Philippians 4:10-23; Psalm 73:23-28

In times of plenty, in times of want, YOU are still God.

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“Who is there in heaven but You, Lord?
And earth has nothing desirable besides You!
Flesh and heart may fail, but You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I am always with You; You hold her by Your right hand.
You guide me with Your counsel, into Your truth, protecting me from being deceived by the concepts of this world. And one day, You’ll take me into glory to be with You forever!”

How very good it is to be near to You, Father! You, the Sovereign Lord, are my refuge. Help me to tell of all Your deeds by my words, my actions, my entire life!

You are God in times of plenty and You are still God in times of need… whatever the “riches” may be–money, time, friends, significance, direction, familiar faces, basic essentials, family bonds, avenues of ministry, skills/talents, etc.  You provide me the strength to do whatever lies before me.  And, You, my God, will meet ALL–not some, not only a few, but ALL! my needs according to Your glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

You are already at work to provide all that I need, helping me to sort out my needs and wants and “wait fors.”

Keep me right up next to Your heart and cause my own heart and mind to hunger for Your Word, more than anything else. Shape my mind, my perspective on life here by Your Truth. To You, our God and Father, be glory forever and ever!  Amen.

Philippians 4:1-9

In times of plenty, in times of want, YOU are still God.

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Ah, Father! Your presence is like nothing else!  The light of Your face—the warmth of Your embrace— the whisper of Your voice—the assurance of Your love!!  When Your character and nature are in full view, how easy it becomes to “rejoice in the Lord always.”

For this day and those to come, help me in all things to stand firm in You.  Allow others to see You in me, to know that You are near.

Remind me, as often as it takes, to stop being anxious about anything—to stop worrying over stuff, to stop trying to sort out stuff on my own.  Rather, help me to speak each thing to You in prayer, asking YOU for Your help, and thanking You for whatever You will do to affect the situation.  And thank You, Father, for the promise of Your peace when I do this. …Your peace that is far too great for me to completely understand—Your peace that is able to guard, protect, defend my mind (thought life) and her heart (emotions, who I am) in Christ Jesus.

Work Your will in my mind so that my thoughts are focused only on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable—anything excellent or praiseworthy.  Cause me to think on such things.  When my mind strays or gets caught up in things contrary or counterfeit to these, grab my attention and redirect my thinking. Thanks for the peace You promise to bring when I do!!

Thanks for the things You’ve been teaching me all along as You’ve nurtured my faith in You.  Thanks for continuing to shape me into someone who’s learning to trust what You say, to trust You to be Who You say You are, to do what You say You’ll do.  Use me to cause other hearts to look to You even more. Make me even more like Jesus.  Amen.

Philippians 3

In times of plenty, in times of want, YOU are still God.

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Father, “when I look into Your holiness, when I gaze into Your loveliness, … When I’ve found the joy of reaching Your heart and my will becomes enthroned with Your love, when all things that surround become shadows in the light of You, I worship You! I worship You!  The reason I live is to worship You!”*

Knowing You, Jesus, KNOWING YOU—the ultimate Source of all things needed for this life!  Thank You for welcoming a friendship with us!

As I face this day, and each one to come, help me to renew my commitment to follow You.  Strengthen me to toss all other things which I could consider valuable or profitable right into the trash. Show me again and again the stark difference in the things of this world compared to knowing You.  And help me to always set before me the goal of knowing You more and more intimately each day.

Thank You for the righteousness You give me through my faith in Christ and which comes directly from You, Father–nothing I could do on my own.  Refresh continually in me the desire to “know You, Christ, and the power of Your resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in Your sufferings, becoming like You in Your death, and so somehow, to get in on the resurrection from the dead.”  Help me to daily dump all other things I thought important right into the garbage and to embrace You and enjoy Your embracing me.

