Saturday, December 31: 2Corinthians 9- Generosity.

Over and over again this morning the theme ‘generosity’ called me to meditate.

For some reason, I often equate generosity with spontaneity. I don’t know why and I don’t think that is right. A generous person may, on the spur of the moment or at the invitation to a particular timely need, prove her generous spirit by giving sacrificially. But as I read this chapter I saw generosity as planned giving.

The Corinthians, when they heard about a need, ‘pledged’ a bold generous amount to help the Lord’s people. It was a gift that necessitated time to pull together. It was a generous pledge that required time to fulfill. Meanwhile Paul was using their pledge of a gift to spur on others, particularly people in Macedonia.

Now Paul was writing a reminder that it was time to collect on the pledged generosity.

I see in this example that generosity can take a habit… giving regularly, proportionally, consistently, faithfully, and cheerfully over a long time leads to generosity.

As I mull over this observation, I hits me that everyday regular people can cultivate generosity. The Corinthians were ordinary people, many were even poor, and yet, because they regularly gave proportionally, their gifts proved to be generous.

I could do that. If the Corinthians did that anyone can do that.

Generosity is cultivated through regular habitual faithful giving.

Lord, stir me to deeper generosity to Your work and work that honors You and cares for people in need.

Jesus as 2016 ends this evening and 2017 dawns, place a resolve in me to cultivate generosity in the New Year. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Friday, December 30: 2Corinthians 8- Global concern.

It was the international aspect of the giving that caught my attention this morning as I read this passage. Paul was advocating for the church in one area of the world to complete an offering to help the church in another part of the world. And from Paul’s perspective this was a mutual caring for one another. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little” (13-15).

Paul is not advocating a wealth redistribution plan so that everyone has an equal amount of money, rather Paul advocates one heart breaking for another brother or sister in need. It is mutuality of love across country borders. It is caring for someone because they are in Christ. It is the body imagery of 1Corinthians 12 expanded to a global perspective. It is not law but mercy and grace…

Personal contact, integrity of love, care for God’s family… these are phrases streaming into my consciousness as it ponder this passage. The Lord is reminding me I am part of His world-wide global body and my care and love is not limited by proximity… only the size of my heart.

Ouch, this last line hurts.

Work on my heart, Lord. It can be so rigid and hard.

Forgive my selfishness and work on my heart, Lord. Through Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.


Thursday, December 29: 2Corinthians 7- Make room in your hearts.

Real people… I just could stop thinking about the fact that Paul and the Corinthians were real people.

This chapter contains a great deal of ‘inside’ information. Paul is communicating on a heart level with the Corinthians. There is much self-disclosure, expressions of concern over a letter sent and realization that though it was a tough letter it, by God’s grace, affected a positive outcome.

I found myself thinking that I live in many real relationships, too. Sometimes they go swimmingly well and sometimes not so much. But the ability to keep communication open and to talk through the rough patches is a gift from God and takes relational work.

I hear Paul modeling this in measure. His says volumes in a simple sentence, part of verse 2. Make room for us in your hearts.

That is the essence of friendship… all parties must make room in their hearts for one another. And that room leaves space not only for mistakes, but also for repair.

God has me thinking about friends… I’m wondering if there are repairs I need to make or if there are some relationship in which I have to make more room…

I’m wondering…

How about you?

God, thank You for the people You have placed in my life. Help me to treasure them and open my hearts to them… and to be willing to enter their hearts as well.

Thank You, Lord, for the people You have brought into my life.  I am richer for them and more faithful because of the brothers and sisters who speak words of life into my life. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, December 28: 2Corinthians 6- Co-workers with God.

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. … I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation (1-2).

The opening 3 words of the chapter grabbed hold of me. They wouldn’t let me go, so I returned to them after my reading and sat with them before me and allowed the Spirit of God to speak.

As God’s co-workers… I don’t know that I realized this when I put my trust in Jesus but at that moment I became God’s co-worker. I had to let that sink in. By the grace and call of God, I am God’s co-worker. I work with God to see that His aims and goals are being accomplished here in the world. This is a staggering thought… at least for me.

Choose the biggest names in business, government or art and attached the same wording to a person that comes to mind…

I am Barack Obama’s co-worker. I work with Barack to see that his aims and goals are being accomplished here in the world.

I am Bill Gate’s co-worker. I work with Bill to see that his aims and goals are being accomplished through The Gates Foundation here in the world.

And so on and so on…

Bill and Barack are certainly important people in the world today.  If I truly was a co-worker helping them accomplish their goals that would be something for which I would be proud of and for which I would work hard. I think of the Gate’s Foundations goal to eradicate malaria and other major diseases in the world; this is certainly a worthy goal.

As great as that would be, I am not Bill Gates’ co-worker.

I am, however, God’s co-worker and that is even more impressive. God has commissioned me to see that His aims and ways are spreading and taking hold throughout the world. That’s my commission… and it is the commission of every believer in Jesus.

We are God’s co-workers and I, for one, have to make God’s aims and goals my priority if I am going to fulfill God’s desires for me as His co-worker.

Wow, this is a lot to chew on…

God give me strength… give me courage… give me wisdom to live as Your co-worker. Sold out to You and Your will and way. I pray in the name of my Lord, Jesus Amen.



Tuesday, December 27: 2Corinthians 5- Begin with the End in Mind.

About a month ago I took part in a parenting seminar with my wife.  We tried to layout some overarching thoughts before we spoke about specific parenting issues, like discipline, responsibility, etc.

One of the Big Ideas we emphasized was Begin with the End in Mind. As I have thought about that phrase it is a pretty good Big Idea for many facets in life.

This morning I heard echoes of this Big Idea in Paul’s words to the Corinthians. So we make it our goal to please him [the Lord\, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (9-10).

Paul lives life everyday mindful that someday he will stand before Jesus Christ face-to-face and have to answer for the way he lived. He lives with the end in mind.

