My Father, you are my king. You are crowned with the sun. Your scepter is tipped with the moon. Your robe spreads across millions of galaxies. Your throne is the dome of the cosmos encircled with a thousand rainbows. Your eyes sparkle like stars, your laughter is like the thunder, your tears like raindrops, your touch like billowy clouds gliding across the sky. Oh, my Lord. I love you, adore you, worship you. I am your bride and long for you.
My Lord, you have given me so much. I have a decent place to live with air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. I have decent clothes to wear, nutritious food, doctors nearby. I even have the luxuries of a TV, cell phone, and computer. I take them for granted far too much. I sometimes forget others in the world who live in fear their freedom and luxuries will be taken from them. If it is your will that I become one of them, grant me strength to do it.
Ah, Lord Jesus. What a life you lived! You never sinned and that means you never passed up anyone who needed you. I think you must have been skinny. You must have skipped many a meal to get to everyone. And the awesome miracles you performed! Growing cut-off arms and legs back, returning the noses, fingers and toes to lepers, making the forever blind see, opening the ears of the deaf so they could hear your voice and the amazing words that came from your lips. Thank you, thank you for showing us who you really were ~ God materialized.
STEPHEN: UNLIKELY MARTYR. Saul goes after both Stephen and Simon of Cyrene. They rush to save each other’s lives. Stephen distracts the Sanhedrin with a long history lesson until Simon can escape to Antioch….As Stephen takes his final steps toward the stoning pit, he can still hear his father in years past. “Take another step, Son. Now another. Hold your head high. Don’t let them see weakness. You’re doing fine. Now another step. I’m here, Son. I will never leave you. You’re almost home.” To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://bit.ly/StephenUnlikelyMartyr https://northernlightsbooks.org/books-more-biblical-historical-novels/book-7-stephen-unlikely-martyr/
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 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 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.
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 17 (5/17) is John 5:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.’ “
Psalm 115:12 says God is thinking about you all the time. When you’re walking, riding, talking, doing, coming, going. God is always working for you. A popular song a few years ago was, “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands.”
But does he always keep you from harm? He gave you free will, and sometimes you don’t make good choices. Others around you have free will, and they sometimes don’t make good choices.
If everything was perfect, this would be heaven. But it is not. Heaven is for later after we go through some tests. Regardless of what happens here, God is beside you if you fall, ready to get to work, ready to hold out his hand to lift you up.
How he loves you and cherishes you and cares for you. He always will if you follow him. Then, after you have fulfilled your own work here on earth, you can follow him right through the gates into that perfect world you wish you had now ~ heaven. Then wish will be reality.
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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.
The scripture for today, May 10 (5/10), is 1st Peter 5:10 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong and firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever.”
This earth is not meant to be your paradise, to be your eternal home. This earth is just the foyer. God stands at the door to heaven and calls you.
Are you too busy watching over things here to look over at his door? Are you too caught up with temporary things of this world to stop and listen for God?
Is there too much noise in your life? The noise of problems with job, home, family, government, neighbors, health? The noise of getting a better job, home, family, government, neighbor, health? Remember, you are only in the foyer.
Life is not always easy. Do you have the stamina to not be sidetracked? Do you have the fortitude to keep walking toward God’s door?
God can make you strong and firm and steadfast if you will stop the noise and listen for him. God can make you strong and firm and steadfast if you keep your eyes on his door.
You’re not home yet.
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The scripture for today, May 5 (5/5), is Micah 5:5a as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“And he will be their peace.”
The little book of Micah was written during a time when his country was full of prosperity. But it was also full of abused power. The lower on the social scale, the more the people suffered at the hands of the powerful few.
In the midst of warning the social elite, Micah offers comfort to their victims. You may be going through economic distress, such as losing your job or losing your home. You may be going through social distress, such as being passed up for a promotion or losing friends because of your moral code.
Seek peace. Deep peace.
Sometimes, it is only possible to reveal powerful abusers by revealing their victims to the world. Sometimes our job is to just survive so that a future generation can find justice and acceptance. Or sometimes, we must lose everything so that we can quit worrying about this world and look forward to the next.
Seek peace. Deep peace.
So, when you feel left behind with nothing, look up! God is still on his throne. God still holds out his arms. God still wipes away tears. Possibly it is at such times that you can feel God’s love most warmly and God’s peace most deeply. Look! Look through your grief. God is smiling at you.
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