Monday, September 29, 2008


The prophet Isaiah described the Spirit of the Lord:

. . . the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and
the fear of the Lord.
- Isaiah 11:2

The Lord Jesus gave his followers -- you and me -- the same Spirit (see I Cor. 2:12). That means you and I have all the traits described above, whether we know it or not! The Spirit the Lord gives us is like a big treasure chest, and it will help us dig those traits out of us if we visualize what we are looking for:

Please join me as I pray, "Lord, YOUR Spirit in me -- that is what I crave! Wisdom and understanding to focus on the core issues at every moment of decision; the ability to give and receive good advice (counsel), boldness to speak and act as your Spirit indicates (might), and the presence of mind to respect You above all else (the fear of the Lord)."

Fear and delight are not often used in the same sentence without creating a real contradiction in terms, but truly I pray that it will be our delight and highest pleasure to respect, honor and fear the Lord today, just as the prophet Isaiah spoke of the Lord Jesus, who has put his own Spirit within us:

. . . and his delight
shall be in the fear of the Lord.
- Isaiah 11:3

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


The "Proverbs 31 Woman" comes with a long list of qualities and qualifications, of which I'm keenly aware I fall far short! Yet in today's reading, one thing stands out from that long list, and it is something all of us women can give without hesitation or second thoughts:
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness
is on her tongue.
- Proverbs 31:26

I have something to give which costs me nothing. I can give a little thought before I open my mouth, and make a point to show kindness in the things I say. It costs nothing to be generous in attitude and speech. Though I may feel unprepared to face many of the challenges before me, I can rely on God's grace to let my attitude and the words that come out of my mouth be excellent.

Today's reading from the New Testament sheds even more light on my prayer life. Like the Macedonians, who were not wealthy by material standards, I can ask the Lord for this seemingly incongruous mix:
. . . abundance of joy
and their extreme poverty
have overflowed in a wealth of generosity . . .
- 2 Cor. 8:2

I can boldly ask that the Lord allow me, even in my need, to "excel in acts of grace," (see 2 Cor 8:7). After all, "if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he [or she] does not have," (2 Cor. 8:12). I'm not asked to give beyond my ability; I'm only responsible for what I have at my disposal.

My prayer - and I hope you will join me - is simply this: when (and not if) I have a chance to display a good attitude, to give a word of encouragement, to pardon an offense, or to in any small way let Jesus' love shine through me, that I'll be ready to act quickly and decisively to capture that golden opportunity! Let His grace be great in me today.

I know the Lord will honor such a request. Amen? AMEN!