November 22 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Image by Jaret Benson

Image by Jaret Benson

Ezekiel 44:1-45:12;  1 Peter 1:1-12;  Psalm 119:17-32;  Proverbs 28:8-10

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes through it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you do not see Him, you love Him.  Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressable and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  1 Peter 1:3-9

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Lord God, thank you for the times you have brought me through troubled times with faith intact, heart restored, spirit renewed.  Thank you for promising to be with me ‘no matter what!’  Nothing can ever separate me from your love!  I give you my thanks and praise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

November 21 The Cure

Photo by Aaron Burden

Photo by Aaron Burden


Ezekiel 21 42:1-43:27;  James 5:1-20;  Psalm 119:1-6;  Proverbs 28:6-7

“Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray.  Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing praise.  Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.  Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”  James 5:13-18

What ails you, man?

What beats you down and suck the life breath

right out of your soul?

What keeps you on the run,

spinning lies

to keep the truth at bay?

When you get tired of running,

of keeping track

of tall tales

that everyone can see through

anyway,

when you simply run out

of time,

energy,

and will–

look up

and pray.

~

God knows.

He’s been waiting

and longs to give you

His Cure

for all that ails you

in body, mind and soul.

The hurts of today

come under His watch.

Bow your knees and pray.

Acknowledge Him as

Lord of Lords,

as Lord of your life.

Ask Him for the cure

admit your need for Him,

for someone much bigger than yourself

that can restore and heal

and make new again.

~

Confess your sins,

let go and let God

remove those weights

of guilt and shame.

Let Him love you,

hear His words

“You are forgiven.

Be well”

Lord God, thank you for the cure!  For Your Son, Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for my sins; for forgiveness which soothes my troubled heart and gives me rest from all my running.  Grant that I may pray with all my might for those I know who need Your cure–to be healed in mind, body and spirit.  I especially pray for the community of Ferguson, MO which is representative of many places in the US where inequalities exist and much healing is needed.  I pray for the safety of its citizens and for peace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

November 20 Check Your Plans

Photo by Aaron Burden

Photo by Aaron Burden

Ezekiel 40:28-41:26;  James 4:1-17;  Psalm 118:19-29;  Proverbs 28:35

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”–yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  James 4:13-15

DayTimers and other planning tools are invaluable aids for staying on track in the workplace, but when the subtle implication that they would make all of life easier and more fulfilling to the exclusion of looking to and submitting to God’s plans–well, there’s the rub.

Productivity apps, Daytimers, Calendars, whatever…used without seeking the Lord’s direction and blessing…tattle on our self-centered, self-serving natures.

Thankfully, God’s grace can get us back on track with Him.

“If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9.

Including our sin of excluding Him in our life-mapping, goal identifying, activity planning efforts!

Lord God, forgive me for hitting the floor “running” day after day, checking my lists, checking off ‘to-dos’ with little thought to what You would have me do.  Forgive my failure to seek You, listen to You, to ask for wisdom to discern worldly goals from Your goals for me.  Thank You, that through Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross,  You have freed me from the tyranny of serving self to live a different way–Your way.

Take my life, O Lord, renew,

Consecrate my heart to you;

Take my moments and my days;

Let them sing your ceaseless praise.

~

Make my will your holy shrine,

It shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is your own;

It shall be your royal throne.

~

Take my love, my Lord, I pour

At your feet its treasure store;

Take my self, Lord, let me be

Yours alone eternally.

Amen.

~  Francis Haveral

November 19 Pure And Simple

Image by B Forsman

Image by B Forsman

Ezekiel 39:1-40:27;  James 2:18-3:18;  Psalm 118:1-18;  Proverbs 28:2

“Who is wise and understanding among you?  By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and  be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practices.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”  James 3:13-18

The Blood of the Lamb

pure and simple

cleanses my heart,

sin-riddled and dark,

pumps His goodness

and righteousness

through my veins;

pumps His life-blood,

His mercy and grace

keeps me alive

in Him.

Alive to bear fruit,

good works to do,

helping my neighbor

speak truth in love.

Sowing seeds of peace

in a restless land.

The Blood of the Lamb,

pure and simple

changes hearts,

changes lives.

God, grant peace,

true peace in You

to every man.

Amen.

November 18 Grant Us Vision And The Will To Do

Photo by Sarah Bryant

Photo by Sarah Bryant

Ezekiel 37:1-38:23;  James 1:19-2:17;  Psalm 117:1-2;  Proverbs 117:1-2

“Know this, my beloved brothers;  let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of a man does not produce the righteousness of God.  Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted Word which is able to save your souls.  But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves…If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives this person’s religion is worthless.  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:  to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”  James 1:19-22, 26-27

Lord, Whose love through humble service

Bore the weight of human need,

Who upon the cross forsaken,

Offered mercy’s perfect deed,

We, Your servants, bring the worship

Not of voice alone, but heart,

Consecrating to Your purpose

Ev’ry gift that you impart.

~

Still your children wander homeless;

Still the hungry cry for bread;

Still the captives long for freedom;

Still in grief we mourn the dead.

As , O Lord, your deep compassion

Healed the sick and freed the soul,

Use the love Your Spirit kindles

Still to save and make us whole.

~

As we worship, grant us vision,

Till Your love’s revealing light

In its height and depth and greatness,

Dawns upon our quickened sight,

Making known the needs and burdens

Your compassion bids us bear,

Stirring us to tireless striving,

Your abundant life to share.

~

Called by worship to Your service,

Forth in Your dear name we go,

To the child, the youth, the aged,

Love in living deeds to show;

Hope and health, good will and comfort,

Counsel, aid and peace we give,

That Your servant, Lord, in freedom

May Your mercy know and live.  Amen.

~Albert Bayly

Lord God, I especially pray for the people of St. Louis, especially the area of Ferguson, that peace will reign, love prevail, and Your will be done.  Grant healing, desire for cooperation, and true understanding and respect among all.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

November17 God’s Business

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Ezekiel 35:1-36:38;  James 1:1-18;  Psalm 116:1-19;  Proverbs 27:23-27

“Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:  It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.  I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations.  Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.

For I will take you out of the nations;  I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.  I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean;  I will cleanse you from your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  You will live in the land I gave your forefathers, you will be my people and I will be your God.”  Ezekiel 36:22-28

Lord God, you make it your business to clean us up and re-purpose us for yourself.  You make us new through the water and the Word of Baptism;  You impart the Holy Spirit within our hearts which guides and directs us to live lives pleasing to You.  You gave us Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the final and lasting sacrifice for our sins past, sins present and sins future.  We need only look to the Cross to see Your promised Salvation–your means of bridging the gap between sin-filled and Son-filled life.  Grant that the ‘nations’–the people around us–see the difference You make in a believer’s life and give you glory and praise!  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

“For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling that I may walk in the land of the living.”  Psalm 116:8-9

November 14 Patience

Photo By Laura Jostes

Photo By Laura Jostes

Dear Friends,

Please pray that I can get computer issues resolved soon!  I’ve been journaling–on paper–my thoughts on the daily readings from the One year Bible.  God’s Word is always there to feed us, even when computers fail us!  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways (even with computers) acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Weekend Blessings!

Laura