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2/19/18 12:25 A

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February 18

Psalms 19

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Steve slammed on the brakes and pulled to the side of the road in anger and frustration. Grabbing the map and a flashlight from the glove compartment, he burst up out of the car. He knew he was lost, but he didn't have the slightest idea how to get himself found again. He leaned on the roof of the car, tracing out his location on the map. After a few moments, he snapped off the light, closed his eyes, and laid his head against the metal of the car.

When he opened his eyes, he was startled by the number and beauty of the stars in the Arizona sky. Like a child, he gazed at the heavens with his mouth hanging open. Never before could he remember such a beautiful sight. A peace came over him that totally removed the rage of a few minutes before. Forgetting the time or the situation, Steve climbed up on the hood of his car, leaving back to soak in the splendor of God's creation.

This day, we need to stop for a moment to open new eyes to the wonder of God's world. If we will only try to see it through His eyes rather than our own, we will find new beauty that we never noticed before. His is a world of wonder and miracle. See it.

Prayer: Lord, open my eyes, that I might see all that this world is meant to be. Do not let the pressures of the day create a cloud that prevents me from seeing Your beauty. Amen.

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2/16/18 1:27 P

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A Pasture for the Soul - Upwords - Week of February 16-22, 2018

by Max Lucado

When God gave the Ten Commandments and it came to Sabbath rest, His message was clear: If creation didn’t crash when I rested, it won’t crash when you do! You know we need to rest. For a field to bear fruit, it must occasionally lie fallow. And for you to be healthy, you must rest. When David says in the 23rdPsalm, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures,” he’s saying, “My shepherd makes me lie down in his finished work.”

With His own pierced hands, Jesus created a pasture for the soul. He pried loose the huge boulders of sin. In their place He planted seeds of grace and dug ponds of mercy. Can you imagine the satisfaction in the heart of the shepherd when the work is completed and he sees his sheep rest in the tender grass? Can you imagine the satisfaction in the heart of God when we do the same?

Read more Traveling Light

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2/16/18 7:32 A

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February 16

Psalms 18:34

He teached my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by my arms.

Angela was the youngest of six children. Her memories and childhood conjured images of constant fighting and competition. She had learned very early how to fight. Her young years had been a painful lesson in the survival of the fittest.

It was only after she left home that she found out that living didn't mean fighting. She met and married a strong Christian man whose strength came not from any physical source, but from a keep and abiding faith in the Lord. He taught her patience and compassion and peace. Her world was turned upside down as she realized that true strength came not from fighting, but from refusing to fight. God granted her a power greater than any she'd known. By her peace of mind and spirit, Angela broke free from the bondage of her past and faced the future with the assurance that nothing could ever defeat her again.

Prayer: Lord, remove from me my spirit of competition in trying to be better than other people. Whenever my will says to fight back in anger, let my spirit prevail with a desire to forgive. Make me strong in Your love. Amen.

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2/14/18 4:49 P

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February 14

Psalms 18:28

For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.

Wisdom from the Psalms, Psalms, Hebrew songbook, read through the Psalms, Dan Dick, biblical worship, biblical wisdom, Crosswalk, devotionals, Crosswalk devotionals, devo, devos, Daily devotionals, spiritual growth, spiritual growth devotionals, (Date), (Verse).

Jeffey dutifully tended the lamp that hung by the altar. The flame had not failed in over thirty years. Throughout that time, Jeffey had daily filled the lamp with oil. People throughout the church marveled at this dedication and persistence.

One day Jeffey took sick and had to go to the hospital. Friends stopped in to see Jeffey, and as each one left, he lifted his head and said, "Don't forget the light, okay?"

One women, puzzled by the urgency of Jeffey's reminder, asked him why the little lamp meant so much to him. His eyes grew misty, and he said, "That light means the world to me. When I was young, tow lights came into my life: my wife and Jesus. My wife died, but then so did Jesus. The lamp reminds me that so long as it shines, both of them are still alive. I guess it wouldn't matter if the lamp went out, but it's important to me."

God sends light into our lives in many ways. The greatest light of all is live, and we know love through His greatest gift, Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Shine forth through the dark reaches of my life, Light of the World, Fill me with Your blessed warmth and glow. Shine through me for others to see. Let me be Your live in this world. Amen.

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2/12/18 12:34 P

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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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2/11/18 10:41 P

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February 11

Psalms 18:3

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so sha ll I be saved from mine enemies.

When Charlie was a boy, he used to dream of being like his favorite comic book hero. With super powers, Charlie knew he'd be unstoppable. No one could pick on him, no one could tell him what to do, and everybody would love him. As he grew older, Charlie grew sad to realize that no superhero life lay in his future. Superheroes were just myths.

