Sie sind auf Seite 1von 46

Live to Love

and
Love to Live!


How to Build Character
within Loving Partnerships



by

Norma M. Timm



ii



Copyright 1998 by Norma Timm. All rights reserved.
Except as permitted under the Copyright Act of 1976, this book may not be reproduced
in whole or in part in any manner without the written permission of its author.

All Scripture texts used in this book are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible
except those labeled NASB.

NASB Scripture texts are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE
Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977
Used by permission.


To purchase a copy of it contact:

Norma M. Timm
perfectloveten@aol.com


I I dedicate this book to all who want to
build loving relationships based on God's
Ten Commandment promises and the
Faith of Jesus. By His grace all we need
to love one another can be ours, even the
patience we need to learn how to do it.



iii

FOREWORD: NOW IS THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE!

We come to the night before the New Year knowing little of what lies before us. How we have
lived in the past designs our dreams and fans our fears of the future. We call upon the past
to dictate whether we shall unfurl our fragile agendas with courage or with caution. But
our lack of either courage or caution need not limit our liberty to live wisely and well,
for the Lord orders the events that will unfold before us. He wants us to love life, so
He stands ready to equip us with whatever we lack that is essential for success.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock..." Jesus says. The hope He offers is
wrapped in this promise: "If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I
will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." Rev. 3:20
"I...with him, and he with Me" forms an attractive offer, one that is highly
irresistible. In Jesus alone can we find the needed power for building
new covenant love partnerships and restructuring injured relations.
On our own the task is impossible. He urges us to give Him a
try: "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on
earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be
done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 18:19. Where shall we find this
great Promise Maker? For where
two or three are gathered
together in My name,
there am
I
in the midst
of them." Matt. 18:20.
Jesus has promised to meet us
in the midst of our writer-reader
partnership at this very time. His
challenging covenant promise is before us:
When we agree to ask for anything in His name,
He promised that His Father, Who gives us every good
gift and every perfect gift" James 1:17, will do it. What do
you need? Is it worth trusting Gods goodness to provide it for
you? As we stand on the threshold of tomorrow, we could not open
the door of this strange time zone we shall inhabit, to a wiser, more willing
lover. The food we find in His word will provide the energy we need to make
this time journey with joy. As thy days so shall thy strength be. Deuteronomy
33:25. In anticipation of this journey I write this book. Let's seek to come into
agreement on the need to bring Jesus into our midst. He waits to unveil our needs
and to reveal His plan for meeting them, as He meets with us. What victories do we
need to gain that we may become individuals who are free to love? Let us listen to His
voice asking, "But whom say ye that I am?" Matthew 16:15. Let us invite our loving,
need-meeting God to be whatever we need Him to be to us, and hear His well tested
answer: "I am that I am." When Jesus fills our glass of now with His presence, loving
fills our life's time. As we learn to live to love, we will love to live. May these concepts

ENRICH THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE.
HAPPY READING!!


Norma M. Timm
iv

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introductory Topics and Preface to Explore the Scriptural Framework of This Book v-xii

January . . . God's Plan for Loving Us Works 1

Discover how God plans to empower us to love Him and one another.

February. . . The Enemy's Plan Wrecks Loving Relationships 35

Three evils wreck love; explore God's plan to free you from them.

March . . . . "Train Up a Child in the Way..." 68

See distrust vanish in parent and child roles; gain faith in God to meet all your needs.

April. . . . . . What R-R-R the Basics? 102

See depression flee in teacher and student roles; gain hope for your life in Christ.

May . . . . . . Go for the Gold'n Rule 135

Become guilt-free in lover and friend roles; unite in covenant love partnership with God.

June . . . . . "Come Unto Me, All Ye That Labor" 170

Erase anxiety in manager and employee roles; God's work of grace gives courage to work.

July . . . . . . "Freely Ye Have Received, Freely Give" 204

Relieve grief and loss in neighbor and needy roles; in sympathy match deeds to needs.

August . . . . Feel at Home on the O'Range 239

Cure discontent in governing head or governed body roles; let God empower self-control.

September. . Rest in the Lord! 274

Let God's grace banish remorse in roles to help mankind, enjoy cheerfulness in His service.

October. . . . Victory in Jesus! 310

Overcome your fear and unwillingness to surrender to His loving will for you.

November . . Journey to the Wedding Feast 343

Rejoice in Jesus and be glad, as we journey to the feast; then others will want to join us.

December . . Smorgasbord of Scripture 373

Seek and find God's precious principles of love saturating many other great Scriptures.

Appendix . . Scriptural Principles for Restoration of Unity in Christ 405

Index . . . . . Index of Unique Relationships Concepts 409
v

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

This page will help you maximize the joys and benefits of reading this book.

What's the major message?

The major message is profound in its simplicity: God gives faith, hope, and love by His grace. We receive His
faith, hope, and love. We can then convey faith, hope, and love as people need them. God's plan for loving is simple.
Sin creates seven universal problems that hide God's plan in the complexities and confusion that we know all too well
by experience. God wants to diagnose and delete them from our relationships, so that we can be free to love all in all
ways.

Our task is beautiful in its complexity: We need to discover God's plan, diagnose sin's problems, delight in
Christ's cures, and let His Holy Spirit empower us to love as He loves us. We'll use the Scriptural "Teach, Reprove,
Correct, Train" process to treat each of seven universal problems, all of which God can cure by putting His loving grace
to work within us.

What's the tool?

This book is first and foremost a manual for teaching how to build character within the context of loving
partnerships. Its content and vocabulary develop in a highly sequential manner, so please read the book in order from
beginning to end to gain maximum benefit from what I teach. This manual is based solidly on the Scriptures, which
answer every human need.

How shall we read it?

The format, resembling a daily devotional book, offers a reading plan whereby the abstract nature of the
principles underlying relationships can be gently absorbed a day at a time. In whatever month you begin reading it,
please begin with January and read it in order at your own pace, as you would any teaching manual. Do not let the
dates hasten or delay or frustrate your study of it. (The current events I discuss come from the span of years over
which I wrote this book.) Each page invites you to study the concepts presented first. Then use the questions to relate
the day's message to your life experience. I write to relate with you one to one, not to preach at you. Relate with me
however you wish, as we share this road. Living is about relating.

This book develops a curricular framework for building loving characters equipped to meet every need we
face. It employs related sets of sequences. You'll see its fourfold framework repeat for several months to achieve its
unique goals for each basic role. Once you see how the process works to free people from one boxed-in dilemma,
you'll see it clearly at work to solve other dilemmas. Diagrams help you visualize how to relate to "boxed-in" people.

How can we STUDY it?

1. Use your Bible along with this book to deepen your understanding of these concepts.
2. Study the illustrations to see the patterns of instruction diagrammed.
3. Explore the Index. The first pages list the books many sequences. To trace the teachings on a given sequence,
read the pages listed with it. The general index pages index the book's unique ideas.
4. Memorize the key sequences, such as the Beatitudes, Lord's Prayer, Proverbs 6:16-19, so you can quickly compare
the first point of one with the first points of the others; the second point with the seconds, and so forth. The
beauty of harmony that exists among them will amaze and delight you. Memorizing them makes the sequences
more useful to you in diagnosing relationship problems and matching cures with them.
5. Use the month-end chapter highlights to locate concepts you want to study.
6. Keep a journal to record new insights, answers, creative ideas, and plans for growth.
7. Use this book as a basis for small group studies. Read it aloud and discuss its concept
vi

INTRODUCTION

To love is to live. In order to live well, we must learn to love in ways that meet human needs, not demands.
Society demands that all be satisfied to relate in ways that win the love of the world. But the world's millions languish
without love and need a practical paradigm for relating that empowers people to truly love. For them and to you who
are willing to love them, we dare to offer this creative approach that is love-based, need-focused, Christ-centered,
service-oriented, and Scripturally sound in its formula for building loving partnerships.

When the Creator designed mammals, He did not decree that camels, elephants, cats, and giraffes, must all
look and live like horses. He simply designed their lives so all could live in harmony with His plans for their unique
roles. This is even more true among human beings whose world view stretches beyond mortality into eternity. We do
not find fulfillment of God's unique purposes for us by enslaving ourselves to the most pretty, popular, wealthy, or
powerful people, or by oppressing the plain, pitied, and powerless among us. We find our highest joys in loving to
meet needs in our daily encounters with all whom God sends to relate with us.

This book shows you how God equips us to love in all seven basic human partnerships. As is true in the
animal kingdom, God's purposes pervade His principles for human beings. Some that I describe on giraffe-like pages
will stretch your imagination. Some elephant-like pages will contain broad principles to apply to life. Some camel-like
pages will seem heavily laden with unfamiliar content. Some will glide smoothly by like dolphins, some comfort you
as do purring kittens. And some will seem like horses you'll want to ride for all they're worth. When you finish it, I
think you will agree that we have thoroughly and creatively covered the territory of principles for developing loving
covenant partnerships. And you and I will grow to be friends in the process.

In respect for your busy schedule, we shall explore these ideas in bite-size segments with a format designed
to be read a page a day. While you may wish to use this as a daily devotional study, it is first and foremost a manual
designed to teach. It does not pamper complacency by excusing unloving behavior. It promotes God's formula for
becoming free to love any person at any time in any situation under any circumstance.

This book is for you who like to think deeply about the principles that underlie the dynamics of human
behavior. The author, an educator, believes that people do what they've learned. If they don't relate effectively, it is
because they haven't been taught, not because they have some hopeless fault or condition that lessens their value and
disqualifies them from life. For some, loving comes so naturally that they cannot verbalize the principles that work for
them, when they need to teach others to love; this book will help them fulfill that role.

Parents, who place no trust in the "character by accident" style of relating that pervades society, will find this
book to be a gently paced guide for planting love's principles in their partnerships within the family. Home- schooling
parents will find it especially helpful in their task of forming the framework of their curriculum. People who choose
singlehood as a lifestyle will find invaluable help in forming a philosophy of life that builds integrity in Christ without
having to covet someone to lean on to gain the sense of wholeness that too many couples merely pretend.

When you gain the needed insights into the dynamics of relating, you'll be able to figure out the words and
deeds that will match the needs you have to meet. Therefore, this book is not a narrow-minded list of do's and don'ts
for the endless specific, unique encounters of our lives. If you face challenges in relating with love to God or any
members of the human family, regardless of what they believe and practice, these principles will work for you.
Whether your family is growing or grown, you'll find in here coals you can heap on heads that will warm hearts.

To you, dear Reader, I dedicate this book for the enrichment of your relationships. What you think about this
book and about your life matters to me. I welcome any comments that will deepen my understanding of what is
important to you. Please feel free to contact me via mail, email or phone. I shall do my best to respond to your
message. May the Lord abundantly bless you in every way, as we travel this journey through time.

Yours for loving relationships,

Norma M. Timm, M.A.
e-mail: perfectloveten@aol.com
vii

Preface to Explore the Scriptural Framework of This Book

I wish to highlight some of the basic sets of Scripture contained in Live to Love and Love to Live! to give you a
glimpse of its amazing scriptural framework. Each set is a marvelous source of truth to be appreciated in its own right.
As we combine them into this unique system for building loving characters, they harmonize beautifully to clearly
unveil Gods process for moving His need-meeting love into all of our roles. I offer this preface to maximize the
benefits you may gain from a careful study of the concepts in this book. It will help you to see where were going and
to structure your view of the whole process, as we journey through this book.

God, who is love, provides the love power to fulfill His law of love in us.

God is our power source for all our partnerships. We connect with Him through Jesus Christ at the cross, the
center where the connections between Gods love, Christ, Calvary, the ten commandments, the world, and childrenHis
and oursbecome clear to us. Christ came to fulfill the law of love. Loving is meeting needs. That He did in His life
and in His death. His entire life was devoted to loving in ways that met peoples needs, not demands. His death met
our need for a sinless sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sin, that we might be free of guilt, free to love. By His
indwelling Spirit He links us to God: He divinely formats us to enable us to think, speak, and act in His new language
of love by writing His law in our minds and hearts. As Romans 8:4 states, That the righteousness of the law might be
fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

As our First Lover, God gives His plan for loving us in His first and second love commandments (Mark 12:29-31).

We will examine Gods plan for living and loving in the context of the cross. Here Jesus meets us at our point
of need, points out our need, presents His plan to meet it, and provides His power to do so. His power is in His word.
In the beginning His commands created the earth. He is our Commandment Giver who does what He says; His
commands are as promises to all who trust in Him to fulfill them. You may ask, If only I could get Him to promise to
do what He must to fill me with love, would He do it? Good news! He already has given His commandment
promises to do that very thing, and He will do so, as we cooperate and let Him.
Having fulfilled the law for us, He stands before the cross longing to fulfill His law in us. Unlike the demand
maker who says, Im right, so you must do what I say., this Command Giver wants us to allow His own Spirit to do
what He says, as He abides in us and empowers us to become free to love. He extends His right arm of Faith to us, as
He speaks part of His First Love Commandment: I promise you, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart....
Use the faith I give you to trust that I can meet all your needs.
He extends His left hand, and with open arms, He continues, ...and with all thy soul. Bring to me your whole
being and ask me to dwell within you and love you by meeting your needs for lifeyour emotional, spiritual, mental,
and physical needs. As we view His nail-scarred hands and review His supreme love for us on Calvary, Romans 8:32
comes to mind: He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also
freely give us all things?
In harmony with His promise to draw all men unto Himself when He is lifted up, we find ourselves drawing
closer to listen. He continues His Thou shalt love the Lord thy God sentence, as He says, and with all thy mind.
Unlike demand makers who care nothing about your thoughts regarding their demands, Jesus will not force the work
of His Spirit upon the unwilling. He seeks not mere mindless conformity, but offers us individuality, the power to
think and to do. Hell write His law of love in our mind to empower us to think love and in our heart to empower us
to do love only if we agree and give Him permission to set it operating within us. To which governing plan will we
choose to submit: what the destructive, demanding self devises or what the loving, commanding Christ has in mind for
us? Knowing that the crown of thorns thrust upon His head did not change His mind about loving us, we have no
doubt that Hell do what He promises.
As we consider it, He continues, and with all thy strength. And suddenly it seems over for us. If gaining
freedom to love requires all our strength, we face failure. Time and again we have failed when called upon to do the
loving that was needed. Our strength is weakness, but... our weakness is His strength. As we give our weakness to
Him, by His grace He replaces our weakness with His power to love. Then as we cooperate with His will, He fulfills His
second Love Commandment in us: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Mark 12:31 Briefly, He invites us to receive
His gifts of Faith, Hope, and Love. He wants us to use the Faith to TRUST Him to meet our needs, to use the Hope to
ASK Him to do so as His Holy Spirit dwells in us; and to use the Love to GIVE Him permission to have His Holy Spirit
write His law in our hearts and minds, and, by His grace, to equip and empower us to love.

viii

Gods law of love is essential in building loving relationships.

