Friday, May 29, 2009

May 28th-29th - Let's Play!


2 Samuel 13:1-15:22- Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
John 17:1-18:24- So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him.
Psalm 119:81-112- Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Proverbs 16:6-9- The human mind plans the way, but the LORD directs the steps.

God's Word
I have not forgotten you.

Things were really going well for the mouse and his family the past month or so. For some reason the humans had been leaving so many leftovers and treats in the trash can under the sink that Father Mouse had no need even to stray out into the open. All the food he ever needed lay right at his front door. With ease each day the family feasted as if they were living as kings and queens and royalty.

Then, in the background, there was a faint knock on the front door of the house that grew louder and louder. Finally the Master of the House answered the door. Father Mouse stepped out to see what was going on. The Master was arrested by some Police and taken away. Then the Master's family left the house.

The food under the sink stopped. This went on for weeks. Father Mouse found it necessary not only to wander outside into the house in search for food, but outside of the very house to find food. Father Mouse had forgotten how good it was when the Master of the House was with him. All the food that was present and the blessings he was freely given. But now that Father Mouse had to wander outside along with Mother Mouse to find any food at all, they realized what the Master had been doing for them all along.

Soon the family returned. But the Master was not with them. He had been bound and put in jail. Everyone was so sad. The Master had not committed the crime. The Master was taking on punishment he did not deserve. But somehow the Master's family and household managed to hang on. Surely the Master must be dead now for the crime he never committed. And then it occurred.

One day there was a knock at the door. The Master had returned. Returned and seemed to appear out of nowhere. Life was good once again. The Master did not stay for long though. He was required to leave once again. The Master promised to return again. But in the meantime, he left his household the gifts and abilities they needed to survive. The Master would live through and in the household of his family. The Master would come day after day in word and spirit to take the family out into the world to gather the blessings that he had in store not only for his immediate family, but to spread those same blessings into all the other families of the world.

It would be some hard work. It wouldn't be easy. But this was the job at hand. The Master would guide our steps along the way until that day he would return and take all of us to that wonderful Mansion he spoke of where there would no longer be want of food or warmth or even fighting amongst ourselves with the cat, but we would all live in that same love that the Master has for us and we for him.

Lord, forgive my denials of You. Forgive me when I take selfish advantage of Your blessings. Forgive my unthankful heart. For You have filled my cup overflowing with blessings and love and faithfulness. I give You all thanks and glory. May I faithfully follow Your steps as You come to my door day after day. I joyfully go with You today, tomorrow and forever into Your Kingdom to spread the gifts and blessings You have given to me so that others may see You all around and likewise respond in joy to Your gracious love. ---Amen

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May 27th - Let's Play!

Theme of the Day

Readings of the Day
2 Samuel 12:1-31-Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight?
John 16:1-33-In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!
Psalm 119:65-80-I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness you have humbled me.
Proverbs 16:4-5-The LORD has made everything for its purpose...

God's Word of the Day
I am involved in your life and you are involved in Mine.

Story of the Day
Another day of work, the mouse thought as he rose from a deep sleep that night. Time to get up and go to work. Time to face that cat for another day of struggle to get a little food to feed the family. If only the cat weren't there, getting food would be so easy. Some days it seemed as if the cat was placed there on purpose, just to make life hard. It was so tempting to have this desire to kill the cat and live happily ever after. But this was a feat that was beyond the skill and ability of the mouse. One day a "mighty" mouse would come and defeat this cat and we could all live in paradise.

But for today, it was another day to find ways to work around this cat. A day to resist the temptations and tricks the cat would try to play on the mouse to trap him and to defeat him. Another day to work for food, while the cat tried to take his life from him.

So the mouse got up to work. As he prepared for the day and reflected and prayed, giving thanks for all the abundant blessings that God had given him in his family life, the mouse heard a knock at the door. Opening the door, he saw his dependable work partner ready to go to work with him that day. Ready to serve other mice in need. Ready to teach him the ways to avoid the cat, and ways to confront the cat, and live an honest life. His best friend and teacher, ready to work by his side that day.

Prayer of the Day
Lord, help me this day as I face the temptations of this world. Lead me, and speak Your loving commandments into my ear. Teach me to serve and to give my life for the life of another. Permit me to let Your Light of Love shine brightly through me so all the world can see Your Love, today, tomorrow and forever. ---Amen

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 25th - 26th - Let's Play!


2 Samuel 7:1-11:27- As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.
John 14:15-15:27- You did not choose me but I chose you.
Psalm 119:33-64- The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes.
Proverbs 15:33-16:3- The fear of the LORD is instruction is wisdom, and humility goes before honor.

God's Word
I choose you. Live in wisdom and serve in humility.

