Philemon

I remember my chains, Lord, and I remember my chains are GONE.

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“Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, ‘Oh, thank You, God!’  I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other Christians.  And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it.  Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers.” (v 3-7 MSG)

Father, You have placed so MANY people in my life to whom I could say these same words Paul used in writing to Philemon … so many for whom I am utterly grateful!  There are those through whom You’ve conveyed Your love to me, in whose face I’ve seen Your face, in whose touch I’ve felt Your embrace, in whose voice I’ve heard Your compassion, mercy, and joy.  Thank You for enhancing my life in so many ways through the lives You’ve connected to my own.  Thanks for using each nexus of friendship in a different way in different seasons of my life to keep shaping me into the likeness of Jesus.  Amen.

FREE

Titus 3

Cause the Jesus in me to be seen today more than the me in me, Lord.

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“It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back.” (v 3 MSG)

Father, thank You for freeing me from a life without You, one that’s a slave to the system of sin.  You sent Your people alongside me to show me Your ways and to lay before me the choice to follow You or to remain as I was.  Praise to You, Lord, for knowing just how to reach me! …for calling out to me in a manner to which I would respond.  How well You know me!  “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps 139:14 NIV).  “You know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something” (Ps 139:13-14 MSG).

“But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, He saved us from all that.  It was all His doing; we had nothing to do with it.  He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit.  Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously.  God’s gift has restored our relationship with Him and given us back our lives.  And there’s more life to come — an eternity of life!  You can count on this” (v 4-8 MSG).

All my sins were washed away, Lord!  Thank YOU!

Your Son’s death on that cross redeemed my life, freeing me from sin’s grip.

Your forgiveness, Father, has freed me from sin’s penalty.

Your Spirit has freed me from sin’s power.

All three aspects of Who You are have been at work orchestrating this emancipating, cleansing, and renewing act of Your grace.

NOTHING I have done, am doing, will do, or could ever do has brought this about or earned it.  My right-standing with You is purely a gift directly from You, because You love me!  Thank You for this new life that’s free of sin’s reign, that’s been washed clean by Your Son’s blood, and this is being continually transformed to be just like Him!  Amen.

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

“As you share God’s grace through a life lived in love… you become HIS hands, HIS feet, HIS voice.” — Shelley Breen in Steady On by Point of Grace, p. 100.

Titus 2

Cause the Jesus in me to be seen today more than the me in me, Lord.

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

“You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine … In your teaching show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned…” (v 1, 7-8 NIV)

“Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine … But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, your words solid and sane…” (v 1, 7-8 MSG)

My words, my actions, my expressions, and my reactions all serve as avenues through which a curriculum is taught to others by my life.  The essential question, as sparked by Your Words in this passage, Lord, is “What lessons are being caught by the ‘students’ who receive this ‘teaching’ of mine?”  Is the instruction conveyed by my example and efforts sound, solid, serious, sane and showing integrity?  This can only be true when I have surrendered myself to You first as my Master Teacher, allowing Your Spirit to guide me in applying Your instruction to my life.  May this be so, Lord.  Make me a disciple who truly reflects her Teacher’s wisdom, heart, and example.

“…so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us … so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” (v 8, 10 NIV)

“…Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around… Then their good character will shine through their actions, adding luster to the teaching of our Savior God.” (v 8, 10 MSG)

Herein lies the ultimate goal of having the “teachings” that are conveyed by my own life being grounded firmly in You, Lord.  When my teaching, whether directly or indirectly, pre-planned or unrehearsed, initiated or invited conveys a true, simple and clear picture of Your Son, then the “student” has less cause for questioning the content’s validity.  Rather, the student might more readily be drawn to know this Savior, who longs for an intimate relationship with him or her.

May my life be like a garnish on the main dish found only in Your Word, Father.  May others taste and see that You are so very, very good!

“God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public.  Salvation’s available for everyone!  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 starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.  He offered Himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people He can be proud of, energetic in goodness.” (v 11-14 MSG)

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior.  Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” (v 11-14 NIV)

Thank You for Your grace that teaches me how to live in obedience to You, that assures me that my grade with You is already an “A.”  All You ask me to do is to remain a faithful student.  In return, You continue to teach me about Yourself, Your will, and Your purpose for me, as You also purify my life, making me more and more like Jesus.  Amen.

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

“As you share God’s grace through a life lived in love… you become HIS hands, HIS feet, HIS voice.” — Shelley Breen in Steady On by Point of Grace, p. 100.

Titus 1

Cause the Jesus in me to be seen today more than the me in me, Lord.

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

You lay out several qualities here for a leader within Your Church, Lord; yet the portion that has grasped my attention in this passage is “He must HOLD FIRMLY TO the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can ENCOURAGE OTHERS by sound doctrine and REFUTE those who oppose it” (v 9 NIV).  In The Message, paraphrased by Eugene Peterson, this is worded as “have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it.”

HOLD FIRMLY TO

Your Word is completely reliable.  No matter how many human hands had a part in putting together this Bible I’ve been reading/studying for years … no matter how many centuries have passed or original manuscripts  have been lost or found … no matter how many voices have tried to malign its credibility, Your Truth is still all together true and trustworthy.  No matter what false teachings have infiltrated the minds of people in this world today, YOU are still God.  You are El Shaddai, God Almighty.  You are Adonai, my Lord!  You are I Am!