Then, one day, Charlie found a new kind of hero. A friend of his gave him a New Testament and asked him to read it. Charlie was swept into a world where sin and evil came to an end, where good really did win, and where love was the strongest power of all. And the best thing was, everyone who believed could be a hero, too.

We need to choose our heroes carefully. Only one hero is worthy of our praise and allegiance, and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus will save us from our enemies, and He will set all things right. Follow Him, and He will grant you a power beyond belief.

Prayer: Dear God, I follow so many false heroes, thinking they might have something I need. Help me to remember that all I could ever need or want, You have already given me though the life of Your blessed Son. Amen.

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2/10/18 9:59 A

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February 10

Psalms 18:2

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Jennifer could hardly wait for her shift to be over. The nurses' station was a mad rush, and there was simply no time to even catch her breath. Some nights she wondered why she had ever gone into nursing. The pace was so crazy, and the work was exhausting, both mentally as well as physically. For a moment, Jennifer closed her eyes and said a quick prayer to the Lord, thanking Him for His great mercy and asking for just enough strength to make it through.

The Lord listens to our prayers, and He responds by giving us the strength we need to meet every situation. He truly is our strength of our fortress. Trust in the Lord, and He will grant you His peace.

Prayer: Dear Lord, there are times when I just don't think I can make it. Please grant me Your power to endure and succeed. Help me to remember that real strength comes from You. Amen.

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2/9/18 2:07 P

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February 9

Psalms 17:5

Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.

Burt had worked in high-rise construction all his life. Every day he would walk the girders high above the ground with apparent ease. In his lifetime he had seen a number of men plunge from the girders due to a mere moment of carelessness. As for himself, he knew he had been lucky. Each morning he began work only after saying a short prayer, asking the Lord to watch his movements through the day, keeping him safe from any mishap.

Though most of us never do anything as dangerous or risky as high-rise construction, we do stand in danger of falling to temptation. A fall like that is as devastating to the soul as a plunge from a high girder would be to our physical being. No matter how careful we try to be, we need someone to catch us when we stumble. God is that someone. He waits with open arms to catch His children when they fall. Rest easy in the knowledge that God guides your steps. He will protect those who put their trust in Him.

Prayer: I need Your guiding love, Almighty God. Without it, I am sure to fall. Thank You for being with me picking me up when I fall. Amen.

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2/9/18 2:02 P

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Sleeping Trouble - Upwords - Week of February 9-15, 2018

by Max Lucado

Millions of Americans have trouble sleeping! You may be one of them. Only one other living creature has as much trouble resting as we do. They are woolly, simpleminded, and slow...sheep. Sheep can’t sleep! For sheep to sleep, everything must be just right. No predators. No tension in the flock. Sheep need help. They need a shepherd to lead them and help them lie down in green pastures. Without a shepherd, they cannot rest.

Without a shepherd, neither can we! Psalm 23:2 says, “He, (the Shepherd) makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.” Who’s the active one? Who’s in charge? The Shepherd! With our eyes on the Shepherd, we’ll get some sleep. Isaiah 26:3 reminds us of the promise, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”

From Traveling Light

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2/8/18 6:20 A

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February 8

Psalms 17:3

Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; though hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

Being a teacher for thirty years teaches you an awful lot. Ann had seen just about every trick in the book. The minute her back was turned, children would try all kinds of things. Often she would leave the room for a few minutes, just to see who her problem children were going to be. She would return suddenly and catch them in all stages of misbehavior. There were the exceptions, of course. Some children sat quietly whether she was in the room or not. Those children were rate treasures, but they often helped her keep her sanity.

All of us behave differently when we think we're being watched. Usually, we are on our best behavior when we know that someone else is around. The funny thing is, somebody is always with us: God. Is God pleased when He sees the way we act when we're alone? It is a wise person who tries to live righteously all the time, both when others are with him or her as well as when he or she is alone. God will help us be the people we are meant to be, if we will only ask. No one is more deserving of our best behavior than God.

Prayer: Lord, help me to give You my best, not my worst. Keep me ever mindful of Your presence, and be proud of who I am becoming. Amen.

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2/7/18 3:39 P

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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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February 5

Psalms 15:5

He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

The young man was quite proud of himself. He ran a lawn-care service specifically targeted to older people who could not do the work for themselves. But, because he had them in a tough position, he charged them more than he ordinarily could have. Since they couldn't do the work themselves, and they often didn't know anyone else to contact, they had to pay his price. Publicly, he gained the reputation of being a champion of the elderly. Privately, he gloated over his shrewd maneuvering.

