My soul takes flight, my God, and soars to your throne. I leap from star to star in wonder. I arrive at your gate of priceless pearl and it is opened for me. I rush up your street of gold and purity, lined with the tree of life until I see ahead of me ~ ah, I see ahead of me your throne. There, in tears of love and rapture, I bow at your wounded feet. The feet that were impaled in agony in my place. You reach down and place your hand ~ the nail-pierced hand ~ under my chin so I can look at your lovely face. I ask your forgiveness once again as I have so many times in my life for my many sins. You smile and wipe away my tears, then invite me to sing a song with you. What joy. What unimaginable joy.
I was sad and you became sorrowful with me. I was overjoyed and you celebrated with me. I was tired and you rested with me. I was energetic and you ran with me. I was bereaved and you grieved with me. I was confused and you pondered with me. I was awestricken and you marveled with me. My Lord, you treat me as though I am the only person in the world. You are everywhere at once. You are in my heart, my spirit, my soul. Thank you for being God of the universe.
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The scripture for today, November 30 (11/30), is Proverbs 11:30 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”
Remember back in the Garden of Eden? Going by the age of their three sons, Adam and Eve were in the Garden close to one hundred years. Instead of centering on what they did wrong, look at what they did right. They were sinless for nearly a century! Hardly any of us can accomplish that in 100 minutes.
Just think. Walking through a garden lush with the beauty of holiness. Walking through a garden with the water of life to drink. Walking through a garden with God (materialized) himself.
How many times did that snake Satan, raise himself up like a king’s scepter and perhaps with a crown of gold and ruby on his head, make his way gracefully through the garden, laughing and enjoying the company of newly made humans? How many times did he coil up his tail like a maelstrom spiraling through the heavens full of light and beauty as he watched the couple enjoy the fruit of the garden? How many times did this magnificent creature sway back and forth, back and forth as cobras do as he spoke hypnotic words to make them feel like gods?
“Oh, look at the fruit on that tree over there? God told you never to touch it, but God is wrong. Go ahead. Touch it. That’s right. Did anything bad happen to you? Of course not, because God is wrong. How about touching it with your lips? That’s right. You’re not really eating it. You’re just touching it. Smell it too. Have you ever smelled anything so wonderful? God doesn’t want you to have it. He knows you will learn what evil is and then be as smart as him. God is jealous of you. Go ahead. Take a tiny bite. It won’t hurt you. See there? Are you dead like he said you would be? No. You are still alive. God is a liar. I am the only one who tells you the truth. I am on your side. God hates you. Sure, go ahead and take another bite, and Adam might like some too. It’s harmless. Do not believe anything God says. He hates you. I am the only one who loves you.”
How many thousands of times did Adam and Eve chase him off, only to have him back in their lives a few hours later? How many thousands of times did they try to resume what they were doing and try to put him out of their minds? How many times did they do it right? One stumble was all the enemy needed.
That was a long time ago. Now the Tree of Life, which God withheld from Adam and Eve, is in heaven waiting for them. Waiting for you.
And as you wait, win souls. Snatch them out of the beautiful flower-strewn web of mankind’s enemy number one. He is still out there, still beautiful, still suave, and still lying.
The scripture for today, November 29 (11/29), is Matthew 11:29f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Ah, Lord Jesus. I am so weary worn. It seems everything that could ever go wrong in my life is happening right now. Just when I think I have one problem at least partly under control, another raises its ugly head. Or should I say Satan raises his ugly head? Satan, why are you doing this to me? It is you who is causing all the diseases and problems at work, and the car wreck and progressive blindness. Was it you who set me up in that posh job which you knew was never popular in the company and would only cause me grief? Was this new house I bought with my pay raise worth it after all?
I am so tired. Help me, God. I don’t know which way is up anymore. God? I’m calling for you. God? Don’t you even care?
“Let’s trade, my child. I’ll take your burdens, and you take mine.”
But, Lord, I do not understand. What could your burdens possibly be? You’re all comfortable in heaven.
