Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Living a life worthy of His calling
Graphic from A Life Worthy
When reading Ephesians 4:1-6 today, verse 1 starts out calling me to live a life worthy of my calling. I know I'm not worthy, that's why I need Jesus. The way the Amplified Bible said some of verse 1, helped me understand this better:

live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation

That part about a life that expresses gratitude to God for my salvation, that grabbed me.  I appreciate John Piper's comments on this, Piper makes the point:

"This does not mean that we should try to deserve our place in God's favor. It means that we should recognize how much our place in God's favor deserves from us. The focus is not on our worth but on the worth of our calling"

Piper goes on to compare it to a judge that had been found guilty of some shameful crimes and how this judge was looked at as behaving unworthy of his office.  The first 3 chapters of Ephesians have just told me about the gifts, status and place God's given me/all His followers:
  • Blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesiasn 1:3)
  • Chose us to be holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4, 7)
  • Adopted us as His children (Ephesians 1:5)
  • Lavished His grace upon us (Ephesians 1:8)
  • Let us know the mystery of His will for bringing all things to unity in Christ when time reaches its fulfillment (Ephesians 1: 9-10)
  • Chosen as part of the church, those who first put their hope in Christ, to be to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:12)
  • Given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our relationship with Him (Ephesian 1:13-14, 2:22)
  • Given us the Holy Spirit as a source of stent and power (Ephesians 3:16-18)
  • Given us great power (Ephesians 1:18-21)
  • Forgiveness for sins (Ephesians 2:1-5)
  • Seated with Christ in the heavenly realms to show through the ages His great grace to us (Ephesians 2:6-10)
  • Brought us near to Christ (Ephesians 2:13)
  • Loved us with an unending love (Ephesians 3:17-19)
 Now in Chapter 4 he's saying to live a life worthy of this great calling He's been telling me about.  I'm thinking about what this means, in practical/daily terms for me:
  • I don't need to feel overwhelmed by how challenging my job is - I have been given His strength so I can go about things with a quiet confidence instead of hesitancy
  • It doesn't matter if people like me or not at the new job - I'm loved by God and He has me there
  • When I mess up I can be as honest about it as is permissible, ask God's forgiveness (and anyone else if needed) and move on
  • As a grace recipient I can be a grace giver to John and not hold his faults/mistakes/wrong doing against him
  • I have so much to be grateful for, and happy about, I can live my life with joy and give a smile to those I encounter
Oh Father thank you for all You've give me! I can never say thank You enough!! Holy Spirit make me aware as I go through my day of ways I can live a life worthy of what You've called me to.  I look to You Lord 'cuz I know that I can only live a worthy life through Your power in me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

His Power working in Us

Graphic from Edge Church Colorado
As I'm finishing off this 3rd chapter in Ephesians, I've come to the last 2 verses. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV):

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,  to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

What an awesome passage!  God can do good for us beyond what we can imagine by His Spirit working in us!

Peterson, in his The Message paraphrase, adds this additional insight to the part about "according to the power that works within us" in the 2nd half of the 20th verse:

 He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

This part stands out to me today because I'm thinking that God always wants to do good for me, but sometimes I get in the way. His power has to work in me so that I am able to experience Him doing more than I can think of or ask. I need to be changed.

This doesn't come as a huge shock since I'm acutely aware of the fact that myself and everyone else is broken.

Oh Father work in me.  May I remain open to You and doing what You want and in Your way throughout this day. Help me keep Your attitude and not get critical or cynical.  Help me be Your woman at my job, with John, when I'm driving - just in everything today.  Show me where I need to change and then please empower me to change.  Thank You for loving me.  Thank You for having good plans for me.  Thank You for all the hope You bring.  I love You.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

More on accessing God's strength
Graphic from Saved Sister
I'm still struggling and tired. Still thinking about what I studied the last time.  Specifically Piper's A.P.T.A.T. The question that comes to my mind is what promises from the Word do I need to be speaking aloud and trusting about?

So this morning I want to spend some time coming up with verses.  Mostly, it is my job that has me exhausted. I'm going to list what about my job has me exhausted so I can find verses that apply to these issues. Oh Father, please guide me through this process so that I can learn how to do what I hear people call "standing on your Word".  Lord, please help me be able to do what Paul wrote to Timothy about and rightly handle your Word.

