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7/27/16 3:02 P

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July 27

Psalms 94:8-9

Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planteth the ear, shall be not bear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?

There's no fooling God. There is no place we can go where He does not see our every move. Those people who think they have God fooled are only fooling themselves. God sees all things, He hears all things, and nothing escapes His attention. For those who live in sin, that is a very frightening thought. For those who walk in righteousness, there is no problem. Let the Lord watch. It is good to know that He is here.

Prayer: Lord, be with me this day. Search my life, and help me to correct the wrong things that I do. Keep me walking in the light, and prevent me from straying into darkness. Amen.


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7/24/16 6:57 P

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July 24

Psalm 92:3

Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.

Dana's fingers lovingly flew across the strings. The guitar took on life beneath his fingertips. As his eyes closed and his head tilted back, the man and the guitar became one. The music that cam forth was not from the fingers or the instrument, but from the heart. The music was the rhythm of creation. The beauty and majesty of God's love flowed through the air. When the music played, God's presence was not to be denied.

Psalms is full of musical imagery. Throughout time, music has been used to express the divine. God loves harmony and purity of tone. Together, we can become a melody of beauty and praise. We can become the rhythm of creation by affirming who God created us to be. Let the music of the Lord fill your heart, and get carried away in its beauty and power.

Prayer: If there is any discordance in my life, Lord, remove it from me. I want my life to be harmonious and beautiful, reflecting the divine music which You alone compose. Play me, Lord, that I might be Your song. Amen.

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7/20/16 5:06 P

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July 20

Psalms 90:17

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Cheryl loved her artwork. She could express so many things with canvas and paint that she couldn't express any other way. She showed the depths of her soul. All her work had a spiritual sense to it. It came from a deep and beautiful place inside her own soul. Cheryl felt that the image of God in her was best displayed through the works of her hands and heart.

Within each of us is a wellspring of beauty that comes from God above. How we express it varies from person to person, but it is there, nonetheless. Reach deep into your soul and share the wealth of beauty buried there. To do so is to share God.

Prayer: Enter into my life, O Lord, and make it something beautiful and special. Whatever talents I have are Yours. Bless them, that they might produce much, Father. Amen.

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7/11/16 7:15 P

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July 11

Psalm 86:17

Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, Lord, hast holpen me, comforted me.

During high school, Chris had been a total loser. He had partied heavily and bullied other kids, forcing them to give up their lunch money in order to avoid a beating. Everyone walked in fear of Chris. Ten years was a long time, but no one expected such a great change from Chris. At the reunion, Chris came into a room that was still somewhat fearful of the old bully.

What the people found was a man of grace and charm, who extended a warm hand to everyone he saw. In a few cases, Chris apologized for his behavior ten years gone by. When asked what had made the difference in his life, Chris replied simply, "I'm a Christian now."

Christ is the changer of lives. He will give us a token that will attract people's attention. When others see the miracle of God in our lives, then cannot help but be touched themselves. God works through us to touch others. Open yourself to His guidance, and He will use you greatly.

Prayer: Take my life and use it to Your will, Father. If I can be the instrument that leads someone to You, then don't hesitate to bring me into service. Let me give to others a portion of what You have given to me. Amen.

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7/4/16 3:48 P

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July 4

Psalms 83:14-15

As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

The fireworks lit up the Independence Day night sky. Children watched wide-eyed, and parents exclaimed appropriately at each burst. The town echoed with the booming blasts of each rocket. The show was spectacular, and everyone had a good time. A few even remembered why the celebration took place. Some remembered that the fireworks represented all the bombs that had burst for freedom. A handful walked away from the celebration with a hope beating in their breasts. The hope was that there would come a time when no more bombs would burst, when no one would have to live in fear for their lives. Some hoped for a day when peace would rule the land.

Some fear is healthy. It brings us to our senses and forces us to look at things with a level head. War is a terrible thing. It breaks down and destroys. God wants us to consider well the consequences of war. What we do to one another, He will not undo. Perhaps a fear of the Lord would bring us to our senses. Maybe we would then realize wh ere we stand, and we would choose to stand closer to God.

Prayer: I pray for independence and freedom for all of creation, Lord. While we celebrate and laugh at the bursting bombs, some cower in fear and trembling. Be with them, Father. Amen.


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7/3/16 3:07 P

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July 3

Psalms 81:15

The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him; but their time should have endured for ever.

Water stretched out in every direction, as far as the man could see. He didn't know what direction would lead him most quickly to safety. He kept swimming, not knowing whether the shore was any closer or not. Each direction he tried seemed as hard as the last. The current was against him, no matter which way he turned. He was so tired. Every muscle ached. His heart filled with fear and anxiety. He wondered if the nightmare would ever end.

Such is the fate of one who realizes too late that God is who He says He is. All the futility of life comes crashing in. Sadness and frustration will reign. God wants us to turn to Him so we never have to face such despair. Christ is the life jacket that keeps us afloat when life gets too much for us. Nothing else will suffice.

Prayer: The waters are rough sometimes, and I need something to keep me from sinking. Th ank You for throwing me a lifeline; Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

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6/29/16 2:34 P

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June 29

Psalms 80:13

The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.

Betty loved her flowers and plants. She spent hours pruning, planting, and paring. Her garden was her pride and joy. Betty invested so much of herself into her plants. For that reason, Betty was at war with the woodland animals that made their way into her yard. They would always get through the fences somehow and mutilate her beautiful garden. To Betty, the plants were beauty and joy, but to the animals, they were nothing more than lunch.

We have the capacity to truly appreciate the beauty and splendor of God's creation. Why, then, do so many people trash God's gift as blindly as animals destroy a beautiful garden? Why don't we appreciate nature more, and respect it? The Lord gave us His ability to see the beauty in things. Let us use that gift, and protect and defend the wonders of the world in which we live.

Prayer: Do not let me stomp through life like some wild an imal. Help me to see all creation as You see it. Fill me with the beauty of this world. Amen

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6/23/16 2:37 A

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June 22

Psalms 78:14

In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.

The chosen people were afraid. They had to cross a barren wasteland, a desert, with no provisions and not definite sense of where they would end up. The scorching sun frightened them. The dark, cold nights frightened them. They were a people afraid. But the Lord saw their fear, and He sent a cloud to block the scorching sun, and He placed a bright fireball in the sky at night to light their way. The people of God came through the desert safe and sound.

