Tuesday, December 4th


"I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed." - Malachi 3:6

Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are the just God of the universe who cannot watch me sin without pain and disappointment and a perfect need to judge my evil.  I have often wondered why you have not brought great calamity on my life because of my many sins.  But you are also the God of love and grace and you do not wish to slam down your just anger on me.  You solved your own dilemma at the cross of your Son.  You do not change!  Always just and always grace at the same time.  And so I love you in humility and truth.  I love you that you have confronted me with my sin to make me honestly own my own failings.  I love you because at the same time you have taken my sins away so I can be your own and live under you in true love and faith.  I love you O God and I will give you my best today as an offering of thanks for never changing and always forgiving!  AMEN

"To believe in God is to trust in his love that overcame his justice toward your own failings.”


Monday, December 3rd


Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down." - Proverbs 26:20

Dear heavenly Father, what a simple and clear insight you give me in this little proverb.  When I hear a word of gossip all I have to do is nothing.  I just let the thought disappear buried in my soul.  I can forget about it and make sure others never hear about it from me.  I can kill the gossip like water kills a fire.  So often I feel like there is nothing I can do to about the gossip.  But you are showing me that nothing is what I do.  Then I will keep the forest fire from burning in my neck of the woods.  Help me to replace gossip once I have killed it, with words that reflect love and truth and lead others back to you.  And thanks for forgiving me for all the times I stoked the fire instead of putting it out!  AMEN

 "Killing gossip is one of the most wholesome things you can do on earth."

Sunday, December 2nd


In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.  - Ephesians 1:11-12 

Dear heavenly Father, it blows my mind that from eternity you had my life and my salvation all planned out.  When I first came to know Christ or at other times when I struggled to understand you - and then after much struggle I found an answer from your Word, - at those times, I often thought it all depended on me and my effort.  But it didn't.  All the while, you were working everything out so I could be safe in true Christian faith.  Help me to remember this when I am perplexed about things around me now.  Help me to remember that you are working things out for me and others so each one of us will: come to faith, stay in the faith and land safely in heaven where will never get bewildered again.  Holy Spirit, you can drive my emotions better than me.  So, take over and steer me to frequent rest stops, please!!!!!  AMEN 

 "God has things planned today.  So, rest assured he will get them done, even if your list isn't finished."


Saturday, December 1st


Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge." Psalm 51:4

Dear Heavenly Father, I am amazed that after David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed that he would say that he had sinned against you and you alone.  I ask, "What about Bathsheba, Uriah and the nation of Israel?"  But that just shows how dark I can be.  I know that David knew he had sinned against them too.  But he was admitting what I often forget to admit from my heart.  Sin deeply hurts you.  You care for me more than anyone else ever could.  You have planned for me to live a godly life.  And I have hurt you so deeply with my hard heart and cavalier approach to so many things.  I am sorry.  I am so sorry!  According to your unfailing love please forgive me! (Pause for reflection on the cross.) Thank you that you love me in your Son.  I could never survive without your grace!  AMEN

"Repentance is coming clean with God for the deep sins of the heart and being cleansed by God's forgiveness from the deep grace in his heart."


Friday, November 30th


Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy. - Proverbs 14:10

Dear Heavenly Father I find such great comfort in this little verse, because you are showing me that you understand how alone I feel at times.  When I am hurting inside sometimes it seems like even the most well-meaning loved one cannot open the door of my heart and enter there where I am.  Even when I am extremely happy I can sense a tinge of solitary confinement because those that rejoice with me seem to force their words.  This little jewel says that it is the lot of every human.  I am not alone in being alone.  Everyone else is too.  Except we are not alone because not only do you understand, you also are with us in every moment, good and bad.  Thank you for graciously staying with me and for telling me that you understand. Help me to find peace in you in my solitary life.  AMEN

 "You cannot be alone anywhere in the world since in God we live and move and have our being."


Thursday, November 29th


We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel - Colossians 1:3-5

Dear Lord Jesus, your word has created some wonderful people to surround me and keep me going.  Just like Paul does in the verse above, I thank you for these people who have kept my faith strong by teaching me, modeling for me and mentoring me. (List the people you thank God for here.) Thanks to what you have done through them, I trust you more and I am learning to love people more unconditionally.  And it all stems back to the gospel!  You have saved me and you have reserved for me a place in heaven.  Since I know that I will survive every problem I have, I am free to focus on relieving the suffering of others.  Thank you for the people you use to keep me free!

 "I do not need so much to be freed from my problems as I do from my morbid curiosity with them."

