Monday, June 30, 2014

Everyday Reading Project: Week of June 29-July 5

I would love for you to jump in and join me in reading!  For more on this Everyday Reading Project click here.

Psalms 101-105

God doesn't give us what we deserve.  He gives us His unconditional, everlasting, and life-giving love instead.  That's grace at it's finest.

The Psalmists in today's reading praise God for His awesome creation and all the ways God's works reflect His graciousness and abounding love (Psalms 101-105).

God's love is always so much wider, higher, and deeper than anything we could fabricate and envision on our own.  God's love is powerful.

We see God's love come to us in human form through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

God's love is HERE and very REAL for people like you and me.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, my soul,

    and forget not all his benefits—

who forgives all your sins

    and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit

    and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things

    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Let's praise God that His love is enough for all of us, both now and for eternity.

We can look back in hindsight and recognize His love after the fact.  We can let our imaginations jump forward in anticipation of His love that is to come.

But the good news is that God's love isn't just a fleeting moment that "was," or a future hope that "will be."  God's love is always happening right now.

How is God crowning You with love and compassion?  How is He forgiving you, healing you, redeeming you, and satisfying you? 

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You for Your amazing love and all the ways it transforms my life, moment to moment.

Open my heart to Your Holy Spirit and all the ways Your love is alive and at work right in front of me.  Help me share Your love with those You purposefully put in my life.

I pray for __________________.  Fill him/her/them with Your love and compassion and crown them.  You know what he/she/they need.  Forgive, heal, redeem, and crown him/her/them with Your glory.

In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit I pray,


In Christ's love,
*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Psalms 91-100

God is mighty and full of splendor.  He's strong, powerful, and amazing beyond our wildest imaginations.  He is holy and Most High, above all. 

He blesses us with all that He is and pours Himself into our lives with His Holy Spirit.

Our marvelous and glorious God is also (quite simply) our rock and our refuge (Psalms 91-100). 

Those words, my "rock" and my "refuge," kept running through my mind today as I read.

And I sat with them for a while and tried to wrap my brain around their awesomeness.  God is my rock (my strength, my solid ground, my sure foundation), and He gives me all the safety and protection I will ever need (even that which I don't know I need)*.  

What does that mean to you?  How do those words apply to your life with God right now? 

What a good God we have, our rock and our refuge who sends angels to guard us!  We are never alone fending for ourselves.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.

 For he will command his angels concerning you

    to guard you in all your ways;

**On a personal note, (I am adding this after the fact) I was writing this reflection as I sat at the hospital with my mom while she was going through a bunch of blood work and scans.  And as I look back on that day now, I realize God just knew that these words would carry me and my mom later that day.  I had no idea what was ahead, but God did.  I am so thankful for the ways God comes to us and holds us when we need Him the most.

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You for Your love that transforms my heart and my life each day.  Thank You for going before me and preparing the way, full of Your safety and protection.

Forgive my fears, Lord, especially the ones I have yet to hand over to You.  Take my anxiety and fill me with Your joy.

You make me glad and joyful for what Your hands have done and all You continue to do.

You are my rock and my refuge.  

I pray for those who need to fully know You.  Use me to draw those around me closer to You.  Help us all strengthen one another and know that You are the Lord, our God.  You are so good and Your love endures forever.  

In the name of Jesus I pray,

Grace and peace,
*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Psalms 86-90

Psalms 86-90 reveal God as our teacher, among many other wonderful roles in our lives.

And on the flip side, I am reminded that as a Christ follower, I am always a student with room to grow my faith and refresh my soul.  There is always something more for me to know, grasp, and understand in Christ.

It's my job to nurture that.

Because God is faithful and His love so great, we can look forward to whatever and however God teaches us.  

Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.

And as we open our hearts to God, our hearts and minds change for the better.  Though we are not perfect, we are transformed in amazing ways to be more and more like Christ.

And guess what?

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
    who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.

From the moment we let God be our teacher, when we learn from Him, we can expect a lifetime of beautiful unexpected, unpredictable, perfect surprises!

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You for being my teacher.  Thank You for all the ways You bless me as I learn from You.

Forgive me for all the times I assume I know what I am doing and rely on my imperfect and selfish thinking.

