There is one thing I can absolutely count on—that You are with me, Lord.
You have been with me always—even before I was conceived You knew me and the plans You had for me. You have been with me when I felt all alone. You have been with me when it seemed the whole world was against me. You have been with me when I was so wrong and undeserving. You have been with me when I demanded my own way. You have been with me when I thought I knew it all and when I found out how little I knew. You have been with me through gut-wrenching cries and gushing tears of joy. You have been with me through painful heartbreak and happy reconciliation. You have been with me when I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from as well as times I thought I would burst if You added more blessings.
You have been with me through the births and deaths of those I love. You have been with me through both epic failures and celebrations of success. You have been with me through fearful situations where there was no apparent way out—where You opened up an unseen door to miraculous outcomes. You have been with me in dark evil places and brought me into glorious light. You have been with me when the enemy tries to destroy me, and have protected me more than I will ever know. You have been with me when I have complained, whined, balked, rebelled and sinned against You. You have been with me when I have been humbled by Your truth and have gladly surrendered to Your will.
Lord, You have never left me and I know You never will. You are always calling me forward to new places with You. When I am slow or reluctant to follow, You wait for me or urge me on. You have a final destination to take me, but You are with me on this journey right now. There is no where I can go where You are not with me. There is nothing I will face without You. What a beautiful assurance of Your love. You are with me always to the end of this age and beyond. I love You.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b
“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Father, thank You for being with me when…
There is so much evil, tragedy and darkness that calls us to despair today. We hear of mass murder where many unarmed people are gunned down while enjoying music, of throngs of people walking unarmed to ask for their independence killed by machine guns, of terrorist attacks in neighborhoods and shopping areas, bombings and slavery just to name a few. It’s easy to give in to feeling hopeless about this world. But, Lord, since we belong to Your kingdom, our true citizenship is not of this world. We belong to You and we long for our true home where there is no more death, evil, hate, abuse, violence and disaster. Your kingdom is full of light, hope, love and peace. You have an eternal home waiting for us that is more than we could ever hope for.
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with the US Embassy in Cameroon, as I was trying to help my missionary friends when killing and violence broke out all around them. I had a rough awakening as I found that just because someone is a US citizen in a foreign country, that does not protect them from evil in this world. My friends were called by You to go to this country in Africa to shine out for You and spread the true hope found in Jesus Christ. They were called to be ambassadors for Your Kingdom which is not limited like earthly governments. They were called to go into a country which they knew could be unstable to bring the hope of eternity with You. They willingly went and they stayed in the midst of horror and chaos to hold out true hope.
That’s what You did for us in Jesus. You sent Him from heaven to be born as one of us, yet completely innocent. You sent Him to die for our sin, so we could receive eternal life with You. Because of Jesus, we have so much now (even in this crazy world) and so much more to look forward to. Yet there are so many who do not have that hope of a home with You. That’s why once we belong to Your kingdom, You send us as ambassadors into a dark chaotic world to share the hope of Jesus Christ. Will we give in to the hopelessness we see around us—or do we keep our eyes on You so we can continue help more people caught in the hopelessness find eternal life through Jesus Christ? Help us stand strong, remain calm in You, trust in Your plan, and tell the good news. Let us be ambassadors for Your eternal kingdom, Lord, wherever we happen to be in this harsh world.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:18
Father, let me keep my eyes on You so I can…
I am going to truly savor this moment because I will never have it again. Each moment is beautiful and unique in its own way. Most of all, it becomes priceless when I share it with You. It will only last a second but it becomes eternal when I live it with You. My awareness of Your very presence changes everything. I’ve been told that You, Lord God Almighty, created me and have been with me since the beginning; yet when I draw close to You in the present moment, my moments become eternal filled with purpose, joy and completeness. The only way I can draw close to You without sin is through Jesus Christ.
Any moment can become holy when I live it with You: when I look at an angry fit-throwing toddler and see through Your eyes the need for love and guidance; when I stand at the washer sorting through another mountain of dirty socks and underwear, I am humbled by the tender ways You continually care for us; when a dear family I love is spending what seems to be the last days of a loved one’s life, I know each moment is precious, short and eternal all at the same time; when I sit on the patio with a cup of coffee and am quiet in Your presence, You fill me, refresh and restore me; when I am stuck in traffic and I’m late to get to my destination, I am grateful for Your reminder to slow down and enjoy the moment; when someone is rude, You give me insight they need extra prayer; when I hear bad news, I stop and turn to You and recall that You are in control and will work all things together for good for those who love You; when I start to worry about one of my children or grandchildren, You remind me of how You helped me through all my trials and drew me closer to You—I can trust You to do that with them, as well; when I hear of riots, earthquakes, and hurricanes, I know there will be many turning to You in the midst of those painful disasters; when I see a single flower bloom, or trees swaying in the breeze, I revel in Your glory that surrounds us with such beauty.
