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12/18/17 5:27 A

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December 18

Psalms 147:6

The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.

The message came to the small town: "I will arrive to select one of you to dine with me. Put on your best behavior. You will be judged accordingly." The townspeople knew that Jesus was a special man, and so they dressed in their finest clothes. The merchant stood at the front of the line, followed by the carpenter, the tent maker, and the miller. A poor girl came along and tried to get in line. The merchant shoved her aside and called her a name. The carpenter threatened to hit her, and the tent maker pushed her into the dirt. The miller raised a boot to kick her, but stopped. The four men realized that they were being watched. They looked up to see Jesus watching their behavior. Christ stepped forward and took the girl by the hand. He said, "Come. Dine with me."

To the others, He said, "Depart from me. You know me not, and so I neither know you."

This story was written about 1700 years ago. Though it is not from the Bible, it reflects well the sentiment of God toward the poo r and abused. He will raise up the afflicted, but the abuser will He cast aside. Look kindly upon the poor, viewing them with Christ's own eyes. Then will He be real in you.

Prayer: In my desire to impress You, Lord, let me not neglect my duty to my neighbor. Stretch forth my hands as You would Your own. Help me to help others. Amen.

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12/11/17 1:27 A

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December 10

Psalms 144:3

Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!

Ricky walked home from school past the front of the church. He noticed that the nativity scene had been set up, so he stopped long enough to check it out. All of the figures towered above him, but one in particular caught his eye. An angel looked down from the roof of the creche, and Ricky thought it was looking right at him. He thought to himself, "I wonder if real angels are watching me right now? I wonder if God is?" Ricky left the nativity scene in awe, thinking maybe he was being watched over, and the thought filled him with joy.

Though we cannot fathom why God would love us so much, He does indeed watch over us. He knows all our movements and thoughts, and He cares deeply about the things we face in life. Know that the Lord is mindful of you, and be glad. In God's sight you are precious.

Prayer: Watch over me, Lord. Thank You for making me important by loving me so much. I am a new person in Your love. Use me to spread Your joy. Amen.

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12/9/17 3:39 A

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December 9

Psalms 143:7

Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.

The road was slick with ice and snow. Cars were traveling along too fast for the conditions. Molly gripped the wheel and gritted her teeth. Suddenly, a car veered in front of her and went into a skid. Wide-eyed, Molly gasped, "Oh, Lord, help!"

The car passed by her with mere inches to spare, righted itself, and Molly was able to come to a stop, frightened, but unharmed. Once more Molly breathed out a short prayer, saying merely, "Thanks."

In our times of greatest need, lengthy prayers just won't come. Out sentiments and needs are already in God's heart, so all we need do is express them as our situation demands. The prayers of "help" and "thanks" are both acceptable in the sight of the Lord. Those two words say more than many wordy and pious prayers offered up in quieter times. How we pray is not so important as remembering to pray. The Lord hears them all.

Prayer: There are times when I need Your answer right away, Lord. In times of distress, please be near at hand. Hear my short prayers, and heed them quickly. Amen.

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12/7/17 12:19 P

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December 7

Psalms 142:7

Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

Mikhail was released after seven years in prison. Because of his political views, he had been detained in a small cell, isolated from the other prisoners. His only human contact had been with his jailer, who brought him food once a day. Walking into the sunlight, Mikhail lifted his head skyward, tears flowed down his cheeks, and he began praising God. Many thought he had gone mad in captivity, but others knew that he was merely giving thanks to the one who had sustained him through his imprisonment.

When we find ourselves trapped by situations that have no end in sight, we need to draw on the courage and power of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will enable us to survive any trial, whether it be long or short. We have the assurance that God is greater than any problem that might arise. Call upon the Lord, and He will life you up.

Prayer: Lord, I need to feel Your presence near me. Alone, I get so tired and afraid. This life has many trials that I'm not ready to deal with. Free me from the captivity of my fears and doubts, and empower me to praise Your name always. Amen.

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11/26/17 7:36 A

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November 26

Psalms 139:14

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

The potter sat at his wheel, turning the clay into beautiful pots. It was hypnotizing to watch. After a time, the pot looked as though it were emerging directly from the potter's hand. With love and care, the potter put his style and mark on every piece he created. Each piece was different, but each bore the striking mark of its maker.

We, too, are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are individual, yet we bear the stamp of our maker. God's image dwells within us all. With love and care we are fashioned, emerging from the Father's hand, and one day we will return to Him, where we will be afforded a place of honor and love. God's works are marvelous, and His Spirit fills them all.

Prayer: By Your hands I came into being. Make me useful, Lord, to do that which I was created for. Then, when the time comes, I may stand before You, fulfi lled and confident that I have served You well. Amen

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11/25/17 4:09 A

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November 25

Psalms 139:12

Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Sam stuck close to his dad. The old building was dark, and Sam wasn't sure what might be out in that darkness. All he knew for sure was that his dad was big and brave, and he wasn't afraid of the dark. Sam hoped that one day he would be like his dad: able to walk in darkness just like he would in broad daylight.

Our Lord goes with us into the dark times of our lives. He holds us by the hand and lets us know that we have nothing to fear. Darkness and light are the same to the Lord. He will lead us through our times of fear and bring us back into the light every time.

Prayer: When I am fearful, Lord, I will reach out to You. Walk with me through the dark times. Fill me with your courage. Teach me to walk in Your light always. Amen.

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11/24/17 10:40 A

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November 24

Psalms 139:9-10

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

The man sat alone in the prison cell. Seldom did he get to see the light of day. His cell was a cubicle of about five square feet. He could not even stretch out to lie down. He had a straw mat and a can, and that completed the inventory of his possessions. A window three inches wide and a foot high opened to the outside world, but it was at least five feet above his head. The man sat and wept, believing that even God would not find him in such a place as this.

Then, as he sat on the floor, he saw a spider in the corner, weaving a delicate web. It peacefully spun, and created an object of beautiful symmetry. The man watched closely as the hours passed. In his heart, he knew that God would be with him; that He did know where he was. With nothing more to hold onto, the man was able to wait out his sentence in peace and quiet joy.

Prayer: No matter where I may go, Father, be there with me. Help me to know that You are always near and I have not been abandoned. With You by my side, I can make it through anything. Amen.

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11/22/17 12:19 A

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November 21

Psalms 139:2-24

Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

Peter and Jeanne had been through a lot together. Peter's wife had died a few years before, and Jeanne's husband had left her. They had spent many long hours talking to each other, pulling each other through dismal times. They had grown so close that they knew each other's thoughts and moods without a word passing between them. In time they decided to marry, and theirs was a match to truly honor God. Their love was a fine example of how wonderful love can be.

We need someone to turn to who knows us and who we can trust. God is that someone. Perhaps we will find an earthly partner who understands us so well, but even if we don't, God will hear us, He will know us, and He will comfort us. He is never too busy for us, and He knows our hearts before we even call upon Him. Talk to the Lord. Take your deepest desires to Him, and rejoice in the blessings He has to give.

Prayer: I need Your counsel, Father. Thank You for knowing me so well, and for being there when I need You. Watch over me, Lord, and fill me with the assurance of Your nearness. Amen.

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11/20/17 3:53 P

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November 20

Psalms 139:1

O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

Kent really wanted the new security job. The aeronautics company was one of the largest, and was considered to be the up-and-coming industry leader. His job could possible become one of the most important around. He sat down at the desk of his interviewer. The man pulled out Kent's file, which appeared to be about three hundred pages thick. The company had sent a team of investigators to find out everything they could about Kent. Though he knew it was necessary, he couldn't help feeling a little angry and alarmed that they were able to find out so much about him. It was frightening to see someone hold your life's stories and secrets in his hands.