God brings us through the wastelands of our live sin the same way. He will not allow us to be tested beyond our strength and endurance. Trust in God's mercy and love, and He will bring you through any situation.

Prayer: Lord, I am sometimes frightened by the challenges I am called on to face. Be with me, and let me lean upon Your strength for support. Amen.


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6/15/16 6:39 P

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June 15

Psalms 76:5

The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands.

Bob didn't need anybody. He had always done things on his own. He thought he would do well in sports, but he couldn't play as part of a team. He thought he would settle down and have a happy marriage, but he couldn't stand having to answer to another person. He couldn't hold a job because he could neither take nor give orders graciously. No, Bob didn't need anyone, which was a lucky thing. No one needed Bob.

We were created to live with and for one another. When we think the universe revolves around us, we upset god's intended order. Our goal in life should be to reach out to a s many of God's children as we possibly can. When we learn to walk with others, we have learned to walk with God.

Prayer: Lord, do not let me become spoiled and conceited. I want to share my life and to share the lives of others. Help me to know others better, and in s o doing, know You better, too. Amen.


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6/13/16 6:20 A

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June 13

Psalms 74:21

O let the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise thy name.

A government official was asked why more wasn't being done for the poor and starving. He answered, "We have no right to impose our culture on their chosen life-style. These people do nothing to better themselves, so they must want to live as they do. What should we be expected to do, in a case like that?"

Why do we look for ways to shame the poor and destitute? Of course, there are a few who are poor because they choose nothing better for their lives, but they are a distinct minority. All too often, poor people are made out to be lazy, evil, and greedy, when nothing could be further from the truth. The poor are our brothers and sisters, and they are worthy of our help, just because Christ said so. God blesses the poor and those who help them. Take hold of your blessing. Help someone in need.

Prayer: All your children deserve dignity and respect. Let me give all people the respect th at I would give You, Lord. Humble my heart when I feel myself looking down on those around me. Amen.

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6/6/16 3:33 P

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June 6

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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6/2/16 6:41 A

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June 2

Psalms 70

Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lor d.

Kathy thought she was going to scream. The man came into the office and paced back and forth until she had gotten off the phone and was able to ask him what he wanted. He fidgeted at the desk, telling her that he was a very busy man and didn't have time to wait around. She told him to have a seat. In the next five minutes he sat drumming his fingers on a table looked at this watch a dozen times, asked twice whether it would be much longer, and intermittently sighed heavily. Kathy had no patience with people who lacked patience themselves.

Patience is not a strong virtue in the twentieth century. We are a people of instant gratification. We want what we want when we want it. We don't like to wait. Unfortunately, we worship a God of eternity who chooses to operate on His time schedule, not ours. Therefore, patience is a vital component of the happy Christian life. Ask the Lord for patience. You'll need it.

Prayer: Father, I need to learn to wait graciously and patiently. Fill my heart with peace and give me a spirit of acceptance, that I might know happiness even when things don't happen fast enough to suit me. Amen.

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5/26/16 3:49 A

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May 26

Psalms 68:2

As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

The conference room was a fog of cigarette smoke. Everyone sat red-eyed, both smoker and nonsmoker alike. It was hard to utter a sentence without choking. Finally, someone discovered switches that turned on exhaust fans. The room cleared, and breathing was possible once more.

Evil is as oppressive as a thick cloud of smoke. It envelops people and chokes them, making it impossible for them to function. The Lord will one day dispel all evil as a fan dispels smoke. On that day, all good people will breathe richly of the fragrance of God, and no more will we be covered by the haze of sin.

Prayer: Lord, send the breath of Your Spirit to cleanse me of all sin. Free me from the oppression of all that I have done wrong, through Your blessed forgiveness. Amen.

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5/21/16 5:01 P

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May 21

Psalms 65:11

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.

Dick was thankful. The year had been a good one. He wasn't a wealthy store owner. He lived from week to week, and it was vitally important to him that things work out well. He watched friends of his go under all the time. There was no such thing as a sure thing in business anymore. The lord had been good to Dick, and he was indeed grateful.

Not everything in life does the way we would like it. Sometimes we make out okay, other times things just don't seem to work out. In both cases, the Lord is with us, and He wants to help us make the best of things. God has given good things to His children, and when one thing doesn't work out, we can rest assured that something else is soon to come along. When things do work out, we need to remember to give thanks to the one who made it all possible.

Prayer: You give so many good things, Lord. Help me to see past the things that are wrong in my life and see all the things that are so right. Thank You for all the blessings You have given me. Amen.


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5/7/16 9:14 A

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May 7

Psalms 55:21

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.

Carrie couldn't believe that she had been taken in so completely. The man had talked of love and peace and equality, and it had all sounded so right. Then he began teaching that the only way to achieve peace was through violence. She had gone along with it for awhile because she really waned to believe the man was good. What he really was was a terrorist, using young people to wage his war for him. Why did people have to live by the lie?

We live in a world dominated by smooth talkers who proclaim goodness but are corrupt to the core. Jesus warned that many false prophets would come preaching harmony and love, but that they were wolves in sheep's clothing. Ask God's wisdom and guidance as you make choices in your life. He will expose the darkness of lie and deceit through His holy light.

Prayer: Grant me a careful and disce rning spirit, Lord. Make sure that I use the common sense You have given me. Protect me from those who would try to take advantage of me. Amen.

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5/4/16 6:56 A

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May 4

Psalms 55:5

Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.

Liz sat crying in the small cafT. It looked as though she might be pregnant, and she was terrified. Her parents would yell at her, her boyfriend would probably leave her, and everyone would think she was somehow cheap and dirty; at least, that was how they would make her feel. This wasn't something she wanted or was proud of. She had made a terrible mistake. She had given in to sin. Now she was a very scared young girl, with nowhere to turn.

Sin makes us a prisoner. It takes away our freedom, and it controls us with fear and guilt. Luckily, we have a Savior who crushes the power of sin and sets us free. Jesus Christian died to let us know we are loved, and God forgives us when we fall. Nothing w do can separate us from that love, so we have nothing to fear at all.

Prayer: Lift me from the horrors of sin, Lord. Set my feet upon right paths, and lead me away from things that will harm me. Give me courage in the face of frightening situations. Amen.

