Eternal Father,  today’s youngest generation is facing more darkness and evil than ever as they grow up. I always try to do as You say and keep my eyes on things that are lovely and pure and holy…but I cannot be blind to the very real threat of darkness and evil. What really makes me want to fight is when evil comes after vulnerable children. That just brings out the warrior in me! For my grandkids, great grandkids, children I have cared for, children in my church, children who have no idea what a church is or for that matter who Jesus is, children who are born into drugs, alcohol, violence, abuse…kids who face the pure evilness of “Momo” and other predators! I want to fight for them! I want to call today’s parents to stand up and fight, protect and teach their children to turn to You in this dark world.

                TV was still relatively new when I was a preschooler. You always knew who the good guy and bad guys were…and the good guy always won. Thing are so mixed up now that evil is held in high standards far too often. Now, there is a slew of dark and evil entertainment readily available to the tiniest people. I am always amazed how these tots can learn to swipe apps before they can speak. As the “Momo” character has been brought out into the open—as this evil character tellls little people to kill themselves and gives them specific directions on how to do it, my heart cries out to today’s parents to stand up and let their children become their mission to bring Your word, Your light, Your kingdom into this dark world. Lord, shake up today’s generation who are now parents and have them pray for, teach, protect and stand guard for the souls of their children (and generations to come).

                Father, You are the best parent there is. You know we have to pass through this hard world, but You give us Jesus Christ to overcome the evil in this world. You know we can’t be left alone to fight this fight through our own weak power. I will forever be Your daughter, who needs You. Father, I pray for those who are now parents to stand guard and protect the precious children You have entrusted to their care. I pray that You teach them to turn to You everyday by praying with them and for them. I pray You equip the parents for the hard job of parenting that takes tremendous sacrifice. You know all about that!  Raise up parents who will raise up their children full of Jesus Christ— with Your discernment between right and wrong, Your word in their hearts ready to fight any battle, Your strength and godly perseverance to overcome this world. Let them model Godly parenting so these little people will know how to parent their children. I lift this generation of parents and children to You and pray that they bow before You realizing their need for You.

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“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Deuteronomy 6:5-7

“We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God…”    Psalm 78:

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”  (Jesus’ words in Luke 11:13

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Prayer Prompt-

Father God, Help me as a parent or grandparent to teach the next generation to turn to You…



Glorious Father,   there are times I get calls, texts or questions asking for my counsel. Maybe it’s because they mistake my wrinkles for wisdom. Perhaps it’s because I am a writer. I hope it might be because they get a little glimpse of Jesus in me. I know it’s not because I’m so wise. It always throws me off when I am asked for advice because I have lived long enough to know my weaknesses, inadequacies, and the vast wisdom I lack—especially when compared to You, Lord. When asked for advice, I try to let them know that I am not nearly insightful enough to tell them what to do—but I know who is…

                That’s why I try to pray with them as soon as I can after listening to their dilemma without much comment. I dare not trust my own judgement, ideas, thoughts unless Your word specifically makes a clear statement about their particular situation. Lord, You alone, know their heart and motivation and everyone else involved. You alone, know the history and Your plans for the lives of each person concerned. You alone, know how the challenge they currently face will mold and form them for the work You have ahead of them. You alone, know the eternal results of the issue they are seeking advice for. What if, in my own well-meaning counsel, I mess with Your eternal work?

                Father God, it seems the very best thing I can do is to stop and lift them and their entire situation before You. It seems the wisest thing I can do is to trust You to work through them and what they are facing. What if my soft-heartedness wants to relieve them of suffering when that is exactly what they need to endure for a season? What if I build them up to make them feel good when You are trying to help them realize their sinfulness? What if I was to shame them for mistakes without the hope of Your lavish grace?

                Lord God Almighty, let my wisdom begin and end with You. You know all things. You have power over all things. Yet in Your unmatched wisdom, You wait for us to come to You in each and every situation. Father, I come to You, the very source of all wisdom. Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ to give me the wisdom to know to bring all things to You—and to encourage others to, as well.