The Bible tells us that when we receive our rewards on earth, we have nothing to look forward to from God in the future. Our duty is to love and defend others, not take advantage of them. When we put other people's interests ahead of our own, then we can count on God's favor in the days to come.

Prayer: You have created everyone equally. Lord, and no one is more precious in Your sight than anyone else. Help me to see the value in all people, and do everything in my power to serve them and love them. Amen.

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February 4

Psalms 15:3

He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

Ruth attended every church function held, and she never refused to pitch in when there was work to do. She gave liberally of money, time, and talent. There was nothing she would not do for her church. Even so, she found that others did not welcome here or invite her to join in their special functions. One day she complained to the people she was with that, "Too many people think too highly of themselves, and they're jealous of me because I do so much." She began to list by name those whom she meant. Finally, one of her associates stopped her and said, "The reason you're not more welcome is because you always talk about others. You spend a lot of time doing good, then you undo it by gossiping. We get tired of hearing you criticize everyone who doesn't do things like you want them to."

We are all called to be Christian in thought, deed, and word. If the love of God truly dwells in our hearts, then we should show it by the way we treat and talk about others. What we say matters a great deal, and God will judge us on our words and feelings, as well as on our actions.

Prayer: Lord, help me to love with Your divine love. Keep me from judging others, but never let me forget that to grow, I must continually judge myself. Amen.

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February 3

Psalm 14:4

Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord.

Cory rode along the street on his bicycle, lighting huge firecrackers and tossing them onto the doorsteps of houses along the way. He would listen for the mighty explosions and then laugh as frightened home owners came to the door to see what had happened. His terrorizing spree came to an end as one firecracker with too short a fuse blew up in Cory's hand, severely injuring him.

Do the people who abuse and oppress others really think there is no penalty to pay for what they do? It seems that way. Workers of iniquity who pride themselves on their brilliance and accomplishment are in fact some of the most ignorant people alive. Those who do not know the Lord, do not know much of anything. True knowledge and wisdom comes through love and respect of the one who died to make our salvation possible: Jesus Christ.

Prayer: O Lord, steer me away from th ose who, through ignorance of You, cause pain and destruction. Help me, instead, to build up and defend all that is right and good. Amen.

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2/3/18 1:18 A

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Secret of Forgiveness - Upwords - Week of February 2-8, 2018

by Max Lucado

You will never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you. Is it still hard to consider the thought of forgiving the one who hurt you? If so, go one more time to the room. Watch Jesus as he goes from disciple to disciple. Can you see him? Can you hear the water splash? Can you hear him shuffle on the floor to the next person? Keep that image.

John 13:12 says, “When he had finished washing their feet. . .” Please note; Jesus finished washing their feet. That means he left no one out. Why is that important? Because that means he washed the feet of Judas. Jesus washed the feet of his betrayer. That’s not to say it was easy for Jesus. That’s not to say it’s easy for you. But that is to say, God will never call you to do what he hasn’t already done!

From Inspirational Reader

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February 2

Psalms 14:2

The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

"It won't do you any good. All that talk about God is just a crutch. Do your best, live for the day, then lay down and die."

Tim listened to his friend rave on and on, but he never did challenge him. In some ways, he agreed with his friend. Sometimes Jesus was a crutch, but after all, lame people need a crutch. Tim felt like he'd been limping through his entire life before he found Christ. He also believed that God wanted him to do his best and live for the day, but he knew there was more to it than that. Even if all his friends told him that God was a lie, he wouldn't believe it. God was real, and no one could convince him otherwise.

Arguments against the existence of God can sound good, but they amount to nothing more than opinion in the face of fact. We walk by faith, not by sight. God is looking for faith-walkers. If we will follow what we know to be true with our hearts, instead of what we can be convinced of in our minds, then God will lead us and sustain us in all that we do.

Prayer: Be with me, Lord. All around me are people who attack my faith. Dwell in my heart, and let me feel the reality of Your presence within. Amen.

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February 1

Psalms 14:1

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

The Reverend Dave Scott stood trembling at the doorway to the sanctuary. During the night, vandals had broken into the church. They hadn't taken anything, but they had destroyed just about everything. Windows were shattered, pews splintered, Bible ripped apart. Reverend Scott felt a terrible sickness in the pit of his stomach. Who could do such things? Was nothing sacred anymore?

We need to ask ourselves these questions, because we face such situations all the time. Terrible things are done all around us, and often they happen without regard or respect for things we hold sacred. Foolish people hold our God in contempt, and we can only find consolation in the fact that the Lord sees all, and His justice will one day be done. For us, we must hold onto His goodness and His strength so we can endure such inconceivable crimes. Our Lord is greater than the "things" foolish people destroy. His will be done!

