Monday, October 31, 2016
Morning by Morning, October 31 - "Ghost" Story
Good morning, Lord Jesus. Open the eyes of my heart to see You and open the ears of my spirit to hear You, as I begin my day in the depths of communion with You in prayer -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. ...
"I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when He comes to set up His kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching" (2 Timothy 4:1-2 NLT).
In the culture of our day, there will be must fascination with darkness and death on this night our world calls Halloween. But even in the midst of darkness You're always shining Your light. "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world" (1 John 4:4 NKJV).
Some will be focused on the dark spirits of this world and the walk of the living death. But as this day begins Your Holy Spirit is reminding me to seek to walk in the ways of the One who is the judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 1 Peter 4:5).
The greatest "ghost story" ever told is not about a ghost who comes to haunt the living from the dead but about the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead into the resurrection life we can all have through faith in Him (Romans 8:11). "According to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:5-7 KJV).
In the ways of the world this may be the night of the walking dead. But in the ways of the One who gave His life for me, I can arise and "walk in newness of life" by the grace of God, "just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father" (Romans 6:4). And now, for all who trust and believe in the death and resurrection of Christ, "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us" (Romans 5:5 KJV). That's the only "Ghost story" I want to be telling my kids and my friends tonight. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
I pray the love of God will be poured into Your heart by His Holy Spirit, as you arise and shine with the resurrection light of Christ, walking in newness of life in your world today (and tonight), in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!
Friday, October 28, 2016
Morning by Morning, October 28 - True Heart of True Worship
Good morning, Lord Jesus. I am Yours and You are mine. Thank You for the gift of the communion of prayer, as I begin my day centered in You. ...
"Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts as well as our hands to God in heaven" (Lamentations 3:40-41).
If we're not careful we can slip into religious routines, even in our worship and prayer. We may still be lifting up our hands, but no longer lifting up our hearts.
We can go through the motions, go on autopilot, and go about our lives with an outward appearance that no longer reflects our inward desires. We can grow weary from the cares of this world and challenges of the battles of the day until we grow numb and detached, worn out or burned out. And You warned us that even among the body of believers "the love of many will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12).
So come, Holy Spirit. Keep a true heart of true worship thriving in me. Come burn in me. Keep the fire of my faith burning in my heart. Rekindle the flame every day. Breathe on the embers of my spirit in the passionate pursuit of the Lover of my soul. "True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:23-24).
Let the songs that I sing to You be an authentic expression of my love for You. Let the lifting of my hands be a genuine manifestation of the lifting of my heart. Keep stirring in me and burning in me until it's totally true in every depth of my being that I "love the Lord (my) God will all (my) heart, with all (my) soul, with all (my) mind, and with all (my) strength," (Mark 12:30). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
May the Holy Spirit burn in your spirit every day with a true heart of true worship for the Lord our God, in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!
(from a time of ministry in The Philippines)
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Morning by Morning, October 27 - Jesus, the Lover of Righteousness Who is Full of Joy
Good morning, Lord Jesus. I welcome You here in my heart to begin my day pursuing the Presence of God -- God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. ...
"Of angels He says, 'He makes His angels winds, and His servants flames of fire.' But of the Son He says, 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness beyond Your companions'" (Hebrews 1:7-9).
Though You are fully God, You are also fully man. Though in one dimension You are eternally enthroned in the heavenly realm in the Oneness of God, at the same time, You also humbled Yourself in the likeness of human flesh and blood to walk among us in the perfect expression and revelation of the nature of God in a way we can begin to grasp through the limitations of our human understanding (Philippians 2:5-11).
In Your human expression of the nature of God, You are a lover of "righteousness" who is also full of joy -- thoroughly "anointed" by God the Father with "the oil of gladness" beyond the measure of anyone else who's ever lived (Hebrews 1:9). Just as You lived Your life on this earth in human flesh and blood for those thirty-three years, You invite me to live out my life in that same way. Just You are, so am I to be in this world (1 John 4:17).
So come, Holy Spirit. I want to embrace the anointing of my Father -- the anointing to be a lover of righteousness and the anointing to be full of joy at the same time. As I embrace Your kingdom to come and Your will to be done here on earth, here in my heart, as it is in heaven, I'm embracing Your love for righteousness and a heart full of joy. "For the kingdom of God is ... righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).