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April 20

Psalms 45:17

I will make thy name to be remember in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.

The sculptor looked at the piece of stone and thought. His mind whirled at the possibilities the stone presented. He could make anything he wanted. He could carve out great beauty.

He could create a monument to himself. He could immortalize a great figure from history. He could sculpt a statement of power and dignity. His mind danced with imagination. He began to dream of the ultimate statement he could make. He looked into the sky and saw the glories there. He looked at the trees and flowers. He watched people walking past. He thought of waterfalls and rainbows and beautiful music. His heart swelled full, then sank.

What could be possibly carve into stone that would do justice to the world of wonder he lived in? He set about his carving, working with great care and determination. After days of labor and love, he unveiled the greatest work his life could offer. Three letters, finely shaped, lovingly created. The greatest legacy the artist could give. The name was GOD.

Prayer: Make my life a symbol of Your love and a sign of Your grace. I live my life in Your will, trying to be the best person I can be. Accept my life as an offering of love. Amen.

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4/18/16 7:29 P

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April 18

Psalms 44:20-21

If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a stran ge god; Shall not God search this out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

Alan decided he would play it safe. Believe in everything; something had to be right. His home was cluttered with statues and pictures; incense burned in little tin pots. Bibles, writings of other faiths, prayer cards, and rosaries littered various tables. He told his friends he was Eastern Western Unorthodox. It worked for awhile, but finally Alan realized that believing everything was the same as believing nothing. Gravity kept pushing him off the spiritual fence he was straddling. What he found was that he was afraid to commit to any one thing. In the end, he committed to nothing.

We need to be careful. Our spiritual lives are very fragile things. They need attention and care. We cannot toss our spiritual selves around too freely. The Lord gave us a need to search and question. He understands our doubts. Be patient. Ask the Lord to grant you understanding, and true wisdom will be yours.

Prayer: I stand at the crossroads of a thousand different paths. I get so confused, Lord. Each road has a sign marked truth, and I know that Can't be right. Lead me down the proper path, Lord. Take me where You want me to be. Amen.

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4/14/16 10:31 P

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April 14

Psalms 41

Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

Curse the beggars! It was impossible to go anywhere without seeing someone with his hand out.Ted refused to look into their faces. He despised people who were always looking for a handout. He worked hard for what he got; why couldn't they? It made him so mad. He rounded the corner and abruptly stopped in front of a young boy cradling the head of his mother in his lap. The woman was obviously very ill. The boy looked up into Ted's face and sobbed one word. "Please?"

All the excuses, all the anger, all the contempt melted away. Ted's eyes were opened for the first time. These people really needed help, and he had the power to make a difference. Perhaps he couldn't solve the whole problem, or even a big part, but he could help the boy and his mother. With new resolve, Ted swore to open his eyes to the less fortunate and give as much as he could.

Prayer: Father, am I doing all I can? In my times of need, I cry out for someone to help me. Make me sensitive to others as they cry out. Amen.

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April 9

Psalms 38:10

My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

Emma was as old as the hills. She had mothered a dozen children, tended a hundred grandchildren, and no one knew how many great- and great-great-grandchildren. She worked every day of the first ninety years of her life, then she decided to rest.

In her one hundred and third year, she lost her sight, and two years later she was confined to a wheelchair. For awhile she was resentful of losing her faculties, but in time she accepted it. After all, hadn't she lived more than a full life? Hadn't God given her more family than any one woman had a right to have? When all was said and done, Emma had had a wonderful life, and a few inconveniences at the end certainly weren't going to get her down.

We have two simple options when afflictions strike. We can moan about our fate and give up, or we can face it boldly and make the best of it. God grants us the power to become more than conquerors, if we will only choose to use it.

Prayer: I know there will be times when my strength fails and my will is drained. At those times, fill my heart with Your will and power. Make me a fighter, Lord. Amen.



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April 7

Psalms 37:8

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

Gordon was still shaking. He had never meant to hit his son, not so hard, anyway. When his little boy looked back up at him, his nose was bleeding and his eye was swelling. The rage of moments before was completely gone. Spent was the anger that had caused the injury. In Gordon's heart a heavy shame rose up, along with a vow to put to rest the beast called anger that lurked within his heart.

We are all capable of great anger. The passion is within each of us. However, we must rule the passion, instead of letting the passion rule us. God helps us control the beasts within. His is a power to set our hearts right and dispel our evil with His own goodness. Ask God's help, and He will help you to cease from anger and strife.

Prayer: Take from me the bent to anger and harm, Almighty God. Reshape me in the loving image of Your Son. Reign in my heart with peace and love. Amen.


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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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April 5

Psalms 36:7

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

The chicks scurried around as the rain began to fall. They had been out in the yard in front of the coop. When the storm hit, they flew into a panic. Carefully, but quickly, the mother hen gathered her chicks to herself, enfolding them in her wings.

Jesus used the same image to show His disciples how God would save His children in time of distress. We have no need to fear, for the Lord is watching over us, and He will pull us toward Himself during bad times. The love of God is beyond human comprehension. We need not understand it, only accept it.

Prayer: Father of all creation, You care for us in very special ways. We turn to You for comfort and security in a frightening time. Be with us always. Amen.

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April 4

Psalms 35:4

Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.

Tommy was an angry young man. He took every opportunity to vent his anger at those around him. Anytime he felt the least bit put upon, he would lash out, trying to make others feel pain the way he felt it. Usually people would rather fight back, but occasionally someone would merely take Tommy's assault. At those times, Tommy felt a little ashamed and sorry for his actions.

There are many unhappy people living in the world today. The saying goes, misery loves company. Miserable people spread their misery around. On the other hand, people who possess joy can also share it. Our God shines forth His blessed light in order to destroy the darkness of anger and shame. As Christians, we should reach out in love, not only to those who care for us and build us up, but also to those who devise our unhappiness. They are the ones who need it most.

Prayer: My Lord, You have filled my heart with Your love. Whenever I see sadness, let me try to meet it with a measure of Your joy. Amen.

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April 3

Psalms 35

Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

We need friends and supporters. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two because He knew how important it was to have someone to share with and to support. Standing alone, we feel like our strength is limited, but the someone else by our side, new reserves of strength surface. Psychologically, we need confirmation that what we believe in is true. Just one other person can give us all the confirmation we need.

