Sunday, December 31, 2006

December 31st Daily Word and Visions from God

Luke 5.1-26-Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.
Ezekiel 48-From now on the name of the city will be YAHWEH-SHAMMAH: "GOD-IS-THERE."
Isaiah 66-But there is something I'm looking for: a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what I say.
Luke 2.41-52-Three days later they found Jesus sitting in the temple..."Why did you have to look for me? Didn't you know that I would be in my Father's house?"
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The focus for the year. The focus for life. The focus must be placed on the act of love in Christ Jesus. Love the encourages me to push out into deep water and let my nets down. Push out into deep water in faith and love and joy of all Jesus has done. Push out into deep water...GOD-IS-THERE. When the struggles of this year seem like mountains which cannot be passed, I need to know that in that deep water, God is there. God is there in a Savior, by my side, in the boat with me in the deep waters. God is there with me looking right at this plain and simple man. Will I respond to what he has to say? I will. I will also notice that in the deep waters, I can see Jesus after three days in his temple, in his Father's house showing me how to sit and listen and learn. In the deep waters of this past year, I focus on the cross and am overjoyed with the sustaining presence of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, even while I'm in the deep waters. Thanks be to God!
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Lord, I'm in deep waters now and need you more than ever. I'm listening and learning. Show me the way. ---amen

Saturday, December 30, 2006

December 30th Daily Word and Visions from God

Luke 4.31-44-But the crowds went looking and, when they found him, clung to him so he couldn't go on.
Ezekiel 46-47-But the river itself, on both banks, will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Their leaves won't wither, the fruit won't fail. Every month they'll bear fresh fruit because the river from the Sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.
Isaiah 65-Before they call out, I'll answer. Before they've finished speaking, I'll have heard.
Colossians 3.12-17-God love you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. Love is more important that anything else. It is what ties everything completely together.
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Notice Phoebe's eyes...focused on her master. Focused on the person who loves and cares for her. Focused in adoration. Notice how Phoebe pants for the one she longs for. Pants in praise and thanksgiving for all that has been done for her. There is always so much to learn from how a dog offers praise and thanksgiving. I think maybe God gave us dogs to teach us how we are to behave with Him. Sure the dog does some "wrong" things from time to time, but all the dogs I've had as pets have been loving and adoring and protective and faithful to me all the way to death. So maybe like Phoebe, when the crowds of Jesus time saw the healing and comfort and life he brought, they clung to him. I need to cling to Jesus. Jesus is my only hope. Not myself, nor rulers, nor money, nor power can save my soul from death and hell. Only Jesus can, and to him I will cling for healing from my sin. Then the river that flows from the Sanctuary in the Ezekiel passage. My favorite hymn "There in God's Garden" ---mentions a Tree of Life. It mentions that it's leaves are for healing. I think God wants me to be watered from this same water flowing from his Sanctuary. To even pant and beg like Phoebe would for a taste of this water so that I may bear fruit for him in his kingdom. And through the healing of the Life of Jesus bring some healing and love to someone God places in my path of life day after day. Like the looks of Phoebe as she pants for a taste of that water, I must pant and give thanks for the taste and experience of reliving my baptism with this same water day after day. Finally in all this, like Phoebe, I can realize the presence of Christ in my life. Knowing how God provides and cares for me, hears me and has an answer even before I call out. I know now how God loves me and wants the best for me...even in suffering and pain, God cares and loves...even in the joy and pleasure, God cares and loves. In response I can't help but to listen to my Master, to follow him, to obey him and to live the life he chooses for me. Living the gentle, loving, patient, forgiving life, I see that the real clothing my Master provides is all wrapped in a blanket of love. Love for him and all others. I pant for this Love, I beg for this Love, I look to this Love for Life. This Love, this Jesus, this Love my Master.
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Lord, you are my Master and King, my Love. To you I turn for all my needs. To you I respond with joy and thanksgiving. To you I respond with honor and praise. Lord, you alone are my Master. ---Amen

Friday, December 29, 2006

December 29th Daily Word and Visions from God

Luke 4.1-30-For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil.
Ezekiel 44-45- Son of man, get a grip on yourself. Use your eyes, use your ears, pay careful attention to everything I tell you about the ordinances of this Temple of GOD, the way all the laws work, instructions regarding it and all the entrances and exits of the Sanctuary.
Isaiah 64-No ear heard, no eye seen, a God like you who works for those who wait for him.
1 Samuel 2.18-20, 26-The boy Samuel served the LORD and wore a special linen garment and the clothes his mother made for him.
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One of those logs that burn brightly in a fire. Can be used to get a fire going and to keep some older wood burning. Could even be used as a fire starter. I think sometimes God tests me in the wilderness. Gets a fire burning in me. Gets things going in a test. Sets me to burning with a fire starter. I need to get a grip on myself during these times. I need to use my eyes and ears and focus and pay careful attention to everything God is telling me. Look at all the entrances and exits he provides to his Sanctuary. Wait on his time and be patient in God. Let God start the fire within my soul that makes me special for his service. Yep, sometimes I think God uses one of these logs to get me going and keep me burning with passion in his Love.
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Lord, start a fire in me and keep it burning for you. ---Amen

Thursday, December 28, 2006

December 28th Daily Word and Visions from God

Luke 3.21-38-When Jesus entered public life he was about thirty years old, the son (in public perception) of Joseph, who was-- son of...
Ezekiel 42-43-He measured the wall on all four sides. Each wall was eight hundred seventy-five feet. The walls separated the holy from the ordinary.
Isaiah 63- I'll make a list of GOD's gracious dealings, all the things GOD has done that need praising, all the generous bounties of GOD, his great goodness to the family of Israel--compassion lavished, love extravagant.
Matthew 2.13-18-After the wise men had gone, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "get up! Hurry and take the child and his mother to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is looking for the child and wants to kill him."
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A thermostat in my house. Measures the temperature of the room then decides to heat or cool depending on time of day and what I have it set to do. Life with God can be like this sometimes. God has a setting programmed. But this world takes turns that are unexpected. I make decisions that are just plain goofy sometimes. But the thermostat adjusts to what I do in life. God's settings are still the same, no matter what silly things I do. The settings are always constant like the walls of the temple. The walls that separated the holy from the ordinary. But through these constant measurements of the walls my changing world begins to reflect the constancy of God in my life. He is always there in all the changes I make. The Holy meets the ordinary. When evil, like the threat of Herod, changes in my world, the constant settings of God's direction still adjusts to my changing world and leads to safety and salvation through Christ. Christ who came to experience the constantly changing temperature of this world and show us God's constant setting of love. The results of God's settings in my constant temperature changing world are evident in all the blessings that I can name that God has granted me. Even when I don't deserve blessing. So for the blessings I reflect upon over this past year of change and growth and love and life I give God all the praise and glory!
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Lord, I change---make my change for good and bring me back to the temperature you want me to be when I get off track. ---Amen

