.
The good news is that we are not without Him. He has poured out His grace upon us, by which He enables us to accomplish all of the tasks, big and shall, He calls us to fulfill. We can engage in the work fully knowing He is before and behind us to assure our progress and success.
We depend on Him as He depended upon His Father for the fulfillment of His will. Jesus found strength through the Spirit to serve God and man by laying down His life and we can too.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 14 : Unshakeable Faith

“...but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” (Daniel 11:32b RSV)

Faith in the Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient One can and must move us to take action concerning those enterprizes He calls us to involve ourselves in. Faith, James teaches us, without works is dead (James 2:20, 26). God Himself, as we contemplate Him in His fullness, gives us all of the confidence we will ever need to be embrace His will wholeheartedly.
Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the “Hall of Fame of Faith”. The writer compiled a testimony for us of men and women who, knowing the power and character of their limitless God, laid it all down to follow Him and accomplish His will. He captivated their hearts as they considered His promises and faithfulness, and they bore witness to the God of the impossible through their unshakeable faith. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, by His own declaration. He is not at all diminished. Can God, in His power and character, convince us to trust Him in the same way? He must. And, we must.

Call out to the God of the impossible. Ask Him to intervene in the situations that are most pressing in your life now. Set your faith in Him and speak to your mountain-Jesus said it would be removed, if you believe. Wait upon Him with praise and thanksgiving until the work is fully accomplished.

Romans 4:16-22; Hebrews 11; James: 1:1-7

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 13: God's Limitless Power

It would be really scary in anyone else’s hands-unchallengeable power. Who else but the Almighty could handle it? The closest thing we know on earth to His infinite power is nuclear arms, and just think of how many problems they have caused us.
Satan understood all too well the effects power could exercise over a human being; he put Jesus to the test on this very point. Worship me, He tempted the Lord, and I’ll give you all these kingdoms. Throw yourself down; God will save you. Turn these stones to bread.
Jesus clearly demonstrated to us, through these temptations, why we can trust Him with unbridled power. He refused to abuse His power even when He was personally pressed beyond limit. He stood fast forty days and forty nights. His perfect character prevailed over lust for power.
Governments oppress their citizens. Teachers and employers manipulate their students and employees. Parents, as unthinkable as it is, abuse their own children. But Jesus wouldn’t abuse His power to claim what was rightly His or even to save His own life. What’s best is that He will use His power in our behalf to fulfill His will for our lives.

Because He can and will make it happen, roll your cares over on Him. As you contemplate His creation, thank Him that He has made all things good and beautiful. Praise Him for His salvation and that He holds you, your family, and our church in His hand.

Psalm 115:3; Matthew 19:26; Revelation 19:6

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 12 : He Knows Us So Well

“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” (I John 3:20)

What a know it all! Not a flattering statement by any stretch of the imagination. Why does increased knowledge corrupt us so easily (even knowledge of God)? Satan tempted Eve with the knowledge of good and evil, which would make her like God and she succumbed. What is it about knowledge that, as the Apostle Paul recognized (I Cor. 8:1), “puffs” us up? Is pride inherent in knowledge or does it originate in our own hearts? Unfortunately, the latter seems to be the most likely candidate. People seem to seek knowledge too often, not for knowledge itself or the benefit it can produce, but to feed their own ego. Like Eve, they seem to think they will become like God.
God, the All Knowing One, doesn’t have our problem. He isn’t snared by its lure. Knowledge, complete and infinite knowledge, does not corrupt Him. He uses His knowledge only for good, our good.
Because we don’t feel like we can trust people with intimate information about ourselves, we often hide things from them. We feel uncomfortable or vulnerable, when somebody “has something on us”. Maybe, we just feel ashamed. How does it feel knowing that God knows it all? He even knows what you don’t know about yourself! In anyone else’s hands that kind of knowledge would leave us uneasy, but in His hands it breeds comfort. We trust He will use it well.
Jesus knew the Samaritan women in John 4 had had, although she tried to hide it, five husbands, yet He didn’t condemn her or expose her to ridicule. He set her free and invited her to worship. He invites us too!

In prayer, tell God that you trust Him with your most intimate secrets, that you are comfortable that He knows you inside and out. Because He knows you so well and knows His plans for your life, ask Him to lead you in all your affairs. Thank Him that He confronts you when He detects evil and rewards you when He is pleased with you.