Our Lord holds the complete file on each and every one of us. He knows us much better than we even know ourselves. Yet, that is nothing to be alarmed about. In His infinite love, He has forgiven us for all that we have done wrong, and he is able to help us in our deepest need.

Prayer: It is strange to think that You know me so well, Lord, but I am thankful that You do. Only someone who knows me as You do could possible understand what I go through and what I need. Thank You. Amen.


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11/20/17 1:52 A

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November 19

Psalms 138:7

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wil t revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

Chet and Alex had been great friends since elementary school. Now they were starting together on the high school football team; Alex the star running back, and Chet his number one blocker. Chet opened the holes to let Alex get running room, and Alex took off. Throughout their lives together, things had worked pretty much the same way. Chet was always looking out for Alex, making sure he was okay. Together they were an unbeatable pair.

Life sometimes feels like a football game. We've got the ball, and everybody else is out to flatten us. In that case, we want to have the best blocker in front of us that we can. God will assume that role for us, if we ask Him to. God sticks with us in the midst of trouble. He picks us up when we fall, He reaches out to help us along when we get bogged down, and He clears our way to deal with problems rather than let us be beaten by them. Nothing can harm us so long as God is on our side.

Prayer: There are days, Lord, when I feel like I'm losing ground all the time. I get tired of trying so hard to make things work out and feeling like they just get worse. When I face those times, O God, be with me to lift me up and make me a conquer. Amen.

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11/18/17 6:55 P

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November 18

Psalms 138:4

All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord, when they hear the words of thy mouth.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the leaders on earth suddenly found their hearts filled with love, and compassion, and justice? What would happen if they all decided that top priority would be to take care of others first? Perhaps then we would have a taste of what God originally intended. We want to believe that our leaders are listening for the voice of God as they make their difficult decisions, but often we can only wonder. Perhaps one day all the kings of earth will stop their quarreling long enough to hear the gentle urgings of God. Until then, it is the responsibility of every Christian to pray for the leaders and ask God that He might work for good in spite of them, when it is impossible to work with or through them.

Prayer: Amidst the chaos of our world, Lord, You are the center of sanity and reason. Inspire our leaders to work together for the greatest good. Help them to do what is pleasing in Your sight. Amen.


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11/17/17 4:44 A

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November 17

Psalms 138:1

I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.

Linda had the chance to sing before a huge audience. Due to an audition at her college, she had chosen to appear on a well-known television show. All her friends made suggestions about what she should sing, but Linda had ideas of her own. Her grandmother had always loved the song "Amazing Grace" and told Linda that she should always look for ways to let people know what she believed. This was a chance to do just that. Linda would sing her heart out; for her grandmother, and for the Lord.

Perhaps singing is not your talent, but each of us can find ways to proclaim the power of christ in our lives. If God is really important in our lives, we should be excited to let the whole world know how we feel. Praise God with your whole heart, and sing forth His glory always.

Prayer: I cannot express how grateful I am to have You in my life, Father. Help me to share Your love with the people I meet this day. Amen.

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11/16/17 2:37 A

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November 15

Psalm 137:8

O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou served us.

"Doesn't God care? Why do evil people get away with all the things they do?"The question is asked almost every day. Evil seems to be having its way all the time. Don't worry. God sees everything, and He will not forget what evil people have done. Our God, though a God of love, is a God of justice. He will reward those who honor Him, and he will punish those who have rejected Him and His ways. We are responsible for the way God will deal with us. If we choose to ignore Him, we cannot hope for good things, but if we pursue God with all our hearts, we will experience blessing and joy beyond measure.

Prayer: I know that You care, and I know that You will do right by all who love You. Give me patience to accept what seems unfair now. Make me deserving Your grace. Amen.

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11/13/17 5:45 A

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November 13

Psalms 137:4

How shall we sign the Lord's song in a strange land?

College was a foreign land for Diane. Even after three years, she felt alienated and alone. Her values just didn't mesh with the values of the people she went to class with. Sometimes she wondered why she even bothered having morals, with all the immorality rampant on campus. She was thankful that she was a Christian, but there were times when even that was small consolation. God was hard to find in a strange place that obviously didn't know Him very well. Face it, Jesus Christ was not big man on campus. It was hard, but down deep inside Diane knew things would get better. She just hoped it would be soon.

It is hard to be in a strange land. That is what we become when we ask Christ into our lives. He transforms us into Kingdom people while we are yet in our earthly existence. What that does is make us homesick for the one true home above. Thankfully, God is ever with His children, and He will hear our cries. In our times of silence we will hear His song, and we will be able t o sing forth ourselves, no matter how strange the land.

Prayer: Lord, hear my prayers. Let me know that I am not alone; that You are truly close to me. When I feel most lonesome, fill me with Your presence. Amen.

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11/12/17 12:31 A

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November 11

Psalms 136:3-13

O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. . . .To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Tracey sat thinking about her troubles. Her mother kept telling her to pray about them, but she didn't know whether that would do any good or not. She wanted to believe, but it seemed a little far-fetched to think praying would really do anything. She wasn't even sure that her prayers got through.

Doubt is a killer. It kills faith. Our God is the God who freed the Hebrew people from captivity in Egypt. He parted the waters and let the chosen people through before washing away the Egyptian army. If God could handle the trials of an entire people, then He can handle what we lift up to Him. Give thanks to the Lord, and trust Him with your every though. His mercy does endure forever.

Prayer: Hear me, Lord, as I pray for your guidance and help me in my life. I cannot handle all of the problems that come my way, and I need to know You stand with me. Give me that assurance. Amen.

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November 10

Psalm 136:2, 7

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. . . .To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Griffin had gone through college as an atheist. No one could get him to believe that there was a God out there somewhere who made everything go. That was before he began working with the space program. The more he saw the scope and majesty of the cosmos, the more convinced he was that there had to be someone out there who authored all the miracles he saw. To see the power of a billion suns shining through millions of miles of space boggled the mind. They couldn't have just happened. Some great mind had to have a part in bringing it all about. Griffin had come far. His briefcase was always packed with pictures and books, but no book was more important than the Bible that never left his side.

People who don't believe in God reject Him, not because they know so much, but because they just haven't learned enough. Even in the most scientific and complex equation, God can be found. Wisdom comes not when we say we know all we need to, but when we admit there is much left to learn. Open your heart and mind to God, and watch the universe unfold.

Prayer: A billion stars pierce the infinite darkness of space. Surely Your light can break through the darkness of my ignorance. Shine the light of true wisdom through me, Lord, and let me share in Your glory. Amen.

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November 9

Psalms 135:6

Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.

Imagine the fun the Lord had creating all the animals of this world. With the power to do whatever he pleased, He concocted a menagerie of some wonderful creatures. Consider the giraffe, or the baboon, or the frog. What a host of funny-looking creatures. Think of the splendor of the eagle, the grace of the gazelle, the power of the tiger. God put so much into making His creation a good one. The same is true of His children. God went to great lengths to make sure His children were good. He even imparted in each and every one of them His own image. He offered them free will and all the blessings because they pleased Him. Our God is a God of love, and nothing pleases Him more than to be able to share that love. Indeed, we may be God's funniest creatures, but that only makes Him love us all the more.

Prayer: Father, You must have a wonderful sense of humor to put up with children like me. Forgive me for being less than You created me to be. Help me to grow and mature and develop into Your image. Amen.