Here's my list of work issues:
  • Finding shift coverage
  • Frequent onslaught of numerous, coming at you,competing issues that I need to address
  • Due to B, I strain to remain focused and get everything done
  • Due to B, it would be easy to miss what is truly important and thereby mess up 
  • Navigating potentially company problem issues and minimizing the risk
  • Presenting ourselves to licensing auditors as the good people we are and making sure that they see that
  • The need to establish positive, productive, relationships with difficult people
  • Extensive paperwork that is extremely detail oriented and must be well thought out
  • Being effective at coming up with ways to train and mentor leaders and make a difference

Now, how do I apply the Word to these?

I feel like what I need to do is:
1. Come up with some verses
2. Work out my thought process behind those verses.
3. Come up with truth statements for these verses.
Then I can read (and eventually have memorized) aloud those verses and some truth statements that correspond to those verses. I can do this throughout the day.  This way I don't have to become drained and tired and overwhelmed.

It's so much, I just can't do it on my own. I am not smart enough.  In life and work there is always so much going on that I just only see a fraction of.  Yet my actions need to be in line with the entire situation (even that part I don't know). What I need is God's  direction, God's ability, and God's favor.

God's Direction
1. Verses
Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.

Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

Psalm 32:5-10 (NIV)
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.

 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them. 
 You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.
 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you. 
 Many are the woes of the wicked,
    but the Lord’s unfailing love
    surrounds the one who trusts in him.

Psalm 119:104-105 (NIV)
I gain understanding from your precepts;
    therefore I hate every wrong path.

 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.

2. Thought process regarding these verses
God promises that He will lead me.  If I stay in His word and seek to follow His ways, I will reap the benefits of His wisdom provided in His Word.  If I mess up and go off His path, I can acknowledge my sin & repent and He'll forgive me (1 John 1:9, Psalm 32:5). I don't have to get all stressed and exhausted, I have his counsel and leading available to me.  I'm not all on my own in this trying to figure out what to do.  He promises to direct me.

3. Truth statements based on these verses
  • No situation is too much for me. 
  • I can count on God's guidance and direction. 
  • I am not alone in this, He is with me and will lead me. 
  • As I obey God's Word and follow His direction, I will reap the benefits. 
  • When I mess up and fail to follow God's Word, I can acknowledge my sin and choose to turn away from it.  God will forgive me and His blessings will become mine again.
God's Ability

1. Verses
Deuteronomy 8; especially verse 18 (NIV)
But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

Philippians 4:10-13; especially verse 13 (NKJV)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:15-19; especially verse 19 (NIV)
God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NET)
 My point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.  Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace overflow to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work. 

Matthew 7:7-12; especially verse 7 (NIV)
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 

2. Thought process regarding these verses
My job, and sometimes life, is just too much for me.  I am not smart enough, do not have enough ability.  I need God's ability  The Word says that I need to ask and He will give me what I need. He puts me in my life and job and wants me to be successful. There is also a theme regarding me needing to give and then I will receive back as I give.

3. Truth statements based on these verses 
  • God gives me the ability to do what I  need to do. 
  • I can count on God's strength and ability. 
  • I have everything I need to do that which is before me to do.
  •  Whatever I have need of, God will supply.  
  • As I give and help others, God will help me.    

God's Favor
1. Verses
Genesis 39; especially verse 21 (NIV)
 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.

Proverbs 3:1-4 (NET)
My child, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments, 
 for they will provide a long and full life,
and they will add well-being to you.
Do not let truth and mercy leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will find favor and good understanding,
in the sight of God and people.

Psalm 23; especially verse 6 (NET)
Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days,
and I will live in the Lord’s house for the rest of my life.

Psalm 90; especially verse 17 (NET)
May our sovereign God extend his favor to us!
Make our endeavors successful!
Yes, make them successful! 

Psalm 5; especially verse 12 (NET)
Certainly you reward the godly, Lord.
Like a shield you protect them in your good favor. 

2. Thought process regarding these verses
When God puts His favor on someone, they will be successful no matter what happens to them.  Joseph is a perfect example of this.  Following God's Word and commandments will give us favor with Him and the people around us. God will have his goodness and mercy follow me.  He will protect me with His favor.

3. Truth statements
  • God's favor is on me. 
  • As I seek to obey God I will act wisely and win the favor of those around me. 
  • Goodness and mercy are following me where ever I go. 
  • God's favor protects me.   
  • People see the best in me due to God's favor. 

