Thursday, July 18th

untitled.png

“So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.”  Ephesians 2:19-20 

Lord Jesus, You have given me such a foundation on which to build my faith and to lead my life.  You have inspired them to write your Words for me and for my salvation.  They aren’t making stuff up out from their own imaginations.  It’s not coming from a smoke-filled room.  Their words are your words, and they are perfect, good in every way.  Every word of the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Help me to open my ears and my hearts to listen carefully to every Word that you have given.  Teach me to lead my life and build my faith on the sure and certain foundation of your Word.  Amen.  

Wednesday, July 17th

thVEZCDBM2.jpg

“We are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  Acts 4:20 

“Dear Lord Jesus, when you conquered death and appeared to your disciples, when you poured out your Holy Spirit on your disciples, they lived and preached with a whole new boldness and confidence.  Where they were previously timid and afraid, now they were unafraid and unabashed in their preaching and ministry.  Lord Jesus, let your resurrection fill me with the same confidence.  Let your Spirit give me the same boldness.  I am yours!  You bought me and I belong to you.  I cannot lose since you conquered death and defeated all my enemies.  Your message is true and powerful whether people believe it or not.  It will never return to you empty or void, but is like the rain that pours down from heaven.  Set me on fire with resurrection and Spirit-given swagger to keep on living.  Let these words of Peter be mine: “I can’t stop speaking about what I believe!”  Amen.  

Tuesday, July 16th

untitled.png

“In God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?”  Psalm 56:4 

Dear Heavenly Father, So many things make me nervous.  Because I hear on the news about home invasions and every now and then I catch a show about crime, I spend too much time thinking about what could happen if someone came to rob my house or harm my family and me.  I know you put angels all around me and you are not fearful of anyone you have made.  I choose to trust that you are protecting me in every circumstance.  With that peace I will spend my energy loving people instead of pulling in to my shell like a frightened tortoise.  Amen. 

God wants us to spend energy on loving others not preserving ourselves. 

Monday, July 15th

th6ZWQDSJJ.jpg

“After saying this, he told him, “’Follow me.’”  John 21:19 

Dear Jesus, After all the ways in which Peter betrayed, abandoned and failed you, these last words you speak to him are amazing to hear.  Even after all the ways in which he had abandoned you, you never abandoned him.  In fact, even after all the ways in which he had failed you, you still wanted to use him for the kingdom; you even touched my faith and life by his writing and his teaching!  God, this inspires so much hope in me.  Your compassion and mercies are new for me each day.  This day, Lord, forgive me as this day begins.  Cleanse me and create in me a new heart, O God.  Your calling to follow you is new this day too, Lord Jesus.  Help me to follow you as my Lord and God, today.  Wonder of wonders, you still call me to follow and you still desire to use me.  Help me make the most of my moments today.  Amen. 

Sunday, July 14th

th02PP0ABW.jpg

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5 

Dear Jesus, Apart from you I can’t be spiritual, I can’t do the right things for the right reasons, I can’t cope with the tragedies that strike me.  But when I am with you my attitude changes and I can do wonderful things for the right reasons.  Then I can cope with tragedy because you promise to turn everything for my good.  You and your word are the spiritual blood in my spiritual vascular system, giving strength, life and meaning to everything I my life.  Help me stay connected to you today by reminding me of your words when I need them to bring spiritual sap to my heart.  Amen. 

God designed us to run our lives off his power and not our own. 

Saturday, July 13th

th.jpg

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 

Lord Jesus, I recently thought about your words, “Why do you worry about your life?  You cannot make it one hour longer by worrying.”  These words from Paul are similar.  It’s misguided energy to worry about my life and illness and how long I have left before heaven.  Our best way to spend our lives is to employ our hands, feet, tongue and teeth, money and time spreading the wonderful good news that you have saved sinners from the dead end they have created for themselves.  Help me find new ways to teach people your spiritual word for their eternal benefit and help me order my life better around making disciples for you, even in my family relationships.  Amen. 

Our lives will be spent no matter what we choose to do with them.  We have the choice to make them a waste or an investment for eternal rewards.   

Friday, July 12th

john-2-vs-11.jpg

“Jesus did this, the first of his signs; in Cana of Galilee.  He revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him.”  John 2:11 

Lord God, The Bible is full of accounts from your ministry and life that demonstrate your power and your glory, your grace and mercy, your compassion.  Each story presents you to me as my Savior.  Each story shows me what you are like and how deeply and dearly you care about me.  Each story drives me to believe in you and put my trust in you.  As I follow you this year, and dive into your Word, show me who you are that I may believe in you and be saved by you.  Amen. 

Thursday, July 11th

thDBIP3J0Z.jpg

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”  2 Corinthians 4:16 

Dear Jesus, Just this week a friend told me I was looking old.  He’s right.  The bell tolls for me too.  My body moves slower and creaks more every week.  But my soul is as young as it became the day you saved me.  I am renewed in eternal youth by the promise of restoration.  I choose to think about this renewal more than about my aches and pains.  I love you for releasing me of the spiritual aging effects of guilt and shame.  Amen. 