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November 8

Psalm 135:5

For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.

Brooke had tried everything. She had started in business, done quite well, then the bottom dropped out. Broke and disillusioned, she moved home with her parents. There she began attending church and studying the Word. Then she was offered a job with a large corporation, and she jumped at the chance. It didn't work out the way she expected, nor did the relationship she got involved in with one of her co-workers. Disillusioned once more, she returned to her hometown. Once more she involved herself with the church, and she was amazed to realize who much she had missed it. The problems she'd been having didn't seem so great anymore. Without even realizing it, Brooke had been developing a faith that helped her through. While everything else in her life changed, mostly for the worse, God stayed the same, and He was waiting to embrace His prodigal daughter the minute she returned.

Our Lord is great, and His love is far beyond our comprehension. No earthly temptation that we try to elevate to the status of a god can ever compare with the one true God. He alone can make our lives worthwhile.

Prayer: You have changed my life for the better, Father, and I will never again turn from the blessings You alone can supply. Please let nothing ever come between me and Your love. Amen.

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November 7

Psalm 134:2

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.

It was weird. Jane had never been to a service like it before. All the people murmured the Lord's name during the prayers, raised their hands, and rocked back and forth in the pews. At first, she had been very uncomfortable, but as she got accustomed to the goings-on around her, she began to relax. Suddenly, she realized that everyone didn't have to express their faith the same way. Though she didn't feel comfortable displaying her faith with physical expressions, she found that she readily accepted others who did. The sincerity of the worship and the energy of the congregation excited Jane. A whole new aspect of her faith was opening up to her.

Open-mindedness is the greatest need in our churches today. Somehow we must learn to affirm and respect the other members of the body of Christ who don't choose to function as we do. There is room for any and all honest expressions of love and devotion to our Lord. Whether we approach Him on bended knees deep in the silence of our o wn hearts, or with hearts, hands, and heads lifted in jubilant praise, we can know beyond doubt that God accepts us and is honored by our expressions of worship.

Prayer: Receive me as I am, Lord. I worship You in the best way I know how. Help me to be open to new and different expressions of faith, and teach me to grow. Amen.

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November 5

Psalm 132:14

This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.

The climb was steep and treacherous, and there were no level places to stop. The sun was beating down, and the two climbers were exhausted. Both were beginning to question the wisdom of the climb. Just as they began to despair of ever making it alive, a ledge jutted into the cliff, and both climbers pulled themselves up onto it. There, in the cool shade cast by the rock, the climbers were renewed and strengthened, enabled to finish their ascent.

The Lord provides us with a place to rest in this climb of ours through life. He welcomes us, shades us, protects us, and enables us to go forth strengthened and renewed. We are never far from this rest. All we need do is turn to the Lord, and He will grant us respite.

Prayer: Lord, take me into Your loving arms to comfort and energize me. I get so tired sometimes, and I need a place to escape. Help me to turn inward, to dwell with Christ, and to draw upon His power. Amen.

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November 4

Psalm 132:9

Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.

Reverend Fields felt very strongly about the matter. If a person was going to be a representative of the church, he needed to live a clean and upright life. Leaders need to lead by example, therefore church leaders ministered to others by the way they lived their lives. If a person wasn't ready to steer clear of questionable activities, then maybe he wasn't ready to step into a key role in the church.

All Christians assume the responsibility of being an example of nonbelievers. It is an awesome task, but one we must assume. Christ call us to a life of perfection. Each day we should strive harder to be more perfect than we were the day before. With God's help, we can clothe ourselves in righteousness, thus sending the message that to be Christian means to be different from the rest of the world. In Christ we are made new. Our newness is a light for all the world to see.

Prayer: Clothe me in Your righteousness, Lord, and make me an example of a new life in Christ. Let me serve You through my actions. Move me onward toward perfection. Amen.

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November 3

Psalm 132:4, 5

I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find a place for the Lord, and habitation for the migh ty God of Jacob.

Rachel closed the door and hung her head. Three o'clock in the morning. She wondered whether the project was ever going to get done. All she wanted to do was collapse in bed, but first there was something she had to do. She dressed for bed, then took the Bible from her dresser and went to the kitchen table to read and to pray. In all of her adult life, she had never gone to sleep without first spending time with God. She was determined that nothing would ever come between her and this special time. It made no difference how tired she was, God came before sleep.

When days become hectic and full, it is easy to allow God to be pushed aside. We need to protect our time with the Lord and give it top priority. If we will keep the Lord close to us, he will sustain us and give us strength in tough times. Without Him, we can never hope to be our best.

Prayer: Convict my heart with the determination to spend time with You. Let nothing come between us, Lord. When other things demand my time, remind me that I gave myself to You first. Amen.

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November 2

Psalm 131:2

Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.

Thomas got so sick of his sister telling him to grow up and act his age. Sure, he blew his temper sometimes, but so what? Everybody does. Who did she thing she was, telling him to grow up? He was plenty grown-up. It was other people who needed to grow up, not him. Anybody who thought differently just didn't know what he was talking about.

At some point in our lives, we pass from thinking only of ourselves to thinking of others. We become less defensive and more peaceful. We admit when we are wrong, and we affirm others in their opinions. The Apostle Paul says that we must come to a place in our lives where we put aside childish things. Christian maturity comes when we begin to think less of self, more of those around us. There are times in all our lives where the message is clear: We need to grow up.

Prayer: Help me to grow and mature in my faith, Lord. Turn my attention to the needs of others. Turn my selfishness into selflessness. Amen.

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October 30

Psalm 130:1

Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.

Funny how some people never ask for help until everything comes crashing down upon them. They wait until the last minute, then send out the distress signal. Many people work their relationship with God that way. They call on Him infrequently while things are going well, but when trouble rears its ugly head, they are pounding on His door for help. It is a wise person who learns to include God in everything he does. When God is a full part of your life, you never feel panic when things go wrong. Still, it is good to know that God will hear us when we cry out from the depths, and that He will always come to the aid of His children.

Prayer: Make me to remember You in all times, Lord, not just times of trial. Help me to share my whole life with you and to glory in Your presence. Thank You for staying beside me always. Amen.


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October 29

Psalms 129:6

Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up.

People who live without God in their lives live without the roots that feed and strengthen all life. They have no protection against the storms of life that can uproot and destroy. When troubles increase, they wither like plants in a hot sun. God is the true source of all that is needed to grow. Without Him, we can never reach our potential. Like the seed that falls to the rooftop, sprouts, then soon dies for lack of nourishment, so we, too, will die without the saving power of the Almighty in our lives.

Prayer: Feed me, protect me, nurture me, and make me grow, Lord. Send your life-giving Spirit upon me, and make me the best person that I can be. Amen.

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October 28

Psalms 129:3

The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.

The rookie lawyer made his case, than sat down feeling very pleased with himself. Then the fireworks began. The defense picked apart every argument he made and humiliated him before judge and jury. The judge pulled him aside and told him to put in more time next time, and the opposing lawyer just laughed and thanked him for making his job so easy. With tail tucked between his legs, the young lawyer beat a hasty retreat.

There will be days when things don't just go wrong, they self-destruct totally. When we feel we've gone as low as we possible can, something else comes along to drive us deeper still. From those depths there is only one place to turn: God. He has seen all, He knows how you feel, and He patiently waits to take you into His arms to comfort and soothe you. When we feel pushed beyond our ability to cope, it is good to know God is there.

Prayer: In times of total darkness, shine Your light into my life. Help me to pick myself up and start again. Give me strength, Lord. Amen.