The mouse woke up that morning and wondered why it was him who had to get up so early to go out and hunt food to feed the family for the day. Why me? Why not one of these children? Why not the wife? But none of these questions did any good, as all the other's slept the morning away. The mouse knew it was him that was chosen to do this work. So he humbly rolled out of bed and went along his way. He was slow to wake that day. But as his eyes opened and as his mind began to come to order he felt the gentle call of one greater that he.

In that moment, the mouse knew that he had been chosen for this work. He was the one to go out to hunt the food and bring back life to his family. So now with a renewed sense of purpose, the mouse went out into the world. He felt the tug of this morning friend of his who had called him out of sleep to a life of hunting. But with this friend by his side, the hunting became a joy and a privilege to bring in the food for the family.

And always, what was brought in was more than enough. Enough to feed not only his family but some friends and sometimes just some mice that needed food for the evening. You see, the mouse realized the privilege and honor of being the one chosen for the work and not the one choosing the work. And this made all the difference.

Lord, I give You thanks that You have chosen me to do the work. I go out this day in joy to do the work You have set before me. ---Amen

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24th - Let's Play!

Theme of the Day
Creation Celebration

Readings of the Day
2 Samuel 4:1-6:23- David danced before the LORD with all his might...
John 13:31-14:14- I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Psalm 119:17-32- I run the way of your commandments, for you enlarge my understanding.
Proverbs 15:31-32- The ear that heeds wholesome admonition will lodge among the wise.

God's Word of the Day
Look at all of creation and dance in celebration of the varieties of Love that have surrounded you.

Story of the Day
Her eyes brightened at the sight of so many creatures. As we looked together on the elephant, giraffe and the rhinoceros, her eyes would brighten and then her little hand would reach out as if to acknowledge their beauty with a touch.

My older eyes were given wisdom in the eyes of one less that two years old. God has surrounded us with the creation of His Love. God has given us a gift of life. A gift of life in this young granddaughter in my arms and a gift of life in all that surrounded me. Her eyes allowed me to see the eyes of God all around.

As we continued in this sight and dance of life, she made me realize that the very presence, or the "ark" of God, was always before me. Always before me, above me and around me in this dance of life that He created years ago. A changing dance of life that celebrates His Son Jesus and what he did to save us all from death and eternal damnation.

Her eyes brightened as she saw the variety of life before her. My eyes brightened as I saw her teach me a new revelation about the Love of God. Our eyes brightened together with the Light of Christ that day as we both witnessed His presence before and within us this day.

Thanks be to God!

Prayer of the Day
Lord, I celebrate this day in a dance of joy for the Light of Life You have chosen to reveal. Surrounded by Your miracles of Love, may I go in Your Love, to serve and love Your creation and the lives of those I am surrounded with, today, tomorrow and forever. ---Amen

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 14th - 23rd - Let's Play!


1 Samuel 15:1- 2 Samuel 3:39- ...for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.
John 8:1-13:30- Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.
Psalm 110:1-119-16- This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Proverbs 15:8-30- A glad heart make a cheerful countenance...

God's Word
Live the moment I give to you and be cheerful in heart.

It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. As we walked the dark path together, with flashlights in hand we would pause and shine out lights above. The color was awesome and you could tell that even in this dark place that life was abundant. Stalactites and stalagmites all around, with rock formations that seemed to be scripted with the hand of God. An awesome and beautiful place from the inside. But, from the outside, it wasn't much more than a hole in the ground.

It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. As I peered through the lense over my eyes, I would bump heads with the most beautiful fish. Fish of all colors and shapes. Fish of all sorts of design. Coral reef and ocean floor that was a sight to see! But, from the outside, it wasn't much more than an endless ocean of flat and peaceful water.

It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. A heart full of confession. A heart willing to change. A heart of love and strength. A heart willing to listen. A heart willing to follow. A heart with compassion and love and laughter and sorrow and pain and all imaginable emotion. A heart of the soul. A heart that would bump with the Savior's heart. A heart that would acknowledge the heart of the Messiah. But, from the outside, it wasn't much more than another sinner in need.

It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. A life full of love. A life given for the world. But, from the outside, it was Jesus on a cross.

It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. An empty tomb. But, from the outside, it was just another hole in the ground.

He was one of the most beautiful people I had ever seen, both inside and outside.

Come, Lord Jesus, come, and recreate me to be beautiful again, from the inside out.

You make me smile! You make me laugh! You make me run and jump with joy! In Your forgiving Light, I run with You, today, tomorrow and forever! ---Amen

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 13th - Let's Play!

Theme of the Day

Readings of the Day
1 Samuel he extended the staff that was in his hand, and dipped the tip of it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes brightened.
John 7:31-53-Never has anyone spoken like this!
Psalm 109:1-31-Do not be silent, O God of my praise.
Proverbs 15:5-7-A fool despises a parent's instruction, but the one who heeds admonition is prudent.