How does it work in actual practice in our relationships? Jesus becomes central in every role we have. He
unites us in our roles as leaders and partners in seven basic human relationships. We work with Him as agents of His
authority. The only true authority we ever have is that which He gives us when we love Him with heart, soul, mind,
and strengthit is the freedom and power to love one another, as He loves us.
Leaders equipped by God help partners learn to love. Their individuality enables them to think and to do
loving things. Empowered to convey faith by doing the loving they say theyll do, they relate as extensions of Jesus
right hand of faith. Partners need leaders with know-how to unite them with Jesus, so He can equip them also to
serve as agents of His authority by loving to meet peoples needs. Needing Jesus, they grasp His extended left hand
of Hope. United with Him and, by Him, with each other, the leaders and partners covenant to trust, ask, choose, and
cooperate with God to meet the needs they bring to Him through Jesus. (Matthew 18:19, 20)
How can we know if people are linking with Jesus in learning to meet needs? We will see evidence that Gods
law of love is written in their minds and in their hearts. As Psalm 1:2 states, his delight is in the law of the Lord; and
in His law doth he meditate day and night. They will view Gods law not as a club, nor a chore, nor an enemy of
grace, nor an unreasonable, impossible demand, but as Gods ten precious promises they delight to keep, treasure,
hold fast, as God delights to empower His law to operate in them. (Jeremiah. 9:24).

Gods law (Exodus 20:1-17) promotes ten key qualities we need to value.

The two great love commandments uphold the law of ten commandments (Matthew 22:37-40) which defines
how love operates. The ten commandments encompass ten principle values (bold)employed in loving. The first four
relate to Gods plan to equip us to love; the last six emphasize Gods values involved in doing so.

I. Gods Faith. I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of
bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. (Trust Me to do for you what I say.)
II. Gods Hope Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image....Thou shalt not bow down thyself to
them, nor serve them... (Reflect the image of Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col.1:27)
III. Gods Love. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain...
(Uniting with God makes us loving and guiltless, not useless, empty or vain.)
IV. Gods Grace. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work...
(Sabbath is a sign that God sanctifies us by grace to work. Exodus 31:!3; Eph. 2:8-10)
V. Gods Authority. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land...
(Christ honors us by forgiving us and removing our guilt and shame. Honor parents as He
honors us by forgiving them, removing their guilt, shame for parenting failures. Jesus, who
has all authority, sends us to make disciplespeople who love one another, to teach them
to observe what He commands us [to watch how He does what He says in us].)
VI. Gods Life. Thou shalt not kill. (Value life of Gods indwelling Spirit, who sheds love abroad in us.)
VII. Gods Unity. Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Partners united in submission to God through Jesus gain
the unselfish love they need to stay faithfully committed to one another.)
VIII. Gods Work. Thou shalt not steal. (Gods work of grace fuels us with need-meeting love, so we need
not try to take by force [steal] love that others do not freely give.)
IX. Gods Truth. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (God empowers us to bear witness
of Jesus, Gods truth, to our neighbors by loving as He loves us, and as if they were He.)
X.. Gods Freedom Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors house,...wife, ..servant,...anything....
(By coveting we subject ourselves to the control of others or things , hoping their love, etc.,
will sustain our joy or sense of well-being. Coveting denies God His freedom to govern us.)

Note: The last six commandments are not merely about our love to man. We have no unselfish love of our own.
They are Gods promises about how He needs and plans to work with us within our relationships to empower us to
love in ways that meet ALL our needs. God is love: if we want to love in our relationships, we must include God and
His values Gods faith, hope, love, grace AND Gods authority guiding us, Gods life teaching us, Gods unity
covenanting us, Gods work of grace empowering us, Gods truth sustaining us, Gods freedom to love governing us.
As we cooperate with His laws at work in our relationships, we learn to love.

ix

Gods law undergirds our success in gaining the Seven Essentials for Abundant Living (7EAL) (shown in bold).

1. Wisdom the ability to discern between good and evil and to choose good. (The law is good.. I Tim.1:8)
2. Knowledge the good facts and experiences that equip us to think and do what meets needs. (John 17:3)
3. Understanding the ability to see needs and to agree with others about how best to meet them.
4. Prosperity the result of planning to meet needs and working the plan.
5. Health the goal and result of using our prosperity to love the needy in ways that meet fourfold needs.
6. Beauty the result of governing behavior in ways that promote the well-being and freedom to love of all.
7. Glory to God the ultimate reason for demonstrating the beauty of Gods love at work in relationships.
(Texts for 7EAL: Proverbs 1:7; 2:6; 4:7; 9:10; Job 28:28; 3 John 2; Psalm 50:2; 29:2; I Corinthians 10:31)
All seven essential qualities await us, as we let the mind of Christ, not self, govern our behaviors in our roles.

To gain the 7EAL (bold), we must incorporate seven pairs of reasons to relate (bold)in our partnerships.

Just what behaviors are essential in order to gain these Seven Essentials for Abundant Living?
1. Partners gain wisdom, as leaders who discern good from evil guide them to decide wisely.
2. Partners gain knowledge, as leaders who know God teach them, so they can learn how life operates.
3. Partners gain understanding, as leaders commit to meet their needs when they submit to let them.
4. Partners gain prosperity, as equipped leaders provide what they need to produce what they need.
5. Partners gain health, as leaders give what they need so they can truly receive it by using it to meet need.
6. Partners gain beauty, as leaders govern to help them to grow self-controlled and free to love everyone.
7. Partners bring glory to God, as the Lord sanctifies them to serve mankind as members of Gods family.

We assign role labels to designate leaders and partners engaged in any of these given reasons to relate. As each of
them value the commandment that undergirds the success in their given roles, Gods law of liberty will work to aid
each to become free in Christ to love in any role at any time Gods providence calls to meet any need.

Leaders Roles Reasons to Relate GOAL: 7EAL Reasons to Relate Partners Roles

Parent -----> guides wisdom decides wisely <------ Child
V. Value wisdom of Gods Authority

Teacher -----> teaches knowledge learns <------ Student
VI. Value knowledge of Gods Life

Companion -----> commits understanding submits <------ Friend
VII. Value understanding of Gods Unity

Manager -----> provides prosperity produces <------ Employee
VIII. Value prosperity of Gods Work

Neighbor -----> gives health receives <------ Needy
IX. Value health of Gods Truth

Governing Head -----> governs beauty grows <------ Governed Body
X. Value beauty of Gods Freedom

LORD -----> sanctifies glory to God serves <------ Mankind
I, II, III, IV. Value glory to God given by sharing Gods Faith , Hope, Love, Grace

God reserves to Himself only the role of Lord; He calls on us to cooperate with Him, but never to be the Lord.
We err when we misrepresent the Lord by trying to control others. We need to covenant with Him to love them.


x

We teach the ten commandments with the goal of valuing Gods values in our partnerships.

The color illustration by page 340 displays the chart above as concentric circles within Gods Family Circle
with the leaders and the partners on the sides and Jesus at the cross in the middle uniting them. His fulfilled law
contains a commandment promise especially suited to serve each partnership. As leaders and partners increase the
weight they give to the values emphasized by the commandments at the base of each circle, the less they rise up
against each other or put one another down, the more grounded they become in Gods will, and the more success
they enjoy.
Review the commandments value (underlined) that needs emphasized in each partnership. Of course, every
person in any role benefits from incorporating all the commandments values into the relating they do, but the needs
for their values are first learned one at a time.

God hates seven things that prevent His Spirit from using His law of love to empower us to love.

Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven things that are an abomination to God, because they prevent Gods plan for
loving us from working. The behaviors are so ingrained in our natures that only the power of Gods word can expose
and remove them. They spring from the distrust of Gods goodness, the disbelief of Gods word, and the rejection of
Gods Authority as our First Lover, all of which occurred when Eve disobeyed God in Eden. People see the last six in
the sequential list as evil, but view the first as essential to the good life. Thus they open the door
for the other six to follow after it and destroy their relationships. Each produces a negative attitude that signals it is
present and working its deadly evil in us. But rather than see those attitudes as symptoms of deadly behaviors at work
in us, people tend to excuse, ignore, even defend them as natural, and worst of all, use them as tools to manipulate
others behavior. Note the seven things (in bold) and their resulting negative attitudes (underlined). The implied
messages of these seven things aid us in connecting the hated things with their Beatitude cures.

1. The proud look results in distrust.
Implies: I lack love; to get it I try to win others approval and gain their love. I need love to live.
2. The lying tongue results in depression.
Implies: I say I love, when Im only seeking love from others. I say Im sorry, when Im really only feeling guilty.
I need to feel sorry I am not loving others, rather than guilty because theyre not loving me.
3. The hands that shed innocent blood results in guilt.
Implies: I heap blame, violence, rejection on others for not loving me. I need to learn to love.
4. The heart that deviseth wicked imaginations results in anxiety.
Implies: I imagine that I can love without a source of true love. I need to be filled with Gods love.
5. The feet that be swift in running to mischief results in grief.
Implies: When others do not reward my favors with love, I place debts on them and use mischief to make
them pay. I need to love others who show by their unloving behaviors, that they need forgiving love.
6. The false witness that speaks lies results in discontent.
Implies: I need to love others freely with no strings attached, whether they do or dont love in return.
7. The he that soweth discord among brethren results in remorse (gnawing distress).
Implies: I need to teach others to connect with Gods cords of love, not discord, so they too can learn to love.

Take steps to detect and correct behaviors that prevent Gods law of love from operating in us.

The process of removing sinful behaviors from our relating includes the following steps:
1. Spot the attitudes that are symptoms of the sinful behaviors.
a. Learn where they fit in the sequence of seven attitudes that lead to death.
b. Show how they prevent us from giving weight to the Ten Commandment values of the law of love.
(e.g.; distrust prevents one from valuing Gods authority; depression, from valuing Gods life.)
c. Re-prove that we need Gods commandment promises at work in us to gain lifes seven essentials.

2. Expose the sinful behaviors that cause the negative attitudes.
a. Learn how the guilt-cycle dynamics incorporate these behaviors.
b. Learn their implied messages that reveal why God hates them.

xi

3. Choose how to deal with these highly sequential behaviors. Knowing that cherishing the first will draw
every other one into our lives, choose:
a. to cherish them until you perish ...OR
b. to let Jesus reprove and remove them with His fourfold plan to set you free to love.

II Timothy 3:16, 17 outlines Scriptures fourfold plan for removing sin and restoring freedom to love.

All scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. NASB
1. Teaching. Teach the Ten Commandments which define how Gods love operates. Love thrives where trust abides.
We can trust Gods valued principles to guide our love. We share faith and inspire trust in others when our loving
words and deeds match our claims to be lovers. (Faith grows.)
2. Reproof. Reprove attitudes that lead to death by reasoning with people about why theyre deadly and how the
seven things God hates are causing them. Re-prove to them how Gods commandment promises cannot work in
us to meet our needs while those behaviors reign. (Hope grows, as we Agree on the need, ACT to meet it.)
3. Correction. Christ in relationship with us can cure our sin problem. His Beatitudes contain the cures for the seven
things God hates. They are divine qualities which He bestows, as we pray the Lords Prayer with under-standing,
and cooperate with what He must do in us to answer the petitions we pray. (Love grows. )
4. Training in righteousness. Righteousness is doing right [loving]. Once the reproved sins that kept us from loving
are corrected, God can empower us to practice loving (train in righteousness) in all our 7 basic human
relationships. The law is an endless resource for training in righteousness. The Holy Spirit uses it as His tool to
develop the fruit of His Spirit in us, to equip us for every good work. NASB (Grace grows.)

Our TRACT formula for building Christian character uses this fourfold process as its basis.
T Teach To help us GROW we Teach with G- Goals
R Reprove Reprove with R- Reasons
A Agree on the need above; ACT to meet it with solution below. A
C Correct Correct with O- Obedience
T Train Train with W-Work of grace

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) [italics] are Jesus divine cures for the seven things God hates. Our response of
praying the Lords Prayer petitions [bold] paves the way for God to fulfill His Beatitude being promises in us.

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The poor in spirit realize that their proud look showed they lack love. They learn that God will supply all their
needs. When they pray, Our Father.., He receives them as His children, and theirs is the kingdom of heaven. As
they pray, Hallowed be thy name, it moves their focus from priding themselves to praising God, their Father.
2. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
They stop feeling guilty when they learn how to feel sorry (mourn, repent). As they pray, Thy kingdom come, the
Holy Spirit, the Comforter of the kingdom, gives them repentance, forgiveness, and peace of mind.
3. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Seeing their need to learn to love, they pray, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven , and they become meek,
willing to learn to love. They inherit the whole earth, as their practice territory for loving.
4. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Needing to be filled with love, they seek Gods righteousness [love] via a relationship with Jesus by praying, Give
us this day our daily bread. They gain Jesus, the bread of life, who fills them with need-meeting love.
5. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Needing to love those who need it and have none to give, they seek Gods mercy (debt-paying love) by praying,
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And they do obtain mercy.
6. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Loving with no strings attached requires that Gods unselfish love move through our hearts to purify our motives
from selfishness. As they pray, Lead us not into temptation, they learn to see God, not man, as their source of
love. Their coveting to gain worth and get love ceases, freeing them from others control over their joy.


xii

7. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Having learned to love freely, as peacemakers they need to teach others to love and stop defending self. To do so,
they pray, Deliver us from evil. As they help estranged people become reconciled to God and learn to love, they
become known as and even called the children of God.
8. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye,
when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:
To succeed at loving we must transfer our focus from self to Jesus. If we would remain loving when we are being
reviled and persecuted and lied about for Jesus sake, we must exit selfs control and enlist Gods by praying, For
thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Knowing that the kingdom of Gods Spirit
dwelling in us brings the power of Gods love into our lives, so that by His grace our behavior can bring glory to
God for ever, will cause us to rejoice and be exceeding glad, as we await our great reward in heaven.

Gods Spirit uses Gods law weve learned to value as His tool for producing in us the fruit of His Spirit.

Having taught us to hate what He hates and to love and treasure the commandment promises He values, God works at
training us in righteousness by empowering us to love within our seven basic relationships, described earlier. His
Spirit uses His law as His tool to yield the fruit of His Spirit in us. The fruit equips us to meet needs.

Commandment Fruit of Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) Fruit Equips Us to Meet the Needs of...
I. Gods Faith (lets us believe His Spirit works in us to yield fruit.) ....Jesus....
II. Gods Hope ---> yields Love. (Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one
III. Gods Love ------> yields Joy. of the least of these My brethren, ye have
IV. Gods Grace --> yields Peace. done It unto Me. Jesus, Matthew 25:40
V. Gods Authority> yields Longsuffering for . . . . . . . . ...the hungry needing wisdom.
VI. Gods Life --------> yields Gentleness for . . . . . . . . . . . ...the thirsty needing knowledge.
VII. Gods Unity-----> yields Goodness for. . . . . . . . . . . . ...the stranger needing understanding.
VIII. Gods Work-----> yields Faith for... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...the naked needing prosperity.
IX. Gods Truth-----> yields Meekness for... . . . . . . . . . . . ..the sick needing health.
X. Gods Freedom> yields Self-(under)-control for . . . ...the imprisoned needing beauty.