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October 26

Psalm 128: 1, 2

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shall eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

Jack sat down to supper with his family. Even after twenty years, there was something special about a meal that came from their own farm. Jack could imagine thousands of families sitting down to similar meals of produce from his farm. It made him feel like there was purpose to his life. The work was hard, there were worries about the future, but it was all worth it. The farm was Jack's life. It would never be said that Jack was not fulfilled in his work. He couldn't be happier.

Many people find no satisfaction in the work they do. Their lives lack purpose and meaning. Christians have an alternative source of meaning in their lives. If a Christian does a job, no matter how large or small, to God's glory, then that person will find satisfaction. God doesn't much care what we do, but He is always interested in how we do our jobs. If we do our work without grumbling and with a joyful heart, then we are witnessing to His power in our lives and we are pleasing to Him.

Prayer: Let me be not so concerned with the prestige of my job, or the salary it pays, or what other people think of it. Instead, assist me to always do the best that I can, to Your glory, Father. Amen.

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October 25

Psalm 127: 4, 5

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak wi th the enemies in the gate.

Beverly belonged to a large family. Friends of hers always told her how sorry they were for her being the middle child of nine, but she could never quite understand their sympathy. She lived having lots of sisters and brothers. They were all close, and she never felt lonely or unsupported. Contrary to her friends' belief that there would be less love because it was spread so thin, there was all the more. Beverly couldn't imagine being loved more than she was by her whole family.

God gave families as a blessing. Not only blood families, but church families also qualify as blessings of love. Anyone can belong to a family in God's world, for we are all His family. All it takes is to reach out to others. There is strength, safety, and joy in numbers. The closer we unite, the stronger we will be.

Prayer: Draw me close to my sisters and brothers in Christ, O Lord. Expand my family each and every day. Teach me to reach out to those around me. Fill me with a love that never fails. Amen.


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October 23

Psalm 127:1

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

A great cathedral was constructed to God's glory, while hungry and sick people sat outside its walls. The cathedral was called, "The Greatest Achievement in the Name of God." Millions flocked from all over to enter its doors. Thousands went away disturbed that the ministry of the church was contained completely within its walls. As the years passed, the church lost its luster, and it became just another church. The poor were still there, but nothing had yet been done to help them. God looked down on the cathedral and said, "This is the poorest excuse of a church I have seen."

When men and women try to take the church out of God's hands, it ceases to be the church. Only churches built upon the spiritual rock of salvation can claim to be God's churches. Our achievements in the name of God must bear His signature, not our own, otherwise they have been done in vain. God is the author of all that is good; we are merely His helpers. Whatever God builds will last forever, while hum ankind's creations crumble to the dust.

Prayer: Use my talents to do Your will, Lord, not my own. Remind me that I am doing Your work with You, not my own work for You. Bless all my endeavors in Your name. Amen.


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October 22

Psalm 126:5

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Just when Amy thought her work might go down the drain, a miracle came through. Working with the poor in Atlanta was the best job and the worst job she had ever had. She specifically worked in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and there was nothing more gratifying than getting someone back on his feet. Yet, for every one that got cleaned up, there were a dozen more in need. Money was tight, and things didn't look good. Amy went home at night and cried for all the work left undone and all the people in misery. Then, the grant came through: Enough money to keep the doors open for a year. Amy felt like God truly did care about what she was doing. All the sweat and tears paid off?Joy that comes to us in times of despair is twice as sweet. When we care intensely about our world and the people in it, we will be moved to tears, and at times we will even feel like giving up.

Thankfully, the tears will turn to joy, for all is in God's hands. He will transform this old world and make all things new. Those who care most deeply will rejoice all the more. Take heart!

Prayer: Help me to see a brighter future for my world, O Lord. I get discouraged when it seems like evil triumphs so much of the time. Show me the good, Father. Amen.


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October 20

Psalm 125:4

Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.

Mrs. Hendricks was the most popular music teacher around. Young and old alike hired her to teach them how to play and sing. Actually, the only thing Mrs. Hendricks did differently from other teachers was to make you feel good about what you were trying to do. She complimented, encouraged, and affirmed at every possible opportunity.

We like to be around people who make us feel good. We all need to be affirmed and supported. We look to the Lord for approval, because we want more than anything for Him to be proud of us. He is. When we try to live upright and holy lives, we are doing that which makes Him happiest. He will continually bless those who do good, for to them belongs the Kingdom of God.

Prayer: Help me know that I'm on the right track, dear God. Let me know that what I am trying to do pleases You. Keep me ever in Your care. Amen.

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October 19

Psalm 125:2

As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.

Peggy love the island. Her grandfather had purchased the land and built a cottage on it before the first World War. Now it was hers, and she felt safe and surrounded and at home. Some of her friends thought it would be unpleasant to be completely surrounded by water, but she said it was just like having a private moat. To Peggy, this was a paradise.

For some people, being surround is a great source of security. Our Lord awaits to surround us in His love. From time immemorial, the Lord has gathered His children to Himself, encircling them in His protective care. We are held in that circle today. Rejoice that the Lord is near. He protects and defends us, and will continue to do so forever.

Prayer: Circle me in Your love, Lord. Surround me and keep me safe, I pray, and help me to draw others to You. Amen.


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October 18

Psalm 124:7

Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are expected.

Clifford was a strange man. He served his country in Vietnam and spent three years as a prisoner of war. While a prisoner, he amazed his companions by never complaining about their situation. In fact, when questioned about it, he smiled and said, "I'm not really here, anyway." Once Cliff returned to the States, he shared what he had meant. Each day he sat against the stone wall and began listing in his mind all the places he had ever been that he had loved. He pictured those places, and he selected a different one every day. In his mind he journeyed to the beloved spots and he turned off the reality around him.

As Christians, we need to do the same thing. We're not from here. Our true home is with God in heaven. When the reality around us gets too intense and hard to handle, we should turn our thoughts to God. We can be liberated from the trap if we will only call upon the Lord. God offers us a way to escape the harshness of our earthly life by entering into quiet time with H im. Reach out. His peace awaits.

Prayer: Rescue me from the craziness around me. Be my refuge when life gets too hectic. Lift me out of the race and grant me rest. Amen.

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October 16

Psalm 123:2

Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy up on us.

Ryan had trained dogs for almost thirty years. A lot of people didn't like his tactics, because he demanded that the animals learn respect fast. He never raised his voice, but he was quick to discipline with sharp, painful shots to the rump and muzzle. Within a few short days, his dogs knew what was expected of them and what they could expect if they disobeyed. By the turn of a hand, Ryan was able to make his dogs do most anything.

As we wait upon the Lord, we should think about what is expected of us and how well we are doing what we should. We know what is expected of us, and we know what might befall us in our disobedience. We look expectantly to God, and it is right that we should, but we should also look at ourselves to see that we are doing all we know we ought to be.

Prayer: Have mercy upon me, Lord, in my disobedience. I am trying to learn Your will for my life. Help me to grow in all of Your ways. Amen.

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October 15

Psalms 122:7

Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.

Some people's homes are war zones. Families in conflict abound in our society. So much unhappiness comes from people no longer knowing how to share and give. Too many people are looking out for themselves, and they aren't willing to look out for each other. Mothers fight with daughters, sons with fathers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, each feeding the beast of hurt and discord. We are lost without a peacemaker, one who knows our hearts and can pave the way to reconciliation. Luckily, Christians have such a peacemaker. Christ came to unite all God's children, brothers, and sisters in the faith. He works in the home to call us to a deep love that is consecrated in blood. If we strive for peace within the walls, then we are one step closer to peace between our nations. God will heal all wounds, if we will only welcome Him in.