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

December 27th Daily Word and Visions from God

Luke 3.1-20-The main character in this drama, to whom I'm a mere stagehand, will ignite kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He's going to clean house--make a clean sweep of your lives. He'll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he'll put out with the trash to be burned.
Ezekiel 40-41-He measured the Temple...
Isaiah 62-Walk out the gates. Get going!
John 21.20-25-Jesus did many other things. If they were all written in books, I don't suppose there would be room enough in the whole world for all the books.
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Whew! What a mess! I work around the house. I do odd jobs for others. But I'm not so great on the clean-up after the job with my tools. I tend to just dump them back in the shop. Then once or twice a year the clutter is so bad, I have to clean it up. I have to reorganize it all so I can find what I need when I need it. This is a bad and poor working habit that needs to change. Sometimes my life is like this too. I need change from the inside out. I need to clean house. Clean my spiritual life. A clean sweep putting everything in its proper place. Get my priorities straight in eternity. Put first those things that matter eternally. Let the other things follow or serve what matters in eternity. Then walk out the gates and get going. Doing the thing Jesus would have me do. Those written in his Word and those he directs that couldn't even be contained in his Word. Measure my activities to what God wants and calls me to do, not using my own measurement system. That's when the clutter in my life will straighten out. That's when God will straighten and clean me up...from the inside out. OK---I'm ready Lord. Let's get to this job!
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Lord, straighten and clean me up. ---Amen

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

December 26th Daily Word and Visions from God

Luke 2.21-52-With my won eyes I've seen your salvation; it's now out in the open for everyone to see: A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations, and of glory for your people Israel.
Ezekiel 38-39-But now I will return Jacob back from exile, I'll be compassionate with all the people of Israel, and I'll be zealous for my holy name. Eventually the memory will fade, the memory of their shame over their betrayals of me when they lived securely in their own land, safe and unafraid.
Isaiah 61-I will sing for joy in GOD, explode praise from deep in my soul!
Acts 6.8-7.2a, 51-60-Friends, listen to me.
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This is Phoebe. The gifts have been given and opened. We gave the dogs a toy that has food in it. You can put a treat or peanut butter inside the toy. They stay occupied, intent on getting all the taste out of the center of the toy. While the dogs were busy the rest of us gave gifts to one another. Gifts not only of material things, but gifts more so of thought and love to one another. Gifts of thought and love. Time spent thinking of the other person. Time spent searching for that gift of thought and love. Not just buying something but thinking of the other person. I think God thought of me when he gave the gift of his Son as a little baby. A baby into my world to see how it is with me. A baby that lived and died for me. A baby that came into my life to save me from sin and death. A baby to live with me. A baby born to me this day. In this gift I have seen salvation. I see the light of all nations. I see the light of all people. I see the thought and love of my Savior in the greatest gift of all and to all. A gift that returns me from the exile of my sin to be with God's people and to dwell with that baby through all time. A gift that rescues me from the betrayals and sins I have committed. A gift that causes my soul to explode in joy and thanksgiving to God. A gift the brings forth praise from deep in my soul. And yes a gift that like Steven, I am willing to proclaim to all the world in all places and in all situations. A gift of a baby. A gift of life and salvation. The only gift I'll ever really need. Thanks be to God! Friends listen to me! Like the gift given to Phoebe. It's what's in the center of the toy that counts. My Savior Jesus Christ is the center of this day of gifts! Look in the center! You'll find Love, Life, and Salvation in the center, lying in a manger. See with you own eyes, he's right there, out in the open. Thanks be to God!
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Jesus, my Lord, my baby, my Savior---Thanks! ---Thanks more than I can express! ---You are God! ---Amen

Monday, December 25, 2006

December 25th Daily Word and Visions from God

Luke 2.1-20-The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!
Ezekiel 37-I'll breathe my life into you and you'll live.
Isaiah 60-GOD's bright glory has risen for you.
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Our Christmas Tree in the pre-dawn light. Prepared and waiting the giving of simple gifts. Gifts that each one was prayed over and about. Prayers asking for the gift to reflect in some way the glory of God to the special person receiving it. Simple lights reflecting in a small way the glory of Light sent into this dark world to save us all from our sin. A tree to show life eternal, pointing towards the glory of heaven above. A star shining light down onto this earth. All showing a spreading downward effect. Just as God sent his Son down to earth, I give thanks to that Son that he would walk with me in my darkness and bless me with love and life. The Word made flesh to dwell among us even in the dark of pre-dawn light. God with us! Glory! Thanks be to God!
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Jesus, today I cry loudly with you, with new life. New life only you can give. I cry with the deep breath of your Spirit. Glory to God in the highest! ---Amen

Sunday, December 24, 2006

December 24th Daily Word and Visions from God

Luke 1.57-80-And you, my child, "Prophet of the Highest," will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways, present the offer of salvation to his people, the forgiveness of their sins.
Ezekiel 35-36-My people are coming home! Do you see? I'm back again. I'm on your side.
Isaiah 59-For he'll arrive like a river in flood stage, whipped to a torrent by the wind of GOD.
Isaiah 9.2-7-His names will be Wonderful Advisor and Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace. His power will never end; peace will last forever.
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Come Lord Jesus come! The door to my home. Prepared to welcome the King of Kings. Prepared and ready. Prepared and waiting for his arrival. Come Lord Jesus come! I announce to this world and to all gathered in this home and outside of this home of my Master who is present to offer salvation to all people and forgiveness of sins. Come Lord Jesus come! I prepare for your advent here in my dark world. Come Lord Jesus come! I welcome you who, on my side, chose to descend into my dark world with forgiveness, love, joy and salvation. Come Lord Jesus come! I prepare for your advent here even as a strong river in flood stage, whipped to a torrent by the Spirit of God. Come Lord Jesus come! Come my Wonderful Advisor and Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace. Come Lord Jesus come! Come with your never ending power and peace. Come Lord Jesus come! My heart and home are ready for your advent here. Come Lord Jesus come!
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Lord it's time. It's always time. I'm ready. I'm here awaiting your arrival. Opening my heart. Opening my life. Opening my home. Come Lord Jesus come! ---Amen