I don’t get any sense from Paul that this is some morbid, ‘God is going to get me’ kind of life. Nor is this the only ‘End’ he keeps in mind, but this ‘End’ certainly informs him day to day.

My heart is stirring. I am hearing some godly wisdom through Paul’s words that can help guide my life… “Bill, keep in mind someday you will face the Lord and be accountable for how you lived.”

I wonder how this will guide me today?

Lord, I long to hear those words of Matthew 25 as I make the transition from this life to eternity, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and enter your Father’s happiness.” This word from Paul is helpful to guide and lead me there.

Jesus, help me to honor and live by this world. I pray in Your name. Amen. 


Monday, December 26: 2Corinthians 4- God's power brings life.


But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

There are days when my body aches and I can definitely tell that things I could do when I was younger are getting harder to do.

I love my summer travel to Africa and the mission work I do in Jos, Nigeria. I have been traveling to Jos each summer for the last 10 years and I definitely notice that it takes more time for my body to adjust returning home.

I can definitely tell my body is a ‘jar of clay.’ So my heart shouts ‘Yes” when I read Paul’s response to his jar of clay!

Yes! It is not about me, it is about the all-surpassing power [which] is from God.

God certainly is powerful. God created everything from nothing! There is no greater demonstration of power than that, in my estimation.

And yet, reading this passage creates a strange juxtaposition in me. Yesterday we celebrated the birth of Jesus… that helpless baby is another demonstration of God’s all-surpassing power! God became a human to lead us back into relationship with the Father. In the birth of Jesus I see how God’s power is also demonstrated in ways that are so counter to what I would normally associate with power!!!

While death is at work in my ‘jar of clay’ body, God’s life is at work in and through me.

Lord, may my life make a difference in this world. May it make the kind of difference that brings life and love and faith to many people. I pray this is Jesus’ name. Amen.


Saturday, December 24: 2Corinthians 3- Being transformed.

And we... are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (18).

The thought of being transformed into His (Jesus’) image captured my thoughts as I sat with this chapter open before me.

It is Christmas eve, in a few hours I will gather with my family and church family to celebrate Jesus’ birth so long ago. It is easy to sentimentalize the baby in a manger, but Jesus grew and His words, death, life and teaching changed the world.

And in a brief stroke of a pen, Paul explains the goal of the Christian faith... to be transformed into Jesus’ image.

With thoughts of the manger foremost in my thoughts today, humility rises as a first character trait into which I should be transforming. There are so many more traits of Jesus in which we need to grow.

In these silent moments on this Christmas Eve, God whispers, “Watch my Son, study my Son, read His words, understand their meaning... this is the best beginning to a life that emulates my Son.”

Oh, Father, may I live up to Your bidding. Supply in lavish amounts Your blessed Holy Spirit in my life that I might have Your power and voice within to guide me in my transforming. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Friday, December 23: 2Corinthians 2- .

We are in the middle of the holiday season, Thanksgiving through New Year. What a joy this time of year is…festive, social and full of delicious foods we don’t enjoy much the rest of the year. I love walking in the house from the outside to smell turkey roasting in the oven, or the aroma of fresh baked cookies cooling in the kitchen, or the hint of cinnamon in hot apple cider. Add to that the pine scent of a Christmas trees or the crackling sound and smell of a roaring fire. Wonderful aromas fill the air this time of year.

I also love the way Paul says that we are to be the pleasing aroma of Christ in the world.

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ

among those who are being saved and those who are perishing (15).

I allowed that imagery to dance in my thoughts for a while…

What does it mean that our lives are to be a pleasing aroma? Thoughts that spring to mind…

·         Christians’ presence should make life more pleasant.

·         We should remind people of good things.

·         We should mask the stench of decay and violence.

·         We should put a smile on faces.

·         Our presence (influence) should permeate all the corners of the world like a kitchen aroma can waft through the entire house.

This is a tall order. Also, it is something that is just happens as we live. You don’t roast a turkey to fill the house with aroma, the aroma is a pleasant result of cooking. Our living should leave behind the pleasurable result of our life.

I am thinking about how I am living.  Does a pleasant aroma follow where I have lived? How about you???

Lord, may my life bring comfort to many. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Thursday, December 22: 2Corinthians 1- Quiet space.

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace (12).

What a great word. May I be able to say this as my life ebbs towards its conclusion. And the best way to work toward this outcome is to examine myself and see if I am living this way today.

Have I conducted myself in the world with integrity?

Have I lived with godly sincerity?

Do I rely on worldly wisdom or God’s grace?

Piercing questions that require thought and quiet space, not pounding on a keyboard.

Oh, God, meet me in this quiet time; challenge and love me I pray... Amen.


Wednesday, December 21: Psalm 150- Praise.

What a simple and fitting conclusion to the book of Psalms… Praise the Lord.

While praising the Lord is not some magical elixir that heals all ills, it certainly reorders a person’s life. Somewhere in the midst of many (most) Psalms was the invitation or solace of praising the Lord.

In this final Psalm of the psalter, we are reminded that praising the Lord is an expressive action. And while my ‘go-to’ thought about praise is verbal praise, this Psalm reminds me that instruments of all kinds, as well as dancing, can also be acts of praise. 

And verse 2 reminds me that the Lord is the focus of our praise and we praise Him for his acts of power and his surpassing greatness.

It seems fitting that I turn from thinking about praise to praise itself…

Praise God from whom all blessings flow...



Tuesday, December 20: Psalm 149- A whisper regarding humbleness.

This Psalm seems to have 2 parts and I struggled to connect with the harshness of the second, so when my meditation time came I chose (was led?) to meditate on the first 5 verses and particularly verses 4-5:

For the LORD takes delight in his people;

he crowns the humble with victory.

Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor

and sing for joy on their beds.

