Friday, September 19, 2014

September 20 "Consider Your Ways" Haggai 1,2

 Haggai 1:4-6“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.  Haggai 1:7

Did they return to God out of duty or devotion? What about my intentions to do what is right. Finding God isn't doing all the right things.  It is being surrendered to our Redeemer. And the intentions of our hearts come out. 

Many good intentions can lie dormant. Consider your own ways---not the ways of others who bother you and trip you up. 

Consider this day!

COME BOLDLY: Timeless Prayers
May we not miss this day!  Your Grace. You are on our side, God. We ask for your help as we consider our ways. 

PHOTO: 31,500 feet in the air. What mystery what brilliance to look down on sheets of powder puff clouds hundreds of miles wide. Who made all this. Who sustains this splendor. How can I not consider my own sin. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

September 19 "Systems" Ezra 4, 5, 6

Ezra 4:4-5 The Samaritans reared up their ugly heads at the building of the temple.  Satan shows up to discourage and undermine and bribe those who want to do good.  These returned revived revelers were beautiful exiles and so full of joy.  But, they were so targeted by the enemy of their souls.  Let us remember that that the god of this world seeks to devour our attempts to walk and worship.  He is out looking for good intentions.  And out fatal flaw is not looking into our own souls when opposition bombards our temples.  

We are all looking for a Redeemer.  But the nails and mortar and curtains and boards trap us into finding our worship on paths that are going straight to destruction---like the offer of these Samaritans.  

"We must not offer people a system of redemption,
a set of insights and principles.
We offer people a Redeemer."
Paul David Tripp

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, give us the courage to more than just face obstacles and opposition and oppression from the enemy of our souls.  Give us hope that You are with us and More than anything we face.

PHOTO:  The graffiti of our soul.  What words will we write today in this story we live.

September 18 "Sounds Heard Found Far Away" Ezra 1, 2, 3

Ezra 3:11 - And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,

“For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”

And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But the old men wept loud. Duplicity of voices coming out of captivity. What it must have felt like.

And Jeremiah's prophecy lives. And the prophets reign while the crowns fall off the head of kings. And these dry bones live again, love again. 

What about my own dry bones.

 Have we inquired of God today to come alive, stay alive. 

COME BOLDLY: Timeless Prayers
Oh Father! Make me truly live this day. May we not miss Your Grace. 

PHOTO:  Knelt at this tiny church and prayed for God to make my dry bones come alive. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September 17 "White and Tried" Daniel 10, 11, 12

White and Tried.
This life.

Daniel 12:13 - But go your way till the end of all days. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”

"Amid the crash of matter and the wreck of worlds,
the Lord Jehovah will preserve His own." C. Spurgeon
We need not fear.  Let us go on our way.
Find rest for our souls.  This world knows so little.
When have we truly been at rest in our souls?

White and Tried.
This life.

This we know.
This world will end.
May we live fully alive.

This is your lot.
This is your life.
No fiery furnace.  No den of lions.
Can keep us from walking with God.
May we become a parade of pleaders who won't let go, who will keep on.
To the end of our days.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, we pray the words Charles Spurgeon wrote over 100 years ago for this day:
May we live - "calm resolute in duty, brave in conflict, patient in suffering,
let us go, keeping to our road, and neither swerving from it nor loitering in it." (Spurgeon)

PHOTO:  Thinking about the end of times, the mountains laid low, the earth burned up.  And like that fiery furnace---there will be no smell of smoke on those who trusted to the end.  

September 16 "Greatly Loved" Daniel 7, 8, 9

Oh may we be caught praying! "While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice." Daniel 9:21. We may never ever see an angel deliver our prayer, but we hold fast to the very Word of God for His Precious Promises are all "yes." And we wait in prayer.  Confessing our own sin.  Daniel pointed the finger at himself first.  He is dealing with what stirs inside of him---though pale in comparison to the depths of sin surrounding him.

And the angel clarified: "At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved." Daniel 9:23.  And how the Promises and the Passion of being greatly loved just melts our hearts.

This prayer life intrigues and invites.  Make me want to set a hundred Bell Tower alarms as reminders to pray.  

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Oh Father, teach us to pray.  Every day, I say the "Our Father," hallowed be Thy Name.  Give us today our daily bread and forgive us like you do for the Daniels of the world who are so in touch with the darkness that lurks within---right smack dab in the middle of all the Goodness.  Make us Good.  You Alone are Good!  We long for You, Our Father.  

PHOTO:  Watching the Texas sun rise in the sky. Thinking here about being "greatly loved" and what that really means for me today.

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15 "Drawn Bound Grasped" Daniel 4, 5, 6

Sometimes I feel that I am waiting for something to happen. The truth is that it already has been happening. God is at work. Daniel 4:23 is my story. God layed me low. That I may know. His Strength in me. Stripped and surrendered. Leave the tree stump and bound it up with iron that nothing can invade my life. Protected by the Mighty One. Roots are deep. Never uprooted. Things are going to be okay. Someday. Daniel 4:34. God does not leave us in this state forever. Even Job. Even Noah. Even Joseph. Even me. Even you. It is confirmed. Heaven rules. Daniel 4:26.

Even Daniel. Thrown into the lion's den for doing what is right.  Even the king couldn't rescue him---but fasted and tried his heart out to do so.  Stayed up praying the whole night of the den debaucle. Rushed in haste to see what God did on the morning after: "Daniel, has your God been able to deliver you?"

Daniel's answer must have literally floored the king once again.  "O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths."  Daniel 6:22.

All.  because.  Daniel.  trusted.  his.  God.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Dear Father, What would it be like to witness being saved from the fangs of tigers gaunt and galore.  No words adequate.  These people witnessed white hot fire and tigers being kept useless.  How can this not stir their souls.  How can it not stir mine?  Thank you for deep roots and Strong Hands. 

PHOTO: Outside my hotel window in Des Moines. Strong like steel. The Mighty One has my back. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September 14 "Turn or Burn" Daniel 1, 2, 3

Ashpenaz went looking for skilled youth with a spotless record in Israel. You never know when you are living life when a knock may come on your door. Am I being faithful in the things I know, I do, I have. And Daniel makes history, not a show-stopper but a surrendered soul. May we be found faithful where we are.

And here's a quote for all times, all moments: Dear King, we have no need to answer you in this matter of worshipping your gods with a little "g." Throw us in the lion's den. "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand." Determined---they will not serve or worship the king's gods with a little "g." Daniel 3:18.

"And the hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them." Daniel 3:27. Blessed by the God of these 3 men.  And what this God did for these 3 servants made an indelible mark on all who watched, on all who hear 2,000 years later.  Isaiah 43:2 is true:  When you pass through the waters, God will be with you.  When you go through the fire, you will not be burned.  A metaphor of grace.  You will be taken care of.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Oh Father, When we read these beautiful stories of surrender and calm in the midst of horror, help us to walk in Your Ways, not the show-stopping celebrity world in which we live.  Whatever men may do to us, may we know You are with us.

PHOTO:  The sunset tonight.  Pondering what it means to really be alive.  To not miss the Grace of God in the midst of suffering.  To find His Presence there, here.