Mar 8, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!
You know Father, I truly love reading the Gospels. In those pages I find myself enveloped in the personal, intimate nature of what Christ Jesus meant to the world, and gain essential perspective to help guide me in my earthly journey.
As an example, while reading in the Gospel of Mark today, I came to the passage which described Jesus spending time in the home of Levi (Matthew), a tax-gatherer for the Romans:
“And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” – Mark 2:15-17 (ESV)
Now Father, while I understand the usual message derived from these verses deals with Jesus condemning the self-righteousness of the scribes asking the question, today You laid on my heart a different thought to take away from my reading…
“Reach out in love to ALL My Children, not just those you’re comfortable being around.”
I’ll admit Lord, I play it safe far too often; missing opportunities to connect with those outside of my “comfort zone”, and to share Your message of hope and love with them.
Jesus didn’t restrict His ministry to those places where He was comfortable or safe, He went where He was truly needed.
I’ll be working on this one Father… Message received. 🙂
Continuing to count my Blessings Lord; this past couple weeks have been witness to countless signs of Your love for me, but in the midst of it all I’ve been very grateful for:
586. Attending a fun Kids Construction workshop with the boys last weekend at Home Depot.
587. The opportunity to reach out and minister to someone in need last week.
588. The new Audrey Assad “Heart” CD that I can’t seem to stop listening to.
589. Completing a reading of the Old Testament from start to finish.
590. Having friends with truly open, giving hearts.
591. Two nights in a row of six hours contiguous, uninterrupted sleep.
592. Sharing my morning drives to work with a good friend.
593. Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra Wellness Tea.
594. A relatively easy and inexpensive repair for our squealing clothes dryer.
595. The early arrival of several unseasonably warm days.
596. Making significant progress on home repairs and cleaning this past week.
597. Gaining a more personal, intimate relationship with Jesus through the Gospels.
598. A beautiful preview of gifts to come.
599. Finding a buyer for my large aquarium that will truly appreciate it.
600. Divine reassurance that I’ve made a good decision.
Thank You Lord, for the multitude of Blessings You grace our lives with each and every day; both those that announce Your presence with regal fanfare, and those that whisper Your influence quietly on the spring breeze.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
Feb 14, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Valentine’s Day Father!
Today Father, much of the world’s attention turns to “all things love” as we celebrate Valentine’s Day. And yet, while the greeting card, candy and jewelry companies would like us to spend our time and money focusing on the romantic and tangible side of our affections, I choose instead to take this time to reflect on those aspects of love in my life that touch me most deeply:
The amazing, intimate bond I have with my wonderful wife, Shannon…
The powerful sense of care and commitment I have for my children…
The deep, very personal relationships I’ve established with a few close friends…
And the overwhelming, transformational and ever-deepening connection I have with my Lord and Savior.
Such wondrous examples of Your love for me Father; such astounding Blessings in my life.
Thank You Lord;
For seeding Your love in me,
For seeking me through my brokenness,
For reminding me that I’m Your Beloved Child,
And that above all else,
You love me; perfectly and completely.
I’m Yours Father. 🙂
Feb 7, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Tuesday Father!
When I was little, one of my favorite Bible stories was that of Daniel in the lion’s den. The Children’s Bible I read it from contained some beautiful illustrations and a wonderful translation of Daniel’s “adventure”, and I found myself returning to it often.
Yesterday Lord, my morning Scripture readings led me once again to the book of Daniel, chapter 6:
“Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” – Daniel 6:16-23 (ESV)
Now Father, when I read this as a young boy, the amazement this story inspired was mostly directed at the Angel’s presence in that den; Your benevolent power protecting Daniel’s life. When I read the passage now however, I’m struck by the powerful truth of Daniel’s trial in that den…
When we lay our faith and trust in You, You’ll always be by our side.
I know I’ll be beset with trouble in my life Lord
And things may not go the way I expect or desire,
But I give myself to You Father… wholly and faithfully
And lay my life at Your tender mercies.
Thank You Lord,
For protecting me from the lions.
Jan 17, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Tuesday Father!
About this time last year Lord, I joined with many of my Christian Blogging brothers and sisters and began to think and pray about choosing a single word to guide my steps throughout the year. In the end, although I was unsure as to why at the time, You very clearly placed the word “Accept” on my heart.
As I look back over the past year Father, Your reasons for Blessing me with that word become very apparent. 2011 was a year filled with struggles, and joy, with pain, and enlightenment. And yet, when I attempt to “compile” the year’s experiences and summarize what truths I’ve been given in that time, Your word for me keeps showing up…
I Accept that I can’t fix everything, or solve every problem…
I Accept that I’m dependent Father; needy of Your presence in all parts of my life.
I Accept that only by consistently seeking humility before You, can I find true strength.
I Accept that I’m Your Beloved Child.
And so many others Father… “Accept” makes perfect sense to me now.
So now we come to 2012.
As You know Father, I started praying about this year’s word a couple weeks ago. You’ve been relatively quiet on the subject so far, but this morning on my ride to work You broke that silence…
Well Lord, once again, it’s not what I would have chosen, nor what I expected. Nonetheless, I trust You Father, with all my heart, and Accept this word as the precious gift it is. I have no idea what part my word will play in the coming year, but I Promise to keep my mind, and my heart, open to Your voice.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,
Dec 29, 2011
Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!
Today Father, we come to the final Thankful Thursday edition of PhatherPhil.org for this calendar year. When I began this recurring post 31 weeks ago (whew!), I honestly never expected the profound impact it would have on me, or that it would draw me so much closer to You in the process.
As I sit down each week to write out my list Lord, my mind drifts back over the past seven days; revisiting those moments that left their marks on my heart. What I’ve found in doing so Father, is that even in those situations where things don’t seem to go my way, when I look closely enough, Your Blessings pour out nonetheless. That little shift in vision Lord, has been a major Blessing all by itself. I still have struggles and times that tax my strength, but when I look through my “Thankful Thursday Goggles”, I’m much more able to place those moments in their proper light. It’s been an eye-opening experience so far Lord, and I can’t wait to see what Blessings You’ll reveal to me in the coming year.
Therefore Father, to close out the year on a joyful note, this past week I’ve been especially grateful for:
466. Time spent alone with Shannon last Friday afternoon and evening.
467. Google Music which allows me to listen to my music on all my devices, anywhere, at any time.
468. The pain relief provided by our heating pad last night.
469. Hickory Farms New York Cheddar Spread (Used to be called Chutter).
470. That when my stubbornness blinds me to common sense, my wonderful wife Shannon “nudges” me back on track.
471. The Living Water that satisfies my spiritual thirst.
472. Having three days off over Christmas spent with those I love.
473. A beautiful candlelight Christmas Eve service at Ewell’s-St. Paul UMC.
474. Andes Mint Cookies.
475. Sharing the celebration of Jesus’ birth with friends.
476. An inspiring guest post on Tuesday by Jean Wise from Healthy Spirituality.
477. That the stabbing pains I had in my lower back yesterday have settled down today.
478. Seeing the expressions of wonder and joy on my children’s faces Christmas morning.
479. The opportunity to support other local ministries.
480. The trust of a good friend.
We thank You Lord, for gracing us with such a multitude of Blessings this past year. As we start anew in 2012, please clear our eyes to reveal Your gifts in all circumstances; both those that lift our hearts in song, and those in which Your Blessings may be masked within our trials.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,