Prayer: O Lord, while the evil days keep coming, grant me strength enough to endure until the end. Remind me that I worship you, and nothing any man or woman can do will ever destroy that. Amen.

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1/31/18 9:08 A

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January 31

Psalms 13:3

Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.

Bill was beginning to doubt his faith. He had been confirmed into a church almost twenty years ago, he had once read the Bible regularly, and he still prayed occasionally, always at meals. Still, he felt like he was just stumbling through life like a sleepwalker. Nothing seemed to matter, and Bill felt that his life laced purpose. There had to be something more, but Bill was wondering what it was.

If the Lord is not a real and vital part of our lives, then we are only half living. God renews us and puts purpose into our being. We are spiritual batteries which constantly need to be recharged. We cannot be recharged apart from the power source: Jesus Christ. The Bible, the church, fellowship with other believers, prayer; these and many other activities draw us close to God and therefore energize our spiritual lives. Draw close to God and feel the power. It's waiting right now, and it is given freely.

Prayer: Energize my life with the power of Your Holy Spirit, Lord. Grant that I might live life fully, not halfway. Open my eyes to the glorious life I have been given. 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 28

Psalms 12:3

The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things.

A friend of mine tells of a man he worked with who believed that he knew everything there was to know about God. If people expressed their beliefs, the man would criticize and analyze them, telling them what he felt was wrong with their way of thinking. He bragged of all the things he had read, of the people he had met, and the numbers he had let to Christ. His religion was worn as a badge to impress others. However, when things got hard the man, he found that he was ill-equipped to deal with the pressures.

Our faith in Christ is not to be a source of bragging and pride; but a source of comfort and service. Being Christian doesn't make us better than other people, just better off. We are blessed by the gift of God's love, and we should receive it with humility and grace.

Prayer: Creator God, You have made me in Your image, and I sometimes forget how thankful I should be. All that I am, and all that I can be, is a gift from You, and nothing that I have done on my own. Forgive my foolish pride. Amen.

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January 27

Psalms 12:1

Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

Sarah thought that going to a Christian college would be an answer to her prayers. She really looked forward to a community of believers where she could feel at home. She especially wanted to find out what it would be like to date Christian guys who wouldn't try to take advantage of her. Boy, had she been wrong. The guys she went out with at the college were no different from the boys in high school. And a lot of the girls partied all the time. Sarah wondered if there was something wrong with her. Maybe being a Christian wasn't what she thought at all.

Many people face a dilemma like Sarah's. Too many people think that being a Christian means believing but not doing. They act as if being a Christian makes their old behaviors somehow right. Nothing is further from the truth! Being a Christian means living a godly life and rejecting many things that the world says are okay. How sad that the people who do live good lives are the ones who feel like freaks. As the days go on, few godly people exist.

Thankfully, God is with those who choose the path of righteousness, and He will be with us always.

Prayer: I live with a foot in two worlds, Lord. Reach out and pull me into the Kingdom, that I might step from this world into Yours. Amen.

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Pasture of the Soul - Upwords - Week of January 26-February 1, 2018

by Max Lucado

When God gave the Ten Commandments and it came to Sabbath rest, His message was clear: If creation didn’t crash when I rested, it won’t crash when you do! You know we need to rest. For a field to bear fruit, it must occasionally lie fallow. And for you to be healthy, you must rest. When David says in the 23rdPsalm, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures,” he’s saying, “My shepherd makes me lie down in his finished work.”

With His own pierced hands, Jesus created a pasture for the soul. He pried loose the huge boulders of sin. In their place He planted seeds of grace and dug ponds of mercy. Can you imagine the satisfaction in the heart of the shepherd when the work is completed and he sees his sheep rest in the tender grass? Can you imagine the satisfaction in the heart of God when we do the same?

From Traveling Light

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January 26

Psalms 11:4

The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.

Whenever they went to the ocean, Dave remembered Tim and how he had drowned by swimming out too far. No only did he go too far, but he swam in an area without a lifeguard. Since that time, Dave always looked for the lifeguard, and he refused to swim if the lifeguard wasn't present. Once Dave had thought that lifeguards were on the beach to keep people from having too much fun. Now he thought differently.

What comfort there is to know that we are being watched over. This life provides some pretty treacherous waters, and we need to know that there is a divine lifeguard, ready to pull us up at a moment's notice. The Lord watches over us, not to stifle or oppress us, but to insure us a full, happy, and healthy life. We can tread life's waters knowing that there is nothing to fear, for the Lord is watching.

Prayer: when I get in over my head, Lord, be there to life me up. I need You to watch over me and care for me. I put all my faith in You. Amen.

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January 24

Psalms 10:17

Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.

