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This morning Lord I seek purpose. My heart is heavy. This world continues to frustrate me. Help me Lord to seek you, to sing you praises in the midst of my sorrow and hurt. Help me to remember Jesus knows our pain, felt our pain when he walked the earth. Help us to remember we are your creation. Praise God that you consider us family, your child given an eternal inheritance.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV).”

© 2019 CGThelen

Help us this day dear Lord to do your will; to do what is pleasing to you; to bring honor to you dear Lord. May we rely on you to equip us this day, to fill us with your purpose, to seek your ways. Help us to be a light for you and your Kingdom dear God.

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21, NIV).”

© 2019 CGThelen

As the sun rises this morning I think of how you dear Lord have ordered everything on this earth. From the atom to the universe there is order in your creation. I praise you for the beauty of your creation; the vibrant colors, the smells and the feeling of sand between our toes. All the earth sings of your praises.

I think of the day when sun and moon will be no more and your glory will fill the day. Darkness will no longer be present. Your very presence will envelope us. We will see what we know by faith. May your Spirit dear God fill us this day. We praise you Lord for your creation, for creating us, for giving us the path to eternal life through your son Jesus. All praise to you our living and gracious God.

The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. – Isaiah 60:19-20 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

This morning dear Lord we need new words to replace the tired old refrains that voice our worries. Let us meditate on your truths and fill our souls with your joy. Help us to step out this day in confidence that you are with us every step of the way. Protect us from distractions that seek to detour us from your path. May we sing your praises:

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

– Psalm 96:1-3, NIV

© 2019 CGThelen

The sun dawns on a new day, a new week. At this moment the day is open like an empty calendar. I have filled this day with my schedule, my tasks. I have my expectations for how this day will go. I pray Lord not for you to bless my designated activities, but for you to fill me with your wisdom on how to discern what I should do this day to serve you.

Help us to hear your voice, to listen to your guidance, your direction. Let us not get distracted from serving you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. May we spend time in prayer seeking you as we make decisions this day.

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor (Luke 6:12-16, NIV).”

© 2019 CGThelen

Lord, this morning I think of Hezekiah who faced a powerful adversary. He did not seek strength to overpower, did not seek personal victory. Instead he sought to defend your name dear God, to punish those who ridiculed you. May we take such a stand, to humbly ask that we seek to bring honor to you dear God. That we lift your name up today; that those who seek to discredit you will be silenced by our prayers.

Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. – Isaiah 37:14-17 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

#ThrowbackThursday — This post originally published May 30, 2012.

After a year of neglect, my old garden plot was overtaken by weeds. Remnants of corn stalks and brown, brittle garden plants were barely visible in the sea of green weeds that now dominated the plot of earth.

“How did this happen?” I asked myself. It amazed me how the weeds now dominated the garden to the point where it choked out the fruitful plants. I asked “how,” but I knew the answer to my question could be found in 1Thess. 5:16-18 where Paul wrote, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks…”

The question is that if we are not filling our lives with praises for God, then what are we filling our lives with? The gaps presented by our inattention to God create opportunity for discord and discontent with God. They become the small weeds in our fruitful garden that will eventually choke off the good plants if left to grow.

Praying without ceasing keeps us connected to God. It puts us in right relationship with Him. By rejoicing in all things; by giving thanks always; we are able to choke off the weeds of bitterness and anger that try to take hold when bad things happen in life. Praying without ceasing is like weeding our garden so that it will be more fruitful and filled with the joy of the Lord.

© 2012 CGThelen

I feel scattered, tossed upon fertile soil. The master gardener tells me I have been purposely positioned in this specific spot. Yet I feel out of place in this cool, moist soil. I question if anything can grow here as snow flurries cover me with a chilling wind.

I pray to God for strength, seeking his light and warmth, but the long night endures. “How dear God can all my effort here possibly bear fruit? Nothing will even germinate here?” In due season he tells me.

Faithfully I continue to pray, trusting the hand of the master gardener. He lovingly encourages me to wait. He tells me one day in the warmth of spring his purpose will be revealed, blossoming for all to see. Patiently I wait, praying to God for strength to see it through.

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.” – Psalm 1:3

© 2019 CGThelen

After the triumph of Easter morning, after the joyous celebration of your resurrection Jesus, it is Monday morning, the start of another week. Back to the work week, back into the world. This morning I feel like i am being thrown into the lions’ den. This morning I hear rustling in the tall grass — Satan on the prowl looking for someone to devour, devious eyes watching me (1 Peter 5:8). The reality of the world waits. I am being tossed into the lions’ den. I think of the king’s words in Daniel 6:16, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

Lord Jesus help us this day as we go out into a hostile world. Help us to focus on you, not the prowling lions with their hungry look. Let us reach out to you for strength and courage, trusting in you and not our own ability to defend ourselves. Help us to wait on you to close the mouths of the lions.

May we be found righteous in your eyes dear Lord and in the sight of others. At the end of the day may Daniel 6:22 be the words we share with those who ask: “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

© 2019 CGThelen

I was reading Luke 21 when verse 37 and 38 caught my attention: “Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple (NIV).” I wonder what was going through his mind each night he spent on the Mount of Olives, the place where Judas betrayed him days later (Luke 22)? I believe Jesus spent much of this time in conversation with his Father; spending time in prayer after a tiring and grueling day.

During the day when he taught in the temple courts, the chief priests, teachers of the law and the elders questioned him in hopes his answers would give them a reason to have him arrested (Luke 20:1). People were flocking to Jesus and the Jewish leaders were jealous of him. These were full days for Jesus, tending to the people, silencing his opposition, and trying to prepare his disciples for what was to come — knowing they were not quite ready. Jesus took time each night to retreat and spend time with his Father, to prepare for what was to come. Yet this very routine of evenings on the Mount of Olives seemed to make his disciples unprepared for what was about to happen.

The disciples were used to Jesus’ routine of going to the Mount of Olives each evening. Luke 22:39 tells us, “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.” Which is why I think they seemed so casual about going there, despite Jesus’ warnings. In the next verse Jesus tells them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He was telling them that this wasn’t just another night on the Mount of Olives.

My take-away from these verses is that we need to be careful that the routine does not become too familiar — to the point where we get lulled into complacency. God is very much at work in the everyday. Significant things can emerge unexpectedly from a day that seemed very routine. May we take Jesus’ words to heart: “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36).”

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