*****

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise.”    Psalm 111:10

“If any of You lacks wisdom, he should ask GOD, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”    James 1:5

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgements, and His paths beyond tracing out!  Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.”    Romans 11:33-36

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Prayer Prompt-

Father God, do I come to You for wisdom and counsel?



Most Holy Father,  I’ve heard that it only takes one spark to set a whole forest on fire. It also only takes a tiny spark of hatred to start a genocide…or one little spark of juicy gossip to destroy another life. On the flip side, I have seen for myself how a tiny spark of God’s love can do more good than we can ever imagine. I choose to spread sparks of Your love. I can’t help but think of an eight-year-old friend of mine who moved away. I used to care for her when she was little. Whenever she saw me, she would immediately burst into dance while singing a Christian song, “Lord, let me be a soul on FIRE!” Her spark set me on fire!

                It doesn’t have to be a song! It can be a smile, a compliment, a hug, a prayer, a small gift, holding the door, helping carry groceries in, sending a note, a phone call or text, a sticky note, listening, really listening, a welcoming “Hi!”… When I was young, I’m sure I thought I needed to be and do something huge for the Lord like my young friend who wanted to be a star. Perhaps all these little “sparks” spread and do much bigger things than any huge thing I can imagine. Your love is so powerful, Lord, that once we experience it, we want to pass it on. It only takes a spark to build Your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!

                I can’t help but sing this “Pass it on” song which was sung at our wedding, (lyrics by Kurt Kaiser):

“It only takes a spark to get a fire going

And soon all those around, can warm up in glowing

That’s how it is with God’s love

Once you’ve experienced it, you spread His love to everyone

You want to pass it on

What a wondrous time is spring, when all the trees are budding

The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming

That’s how it is with God’s love

Once you’ve experienced it, you want to sing

“It’s fresh like spring”; you want to pass it on

I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I’ve found

You can depend on Him, it matters not where you’re bound

I’ll shout it from the mountain top – PRAISE GOD

I want the world to know; the Lord of love has come to me

I want to pass it on”

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“We love because He first loved us.”   1 John 4:19

“For our God is a consuming fire.”  Hebrews 12:29

“The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of His people. They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown.”  Zechariah 9:16

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Prayer Prompt-Father, set me on fire with Your Son Jesus Christ living in me and use me to throw off sparks for You…

Heavenly Father,  I recall my dad talking to me one time about “investing” in his children. It hit me the wrong way when I first heard him use the term “investing” when speaking of my brothers and me. At the time, being a very young adult, that word seemed a little cold and calculating—probably because I had only heard it in reference to money. But I am beginning to understand my daddy’s investment…

                Yesterday was my last day of a 25-plus-year career I had spent investing in the lives of little people. I spent at least fifteen years loving, nurturing and teaching other people’s children through my in-home Child Care. Then I just chose to leave a job where I continued to love on countless precious little ones from 6 weeks old to six years old in a wonderful Child Care Center. That’s a lot of noses and bottoms which have been wiped, dirty bedding laundered, meals prepared and dishes washed , boo-boos treated, temper tantrums calmed, tears hugged away, silly songs sang, books read over and over, bubbles blown and popped, potty training with accidents and success, teaching to share and take turns, helping them learn to be caring and respectful, helping them realize responsibility, discoveries about butterflies, plants, dinosaurs, weather, firemen, building and art… (and their families loved and prayed for!)

                Most of those little people who run to hug me when I walk into the room will not remember me 5-10 years from now…but I know the other teachers and I have invested more than they will ever know into their lives. Then there are my own children, grandchildren and great grandchildren! For over 34 years, I had children underage at home. Now there are grandkids in and out of my care on a regular basis. Even when they are not in my presence, I am still investing love by praying for them daily. As my children and grandchildren have grown to be amazing big people, I am blown away that my little investments had even a tiny impact on who they are and who they influence! The more I invest (even in seemingly insignificant ways) the pay-off is occurring in eternal dividends I can’t even begin to count. Just a little peek makes me realize I am so richly blessed!

