Friday, September 20th

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Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for you.”  Jeremiah 32:17 

Dear Heavenly Father, When I look at the beautiful clouds of many fantastic shapes and sizes, when I hear the thunder and feel the smack of lightening, when I get caught in a wind storm or watch a placid lake rise up in a tumult, -I think, ”God you are awesome and powerful, more mighty than anything I have ever imagined.”  I love how Jeremiah, thousands of years ago, allowed his observation of your power in creation to give him the confidence that nothing was too hard for you.  If you can make and govern all of creation, what are our problems to you.  You can handle all our needs and take care of all our sorrows.  So, Oh God of nature, I give to you all my concerns.  Watch over them and work them out just like you watch over this planet you have invented.  Amen. 

God made everything, why would he not also carry everything for us when we need him to. 

Thursday, September 19th

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“A friend loves at all times and brother was born for a time of adversity.”  Proverbs 17:17 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending help through people to share the joys and sorrows of life with me.  In your mercy you have chosen both friends and family to walk with me through this difficult life.  We are not perfect.  We often muddle through being the support the other person needs.  But as imperfect as we are, we are still your gift to each other.  Your invention of community is wonderful and makes long roads shorter.  Give me the wisdom to be the encouragement, support and help that friends and family in my life need.  Make me like your Son who met needs at the corner of every moment.  Amen. 

People are like car parts.  They sit useless in a box on a shelf until they are connected to others.  

Wednesday, September 18th

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“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  1 Peter 2:9-10 

Lord God, I was once on the outside looking in.  I was once not your people.  I was once not loved.  I was once not yours.  But in your love for me, you chose me to be yours.  In mercy, you made me to be a royal priest in your house.  In care and concern, you made me your own and called me, along with all who believe in you, “the people of God.”  Lord God, you treasure me and hold me dear.  Help me to treasure this identity and stay close to you in it.  You are telling me, through Peter, who I am to you.  Help me to live out this identity in my life today.  I am yours.  Lord, let your name be made holy by my words, actions.  yes, let your name be hallowed through my whole life today.  Amen. 

Tuesday, September 17th

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“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down.  His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.  He said: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.  Blessed are those who are righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’”  Matthew 5:1-12 

Dear Jesus, What you taught on that mountain is counter-intuitive to how we are hard-wired.  In our fallen state we are hardwired to believe “A match don’t burn twice” and “Look out for number one” and “If it feels good, do it” and “You gotta believe in yourself.”    But you say “be humble, poor in spirit, a peacemaker, merciful, pure in heart, hungry for righteousness, happy to be persecuted for doing the right thing.”  That’s not my default document.  That supernatural spiritual truth was meant to raise me up into the man you always wanted me to be.  I can’t do it without your help.  So, I’m begging you now, please fill me with your Holy Spirit and bring to mind your empowering words so I can live the blessed life that you and all of heaven know is right.  Make these beatitudes my attitude and give me the ability to swim upstream past the petty spiritual perjuries of my times.  Amen. 

Christ's love compels to us to bring him with us to help us die for our generation like he did for his.   

Monday, September 16th

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“Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul.”  1 Peter 2:11 

Lord God, You called me to be your child.  I am now, by your grace, an heir of heaven and of eternity.  This place is not my home.  Heaven is my home.  It is the promised land for which my heart of faith longs.  Lord, as your child I often fail to see what the real problem is in this world.  I often fail to see what the real problem with me is.  So often we point to the guns, to the training at home or in school.  We point to the attraction of certain things.  We point to external factors which can be like a lure to a fish.  We point to external factors which might influence behavior in positive or negative ways.  We think it can be stopped or at least curbed if we adopt the right disciplines or the right rules.  But the real problem with me is my sinful desires.  No rule can get rid of those sinful desires.  No discipline can kill those desires in me.  I am a stranger in my own body.  I want to do what is right.  But my nature in me wants to do what is bad.  Help me, O God, recognize that my real problem is my nature in me.  And save me from it.  Cleanse me of it.  Kill it in me that I might stay away from all that nature desires.  Amen. 

Sunday, September 15th

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Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received God’s mercy, but now you have God’s mercy.” 1 Peter 2:10 

Lord God, It is so good to be your child and a member of your family.  As your adopted child, I have access to all the good that you have for me.  You have opened the storeroom of your grace and mercy to me.  I am not on the outside looking in any more.  I’m your child.  I’m your bride.  I’m yours!  You’ve been merciful to me.  Help me to live in the joy and freedom that comes because I am yours.  Amen. 

Saturday, September 14th

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My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.  Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.”   Psalm 31: 15-16 

Dear Heavenly Father, It’s good for a weak and weary soul like mine to be reminded that my times are in your hands and nobody else’s.  I can spend way too much time worrying about how my life will go.  Your unfailing love covers me.  You bought me because you wanted me.  You own my life.  You have a plan on how you want it to go.  You fit me into your masterpiece.  I am content to be your child and servant.  Help me let go of fear, worry and doubt and to enjoy the moments you have granted me.  Give me a good word to share with others today that will make their burden a little lighter.  Amen. 

