Friday, January 30, 2009


Psalm 30, Proverbs 30

Last night at our small group Bible study, I shared with the group that I have recently been challenged to worship God all the time and that people should know how good He is because I should be overflowing with praise.  I asked them how I can get to that point of overflowing with praise for Him.  Russ said that he thinks it is tied to our thoughtful and considerate thanksgiving.  As we consider all the ways He has blessed us, and as we take time and effort to actually thank Him for all of His goodness to us, then the natural consequence of this is praise.  The thing is, it just takes work.  We have to make the time and effort to be thankful.  It's like turning the crank on the front of an old-timey car - once you get that praise-engine cranked up, it will carry you a good ways.

 8 To you, O LORD, I called;
       to the Lord I cried for mercy:

 9 "What gain is there in my destruction, 
       in my going down into the pit?
       Will the dust praise you?
       Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

 10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
       O LORD, be my help."

 11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
       you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

 12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
       O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.


Heavenly Father, thank you for the many ways that you have blessed me.  Father, I pray that you will recieve glory from my praise as I thank you and consider how wonderful you are.  Lord, thank you for Life and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thank you for redeeming me from destruction.  Thank you for my wonderful Christian wife, a great family, and a maturing church congregation.  Lord, thank you for giving me purpose, and thank you for the spiritual gifts you've given me for me to use in your Body for the advancement of your Kingdom.  Father, thank you for the vocational education and skills that you've blessed me with to help people.  Lord, may I remain faithful and obedient to your call on my life.  I pray that my joy for you will be sustained by continual thanksgiving.  Lord, may you be honored today.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

the voice of Yahweh

Psalm 29, Proverbs 29

In Psalm 29, verses 1-10 speak of the holiness of Yahweh and the awesome power of His voice.  And what is the culmination?

 11 The Lord gives his people strength.
      The Lord blesses them with peace.

Heavenly Father, I praise you for your holiness and glory.  I praise you for your awesome power.  You are unmatched, and by your power, the whole universe was created at your spoken word.  Dear Father, please speak into me!  Lord God, reverberate your power in my life with your spoken word!  Let me hear you and fear you.  May I be overwhelmed by your awesome power!  Lord, your written word promises that you give strength and bless with peace.  May I honor you and give praise to your holy name today.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Psalm 28, Proverbs 28

One of the challenges that I have been wrestling with after the Perspectives class on Monday night is this concept, "Am I living a life that demonstrates faith, hope, love, and joy for God so that His reputation is improved by my life?"  That is, "Can other people see the wonderful person of God through the way I am living?"

Psalm 28: 6 Praise the Lord!
      For he has heard my cry for mercy.
 7 The Lord is my strength and shield.
      I trust him with all my heart.
   He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
      I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Heavenly Father, you are so good, and your love endures forever!  It is your kindness, Lord, that leads us to repentance.  Lord, may I worship you with my life and prove that you are worthy of all praise, glory, and honor.  I pray that the faith, hope, love, and joy that you pour into my life will spill over and that others will see you and want you.  May you be honored today, and I pray that I will continue to grow in my relationship with you so that genuine songs of rejoicing will be spontaneous in me.  I love you, and I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Psalm 27, Proverbs 27

Last night at Perspectives, Steve Hawthorne outlined God's mission throughout the Scriptures:  God blesses people to bless then nations so that all of creation will bless God.  This is worship: from Him, through Him, and to Him (Rom. 11:36).  A popular evangelical catchphrase: "Mission exists because worship doesn't."

I was so encouraged as I read Psalm 27 this morning; several of these verses reverberated the concept of worship:

4 The one thing I ask of the Lord
      the thing I seek most—
   is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
      delighting in the Lord's perfections
      and meditating in his Temple.
5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
      he will hide me in his sanctuary.
      He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
6 Then I will hold my head high
      above my enemies who surround me.
   At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
      singing and praising the Lord with music.
7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
      Be merciful and answer me!
 8 My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me."
      And my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming."

