Thursday 7/19 ~ Bad habits ‘n stuff

The scripture for today, July 19 (7/19), is found in Romans 7:19 as found in the New Testament of the Bible.

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do ~ this I keep on doing.”

Doesn’t this pretty much describe all of us in some area of our life?  It may be eating too much, breaking the law by going over the speed limit, laughing at dirty jokes, habitual lying, stealing “little things” at work, cheating on tests, jealousy, impatience, temper ~ any number of things.

Sins of habit and attitude are hard to break. So we go to God over and over asking him to forgive that which, deep down, we know we’re going to do again.

Perhaps this emphasizes the importance of us forgiving others who habitually do wrong to us. We do not know their struggles any more than they know our struggles.

Jesus said, “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14).

Satan wants us to quit trying to do better. And he wants us to quit forgiving each other. Let us not give in to Satan. Let us give in to God. God’s way leads to ultimate forgiveness by him.

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Wednesday 7/18 ~ Does God really answer prayers?

The scripture for today, July 18 (7/18), is Acts 7:18 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Inside-COVER-lg thumbnail“Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt.”

Does God really answer prayers? When the Jews first arrived in Egypt, they received “royal treatment” because they were relatives of “Prime Minister” Joseph. Then he died, but his Jewish relatives stayed. Eventually, they were resented, then feared, then made slaves of the Egyptians.

For the following 400 years, the Jews prayed for God to release them from their slavery. Generation after generation died believing that God does not answer prayers.

But God saw the big picture. He saw that the 70 relatives of Joseph who originally went to Egypt would become more than three million over the next four centuries. Then and only then would they be large enough to begin a new nation ~ the Jewish nation. In Egypt during those centuries, they were in a form of “protective custody”.

Are you frustrated and confused because God is seemingly not answering some very important prayers? Perhaps you are part of a bigger picture that only God knows about. Perhaps your job is to stay where you are and just keep hanging on. Are you up to the task God has assigned to you?

 

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Saturday 7/14 ~ Do you pray for your nation?

The scripture for today, July 14 (7/14), is 2nd Chronicles 7:14 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Michel-COVER-Kindle-Thumbnail“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

There is always a little bit of turmoil in all nations of the world. Of course, there is more in some. The average person cannot make their own nation call on God. But the average person can do this: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone ~ for kings and all those in authority” (I Timothy 2:1-2). Further, we should pray for them by name.

Even if you think some people in authority in your nation are against you, you must pray for them anyway. Then wait quietly for God to work things out. It may take Him a year, a decade or a lifetime to bring about your heart’s desire for your nation. But keep praying.

Your job, in the meantime, is to follow God’s ways yourself. Romans 13:1,3-4 says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established…For rulers hold no terror for those who do right…For he is God’s servant to do you good.”

God is aware of the suffering going on around you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

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Saturday 7/7 ~ What does God go through to answer your prayer?

The scripture for today, July 7 (7/7), is Matthew 7:7 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Inside-COVER-lg thumbnail“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

How beautiful. The Creator of the universe pays attention to each and every one of us. How does he do it? How does he even sort us all out when thousands of us are praying to him at the same time?

Sometimes you may not think he is listening to your prayers. But it takes time to answer some of them. If I am praying to meet my future husband or wife, God may have to move him or her from the other side of the country, get a new job for him or her and arrange for us to “accidentally” bump into each other. This is just one example.

Also, when Jesus said whatever we seek will be given to us, he had already explained that we must “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). So only within that context, God will give us our heart’s desire.

Maybe today you can do a little bit of extra seeking and extra knocking.  What is God’s desire for you?

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Monday 6/18 ~ Did you ever wish you could see and touch God?

The scripture for today, June 18 (6/18), is 2nd Chronicles 6:18a as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-HS-592 VersesExamined-COVER-Thumbnail“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 alive is miraculous and incredible.

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Sunday 6/17 ~ I would die if I couldn’t eat

The scripture for today, June 17 (6/17), is Matthew 6:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Hero Alone-COVER-KINDLE-Medium“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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Tuesday 6/12 ~ God loves to answer prayer

The scripture for today, June 12, is Luke 6:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Inside-COVER-lg thumbnail“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. He had probably spent at least half an hour each praying for them by name, as well as for others he was considering.