                Father, You invested in us first! You knew there wouldn’t always be immediate return for the precious investment of Your Son Jesus Christ. No one understood the price of Your loving investment poured out for us when it was occurring. We still cannot count the riches of how Jesus’ life, death and resurrection continues to grow, flourish and multiply in our lives and those we touch! Father, thank You so much for investing in us when we didn’t deserve it, understand it, or even acknowledge what You’ve done for us. Lord, help me be one that keeps passing Your great blessings along. The more we invest, the richer we discover we’ve become spiritually.

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“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

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:9-12

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, how am I investing the Love You have poured into me?

Heavenly Father,

We made a surprisingly close connection with a very interesting older man from church. We just knew Ken two short years, but he became like family. He was known by another name at church, the “Cookie Man.” That’s because he almost always brought some of his famous homemade cookies to share with everyone. He even had a label for his delicious cookies: “Sarasota Ken’s best soft ginger cookies in the world.” I believe they were. Even during the times he was without a job, he still somehow brought cookies to share. I think any profit from the few he sold went to bake more to share! I will miss those cookies—even more, I will miss his big smile!

We know he has brothers, sisters, sons and grandsons he dearly loves, because he told treasured stories of them all. We have only got to meet one son—the one who stepped way out of his comfort zone to care for his dad as long as he possibly could. Even in the last few weeks, when he was in a facility on hospice care, you could always see Mark’s mark that showed he had been there to care for his dad (clean clothes, his favorite Steelers shirts, TV turned to his favorite football game, OU Blanket, notes to the staff, drinks…) The father and son might have butted heads in their time, but there was overwhelming evidence of true love there. I’m praying for Mark as he feels the loss of his dad’s presence and the loss of taking care of him.  I pray for the rest of Ken’s dear family who I may never meet before heaven. It’s amazing how Jesus bonds us all in Your family, Father.

Lord, it seems my cheering section in heaven is growing as more friends and family have a glorious get together in Your very presence. I know I will join them any time between now and if I reach 115 years old. Once Ken feasts on Your glory and all the wonders he sees, I have no doubt that he will enjoy the feast at Your table because that thin man sure did love to eat! We will miss sharing meals (and his  ginger cookies) with Ken…until we meet again, dear friend! I know he is enjoying the full glory of You, our Heavenly Father, and You have another one of Your loved ones home with You!

*****

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”  Psalm 116:15

 

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 15:54-57

 

 “…for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.  Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”      2 Corinthians 5:7-9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, am I living prepared to die?

Heavenly Father,

I know elections can bring out the passion in people on all sides—no matter how they vote. Here it is the day after the elections and You are still God! You still reign. You have your eternal plans which last long after any man-made promises or schemes are forgotten. It is good for people to listen to candidates and make their choices for who they believe will make the best leader. It is wise to study questions on the ballot and make choices. With all the ugly fighting and hurtful words that fly around in the heat of an election, it is wise to be humble as both the winner and the loser. The vote is counted. The results are in. Now we need to live in peace with the choices which have been made.

My four and five year old grandkids play on a soccer team. They know how to have fun playing, enjoy one another and the game, and relish in the cheering on the sidelines. They also know how to show respect while winning and losing. The parents from both teams make a human tunnel for both teams to go through while giving high fives for a great game. The day is not ended upon whether or not they win or lose. How nice it would be if there was no name calling, ugly rumors spread, hatred for those on the opposing team… how much more respect could we have for one another if candidates and their supporters kept their passion for their beliefs, and not let that passion turn ugly and personal toward their opponents. What if we had respect for those who believe another way would work better? What if we loved those who disagree with us and us with them?

Father, our enemy is not flesh and blood (Whether it is family, a spouse, ex-spouse, co-workers, neighbors, political parties, or anyone else with skin on.) Our enemy is the one who likes to stir up hatred, division, disagreements. It is good to have passion for what we believe. It is better to have love for those who do not believe as we do. Lord, I love You passionately. Yet that passion means nothing if I don’t love others. And You tell me to love others—especially those who appear to be my enemies. Yes, it is the day after another election—and You still call on us to love others.