Heavenly Father, please teach me to worship you in spirit and in truth.  Lord God, Creator, and Redeemer, please inspire my heart and soul with songs of praise to you.  Lord, please help me realize your goodness and glory, and may I be drawn more and more to worship you.  Lord, please turn my heart toward you and fill me with love for you, because you are so good!  May you receive honor and glory from my life.  May your reputation be demonstrated in my life.  I love you.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Psalm 26, Proverbs 26

The Lord used several situations to humble and encourage me yesterday, and as I read these verses this morning, I realized that I need to record how the Lord spoke to me yesterday:

Psalm 26:6 ... I come to your altar, O Lord,
singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders.

As I read the beginning of Psalm 25 yesterday morning, I began to sing the Third Day song based on that passage.  Simply singing that truth was so helpful to set my mind on the spirit.

I am privileged to pray with our pastor and several Brothers before our services each Sunday morning, and it was so encouraged to hear these older Brothers pray.  Praying with them gives you a sense of eternity and strong faith in God.

We had a baby shower before Bible study for one of the couples in our group, and they are such kind and sincere people.

Bible study was so encouraging, because (like one of my Brothers said a few days ago) exercising your spiritual gifts allows the Holy Spirit to flow through you. 

I filled in for someone at the preschool check-in station after Bible study.  On my way there, a dear Brother stopped me in the hall and told me that he ran across my blog (linked from someone else's blog), and he told me that one of the prayers that I had written around Christmas really ministered to him.

Perhaps the most humbling and most encouraging experience was while I was working at the check-in station.  A middle-aged Hispanic lady approached and asked if I could page her daughter-in-law.  She explained that her son had come with her to church but he was not feeling well, so they needed to go home and they were all riding together.  As we waited, she went on to explain that her son had been hanging around with the wrong crowd and recently dropped out of high school.  She said that she had been praying that he would come to church with her, but until this past week, he wouldn't.  But just a few days ago, her son lost control of his car as he was entering an apartment complex and crashed into the brick and concrete column at the entrance.  He told her that just before he crashed, he tried to straighten out the car, but he felt someone push him out of the driver seat into the middle.  The concrete block smashed right through the windshield and into the driver seat, and he miraculously escaped the crash with only bruises and cuts.  He told his mom that he knew that God had given him a second chance.  She was so thankful that he had come to church with her, but she was especially thankful that when her son went to the young-singles department, someone walked right up to him and welcomed him; he's pretty intimidating looking - 6' 5", shaved head, tattoos on both arms.  But someone welcomed him and visited with him.  He told his mom that he wanted to come back next week, but he was still in pain from the wreck and needed to go home to rest. 

As we continued to wait for her daughter-in-law to respond to the page, she continued to share her amazing testimony, and I began to realize that the Lord had arranged for me to hear how He was working in her life and the lives of her family.  She told me that her older son and daughter-in-law had been having a rough time, and she asked her son, "Do you love your family?"  He told her that he did, and she told him, "Then you need to bring your family to church."  She said that she set up an appointment for them to visit with the married adult minister at our church, and they were so encouraged and got plugged in after that meeting.  Recently, they were both baptized in our fellowship!

But the Lord blew me away as she told me more.  She said that a few years ago she got throat cancer, and that she lost everything during the treatment.  She couldn't work during the treatment, and she became homeless for some time.  But her face brightened as she told me that she has been in remission for six months, and she is now working three jobs and is able to have a place to stay and pay her bills.  She said that her family wasn't able to have a typical Christmas celebration this year, but she told her family that she was thankful to God that her family was together and safe and healthy.  But just before Christmas, a group from our church showed up at their doorstep with Christmas presents for their family and some cash to help out with bills!  She said that if you ask her grandchildren today who gave them the presents, they will tell you, "The Church gave us these presents - the Church of Jesus."  Hallelujah!  That is the Body of Christ!  Hallelujah!

Yesterday evening one of the Brothers that joined recently joined our class sent me an email telling me that he appreciated my purposeful planning and teaching each week.  One of the other Brothers that asked me how I was doing and sincerely listened to me yesterday sent me an email this morning saying that he was praying for me.