Wednesday, July 10th

thCAV672NR.jpg

“When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:13 

Dear Lord God, You called, trained, and then used fisherman to be your disciples, to be your apostles and even to lay the foundation for the church through the Spirit-inspired teaching, preaching and writing.  Father, you have called me to be your child.  You have made me holy by your Son’s blood and by the Spirit’s work.  Use me, just as I am, just as you have created me, to serve you this year.  Equip and disciple me this year for every work that you have prepared in advance for me to walk in it. Inspire and set me on fire to follow you with devotion and dedication this year.  This is your year and the life you have given me to live.  Help me dedicate all that I do to you and to your glory.  Amen. 

Tuesday, July 9th

Bible-Verses-Galatians-5-13-Serve-With-Love-Picture.jpg

“But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”  Galatians 5:13 

Dear Jesus, I heard in the news last week about a man who had just been released from prison who went on a rampage and killed several people.  I thought to myself, “How sad that he used his freedom to continue wreaking havoc.”  Then I remembered how many times I had felt bold to sin because I knew you would forgive me.  In my more quiet moments the guilt of such exploitative behavior haunts me.  How could I do that to you?  I’m begging you to build me up in your Spirit to use my freedom under grace to serve others freely from a loving heart.  Take away the puny strength of the law and replace it with gospel appreciation.  Make me a willing and faithful servant of all.  Amen. 

There is nothing in all the universe more liberating than divine love.   

Monday, July 8th

gospel-of-john-21-7-638.jpg

“After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples by the Sea of Galilee.  He revealed himself in this way.”  John 21:1 

Dear Lord Jesus, This one word captures my heart: “again.”  For three years you essentially taught your disciples the same truths always taking them further up and further into your Word.  For three years you appeared to them again and again, taught them again and again.  And even after your resurrection when one appearance should have proved the point, you appeared to them repeatedly to make it overwhelmingly clear to them.  Again and again.  Jesus don’t give up on me.  Don’t give up on this world.  Keep coming to me by your and sacrament to prove to me convincingly that you are who you say you are.  Keep sending your people into this world to show yourself again and again to those who do not yet know you are alive.  Don’t give up on me and don’t give up on the world.  Send your Spirit and come to gather people to yourself.  Amen. 

Sunday, July 7th

thT90Q7ECR.jpg

“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”  Romans 15:2 

Dear Lord Jesus, I will never know perfectly what it’s like to live 100% for others and their welfare.  That’s why this passage and its cousins in Scripture will always resonate with me.  I naturally want to please myself and not people around me.  By your Holy Spirit, cleanse out of my heart today the new selfish motives that have precipitated there.  Give me a deep love for others and their welfare at every level so I do and say what is best for them.  I want to spread the good news and be the good news for everyone I meet.  Amen. 

Make someone’s day today and you will create a memory for them that keeps on giving long after today is forgotten

Saturday, July 6th

th6PR51PGA.jpg

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”  1 Corinthians 1:10 

Dear Jesus, Unity is in the center of your will.  You want to see people united in love, faith and holiness.  The devil knows this and works hard to whisper doubt and distrust into each of our minds.  He makes us foolishly scheme to fulfill our ambitions and to overcome our fears.  He loves it when we isolate, hate and distrust.  He wants us to be surly loners.  He loves party spirits and negative press campaigns.  Forgive me Lord Jesus for succumbing to all of these at one time or another.  Wash away my guilt and restore me to being an honest, grace filled lover of souls.  Make me a champion for unity and unconditional love even with people who have hurt me.  Use your word to bind us all together.  Amen. 

Any fool can separate from others.  Wisdom and love unite people around God and his word. 

Friday, July 5th

untitled.png

“When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’  ‘If I want him to remain until I come,’ Jesus answered, ‘What is that to you?  As for you, follow me.’ “ John 21:21-22 

Lord Jesus, sometimes as I take up my cross to follow you, I look around at other Christ-followers and start comparing crosses.  I start wondering why their cross doesn’t look like mine.  I start wondering why their following doesn’t look like mine.  That’s what I see Peter doing here.  But you have such wisdom for Peter, “You, follow me.  Don’t worry about what his cross will look like.  You do you.  Worry about the cross you will carry as you follow me.  He will do the same.”  Lord Jesus, forgive me comparing my crosses with the crosses of other Christians.  Forgive me for boasting about my crosses when I look at theirs.  Set me free to only carry my cross and help others carry their crosses.  You have called me to follow you, Jesus.  Give me strength and courage to do it.  Amen.   

Thursday, July 4th

thVQ0NGZPH.jpg

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”  Proverbs 14:34 

Dear Lord Jesus, I give you grateful thanks on this anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence for the priceless blessings of liberty that with your help were won for me by my forefathers.  Stir up within me a new appreciation of the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness I enjoy in this land of the free, and a greater readiness to serve my nation with my talents.  Teach me, above all, to treasure that precious freedom of conscience and worship, without which other liberties would not long survive.  May I never contribute to the loss of these dearly won blessings by my own selfishness, ambition, or indifference.  Grant enduring peace to our country and its institutions, so that the Gospel may be able to turn the hearts of all from the bondage of sin to the freedom won by the blood of our precious Redeemer.  Amen. 