Definitely, Lord, I don’t have all of this together and am not anywhere near the complete goal.  But I’m on my way, reaching out for You, Jesus, who has so wondrously reached out for me.  I’m no expert—but inside here in my heart is a desire and somewhat of a determination:  My eye is on the goal, where You, Lord, await and are cheering and calling me onward–to Jesus.  I’m off and running and You can keep me from turning back or to the side.

So, Father, keep me centered on You and the goal of knowing You above all else; keep me wanting everything You have for me.  If I ever get anything else in mind, something less than total commitment, You just go ahead and clear up my blurred vision.  Keep me on the right track that leads along the path of Your will.

Father, You’ve revealed that there’s far more to life than right here and now, than what we can see.  I am a citizen of heaven! … awaiting the arrival of You, my Savior, my Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform my earthly body into a glorious body like Your own.  You’ll make me beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which You’re enabled to bring everything under Your control.

Come, Lord Jesus!  Amen.

*”When I Look into Your Holiness” composed by Cathy & Wayne Perrin; ⓒ Copyright 1981 by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the author.  Read the story behind the song

Philippians 2:19-30

In times of plenty, in times of want, YOU are still God.

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Father, thank You for the example of Jesus, for His servant attitude and actions while He was here among us…. and ultimately as He served us through His death on the cross!  Thank You for other examples throughout history of people who love You and have followed Jesus’ example, choosing to look out for Your interests more than their own.

Create in me a servant’s heart, taking a genuine interest in the welfare of others consistently.  Develop within me that desire to see others succeed, grow in You, and be encouraged.  Help me to love others the way You love them.  Cause me to recognize continually the immense, yet undeserving, love You have unceasingly poured out on me and allow it to flow through me to touch others.

You have provided assurance for me in Your Word that YOU are my strength and my shield; my heart can trust in You and I will be helped… You’ve said so!  Cause my heart to leap for joy and to give thanks to You for YOU are my strength, You are my shepherd, who will carry me forever and will bless me inside and out with Your peace.

Work Your will in my life this day as You continue to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Philippians 2:1-18

In times of plenty, in times of want, YOU are still God.

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Hello, Father!  Thank You for the encouragement You supply because I am united with Christ!  Thanks for the comfort from Your love and the fellowship with Your Spirit!  Thanks for Your tenderness and compassion!

In light of all these things (& much more!) that You provide, help me to daily surrender my attitude to You, with a heart of gratitude and praise.  Among my brothers and sisters in Christ, help me to be agreeable, to love as You love, to be deep-spirited in friendships.  Keep me from being obsessed with getting the advantage for myself.  Help me to be self-less, looking out for the interests of others—make me others-focused and Christ-centered.

Let it be said of me, whether while I’m alive or after I’ve gotten to go be with You:

“She was a child of God,
but didn’t consider that position
something to become conceited about.
But instead she…
… made herself nothing
… took the form of a servant
… embraced her humanity (with its limits & freedoms, weaknesses & strengths, pains & joys, etc.)
—a totally human body being transformed by the Spirit of God within her!
… looked like a human
… humbled herself
… became obedient & faithful unto death—whatever kind of death that result(s/ed)
THEREFORE (in light of all that’s been said, this is the case…)
Because she humbled herself…
GOD will lift her up & give her
a place in His presence and
she shall wear His name for all eternity!
At the mention of His name, ‘Jesus,’
her knee will bow and
her tongue confess, admit, testify, hold to,
‘Jesus Christ is Lord!’
and the Father will be glorified!”

Lord, help me to live in responsive obedience to You.  Infuse me with Your energy, keeping me reverent and sensitive before You.  This energy is Your energy, an energy You put deep within me–Yourself willing and working at what will give You the most pleasure through my life.

Help me to do everything readily and cheerfully–without complaining, bickering, arguing or second-guessing.  Take me out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this sin-polluted society.  Through me, provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.  Guide and strengthen me in carrying the light-giving Message into the night.

Thanks for the power and grace we have in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Philippians 1:12-30

In times of plenty, in times of want, YOU are still God.