I suggest that these seven sets of scriptures, which fit solidly upon the four-cornered scriptural foundation for
building character, could serve as Wisdoms Seven Pillars which are apparently undefined in Proverbs 9.

Foundation Wisdoms Seven Pillars of Scripture for Building Character
A. Teaching: 1. The Two Great Commandments present Gods plan for loving God and our neighbor.
2. The Ten Commandments define how Gods love operates in relationships.
B. Reproof: 3. The Seven Things God hates are abominations because they prevent loving and cause death.
C. Correction: 4. The Beatitudes cure the seven things God hates.
5. The Lords Prayer petitions God to give us these divine Beatitude cures.
D. Training: 6. The fruit of the Spirit results as He writes in us His law, which is His tool for yielding fruit.
In 7. The Christians duty is to serve the needy who, lacking 7 Essentials for Abundant Living , are...
Righteousness: a. hungry without faith resulting from the wisdom of Gods authority,
b. thirsty without hope resulting from the knowledge of Gods life,
c. strangers without love resulting from the understanding of Gods unity,
d. naked without courage resulting from the prosperity of Gods work of grace,
e. sick without sympathy resulting from the health of Gods truth,
f. imprisoned without contentment resulting from the beauty of Gods freedom,
g. gloomy without cheerfulness resulting from the glory to God found in Gods faith, hope,
love, and grace that empower us to be free to live to love and love to live.

May our Lord bless you, as you explore the marvelous truths that relate to these vital, scriptural concepts.

Norma M. Timm
1


January 1
THE PERFECT LOVER

Begin Where You Are.

"Beloved...we know that...we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. I John 3:2.

The last flakes of fallen snow had been brushed off his red Mercury. Our expressions of fond affection had
closed the chapter of another Christmas vacation. It was time to let him go. As I stood in the yard waving farewell to
our son and calling, "Happy New Year!" after his departing car, I knew that the God who had ordered the events of the
past year would finish what He had begun in Steven's life. From the vantage point that January 1 provides to all who
are in Christ, the prospects for the future looked promising.
Indoors the intensity of "last minute" preparations for his soon-coming defense of his dissertation still
lingered in the papers he had trashed and the memories I had treasured. The outline for his defense, which was now
eight victorious days away, was ready. The transparencies to cover any foreseeable questions were clearly taking
shape. The textbooks were flipping their final reviews before his mind. Only one question had to remain unanswered.
Would he pass the test and gain the title, Doctor of Philosophy?
Time passed as I reminisced. At last the telephone announced another answer to prayer. Steven was safe at
the beautifully-lit Niagara Falls where he planned to rest for the night. And I am safe at home. Going nowhere? By
no means.
I am safe at home sweeping the snow from a project that is begging to be driven to its goal within a year of
travel. The outline is ready. Word pictures coax my fingers to type. The Bible textbook is well worn. I invite you, I
urge you, to come along and hang your own story on the lines I write. Let us spend the time of our life on this trip of
a lifetime.
Our course will cover eight victorious principles which lead to a higher award than man has power to grant.
The crown of life glows before us. The water of life more majestic than Niagara longs to splash its power to love upon
us. The day is fast approaching when "He shall appear, [and] we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." I
John 3:2. See Him not as He is framed to be, but as He claims to be. Whatever He is, "He is pure." I John 3:3. Is He
love? He is pure love. Is he longsuffering? He is pure longsuffering. Is He truth? He is pure truth. Is He life? He is
pure life.
To see Him as He is we shall take His word at face value and learn to appreciate its place value. We'll explore
the awesome power God has to move His living water of love through His Word and into our relations when we value
its place in our partnerships with Him. As we do so, may this Happy New Year begin our journey to an even happier
new you and me in Christ.

Lord, I need Your power to purify me, even as You are pure. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


With whom are you sharing the road of life? Toward what goals do each of you journey?
What major life goal do you have? "Now" is the only time you'll ever have to do it.
What plan and time schedule have you designed to reach your goal?
How do you measure your daily, monthly, yearly progress toward your goal?
Is God in the picture? Where in the picture is He?
If you have no goal, are you trying to survive vicariously on others' successes?
Where do you place yourself in relation to those people...
ahead, to dictate their direction or block their progress?
behind, to push and shove at a pace unsuited for the people or the tasks?
above, to weigh them down with worry about how their devotion to their tasks is affecting you?
beneath, so each step they take prompts your cries of pain that their trips are causing you?
or beside them, whenever providence provides the opportunities?
Is your goal to control or to love those people?
2


January 2
Meet the Supreme Need-Meeter

"Sir, we would see Jesus." John 12:21.

This morning I gaze upon several inches of new snow that have added cotton-coated trees, homes, and cars
to my world. Winter means business now. With all the evidence of my autumn erased, I gladly welcome winter in its
full-blown beauty. While it matches my get-serious mood, its "lighten-up" message offers the balance I need to write
for you.
Today the telephone brings good news from Steven of a safe journey to Albany completed. He has moved
into his new residence. In just one week he must defend his dissertation, the ultimate test of his Ph.D. experience. His
story is not unlike our story.
We need not be enrollees in Ph.D. programs to experience the intensity of testing. The ultimate test is before
us all: the test of character. "We shall be like Him" (I John 3:2) summarizes the content of the test. In this context
Jesus' question, "But whom say ye that I am?" Matthew 16:15, takes on new significance. How we see Him directs our
choices of what we do to become like Him. So how shall we see Him?
As our minds glance across the skepticism that abounds regarding this Person who lived among us and died
for us, we sweep it all aside. Like the Greek scholars of old, who were fed up with human philosophy, we say, "Sir, we
would see Jesus." John 12:21.
The Master Teacher longs to reveal Himself to us in the context of our need. Unlike some of our teachers
who have teased us with questions and taunted our stupidity, He teaches us to see Himself as the Answer to every
need we have. We discover Him to be our supreme Need-Meeter by answering His two questions whereby our needs
can be met: "What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?" Mark 10:51. "Whom say ye that I am?" Matthew 16:15.
Unlike people who tantalize us with the promise of love if and when we earn their approval, Jesus freely
bestows upon us His love that shows we are approved in Him. Many hide their inability to love under expressions of
disapproval and accusations of guilt that heap shame upon us. But Jesus declares us forgiven, free of guilt and shame,
and grants us membership in His family.
Now with joy we can hear "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." II Timothy 2:15. We become free of others' oppressive power over us, as
we walk the path to freedom in Christ to love. Jesus promises, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make
you free. ...If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:32, 36.

Lord, I need to see You so I may become free to love. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?

What in your past is resisting today's newly fallen snow of forgiveness?

At whose feet are you bowing for approval?

Could it be that your slowness to forgive yourself is hinged to another who is using disapproval of your deeds
to hide his/her inability to love you?

Would it help to see Jesus as your forgiving Lover?

Could knowing the truth free you from your captivity to guilt and shame?

Would you like Jesus to empower you to freely love the disapproving people who need your love?

He is eager to have us test His power to love in us and through us.


3

January 3
"Be Still" Is for Listening

"Be still, and know that I am God: ...I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10.

Today the silence of snow over everything serves to detach me from the details that surround us and slice our
lives into disjointed moments of surface reactions. I see in this one-size-fits-all blanket of snow a joyous view of how
love can cover a multitude of sins. It challenges me to see God's forgiving love covering icy, unloving people just as
His snow covers the barren landscape. It helps me ignore the threat of their cold responses and dare to love them
despite the risk of rejection. It raises hope for Christian unity in the midst of adversity and diversity.
In the stillness that rises from the sameness of the snow, I feel invited to tune my thoughts to God. "Be still,
and know that I am God.." whispers its warmth to me. To a mouth-oriented mind silence seems miraculous at first.
But I am puzzled as I read the last of Psalm 46:10: "...I will be exalted in the earth." I wonder how often has God
sought to be exalted in my life when I was too noisy to notice.
I nearly spoiled one chance this week when I greeted a caller with a splash of words to explain that I couldn't
talk long on the phone. Her father had died, and she had called wanting me to pray. In another conversation I talked
at length of my business, while a friend waited to ask me for prayer for her relative who had suddenly become ill.
Both times I listened late.
"Be still..." is for listening to God. He wants us to know that He is God, that He can give us sensitivity to
people's needs and direct our responses to them. He can use us to exalt Him and to convey His love to others. Must
He "snow" us to show us that He is God? Must we never listen and ever risk losing out on the on-purpose intimacy
that quiet time with God provides?
To know God in the deepest sense we must go beyond simply being still. We must drink in all the knowledge
of Him that we can glean from His word. We must listen to Him call us (I Thessalonians 5:24) and choose to be chosen
by Him. "For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:14. We must build a faith-based relationship with Him
by testing His promises to us. First we listen; next we watch Him: faith occurs as we see that what He does matches
what He says.
To all who choose to cooperate with God, Jesus speaks His two great promises in Mark 12:29-31:
"HEAR,...thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all
thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself." These promises will bring great blessings to us, as we study them in the days ahead.

"Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips." Psalm 141:3. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Who are the people you've been ignoring to avoid risking rejection?
Have you brushed aside the blanket of God's forgiving love that covers them to expose their faults
and justify your rejection of them?

Could fear be oppressing you to treat them in a way you would not wish to be treated yourself?
Is "fear" your god, or do you fear God?

Fear forms its shape to fit the evil or good character of the being or thing you fear. You anticipate whatever
is in keeping with the information you have. Thus, how you view God's character shapes the nature of what you
fear He may do to you or for you.

What do you know about God's character?
Are you entitled to prime quiet time with God, so that you may be still and get to know Him?
Do you know by experience that your God's love can melt ice when it is allowed to flow through those who
choose Him?

Do your friendly conversations focus on "me-first" or exalt God by listening to others' needs?
Is God's love reflected in your behavior toward them?
4

5

January 4
Trust Is a Thing of the Heart

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." Mark 12:30.

God's plan for loving man is heartwarming news, as we weather the wintry aspects of our relationships. At
Calvary Jesus fulfilled God's law. We can live abundant lives as we let Him fulfill His law in us also. We'll use the cross
model to diagram God's loving plan for doing so. The top part diagrams His fourfold plan that we love God with all
our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The section below diagrams His sevenfold plan to equip us to love our neighbor
as we ourselves are loved by Jesus. This model helps visualize His great plan for our lives.
What is life? "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou
hast sent." John 17:3. God's plan whereby we may know Him calls for faith. Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6), so He
promises that we shall love.
To love is to meet needs. How then can we love God? What needs would God have that we could meet?
Does He not already have every good thing? Everything, perhaps, but a life-sustaining love relationship with those
who do not allow it. To establish one with us He offers us His First Love Commandment promise: "And thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is
the first commandment." Mark 12:30. Today we shall focus on the first of its four parts: "thou shalt love the Lord thy
God with all thy heart.."
What need of God do we meet by loving Him with all our heart? How does the "heart" fit into the picture?
"With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.." Romans 10:10. We believe, have faith, trust, with the heart.
Trust is a thing of the heart. The confidence that someone can be trusted is often felt by the heart before it is
reasoned out in the thoughts.
Since God's love works in us by faith, He calls us to heart-trust Him so He can do His work in us. Just as
lovers match eyes and sense that they trust one another before they unite, so God invites us to find the grace in His
eyes that calls forth our trust in Him. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must
believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6.
Why trust? Without Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:5), and without our faith HE can do nothing good in
us. So why not trust that He is able to meet all of our needs? Hes given His word to us that He will: "But my God
shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19.
It sounds so simple, and it is. You love God with all your heart by trusting Him to meet all of your needs--
emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical. As a parent's first love meets all the needs of a child, so God's First Love
meets all of our needs. If you are willing to let God do what He says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your
heart." And you shall live by faith.

"Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief." Mark 9:24. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Which person has taught you trust? Do you recall when the foundation of faith was first built between you?
Does it still stand? Or did it fail because one of you placed a demand upon it that the other could not meet?
How about your trust in God? Has it suffered because God allows people to disappoint you?

In time we shall learn how to cash God's promises in at His bank and not expect others to do what God Himself wants
to do for us. In the meantime write trust in God on your new snow-white page of life and trust Him to deal with any
doubts in Him that linger.

Note the specific meaning attached to God's First Love. Our First Lover is our heavenly Father. Our First Love is His
parental love that meets our fourfold--emotional, spiritual, mental, physical--needs. Wise parents connect their
children to God's First Love. Read I John 4:19; Revelation 2:4.

Are you connected to God as your First Lover?
Have you left your first love for the world's love?
6

January 5
Whole Soul Love

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.." Mark 12:30.

Today we awake aware of the ongoing efforts of the Congress of our United States to legislate their slate of
proposals that crowd their agenda. The common people watch their work with grief or with gratitude. Those who
believe that men, not God, rule the nations either raise their hopes high or wallow in deep despair, depending upon
their party persuasions.
But the coming King of the universe makes it clear: "My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of
this world, then would My servants fight,..." John 18:36. Romans 14:17 adds, "The kingdom of God...is righteousness
and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." God calls us, not to divide ourselves against one another, but to unite in the
Spirit of Love to find peaceful solutions that bring hope to the hopeless.
While men can enact many misery-relieving measures to lessen the pain of our wilderness wanderings, the
hope of a better land calls us to leave the wilderness, no matter who leads the crowd, and enter the better land of
promise--God's promises.
But skeptics, who do not trust with all their hearts that God can meet all their needs, resist believing His
promises that He will do so. They would rather wander than wonder at the miracle-working power of God. Some
others may bend their heads into promise land long enough to pray to God for help, just in case He's able to act, but
they keep their feet firmly planted on the desert sands. They dare not enter into part two of His First Love
Commandment and love God with all their soul.
What are souls? Souls are whole human beings capable of communicating with the Creator whose breath of
life brought them into being. To love God with all the soul is to believe with our whole being that God will fulfill His
promises in our behalf, when we ask Him to do so. Whole-being soul belief is reflected in what every part of our
being--mind and body--does to demonstrate our belief in God's promises.
Again, to love is to meet needs. In loving God with our all our soul, which need of His do we meet? He needs
to dwell within us to repair sin's damage and complete His work of restoring us to reflect His likeness. But God is at
least as honorable as a man. Just as gentlemen don't force their loving presence upon ladies, God does not force His
loving presence upon us. And yet He can only perform His life-changing miracles in us if He is present with us. By His
Holy Spirit He enters our life and empowers loving behavior only as we invite Him. Invited, He dwells in us and
becomes "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27. As He enters our soul temples, we enter His kingdom of
"righteousness (love), and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Romans 14:17.

Lord, I believe Your promise that I shall love You with all my soul. I invite you to set up Your loving kingdom in me.
Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


To what circumstances have you hinged your hope for a better tomorrow?
Where are you on that see-saw of circumstances today? High with hope or low with despair?
Is it God's default or your decision that has you positioned here?