Any moment becomes holy and eternal with You, Lord. All I have to do is stop and turn to You. It can be a dull boring moment, a scary moment, a painful moment, a tearful moment, a peaceful moment, a confusing moment, a weary moment… all moments are given by You and can become holy just by turning to You. Most of all, I thank You for that eternal moment when You sent Jesus to die for my sins and be raised again so I could choose to live forever with You. That moment changed everything! May all my moments be lived with You—forever!
“But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:8b—10
“But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands…” Psalm 31:14—15a
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Heavenly Father, help me share this moment with You…
I’ve been reading up on the solar eclipse which will be experienced across America tomorrow. It’s strange to me how the moon which is significantly smaller than the sun can block out much of the sun’s rays for a bit. The sun which is the center of our particular universe is immensely powerful. It lights up and heats up our tiny planet so we can live on it. Yet it is only one star out of trillions or more that You created and set each one into its exact orbit. It’s not the sun…but You, Lord, who is actually the center of all things. Everything from atoms to galaxies revolves around You, alone. Our sun will eventually cease to exist, but You, Lord, stand forever…and You invite us to live for all eternity with You. You even provided the way to make that possible through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice to cleanse us once and for all so we could share eternal life with You- something we can never obtain on our own.
We’ve been hearing how we cannot look directly upon the sun without the risk of damage to our eyes…but how much more happens when we look to You, Lord. We may not be able to see You in all Your glory and live. But when we truly accept Jesus as our Savior from sin and death, we see Your glory even now. No darkness can block it out completely. Although there will be many things that try: health issues, financial ruin, broken relationships, legal obstacles, shattered dreams, the state of the world… So many things might cloud over our sight of You but You are still here. Nothing has dimmed You or taken away even on iota of Your power and authority, yet we may see the darkness for a bit. We know You are still there.
Most of the time, when we are wondering where You went- it’s because we are letting something get in between You and us. You are unchanging. Father, remind me when things seem to grow dark that You did not move; that You are still there. Help me to sing songs of thankfulness for Your grace, goodness, mercy, unchanging love, and promises to never leave me. No matter how dark things might seem, the darkness will have to move away and let Your glory shine out brighter than ever! The object or cause of our darkness will seem small and insignificant when compared to Your greatness. You, Lord, are our Light, our love, our source of life, are very reason for living. Father, let nothing eclipse You in my life. Let Your glory shine out and reflect on those in the darkness.
“They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them their light. And they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation22:4-5
“The sun will no more be your light by day, nor the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” Isaiah 60:19
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
Father, what is standing between me and You, dimming Your light?
It’s unimaginable that You made us and gave us free choice. That has been boggling my mind lately. Part of me wants to say, ‘What were You thinking?’ Everything would be so much more orderly if You had created us to automatically obey You. Yet the parent, grandparent, teacher in me kind of gets it. What joy there is when my children, grandchildren or students freely choose the right thing of their own free will. This world is full of people making many choices…but there is truly one ultimate choice that affects everything- for all eternity. That is the choice to accept that Jesus is Your one true Son who You freely chose to send to save us from our sin so we can live with You in peace both now and for all eternity. All the millions of choices in the world do not mean a thing unless we choose Jesus as our Savior.
It pains me to see people choosing to make other things their greatest priority: money, fame, drugs, alcohol, sex, entertainment, education…what emptiness is found when they choose to live their own way, to try to control their own lives. What foolish pride to think we can handle this life without You…the very One who made us! There is no way we can be strong enough, pure enough, good enough, or genius enough to make it to eternal life without Your help. Your choice to save us is Jesus. It is Your deepest desire that not even one should perish but have eternal life…yet You give us a choice of whether we want to be with You or not. One day every single person will have to bow before You to acknowledge what their choice was concerning Jesus. I have already made my choice to accept the loving gift You’ve given me in Jesus Christ.
I choose to love You with all my heart, mind and soul. I choose to worship You alone. I choose to honor You with my life. I choose to acknowledge that I am nothing without Jesus but I am complete and whole and filled with Your Holy Spirit when I continue choosing Him. I choose to follow where You lead, to obey what You say, to stay close to You each day. I choose to gratefully accept the sacrifice You gave to me through Jesus Christ. What an amazing God You are to love me so much to send Jesus to save me when I was a sinner…and to let it be my choice whether to accept the greatest gift ever given. I choose You because You first chose me. How I wish everyone would choose You!