I keep looking at and pondering the first couplet. His people and humble seem to be paired, as if His people are to be humble people. Humility is not a virtue I see in great quantities these days, in the church or anywhere. And humility and victory rarely seem to go together. I am working to process how to piece these together and particularly how to piece them together in my life. I have so few living examples, I guess this is a road I must plow for myself.

The second couplet goes:

Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor

and sing for joy on their beds.

Rejoice in what honor? Probably that the Lord delights in us, his people, humble people who have been granted victory. But it could look back to the gladness expressed in the king (2). Possibly the two are connected in that Israel has won a victory and the people are rejoicing in God over the victory.

I struggle to step into this Psalm… I return to verse 4, For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. I sense a whisper from the Lord calling me to humbleness… a ceasing of puffing out my chest coupled with the deepest sense that all I have and am comes from the Lord.

This recognition pulls me to my knees in prayer, praise and thanks to the Lord God Almighty… my Lord and my God.

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the God of creation, who bends an ear to me, who lifts me from the muck and mire, who has given me favor when I deserve none.

Lord, I thank and bless You for all You have given.  I pray that I use my resources, my intelligence and my life speaking out for You and Your Gospel around the world. I pray this in and through Jesus, my Savior. Amen.


Monday, December 19: Psalm 148- Praise the Lord.

Praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD from the heavens;

praise him in the heights above.

Praise him, all his angels; praise him,

all his heavenly hosts.

Praise him, sun and moon;

praise him, all you shining stars.

Praise him, you highest heavens

and you waters above the skies (1-4).

I have had an emotionally rough last few days. To open the Bible and see the words Praise the Lord repeated so often brought calm and peace to my heart.

My heart just relaxed with thoughts of the Lord; after all the Lord is in control.

I know I know this, but Psalm 148 was a perfect reminder for me to Praise the Lord. Praying this Psalm not just reading it, caused my heart to focus on the Lord. I cannot say that the stresses of the recent days are completely gone but I have renewed perspective.  Praising God reminds me that God is in control of my life and the affairs of my world. This is no guarantee that all things will work out as I would like, but I submitted my will to the Lord’s will many years ago. And I have no plans to reneg on my submission to the Lord and His will and way.

Some days I am realizing it is just plain good and right to Praise the Lord. And today in one of those days…

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord for his goodness and presence.

Praise the Lord for his faithfulness and love.

Praise the Lord that He is with me on good days and bad,

      When emotions are on overload and when things are calm.

Praise the Lord.

Yes, I will praise the Lord. Amen and amen.


Saturday, December 17: Psalm 147- Delighting in the Lord.

[The Lord’s] pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love (10-11).

This was so helpful today… it just drew me in. The Lord does not incline toward human strength but rather those who delight in Him.

In our world where strength and might rule, where the one with the biggest gun wins, it gives me peace to think that such is not God’s way.

God delights in people who fear Him… people who reverence and understand His greatness.

The Lord delights in people who put their honor in His love, love which never fails.

On the eve of worship this 3rd Sunday of Advent, my heart warms as I consider the love of God who would become human in order to connect with us and save the likes of us.

I submit and I surrender and I bask in the delights of the Lord…

What a wonderful way to live on this eve of worship.

Praise to the Lord who reigns on high who rides in majesty… Praise to the Lord who left it all to save a sinner like me. Halleluiah! Amen.


Friday, December 16: Psalm 146- My heart soared.

Immediately as my eyes settled on to this Psalm, my soul was lifted…

Praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD, my soul.

I will praise the LORD all my life;

I will sing praise to my God as long as I live (1-2).

In fact, my heart continued to soar to the heavens and to my Lord as I read/prayed this Psalm.

Two short phrases caught my attention as my soul began to soar, all my life… as I live.

The psalmist was not making a declaration for a day; the psalmist was making a lifelong pronouncement. This is what I will do today and every today of my life… I will praise the Lord, I will sing praise to the Lord, I will call out, I will rest in, I will exalt the Lord, my God, and Him only. (I added and Him only because of where the rest of the psalm goes.)

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save… (3).

The Lord is the only one to whom the psalmist will look. I suspect that this Psalm is a declaration to the world and to the psalmist himself.

There are times in life when we have to speak ourselves into right action. And this Psalm plays well during those time as well as days like today when my heart immediately begins to soar as these words enter my spirit.

Oh, Lord, I am carried to You on the wings of this Psalm. I will praise You all my life; I will sing praise to You, my God, as long as I live. Lord, some days these praises will roll off my lips like water over a waterfall and some days my mouth will be parched like a dry desert arroyo, no matter my personal feelings. Lord, I will return to this Psalm and sing Your praise. For You alone are worthy and You alone have saved me. In the name of the Father, Jesus, His Son, and the Holy Spirit I sing and pray. Amen.


Thursday, December 15: 1Corinthians 16- 2 powerful sentences.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love (13-14).

Is there a simple way to sum up a letter like 1Corinthians? Can Paul find a few words to drive home the various points of his letter? I think he did just that in the 2 sentences above.

Be on your guard… it is so easy to slip and fall. Be on your guard, writes Paul. And that is an apt word. I have to be mindful and careful. I have to monitor my life, thoughts and actions. When I fall, I need to confess it, receive God’s forgiveness, get up again and move on. I have to keep my eyes open to the influences of the world and God’s enemy. A perfect shorthand reminder is be on your guard.

Stand firm… make your commitment to stand your ground. Don’t give in. Don’t take the easy way out. Push yourself when necessary to live right and do right by the power of God, the Holy Spirit, within you.

Be courageous… this ties in with standing firm. Too often we want the faith to be easy and everyone to like us. But it takes courage to stand with Christ. The world is opposed to Jesus so there will be times that courage is needed to stand with the Lord. We will take our lumps and we need courage not to cave but to stand.