In all I do and say, Lord, teach me Your way, that I may rely on Your faithfulness and not my own.  Give me an undivided heart that I may glorify You.

I pray for the light of your presence to fill the lives of _________________ with joy and peace that cannot be shaken.  Help me shine Your light their way.

In Jesus' name I pray,

Peace and blessings,

*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Psalms 80-85

Thanks to our loving Savior, we don't have to store up enough good works in our lifetimes to make it to heaven.  We'd worry and work ourselves to death.  God's love for us is already enough to get us to our heavenly homes one day.

But, let's also face the truth.  Psalms 80-85 remind us that God blesses the faithful, both in this life and our eternal life with Him.

The closer we are to God- our Father, our Savior, our Holy Spirit, the better off we are in this life we are living.

Don't get me wrong.  Life isn't always guaranteed to be picture perfect and easy with God (just read through the life stories of Jesus and His disciples), but it is definitely amazing and full of purposeful blessings with God.

God blesses the faithful in so many wonderful ways.  God promises us certain identifiable blessings that come from walking the walk with Him that are able to transcend any and all circumstances.  

These blessings are like holy kisses from God reminding us of His everlasting and powerful love for us.  

Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;

Love and faithfulness meet together;
    righteousness and peace kiss each other.
 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
    and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give what is good,

    and our land will yield its harvest.

Our faith is a gift worth opening and cherishing each and every day.

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You for making Yourself known to us and for sending Jesus to pay the price for our sins.  

Your unfailing love is such a gift.

Forgive me for all the ways I take it for granted in the things I do and say or don't do or say.

I need You, Lord, to be the director of my steps. Help me push through my imperfect thoughts, fears, hesitations, and feelings to act on Your will for my life.

I pray for all those who need to nurture their faith this day.  I pray for those who need to say "yes" to Your saving grace and begin something new and wonderful with You.  I also pray for those who have drifted from You and need to come back into your loving, welcoming arms.

Revive us, Lord.  Strengthen our faith.  

You and the gift of Your salvation make such a glorious difference in our lives.

In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit I pray,

Grace, love, and peace of Christ,

*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more. 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Psalm 78-79

We struggle to be faithful.  Life in this world hits us, and we lose sight of what God tells us is really important.  

If you're like me, you don't do that on purpose.  Our intentions are good, but the world has a tendency to engulf us, disorient us and complicate things.  We become lost.  It happens.  And without realizing it, God's Word and will for our lives ends up in the bottom of a pile of "to-dos" instead of being the life-giving part of who we are.

Psalms 78-79 offer us a faith building history lesson today.  We have to recognize that this struggle we face to be faithful to our wonderful God and Savior is real.  It doesn't make us bad people, it validates our deep need for Jesus to be a part of our lives every single day.  

As human beings, we are in this struggle together.  Whatever we do, we have to help each other along the way.  Whatever we say, our words need to encourage and lift others up.  

I want the way I live every day to help my family and others remember God and know His amazing love.  

It's overwhelming at times, and I know I mess-up lots.  I say and do things I shouldn't, usually in the heat of the moment.

Like God's people in today's reading, recognizing and remembering my need for help from my Savior is the best thing I can ever do.

They remembered that God was their Rock,
    that God Most High was their Redeemer.

A prayer for today-

Dear God, 

Thank You for being my Rock and my Redeemer.

Forgive me for becoming engulfed in the ways of the world that cause me to drift from Your path and love for me.  

Help me, my family, my community, and this nation, Lord.  Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of Your name.  Forgive our sins.  We know we need Your saving grace every moment of every day.  Help us remember You and honor You.

By Your Holy Spirit, guide our actions and our words so that we remind people of You and Your amazing love.

I lift up all those who are struggling to be faithful to You, Lord. May the feel encouraged and loved by Your transforming presence. 

In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit I pray,


*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more. 


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Psalms 72-77

We have the ultimate Counselor in God.  

Psalms 72-77 point to how good and refreshing it is to remember all God has done in our lives, His past workings.  As we reflect, we find hope and renewed trust.  

We also may be pleasantly surprised to find some counsel and inspiration for our present circumstances.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago...

You are the God who performs miracles;
    you display your power among the peoples.