Prayer: Christ, You have broken down the dividing walls of hostility, and You are waiting to build bridges of love. Begin with me, Lord, and move forth in love. Amen.

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October 13

Psalm 121:8

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Gene grabbed his poncho and headed for the door. Whenever there was a bad storm, the linemen got called out by the power company. Funny, but they were expected to work in the least safe conditions at a moment's notice, and nobody ever said please or thank you. Everytime he headed out on a night like this one, Gene took time to say an extra prayer for protection.

The Lord watches over all His children. He is with us in safe times as well as the dangerous ones. He guards our steps from the day we are born until we are ushered into our heavenly home. Know that the Lord is with you. He will never leave you alone.

Prayer: Guard me this day, Lord. Be with all the people who serve in dangerous positions, and keep them safe. Watch over us all. Amen.

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October 12

Psalm 121:5

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

Jeremy always took time out of his day to tend the little maple tree that grew on the east lot. Maintaining a cemetery was hard work, and there was always plenty to keep him busy, but Jeremy never forgot his tree. One of his co-workers asked him once why he doted over the tree so, and he said, "That little tree is the only shade in the east lot. When I'm out digging or mowing, I need to rest in some shade for awhile. My tree out there is the best place I know to go. We got a deal: I take care of it, it takes care of me."

When activities wear us down and we just can't go on, we need a port in the storm; a source of shade and comfort. The Lord is just that. He is the place we can rest and be renewed. Turn to the Lord when you are weary, and he will rejuvenate you and set you back on your feet.

Prayer: Let me find my rest in You, Lord. When the day gets to be too much for me, welcome me into Your presence, where I can find some sanity and reason. Amen.

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October 11

Psalm 121:3

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Benedict was the best butler the Trumbells had ever had. Never had they been treated with such care and concern. Benedict really seemed to care that they were comfortable. They never had to ring twice for his services. He was always right there when they wanted him. He prided himself on doing his job well, and it showed.

As absurd as it seems, God is willing to wait on us, to make sure that we have all we need. The Lord of all life came to earth, and in His time, He stooped to washing His friends' feet; a job usually reserved for the lowliest of slaves. God came to earth to serve us so that we might learn how to serve others. We are to be ready to serve whenever the occasion arises. When we serve untiringly, we show the world the glory of God and make His Gospel a reality.

Prayer: I fear that too often I am asleep at the switch, Lord. Make me ready to serve and to give. Teach me to think less of myself and more of others. Amen.


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October 7

Psalm 119:136

Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not they law.

Reverend Hawkins sat at his desk and cried. He had been a good shepherd for his church, and he had given everything he knew to give, but the members of the church had so far to go. In all his years, he had not asked anything special of his congregation, but now he wanted to open their doors as a shelter to vagrants in the area. He was committed to the project to the very depths of his soul, but the church had voted it down by a strong majority. All he had ever tried to teach them was lost. It made him heartsick to think that the Gospel was just a story and not a way of life.

Christian growth comes slowly. Not all Christians operate at the same point at the same time. Very little that Jesus asks or commands in the New Testament is easy. It takes time to learn how to walk the steps of Christ. We may lament that others are not committed in the same ways that we are, but if they are trying their best to follow Jesus, then we need to rejoice at their progress and hope for continued growth in their lives and in our own.

Prayer: I weep for those who have forgotten what it means to follow You, Lord, and I pray that You help me to continue to grow, and that You might use me to help others in their growth. Amen.

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October 6

Psalm 119:121

I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.

It was never easy giving an F to a student. In fact, if there were any way around it, Jill would have taken it. Most of the time the student was willing to do anything to avoid the bad mark. Garrett was another case. She had offered to tutor him, she had given him extra-credit work to do, and she had taken all kinds of extra time with him. Through it all he had just blown her off, ignoring her attempts to help and mocking her to his friends. He had ripped up notes she had written to his parents, and he forged his parents' signature on his report cards. Jill had contacted Garrett's parents, but they were too busy to come in. Now, however, with a F in hand, the parents were coming, and they were looking to pick a fight.

Doing what is right is not all that easy. When we dedicate ourselves to justice, we must be ready to face the wrath of all those who don't see things the same way we do. God loves justice and righteousness, and we need to remember that He is ever on the side of what is right. He will be with us when we face persecution for righteousness' sake. Rely on Him.

Prayer: Whenever I try to do right, it seems like someone finds fault with me. Help me to ignore the insults and remain true to what I feel You want me to do. Protect me, Lord. Amen.

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October 5

Psalm 119:105

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Nick and Davy thought it would be fun to explore deeper in the cave. When they saw their chance, they separated from the rest of their class and headed down a corridor that was roped off. They walked on through twisting and turning shafts until they were no longer sure how to get back. They stood in total darkness, feeling the cavern close in around them. Just as they verged on panic, Davy looked down and noticed a fine, dim glow. Phosphorescent stone was embedded in the cave floor, and it cast off a dull shine. By following the path of light, the boys made it back to the safety of the well-lit shafts.

Darkness can close in around us quickly in this world today. It seems to be getting darker all the time. However, we are recipients of the light that cannot be put out and will never fade away. The Word of God will guide us through even the darkest times, and He will be close by to comfort us in time of trouble. Rely upon the light of the Lord.

Prayer: Light my way, dear God, and keep me from stumbling down the wrong path. Keep me from my own folly. Amen.

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October 4

Psalm 119:103

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea sweeter than honey to my mouth!

The singer spun a tale of joy and triumph. The audience sat enthralled by the young woman's voice. She painted a picture more lovely than words. The senses came alive as she performed her art. The sights, sounds, colors, smells, and tastes burst forth through her song. She sang from the heart, and her story was shared by many. Emotions connected, and the entire crowd-singer and audience-moved together in a spiritual harmony. The experience was electrifying.

When we are in the presence of truth and beauty, it is undeniable. There is a cord struck within us all. That cord is the image of God in each of us. We connect with the universal rhythm that God set in time long, long ago. The result is a joy, a sensation, a feeling that defies explanation, but assures us of the reality of God. Open yourself to His truth.

Prayer: There are times when I feel Your presence so strongly, Lord. I know that You have orchestrated a masterpiece of which I am a small but important part. Thank You for including me. Amen.

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October 2

Psalm 119:99

I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.

Jesus amazed the learned men in the temple when He was just twelve years old. He had never received professional schooling in the history and law of the Hebrew people, and yet He displayed an incredible insight into even the most complex meanings of Holy Scripture. His understanding far surpassed that of many of the elders present. Where did His incredible knowledge and wisdom come from? God, of course.

True knowledge is not found in books. God has granted us each a measure of common sense and logic. He is willing and able to instruct us in all His ways, if we will take time to contemplate His mysteries. We, too, can amaze the learned of our age by speaking forth the truth of God, which surpasses even the most complex knowledge. Like Christ, we can know more than we ought, through the guidance and counsel of God Himself.

Prayer: Instruct my mind, heart, and soul in all of Your ways, O Lord. Teach me those things that are truly important, and enable me to spread what I learn to others. Amen.

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June 25

Psalms 78:45-46

He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them. He gave also their increase unt o the caterpillar, and their labour unto the locust.