How wonderful is the love of the Father, demonstrated through the Holy Spirit working through His Children in the Church of the Son!

Heavenly Father, thank you for your rich love, your mercy, and your grace!  May your name be praised among the nations!  Thank you for you kindness to me, and thank you for encouraging me through the Brothers and Sisters in the Body.  Lord, thank you for humbling me through these interactions yesterday.  Lord, please forgive me for my lack of faith.  Please help me seek your face.  Lord, please use me to communicate your love to others.  May I be a vessel for you to pour out the love and victory of Christ through your Holy Spirit.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

change in perspective

Psalm 24, Proverbs 24

Yesterday I was pretty bummed.  I talked to two of my close Brothers,  and they were very helpful.  Neither one of them gave me the lame pep-talk, "Just cheer up and blah blah blah."  Neither one of them could tell me how to change my attitude.  After venting my frustration with God's slowness, one of the Brothers told me that the problem is not with God but with us.  Yes, this reminded me of a previous conversation after a similar time of frustration.  True, my attitude is focused on me and the world instead of God alone.  The other Brother told me that he experiences much joy, not in self-manufacture of appreciation of God, but in exercising his spiritual gifts.  It is when he is cooperating with the Lord by functioning in the capacity that the Lord gave him that he becomes joyful in God's visitation of humanity.

As I reflect on Psalm 24, the following verses were quite penetrating to beg the question, "What am I focused on?"

 1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
       the world, and all who live in it;

 2 for he founded it upon the seas
       and established it upon the waters.

 3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
       Who may stand in his holy place?

 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
       who does not lift up his soul to an idol
       or swear by what is false. 

 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
       and vindication from God his Savior.

 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
       who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

As I visited with my wife yesterday evening, she gave me quite the challenge.  She reminded me that the Lord gives us progressively more difficult tests to grow our faith, and He is patient with us.  He repeats the test until we pass it.  I need to endure and persevere through this time of testing.  This point was driven home with a couple of verses from Proverbs 24 this morning:

 10 If you falter in times of trouble,
       how small is your strength! ...
 16 for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, ...

Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my lack of faith.  Lord, please be patient with me and give me strength to seek your face.  O Father, please give me clean hands and a pure heart to worship you.  Lord, may I not lift up my soul to another or swear by what is false.  Lord, please help me trust that you are in control, that you do truly love the whole world, and that you are actively seeking reconciliation with all.  Lord, I pray that you will be my strength so that you will lift me up each time that I fall.  Hallelujah.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, January 23, 2009

He is with me

Psalm 23,  Proverbs 23

I don't feel like Psalm 23:1 is true right now.  I don't feel like verse 2 is true right now.  But I pray them nonetheless. I don't feel like He is with me right now (v. 4), but I know that He is.  I guess I kind of feel like Elijah running away after Jezebel threatened him after the "mountain top" experience with God.  It's amazing how fickle we are.  I don't really know how to change my attitude.  I try to set my mind on the spirit (Romans 8), but my soul still feels troubled and defeated. 

I feel like I work so hard, but I feel like God is in no hurry to get anywhere or get anything accomplished.  I feel like His time schedule is so incredibly long that not much really happens during the blip of my lifespan on His timetable.  I know that what He really wants is me abiding in Him (John 15), resting in Him (Hebrews 4), and then "be-ing" will naturally result (Matthew 5).  It's just tough to do, you know?  It's so abstract, so spiritual.  Working is so concrete, so fleshy and intellectual.  It seems like we could get so much more accomplished if He would hurry up.  I don't understand why He doesn't save the world and sanctify us all in a couple of days.  I know He is able, and the fact that He doesn't tends to make me cynical.  I try to change my attitude, but I don't know if it is possible.

I know how my mom would respond to the previous paragraph:

Phil. 4:4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

This is consistent with these verses in Proverbs 23:

 17 Don't envy sinners,
      but always continue to fear the Lord.
 18 You will be rewarded for this;
      your hope will not be disappointed.