Oh Father, thank You for Your Word.  Please empower me to be obedient to You and Your Word.  Enable me to be a true help to others.  Enlarge within me a giver's heart. Help me rest daily in the direction, ability,  and favor that You give me.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Glorious inner strength
Photo from Psychology Today
I was delighted when I realized this next passage: Ephesians 3:14-19. This has long been one of my favorite prayers; one that I've specifically prayed over my oldest son Devon for years. Today I pray that God would show me what He wants for me today in this portion of His Word.

I'm especially partial to the way this reads in The Message paraphrase:

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

Today I'm extra drawn to the words about glorious inner strength because I'm tired. About a month ago I went back to work for a company that I've worked for before. This time around the company has huge staffing problems. I'm called constantly and am in the position of constantly finding coverage, sometimes ending up coming in myself and working. I'm on salary so I'm not paid any more for coming in, and I still have all the regular work load expectations. As long as I'm at this job, I want to do a good job and glorify the Lord by my work performance. As of yet, no other work doors have opened up for me; so I take that as an indication that God must want me where I am at for now. I'm exhausted and struggling with discouragement. Today I fully recognize how much I need His strength.

I appreciate Jon Bloom's thoughts on these verses:

"This was not only Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians; it’s God’s desire for us today. He wants us to have more strength, enlarged capacities, to know Christ’s love and enjoy more of his fullness. Because more of God’s fullness means greater love for him. And greater love for him means more delight in him. And the greater our delight in him, the easier his yoke and the less burdensome his commandments become (Matthew 11:30; 1 John 5:3), for God has enlarged our heart (Psalm 119:32).

This concept of enlarging our capacity is what draws me here.  God is is the One of supreme strength (Isaiah 40:12-31, Jeremiah 32:17-22, Acts 17:26-27, Psalm 136:11-12).  He has given me His Holy Spirit who lives within me.  The Holy Spirit within me can be a source of strength. Richard Patterson discourses about Believers living their lives dependent on God's power:

"in his epistle to the Philippians Paul declares that it is not in his power that he lives out his life and ministry, but solely in the Lord’s strength: “I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:12-13). As Comfort points out, “This powerful presence enabled Paul to go through bad times and good. Paul no longer relied on his own strength but on the strength of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, who lived in him and worked through him (see Gal 2:20; Col 1:27; cf. 2 Cor 1:8-10; 4:7-12).” 

Today I'm thinking about how do I access or experience God's strength?  I sure need it!  I feel exhausted so much of the time. John Piper had some practical thoughts on the answer to this question. He wrote about using the following sequence: A.P.T.A.T.

A. Admit - Admit we can't do anything on our own
P. Pray- Ask God for help
T. Trust-trust God that He will help. Piper talks a lot about memorizing scriptures about God's provision and choosing to believe they are true. I appreciate these points of Piper's regarding "Trusting":
             "When Peter says, “Whoever serves, [let him serve] as one who serves by the strength that God supplies” (1 Peter 4:11), we do this not only by praying for that supply, but by trusting in the promise of the supply in specific situations. Paul says that God supplies the Spirit to you “by hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:5). That is, we hear a promise and we believe it for a particular need, and the Holy Spirit comes to help us through that believed promise."
A. Act-Go to work with a good will and a high heart, expecting to be helped as you asked to be.
T. Thank-Thank God for His help, provision and blessings in your life

Oh Father, help me follow this sequence in my life.  Help me stay in Your word and know and count on Your promises.  Help me hold steadfast and rely on You throughout the challenges of my life.  Empower me to live a life filled with words of thanksgiving and a grateful attitude.  Please, strengthen me with Your strength.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The gospel is for everyone
Photo from The Gospel for Believers
What strikes me today as I read Ephesians 3:1-13 is that the gospel is for everybody.  In this passage Paul spends a lot of time alluding to the fact that God created the Jewish nation to be His people, but Jesus came to save everybody.  Those who are the knowledgeable, "churched", people and those who aren't.

This has become real for me in a new way since I started volunteering with Prison Fellowship Ministry (PFM).  In one sense, prisoners are bad people.  They are people who have done bad things, they have victimized other people.  It is much easier on one level to be sympathetic toward the victims than the victimizer.  I've long said that I'd rather be a prosecuting attorney than a defense attorney because the district attorney's office stands up for the people, the victims of crime.