God sent plagues upon the Egyptians, who persecuted the Hebrew people. Through these afflictions, God sent the message that no one could do evil for long and get away unpunished. Our Lord doesn't supersede the laws of nature often, but when He does, it is with good cause. And yet, even in the face of the terrible plagues, the Egyptian pharaoh refused to believe. People who lack the love of God in their lives so often refuse to admit they might be wrong. It is easier to deny God than to do what is necessary to please Him. The Christian refuses to deny her heart, and she continually acknowledges God's great works for what they really are. In our own day, the Lord does not send many plagues to afflict us, but there are definitely enough hardships to make us want to reach out to Him. We need God, and thankfully we have Him, every step of the way.

Prayer: My eyes are blind to many of Your great works, Lord. I miss so much of Your greatness and love. Help me to see You in new ways each day. Amen.

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June 10

Psalms 73:26

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Pete faced the idea of death with calm. In his day, Pete had been a strong, good-looking man. He had watched himself grow old, but that was okay. He had lived a wonderful life. Sometimes he wished he were young again, but mostly he was happy with where he was in life. Even though his flesh grew wrinkled and his heart didn't pump quite as well as it had before, his mind was still sharp and his spirit was good. To live was wonderful, but dying would be okay, too. He'd done well on earth; maybe it was time to see how he'd fare in heaven.

Christ makes us strangers to the earth. His home is in heaven, and when He dwells with us, He prepares us for our true, eternal home. The longer Christ is with us, the more He readies us to leave this place, to enter into heaven. Death need hold ho fear. On the other side waits God and an eternity spent in His loving care.

Prayer: With Paul, I can claim that to live is Christ, to die is gain. Whatever Your will for my life, Lord, whether long or short, help me to accept it. Amen.

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June 7

Psalms 72:6

He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.

Bud looked out on soil with cracks so wide you could put your hand in them. The summer had been brutal. Weeks ago, Bud had given up any hope of a harvest, but now he wondered whether he would even have a farm much longer. The sky remained cloudless. So many people cursed the rain because it spoiled picnics and closed parks. Foolish to cruse the rain. It was the lifeblood of all that lived Bud wondered what he would do if the drought lasted much longer.

Many of us have experienced spiritual drought. We find ourselves in a desert of doubt and apathy. Nothing seems to be the way we want it to be, and frankly, we really don't care. We wonder if God is listening; all we hear is the echo of our own voices. God's loving touch is so necessary in our lives. We cannot live without the water that Jesus offered the woman at the well. This living water quenches the spiritual thirst and brings our drought to an end. Ask God for the living water. He will issue forth a flood to wash you and refresh you.

Prayer: I am waiting, Lord, for Your Spirit to rain down upon me and soak me with Your loving kindness. Drench me in the waters of love and life. Amen.

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June 3

Psalms 71:9

Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.

Once, older people were revered for the wealth of knowledge and wisdom they possessed.

Today they are often treated as an inconvenience. They are shoved aside and ignored. Certainly, this is not true in every case, but that is happens at all is a tragedy. Older men and women are gifts from God. They are the conquerors in this life. They have fought the battles, and they have war stories to tell that can benefit us all. To have lived a full and fruitful life should be a joy, not a burden. In a society gone youth crazy, the need for the elderly is greater than ever. They provide the balance we need. Theirs is the voice of reason and experience. Theirs are the spirits of perseverance and triumph. They have walked our roads before us, and they can guide us when times get rough. Reach out to the older branch of God's family. Reach out and grasp the treasure.

Prayer: As I grow older, Lord, let me not worry whether or not I will be welcome. Open my heart to older people, and have me treat them as I will one day want to be treated. Amen.

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June 1

Psalms 69:21

They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Sometimes we think things are going really bad in our lives. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking we're worse off than anyone else. When we feel sorry for ourselves, all we need do is turn to the story of Jesus' last few hours on earth. There the man who knew no sin became sin for us, so we might have eternal life. He was tripped, beaten, spit upon, and when, as His dying request, He asked for a drink to wet His lips, they put vinegar before Him instead of water. No kindness was shown the Prince of Peace, the one who had done nothing in His life to warrant such cruel mistreatment. Compared with the trial and misfortune of our Lord, we have very little to complain about. To even compare ourselves to Him is to open ourselves to shame. Christ endured torment and death upon a cross for our sakes. Now, He abides with us to help us endure every trial.

Prayer: I can hardly be lieve all that You did for me, Lord. You walked this earth so that I might one day walk with You in heaven. Thank you for giving me so much. Amen.

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May 12

Psalms 60:2

Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.

Bombs burst, shaking the walls of the nearby houses. Villagers huddled inside, wondering when the thundering blasts would end. Finally, the assault slacked off, and quiet replaced the horrendous noise. Cautiously, people made their way from their homes to view the devastation that lay around them. Their once-scenic village lay mostly in ruin, the bombs having torn apart the beauty that had existed before.

Wars come and end, and always God has slowly and carefully covered the scars of battle with beauty once more. His great power stands against the worst that humankind can do. So far we have not done irreparable damage, and by God's grace we never will, but it is good to know that the Lord is with us, to heal all wounds and make all things new.

Prayer: The power of humankind does not even compare with Your might, Lord. Save us from our own destructiveness, and renew Your creation, which we carelessly destroy. Amen.


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May 10

Psalms 58:3

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Larry had developed quite a reputation over the years. Most people in his life said he couldn't be trusted. If there were a way for Larry to rip them off, he would do it. It had been Larry's nature from the time he was very small. As a child, he had told lies with unbelievable ease. He bullied other children without the least bit of guilt or remorse. In school he had cheated his way to the top of his class. He bought answers to tests in college, and entered the business world believing that anything he wanted could be gotten my means both legal and illegal. It was all the same to Larry.

There are people in our world who have lived their entire lives by selfish and evil means. It's as if something good was left out of them, and they are incapable of doing what is good. The way we deal with people like that is to forgive them and vow we will never be like them. Evil people are not to be hated, but pitied. They are our mission in life. Lives devoid of the Good News are lives not worth living. Reach out to people who do wrong through your prayers. They need them most of all.

Prayer: Lord, show me how to love even the most unlovable people. Instead of showing anger, let me show compassion, and grant me a deeper understanding of why people can be so bad. Fill my heart with Your love to share. Amen.

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May 3-4

Psalms 54:4

Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

Mabel never walked alone. In her hand was an old leather Bible, which she read from all the time. It was bulging with papers and sayings and handcrafted bookmarks, and all her favorite passages were underlined in red pencil. She delighted in sitting down with someone and showing him all the history she had tucked away in her holy book. Mabel was never without her holy book, never without her smile. Mabel loved the Lord, and nothing gave her more pleasure than sharing Him with the people she met.

Prayer: Help me to seek after You, Lord. In the morning and throughout the day, give me reminders that You are with me. Remind me to tell others of Your love, that I might share the great gift I have been given. Amen.

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April 29

Psalms 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Thomas was a proud man. He had never liked admitting that he might need help from someone else. His daddy had taught him that the only way a man was worth his salt was to stand on his own two feet. Thomas had always tried to live by that rule, but now he was at a loss. His wife was sick, and he didn't know where to turn. The doctors were doing all they could, but Thomas felt helpless. Though it felt strange to him, Thomas got down on his knees to pray. Self-consciously, Thomas asked the Lord's help, and in his hour of quiet desperation, he was answered.

God wants us to need Him. He made us to need help, not to try to do everything on our own. When times get tough, God wants us to open our hearts to Him, that He might be made real to us. Call upon God from your brokenness, and He will be faithful to answer.