God's Word of the Day
Open your eyes and look around. I am closer than you think.

Story of the Day
As I was returning to my mouse hole in the side of the wall under the sink, I noticed how weak I had become from the work of the day. I had to battle the cat all day. She chased me all over the house. As soon as I would go for some crumbs of food on the rug, the cat would spot me and run after me and chase me all over the house. I was afraid that I had lost the battle this day.

Here I was, coming home without any food to give to the family, weak, tired and about to fall over. I passed by the trap under the sink when I noticed a plastic jar of honey that had fallen out of the trash. There was still a little left inside on the bottom of the jar and on the outside. So, I dipped my finger in the honey and tasted it. That's when my eyes were brightened and I began to feel much better. There would be just enough in this jar for the family. This was a true gift at the end of a hard day. I had been blessed right before my eyes. I was taken care of for the day. All I had to do was open my eyes and look for the unexpected in the routine! It was as if a voice spoke to me out of the silence. Never before have I been spoken to quite like this! Thanks be to God for this day and the preparations we make for tomorrow.

Prayer of the Day
Lord, this day, open my eyes brightly to see Your presence and blessings of this world. You are God and You are awesome, today, tomorrow and forever. ---Amen

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 12th - Let's Play!

Theme of the Day

Readings of the Day
1 Samuel 12:1-13:23-...the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart...
John 7:1-30-You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own.
Psalm 108:1-13-With God we shall do valiantly...
Proverbs 15:4-A gentle tongue is a tree of life...

God's Word of the Day
I have come to you, now prepare for something new.

Story of the Day
I never pick the one you think I will pick do I? I chose Paul as he persecuted the early Christians. I picked him and he became one of the best missionaries ever. I picked Samson, a crude man who would make a point to the Philistines. I picked Abraham, at times a liar and a coward, but he formed a new nation. I picked David an adulterer, and he showed repentance and leadership. I picked Mary and she showed faithfulness and devotion and endless strength. I chose the Woman at the Well and she changed her life into an evangelist to come and see.

I never pick the one you think I will pick do I?

I picked Jesus, whom you thought would conquer worldly empires. I sent him humble and to live a life with the humbled and he conquered the universe both physical and spiritual. He conquered sin and death and saved all people.

I never pick the one you think I will pick do I?

I pick go with God and do valiantly.

Prayer of the Day
Thank You Lord for coming to me, for saving me, for calling me, for gifting me and blessing me with abundant gifts and for picking me. With You, I go and do valiantly, in Your name, now and forever. ---Amen

Monday, May 11, 2009

May 8th - 11th -- Let's Play!


1 Samuel 2:22-11:15-Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.
John 5:24-6:71-This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.
Psalm 106:1-107:43-Praise the LORD! O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
Proverbs 14:30-15:3-The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

God's Word
Look around and see the many places that I inhabit. Listen to My Word and then speak boldly about what you see.

The mouse had finally picked up something to eat. As he was out hunting that day, he came across some cereal and nuts that had fell to the floor in the kitchen. On his way home, he always went in the cabinets and under the sink. That's when he saw it! There it was before his very eyes. A huge piece of cheese along with a cracker covered with peanut butter. But he had seen this trap before. The cheese and peanut butter covered cracker were on top of a board with a wire above it and a spring in the back. He had seen a cousin die this way. The cousin went for the bait and the trap sprung and killed him. But how good this food looked to the paltry cereal and nuts he had with him. Should he put down what he had hunted and freely take this bait before his eyes? Perhaps his cousin had made a mistake. Perhaps, if he was careful, he could take the cheese and cracker carefully and be rich in food. The battle in his mind was fierce. Oh, what to listen to! The temptation and richness of something easy or the life of work for something harder to come by such as the cereal and nuts. He listen for direction. But the decision was his. The decision was his.

I see the hard work You have done to save me Lord. I choose You as You have lovingly chose me. I choose You. Thanks for choosing me. ---Amen

Thursday, May 07, 2009

May 4th - 7th - Let's Play!


Judges 19:1-21:25-In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes.
Ruth 1:1-4:21-Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; you people shall be my people, and your God my God.
1 Samuel 1:1-2:21-My heart exults in the LORD...
John 3:22-5:23-Take up your mat and walk.
Psalm 104:24-105:45-So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing.
Proverbs 14:22-29-Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding...

God's Word
I care for you so now, you care for one another.