Saturday, December 23, 2006

December 23rd Daily Word and Visions from God

Luke 1.26-56- Good morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty, beautiful inside and out!
Ezekiel 34-I'm going looking for them. As shepherds go after their flocks when they get scattered, I'm going after my sheep. I'll rescue them from all the places they've been scattered to in the storms.
Isaiah 58-What I'm interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once.
Titus 2.11-14-He wanted us to be his own people and to be eager to do right.
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The garage door opener quit working the other day. So I took it apart. Looked inside. Discovered a plastic gear that had sheared. Why did it shear? Age? Something else! While looking the remainder of the system over, the rails and all other associated hardware; I discovered some loose screws on the door. But I don't think that would cause the door to bind. What might make it bind? I had noticed over the past couple of weeks a peculiar shimmy the door would make while opening. Hm mm...then I saw it. The rail was slightly out of its bracket. A pin had moved out of place causing the rail to shimmy. The cotter pin that held the main pin in place had broken away and was gone. After tightening everything down and putting the main pin in place secure with a cotter pin I ordered the plastic gear over the Internet. So I wait. Wait for the part. Then the assembly. Then the test. I am spoiled with this garage door opener. First thing every morning I use it to go out into the world. Simply push a button and God's new, fresh world and life begins anew for me each day. And as I go; I take my God with me. Kind of like Mary. God comes to each one of us. Comes to us personally. We carry him deep within ourselves. Like Mary. And the angel Gabriel told Mary this and pointed out how the advent of Christ in our lives is both corporate, with the church, and personal, in your daily life. Yea, each morning with "God-with-us" we are beautiful. Inside and out. But as the day wears on. After I've opened that garage door and continued on my way---I stray. I may move away from God. And like a shepherd, God chases me down. Brings me back to him. Back home at the end of the day, when I open that garage door once again. Reflect on the day past and realize his presence. Realize the presence and advent of God, moment by moment. Moments when I felt close to God and moments when I sinned. I reflect and plead forgiveness. But God wants me to be his own. He forgives and shows me how he wants me to act tomorrow. Shows me how to love those I meet. And sends me out once again with instruction and beauty to open that garage door to his kingdom. Day after day. Thanks be to God! I'll serve and love him and you in his kingdom day after day. But first, I need to raise this garage door... by hand for now.
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Jesus, I give you thanks for the beauty you have brought to this world. Beauty in our churches and beauty to my heart and beauty in the ways I see you in others. You are God and your advent is glorious! ---Amen

Friday, December 22, 2006

December 22nd Daily Word and Visions from God

Luke 1.1-25-Every word I've spoken to you will come true on time--God's time.
Ezekiel 33-As sure as I am the living God, I take no pleasure from the death of the wicked. I want the wicked to change their ways and live. Turn your life around! Reverse your evil ways!
Isaiah 57-I live in the high and holy places, but also with the low-spirited, the spirit-crushed, and what I do is put new spirit in them, get them up and on their feet again.
Luke 1.39-55-He always shows mercy to everyone who worships him.
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A clean furnace filter. Still in the package. No dirt present yet. White still. But once it is put into place it will begin to filter dirt from the air. No, it won't get it all. But it will take dirt out of the air that most of us don't even know exists. There is dirt in the air all around us. Even after it is filtered there is still dirt in the air. God's Word made flesh was placed among this dirty world. He did some filtering. He spoke-he acted. Jesus' every Word was true and on time--God's time. Jesus filters the dirt of this world and the dirt in my life but doesn't leave a speck of dirt behind. Jesus filters all my sin and filters me out clean. God takes no pleasure in death. He sent his Son to turn death into life. God wants things turned around. Especially my sinful life. I turn around not because I think by turning around I will become acceptable to God---I turn around because through Jesus' act of filtering the sin out of my life I am free to turn around and do what God wants me to do for him out of love and praise for what he has already done for me. I turn around because of Jesus' act of filtering sin from my life with his death and resurrection. I turn around in awesome wonder of the advent of Jesus in my life in praise and honor to him. I turn around to my Savior, filtered and clean through him. Jesus lived and lives in a high place with God but in his advent and coming to this dirty world he demonstrated endless love to the low-spirited. He comes! He lives! He saves! He filters out the sin of this world and gives his life to remove it from ours. Thanks be to God!
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Come Lord Jesus - Come! ---Amen

Thursday, December 21, 2006

December 21st Daily Word and Visions from God

Colossians 3.18-4.18-Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.
Ezekiel 31-32-Their graves are in the deepest part of the underworld, a congregation of graves, all killed in battle, people who terrorized the land of the living.
Isaiah 56-For salvation is just around the corner, my setting-things-right is about to go into action.
Hebrews 10.5-10-So we are made holy because Christ obeyed God and offered himself once for all.
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A cup of coffee. First thing each morning. Shared with my morning prayer and devotions. It opens my eyes as does God's Word. Each morning God opens my eyes. Shows me his will and his way for me in my life. I pray. I am alert at the beginning of the day, eyes wide open in gratitude. Eyes wide open to the traps and tricks of sin. Eyes wide open to the deception of the evil foe. Eyes wide open to the gifts God gives. Eyes wide open to the action God wishes for me to take each and every day. Eyes wide open to those past and present who have lived with God. Eyes wide open to his Word made flesh. Eyes wide open for salvation around the corner and the setting-things-right about to go in action. Eyes wide open to a God active in my world and my life. Eyes wide open to the holiness and sacrifice of Christ who offered himself once for all and once for me and my sin. Eyes wide open to my own holiness through Christ. First thing each morning. Prayer and devotion and eyes wide open. Thanks be to God!
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Father, my eyes are wide open thanks to the Word made flesh. Send me into your Kingdom nourished and ready to go. ---Amen

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

December 20th Daily Word and Visions from God

Colossians 2.20-3.17-From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other...And sing, sing you hearts out to God!
Ezekiel 29-30-There's no way he'll ever swing a sword again.
Isaiah 55-Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water!
Micah 5.2-5a-His people will live securely, and the whole earth will know his true greatness, because he will bring peace.
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Caroling to the sick, elderly and shut-in. A time to bring great news to people of this earth. News of a Savior. I love to go caroling. I feel the Spirit moving in and through me. I see the effects of the Spirit in the faces and emotions of other carolers and of those we sing to. I get choked up with powerful words of praise. I get tears in my eyes seeing God's Love all around. We are called and chosen to rejoice in what God has done. We are called and chosen to live in compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, even discipline, forgiving hearts and the love of Christ. We can only do this with the help and grace of God. Called and sent to sing our hearts out to God and to one another about our God and Savior. Called and chosen to live a different and changed life. One that takes no pride in revenge or ever swings the sword again. Called to live with Christ who came to defeat the Evil One and take his sword away--never to swing again. Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water! Come to your baptism and live with Christ. Live securely and know true greatness because he brings peace. Peace on Earth and good will toward all people. Called and chosen to sing and praise God to one and all. Even on a cold night in December. Even in the homes of those we love. Sing even to those who we don't know but know God loves. Sing! Sing! Sing!
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Lord, I sing of your love today, tomorrow and forever! ---Amen

