DAY 31

I choose Restoration.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul (Psalm 23:1-3)."

For most of my adult life I have wrongly equated being busy with being productive. I am guilty as charged when it comes to living each day in overdrive. The result has been exhaustion, burnout, and watered down living. The psalmist is aware of the needs of busy sheep.  

He says the shepherd makes me lie down in green pastures. I think this part is puzzling. It doesn’t say, “He helps you lie down” or “He suggests that lying down in green pastures would be a good idea if you could find time.” Clearly it says: the Lord makes you lie down.

You may be thinking a good nap in green pastures would be nice if there were any around to lay in. Maybe your green pastures are only green from God’s perspective because of the good they could produce. Maybe your green pasture is a hospital bed. Maybe your green pasture is a penetrating loneliness or a painful relationship. Maybe it’s a persistent financial need and God has made you lie down in that green pasture. That’s the crisis of soul restoration.

You can’t miss the fact that in the gospels, Jesus repeatedly got alone. There were times when He said, “Sorry. Not today.” He left a group of people on the shore. He walked away from a crowd standing in a field. He removed Himself from the disciples. He woke up before daylight and went to a solitary place to pray. And if Jesus—God, the very Son of God—could not live on this earth without walking beside still waters, without lying down in green pastures, then how arrogant of us to think that we can get by without doing the same.


I am chosen by God and I choose restoration. Heavenly Father, forgive me for the arrogance that keeps me on the run, trying to prove my worth. Teach me how to rest in You, Lord. Help me learn how to say “no” to those things that keep me from sitting at Your feet. Give me a hunger and thirst for You that can only be satisfied by time alone with You. 

DAY 32

I choose Thanksgiving.

"One of the lepers, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan (Luke 17:15-16)."

As part of a complex, ancient code of racial prejudice, the Samaritans were hated by the Jews. Though this man was technically outside the household of faith and had, on a human level, the fewest reasons to thank a Jewish man, he alone returned humbly and gratefully. No one has an acceptable excuse for ungratefulness—not even a Samaritan, who, based on the social prejudices he’d endured, could have had many excuses for not coming back. And surely he was in a hurry to get his official, clean bill of health. If he could overcome all of that to express sincere gratitude, how could the others walk away?

Everyone can make the choice to give thanks and acknowledge the goodness and grace of God. Sadly, however, only a small fraction of the human population ever personally thanks God for His grace. Notice the stark contrast: a thankless nine vs. a thankful one. Ten gifts received and ten attitudes chosen, but only one was an expression of gratitude. 

Gratitude heals our hearts. It displaces toxic complaining. It opens our eyes to the myriad graces of God in our everyday lives. Finding something to be thankful for in everything is certainly a step above having only random grateful thoughts. But there is still plenty of room for developing a deeply thankful heart. Here’s what you’re going for; Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


I am chosen by God and I choose thanksgiving. Thank you Lord for all that You have done for me. Please replace my complaints with thanks. I want to be like the one, healed leper, who through his gratitude, was made truly, wholly well. Show me where I’m most lacking in gratitude, and give me strength to give You authentic thanks for those trying places in my life.

DAY 33

I choose Bonding.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)."

When you meet someone the question of what you do inevitably comes up. What are we looking for when we ask that question? And what do we hear when we’re on the receiving end of that question? What we do is important stuff in this world, and God desires greatly to be invited into what it is we find ourselves doing every day. God takes delight in the work of our hands. But do we sometimes confuse what we and others “do” with who we are, especially, who we are in Christ?

In ancient times, there was a practice where a servant who was loved by his master and who loved his master in turn could choose to be a servant for life. The nature of the servant’s new relationship to his master would be no secret. The transaction was to be made in a public ceremony where a sharp awl would be used to pierce a hole in the servant’s ear. Wherever he appeared, he was known, by the mark of the awl, to be bonded by love forever to his master, his wife, and his children. He was known as a bondservant.

More than a thousand years after the Old Testament bondservant law was first written about in Exodus 21:2-6, the apostle Paul, in his letters to the Romans, to the Philippians, and to Titus, introduces himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ. He considered his relationship of love with his Master, Jesus Christ, to be as permanent as the bondservant's was with his master. 

