Hebrews 13

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Father, You have promised me, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you.”  Help me to always boldly say, “God is here, ready to help me; I’m fearless no matter what.  Who or what can get to me?”  Make this confidence run in me consistently.  For You, Jesus, do not change–yesterday, today, tomorrow.  You’re always totally Yourself.  Your grace is the only good ground for my life.

You are the God of peace.  You “put all things together, make all things whole.”  You made a “lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus.”  You “led Jesus, our Great Shepherd up and alive from the dead.”  Now, Father, You equip me with everything I need to do Your will, to please You.  Make me into what gives You the most pleasure, through Jesus–to whom belongs all glory and praise forever.  Oh, yes, yes, yes!

Hebrews 12

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Father, many, many faithful lives have gone before me–they were “pioneers who blazed the way, veterans cheering [me] on.”  Because of their faithfulness, generation after generation has been blessed.

Now, it’s my turn.  You have pointed out to Your people, including me, in Exodus 20:1-6, that nobody, nothing is to be God besides You; and that when I choose to obey You in this way, when I choose to love You more than absolutely ANYthing else, I have the power to influence “a thousand generations!” (20:6).  My obedience to You, my seeking You first, my fear and awe of You, my delight in You can all come together by Your hand. By this promise (and if You don’t send Jesus back for a while), a thousand generations from now, someone could be thanking You that I loved You and lived my life for You every step of the way.

So, Lord, as I run this race, help me to never quit seeking YOU first–“no extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins—[Keeping my] eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race I’m in.  Prompt and help [me] to study how He did it.  Because He never lost sight of where He was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with You! –He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever.  And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside You.”

When I choose to follow You, Lord, I have everything I need.  I get my needs taken care of by seeking Your kingdom before seeking anything else.  (Matthew 6:33)

When my walk is in obedience to Your will, there is no good thing that You withhold from me. (Ps 84:11)

When I delight in You, when I find my joy, my fun, my excitement in YOU, You give me the desires of my heart—sometimes even replacing mine with Your own. (Psalm 37:4)

When I fear You with an awe and respect for Who You are, there is nothing I lack.  (Ps 34:9-10)

When I am serious about and focused on following You, Lord, I can go through anything!  YOU are my Shepherd and may I not want anymore, and may I never want any other Shepherd or god.  I have everything I need. Thank you for Your goodness and mercy!  Amen.

Hebrews 11

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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This thing called “faith”–the basic part of my existence–trusting in You, Lord, is the “firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.  It’s [my] handle on what [I] can’t see.”

Life after life is paraded before me when I read the verses of this chapter.  The lives of people who held onto Your promises and believed You would do what You said.  Each one died without the end result of the promise in their hand, yet they still believed.  “They saw it was off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world.  It was obvious they were looking for their true home.  Your plan, Lord, brings their faith [and my faith (every believer’s)] together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.”

Father, may my faith be spoken of with honor just as these people back then.

May my faith:
• stand firm even when I can’t see what I believe in.
• make the offering of myself, laid before You as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2), a gift that’s pleasing to You.
• “draw a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world” as Noah’s did.
• bring me into a more intimate relationship with You.
• hold onto the far-off vision You give and move me to simply follow You toward what You promise or show me… working out or walking through the little details to get there (even the ones that make no sense or seem like “have-tos” with no visible purpose….right now.
• help me to trust You to do what seems impossible to me.
• reach into the future as I touch other lives.
• strengthen me to let go of the pleasures of this world, to not worry about making sure I have fun here; but may I find my joy in You instead–consumed by You, used by You, led by You, fed by You …It’s ALL about YOU!
• look for the phenomenal in the ordinary, the dry ground where there’s usually sea.
• trust You and obey You even in the face of imposing “walls.”

You, Jesus, are the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  You have written it on my heart and You continue to edit and add chapter after chapter.  How wonderful it will be when the chapters here on earth are brought to a close and that “last” page reads “The Beginning.”  Then!  You’ll write the sequel!

Keep strengthening and growing my faith and making me just like Jesus!  Amen.

Hebrews 10

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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“It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people.” (v.14 The Message)

By that single offering, Lord, You did “everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process—[including me] … Once sins are taken care of for good, there’s no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them.”

So now I can– “without hesitation—walk right up to You, into ‘the Holy Place.’  Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of His sacrifice, acting as [my] priest before You.  The ‘curtain’ into Your presence is His body.”