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Father, how precious is the thought of YOU!  You know all about me–yet You choose to love me.  You know all I’ve done— yet You choose to forgive me.  You know all that’s to come in my life–and You choose to guide me into Your good purpose.  All praise to You, Lord, for everything that You’ve done, that You do, and that You’re going to do in, through, and for me!

Paul saw his chains as opportunities, not hindrances, to be used by You, so that the good news of Jesus would be shared.  I have my own “chains,” as You know better than anyone, even myself.  Equip me with an attitude like You nurtured in Paul.  Cause my heart to be fully encouraged to speak Your Word more courageously and fearlessly, with an attitude of love encompassing all I do in Your name.  Cause me to love like breathing, something that comes naturally and is just a part of me.  May Your Son Jesus be exalted in my body–my actions, expressions and words.

Thank You for giving me THE purpose for my life: Jesus.  Whatever happens around me or to me, help me to conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel, the good news of Your grace through Jesus.  Help me to stand firm in one spirit with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Thank You for allowing me to suffer at times as Jesus did, and for the assurance that You understand, that You are with me every step of the way.

Let each person who meets me see the extra-ordinary God who lives inside this ordinary girl, who is my very life… and Who offers life to them too.

This day, Lord, make me a blessing as I go.  Continue to conform my will to Yours and make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Philippians 1:1-11

In times of plenty, in times of want, YOU are still God.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Father, thank You for Your grace and peace!  Thank You for the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus which made it possible for us to experience these gifts!

Thank You for the good work that You are carrying out in Your way, in Your time, as You shape me to be Your vessel!  Thank You for the assurance that You will one day bring me to completion—you’ll have transformed me to be just like Jesus!

Cause my love for others and You to “abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.”  Make me “able to discern what is best.”  Make me “pure and blameless until the Day of Christ.”  Fill me with the “fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus” … that grows out of me because I remain in You.  (John 15)—all to YOUR glory and praise!!

Cause my love to keep growing until I have such understanding and keen perception that I can sort out the truly important matters.  Cause me to overflow with the goodness that comes from following Christ, to Your credit and honor, Father.

Cause my love to flourish, that I’ll not only love much but love well.  Teach me to love appropriately.  Help me to use my head and test my feelings so that my love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.  Help me to live a lover’s life, circumspect (careful to consider circumstances and possible consequences) and exemplary (deserving imitation), a life that You, Jesus, will be proud of:  bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus attractive to all I encounter, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of You.

Cause my love to keep on growing. Help me to fully understand how to make the right choices, then I can be restored by You to pure and innocent when Christ returns.  And until that Day, keep me busy doing good stuff that brings glory and praise to YOU.

Cause me to overflow more and more with love for others, and at the same time to keep growing in spiritual knowledge and insight.  Help me to always see clearly the difference between right and wrong, to be inwardly clean.  May I be found doing those good, kind things which show that I am Your child, for THAT will bring much praise and glory to You. Amen.

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.

Galatians 5:2-26

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

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Father, thank You that Jesus’ death on the cross has unbound me to live a free life, no longer chained as a slave to sin.  Help me to live “freely, animated and motivated” by Your Spirit in me.  Keep me from “feeding the compulsions of selfishness”—that stem from “a root of sinful self-interest within that is at odds with a free spirit from You, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.”  Living by selfishness …living by Your Spirit … the two ways just don’t blend; in fact, they’re in conflict with each other.  Your Word points out how futile it is to try to do both, because I “cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how [I feel] on any given day” and still live freely.  Draw me daily to choose to be led by Your Spirit.

You’ve given me a promise that when I live Your way, You bring gifts into my life, “much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others (love), exuberance about life (joy), serenity (peace).  In me You’ll develop a willingness to stick with things (patience), a sense of compassion in the heart (kindness), and a  conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people, [directly from You] (goodness).  I’ll find myself involved in loyal commitments (faithfulness), not needing to force my way in life (gentleness), able to marshal and direct my energies wisely (self-control).”