One of the greatest paradoxes of this: is that freedom can be found in being bound. To gain the greatest liberty in God, we give up all rights and become a lifelong bondservant to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a glorious bonding that leads to the highest form of freedom and liberty. It is a voluntary surrender born out of love and affection, causing one to consider servitude even greater than sonship.


I am chosen by God and I choose bonding.  Lord, thank You for giving us the privilege of counting ourselves as servants of Jesus Christ, bonded to Him by Your Spirit in a love relationship for life. Please remove from me any obstacles to the flow of Your love.

DAY 34

I choose Confession.

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9)."

It's interesting to note in the passage above the difference between the words, sin and sins. In Verse 8 it is in the singular form, "If we say we have no sin," in Verse 9 it is plural, "If we confess our sins." Now this marks a very important distinction, the distinction between the root which is sin, singular, and the fruit, which are sins, plural. 

Sin is that part in each of us that makes us want to play God on every occasion. We know how this is: we want the world to revolve around us, always to be the center of things. We label it many ways - pride, selfishness, or independence. Call it what you want but that self-centeredness is sin.

On the other hand, there are many kinds of sins, but all from that one root. This is what John 1:8 is zeroing in on. He says if we say we have no sin, that is, no capacity to commit sins, if we deny the very possibility of sins, then we deceive ourselves. But when we do sin, don't try to hide it, do not cover it over, do not, out of some mistaken notion that you will lower yourself in the estimation of someone else, refuse to acknowledge sin. Confess it, say what it is - anger, or malice, envy or lust, jealousy or selfishness - any of these things. Do not deny them and do not deny the root. Face the reality and confess these faults when they appear.

Confession is God’s provision to clear obstacles that hinder our relationships with Him and with others. Confession is not just for those who don’t mind admitting their faults. It's for everyone who wants to walk in the light and is tired of living in deception. There is tremendous freedom that comes as we openly acknowledge the sinfulness of our actions. Confession is not a sign of weakness; it is the evidence of your refusal to allow sin to rule and ruin your life.


I am chosen by God and I choose confession. Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your persistent pursuit of my transformation. I believe that You love me and have my best interest at heart. Please reveal the things You want to change in me. Nothing is off limits. Lord, I want to be everything that You would have me be. Please convict me by Your Holy Spirit and conform me into the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

DAY 35

I choose Listening.

"So Eli told Samuel, 'Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place (1 Samuel 3:9)."

There are a million different things happening around us at any given moment, every day, every week – all the time. We’re sleeping, eating, cleaning, watching TV, studying, working, driving, vacationing, running errands, paying bills, walking the dog, being with friends, arguing, making up, being sick, exercising … we live full lives.

Life will always be busy but instead of slowing down we turn up the beat, change the song, or search for a new frequency that resonates with our mood. Responsibilities, chores, the must do’s, the bills, the not enough, the success of today and the plans for tomorrow, can all distract our inner ear from hearing God's voice.

It’s no wonder that in the midst of the clang and clatter of life, children hear God’s whisper before we do. Samuel heard it. While all the adults were sleeping – perhaps not getting enough of it and already anticipating what they wouldn't get done the next day – Samuel, a small boy, heard a voice calling HIS name. Not the priest’s name, or his mother’s name… HIS name.

God speaks, we know that, right? The Bible is FULL of stories about God saying all kinds of things to all kinds of people. I know he’s spoken to me, and I bet many of you can say that he’s spoken to you. Yet still, I get asked a lot, “How can I hear the voice of God? How will I know it's him?”

Stop and listen for God; make yourself available to His instruction and presence; get silent. Remove yourself from all the crazy stuff that happens around you. Forget about your schedule, the dishes in the sink, the shows on Netflix, the problems at work…and just be still. Silent. Focused. Relaxed.


I am chosen by God and I choose to listen. Lord, open my ears to be fully attentive when You speak. Don’t let me wait until after You are speaking but give me a heart and ears that are ready to hear Your voice and Your Word before You start speaking.

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