It is good to remember that our Lord strives along beside us, never leaving us, pleading our cause at every step. He understands us, loves us, and never turns away from us. Because of the mighty love of God, we can be assured that we are never alone.

Prayer: Lord, be with me this day. Support me in the things I desire to do, and help me to always follow the right path. Amen.

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April 1

Psalms 34:14

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Phil was the big practical joker. He would do anything for a laugh, usually at the expense of someone else. Often his jokes lacked good taste, and more than a few caused hurt feelings and pain. None of that fazed Phil. He pushed and teased until many people wanted to have nothing more to do with him. When people reacted in anger to his stupid tricks, he dismissed them as having no sense of humor.

Everyone likes to have fun, but fun should never hurt anyone. Fun at other people's expense is selfish and cruel. God wants us to reach out to one another in love, spreading happiness and joy through the good things we do, not the evil. If we will dedicate our lives to the happiness of others, then our fun will be fun that everyone can enjoy.

Prayer: Too easily I laugh at things that might hurt someone else. There is no joy in other people's pain. Help me to be an ambassador of love and goodwill, making peop le happy in deep and lasting ways. Amen.

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March 31

Psalms 34:13

Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

Before she could stop herself, the words were out of her mouth. She hadn't meant to say anything, but all her friends were talking, so she put in her thoughts. Trouble was, when she began speaking, the girl they were bad-mouthing walked into the room. Actually, she liked the girl, but now any chance they had of being friends was ruined. All because she had been thoughtless and cruel.

James says that our tongues are mighty rudders, guiding the body where it will go. We should be very careful of the words that come out of our mouths. We can do the greatest good, and the most terrible evil, by the use of our mouths. Christians should let the truth and grace of Christ govern their language. Otherwise, terrible problems can occur. Let our words reflect our commitment to Christ, and God will bless us and defend us.

Prayer: Watch me, Lord, that I don't use my gifts for evil. Help me to use my mouth only for praise and encouragement, and keep me from saying things which could hurt someone or lessen their faith. Amen.

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March 30

Psalms 34:10

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

Remember the prodigal son? He thought he was ready to set out on his own, and it almost led to his ruin. He squandered all his wealth and found he really couldn't make it by himself. He had to humble himself and return home, where his father awaited him with open arms.

We need to learn that being mature and independent does not mean breaking our ties with other people. God did not create us to live apart from others. He gave us each other in order to make our lives more enjoyable. We never need lack for anything, because we are to take care of one another. The Lord provides for us through the love of sons and daughters. Growing up doesn't mean learning to do everything by yourself, but realizing how wonderful it is to need other people.

Prayer: I think I am strong and self-sufficient when I am not. I sometimes act as if I don't need anyone else, but deep inside, I know that I do. Put me in community with others who love You, Lord. Make me stronger through the relationships I develop. Amen.

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March 12

Psalms 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

The group of demonstrators refused to move along, as the police instructed them. They were committed to their cause, and no amount of threat or coercion was going to sway them. They were standing up for what they believed in. Though many went off to prison, none complained, for they knew they had done what was pleasing to God. By His grace, they had no cause to fear.

God doesn't want worthy people nearly as much as He wants committed people. Those individuals who stand up and say, "Here am I, Lord! Take me," are the ones who please Him most. To those who give their all to the Lord, He will give comfort and peace. They will have no cause to fear anything.

Prayer: Make me a reflection of Your divine light, O God. By Your light all fear is erased and all darkness dispelled. Amen.

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March 10

Psalms 25:17

The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.

Maggie was beside herself with anxiety. The last thing her boss had said to her was that she had to be in the office early the next morning. Her boss and the owner of the company wanted to "have a talk with her about her performance." What did that mean? Was it good or bad? Surely they would have told her, if it was good. Maggie just knew she was going to be fired.

Isn't it amazing what we can let our minds do to us? We blow things out of proportion, and it causes such great suffering and distress. When we thrust ourselves into panic and fear, it is good to know that we can turn to the Lord, and He will be faithful to comfort us. Open yourself to His peace, and you will find new serenity.

Prayer: I let my mind get carried away sometimes, Lord. Please don't let me get too carried away. I need Your wisdom as an anchor when I set myself adrift in worry and fear. Be my salvation, Fath er. 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 3

Psalms 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

On their own, sheep will starve. They do not have enough sense to move on to greener pastures when their own is stripped of foliage. They will wander off into traps, standing helplessly while predators stalk them. Of all God's creatures, few are more helpless that sheep.

It is interesting that God calls us His sheep. WE so often think that we have complete control over our lives, and yet we really are helpless. We need to admit our weaknesses. When we admit weakness, that is our strength, because then we understand our need for God. God will protect us, provide for us, guide us from place to place, and never leave us alone. He truly is the Good Shepherd; the best shepherd we could ever hope to find. We need a shepherd. Thank goodness we have the finest.

Prayer: Lord, I have difficulty admitting that I cannot do everything on my own. Help me to see that leaning on Your strength is not weakness at all, but power beyond measure. By Your wisdom I am saved. 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 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 24

Psalms 21:13

Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

Reverend Davis looked down at his hands and shook his head. He was so tired, and he just didn't feel he had anything left in him that people ought to hear. He couldn't understand it. He'd always tried to do the lord's work and lead people to Jesus. He had preached the Gospel every chance he got. He had even achieved a certain level of fame. No one could deny what a powerful soldier for Christ he had been. Reverend Davis just couldn't make sense out of the fact that God wasn't helping him now, when he needed it most. At least God owed him that.

Too often we fall into the trap of believing that we do God's work for Him. That's not true. The most we can do is open ourselves to let the Lord do His own work through us. When we try to do it for Him, we can only expect to grow weary. However, when God works through us, we will find a new energy and vitality that we have never experienced before. The Lord is exalted through His own strength, not ours. Open yourself to Him now, and let the true power begin to flow.

Prayer: Make me an instrument of Your peace, love, and hope, O Lord. Allow me to serve You, not by my own rules, but Yours. Amen.

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February 22

Psalms 20:7

Some trust in chariots, and some is horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

Grayson was as old as the hills. He had farmed the same stretch of land for better than sixty years. Every year, the farms around old Grayson's invested in fancy new equipment and machinery. Grayson farmed with the same equipment year after year; once new, now antique. His neighbors tried to encourage him to upgrade his tools, but Grayson just shook his head. His justification for his stubbornness was simple: If the Lord wanted him to have a bountiful harvest, he would. It wasn't the machinery that made the farm. It wasn't the latest technology. It was the will of the Lord.