Lord, take everything in me that’s connected with getting my own way and “mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities” and kill it off—crucify it. May I daily choose to live by Your Spirit, according to Your Word… as I do, help me to make sure that I don’t simply hold it as an idea in my head or a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart, but YOU work out its practical implications in every detail of my life.  Keep me from comparing myself with others as if one were better and another worse.  You have supplied far more interesting and eternity-impacting things to do with my life.  Each person I meet is an original, hand-crafted by You.  That means I am too.  Help me to live creatively and freely in You, Father, as You and I touch hearts around me and point them to Jesus!

Thank You for your blessings this day, Daddy!  Really grow a bunch of that fruit of self-control and help me to yield to that spirit of self-discipline You’ve given me.  Garnish my plate with that joy or exuberance too, so that this season of life is a refreshing time!  Call out to me from Your Word … until I sit alone with You and let You speak to me.  Hold me close to Your heart and make me just like Jesus! Amen.

Galatians 4:21-5:1, 13

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

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Father, throughout Scripture You’ve shown, in page after page, life after life, that You promise to accomplish that which I cannot do on my own.  You not only promise, but You fulfill Your promise.

You told Abraham that You would make his descendants of such a huge number that he couldn’t count them.  But like most of us, he only sort of believed You and he tried to help You out by having a son with Hagar.

WHAT a symbol of the times when I try to work stuff out on my own! . . .and then I don’t end up with Your best for me, just some shoddy shadow of what could’ve been. . .  maybe even sometimes, something so hideous that there’s not even a resemblance to what You promised.

Now, what You did later by giving Isaac to Abraham and Sarah was so typically You!  You say, “I will do this…” and then, You do what You promised… in YOUR way, in YOUR time—and there’s NO doubt that it’s of YOU!

There are promises You’ve made to me in Your Word that I need to believe and there are some that I may only sort of believe.  Grant me Your grace, Father, to trust You even more—to wait on You and expect You to act in my life, coming through with Your very best for me…. it’s the BEST for me, because You made me, You know me and You can see the “finished product.”  You have the picture on the box lid as You put the pieces of my life together… until the day I’ll be formed into the image of Your Son!

Lord, You’ve set me free from the old stuff of the law and the slavery to having to do every little thing just right in order to be acceptable to You.  Jesus, You set me free to live a free life in You.  Help me to make sure that I don’t use that freedom as an excuse to do whatever I want to do, to “indulge my sinful nature” just because I can, and thus destroy my freedom.  Instead, guide me in using my freedom to serve others in love, since that’s how freedom grows.

Where my thinking needs re-wired, where my attitude needs remodeled, do Your work in me, Lord, as You build my spiritual house in which You CHOOSE to dwell.  Thank You for residing in my heart–Your presence with me.  May You and I do this day together, as You make me more like Jesus and touch lives through me!

Draw me into Your Word, Lord.  And I’m not talking about some little devotional that points out an applicable verse or even a topical study. Call me to simply sit and read Your Word.  And when I do, do something in me that I’ve not known before. Give me such an understanding of what I read that I can immediately grasp what YOU are saying to me in whatever passage to which I turn.  Prompt me to ask You to unfold Your Word before me… to give me the ability to comprehend thoroughly what You have to say… Make it such an intimate experience when I read Your Word that I can’t wait to open the pages again… or that I have a hard time putting it down.  Lord, only YOU can create this in me… and I’ve seen You do it in me several years ago when I asked You to do so. Knowing that You’re the same God, I’m convinced that You can and will do this again in this season of my life. Amen.

Galatians 4:1-20

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

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Father, how perfect Your timing always is, especially when it came to Your sending Jesus!  “When the time arrived, long ago, that was set by You, You sent Your Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that He might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law…”  By that entrance into human history, we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage.