God has an exclusive one on one grip on each of us.   

Friday, September 13th

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But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  1 Peter 2:9-10 

Lord God, As I wander through life, I wonder what the purpose of my life is.  I look at my skills and abilities and wonder to myself what I can do for you and how I can serve you.  I look at the ways that other people serve you and realize that I can’t serve you like they can.  I look at my own weaknesses and wonder what I can really offer you.  But God, when I think like that, I’m despising the gifts and abilities that you gave me.  Lord God, you gave me a perfect calling when you made me your royal priest.  And by your creative powers you made me just as you wanted me to be and still give me the gifts and strengths that you want me to have.  And all you ask of me is that I live my life for your glory.  All you ask is that I would be a light in this world.  All you ask is that I would be who you made me to be by my baptism, that by my life and by my words I would declare your praises.  Let my life’s song, O God, be for you.  Amen.  

Thursday, September 12th

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For it stands in Scripture:  See I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and honored cornerstone, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”  1 Peter 2:6 

Lord Jesus, you are the cornerstone of my salvation, my faith and my life.  If I base my life and my confidence on anything else, I am left shaking; I am afraid; I am stressed.  I’m foolish to do it.  I’m so foolish to base my confidence and my hope on anything else.  It will all let me down.  My accomplishments won’t last.  My works aren’t ever enough.  When I base my confidence on anything but you, I am always let down.  You, Lord Jesus, are the only one who will never let me down.  Turn my heart and my faith to you alone.  Then and in you alone, I will never be let down.  I will never be ashamed or embarrassed because you are my Savior and my cornerstone.  Amen. 

Wednesday, September 11th

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Today we honor our veterans, worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon by their country.  We pray that you will bless them, Lord, for their unselfish service to preserve our country’s heritage for all of us.  Bless them abundantly for the sacrifices they made for their many contributions to America’s victories.  We respect them, we thank them, we honor them, we are proud of them, and we pray that you will watch over these special people and bless them with peace and happiness.  Amen. 

Tuesday, September 10th

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Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message.”  Colossians 4:2-3 

Dear Jesus, You call me to be devoted to prayer with watchfulness and thankfulness.  I confess that I am not as devoted to prayer as you want.  But I’m talking to you now.  I want to be watchful in prayer.  I think you mean that you want me to bathe all my moments with prayer asking for your help, direction, rescue and love.  That sounds a lot better than mindless listening to the radio or mulling over my life with worry and stress.  I like just praying it through.  I think to be thankful in prayer means you want me to come to you not with a scolding overtone because I am annoyed about something.  Instead, you want me to be thankful that you mercifully listen to each of my requests with a father’s love.  I’m thankful that you have opened the door for prayer to me.  I can ask anything and you will do it if it’s best for others and me.  If not, you will lead me to where you want me to be.  Now Jesus, spread your good news everywhere so more people learn they can pray to you and really be heard.  Amen. 

Thankful prayer flows from a trusting heart. 

Monday, September 9th

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“Tychicus will tell you all the news about me.  He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.  I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts.  He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you.  They will tell you everything that is happening here.”  Colossians 4:7-9 

Dear Jesus, I love hearing Paul talk about his friends and fellow workers in your vineyard.  I have friends who go the extra mile with me for you.  I trust them and their love for you and your mission.  I trust they care about your people as much or more than I do.  I trust they are consistently working for unity and avoid whispering behind my back and yours.  I trust them to think more about the good than the bad, about grace more than judgement, about love more than hate, about peace mor3e than strife.  You know who they are, Lord.  Today give them a special blessing from your grace.  Strengthen their hands and knees to be bold in kindness toward others and swift to advance your word to dark places.  Amen. 

There is no one as close as a fellow believer who has picked up the mantle to love Christ’s word and his flock like you have. 

Sunday, September 8th

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So, honor will come to you who believe; but for the unbelieving.  The stone the builders rejected-this one has become the cornerstone; and a stone to stumble over.  They stumble because they disobey the message; they were destined for this.”  1 Peter 2:7-8 

Lord God, Keep me from this.  You’re the only one who can.  I look back at the history of people who believed on you and so many of them turned from you and stumbled all over you.  The Jewish leaders in your day-they had the Bible, they had the prophets, but they stumbled all over you.  I see it in the Scriptures again and again.  Keep me from this.  I’m in your Word regularly.  I’m in church regularly.  Keep me from stumbling over you.  Keep me from a Christless Christianity, a Christianity that shows up for church but doesn’t really believe.  By your Spirit, help me to build my faith on you so that I am not one of those who stands outside of heaving, wanting to be let in, but turned aside because you don’t know more.  Lord God, build me into your church and build my faith on your Son.  Keep me always believing in your Son so that I do not stumble on him, but instead always believe in him.  Amen. 