 

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“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”  Ephesians 6:10-13

 

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as Your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:44-48

 

“Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see  and disapprove and turn His wrath away from him.” Proverbs 24:17-18

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me how I can love and pray for those who disagree with me…

Heavenly Father,

My friends who are missionaries in Cameroon (Africa) are so torn. They are safe back here in the states but their hearts are still with their beloved people who are being killed in a bloody civil war. They had to come back with their young children but have been keeping in close contact with their fellow believers who are trapped in the middle of this war. It has affected the children in their home town in Cameroon being able to go to the school they founded, the families’ and teachers’ safety. Since they are back here in the states, it is so hard on them to hear of the escalation there in Cameroon. Today they found out a young missionary dad was killed in the crossfire.  He was “killed in action”—on the front line for You. He was father to eight young children and their family had only been there one month.

Father, I know from reading Your word that there is a special place for those who lose their lives for Your sake. I know this dad is safe with You. Will You comfort and protect his family. Will You rally the believers there as they see this man’s and their family’s sacrifice? Will You comfort and strengthen this young widow and her children with the truth that You are with them and will never ever leave them (even though their earthly protector had to leave them). Your ways are so high above our ways, Lord. It is happening now around the world. I have no doubt that Your plans will prevail. I know that this dad is experiencing victory now. I know that You will lead his wife and children to victory. I know You are at work in Cameroon and other places—no matter how things look to us.

I think of all our missionary friends and relatives around the world who stepped out in faith to give up the comfortable lives they could have had here in America to go out on the often lonely battlefield. Yet I also know You have called each of us who have surrendered our lives to You, to be willing to give up our own lives—no matter where we live. That looks different to different followers. These children and wife who lost their dad and husband have had to give up their security in him and will need to trust more fully in You. My friends who came back from Cameroon had to leave the field when they didn’t want to, yet they are ready for action wherever You lead. Some other friends of ours are presently in a whole different culture and have had to give up comforts and conveniences found here to live among a lost people. Our brother and his wife have left all their family to reach a difficult people in another land. Father, all I know is that I hope and pray that whenever and however my time comes to go Home with You, I will be found doing what You want me to be doing. Let me be found “in action for You” when You come to take me home.

 

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“This is how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”   1 John 3:16

 

“”Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”  Matthew 25:13

 

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”  Matthew 24:44

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, am I truly ready? Am I in action? …

 

Heavenly Father,

Sometimes I look at my schedule that seems to fill up rather quickly; I am tempted to feel overwhelmed. How in the world can I possibly manage my time to accomplish what I think needs to be accomplished (or sometimes what other people think I need to get done)? Then I recall that it is You who makes all things work in their proper time. You give each and every one of us the same 24 hours in a day. You also give each one of us different gifts and talents to use in those 24 hours. You designed each of us in such unique ways that we will use those 24 hours completely different than anyone else. You also give us free choice in how to spend those 24 hours.

There are a few things I have learned about time management:

*Lord, You manage time much better than I do! That’s why I try to offer my time up to You first (before I spend it all on my foolish ways).

*The world was spinning before I was born, is now and will be after I leave it without my help. Time goes on with and without me. It doesn’t depend on me…but it does indeed depend on You!

*Time is so very short. We never know when our time on earth is up so help me live each day ready to go. Let my daily words and actions be eternally encouraging in case they are the last memory others have of me.

*Eternity will not be prisoner to time. We will live in Your presence unhampered by the silly need to cram as much as we can into a day.

Even now, as I come to You in prayer, time falls away in Your presence. All those things on my list and calendar no longer rule me. All that matters is You love me and I love You…and You want me to invest my day into loving others in Jesus’ name. As I make out my little list to manage my time, will You show me what I need to do today? Let me hold my schedule loosely so I am open to all the surprises You bring about today. Let me invest this 24 hours into loving You and those You place in my path. Love is the best investment. It transcends time. Your love is eternal. Love is the best way to manage my time.