“My child, my burden is to reach out to everyone and tell them how much I love them. My burden is to take their burdens on my shoulders. You can do it too. You can write encouraging messages to my children every day. You can open up the newspaper and pray for everyone in it by name. You can call someone who is depressed like you and sing them a sweet song.”
But when, Lord? When would I find time?
“Use your brooding time, your crying time, your anger time. Let loose of them so I can brood, cry, and be angry for you. Remember, it’s a trade.”
The scripture for today, November 28 (11/28), is 1st Corinthians 11:28,31 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup [of the Lord’s Supper]….If we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.”
“When they met on THE first day of the week to break bread” (Acts 20:7), these first-century Christians were meeting to keep the Lord’s Supper, for the word (“met”) in the original Greek of the New Testament means a religious meeting. Interestingly, the word “the” in the original Greek means each and every without exception perpetually.
Even if we did not know the Greek, look how the Jews (and we) interpreted “Remember THE Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” They did not remember the Sabbath day monthly, quarterly or yearly, but weekly. Therefore, , the first-century Christians realized that “When they met on THE first day of the week to break bread” (Acts 20:7), it meant every Sunday.
We can sing, pray, teach, and read the Bible any day of the week. What makes Sunday special is that’s the day Jesus came back to life, the day Jesus ascended back to heaven, and the day the church was established. Today, on the special first day we are to meet to take the Lord’s Supper, the Communion ~ the bread representing his body dying in our place, the wine representing his blood dripped out of his body in our place.
During the Communion, we consider Jesus’ terrible sacrifice in order to save us from hell. And we consider our sins that made his sacrifice necessary to save us from hell. Today’s scripture tells us that. During our weekly partaking of the Communion, we should be examining ourselves, comparing ourselves to Jesus. It is kind of like taking weekly exams, so we will be ready for the big final exam on the Day of Judgment.
God thought of everything ~ weekly remembering the sacrifice of our Lord so that we never take him for granted, and weekly remembering our sins. And, in the process, our souls fall at his feet and whisper, “Thank you.”
My God, you are so much greater than I. I am only a spec of almost invisible dust compared with you who occupy the universe and beyond. I look at pictures of galaxies and am in awe of you., not only because of your magnitude, but that you know the names of every one of the trillions of stars, and you know me by name. Ah, Lord God, even as large as you are, you remain only a breath away from me. Even with a whisper and a sigh from me you hear and recognize me. You are life and you are the sunshine of my day. I worship you.
It is getting close to December and there are already dark snow clouds and blustery winds on some days. But today is sunny. I went out and walked around in a heavy coat, feeling the cool breeze turning my cheeks red, and watching the geese overhead flying to warmer a climate. The instincts in animals are just another reminder of your existence. Who put those instincts in animals? Who put consciences in humans? Who made the planets rotate around the sun, bringing predictable seasons? You are the God of order, stability, and harmony. You are the God of uniformity, tranquility and all that is serene. Thank you for all that you are. I long to be with you in your heaven where it is forever spring.
The scripture for today, November 26 (11/26), is John 11:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
” ‘ And whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ “
Jesus was talking to the sister of his close friend, Lazarus, who had just died. Of course, we understand he was talking about spiritual death ~ the death of our souls. And death in the original Greek means separation; so in the case of our souls, it would be separation from God.
Revelation 20:6 & 14 refer to the second death of our souls, which is the lake of fire. So what is the first death of our souls?
In John 3:3, Jesus said we must be born again of water and the spirit. Romans 6:4 says, “we were therefore buried with him through baptism into death [of that sinful life] in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
Ah, the thought of living on inside the walls of salvation in heaven where Satan can never touch us again. The thought of walking and talking with God and never growing tired of it. The thought of singing with God with pleasure unending.
How reassuring to us when Jesus said believers’ souls would never die. Oh, glorious thought.
And so, day by day I keep on walking and keep on walking. I’m on a journey. It will not end until, at last, I hear those words, “Welcome Home.”
