Mighty God, conceiver, founder, and Creator of this vast cosmos. You are beyond thought, beyond imagination, beyond human mind. You are greater than any galaxy, mightier than any sun, gentler than the softest feather. And, oh, your ability to love ~ it conquers everything that is bad because love is the strongest essence in existence. Because of this, you created me. Lowly me. Your thoughts never leave me, your kindness never ceases, the honor of your presence never flies away. I extol you, honor you, and bow at your feet.
Please forgive me for not thinking of others more than myself. I get so caught up in my own life, I hide my eyes from others’ needs, others’ goals, others’ plights. Open my eyes and heart to them and help me be willing to leave my little world to spread your love abroad.
Thank you for loving me. You show it every day in the earth I trod, the food I eat, the birds that fly around me for my entertainment. You are in my every delight, my every movement, my every song. I am surrounded and protected by your high walls of salvation, your waters of life, and your light of truth. How can I thank you for all you have done for me?
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The scripture for today, November 29 (11/29), is Matthew 11:29f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Ah, Lord Jesus. I am so weary worn. It seems everything that could ever go wrong in my life is happening right now. Just when I think I have one problem at least partly under control, another raises its ugly head. Or should I say Satan raises his ugly head? Satan, why are you doing this to me? It is you who is causing all the diseases and problems at work, and the car wreck and progressive blindness. Was it you who set me up in that posh job which you knew was never popular in the company and would only cause me grief? Was this new house I bought with my pay raise worth it after all?
I am so tired. Help me, God. I don’t know which way is up anymore. God? I’m calling for you. God? Don’t you even care?
“Let’s trade, my child. I’ll take your burdens, and you take mine.”
But, Lord, I do not understand. What could your burdens possibly be? You’re all comfortable in heaven.
“My child, my burden is to reach out to everyone and tell them how much I love them. My burden is to take their burdens on my shoulders. You can do it too. You can write encouraging messages to my children every day. You can open up the newspaper and pray for everyone in it by name. You can call someone who is depressed like you and sing them a sweet song.”
But when, Lord? When would I find time?
“Use your brooding time, your crying time, your anger time. Let loose of them so I can brood, cry, and be angry for you. Remember, it’s a trade.”
Ah, my God, you are so noble and trustworthy. If I trust in your judgment, then what is best will happen ~ one more step closer to conquering the world. Conquering bad with good. You are life and you work every moment to rescue me from a world of sin to deliver me to a world of sinlessness. All this despite my self-destructive listening to Satan. You are stronger than Satan and make me stronger in the process. Such stubborn love.
Thank you, Jesus, for your example of strict living with kindness intertwined throughout. Your teachings are a tapestry of dark and light tones that wove together into a blanket of safety. Your life was a kaleidoscope of sunny yellows and bloody reds and every color in between to show me the beauty of everything, no matter how dark it may seem. In gratitude, I worship you.
I praise you when I am happy and on top of the world. I praise you when I am wandering around aimlessly, not knowing what I need to be doing. And when I am struggling through a project that is not coming together as I had planned. And before I fall asleep and when I waken. And when I walk among beauty and when I crawl through the ugly. You never change. You are always the same. The thought brings sameness and stability to my life. The thought causes me to love you even more.
Your word says that, in you, I can be more than a conqueror. But how can I be that unless there is something in my life I need to conquer? There is a song about experiencing “Victory in Jesus” but how can I experience that without something to be victorious over? Thank you, Lord, for problems and obstacles. Without them, I would not know the exhilaration that comes with prevailing over them with you.
https://northernlightsbooks.org/1107-2/my-book-applied-christianity/Ah, my Lord God, when I give anything to you, it is not really a gift. I am only returning what is already yours. The world and all that is in it is yours because you created everything. Then you loaned it all to humans to take care of for you. You give each of us talents so we can make your loans beautiful. May we, give them back to you better than they were. How? By giving what you loaned to us to someone who cannot pay us back. Perhaps a retired person with low income, perhaps a child, perhaps a beggar on the street. May what we give away praise you in this way.
And all those talents you gave us. I cannot count them all. Oh, my! One person is an artist with pencils or paints or sand or glass or stone. Someone else is a musician making music that is loud and soft, fast and slow, high and low. Someone else is a cook, a writer, a welder, a speaker, a carpenter, a pilot, a climber. Then there are the builders of things short and tall, square and triangle, brick or wood or glass. The molders and sculptors of marble, silly putty, wood, and even food. Mountain makers of stone, sand, mashed potatoes, and bubbles. The sewers, the writers, the cookers. The explorers seeking more of your wonders and beauty and marvels. Oh, so many talents you have given us to make your world just a little more exciting, intense, entertaining, lovely, introspective, and joyous. I think you are grinning at me now. And was that a wink? Thank you, Lord.