The jury had argued the merits of the case for hours. Nelson had remained silent through the entire debate, but now he leaned forward and began to speak. Immediately everyone silenced themselves and turned to listen to what Nelson had to say. Because he had said little previously, his words had a strange impact, and his argument persuaded the jury members.

When someone talks all the time, the tendency is to tune that person out. NO one wants to be around someone who chatters incessantly. What a joy it is to find someone who employs an economy of words. The person who speaks infrequently tends to be heard the most.

When we learn to speak to God of the more important desires of our hearts, we can be assured that He is hearing us and will answer our prayers. When we merely chatter on to God about every little annoyance or inconvenience, we may find that He is slower to answer, in hopes that we will learn to take care of problems that are within our own power to solve. Use wisdom in your dealing with God, and you will find your relationship enriched.

Prayer: Teach me humility and wisdom, O Lord, that I might speak wisely of the things that are most important. Help me to know what I am able to deal with and what I am not. Guide me as I grow. Amen.

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January 22

Psalms 9:19-20

Arise, O Lord; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men.

It is frightening to listen to the decrees made by some of our world leaders. They hold the lives of so many people in their hands, and all too often they seem bent on destruction, not only of themselves, but of as many people as they can take with them. Were it true that they really had the ultimate power, there would be no reason for hope.

We know better, however. The only true power in this world is the power of God, and our fate will not be decided by men and women, but by God. WE are created for eternity, and so we do not need to fear the decisions made by corrupt human beings in this age. Our trust is in the Lord of all creation, and in Him there is never reason to fear or doubt.

Prayer: Father God, sustainer of life and giver of sanity in an insane world, hear the prayers of Your people and give us peace and confidence of a bright new age to come. Amen.

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January 20

Psalms 9:9

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

Ellen lived in a tiny shack on the edge of a small backwater town. She no modern conveniences; no car, no electricity, no fancy clothing. She just lived a simple life, giving of herself to others, sharing what little she did have with anyone who needed it. Often people tried to help Ellen, but she just smiled and said she didn't want for anything. When asked why she lived as she did, Ellen said, "God has made sure that I've had enough to get by on. I don't need any more than that. He and I have a nice deal. When He needs me, He lets me know and shows me what I can do, and when I need Him, all I have to do is call. I've faced hard times, but the Lord has always given me strength and given me a place to run to."

The Lord is our refuge and our strength. It takes a great deal of wisdom to realize that. Our lives are much more than possessions and positions. Our lives are gifts from God; given to us and to others for His glory. We need not ask what more God can do for us, but wh at we might do for God. He will surely let us know.

Prayer: Father, I sometimes need to escape: from the world, from myself, from the things that tie me down. Be my liberation and my sanctuary. Strengthen me for Your service. Amen.

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Pray the Particulars - Upwords - Week of January 19-25, 2018

by Max Lucado

A father was teaching his three-year-old daughter the Lord’s Prayer. She would repeat the lines after him. Finally she decided to go solo. She carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer. “Lead us not into temptation,” she prayed, “but deliver us from e-mail.” Not a bad prayer!

God calls us to pray about everything! We tell God exactly what we want. We pray the particulars. When the wedding ran low on wine, Mary wasn’t content to say, “Help us, Jesus.” She was specific. She said, “They have no more wine” (John 2:3 NIV). A specific prayer is a serious prayer. If I say to you, “Do you mind if I come by your house sometime?” you may not take me seriously. But if I say, “Can I come over this Friday night? I really need your advice.” Then you know my petition is sincere. When we offer specific requests, God knows the same. So, offer yours!

From Anxious for Nothing

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January 19

Psalms 9:1

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.

Audrey loved the little children, and they dearly loved her. She would walk with them through the gardens and fields, showing them all the wonders of nature. She would sit with them for hours and tell them stories. She would read to them from her Bible, then explain what she had read. She would remind the children of all the good things God could do. For the main part of her life, Audrey taught little children the reality of God.

To be truly in love with God is a consuming passion. We can't wait to tell the world of the wonderful truth we know. The spirit of God enters in, and our lives are never the same again. Praise the Lord with your whole heart, and show forth all His wonderful works.

Prayer: Each new day brings new wonders to my attention. Thank You, O Lord, for creating such a beautiful world with so many miracles to behold. 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 17

Psalms 8:3-4

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

A devout man refused to enter into a church because he said that he was not worthy to read on holy ground. Whenever he saw a cross, he burst into tears and turned his eyes away. He humbled himself whenever he could, and he lamented that he would never be good enough to hope for salvation.