Lord God of hosts, you sing with the stars and race with comets. When you weep, the oceans fill, deep and sad. You step down to the moon, then onto the meadows of earth. When you laugh, the mountains shake with gaiety and laugh with you. At the end of the day, you ride the sun back to your home and sit on your throne, content to have walked with your children once again for a little while.
God, I thank you for my slowing down due to occasional physical problems. I can make some simple things while I rest or write notes to people in the newspaper. These times are thinking times too. More than anything, I think about heaven. This is not my home. Just as my heart bowed at the foot of your cross those years ago, I long to be at the foot of your throne so I can bow to you there. I will weep tears of happiness and I will sing the song of victory in Jesus.
Ah, my Lord, from the cross that day, drops of grief fell with your blood. From those hands pierced through with nails, drops of shame fell with your blood. From your feet stabbed through with a rusty spike, drops of sin fell. From your side where your exhausted heart burst, drops of disgrace fell. I can only begin to understand what you went through in your spirit on the cross that terrible day. That day of horrors which you turned into a day of victory. That day of degradation in which you were crowned with glory.
You are my bread of life that feeds my hungry soul as it yearns for you. You give drink to my heart that longs to be refreshed in springs of mercy. You provide a path for my wandering spirit as it seeks to join you in that holy of holies, heaven. You keep me alive when I am weak, breathe your love into me, and hold me in your everlasting arms. How can I thank you for loving me this much? I worship you.
Ah, my Lord, your love is is bright as the sun, as deep as the ocean, as large and the cosmos. It is as never ending at this universe we can’t even measure. It is as powerful as the wind and as gentle as a breeze. It is as delightful as watching a little fish wiggle its way through a pond, and smelling the fragrance of a lily. You love me when I feel unloved and unlovable. You are patient with me when I am not patient with myself or anyone else. You continue to work when I give up and quit. You forgive when I sin. You never stop. You are always working to preserve my soul long enough to join you in heaven. You want your children to be gathered around you. I want that too. Give a strong vision of that to my soul so I can extol your love, your patience, your work, and your mercy forever.
You came back to life, Jesus. It was on a morning so long ago. You defied nature, confronted Satan, and filled the angels with awe. You actually returned to your body and proved to this world and all other worlds it is possible. You made it possible for me too. In the blink of an eye it will happen to me. Someday. I cannot even begin to thank you for all this and heaven too. I worship you.
The scripture for today, November 22 (11/22), is Genesis 11:22 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.”
How can it be that people could live so long in the early centuries of the world? Isn’t that stretching things a bit? Isn’t it just folklore? Here’s more.
Noah had his first son at age 502 (Genesis 5:32, 11:10). Noah lived a total of 950 years (Genesis 9:29). Noah’s son, Shem, had his first son at age 100 and lived a total of 600 years (Genesis 11:10-11). Now we have Serug, the 7th-generation grandson of Noah, who had his first son at age 30 and lived a total of 230 years (see above).
Do you see the trend downward of ages after the flood? Most of Noah’s life was lived before the flood. Some of Shem’s life was lived before, but most of it was after the flood. All of Serug’s life was after the flood.
Many scientists believe that the earth originally had a constant cloud covering like the planet Venus does. Genesis 2:5-6 says it had not rained yet, but a mist rose to water everything. The King James Version of the Bible regarding the flood in Genesis 7:11 says the windows of heaven were opened. Genesis 8:2 says the windows of heaven were stopped.
Notice, it did not say the windows of heaven were closed; they were just stopped, meaning it could rain again periodically after that. If, indeed, Earth did have a constant thick cloud covering before the flood, then humans would have been protected from radiation from the sun, and therefore could live longer. After the change in Earth’s atmosphere after the flood, humans beings exposed to more radiation, would have lived shorter lives.
Something to think about…. And, one more thought ~ rainbows wouldn’t be possible with a constant cloud covering. The flood brought us rainbows! (Genesis 9:13).