The scripture for today, July 10 (7/10), is Psalm 7:10 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.”
Ah, my Lord, I become so tired sometimes. That latest assignment you gave me has been so hard. Sometimes I complain knowing I should not because that would make me a Christian coward.
Is it okay if I am afraid sometimes? I am only one and am trying to keep my head above water along with others I am trying to pull out of the flood with me. I’m trying, Lord. I weep sometimes, but amidst my tears, I continually think, “What should my next step be?”.
Sometimes I just stand still and let the turmoil go on around me while I close my eyes and sing a sweet song to you. That’s when I sense you are singing with me.
At other times I stand up to all the turmoil charging at me. You gave me your weapons: a smile, a touch, a gentle word.
Then there are those terrible times when I feel so beaten up, I think all is lost. Then I remember you are there. You are always there. And I know you are shielding me while I rest.
Then we start all over again, you and I, Lord. Another assignment. Another. And another. Until at last, you reach out your arms to me and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. It’s time to come on home.”
The scripture for today, June 23 (6/23), is 2nd Chronicles 6:23 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, repaying the guilty by bringing down on his own head what he has done. Declare the innocent not guilty and so establish his innocence.”
Did you notice here that God brings down on our head what we do to others? It includes how we treat him too. If we don’t have time for God, God doesn’t have time for us. If we put God last, he puts us last. If we refuse to forgive others, he refuses to forgive us. This is the boomerang effect. Here are several scriptures that reflect God doing to people what they do.
“The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. The Lord is known by his justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.” (Psalm 9:15-16)
“In his arrogance, the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.” (Psalm 10:2).
“The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts.” (Psalm 37:14-15)
“Let the heads of those who surround me be covered with the trouble their lips have caused.” (Psalm 140:9)
“He mocks proud mockers.” (Proverbs 3:34)
“Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?” (Proverbs 6:27)
“If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.” (Proverbs 26:27)
“Woe to you, O destroyer, you have not been destroyed! Woe to you, O traitor, you have not been betrayed. When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you stop betraying, you will be betrayed.” (Isaiah 33:1)
“According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes.” (Isaiah 59:18)
“I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices.” (Ezekiel 7:8)
“As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (Obadiah 1:15)
In the meantime, we’re to leave punishment to God. And, if you are falsely accused of anything, God will declare you innocent. His is the important judgment.
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 11 (6/11), is Job 6:11 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects that I should be patient?”
Many people use the expression, “patience of Job.” But he had on-and-off patience, for he was very sick. By descriptions he gave of himself ~ sores, rancid breath, low voice, partial blindness, skin turned hard and black, bloating, nightmares, extreme pain, unrecognized by his closest friends ~ some believe he had a grotesque form of elephantiasis leprosy.
What did he need from his friends? He surely didn’t get it, for they spent their time trying to prove he had sinned, and God was right to be punishing him. His reply? “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?” (Job 16:2f).
So how do you comfort someone who feels utterly hopeless? You certainly do not put the blame on them, nor do you tell them it’s “all in your head’ or to “snap out of it.” You can share times when we felt hopeless. You can weep with them. You can hold their hand. You can sit with them in silence. You can pray aloud for them. (Some people have never heard their name mentioned in a prayer.)
And you need to let them talk. Sometimes they will say things they don’t mean in the long run, but at that brief moment, they do. Or sometimes, they need to talk through things they are unsure about. They may even say contradictory things.
At one time, Job said, “Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household….God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me” (16:7f). But another time he said, “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth….I myself will see him with my own eyes ~ I and not another. How my heart yearns within me” (19:25f).
Do you have a very sick friend? Do you have a friend who has lost hope? Let your heart yearn with them.
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The scripture for today, June 9 (6/9), is Job 6:9-8 found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off!”
Job was suffering terribly. The Bible says he had sores all over his body. There were other symptoms listed elsewhere in Job that indicate he had a form of leprosy. Now he just wanted to die.
When you get into a life problem that seems hopeless, do you just give up and say, “God, I can’t go on like this. Just take my life right now. It’s too hard. I can’t do it anymore”?
God knows what you are going through. God knows that Satan is attacking you. When things are desperately low, your job is just to hang on. It often takes God time to shift around a lot of other people’s lives in order to alleviate your pain.
Remember, God hurts just as much when you suffer as when he watched his own Son suffer on the cross. His Son’s suffering accomplished something wonderful for others. So too, someday your suffering will somehow, in some way, accomplish something good. And ultimately, just by surviving, Satan loses, and God wins.