One day, a traveling minister entered the hometown of the man. He saw the devout man sitting on the stones outside the church building, and so he stopped to talk. When he found out the man'' thoughts, he told him, "God is not looking for worthy men, but willing children. He doesn't want to be surrounded by people trying to impress Him with how much they can love Him. He merely wants people who will receive the great love He has to give. You are wise in saying you will never be worthy, but do not be foolish in not realizing that you are loved. Come, and receive the gift of the Lord. He set the earth and skies in motion, the birds in the air, the fish in the sea, the creatures on the earth; a nd He did it all for you, my friend."

Prayer: Though I do not deserve Your great love, Father God, I thank You that You give it so freely. Embrace me as a child, cradle me in Your strong and tender arms, and help me remember that I am Yours. 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 14

Psalms 6:2

Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak; O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

The closer we get to God, the more glaring are our faults. The brighter the light of perfection that we subject ourselves to, the more flaws are revealed. The better we understand the awesome magnificence of God, the more we expose our own imperfection. As the great men and women of the Bible came to realize, the stronger we become in the faith, the more wretched we sometimes fee.

This, however, is no cause for despair. Our Lord wants nothing more than for us to come to depend on Him. We can only truly become dependent as we acknowledge our inadequacies. As the Apostle Paul found out, true strength comes from admitting our weakness, and total healing comes by realizing that without God we are sickly and terminally diseased by sin. Cry out for the mercy of God and He will strengthen you; ask for His healing and you will be made whole.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I try to be perfect and find that I am hopelessly deficient. Nothing I can do will bring me the perfection You intend for me. Fill me with Your Spirit and do for me all that I cannot do for myself. 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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God Has a Plan - Upwords - Week of January 12-18, 2018

by Max Lucado

In the famous lace shops of Brussels, Belgium, certain rooms are dedicated to the spinning of the finest lace with the most delicate of patterns. These rooms are completely dark except for a shaft of natural light from a solitary window. Only one spinner sits in the room and the light falls on the pattern while the worker remains in the dark.

Has God permitted a time of darkness in your world? You look but you cannot see him. You see only the fabric of circumstances woven and interlaced. You might question the purpose behind this thread or that. But be assured, God has a pattern. He has a plan. The Bible says in Romans 8:28, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” He is not finished. But when he is, the lace will be beautiful!

From Anxious for Nothing: Max Lucado

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January 12

Psalms 5:8

Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

Barry hated to be left out of the good times his friends had, but he hated it even worse when they went out drinking and cruising. He didn't like to drink, and his friends always mocked him because of it. Thank goodness for Jean. She had come along and given him an excuse not to go out. She really disapproved of drinking and driving, so Barry could do for Jean what he had never been able to do for himself: say no!

God gives us the reason to say no. In those areas of our life where we are too weak to say no to our friends, we can learn to say no because we know that God wants us to. So many people would lead us from path of God, many of them unintentionally. Ask the Lord for guidance. In the face of our strongest temptations, God will give us the strength and the reason to resist.

Prayer: O God, I find myself in some terrible situations that I don't want to be in. Help me to free myself from those things I know displease You. Guide me, strengthen me, liberate me, I pray. 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 10

Psalms 4:4

Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.

Jennifer lay in her bed, listening to the approaching thunder. Storms scared her, yet something deep inside thrilled at their coming. She closed her eyes and imagined the thunder as the voice of God spreading across the face of the earth. There was a strange comfort in the thought that God would thunder forth in such a way. Jennifer began to pray to God, confident that He would hear her and be with her. In the wee small hours of the night. Jennifer drifted off, asleep in the loving arms of God until morning.

In the face of the storms of life, we need the confidence that our Lord will be with us and that He will grant us peace. The peace of the Lord is the strongest force on earth, and those who find their peace in the Lord need never fear. Look deep inside and dwell with the Spirit of God in your heart. There you will find the calm that no storm can disturb.

Prayer: O Lord, grant me Thy perfect peace, and lift me above the storms of my life. I trust in Your great love. Be with me, I pray. 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 6

Psalms 2:12

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

What a beautiful image is presented when we think of being able to kiss the Son of God. As family members embrace and kiss when they meet, so we are able to look forward to a day when we will be welcomed as family of Jesus Christ. He awaits us in love and care, and we have no need to fear anything, for we will one day be united. In fact, we are already united through the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is God's kiss, blown to us on earth, and we can receive it with joy. We will never know greater love than the love God has for us. He sent His only Son to be our Savior and Lord. He gave us all that He had to give, out of a divine love for us. Rejoice in the love of God and let it carry you throughout each day of the year.