Who made the promises upon which you have based your hope? What are they?
Is the one who made them capable of fulfilling them? willing to fulfill them?
Do you have an impossible set of conditions to fulfill before you can collect on the promises?
If so, are you letting guile move you to meet demands in the futile hope that you can earn love?

We tend not to believe the words of people we do not trust. Do you trust that person?
Is the evidence upon which youve based your trust trustworthy?
Are the promises, the ropes of hope, that you toss to others also trustworthy?
What control or love do you hope to gain by tossing them to people who are dying to be loved?
Can your ropes withstand the waves they make as they struggle to "stay above water,"
or are they doomed to disintegrate under the pressure of your needs and their resistance to meeting them?
Is "Christ in you" your (their) hope of glory? See Colossians 1:27.

7

January 6
Do You Mind?

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.."
Mark 12:30.

The Internet is a vast electronic network of networks that connects people from almost anywhere to almost
everywhere. Like one giant mind it sends and receives information at astounding speeds. It forms bonds of unity
among us that before were only dreams. Like any individual mind it must process information. Used for good, it is a
great blessing. Used for evil, it multiplies the flood of evil into the minds of humanity. While Internet did not invent
evil, evil forces are quick to corrupt its avenues with deadly ideas despite official efforts to curb the misuse of its
amazing network.
We face the same challenge to keep good thoughts flowing through our minds without having them become
corrupted with selfish evil motives. But we need not be victimized by forces at work to corrupt the flow of loving
thoughts in our relations. God stands ready to work in our behalf, as we claim His promises to do so.
We have discussed two parts of His First Love Commandment promise. But it is not enough to love Him with
all the heart and trust that He can meet all of our needs. It is not enough to love Him with all the soul and pray with
hope that He will indeed meet all our needs. It is not enough even to invite Him to dwell within you. He has a job to
achieve in us.
It is common for children to ask something of a parent, and then refuse to let their request be fulfilled. One
may say, "I'm hungry and thirsty." but refuse to eat the bread and water offered. Another may say, "I'm tired and
sleepy." but resist going to bed.
Imagine having a guest named Light in your home who is described as "merciful and gracious, longsuffering,
and abundant in goodness and truth,...forgiving.." Exodus 34:6, 7. What would happen to His presence in your home
if you decreed first of all, that it must be dark in your dwelling. And next you ordered that every infraction of your
rules should be punished immediately and without mercy, and that none should undermine your authority by
extending any forgiveness to the guilty. Could your Guest be present under conditions that do not allow his
personality to function without subjecting Himself to your control? Could He maintain His integrity without doing
what He says about who He claims to be? Could He force His will upon you and still respect the free will He gave you?
No. "...What communion hath light with darkness? II Corinthians 6:14. None. If we insist on darkness, Light cannot
work in our behalf.
Let us consider the role that choice must play. The place in need of Light is the mind. (Romans 12:2.) Will the
mind part of God's promise make His Spirit's presence in us a heavy burden or a holy benefit to us? Listen. "...thou
shalt love the Lord thy God...with all thy mind."

God, cause me to love you with all my mind. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Have you discovered Internet and its world of information?
Someone who will not knock at your door will listen to the hope you can send into cyberspace.

Who has trusted your authority, asked you to meet a need, but rejected your attempts to meet it?
How did you respond? Did you lose confidence in your God-given skill?
Did you blame yourself because that person refused to be helped?
Did you discard your plan and try to appease that person?
Who won in the long run?

Do you ask for help from others and then refuse to let them help you?
When we reject God's offer to help us, does God become incompetent?
What do we win? What do we lose?
Imagine life without God's promises at work in us.
8


January 7
What Is Individuality?

"With the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:10.

One window through which we view the mind is the mouth. The proximity of the mind to the mouth is not
accidental: they are interdependent. If the mind is to become free from the power of sin and free to love (salvation
qualities), the mouth must confess the mind's need to submit its will to the mind of Christ. If the mouth is to speak
loving words, it must depend upon the mind to think them. For this to occur we need God's promise: "..thou shalt
love the Lord...with all thy mind.." Mark 12:30.
God owns our individuality, the power to think and to do, the essence of life. He gives it to us in Jesus. "He
that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." I John 5:12. Without life our thoughts
perish. Without Jesus, the life, we can neither think nor do anything. See John 14:6; 15:5. Thus it is that God owns our
individuality. When we seek to snatch it away from God and run our lives without Him, we simply lose our
individuality, our God-given power to think and do loving things.
The enemy lies in wait to snare powerless people. He offers a counterfeit individuality composed of self-
centered pride and obstinate independence. Then he pits these powerless people, both those who have the
counterfeit and those who seek it, against one another to battle for control. He labels this mischief "love" and uses it
to sidetrack them from seeking God's life-sustaining love.
Only God can give us power to think and do what is required to withstand the enemy. Whoever controls the
mind, controls the life. The mind of Christ, the Word, is revealed to us through His Holy Scripture. If we claim Christ
as our life and refuse to let the mind of Christ govern, we must expect to have a mindless life.
A mindless Christian confuses simple carnal impulses with the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to him. He
fears that ignoring or rejecting an impulse may be disobeying God. No bondage can match the tyranny of his
impulse-driven mind. Not only does he lack will power to make wise decisions regarding his own impulses, but he is
powerless to resist even minor suggestions made by others whom he fears may be right. His mind becomes a mere
shadow of whatever crosses it. Any mouth can invade and destroy his peace of mind.
What goes in the mouth enters the stomach. What comes from the mouth in the form of words enters the
mind. Jesus said, "..the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63. "I will give you a
mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist." Luke 21:15. "..thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy mind." Mark 12:30.

Lord, let the mind and the words of Christ be in me. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Do the words of my mouth indicate mental submission to God or to people?
Which mouth can easily control my mind?

Who can shake my confidence in the wisdom of obeying God's word? In what shape is my individuality?
Do I use that power to think and to do loving things that meet people's needs and create unity?
Or have I adopted a counterfeit of pride that leads me to control others?

Am I forsaking individuality to become an "important" individual by trying to win others' approval by catering to their
demands?
Am I tyrannized by my impulses? Do I view them as orders given by God?

Do I feel obligated to do whatever idea enters my mind? If I use my will power to reject a thought, do I feel guilty?
Do I have similar problems in processing others' suggestions?

The mind of Christ provides expert maintenance for our own minds and protects us from self's tyranny.
A "machine" forever in use and never serviced develops malfunctions.
The mind of Christ purifies ours from self-destructive thought patterns and empowers it to love in all roles.
9


January 8
Professional Lovers Choose to Love

"Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.." John 15:16.

Now unemployed and eager to find a job with less stress and more pay, the educator scanned the want ads of
the newspaper. Who seeks a teacher in January? If only she had studied accounting or social work or nursing, she
might stand a chance. As she finished the last waitress ads, her eyes fell upon sales occupations. "No, not sales!", she
said aloud to herself, "I could never ever sell anything. I couldn't stand making people feel obligated to buy from me
and having them hate me for it." She set aside the paper and returned to her solitary tasks, unaware that much joy
results from selling, the inescapable occupation.
As shoppers we know the satisfaction of finding just the right item at just the right price. We catch our
breath when we realize how close we came to buying something less suited or to doing without what we desired. We
review all that the salesperson said about the product and revel in his reasons that it is such a good deal. We harbor
no hate over the fact that we found good reasons to match our desires to spend money on whatever we liked. As
long as we have need to buy, we shall welcome salespersons.
Lovers use this skill of persuasion not to gain a coin, but to build a covenant partnership. Each persuades and
is persuaded, not coerced, to submit to loving one another. To the question, "Which of you chose the other?", both
answer, "I did." Love knows how to allow each to choose and each to feel chosen. The mystery stirs no lover's quarrel.
They gladly bask in the joy of loving each other. The lovers know that they cannot love each other unless each
chooses to allow the other to choose to do so.
Before love can happen, someone must pay the price to provide the supply of love they shall need. That
someone is God. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him,
should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. In loving persuasive tones He calls us to "come...buy...without
money and without price." Isaiah 55:1. As parents give penniless children money, He gives us love freely, so we may
unite in loving, and not feel obligated to pay Him back. His "whosoever" excludes none. "..him that cometh to me I
will in no wise cast out." John 6:37. "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.." John 15:16.
Professional Lovers choose to meet needs. Like professional doctors or educators, they purposely use their
minds first to perceive the needs and then to plan how to meet the needs. Loving done on purpose is priceless, not
pretense. Paul wrote, "When I was a child I (1) spake...(2) understood...(3) thought [last]." I Corinthians 13:11. We put
away selfish behavior when we reverse that order and choose Love. Love (1) thinks FIRST, (2) understands what is
needed, and (3) at last speaks and acts in ways that will meet the need. In choosing a lover, we need to realize that we
are inviting another to respond to our needs, not our demands.

Lord, I choose you; let me love you with all my mind. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Recall when you tried to sell something. Were you sold on the product before you tried to sell it?
Did your clients reject or submit to your offer?

Recall a purchasing adventure. Evaluate your attitude toward the salesperson.
Was it positive or negative? What happened? Did you get a good buy or give a good-bye?
Think of a friend or spouse you have. Which one chose the other?

If one has not chosen, perhaps that one is merely expecting to be loved without doing any loving. Love grows as we
DO it, not merely as we have it done to us. Are you a professional lover who loves on purpose to meet the needs you
see?
We are salespersons sent to convince others that God does love us as He says He does.
No fine print spoils the contract He offers to those who choose Him.

When our focus on God's Word blurs, the mind loses its discernment of good and evil.
What fine print do we then add to the partnership we form?
What fine lines of our own do we draw into the relationship?
10


January 9
With Strength? What Strength?

"..thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart...soul...mind, and with all thy strength.." Mark 12:30.

Eight days ago we expected that today would be the day for our son to defend his dissertation for his Ph.D.
degree. Amidst all the changes involved in moving to a new city, a new residence, and a new job last week, time was
scarce for preparing his presentation. God knew that, so in His love He ordered events: recently Steven's defense was
rescheduled for tomorrow. Today is a miracle day of grace for him, priceless time to prepare for this ultimate test.
The Lord has made this a miracle day of grace for all of us to use in preparing for our ultimate test. So far we
have loved God with all our heart by trusting that He can meet all of our needs. We have loved Him with all our soul
by praying in hope that He will show us what we need and meet these needs, as He dwells within us. We have loved
Him with all our mind by submitting our will to the mind of Christ and giving permission for His indwelling Spirit to
write His law in our minds and hearts. But all of this is not sufficient to gain the love we need to empower us to do
loving things.
We need part four of His First Love Commandment promise: "..thou shalt love the Lord...with all thy
strength." What? After all this, must victory over sin swing on OUR strength? If so, are we lost? Countless times
weve proved that without Him we can do nothing. Dare we hope the best is yet to come?
Still we wonder: Is this a cruel joke meant to mock us in our need? We would not expect an earthly father to
ask a penniless child if she wants a doll, then promise to give it, and at last tell her that she will get one only if she can
earn money to buy one. Would God seek our permission to fill us with Himself and His love only to say, "Do it
yourself if you want it to happen?" Would He?
We decide to be honest: "Lord, it is futile for us to try to love you with all our strength. We have none. Our
strength is but weakness." Knowing the perfection people expect of us before they approve, we drop our eyes and
wait to be rejected. What will a 100% perfect Lover do with people who have a 100% need to be loved? Do perfect
lovers look for perfect lovers to love them, or do they look for people who are in need of perfect love?
At length we look up for His answer and meet His loving eyes. As Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord,
we too find His grace beaming His gospel at us. We cast aside the pride that says, I have need of nothing, and admit
our (and His) need. Joy emanates from Jesus. He had been waiting for us to discover our poverty that He needs to
remedy. He takes our weakness from us when we decide to love Him by giving Him all of it. He has something far
better to put in its place: His grace. "My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness." I
Corinthians 12:9. When we turn over to Him each area of weakness we have, He strengthens that area. Why not give
Him all the weaknesses we have, and become strong in Him?

"I will love thee, O Lord, my strength." Psalm 18:1. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Do you face a deadline? How is God equipping you to meet it?
What plans do you have to meet your need to grow in grace today?
Do you feel obligated to mind God's business in your life?
Or do you cooperate with His strength as He works to fulfill His promises in you and for you?

Name a quality you want your children to have. Are you parenting in ways that will develop it?
In what way does God need to perfect His strength in you to equip you to help your children?

Will mocking and criticizing their weakness, or scolding and groaning your painful disappointment in them serve to
aid or to alienate them? Do you expect them to have something you have not given them?
Do you have a plan to help them gain that "something" elsewhere? What do you think about the perfect lover?
Do you reject people who need perfect love while trying to gain some perfect lover's attention?
Do you tend to despise the ninety-nine who would love you, while you fret about the one who has not yet submitted
to your demands?
11


January 10
The Test of Love

"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Mark 12:31.

Today a select committee at Carnegie Mellon University will listen to Steven present his doctoral defense of
his thesis entitled, Physics of Polarized Hyperons: Production Polarization of Sigma Minus and Cascade Minus and
Radiative Decay of Sigma Plus. Although few may know it, this thesis contains significant research about the minute
behaviors of sub-atomic particles which are found in all matter.
One might naturally wonder what difference this research makes in the business of loving one another, and I
am ill-equipped to provide a scholarly answer. However, as a mother's heart beats in harmony with every moment of
his morning, I cannot write our page without including this long-awaited event in our discussion.
Phrase by phrase we have examined the first great commandment. Today we encounter its value in our
relations. Value is measured in part by how useful something is in the business of living. We see that God has called
us to love Him with heart...soul...mind... strength so that He can open our lives to His need-meeting love. He First
Loves to equip us to love our neighbors, as we ourselves are loved by Him--emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and
physically.
While exercising our fourfold need to love, we must learn not to misinterpret the endless stream of minutiae
that can kill our will to love. Hyperons, defined as baryons with strangeness, can help us. We may give little thought
to their polarizing behavior which can only be seen electronically because of their minute size, astounding speed, and
abrupt responses. But we magnify human hyperon-like behavior.
How do we deal with human "hyperons", people with strangeness? When meting out love to others, do we
view their minute size in status as a barrier too massive to pass over? Do we hold them at a distance because of their
astounding speed in revealing their needs to us? Do their abrupt responses determine how we shall polarize them in
the social fields of nice guys and no-goods? Do we decide such a person's value to God and to society on the basis of
a minute mistake, then write him off our list of neighbors to be loved as we ourselves are loved by God?
In physics a single flash of abrupt behavior does not create a thesis. Researchers study many months and
examine many millions of data to form a solid basis for their final conclusions. A ten-second misbehavior comprises
only 10/2207520000 of a seventy-year life span. Shall we let such abrupt misbehaviors abruptly stop us from loving
any who flash their need? Let us don the research robe of God's love and see the millions of hyperon-like behaviors as
people's signals of their needs to be loved, so we may pass the test of love each time we are called upon to do it!