Be strong… Many of the early Christians suffered for their faith and suffering takes strength. Strength is needed to be courageous and to stand with Jesus. So Paul continues to build his word picture.

Do everything in love… Having painted the picture of what we are to do, Paul now tells us how to do it… through LOVE. Echoes of chapter 13 reverberate in this sentence. While love is the critical word in the sentence, ‘everything’ comes in a close second. It is not do ‘somethings’ in love; it is do everything in love. Love is to be our calling card, our first and last impression as believers.

All the problems addressed can somehow find their answer in these 2 sentences. Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.

I hear God say, ‘This is for you, Bill’… can I do it? Will I do it?

I pray so, Lord. I will need Your help to guard, to stand, to be courageous and to be strong. Incline Your ear to me, Lord, that I may honor You in what I do and how I do it. I pray Through Jesus, my Savior and Lord. Amen.


Wednesday, December 14: 1Corinthians 15- Resurrection sets the stakes high.


A dramatic shift in topics happens with the first verse of chapter 15. Whether sparked by thoughts of worship (ch 14) or it is another topic questioned by the Corinthians, Paul launches into an exposé on the surety of the Resurrection.

He is so certain of the Resurrection that he writes: And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised (14-15).

If there is no Resurrection then Christ has not been raise, all our believing is useless and we are lying about God and His ways.

Those are bold assertions. And such is the faith we can have in the Resurrection! Christ is alive and all who believe in Him will be raised. This is Paul’s basic point.

If we belong to Jesus we will be resurrected.

This truth has sustained people in life’s most difficult situations and it is an apt balancing agent for those in luxurious situations. Nothing in this life is worth jeopardizing our faith and the guarantee of resurrection that comes with faith in Jesus. Nothing.

This life is 40-60-90 years. Resurrected life is eternal… no good thing in this life is worth the scuttling of our faith… no luxury, no job, no bonus, no award, NOTHING.

Belief in the Resurrection is a powerful truth…

Think about this. I know I am.

God, thank You for raising Jesus and raising all of us who are in Jesus. I praise You for Your gift of life here in this life and in the next. May I live to honor and bless You all the days of my life until I live with You in eternity forever. Amen.


Tuesday, December 13: 1Corinthians 14- Love and gifts.

After laying out the way of love… that love is the most excellent way and should be the guiding principle for how we connect and interact with others, Paul takes on problems in worship. His basic point, love should guide the way we act toward others. Love desires that we all help others to grow, to be edified. Love wants the best for others rather than showing off for self.

Gifted people at times have a way of making others feel less about themselves. This should not be the way of Christ-followers.

Paul leads off this chapter with these words, Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy (1).

Gifts are helpful and important but it is the building up of everyone in the church that is important, not anyone showing off his/her gifts. This is why prophecy in worship is more important than tongues (unless the tongue is interpreted). Why is this? Because someone speaking in a foreign language does not help anyone grow in the Lord. Whereas speaking some instruction, revelation or knowledge in a language and manner everyone can comprehend is good for others and the body of Christ gathered in worship.

What do I do with all this?

I must use the gifts I have for the benefit of my brothers and sisters.  I need to use my gifts and abilities in a way that builds others up rather than building me up. Especially in public gifts, the attitude God desires is selflessness. It is not about me… it is about building others up in the way of Jesus by using my gifts with 1Corinthians 13 love.

Lord, help me to see others, rather than self. Help me see what benefits Your body, not myself. Help me live the way of love even as I seek Your gifts. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Monday, December 12: 1Corinthians 13- The most excellent way.

The chapter break was placed at a peculiar location. Most certainly the last sentence of chapter 12 is the intro to the topic of chapter 13.

And yet I will show you the most excellent way (12:31). And the most excellent way is the way of love, which is beautifully laid out in the entirety of chapter 13.

Love is to be the way of the Christ-follower.

You know angelic languages… use them with love or they amount to nothing.

You have spiritual gifts… they are to be used with love or they amount to nothing.

You have a heart for service and sacrifice… use them with love or they amount to nothing.

Love is the way, the manner of living, the attitude, the foundation for living as a Christ-follower. Period. End of story. There is no other way that can match the way of love. None.

When in doubt ask what love would do…

And what would love do?

Love would be… patient, …kind… not envious, not boastful, not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

This is love that is the way of Jesus. And that is the MOST EXCELLENT way… And this is how I am to live…

It is time to take stock is how I am living. Am I on the most excellent way or not?

How about you?

Lead me, Oh God, lead me onto the way of love and may I never leave Your path. Amen and amen.


Saturday, December 10: 1Corinthians 12- Part of a body.

Paul speaks at length about being part of a body, the body of Christ. Simply put, every person is akin to one part of a body and for the body to function every part must play its part.

It didn’t take long for the Lord’s Word to come alive in me this morning.  Who am I in my local church body? Who are you? To not play our part is to create a void in the body system and to overwork other parts having them do what they were not meant to do. They may be compensating but are doing something they were not designed to do.

Okay, enough of analysis of the problem, who am I in my local church body? Who are you? Are we functioning as we should be?

Tomorrow the body, I am part of, will gather together in worship.  I will look around and observe with this thought in mind, “Am I playing the part(s) I was meant to play?” Will you join me in seeking the Lord about this?

Lord Jesus, Father, Spirit, show me the part(s) in the body You would have me play and kick me out of my comfort zone if I am not playing the parts You intended me to play. This is my simple pray, prayed in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Friday, December 9: 1Corinthians 11- Proclaiming Jesus died.

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (26).

Communion, the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper is our church’s Sacrament remembering Jesus’ death on the cross. When we take the bread and cup we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

I wonder sometimes why we proclaim Jesus’ death and not His resurrection. Am I the only one who wonders this?