Prayer: When all else fails, I turn to You, Lord . I should not wait until situations get bad, but I do. Be with me to help me in the hardest of times, and stay with me in all times, that I might know You better. Amen.

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April 28

Psalms 51:10

Create in my a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

I remember seeing a healthy and diseased heart side by side in one of my college classes. The healthy heart looked strong and fit. The diseased heart was a sickly color, and looked bloated and spongy. That image sticks in my mind. The diseased heart symbolizes for me the sin-sick heart, discolored by evil emotions and intentions, bloated by selfishness, and spongy through lack of love giving and compassion. The only solution for a sin-sick heart is a transplant by the Giver of all new life. God can take a diseased heart and make it new, fresh, and alive. Pray for God to remove the disease of sin, and He will heal you.

Prayer: Lord, I want to be made new and alive. Remove the dead tissue caused by sin and replace it with tissue that is strong and healthy. Create in me a new heart, and renew my spirit within me. Amen.

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April 27

Psalms 51:4

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Sin is not merely doing what is wrong, but doing what is wrong in the sight of the Lord. God has offered us suggestions for living full and happy lives. Our being disobedient to those suggestions doesn't hurt God, it hurts us. God is saddened by out refusal to be obedient, but He is always willing to hear our petition for forgiveness, and He will show us His mercy. When we sin, it is a private matter between God and ourselves. Take your sins before God, repent of each one, and glory in the grace of God, by which we receive full pardon of all we do wrong.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord. Make a new creation out of this old soul. Prepare me for the Kingdom to come, each day of my life. Amen.

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April 24

Psalms 48

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.

A journey through the Holy Scriptures can be a thrilling experience. To hear the tales of God and His people is a joy. No one can deny the power of the Scriptures. When we find our faith on the ebb, we need only turn to the Word of God in order to find renewal. The greatness of God has touched the lives of men and women throughout history. He still touches our lives today. Spend time with the Lord, and He will teach you amazing things.

Prayer: Indeed, Lord, You are great. Teach me new things every day. Show me the glories of Your world. Help me to know You better this day. Amen.

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April 23

Psalms 47

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

What a wonderful feeling. Greg had wanted to tell his friends what he thought for a long time, but he had been afraid they would make fun of him. Drinking and driving was stupid, but he had always done it in the past so he could fit in. Finally, it just got to him. He didn't want to do it anymore. He told them how he felt, and instead of making fun of him, two of his friends agreed with him, and they had made a deal to not drink and drive anymore. His other friends had been as afraid as he was. Sure, some wouldn't ever understand, but that was their problem. Right now, Greg felt great that he had done something good and right. He wanted to shout about it.

When we do what is truly right, we need to rejoice. God celebrates with us, and He will honor our righteousness. To do right is to affirm who God wants us to be. The peace that comes from doing right is wonderful.

Prayer: Give me the courage I need to be the person I want to be. Let me know the triumph that comes from standing up for my values. Let me feel the power You share with hose who strive for what is right. Amen.

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April 20

Psalms 46

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

The cross I wear around my neck is not there for show, nor is it the object of my worship. I would not be lost without it, though I do like it. I do not believe it has some mystical power, nor does it protect me. The cross that I wear reminds me of the great love that God has for me. Christ's gift of eternal life is made real to me each time I look down at the cross or feel it lightly resting on my chest. In difficult times, I look at the cross and feel warmth and comfort. From its gentle reminder I draw strength when I am weary, refuge when I need to rest. Whether I wear my cross or not, God is with me, but sometimes it is nice to have a small reminder.

Prayer: I run to You when I need rest, Lord. You take me in Your arms and protect me from the pressures of the day. In every time of trial, You are the source of my help. Thank You. Amen.

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April 8

Psalms 37:11

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Marchers circle in front of the atomic plant. Not everyone agreed with the sentiments of the protesters, but at least they were getting out and speaking their minds, which was more than most did. One woman was concerned for the future of her children, another worried about the ecological effects, and a man carried a petition with signatures of over 9,000 citizens from the area, voicing outrage at the sloppy safety standards.

It did not good to sit idly by while others made all the decisions. Peace and safety were worth speaking out for. What is worth defending, if not peace? We live in a world of war and fighting. Battlegrounds pop up in every nation of the world. Our Lord, however, is the Prince of Peace. How can we remain unconcerned about world harmony? We cannot. Our mission in this world is to spread the peace of Christ wherever we go. As we spread peace, we find comfort in facing the future, and we come to know the peace which passeth all understanding: God's own peace.

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April 6

Psalms 37:4

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

I remember thinking, when I first because a Christian, how wonderful prayer would be. All I would have to do was let God know what I wanted, and He promised that I would have it. I began searching my life for the true desires of my heart, and was surprised to find that they weren't cars, money, or houses, but love, peace of mind, and happiness. The more I prayed, the more I became aware that the true desires of my heart were the desires of Jesus' own heart. They had been there all along, but I had never recognized them before.

Prayer is not a way for us to make ourselves wealthy and prosperous. The Christian's mind should be set on higher things. When we pray to the Lord, always remembering to say, "Thy will done," we will find the truth of Christ squarely centered in our lives.

Prayer: There are few people I would rather spend my time with than You. Lord, though often I do n't spend time with You as I should. Forgive me when I forget to turn to You. Make Your desires my desires. Amen.

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March 25

Psalms 31:18

Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

Lisa couldn't quite believe everything the preacher was saying. He went on and on about how members of other Christian denominations were misguided and on the road to destruction. That didn't make sense. How could the pastor know that he was right and everyone else was wrong? He said that God had told him, but surely God talked to others, too. It was awfully confusing.

One day, everyone who speaks in order to hurt others will have to pay for what they say. So many things are said and done in the name of Christianity that are in no way Christian. Our law is the law of love and forgiveness, not judgment and narrow-mindedness. Ask the Lord to open your heart to those you disagree with and wonderful things will begin to happen.

Prayer: I know so little and I say so much, Father. Help me to reach out to people that I don't understand or agree wit h. Make me an instrument of unity and fellowship. Amen.

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March 23

Psalms 31:6

I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the Lord.

Elijah looked at the worshipers of Baal with despair. How could they follow such a loathsome god? Where was their integrity? He could not understand how anyone could turn from the love of the one true God to worship something so evil. The priests of Baal paraded around in fancy robes, and they thrilled their followers with petty magician's tricks. They had lost sight of religion through pageantry and vanity. Elijah would show them the error of their ways, or at least God would. When God and Elijah were finished, no one could doubt who the real God was.

Elijah's story from First Kings is the perfect example of what happens to people who lose sight of God and turn instead to worldly things. Vanity kills faith and undermines humility. Look to the Lord in all things, and you will never have to worry.

Prayer: Lord, I am sometimes tempted by the flashy things I see. I forget truth, and I chase after fantasy. Break through my blindness with Your divine light, Almighty God. Amen.

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March 22

Psalms 31:3

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.

The rabbit tensed every muscle. The fox had caught its scent, and was stealthily moving in for the kill. Timing was everything. The brambles were just yards away, but the fox was fast. As the fox pounced, the rabbit broke into a hopping sprint and wriggled into the brambles. Fox teeth closed on air, mere inches behind.

The rabbit knows where it should go in times of trouble. It is well aware of where its fortress is. Are we as wise as the rabbit? Our fortress is the Lord. In times of desperate need, we should immediately turn to Him. There is no better place to rest and be safe.

Prayer: Never let me stray too far from Your loving protection, Almighty God. I need You more than I even realize. Open Your arms to me, Lord. Amen.