“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…” Deuteronomy 30:19-20a
Heavenly Father, today I choose….
My Lord and God,
I am joyfully declaring my total dependence upon You today! As our country celebrates our independence as a nation, we read the Declaration of Independence which announced for the whole world to hear that the newly-founded United States of America was officially separating from the unjust rule of the King of England. Those who signed the historical document knew it would most likely cost them life and their worldly riches (theirs, their families’ and their new countrymen). Indeed it cost dearly. Millions of lives have since been sacrificed to gain and protect our country’s freedom. I am indeed blessed to have been born in the USA…although I did not have a say in that blessing.
I do, however, have a say in freely giving up my rights to my own life. It is the best choice I’ve ever made. Whatever worldly riches and rights I willingly laid aside to acknowledge my dependence upon You as my King is nothing compared to the richness of living with Jesus now and forevermore. What a relief to know I do not have to live up to laws which are unobtainable; to pay taxes which put me in chains of bondage; to be ordered about with no compassion by a worldly king who doesn’t even know me. You are the King of kings yet You humbly offered Your one and only pure Son Jesus Christ to pay the ultimate price for my freedom. You are the absolute maker, designer, and Lord of all yet You long to have an intimate personal relationship with little me. It is not Your nature to rule over us with an iron hand, although You alone have the power and authority to reign for all eternity.
You invite all of us from every tribe and nation to willingly be a part of the only kingdom that truly counts. You do not force us but wait upon us to realize we can’t do anything without You. We indeed find more than we could ever hope for or imagine as we realize our great need for You. It is with upmost love, trust, faith, hope and with everything I am that I once again tell You that I need You. I need You salvation, guidance, comfort, direction. I need the blood of Jesus to open the way. I need You to breathe, move, live. I need You to live in and through me so I can fulfill Your purpose for me, so I can draw others to You, so I can love joyfully and completely. I need You, Oh, I need You. Every hour I need You! I have found true freedom in my dependence upon You, My True King!
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, , who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21
“Halleluiah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!” Revelation 19:6b
King of Glory, help me see what areas I need to let You rule over…
I miss my Wednesday night Forever Sisters! For years, we opened up our Bible study with reports of ways we had seen You work during the week, Lord. I still recall the panic on certain faces as the testimonies were shared around the group and their turn was approaching. New people didn’t know what to do or say so we let them off easy at first. Girls who were regulars came to love sharing what they had seen! In fact, if they had to miss or on rare occasions when we skipped a week, they couldn’t wait to text or Facebook everyone with what they had seen You do! Some of these were the very same ones who dreaded speaking at first! Our group of sisters-in-Christ prayed together, cried together, rejoiced together, studied Your word together and simply loved one another. I think one of the favorite parts was this sharing of reports of what You were doing in everyone’s daily lives.
Because they knew they were going to need to report something, they began to look for ways You were at work. Some were better than others at seeing You all around. Sometimes it would be as simple as You helping find a set of keys or as impressive as seeing a former Satan worshipper that we had been praying for give their life to You (and then being baptized at our church). Seeing and hearing of all the things we each saw You do during the week (over months or even years) built our faith in You even more. If one came feeling weak or defeated, these reports renewed their faith. We shared in many victories and answered prayers…because we were looking!
Father, there are so many things we miss, because we are not looking. I believe and hope that this habit of watching for You at work continues in the lives of those I no longer meet with every week. I recall one of the moms telling how she had started the nightly habit of having her kids tell what they are thankful for or how they had seen You work. Maybe each of those sisters have started sharing with others how they see You at work in their daily lives! It’s time for me to start with a new group. They may be shy at first…but I know what happens when we open our eyes and start looking for You! We find You…everywhere we go!
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparable great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19
Father, open my eyes and help me see….
The more time marches on in my life, the more aware I am of its brevity. When I was a young girl, time seemed to move incredibly slow…especially when waiting on birthdays or some special occasion that seemed to never arrive. Now, time seems to pass at the speed of light. When did my children turn into these incredible grown-ups with children of their own? There seems no way to slow this time thing down! How many times have I heard people say there aren’t enough hours in the day? At the end of the day, I sometimes ask where that day went? I don’t seem to get accomplished what I hoped to on certain days. Yet at the same time, I have learned to slow down and trust that You have allotted me exactly enough time each day to accomplish what You want me to.