This morning my wonderings came into full view. Why would Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, say this? Because the cross is the defining moment of the Christian faith. On the cross Jesus defeated the enemy, Satan. On the cross Jesus paid the penalty for sin. On the cross Jesus exchanged His righteousness for our filth… He took our sin and granted all who believe in Him His right standing before the Father.

The cross is the great work of God for our salvation and this is what we proclaim whenever we eat the bread and drink the cup.

The resurrection of Jesus vindicates His work, but it is the cross that was the salvation work.

The next time you partake in the table think on these things…consider all Jesus did on Good Friday to secure your pardon and to defeat the enemy, then partake in joy as one forgiven, redeemed, restored and loved.

Thank you for this love, Lord

Thank you for the nail pierced hands

Washed me in Your cleansing flow

Now all I know

Your forgiveness and embrace


Worthy is the Lamb

Seated on the throne

Crown You now with many crowns

You reign victorious


High and lifted up

Jesus Son of God

The Darling of Heaven crucified

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Amen and amen.


(The words of this prayer were written by Darlene Zscheck and published as the Hillsong song ‘Worthy is the Lamb’. 

A tremendous book on the Cross was written by John Stott, The Cross of Christ. An edifying and worthwhile read for all believers in Christ.)


Thursday, December 8: 1Corinthians 10- Life is connected.

We don’t live life in a bubble. People have lived before us and people will live after us. We can learn from those who lived before us and we can be examples for those who come after us. Life is connected. History can be a great teacher, so long as we are studying good and godly history.

The Scriptures provide us a great deal of history that can teach and instruct us as people of faith.  This is Paul’s point.

Four times he references the example of Israel using the words as some of them were (7) and three times using the phrase as some of them did (8,9). In these cases Israel was a negative example. We are not to do as they did.  Each example was a sin we must guard ourselves against… idolaters, sexually immoral, testing Christ, and grumbling. As Paul goes on to say, these are a warning to us (11).

I sit here today duly warned. The Lord has left us a legacy in Scripture of examples on how and how not to live. Will I learn?  Will I be mindful of the examples God has given me?

Will you?

Today is a ‘think about it’ time in God’s Word.

Lord, it is good and right to think and ponder Your ways and to listen to the record You have provided. Thinking about these things is important but even more it is important to LIVE wisely, thanks in part to the examples You have provided in Your Word and, to this I might add, in history.

So grant me wisdom, Lord, that I might learn from and follow those who have been faithful to You. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, December 7: 1Corinthians 9- Put your heart into it .

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (24-27).

Put your heart into it.

I love watching sports, sports of all kinds…Olympics, baseball, football.  Even though I am not a basketball fan, I love March Madness, the College Basketball tournament, especially in the early rounds watching the kids from the lower ranked schools give everything they have in the hopes of one win is compelling. The hustle, the drive, the ‘all out’ pursuit of a win or two is extraordinary. It is like watching a Rocky movie, only real life.

Paul makes the case that this is how we should live our Christian faith, all out for Jesus. Holding nothing back, giving our ‘everything’ just like a runner straining for the victory tape.

What does that mean? It means using my resources and time, ability and wisdom to advance the Gospel through the gifts God has given me. Easy to type on a keyboard but much harder to put into practice.

And balance isn’t generally the picture of an athlete in training. When training, an athlete is all out; sleeping, eating, training are all measured to produce the greatest output.

This makes me realize why Paul said a couple of chapters ago that a married person’s life is divided and so he encourages singleness (7:32-35). And dividedness of life grows even more when children enter the picture.

I am realizing there is so much more I could be giving and that I have much to learn when it comes to giving my all for Jesus and advancing His kingdom.

Help me, Lord Jesus, to manage my life in a way that honors You, the Spirit, and the Father. I have so much to learn and so much more to give to You… it is hard and it is scary and it is counter-cultural. I cannot do this on my own. Help me, Lord. Help me. Amen.


Tuesday, December 6: 1Corinthians 8- Knowledge, love and behavior..

On the one hand, this chapter doesn’t connect with my life. I don’t live in a world where meat in the meat market has been sacrificed to idols. However, I do live in a culture with a growing fascination with new age spirits and spiritualism. Maybe dealing with those issues is the current day application for this chapter, at least it seems one possibility for me living in the ‘modern’ west.

This chapter deals with one issue and the entire issue is speaking to my heart, so it is difficult to lift out 1 or 2 verses. That said the heart of the teaching is in verses 4-7:

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled (4-7).

I know there is only one God and that idols are really nothing but others do not know this. They believe in spirits and new age energy and so on and so forth. Therefore I must not, for the sake of love, let my knowledge of the truth destroy someone who is not as knowledgeable as I am.

Ouch, here is what the Lord is whispering to me. My behavior can affect others who are watching me, so I will moderate my behavior out of love so that it doesn’t negatively affect a brother or sister who does not yet know things of the faith God has taught me.

I travel to Africa and will not collect African art associated with African gods.  This is not because the ‘gods’ are real or that they will bring an evil presence into my home, but because a sister or brother might think I recognize those African gods and get the wrong idea seeing my art.

So now God has me considering my life.  Are there things I am doing that some others associate with ‘idols’ or ‘gods’ that could harm a weaker brother or sister? This will take some thought to sift through...

Lord, show me if there are areas of change I should adopt to protect others in my life who are newer on the journey of faith with You. This is my prayer… in Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Monday, December 5: 1Corinthians 7- Contentment in life's station.

In the midst of answering many of the Corinthians questions regarding marriage and faith, Paul makes a bold statement. Verse 17: Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. The immediate context is marriage but Paul applies it to slavery and circumcision, showing it to be a broader principle of faith. As he applies it to slavery, Paul says it is ‘ok’ to gain ones freedom, showing that the principle isn’t absolutely restrictive but explanatory.

I pondered the verse… Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.