Wednesday, November 28th


Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. - Colossians 2:18-19

Dear Jesus, I do not know anyone who worships angels like those people Paul mentions.  But I do know some folks who go into great detail about the visions, dreams and subjective experiences they have had as Christians.  Sometimes, I am led to crave the same supernatural experiences.  But I see in your word that you are my head and that it is your words that I need.  As tempting as subjective experiences sound, they are really a fog that clouds my relationship with you and makes you hard to see.  Protect me Lord Jesus from the desire to have faith in what I experience instead of faith in you as my Savior.  In your teachings I have all the peace and joy I need for my soul.  Keep me from the uncertain ground of experiential mysticism.  And forgive me when I cannot tell the difference between authentic moments with your Holy Spirit and simple human psychological wanderings.  AMEN

"Christ given faith trusts like Job.  It trusts that God is there even though he is giving no indication to our five senses."


Tuesday, November 27th


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

Dear Jesus, so often I base my motivation to work hard at my job, in my family or at my church on the approval and praise of others.  When I do that, I am forgetting about you.  When I remember that you sent me into these callings and that you are watching me work and that you are the one at the end of the day that will settle all just accounts with me, then I am not so dependent on other people's encouragements or responses.  My opinions don't have to be honored and my "perfect perspective" does not have to be accepted.  I can be involved with all my heart even when I am not always recognized or followed.  Help me to live for an audience of One!  You and you only have my heart.  AMEN

"Me and Jesus will live this life of mine.  Together we will serve you without regard of your response."

Monday, November 26th


Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” - Joshua 6:2-5

Dear Jesus, what a crazy battle plans you gave Joshua.  But you wanted all of your people to know that you were the One delivering the land to them and not themselves.  Help me to remember this when you thwart my plans and take me in another direction that seems crazy to me.  Help me to quietly trust your ways and move forward in the direction you lead.  You call on me to trust your word and obey when I have no way of seeing how my life will work out.  Give me the faith to follow you in that great adventure.  I know that if you did not spare your own Son for me, that you have blessings and not curses in store for me.  Give me peace today so I comfort and encourage the people along on my journey instead of negativity and complaining. AMEN


Sunday, November 25th


Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. - Hebrews 13:15-16

Dear Jesus, I love being a Christian.  I have peace in my heart. My sins aren't able to bother me so much.  I have love from you that helps me be a blessing to others, even those who work against me.  I have access to your word that guides and protects my heart from huge silly, worldly mistakes too.  But I don't always show others how happy I am to be a Christian.  Instead, I hide my contentment under surface gripes and complaints about petty things in my life.  Please help me to openly profess the joy I have because you have brought me to faith.  Don't let me be weird about it.  Just help me freely express how wonderful it is to be your follower.  AMEN

"Joy springing from within during all circumstances is one of the most powerful witnesses to Christ in a world unable to find happiness on its own."

Saturday, November 23rd


Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. - Habakkuk 3:17-18

 Dear God, I have always been amazed by Habakkuk's statement here.  I am so used to praising you for the blessings you send my way in the form or food, money, good health and a bright future.  But Habakkuk says that even if all those things be gone he would still praise you because you were his Savior.  I do get glimpses of this kind of pure praise in my soul.  But too often I feel like my praise must be purchased with some sort of worldly blessing.  Forgive me for my shallow thankfulness   Help me to rejoice deep in my heart that my eternal salvation is secure.  And give me that joy that brightens the room springing from the peace of knowing you and your final, wonderful gift of total rescue.  AMEN

 "If we have the one thing that will always be needful, then we are not needful of much else."



Friday, November 23rd


For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war. - 2 Chronicles 16:9

Dear heavenly Father, I know that your love for me is unconditional.  You made and saved me by your grace.  But there are times that I have neglected your word and grace and went off to "do life" my own way.  I know that you discipline your children and I can see by what you said to Asa in the passage above that you will send me negative consequences for my sins that come from my weakness of faith.  I trust you even when you must discipline me.  I know you are using consequences to call me back to yourself.  I'd rather suffer under your consequences than be allowed to run freely toward eternal judgment.  Thank you for intervening in our lives with stern but loving rebuke.  AMEN

Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue. - Proverbs 28:23

Thursday, November 22nd


On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:6-8

Dear Jesus, sometimes I cannot sleep because of the worries I have about my health or my loved ones.  I try not to wake myself with my thoughts but sometimes they are too overwhelming.  In those times I want to be like David who wrote above, "On my bed I remember You; I think of You in the watches of the night ... I sing in the shadow of Your wings."  I know you love me and protect me and that you want to give me sleep.  Help me to remember that your right hand upholds me and that I will not pass away one minute early.  So many times you have rescued me.  You are worthy of my trust.  Your gift of salvation alone makes me let go and trust you with everything else.  Thanks for being there and help me next time I cannot sleep. AMEN

 "Trusting God helps the days go smoother and the nights go shorter."

Wednesday, November 21st


Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. - Proverbs 19:21

Dear Lord, I plan so many things for myself and my family.  And sometimes I think that just because I make these plans that you and the whole universe should cooperate to make sure I get to see them to completion.  How silly of me to think that I am the center of the universe and that all good plans start with me!  I repent.  You have purposes far beyond me and whatever my mind can conceive   All of your plans lead to eternal survival too - for me and many others.  Thank you for not always cooperating with my plans and give me that heart that wants to cooperate with your plans with joy and humility. AMEN

"Man proposes.  God disposes. And then God re-proposes a new and better plan.


