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January 2005 Archives

January 1, 2005

Recorded Tears

Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll - are they not in your record? Psalm 56:16

There isn't a single tear that has been shed that God has not recorded. Every time I've felt abandoned by those who loved me, He knew it. Every time I have been the cause of my own pain, He watched me. I may not fully comprehend why I react as I do to certain things in life today, but God understands. He was there standing beside me when I was hurt each time. And He was crying with me.

Lord, I am often surprised at how sad or angry little circumstances can make me. Tiny offenses are mountainous. Am I too sensitive? Or am I merely afraid that I will eventually drown in the ocean that has formed by my tears? Life can be painful, but You are the Healer. Thank You for the ways I have been healed. Turn the tears of pain from my youth into tears of joy. Thank You for all Your blessings!

January 2, 2005

Let Him Do It!

I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me. Psalm 57:2

If you are like me, one of your greatest desires is to fulfill a purpose in life. I don't want to get to the end of my life and discover that I missed the boat. I want others to say, "He made a mark on this world. Because of him, things are a little better."

Anyone who has read "The Purpose Driven Life" has asked the question, "What is my purpose?" The most important purpose for us is the one God has in mind. Once we understand it, we can work to fulfill it.

But have I ever considered that God has a purpose? He is the One working to fulfill this purpose - not me! So much of my life, I have been chasing this purpose. I have been trying to make it happen. But have I ever taken the time to stop running? To simply allow Him to do the work? To let Him be the One who fulfills the purpose?

Lord, teach me to let go. It seems I always have to be in the middle of everything making things happen. Too often I deny others the opportunity of succeeding on their own because I have to do the work. Too often I deny myself of the blessing of allowing You to do the work for me. Sometimes I am like a toddler who needs assistance with a task but refuses to let anyone help him. We've all seen it. A box won't open or a toy won't work, and our offers to help are met with an emphatic "NO!" Quickly, tears follow because he can't do it on his own.

Forgive me, Lord, for being frustrated with You when I feel You aren't helping. In truth, I won't let You. Help me to receive Your love. I can't wait to see what You are going to do for me.

January 3, 2005

The Charmer's Tune

Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skilled the enchanter may be. Psalm 58:45

What an interesting picture of evil - like a cobra who refuses to listen to the tune of the charmer. Despite the charmer's skill, the snake has stopped its ears.

Despite the words of truth spoken by God Himself, evil and wicked men refuse to hear.

Lord, open my ears so I might hear Your tune. Draw me closer with Your beautiful melodies. Let my every move be synchronized with Your rhythms. Charm my spirit with Your wonderful truths. I long to dance in Your presence.

You are worthy of all our praise.

January 4, 2005

Grrrr!

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 59:16

David had an amazing ability to praise God in the midst of the most frightening circumstances. And believe me, he had plenty to be afraid of. One particular night must have been terrifying. His father-in-law Saul sent a group of men to watch for David and to kill him. David's wife, Michal, helped him escape through a back window, and in the middle of all this, David did what he usually did... he wrote a song.

How in the world did he set aside his fear to praise God? All I seem to do is complain.

Lord, forgive my grumbling. In the midst of troubling circumstances, I tend to moan and groan. Fill me with Your Spirit. Help me to praise You - even in the darkness of night.

January 5, 2005

An Inside Look

You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us; you have been angry - now restore us! Psalm 60:1

There are certain verses that are often read as if they are meant just for you, and for someone who has felt rejected most of his life - despite what others have done to convince me otherwise, I tend to get stuck on a verse like this. To me it reads, "You have rejected me, O God, and burst forth upon me; you have been angry - now restore me!"

Why do I feel this way? Why do I so often try to carry the blame for all the wrongs in the world?

Job felt rejected, but was he? We know the truth. God gave us an inside look at what was really happening. Job was afflicted in order to bring glory to God - not because God was angry with him. Despite the pain - despite the bad advice, Job knew the truth. He hadn't done some horrible thing that caused his trouble. Oh, he wasn't perfect; he knew that. And he didn't accept the circumstance with a smile. He moaned and groaned his way through. But more than anything, Job knew God was Sovereign, and he believed in God's unconditional and never-ending love for His children.

Lord, I am so far from perfect, and oftentimes I feel rejected - even by You. But I have something Job didn't. I know beyond all doubt that Jesus has covered my imperfections with His blood. Chase away the enemies who work so diligently to convince me I am worthless. I cannot see them, but I know they are here. Give me an inside look, so I can know Your plan.