His neighbors secretly laughed at the simplistic reasoning of the old man, but time and again they ended up amazed at what he was able to do with his simple means. When harvest time came round, Grayson held his own with the best of them.

The simple faith of a single man or woman is a mighty thing. Trust in the Lord, and you will marvel at all that can be done.

Prayer: Make me faithful, Lord, I doubt so often, and I put my faith in other things. Those things will pass away, but I know that You will endure forever. Thanks be to Your love and grace. Amen.

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February 19

Psalms 19:7

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

The church conference was going along fairly well. Plans were being made, new officers were elected, and proposals were abounding. Business was getting done. Elaine sat back and watched the proceedings with a sense of awe and disappointment. She knew she was new to church policy and planning, but she still felt that God should have a place in it all. No one seemed to be talking much about Him. What good was a church without God? Finally, when could stand it not longer, she stood up to address the planning board. She expressed her concern, and a hush fell over the group. It seemed that the absence of God from the conference hadn't dawned on anyone else. From that moment on, the conference took on a different feel, and all agreed it was one of the best ever.

We may not always have the most information or the best background, but we know that nothing of real value can occur apart from the Lord. When God is present, souls are converted, the simple are made wise, and miracles begin to happen. Remember the Lord in all that you do.

Prayer: As I plan my days and my weeks, Lord, be a central part of all I do. Be with me to decide what is best. Guide me by Your will and Your Spirit. Amen.

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February 17

Psalms 18:36

Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.

Brent thought he was going to freeze to death. He had set out to Jill's house during the early throes of the blizzard. It was four miles to her house, but the drifting snow was making progress almost impossible. He was halfway, so it didn't matter whether he went forward or back; the trip was going to be rough. He could have kicked himself for not leaving the house prepared. Now he was paying for it.

As he passed the Johnson house, Ed Johnson leaned out and called to him. As Brent looked up, Ed held out a pair of snowshoes, waving them with a big grin on his face. Brent broke into a smile and struggled over to the Johnsons'. When he was young, Brent thought people in Minnesota were eccentric for keeping snowshoes around. Suddenly, it didn't seem so funny anymore.

There are some situations that arise in our lives that are as difficult to get through as a deep snowdrift or shifting sand. We struggle, and the more we do, the worse off we become. God reaches out to us in thos e times, gladly lending a hand. He will enlarge our steps, so that we might get over the toughest problems. Believe it.

Prayer: Dear Lord, equip me with the means to meet life's problems. Often I flounder around, sinking deeper and deeper into tough situation. Liberate me, and set me back on my feet, I pray. Amen.

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February 15

Psalms 18:33

He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.

Her grace and beauty was breathtaking. The doe paused for a moment, then she sprang forth in a poetic dance of joy. Effortlessly, she scaled the rocky incline, never missing her footing, until she stood out against the autumn sky. Her gentle eyes scanned the horizon, she sniffed delicately, shook her head once, and then was off.

God has equipped His creation with many wonderful and amazing qualities. The doe who can climb steep mountains with nary a misstep, the jaguar that can outrun any prey and turn sharply at its fastest pace, the eagle who can span vast distances in a matter of hours; all these creatures are strong because they use their God-given talents as they were intended to.

There is a lesson to learn from such creatures. We, too, have been given many wonderful gifts and talents. When we affirm the talents we have been given, then God will surely bless us, and we will be a sign to others of His goodness. God has given us hinds' feet, wings to fly, power, grace, an d a multitude of other gifts. Embrace them and know that the Lord is good.

Prayer: Teach me to use the gifts I have been given. Aid me as I test my wings and struggle to get my footing. Be patient with me, Lord, and touch me with Your touch of peace and grace. Amen.


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February 12

Psalms 18:17

He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.

Young David was foolish to think he could succeed where the army or Israel had failed. The Philistines were mighty, they were mean, and they were excellent fighters. They had been unstoppable as they marched throughout the lands of the Middle East. What chance had one small boy against the leader of the mightiest fighting machine in history?

Alone, David would not have stood a chance, but David was not alone. As young as David was, he still had the wisdom to call upon God for help in his time of greatest need. Faith is the most powerful force in the universe, and it knows no age. The faith of a child is every bit as mighty as the faith of an older man or woman.

As we face problems that seem much too great for us to handle alone, we need to understand that the same problem is as nothing in the face of God. God is on our side, and He will surely help us whenever we call upon Him. David would not have faced his Goliath without God on his side. Should we ever face our own Goliath s without Him?

Prayer: Lord, send Your might to see me through the storms of life. When trials seem to gigantic to handle, be the source of my strength. Deliver me and comfort me, O Lord. Amen.

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February 7

Psalms 16:8

I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

The little boy rode his bicycle like a demon. He would pedal as fast as he could and fly down the street. He still had training wheels on his bicycle, though they did little to balance it. He had long since gained his balance, but he refused to let his parents remove them. Some of his friends made fun of him, but he felt safe and secure, so long as the training wheels were firmly in place.

All of us have times in our lives when we need something or someone to help us. Sometimes these things become crutches to us, but other times they give us the confidence and support we desperately need. God is the only support we truly need, and we can rest assured that He will always be close by. With God before us, we can stand up against anything. He is not a crutch. He's the source of all strength and power.

Prayer: Lord, be my strength. When I need help to get through the day, be with me and help me to know that You are there. Amen.

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February 6

Psalms 16:4

Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

Ralph had grown up desiring to be wealthy one day. He had worked hard, devoting himself to the pursuit of his precious money. Now he could honestly call himself rich, but he wasn't sure it was all he had dreamed it would be. He spent so much of his time protecting what he had accumulated. He lay awake at night worrying about investments, deals, taxes; anything and everything that might ruin his status. His every waking moment was tied up in the acquisition of more and more wealth. On rare occasions, Ralph found himself wishing for just a little peace of mind and a chance to forget about money for awhile.

The pursuit of God is one of the few life choices we can make that has no strings attached. We give very little, and receive so much. Money, fame, power, prestige all sound nice, but they require more effort than they are worth. Worse, they pay temporary benefits that fade away, leaving us empty, lost, and alone. Give your life to God, and walk in the ways that He chooses, and you will find that He will bless you continually.

