Sunday, October 17, 2021

Create In Me, O God

 “Create In Me, O God”

Psalm 51:10

NIV- Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

NLT-Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me.

 

Father God, create in me a pure and clean heart when I…..

Treat my wife and daughters in ways that do not honor You.

Say things to my wife and daughters that I really regret later.

Think things that are not appropriate and tempted to be immoral.

Say things and treat my co-workers in ways that are not Godly.

Say things about other people that do not glorify You.

Lose my temper and sometimes let words fly that I shouldn’t say.

Get upset in traffic and treat others in a very non Christ-like way.

Get so wrapped up in my own ways and neglect to love on my family as I should.

Get so focused on what I want that I forget to show Your love to others.

Become so self-centered that I forget to serve others and meet their needs.

 

Father, help renew a steadfast and loyal spirit within me when I want to give up and do life the easy way.  Father, I desperately need You to create in me a clean and pure heart so that I can stop focusing on the things of this world and my own selfishness and just totally focus on You.  Lord, as I heard this passage this morning in church, it reminded me how so much I need You to cleanse me from my sins and how I need to be renewed and restored.

Father, I need to be renewed with a steadfast and loyal spirit so that I may better serve You and completely surrender to You.  From this day on, I want to be more committed, no matter how challenging life becomes.  I want to show and lavish Your love in my home and encourage my wife and girls instead of hindering them as I so often do with my selfishness. 

Father, please create in me a very pure and clean heart and forgive me.  May others see You through me day in and day out. 

Amen.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Can't You See It?

 “Can’t You See It?”

Isaiah 43:19 NLT

For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Do you all remember those pictures from years ago where you had to adjust your eyes and focus on what was in the “dots”?  It was pretty challenging and I often couldn’t focus my eyes just right to see the picture within the frame.  You had to adjust your eyes just right and then the image would just form or pop out at you!  If you remember those, you either remember the joy of actually seeing what you couldn’t see before or you remember the absolute frustration of trying to adjust your eyes, but to no avail! 

Some things in life are naturally easy to see.  We have hundreds, if not thousands, of things we have all seen easily in our lives.  Some things are very easy to point out and can be seen by almost anyone.  Then there are some things that you might have to actually take the time to stop and look for in a different way.  Maybe something is seen better in a certain angle or in the light or dark. 

Sometimes it’s good for us to have someone say, “Can’t you see it???” as we try hard to focus on what is in front of us or across the way a bit.  Sometimes we need the challenge of someone coaching us to look at things in a different way.  Sometimes it just takes a bit more focusing to see something.  A lot of things in life are this way and so many of us won’t or don’t take the time to see with a different perspective. 

As we are all going through tough and challenging times of life in various ways, we all need to be challenged as God often says to us “Can’t you see it??”.  So often He is working in some amazing ways, but we fail to see.  We are so wrapped up in our own ways and our own ideas that we just don’t take the time to look with a different perspective.  God is trying to show us things every day and we fail so often to see these wonderful new things.  So many different things can cause us to lose sight of these great and wonderful things. 

No matter what we might be facing, God is definitely working on something new and He wants you and I to see it!  Sometimes it’s easy to see, but often it takes looking from a different angle or perspective.  Then, when we do see what He wants us to see, it blows our minds! 

Next time someone asks you, “Can’t you see it?”, think of all the new things God is trying to show you as you live each day. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

I Trust Because He Is Still Good

“I Trust Because He Is Still Good”

Psalm 13:5-6 NLT

But I trust in your unfailing love.  I will rejoice because you have rescued me.  I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.

Lord, I know You are good.  You have always been so good to me, no matter what is going on in life.  Some days, though Lord, I wake up and the stress just mounts up and hits me like a freight train and I’ve so overwhelmed by all the duties and responsibilities of what I need to do.  I know You are good, but I struggle many days Lord with all the challenges that continue to surround me.  I know You are good, but many days I’m just keeping my head above water in trusting You as I have so many unanswered questions about life and circumstances.

Father, I will continue to trust in Your unfailing love because I do believe that You are working in ways that I cannot see or even feel at the moment.  I trust in You because I know You are working and providing.  No matter how challenging life becomes, I still trust in You and will keep my hope in You.

Father, I pray for people who read this and are finding themselves asking so many questions and not getting answers.  I pray for peace for them and ask that You will give us all comfort like we’ve never had before.  In the midst of all that continues to happen in this world and the pain we continue to hear about, please help us to remember that You are in control. 

Father, I want to simply pray that You would continue to teach us to trust in You, even when we cannot understand and are overwhelmed with life.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

He Is So Good, So Ready, And So Full

“He is So Good, So Ready and So Full”

Psalm 86:5 NLT

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

As I read this passage the other day, it filled me with hope and assurance just knowing that no matter what I’m experiencing or dealing with, God is so good to me and ready to forgive my sins and is so full of love for me.  It sounds simple, but if you really take a moment to let those words sink in, it’s really profound.  He is so good to us.  He is so ready to forgive us.  He is so full of unfailing love to us. 

All we need to do is ask for His help and He is ready to lavish this love upon us.  We all know He is good, that He forgives and that He is unconditional in His love for us, but sometimes just how a passage is written and what we are experiencing, it’s just what we need to hear to bring us comfort. 

I don’t know about you, but there are so many things in life right now that I’m just tired of dealing with and sick of experiencing.  I wake up each day thanking God for another new day and opportunity to live for Him, but I also go through my day with so many thoughts of how I wish things would get better in different ways with life.  I think we have all felt this way for a long time.  We may never get to a normal way of life again, but perhaps a new normal. 