 19 My child, listen and be wise:
      Keep your heart on the right course. ...
 26 O my son, give me your heart.
      May your eyes take delight in following my ways.

Heavenly Father, even though I don't feel it, I trust in you.  Lord, in faith I rejoice in you.  I desire to worship you in spirit and in truth.  Holy Spirit, please change my attitude to glorify you and trust you in spite of my feelings.  I pray that you will guard my mind.  May I delight in you only.  Give me grace.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

all the nations

Psalm 22, Proverbs 22

I'm working on re-memorizing Phil. 3:7-14 this week, and verse 10 says "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

As I read Psalm 22, I realize that my suffering is so small compared to Christ's suffering.

Yet, tucked away in all of this prophetic heartache of Christ's suffering is such a hopeful promise that I have often overlooked:

27 The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him.
      All the families of the nations will bow down before him.
28 For royal power belongs to the Lord.
      He rules all the nations.

Heavenly Father, I pray that you will help me see the beauty of Christ, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.  Lord, I pray that I will honor you in holy pursuit of you - worshiping you with my life.  Lord, I pray that you will help me act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you today.  I ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Psalm 21, Proverbs 21

My wife and I have been praying that the Lord would bless us with a child, and yesterday we found out that we won't be having a child this month (the seventh month we've been trying).

There is a couple in our Bible Life Group who started trying when we did, and on Sunday they announced that they were about 7 weeks pregnant.  They went to the doctor to see the baby's heartbeat on Monday, and yesterday we found out that they had a miscarriage.

There is another couple in our previous Bible Life Group that has been trying for years, and they are still childless.

from Proverbs:

 21 Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love
      will find life, righteousness, and honor. ...

 30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan
      can stand against the Lord.

 31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
      but the victory belongs to the Lord

from Psalms:

 1 How the king rejoices in your strength, O Lord!
      He shouts with joy because you give him victory.
 2 For you have given him his heart's desire;
      you have withheld nothing he requested. ...
 13 Rise up, O Lord, in all your power.
      With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.

Heavenly Father, are we not pursuing righteousness and unfailing love?  Are we deceived or delusional?  Is it not your plan for us to have children?  Lord, you commanded the living creatures to multiply.  Lord, you have promises throughout the Bible that include children!  Lord, I certainly do not understand your plans or your ways, but I am trying to cling to the truth that you are good and that you want to bless us.  Please forgive me for my lack of faith, and please help my unbelief.  Lord, please help us be patient with your slow timing.  Yahweh, would you please rise up and work miracles in our lives!  We trust that the victory belongs to you.  Lord, I ask you to bless us each with children so that we can raise them in righteousness and unfailing love.  Please bless us with life and righteousness.  May we glorify you in praising you for answering these sincere requests.  I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Psalm 20, Proverbs 20

Last night my wife and I went to the first meeting of the Perspectives course in Austin. It was such a refreshing explanation of God's eternal plan to bless humanity with Himself!  The two Brothers in my congregation that I know have taken it have said that the Lord uses this course to change your life.  I'm ready!

From the context of last night's discussion, I was especially impressed by these word's from King David:

1May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
   May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2May he send you help from the sanctuary
   and give you support from Zion!

I want to have the Biblical perspective of God fulfilling His promises and accomplishing His will through us.  I want to have the genuine and dynamic relationship with Him each day to glorify Him and be a part of His plan of blessing people with His ZOE life.

Heavenly Father, I praise you for your beautiful creation and your wonderful plan of Life!  May I join you in your mission of redemption and reconciliation!  I love you, and I thank you for your mercy and grace.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

delighting in Him

Psalm 19, Proverbs 19

Our pastor is preaching from Psalm 119, and yesterday he preached about treasuring the Word of God.  My wife and I agreed that the most challenging point from yesterday's sermon was how to delight in the law of the Lord.  I can read the Word religiously, and I can memorize the Word religiously and self-righteously, but how do I delight in the Word?  How do I delight in the Word more than money, cheesecake, or football?

