Heavenly Father,

If I listen to the voices of this world, there is much to fear. The news is filled with reasons to be more and more fearful… terrorism here and in other countries, rising racism and division of all kinds, diseases and financial disaster, rape, murder, violence of all kinds. If I listen to all the reports I hear on the news, on social media and even from friends and relatives, I could easily be frightened of everything. Discussions on events in the world between the best of friends and closest of family can turn to hate, misunderstanding and separation far too easily. That’s because as long as we live on this earth, we have a choice who we will listen to and how we will respond to the battle that is forever raging around us. I have heard many inflamed arguments over current events that are fired by who is listened to. The truth is debatable according to which biased reports are followed. Lord, in all this mess, I choose to listen to You!

I am not ignoring the darkness of this world by not listening to what is going on; I simply refuse to get caught up in the lies that are used to kill and destroy. Most of the wrong “voices to listen to” are loud and demanding. Although, there are times, the enemy whispers little lies to encourage us to wallow in hurt and anger so it can grow into hate. I recognize my enemy’s scheme and I refuse to fall for it. I choose, instead, to listen to Your still small voice that calls me to follow Jesus in love. Lord, Your love calls me to forgive when someone hurts me; to recognize they are not my enemy. Thank You for reminding me to pray for and love those who hurt me, persecute me, or disagree with me.

When I listen to You and practice what You tell me, I rise above all the fearful chaos of this world and soar in the freedom of Christ with You! When I listen to You, I can sow Your peace, love and wisdom. When I listen to You, I can defeat the enemy and bring light into the darkness. It will be an ongoing battle until the day I take my last breath, but help me to keep on listening to You so Your kingdom can come here on earth as it is in heaven. You are the truth, the way and the life. I choose to listen to You above all the noise of this world.

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“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”   John 10:27-30

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. ” James 1:19-22

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.”  Revelation 3:20

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Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, Help me choose who I listen to …

 

Heavenly Father,

We’ve had a fire going in our free-standing metal fireplace for almost three days now. Warnings of a major ice storm prompted us to store up a large garden wagon of logs for our fireplace in our garage. There is something so mesmerizing and cozy about watching a fire roar. It makes me just want to slow down and enjoy the warmth. I’ve enjoyed the benefits of our well-used fireplace for over twenty years now. There can be 3 feet of snow on the ground, freezing rain, or blowing wind outside but as long as we have wood to burn, we know we have what we need in front of those glowing flames. One year, a major ice storm with high winds caused major tree branches to continually fall on our roof all night long. Our power was out… along with another family staying with us who had lost their power. Though we had no electricity or heat, the fire provided warmth and light. Adults and kids were camped out all over the floor in front of our fireplace.

Tonight as I savored the dancing flames and occasional crackle, I thought of how we are drawn to the warmth of fire in the cold seasons. Father, it doesn’t matter what storms rage outside. When I sit down in Your presence and soak up Your warmth, I know all is well. The storms will pass. You are with me and You will never leave me. I can sit calmly in front of You whenever I am still in Your presence.

When I stop and am still before You, my spirit is soothed before Your calming power and tender warmth. When I turn my gaze towards You, I know Your peace. As I sit before You in quiet, You lay Your lovely thoughts upon my soul. You guide me. You love me, You restore me and warm me. The glow of being in Your presence enables me to carry that warmth of Your glowing embers out into the dark cold world. I can come back into Your presence at any time. I can share the fire You place in my soul with those who are out in the cold and do not realize what they are missing.

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“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’”  Hebrews 12:28-29

“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”   Exodus 13:21-22

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   John 8:12b

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, burn away all that is not needed and set my soul on fire for…

Heavenly Father,

I am not known for my lovely singing abilities (except by You!) When I was a busy mom driving around a van load of kids, I used to turn the Christian praise songs up and blast away at the top of my voice. Fairly often one of the kids would reach over and turn the station mid song…and I’m positive it wasn’t because of the song but the wanna-be singer! That’s OK! One time in my life, I sang a beautiful Amy Grant version of “Thy Word” along with my husband in front of our whole church. It was beautiful! That’s because I can actually sing in Amy Grant’s range and I had sung along thousands of times in my van,  and because my mom-in-law accompanied on the piano and she can make anyone sound good…and because I had told You I was willing to make a fool of myself for You, Lord!

I still sing to You all the time, Lord…just along with a crowd or when I’m alone by myself…and sometimes in front of infants and preschoolers (they haven’t developed their music critique yet!) Most of all, I love to write You songs that flow from my heart. I know You adore my songs. No one else can sing the song I sing…because no one else has all the unique history and experiences I’ve had. I am Your one-of-a-kind daughter. Even if I sing a well-known song (one someone else has written) it is new and lovely to You because You see into my heart and know what flows out is unique and lovely because it has never been heard by You in quite that way by anyone else. We all have precious unique songs to sing to You every single day. I held my new 2 year-old foster granddaughter at our Christmas Eve service. Millions of people were singing “Silent Night” all over the world that night but the sweetest voice I heard was that tiny girl singing the tune though she didn’t know the words!

Lord God, let me always sing a new song to You every day, no matter what is going on in my life. We have all sung sad songs, dancing songs, cry-for-help songs, angry songs, songs of regret, praise songs…even songs that are too deep to be expressed in words. Let me always keep singing to You. My daily one-of-a-kind song is heard and cherished by You… yet it is also blended with angelic songs in heaven along with millions of other unique songs all over the earth to form the most glorious choir all sung to You, Lord! One of my most delightful discoveries was finding out You sing over us as well!

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“O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth! Sing unto the Lord, bless His name; declare His salvation from day to day. Proclaim His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. …” Psalm 96:1-2

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a Mighty One, who will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Ephesians 5:19-20

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Prayer Prompt-

Father God, today I feel like singing this to You…

Heavenly Father,

What a beautiful sight to wake up to…pure white snow blanketing everything. All the mess; all the brown piles of dried up leaves; all the trash cans; dirty cars and broken fences- they were all transformed into beautiful sparkling pure white snow still untouched by humans hands and feet. I happened to be one of the first to drive on it yesterday morning. Though the sun had not quite risen, the undisturbed cover laid out in front of me glowing in the soft pre-dawn light. The atmosphere was filled with peace with the muffled softness of sound from piles of brilliant fresh- fallen snow. The morning almost had a sacred feel to it…until I walked into work where they had to salt the sidewalk for the safety of incoming feet. What a mess! The salt and slush was tracked all over in no time at all!

I watched the snow out the window as the day went by. It was too cold to go outside and play in it so for the most part, it lay undisturbed! On the drive home, the dirty ruts of tires spoiled the pure whiteness. Though I ‘d admired the pure clean snow, I couldn’t help but think how my very best attempts at pure holiness on my own are filthy and impure compared to Your holiness. There is not one iota of meanness or manipulation or spot of impurity in You, Lord! You are more holy than the cleanest whitest snow.

You, Lord, are untouched by my filthy sin which somehow always makes its way through as I go through the fiery trials of this life. I cannot blemish Your holiness…but You can completely cover my sin. You did it once and for all by sending Your Son Jesus Christ to die for us on the cross. He came quietly, softly and let His pure blood cover and cleanse every bit of ugly rebellious sin. I may still feel the sin pop through, but I believe You look at me and see the beautiful holy covering of Jesus’ blood that makes me pure so I can live with You for all eternity. You not only cover me but make me new from the inside out!

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“But we all are as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags; and we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”  Isaiah 64:6

“Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

“as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:12

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, I need the pure holy saving grace of Jesus. Forgive me and cleanse me from…