: Psalm 147:5; John 16:30; 21:17; Acts 1:24; Hebrews 4:13

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 11: I Will be There for You

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10)

We want to be there for them-the ones we love. We want to see them through their highs and lows, their joys and sorrows, and their victories and struggles. But, we’re limited by space and time. We only have so much energy in a twenty four hour day. We can only be in one place at a time. We feel our confinement more in our day of easy travel and expanding opportunities that uproot people and transplant them, literally, around the globe. We just can’t be where “they” are all the time.
God, on the other hand, knows no barriers. His schedule is never overloaded and we’re never beyond His reach. He’s closer than a phone call away. When we need Him, He makes His presence felt right where we are. As the psalmist put it; “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
In fact, we sometimes think He’s a bit too close. God can be a bit intrusive, like guests who don’t know they’ve overstayed their visit. We feel like we’re being crowded; we want to hide a while, but there is no escaping the Eternal. The same psalmist, who was overjoyed at God’s presence when he was in trouble, seems to have tired of God when He searched him to the depths of his heart. “You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me....Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence” (Psm. 139:5, 7)?
We have to learn to live with and appreciate God at all times, because His presence is always appropriate, even when it’s uncomfortable. Let God be God. Has He come close to comfort and encourage you or to examine and correct you? Whatever His purpose at this moment, yield. What would life be like without God’s presence?

Give God thanks for those times you benefited from His presence, and ask forgiveness for those moments when you tried to hide. Give yourself to His abiding presence in prayer and rejoice in His continual care for you.

: Psalm 32:1-7; 139:1-24

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 10: Chill a Little

“Be still, and know that I am God...” (Psalm 46:10)

Just be still.
Let the power and presence of God register on your heart a while. Let it sink in for just a moment. That brief glimpse needs to be etched into our consciousness. What we have seen, as we beheld our God, is too important to lose in the shuffle of our overly busy lives.
When we see a starry sky or feel a summer breeze, we stop and take it in; we want to hold on to that moment. We want to remember the wonder that captures our imagination. We want it to be imprinted upon our senses and our memory. How much more will the glory and goodness of our God captivate our hearts and leave its indelible impression upon us, if we let it?
There is no getting around it, if we want to become acquainted with someone we have to take the necessary time with them. We have to give them a chance to open their hearts to us. We can’t do all the talking; we have to be still. Take the time now to know God.

As you detach yourself from all of the hustle and bustle of your life, let your mind become quiet before God. Close your eyes, and as you feel the rays of the sun across on a summer day, ask God to fill you with the warmth of His presence. Tell Him how much you value His visit and company and wait for Him.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 9: Power over Power

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1)

Isaiah sees God in His revealed splendor and majesty and immediately acknowledges His Lordship-His reign over all creation. Amazing and inspiring as it was for Him (“Woe is me! for I am undone..., for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” ) he only saw the half of it. The other half was seen by three wise men hundreds of years later as they gazed upon a baby lying in a manger in the town of Bethlehem. They too acknowledged His Lordship as they brought their gifts and worshipped the King of kings.
Could they be the one and same God, the Lord and Creator of heaven and earth? Both the Apostles John and Paul assure us that they are (John 1:1-14; Philippians 2:5-8). Is it so strange to find the qualities of Lordship and humility in the same being? In our world, governed by unbridled power mongers, perhaps it appears too good to be true. But, they are more than compatible; they are absolutely necessary. Can you imagine the rule of a supreme potentiate driven by pride and arrogance. Why imagine? Look at the tyrannical dictators the world has known over the last one hundred years. To date, they murder and oppress with brutal hatred any who challenge their authority.
Our God, understood by these seemingly contrasting images, is the Lord of lords and King of kings. He demonstrates perfect power over power as He rules with humility, kindness, and goodness for the benefit of all He has created. His Lordship, instead of oppressing, sets men free-really free!

Behold your God. As you meditate on His perfect control over unlimited power, give Him thanks that He always uses it for beneficial and not selfish ends. Ask Him to use His power in your behalf and for those for whom you are praying today.