I don't know how he did it. There I was sitting on the park bench, just watching the children play in the playground and enjoying a book and the beautiful weather, when he came up and asked if he could sit on the bench. I said, "Sure, welcome, on this fine day." Then he asked me about the book I was reading. Just simple conversation, but it was about to break into much deeper conversation before long. He seemed to know about the Stephen King novel I was reading and we talked for some time. Then he asked me if I was married. I told him, that I wasn't. And that's when it all got a little creepy.

He said that no, I wasn't married, that I had been in an affair and was divorced. He knew all there was about everything. He even started bringing up those times when I was a youth and ran off to get drunk and all the wild parties. Sure, we talked about the good times too. The times that I had stopped someone on the street to share a cigar and talk and send them on their way home with money in a cab. But, I found out that he knew all about me. He knew more about me than I knew about myself.

That's when he told me about the Word. Not the words in the Stephen King novel. But the Word made flesh. The Word that would come into this world and save all people from sin, death and damnation. The Word that caused creation and everything this fine day would bring to come into being. The Word that was the Light of the world. The Word that would always be with me, not in a novel, but the Word that would be my life.

And finally the light in my simple mind came one. Hey! This guy IS the Word! This guy IS the Light! This guy IS the Messiah! This guy IS Jesus! And he came to me, right here, in the midst of my sin, on this park bench and into my life!

Some of his friends showed up and he was off to talk to other people. So I ran home to tell all I could find. Come and see! Come and see who found me! Come and see!

Lord, you came to me in the midst of life. Now I run to tell the world---Come and see! ---Amen

Sunday, May 03, 2009

May 2nd - 3rd -- Let's Play!


Judges 15:1-18:31-Go, explore the land.
John 2:1-3:21-Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Psalm 103:1-104:24-O LORD, how manifold are your works!
Proverbs 14:17-21-...happy are those who are kind to the poor.

God's Word
See My works all around, from one end of the earth to the other and see the familiar Love of My Son always there.

Every year the old give up something new. Look at the evergreen tree; every year the end of the branch springs forth some new life. The new spreads a little further to explore a new space of this earth. Even if that space is small; every year the old gives up something new. The new will be nourished by the old. Then the new will begin to nourish some newness of it's own.

The old of the earth was about to rot and die in it's stubborn ways, refusing to give of itself to bring something new. The earth was set in the traps of sin and death. The way needed to be changed. So God gave something new. Something new to bring life. Something new, yet something even there from the beginning. Something that would give of itself to bring something new. Jesus became flesh and came to the earth. Jesus gave His life for new life. New life risen in glory from the dead of sin to the newness of life in God. Something new to save the poor. Something new yet familiar to life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever would believe in Him, would not die but live forever. Thanks be to God! The familiar yet astounding. Every year the old give up something new. Now go and give Love!

Lord, I love how familiar You are. I love how mysterious You are. I love how close You are. Lord, I love You and give something old of me for something new. Live in and through me this day and tomorrow and forever that I may work with You and serve You in Your Kingdom. ---Amen

Friday, May 01, 2009

April 22nd - May 1st - Let's Play!


Joshua 24:1-Judges 14:20-The boy grew, and the LORD blessed him.
Luke 21:1-John 1:51-What has come into being in his was life, and the life was the light of all people.
Psalm 89:38-102:28-...but you are the same, and your years have no end.
Proverbs 13:20-14:16-Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise.

God's Word
I move.

There we stood in the middle of a vast field. There wasn't another soul in sight. There we stood, the two of us, far away from anyone else. As we looked on the horizon, we could see a cloud moving our way. In the cloud were bursts of bright lightening. Announcing the coming of the cloud were peals of thunder. We were mesmerized by this cloud and it's movement towards the two of us as we stood in the middle of this vast field. We were without protection from the storm. The cloud approached and the lightening and the thunder was frightening, but the ran felt refreshing in the heat of this field in the middle of nowhere.

The cloud had come to us. The cloud had overpowered us with it's majesty. We were awed by the light. We couldn't help but to hear the message of the thunder. We were given new life in the cool refreshment of the rain. The cloud came to us and caused us to continue our journey. Continue the journey, in realization of the blessing we received in the coolness of the rain. Continue the journey, now knowing the wisdom of walking with the cloud and giving of self to refresh another. Continue the journey after learning, that in the giving of self, in the moving towards another, and giving from the center that fresh rain of love...other's will give of themselves likewise.

The cloud moved to us and gave us a blessing. As we stood motionless, the cloud came to us. Now in this blessing, we gladly move to others to tell them of the blessings of the cloud.

Lord, You saw my condition. You know my sin. Yet You come to me in the middle of that vast field. You come and shower me daily with Your baptismal waters. You shower me with Your love and forgive my sinful actions and my sinful ways. You move to me and cause me to be refreshed in Your love. You cause me to leap and run for joy to tell the story of Your love. Jesus is loose and on the move. Thanks be to God! ---Amen