I praise your very name, Lord God. Your name is holy. The angels praise you day and night. The heavens praise always. I praise you forever. But it is never enough. You, our Creator, are worthy of so much more. Accept my puny efforts as a little child standing before a giant. Accept my puny efforts as a little spider crawling through the sands of a great desert. Accept my puny efforts as a single little star surviving amidst a thousand thousand galaxies. How overwhelmed I am that you actually notice little insignificant me. You not only notice me, but you love me and take me as your child. I am the child of the Creator! I am consumed with amazement.
Thank you, God, for loving me and caring for me. I cannot see you but you are everywhere I look. I cannot hear you but you are in every sound I hear. I cannot feel you but you are in everything I touch. Most of all you are in my heart. Thank you for being there. Thank you for staying so close and making me feel as though I am the only other person in the world.
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The scripture for today, March 30 (3/30), isJohn 3:30 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“He must become greater; I must become less.”
This is John the Baptist speaking. He had a great following. People “were constantly coming to be baptized” by John (3:23). He had it made! But at the height of his popularity, he said, “I will be stepping down soon.”
Can you do this? Are you at the height of your popularity, perhaps at a club, an organization, church? Could you step down if someone more qualified than you came along? Or will you say, “I started this _______, and I was here first, so this is my project!” ?
Look inside. Deep inside. What are your motives for doing good? Selfish ambition or love for others? 1st Corinthians 13:1 says that, even if I offer my body to be burned and do not have love, it benefits me nothing.
Jesus warned, “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
Think. Think long and hard. Do you have some repenting to do? Father in heaven, help me look at myself the way You do.
The scripture for today, October 21 (10/21), isProverbs 10:21 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.”
What do you talk about during the day? Do you use proper judgment? Do you nourish others by what you say to them?
Are you a complainer or complimenter? Are you rude or patient? Do you glare or smile? Do you criticize the wrong a person does, or praise the right that person does? Do you sing of your love of God on Sunday and use swear words the rest of the week? What is in your heart passes through your lips.
Today, go out of your way to nourish everyone you talk to. Start a new habit. They will see God in you.
The scripture for today, October 18 (10/18), is 2nd Corinthians 10:18 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
Do you look at your life and decide some of your bad habits are not so bad, considering what some other people you know are doing? Do you look at your life and decide your lukewarmness in good works and spreading the gospel is not so bad, considering what most others around you are doing?
Jesus said you will receive only one reward, and you must choose it: (1) Being commended by other people, or (2) being commended by God. You can’t have both (Matthew 6:5; 18).
And that brings up how you judge other people. You may decide certain Christians you know are not pulling their load in your congregation, not doing their part. That may be a wrong judgment. They may be doing good works you will never know about. “Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:18a).
The scripture for today, September 9 (9/9), isZechariah 9:9 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you righteous and having salvation,gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Most people think Jesus riding on a donkey made him humble. Not at all. Donkeys and Mules were rides of kings.
Judges 5:9-10 says, “My heart is with Israel’s princes….you who ride on white donkeys.” Supreme Judge Jair led Israel 22 years and had 30 sons who rode 30 donkeys (Judges 10:3-4). Supreme Judge Abdon, who ruled Israel 8 years, had 70 sons and grandsons who rode on 70 donkeys (Judges 12:14).
II Samuel 18:9 says Absalom, King David’s son, rode on a mule. In I Kings 1:33,38,44, David ordained that his son, Solomon, ride on his own mule through the street as one proof that he chose Solomon to be the next king.
The people of Jerusalem knew Jesus was not only riding the ride of kings when he entered their capitol city, but he was also, at last, fulfilling the centuries-old prophecy they all knew so well (today’s scripture).
This is the humility that Jesus did exhibit: He rode on the colt of a donkey.
Do we blindly follow whatever our religious leaders tell us? Do we know the scriptures as well as we think we do? Oh, how much praising we miss out on!
The scripture for today, September 5 (9/5), is Nehemiah 9:5a as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“And the Levites ~ Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherabiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah ~ said ‘Stand up and praisethe Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.’ “
Here are eight men who probably none of us have ever heard of. We know nothing about them before this event and nothing about them after this event. But they are forever memorialized in the Bible because, on this one day, within this one hour, in this one moment in time they “stood on the steps of the temple…and called with a loud voice” (Nehemiah 9:4) for the people to “stand up and praise the Lord”.
Can we do that? Can we stand and shout to people around us, “Stand up and praise the Lord your God”? Yes, we can. We can write letters to the editor, we can encourage other students of the Bible, we can start Bible studies in our home or even the internet for adults or children, we can take scripture tray favors to a hospital or nursing home.
In what way can you tell people around you about their Creator and everlasting God? Today, in some way only you can do, stand up and praise the Lord.
The scripture for today, September 1 (9/1) is Psalm 9:1 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.”
I knew a lady many years ago who talked to God all day as though he were sitting or standing beside her, whether she was cleaning floors, washing dishes, going shopping, or just received a telephone call. She talked to God about everything she was doing all through the day. God was her constant companion.