Restore me, Spirit, so the Father will be glorified!

January 12, 2005

High Places

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

There are few places as peaceful as a high place. The top of a mountain, the top of a towering skyscraper - there is something so quiet and peaceful about looking down on the busy world below us. It is as if all the problems and worries are just as tiny as the people on the ground.

Lord, be my refuge. Take me to that place that is higher than I. So much of the world is racing by, and I need Your perspective. Help me to lay my worries at Your feet. Give me the clarity that only comes from time spent on the mountain. Give me the strength and energy to fulfill Your purpose. May the world be blessed by the ways You choose to use me.

January 13, 2005

Our Only Hope

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

There are times that God is the only One who can help us. The empty places within us cannot be filled by any man. Nothing we hold can ever fill the void. God alone is our hope - our resting place - our refuge.

There is comfort in the words of the song, "Jesus is the answer for the world today..." But if I am honest, there are times this truth is very frustrating. Just once I wish my attempts to find true fulfillment outside of Him would work, but I know better. Nothing from this world can satisfy our real need. He is sometimes all we have left. All our human attempts will continue to fail.

Lord, there are so many things to which I have turned, but in You alone will I find rest. My hope comes from You. Show Yourself today. I long to stand before kings to worship You.

January 16, 2005

Dry and Weary

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1

Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages, has done a great deal for my marriage. Understanding my wife's primary love language has helped me to take steps in expressing how much she means to me. I'd like to say that I have learned to speak her language fluently, but there are times that "quality time," which happens to be her language, still seems like gibberish - in an unspoken sort of way.

In his book, Mr. Chapman provides good insight on identifying your primary language. He suggests considering which of the languages that, if it is withheld, will cause an individual to feel rejected. This advice made mine very easy to identify. Mine is "physical touch." (I know... you might say most men fall into this category, but it's not just about sex.) I can literally tell you how many times during the day that I have experienced any human contact, and when I am deprived for very long, my body literally longs for another person to acknowledge my existence in the simplest of ways. A hand on the shoulder, a light grab of the arm, and sometimes a monstrous bear hug can do wonders to meet the longing within me.

To be honest, there is a part of me that feels almost defective because of my need for physical touch. My head tells me that I should be content with connecting in spiritual ways - as if I am less mature because I cannot simply deny the longings of my body. But the truth is: God made us as physical beings. We cannot deny who we are. For some of us, our family of origin did a poor job in meeting our need for touch, and we will always seem to sink without it.

David knew what it was like to feel physical needs. In the desert he grew weary, and rather than simply wanting to connect with God on some spiritual plane, he acknowledged that his body longed for God. There is nothing wrong with physical need. God made us to enjoy our bodies and to long for the touch of another.

Lord, at times I have tried to deny the truth. I have tried to appear more "spiritual" than I should. I have a need for human touch, and unfortunately I haven't always met this need appropriately. Help me to be holy in this regard. Send those to me who might acknowledge me in loving ways. In a dry and weary land, my body longs for You.

Will You hold me today?

January 19, 2005

Overwhelmed!

When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. Psalm 65:3

It’s tough to understand that when we are at our worst, God loves us the most.

David wrote in this psalm, “When we were overwhelmed by sins…” Now, I can understand what it is to be overwhelmed. Most of my work life for the past year has been overwhelming. Too many things to do – not enough time, knowledge, energy, or ability to get it all done – it seems “overwhelmed” could either describe by desk or my to-do list. The challenges seem too great sometimes. The mountains seem too high to climb. The rivers seem too fierce to forge.

Will I ever get it all done?

I can also understand what it is to be overwhelmed by sin. Most of my adult life has been overwhelming in this regard. A long time ago, the enemy somehow convinced me that I was his. Despite the appearance, which wasn’t always a ruse, sin had its claws deeply embedded in my heart. I was certain that I couldn’t live without it, nor could I live with it. More than once I found myself at the bottom of an ocean – and all my air was gone.

Yet through it all, with all my failures and forays into the darkness, God forgives. The blood of Jesus has covered my sins. The things that overwhelm me have in turn been overwhelmed.

And I am still here.

