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Category Archives: My Utmost for His Highest Scripture of the Day

God the Father, my father, and me as a father

A Father’s Hope

Dear God, I just watched a video (link above) from a Catholic Advent series that a friend encouraged me to use this Advent season. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been as focused on Advent as it has spiritual growth and discipleship. I’ve liked that better.

Today’s video was about the names we have for you when we pray to you. Like the speaker, I usually refer to you as Father. The speaker talked about parallels between your attitude towards us and our attitude towards our own children. Of course, this made me think about a lot of things from the past and present.

I remember after my son was born and his first few years. I was struck by how easy it was to discipline him when he did something wrong or made a bad decision and then move on and forgive him. I probably even journaled to you at the time that it gave me a new perspective on how you see me. I wasn’t nearly the unforgivable wretch that I sometimes felt I was. Through the power of Jesus’ sacrifice (Hebrews 10:14), I am easily forgiven by a perfectly holy God. You are eager for my repentance and eager to move me forward.

This video also made me think of some of the best men’s retreats I’ve ever attended. There were a series of them out at Laity Lodge where they had men get up and tell their story from the perspective of You as our Father, our earthly father, and us as a father. Those were some great experiences as we started to get a glimpse of how we might actually be made in your image after all.

Father, help me to know how to embrace all that you are as my father, and help me to be the father you know my children need me to be. Give me exactly what I need to continue to draw closer to the center of your presence, and give my children exactly what you need them to have from me. Don’t let me get in the way of your plans for them with my own impetuousness, insecurity, or foolishness.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

Addiction

My Utmost for His Highest reading for December 5

Dear God, I haven’t been doing well with my food addiction lately. Even in the last six or so weeks I can see that I’m gaining weight and using food for comfort. I’ve had this problem for as long as I can remember.

I suppose it’s the same with any addiction. Whether it’s alcohol, porn, drugs, food, or whatever else, it’s something that must be rejected. I guess what makes food harder is that you have to eat some of it every day. I can abstain from drugs, porn, or alcohol, but I come face to face with food three times a day (more, if I’m honest). I have to get this under control.

Father, even in typing this, I’m making the first step. I’m admitting that my eating has become unmanageable, I am powerless when it comes to rejecting bad food and too much food, and I need my higher power, which is you. I pray that you will help me today—at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all of the in between times. I submit this as part of my worship of you and in honor of the life you’ve given me.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

Philippians 3:12

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Philippians 3:12

Dear God, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the seeds we try to plant in our children’s lives and the hopes that we have that they will grow into something when they grow up. I remember reading the parable Jesus told of the seed that fell in the different types of soil and rock when my children were young and praying that the seeds my wife and I were planting would find deep, rich soil. Lately, as my children are both living far from me now and my current influence on their lives is minimal, my prayers for them usually include you helping those seeds that were planted long ago to break through any rock or thorns Satan is trying to put into their lives so that they might be your people.

I mention this in relation to this verse because it is a seed that was planted in me 30+ years ago. Fellowship of Christian Athletes has this as their theme verse one year when I was in high school, and every time I come across it I am taken back to those moments and even the feelings I would have at the time. I don’t necessarily walk around now in hard times saying, “I need to press on…” but I do get a grounding in my faith every time see it.

Father, thank you for the seeds you have planted and continue to plant in my life. Please help them to find good soil and avoid the vines, thorns, weeds, and rocks that Satan tries to use in my life. And I pray for the seeds you have planted and continue to plant in my wife’s and children’s lives. Help all of us press on towards the goal of loving you, worshipping you, and doing what we can to be your ambassadors.

In Jesus’ name I pray.

Amen

 

Romans 3:23-26

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Romans 3:23-26

Dear God, when I was a senior in high school, my youth minister had some of us memorize three passages: Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, and Romans 10:9-10. The idea was that we could use these verses to lead someone to faith and discipleship in Jesus. While I learned the passages, come to think of it, I don’t think I ever used them the way he intended.