My heart has been breaking as I have heard of different people experiencing loss and hard times.  There are some days and times when I just have to focus on and remember that God is so good, so ready to forgive me and is full of unfailing love for me.  It brings life back into perspective.  It helps me focus on what is really important and not focus on all the negative things in life. 

I hope and pray that no matter what you might be experiencing, never forget how good He is, how ready He is to forgive and how His unfailing love is just waiting for us as we come to Him to ask for help and guidance. 

I remember the words of a praise song I learned so many years ago and want to close with those.  “For You are good, for You are good, for You are good to me!”

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Get Rid Of It

“Get Rid Of It”

Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT

Get rid of all bitterness, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

We have all had situations in life where we’ve had to say “Get rid of it!” when we found something that needed to get tossed.  Maybe it’s some moldy food that went unnoticed or got buried in our fridge for a while.  Maybe it’s a trash can that has something very rotten in it and the moment we open it, we can’t even describe the smell!  Maybe it’s a dead rodent that we start smelling somewhere in the house and we finally find it and are ready to be rid of the foul smell. 

We could go on and on describing situations in which we find something repulsive or just something that needs tossed and we raise our voices a bit and say, “Get rid of it!”.  There’s nothing good that’s going to come out of keeping these things and we know the only solution is to throw it away so that we can clean the bad smell up or just a mess that has gotten out of hand.  We have all been there and done that to some degree. 

None of us wants to keep foul smelling things anywhere or keep a terrible mess around to continue building.  We may let the messed build up for a while, but there comes a time when we have to do something and take action.  Most of us would agree that we gotten get rid of things that smell terrible or look horrible.  These things do not make life easier, but they make it worse and much harder to move forward.

Just like these bad things, we’ve got things in our spiritual lives that we also need to get rid of.  We so often hold on to bitterness, anger, harsh words, slander and evil behavior.  We let these things fester and they do no good in our lives.  We are clearly called to love each other and show grace and forgiveness to one another.  All of us know that we have treated people we love and care about in these ways.  We know people that we have treated poorly and, in a sense, it’s causing some smelly situations when God looks down on us.  It’s smelly to Him, but often we don’t think twice about it.  He wants us to get rid of these things and be full of love for each other.  I know, much easier said than done depending on different circumstances and situations. 

I challenge all of us to find things in our lives that we need to get rid of.  Find areas and broken relationships in which we are holding on to the bitterness, anger, hard words, slander and evil behavior.  We need to pray through this and ask God to give us a heart of forgiveness and show love instead. 

Get rid of it and be filled with God’s love instead.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Because

 “Because”

1 John 4:19 NLT

We love each other because he loved us first.

My kids bought me a funny t-shirt a couple years or so back that reads, “Because I said so – Dad”.  I have had many comments on it when wearing it out around different places.  I may see a parent smile or give a chuckle because they’ve also used the same phrase.  Now, however, my girls don’t get as much of a kick out of seeing the shirt on me when I wear it, but I still think it’s funny.

As much as this may give us a good laugh, we could think of endless situations in life in which we use the word “because”.

We do this because…..

We say this because…..

We go somewhere because…..

We talk to someone because…..

We go out to do something fun because…..

We could come up with so many different phrases in which we do or say something…..because.  Sometimes we do or say things because we mean whatever we say or do sincerely.  Then other times, we do or say things that are not so nice to other because we feel like it in the moment.  There’s always a reason why we say something, do something or go somewhere.  There’s always a “because”.

As I thought about this verse the other day when it came up for a morning reading, I thought about how so often we forget that we need to love people because Jesus first loved us.  We so often have our excuses and reasons for often treating others in a bitter way because we feel we have the right because of what has been said or done to us.  We are ALL guilty of this! 

My simple encouragement to us all today and every day from now on, is to ask ourselves what is our “because” behind what we are doing, behind what we are saying and behind why we are going somewhere.   We are told to do everything with love.  Are we?  Seriously, are we??  Often times we don’t. 

What is your “because”?  Do you do things in love even when it’s hard?  Every time we’re tempted to treat someone bitterly, we need to be reminded that He first loved us.  We love because He first loved us.

Simple concept…..yet so difficult to practice.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Just Need To Trust And Obey

“Just Need To Trust And Obey”

Psalm 25:4-5 NLT

Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in you.

The other day, I was reading a devotional from a friend of mine and it was titled “I have no words”.  I know that he is going through a very rough time in life and just expressed that he didn’t have the words to convey how he really felt.  I honestly felt myself feeling the exact same thing.  Knowing his situation and thinking of the difficult challenges my family has experienced lately and so many others have been experiencing lately and for a while now, I find myself at a loss for words.

I am finding myself these days asking so many more questions to God and feeling like I don’t know the answers.  I’m finding myself asking these questions so often to God:

 

Why are you allowing this pain?

Why are so many hurting?

Why won’t you stop and intervene?

When will this pandemic end?

Why do so many have to be so sick?

Why am I facing so many challenges in life?

Why can’t You explain and show me more?

 

As I’m thinking of these questions and have so many more thoughts and feelings, I’m realizing even more and more now that I must trust Him in every way, even though there’s so much more I don’t understand.  I just need Him to show me the path and to lead me in His truth.  I need to hope in Him, no matter what. 

I need to trust and obey, even when life doesn’t make sense.