Tuesday, November 20th


So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. - 1 Peter 4:19

Dear Heavenly Father, I spend my whole life trying to avoid suffering.  If I feel pain, I do whatever I can to get rid of it.  If I sense a conflict in a relationship I tend to shrink back to protect myself from emotional pain.  If I see struggle and work coming my way, I think of how I can hurry up and get past it.  I am naturally wired to avoid pain.  And then you say in this verse, "those who suffer according to God's will ..." How foreign the idea is to me that you would will my suffering.  But for reasons that help me and others grow in life, you lead me into suffering.  I believe it.  That's what your word tells me.  Help me to continue having a good attitude even in suffering, to continue to do all the good I can for others even in suffering and to continue to glorify your name even in suffering. By your Holy Spirit give me the same maturity about suffering that your Son had when he willingly took up the cross for me.  AMEN

"Job's suffering was "good" in God's eyes because it taught the devil a lesson.  I wonder what my suffering is teaching him."

Monday, November 19th


As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” - Luke 9:57-58

Dear Jesus, you lived your whole earthly life without ever settling down and making it home.  You weren't at home.  Home for you is heaven where all the angels praise you and understand the grandeur of your love and holiness.  Our dimwitted human race sees you only through the fog of our fallen reason.  How could you ever feel at home among us when we struggle so much to "get" you?  But you still came and loved us perfectly.  You left home to love lost souls.  Help me to leave my "den" to love lost souls just as you did.  If my comforts keep me from saving a soul I will despise that comfort. Relive your life through me until my last breath here.  Then I will be home with you. AMEN

 "Home for me is where Jesus lives in all his glory.  So, no matter where I roam here on earth, it will never be home.  I am content here however, because I am headed home."

Sunday, November 18th


We love because he first loved us. - 1 John 4:19

Dear Jesus, I love my parents because I realize how many great and wonderful sacrifices they made to love me and my siblings.  Their love for me has produced love in me for them.  It is the same with you.  Not until I realized what great love you have given me by making me and putting me in your world, did I really have any feelings for you.  And not until I realized the great sacrifice you made for my forgiveness and redemption did I have such strong feelings of attraction to your name.  But I love you now more than ever.  Help me to do the same for others by loving them first.  Help me to produce love in them by NOT waiting for them to show any feelings for me before I reach out to touch their lives.  And when they do notice that I have loved them with the kind of love that you have shown me, prevent me from exploiting that love and using it to manipulate them into liking me.  Give me the ability to simply tell them about how it was really your love flowing through me all along. AMEN

Loving another person first, takes faith in God and faith in the power of his love.


Saturday, November 17th


Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  - Luke 9:61-62

Lord Jesus, lately we have had to remind our son to tell us what he is doing when he takes off to be with friends.  He can get so excited to be with friends that he forgets to communicate with his parents.  In that context I understand what you were saying to that fellow who wanted to follow you but first wanted to say "goodbye" to his family.  You want us to be so excited and faith filled that when you call on us to follow you that we drop everything and everyone to be near you.  I know you are God and I know that you give me eternal life.  I want to be near you more than everyone else.  Help me to make time to be with you in personal devotional time.  Help me to protect our time together with all my heart. And when I am with others, come with me and guide me so that in every place I am truly following you.  AMEN

Trying to follow Jesus and someone else is like "texting" while you are driving.  Disaster looms.


Friday, November 16th


I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. - Revelation 7:12

Dear Jesus, funny how you describe life on earth as "the great tribulation" and I spend so much energy trying to make it feel like heaven.  Why am I so surprised when daily life gets hard and troubles come?  You consigned the world to this as our chastisement for our sin.  Instead of making this heaven on earth where we all live in sin forever, you came and you lived and you shed your blood on that great and horrible day that was your "great tribulation".  Here, wash my life and make it white in your blood.  And reserve for me a place standing before your gracious throne where there is not more tribulation, trouble or sorrow.  Since I am going there to be with you in righteousness forever, help me to live with hope, joy and peace no matter what I am facing today. AMEN

 "True hope comes as a gift from God's good news and no where else."

Thursday, November 15th


Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9

Dear Jesus, right here in your word you tell me that I am my brother's keeper. You do not want me to get so lost in all of my troubles and aspirations that I cannot see the needs of others around me.  Help me to speak up for those in need in all circumstances.  Help me to be a peacemaker between others and one who networks for the benefit of my friends and acquaintances.  Open my eyes to see what you see.  When it hurts to look at the poverty around me, give me courage to overcome my wince, roll up my sleeves and relieve the pain if even in a small way.  You healed people that you knew would suffer again.  Help me to do the same.  AMEN

 “To serve the needs of others springs from the center of Christ's heart."