64 – Love without end

Love doesn’t come easy to some people, and I confess I am one of them. I thought that saying and showing my love to others would make them reciprocate. Then, I would be happy, content with my life. Love is often complicated by outside influences and circumstances. It takes a strong, devoted, sacrificing soul to stay in a relationship. Maybe it’s with a partner, spouse, child, or a friend that you have pulled and tugged emotionally. Years have gone by without improvement.

Pray without ceasing and thank God for being with you through it all. He is growing your faith through hard times. If it is his will for your life, he will help you find a way to resolve the problem or remove you from the situation. Ask him every day to give you joy and peace. Everyone deserves to be loved and respected. God loved you before you were ever born. He won’t stop loving you.

Scripture: God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. Lamentations 3:22-23 MSG (Message Bible)

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving us the capacity to love you and one another. You made us for love. We hunger for it in our lives. To give and receive love feeds our hearts. It shapes our thoughts and actions. We pray today that you will guide us in finding the love you want us to have. Help us to be forgiving and willing to love others and not give up. Open our hearts so that you may live there all of our days on earth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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63 – I’m not the potter

When I was an assistant teacher with hearing impaired students in public school, I interpreted for them when mainstreamed into art class. We fell in love with pottery as soon as our wet hands started molding the clay. I recommended to the head teacher of our self-contained classes (most subjects were taught with voice and sign language) that we get a small potter’s wheel and clay for special reward play in our classroom. A lot of these students with various disabilities released their frustrations into the clay. Sometimes their pots and bowls made them happy. Other times the clay was just an ugly lump.

We try to mold and shape ourselves and others, but we can’t do it without God’s help. He is the Potter, we are the clay. Let him have his way with you. He alone can change you to be more like his son Jesus Christ. Pray for those you care about and stop trying to mold them into what you want them to be. God is working in your life and those you love. You may feel like a lump of ugly clay, but you are the Potter’s one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

Scripture: But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8 ESV

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for never giving up on us. We praise your ability to mold and shape us into Godly people. You alone make life a miracle. Forgive us for trying to be the potter in other people’s lives and ours. Teach us how to release our fears and trust you to form us so that we sincerely walk and talk the faith. Let others see you in our daily lives. Amen.

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62 – Knock, Knock! Who’s there?

JESUS: It is I. Jesus. The one you’re looking for. You are a restless soul, and I have been trying for a long time to reach you with my love. I’ve been knocking on the door to your heart.

YOU: I didn’t want to open the door. I thought I didn’t need you, but my thoughts disturb me. I have no peace. I have achieved business success and wealth. I can buy gourmet food and top-shelf liquor. I have drugs available for recreation as well as pain. But my relationships never last long. I keep searching for satisfaction in my life. I don’t know what else to do.

Does this sound like you or someone you know? Remove the wealth and someone of undetermined means might also be struggling the same way. There is a vacuum in a soul, body, spirit or whatever you want to call it. We try to fill it up with money, food, alcohol, drugs, relationships and staying busy. If you are a restless soul, pray more, read the Bible, talk to a Christian friend or a minister. Learn more about faith in God. He is the only one who can fill the void in your life. From my personal experience, I have to say there is no satisfaction without Jesus by your side. Sending you a hug today!

Scripture: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:20 ESV

Prayer: Father God, you are the Father of all mankind. We praise you and thank you for tugging at our heartstrings and knocking on our doors. You never quit knocking. Help us to open the door to our hearts believing your grace is sufficient to change us. We want to trust you in everything we do. Amen.

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61 – Spotted

A little spotted fish sitting at the bottom of the tank was bought by a man. He took it home and nurtured it back to health. Within a couple of weeks, the spots were gone. The fish was swimming more and was bright orange again. He was socialized with other fish in an environment where he could thrive.

We sink to the bottom of the tank of life sometimes. We can’t remove our sinful spots. A new environment is needed. Clean, Living Water that nourishes our souls will heal our spots. God, the compassionate healer wants to give you and me a new home. We can thrive in His care.

Scripture: While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” Luke 5:12 ESV

But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:14 ESV

Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for giving us a Savior. We often sink from our burdens and sins. We need to be cleansed daily. Let us be changed and renewed by our faith in Jesus. A life closer to You is what we truly need. In Jesus’ Name, we believe and pray, Amen.

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60 – Train your brain

I have always admired people who seem to have it all together. You have probably met them, too. I am drawn to someone who has a positive outlook on life regardless of their circumstances. I visited a dear friend on her death bed, and I asked if she was afraid. Her face lit up as she softly smiled, “No, I am not afraid.” Those were the last words she spoke to me, and I want to think and speak fearless, positive words to others, too.

Talking with positive people, reading encouraging stories and watching movies that inspire me have trained my brain to think more positively. A Bible verse or a prayer to recite when a negative, worrisome thought arises also helps. You and I can change our thoughts. Fill your brain with good thoughts leaving no room for clutter.

Scripture: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 ESV

Prayer: Gracious Father, thank you for loving us with all our faults and negativity. You alone are worthy to be praised. Cleanse our minds of worry and criticism today. Show us the path to a pure heart and positive mind. We want to speak words of affirmation about our lives and comfort others in their time of need. May we always have a smile and kind word for everyone we meet. Amen.