Thanks for Your assurance that I am fully adopted as Your own daughter, because You sent the Spirit of Your Son into my life crying out, “Papa! Father!”  How wonderful to have this privilege of intimate conversation with You!  How assuring it is to know that I’m no longer a slave to the law, but am a child of grace.  Because I’m Your child, I am also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance You have in store.  Bring joy to my heart this day as I considers how deeply You love me and as I anticipate the Day I get to meet You face to face, crawl upon Your lap and be held next to Your heart.

Thank You, Papa, for all You’ve done!  Let nothing else be my utmost desire except to follow You.   Keep shaping me to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

Galatians 3:15-29

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

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Father God, You are all-wise, all-knowing and all-powerful! … And You care for me!  Throughout the ages of time, You have been at work to carry out Your plan—and that plan included me, for me to have met You and to have become Yours.

Way back, You promised Abraham, “All peoples will be blessed through you….To your descendant I will give this land…” (Gen 12:5, 7).  In the meantime, You gave the law through Moses to “keep a sinful people in the way of salvation until Christ (the descendant) came, inheriting the promises and distributing them to us.”  The law’s “purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship” with You, and to show us how silly it is to devise “some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for You to complete Your promise.”

Now, Father, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection You have brought me by faith into direct relationship with You.  You have dressed me in a wardrobe of faith—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of Your original promise.

All praise and gratitude to You for granting me the privilege of calling You “Father.”  ‘Praise You for Your faithfulness, Your mercy, Your love, Your presence, Your ____________,… Oh! Daddy! You are just SO MUCH!!!

Thank You, Father, for all the good things You’re pouring into my life.  Thank You for showing me Your hand and for allowing me to feast on Your blessings in this season of my life.  Keep my heart in a place where I “trust the Lord with all [my] heart and leans not on [my] own understanding.” (Pr 3:5)  Keep me dependent upon You—especially in these good times.  (Just like Joseph had to be during the 7 years of good crops, so that when the 7 years of famine came You had made him ready. In all of it, he acknowledged Your hand at work in every aspect that led him to where he was and who You were making him to be.)   Remind me in each moment to, “in all [my] ways, acknowledge You,” counting on Your promise to “direct [my] paths” when I do. (Pr 3:6)

Thank You for giving me Your spirit of self-discipline AND Your joy.  This day (and this week) help me to be submissive to Your Spirit within me and to entrust all things to You. Assure me that You have provided me time for both doing the projects I’m responsible for and for enjoying the lives You’ve connected with mine.  Guide me in using the time YOU’ve allotted to me.  Guide me in using the resources YOU’ve supplied me.   Shape me continually into an ever-faithful servant of Yours.

Call me into Your presence daily (or even more than once a day) and fill me up with You. Thank you for also walking with me throughout the rest of the hours of the day.  Nestle me next to Your heart throughout the nights of rest.  May all that I am be consumed by all that You are as You work in me to one day make me more like Jesus—having Your desires, Your vision of this world, Your heart for Your people, and Your understanding of my purpose here. Thank You for Jesus!    Amen.

Galatians 2:11-21

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

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Father, may Gal. 2:20 be a way in which my life could be described:

I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST …

When I accepted You, when I chose to believe that Jesus is my Savior, my old self was nailed to the cross with Him.  Yet, as with all of us, what a struggle there seems to be with leaving it there and not taking it up again and again.  In reality, crucifixion is a final death with much agony.  Perhaps, the struggle we humans engage in is not so much our trying to take up our own life and get off the cross, but rather with the pain of hanging and waiting for our old self to die …like the pain of a body hanging on a cross, trying to keep breathing… If we’d just cease attempting to stretch for another breath and make our Lord’s words our own:  “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit… It is finished.” — Perhaps, then it would be final; we might cease to struggle so much with the old self.

… AND I NO LONGER LIVE …

Let it not be my own will that moves my body or determines what my mind will think on.  Let it be You, Lord, alive in me and in control.

… BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME …

Make my heart Your home, Jesus.  Move into any room You choose.  May You have the freedom to tidy up, affirm the arrangement of things, make alterations where You see fit, savor the decorations, sample the cuisine, … Make Yourself at home, enjoy Your residence in the castle of my heart.  Fill my “house” with Your light of joy, visible from the outside, because You, my King, dwell within me.

… THE LIFE I LIVE IN THE BODY …

Thank You for this life You have supplied and designed called me! Thank You for gifting me with being me… creating me for such a time as this, with such a purpose as Your very own, and with such a Father as You!

… I LIVE BY FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD …

Let me be found believing You can do whatever is needed; trusting You will do what’s the very best for me; and having faith in You, that You’ll be faithful to Your Word.

“Living by faith” seems much like swinging in a swing, which is on ropes not tied to a tall, sturdy earthbound tree, but rather ropes that are held between the fingers of Your hand, Lord.  I can stay in the swing or get out.  I can just hang there and cling to the ropes, fearful of being dropped or hurt.  OR, by trusting in You, I can lean back and forth, getting a motion going… sailing through the air, legs outstretched, leaning back, cutting through the air, then, leaning forward, legs tucked in, to go back for another slice at the air! … soaring higher and higher… And in the swing of my life, held by Your almighty and capable hand, I am safe, secure and free!

… WHO LOVED ME …

Jesus, You chose to leave the richness of heaven to come be a human like me.  You did it to serve me.  You did all that You did for love alone, the greatest love ever known… not for any marvelous thing I’ve done. Rather, You came because of the disobedient, sinful things I’ve done and thought.  Your love is big enough to love me in spite of the hurt I cause You by sin.  Your love is strong and will never tire, fade, wear out or end!  Thank You for enveloping me in this love, and keep me ever realizing the vastness of it moment by moment.

… AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME.

Thank You, Father, for demonstrating Your love for me by appearing in flesh, sending Your Son, …to be like me, to live like I live, and to die for the sins I do.  Thank You for Your sacrifice which provides the key which frees me from sin’s prison.  Your resurrection assures me of my own transformation to a new life, indestructible by death and immovably held in Your hand! Amen.

trustme

Galatians 1:11-2:10

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

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Precious Father, every step of the way, from my conception right up to this bit of oxygen I just took in, Your hand has been at work to fashion my life.  From my mother’s womb, You have set me apart, called me by Your grace–“by shear generosity”–and, in pleasure, designed my life so that Your Son is revealed in me, so that I might proclaim Him as I go. . . wherever, whenever.

Jesus, You are Truth. . . embodied, written, and alive!  May my heart and mind remain in You, the same as abiding in Truth.  Though this world around me tells me there is no truth or that there are many truths, let me not give in to those lies and deceptions, “so that the truth of the gospel might remain” in me.  Let the simple truth of Jesus become something that naturally comes from my lips and is evident in my life.

You have created me to serve in Your kingdom.  You equip me for doing just what You have for me to do. . . sometimes that’s clearly seen, sometimes it’s a mystery.  Either way, I can know that You know, and can rest in that. . . May my heart be available to You, for You to use me as You will.  May others see YOU in me and hear Your Word from me, so that their response might be one of recognition and worship of You!

The words You had Isaiah pen, Lord, . . . envelope me with what they reveal of You to me, for You say, even to me:  “you, [My servant, whom I have chosen,… I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.  I said, `You are My servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am YOUR God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand, [My Son]. … For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Do not be afraid, for I MYSELF will help you.”  (Is 41:8-10, 13-14)

Wrap me up in You, Lord, and assure me beyond anything I could imagine that You consider me precious, wonderful, complete, totally acceptable, and worthy of all of Your love!  Cause my heart to only need Your approval, Your acceptance, Your secure hope, …. to simply need YOU… and to count anything, everything else just blessings from Your hand entrusted to me for a time.

Thanks for Your faithfulness.  Thanks for sharing a taste of Your goodness with us.  Thanks for holding us close and considering us Your very own!  Make us just like Jesus.  Amen.