This too, will pass. You may not think so, but it will. You may think you will never smile again, never want to go around people again, never sing again. But you will. Just as Job did.
The scripture for today, May 23 (5/23), is Exodus 5:23 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your [God’s] name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”
This is Moses talking to God, and Moses is very angry. Is it a good idea to be mad at God? Deuteronomy 34:10 says there was never a prophet like Moses “whom the Lord knew face to face.”
Getting angry [not violent, that’s different] sometimes is part of a healthy relationship, as long as (1) we stick to the facts and not get into a blame game and (2) are willing to stay around long enough to understand the other person’s point of view. Moses did not call God bad names nor did he desert God. He spoke his mind, then waited to see how God would reply.
It wasn’t that God didn’t want to rescue his people from slavery in Egypt. God was not quite through putting Pharaoh in his place. And he probably did not rescue his people in the manner Moses had in mind. But Eventually ~ after a little patience on Moses’ part ~ it happened: God rescued his people.
Are you angry at God over something? Tell him so. Then stick around and wait for him to express his point of view. It will happen someday. Maybe it won’t be your point of view. Probably it will be better.
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.
The scripture for today, May 18 (5/18), is 1st Thessalonians 5:18 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
This is one of the most difficult verses in the Bible to follow. How can we rejoice with the loss of a loved one, of health, of a job, of a home, of a position? The Christians at Thessalonica, in Greece, had been suffering a lot of persecution for being Christians. Some had even been killed for their faith.
Satan will do all he can to cause bad to happen in your life in order to get you to blame God and forsake him. But the real blame belongs on Satan. It may sometimes seem like the harder you try to follow God, the worse things get in your life.
Satan is afraid of you and is trying more than ever to weaken you, to break you, and get you back on his side. He doesn’t have to attack people he already has.
And sometimes, God stands back and tells Satan, “Do your best. This person will grow stronger, not weaker.” Along with the Christians in Thessalonica, you can “become a model….your faith in God…known everywhere” (1st Thessalonians 1:7-8).
So, through your tears, rejoice that Satan is so afraid of you. And at the same time, keep your eyes on Jesus, who never gave in when Satan caused bad to happen to him. Through your discouragement, rejoice that you are counted worthy to be treated the same way Jesus was treated. Give thanks, and keep Satan frustrated and puzzled.
The scripture for today, May 16 (5/16), is 1st Thessalonians 5:16 (KJV) as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
But how can we rejoice when something terrible has happened?
The Apostle Paul, who wrote this knew that the Thessalonians were being terribly persecuted (2nd Thessalonians 1:4), but he still said, “Rejoice evermore.” How could he say such a calloused thing amidst their suffering? Had he no feeling, no empathy?
Sometimes we have to suffer so the true nature of bad people pretending to be good can be revealed to the world. Sometimes we have to suffer so we ~ like body builders ~ can build our spiritual muscles. Sometimes we have to suffer so we can understand others going through the same thing. Sometimes we even suffer so people around us wanting to do a good work will have someone to do a good work for.
There are many reasons for suffering. But none of them take away the pain. Just remember that, just as God was grieved when his Son suffered on the cross, he is grieved when you suffer. And just as God was able to bring something wonderful out of his Son’s suffering, he can bring something wonderful out of your suffering too.
In the meantime, chin up, shoulders back, stand straight, be brave, and smile. The world will wonder why.
Holy! Holy! Holy! Because of you, Lord God, thieves stop stealing and rise up to call you holy. Because of you, liars stop lying and raise their voices to call you holy. Because of you, drunks stop drinking and stand up to declare you holy. Because of you, murderers stop murdering and lift their hearts to announce you holy. Because of you, the selfish stop hoarding and release all they own to you holy. You are life in its purest form.
The deepest reaches of my soul praise you, Lord God. I would burst if I could not. When I awake, night merges into morning and I extol you for a new dawn. When I walk about through my day, I exalt you. When I lie down to sleep at the end of the day, I worship you. You are my breath, my heart beat, my reason for being.
Ah, my glorious God, you give me all things that I need and more. Above all, you gave me salvation from hell. With that I have all things. Though I grow depressed sometimes over human events and material things that do not work out, I remind myself that I still have heaven with You. That is worth ten thousand times ten thousand more than earthly concerns. At the end, I will rise up and be always at your service as you rule supreme over all worlds. And forever worship you.