I think these verses from Psalm this morning "shed some light" (haha, pun intended):

 7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
       reviving the soul.
       The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
       making wise the simple.

 8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
       giving joy to the heart.
       The commands of the LORD are radiant,
       giving light to the eyes.

 9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
       enduring forever.
       The ordinances of the LORD are sure
       and altogether righteous.

 10 They are more precious than gold,
       than much pure gold;
       they are sweeter than honey,
       than honey from the comb.

 11 By them is your servant warned;
       in keeping them there is great reward.

 12 Who can discern his errors?
       Forgive my hidden faults.

 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
       may they not rule over me.
       Then will I be blameless,
       innocent of great transgression.

 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
       be pleasing in your sight,
       O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Heavenly Father, I pray that I will love you, enjoy you, and delight in you more than anything in this world.  Please forgive me for taking so long to see you more valuable than any other.  Truly Lord, may not only what I say, but may the attitude of my heart and the thoughts of my mind please you because you have molded me into Christ.  You are Yahweh, my stronghold.  Jesus Christ, thank you for redeeming me from sin by the payment of your blood on the Cross.  Holy Spirit, I want to walk with you today; please produce your fruit in me.  I ask these in the name of the Son, Jesus.  Amen.

Friday, January 16, 2009

humility and sovereignty

Psalm 16, Proverbs 16

Proverbs 16: 5 The Lord detests the proud;
      they will surely be punished. ...

 18 Pride goes before destruction,
      and haughtiness before a fall.

 19 Better to live humbly with the poor
      than to share plunder with the proud.

I am so stinking proud!  I need humility!.  But how do you just get humility?  Has anyone seen a vending machine stocked with humility?

Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans,
      but the Lord determines our steps.

I need to trust the Lord's sovereignty.  I need to make plans according to the Holy Spirit's leading wise council.  But at the same time, I have to acknowledge that I am so vulnerable to deception and wandering, so I must trust that He will lead me where He wants me.  He is able and willing.  He demonstrated this at the Cross.

Heavenly Father, I need you so much!  I am so ignorant of how proud I am; it is disgusting.  Lord, please forgive me and make me humble.  Lord, if I could just see your face and know you, I would better see who I am and how I desperately need you.  Lord, you are my inheritance.  I pray that you will be the center of my motives.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Scripture memory

Psalm 15, Proverbs 15

Proverbs 15:9 The LORD detests the way of the wicked
       but he loves those who pursue righteousness.

Psalm 15:1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
       Who may live on your holy hill?
 2 He whose walk is blameless
       and who does what is righteous,
       who speaks the truth from his heart.

For me, one of the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of "pursuing righteousness" is memorizing Scripture.  Over the past week, I entered into an accountability for weekly Scripture memory with Brothers Bill and Ryan.  Several years ago, I memorized John 15:1-17, so my memory goal this week is to re-memorize that passage.  Last night I spent a couple of hours compiling and organizing a list that includes most of the Scriptures that I have ever memorized.  It is embarrassing that it is such a tiny portion of the Bible.  Over the next few weeks, my goal is to expand a list of weekly Scripture memory chunks that I memorized in 2007.

Heavenly Father, I want to dwell with you and worship you in your sanctuary.  I want to live with you on your holy hill.  Lord, please make my walk blameless, and make me a righteous man.  I pray that you will fill me with your Word, which is Christ, so that I may speak the Truth from the Scriptures stored in my heart.  Lord, please change me, by the power of your Word.  May my dedication to memorize your Word be free of legalism and honor you.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

chill out, Bro

Psalm 14, Proverbs 14

Proverbs 14:29 People with understanding control their anger;
      a hot temper shows great foolishness.

 30 A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body;
      jealousy is like cancer in the bones.

OK, so I might not have a "hot temper", but I usually get frustrated by insignificant inefficiencies (stemming from the fact that I am an idealist and a recovering perfectionist).  I need to be understanding of others (especially realists).  Generally, I think I'm a little too "tightly-strung".  I need a proper balance of living an engaged and intentional life while at the same time peaceful, joyful, and rested in person of God.