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

December 19th Daily Word and Visions From God

Colossians 1.24-2.19-I'm a long way off, true, and you may never lay eyes on me, but believe me, I'm on your side, right beside you.
Ezekiel 27-28- And they'll realize that I am GOD.
Isaiah 54-Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel, known as God of the whole earth.
Luke 1.47-55-With all my heart I praise the Lord, and I am glad because of God my Savior.
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A map of the world. It shows the root of the Amateur Call Sign process. This way if you receive a call and the person gives their call sign, you can look on the map and discover their origin. The country or area that they received their call sign from. Sometimes you talk to people who may be a long way off. People you will never see. But it feels like you are at their side. Paul must have felt this way when he sent letters to the churches. The letter carrier was like his Ham Radio. A message delivered. A message telling of a God that we must come to realize is the one and only God through the Spirit and through Jesus our Savior and Redeemer of the whole earth. A Message that once realized brings forth the mighty response like that of Mary---A Message of joy and gladness and praise. God loves each one of us so much that he was willing to become flesh and live and die for each one of us---no matter what your call sign may be. Thanks be to God!
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Lord, I am overjoyed with praise and thanksgiving for the Word made flesh. ---Amen

Monday, December 18, 2006

December 18th Daily Word and Visions from God

Colossians 1.1-23-There is no other Message--just this one.
Ezekiel 25-26- There'll be nothing left of you. And you'll realize that I am GOD.
Isaiah 53-But is was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him--our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.
Psalm 80.1-7-Our God, make us strong again! Smile on us and save us.
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A printer. Copies text and prints out original text. Prints words or perhaps pictures. Produces a replica of thoughts and emotions. In God there is only one Message. That Message came through the Word and that Word was made flesh and given to us in Jesus incarnation. I must realize the importance of this. I must realize God. I must be less and God must be more. If not then I sin. I sin yet he still redeems me from my sin. For it was for my sin that Jesus was ripped, torn and crushed and yes, killed for me. My sin bruised him. But through his bruises, I am healed. Oh, without a doubt Jesus is God! And my God makes me strong again. My God has smiled on me and saved me. Saved us all. Do you believe?
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Yes Lord, I believe! I believe! Thanks be to God! ---Amen

Sunday, December 17, 2006

December 17th Daily Word and Visions from God

December 17th Daily Word and Visions from God






Philippians 4-I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me.
Ezekiel 24-And they’ll recognize that I am GOD.
Isaiah 52-Wake up, wake up!
Luke 3.7-18-But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to untie his sandals.
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Phoebe and Abraham after a full day of running and play. All pooped out. Resting in comfort and joy. God brings rest to me when I need it. After a day of play with him in his Kingdom, God gives the joyful rest I need. Like Paul in Philippians, I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess. After working in God’s Kingdom and seeing his presence all day long revealed, I recognize that he is God. I recognize his love for all people. I recognize his grace. Then rest. Joyful rest. But at some point it’s time to wake up! Wake up again refreshed and ready to continue the work that God has planned for me in his life with me. Wake up and move into the day once again with someone more powerful than me. Someone who has come to me and this world. Someone whose sandals I am not even good enough to untie. Someone who has blessed me with his presence. Wake up! Christ has come. His advent is here! Wake up!
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Lord, you have come---I’m awake---Let’s play! ---Amen

Saturday, December 16, 2006

December 16th Daily Word and Visions from God

Philippians 3-Yes, all things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant--dog dung.
Ezekiel 23-"Therefore GOD, the Master, says, Because you've forgotten all about me, pushing me into the background, you now must pay for what you've done--pay for your sluttish sex and whoring life."
Isaiah 51-My deliverance arrives on the run, my salvation right on time...But my salvation will last forever, my setting-things-right will never be obsolete.
Philippians 4.4-7-Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: Be glad.
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I may have posted a picture like this in the past. One of my hobbies is collecting old GE ads from visits to a booth at the Ohio State Fair. Ads that show items of a time past. I time that seems today to have been simpler. But it probably was just as complicated as it is today just in it's own way. Sometimes the things we think are so important really aren't all that important. Sometimes I think that I must have certain things to get by. But really all I need to get by comes in a privilege that God graciously gives. The knowledge and love of Christ in my life--everything else in perspective to this becomes dog poo. I sin when I push God to the background and indulge in things I think I need. Material things, emotional things even sexual things. And from all this I must turn and run to Christ. The funny thing is when I turn to run to Christ, I find he was always right there with me. I immediately bump into him the moment I turn to run towards him. I think I'm hiding at times and far away. Sometimes it seems I have distanced myself but the moment I turn---there he is! My deliverance arrives on the run, my salvation right on time. The moment I think it is all in my action---in my turning---I discover it isn't---it was in Christ's action of coming to me and staying right there by my side. It wasn't about my turning but about Christ's coming and staying. Christ's advent. In this always be glad because of the Lord. I will say it again---be glad. I will sing it over and over---be glad because of the Lord. That theme I will preach all my life. Be glad because of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
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Lord, I look to your advent. I look to your coming. I look to your arrival. I look to you and am eternally glad! You are here! ---Amen

Friday, December 15, 2006

December 15th Daily Word and Visions from God

Philippians 2.12-30-That energy is God's energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
Ezekiel 21-22- I'm pulling my sword from its sheath and killing both the wicked and the righteous.
Isaiah 50-Do you think I've forgotten how to help?
Zephaniah 3.14-20-Zion, your punishment is over. The LORD has forced your enemies to turn and retreat.
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Another poor dark picture. This is a picture of a Christmas Concert that Stephanie played for at Middletown High School. The stage was decorated and lights were shining. But beyond the picture was the joy of the music. Moving my spirit to rejoice in our Savior's birth. Darkness contrasted with Light. Light shining into this dark world and the beauty of music drifting through the air like Jesus drifted to earth those years ago. God's energy deep within me. God himself working his message through Light and Sound. An offering to God to give him pleasure. Pleasure we need to offer. I know I fail. I know I sin. I know that God would be justified in pulling his sword out and killing me. I also see and hear of a God who hasn't forgotten me. A God that is willing to come to this filthy earth and save me from myself. A God who promises that my punishment is over and my enemies will be forced to retreat. That same God who come this evening in Light and Sound. That same Savior who came years ago to fulfill a promise. That same God who comes deep within my soul this evening as I fall in love with him. Thanks be to the Light and Sound of my Savior!
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Lord, through Light and Sound you come. Come Lord Jesus come. Come quickly. ---Amen

Thursday, December 14, 2006

December 14th Daily Word and Visions from God

Philippians 2.1-11-Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Ezekiel 20-I'll not put up with questions from you.
Isaiah 49-Then everyone will know that I, GOD, have saved you--I, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Isaiah 12.2-6-I trust you to save me, LORD God, and I won't be afraid.
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There's something about this nest and this tree and the backdrop of a clear blue sky. A nest perhaps abandoned of birds. A summer home. One time hidden and nestled in the tree. But now with the leaves missing open and in the elements of winter. Then the backdrop of blue sky. Endless blue sky of hope. Blue of Hope for a new beginning. In all this I can see Christ. The hope I have in him even when the winter winds seem harsh and the home deserted. Christ is present in and all around the home. All questions are already answered in this Hope of Christ. In the Hope of Salvation I can know the God has saved all people. I can endure the winter surrounded by this eternal blue sky of Hope in Christ. I can trust God to save me and not be afraid. In this hope, I can forget myself, knowing God has already taken care of all my needs and go out lending a helping hand. And soon, very soon, I will be wrapped again in the warmth of the green leaves of life surrounding me in that everlasting home with Christ. Soon and very soon. I live in hope and faith.
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Jesus, I look to your return- I look to your advent in my life- I look to your presence in my home- now and forever. ---Amen