Saturday, September 7th

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“As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.”  Psalm 18:30 

Dear Heavenly Father, It’s so easy to make my prayer an arm twisting routine.  I twist your arm to get you to run my life the way I think it should go.  The psalmist puts me in the right frame of mind.  Your way is perfect.  Your word is flawless and you just want me to take refuge in you without thinking I have to tell you what you are missing down here.  Oh, Lord you have worked out so many problems in my life and made them turn out for my good.  You have blessed me on top of blessings.  I will take refuge in you and look for the ways you will bless me through anything coming my way whether it looks bad or good at the beginning.  Give me the optimism that faith brings.  Hold me behind your shield and take care of all people.  Amen. 

God did make our hearts big enough to handle the burden of worry.  But they are big enough to handle the burden of faith.  

Friday, September 6th

As you come to him, a living stone-rejected by people but chosen and honored by God...” 1 Peter 2:4 

Dear Lord Jesus, There is such a range of reactions to you.  There is no hot or cold.  You are either loved or hated.  People either hate you and push your salvation off to the side because they want to do it themselves.  Or, people love you because you have done all the work of saving them.  And that’s why you’re so precious God.  In fact, that’s why God chose you and set you apart.  God chose you and set you apart to be the world’s Savior.  Keep me, O Jesus, from being indifferent and uncaring about your salvation.  Keep me from becoming lukewarm to you and your cross.  Keep me from a “meh” feeling about you.  You are precious to God and so your salvation is precious to me.  Warm my heart by your love to me that my faith and my life might be built on your work for me.  Amen. 

Thursday, Wednesday 5th

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“Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow up in your salvation.”  1 Peter 2:2 

Lord God, You never want to leave me in the same place in my walk of faith.  You take me just as I am, but you never leave me that way.  While my salvation is full and complete, my sanctification and walk of faith is incomplete and ongoing.  Give me the same craving, yearning and longing for the good food of your word that a new-born baby has.  When they’re hungry, they’re hungry and only food will quiet their rumbling stomach.  Give me the same craving and yearning that a newborn baby has so that every day, every week, every Sunday, I might long for the food of your word.  And by that Word, dear Lord, grow me in my faith just as you do with little children.  Grow me up and keep growing me up in my faith until my final breath.  Amen. 

Wednesday, September 4th

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“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all slander.”  1 Peter 2:1 

Lord God, When you came in to my life, you were ruthless in your clean-up efforts.  In fact, you utterly killed and destroyed the old me and by the power of your Word raised up a brand new me, holy and clean.  This wasn’t just a house refurb project; this was a total rebuild from the foundation up.  You were utterly ruthless in getting rid of sin in me; you got rid of it all, forgiving me wholly and completely.  Lord God, give me the same zeal and ruthlessness in my life to thoroughly root out of my life all kinds of sin.  It’s too easy for me to become complacent and even blind to sins in my life.  Get rid of this complacency in my heart and life and make me zealous to thoroughly root out sin and live for you.  Amen. 

Tuesday, September 3rd

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Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.  ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.  For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.  He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”                         1 Peter 3:13-18 

Dear Jesus, I clap my hands and praise you for loving the people who were torturing you, but then I shrink in fear and nurse a grudge when you let me suffer the slightest insult from another.  I wonder what great damage their words and actions will cause me and it fills my mind with anxiety.  This word from your Apostle Peter calms my worried soul.  He tells me to commit myself to doing good, to speak graciously, and act lovingly toward even my enemies.  Nothing can make me a victim unless I let it.  I always am the protagonist when I am armed with your love.  I always have something I can do.  I can speak kindly to my persecutors, speak well of your name and leave lasting memories in their hearts to work on their repentance.  I can use their sin against me to bring them to your Father, just like you did.  Oh, Jesus, make me a champion of grace in the face of suffering for doing the right thing.  Amen. 

Even the greatest injustice can be turned into the greatest good when you follow Jesus’ lead.  

Monday, September 2nd

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“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28 

Dear Lord, I pray for all those who are tired, who are exhausted, and who are burdened, or weary.  May you give us all rest and lift our burdens.  I lay down everything before you, everything that seems to weigh on us heavy.  Please help us to trust you and to let you help us.  May your peace fall over us.  May your power lift us up.  May your Holy Spirit teach us, and guide us through this life in Jesus.  Amen. 

Sunday, September 1st

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For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like a flower of the grass.  The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”  1 Peter 1:24-25 

Dear Lord God, When I was first born into this world, I was born to die.  From the moment I first took a breath, I was on my way to the grave.  From a buggy with wheels to a wheel chair, that’s the trajectory of my life.  I’m just like a flower, God, here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire.  But God, when your Word entered my life, everything changed.  Your Word breathed new life into my soul.  Your Word, which endures forever and never fades away gave me new life and now I am eternal.  Now, I will live forever because your Word has given me its eternal character.  Now, I will endure forever in heaven with you because your Word has given me this life.  Thank you, God, for sending your Word into my life that I might be yours forever.  Amen.