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My life, Lord, is like a small boat on a vast ocean. I cannot walk on anything solid, but your heaven has streets of gold. I cannot see anything beyond the vast waters of time, but you can see the future. When waves of verbal and physical attacks threaten, you steady me and say, “Peace! Be still.” I cannot tell what is lurking below me, ready to swallow me up, but you surround me with an impenetrable shell. I am thirsty, but you give me the water of life. I am hungry and you give me the bread of life. My life is not my own because you are my guide, my protector, my defender. For all this and more, I praise you.
Thank you for the mentally handicapped, especially those who are adults. They are so trusting and smile so easily when they talk to me. They have the innocence of a child while in an adult body. They are a wonderful reminder to me that I need to be more child-like in my attitudes. I love talking to them and hearing their plans and dreams. Oh, to be that innocent again. And loving. They love everyone and are happy to share their stories with anyone who will listen. Thank you for these special people you have sent the world. They are such a blessing.
The scripture for today, September 29 (9/29), is Matthew 9:29 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith will it be done to you.’ “
Sometimes when we pray for healing during sickness, a well-meaning friend will say, “Well, you haven’t been healed because you didn’t have enough faith.” But Jesus did not always heal people according to their faith.
The boy in Nain he brought back to life (Luke 7:14-15) did not have any faith at all. The girl in Capernaum he brought back to life (Luke 8:51-56) did not have any faith at all. When Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana (John 2:1-9), the hosts did not have any faith at all.
This is encouraging, because often we pray for the healing of non-religious friends. It would be futile to ask God to bring them back to health if it depended on their faith all the time.
He is not a God of futility. He is a God of hope. And we love him for it.
How can it be, oh Lord, that you love me, a mere worm crawling through the dust of sin? Won’t what your eyes behold take away your holiness? Won’t what you hear take away your purity? My Lord, how can it be? Before your eyes behold my sin, you take it away. Before your ears hear my sin, you take it away. You never change. Sin cannot touch you. Sin does not exist where you are. Your throne glistens white with sinlessness. You are crowned with virtue and you hold the scepter of goodness.
Thank you that I can freely breathe. There are some people whose lungs are bad and they struggle for their every breath. And thank you that I have two strong legs to stand on. There are some people wheel-chair bound and have to look up at everyone. And thank you that I can hear and speak. There are some people out there who can do neither. Lord, may I take a deep breath, walk to someone’s door and knock on it, and use the voice you gave me to tell them how much you love them. My every breath, my every step, my every word are gifts from you. May I ever use those gifts to glorify you and bring more souls to the safety of your heaven.
The scripture for today, August 21 (8/21), is Ezra 8:21a as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“There, by the Ahava Canal [from the Euphrates R.], I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God.”
In our modern society, does anyone fast anymore? Not drinking our food (juice) for a day and calling that a fast, but a true fast where we drink only water to stay hydrated, but that’s all? And we turn off all computers, phones, radios, and televisions for the day?
Jesus said in his sermon on the mount, “WHEN you fast….” (Matthew 6:16). He didn’t say, “IF you fast….” No, he assumed his followers would fast. Do we?
If you do, do you do it as a group? Jesus said we are to keep it a secret. Does anyone else know about your fast? They shouldn’t know unless they are the reason for our fast. Fasting is an act of self-restraint. It belongs to the sphere of humble self-discipline. It is strictly a personal and private matter.
All moral and bodily restraint, all humbleness of body and spirit are represented by fasting, and it is a complete failure of self-restraint to want to show the world our self-restraint. An unknown author wrote this:
Let us keep our fast within,
Till heaven and we are quite alone;
Then let the grief, the shame, the sin,
Before the mercy-seat be thrown.
Fasting is a way of starving yourself temporarily, a way of saying, “God, I would do this and more for you; I would die for you.” Or, “God, if it were possible, I would trade lives with this person I am fasting for to give them rest. I would even die for this person.” It is a deep expression to God that goes beyond words.
Also, when you fast, your mind is freed from guiding the digestion of food, so you can think clearer and deeper. And you can face yourself more honestly.
Just what are you deep down? Do you truly love God as much as you claim? Do you truly love your family as much as you claim? Your neighbors? Your fellow Christians? Your enemies? This is your time of self-reflection and self-honesty.
The scripture for today, July 30 (7/30), is John 7:30 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“At this, they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.”
Even thoughm, during the last two years of his life, many people wanted to kill Jesus out of jealousy or fear or pure meanness, he was never afraid to keep teaching. Why? Because he knew he was life and truth and that he came forth from the Father of lights.
Do you feel fear sometimes because of things going on around you? Do we fear failure, or ruin, or false rumors, being stricken by Covid-19, or imprisonment, or your life? Remember, each life is in the heavenly Father’s hands.
So do not fear. Keep on keeping on. Hold fast. Stand firm. Do the right thing. Stand up for Jesus. And, when someday, your time does come, know that God has everything under control. He had big plans for Jesus at his death, and he has big plans for you. Plans you can only imagine.