Our time is definitely limited here on earth. No one knows when our last hour will be. I am increasingly aware that I need to use my time wisely. There is only so much of it left. How am I investing it? The world is always pulling on me to spend all my time and resources on things for my own comfort, entertainment, beauty, fame…anything to build up my own little kingdom. Yet You call me to be willing to give up my life, my time, my resources to expand Your kingdom which is nothing at all like a worldly kingdom. You rule with the most incredible unselfish love. You share all Your time and resources with us. We are only limited by our own faith in You.
I have to be extra flexible at work. My sweet friend who makes up the scheduling laughs with me every week as my schedule changes every day- sometimes more than once in a day. We know it’s really God’s schedule the perfect way it always works out. Lord, help me be ready, willing and flexible to use my time, resources and talents for Your purpose. Help me invest time with You so I will know Your voice and will be filled with You. Let me be ready and willing to speak to someone, hug someone, pray with someone, encourage someone, help someone when You call for a change of what I have scheduled. Let me invest my love, heart, time, life in loving You and others, Lord! That’s the only thing that will live past the end of time for all eternity. Remind me I’m on Your schedule!
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
Father, help me be willing to be on Your schedule by….
Glorious Heavenly Father,
Today I am incredibly thankful for the still quiet time I can share with You. I recall how awkward I felt when first taking that purposeful time alone with You. I always knew You were somehow with me…all around me – powerful and magnificent yet in the background of my life. Then to stop everything to be still and quiet- to speak to You and to learn to listen…that was a whole new thing. What do you say to the Lord of everything, the God who created all there is, the most powerful and glorious Being who knows all and sees all? Yet I knew Jesus had died so I could have direct contact with You. There was no way for me to truly share Your presence when sin ruled my life. Jesus’ blood cleaned me from the inside out so I can come to You anytime. With such a high price being paid for me to have that kind of relationship with You, I never want to take it for granted or neglect my time with You. So I started- and never have stopped- though there are certainly times I have been guilty of getting sidetracked from that time alone with You.
Lately, I’ve had a little more “still” time again due to my bad back. Seems like the times I’ve spent the most time with You are times when I had to have something physically slow me down. I can truly say I am grateful for those hurdles which resulted in reminders to spend more time with You. The more time I purposely take to enjoy Your presence- the more I can take that “still” time with me wherever I go.
It’s incredible that no matter what obstacles, challenges, darkness or issues that might try to overwhelm me, when I come to You and place it all before You…When I am still and focus on who You are…when I trust that You are more powerful and eternal that anything I could ever possibly face- my soul becomes still. In my time with You, I am bathed in Your peace, joy and love. You alone fulfill me. You alone restore me. You alone cover me with Your grace and mercy. You alone strengthen me in my weakness. You alone heal me. You alone give me Your insight and wisdom. You alone give me all I need to handle the day no matter what it looks like. That’s why I come to You to be still with You alone.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
“You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.”
Prayer Peek & Prompt-
Most Holy Father God, show me how to be still so I can enjoy Your presence through Jesus Christ…
In this day and age, most of us have chaotic lives with hectic schedules. Every day I see parents picking up their children and rushing to a practice or a game. They barely have time to say “hello” or share the happenings of the day. Meals are fast, often in the car on the way to another location. Every moment of “off time” from work or school is packed with entertainment, chores, errands or activities. Every space is filled with noise from the nonstop blare of TV, radio, news, video games or social media. All that noise fills us with worries of crime, terrorists, financial woes, relationship concerns, what we might be doing wrong, and the terrible shape of the world. We are driven to make more money so we can spend more and then we worry over more bills. We want larger homes then it takes more time to maintain them. It can, indeed, be a chaotic world. Most everyone longs for a more simple life with less stress.
It is up to us to slow down and simplify our lives. We have a choice to answer Your call to “Be still and know that You are God.” Those quiet times with You certainly simplify our lives. When we consistently take time to be still in Your presence, You help us to get our priorities straight. You show us what needs to be cut out so we are not overwhelmed. You remind us You have a plan for our lives…and it is not to add more stress but to give us Your peace. Lord, You open up a way when it seems there is no way out. You restore and refresh our souls. You teach us how to truly love and enjoy the moments with our families and those You put in our path. You let us know what we need to handle and what we need to simply place in Your masterful hands. You open our eyes to see the beauty we would be too busy to notice if we weren’t still with You. You reveal more and more of Yourself as we seek these simple times with You.
Lord, help me to consistently choose a more simple life with You. Let me seek You and love You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. You sent Jesus to give me a more abundant life. The more I simplify my life and seek You, the more blessings are multiplied. You are all I need. You are far more than I could ever hope for. It’s simple…I choose You!
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Heavenly Father, help me seek You first and above all…