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 24, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!
Well Father, it’s certainly been a little while since I’ve sat down and written to You. And while our conversations haven’t diminished in the least, I have missed bringing the fruits of our time together to the written word. So Lord, when You laid it on my heart today to share this post, it gave me a much needed early-morning smile. 🙂
Back in January Father, my family and I attended a viewing at our church of the movie “Facing the Giants”. It was an absolutely excellent film, filled with inspiring messages and poignant reminders of where our true motivation and priorities should lie. At one point in the movie, a statement was made that really captured my attention, and has stuck with me since…
“God will send the rain when He’s ready… You need to prepare your field to receive it.”
Such a simple truth Father, and yet one I’ve missed on so many occasions. While I try to recognize Your many Blessings in my life and in the world around me, in many cases I’ve not been proactive in aggressively preparing myself to receive those gifts. I want to live my life expecting Your presence at every turn Lord; sowing my seeds in earnest…
Knowing without a doubt that Your Heavenly rain is coming.
Such is my desire Father… Today and every day.
Continuing to count Your many Blessings in my life Lord; these past weeks have been truly filled with Your Grace, and I’ve been especially grateful for:
571. Being given 18 wonderful years with my dog Brandy.
572. A marriage that not only has grown us as a couple, but also allows us both to grow as individuals.
573. Bourbon manhattans with a splash of grenadine.
574. An absolutely beautiful, warm sunny drive into work this morning.
575. Our caring, compassionate veterinarian who made a very difficult situation much easier.
576. A beautiful Valentine’s Day dinner out with Shannon.
577. Seeing Your grace powerfully impacting the lives of some good friends.
578. That no matter what missteps we make or how far we fall, when we come to You we’re welcomed with open arms.
579. The amazing outpouring of encouragement and concern we received upon Brandy’s passing.
580. A number of significant new jobs this past couple weeks.
581. A good “check up” service on Shannon’s van with no major surprises.
582. Those people You place in our lives that connect to our hearts in truly powerful ways.
583. A fun night out with friends last Saturday night.
584. The view of the world I receive when I look through eyes cleansed by faith.
585. The healing power contained in the smile of a good friend.
I thank You Lord, for the wondrous gifts You continue to Bless our lives with each and every day; both those that cause the Heavens to ring out in song, and those that whisper Your mighty love quietly from the shadows.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
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 18, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Wednesday Father!
Today Lord, I simply want to say thank You.
As You know Father, the last couple weeks have been particularly stressful for me, and I’m afraid in several situations I allowed myself to weaken and give audience to Satan’s voices of dissent within my heart…
You’re not worthy of God’s attention…
I can still get to you…
And yet, through all these attacks on my spirit Lord, You were right there. You’ve quietly reminded me of my true identity, sent me fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to bolster my reserve, and through Your Word have helped keep my eyes focused on Your Kingdom.
And then this morning, You gave me a very special gift…
As I’ve mentioned before Father, I quite enjoy the path I take to work each morning. I consciously avoid the highway, and instead travel a series of smaller back roads that run through much more rural settings.
My route also holds one further benefit.
For a short portion of the drive, my truck heads due East; affording me a wonderful front-row seat as the sun lifts above the horizon behind the farmlands ahead. Most mornings it’s a lovely scene, but today it was particularly breathtaking. The air was vividly clear, save for a thin line of clouds that dotted the horizon. Lying behind that smoky veil, the morning sun’s radiance streamed upwards, seeming to burn rays of light into the heavens. It was truly a marvelous sight, and as I smiled in recognition of Your handiwork, You let me know why…
“It’s for you…” You said.
For me?? I momentarily struggled with my disbelief, but it was just too powerful; the wall came crashing down and I clearly understood Your message:
You love me Father, and You’d move heaven and earth that I should know it.
What an amazing gift Lord… I am truly humbled, and forever changed.
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,