Father, I feel lost. Your forgiveness is wonderful, yet I feel unsure of how to walk in it. Walking in sin, I understand, but what am I supposed to do now? Guide me by Your Holy Spirit. Show me the plans You have for me. Fill me with passion to achieve them. Help me to be a part of overwhelming the enemy. Help me to reach to the bottom of the ocean – to help save those who are overwhelmed by sin.

May You be glorified in all I do.

January 24, 2005

A Place of Abundance

For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. Psalm 66:10-12

We are always thankful for God's blessing, but can we learn to thank Him for the troubles?

The emotional prisons, the heavy burden of sin, the ridicule of other men, the searing of the soul, the times when taking the next breath seems impossible... Can I be thankful for these? Can I understand how trouble has made me stronger?

The joy of abundance is so much sweeter to those who have lived in poverty. The unconditional love of God is so precious to the man who struggles to remember a time of acceptance and love.

Lord, You have brought me to a place of abundance. The famines in my life have not taken it from me; they have made me more aware of Your rich blessing. But now, what am I supposed to do with it? I feel an abundance of spirit like never before, and I don't know what to do.

So much of me wants to go back - to the prisons - to the pain - to the things I once knew. Yet I know, just as returning to Egypt was no longer an option for the Israelites, I have no other choice. Once the promised land is in sight, Your people cannot turn back. Those who refuse to move forward are destined to wander - destined to die in the desert.

Father, I don't want to wander anymore. I want to enjoy an abundant life with You. Give me clarity. Help me to see how all the pieces fit together. Give me a vision that will bring others to this place of abundance as well.

January 25, 2005

A Harvest Awaits

Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. Psalm 67:6

There is a harvest that awaits.

God has a plan to pour out abundance - to bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear Him. No man will deny that He exists, that He loves His children, that He is the only One worthy of praise.

Lord, I want to be a harvester. I simply don't know which field I am supposed to harvest. Reveal Yourself anew each day, so I might be the man You intended - the husband You intended - the father You intended.

Thank You for loving me so much that You included me in Your harvest.

January 27, 2005

Hope for the Lonely

God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. Psalm 68:6

Loneliness.

There are so many people who face it everyday. So many circumstances can leave someone feeling alone - feeling invisible.

Sometimes the circumstance is physical. The single life can be a lonely thing. I know a man whose unmarried brother died unexpectedly and wasn't discovered for three weeks. How lonely he must have been.

Sometimes the circumstance is emotional. For a variety of reasons, a child seems to disappear in the middle of the crowd. Although others are present, he feels utterly alone. Many adults still feel invisible.

But there is hope. "God sets the lonely in families..." He is all about relationship. We must be willing to receive it.

Are you lonely? Reach out! Grab the hand next to you. Rejoice, for the Father will never leave us alone.

Lord, help me to grab hold of the family in which You have set me.

January 29, 2005

Pain and Distress

I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:29-30

When we are in pain - when we are distressed, what is our response? So often my tendency is to complain, to cry out to God, to feel sorry for myself.

In many of the Psalms, David expressed his pain and distress, but he also did the right thing with it. Rather than moping - rather than escaping the pain or going on some big pity party, he did what pleased God more than any sacrifice. He praised God's name.

Have you ever seen a parent beam with pride when his child sings? His child may be the loudest and most off-key in the whole choir, but what joy it brings to hear his voice!

God loves to hear His children sing!

Lord, too often I forget the importance of praising You. Forgive me for being so self-absorbed, for withholding what is rightfully Yours, the true worship of my heart. I've been weary lately. I haven't been able to find the energy to arise early - to spend time in Your Word as I would like. Even so, I could praise You. But the distraction of the day seem to be overwhelming me.

Father, help me to sing praises to You. When my lips are too tired to sing, may songs pour from my heart. In my pain and distress, I will praise You!

January 31, 2005

Seek Him

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, "Let God be exalted!" Psalm 70:14

Seek Him in everything.

Exalt Him in everything.

Oh, if we could so easily learn. Whenever we need help, God is there waiting to reach out to us. Whenever we need understanding, He stands ready to speak to us. Whenever we feel that all is lost, He is quick to save us.

Why do I ever try to face life without Him?

Lord, everyday You prove Yourself to me. If ever I seek Your face, I always find You. But sometimes I forget to seek. It isn't that I push You away. I simply forget to grab hold of Your hand. Thank You for being here every time I need You.

May You be exalted today!

About January 2005

This page contains all entries posted to The Potter's Hand in January 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2004 is the previous archive.

February 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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