What opportunities do you miss to talk to God? Every time you do, you are praising Him. How? By acknowledging His concern with everything you do, and in the process acknowledging His omnipresence. Oh, what a wonder His omnipresence is!
Does this include times when everything in your life is going wrong? You bet! On some days, the wonders of God are about the only positive things we can find in our life.
Praising God for his wonders amidst your frustrations, tears, fears, and helplessness can lift you out of the mire. It can remind you that you are not alone; for God sees what is happening to you. So, wait and watch. In his own often surprising and unexpected way, he will perform a wonder for you. Keep on praising, my friend. Keep on praising.
The scripture for today, July 12 (7/12), is Revelation 7:12in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen!”
How often do we praise God? Praise is more than thanking Him. Praise refers to God’s attributes. Let’s see what these words mean in the original Greek language of the New Testament:
Glory: magnificently beautiful Wisdom: great understanding Thanks: bestowed favor Honor: great weight and power
God deserves all this from us. Some people think God is ugly, He doesn’t understand them, He is against them, and is for weaklings. Some even hate God and are repulsed by the idea of worshipping him. They just do not know God.
The scripture for today, June 26 (6/26) is 1st Chronicles 6:26ff as found in the Old Testament of the Bible.
“Elkanah his son, Zophai his son, Nahath his son, Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son and SAMUEL his son. The sons ofSamuel: JOEL the firstborn and Abijah the second son.”
This is a little long, but I think you will enjoy it.
The prophet Samuel came from a musical family who descended from Levi’s son Kohath. Samuel’s son listed in this scripture was Joel. Verse 33 called the son of Joel and grandson of Samuel “Heman the musician”. Just what did Heman the musician do?
David told the Levites to appoint “singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps, and cymbals“. Heman was the first one they appointed (I Chronicles 15:16f) and he had two assistants ~ Asaph and Merari (I Chronicles. 6:39, 44). David put them in charge of the music in the house of the Lord and they performed their duties according to the regulations (verses 31f).
So what David appointed was a choir and orchestra. When David first appointed them, Heman had 120 relatives in his clan, and his assistants had 220 and 130 in their clans (I Chronicles. 15:5-7; 19-22; 27-28) so they had a total of 470 musicians. Wow! And these musicians had a full-time job!
They were to minister before the Lord “according to each day’s requirements” of sacrifices as written in the Law of Moses. Heman and the others were responsible for sounding the trumpets and cymbals and playing the other instruments ~lyres, harps, and cymbals(15:19-21) ~ for sacred song (16:37-42). In addition to playing the prescribed lyres, harps and cymbals, trumpets were to be sounded to announce sacrifices, etc. (16:4-6).
By the time David was old, there were “four thousand…to praise the Lord with the musical instruments” (I Chronicles 23:5)! What an amazing choir and orchestra they had by this time! Remember, they were all male Levites, and were to help Aaron’s descendants, the priests, in the temple every day and at special feasts (verse 28, 30f). And what instruments were they still playing? Cymbals, lyres andharps “for the ministry at the house of God” (I Chronicles. 25:1 & 6).
Years later after David died and his son Solomon had completed the grand Temple in Jerusalem (II Chronicles. 5:1), “all the Levites who were musicians…stood on the east side of the altar dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres, accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and singers joined in unison as with one voice to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and the other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord” (verses 12-13).
Can you imagine such an orchestra and choir? The tinkling of the harps and lyres, with cymbals keeping the tempo, and trumpets calling attention to it all? And all those singers! Was God pleased? Indeed he was, for in the form of a cloud “the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God” (verse 14).
All this occurred around 1000 BC. Three centuries later when Hezekiah was king, the same instruments were being played ~ cymbals,harps and lyres (II Chronicles. 29:25f). Why? Because they were prescribed by David, Gad the seer and Nathan the prophet as commanded by God through his prophets. (Acts 2:29-30 says David was a prophet too.)
So we see that during Old Testament times, God commanded that they have full-time musicians to sing and play during daily sacrifices and special feasts and they had to be male Levites and they had to play cymbals, harps and lyres, sometimes accompanied by trumpets.
What a family Samuel had! And I’ll bet he was musical himself. How proud he would have been of his descendants.
Interestingly, although God specified every detail of the instruments that had to be played in the Old Testament, nothing like that was specified in the New Testament. Did God forget? Perhaps God took us to a higher plain in the New Testament era. We do know that in I Corinthians 14:15, we are told to both pray and sing with mind and spirit.
About 40 years ago when my father died, the funeral was in a little country church. The music consisted of a small group from the congregation who sang hymns without the accompaniment of an instrument. They were not good performers ~ they twanged a lot and sometimes were a bit off key. But it was some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. Why? Because their singing was accompanied by their heart. They were telling my family, “We love you,” and I really felt they did.
And in Ephesians 5:19 we are told to “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heartto the Lord.” The term “make music” in the original Greek language of the New Testament is to play on strings. Since we are to make music in our hearts, then we are to play on theinstrument of our heart. How beautiful!
God looks down at our singing ~ no matter how good or feeble ~ and says, “I can tell you love me.” And that’s all that matters.