Prayer: Welcome, dear Lord, into the depths of my heart. Dwell there in love, and never leave me. I am whole only when You are with me. Thank You for loving me so very much. 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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January 2

Psalms 1:6

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Jeff got so discouraged sometimes. He worked so hard while his roommates messed around, but they always seemed to do every bit as well as he did. Whenever he let up even a little bit, his grades fell. It just didn't seem fair.

It's hard to look around and see so many undeserving people receive such wonderful rewards. We like to feel that justice is going to be done, but we hardly ever see it. Luckily, our trust is in the Lord and His promises. Those who receive all their blessings now have nothing more to come, while those who patiently wait upon God and His justice will find themselves face-to-face with an eternity of joy and peace. Nothing escapes the watchful eye of God. He sees the way of the righteous, and He will surely reward them.

Prayer: Lord, help me to wait patiently for Your will to be done, and do not let me envy the blessings of others. Keep my eyes fixed upon Your great love. Amen.


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January 1

Psalms 1:1

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

A time for starting over. A new beginning. A wonderful time to take stock of life and look for ways to improve and grow. Too often, careless resolutions are made that are never kept, and so one year blends into the next with little change. The fact is, all of us have areas in our lives that could stand some improvement. As this new year begins, let us look at our lives with honesty and candor. Let us approach change with a positive spirit, and work toward finding ways to become the people that god wants us to be. Most importantly, ask the Lord to guide and strengthen, for it is through His power that we are able to conquer our failings and turn them into strengths. God is able to see us both as we are and as we can be, and we need that sight in order to truly change. He will steer us away from the ungodly. He will liberate us from the way of sin. He will lead us from scorn to joy. The Lord will do all this and more because of His great and abiding love for His children. Rejoice i n the love of God. he has given us a new year, and desires to give us a new life.

Prayer: O Lord, cleanse my soul of all wrong. Help me grow in the light of Your love. Lift me above what I have been, and set me onto a new path of righteousness and grace. Amen.

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December 31

Psalms 150:6

Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

God looked down upon His creation and saw that it was good. In time, God's creation looked back and saw that God was good. Together they formed a unity of love and devotion. Through their covenant, all creation was brought into harmony. The Lord loves His children, and many of His children love Him back. Praise the lord with all of your being. With each breath you take, remember that the Lord is God. Nothing you do is done apart from Him. Wherever you go, God is there. He will never leave those who love Him. He gives us new years and new challenges, and he helps us to grow and learn. As we approach the new year, we can enter it confident that God goes forth with us. Praise the Lord, one and all. The Lord has been very good to His children.

Prayer: I thank You for the year just past-the challenges and the joys-and I look forward to the future, asking Your blessing upon it. Be with me, Lord, and with all my loved ones. Keep me in Your care. Shine Your light upon my path, and make me acceptable in Your sight. Amen.


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December 29

Psalms 150:2

Praise Him for his mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

Jeff was beside himself. His wife had gone into labor hours ago, and a nurse had just come out to tell him that there were complications. There was a good chance that they might lose either the mother or the child. Jeff could only wait and pray. Time passed slowly, but when everything was finally done, both mother and child were fine, and Jeff prayed a silent prayer of thanks.

God does mighty acts in our lives. There are times when things don't always work out the way we want them, but God is there to pick us up and help us deal with our trials. Praise the Lord that He is good and kind. His goodness is unending, and we are always in His care.

Prayer: I cannot begin to understand all that You have done, Lord, but I praise You for what I have seen and felt. You have given so much. Thank You. Amen.


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December 26

Psalms 149:4

For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.

Jesus looked around at the people of Nazareth. There were people of all kinds there. He knew that He had been sent to them all, but He also knew that there were some who would reject Him. He knew there would also be those who would accept Him readily: His people. His people were the poor and oppressed. They were the slaves and the widows and the orphans. They were the outcasts: prostitutes and tax collectors and lepers. In a world where so much value was placed on beauty, His people were the dregs. But he had something to offer them that would make them beautiful. Through His grace, His people would be elevated to the level of angels, and even higher. In God's wisdom, the last-His people-would be first, and the first would be last. Jesus set out, looking to find His people.

Are we His people? Do we accept Him, and fashion our life to His will, or do we reject Him, continuing to live by our own rules? Christ will beautify the meek with salvation. It is in our meekness that we realize our need for God. Let God beautify you, and you will find His pleasure.

Prayer: Make me meek, Lord. Break my spirit of willfulness and recreate me with Your beauty. Amen.

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December 25

Psalms 149:3

Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.

A man once said, "I couldn't enjoy myself in heaven. There's too much singing and dancing there for my taste. They started up a long time ago, and it doesn't look like they're anywhere near ready to stop. Ever since Jesus was born, they've had one big, long celebration."

