I praise you, Jehovah God of the universe and God of my heart. You are above all things, below all things and in all things. Yet you live in my heart and speak to me in your Word ~ Jesus, your brainchild. You have poured out your heart to mankind in your Word. You have exposed your greatest desires, greatest disappointments, and greatest glory in your Bible. You reign over the world, crowned with honor, truth, and love. How can I thank you enough for your Bible? I read and learn, read and learn, and there is no end to it So amazing it all is ~ each sentence you breathed into it. It contains examples of every type of behavior and how to keep doing it or change. It contains the answers to life’s questions. It is all I need or could ever hope for. It tells how much you love me and your patience when I walk away from you. It sings your praises and draws me back to you. I bow to you in gratitude.
Ah, my Lord. You made us for your pleasure, for Love cannot stand to be alone. Love must have others to love. But pure love must give a choice to love in return and not be forced. You gave us choice, thus taking the chance we might reject you. Little children love you because not too long before their birth, they beheld your face. May I be as the little child. May my eyes always twinkle, my lips grin wide, and my arms reach out for you. And when I my soul trips and falls sometimes in its hurry, may you reach down, wipe my tears away, hold me in your protective arms and kiss away my hurt. Help me be like a trusting little child. I am trying, Lord. I am trying.
The scripture for today, June 18 (6/18), is 2nd Chronicles 6:18a as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you.”
Did you ever want to see God, to talk to him face to face? Perhaps something bad had just happened in your life, and you had this urge to bawl him out, then let him explain why. Or did you ever want to touch God? Perhaps you were so very lonely that you desperately needed his arms around you, and feel his touch as he brushed away your tears.
But, if you could see him and touch him, it would mean that he could not be with others in the world at that time and could not hear anyone else’s prayers at that time except yours. Try to be grateful that you cannot see and touch him for now. He is always available to you, regardless of where you are in this vast world and regardless of how many others are praying to him at that moment.
How he can sort out all our prayers at once is mind-boggling. How he can be everywhere at once is amazing. How he can love each one of us as though we were the only person in the world is miraculous and incredible.
The scripture for today, June 17 (6/17), is Matthew 6:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face.”
This is interesting because Jesus did not say “If, you fast,” but rather “When you fast.” It was as though he was teaching us to take for granted that we would fast ~ it would be second-nature to us. In a sense, it is, for when most people go through a sudden tragedy such as loss of a loved one, they often cannot eat.
But what about voluntary fasting? The early church sometimes fasted. Acts 13:2 says a congregation in Antioch, Syria, fasted and worshipped, then chose men to go out as missionaries. Queen Esther fasted before going to the king uninvited with a request he might not like (Esther 4:16). Isaiah 58:3 says people fasted in order to humble themselves.
Some people respond, “I’d die if I had to fast.” Perhaps that’s kind of the idea. We know we would die if we went without food long enough. So perhaps one day of fasting is a way of saying, “God, I would die for you if I had to.” Yes, fasting is a humbling experience and frightening to some people. But perhaps that is the point.
Is something important coming up that you know you will be urgently praying about? Once you skip one meal, you will have conquered your desire to eat. Then, with your brain not having to concentrate on digesting food, it will be able to focus more on that important thing happening in your life. Your prayers will be more focused. You will be more focused with your eyes more clearly on God.
So, take a shower, comb your hair, put on some nice clothes, and look like you have something important to do. Then fast.
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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.
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 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.
The scripture for today, May 15 (5/15), is Ecclesiastes 5:15 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.”
As most people enter their senior years, they finally understand this verse. In their youth, they struggled to get jobs and status and things. Some accomplished it, and some didn’t. But in the senior years….
when health is gradually declining….
the world is passing them by….
and they are sitting in their chair most of the time
….the main thing people look back on is what difference they made in their world, and how they did or did not help people important to them.
Often in their senior years, when their income goes down, and they are living only on a small pension, and they are unable to keep their big house, and fancy car, and impressive stuff, they realize they are still the same person inside regardless of what they own.
Ask a senior what they want for a birthday present. It is not likely to be things. It is likely to be time spent with a loved one or something special given to someone in need.
What about you? How much time are you spending on things?
I wrote this about twenty year ago when I was a young 61. Yesterday I turned 81. I went shopping to buy myself a birthday present, but didn’t see anything I wanted. Instead, I looked through the 340+ birthday greetings I received on my two Facebook pages — friends I hadn’t seen in decades, strangers who loved me, delightful pictures, sweet verses. You were my birthday gifts. With you I had all I needed or wanted. You all fill my heart.
The scripture for today, May 13 (5/13), is 1st John 5:13f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: That if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
Ah, to know you have eternal life. It’s easy to say. “I’m so happy because I have eternal life.” Easy to say. But do you really believe it?
I hear Christians everywhere lament their death. “Whew, I could have died in that car crash” “Oh, no, I just took the wrong medicine, and it will kill me.” “Hurry, get me to the hospital before I die!”
Yes, life here is precious. But it is only the bud of the flower, the spark of the fire, the whisper of the song. Our life here is like living in a dark cave.
Why would a truly believing Christian fear walking through that marvelous door where Jesus himself awaits their arrival?
True, part of looking forward to heaven is knowing what it looks like. Revelation gives you a hint, but it is symbolic. Cling to what you know. Rush to the door leading out of the cave in anticipation for the world you were always meant to live in.
Some people say, “But I want to be here to watch my children or grandchildren grow up.” What then? To watch them graduate and get a job and start having babies? When does it end?
Stop right now. Take a deep breath. Ask God to forgive your doubts and selfishness and putting things and people before him. Then look up. Look up! He is there waiting for you. His hands are reaching out to you. Those hands that were nailed to the cross for you. His hands that are now full of healing and tenderness and glory just for you.
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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.
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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