Father God

My son just turned 25 years old . He still lives at home and is still kind of struggling to find his way. I love him with all my heart, but I am ready for him to gain some independence. It is every parent’s goal to raise children who become men and women who can manage their own lives with minimal assistance from mom and dad.

But God is not your typical parent. His goal is not to make us independent, but to draw us into deeper dependence on Him. I have read the Bible through many times, and I find no place where God says, “You’re too dependent on me – get out there and make your own way.” But I find many, many times where He chastised His people for thinking they can do their own thing their own way without His help. Why do you think Jesus tells us to pray for “daily bread”? And why do you think He said we must become like little children? A mature Christian isn’t one who has become so strong they only need God for the big stuff. A mature Christian is one who recognizes their desperate need for Him in every big – and little – thing.


Beloved of God, what are you struggling to manage on your own today? Take it to your Father and tell Him that you need His help. He delights in your dependence on and trust in Him. You are sure to bring a smile to His face and a blessings to your life.

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When You Don’t Know What to Pray

“The spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God will” (Romans 8:26-27)

My friend is overwhelmed with a deeply painful issue. Her heart is broken and when she tries to pray her mind is awhirl with thoughts going this way and that. It is like a hundred different voices all speaking at once in her head. She can’t shut them up long enough to get a word in edgewise.

But God is so gracious to my friend – this verse promises that the Holy Spirit is praying for her. The Greek word for “groans” finds it root in the word stenos – which means “to narrow.” The image is of the Holy Spirit sorting through the jumble of thoughts and feelings to pull out the thin, narrow strand of truth from our heart, from which He weaves a tapestry of prayer before the Father. All my friend needs to do is pour it all out and let the Spirit, who knows both her heart and God’s will in her situation, sift out the prayer she can’t express.

Beloved, you don’t have to filter your heart when you come to God in prayer. You don’t have to have your thoughts and feelings organized – you don’t even have to know what you should pray for. That is why Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit. Let Him do the sorting and sifting – He’ll find the thread of your heart’s prayer and carry it to Your Father.

How my Cat Taught Me a Spiritual Truth

God taught me a spiritual lesson this morning through my cat.
We keep Celina’s dry food bowl full so she can nibble throughout the day (kind of like I do), but every morning when I come into the kitchen she sits by her full bowl and cries for food – even though there’s still plenty of food there! Every morning I dump the old food back into the plastic tub we store it in, and scoop it right back up into her bowl. This morning as I set her bowl before her I said, “Celina, you do realize that I’m giving you back the exact same stuff that was in there.” But she attacked it like it was something new and wonderful.
The world treats us the same way my friends. When we cry to the world to have our desires met what we receive is the same old thing that failed to satisfy us yesterday and the day before. The world has nothing new to offer us and when we feast on worldly things we’re always hungry for something more. Something filling.
But Jesus said that those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness . . . will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Filled. Satisfied. Blessed. When we cry out to God He never fails to give us exactly what we need and plenty of it. His provision is always fresh and wonderful. How long has it been, beloved, since you were really satisfied? Who have you been asking to fill your bowl?
Holy Father, You never fail to satisfy me with the most wonderful, overflowing blessings.  Forgive me when I turn to the world for what only You can provide.   Remind me that You are the source of all I need and all I desire.  Amen.

Light

It has been a rainy week here in Alabama with day after day of cloudy, gray skies blocking the sun’s rays. When these days drag on and on it leaves you with a gloomy, gray feeling. But Thursday dawned bright and cloudless and the feel of the sun on my face was a welcome blessing. It reminded me of an old John Denver song: “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.”[1]

This morning I started over in the Bible, back to Genesis 1 and the creation account, and something caught my attention I’d never really thought about before. Genesis 1:3 says “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” God separated the light from the darkness and established day and night by it. But He did not create the sun until day 4. This light appeared before the sun came to be. So where did the light come from on day 1? Scholars agree that this light came from God Himself and it emanated from His perfect being.

Sometimes our lives take a difficult turn and we need more than just the sun on our face. We need a light that won’t dim, a light that the clouds cannot hide, a light that penetrates the darkness in our spirit. We need the light of God. Beloved, if your world is dark today may I remind you that the light and love of God is only a prayer away. Call out to Him and ask Him to shine His light into your heart. You don’t belong in the darkness; God created you for the light. Let Him come and be your light today.

[1] John Denver, Sunshine¸ RCA Records, 1973

The Lovely Dwelling Place of God

“How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!” Psalm 84:1

Home décor and aesthetics are big business today – and with good reason.  Who doesn’t want a well-appointed home worthy of a magazine cover.  If your family is like mine, that look wouldn’t last more than a day past the photo shoot. What really makes a home beautiful? It’s not the paint or the furnishings or the landscape – it’s the ones who dwell there. It’s the people who call it home.

The Old Testament pointed to the Tabernacle, and later the Temple, as the dwelling place of God. The Tabernacle was made with the finest wood, the richest tapestries and was adorned with gold and silver elements. When Solomon built the Temple, the walls were covered with gold and only the finest stones were used throughout. It was necessary and fitting for the dwelling place of the Lord God to be the very best.  After the Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, the Jewish people rebuilt it and the older generation grieved the smaller, less opulent structure. In time Herod remodeled and expanded the Temple to appease the Jews but, as Jesus predicted,[1] it was destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans.

There are many awe-inspiring structures of worship throughout the world. Have you seen St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, or the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris? Maybe you’ve seen pictures of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow or St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. They are all awe-inspiring structures of worship. But the most beautiful of all God’s dwelling places is YOU. The Scriptures says that if you are in Christ Jesus “The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you” (Romans 8:11). You are the place where God chose to reside through His Spirit. You are the place God calls home. Whether you are tall or short, light or dark-skinned or any other color in between, no matter your weight or the color of your hair (even if you have none!), despite any scars or imperfections you may see, you are the lovely dwelling place of God in the world today. It’s not your physical appearance nor your clothes and accessories but it is the One who lives within that makes you the beauty you are.

Beloved, if you struggle with your physical image, may I suggest you look deeper than the surface? Look past the garments and flesh and see yourself as the exquisite abode of the Lord of heaven and earth. See the beauty within and let others see it too. My but you’re looking lovely today!

Holy Father, anything good in me is because your Spirit dwells within and makes me into someone beautiful, inside and out. Thank you for moving in – please make Yourself at home in me. Amen

[1] See Matthew 24:2.