Lord, as You love us, teach us to love one another. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Think of people who face difficult challenges.
In what ways do you share the road with them to add strength to their endurance?
Success does not come in a moment, but discouragement often does.
We can send loving ammunition to help the weary resist it.

Do you know any human "hyperons", people with strange behaviors?
Could it be that frequent rejection has led them to misbehave as they do?
Might your research of ways to love them bring about new data for reclassifying them as friends?

Are you prone to behave "hyperonically"? to see yourself as minute in status?
as too quick to explode?
as too prone to polarize rather than harmonize?
as too abrupt in relating and in ending relationships?
Relax! Help will come as we share this road.
12


January 11
Hang onto His Promises

"On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:40.

During a visit to Fermilab at Batavia, Illinois, a few summers ago I enjoyed viewing an outdoor sculpture
exhibit. I was most intrigued by the portrayal of several rows formed of words strung together and a metal silhouette
of a man positioned perpendicularly to the sign with his hands hanging onto the lines of words and his feet flying up
in the air. He had no ground to stand on, but he clung to the words, as if his life depended upon them. I'm sorry I do
not know the names of the sculpture and its sculptor. I do know the truth about life that it brings to mind.
"On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." A prophet is one who knows something
about the future that will eventually come to pass. The first and second great commandments of God are as words,
promises, strung together. They are sure to come to pass, as we hang onto them with the full weight of our souls
(whole beings) devoted and pressed to the task. This calls for walking by faith and leaving no room for leaning part of
our weight on earthly circumstances. Hope placed in circumstances is groundless: No ground under our feet today
can guarantee to be a safe place to stand upon tomorrow. But in a sense we can be prophets by hanging onto the
sure promises of God, all of which are encompassed in the two great commandments.
Now what law hangs onto these two commandments which guarantee that love will empower our behavior
toward God and man? It is God's Ten Commandments, which define how the law of love promised in the great
commandments, is to be demonstrated. Indeed, they define love, the excellent way to behave in our relations.
Conduct of behavior that expresses the excellence of love is called moral. That is why some refer to the Ten
Commandments as the moral law. Like ten loving fingers hanging on the two loving hands of God, these ten
commandment promises are extensions of the two great ones that God in love has handed to us. They state His plan
to move His First Love into our relationships.
Some new snow has fallen every day this year until now. We've had ten days to remind us of God's invitation
in Isaiah 1:18 to "Come now, and let us reason together,...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as
snow.." God is on our side in this business of loving. "We love Him, because He first loved us." I John 4:19. The First
Love given in His 2 + 10 commandments is what empowers us to be able to love Him and humanity. As we study
God's Ten Commandments, written by His own finger (Exodus 31:18), we'll see a beautiful portrait of God's character in
His promises.
Oh yes, do you wonder about Steven's test? He passed. Praise God!

Lord, empower my hands to keep holding onto Yours. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Recall some of the lines of words you have heard in the past.
Review what you experienced in hanging onto them for dear life. Were you left hanging?

What clue did you get that the speakers had failed to stay committed to their words?
What gave you power to let go of their meaningless lines of words?

Or do you still cling to them and drag them like a leash with no object at its end,
as they drag you over the same ground again and again?
Sometimes we hope to gain control over someone only to discover that we end up
on the end of the leash alone with nothing but the leash to drag us down the path to despair.

God never changes, nor does the truth of His word ever change.
Walking by faith in His promises lifts us above any threats our circumstances can invent.
Which promises of God have you tested and found to be reliable?
God's reliability is not in question. He works to strengthen our ability to rely upon Him.
For which of His promises do you need increased rely-ability?
13


January 12
Love Meets Needs

"But his delight is in the law of the Lord." Psalm 1:2.

Mankind has found delight in the law of the Lord for many centuries. From the days of greedy Crusaders and
martyr murderers to our own day, the law of the Lord has shaped killers' battle cries and born the blame for the
brutalities in their battles over alien lands, ancient creeds, and activists' causes. The same killers took stole delight in
feeling guiltless, even godly, in their zeal to kill because of the law.
The law that tells how to love our neighbor and promises "Thou shalt not kill." Exodus 20:13, has been
misused as the delightful reason for the slaughter of countless people for whom Jesus died. He died to fulfill that law
rather than violate it by destroying His enemies. (Matthew 5:17; 26:52+.) He died to provide even His enemies with an
escape from death. (2 Peter 3:9.) He died that He might fulfill that law in us, and empower us not to kill. He died
once for all so none need fear death. (Hebrews 10:10, 16.)
The Ten Commandments summarize all of God's loving will for us. This legal will does not force demands: It
commands that gifts be given and debts be paid from the resources of the One who has died. God states His will to
enrich his heirs. As we delight in loving Him, He delights in recreating His character in us. With no offense to the
great artists who have imagined His loving countenance on canvas, He paints His own portrait in us by writing this law
on our hearts and minds, as we allow it. He wants the world to read His law in our lives and see that ten is beautiful.
Love is most relevant in the context of need. Human needs are fourfold: emotional, spiritual, mental, and
physical. Love meets needs, so our great need is to love to meet needs: Jesus reveals Himself as our First Lover, our
example in meeting needs, by giving us promises that empower us to love fourfold as He loves us.
Behaviors that feign love in one area while injuring one in another area are not truly loving behaviors. If I
press sweets to gain affection while I harm one's physical health by doing so, I am not truly loving. If I overwork
myself to death for my family, I hurt my family by harming at least one member of it--me. What does it mean to
"Love your neighbor as yourself"? Love...as you love yourself? Love...as you yourself are loved by God so you'll have
the power to do so? Or love...as you yourself want to be loved by God and man, as the Golden Rule implies? Or does
it mean all three? We love to meet neighbors' needs as we count on God to meet ours.
The world may delight in the law of the Lord as a tool of force for waging hate wars. As we delight in the law,
may our deeds in which we delight be within the law of the Lord. Let's stand our moral ground on the Lord's side by
meeting needs, not making war.

Lord, "Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments; for therein do I delight." Psalm 119:35. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Many misuse the law as a tool for condemning others. Do you know any who take evil delight in accusing you of
wrongdoing so they can (1) reject you or (2) exploit or persecute you or (3) justify their own evil indulgences or (4)
trivialize the need for either of you to value that law?
Do you prefer to be ruled by evil accusations or by God's law of love?
Do you, and how do you, use love to address others' fourfold needs?

Examine a given relationship: which needs in it do you address: emotional? spiritual? mental? physical?
Do you see more needs you could meet? Are some needs beyond the scope of your partnership?
Since efforts to benefit in one area can threaten well-being in another area, do you consider the fourfold effects of a
deed before you decide to do it?

Self-serving love leaves partners in a worse state than before they loved.
It drains resources and diminishes their value to each other.
Is someone having such an effect upon you and leaving you to feel that the more you try to please,
the less you count to them? Answers are on the way.
14


January 13
Seven Essentials

"But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:16.

My unending curiosity about Internet provides our analogy to frame our truth for today. "We have the mind
of Christ." If Internet staggers my imagination with all its potential benefits for increasing my Christian witness, how
shall I describe my bursting eagerness to explore the mind of Christ? Without Internet I can use my computer to
record my own thoughts, work my own agendas, and even benefit a few others in the process. But when I gain access
to Internet, a world of opportunities to learn and to minister are opened to me. It is as though my own computer's
capacity has been multiplied by infinity because I cannot begin to exhaust its potential. So it is with my computing
mind that God has given me. I can plug it into self-center and work my own agenda without thinking a thought about
the mind of Christ. But unconnected from the mind of Christ, I remain ignorant of what He has in His infinite mind
that would change my life. Even worse, my lack of connection with the mind of Christ leaves an opening for my arch-
enemy to gain access to my self-center and feed the viruses of sin into all my programs and even wreck my hard drive
for true success in life. In contrast with the mind of Christ, my mind is narrow indeed. Regardless of how cultured and
intellectual I claim to be, a focus on self as center restricts me to a shriveled, love-impoverished, proud-yet-pauper trip
to death.
The narrow mind can't get very far on the narrow way to life. Just as we cannot travel the Internet
superhighway without an online connection, we cannot travel the narrow road to God's kingdom without connecting
with the mind of Christ. He has the plan and the power we need to do so. Religious rumors of its beautiful scenery
and glorious adventures are useless to me...and, I realize, to you also. Only by over-the-shoulder assistance can God
add to our minds the insights that will open to us the joy of the journey. [Note: the head (mind included) is over the
shoulders.]
While we will spend the year on this journey, let's take an advanced glance at this menu to see what is in the
mind of Christ for us:
1. Wisdom Go to James 1:5, 17.
2. Knowledge Go to Proverbs 11:9; II Chronicles 1:11, 12.
3. Understanding Go to Proverbs 2:6.
4. Prosperity Go to III John 2.
5. Health Go to III John 2.
6. Beauty Go to Isaiah 61:3.
7. Glory to God Go to I Corinthians 10:31; II Corinthians 10:17.
Jesus has these Seven Essentials for Abundant Living in mind for us. "I am come that they might have life, and that
they might have it more abundantly." John TEN:TEN!

Lord, show me the narrow way to gain a mind that is wide open to the infinite mind of Christ. Amen.
Matthew 7:13, 14.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


If you've discovered Internet, I know you'll get the connection I make with the mind of Christ. If not, ignore it and go
straight to the menu. Consider what things you could do if you had unlimited access to each of the Seven Essentials
for Abundant Living. Which one do you need today? Which one will you decide to live without? For how long?
Which one seems to you to be in short supply? Which have you not dared to seek because you feel you don't deserve
it? Which seem withheld from you even when you ask?
Are you getting a BUSY signal from God or is God getting your TOO BUSY TO BOTHER signal?
Do you know people who need more of these qualities?
Are you yourself able to provide what they need? Does your inability to do so frustrate you?

Can you imagine how eagerly you would make them aware of the fare on this menu if you KNEW
it were all true and free for the asking, seeking, and knocking? See Matthew 7:7, 8.
As we share the road, we'll share the know-how that works the menu.
15


January 14
Live Abundantly Now!

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John TEN:TEN.

The rendezvous was set for Thursday night. The reservations were carefully made and the $107.00 billed to
my credit card. The two of us were alive with anticipation of what the evening would hold. I had visions of what it
would be like to have him all to myself. The questions I would ask were tumbling through my mind, each vying for
first place. At last the needs no one else could meet were to be supplied. I could not hurry the appointment, but I left
early anyway, so I'd not miss a moment of opportunity.
But the rest of the evening was downhill. What were about eighteen other people doing in the room? How
will I get my money's worth if his attention is divided among all of us? Why doesn't my presence here merit any
special attention from him? How can he allow that other woman to chatter on about nothing and waste the time we
planned, I even paid, to spend together? How can he be so relaxed and carefree with everyone and yet so careless
about his responsibility to ME? At length my turn came:
I: Tonight will you tell me.....
He: No, but I'll barely mention it two weeks from now. This isn't the time to teach it.
I: Is there somewhere else I can go?
He: No, but I've been asked to teach it at another time.
I: Can I meet you then and learn it from you?
He: No, I haven't decided to do it yet.
I: Well, what shall I do? Can you privately tutor me or let me read a book about it?
He: I have a book, but you can't learn it just by reading a book unless you know DOS.
I: But I DO know DOS. (I hoped that my ignorance of it would not embarrass me.)
He: Then you'll find it easy. Here it is. You can read my book.

I still do not know how to easily load and transfer files, my main reasons for joining the Internet class.
But I have a way to learn--a book entitled, The Whole Internet by Ed Krol. I hope Ed is ready for me. I have tons
to learn about Internet.
So it is, as I approach Christ to learn the answers in His mind to my questions. I enter the Master
Teacher's class with my own narrow agenda born of ignorance and error. He does not make a big deal about it.
Thank God. He models kind, cheerful relating with all people and shows me that everyone matters to Him. Then
He points me to His own book, the Holy Bible, to find my answers.

I: Jesus, why did You pay so much just so You could be with me?
He: "I am come that [you] might have life...more abundantly." Now!

"O Lord, I have heard Thy speech, and was afraid...revive Thy work in the midst of the years...remember mercy."
Habakkuk 3:2. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Recall a recent rendezvous you had. Did you find your agenda at odds with your partner?
Did you stop to think if he/she might have a better idea than yours?
Were ignorance and frustration directing the choices of your agenda items?

Were you annoyed that he/she could be so little concerned about something so disturbing?
Were you offended by the minor attention given to what (or whom) you felt was most important?
Could it be that you relate to Jesus in a similar way?

What ugly issue so fills your view that you cannot see the beauty of the empty cross on the horizon of history? Do
you really expect that the issue creating such frustration in your life has the potential to bring abundant life to you?
Why not put it on hold, hold it before God in prayer, so light from Calvary can shine on the issue?
16


January 15
Good Enriches Life

"See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil." Deuteronomy 30:15.

Ancient sages often packaged great wisdom in tiny fables. One that has weathered the ages tells of a contest
undertaken between the sun and the north wind to see which could persuade the traveler to remove his coat. The
north wind puffed some fluffy clouds to hide the sun from view and began to blow gently. But the traveler buttoned
his coat and quickened his pace. Determined to win, the wind heaped heavy clouds and deepened the darkness about
the man. Harder and harder it blew, hoping that sheer force would move the man to cast aside his coat and submit to
its blustery superiority.
However, the shivering man drew his only defense more tightly around himself, lowered his head, and
stumbled along in the dark. Jarred by the icy blast and no longer sure of his direction, he pressed on despite the
wind's stinging opposition. The threat of death by freezing kept him from removing his coat to the biting cold.
My turn! smiled the sun, as it brushed aside the darkness of the gloomy clouds, and bathed the traveler's path
in glowing light. Rocks which had tripped him in the dark, shrank into perspective with the path he trod. Warmth
wrapped itself like an arm around his shoulder, and kissed his face, as he lifted it to the blue sky. Sights of beauty
blossomed all about him along his narrow trail. He relaxed his step to feast his eyes on field and forest.
Before long the man felt out of step with the loveliness around him. Why was he clutching his old coat when
he could be gathering flowers and choosing gems from among the stones that sparkled along the way? "I feel so
good," he said, as he removed his coat and shirt. "Why not let the sun tan my back as I travel?"
Two levels of traveling await our journey through life. One affects us like the sun in the fable; the other, like
the wind. At the sunny level we make decisions on the basis of what is good and what is evil. Good describes what
enriches life. Evil describes what invites the death and decay of our relationships. When we deal wisely with matters
of life and death, we stop making issues of things that are not matters of life and death. Burdens lighten and defenses
lower, as lofty deeds lift us to success.
At the windy, cloudy level we make decisions on the basis of right and wrong--both good words, to be sure,
but highly abused by our behaviors. Many a storm has brewed over who's right or wrong. Tomorrow we'll don our
winter wraps and brave the blustery winds of opposition to explore the cloudy issue of right and wrong.