So this starts with Romans 3:23. All of us have sinned and fallen short of your glorious standard. It’s a great equalizer for me and reminder that I simply need a savior. To quote a Charlie Peacock song, “What’s going on inside of me? I despise my own behavior. This only serves to confirm my suspicion that I’m still a man in need of a savior.

Father, I need you as much now as I did 30 years ago when I first learned this passage. But it’s okay because your gift and sacrifice are still there for me. I can be at peace. Help me to live in that knowledge and to share it with others so that your glory will bring them closer to you and give them peace as well.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

Galatians 6:14

14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whicha]”>[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14

Dear God, I think I used to boast a lot more than I do now. Oh sure, I still boast, but the hubris of youth caused me to boast more when I was younger. Now, I feel very unsure about so much. It’s true when they say that the younger we are the more we feel like we have all of the answers. Right now, I feel like I have many more questions than answers.

One area where I had a lot of pride about 10 years ago was in parenting. I thought I had it nailed and figured out. Now, I have so many things that confuse me that when I see other parents struggling with their children I have zero judgment for them. I have nothing but love for them. I’ve used the example of Johnny Manziel’s parents before. They were facing a set of circumstances with their son that I cannot imagine. I know they love him and have done their best for him. They’ve made mistakes, but none more egregious than I would have made in their shoes.

I say all of this because of the verse saying that Paul only boasts in your Cross. I should only boast in the fact that I live a redeemed life because you did what you did. Otherwise, I would wake up in the morning with nothing to live for except myself. But your cross teaches me to lay down my yoke and pick yours up. Your yoke includes me serving my wife, children, friends and neighbors more than myself. In fact, even in Rotary, our motto is “service above self.” Our sin nature drives us to be self-centered, and I have had times in my life when my service was really done with the ulterior motive of getting something in return. But your free gift is eternal life through Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23). That is my example.

Father, help me to be what my wife needs. Help me to be what my daughter needs. Help me to be what my son needs. Then I grow the circle from there. My family of origin and my in-laws. My neighbors, co-workers, and friends. My community, state, and country. My world. Help me to decrease and to only boast in your Cross that redeems me.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

Galatians 6:14-16

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.

Galatians 6:14-16

Dear God, I have friends who are younger and at a point in life when they are trying to establish themselves as professionals and impress others with what they are accomplishing. I have two friends who were talking recently and I heard one of them exaggerate his job to the other. What was interesting is that the other friend could see through the exaggeration and it made him think less of my first friend, not more, as my first fiend had hoped.

So this leads me to myself. How do I represent myself to others? Do I try to impress out of insecurity, or do I humbly share both my failures and successes so that others can be at ease around me? Does my life bring you glory, or does it bring me glory? At the end of the day, is someone else’s life better or worse because of the example they see in me?

Father, make me an instrument of your peace. Love others through me. Be glorified through me. Help me to decrease so you can increase. Help me to give my utmost for your highest.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

Genesis 22:15-19

Gen 22:15-Gen 22:19 NIV The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed…

Dear God, this is the “My Utmost for His Highest” verse of the day, but it takes me back to the passage before it where you tell Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in the first place. Chapter 22 starts by saying that you “tested” Abraham. Is that what some of the struggles I’ve had have been? Tests? If so, I’m not angry about it–even though I’ve experienced some of the worst pain of my life the last few years. As I sit here, I’m okay with the idea with the idea that they were tests. Actually, my thought is, I hope I did okay.

You gave Abraham a promise and I believe that you tested him in this way because he had begun to put more hope in that promise than he surrendered to you. He received the promise of descendants because of his devotion to you, but then you made him put that promise on the altar. No more Isaac, no more descendants with Sarah. Only Ishmael would be left which would be something but not fulfilling the original promise. Did he need a physical reminder that you are his God? Did the last eight years of my life serve the same purpose in some way? Are some of the struggles I’m still experiencing still teaching me to look to you daily?