So, may I step forward– “full of belief, confident that [I’m] presentable inside an out.  Help [me] to keep a firm grip on the promises that keep [me] going. You always keep Your Word.  Guide [me] in seeing how inventive [I] can be in encouraging, loving and helping out others, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring others on, especially as [I see] the big Day approaching” when I get to see You face-to-face!

Oh! on that day, may I be found crawling up into Your lap … or perhaps, You’ll pick me up and hold me near to Your heart!  Keep me faithful to You here in this life, Father … so that I’ll get to hear You say, “Well done!” on that Day.  Help me to stick it out, staying with Your plan so I’ll see the ‘completion’ You’ve promised.  By Your strength, I’m no quitter who loses out.  Oh, no!  I can be determined to stay with it and survive, trusting You all the way.

You have made me. . .
… someone who knows the One who said, “Blessed are the children …” and through whom those who meet me can encounter this One who came to love them and save them.
… someone who can direct others to You for all that they need.
… someone to whom You’ve entrusted a portion of Your riches so that my life can function, can be equipped and can make an impact on lives here that need You, that need to be reminded that they need You or that they belong to You and You love them.
… someone who is truly able, because of You, to set an example of a woman who first belongs to You–heart, body, mind and soul– someone You can use to move another heart closer to Your own, simply by the choices she makes … even the tough ones of setting aside her own will for the higher purpose of pointing another life to You–a purpose that has an impact on eternity –way beyond the moment (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).

Only YOU, Lord, can fine-tune my heart to want what You want and not what I want or what others or the world tells me I should seek …  Go at it, Lord!  just like You’re already at work doing in me …and keep making me a little more like Jesus each step of Our journey together.  Amen

Hebrews 9

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Oh, Daddy! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! that “through the Spirit, Jesus offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing [me] from all those dead-end efforts to make [myself] respectable,” so that I can live all out for You!

Jesus, thanks for entering–not simply “the earthly version of the Holy Place, but–the Place Itself,” and You offered Yourself to our Father as the sacrifice for my sins forever!

You alone, O Lord, have made me clean… You declare me to be righteous, in right standing with You.  You have set me apart, made me holy.  You have freed me from the grip of sin.  You have called me Your very own daughter.   Thank You for Your mercy–for not giving me what I deserve.  Thanks for Your grace–for giving me far more than I deserve.  Keep on shaping my heart to resemble Your very own.  oh, yes! (amen)

Hebrews 8

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Father, You awakened me this morning and greeted me with Your new mercy.  You are with me throughout the day as I walk in Your grace and as You guide me by Your Spirit.

This portion of the book of Hebrews is a reminder of how You chose to put away the old regulations and ceremonies under the old covenant that You made with Abraham and Moses.  You chose to create something wonderfully new in and through Jesus, just so that I could personally and intimately know You!

You said, “This new plan I’m making with My people isn’t going to be written on paper, isn’t going to be chiseled on stone; This time I’m writing out the plan IN them, carving it on the lining of their hearts.  I’ll be their God, they’ll be My people.  They won’t go to school to learn about Me, or buy a book called ‘God in Five Easy Lessons.’  They’ll all get to know Me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great.  They’ll get to know Me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.”

Thank You for the freedom to know You personally!  May the warmth of Your presence surround me this day! Draw me near to Your heart and into Your Word for some refreshment and just a chance to enjoy Your presence, when We get to be alone together.  Keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Hebrews 7 (The Message); Psalm 18 & 32:7-8 (NIV)

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Father, thanks for Jesus!  This passage points out how the “former way of doing things, a system of commandments that never worked out the way it was supposed to, was set aside.”  (You knew that would happen; that the law wouldn’t bring anything to maturity.)  Then, You put in its place “another way– Jesus! — a way that DOES work, that brings [me] right into Your presence.”  You gave Your word; You won’t take it back.  You said to Jesus, “You’re the permanent priest.”  This “makes Jesus the guarantee of a far better way between You and [me]–one that really works!”

Jesus, thank You for being “there from now to eternity to save everyone who comes to the Father through You.  You’re always on the job to speak up for me, for all of us.”  You are a high priest who perfectly fits my needs:  completely holy, uncompromised by sin, and with authority extending as high as our Father’s presence in heaven itself.  Unlike other high priests, You don’t have to offer sacrifices for Your own sins every day before You can get around to me and my sins.  You’ve done it once and for all: offered up YOURSELF as the sacrifice.  Thanks so MUCH Jesus!