Lord, show me the path that "is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Proverbs 4:18.
Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Recall people who have a sunshiny effect upon you.
Do they focus on saying and doing good things?
Do they seek to stress who's right and who's wrong on issues?

Recall the people with whom you have stormy relations.
Do they express an "I'm right, you're wrong" mentality?

With which type do you feel least defensive?
With which type do you prefer to relate?

Are you easily drawn into proving yourself right and others wrong?
Have you had your back side figuratively tanned by people who treat you warmly?

Was the reason for the chastisement made clear to you in a kind way?
Did you agree that you needed to be chastised?
17


January 16
Hazards of "Right" and "Wrong"

"There is a way which seemeth RIGHT unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12.

The sun shone silently upon the cloud of witnesses assembled to see wrong eradicated. Torches burned in
defiance of daylight to remove the chill of death. They flicked their flames, as monsters lick their lips before their feast
of death. At last the mob's mixed noises of anticipation suddenly swelled into a loud chorus of cheers and jeers.
Another drama of death in the ancient amphitheater was ready. The acts were familiar. They knew them by "heart".
Only the nameless characters, caught thinking the "wrong" thing at the "right" time, changed from day to day. The
MC (master of cruelty) had detailed the menu of horror designed to quench the crowd's insatiable thirst for evil. The
guilty cloud of witnesses to the battle of right and wrong was now storming its approval and urging on the beastly
instruments of terror. How did the good fare in the pit of death? Only their cries of terror and songs of courage
escaped the hellish bastions of destruction.
Good cannot coexist with evil in a given space. Either its entrance evicts the evil, or its own existence is
ended by evil. The two realities are as distinct as sun and storm. Good rises above evil as the sun rises above the
clouds. Clouds may hide the appearance of good but they cannot change the quintessence of it. While their contents
do not blend, evil succeeds by feigning a relationship to good. Despite its abhorrence for good, evil must mask itself
in the appearance of good to work its mischief. It does so by devising two categories called right and wrong. Within
them is ample room for all the people who have rejected a love of what is truly good and want to feel right (or wrong)
about it.
Within this cloud of confusion people approach life from two viewpoints blind spots. As positively right ions
and negative wrong ions of opinion are assigned to any given issue, the minds clouded with uncertainty sway from
side to side. Negatives you hurl at a good I call right, neutralize my view and cause me to devalue what it offers, so I
care less and see less need to pursue it. Positives I state regarding an evil you view as wrong can lessen your alertness
to its deadly potential and cause you to see less need to resist it. Soon our good or evil views are out of focus and
cease to matter. Only opinions rule. Decisions swing upon whose opinion we shall follow. To determine that, we sink
to seeking who will offer us the most benefits when we choose their opinions for our own. We trivialize the value of
good and the danger of evil by tangling over right and wrong. Wrapped in the fog of fickle opinion, we lose our
sense of direction. Finally, life reduces to running for cover when bolts of lightning, howls of thunder, and torrents of
tears threaten our well-being. When you ask, "What's wrong with that?", are you seeking good or evil?

Lord, may I acknowledge you in all my ways, so You may direct my paths. Amen. Proverbs 3:6.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Have you ever been a victim in the arena of right and wrong?
Have you ever sat as in a theatre and watched someone else torn to shreds over people's opinions?

When the awareness of evil at work flashed into your mind,, did you run to the rescue or run for cover? Was your call
for justice drowned by their thunderous howls for violence or silenced by your bondage to popular opinion? What
started and stopped the torrents of tears? Did they do any good? Was love on duty or on vacation?

Recall an instance when good was trivialized by pasting opinions of wrong on it or when evil was trivialized by
favorable opinions. Has your sharp edge of distinction between good and evil been rubbed away by people's private
or public opinions?
Do polls mold your views of right and wrong?
As people paste positives on evil, does it seem less deadly and lessen fear of dabbling with it?

Do you dare not define good and evil for fear of appearing out of step with the murderous mob?
Just as people lose their sense of direction in fog, they lose ability to discern good and evil behavior, when their minds
are clouded with the confusion that rages over what's right and wrong.
18


January 17
The Impossible Dream

"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, ...His compassions fail not. They are new every morning."
Lamentations 2:23.

This morning as I scurried about straightening the house for an early morning visitor, I caught a sky view
outside my round window. The sunrise had flooded the cloud-sprinkled sky with glowing red mixed amidst the grey
clouds. My campaign against disorder stopped while I stood to read God's reminder that His compassions are new
every morning. The reconciling red brushed across the sky declared that no matter what the day might bring to mess
up my circumstances or my responses to them, still I could be at peace with God. Since His compassions would not
fail to meet my needs, I could be generous in extending His compassion to others.
The brush strokes of sky were laced with the silent silhouettes of leafless trees in the foreground. As the
barren trees lifted their branches in praise to its beauty, I tuned my January ear and bent in submission to its message.
It spoke to me of how God blends The Impossible Dream with The Inescapable Reality to delight His winter-weary
workers with hope for a beautiful today.
Let the sun symbolize the Impossible Dream of fourfold love that God inspires in me:
By Faith.......... My emotional, spiritual, mental, physical needs can be met.
By Hope........... An ever-present Someone wants to love to meet all my needs.
By Love........... As I submit, I can claim this Lover's promises to love me.
By Grace......... My Lover empowers me to think, say, and do loving things.

Let the clouds symbolize the Inescapable Reality of my human failure to meet my need:
No Faith.......... I have needs in all four areas of life that are NOT met.
No Hope.......... No person present is able to commit to meeting all of them.
No Love........... My "lovers" seek to force me to meet their demands, not to love me.
No Grace......... They drain my power and diminish my desire to say and do loving things.

Let the bare trees symbolize all of us who struggle to blend the dream and the reality. To this scene God
adds His Incredible Solution that fuels the dream with His (1) Faith, (2) Hope, and (3) Love, which He empowers by His
(4) Grace. He who plants the dream empowers it. The light of His love paints rosy potential over what clouds the
dream from view and turns the obstacles into part of His beautiful, Incredible Solution. At once the sky is aglow with
God's love blessing bold dreams that address bleak realities.
Soon what was red becomes blue sky and what was grey turns glistening white. Yes, new clouds will keep
coming over the horizon--Inescapable Realities seeking their place in the sun of our Impossible Dreams. But new
sunshine keeps lighting the way to dispel them. We can let heavy grey clouds fill our sky with terror and block out our
Sun. Or we can trust God's Incredible Solution to brush beauty over every scene of mourning, as we exclaim with
Jeremiah, "Great is Thy faithfulness." Lamentations 2:23.

Lord, I will hope in You. Amen. See Lamentations 2:24.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Can you recall a sunrise that spoke to you and lit a dream of hope? What became of the dream?
Did it die with the setting sun because you lacked power to fulfill it?
What is your impossible dream now? Does it light the direction for your life?
How does it relate to the inescapable reality of your need?
Does it lie buried under demands of others whom you hope will love you when you please them?
In what ways do you allow it to surface? Does it tug you awake in the morning or keep you awake at night?
Does it add energy to your work or drain joy from your job?
Have you told God, the Giver of every good dream, what you'd like to be able to do to fulfill it?
Have you asked for His Incredible Solution?
19


January 18
Invite Him...Quickly!

"Behold, I come quickly." Revelation 22:7.

On this day...many years ago...the grave received my second son who was born in the hospital on one day and
died on the next. He appeared to be fine, but in some way he was not ready for the rigors of life on this earth, and so
life left him to await the resurrection. I am content with knowing that we shall have the joy of raising him in a sinless
environment, a homeland where pure love reigns and no word or deed will bring him pain or sorrow or death.
Emblazoned on the wall in the hall of my hope is the promise that Jesus has given us: "Behold, I come
quickly." I do not place it on a balance with the number of years that have passed since He gave it, to measure what
"quickly" means. I do not tire of the enthusiasm for His soon return that "quickly" engenders. I do not lose the sense
of urgency to be ready and to share my hope with others who need it. I know He keeps His promise, so I too keep it
freshly bathed with hope.
"Quickly" has a presence in my daily life. By faith Jesus can come daily to abide with me. Am I alone today?
He offers himself: "Behold, I come quickly." So morning by morning I quickly invite Him; and by faith I recognize that
He is with me just as quickly as I ask. Without Him I can do nothing. But His good news lets me know that I need
never be without Him. "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5. Thus He assures me of His speedy
arrival and His continual presence.
What courage He adds to my day of duty! No, He silently says, I won't send you off alone to face that
challenge: I am going with you. Without Me you can do nothing. No, you can't leave me behind when you encounter
that temptation: I am coming along, so with Me you can do something to make progress. No, I won't sleep while you
struggle through the night to overcome an enemy. I shall fight in your behalf, so you need do nothing without Me.
No, I won't let you while away meaningless hours alone on a bed of sickness: I'll do something to bring meaning from
it for your life. No, please don't waste your life watching others Try Violence to solve problems. I have something
better for you. When you are without Me, you can do nothing. But be reminded... "I will never leave thee...."
Who is this God who never leaves us? Who is this Partner who never grows weary of traveling with us to
brighten our road and lighten our load? How shall I recognize His voice among the whispers and yells of the buyers
and sellers in the marketplace? If my contact were only my hours in church, it would not matter so much. But if Jesus
plans to accompany me twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, fifty-two weeks per each year of my lifetime,
I need to answer His question: "But whom say ye that I am?" Matthew 16:15. Join me as we see what kind of God He
is in deed.

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Revelation 22:21. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


To whom in the grave do your thoughts turn from time to time?

Have you been able to wrap your fond memories in the hope of the resurrection?

Do you feel free to invite the Life-giver to renew His promise to come quickly on a daily basis?
Or do your impressions of God create discomfort when you come into His presence?

Does having His love touching every detail and moment of our lives, make you feel uneasy or at ease?

If His presence creates rather than solves problems for you, please keep reading. Later we'll discover and deal with the
causes of the dis-ease from which you suffer.

If you have none, you will learn effective ways to verbalize the factors that foster the comfort you enjoy.
20


January 19
To Live Is to Relate to Love

"For thus saith the Lord,.. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted..."
Isaiah 66:12, 13.

Few have not struggled with mathematics in school, workplace, checking accounts, or check-out lines. Our
need to see things make sense often finds us using the mathematical logic so we can conclude: That figures! C. J.
Keyser, an American mathematician, said, "To be is to be related. To know is to see relationships."
Think of it. "To be is to be related." Our very being is largely defined in terms of relationships. Who am I? A
parent? then I have a child. A teacher? I must have a student. A wife? I have a husband. A boss? I have employees to
manage. I can say almost nothing about myself without implying a relationship.
But note his next thought. "To know is to see relationships." If, in addition to BEING related, I want to know
what I'm DOING in relation to others, I must see relationships. I must recognize my roles in relation to theirs so I can
know how to respond wisely to them.
The being and knowing and seeing may serve the mathematician well, but the business of living needs
another level of awareness which I offer: To live is to relate to love. To love is to meet needs within relationships.
Living is relating. Asking, "Shall we relate?" is like asking, "Shall we live or die?" As long as we live we relate. We are
born to relate. We shall die when we cease to relate. That makes relating a matter of life and death that we need to
explore.
Consider the infant snuggled up to the mother's breast. Since the baby must eat to live, the mother loves it
by nursing it. She needs to nurse until the baby is fed. The baby is not a passive recipient of love or milk forced upon
him. His active role in loving her is to suck the milk she offers. He meets her need [loves] by cooperating: he enables
her to complete doing what she needs to do to feed him. Her success in loving him is inseparably linked with his
loving response to her. I remember the pain I felt when my own infant's death prevented me from doing the nursing
that my mind and body were prepared to do. The dead cannot relate or love.
The universal brotherhood of man brings us all into relation with everyone. We are members of one human
family created by God to share life on this planet. God views each of us as "the apple of His eye." Zechariah 3:8. "And
this is life eternal, that they might know Thee,..." John 17:3. Who is this God? How do we know Him? "To know is to
see relationships." In which roles shall we relate to Him? To live is to relate to love, to meet needs, within
relationships. How shall we cooperate with Him so that He can love us by meeting our needs?

Father, "make known Thy truth" Isaiah 38:19, Thyself, to us. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


How do you describe yourself?
What relations with others do you emphasize in your description?

Do you avoid or deny any? Do you paint your composite picture to reveal what is GOOD or EVIL?
Or do you paint it so you will look RIGHT or WRONG in the eyes of your beholder?
Is the picture you paint an old portrait of the past that includes every mistake you ever made?
Or has it been washed in forgiveness and redrawn to be free from details that are no longer true?

Does the picture record any actions that demonstrate the roles you claim in your relationships?
Are you really living as you relate to love or are you merely existing in loveless, lifeless relations?
Choose a relationship you have. Name a specific thing you do to try to love that partner.

What must that partner do in response to allow you to succeed at completing your loving deed?
For example, you love your child by feeding him; he responds with love by eating.
When he has eaten, he has loved you because he has assisted you in meeting your need to feed him.
In what ways can you "relate to love" so that others can succeed in loving you?
21


January 20
Can You Relate?

"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." Proverbs 15:3. [even at parties?]

Time stretched as guests yawned to conceal the awkward lack of conversation among them. Drawn together
by invitation rather than by interests, they found little to discuss upon their arrival. Each had taken pains to dress
properly for the purpose, but few had considered how to equip themselves to relate to a roomful of strangers. So it
was that the extroverts displayed their lack of fear to perform, and the introverts watched them and took pains to
distance themselves from their conspicuous behavior by exchanging their "testing, testing" observations with one
another.
All were on a quest to meet one special guest, who as yet was nameless to them. Each yearned to be the one
chosen to spend the evening sharing a good time with that guest. None realized that each had been carefully selected
to be that special guest for one another. While each examined everyone, none ever realized his or her own
opportunity to be that guest.
Were you there that night? Was it you who said that the evening was all right, but nothing special--except
for the food? Had you known it would waste your time, would you have stayed home to relax? Any could have
known. It was like the many other gatherings for good times at which boredom had crashed the party and killed the
life of it. What made this one such a life and death matter? We need to relate to live.
Whether or not we love to relate, we live by relating to love. What does it mean to relate? I most truly relate
when I express what I know about who I am in relation to what you need or demand. You listen to see what
potential I have for meeting your needs or demands. You relate so I'll see how who you are and what you do could
help me in meeting mine. If you fear to be seen by me as a need-meeter or a demand-meeter, you will guard what
you show me of yourself.
My car needs repair. Are you a mechanic? I'm writing a book. Are you a publisher? Your wife works? I'm a
babysitter. You need a resume? I am a typist.
Yes, people come together to tell one another who they are in relation to what each needs or demands.
People part ways when they conclude that they have no use for one another or when they see no way in which they
can minister to each other. Who we are in the eyes of others is closely linked with what we can do for them. It is not
enough for us to be "all right". The parties that invite our presence into their lives need something GOOD, not merely
"all right", to happen. GOOD enriches life. Is it really "all right" to spend an evening killing the life of the party who
invites your presence, or is that "all right" a sub-category of evil?