 

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“Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers righteousness on you.”  Hosea 10:12

“Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know what the proper time and procedure.”   Ecclesiastes 8:5

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Matthew 6:9-10

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me how to manage my time today…

Gracious Heavenly Father,

A great deal of my life, I spent my time and energy on completing the latest project. Give me a job and I will get it done. Part of it must be in my DNA from my hard-working parents; part of it was daily training because there was always so much work in the three acres of greenhouse and nursery I grew up in. There is a nice feeling of satisfaction to see a project from vision, plans on paper and then all the way to completion. I lived long enough now to see a lot of those “projects” I invested in are no longer there: I had to move away from landscapes I created; fire destroyed home decorating; writing projects never got published; amazing programs created with great intentions are no longer active; jobs I enjoyed have fallen by the wayside…If that’s all I invested my life in, I would be wondering what true purpose my life had.

But… I discovered the things that last forever! I found my true purpose and joy in life in You, Lord! The joy of getting to know You better each day; the wonder of finding more reasons to love You; the truth that this whole life is from You, for You and about You; the new truths You reveal as I continually seek You every day; the mystery of how You can love me with all Your majestic power and might when I am so small and weak; the thought of how You know everything about me and yet You still love me enough to sacrifice Your Son Jesus so I can live for all eternity with You! You love me with an unimaginable love that makes me want to love you back. Loving, worshipping and serving You are what truly makes this life meaningful. Nothing (not even death) can take that away!

You didn’t stop with just loving me, and waiting for me to love You back—You surround me with people that You want me to love. They are not projects—but people! What a joy is found in loving all those You place in my life—for once-in-a-lifetime meetings and life-long relationships; those who are easy to love and those who make it hard; tiny newborn babies to teens finding their way to adults older than me; next-door neighbors and cross-continent-and-seas neighbors; believers and non-believers; those who agree with me and those who do not; from my wonderful family, friends, in-laws and outlaws. Lord, my life is rich with eternal meaning- from loving You and others. That’s not a project but my very purpose!

 

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(When asked what the greatest commandment was), “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:37-40

“Fear God and keep His commandments. For this is the whole duty of man.”  Ecclesiastes 12:13b

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:1-5 (read verses 6-11 to see the attitude of Christ)

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, search me and see if I am living my purpose…

Heavenly Father,

If you ask a child or teen what they want to be when they grow up, I don’t believe there is anyone who would say, “I really want to be a servant!” We are taught to have “higher aspirations.” My husband is reading an intense series of historical books on the American civil war right now. Thousands of people were killed over the issue of slavery. That wasn’t that long ago in history that a whole people group was kidnapped and sold as slaves against their will. There are numerous historical accounts of groups held as slaves against their will including those listed in the greatest most accurate history book ever—the Bible. There are many forms of slavery today around the world—including those sold into the sex trade.

The older I get, and the longer I walk with You, Lord…I am finding I truly want to be Your servant. You have been showing me what it means to be Your bond servant. I have been freed from the slavery of sin through the sacrifice of Your Son’s innocent blood. Sin held me captive, but through Jesus Christ I am FREE indeed! Now I find myself wanting to freely offer my life to serve You. As I understand the earthly meaning of a bondservant, it is when someone has a debt they cannot pay and offer themselves freely to be at the beck and call of the one who they owe. I certainly can never pay the debt I owe to You for saving me through Jesus, for creating me, for giving me eternal life with You, for never leaving me or forsaking me, for giving me breath, rest, strength, peace, joy, love and a beautiful world in which to live until I am home with You.

I believe in Your divine purpose for me and for others. I trust in Your plans and perfect will. I have no doubt that Your motives are pure and holy just as You are. I believe in Your kingdom and am honored to be a part of it. I want to offer my life to be used for Your glory and to enlarge Your eternal kingdom. You ways are so far above my ways that I humbly bow before You , ready to go where You want, say what You want me to say, do what You would have me do, and be who You designed me to be. I know I cannot do this on my own. I’m fully aware I need Your help. You are not only my Master—You are my Savior, my Counselor, my Life, my Love, my Purpose, my Best Friend, my Strength, my Peace, my all-in-all.  I stand ready to serve You. There is no greater joy than getting to share in Your joy as You send me to do Your bidding.

*****

 

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”   Matthew 25:21

 

Jesus said in Mark 10:43-45: “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

 

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”  Philippians 2:5-8

*****

Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, who is my master?…