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

December 13th Daily Word and Visions from God

Philippians 1.12-30-Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ.
Ezekiel 19-He learned to hunt.
Isaiah 48-If you had listened all along to what I told you, your life would have flowed full like a river, blessings rolling in like waves from the sea.
Isaiah 5.18-25-You are in for trouble!
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The inside of a dishwasher. Pretty much empty at this time. Just a few dishes loaded. As dishes are dirtied they get loaded then cleaned with soap and hot water. Renewed once again to return to service. My life in God is a continual cleansing. I get dirty, I'm washed and returned to service to offer the food of God to the world. As I work in his Kingdom spreading the food of God I give credit to the Message of Christ grace and love. I feed those who have hunted and serve the Word made flesh. Then return to be cleansed. Return to listen again and again and offer over and over the Message each and every day. If I didn't. If I decided to offer something other than the Message I would be in for trouble. I would fail. So I return day after day for cleansing and washing and renewal.
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Father, clean me---wash me---send me---Amen

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

December 12th Daily Word and Visions from God

Philippians 1.1-11-Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!
Ezekiel 18-Make a clean break! Live!
Isaiah 47-They reel, confused, bumping into one another.
Isaiah 5.8-17-But the holy LORD God All-Powerful is praised, because he has shown who he is by bringing justice.
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A sports center for youth. Active youth playing basketball and soccer. Running, playing, practicing, learning cooperation, competition and sport. A place to gather and have recreation one with another. I need this recreation in God too. I need to feel strong in God. I need to learn Christ's compassion and love and share those emotions with others. There are others that I feel as strongly about. But I think Christ has that ultimate compassion and love that I continually practice at. I see my teacher and coach and attempt to learn what he teaches. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes in my practice I get confused and reel and bump into others trying to learn that compassion and love of Christ. But he picks me up again, maybe even yells at me and sends me back into the game to try it all again. Christ cheers me on to break clean of sin and live! And it is in this practice and recreation that I see a wonderful coach and All-Powerful Savior to be praised for bringing gracious justice to a sinful world. I'm ready coach! Put me in!
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Lord, I confess failure but ask you to pick me up and put me back in the game. ---Amen

Monday, December 11, 2006

December 11th Daily Word and Visions from God

Ephesians 6-Keep each other's sprits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Ezekiel 17-Birds of every sort and kind will live under it. They'll build nests in the shade of its branches.
Isaiah 46- I'm putting salvation to work in Zion now, and glory in Israel.
Isaiah 5.1-7-I am the LORD All-Powerful!
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Birds in a wreath. Clothed birds at that. Singing to each other. Perhaps the birds are singing praises too. Keeping each other's spirits up during Christmas season. But birds really don't need clothes to wear. God takes care of creation and provides for all we need. If birds did need clothes, I'm sure God would provide for them. When Christmas season comes around, I have to ponder how God has taken care of all my needs. God blesses me and I can stop and reflect on all these blessings. Give thanks to God for putting salvation to work through his entry into my world as human flesh. A God so loving and caring that he wants to experience what I experience and save me from sin, death and the devil. God All-Powerful, blessing me with all my needs in life. I feel like chirping out a few praises.
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Lord, thank you for all the blessings you have given-send your Son into my heart and life this day I pray. ---Amen

Sunday, December 10, 2006

December 10th Daily Word and Visions from God

Ephesians 5.21-33-Christ's love makes the church whole.
Ezekiel 16-I'll remember the covenant I made with you when you were young and I'll make a new covenant with you that will last forever...I'll firmly establish my covenant with you and you'll know that I am GOD. You'll remember your past life and face the shame of it, but when I make atonement for you, make everything right after all you've done, it will leave you speechless.
Isaiah 45-So turn to me and be helped--saved!-- everyone, whoever and wherever you are. I am GOD, the only God there is, the one and only.
Luke 3.1-6-Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven.
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Advent wreath of candles. Preparation for the coming of Christ. Coming not only in the celebration of Christmas, his birth, but coming to each one of us individually and to all of his people corporately. Christ will come again! He will remember the covenant, both the old and the new and will smooth out all of sin, death and defeat the devil and all his empty promises. Oh, in His coming, what a reason to turn to Christ for the help I need and be saved. Everyone, whoever and wherever you are; realize that God is God, the one and only. And turn back to God and be baptized and have your sin forgiven. Hurry up! He's coming after all. Stop wasting time! Only Christ's love can make you whole.
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Jesus, you were, you are, and you are to come. Come quickly! ---Amen

Saturday, December 09, 2006

December 9th Daily Word and Visions from God

Ephesians 5.1-20-Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loves us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Ezekiel 14-15-Therefore, say to the house of Israel: 'GOD, the Master, says, Repent!'
Isaiah 44-GOD, King of Israel, your Redeemer, GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies, says: "I'm first, I'm last, and everything in between. I'm the only God there is."
Philippians 1.3-11-Every time I think of you, I thank my God. And whenever I mention you in my prayers, it makes me happy. This is because you have taken part with me in spreading the good news from the first day you heard about it...I pray that your love will keep on growing and that you will fully know and understand how to make the right choices. Then you will still be pure and innocent when Christ returns.
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This is Sally, Sarah's turtle. Turtles live a really long time it seems. But here life isn't much. She is well fed and just hangs out in this aquarium. Resting in the fall of water. Sunning on a summer day from time to time in a kiddy pool. But Sally mostly lives in a flow of water day after day. I'm like Sally in some ways. I live in a flow of God's baptismal water day after day. God is continually washing me with his love day after day. Giving me all I need to live on and with. But the greatest gift in the water is the Love he gives. I can see from the life of Christ true love. A Love God wants me to give to others in my world day after day. A love that brings joy in remembering others who are working and serving and playing with me in this water filled Kingdom of God. I can see in the Life of Jesus how we wants me to live. But I fail and each day I turn back to God. Repent of my sin and am re-washed with his Love once again. Sent out to turn from sin and see God's Life and Love once again and freely give that Love to the world I live in. Day after day make God first and realize that he is God and depend on him for all Life and Love.
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Lord, I repent and will try to do better. Please send me into your Kingdom this day to spread your Love. ---Amen