Heavenly Father, please give me understanding, patience, and forgiveness to reflect your love to those around me.  I pray that the peace that you give will transcend all understanding and guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.  I pray that I will be so focused on you that I will not be frustrated by this world.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

the good life

Psalm 13, Proverbs 13

At prayer breakfast this morning, one of my Brothers told us that his boss sent an email two days ago to the whole office with this ultimatum: either you resign by noon Tuesday and get two months pay, or take a pay cut and get no severance pay if your job is soon terminated. 

I finally realized that there is some truth to the "recession" that the media has been so obsessed about recently, and that I am quite sheltered from these effects as a graduate student.  The Lord has blessed my wife and me with stable incomes, for which I am very thankful.  I need to be more thankful; I so often and so completely take three square meals, clothes, shelter, friends, and vocation for granted.

Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love.
      I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
 6 I will sing to the Lord
      because he is good to me.

Proverbs 13:9 The life of the godly is full of light and joy ...

He is so good to me!  I don't understand why He is so good to me.  I know that it is not because of anything that I've done; it is strictly grace!  My life is full of light and joy because of the Lord Jesus Christ!  Why can't everyone experience His grace?

Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace.  I am humbled by your mercy and kindness.  Lord, you provide for me and bless me beyond what I understand; yet, I am often unappreciative and guilty of contempt.  Lord, please forgive me and humble me.  I pray that I will see the sweetness of your love and radiate the light and joy of your presence.  I pray that others will see the good life that flows from your Holy Spirit.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Psalm 12, Proverbs 12

Many of the verses in Proverbs 12 draw contrast between the content/value/effect of the words of the godly and the wicked.  I think the verse that succinctly captures the distinction is:

Proverbs 12:6 The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.

This is something I need to work on.  I need to make sure that all of my speech is not only profitable but salvific.  That means my speech must include Christ, because He is our only Salvation.  And of course, the only way Truth is revealed is by the Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, I need you to save me from my destructive self.  Lord, I confess that I have spoken many hurtful and destructive things in my life.  Lord, please forgive me for the intentional as well as the careless things that I have spoken that did not honor you.  Lord, I pray that you will help me be considerate before I speak, and may I only speak according to the Holy Spirit.  I pray that my speech, even today, will honor you.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

doing the right thing because it is the right thing

Psalm 10, Proverbs 10

I received a gift card to Chili's as a Christmas gift, and to simultaneously fulfill several of our New Year's resolutions, we decided to walk to dinner.  It was such a beautiful evening, and my wife and I really enjoyed the time together.  During part of our conversation, we talked about the necessity to eat healthy food not for the results of weight loss, but for long-term health.  After dinner, we were very please with ourselves for eating tasty, moderately portioned, healthy meals.  And the time together walking was so satisfying.

As I read the Scriptures this morning (especially Proverbs), I saw several demonstrations of living rightly.  Of course, there are tangible benefits to doing what is right, but the real motivation for why we should live righteously is because it is the right thing to do.  It honors God for us to love His character and reflect His person in the way we behave.

Heavenly Father, I pray that I will know you and seek you.  Lord, please reveal yourself to me and mold me into the image of Christ.  Please make me a righteous man, not for my benefits, but for your glory.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Friday, January 9, 2009

life and death

Psalm 9, Proverbs 9

Proverbs 9:3 [Wisdom] calls from the highest point of the city. ... 6 "Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding." ... 14 [Folly] sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, 15 calling out to those who pass by ... 18 But little do they know that the dead are there, that [Folly's] guests are in the depths of the grave.

The contrast is so obvious when you sit back and think about it objectively. But in that moment when you are being pulled to go one way or another, the distinctions are more subtle.  I need the Lord Jesus to rescue me from Folly and give me Life, understanding, and the fear of the LORD.

Psalm 9: 1 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

The concept is so simple: delight in the Lord!  He is so wonderful, good, kind, and loving! So why is it so hard for me to be glad and rejoice in Him?  Why does it take so much work for me to praise Him and stay focused on Him?  Why am I so distracted by my flesh and the things of this world?  Why do I take more delight in Folly's stolen bread and water instead of the Bread of Life and the Living Water?

Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my apathy and complacency. Please forgive me for the treason of loving this world.  Lord, I know in my mind that you are greater than anything this world has to offer - that there is no comparison.  Yet, my heart is divided, and I am so prone to wander from the God I love.  Lord, please take my heart and seal it with your agape love, and give me an undivided heart to delight in you alone.  May your Name receive glory and honor from the faith and obedience that you give me, from the Fruit that your Holy Spirit produces in my life.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

knowing Him

Psalm 8, Proverbs 8

Psalm 8:1 O LORD, our Lord,
       how majestic is your name in all the earth!
       You have set your glory
       above the heavens.

His Name is Yahweh.  His name is Jesus.  His name is Holy Spirit.  How simple and powerful it is to call on His name:  "O Lord Jesus, I worship you.  Lord Jesus, I love you.  Lord Jesus, I need you.  Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit." 

He has revealed Himself to us through creation and through Scripture.  In the personification of Wisdom (i.e., Christ) in Proverbs, He gives is this promise:

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. ... 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. 35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.

Heavenly Father, you are glorious and majestic.  Your Name deserves praise.  Lord, you are so kind and compassionate to care for humans, and you are so gracious to create us with the ability, not only to interact with you, but to be united with you in spirit.  Father, please help me seek you, and I trust that you will help me find you.  Lord, please fill me with your ZOE life!  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

sing praise to His name

Psalm 7, Proverbs 7

I found out yesterday that one of my closest Brothers in Christ proposed to his girlfriend and they are engaged to be married this spring!  I pray that he will begin to appreciate the mysteries of Christ and the Church in the marriage relationship and that he will humbly and diligently seek to represent a true picture of Christ.

Psalm 7:17 I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness
       and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

My goal is to meditate on this verse and practice it all day today.

Heavenly Father, you are good, and your love endures forever.  You are righteous and just.  You are lovely and beautiful.  Your kindness leads us to repentance.  I pray that I will glorify your name today.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Psalm 6, Proverbs 6

Proverbs 6:23 For these commands are a lamp,
       this teaching is a light,
       and the corrections of discipline
       are the way to life,

Psalm 6:2 Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; ... 4 Turn, O LORD, and deliver me;
       save me because of your unfailing love. ... 9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
       the LORD accepts my prayer.

His commands and teaching illuminate my mind, and discipline is how we stay on the way of Life in Christ.  Discipline is not easy.  I think "discipline" is closely related to "balance".  I am trying to be disciplined physical diet, exercise, and rest as well as in the spiritual disciplines I blogged a week ago.

He is good to us because He is good; it is His nature.  He defines love.  He is merciful; He hears our genuine prayers.

Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are good.  Your love endures forever because you are love.  Thank you for showing mercy to me; may I fear you, honor you, accept your discipline, and praise you as I walk in Grace and the Way.  May I worship you and delight in you all day.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Psalm 5, Proverbs 5

These verses concisely express the longing of my heart:

Psalm 5:7 Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house;
      I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
 8 Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
      or my enemies will conquer me.
   Make your way plain for me to follow.

I want to worship God with my life - all day.  And I'm so far away from that.  I want to know Him so well that I know what He wants for me, so that I can follow His plan for me.

Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are worthy to be worshiped.  Lord, I want to honor you and worship you faithfully.  Thank you for letting me know you and having a good plan for my life.  Please help me know you better and serve you righteously, according to your Holy Spirit.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

praying Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 1, Proverbs 1

For the next five months I'm going to read one chapter of Psalms and one chapter of Proverbs each day and take the time to meditate and pray through them.  I know that I need much wisdom at this time in my life, and I need help developing a habit of praising the Lord.

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
       and on his law he meditates day and night.

Proverbs 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

 2 for attaining wisdom and discipline;
       for understanding words of insight;

 3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
       doing what is right and just and fair;


Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word which guides me and helps me know you.  I pray that you will give me wisdom and teach me to love you and praise you all day.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.