Lord, "see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:24. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Recall a gathering that resembles the one we just discussed.
Were you among the extroverts trying to make something happen or were you among the introverts hoping that
none would embarrass you?

Did you find a way to truly help lighten another's load of care?
Did you leave feeling good?

Was it because of what you did or what someone did for you...or both?
Are tendencies to give such gatherings low ratings motivated by a desire to lessen their importance so we can thereby
lessen the significance of the painful losses we suffered by attending them?

When you seek to have a good time, are you looking for good or for evil?
Does the idea of having good times by doing good things appeal to you?
Do you ever call a party?
22


January 21
Worth or Value?

"Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?" Proverbs 20:24.

As the lesson about loving by meeting needs pressed its message to the listening lady, she could be silent no
longer. "I keep hearing that I have to meet everyone's needs. I'm not looking for more ways to meet more needs. I'm
sick of being the loving lady. I'm tired of doing the RIGHT thing. What about me? I have needs, too. When does MY
turn come to demand that someone meet MY needs? When do I end up on the receiving end? When?!!"
Yeah, we want to chorus, when will our needs be met? We and she most need to understand the differences
between meeting needs and demands, so we can understand behaviors in our relations. Just as all-grey skies hide the
sunlight, this confusion over needs and demands clouds our view of good and evil behavior. It drops this issue to the
foggy right-wrong level of relating. We are left to survive in the needs vs demands arena with no sense of direction as
to which behaviors enrich life and which destroy. How shall we resolve this matter of life and death?
To understand our behavior we must examine our motives. Two major motives operate in relating: one is to
get and the other is to give. The motive we choose sets the direction of our behavior. To examine motive let's note
two words: worth and value. Though similar in meaning, we often use them in ways that denote opposite directions.
What do you hear when I ask, "What am I worth to you?" Does it sound like I'm asking, How much you will
pay to have me stay? What can I demand from you? Is a spirit of "getting" expressed? Now listen when I ask, "Of
what value can I be to you?" Do you hear me asking, What needs do you have that I can meet? How can I use my
skills to further your success? What can I give you? Does hope rise as you scan your life for a need that I can meet?
The desire to get motivates worth-focused, demand-oriented, self-based behavior. The desire to give
motivates value-focused, need-oriented, love-based behavior. As I increase my worth at your expense, you suffer loss.
Your tolerance for my increasing worth is limited by what you care to lose. Not so with my value. The more I increase
my value to you, the more you prosper. You seek no limit to my growth in value, because you gain unlimited benefit
from my need-oriented ministry.
Shall we emphasize worth or value to our children? Do we want the "get" spirit of intolerance and
competition to mar their worth? Or do we want the spirit of cooperation and giving to mark their unlimited value as
need-meeting lovers?

Lord, teach me to choose the good part, which shall not be taken away from me. Amen. Luke 11:42.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Which statements in the lady's speech reflect complaints familiar to you?
Has someone, whom you supposed was loving you, begun firing these sentiments at you?

Could it be that a worth-focused attitude is at work between you?
Is one increasing in worth while the other is suffering the drain and the pain of it?
Have you devalued what the other has done for you, so you can feel less indebted,
and so the person can't make a big deal out of it?
Has it worked or wrecked the value you could gain from relating?

Experiment with the worth and value sentences and see how people respond to them.
Which brings you more contentment and joy?

Can you see how your own needs can be met with a value-focused approach?
Does asking, "Of what value can I be?", help you to select lofty goals and persevere to reach them?
Can you see how the question, "Of what value can I be?" promotes initiative and self-reliance?

How does the question, "What am I worth to you?" leads to dependence upon other people's approval?
23


January 22
How Good Is Good?

"Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but one, that is, God:...enter into life, keep the commandments."
Matthew 19:17.

Many strange sights greet the visitors at the Orlando Science Center. One hair-raising exhibit paints a picture
of GOOD. A large stainless steel ball, which is connected to a power source, awaits a visitor who dares to hold his
hand on it while the power is turned on. Suddenly his head of hair responds to the static electricity by standing
straight out from the roots in every direction to create an electrifying hairdo. When this display raises the curiosity of
more visitors, they expand the experiment. While the power is off, the first person places one hand on the ball and
uses the other hand to begin the formation of a line of visitors holding hands. When the power is turned on, all who
are in the line gain the thrill of an outstanding hairdo. No harm comes to any as long as all keep the human rope
intact while the power is on. But if any let go, an arc forms at the break that can hurt those who break the human
rope.
What a picture this paints of God's goodness! Only He has the power to create good. From the beginning all
that He created was good, even very good. His power for good sustained His human beings in doing good until Adam
and Eve broke their connection. All of humanity was hurt by the pain and death that followed their deeds. The injury
has touched all who've tried to connect with the good life. Resulting confusion about good has clouded many minds.
Good became like the electrifying hairdo. It was not achievable on our own; its appearance was not regarded
with worldly approval. As the danger of letting it go came to be associated with the look of having it, good came to
be dreaded and avoided. Not wanting to be called evil, people invented a "good person" label that had no basis in
being or doing good. Its deceptive logic reads like this:
Because I'm good at earning worldly approval, I am worth a lot. Since my worth swings on your opinion, your
high view of me maintains my high worth. As you befriend me, I make you look good. So if you know what's good for
you, you'll make me look good. In this I need not claim I'm good, so none can prove me wrong when I'm not good.
Since I'm not wrong, I'm right. It's good to be right. I am right, so I am good. I promise nothing: none can make me
feel guilty for failing to meet expectations I don't create. Good thing! Without God's power I can do nothing good!
God's truth frees us from this good-for-nothing position. We need not feel guilty because we are not good
nor pretend goodness to gain profit or avoid punishment. God does not expect from us what He knows we lack. But
He does wait to give us "every good gift" so we need not lack.

Lord, "Be surety for Thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me." Psalm 119:122. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Recall a demonstration you saw, but did not try for yourself. Did you not want to feel foolish before a crowd? What
GOOD deed have you refused to do to avoid risking disapproval?
Think of someone people consider to be "a good person". Why? Is it because s/he caters to their demands or because
s/he seeks to obey God's will even when doing so risks people's disapproval?

Do you pretend to be good to avoid being punished by God?
Do your views of God reflect the accusations of His enemies or the truth of His own word?
Does it make sense to direct our deceptive logic (as described above) at God?
Test it to see how it matches the reality of our behavior.

If God in love counts the hairs on our head, do you think His love is great enough to straighten out our hair-splitting
tendency to judge people as right or wrong?

Notice how much easier it is to say, "I'm right; you're wrong", than to say, "I'm good; you're evil."
Does our need to be "right" keep our heads in the clouds of confusion and blind to the life-and-death issues of good
and evil? Read Luke 6:45.
24


January 23
The Key to Love

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield:...no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly."
Psalm 84:11.

Who have not locked one door behind them in their haste to open another door, only to discover that the
key to their future has been locked into their past? The distraction that hurries you out of the house without your
keys announces its mischief when the door slams. The car sits locked before you, and the house becomes an
impenetrable fortress behind you. It's winter, and the storm windows are fastened in place. It's early, and the
neighbors are still asleep with their phones set to their answering machines. The extra car key is securely rusted onto
its hiding place. The humility it takes to seek help is your last resort.
Thus we run between the locked past and the blocked future in the midst of a frigid present. Our future hope
is tied to our futile past, and the key we need to grant us the GOOD life is not in our hands. Hopeless seems posted
between a past of unfixable wrongs and a future of unavoidable retribution. Then God adds the weight of His word to
the dismal outlook:
"..there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Psalm 14:3.
"There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:10. See Isaiah 64:6.
"For all have sinned..." Romans 3:23.
People who punish wrong by withholding love would like those facts to fix our doom. But good news rides
on the wings of these words. God bears witness to our loveless past to use it to state our need for His love: Don't
hide from Me because of your sins. Your sins don't make you unique. All have sinned. PAID by Calvary Love is
stamped over every sin ever done. But while payment for your sin is met, your need for My life-sustaining love is not.
Love has more to do than remove sin. It has character to develop and relationships to build. I love because you need
it.
While planted in the past, God's ever-present love reaches our present need and lays the foundation for our
future good. With it we build our love relationships. Love is key, but God is love. Not only does God hold the key to
the love we need, God is the key. If we want love in our relationships, we must have God in them. Our need for love
establishes our need for God. Only He holds the key to forgiveness of the past and success for the future.
Human love we seek is often denied us because we need it. "You can't expect others to love you if you don't
love yourself," they chide. They cover our need with blame and guilt. But God covers our need with love, so we feel
guilt-free, not guilty. In Him we can be upright, not bowed in shame. He who takes good care of us puts us in good
shape. God IS love. Love is good. God is good...to us!

Lord, teach me to walk uprightly, and to love good. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Recall a time when you locked yourself out.
Were you able to continue on and ignore it or did it affect your future plans?
What figurative door have you slammed behind you that has locked you away from future success?
Was it a school door? or the door to cordial relations with some key people you know; such as, parents,
spouse, or former boss?

Do people's refusals to meet your needs prevent God from meeting them?
Who holds, who IS, the key for you?
Do you have the key to return things to how they were?

If you could rearrange the past, would you try? How long would it take to get it all right?
Is God wise to lock the past beyond reach, so we can focus on His presence in the daily present?
What would it cost you in lost present time that you need to devote to building for the future?

How much time do you spend pining over the unfixable past? Is it time well spent or wasted?
Where are you now and what do you need to do to get where you are going? Do you need good help?
25


January 24
No Lover? No Love.

"God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." Ecclesiastes 7:29.

One of the modern-day inventions that advertise our intelligence to the universe touches almost every life--
fast foods. I watched the industry develop from infancy. I gazed in amazement as the count on the sign of the arches
moved to the million mark. How handy it was to have fast food restaurants erase the need to decide what to eat for
meals. The menu was set. Did you want it? Drive in. In what flavor? Speak up. Put your money where your mouth
is. Grab and go. Eat and grow...fatter and weaker.
The grab-and-go reflex had great appeal as a way to meet other needs. Not only food, but love also became
a grab-and-go commodity. Mass programs of education were launched to introduce to you the packaging which
delivered love on demand: toothpaste, shampoo, tobacco, champagne, toilet paper, shavers, television, and soaps.
The lovers who would guarantee that unwrapping the package would produce the love you seek were conspicuous by
their absence. They provided the avenue to love, but you were left to walk it alone.
But you did not notice. You were beside yourself with the excitement of anticipation (which is often mistaken
for love). The treasured bag labeled love in which you carried your coveted item was secure in your arm. It quickened
your step and flushed your cheeks with the joy that somebody loved you. Yah-hoo! you sang as you summed your
celebration of the love you had in the bag.
Before long a question silenced the singing. Who signed the bag? Yah, who stands behind the promise on
the label? Yah, who? echoed in the empty chambers of the bag. Like a balloon without substance, the bag of hot air
you held was without meaning. It rode ready to explode if any should try to explore its contents. Fact and fantasy
had collided. At once the bag took on weight like a boat takes on water, and soon hope sank into the tank of
tomorrows which never seem to arrive.
True love does not come with strings. It comes with a Lover. The significance of a gift is lodged in the Giver.
Without the Giver in the picture, there can be no meaningful gift. God does not run a pray-and-pay, grab-and-go fast
love joint. Do we try to grab God's gift of love and go off without Him to gobble it up in lustful relationships? Would
an all-wise God give a gift designed to break His loving relationship with us? Would He set us up to hear us say,
"Thanks, God. Now that You've given me the perfect gift of love, I don't need You anymore."? How many perfect
gifts are waiting for us to learn to keep the significance of the gifts lodged in the Giver? Some inventions men have
made do NOT work.

Lord, teach me to seek You and not to seek inventions that weaken and wreck the unselfish love you want to work in
my life. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


How has the fast food craze enriched or endangered your life?
Has it increased or lessened loving conversations at meal times?
Which of your excitement-engendering acquisitions have paid off according to the promises
they implied at the time of purchase?

We need to love one another, not grab love and go. God gives the unselfish love we need to use.
Does God care if you substitute fast food affection for life-sustaining meals of God's love?
Has God allowed people into your life who sidetrack you from depending upon God for love?
Has this happened so smoothly that you haven't noticed it?

Has God let them disappoint you to remind you not to misplace your Source of love with humans?
Did you get angry at God when they disappointed you?
Have you ever given such a perfect gift that your friend saw no need to love you anymore?
What perfect gifts has God given you that turn your heart from Him to fasten on them for love?
Do you want God in your love relationships?
26


January 24i
God's Covenant of Peace with His Children

"Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them." Psalm 119:165.

First Love Commandment: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." Mark 12:30.
Second Love Commandment: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Mark 12:31.


Value Gods Ten Commandments.

I. Value Gods Faith.

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.


II. Value Gods Hope.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or
any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or
that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to
them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a
jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon
the children unto the third and fourth generation of
them that hate Me; And showing mercy unto
thousands of them that love Me, and
keep My commandments.

III. Value Gods Love.

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy
God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him
guiltless that taketh His name in vain.


IV. Value Gods Grace.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days
shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh
day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou
shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy
daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor
thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the
sea, and all that in them is,
and rested the seventh day: wherefore
the LORD blessed the Sabbath day,
and hallowed it.
V. Value Gods Authority.

Honor thy father and thy mother:
that thy days may be long upon the land
which the Lord thy God giveth thee.


VI. Value Gods Life.

Thou shalt not kill.


VII. Value Gods Unity.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.


VIII. Value Gods Work.

Thou shalt not steal.


IX. Value Gods Truth.

Thou shalt not bear false witness
against thy neighbor.


X. Value Gods Freedom.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house,
thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife,
nor his manservant, nor his maidservant,
nor his ox, nor his ass,
nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.

Exodus 20:3-17


"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful,
who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation
also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." I Corinthians 10:13.
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.." I John 5:3
27


January 25
Formula for Integrity

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant...I will put My laws into their mind, and write
them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people..." Hebrews 8:8, 10.

In President William Clinton's 1995 State of the Union speech, he challenged the citizens of America to unite
in a new covenant. For over an hour we listened to his plans to improve our country. We treasured "opportunity and
responsibility". We raised our sights above "partisanship and pettiness and pride". We approved his final test: "Is it
good for the American people?" We cheered his challenge: "All of us have made our mistakes, and none of us can
change our yesterdays. But every one of us can change our tomorrows."
A lengthy testing time has passed since we awoke the morning after that speech. We know that the miracle
of words and the muscle of work must unite to make new covenants work. Positions of power do not guarantee
possession of power. We recall Robert Burns' poetic lines, "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley, An'
lea'e us nought but grief an' pain For promis'd joy." Still, today we prop our posture with new hope, and try harder to
make a difference to a dying world.
As the King of the Universe listens to our prayers for peace and prosperity, He offers to repeat to us His
covenant plan in Hebrews 8: "..I will make a new covenant..I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their
hearts:.." He wants to empower our minds to think love and our hearts to pump the power needed to do love. He
wants to give us His gift of individuality, this power to think and do loving things. Our identity, comprised of our
shared roles, empowered by this powerful God-given individuality can bring about the integrity that befits children of
God. At last! True potential for wholeness--emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical wholeness--in relating can be
ours! Identity + Individuality --> Integrity. Who would not want the formula?
But what principles of what laws would God need to write in our minds and hearts to work such a wonder?
The Ten Commandment law encompasses these principles which can be described with ten values. We'll name them
to preview our future path.