Friday, December 08, 2006

December 8th Daily Word and Visions from God

Ephesians 4.17-32-Say only what helps, each word a gift.
Ezekiel 12-13- And you'll realize that I am GOD.
Isaiah 43-I paid a huge price for you...I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.
Malachi 3.1-4-On the day the Lord comes, he will be like a furnace that purifies silver or like strong soap in a washbasin.
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Sarah after working. She stopped by the house as we dog-sat Abe for her. Trying to help through watching Abe so he didn't have to be caged all day. Sometimes I need to cage my words. Think about what I say before I say it so the each word helps and is given as a gift. In being careful with my words, I bring importance to the Word and realize that this Word is God. The Word made flesh that paid a huge price for me. Paid the price of selling himself off just for me and for you. Paid the price so that I would be refined in the fire of my dross. Washed with the strong soap and cleaned from my sin. Cage my words and look and listen to the freeing power of the Word. Thanks be to God!
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Lord, Word made Flesh---all glory and honor and praise belongs to you! ---Amen

Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7th Daily Word and Visions from God

Ephesians 4.1-16-You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly.
Ezekiel 10-11-I'll give you a new heart. I'll put a new spirit in you. I'll cut out your stone heart and replace it with a red-blooded, firm-muscled heart.
Isaiah 42-Take a good look at my servant. I'm backing him to the hilt. He's the one I chose, and I couldn't be more pleased with him.
Luke 1.68-79-On us who live in the dark shadow of death this light will shine to guide us into a life of peace.
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This is another Phoebe, my in-laws dog. She is a good dog. Greets you with love whenever you visit. Surrounded by a toy, some slippers and some paper. What more could you want as a dog in life. Maybe a little love from the Master which she gets plenty of. She is a companion too. One to walk the same road of life we walk through. One to support and be there. God is like this with me too. Walks in life with me supporting and guiding me with his Light. God even provides for all I need. Gives me a new heart when I stray into sin and sends me Jesus as a servant and Savior. I must see all these examples and live my life in joyous response with others in the love God has shown me through Jesus. Walk the same road with me and the Light.
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Lord, let your Light guide and shine through this day. ---Amen

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December 6th Daily Word and Visions from God

Ephesians 3-Glory down all the generations!
Ezekiel 8-9-Just then, the man dressed in linen and carrying the writing case came back and reported, "I've done what you told me."
Isaiah 41-I'm telling you, 'Don't panic. I'm right here to help you.'
Isaiah 1.21-31-Your silver is fake, and your wine is watered down.
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Tradition. Sadie started this tradition. Sitting on the steps. Phoebe picked it up and then Abe. Sit on the steps and reign and rule the entry to our home. Protect the people within the home from outsiders. Greet guests. I need to watch the entrance to my home also. Send down a tradition of welcome to my Savior when he arrives to the front door of my life. Welcome him with praise. Proclaim his glory to all the world. I need to do what my Savior tells me to do when he arrives into my Temple of Life. I know that he is with me all life long to help me. I don't need to panic. Don't need to act fake or watered down but be open and honest when he arrives at my front door. And invite him into my home or possibly leave my home to walk with him in his Kingdom. Tradition passed down from the entrance of my heart to the entrance of yours.
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Jesus, I welcome you this day. Lead and guide me through this day in faith and love for you. ---Amen

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

December 5th Daily Word and Visions from God

Ephesians 2-No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
Ezekiel 6-7- GOD's Word came to me...
Isaiah 40-GOD doesn't come and go. God lasts.
Isaiah 1.10-20-Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool.
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A picture of Jesus laughing. It's right beside the door that leads in and out of my home. It reminds me of a Savior who has changed my life. A Savior who invites me to play in joy in his Kingdom day after day. A Savior who saves me from my sin. Saves me with his own scarlet red blood and washes me clean from my sin whiter than snow or wool. A Savior who finds joy in saving me. A Savior who comes to me in the Word each day and throughout the day. A Savior who doesn't come and go, but is with all my "ins" and "outs" all day long. A Savior that lasts forever. A picture of Jesus laughing that brings joy to me. Thanks be to God!
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Savior, I rejoice in you laughing. I love you too! ---Amen

Monday, December 04, 2006

December 4th Daily Word and Visions from God

Ephesians 1-It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.
Ezekiel 4-5- When I finish my angry punishment and searing rebukes, you'll be reduced to and object of ridicule and mockery, turned into a horror story circulating among the surrounding nations.
Psalm 150-Let every living, breathing creature praise GOD! Hallelujah!
Isaiah 1.1-9-The LORD has said, "Listen, heaven and earth!"
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I have a hard time keeping still to take night pictures. But the effect is just as good here. What drew me to these lights was the mixture of color. The combination of color drew my eye. When I ponder what I am living for and how my life blends with this world I see some meaning in the blur and mixture of color. The Light of Christ is blurred and colored when it shines through me and combines with the light he shines through others. And even though the light that comes through is not a perfect light the combination of blur and color mixed by God become a source of beauty in themselves. That may be what we live for. To combine the Light of Christ with others doing the same. Even through my sin, God cleanses each one of us in a unique way and the light continues to shine through. So every living creature shall praise God. In my blurred light and color I will listen to God and reflect his light in the way he gives me. Thanks be to God!
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Lord, let your light filter through me this day to show your love to all the world. ---Amen

Sunday, December 03, 2006

December 3rd Daily Word and Visions from God

Galatians 6-Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out.
Ezekiel 2-3-"Son of man, eat what you see. Eat this book. Then go and speak to the family of Israel."
Psalm 149-Hallelujah! Sing to GOD a brand-new song, praise him in the company of all who love him.
Luke 21.25-36-Then the Son of Man will be seen, coming in a cloud with great power and glory.
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Every other Saturday night we have what I call a "pill party"---time to stock up a couple weeks of those daily pill boxes with morning and evening pills. We usually have this at the same time we share prayer and devotions together. Some Bible-some coffee-a snack and a bunch of pills. All items that take care of body and soul. All items to help restore body and soul. When I sin, my soul needs restoration. When another sins against me, I need to forgive just as much as I may need forgiven too. I need to watch my critical comments. They always tend to slip right out. Then guess who needs forgiveness too! I can tend to be very sarcastic and insulting. I must watch my tongue and use it to honor God. Honor God with a new song ---not use my tongue to hurt another with sarcasm. So I work on all that. Usually more than work on it---I struggle with all that. But at some point I need God to help and guide me and forgive me. So I turn to that Bible and eat the Word. Pills for the body and the Word for my soul. And someday---someday---all will be fulfilled in the coming of Christ on the clouds---what a glorious "pill party" that will be! All part of the "pill party" this evening. One thing about the image above---don't ask me how the pink bra got in the picture---it's not mine!---I think it needs to be put away!
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Lord, I give you thanks and praise that you give me "daily bread" ---you provide for body and soul. ---Amen