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March 21

Psalms 30:9

What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth?

Most people want to be well remembered when they die. We want to leave a legacy of some kind. What will our legacy be? Will it be money, or a building, or a statue? Will it be something that will last a short while, then be done? Why can't we leave something truly important?

The greatest legacy we can leave is a life well lived. As Christians, we need to be an example of how wonderful Christ can be. We can honestly usher in the Kingdom of God on earth if we will devote ourselves to leading Kingdom lives. There is profit in the blood of a Christian. Christ's own blood was shed that we might all inherit eternal life. If God was willing to shed His own blood for us, should we be willing to do any less? God's legacy to us is life eternal. What will our legacy to others be?

Prayer: May each day I live be considered a gift, Father. Guide me, so th at I can live each gift to the fullest. Let others see You through me, I pray. Amen.

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March 8

Psalms 25:7

Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O Lord.

Perry had paid the penalty a thousand times. The guilt that he carried with him gnawed away constantly. When he was teenager, he had foolishly tossed a firecracker at a friend of his, to scare him. The explosive had gone off in his friend's face, blinding him. Perry played the scene over and over in his mind, even though many years had passed. His friend had forgiven him, and he had even asked forgiveness from God. His pastor told him that the sin was forgiven, but Perry just couldn't forgive himself.

Who are we to hold onto past sins when our Lord has forgiven and forgotten them? As long as we're human, we will have pasts filled with sins abundant. To dwell on them is to make ourselves less than God wants us to be. Ask forgiveness from the Lord, receive it, and move forward in the glory of God's grace. Your sins are forgiven, indeed!

Prayer: Teach me to let go of the things I have done wrong in the past, Lord. Cleanse me and prepare me for the wonderful life that is to come. May I learn from my mistakes and grow from them, without allowing them to control my life, O Lord. Amen.

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March 5

Psalms 23:5

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anoitest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Some people never find satisfaction in the things they do have, but spend their entire lives wishing for things they don't have. They are never happy with where their lives are going, they feel empty in their relationships, and therefore they find it impossible to give thanks for the many blessings they have been given.

As Christians, we are people of praise. Every prayer we offer unto God should acknowledge the many wonderful things that He has done for us. Only a blind person can deny the beauty and splendor of this world. God gives good things to His children, and we should be thankful for all that we have.

Prayer: Lord, I cannot believe how much I have been given. Help open my eyes to the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me. Make me thankful, Lord. Amen.

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March 4

Psalms 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

To look at Bess and to listen to her talk, you would never have thought she was dying of cancer. She always had the same smile on her face and a kind word for everyone who came to see her. The other patients spent a lot of time with her, because her spirit seemed to be contagious. She ministered to her roommates by remaining cheerful and positive. Even the thought of death couldn't take Bess's dynamic humor from her.

The love of God can help us to endure many things. Circumstances that ordinarily knock us flat are a s nothing when face-to-face with the power of God. Cry out to God in times of affliction, and He will comfort you and lift you above the fear of evil things. Truly, our help is in the Lord.

Prayer: There is nothing in this life, Lord, that I cannot face as long as You are with me. Amen.

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March 2

Psalms 22:6

The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your hear shall live for ever.

Stella never asked for very much. She was a quiet woman, and everyone who knew her adored her. She came to all the church functions and sat down by herself, never wanting to impose on anyone. In no time at all, her table was filled with people who wanted to be with her. Her kindness and gentleness attracted people to her. Stella never wanted for company and attention, because her meek spirit shone forth like a beautiful light.

Prayer: O Lord, please break my spirit of pride and aggressiveness. Let me reflect the peace and tranquillity of heart that Your love inspires. In a world of torrent and turmoil, let me stay calm. Fill me with gentleness and meekness. Amen.

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February 28

Psalms 22:14

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

I had a friend who thought some boys were trying to mug him. In his efforts to run away, he fell down a flight of stairs and landed in a pile of garbage. He suffered many broken bones and scrapes, and required a large number of stitches. As he lay in pain and refuse, he heard the boys draw close. He prayed to God for help. He heard the boys getting steadily closer, and as his prayers increased, the boys moved out of the alley and across to the top of the steps. IN the light that shined there, the man saw that the boys were scouts. IN a wave of relief and embarrassment, my friend sank back into the garbage and passed out.

It is good to know that even in our own foolishness we can turn to the Lord for help. Often we are our own worst enemies, but that doesn't matter to the Lord. In our brokenness, God reaches out to us and love us.

Prayer: Lord, I often am guilty of doing foolish things. I hurt myself in so many needless ways. Protect me from myself, and in my times of greatest suffering and pain, be the source of my comfort. Amen.

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February 27

Psalms 22:2

O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

Prayer is a tricky thing, It was never meant as a "gimme' list by which we can get things from God. It is not a gripe time to vent frustrations and woes. It is not a time to show off our piety. Rather, it is a time to draw close to God in order to be open to His will and guidance. So often we feel that God is not listening because we don't get what we ask for. We want results immediately, and we decide beforehand what we will accept as an answer and what we will not. Who says that we get to make the rules?

The Lord hears us, and His is true to answer us, but He always measures His responses according to His divine wisdom. He knows what is best for us, even when it doesn't agree with what we want. It is natural and human to doubt the Lord sometimes. He understands that. Just don't give up. The Lord breaks through our desert spots, to comfort us when we cry.

Prayer: Lift me, Lord, into Your loving arms. Grace me with the sweet memory of Your care, that I might never doubt You in times of trial. Amen.

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February 25

Psalms 22

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

I lay awake, crying in the night. I though of all the things happening in my life, and I was frightened by the feeling of aloneness I was experiencing. Never had my life looked so bleak. Suicide wasn't an answer, because I was too afraid to die. I thought God was with me, but my prayers simply faded in the darkness, with no one to hear them. God had abandoned me, and I didn't know what I'd done to deserve it. I rolled over in my bed and noticed a shaft of moonlight shining through my window, coming to rest on a picture of my grandfather. Grandpa would have know what to do. He would have told me to quit feeling sorry for myself and take control of my own circumstances. He never let anything rule over him...except God. Suddenly, the light of the Lord broke through my depression. In an instant I realized that God had been with me all along; I had just chosen to look the other way. His divine love broke through on the wings of a moonbeam, and His answer moved through my heart with the memory of my grandpa. Never does the Lord forsake His own. The only distance that is ever between us is the distance that we put there.

Prayer: Gift of my life, continue to shower me with Your love. Let me feel Your gentle weight upon my heart, and keep me ever mindful of Your presence in my life. Amen

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February 23

Psalms 21:8

Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy rig ht hand shall find out those that hate thee.

Hiding was useless. Tim knew that he would be found out soon enough. He'd pushed his luck just a little too far. At first, stealing had been for fun, just to see if he could get away with it. Then, it turned into a kind of sport, until finally he could hardly help himself. Now he'd been seen, and it was just a matter of time till someone caught up with him. What had seemed so cool before now seemed pretty stupid. There was no way out. He was in big trouble.

It seems to be a part of human nature to ignore consequences until it is too late. God gives us an awful lot of opportunity to make up our minds whether or not we will follow Him, but we cannot expect Him to wait forever. God knows our hearts right this very minute. There is no hiding from Him. If we are not for Him, we are against Him. The choice is ours. Each day gives us a new opportunity to reconfirm our faith in God. Let us take each and every opportunity.

Prayer: I get tired of hiding, Lord. Seek me out and inspire me to be a better person today than I was yesterday. I want to follow You and walk in the ways of Your Son. Amen.

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