Jehovah God, in your Word, you tell me how to think and act. You tell me what to stay away from, what to change, what to do. You tell me what attitudes I should have. I try, but sometimes Satan lures me away from you with his false promises of a better and happier life. He convinces me it’s okay to not do what you want because “God just doesn’t want me to be happy”. Then, when I give in, I realize he has lied to me again and I yearn to return to you. It is always astounding to me that you smile and welcome me back. You forgive even the sins I repeat over and over ~ always trying but always failing. Continuously, you forgive, wipe away my tears, and calm my soul. I do not understand such patience and love. All I know is that you are my God and I am yours.
Thank you for Calvary. Thank you for making it possible for them to arrest you, chain you, slap you, spit on you, beat you, scourge you, drive nails into your body. You let them do it to show the world how mean humanity had become when following Satan. You exposed Satan for what he was. Then you tricked him! Hallelujah, you tricked Satan! He thought he’d killed God. How egotistical. No one can kill God. You spent three days resting in Paradise, then came back to life. Was Satan ever mad. He had lost again. Oh, Wonder of wonders, my Lord. Nothing can conquer you. You are Lord of all lords, King of all kings, Conqueror of all conquerors. And I worship you.
Ah, how can I praise you enough, Jehovah God? You are so good to me. You poured out your heart to the world in your Bible. How lucky I am to have a copy of it and live where anyone can have as many copies as they like. Lord God, I adore you. You are so high, I delight to follow you and try to reach up as high as you do. You’re never quite so far that I cannot sometimes touch you. To know you is to love you. You are my God and will be forever.
Thank you, God, for freedom to study your Book of all books. I have a copy of your very own words. How amazing. Every word is so fascinating. You pour out your heart and withhold nothing of your plans, emotions, and doings. And thank you for the exhilarating gift of mind that allows humans to know of your existence and to understand who you are. Thank you for making me so much in your image that I have your same emotions, instinctively long for wisdom, and delight in creating. Thank you for all that I am.
The scripture for today, July 7 (7/7), is Matthew 7:7 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Ask, and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.”
How beautiful. The Creator of the universe pays attention to each and every one of us. How does he do it? How does he even sort us all out when thousands of us are praying to him at the same time?
But sometimes you may think he is not listening to your prayers. It takes time to answer some of them. If I am praying to meet my future husband or wife, God may have to move him or her from the other side of the country, get a new job for him or her and arrange for the two of you to “accidentally” bump into each other. This is just one example.
At other times you may ask for something like winning a ball game. When Jesus said whatever we seek will be given to you, he had already explained that you must “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). So, within that context, God will give you your heart’s desire.
Maybe today, you can do a little bit of extra seeking and extra knocking.
The stars join together in rapturous chords to sing your praises from galaxy to galaxy. The planets echo their song. It spirals down to the mountain tops. The mountains tremble and the song soars upward until it penetrates worlds and rests at last at your throne. Though there be hundreds of billions of galaxies, the worlds cannot praise you enough, nor can my heart.
You, God, are the only God. There was none before you and can never be another. None higher or lower. You are self-existent. The child was born ~ a Son ~ and he was called everlasting Father, mighty God. What a thought. What a concept. What a resounding declaration. You are the First Cause of all things that exist. You are the fountainhead of every movement. You are the Great Will that the world submits to save itself from being void. Without you there is no order, no cause, no truth, no good, no life. I will praise you alone. I will praise you to my friends. I will praise you to strangers around the world, great and small. To you belongs all honor, glory and majesty.
Ah, my Lord, I thank you for never changing. No matter how much people change, you stay the same. You never allow anyone to pressure you to give in to us or become like us to ease our consciences. If you changed, there would be no such thing as truth. If you changed there would be no such thing as love. If you changed, we could not be saved from Satan and his world. Your love is stubborn, immovable, persevering. You will stand in the universe and among the worlds tall and strong, exalted and majestic.
