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/
Praise God who makes all things magnificently beautiful. Sometimes I wonder what you are thinking. Each soul you invite into heaven brings along the brightness of their faith in you. Each soul who returns to their Maker brings along the brilliance of their love for you. Heaven grows brighter than before as your children return to you. And you laugh and rejoice that your family is with you at last. Oh, for the day when I can join your children there and laugh with you. Oh, for the eternal day when I can sing praises to you. Do you sing, Lord? I hope so. Will you be the director of our heavenly chorus? Wonderful, incredible day when I close my eyes in weakness and open them in your everlasting strength and ceaseless joy.
Lord, there are people in my life I never show my gratitude to. They work hard and I take them for granted. The janitors, the trash collectors, the maids, the farmers, the cooks, and so many more. I have neglected them. Make me notice them and express my gratitude to them. Can you forgive me for this, yet another sin?
Thank you for your promises. You always keep your promises. You are my protector, my helper, my shield, and keep me safe under the shadow of your wing. But the greatest promise of all is that you will return in the clouds someday and bring me up to you. When all who have loved and obeyed you arrive, you will take us with you to heaven. What an amazing and comforting promise. You will take me to the new and glorious body you are preparing for me and I shall walk streets of your golden purity. I cannot begin to conceive what heaven will be like, but with you, I am always in heaven.
COME FLY WITH ME: Meet the people who met Jesus. You are one of them Probably you are several of them. Go ahead and struggle with him as they did. Laugh. Cry. Do mental battle with him. Emotional battle too. Fight for your faith as they fought. Pause to listen for what you’ve never heard before. Then touch Jesus. This is the story of faith in the impossible. Hope in the inconceivable. Love for the invincible. It is the dreams of youth, the desperations of infirmity, the hopes of age, and the song of eternity. To BUY NOW, click a book cove or paste this: https://bit.ly/FLY-WITH-ME https://northernlightsbooks.org/historical-novel-about-jesus/book-8-come-fly-with-me-adults-childs-versions
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, 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, July 13 (7/13), is in Job 7:13ff in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.”
Job was extremely depressed. It happens to everyone sometimes. His depression was certainly valid ~ he had lost all his income and all his children in a recent storm. Now he had what the Bible translated as “boils” but the symptoms indicate he had a form of leprosy called Elephantiasis.
This particular form leads to nightmares in addition to the physical problems. Job had every right to be depressed. So depressed was he, that he no longer wanted to live, for his life no longer had meaning.
But, as miserable as Job was, he hung on. Patiently he hung on during the bad times. Sometimes during your bad times, the greatest thing you can do is “hang on” ~ be patient.
Romans 8:28 says all things work together for good to those who love the Lord. Job loved the Lord. Even in his misery and desire to die, he continued to love God and trust Him.
And, although at such times you may believe your misery will never end and you will never even smile again, it will happen. The misery comes to an end. It did for Job. He got his health and income back and more children to comfort him. God will see you through too.
INSIDE THE HEARTS OF BIBLE WOMEN. What did Job’s wife endure with the loss of all her children? What did she go through as she watched her husband suffer physically and mentally. What was her own anguish? The word “barek” translated “curse” is always translated “bless” everywhere else in the Bible. Do you suppose she finally said, “Husband, it’s okay if you die. I’ll be all right. Just keep blessing God and go to him in comfort.” Read the story of Job’s wife and other women in the Bible and how they handled their own challenges. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://bit.ly/HeartsBibleWomen https://northernlightsbooks.org/1107-2/my-book-inside-the-hearts-of-bible-women/
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, 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.
A CHILD’S BIBLE KIDS: JAIRUS’ DAUGHTER. She was lively Leah and very happy from the time she was born. But, when she was 12, she got very sick. The doctor came, but could not make her better. Her father was a rabbi and decided to ask Jesus to heal her. He found Jesus and begged him to come heal his little girl. But a surprise happened. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….http://bit.ly/JairusDtr https://northernlightsbooks.org/a-childs-bible-kids-book-7-jairus-daughter/?frame-nonce=dcd871ac5b
The scripture for today, June 10 (6/10), is Proverbs 6:10f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest ~ and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”
Oh! This scripture really comes to the point, doesn’t it? Perhaps during difficult economic times for some people, this can be a gentle reminder. If you can’t work for money, you can work for free. There is always work to do as a volunteer either in an organization or just by yourself. All it takes is for you to look around.
Well, if you’re already in the clutches of poverty, what will volunteering do to help the situation? People will notice you. They will notice your work ethic and your cheerfulness and your thoughtfulness. They will know you are out of work and just might tell people looking for someone to hire. And in the process, you are helping others. That in itself can make you feel rich ~ even if you’re not.
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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.
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?