The Most Important Thing We’ll Do All Day

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,

The spirit of wisdom and understanding,

The spirit of counsel and strength,

The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

He will delight in the fear of the Lord

He will not judge by what His eyes see

Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;

Righteousness will be the belt about His loins,

And faithfulness the belt about His waist.

Isaiah 11:2-5

These verses from Isaiah are prophetic words about Jesus.  They describe Him beautifully and comprehensively.  As I read them, I understand that I am to bear His image.

In light of that, I customized a prayer for myself.  I experience it as more powerful when I pray it out loud.  I invite you to join me in the most important thing we’ll do all day.  I am in awe of the privilege we have to grow together – bearing the likeness of the One who began His earthly life in a stable.

Lord, I pray that Your Spirit will rest on me. Scripture says, “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55  Father, I want to be like Stephen.  Full of the Spirit.  Able to discern spiritual realities.  Able to see Your glory in everything around me.

I pray that I will have the spirit of wisdom and understanding. Scripture says, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.” I Kings 4:29 Lord, I pray that you will gift me with the same things.  I value wisdom and understanding above all things.

 I ask that you give me the spirit of counsel and strength. Scripture says, “I pray that You, the Father of glory, will give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 1:17 I acknowledge today that wisdom comes from You, not from me.  I am destitute without it and cry out with empty hands.

Give me the spirit of knowledge and the fear of You.  Scripture says, “Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.” Deuteronomy 7:21  Lord, I do not need to fear any man or woman today.  No family member, no employer, no spouse, no friend.  You, God, are here and You live in me.  You are great and awesome and I can stand tall because I’m Yours.

I take delight in the fear of the Lord. Scripture says, “Then Hannah said, “My heart rejoices in the LORD and my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.”  I Samuel 2:1 Lord, Hannah cried out with this praise in the midst of deprivation.  I offer the same.  My soul may mourn, but my heart rejoices in who You are.  I delight in Your deliverance.

Don’t let me judge by what my eyes see. Scripture says, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  I Samuel 16:7 I am to bear Your image, Lord.  Help me see others’ souls – for each man’s soul will live forever – and you ache for all to come to Your table.  Let me extend Your invitation without judgment.

Help me refrain from making decisions by what my ears hear. Scripture says, “Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.” Deuteronomy16:19 Father, when I show favoritism, I pervert Your justice.  Have mercy on me.  Keep my heart pure.

Let righteousness adorn me. Scripture says, “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:6 This is the root of righteousness, Father.  I see that.  I am to believe You – believe You in the face of my own thoughts and opinions, believe Your promise of deliverance despite how hopeless things appear, believe You for Your provision of grace despite how overwhelmed I feel, believe that You will lead me on the right path though I am often void of direction.

Let faithfulness be as a belt around my waist. And finally Lord, Scripture says “You, the LORD, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness.”  Exodus 34:6″  You have promised to perform a supernatural work in me, to help me be like You.  May others say about me, “There’s _______________, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness.”  I do not want to mar Your image.  Empower me to obey as I stay close to You so that I can bear Your reflection.

I pray these things in Jesus’ name, Amen

Journal Question:  What one attribute of Jesus do you desire more of in 2017?  How can you make this your focus and spiritual endeavor?  Make a plan.

A Crystal Chandelier

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

My sister gave me an early Christmas present. She sent me a check that made it possible for me to do a total makeover on our dining room chandelier. Truth be told, I wasn’t even aware that the chandelier bothered me until she and I got into a discussion about settling for things we could really change.

The chandelier was there when we bought the house 16 years ago.   The light was very old. The shades were discolored, the parts were chipped, and the crystals were really made of plastic. However, I decided to keep the chandelier because it was very antique French-looking and I like that style. Over the years though, I learned to compensate for the chandelier in ways I wasn’t even aware of until Nancy and I talked. I kept the lights low while having dinner. I made the focal point the table settings or the table’s centerpiece. Settling and over-compensating had become a way of life.

chandelierNancy is the one who suggested a makeover. I’d never thought of it. Imagine my excitement when I discovered I could strip the chandelier down to the frame and replace all the parts. I was even able to buy a lot of lead crystals for almost no money from a lighting store that posted a small palette of crystals on eBay. So here’s the thing. When stripped bare, the frame turned out to be a real antique and quite stunning. Then, everything I added to it just made it more beautiful. By the time I began to add the crystals, I was almost speechless as I saw my chandelier come to life. The crystals even glistened in the moonlight that shone through the window. It’s the most fun I’ve had creating something in a long time.

The spiritual lessons have been numerous. It made me appreciate the ways God has often stripped my soul bare in order to re-make me in the image of Christ. It made me wonder how many times I’ve attempted to pretty myself up in order to look presentable as a way of overcompensating for my weaknesses. Ultimately though, I’ve been taken with crystals and the beauty of light. I remember that the Gospel is a jewel and that scripture tells me to ‘work out my salvation with fear and trembling.’ The picture in the Greek is to hold a prism up to the light and turn it every way possible to appreciate its many facets. Talk about relevant! The Gospel is stunning and so multi-faceted. I should never think I’ve arrived in appreciating it if I perceive it as simply one-dimensional.

As we gather around our table this Christmas, and as I see the crystals reflect the light of Christmas day, I will silently ponder the ‘Light of the world’ in all of His beauty.

Why would I ever hide You! You are on full display this Christmas. Open the eyes of the blind to behold Your light. Amen