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The scripture for today, June 12 (6/12), is Luke 6:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“One of those days, Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”
How in the world did Jesus think of enough things to say that he could pray all night? Most of us, on a good day, only manage a 5-minute prayer. The next verse says that the next morning he selected his twelve apostles. Aha! He had a list. He had probably spent at least half an hour each praying about them by name, as well as about others he was considering. Jesus knew what his apostles would be facing someday. Which ones would be loyal enough, stubborn enough, strong-willed enough to someday in the future endure persecution, torture (skinned alive, beaten to death, burned), and martyrdom for him?
Who do you pray for by name? Do you have a prayer list? How about opening the newspaper and praying for all those people in the news ~ perpetrators, victims, causes, governments, situations? Or everyone you work with? Or everyone your children go to school with? Or all their teachers and administrators? Or the clerks in the stores you go to regularly? Or members of an organization you belong to? Or every member of your congregation? What about countries where people become Christians at risk of their freedom and even their lives?
There are always people in need of prayer. And one of the joys of such a prayer life is now and then telling people whom you know that they are in your prayers, or writing a note to someone who is a stranger to you telling them that you pray for them.
Some people have never heard their names in prayer. Some people have never even been told that someone prays for them.
Ah, my Lord God. People accuse you of using them as pawns in the game of beating out Satan. People accuse you of having a life of ease in heaven while we do all the struggling here on earth. Not so! You are always at work in the background keeping Satan’s emissaries away from us as much as we allow you to. You are always watching people follow Satan’s rebellious ways with artificial laughter as they destroy their lives and blame you for it. Do they not see? Do they not understand that you go through more pain and heartache than the world ever dreams of as you watch us fall into the pit because they wouldn’t pay any attention to you, afraid you would ruin their fun. Oh, how you suffer for us, how you suffer for me. It boggles my mind to understand the love and passion you have for me. I must wear you out as you rush ahead of me and around me, trying to get me to turn back to you. Your grace is as high as the stars at the pinnacle of the universe. I worship you.
Your love, Oh God, is like the ocean. When I need you the most, the tide moves in closer and refreshes my soul. When it is time for me to work on an assignment from you to help people blaming you for their problems, the tide ebbs and moves out to tend to someone else. Then, when I need refreshed by you, here comes the tide flowing in again. Just like clockwork. You are never far away. I can always depend on you. You never change. You are from eternity to eternity. How can I begin to thank you?
The scripture for today, May 26 (5/26), is 1st Thessalonians 5:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Brothers, pray for us.”
Do you have a prayer list? How long is it? Five people? Twenty? Fifty? Five hundred? Often prayers get bogged down and short because the only person we “remember” in prayer is ourselves. Well, and maybe a relative or two
There are many people who need your prayers: Your family is obvious. How about your neighbors? If you don’t know their names, pray for them by house or apartment number. What about the newspaper? Every one of those bad-news stories is crying out for prayer. The school near you needs your prayers ~ students, teachers, administrators, janitors. It doesn’t matter whether you have a child in that school; pray for them anyway.
Who are your local government officials? Not liking them doesn’t make any difference, for Jesus said we are to pray for our enemies too. And that leads to the list of your enemies; do you have any at your workplace? Include them too. It’s pretty hard to resent someone you pray for.
One other thing you might try doing in addition to having a prayer list: Have an answered-prayer list. Write down when you pray for someone, then when it is answered. Keep it as a reminder when you are down and don’t think He’s ever going to answer your requests. God does care, after all.
And speaking of requests, by the time you’re done praying for all the other people on your prayer list, you won’t have a lot of time to pray for yourself. And that is okay too, for others are praying for you!
The scripture for today, May 25 (5/25), is Galatians 5:25f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other.”
When someone is better than you in doing something, do you pick fights with them as punishment, or spread gossip about them in order to get others to quit respecting them? Do you become a persecutor?
Perhaps you don’t do this all the time. But what about times when there is something you feel you are really good at, but another person not as talented gets the honor? That’s when it’s hard to “keep in step with the Spirit.”
Someone else may say, “But they just barged in and didn’t ask my permission. I can’t get rid of that hurt.” When you sin, do you ask God’s permission before you do it? If you didn’t, do you think God “just can’t get rid of the hurt”? God treats you the way you treat others.