Give me the grace to grow in righteousness -- right with God, right with one another, right within myself. Give me the grace to grow in peace -- at peace with God, at peace with one another, at peace within myself. And give me the grace to grow in joy -- overflowing in the anointing of Your oil of gladness "that (my) joy may be complete" (John 16:24). In these ways, You're giving me the grace to be like You -- conformed to the image of the Son of God (Romans 8:29). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
I pray you'll grow in God's grace to become more and more of a lover of righteousness and full of joy, just like Jesus, in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Morning by Morning, October 26 - "Come Walk with Me"
Good morning, Lord Jesus. My Lord and Savior, One with the Father and One with the Holy Spirit, be One within in me, as I abide in You and You abide in me. ...
As I wait on Your leading and embrace Your Presence here in the stillness and silence of surrender before You, I believe I hear You speaking in my heart, "Come walk with Me." ...
Yes, Lord. ... What do You mean by "Come walk with Me?" ...
This Scripture comes to mind: "Enoch walked with God..." (Genesis 5:24). And then the rest of that Scripture comes to mind: "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him." Are You about to take me, Lord? Am I about to be "no more?" ...
It seems I hear You laugh.
And now You're drawing my attention to a previous verse: "Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters" (v. 22). I believe what You're speaking to me is that You're inviting me to walk with You every day of my life -- to talk with You and listen with You, to be consciously aware of You and that You're with me on my journey. As I walk it out, I can talk it out with You in our personal time together.
Just as walking helps keep us fit physically, walking with You helps keep us fit spiritually. Just as physical walking stretches the muscles of the body, spiritual walking stretches the spiritual muscles of our soul. In the natural realm we can breathe in the fresh air of the morning and in the spiritual realm we can breathe in the refreshing breath of Your Spirit. Just as physically it gets our blood flowing, spiritually it gets our heart going, as we come walk with You in the cool of the day and the depths of our spirit.
I believe You're speaking to my spirit that to come walk with You is to come abide in You and allow You to abide in me (John 15:4). It's allowing Your Spirit to lead me in Your ways and Your will (Romans 8:14). And it's a way I can "live and move and have (my) being" in You throughout the moments of my day (Acts 17:28). So Yes, Lord; I will. I will come walk with You each day -- as best as I can and all by Your grace. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
I pray you'll live and move and have your being in the Lord who walks with you every moment of every day, as you abide in His Presence and seek to follow His leading, in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Morning by Morning, October 25 - Remember When
Good morning, Lord Jesus. Embraced by my Father, centered in the Son, filled with the Spirit -- I want to begin my day surrounded and grounded in You, O Lord, my God. ...
"Remember the days of old, consider the years long past; ask your father, and he will inform you; your elders, and they will tell you" (Deuteronomy 32:7).
As Moses came to the end of his life on this earth and passed the torch of his leadership to Joshua to carry the people of God into the land of their inheritance, he reminded the people to always remember. As Your Spirit had already spoken through Moses over fifteen times throughout the writing of the Book of Deuteronomy, the people were to "remember" the Lord their God and all You had done for them and how You were always with them (v. 5:15; 7:18; 8:2; etc.).
And just as You spoke to them, You speak to us -- reminding us to "remember when." ...
Yes, Lord. I remember the day You saved me -- when You brought me out of the slavery of my Egypt. I remember the days it seemed like I wandered in the wilderness, but You were there to keep the shoes of my soul from wearing out and the weariness of my spirit from giving up. I remember the times when I could have chosen a better route or chosen to believe a better report, but gave in to fear or held back from fully trusting You in faith, yet You were there to even cause that to work together for good. And I can remember times when it seemed the golden calves of this world got more of my heart and my attention and my time that belonged to You, yet You led me to repentance in Your kindness and love to welcome me back into the intimacy of worshipping You alone as Lord of my life.
Yes, I "remember the days of old." I remember when. And at the same time, I'm so thankful for all You don't "remember." You're the God who says in Your Word, "You have burdened Me with your sins; you have wearied Me with your iniquities. (Yet), I, I Am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins" (Isaiah 43:22). You're the God whose Word says, "He will again have compassion upon us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19). And You're the God who promises us in Your Word, "He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far He removes our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:10-12).
So as I remember when, I want to always remember You. I want to always remember that You love me, that You're for me, that You forgive me, that You're always with me, and that You'll never give up on me until all that You desire for me and to form within me is all accomplished according to Your plan and Your purpose for me (Jeremiah 29:11; Philippians 1:6). By the power of Your grace, I will "remember the Lord, who is great and awesome," even as I remember when (Nehemiah 4:14) In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
I pray you'll always remember the One who always remembers you with love and mercy in His heart for you, as He is faithful to bring to completion all His plans and purposes for you, in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!