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?

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 was a stranger to you that you pray for them.

Some people have never heard their name in prayer. Some people have never even been told that someone prays for them.

God loves to answer prayer. Do you love prayer?

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Saturday 5/26 ~ A 100-person prayer list for you

The scripture for today, May 26 (5/26), is 1st Thessalonians 5:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Hero Alone-COVER-KINDLE-LgThumbnail“Brothers, pray for us.”

Do you have a prayer list? There are many people we can pray for besides ourselves. 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.

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!

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Sunday 5/13 ~ How am I supposed to know God’s will?

The scripture for today, May 13 (5/13), is 1st John 5:13f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

365 Dat by Date-Front-Thumbnail“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.”

What a wonderful and comforting promise: The God of the universe, the Creator, the King of all kings hears you!

But, how are you supposed to know God’s will? By a feeling deep in your heart? Feelings are fickle. Can there be another way? Of course. It’s simple. Just read his very words to you in the Bible.

The Bible is full of examples of people who did right and who did wrong, to help you see the consequences of good and bad decisions. The Bible is also full of God’s advice to you. Proverbs is one of the books that is full of such advice along with all the apostolic letters in the New Testament and the life of Christ in the Gospels. Read the Bible. You do not have to guess what God’s will is.

What about asking God’s will on whether you should move to this place or that, whether you marry this person or that, whether you take this job or that? Perhaps all your choices are good. God has also given you free will. Choose one of them. Always remember, “ALL things work together for good to those who love the Lord and called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

 

Friday 5/11 ~ So, ask.

The scripture for today, May 11 (5/11), is 1st Peter 5:11 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

04-FOLK HERO-Child'sCartoon-Thumbnail“To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.”

God has the power to do more for you than you ever dreamed. He can take you in new directions in your life; arrange for you to meet wonderful people; provide the ability to overcome not-so-good things in your life.

All you have to do is ask. Perhaps more than once. Perhaps many times. But he wants you to ask. Why?

Parents sometimes tell their children “no” the first time they ask for something. Maybe it’s because the child needs to find out for him/herself how badly s/he wants it. It’s in the asking that they find out. So God waits for the request. Sometimes the request never comes. And so the blessing never comes.

Remember, God has the power. It is the same power he used to create this amazing universe. He may have something special in mind for you. So ask.

 

 

 

 

Thursday 5/3 ~ Soon will come your morning

The scripture for today, May 3 (5/3), is Psalm 5:3 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

05-Joseph-KindleThumbnail“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

Morning. The time of new beginnings. Birth is a morning. Graduating from a school is a morning. Marriage, a new job, birth of a child ~ these are obvious mornings.

You can create your own morning of life in a spiritual way too. You can stop depending on yourself and begin following and depending on God. You cannot fix all your problems. Sometimes you get yourself into your own problems and don’t know how to get yourself out. But God knows.

Lay your requests before God. Then wait. The waiting can create frustration. But wait in peace. God does things in his own timing.

He loves you as his child and knows when the moment is right. Sometimes when you look back, you are most grateful he did not answer a prayer for you; he had something better in mind. And then, it was morning.

God loves to answer prayer. Therefore, wait. Wait in peaceful expectation.  Soon will come your morning.

 

Sunday 4/29 ~ Ah, to find God.  Who are you, God? 

The scripture for today, April 29 (4/29), is Deuteronomy 4:29 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

365 Dat by Date-Front-Thumbnail“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Ah, to find God.  Who are you, God?  What do you do all through my day?  What do you have to say to me?  Or do you not say anything?  Do you even see me, God?  Where are you?  I cannot find you.

Open your eyes, friend. God is always nearby.  There is an old expression, “To know him is to love him.” So true.  To find God, get to know him.  He is talking to you right now in his Bible, explaining what he is like and how he reacts to every possible situation in life. Open your Bible.  Look through the mini-books within.  God not only gives you examples of right and wrong ways to seek Him, but he gives you beautiful psalms and proverbs for your everyday life.  And, wonder of wonders, He tells how He came down to us and walked among us as Jesus.  Seek him there. He is talking to you.