Daniel 4:1-37; Ephesians 3:20; Revelations 4:10-11; 5:12-14

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 8: Give Me More than a Glimpse

“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!” (Isa. 40:9)

It’s no casual gaze that Isaiah calls the people of God to. It’s dangerous; it’s costly! Moses, who got about as close to seeing God as any human being in history, was warned by God Himself, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exodus 33:20). Isaiah had but a brief glimpse and felt “undone” by the experience. You cannot behold the True God and not be unnerved.
Any genuine revelation of God, great or small, will move you to action; it will move you to tears, to shouts and dancing or to humbly bow your head. Standing still-remaining the same- is not an option. Maybe, although we constantly clamor for change, our desire for the status quo is the reason why we prefer our blinders. Beholding God in the beauty of His holiness shakes us to our core.
John exhorted his disciples, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world.” Their gaze upon Jesus, the Son of God, was costly. It led them to leave all behind and follow Him the rest of the days of their lives. How will you be transformed as you fix your sights upon our God? You will, you know?

Ask God, in prayer, to strengthen you to make room in your heart for a fresh revelation of Him as Paul prayed for the Ephesians (Eph. 3:14-20). Tell God that you are ready and willing for life changing transformation leading you to follow Christ without reserve. Hold tight for the ride.

I John 1:1-5; Revelation 5:1-6, 11-14; 22:1-5

Week Two: Enhancing Our View


Who is God? Sometimes we make up our own version, a version that is off the mark. What, you ask, is the big deal? So what if my concept of God is a little off? Who can know God fully anyway?
We fail to understand that our comprehension of God will determine how we relate to Him and how He relates to us. God, in the Old Testament, forbad images of Himself to be used in worship because they cannot possibly paint a clear and accurate picture of Him in all His majesty. Instead of helping us to know God, the image clouds our vision of the true God. Jesus, in John 4:23-24, insisted that the true worshippers worship God in spirit and truth. While truth here touches on our approach to God in sincerity, it deals primarily with our concept of who God is. If our concept of God is erroneous, we are not actually worshipping the One, True God. We’re worshipping an idol, made by our own imagination.
If we are seeking to draw close to God, we must make sure that it really is the God we lay claim to. We have established one concrete fact thus far that will help us in our pursuit of God, which is that He is holy. We will take determined steps in this direction to help us embrace the One with whom we have to do. Our vision of Him will prepare the ground of our hearts for the presence and voice of the One whose thoughts and ways are higher, much higher than our own.
Isaiah was brought to his knees when he was allowed to see the High and Lofty One. After he was cleansed and strengthened, he offered himself to God without conditions. “Here I am, send me” is what the vision of God wrought in Isaiah, and it will accomplish the same in us. As we see Him, we will understand what He wants, and realize that by His grace, He is able to fulfill the commission He gives us.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 7: In the Presence of the Holy

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:8-10)

“It is good for me to draw near to the Lord...,” said the psalmist (Psalms 73:28). Those who know God from far off will perish, he had earlier remarked. God is the source of all life and we need to be as close to Him as possible through the blood of Jesus. While living close to the heart of God is essential, it is not necessarily easy for creatures bound in flesh. We must always remember that we are approaching a holy God who expects holiness from those that seek Him.
Let’s face it, we often fall short. We sin and don’t always turn back at His first call. James tells us that there is a time to genuinely induce mourning, weeping, and heaviness in response to our failures and impurities. This is the road to repentance, which leads to confession, and ultimately, confidence in the presence of God where He, and only He, lifts us again to joy. Come close, but carefully, He invites.

The psalmist, in Psalm 139:23-24, prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Muster up courage and, in your own words, tell the Lord that your heart lays open to His examination. Thank Him for His impartial and true findings, exercised, as always, in His tender mercy.

Psalm 15:1-5; 24:3-6; Isaiah 1:16-19; I Peter 1:15-16; I Jn. 1:5-10

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 6: Field of Thought

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Our field of thought is like the Garden of Eden. There is so much good fruit to enjoy, and yet we feel compelled toward the forbidden. One of the reasons God destroyed the world by flood is because man’s imagination ran rampant with evil. God said of men before He flooded the earth, “...every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5).
God calls us to fix our minds on the good, pure, and praiseworthy, but we dwell on failures, offences, inconsistencies, inappropriate desires, and the things I don’t have and wish I did. The yield of these fields satisfies our temporary hunger, but who do we become after the feast? You are, after all, what you eat. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...” says the proverb (Proverbs 23:7). Our conversation always gives it away. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. Listen to yourself and you will know what you are thinking.