I. Faith III. Love V. Authority VII. Unity IX. Truth
II. Hope IV. Grace VI. Life VIII. Work X. Freedom

What hope have we for a new covenant based on His divine law? Jesus is "the mediator of the new
covenant". Hebrews 12:24. He invites us to unite with Him: "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall
ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you." John 15:7. Would you like to have "Christ in you, THE HOPE of glory"?
Colossians 1:27.

Lord, count me in on Your new covenant, and do what needs to be done in me to establish integrity in all my
relationships. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Consider the covenant you have with someone.
Does it merely offer to reward you after you succeed? ("If you do..., then I will....or..., then you can...")
Or does it provide what you need to succeed? ("I will do....so you can be...or do..")
Which do you need now?

Which in the list of Ten Commandment values do you not treasure and desire for your life? Are there any?
Would a new covenant with God appeal to you if you could be sure that Jesus would take the responsibility to make it
happen?

How do opportunity and responsibility relate to our citizenship in our nation? in God's kingdom?
Do the covenants you offer to make with others include a "three-way (I-Jesus-you) or no way" clause?

Gods covenant will enable you to "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21.
28


January 25i



29


January 26
Fixing the Family

"God setteth the solitary in families..." Psalm 68:6.

"...God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help [helper] meet [suited] for
him." Genesis 2:18. God saw the need and planned the deed before the first person was even aware of his need for
the second person. But He waited to execute His plan until that need registered in the human heart and mind. While
God did not plan to limit people's usefulness to one another only to marriage relationships, it was the perfect place for
Him to begin setting the solitary into families.
Children needed to be born and nurtured by committed adults who knew how God intended for His earth to
operate. "..He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited." Isaiah 45:18. By whom? "the whole family"
Ephesians 3:15. The whole family was intended to make up the whole of society. Each person welcomed into the
family would thus be welcomed into the whole society.
God did not intend that "the whole family" would fragment into tiny antagonistic units that would war
against one another. His plan was that "...on earth peace, good will toward men" would bring "Glory to God in the
highest." Luke 2:14. "Good will toward men" contains no adjectives to define which people should share in our good
will. He did not plan to isolate people who demonstrated biological and behavioral differences. He did not intend
that we condemn those who choose not to marry, to being solitary. He did intend that the boundaries of family
would encompass all and that help would be covenanted to all according to their needs.
Can you imagine a people, all blood-related to Jesus, who are united by covenant bonds formed on the basis
of needs they have? Can you hear the conversation? "Friend, what do you need? What do I need to do to help you?
Shall we covenant together with Jesus regarding your need and ask God to meet it? See Matthew 18:19, 20. How can
we unite in cooperating with God's efforts to meet your need?"
Who would guess that someday the society to which the family gave birth would seek to self-destruct by
turning against its maker and destroying the very unit upon which its own well-being depends? What happened to
divide the whole family? Did the people with differences alienate themselves from the family and band together to
attack it? Or did the family reject its own failures, relegate them to solitary status, and invite war by depriving them of
their inalienable rights? It matters not. Balm, not blame, is needed to correct the aloneness of humanity. The issues
can't be cured on society OR family levels. It must be addressed where it began: with the individual human being.
Each must see his need for help and submit to God, who only can supply the love needed to create productive
covenant partnerships among all people.

"Lord, it is good for us to be here:" Matthew 17:4. May we live so it will be good for ALL of us to be here. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Where are your social boundaries?
Has fear forced you to draw your boundaries back to include only your nuclear family?
Or have you drawn them so tightly around you that only room for self exists within them?
Do you see others struggling with needs that you've learned how to meet?
Do you dare to offer help to them? Do you fear they may reject you and reduce you to solitary status?
Fear isolates. Fear to respond to the needs of others alienates us from the needy in society.
Do you know anyone who is NOT needy in some way?
Are you threatening to remove your solitary self from the whole family?

God unites us in loving partnerships formed to meet our needs.
Who will care for the "whole family" territory God has deeded to you?
Dare we separate from our covenant Partner who has invited us to fill the world with good news?
How can we hold the ground we refuse to inhabit?
How dare we distance people whom God sent to dwell among us?
30


January 27
Family---Bridge to Society

"Go ye into all the world..." Mark 16:15.

Towering over the New York Harbor and appealing especially to the immigrants in search of freedom's
shores, stands the Statue of Liberty to grace this famed gateway to the land of the free. But where on the face of this
earth is the gateway to the world? Such a place is not to be found through a travel agency.
The family is the bridge over which the individual gains entrance to all the world. It is the bridge from
solitude to society, from seclusion to fusion, from selfishness to service. The nurturing process that moves an infant to
an infinite field of opportunity for service, is key to his understanding of how to be in the world but not of the world.
Within the safety and warmth of the family the child must be introduced to every basic human relationship
that abundant living requires. Needs are met by participating in roles designed to meet them. Seven pairs of roles
encompass all of our human needs to relate. Within the family the child must learn to recognize these roles and to
relate within their framework in order to enjoy the unlimited opportunities for abundant living our world has to offer.
Note this complete directory of the partnerships within which these roles function, along with the reasons
each has for relating and the results of doing so:

PARTNERSHIP ROLES REASONS TO RELATE RESULTS OF RELATING
Leader's Partner's Leader's Partner's 7 Essentials for
role role reason to relate reason to relate Abundant Living
1. Parent------Child parent guides--------child decides wisely 1. Wisdom
2. Teacher----Student teacher teaches-----student learns 2. Knowledge
3. Lover-------Friend lover commits-------friend submits 3. Understanding
4. Manager---Employee manager provides-employee produces 4. Prosperity
5. Neighbor--Needy neighbor gives-------needy receives 5. Health
6. Head------ Body head governs--------body grows 6. Beauty
7. Lord--------Mankind Lord sanctifies-------mankind serves 7. Glory to God

During the months ahead well explore these roles and learn how to relate successfully in each of them.
Within this framework both leaders and partners may learn about truly loving by meeting needs, as we go into all the
world. We'll keep the load light and the road bright with gems of joy, one truth at a time. We shall not isolate our
partners nor consume them, as if people were grapes of wrath to be torn one by one from their stem. We shall gather
them as grapes into meaningful clusters (not cloisters) within the homes, schools, workplaces, and communities of our
world. One is not a group. The grape alone is good, but grapes in groups are best.

Lord, make me one with You, that I may one with Your family. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Recall the family of your childhood. Did it equip you to enter the gateway to the world that surrounds you?
Did it help or hinder your efforts to swing open your doors of opportunity?
Scan the role partnerships list. Did your upbringing fit you to wear each of these roles in life?
Do some still present you with difficulties because they were not studied within your family?
Consider your present family. Which roles are you cultivating on purpose?
Which roles are you hoping that your children will learn by osmosis or by accident?
Which are crippling your children by their absence?

Do you ever find yourself quitting at the beginning of the task, as you say, "I TELL them what's right, but it's futile
because they pay no attention to my advice? Is it good news to know that the "telling" is only a beginning to the
building process for success? Take courage! You will soon have much more to give than "up".
31


January 28
Realize Your Value

"But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."
Luke 12:7.

The picture of Ulysses S. Grant stared back at me from the fifty dollar bill I held in my hand. The strange irony
confronting me was made more so by the coincidence of his name with the task I faced. How shall I establish its value
to be worth the $50 label it bears? What can it grant me that is worth $50? A radio? a book? a sweater? groceries?
My choices were endless. One after another I applied my desires to this carefully crafted paper and spoke my requests
aloud. I waved it, folded it, held it tightly, kissed it, stroked it, struck it, wrinkled it, washed it, froze it, heated it,
stepped on it, begged it, bit it. I did everything but burn it, all to no avail. No radio, book, clothes, or food issued
forth from it. Had I been deceived by the promise U.S. Grant had made to me? Was this bill the work of a clever
counterfeiter? Have you lost your patience with my stupidity by now?
We all realize that the value of money is gained by taking it to some kind of storehouse that will accept it in
exchange for the goods we want. Its value resides in its usefulness to us as an instrument for getting what we need to
sustain our lives. Without some type of storehouse willing to recognize its value and exchange goods for it, it has
little practical value.
How does this lesson apply to relating? Remove U. S. Grant from the picture and place someone you are
hoping will meet your needs before you. Let the words, unselfish love, sum the needs you share. "Let US Grant to
each other the love we need to sustain our partnership," you say. "Let's make it a 50 - 50 arrangement, so it's even,
and we each get the same from the other." And then the holding and kissing, stroking and striking, shouting and
begging, crying and graying, new wrinkles and nervous breakdowns begin their sequence. During these years many
good things occur, much work is accomplished. But life-sustaining love evades your grasp and leaves a void that
nothing can stuff, a loss in sense of value that self-esteem cannot redeem, a whisper of need that none can silence.
Is the one you chose to love and to love you of no value? Do you feel deceived? Or have you forgotten that
God created people, not to BE Him, but to be His instruments for conveying His love to one another? "By this shall all
men know that ye are My disciples (learners), if ye have love one to another." John 13:35.
How will they be able to tell we've been in contact with Jesus if we are loving? Just as having groceries to
give shows we've been to the store, so also having unselfish love to give shows that via Jesus we have received the
life-sustaining love that only God's storehouse of grace can provide. He puts the value in His people.

Lord, if it matters when sparrows fall, it must matter if we fail to let You fuel our efforts to love. Sorry. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Do you usually get your money's worth when you spend it?
Whose money are you entitled to spend? Yours or another's?
Taking and spending another's money that is not freely given to you, is stealing.

When you take a selfish human instrument to God to be filled with unselfish love, are you then entitled to force that
person to pour his love into God's human storehouse (yourself?)?
Or is that human a being whose energies you have no right to control or spend?

Does God give us ownership over one another or send us to love one another?
Does He send us to get love by trying to force others to distribute what they don't have?
Or does He call us to Himself to load us up with love that we can distribute to meet their needs?

Are we trying to cash God's promises in at the banks of people who are bankrupt?
Are we trying to get people to do the loving that God said He Himself would do? Psalm 37:4.
In 50 - 50 partnerships, what does 50 - 50 = ___?
32


January 29
Matching Eyes with God

"..he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye." Zechariah 3:8.

To the seekers of fame the center of their universe is the center of attention. One could write volumes to
chronicle the outstanding feats and outlandish follies that fame has enticed people to perform. Some have stood with
honor in that position, while others have sunk its stage to the lowest levels of degradation. The world's center of
attention whirls about as a tornado crossing the countryside, grabbing its prizes and tossing its trash with equal speed.
But God's ways are not the world's ways.
As God draws His people to the center of His attention, He pulls us into a calm that, like the eye of a
hurricane, is not touched by the chaos that sweeps through our circumstances of life. The term, apple, in our text
refers to the pupil of the eye. To know that we are the apple of God's eye is to know that He focuses His center of
attention on us. Placed as the pupil of His eye, we can know that God sees all that He does that touches us, in the
context of how it will benefit our lives.
This apple-pupil concept seen in another sense represents a gateway for God: His lovers are an opening, a
pupil, through which the love that gleams in His eyes of grace can be beamed to this world of people who are dying
to be loved. He involves us in His work of watching out for the well-being of one another in love. He sends no fear of
man, no suspicion, through His pupils to the needy. Truth, mercy, and justice pulsate in the light waves that spring
from His understandings through His people in behalf of His created beings. His loving eyes shine hope through us to
lift the fallen spirits of those who keep "falling in love" [falling under the control of a chosen idol to get love] on their
way to loving one another.
What we see God to be is reflected in our eyes to others. "The light of the body is the eye: therefore when
thine eye is single, thy whole body also if full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness."
Luke 11:34. Next month well discover how evil has permeated our view of God and see more clearly how we can set
our sights on having eyes that are single to the glory of God, not shadowed by a stalking self.
Our needy position in the center of God's attention draws us to seek His eyes for the grace we need. How
shall we meet His gaze and match eyes with Him? What has He appointed to be the pupil, the apple, of our eyes, that
will open to us the beauty of His character? The answer is in Proverbs 7:2: "Keep my commandments, and live; and
My law as the apple of thine eye." In His ten promises we view the Person who stands behind them, presenting
Himself to us in the context of our need for His love. There our eyes match His in a look of love. He who died once to
fulfill that law, lives now to fulfill it in all its beauty in us.


Lord, keep me as the apple of Your eye and empower me to keep, to treasure, the promises of your law as the apple of
my eye. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


Do apples appeal to you?
Before U.S. apple exports increased Japan's supply, their people were paying several dollar-equivalents for just one
apple. Real apples, not wax apples.

What expression conveys more love than the matching of the eye with one who loves you?
Have you been paying high prices for counterfeit looks of love when God's eyes are seeking after you with life-
sustaining love that is free?

Have you looked to see Jesus standing behind His law?
Do you believe that Jesus does what He says, stands behind His word, and can indeed fulfill the promises of His law, as
we let Him?

Would life be beautiful if His promises that "You shall not kill, commit adultery, steal, etc." were fulfilled in your
relationships?
Shall we place our sights on reaching this goal in Christ?
33


January 30

34


January 31
Truth Sets Us Free

"Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy law is the truth." Psalm 119:142.
"Jesus saith...I am the way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6.


TRUTH


I picked up Truth, dared not drive past.
I hoped that while his ride would last,
He'd keep his distance, hold his tongue,
Disturb no lies I learned when young.
I felt quite safe behind the wheel
From truths that might jar how I feel.


But I'd not figured on the force
Truth wields upon our wayward course.
When He joins us to share life's road,
He shines His light on trash we've towed,
And awes us with how life could be
If we would let Truth set us free.


The force of Truth--though scorned by men
Who doubt that Truth will rule again--
Is welcome wind to travelers wise;
It lifts our spirits to the skies
And calls from God the grace we need
So Truth can make us free in deed.


Truth, lift me high o'er every lie of life.
Remove the chafing causes of my strife.
Erase from me whatever stains my soul.
Restore true joy in me and make me whole.
Awaken love that bids me daily rise,
Expecting to meet Jesus in the skies!


by Norma Timm


Lord, may Your Truth daily set me free to love people who need You. Amen.


How do today's concepts relate to you?


List some truths that you have learned by experience. Do they jive with truths, such as 2 Corinthians 9:8, that the
Scriptures advocate for our lives? Are there apparent conflicts between your view and God's view? Solutions begin
with facing them. Express to a listener what you feel about God's love toward you.