Indeed, since the birth of Jesus Christ, there had been great reason to dance. Death lost all its power, and eternity was opened to all who would choose it. There is reason to dance and sing. Christ came among us, and He is with us to this day. He has given us eternal life and has offered us everything we need to live happy and full lives on earth. Rejoice! Christ has come this day. And He will never leave us alone.

Prayer: Come into my heart, dear Lord. I have waited for Your coming, and I am ready to share my life with You. Be close by me, Lord, and fill me with song and dance and joy. Amen.

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It Happened in a Moment - Upwords - Week of December 22-28, 2017

by Max Lucado

It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment. God became a man! Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb. Jesus came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were un-manicured, calloused, and dirty. For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt...weak; weary; and afraid of failure. His feelings got hurt.

To think of Jesus in such a light seems almost irreverent. There’s something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant and predictable. But don’t do it! For heaven’s sake, don’t! Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out!

From In the Manger

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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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God is Good - UpWords - Week of December 8-14, 2017

by Max Lucado

There’s a reason the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror. Your future matters more than your past!

God’s grace is greater than your sin. You thought the problem was your calendar, your marriage, or your job. In reality, it may be unresolved guilt. Don’t indulge it! Don’t drown in the bilge of your own condemnation. What you did was not good. But your God is good and He will forgive you. He is ready to write a new chapter in your life. Say with Paul, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us” (Philippians 3:13-14 TLB).

Your salvation has nothing to do with your work and everything to do with the finished work of Christ on the cross. Rejoice in the Lord’s mercy!

From Anxious for Nothing

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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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He Took It - UpWords - Week of December 1-7, 2017

By Max Lucado

Denalyn and I had enjoyed a nice dinner at a local restaurant. As we received our bill, a church member spotted us and came over. After we chatted a few moments, he took our bill. “I’ll take this,” he said. Guess what? I let him do what he wanted to do. I let him take it away.

Someday we will stand before God. All of us will be present. All of us will have to give an account for our lives...every thought, every deed, every action. Were it not for the grace of Christ, I would find this to be a very terrifying thought. Yet, according to Scripture, Jesus came to “take away the sins of the world” (John 1:29 Phillips).

On that day, I will point to Christ. When my list of sins is produced, I will gesture toward him and say, “He took it.” Let him take yours.

From Anxious for Nothing

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November 30

Psalms 140:7

God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.

Larry had to face the fact: His surgery was less than three days away, and he was scared. He'd hardly been sick a day in his life, and now he was preparing to go under the knife for heart surgery. Nothing had ever prepared him for something like this. He lay back and closed his eyes and began to pray. As he did, an image came into his mind. He was dressed as a soldier, and the surgery ahead was a foe to defeat. But, Larry didn't stand alone. God was with him, and beside the awesome image of God, the foe didn't look large at all. When Larry ended his prayer, he opened his eyes with a renewed sense of hope and a heart that was strangely calm. The Lord had prepared him for battle, and Larry felt that it was already won.

Prayer: Lord, I put my trust in You. As I face the challenges of everyday life, help me to remember that You stand with me, supplying my strength and my courage. Amen.

Edited by: JUDITH316 at: 11/30/2017 (20:31)
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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 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 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 2:37 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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11/17/17 6:56 A

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Unresolved Guilt - UpWords - Week of November 17-23, 2017

by Max Lucado

What kind of person does unresolved guilt create? An anxious one, forever hiding, running, denying, or pretending. As one man admitted, “I was always living a lie for fear someone might see me for who I really was and think less of me. I hid behind my super spirituality but this lie was exhausting and anxiety producing.”

Unresolved guilt will turn you into a miserable, weary, angry, fretful mess. In a psalm David probably wrote after his affair with Bathsheba, the king said, “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat” (Psalms 32:3-4 NLT).

As the apostle Paul told Titus, God’s grace is the fertile soil out of which courage sprouts! “God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation is available for everyone!” (Titus 2:11,15 MSG).

From Anxious for Nothing

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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 5:49 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 12:33 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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11/10/17 4:42 P

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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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11/10/17 3:21 P

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The Grace of Christ - UpWords - Week of November 10-16, 2017

by Max Lucado

Guilt sucks the life out of our souls. Grace restores it. No one had more reason to feel the burden of guilt than did the apostle Paul. He had orchestrated the deaths of Christians--an ancient version of a terrorist. Yet, Paul gave his guilt to Jesus, period. He surrendered it to Jesus! As a result he could write, “I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us” (Philippians 3:13-14 TLB).

What would the apostle say to the guilt-ridden? Simply this: Rejoice in the Lord’s mercy. Trust in his ability to forgive. Cast yourself upon the grace of Christ and Christ alone!

From Anxious for Nothing.

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