It seems one of the big themes of the verse is contentment. God can and will use a person in whatever earthly or human position they are in. Where the world in general judges a person by outward standards, that is not to be the case within the church where there is neither male or female, slave or free, circumcised or uncircumcised (see Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11).

The letter to Philemon bears this point out as well.

So how do I bring this into my life?  What situations might apply to me?

Job promotion… it is not wrong to seek or take a job promotion but to live for it, to be striving for it, to be putting everything I have into getting it can, and often does, undercut contentment and the ability for God to use us where we are presently.

Marriage… some people are so intent on finding a wife/husband that much of life is ‘blocked out from view’ and the sense that God is with them or God might use them in that state is never understood or lived into.

Childlessness… where one lives… and so on.

Believing that our lives are in God’s hands, whatever the station, is a deep and abiding truth of the Christian faith. Seek how you can serve the Lord in whatever station you are in rather than clamoring for the next ‘best’ thing,whatever that may be for me or for you…

Wow, this is something to chew on…

Lord, help me to feel content in the life You have supplied right now and to look for opportunities to be useful for You and Your kingdom rather than lusting after that next promotion or move or …

I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Saturday, December 3: 1Corinthians 6- Lawsuits.

The issue of lawsuits isn’t exactly the most devotional of topics and yet, as I read the chapter, I kept coming back to that section.

I live in a litigious society and one that honors and defends the right of the individual. I am glad for these rights. There is a tremendous amount of freedom in my country because individual rights are honored. I have a right to my day in court.

This said, Paul’s words cause me to take a step back. His first paragraph offers a deep concern that Corinthians are taking one another to court… in our language they are suing one another. Paul is appalled.

The context is one Christian suing another Christian, one church member suing another. The issues is NOT problems between a believer and a non-believers or corporation.

The major element of his words comes in verse 7: The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?

These words sting. … Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Wow. How important is body life? How important is the reputation of the church in the public eye?

The, “but I have my rights” part of me flares up at Paul (and God). And I have to check my spirit… God is it more important to me to assert my rights than to accept a wrong and simply move on?

At this point everything is hypothetical… and some issues I consider are much more significant than others.

My natural instinct is to assert my rights… that’s what Americans do, right!?!

But the nudge inside of me is that God might expect me to act differently…

This exposes me… my natural inclination is to stand up for myself, not accept a wrong for the sake of the body. I still have a great need to grow in faith and trust and obedience.

Lord, I don’t have any immediate need to sue someone. But my reaction to the counsel of Your Word shows me that I have much growth still. Help me to take the servant stance that Jesus took. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 


Friday, December 2: 1Corinthians 5- Am I proud of any sin in my life? .

Sex has been an issue of temptation for millennia. Submitting our sexual wants and desires to the Lord and His will and way does not come naturally. We are sexual beings and the drive is strong. Knowing this the Lord lays down His parameters for sex within His will.  Sex is only for a married wife and husband. Acting on urges outside of this is wrong in God’s eyes.

Corinth not only allowed sexual activity outside of God’s boarders, they were proud that it was occurring within their family!

Today’s chapter scolds the entire church, not simply the offending party. Being proud of sin in our midst is NEVER in line with the Lord and His will.

I cannot help but think of the modern church. Many local churches and even denominations are falling prey to this same God-dishonoring pride that gripped the Corinthians in chapter 5.

Oh, God, call Your errant church back to your side.

But since this is my personal time with the Lord, it is time to look inside. Am I proud of any sin in my life? Pointing fingers at others is much easier than examining oneself. Back to the question of the day, ‘Am I proud of any sin in my life?’

Guide me, Oh Lord, in my interior examination. Give me courage to probe sensitive places. Bring trusted friends into my life who can walk with me and help me be honest with self and You.

I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Thursday, December 1: 1Corinthians 4- Examining self.

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself … (6)

This almost hidden partial sentence grabbed me and pulled me in. The idea that Paul applied the lessons he is presenting to himself challenged me. Will I do the same? Do I do the same?

Paul, one of the great apostles, applied the teachings to his life. I mean, this is obvious but somehow these words spoke to me… I think they spoke to me because it is so easy to NOT do this.

I can study a passage and see a great truth or be convicted by a word and in the end not do a thing about it. As a teacher I can spout the wisdom of God but not faithfully live under it. Can’t we all?

Paul’s example raises the bar for me. These God-inspired words call to me, shouting. “Examine yourself. Look inside. Bill, are you applying what you know from My Word?”

As I sift these words through my mind and heart, I notice that they express a completed action. I have applied…  It is a done deal. It is not I will apply or I would like to apply, but I have applied! I have done this.

This observation bounces back to me.... Have I? Is my devotion to the Lord filled with actions or merely hopes?

And so God’s Word burrowed into my inner being… time has come to cease pondering the Word in its riches and to begin living the Word.

Lord, I extend my hand and heart to You. Walk with me as I apply Your Word to myself.

Lord, I pray for mercy in those areas where I have fallen and repeatedly fall. I pray for courage as I apply and it hurts. I pray for joy as my life more and more closely resembles Jesus in my everyday living. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, November 30: 1Corinthians 3- Behavior matters.


Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? (1-3).

Paul’s chapters are so rich, so many truths about our God and living as a child of God. This morning it was the sentences above that penetrated my heart.

Some people in the church seem to be more mature than others. Sometimes it is due to longevity as a Christ follower. A new follower hasn’t had time to learn and grow. Unfortunately, some long timers never seem to grow. And sometimes I get the impression that it is not ‘right’ to talk about this in church.

Paul, howeve,r states it head on, and while he doesn’t give a solution, I believe one will come to light as we move through the letter.

First, Paul confronts the Corinthians that they, in general, are not living as ‘spirit-empowered’ followers, rather they are still worldly, mere infants he calls them. His inference is that they should be far more spiritual than they are… it is as if he is saying, ‘get on with growing’!