Lord, You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my rock in whom I take refuge.  You are my shield and the strength of my salvation, my stronghold.  When I call to You, the One worthy of praise, I am saved from the enemy of my faith.  You are my support.  You rescue me because You delight in me!Ps1829

“To the faithful You show Yourself faithful, to the blameless You show Yourself blameless, to the pure You show Yourself pure.”  You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning, turning the darkness that worry can bring into light in Your presence.

With Your help I can run through any barricade of distractions, procrastination, busy-ness, daydreams, unimportant time-wasters, etc.  It is YOU who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  You give me Your shield of victory, and Your right hand (Jesus! 😉 sustains me.  You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.  You will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go; You will counsel me and watch over me.  You promise that Your unfailing love surrounds me because I trust in You!  oh, yes!

Hebrews 6

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Father, You have been continually at work in me since I first surrendered my heart to You.  You have nudged me, moved me, dragged me, so that I might “leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art.”  You are growing me up in Him.

Thank You for giving me a taste of heaven and for making me part of the work of Your Holy Spirit.  Thank You for letting me experience the sheer goodness of Your Word and Your power within me.

Strengthen me to not drag my feet on this journey of faith with You, but rather, to “extend the same intensity toward a full-bodied hope (assurance) in You, and to keep at it ’til the finish.  Make [me] like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.” (MSG)

Your Word says, “We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.  It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up His permanent post as high priest for us.” (MSG)

Thank You for giving Your word in Your Word, and for standing by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises.  Keep my faith firmly planted in Your Word.  Make my heart like the kind of soil that produces an abundance of crops so that many, many others can feast on the overflow of my heart, as they see You in me.  Make me just like Jesus.  Oh yes! (amen)

Hebrews 5

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Once a barrier separated me from You, Father.  For many centuries a human representative whom You’d chosen could annually pierce that dividing wall on behalf of humanity, to seek Your mercy for sin.  And You “rolled back” the sin, choosing not to count it against mankind.

And THEN, in Your perfect timing and flawless design, Another was chosen by You to do what none of the other human representatives could do for us.  Your Son took on our form–fully human, fully divine–and walked among us.  “While He lived on earth, anticipating death, Jesus cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as He offered up priestly prayers to You.  Because He honored You, You answered Him.  Though He was Your Son, He learned TRUSTING-OBEDIENCE by what He suffered, just as we do.  Then, having arrived at the full stature of His maturity and having been announced by You as high priest in the order of Melchizedek. He became the source of eternal salvation to all who believingly obey Him.” (Hebrews 7:1-17)

Once a barrier separated me from You, Father.  But once for all time, for all people–including me–Your Son died to tear down that barrier and provide me free access to You!  What a blessed gift!

May this day hold moments when trusting-obedience shows itself in my heart and life.  Bless me with a peaceful heart that rests in Your mercy, grace and forgiveness, as You keep working to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Hebrews 4

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Father, here in this passage You’ve mentioned Your rest, Your Word, and Your Son.  You hold out to me the promise of resting in You, pulling me on toward Your goal for me.  Help me not to be disqualified through disbelief.  Rather, strengthen my faith in You as I hold to Your promises, anticipating the experience of Your rest.  At the end of this journey, I’ll surely rest with You.  Along the way, bring me refreshment and peace in Your presence, in moments alone with You.

In Your Word, You mean what You say.  What You say goes.  Your “powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying me open to listen and obey.  Nothing and no one is impervious to Your Word.”  How good to know too that Your Word not only makes an incision where needed; it also stitches up the wound, applies a healing ointment and restores wholeness to the tissues.

Your Son has served as my great High Priest, who opened the way to provide me ready access to You.  His death destroyed the dividing wall of sin between You and me, so that now You and I can freely and constantly commune.  As my high priest, Jesus, it’s wonderful to know that You are fully in touch with my reality.  You’ve been through weakness and testing, experienced it all–all but the sin.  So, You’ve made it possible for me to walk right up to You to get what You are so ready to give.  May I receive Your mercy and accept Your grace, allowing You to embrace me with Your all-consuming, perfect love. Amen.