When you look back on how God has worked in your life, what comes to mind?  What have you learned about how God works from past experiences?  And how might something God has already done, either in your life or in someone else's, help you now and in the future?

God is such a great teacher because He teaches us with His love.

You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory...

My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You for Your counsel.  Thank You for all the wonderful ways You work in my life and in the world.  

Forgive me my weaknesses, Lord, and all the ways I drift from You.

Use me to show and share Your great love for Your people.

It is so good to be near, You, and hear and know Your guidance.  Help me live out Your will for my life.  Fill me with Your direction.

In the name of Jesus I pray,

Peace of Christ,

*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Psalms 67-71

As we read through the Psalms, I take so much comfort in knowing (through these timeless prayers and praises of others) that our prayers and conversations with God can be very personal and specific to our current circumstances.

God cares about each one of us.  He wants to work in our lives.  

It's really okay to spell out to God exactly what's on our minds.  Psalms 67-71 are a reflection of that truth today.

This truth may be obvious to you, but it wasn't always obvious to me.

I have always prayed freely and very openly for others.  But, I used to think my prayers needed to be more general and non-specific when it came to my own life because I feared being selfish.  

And as I have grown in my faith, I realized the more targeted, specific, and detailed I am in my prayers, the more God can guide me and use me.  Really, it's the difference between surface conversation and deep life-changing conversation.  That's not selfish, it's purposeful for God.

It's really amazing to talk to God and see Him work before your eyes on the very things You have been talking to Him about.  

The more I hand over to Him in conversations and in my heart, the more I see Him work wonders in my life and in those around me.

My prayers, more and more, aren't about my wants but about making sure what I am doing day to day is in line with God's will for me because His way is so much better than mine.

My mouth is filled with your praise,
    declaring your splendor all day long.

As we go about our day today, let's spend time praising God for all the ways we are able to see His splendor.  Let's say "thank you" to God for all He is doing.  

And you know what?  I challenge you to join me in pushing yourself a little today.

Let's pray for the opportunities to go beyond being thankful in our own hearts to sharing our thanks and praises with those that cross our paths today.

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

I thank You for revealing Yourself to me throughout my days.

Your wonderful works are so many that it is impossible to praise You enough.

Forgive me for all the ways my heart and mouth fail to reflect Your perfect love.

I pray You will fill my heart and my mouth with Your praises all day long.  Help me see You and feel Your presence.  And as I do, Lord, help me to share Your splendor with others in a way that fills them with the love of Christ.  Give me the right words to draw others closer to You.

Use me this day for Your great purposes.

In Jesus' name I pray,


*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more. 


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Psalm 60-66

I love the way the Psalms are so applicable to our own lives and personal prayers.  

As I read them more and more, I keep finding new ways to talk to God and open myself up to His love.  Psalms 60-66 are no exception.

Our God is a wonderful God.  Through the work of His hands, He blesses us with so many wonders in this world, you know?  

And as wonderful as His works are, and as busy, mighty, majestic, and powerful as He is, He makes Himself available to us when we pray to Him.  He hears everything we say, our praises, our concerns, our confessions, and even our complaints.  I am so thankful.

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,

    you call forth songs of joy.

God, who makes Himself so available to me, deserves the same in return.  This verse reminds me to take time throughout my day to be in awe of God's handiwork and His unfailing presence.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.

As I sit here on my back porch to write, my house is asleep, but the birds are serenading me with a beautiful song.  The squirrels are rustling the branches of the trees and jumping for joy.  The sun is rising and greeting me with a beautiful picture of God's light.  Awe and Awwwwwe.  Thank you, Lord, for another beautiful day with You.  

God wants us to see Him.  He is all around us, in all His power and glory.  His love is so good...

A prayer for today

Dear God,

I thank You for filling my days on earth with Your wonders.  Thank You for showing me Your power and glory.

Forgive me for letting myself become so distracted by busyness that I forget to take time to be in awe of Your handiwork that is all around me throughout my day.

Your Love, Lord, is better than life.  I pray You will help my lips, my mind, and my heart praise You as long as I live.  And as I lift my hands to You, use me to draw others into Your loving embrace.

In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy 
Spirit I pray,

Love of Christ,

*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more.