And his indicator is behavior… not conversions or outreach, not spiritual gifts and manifestations, but behavior. Now quite possibly he could have addressed other lacks but what he was confronting was a behavior issue. And in that behavior issue he saw their ‘childishness.’

So this discussion took me to an internal place where God began probing my maturity. Am I a person of the spirit or am I still an infant in Christ? As I probed through the Spirit, God used the grid of behavior. Am I quarrelsome, need my own way, divisive, prideful, mean spirited or full of mean words… and the like?

How I behave toward and with people matters… and it matters a lot.

I have much to chew on and many places in my life where I need significant growth….

Lord, open my eyes to how I treat people. Show me, Lord, my strengths and weaknesses that I may grow in the power of the Spirit in all aspects of my life as I live for You. I pray this is Jesus’ name. Amen.


Saturday, November 26: Psalm 145- Reflecting on parenting.

Not long ago I was asked some questions about parenting and what the Bible teaches about it. So parenting is on my mind lately, and as I was reading this Psalm verses 3-7 connected with parenting and drew me to the Lord.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works— and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

I realize that these verses were intended to speak to a wider audience than parents, but they certainly seem appropriate to parents.

As parents, if we want to pass our faith along to our children, these verses suggest a few things to do…

Praise the Lord with You own life… As parents we pass along who we are. Are you a Lord God Almighty worshipper?

Commend and speak of the Lord… bring the things of God into your life and speech. What things do your children hear you say about the Lord? Do they hear you pray? When they ask, can you give answers in their age-appropriate language? Do you share the great things God has done with your children?

Grow in your relationship with the Lord… do you meditate on what God has done and grow in Him?

Celebrate God’s goodness… are there ways you and your family celebrate the Lord? Celebration is such a good word. It can be big and planned or it can be spontaneous, singing a song with laughter and joy in thanks to the Lord.

Most of my parenting days are gone, but my adult children can still benefit from seeing these things in my life.

Bottom line, am I living faithfully with the Lord for my children and others to see?

Now here is some food to chew on throughout the day…

Lord, You are good, great in fact, and I pray that people see my love for You in how I live. I praise You and thank You for life and an opportunity to live my life in a way that is a beacon pointing to You. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Monday, November 28: 1Corinthians 1- Other people matter.

Two portions of this chapter arrested my attention. Right out of the chute verse 2 caused me to pause and ponder. To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: It struck me how Paul connected the Corinthian believers with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Although I might worship with one congregation in one city, I truly am connected to all Believers everywhere. I can be so myopic, sometimes, thinking only of myself or my congregation. But Paul’s words remind me to open my eyes and see that faith in Jesus connects all who believe, women, men, young and old from every continent and context. Human divisions don’t count in Christ’s body.

I’m sitting in an airport as I meditate. The people next to me are speaking French and the array of skin hues covers the spectrum. Faith in Jesus would connect me with everyone who loves and follows Jesus. What a beautiful picture is the church of Jesus Christ.

The second latch for me came in verses 26-29: Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

So much of life is about making it, becoming successful, accepted, and respectable. And yet to build His church in Corinth, God chose mostly the down and out.  As Paul put it: God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things….

I am wondering if He still does this. Am I not a down and outer?  I am wondering if my striving to be accepted is counterproductive to building His church.  Because God worked that way in Corinth doesn’t automatically mean He does it everywhere and all the time.

These words certainly make me realize that in the church we must open our arms wide and accept anyone and everyone God brings our way, no matter if they are ‘well healed’ or not. God is not a respecter of status or class, God looks at the heart… and so should I.

Well, these words to the Corinthians are giving me lots to chew on… I hope the same is true for you.

Lord, thank you for your family, Your ‘world wide’ family. Help me to grow to appreciate the whole of Your Church, the gifts, abilities and specialties of your church.  Along with this, Lord, help me to not judge people by their ‘human worth’ but by the spirit within them… Your spirit within them. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Tuesday, November 29: 1Corinthians 2- Christ Crucified.

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (2).

Powerful words… to know nothing… except Jesus Christ and him crucified. The heart of the Gospel… knowing Christ crucified.

That God would come and die for us, for me…overwhelming… really and truly overwhelming. Let’s face it, who am I; who are you that God would give His life payment for our sins?!!!

As a preacher, as an apostle, and I suspect, as a son of God, Paul strove to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Here is the core of the faith and the essential element that separates Christianity from all other religions.

Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, died carrying the weight and guilt of sin for everyone who believes and follows Him!

I am rejoicing and delighting, and at the same time, staggered by the wonder of this truth. My heart is exploding with thanks and praise to Jesus…

Words cannot carry the praise of my heart… Oh, Jesus, Lord and Savior, I bow to You along with the Father and the Spirit. Thank You, Praise You… glory to You, Lord God. Amen and amen.


Friday, November 25: Psalm 144- Loved.

David sees the Lord as active and integral in every part of his life. Warrior David sees the Lord in the strength of His hands the blows of his sword (see verse 1-2). Do I, do you, see Him integral to our lives? If I am a lawyer, do I see the Lord integral to my understanding the legal code, to my ability to defend, prosecute or mediate?

If I am an accountant do I see the Lord as integral to my ability to decipher ledgers and manage the complex markets of today?

As a doctor, teacher, mother, father, carpenter, business owner, cook and so on, do I see the Lord as integral to my work skills and work successes?

Then David muses in verses 3-4: LORD, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow.

What a thought… Why God? Why? Why do You trifle with us, mere humans? Why do you give us a second thought?

Other people may be able to go deeper into these verses than I can, but as I ponder these words I land on love. Lord God, You love us and so You care for us. And this is one amazing realization. I am loved by the infinite ,all-wise, all-powerful, creator God. This realization simply blows me away!!!

I am overwhelmed this morning by this realization.  I mean, I am having a visceral reaction.  I am overwhelmed and bathed in God’s love.

