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,
Mar 2, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Friday Father!
Today Lord, You’ve led me to repost an article I wrote on this date last year about remembering the life of a truly wonderful author on the anniversary of his birth. His works have touched countless lives including those of mine and my children, and I’m honored to again share this tribute.
Father, today marks the birth of someone who greatly influenced my early years, as well as the lives of many other children throughout the world. And while he’s no longer with us here, the legacy he left behind continues to inspire, educate and delight those who read his works. I’m of course speaking of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known by his pen name of Dr. Seuss.
While he made a point of not speaking to any one religion or group in his writings, his messages of tolerance, understanding and peace were obvious and recurring themes in the books he wrote. Through whimsical characters, engaging stories and tongue-twisting rhymes he made learning fun while passing along the underlying positive messages to his young audience. Even as an adult, I still get a smile reading his stories.
The one published exception to his self-imposed rule of not writing works with obvious religious connotations came in a full-page, full-color article in the December 23, 1955 issue of Collier’s Magazine, where he wrote “A Prayer for a Child”* :
“From here on earth,
From my small place
I ask of You
Way out in space:
Please tell all men
In every land
What You and I
Both understand . . .
Please tell all men
That Peace is Good.
That need be understood
In every world
In Your great sky.
Both You and I.)” – Theodor Seuss Geisel
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts this man brought to me and to so many other children. While his words may not specifically carry Your name, Your Light shone brightly through his works all the same. Amen.
*The poem and image used are Trademark and Copyright of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.
Feb 2, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!
Yesterday morning, I hit the wall Father. The cumulative weight of many insomnia-driven nights had finally exacted its penance on me. And when the alarm abruptly announced it was time for me to awaken for our time together, for the first time in a great long while Lord, I shut it off and laid back down.
An hour or so later the alarm once again fulfilled its mission, brutally reminding me of the day that lie ahead. Caving in to its insistent call, I pulled myself from beneath the covers. As I sat on the side of the bed desperately attempting to shake the cobwebs loose from my resistant mind, the loss of my “Still time” in Your presence sat uneasily in my heart…
I count on that time…
I look forward to it…
And yet, today I’d missed it.
Determined to refresh my spirit, I reached for my daily bread; the daily devotional message I read each morning from my Stand Firm men’s magazine. This attempt however, also proved fruitless as I realized that a new month had begun, and my February edition was nowhere to be found.
“Wow…” I thought. “I’m really not doing very well for You today Father…”
As my failings of the morning took deeper root, my weariness took on new life.
And then my mobile phone lit up.
“Hmm… No one texts me at this hour… This can’t be good.” I thought.
Resolved to more of the morning’s direction, I begrudgingly picked up the phone and read the message…
“Good morning. You came to my mind, so I prayed for you and your family. Just wanted to let you know that. :-)”
And in a single moment Father, my day changed.
I’d missed my Scripture time…
I’d misplaced my devotional…
You found a way Lord,
To remind me that You love me,
Through the heart of a friend.
Thank You. 🙂
Continuing to count my Blessings on this sunny Thankful Thursday Father, this week I’ve been especially grateful for:
541. An upcoming visit from some dear friends.
542. Some beautiful unseasonal, spring-like weather this week.
543. Getting to catch up a little with a friend I haven’t seen in a while today.
544. The honor of being asked to pray for someone in need.
545. “Remote Control” software that allows me to service computers anywhere.
546. A wonderful surprise gift of a Jason Gray CD, containing the song “Remind Me Who I Am”.
547. A wonderful, long walk in Blackbird State Forest this past Sunday with my two boys.
548. Finally getting to watch the movie “Courageous” with friends this past Saturday.
549. Getting to “Sit in” on a worship practice today.
550. The most powerful act of love in history.
551. That a good friend of our family is experiencing the relief of Your healing following some serious health problems.
552. The opportunity to assist another church with their web presence.
553. Text messaging on my phone that helps keep me connected to those I care about.
554. Chicken Cordon Bleu, shared with friends.
555. Seeing Your hand at work in my relationships with others.
I thank You Lord, for all the many Blessings You bring to our lives each and every day; both those that boldly reveal Your presence, and those that grace us in the silence.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
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,