Hebrews 3

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Jesus, You are “the centerpiece of everything [I believe], faithful in everything Your Father gave You to do.”  Help me to fix my thoughts on You, so that I’ll not forget Your constant presence and involvement in everything I do.

You, Father, are the Master Builder of this house called by my name.  You have taken up residence in my heart and You have set Your Son in charge of this house.  Help me to keep a firm grip on the bold confidence I have in You as my heart serves as the place where You dwell.

Guide me down YOUR road.  Help me to watch my step.  Protect me from any “evil unbelief lying around that could trip [me] up and throw [me] off course, diverting [me] from You, the living God.  As long as it is still Your Today, help us to keep each other on our toes so sin doesn’t slow down our reflexes.  If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with You, Jesus, for the long haul.”

You have said, “You keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is steadfast, because she trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3).  Draw me to an even deeper trust in You as the things that would steal my peace increase.  Help my mind to be steadfast in its focus on YOU.  Keep me in Your Word and in Your will.  Amen.

Hebrews 2

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

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Father, by Your all-surpassing wisdom, You laid out and carried out a plan which takes in all of heaven and earth in order to personally affect my one simple life!  Thank You for choosing to send Jesus to earth to “fix things” that we, Your children, have damaged, destroyed or set aside (2:5-18)

You came in the flesh in order that YOU might:

RESTORE CREATION, with us as caretakers of all that is yours

BE MY PERSONAL PIONEER OF HUMAN SALVATION — You have delivered personally to me the gift of salvation. In Your death, by our Father’s grace, You, Jesus, fully experienced death in every person’s place, including mine.

MAKE ME “FAMILY”– Since I, being one You’ve saved, and You, the One who saves, have a common origin, You don’t hesitate to treat me as family.

UNDERSTAND HOW I FEEL — Since I am made of flesh and blood, it was logical that You, my Savior, took on flesh and blood in order to share in my humanity.  You had to enter into every detail of human life, so that You “might become a merciful and faithful high priest.” By doing so, You were able to have “experienced it all Yourself–all the pain, all the testing–and are able to help where help is needed” in my life.

PROVIDE VICTORY OVER SIN — By Your death, Jesus, You destroyed the devil, who holds the power of death no longer.  And You have freed me and all who have been held in slavery to the fear of death, or separation from You.  You are my high priest who takes away my sins and makes me acceptable to God, my Father.

You, Jesus, are my Restorer, my Savior, my Brother, my High Priest, and my Mighty Warrior!  All praise and glory and honor belong to YOU!!!  Amen.

Hebrews 1 and Psalm 23

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises.

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Father, thank You for Your Son, Jesus!  Through Him You created ALL things at the start. And in the end, it will ALL belong to Him.  Because everything is Yours, all things in Your hands, You have me in Your hands and You have all that I need in Your hands too.  Skillfully and in Your perfect timing, You put the pieces together so that I’m taken care of.

Jesus, because You are “stamped with God’s nature” and You “perfectly mirror Him,” You allow me to see the Father.  You have opened the doorway for me to experience His awesome might and His wondrous love!

You hold everything together by what You say–Your very words sustain all things…even me!

“Lord, it was You who created the heavens.
Lord, it was Your hand that put the stars in their place.
Lord, it is Your voice that commands the morning.
Even oceans and their waves bow at Your feet!”*

Thank You, Jesus, for providing “purification for sins,” for finishing once and for all the sacrifice necessary for sins, so that I might be free from its chains.  Thanks for the pure heart You can and do bring.  I’m at Your mercy, Lord.  Thank You for Your grace!

Jesus, You have taken your “honored place high in the heavens alongside God, the Father.”  Thank You for being my high priest who always lives to intercede for me.  (Heb 7:25)

Now, Lord, I’m seeing why David, a shepherd himself and knowing You as he did, could so confidently, gratefully and expectantly proclaim, “The LORD is my shepherd…”  He knew that the nature of the one who tends a flock makes all the difference in how the sheep are cared for.

You, my Maker, my Sustainer, my Redeemer, my Mediator… YOU, the Lord of all the universe, are MY Shepherd!!  You have chosen to set me as the object of Your affection and care.  Because of who YOU are, there is NOTHING I could want or need that You have not already supplied.  I lack nothing…what I have, You’ve given me.  What I need, You will provide.