Saturday, December 02, 2006

December 2nd Daily Word and Visions from God

Galatians 5.16-26-But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard--things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Ezekiel 1-Brightness everywhere! The way a rainbow springs out of the sky on a rainy day--that's what it was like, It turned out to be the Glory of GOD! When I saw all this, I fell to my knees, my face to the ground. then I heard a voice.
Psalm 148-Let them praise the name of GOD--it's the only Name worth praising. His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky; he's built a monument--his very own people!
1 Thessalonians 3.9-13-May the Lord make your love for each other and for everyone else grow by leaps and bounds.
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I attended a service last night of Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas at Weaver Chapel-Wittenberg University. Much about this chapel strikes me. As I reflect on this somewhat blurry picture of the chapel steeple, I can't help but wonder if the light source really isn't reversed here. Rather than that actuality of light being broadcast upwards it appears to begin at a single point in the sky and illuminate downwards, spreading light as it proceeds to the earth. Then thinking of the Advent season I think, that the light of Christ did, just this evening, originate from above and proceed to earth, spreading throughout the congregation as we lit candles one by one. God sent his Light into this dark world to illuminate it with his Love and Life. And we in turn light the world with his Light through actions of love, affection and compassion for others, exuberance of Life, and a holy Light that permeates all people and things. The Light spreads brightness everywhere in this dark world and illuminates this world with hope making our love for each other and everyone grow by leaps and bounds. Oh how when I see that single point of Light spreading downward into this chapel do I want to fall on my knees, my face to the ground and praise the Glory of the Lord. Thanks be to God for that single point of Light he sent so brightly into my world this evening and forever! And may the point of Light spread from, through and all around me to all the world.
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Lord, you are Light, Love and Life---I praise and honor your glory. Use me this day to spread your Light. ---Amen

Friday, December 01, 2006

December 1st Daily Word and Visions from God

Galatians 5.1-15-Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows.
Lamentations 5-Woe! Woe! Would that we'd never sinned!
Psalm 147-Our Lord is great, with limitless strength; we'll never comprehend what he knows and does.
Jeremiah 33.14-16-I promise that the time will come when I will appoint a king from the family of David, a king who will be honest and rule with justice.
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Earlier in the year this picture would have displayed some bright red berries and green leaves but in the winter it is old leaves and bare twigs. Yet there is still a stark beauty in this. Light easily moves in, around and through. You can see deep into the soul of the plant. A view hidden in the fall and summer. Sometimes I think God works with me this way too. Strips me bare and looks deep into my soul. And plants his love deep within. A love that is meant to blossom and flourish in the spring and summer to be spread to the world around. In my sin I am stripped bare also. I pay for my sin and wish it had never happened. But God takes that sin from me while I'm naked and plants his love deep within with a promise that a King will rule once again. I'll never comprehend what God knows and does but I will trust him and place all my hope and faith in him.
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Lord, as I stand bare before you today- plant your love and salvation deep within my soul. ---Amen

Thursday, November 30, 2006

November 30th Daily Word and Visions from God

Galatians 4.21-31-We are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
Lamentations 3-4-Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face.
Psalm 146-...put your hope in GOD and know real blessing!
John 1.35-42-Jesus replied, "Come and see!"
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Stephanie blowing a bubble. Everyone does this, I think. We test the limits. See how big we can get the bubble to go....then....pop! I stretch the limits of sin too. I try to see how far I can go...then pop! I can't run from the trouble of my sin though. I have to take it full-face. Confess my sin and seek forgiveness. Put my hope in God for his forgiveness. Turn from my sinful ways to Jesus my Savior and try to do better. And I hear my Savior call, "Come and see!" --He grants me life to live like a child of the free woman. Of this I am eternally thankful.
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Lord, I confess---please forgive---lead me in your ways as I turn from mine. ---Amen

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christ the King - Sunday November 26, 2006- Zion Lutheran Church

Christ the King – Sunday November 26, 2006

Let us pray:

Lord, you are King! You are King of our lives and King of your Church. Speak to and through each person here. Speak to and through your Church gathered throughout time, clearly and boldly. ---Amen

Visions

Daniel paints a picture and John paints a picture. More than a picture. A vision of sorts. Visions that allow your mind to wander. Allow your mind to drift off into another time and to another place. Possibly allow your mind to drift out of time and space.

Visions and imaginations. Business has used the techniques of Visions and imaginations recently. Lord knows, I’ve heard a bunch of it lately. GE changed their corporate focus from GE Brings good things to life –to "Imagination at work"

Sarcastically I like to change it a little to "Let’s pretend" – but don’t mention that to anyone please.

There is value in Vision and Imagination though. I’ve heard that one team from Coca-Cola had a vision – A Coke within reach of every person. There is a picture and a challenge.

Another vision I recall - referring to the production of jet engines – it stated—"For some the sky is the limit—for us it’s just the beginning"

 

Zion has a vision – Zion Lives Christ—a play on the acronym for Zion Lutheran Church

A vision should be easy to remember and fun to think about- A vision should involve imagination and creativity. A Vision should guide you towards an outcome or goal.

Imagine this vision- A child on Christmas Eve- a parent sitting on the edge of the child’s bed reading the poem "Twas the night before Christmas… and visions of sugarplums danced in their heads"

A picture- an illusion etched onto the child’s mind that will bring back wonderful memories—even through adulthood.

When you think about it – those sugar plums are a vision too- a vision of a perfect time in the life of a child—maybe for an adult too.

 

I think God gives us more visions than we want to admit to. Visions that occur every day. Visions that take place in our everyday lives. Visions of his love in action. Love active around and through us. But there are also some visions that raise questions- visions that may terrify us- visions come in all forms.

So what is the Vision for the church? I think our readings today show some of that vision.

Close your eyes for a moment and picture this vision:

Daniel 7. 9-10, 13-14

"As I looked, "thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

 

Could you see it? Could you picture the vision? Did the words paint a picture in your mind of another place- maybe another time? How did it make you feel? Did it feel good? Was it frightening or comforting or did it bring forth some other emotion?

 

In this vision from Daniel, several images jump out at me.

The River of Fire- You see the River of Fire and realize that none can pass closer to the throne without passing through the fire. The righteous, as they pass through the fire are purified of their remaining dross. However the wicked are consumed by the fire. We all will pass through that River of fire one way or another. We can choose to be purified by the fire and accept God’s purification through Jesus Christ or we can attempt to win our own salvation and be consumed by the fire.

 

Visions ---use your imagination

Contrast that vision of the River of fire with the vision of the clouds

Clouds- Picture Christ coming with the clouds of heaven as his chariot- the clouds of heaven with the gentle, noiseless motion. Our King arriving. Not like we would expect a King to arrive. We may expect an earthly King to arrive with power, force, maybe even leading an army. But this King arrives in gentle clouds. White fluffy clouds. This King arrives unexpectedly as a gentle baby born in a most peculiar place and to a most peculiar family as our King. But a King that arrives none the less in the midst of this chaotic earth. Not for a kingdom of this world but for the Kingdom of Heaven- A Kingdom of Truth.