Wednesday, July 3rd

33dee1e3da3d7600a831f01bb41e1be5.jpg

“This was now the third time Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.”  John 21:14 

Dear Lord Jesus, You don’t want to leave me in any sort of doubt, none at all.  You didn’t want that for your disciples either.  You kept on showing them in multiple and miraculous ways that you truly were alive and that you truly are Lord of life.  I find doubts rising up inside me.  My ind whispers about your resurrection, “What if it’s not true?  Is it really true?  How could it really be?”  My heart whispers about my purpose and meaning in life, “What are you really accomplishing here?”  All kinds of doubts and questions about who you are and about who I am rise up in my heart and life.  Yet, Jesus, you do not want me to leave me there in doubt and despair.  You keep showing me in the Scripture who you are and what your promises are.  You keep coming to me and proving to me who you are and who I am because of your death and resurrection.  When doubt and despair, skepticism and questions, wash over me, come to me again and again to make it clear to me who you are.  Amen. 

Tuesday, July 2nd

untitled.png

“He said this to indicate by what kind of death Peter would glorify God.  After saying this, he told him, ‘Follow me.’”  John 21:19 

Dear Lord Jesus, You have such love for Peter.  After all that he did to you and against you, you came and you restored him.  You welcomed him back with open arms and a glad heart.  And then you called him to work for you.  You didn’t just restore him, you invite him, called him, and even commanded him to work with you for the care of souls.  You called and commanded him to follow you and to go where you led him.  Lord Jesus, I can hardly comprehend this kind of love that you’ve also shown to me.  You have restored me and welcomed me with open hands and a glad heart.  You do not push me away, but instead draw me close.  And more than that, you invite, call and command me work with you and for you to bring glory to God.  Help me to follow where you lead.  Help me to deny myself and take up my cross after you.  You have done all this for me.  Help me to live my life for you.  Amen.   

Monday, July 1st

Jacob-Blessing-his-Grandsons-by-CF-Vos.gif

“By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.”  Hebrews 11:21   

Dear Heavenly Father, The blessings of Joseph on his sons came true because you were speaking through him.  I don’t have special blessings that you have given me to speak over my grandchildren but I do have blessings from you that are for all people including them.  I can learn to speak those blessings to them and over them.  Too many people don’t ever talk about you in their families and homes.  They hear about you at church but then it seems you are put in a box during the week as we go about our personal lives.  Help me to get your promises out of my heart over my lips and into the minds and hearts of my children and grandchildren.  Help me give them the positive destiny and identity that you have promised them.  They are heirs of heaven.  They are your own children that you watch over and encourage and lead.  They are a blessing to many others and their lies matter.  Even hardships in their lives are a way you prepare them for greater impact.  I can tell them these things and give their lives your divine blessing and perspective.  Thank you for giving me so much to give them.  By faith I will bless my family like Jacob did.  Amen. 

The promises of God are low hanging fruit to pluck and bless your family with.   

Sunday, June 30th

abraham-isaac.jpg

“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.  He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’  Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.”  Hebrews 11:17-19 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for graciously revealing here in the New Testament what was in Abraham’s heart in the Old Testament story where he was completely committed to sacrificing his Son for you.  He believed that you would raise him from the dead.  Since this happened on the same mountain where you really did sacrifice your Son for me,  I can see that you too were comforted that you would raise Jesus from the dead after he died for me.  It’s the perfect win/win situation.  I get saved by that one supreme sacrifice and you get your Son back along with me and all believers.  Everybody wins in your grace.  Only you could pull it off.  Because I have already won your grace, I will lose my life on earth in Christian service.  You can give me ten thousand times more than I ever would need when I get to heaven.  It all makes senses when I consider that heaven is waiting for me.   

The greatest test on earth is the test to give up your best “bird in the hand” for God’s best “two in the bush.” 

Saturday, June 29th

thMDPN7V2U.jpg

“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: ‘He could not be found, because God had taken him away.’  For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God, and without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  Hebrews 11:5-6 

Dear Heavenly Father, I am still blown away that Enoch did not have to die.  What mercy you showed your child by allowing him to escape the horrors of losing his breath.  I find it equally intriguing to know that without faith in you, I cannot please you.  It is, and always will be, a matter of the heart.  What do I think about you, Oh God?  I believe that you created me and all beings.  I believe you are merciful and gracious to all you have made, I believe you have redeemed me in your son.  And I believe you have a purpose for my life today.  To fulfill that purpose, I will love and serve the people you put near me today.  If you have more specific things for me to do, make it perfectly clear to my otherwise dimwitted soul.  Amen. 

Faith recognizes that one’s very existence on God’s green earth is an act of mercy on his part.