Father, I’m not asking for any tests, but I submit myself to whatever you have for me. I almost just typed that I can’t think of any promises you ever made to me, but that’s not true. There are times in the last two years that I’ve told friends that there were certain protections I expected from you in return for my prayers, worship, and submission. Maybe I made those protections an idol in some way. Whatever the case may be, you are my God, and I submit to whatever path you have for me.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

Isaiah 49:5-6

Isaiah 49:5-6 And now the Lord speaks—
the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant,
who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him.
The Lord has honored me,
and my God has given me strength.
He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me.
I will make you a light to the Gentiles,
and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

 

Dear God, am I doing enough to restore the people of my community to you? The people of our country? The people of the world? As my wife and I were praying together this morning, I got the image of our lives being a pebble that drops in the water. Our pebble only touches the water immediately adjacent to it, but then that water touches the water next to it until the ripple goes across the pond. I prayed that my wife’s and my lives would be the pebbles and produce the ripples you need them to produce.

So what is it you have for me to do today? Whom would you like my life to touch? I have a friend who is very sick? How can my life touch hers? I have another friend who just lost her husband. How can my life touch hers? Patients will come to us today looking for help. What will you have me do in their lives? I prayed something similar to this yesterday, and then we had a woman come to us who was mourning the loss of someone close to her. She wanted counseling from a therapist for her and her daughter immediately, and we didn’t have any to offer. But you spoke to me and I was able to ask our staff member to encourage her to go to her pastor and seek his pastoral counseling. Who knows, but that you might be making this tragic loss count for your glory?

Father, give me ears to hear, eyes to see, a heart that is willing and motivated, and the wisdom to know what to do. And may it all be under your authority, done in humility, and for your glory alone.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

Mark 20:22

Matthew 20:22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. 

Dear God, the “My Utmost for His Highest” reading was great today. I don’t always read his commentary when I look at the verse of the day from there, but today I did and I’m glad I did. 

There have been times in my life when I just knew you had made a mistake and now I can look back and see you were doing good things. There are other times when I have been really disappointed in you and felt like you didn’t keep the promises you’ve made and I still haven’t figured out what you are doing. But my faith is in you. 

Father, work all of this together for the good of your will, no matter what it costs me. Of course, I don’t want it to cost me anything. I want to hold onto as much comfort and as mettle stress as possible. But I lay that at your feet and commit to you that no matter what path you have for me to walk I will worship you. 

In Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen 

 

John 4:13-14

13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

 

Dear God,  this was the verse from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest today, and I really liked his commentary. Basically, this thesis was, if the Spirit isn’t flowing out of me then there is something wrong with my relationship with you. It either means that you are flowing in and something within me is keeping it from flowing out, or you are not flowing into me at all.

I had a man in my office yesterday with his mother. He was about my age. I’m guessing his mother was about 25 years older. He needed help from our charitable clinic. He had just had a procedure done that kept him from being able to speak well. It wasn’t a great time to have a conversation with him, but I almost did because I noticed a Nazi tattoo on his forearm. I wanted to ask him about it. I wanted to ask him what it meant and why he chose it. I wanted to ask him if he truly believes in the domination of the white race over the others, and, if so, is it because he is insecure. I wanted to ask him how he felt about so many Hispanic people in our office helping him that day, and if it made him uncomfortable. I wanted to ask him if he had personal friends of different races. Did he realize that people with different skin pigmentation are the same regardless? He was in no condition to have that conversation yesterday, but I hope I have an opportunity to have it with him. I would love for your Spirit to flow out of me for him.

Father, I have a full day ahead of me. I don’t know who all I will meet or see, but I pray that your Spirit will flow non only into me, but also through me to others. I pray that the people I encounter today will get a glimpse of you and be drawn to you. I pray that my life will plant seeds in other lives that will find fertile soil. And I pray that you will plant seeds in my life that will find fertile soil as well. I have not arrived. I don’t have it all figured out. Please help me to stay on the path that leads to your glory.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen