Daily Personal Devotionals

Ghost Writer

When I was asked to write these devotionals, I immediately said “yes”. Those that know me well, know that my “yes” is evidence of a transformed life. The idea, the very thought of writing something that would be read by others has long filled me with personal doubt. I was never a very good student, and I have very little writing experience. I even shared this fact with some friends while seeking wise counsel about going back to school. Writing has always been my academic “Achilles heel”, and it is on my short list of reasons that I dropped out of college (more than once). In spite of all of this, I never hesitated to commit. Above all else, I want to be found faithful so I had already determined that I would serve however I was asked. (I have to laugh about it now- God really has such a wonderful sense of humor. I never could have imagined in a million years that I would be asked to do such a thing!)

Please know, that I’m not boasting in myself.  My “yes” was based solely on my belief that God would show up. After all, God changed Gideon from a frightened man hiding on the threshing floor into a mighty warrior; surely, He could work through me to write a few words that maybe no one would read. “I will do it”, I thought. “With God’s help, I will!” Then, I did the only thing left to do, I asked for God’s help! As usual, He reminded me pretty quickly who He is! God is the writer of the most beautiful, powerful, and life-changing, work of literature of all time. Therefore, He is the greatest writer of all time. He has inspired the writing of men since man could write. I would write, but really, I knew it would be Him.  God would be my Holy Ghost writer! The very idea of that delighted me! I’m living proof that God can use anyone, for any purpose, at any time, regardless of experience, or past sins, doubts, failures, or personal shortcomings. It doesn’t even matter what your spiritual gifts assessment says. If God calls you to do something, and you respond in obedience, He is going to give you what you need. He has done this in my life, time and time again.

Today, as I was reflecting back over these past six weeks, I was filled with gratitude to my God. It has not been easy, at all, but the Lord has been incredibly sweet and unfailingly kind to me. (Well, because, that’s Who He is, really!) In the process of prayer, and in writing, He has taught me, inspired me, challenged me, given me joy in the labor of it, and -most of all- humbled me. Today, I realized one more thing. God gave me a totally unexpected gift. I didn’t recognize it until the very end: He removed my last, personal “concern” about going back to school. Just like that! Poof!- I knew that I would survive college writing.

22The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. 26 It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-26

Please hear me when I say, anything at all that’s good in what I’ve written comes completely from the Holy Spirit. Any failures or weaknesses in any of it belong to me alone. God never fails, and it is impossible for Him to do so. It is humbling, and awe-inspired to be used by Him in any way. I want to leave you with the scriptures that helped me form my “yes” and then carried me through the experience of writing these devotions. I hope that they will help you believe that God is bigger than all of your fears and hesitations:

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

            Matthew 7:7

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men...

 Colossians 3:23

This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.

            Ephesians 3:11-12

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

            Philippians 4:13

...and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel...

Ephesians 6:19

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

My prayer for all of us as we prepare to “return to normal life”, is that we will leave some things permanently behind, and refrain from getting re-entangled in civilian affairs (2 Tim. 2.4). Let us look to our beautiful risen Savior for everything! I wish you all the perfect Shalom of Jesus. Pray with me. 

Father God,

You are so good! Your love is better than life. Help me to proclaim Christ boldly before men! Help me to live for You, that in my weakness, You alone may be glorified. I want to serve You joyfully, faithfully, and well, with all that I am. I give You all the glory, honor, and praise, in the perfect Name of Jesus, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!

–Amen.

For more encouragement, read, meditate, and pray on Philippians 2.  

In His Presence

One of the highlights of elementary school was a field trip to the Hayden planetarium. It’s hard to keep a big group of kids still and attentive but when the stars appeared on the dark dome over our heads it was suddenly quieter than a church. When it was over, I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I never wanted to go to space like some of the other kids in my class, but I could have stayed for days in that domed room just gazing up, moving through the universe passing the planets in orbit like I was flying. That visit inspired a love of stargazing that is with me still. For millennia the heavenly realms have held us captive to their beauty and mystery. We come face to face with something we don’t understand, and it’s a moment, like many other moments, where we either accept or reject (Rom. 1.20) the Divine. It’s no wonder that, to those of us that believe God, David’s Psalm 19 speaks to us so well:

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard.Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun,which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
Its rising is from one end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Psalm 19:1-6

When we read these beautiful verses we recognize the words of someone who has begun to understand God’s power and majesty. He is in awe of God, and praises Him as one who has had a glimpse of His Glory. In words that could only be inspired by God’s own Spirit, David picks subject matter that reflects attributes of God that are beyond our complete understanding. God’s majesty, and infinite and eternal nature emerge and we join David in this place of awe. We can almost imagine that we begin to feel what David was feeling when he wrote this Psalm. From this place of lofty praise we diminish. God’s gifts to us, are beyond our understanding, but when we praise Him we stand in His presence and He moves our hearts. David praised God from a place of humility. He praises God and then God’s Spirit draws Him to a more relevant truth. He then says this: 

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.

Here David recognizes God’s concern with man. A gift beyond the stars and heavens, God’s Law restores, makes wise, causes rejoicing, and enlightens our vision (causing us to see with His eyes). From David’s place of awestruck praise for God, God’s Spirit can invade Him and cause Him to recognize truth! This truth, because it comes from the Holy Spirit falls on David with a loving embrace. We can hear the love that David has for God’s Law in what he writes next. From here David’s need for God becomes undeniable:

12Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be blameless,
and I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

            Psalm 19:12-14

David recognizes his own depravity (Psalm 51:5). He mentions several kinds of sin in a way that one only can when they are repeatedly on their knees before God! From this revelation through God’s Spirit we understand that we too have “errors” or sin committed in ignorance. We have “hidden faults”, or sin we conceal from ourselves. We commit  “presumptuous sins” or sins of pride that we hold on to because we have strayed from God. Unrepented, these other sins can lead us to “great transgressions”, or outright rebellion against God. Sin is sin, but we can begin to see that each of these sins lead us further away from God! David knew that the presence of God would expose these sins in his life. He knew this from experience- from those times that he strayed! Like a child gazing up at the stars, when we come before God, in praise, our true nature is no longer hidden from ourselves. It is only from this place, in His presence, that our awareness is sharpened. Let us go before Him in praise, like David, and ask Him to reveal what is hidden!

Father God,

You are awesome beyond my understanding and worthy of more praise than I could ever give You! Help me to come before You in awe and thanksgiving. Help me to see Your glory!!! I know that I sin against You, and it grieves my heart! Create a clean heart in me, that I would immediately recognize my errors and not fall into the trap of other sins. I want to know You more, Lord! Thank You Jesus, for reconciling me. Help me to live in right relationship with You. I exalt You! In Your Holy and Wonderful Name, I pray. – Amen 

For more encouragement from the story of King David read: 2 Samuel 12:1-13, and Psalm 51.

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