Whenever you envy or resent someone, deep down, you consider that person your enemy. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45a). What are you willing to do to continue being a child of God?
To many, loving our enemy is the most difficult command in the Bible. Perhaps one way to love your “enemy” is to realize that Jesus loved his enemies. Every time you sin, you become one of his enemies. But Jesus keeps right on loving you, even when you don’t want to stop doing whatever you shouldn’t.
Jesus demonstrates the love of the Son of God. And here he says, if you love your enemies, you are demonstrating what the children of God do. And that is far more important than honor and respect that goes to those you envy or resent. Leaving behind conceit makes it much easier to love everyone. Love everyone? What an intriguing thought.
The scripture for today, May 24 (5/24), is Amos 5:24 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.”
When individuals of a nation begin taking advantage of each other, the nation loses its standard of justice. Eventually, nations fall because of it ~ maybe not right away, but eventually.
Although acting justly may decrease someone’s income or status or power, that just act will spur your nation to roll on and on like a river.
Injustice is not impersonal. Injustice begins with you. One person at a time until eventually, an entire nation falls. On the other hand, justice also begins with you. One person at a time. That’s what will make your nation roll on and on like a never-failing stream.
What are you doing for your country?
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I adore you, my God. I cannot see or hear you, but I know you are beside me and in love with me. You are higher than the stars, louder than the thunder, gentler than the butterfly, deeper than the ocean, sweeter than a flower. They are all a touch of you. I bask in the warmth of your love, the gentle breezes of your mercy, the quietude of safety in you. I praise you, God, for all that you are. You are so strong, nothing can make you change. That is what makes you God. You are the doer, not the un-doer. You are the Creator, not the destroyer. You are the love, the light giver, the light provider. How I adore you.
Lord, I have neglected going to see people who need my encouragement. I know they need me, but I do something for myself instead. It has gotten out of hand. Open my eyes and forgive me.
Ah, my Lord, thank you for the Bible and revealing yourself in it. I never have to guess. Your mind is laid bare to me. You’ve exposed all your joys and pain, laughter and tears, hopes and desires, strengths and tenderness, justice and mercy. You dared expose yourself to me. All the rawness and transparency is there for me. Do I dare do less? My God, my hope is in you. My will I surrender to you. My heart I give you. My soul bows forever to you. Thank you, Jehovah God, for giving me the Bible that explains why I am here and all you did to save me from Satan’s living death. Thank you that you are preparing me to live and reign with you over worlds I cannot imagine. Whatever they are, my will shall always be your will. Without you, nothing good can ever happen. With you, goodness reigns supreme. With you, I can live forever. You have allowed me to stand with you. The fight is worth it. The victory overwhelming.
It is spring. Little by little the flowers are blooming and showing a little more of your glory. Some will fade and rest until this time next year when they will return. Some will become fruit and nourish me with zest and delight, just as you nourish my heart. It is spring. Raindrops soften the earth, breezes waft and tease, the sun shares its warm rays while declaring you are the light of the world. What a wonderful, beautiful God you are!
I have to confess that I would rather watch something on television in the evening than spend that time writing a little note of encouragement or visiting someone who is lonely. Help me break loose of my habit of preferring my pleasure over that of others.
Thank you for allowing me to converse with you. Without prayer, who would I talk to about these deep and sometimes hidden things? You understand me even when I do not understand myself. You forgive me even when I do not forgive myself. If I do not forgive myself, it robs me of being able to have a second chance and be a new person all over again. Thank you for pouring out your heart to mine in your Bible. There is so much my stubborn mind misses. Satan tries to put blinders on me because he is jealous of you and wants me to rely on him ~ the father of liars. But I’ll keep trying. My copy of your Bible is right here in front of me, just as you are.
I praise you, God of glory. Your splendor is the light of your goodness and the richness of your comfort. Your glory is your mercy when I do wrong and protection when others doing wrong toward me. You interrupt me when I am about to do that which I should not and you make me fail when I plan something that would betray you. You watch over me and it is too much to understand how you can. You know all my thoughts and prayers, actions and cares. You love me so much, refusing to let me go, I can only worship you.