Along with 2 other ladies I currently teach a class on job seeking and keeping as part of PFM's academy. We teach in a medium level prison called CRC.  Our class is comprised of young men who are part of CRC's youth offender program.  CRC has pulled inmates ages 18-25 away from the rest of the population for part of their prison time.  They are housed together and have optional classes together.  Just a couple of weeks ago during class we were discussing that the largest percentage of jobs are obtained through knowing someone.  One of the young men in the class related a story about how he was once working a temp job with 2 others.  He said that he outworked the 2 others by far, but that the 2 other people ended up being offered permanent work for that company while his job ended.  He explained that the other 2 had family members or friends who worked there.  He said that he got really angry about it and thought to himself that he should go rob all of those people.  I remember being shocked when he said that.  I thought to myself - who thinks something like that when they're upset?

Yet, somehow, when I'm there with those young men, I am filled with a sense of how precious they are.  I think it's the Holy Spirit within me; because these young men are precious to God.  The gospel truly is for everyone because God loves everyone.  He doesn't look at people the way that we do.

During these weeks that we've had class together I've come to know some of the young men and their stories.  My heart breaks as they casually mention things about their childhoods that were terrible. Moms who were drug addicts, chaotic households, dads in and out of prison, generations of gang affiliation...these are standard fare among the incarcerated.  God sees their pain and wants something better for these young men; my prayer is that I am a part of bringing that about.

I want to get in line with God's ways of looking at and loving people.  So what does that mean for me in my everyday life?  Are there people with whom I come in contact that I've written off?  Who I find offensive and/or annoying?  The gospel is for them too!  How can really believing this change the way I interact with and talk about these people?

Oh Father, thank You for Your love.  Thank You for extending your salvation to me and everyone else.  Show me ways each day to love the people around me.  Please help me be open to hearing Your voice when I'm around people who I don't like and who annoy me.  Empower me to change my attitude.  May I love people like You do.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Being part of His church

Graphic from Literature and Liturgy
Today I'm focusing on Ephesians 2:19-22.

God's building something.

It started with the prophets who were the foundation. Jesus is the chief cornerstone. God is joining His followers, the Church, together with Jesus to build a temple to His glory.

The church is comprised of all who believe in Christ; it is a visible entity that symbolizes the invisible grace that makes it possible.  I believe that the church has a special place in God's work on this earth.

God has always planned to reconcile men to Himself; this can be seen throughout the Scriptures:

Genesis 3:15 - Genesis 3:1-20 recounts the fall of man and the fact that God provided a way back to Himself.

There are pictures of God's redemption throughout the Old Testament; here's just a few of them:

Genesis 22 - God required Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac and at the last minute provided a substitute for that sacrifice.
Exodus 2-14 - Moses leads Israel out of captivity in Egypt.  Psalm 106:6-12 summarizes how God redeemed Israel through Moses leading their exit from Egypt. 
Ruth 1-4 - Boaz is the kinsman redeemer who purchased the ability to care for Ruth and her mother in law and bring Ruth into the family of Israel who were God's chosen people.
Isaiah 49:8-10 & Isaiah 61:1-3-the promise of restoration and deliverance

John 12:20-35 - Jesus died for everyone and if he is lifted up He will draw all to Himself

Romans 5:12-19 - Death came through Adam and salvation for all came through Christ

Philippians 2:5-11 - Eventually all will come to God through the Lordship of Jesus

2 Peter 3:8-9-God waits for all to come to Himself.

1 Timothy 4:6-10 - God is the savior of all people

So everyone will eventually come to God through Jesus, but the church are those who form the mystical body of Christ who have come to Him while on this earth. It would seem that God has a special place, a special work for those of His Church. The Church is supposed to bring glory to God on this earth, preach His kingdom and make disciples, and help one another grow in relationship with God through Christ. Scriptures such as Romans 15:1-6 & 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 show me that the Church exists to bring glory to God.  In Matthew 28:18-20 & Acts 1:8 we're shown that the Church is to bring preach the Jesus story and make disciples. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, Ephesians 4:11-16, and Ephesians 3:10-25 show the Church is to help Believers in Christ to encourage one another and grow in their relationship with Him.

I believe that if I don't accept God's gift of salvation now, at the end of this life I'll be separated from Him in hell. That Hell is still redemptive in nature; a time of refining fire that I might repent and come to Him. Choosing Him now not only saves me from hell later, it allows me to experience relationship with the Creator of my soul. As part of His Church I am called to bring Him glory, help bring His kingdom to others, and help build up others of faith.