Monday, October 24, 2016
Morning by Morning, October 24 - Here and There
Good morning, Lord Jesus. Help me begin my day pressing in to Your Presence. ...
"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your Presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me fast" (Psalm 139:7-10).
In the mystery of Your omnipresence, You are limitlessly everywhere; and at the same time, You are here intimately here. In the mystery of Your omniscience, You know everything going on in all the world; and at the same time, You know every thought in my mind and every desire in my heart. And in the mystery of Your omnipotence, You can do all You desire whenever You will; and at the same time, You honor my choices in the freedom of will that a true relationship of love that requires the freedom to love You or not, to worship You or not, to obey You or not.
So in the mystery of faith, I willingly choose to welcome my omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God to come into my heart, to know my thoughts and my desires, and move powerfully in every moment of my day. I know You're everywhere in the world; but I also know You're also right here with me. You're both here and there. And I also know that "in Your Presence (alone) there is fullness of joy" (Psalm 16:11). Thank You for the gift of allowing me to embrace Your Presence today and every day. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
I pray you'll know the fullness of joy of the Presence of our God in your heart and every moment of your day. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Morning by Morning, October 20 - Trusting the Security of God's Sovereignty
Good morning, Lord Jesus. King of kings and Lord of lords, be King and Lord of my heart and my life today. ...
"The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will" (Proverbs 21:1).
In the mystery of both Your will and our freedom -- all at the same time -- there's a place to trust in the security of Your sovereignty. In that place, even our bad choices can be used for Your purposes and even what was meant for evil can be worked together for good (Genesis 50:20). Trusting in the security of Your sovereignty, "we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
So move in our hearts, Holy Spirit. And move in the hearts of those who have authority and influence over our lives and our land. Turn these hearts like a stream of water "wherever (You) will" to work together for good.
You honor the choices we make in the freedom a true relationship of love with You requires, as You "set before (us) life and death, blessings and curses" and invite us always to "choose life so that (we) and (our) descendants may live, loving the Lord (our) God, obeying (You), and holding fast to (You)..." (Deuteronomy 30:19). In the sovereignty of Your will, You also seek to move in the heart of "one who worships (You) and obeys (Your) will" in the freedom of will You allow (John 9:31). And in the sovereignty of Your will, You also give us over to the consequences of the choices we make, even when it breaks Your heart and hurts our lives (Romans 1:28-32). And all the while, You are always at work in our hearts and our world to unfold Your plans according to Your word and Your will (Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 5:11).
By the power of the grace of God at work within me and the hearts of all who have authority and influence over me, I'm choosing to trust in the security of Your sovereignty. As in the prayers of the first generation of Your Church who turned to You, trusted in You, and "raised their voice together to (You) and said, 'Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them,' may we cry out to You and welcome You to come have Your way in our lives and in our land for the purposes of Your glory (Acts 4:24). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
I pray you'll find peace and hope for your life and our land, trusting in the security of God's sovereignty. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Morning by Morning, October 19 - "Come Away with Me"
Good morning, Lord Jesus. Help me hear what You're saying and see what You're doing, as You lead me into Your will for my life today -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. ...
It seems I hear You saying in my heart, "Come away with Me." ...
Yes, Lord. In these first moments of my morning, I want to embrace Your invitation to come away with You -- to focus on You first while I'm fresh, to set everything else aside for a few moments as I'm directly, deliberately seeking You, watching and waiting, surrendering in the silence, listening for Your leading, and resting in Your Presence. In my heart, I'm coming away with You for awhile. ...
As the Son of Man seeking the will of the Father, You "went away and prayed" (Mark 14:39). You spent time alone with the Father. Though You had loved ones nearby, You also needed some time alone. Though You had a strong sense of Your calling and destiny, confident in Your identity in Your relationship with the Father, You also took time to seek the specific leading of the Lord. You were willing to surrender to the will of the Father that came into Your heart, as You watched and waited to know His will in what was to come (Mark 14:36).
Thank You for this gift of Your grace to come away with You. Put Your thoughts in my mind and Your desires in my heart. Let the words that I hear in my heart come alive and active in me (Hebrews 4:12). And then as I rise and go out into my world today, empower me to be not only a hearer of Your word, but also a doer of Your word -- as best as I can and all by Your grace (Matthew 7:24; James 1:22). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
I pray you'll respond to the nudging of the Spirit to come away with the Lord when you're fresh and ready to hear, as He strengthens you in His Presence and leads you in your heart to trust and obey His will. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!