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59 – Who is leading who?

Am I following Jesus or walking in front of him? I want to be his faithful follower in my daily life. I imagine him walking ahead to guide my path and choices. Sometimes I imagine us walking side by side as friends do who have heart to heart talks. Many times through my life I have walked ahead of him thinking only of myself and what I need. Where was he then? He was walking behind me ready to catch my fall. I would rather walk with Jesus and feel his presence in my heart and mind. He lifts me up and keeps me going. He is all I need. Christ is all I need.

Scripture: Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him. Colossians 2:6 ESV

Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for walking day by day with me in everything I do. I am encouraged by your presence that calms my spirit when I listen to you. Forgive me for being impatient and frustrated which causes me to walk ahead of you. I truly want to be a follower of Christ all of my life. You strengthen my steps. Amen.

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58 – What are you wearing today?

As I dress after breakfast, I tell myself that I belong to God. I am loved and know He watches over my coming and going everyday. I put on my shirt and ask for a compassionate heart. I pull on my blue jeans and ask for help being kind to others. I pull up my socks with a desire to be humble and meek as those blessed in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-11). As I tie my walking shoes, I pray for patience which is not one of my virtues.

I know in praying for this positive attitude that God hears and honors my sincere requests. There may be lessons to get me to each point, but it will come. He wants me to learn His ways to show love and mirror His son’s ministry on earth. Now it’s time to go for that walk and smile and wave and pray for each person I see.

Scripture: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 ESV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the trials and temptations that come my way. I know I have many lessons yet to learn in my lifetime. I truly want to have compassion, be kind and humble and meek. Help me to pray for guidance and patience first and not react or get anxious in anticipation of a situation I dread. Help me to wear these virtues everyday with a smile and a heart full of gratitude. Amen.

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57 – A little help

For a few years in my court work, I was on a judge’s team. Cases were divided among five of us for docketing pleadings and proceedings. We had paper files in the early days and each employee was responsible for placing the folders categorically in the large file room after data entry. Sometimes it was necessary to communicate with an attorney or staff over the telephone. I struggled with communication due to profound hearing loss, but I could do all tasks except answer the phone. So if a team member had to make or take a call for me, I would return the favor by filing their case folders in the file room.

When I had cochlear implant surgery, they were excited and happy for me. They joked that they were all going out to lunch and leave me to answer their phones! I asked for volunteers in our department to help me learn to hear words again. A few employees took their break time for a few weeks of hearing practice. Someone would sit with me and say words progressing over time to phrases then sentences then phone calls from a plan I wrote for my coworker tutors.

The Bible is rich with stories of people helping people in everyday life with hardship, disabilities, illness and death to name a few. We often think it is amazing when others volunteer, but we may hesitate to help. I hope my personal story will encourage others to seek Divine leadership toward lending a helping hand. Each person has something to give.

Scripture: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us helping hands and generous hearts. We want to be givers and seek to do your work so others will know your loving kindness. Instill in us the desire and wisdom to volunteer when someone needs help. Let others see Christ in us. Amen

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56 – A cheerful giver

When I was a little barefoot girl, I learned about giving from my parents and my church. We didn’t have luxury items, but we had what we needed. I remember listening to a conversation between my parents one summer night. Daddy started supper when he arrived home from work. He was a cook in the Navy during World War II and helped Mama in the kitchen. When she got home, she asked him what happened to one of the porch chairs. He said one of the neighbors had remarked how much she liked the chairs, so he gave her one. Mind you, we only had two chairs.

Another generous gesture I observed was Mama and the neighbor ladies giving food gifts to each other. I learned to never return an empty plate. At church, we were taught about missionaries, and I participated in giving my offering at an early age. The more I gave, the more I wanted to give. This is not just about money. Giving my time for charity, sharing my resources and knowledge with others in my community and church has been a blessing. Everybody can do something. I find myself thanking God for the opportunity to give. I don’t want to return an empty plate to the Lord because he gave me his Son.

Scripture: Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the grace and blessings you bestow on me daily. Every minute of the day you walk beside me. Knowing you love me and have a plan for my life makes me a cheerful giver. Show me ways I can share your love with others. Send me to someone today that I can help, and let them see Christ in me. I want to be your cheerful giver. Amen

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55 – Find joy in your story

Instead of dwelling on my struggles and disappointments, I choose to have selective memory. I think back to a moment in time when someone spoke kindly to me, or I truly connected with a stranger who became my friend. Maybe the feel-good memory was being licked by a dog or holding a baby. It could have been an ice cream cone in my favorite flavor. Perhaps it was learning to braid my hair into pigtails. God wants us to be thankful in all things. You and I have experienced so much in life, and we are still here. We survived things we thought would break us. Look at your life and find something that makes you smile, makes you thank God.

Scripture: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV

Prayer: Father, thank you for bringing us through the tough years in our lives. Help us to remember the small moments that were good and forget the bad memories. We learn by living and desire a positive attitude for whatever happens. Trusting you and knowing you have a plan comforts us. Amen.

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