Prayer: Turn me from the things that cannot offer me lasting satisfaction. Turn me instead, Lord, to the things that are eternal and holy. Amen.

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January 29

Psalms 12:5

For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord.

Something is terribly wrong in our world. Some of God's children are ill-fed, homeless, diseased, and abused. Many people do not know the comforts of a home, nor the security of a free state. Who will care for these lowly children of God?

The Bible says that the Lord will rise up in behalf of these people, but it also says that He will do so through His servants and followers. That means that God will provide for His poorer children through the grace of His richer ones. We are called to give from our blessed abundance, that others less fortunate might live. This is not an option for Christians, but a basic mandate upon which our faith is built. We are the hands, the feet, the eyes, and the voice of the Lord. Let us serve Him well.

Prayer: Use me as You will, O Lord. Make me an instrument of Thy glory and will. Send the power of Your Spirit into the world through me. Amen.

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January 21

Psalms 9:10

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

The crowd in the office seemed to have no morals whatsoever. Beth could hardly believe some of the things she heard the other employees talking about. They used foul language, spent weekends in drunken fogs, and had no compunction about their loose sexual behavior. Sometimes Beth felt so alone. It was hard to spend so much time out of the day with people she disagreed with so strongly. Her thoughts always turned to her close friends, and she was glad to have others who felt as she did to turn to. Her friends were all Christian, and it really did make a difference. She didn't feel like an outsider when she was with Christian friends. Having such good friends made it easier to deal with the people at work. She wondered what she would do if she didn't have friends who felt as she did.

So many people have no idea what it means to have the Spirit of Christ in their hearts. They believe that their lives are fine just as they are. How sad that they do not know enough to put their tr ust in God. It is our job, as the voice and hands of God, to let people know of the truth of Christ, so they, too, might come to put their trust in Him.

Prayer: Make me an agent of Your will and word. Help me to teach others by the example of my life what it means to be Christian. I will put my trust in You. Help me to share that trust with others. Amen.

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January 18

Psalms 8:5

Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

There are not many days that go by where I feel very holy. As much as I might like to be a reflection of Jesus Christ, I am afraid that my image is a very dim one at best. For each success I have at walking in the footsteps of Christ, I have a dozen failures where I have strayed from the path. And through it all, God still loves me totally. In my imperfection, God still reveres me and thinks I am good. It boggles the mind to realize that human beings are God's pride and joy. Despite the grief and frustration we must be, God believes in us and helps us to be the best people that we can be. He loves His children and rejoices in their victories. Our Lord created us just lower than the angels; the most perfect of His creations.

Despair not. No matter how inadequate we might feel, we are considered beautiful by our Creator, and in the end it is His opinion, not ours, that makes all the difference in the world.

Prayer: Grant me spiritual wings that I might soar as an angel on this earth, O Lord. Help me to live up to the intention You had at my creation. Let me wear my crown wisely and proudly, to Your glory. Amen.

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January 16

Psalms 7:8

The Lord shall judge the people: judge me, O Lord; according to my righteousness , and according to mine integrity that is in me.

If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that it's a very scary thought that God might actually judge us according to our measure of righteousness and integrity. Under the careful scrutiny of the Lord, all our blemishes surface and we are exposed for what we really are: sinners in a need of a good cleaning! Praise God that the cleaning is available to us through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. By the forgiveness of sin offered through the cross and resurrection of Christ, we are made clean and pure and able to pass the scrutinous (sic) eye of God. Christ's righteousness becomes the righteousness of all who believe in Him and turn their hearts over to Him. Jesus paid the penalty that would have come to us. WE now have no fear of condemnation from the Lord. All we have is the promise of love and forgiveness to those who repent of their sins and follow in the ways of the Lord.

Prayer: Make me like You, O Lord. In the ways I am lacking, remake me in the image of Christ. Create in me a new and clean heart, and bless the paths I am to walk. Amen.

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January 15

Psalms 7

O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me.

Greg couldn't believe his ears. His teacher had just asked the class if anyone belonged to a church youth group. Greg attended one faithfully, but he was too embarrassed to let any of his school friends know about it. Most of the kids in the youth group were considered to be freaks by the "in crowd" at the high school. Only a couple of the other kids were raising their hands. For a moment Greg hesitated, the he slowly raised his hand. To his surprise, no one laughed, and a couple of his school friends even showed interest in his church involvement. Greg began to wonder what he had really been afraid of.

There are an awful lot of people in this world who will not understand our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They will ridicule us, persecute us, and turn us aside. That does not justify us hiding our faith. We are to shine as a light in this world. If we are proud of our faith, we will find that God will give us special strength to stand up in the face of ridicule. As Scripture says, if we will be proud of the Father, He will be proud of us. If we are ashamed of Him, however, then Christ will also be ashamed of us.

Prayer: Lord, You are the brightest light shining in my life. Help me to reflect Your light in all that I do and say. Save me from persecutors, and enable me to be everything You would have me to be. Amen.

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January 13

Psalms 6:1

O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

Child experts have discovered that one of the most traumatic experiences children face is to have their parents scold or punish them in front of their friends. The humiliation that accompanies the punishment can leave deep emotional scars. The actual punishment pales in comparison with the embarrassment the child suffers. Most children would rather face any penalty other than public chastisement.

Just as loving parents guard and protect their children's dignity, so our Lord protects the dignity of His children. To believe that God would punish us in such a way as to rob us of our self-esteem is ridiculous. God would never do such a thing. God does not deal with us in hot anger, for He loves us too much. He watches us closely, guiding us gently, and regarding us as valuable creations. We need never believe that God has punished us in order to humiliate us. His own Son was humbled by men and women, but the Lord of all life lifted Him up, and He will lift us up, also.

Prayer: Though I face trials and problems, I know that You are not to blame, Lord. You give so much, and You help me in times when I most need You. Have patience with me, God, and help me to grow. Amen.

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January 13

Psalms 6:1

O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

Child experts have discovered that one of the most traumatic experiences children face is to have their parents scold or punish them in front of their friends. The humiliation that accompanies the punishment can leave deep emotional scars. The actual punishment pales in comparison with the embarrassment the child suffers. Most children would rather face any penalty other than public chastisement.