Let’s picture the vision of the King now:

An Ancient One on the throne- hair and clothing white as snow- pure wool- with countless thousands serving and praising him---

Then dominion and Kingship is given to the one coming with the clouds of heaven- A Kingship of authority and glory – an everlasting Kingdom and rule- His rule would be forever- never ending- his Kingly rule would never be replaced

Now there’s a vision of a King!

We have a King that sits on his judgment throne- He will judge you know – Picture the books – the court- this part can be a little frightening – how will you be judged? Guilty? Not guilty?

One of the awesome scenes of the last days the gathering of all creatures to stand in silence before the throne awaiting the commencement of the court- the old order has been judged now --the new era begins- the future who symbolized the new era is in human form- in contrast to the former kingdoms which were symbolized by beasts.

He comes from heaven- whereas the beasts came from the sea- this figure from the clouds of heaven – contrasted with the tumultuous waves of the wind tossed sea.

Today we can picture the beasts clearly enough. Just look in the paper- Terror in Iraq- Murder- Death- Illness- and our own sinful nature. Beasts not so different as that "evil foe" we sung about just a few weeks ago on Reformation Sunday. The Beasts are real. Face the truth. Sin is in you and me and in this world. Be sure and get a good whiff of the stench of your own sin. A vision of horror and pain and death. Make sure you know it now.

But our King brings a new beginning. Our King takes on the stench of sin, death, and the devil. Our King belongs to the real truth. Our King has the true knowledge of God. Our King is King not over people’s bodies but over our minds and souls. It is a kingdom that finds its way from heart to heart in his truth. In the truth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Christ is the only key to the mysteries of life. Christ alone unlocks the doors and leads us through the fire to that throne of God. All problems are solved in Jesus Christ – the Truth he said.

John 18.37

"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.

Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

A new beginning- and a New Year.

The Psalm for this Christ the King Sunday is Psalm 93. This is one of the enthronement Psalms and it celebrates God’s Kingship at the New Year Festival.

 

This is the New Year Festival- the last Sunday of the church year. Advent begins our church calendar. On this Christ the King Sunday we celebrate the church year by crowning our King. Declaring our praises to Jesus our King and Savior. Jesus our Savior rules over the powers of chaos and tames the roaring waters of the flood. Our Savior who defeats sin and death and rules from his throne from all eternity.

 

So—Happy New Year! – As we celebrate and anticipate the coming of our Savior in this upcoming Advent season- this New Year in front of us. We see the vision of one coming on the clouds. Coming from heaven to earth. Born to us in humble estate. Born to us and in us. A Savior that comes from heaven to earth. From heaven to the midst of that River of fire. From heaven into our sinful lives. A Savior that becomes one of us and is with us in that River. A Savior in the River of fire to refine us and to purify us. A Savior to wash us clean from our sin.

Advent the time when God comes to you and to me. Soon—very soon. Are you ready? Are you prepared? Can you see the vision of this King moving to you?

Close you eyes once more—Picture this vision:

Revelation 1.4b-8

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

Look, he is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

 

Visions of an active God in your life- with you in that River of fire.

God will sit on his throne as a refiner and purifier – as the vision is painted from

Malachi 3.3

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver."

When you take a look at the process of refining silver this vision takes on additional meaning.

As a silversmith refines silver he holds a piece of silver over a fire and lets it heat up. In refining silver you need to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are the hottest to burn away all the impurities.

Now think about God holding us in this hot spot. God has to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver is being refined.

And the silversmith not only sits in the heat; he also keeps his eyes on the silver the entire time it is in the fire. If the silver is left too long in the flames it will be destroyed. So the way the silversmith knows when the silver is fully refined is when he can see his image in it.

And this is what brings additional meaning to the River of fire and the purification. God is in the heat of the fire with you and with me – refining us till that perfect moment – then we pass through the River of fire purified to approach his throne. But all the while God first came to us in the heat of the fire.

(Kneel at the Communion Rail- beneath the Cross-—gaze up to the Cross- – then confess)

"I, a poor sinner, confess before God that I am guilty of many sins. I repent of all these sins and pray for mercy. I promise to do better with God’s help."

(Fall silent till the ringing of the alarm then move to the midst of the congregation)

Awaken- clear your eyes- hear this loud and clear- this is not imagination, let’s not pretend, this is not a night vision but this is clear

You have a God so loving that he moves from that Mighty Throne on high and through the River of Fire to take on the throne of the cross- A God of Love that comes directly into your life- even in the midst of your sin and rules here with you now – rules from the cross in the midst of your own River of Fire.

Prepare yourself- Christ the King is coming to you—and maybe not as you expect- maybe as a child- maybe as a vision- but Christ the King is coming to you this Advent season- and you have a choice to make

Will you reflect his glory- be purified and refined? Or will you continue in your self saving and self-serving ways to perish in the fire?

Accept the one who comes on the clouds into your life and reigns from the throne of the cross in the center of your heart of faith- Accept Christ the King and be refined – even in the midst of the fire.

Amen

November 29th Daily Word and Visions from God

Galatians 3.21-4.20-I am afraid that all my hard work among you has gone up in a puff of smoke!
Lamentations 1-2-Astonished, passersby can't believe what they see.
Psalm 145- GOD give a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.
Psalm 25.1-10-Show me your paths and teach me to follow; guide me by your truth and instruct me.
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Sadie is the good dog! Well, not always apparently. Sarah took this picture as evidence. We teasingly call her dog "Abe" our "Muddy Buddy" because he always seems to be the one that gets muddy. So I wonder if God feels this way when I'm in trouble. Like all his work was for nothing. Cause there I go and get back in the mud again. I astonish others with my sinfulness to the point that they can't believe what they see. But God still picks me up, washes me off and gives me a hand even when I'm down on my luck and rolling in sin. He gives me a fresh start and teaches me his path and truth. Thanks be to God!
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Lord, teach, instruct, clean and forgive me this day. ---Amen

November 28th Daily Word and Visions from God

Galatians 3.1-20-Something crazys has happened, for it's obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives.
Jeremiah 51-52-GOD has set everything right for us. Come! Let's tell the good news back home in Zion.
Psalm 144-I wonder why you care, GOD--why do you bother with us at all?
Romans 10.10-18-All who call out to the Lord will be saved.
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Sarah and Eric took the dogs (Abe, Sadie, and Phoebe) to Wiggly Park at the Voice of America Park to play. Well I'm not sure if they thought they were dogs or pigs. Something crazy has happened for sure. When I loose focus of Jesus in my lives it's like I'm wallowing in the mud. I get stuck on my own selfishness. I wonder why God would even care about me because I'm so sinful and dirty. Why does he even bother with me? He did though! God set everything right for us. And while I'm stuck in the mud all I have to do is call out to him and he is right there to save me. What a great God!
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Lord, when I'm stuck in the mud ---hear my cry! ---Amen