Ask the Lord to reveal any strongholds in your thought life. Seek His grace to tear down old thought patterns and build new ones that will be pleasing to Him. Praise Him for His intervention and reordering your innermost thinking.

Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 5: Spiritual Observation Towers

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

Constant observation assures intimacy with your subject. The more you look, the more you will see. Real science is based on this principle. Astronomy, for example, uses telescopes in observation towers to view the vastness of the skies. Biology uses microscopes to observe the intricacies of complex mini systems that make up organisms. We learn more by observation, and we can do more. Meditation, the act of rolling a thought over and over in your mind, is, in effect, spiritual observation. It allows you and me to observe the truth of God from different points of view, helping us to grasp it more profoundly and latch on to it more firmly. Our contemplation of God’s word is our first step towards fruitful living.

Make the psalmists prayer your own: “Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live and observe thy word. Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:17-18).

Consider: Joshua 1:7-8; I Timothy 4:15

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 4: It's Time to Refocus

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2)

Refocusing, after we have had our minds eye set on earthly objects for a lifetime, is a serious challenge. Habits, especially mental habits, are deeply engrained in our personality. They define, to a point, who we are and what we are likely to do. Familiarity, even in thought, just feels right to us. Why change? We need a compelling reason, if we are going to begin to reset our sights.
God, through the Prophet Isaiah, gives us a convincing argument: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) Think of how much we will miss out on, if we don’t raise our sights to heaven through God’s word.

Seek God to make His thoughts and ways known and clear to you. Ask Him to draw back the curtain that separates heaven from earth. Pray that He teach you how to apply kingdom principles to earthly circumstances. Be thankful for heavenly perspectives on everyday life.

Psalm 19

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 3: Can it be by Chance?

“The Sower soweth the word.... And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” (Mark 4:14, 20)

Does the sower sow indiscriminately? Does he plant his precious seed by chance? Does the seed have a chance, if it is sown by chance? Jesus’ parable predicts doom for the seed that is sown in unprepared soil. The seed has to be coupled with soil which is conducive to its growth and production. Why waste seed in useless soil? Solomon, in Proverbs 17:16, said it amply, “Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?” We may have the best teachers and go to the finest schools, but it will avail us nothing if our hearts and minds are not prepared for the instruction we will receive.

Ask the Lord to teach you to appreciate the importance of heart preparation. Ask Him to help you to wait patiently in solitude. Seek Him to accomplish the task for the things He desires to plant in your heart at this time. Thank Him for His abiding peace.

Jeremiah 18:1-6; Zechariah 13:9; Malachi: 3:1-3

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 2: Curing Double Vision

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24). Please read the whole passage (Matthew 6:19-33)

We can’t look in two directions and we can’t serve two gods. Decisions take place at the crossroads. We must choose who we will serve. Look up at the birds and over at the fields; they’re fed and clothed. God provides. Why serve a “lesser god”? Choose God and His ways and you get the rest. Choose the rest and you lose it all.
God wants our hearts to be unencumbered by the things of this life. He made us for Him alone. He claims the throne of our hearts exclusively. Double vision crowds our hearts. There are too many voices pulling us in too many directions; we’re overly occupied. Double vision clears up and our hearts are unburdened when we clear the room-the chamber of our hearts.

Ask the Lord for clear vision, the grace to see Him without being obscured by temporal distractions. Make your choice clear before Him in prayer. Assure Him that you are surrendered to Him and His care. Show Him your gratitude.

Psalm 37:5; 55:22; Philippians 4:6-7; I Peter 5:6-7

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 1: Lower the Blades

" For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns." (Jeremiah 4:3)

The blades cut deep into the earth. Again and again, they cross the field tearing into the hardened, weed filled ground until the furrows are finally formed. It's tough work, but it always precedes planting, and it ensures the harvest. If we plant in weed laden fields, no matter how good the seed, the result will always be the same: fruitlessness. Let the spirit plow your heart until He breaks every clog and removes every weed; until you are prepared for the holy seed.

In prayer, ask the Lord of the harvest to plow your heart, to remove the obstacles, and prepare you for His planting. Tell Him you are willing. Thank Him for His grace and mercy.

Jeremiah 23:29; Hosea 10:12; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:23