Just as loving parents guard and protect their children's dignity, so our Lord protects the dignity of His children. To believe that God would punish us in such a way as to rob us of our self-esteem is ridiculous. God would never do such a thing. God does not deal with us in hot anger, for He loves us too much. He watches us closely, guiding us gently, and regarding us as valuable creations. We need never believe that God has punished us in order to humiliate us. His own Son was humbled by men and women, but the Lord of all life lifted Him up, and He will lift us up, also.

Prayer: Though I face trials and problems, I know that You are not to blame, Lord. You give so much, and You help me in times when I most need You. Have patience with me, God, and help me to grow. Amen.

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January 11

Psalms 5:3

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

The sun had just begun to climb into the sky, and the dew shone brightly on the field below. Though not ordinarily a morning person, Ann always loved those special times when she rose in time to see the sunrise. On mornings like this, who could doubt that there is a God? Ann's heart filled with a joy beyond words, and nothing could remove that joy during the day. Taking a Bible, she went to a clearing to sit and to read and to pray.

God gives us special times in order that we might find joy and that we might find Him. He has created a glorious world, and He has freely given it to us. The early quiet of the day is a beautiful time to encounter the Lord. Give Him your early hours, and He will give you all the blessings you can hold.

Prayer: I raise my voice to You in the morning, Lord. Help me to appreciate Your new day, and use it to the fullest. Open my eyes to the splendor of all Your creation. Amen.

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January 9

Psalms 4

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.

Jeffrey was a quiet man; so quiet, in fact, that many people forget that he was around. He rode the train into New York every morning with the same crowd of people, never speaking to anyone, sitting alone at the back of the car. One morning a man a few rows up began to choke on a roll he was eating. In a flash, Jeffrey jumped to the man's aid, grabbing him and dislodging the piece of roll. All of the riders were amazed that the quiet man from the back of the train had been able to come forward in a time of emergency.

We are all capable of great things in time of distress. The Lord gives to His children the ability to serve one another, even so much as to save another life. It is important that we continually pray for God to guide our actions and show us ways to serve. When we open ourselves to the will of God, we will be surprised at the wonderful things we can do.


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January 8

Psalms 3:6

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.

All of the customers had been so hateful and belligerent. Nancy thought that if one more unpleasant person assaulted her, she would scream. To make matters worse, the store owners were being unreasonable and hard to get along with. She didn't know how much more she could take. She rested here chin on her chest and heaved a heavy sight. Then, the cross she wore around her neck caught her eye, and she felt strangely calm. The frustrations of the day melted away as the peace of Christ settled upon her heart.

In the daily battles we find ourselves engaged in, it is vital that we remember we have an ally who is greater than anyone who might oppose us or wish to make us unhappy. Jesus Christ became victor over everything this world could throw at Him; even death itself. It we will give Him control of our hearts, He will be true to us and grant us victory in the struggles we face.

Prayer: Father, You have made me a conqueror through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to live as a victor and not as one defeated. Lift me up to be a sign to the world that in Christ we need never be afraid. Amen.

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January 5

Psalms 2:11

Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

The fire licked up the outside walls and cascaded up into the night. All around the building, fire fighters scampered, trundling huge hoses into position to battle the blaze. Jerry stood with sweat pouring down his face and the spray from the hose soaking his body. He loved his work and felt he really served well. He knew the dangers that were involved, but he fought fires anyway. His job was one of the greatest joys of his life.

Not all things that inspire fear should be avoided. A wise person knows his limits and knows what situations he can handle and what ones he cannot. A little fear is healthy. It gives us respect and appreciation. It causes us to not get careless. Fear of the Lord should not drive us from Him, but should help us to understand Him and deal with Him reverently and respectfully. When we encounter our Lord with both joy and trembling, we know Him in a special and meaningful way.

Prayer: Lord, help me to never forget Your awesome power, as well as Your awesome love. Allow me to feel a healthy fear, but never let that fear separate me from You. Amen.


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December 23

Psalms 148:5

Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created.

The shepherds sat in their fields, watching over their flocks. The evening was mild, and the night sky was clear. The stars shone brilliantly, especially the one toward Bethlehem. The sheep were calm and silent.

Little did the band of shepherds know that a visit was being planned for them. So great was their devotion, belief, and faithfulness, that they were to be among the first to know of the Messiah's birth. The shepherds had a special tie with their God. They lived each day of their lives close to His creation. The depended upon Him to provide for their needs. They continually praised the name of the Lord, for He took good care of them.

Those who live in close communion with God have a better understanding of His will and His ways. If we will devote ourselves to God, He will reveal Himself to us in so many ways. Rejoice in God's creation. Embrace it, and know God.

Prayer: I wait in anxious anticipation of the coming of Your Son once more. Reveal Him to me in new ways, Lord. Let Him be born in my heart anew. Amen.


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December 22

Psalms 148:5

Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created.

The shepherds sat in their fields, watching over their flocks. The evening was mild, and the night sky was clear. The stars shone brilliantly, especially the one toward Bethlehem. The sheep were calm and silent.

Little did the band of shepherds know that a visit was being planned for them. So great was their devotion, belief, and faithfulness, that they were to be among the first to know of the Messiah's birth. The shepherds had a special tie with their God. They lived each day of their lives close to His creation. The depended upon Him to provide for their needs. They continually praised the name of the Lord, for He took good care of them.

Those who live in close communion with God have a better understanding of His will and His ways. If we will devote ourselves to God, He will reveal Himself to us in so many ways. Rejoice in God's creation. Embrace it, and know God.

Prayer: I wait in anxious anticipation of the coming of Your Son once more. Reveal Him to me in new ways, Lord. Let Him be born in my heart anew. Amen.

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December 16

Psalms 147:3

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

Mae sat by the window of her apartment, watching the children playing in the snow below. She wished she could have fun like that once more. Even the companionship and feeling of belonging would be nice. At present, all she had was her cat, Morgan, and he wasn't much for conversation.

Mae was shaken from her reverie by a knock at the door. As she opened it, she was met by the greetings of her neighbors from one floor below. Bearing gifts of food and drink, they asked if they might come in to share the evening with her. Glowing with a warmth long forgotten, Mae invited them in to celebrate a new, blossoming friendship.

