The scripture for today, April 30 (4/30), is Ephesians 4:30f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
Do you think God has no choice but to let you into his heaven because you do not steal, cheat, or murder? Think again.
There’s more to it than that; it’s called sins of attitude. Are you bitter about something? Let it go, or it will take you to hell. Do you have a problem with rage and anger? Do you enjoy a good mental or physical brawl? Do you slander people who have done you wrong? Do you harbor grudges year after year over people who were treated better than you? Let go of them. Please. They are taking you to hell.
The average person does not have trouble with bad actions. The big problem is with bad attitudes. Let go of them. God will take care of the problems. Let go of people you consider your enemies and wish them well. Do not grieve God. He does not deserve it.
Live in sweet inner peace. Live at peace with God. Make God smile.
The scripture for today, April 29 (4/29), is Deuteronomy 4:29 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Ah, to find God. Who are you, God? What do you do all through my day? What do you have to say to me? Or do you not say anything? Do you even see me, God? Where are you? I cannot find you.
Open your eyes, friend. God is always nearby. There is an old expression, “To know him is to love him.” So true. To find God, get to know him. He is talking to you right now in his Bible, explaining what he is like and how he reacts to every possible situation in life. Open your Bible. Look through the mini-books within. God not only gives you examples of right and wrong ways to seek Him, but he gives you beautiful psalms and proverbs for your everyday life. And, wonder of wonders, He tells how He came down to us and walked among us as Jesus. Seek him there. He is talking to you.
Then take the next step. When he asks questions to people in his Bible, take them as your questions and answer them. When he tells someone to stop doing wrong, take them as yours and admit to him the things you do or say that are wrong. When he blesses people in the Bible, take them as your blessings and thank him for them.
Yes, seek, and you will find. This mutual conversation with God is the with-all-your-heart-and-soul kind. You can do it. He’s waiting for you. Shhhh. Do you hear the silence? It’s your turn. Talk to God.
The scripture for today, April 28 (4/28), is Mark 4:28 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“All by itself, the soil produces grain ~ first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.”
Jesus was explaining that the kingdom of heaven is like a seed planted in the ground. It grows almost miraculously. The church is, indeed, like this. Planted some 2000 years ago, it has survived through every adversity and attack contrived by man. Sometimes the attacks were even from within. But at such times, just when it looked as though it was going to die, just like a seed dying in the earth, it would begin to sprout anew and grow up stronger than ever.
A little seed turning into a stalk is miraculous and amazing. The survival of the church for 2000 years in a hostile world is even more miraculous and amazing.
The church rose up in Jerusalem, then died there. It next rose up and became strong in today’s Turkey, then died there. It next rose up and became strong in Greece, then died there. Then in France. Then in Germany. It arrived in England with an apostle and grew strong until the pope claimed jurisdiction in the 1300s. Then spiritual wars and threatenings and burnings. Still congregations multiplied everywhere and grew and thrived. Finally religious freedom came. Then came the infighting in the late 1600s and near destruction of the church there. Then it rose up in America and became strong, and now it is dying there. But it is rising up and becoming strong in India and Africa.
It is impossible to destroy the church. Chop down the stalks, but the wind carries the seeds somewhere else to rise up and grow. Miraculously.
I praise and adore you, God. You are the delight and the lover of my soul. You even gave the sense of love to the animals, both large and small. I watch mother and father animals protect their young, and teach them, and let them lie down sometimes beside them and sometimes on them. All the good things you gave me in nature teach me lessons about my Maker. Some things you made delight my sight. Some delight my sense of touch. Some are aromatic and fragrant. I think all must be a part of heaven. I think the delights you have given on earth are a shadow of what you have waiting for me in your world.
Thank you for your Bible so I can understand you behind the curtain of mystery that my mind struggles to comprehend. It is your biography, and the biography of mankind, the object of your affection. Ah, Lord God, you give me peace as never before wherever I live. Thank you for the friends I will make some day and the seekers I will meet along the way. You direct my life with so many delightful surprises in it. How do you think of the all? Oh, of course. You are God!
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I praise you, God for all your manifestations in order to reveal yourself to me. I feel your presence in a morning mist, a crocus peeking up from under winter snow, a bird making her nest. I see your glory in the mighty oceans, the towering mountains, the magnificent moon, and stars that sing together of you. Mostly you reveal yourself in your Bible. How glorious it is. Every page, every word reveals what is important to you. Every page and every word reveal your wisdom and how you run after us to bring us back to you every time someone strays. You keep track of everyone, yet you make every one of us feel as though we are the most special. How amazing. I worship you.
I moved recently and am so lonely. I have no friends. Is that to remind me of the times I did not befriend a stranger? Help me not resent those I wish to be friends with but to be an example, giving to them what I wish for myself.
Thank you, God, for pouring out you heart, your mind, your existence to me in your Words. And thank you for materializing as Jesus. You are light and the fountain of life. I can never be lonely because you are there. I can never feel forsaken or betrayed because you are there. Always, you are there. Thank you for the friends I have had, and those still unknown I shall have some day. And for the quiet time I have in this moment with you.
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The scripture for today, April 25 (4/25), is Proverbs 4:25 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
There are a lot of interesting and fun distractions in life, so we have to remind ourselves over and over what is most important to us. We have only so much time in a day and in a lifetime. We can run back and forth from one side road to another; one fun thing to another, one power thing to another, one great–looking thing to another.
Before we know it, we have been on that side road a long time. Too long actually. We can barely see the main road we were on before. And God? He is now so far away. How can that be? We were always told God would always be there for us.
But God pretty much treats us the way we treat him. If we don’t like being around him, he doesn’t much like being
around us. If we don’t like listening to his word (the Bible), he doesn’t much like listening to our word (prayer). If we don’t like to spend special time with him, he doesn’t much like to spend special time with us. God gives us the same courtesy we give him. God will not force himself on us, for he is a Gentleman.
So what do you have in your sights to do today? Next year? The rest of your life? What road are you on? Where is it leading you in the long run? Is that what you really want?
The Scripture for today, April 24 (4/24), is Jeremiah 4:24 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying.”
I was living in a village near the bottom of Mt. St. Helens when it blew. We had lived there for eight years. We had taken our children up to it and gone sledding, building snow forts, making snow angels, the works.
It was our mountain. Our beautiful mountain. It reminded me of an upside-down ice-cream cone. It was perfect in every way. Everyone knew it was a volcano, but it had formed thousands of years before and would continue like it was for thousands of years in the future. It was our mountain, and it belonged to us to do with as we pleased.
But it wasn’t our mountain. One morning I looked outside. It seemed as though we had been plunged into the inside of a furnace with all its ashes. I stared. It was snowing gray ash. I stared more, wondering what the birds had done. Relieved, I saw them huddled together under bushes.
Of course, the radio and TV had switched to Emergency. We were told to stay indoors because ash is deadly to the lungs. If we did go out, we had to wear surgical masks. If we drove, we were told to put nylons over the air filter and to not go over 10 mph. Even then, the ash flew everywhere. Our freeway entrance and exit were blocked. The most disturbing thing I heard on the radio (yes, everyone kept their radio on) was that we were at the top of the San Andreas Fault. And so, we like the birds, huddled and waited for more unknown.
Not only was our mountain turned inside out, but our world was too.
People have expressions that something is “as eternal as the mountains” or “as old as the hills.” Not true. Nothing on earth is eternal. That also includes things, people, power, position, belongings, even dreams. Eventually, they quake and sway and are gone. Only that which is spiritual is forever.
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A child’s cooing praises you. A lion’s roaring praises you. An ocean rising and falling praises you. Rainbows and snow tops and diamonds in sparkling waters praise you. Everything I see, sound I hear, everything I touch are full of praises for you. You are everywhere and you, my God, are my soul. With exhilaration, I worship you.
Ah, my Lord, how I long to see you as you are. Life here is too long. I know I must do my share in conquering Satan and making him weaker all the time. But, when my work is done, I get to be in your realm and exchange smiles with you. What a day it will be. A glorious day when I, your bride, will be united with you forever.
My heart with all its vulnerabilities reaches for you and sings to the lover of my soul , the God of heaven and earth. The strings of my heart tremble and vibrate, then rise up in loving strains. From earth to heaven, from my heart to yours, my spirit to yours. Transcending worlds, my song spreads its laughter and sighs and rests in you. Be ever my song.
Lord, I went to some friends’ house and they had a beautiful new carpet. It was lush and deep and soft to walk on. I keep thinking about it and wondering how I could get such a carpet for myself. How selfish and greedy. There are orphanages struggling to stay open. There are preachers who have trouble supporting their families. How can I think about carpet when their needs are so great? Forgive me please.
Thank you, God, for making me move to an area where not as many people believe in you. I will no longer take your church for granted. I have struggled so much here trying to expand your kingdom. It’s been so hard. Now I understand their struggles. I thank you for your strength that keeps me on course in a wilderness. I thank you for your example of courage and concern. You went everywhere seeking and saving the lost. And thank you for the church around the world, both small and large. They are your crown jewels.
The scripture for today, April 21 (4/21), is Mark 4:21 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?”
Jesus said something similar in Matthew 5:14f, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Light? I have a light? Oh, I forgot. Besides, it’s just one little flame.
Little? Little? In a world of darkness, one little flame is all they need to give them hope and lead them toward a larger light.
Do you spend your energy on yourself and family? That is good. Your family needs your light. But try going farther. Look around. Your neighborhood, your school, your job, your club, your community.
Someone is in darkness and needs your light. Always keep looking around. Keep searching for little nooks and crannies in the lives of others where you can bring the light of a good deed to someone’s world.
Dare to spread light over them so they can know where they are going. They need Jesus’ precious light shining through you. Your light may be the only one some people will ever see.
Where is your light? Is it hidden? Can you find it? Do you know where you left it? Oh, there it is.