As I sit here and breathe in the oxygen around me, by mouth, nose and trachea take it into my lungs and this necessary element is absorbed into my body.  I must have this air to survive, to move, to live.  Cause Your Word to be as vital to my mind, heart, and spirit as oxygen is to my body.  May my eyes breathe in the letters on the pages of Your Word as my mind absorbs and assimilates the concepts, principles, promises, commands, and thoughts of Your Word.

As I am transformed by inhaling Your Truth, may my life exhale an example of obedience and a reflection of Jesus.  The passage points out two ways in which You desire for Your Word to go forth from me, once I have a firm hold upon it:

ENCOURAGE

“Encourage others by sound doctrine” is Your first direction for me.  Use me, Lord, to appeal to others through all means of teaching them to cling to Your Word and to grow in their knowledge of, obedience to, and sharing of that Truth that sets them free.  Keep me grounded in Your Word so that what I convey is sound and in line with Your will.  Use me to spur others on in applying Your Word to life.

REFUTE

Not every person I encounter will be a believer who needs a bit of encouragement to keep going and remain focused on You.  You’ve warned me and reality has shown me that there will be people who cross my path who will indeed oppose Your Word.

In other parts of Your Word You have conveyed how to point others to Your truth: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that You may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6) NIV).  “…in your hearts set apart 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” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).

By Your grace, You have acquainted me with Your Word, Father.  It’s by that same grace that I go forth each day, dependent on You, infused with Your Word, and focused on Your Son.  It’s not the “I” but the “You” in me that must go forth.  No matter how many times I fall down or blunder in my efforts to remain faithful, YOU are the One who pours Your Word into this humble vessel, so that other lives can be encouraged and guided toward Your Son, as You keep making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

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

“As you share God’s grace through a life lived in love… you become HIS hands, HIS feet, HIS voice.” — Shelley Breen in Steady On by Point of Grace, p. 100.

Next Set of Devo-Prayers: Titus

Through these Devo-Prayers, we stepped through the Gospels–the books of the Bible that tell the account of Jesus’ life on earth (Matthew, John, Mark, and Luke). We journeyed through Luke’s other work, the book of Acts, which gives a historical account of the birth of the Church, the Body of Christ.

Then, we began diving into the letters that Paul wrote to the saints, or believers/Christians, in various cities or regions.  Those included his letter to believers in Rome (Romans) and then his letters to the believers in Corinth (1st and 2nd Corinthians), the region of Galatia (Galatians), Ephesus (Ephesians), Philippi (Philippians), and Colosse (Colossians), the first letter Paul wrote to believers in Thessalonica (1st & 2nd Thessalonians). Next, we strolled through the two letters that Paul wrote to Timothy, a young preacher whom he mentored in the faith.

Next, we’ll go through the letter Paul wrote to Titus, whom Paul led to the faith.  Titus was a considerable help to Paul in his ministry, as a capable and resourceful leader.

Devo-Prayers ~ Praying through the Scriptures

Each posting contains a first-person prayer based on a particular chapter or passage from the Bible. The Bible passage reference is provided above the devotional prayer, so you can also refer to the scripture which inspired the prayer. Posts that are found via Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn usually provide an excerpt from the full post.

Follow Kat Kreations on

Facebook at facebook.com/artwritespeak

Twitter at twitter.com/katkreations82

Kat Scratchings blog at katkreations82.wordpress.com/

Visit the Kat Kreations website at www.katkreations.org

Philippians 4:10-23; Psalm 73:23-28

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

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

“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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Next Set of Devo-Prayers: Philippians

Through these Devo-Prayers, we stepped through the Gospels–the books of the Bible that tell the account of Jesus’ life on earth (Matthew, John, Mark, and Luke). We journeyed through Luke’s other work, the book of Acts, which gives a historical account of the birth of the Church, the Body of Christ.

Then, we began diving into the letters that Paul wrote to the saints, or believers/Christians, in various cities or regions.  Those included his letter to believers in Rome–the letter to the Romans and then his letters to the believers in Corinth or 1st and 2nd Corinthians as well as the letter he wrote to the believers in Ephesus (Ephesians), the letter to the believers in Colosse (Colossians), the first letter Paul wrote to believers in Thessalonica (1st & 2nd Thessalonians). Next, we strolled through the two letters that Paul wrote to Timothy, a young preacher whom he mentored in the faith.

Since, I finally found the files for Philippians, or Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, we’ll stroll through that letter next.

Devo-Prayers ~ Praying through the Scriptures

Each posting contains a first-person prayer based on a particular chapter or passage from the Bible. The Bible passage reference is provided above the devotional prayer, so you can also refer to the scripture which inspired the prayer. Posts that are found via Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn usually provide an excerpt from the full post.

Follow Kat Kreations on

Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/artwritespeak

Twitter at http://twitter.com/katkreations82

Kat Scratchings blog at https://katkreations82.wordpress.com/

Visit the Kat Kreations website at http://www.katkreations.org/

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.