We have been given the power to bring joy to the lives of others. In this season of God's gift of joy to us, we ought to think of ways that we might spread happiness to those who have little to be happy about. God heals the broken hearts of His children, often through His servants: you and me. Reach out in love to heal the wounds of loneliness and despair.

Prayer: Make me an agent of Your love and care, Father. Send me forth with a message of mercy and joy. Use me to heal the emotional wounds of my neighbors. Amen.

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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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December 4

Psalms 141:5

Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.

"You were really out of line back there."

Alan looked over at Barbara and nodded. He had been angry about a mix-up at the bank and had taken out his wrath on a poor, innocent teller. His temper often got him into hot water. Without a word, the two turned around and headed back to the bank. Though the line was long, Alan waited until he could return to the same teller, where he then apologized.

We need to have loving friends around us who will let us know when we are doing something wrong. If we are to grow, we need to have our shortcomings pointed out to us, so we can turn our weaknesses into strengths. Loving, constructive criticism will not hurt us; in fact, it will make us feel better. Love each other enough to criticize, for in caring criticism is the seed of maturity.

Prayer: I do so many foolish things. I allow my own emotions to get the best of me at times. Channel my passions into constructive streams, and show me the better ways to go. Amen.

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December 3

Psalms 141:4

Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.

The company had been after some low-income housing property for over a year. They hoped to put the new headquarters in what was fast becoming the disgrace of the city. Minority families lived in an apartment complex that had gone in ruin. Now, three weeks before Christmas, the company took ownership. The task ahead was to get the tenants moved out; the sooner, the better. As David sat looking at the notices, he felt sick to his stomach. He knew what the property meant to the company, but he also thought about what the housing meant to the people. He poised his pen over the notices a number of times, but something would not allow him to sign them. After hours of struggle, David turned in the blank notices, along with a resignation letter that stated he could not in good conscience continue to work for a firm with such shady values. Walking into the wintry air, David found that he was not sorry to leave, but that Christmas had come a little early.

Prayer: Help me to stand firm against that which is evil. Let me not kid myself into believing that I can remain unaffected by the wickedness that surrounds me. Guide me to new avenues by which I might do good. Amen.

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December 1

Psalms 140:11

Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall bunt the violent man to overthrow him.

The committee was worried. They had elected a new chairman who was becoming vocal about some very unpopular ideas. People were getting the idea that the committee endorsed these ideas, just because the new chair so freely shared them. Some of his ideas were quite biased and offensive. Quick action was being taken to replace him, but the damage done was almost too great to measure.

The words of our mouth are powerful weapons. We can do great good by a few well-placed words, or we can wreak total destruction. The words of an evil person spread like a cancer. However, the words spoken by righteous men and women can be our greatest source of healing. Be careful how you speak, for you hold great power and responsibility within your words.

Prayer: Guide the words I speak, Lord. Spice them with Your love and concern. Make my speech a joy to others, not a burden. Steer me away from evil, I pray. Amen.


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November 29

Psalms 139:17

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

Luke was considered by many to be one of the most influential men in American business. He controlled millions of dollars, was responsible for employing millions of workers, and made decisions that affected millions of people's lives. He spent time with most of the truly important people in the world; but no one more important, in Luke's mind, than the Lord. Schedules were always packed full, but never so full that Luke didn't take some time with God. No decision was made without consulting the Lord. When so much depended on the integrity of Luke's decisions, he wanted to make sure he took into consideration the Word of the Lord. To do less would be absurd.

The counsel of the Lord should be precious to us all. God holds the sum of all wisdom and knowledge. He is the ground of all common sense. Why wouldn't we want to consult the Lord when we make the important decisions in our lives? Doing less is absurd.

Prayer: Fill my mind with Your own thoughts, O God. Help me to see problems through Your eyes and meet them with Your solutions. Teach me to use the gifts of reason, logic, and wisdom that You have given me. Amen.

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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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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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November 23

Psalms 139:7

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from they presence?

Benjy ran away from home about three times a week. His mother always left the door unlocked, counted to a hundred, then listened to hear the door creak open and Benjy's soft footsteps on the hallway carpet. Benjy always got to the end of the block, assessed his options, realized he didn't have any, and headed for home.

We're all Benjys now and then. We wonder why God isn't doing all He ought to be doing, we get discouraged, and then we turn away a little bit. But, just like Benjy, when we look at the options, we find that nothing comes close to our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherever we go, whatever we do, whatever our need might be, God is right there with us. Nothing can do for us what God can. We might as well stay home, because we can't ever have it any better than we have it right now.

Prayer: I may think that other solutions will work in dealing with my life's problems, Lord , but bring me back to the realization that nothing will do more for me than You can. There is nowhere that I would rather be than with You. Amen.

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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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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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November 17

Psalms 138:2

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

"I believe in God, but I have no use for the Bible. People take it and twist it, and it's no good to anyone. The Bible just gives some people an excuse to feel superior to other people."

The young man who expressed these sentiments is right. . .to some extent. God's Word has been misused many times throughout history. It has a destructive component when used by the wrong people for the wrong reasons, but that is no reason to reject it. What God intends for his Word and what people do with it are two completely different things. God does reveal Himself through His Word, and it is nearly impossible to come to a deep understanding of Him apart from the Holy Scriptures. God has magnified Himself through His Word, and enables us to know Him when we read it in a spirit of openness, with a desire for the truth.

Prayer: Illumine the pages of Your Word, Lord. Bless me with understanding of Your Holy Scripture, and help me to keep an open mind as I learn and grow. Amen.

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November 16

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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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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November 14

Psalms 137:6

If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my ch ief joy

Brett joined the church when he as fourteen. In the sixty years following his confirmation, he set foot in a church no more than a half-dozen times. Just prior to his seventy-fifth birthday, Brett died and stood before the lord.

The Lord said, "You joined my church long years ago. Why?"

Brett stood speechless and ashamed. No answer or excuse, and Brett had many of them, seemed adequate. No apology covered his negligence. All Brett could do was hang his head and cry, for he only now began to realize why he had needed the church.

If we forget our Lord, we will find ourselves steeped in shame when we stand before Him. To call Him Lord, master, Guardian, Friend requires commitment on our part. We cannot take continually without giving something back. Remember the Lord, and speak forth with joy in His presence, for you have known Him, and indeed He knows you.

Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I neglect You and turn to other things. Help me to keep You fully in my mind and heart. Prepare me for Your glory. Amen.

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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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