Blessed be the name of the Lord. He looks down from His perch in Heaven’s glory and cares for me and you and us. Oh my. The Great and Powerful Lord of ALL cares for me…

I bow to You, Lord. What can I do but surrender to Your gaze and Your love?  Through Jesus Christ I pray. Amen


Thursday, November 24: Psalm 143- In dark days remember what God has done .


This Psalm grows out of love and devotion to the Lord. David’s lifelong connection with the Lord continues to bare spiritual fruit in his life.

He is troubled, beset by enemies and he cries out in prayer. In the center of this Psalm David works himself off the ledge by pressing into his faith in the Lord.

So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land (4-6).

Even as he wearies and grows faint David falls back on the faithfulness of the Lord throughout the years. He remembers what God has done over the years and then he cries out for the Lord… he thirsts and presses into the Lord.

Such wisdom…

In dark days remember what God has done. And remembering, give thanks to the Lord and nestle into Him. I’ve been thirsty, not to the extreme David pictures, but I have been thirsty. You can’t get it out of your mind. You long for even a sip of water.  Spiritually David is parched and he thirsts for the Lord.  ‘Lord, send me just a sip of Your presence’ is David’s cry.

Here’s the sequence… trouble, remember and nestle in.

When you meet with people filled with spiritual life wisdom, you cannot help but grow and learn. David, the wise man of faith, taught me today.

When life is hard remember what God has done in days past. Recall them, ‘relive’ them mentally, and then respond to God’s love by nestling into the Lord. There, right by his heart, rest, ask, rejoice, live and let the life of God fill you again.

A pretty good life lesson if you ask me…

Lord, thank You for the wise heart and faith-filled living of David, a man after Your own heart. As he lived with You he has mentored me. I praise You for the saints of old and the faith mentors you have put in my path throughout life. Thank You and bless You, Lord. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, November 23: Psalm 142- Connection and intimacy are the soil of truest prayer .

The setting of this Psalm struck me, When in a cave… David is alone. Oh, there may be some supporters surrounding him, but he is likely on the run, hiding out. Maybe it is early in his life when he is fleeing Saul. Maybe it is later when he is fleeing Absalom, we do not know. But he is surely hiding, fleeing, alone, emotionally, if not personally.

I don’t know if I have ever been that alone and isolated. But I can project….

Questions, wonderings… what did I do wrong? Why is God out for me? Why are these people against me, hunting me… why, what, and more whys…

Amidst his wondering David opens his heart to pray. I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble.

First I wondered how I would pray in a moment of isolation and fear Would I pray or would I wallow in self-pity?

David prayed. Despite his circumstances David reached out to the Lord. He may have even been angry with the Lord but he still reached out to the Lord.

This is powerful and something I, and all of us, should remember.

Then he was honest… crying for mercy and pouring out complaints. I wonder, was he complaining about the others in his life or about God Himself???

Listening to David and praying these Psalms, prayer is reshaping within me from words spoken to God to words from my heart to God’s heart as I live with Him.

Connection and intimacy are the soil of truest prayer…

Oh, God, I long to live my day and days with You, to know You and be known by You. This is both frightening and invigorating for me. True intimacy does not come easily to me. But I am taking steps to trust You and step into Your open arms.

Through Jesus, my Lord, I step forward to You and utter these words. Amen and amen.



Tuesday, November 22: Psalm 141- Deliver us from evil.

Yesterday I noticed linkages between David’s psalm and the Lord ’s Prayer. Today I noticed another linkage. Verses 3-4 Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.

Immediately I heard in my head, And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil…

David knows his heart. David knows his propensities. David knows himself and so he prays ‘Protect me, Lord, guard my lips… watch over my heart.’

I am afraid I do not pray this pray often enough…

Lord, guard my heart, put a gate around my lips… lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. This is my morning prayer today, Lord. This is my morning prayer. Amen.


Monday, November 21: Psalm 140- Reflections on the Lord's Prayer.

As I read David’s words, a number of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer came to mind…

Deliver me from evil (or evil one), was the first to. How deeply in this Psalm David prays for protection and rescue from evildoers.

Then there was all the naming and ‘hallowing of the Lord’ and the idea of the righteous praising the Lord… hallowed be thy name bounced around my thoughts.

In the affirmation of God securing the protection of the poor, I heard the basis for our plea for daily bread and God’s will being done on earth as in heaven

Although very different this Psalm reminds me that the prayer Jesus taught is the ‘perfect’ prayer as a prayer itself and a model of key elements in most everyone’s prayers.

And so I prayed:

Our Father who art in Heaven,

             Hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,

         On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

And forgive us our debts,

         as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

    But deliver us from evil,

For thine is the kingdom, and the power

and the glory forever.  Amen.


Saturday, November 19: Psalm 139- Known.

As my eyes settled on this Psalm, and particularly the first verses, one word streamed wonderfully into my thoughts… KNOWN. I am known by the Lord.

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.

Along with the word ‘known’ came the words of the Tommy Walker song, “He knows my name.” The lyrics go like this:

I have a Maker

He formed my heart

Before even time began

My life was in his hands


I have a Father

He calls me His own

He'll never leave me

No matter where I go


He knows my name

He knows my every thought

He sees each tear that falls

And He hears me when I call

This song touches my heart and certainly its sentiment grows from this Psalm and other places in Scripture. (You can listen to the song on YouTube:)

Oh, to be known by the Lord. Maybe for some people this is not a comforting thought but for me it is sooooo good. It gives me peace and comfort. To be known is to be loved. God knows me and He still loves me… AMAZING.

So here I am today, basking in being known… being known by God and being loved by God.

Thank you, Lord God. I feel so special and loved knowing that You know me intimately. You know my coming and going… You know my words before I even form them. What a gift, what a wonder… to be loved by the Lord.

Praise You and bless You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.