Well, don’t you have anything to say about this?  Of course, you do.  The conversation turns the other way when you talk to him in response to what you have read, or what you are trying to apply to your life, or your concern for others.  

Yes, seek and you will find. This mutual conversation with God is the with-all-your-heart-and-soul kind. You can do it.  He is waiting for you.

And it is good.

Thursday 4/12 ~ Fast-food prayers

The scripture for today, April 12, is Colossians 4:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“He is always wrestling in prayer for you.”

Do you have fast-food prayers? Drive in, ask for something for yourself, and drive out two minutes later?

How about trying gourmet prayers ~ where you gather many ingredients, not just one? They take longer but are very special and rewarding.

Your menu is your prayer list. People on your list don’t even have to be people you know personally. They can be from the newspaper, teachers at a local school, government officials, your neighbors, your congregation. List people by name. Pray for them by name.

Then tell these people you are praying for them. You may think you’ll get some strange looks, but mostly, even from the unreligious, you will get a smile and a whispered thank you. Some will actually reply, “No one before has ever told me they were praying for me.” After a while, you will begin receiving word from some of them, “I am praying for you too.”

Prayer is wonderful. It is most wonderful when it centers, not on yourself, but on struggling in prayer for others.

One by one you will begin seeing amazing answers in the lives of those you pray for. And that’s a promise!

Friday 1/26 ~ Thanking God over and over and…

The scripture for today, January 26 (1/26), is 1st Samuel 1:26f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

07-SHADOW-ChildsCartoonSmall“And she said to him, ‘As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.’ “

Wow!  Hannah prayed for a baby and God gave her a son!  How often do you tell someone God has answered your prayer, big or little?

Or do you wander aimlessly from prayer request to prayer request, and let the answer drift away from you unnoticed? Or worse, do you ask others to pray for something, but after once or twice you stop praying for that thing yourself? A year later, someone tells you they are still praying for your something and you have completely forgotten it.

Begin today to keep a list of your prayer requests. Write down the date you first began to pray for each. If your requests are all about yourself, begin including your neighbors, your co-workers, people you attend church with, your relatives, people in the newspaper.

Then begin a second list of your answers and the dates. You will be amazed how fast your Prayers Answered list grows. Do not let the answers drift away from you unnoticed.

Notice them.

Claim them.

Tell others.

Then spend the rest of your life thanking God over and over and…

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Saturday 12/23 ~ Take others along when you soar

The scripture for today, December 23 (12/23), is 1st Samuel 12:23 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Oldoldstory-COVER-KINDLE“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.”

It’s actually a sin not to pray for others!

Do your prayers get bogged down in the mire of me’s? Do you wonder why you can’t pray for more than a couple minutes ~ five on a good day? Satan gets you to do this; he is the enemy of prayer because he knows how powerful it is.

Who is on your prayer list? Pray for people by name. Your neighbors. People you work with. Your government officials ~ both good and bad. People in a nursing home. People in your congregation. People in the military. People being persecuted, imprisoned and even killed because they are Christians. Missionaries. Children in an orphan home. Salespeople at the store. Local school teachers.

Pray for 15 minutes a day. Half an hour. An hour. It’s oh so easy when we stop praying only for self and pray for others.

Pray for them by name. And tell them that you do. Some people have never been told, “I am praying for you”.

Let us not sin by praying only for “me”. Let us take others soaring with us when we pray.

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Scripture for Monday 12/11 ~ Tired? Let your soul rise up

The scripture for today, December 11 (12/11), is Romans 12:11 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Medium“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

Sometimes we get physically tired and our spiritual zeal wanes along with it. We just want to rest. Well, while we rest, we can always become prayer warriors.

When you see friends, ask them, “How was your week/day/month?” Don’t ask them how they are, for they will probably reply, “Fine.” But if you ask how their week has been, that gives them something to talk about. They’ll tell you of things they have been doing. Regardless of  what they say, reply, “May I pray for your success in….” or “I’d like to pray for your….”