So what does this mean to me now? What are the questions that come to my mind?
  • Does the way I live bring glory to God?
  • What am I doing to help others come into His kingdom?
  • Am I encouraging and helping others in the faith grow in Him?
Oh Father, thank You that You let me into Your kingdom. Thank You for letting me be part of Your work.   Would you please empower me to live so that my life brings You glory.  Help me stay positive at my job and keep a servant's heart so  that You would be honored.  Help me be smart and fix problems at work and make things better so that You can get the glory.  Be with me at Prison ministry so that You would speak through me and be a source of encouragement, truth, help and an example for those young men.  Oh Father, show me daily if there's something specific that You want me to do and help me be sensitive to Your leading.  Sometimes I feel exhausted and like I don't have the energy that I need for it all.  Please give me wisdom and self discipline to eat, exercise, and live in ways that keep me healthy for my life and all I need to do.  Please empower and energize me by Your Holy Spirit within me to be up for the life/ministry before me.  May I be a source of wisdom, encouragement, and love to Daniel as we talk each week.  May I be a good helper to John and a source of love, encouragement and affirmation.  Even though we don't talk much, show me ways to be a positive source for Your kingdom in Devon, Rachel, Dylan, Liz and my grandchildren's lives.  Thank You that I can always come to You Lord.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Law established in the Spirit

Graphis from New Hope Ohau
Today I'm looking at Ephesians 2:14-22, and there's a ton of stuff there!

But what jumped out at me today was this phrase in the first part of the 15th verse, I looked at it in several versions and found that I especially appreciated these:

"by setting aside in his flesh the law and its commands and regulations" (NIV)

"He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped":(MSG)

"abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled] (AMP)

I appreciate these thoughts of Joseph Evel found in his book The Biblical Illustrator about this verse:

"The word rendered “to abolish” is the word often used by St. Paul for “to supersede by something better than itself”--translated “to make void,” in Romans 3:31; to “bring to nought,” in 1 Corinthians 1:28, and (in the passive) “to fail, to vanish away,” to be done away,” in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. Now, of the relation of Christ to the Law, St. Paul says, in Romans 3:31, “Do we make void the Law? God forbid! Yea, we establish the Law.” The Law, therefore, is abolished as a law “in ordinances”--that is, “in the letter”--and is established in the spirit."

What does it mean to establish the law in the spirit? Or perhaps a more accurate question might be what does it mean to say that Jesus established the law in the spirit?

In a sermon about Romans 3:27-31,  John Piper makes some comments that I think shed a clarifying light on this topic:

"what the moral law of God requires of us, we will do, if we pursue it by faith, as those who are already justified, and not by works, in order to be justified. If we get right with God first by faith alone, and then live in that freedom of love and acceptance and justification, we will be changed from the inside out and will begin to love the very things the moral law requires so that they become established in our lives-not as works of merit, but as the fruit of faith (1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11) and fruit of the Spirit"

I really think that second reference that Piper points to says it well:

"we pray for you all the time - pray that our God will make you fit for what he's called you to be, pray that he'll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something" (MSG)

It's all about God.  Jesus' work on the cross made it so His very Spirit can live in me.  The Holy Spirit in me calls out to me to be in His Word.  As I'm in His Word I realize anew His love, grace, justification.  These things change me. He is changing me.  I don't need letter of the law thinking, I want Spirit of the law.  In and of itself, the moral law is good.  It helps me get my thoughts straight about what is wrong and what is right. But it is the Holy Spirit inside me, changing me, that produces right living by me - not me looking on the outside and conforming to standards of right living.

So, what does all this mean to me in my daily life?
  • It's not my place to be the law-judger and go around judging other people.  I can leave that to God.  Of course I need to be wise in my interactions with people, so I will watch and listen.  I will make "judgements" in that sense of the word.  But by God's Spirit, may I not fall into a judgmental attitude.
  • The feelings of not-being-good enough do not have a place in my life.  It is never about that.  God made me good enough.  There may be specific areas in my life where improvement is needed, and by His grace and power I will seek to improve.  But, I am good in His sight.  I am acceptable and beloved. There is no criteria to which I need to measure myself.
  • I can spend time thanking God for what He has already done through His Spirit in me.  This is bigger than it sounds: Instead of pining for righteousness - I can spend time speaking aloud thanksgiving for the work He has already done and is continuing in me.  I can ask for wisdom in how I can cooperate with Him specifically throughout the day.  The focus is on faith and God and not on me and activities to "get it right." 

Oh dear God, thank You.  I can never thank you enough.Your ways are just so much greater and better than mine.  Thank  You more than I know how to say for what You've done for me in Jesus! Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit.  Thank You for working in me.  Show me specific ways that I can cooperate with You today.  Help me hear You well today.