*Lyrics from “Your Beloved” by Brent Helming ©1996 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing. http://youtu.be/oZf7kwZaTjs

Galatians 6:11-18

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father, this passage in Galatians really highlights the effect that the opinions and practices of others can have on a person, even a follower of You.  Just like the ones Paul noted, there are so many of us believers who are driven or consumed by the desire to make a good impression outwardly, especially to the world, and to avoid any form of persecution for being identified with You. Many are more concerned with being socially palatable than biblically aligned or inwardly holy.  (Maybe we forget that Jesus was both and yet was without compromise…hmm)

These things I pray for me:  May I be found boasting—not about how accessible I am to unbelievers, or how well I can understand where a fallen brother is coming from, or anything that highlights my shortcomings in light of Your glory— but may I be found boasting about nothing but the cross of my Master Jesus Christ. “Because of that cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.”

Thank You, Father, that the central issue here is not what I do or what others do—It’s all about what YOU’RE doing!  And You are creating something totally new, a free life in me!  You’ve said in Your Word that all who walk by this standard–new life in You–are truly Your children, Your chosen people … and You supply peace and mercy to us who do this and are Yours!

When I am tempted to downplay the holy life You’ve called me to, even around brothers and sisters in Christ, remind me of Your sacrifice, of the intent of Your action on the cross through Jesus.  You have extended Your grace to me . . . In Titus 3:4-6, You say that when Your kindness and love appeared, You saved me–not because of righteous things I’d done, but because of YOUR mercy.  You saved me through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom You poured out on me generously through Jesus Christ my Savior.  All this was so that, having been justified (made right with You) by grace, I have become Your heir, having the hope or assurance of life forever with You!

This grace You extend to me meets me wherever You found me, covering over what I lacked in measuring up to Your holiness, blotting out my sin that separated me from You.  Yet, Your grace doesn’t just move into the house of my life and sit around making me feel good; it decorates, redecorates and remodels according to Your will.  It does more than make us acceptable to You…

In Titus 2:11-14, You’ve said that Your grace, which brings salvation to all people, has appeared.  “It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives IN this present age.”  By Your grace “we’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life.  This new life is for right now and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when You, our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.  (wow! 🙂

You offered Yourself as a sacrifice to free me from a dark, rebellious life and to purify for Yourself a person who is Your very own, someone You can be proud of, someone eager to do good.  So, Father, may what my Master Jesus Christ gives freely—Your grace, Your mercy, Your peace—be deeply and personally mine.  Oh yes!

Galatians 6:1-10

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

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Father, thanks for making provision for all of our needs, especially in the way You’ve designed Your Body of believers.  You have knit us together into a community over which You are the head.  You call us to care for one another, to gently keep one another looking to You, to encourage one another, … to love one another deeply  above all else (1 Peter 4:8).

As I interact with the people You’ve placed in my life, allow them to see You in my eyes, to hear You in my voice, to feel You in my touch—to simply know that they’ve encountered You when they’ve been with me.  None of this can be done on my own.  It’s not the “I” but the “YOU” in me that can only accomplish this.

Keep a guard over my heart, so that I stand firm in You in the face of temptation.  Inflame within my heart the desire to be holy and set apart like Your Word calls me to be. (Romans 12:1-2; Titus  2:11-14)

Guide me in carefully exploring who I am and the work You’ve given me here in Your kingdom, then guide me in sinking myself into that.  Keep me humble.  Keep me from comparing myself with others.  Help me to take responsibility for doing the creative best I can with this life You’ve given me.

You’ve pointed out the reality, Lord:  “No one makes a fool of You.  What a person plants, he will harvest.  The person who plants to please his sinful nature, his selfish desires, from that nature will harvest a crop of weeds.  All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds!”  Father, help me to be one who plants in response to You, to Your Spirit within me, letting You do the growth work in me, so that I might harvest a crop of real life, eternal life.

Let me not become “fatigued doing good.”  At the right time, You’ve said that I’ll harvest a good crop if I don’t give up, or quit, seeking to please You.  Right now, every time I get the chance, help me to work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to me in the community of faith.

Shape my heart, my mind, my life to conform to the likeness of Jesus.  Thank You that You won’t stop working on me until Christ is formed in me.  Draw my heart to yearn for Your presence…. and into Your Word.  Protect me from the distractions of the enemy… You’ve given me a spirit of self-discipline… help me, prompt me to allow that part of You in me to be in control of my day and not my own desires or the calls and desires of those around me.

Thank You for Jesus!   Amen.