What the world needs is prayer. Many people have never in their entire life heard someone tell them, “I am praying for you.” Be the first. Open up their lives to the love of God.

Prayer is powerful, especially when you are not praying for yourself all the time, but rather are praying for others. Do you have a prayer list? How many are on it besides yourself? Ten? Fifty? A hundred? Five hundred? Is that too many to cover? Not at all. How long does it take to read 500 names in earnest, sincere prayer?

You may say, “But just mentioning a name is so meaningless; it’s too simple. God expects me to explain all I know about this person’s problem and then do some begging.” No, he doesn’t; not with everyone. Prayer is so very, very powerful, that just mentioning a person’s name will bring this person before the very throne of God.

Then, even when you are tired and lack physical zeal, your soul can rise up with spiritual fervor to heaven itself.

 

Scripture for Thursday, November 9 (11/9)

The scripture for today, November 9 (11/9), is Luke 11:9 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-michel-cover-kindle-medium” ‘So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.’ “

Does this mean that, if we ask for our favorite team to win, they will win? Does this mean that, if we ask for a particular job, we will get that job? Or, if we have our eyes on a particular young man or young woman, does this mean we will marry that person?

In the context that Jesus said this, he had just taught his disciples what many call the Lord’s prayer. In that prayer, Jesus instructed us to ask for a little bit of the physical and a whole lot of the spiritual.

You might say, “Well, that doesn’t leave me much to pray for.” Oh, yes it does. Shift your focus from yourself. It leaves the rest of the world to pray for. What about their little bit of physical and their whole lot of spiritual? How many people do you pray for? Not as a group, but by name? Not occasionally, but every day?

Well then, will God give us every one of the souls we pray for? God gives everyone free will. He does not force people to follow him. God provides opportunities for people we pray for, and he even moves their hearts. But he does not force them. We must still, keep on praying, even when we feel like someone is hopeless. Maybe they are hopeless during our lifetime. But sometimes someone’s soul is saved after our death.

So let us pray for others and never tire of it ~ a little bit of the physical and whole lot of the spiritual. Seek and we will find. God will answer in his own way.

And that’s a promise.

 

Scripture for Thursday, October 5 (10/5)

The scripture for today, October 5 (10/5) is 2nd Corinthians 10:5f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Life-Changing-Scriptures-Cover-medium“Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now, these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.”

This is about the 40 years the Jews wandered in the wilderness between leaving their slavery in Egypt and beginning a nation for themselves in their Promised Land.

It took Moses 40 years to get the Jews out of Egypt. But it took 400 years to get Egypt out of the Jews. They believed their way was better than God’s way. They wanted God to protect them and provide for their needs, but they kept God at a distance as far as their ethics and way of life.

Events in the Old Testament are there as examples to us. This is one reason why we need to read the Old Testament.  The early Jews did not want to listen to God, so God did not listen to them. Do we keep God at a distance?  In that case, God keeps us at a distance.

Do we want God to treat us the way we treat him? This can be a frightening thought. It can also be a blissful thought.

 

Scripture for Monday, October 2 (10/2)

The scripture for today, October 2 (10/2), is Daniel 10:2ff as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-medium” ‘At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks…On the twenty-fourth day of the first month…I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude….Then he continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me because I was detained there with the king of Persia.’ “

The description of the speaker indicates he is an angel, possibly Gabriel. Michael is another known angel. In Daniel 12:1 he is called “Michael, the great prince who protects your people.” Jude 9 refers to Michael as an archangel who disputed with Satan over the body of Moses.

Revelation 12:7-9 says, “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down ~ that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth and his angels with him.”

Now, let us look back at Daniel 10. Daniel prayed for 21 days. The un-named angel (Gabriel?) appeared to him on the 24th day and said Daniel’s prayers had been heard the first day, but God’s angel could not break away to help because of fighting Satan’s angels.

Now look at Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Does our persistence in prayer give strength to the angels?  Something to think about….

 

Scripture for Friday, September 29 (9/29)

The scripture for today, September 29, is Matthew 9:29 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.medium-new“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 heal everyone 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. There are other examples.

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.