Be Still

TODAY’S VERSE
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Mark 4:39-41

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I have never been on a stormy sea. I can only imagine how fierce the storm must have been. Here are seasoned fishermen and they were exceedingly afraid. Now it did not help that they were going across the lake. The deep part of the lake in the center regions was referred to as the “abyss.” Many frightening fishermen stories were based on journeying into the abyss. Add to that the fact that they left in the evening. It was dark! Finally, they were going to the “other side”. Everyone knew what the “other side” was. It was where that horrific demon processed person lived in the caves. Jesus knew where they were going and fell asleep on the back of the boat. The storm was fast, furious and fierce and they cried out to Jesus. What they saw happen next was shocking to them, and they had seen healing miracles! Jesus stood and commanded the sea to be still! And it did. Now I don’t know about storms on the sea, but I know about storms inside the “sea” of my mind. There is an abyss, there is an “other side” that frightens all of us. Dread, fear, worry, remorse, addictions, obsessive thinking; it seems that our ship is going to sink. When you feel all is lost, do what the disciples did — cry out to Jesus. Name your fear, tell Him exactly what it is that you dread; be specific with your doubts. This same Jesus that said to the sea “Be still” says to you, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, You calmed the sea; please calm my troubled heart with the peace only You can give. I take the horrific storms of my life and submit them to Your command. You say “peace be still” so I choose not to be troubled or afraid. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Outward

TODAY’S VERSE
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him.
Isaiah 58:6-7

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The children of Israel had forgotten that God had them here on this earth to be His representatives, to show people the way to God. They were to love people and share the importance of knowing Jehovah. Instead, they were fasting and showing God how religious they were. They were like so many churches today. They were inwardly focused. However. God was not listening to their religiosity. Why? Because God wanted them to be outwardly focused. He wanted His people to stand for equality, justice and love among all people. The prophet Isaiah asked, “What is it that God has required of each of us?” He answered with a sobering indictment, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him.” God wants us to serve others. He has called us to be His representatives of love. Let’s do all we can to help those in need.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You take the plight of the poor seriously. You hate injustice and love mercy. Help me to love others the way You do. Help me live my true calling, as a productive steward working for the well-being of others in need. Show me today, Lord, how I can make a difference. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Be Still

TODAY’S VERSE
Be still, and know that I am God.
Psalms 46:10 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Have you ever noticed how we hate silence? I don’t mean the momentary silence after you walk inside from loud street noise. I mean the “quiet yourself down and think” kind of silence. It is so hard to shut off the inward noise. We are obsessed with busyness. It’s as if we are afraid to face who we really are and where we are in our journey. But we must face our loneliness. Leanne Payne makes this point in her book Listening Prayer. She writes, “Our Pastoral task is to help all needy individuals face their inner loneliness, and there begin to hear God and their own true self. Everyone one of us – not just those who are the most visibly wounded by the darkness in humanity and the world – has to face the inner loneliness and separation from God. We all need to begin the rigorous but sternly magnificent work of converting the ‘desert of loneliness’ within into the spaciously beautiful ‘garden of solitude’ where the true self-comes forward and flourishes. This is the self-capable of friendship and Christian fellowship.” As we face our life, we need to stop filling in the gaps with empty “busyness.” Instead, we need to consider who we are and all that God is. This will lead us on a beautiful journey of the soul. Why not start today? Throughout this day, stop and listen to your inner self; bring it to God and dialog with Him. May you begin to hear God and embrace your true self in Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, so many times during the day You cry out my name, but I am too busy “keeping busy” that I do not hear You. How many times, Lord, You have wanted me to turn to You in my loneliness but I fill the void with noise. Lord, I am sorry. I want to hear You, I want to know You. Help me start today to convert my “desert of loneliness” into a “garden of solitude.” In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Remain In Him

TODAY’S VERSE
But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
John 15:7, 8

TODAY’S THOUGHT
How do we bring glory to God in our life? Jesus was pretty clear with the answer. He said that we need to remain in Him and produce the kind of fruit that His disciple would. Paul later explains what that fruit is. He wrote that when we follow Christ that the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our life. So how do we remain in Jesus? We do it by creating a strong relationship with Him. We spend enough time with Jesus to know what He wants. We relate to Him in meditation and prayer. We listen to Him. We make Him Lord of our life and ask Him to guide our life. As we remain in Jesus, we will see the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control more and more present in our life. This will bring glory to God

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, help me relate to You in a more personal way. Help me draw near to You and listen. Help me desire You above all things. Teach me, guide me, reveal Yourself to me so that I may bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my life.
AMEN

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Teach Me To Pray

TODAY’S VERSE
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.”
Luke 11:1-2 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is much to learn about praying. It seems so easy, “we just talk to God.” But if it was that simple then why don’t we do it? Instead, we act as if we are calling in a take-out order at a restaurant. Nothing really personal just putting in our request. Or we leave messages on the heavenly answering machine because we don’t expect God to “pick-up”. Where is the relationship? Can you imagine what that was like for the disciples to watch Jesus interact with His Heavenly Father? It was enough that one of His disciples asked Jesus to show him how to pray, how to interact with God. And what was the first thing Jesus said? It was, “Our Father.” Prayer for Jesus was about His relationship with His loving father. God wants the same relationship with you! He created you for fellowship. Prayer is more than just a shopping list, more than simple confession, more than a one-way conversation. It is a dialog, a relationship. It is you getting to know God and fellowshipping “with” Him, not conversing “at” Him. So today, talk to God, share your thoughts with Him and ask Him to share His thoughts with you. Ask God to make you conscious of His presence. Then He will do with you what He did with the disciples. He will teach you to pray!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I come to You now and ask You to teach me to pray. I want a real relationship with You. I want to know Your thoughts, Your desires, Your direction for my life. Help me relate to You throughout the day so prayer becomes second nature to me. In Jesus’ Name.
AMEN

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Love God

TODAY’S VERSE
When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home, even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”
Luke 15:17-19 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to “love” what we can get from God more than God. It is easier to “love” God when things are going according to our preconceived idea of a “happy life” than it is when things go crazy. In his book The Papa Prayer, Larry Crabb points out that in the story of the Prodigal Son, the son decides to return home, not because of his love for his father but because he wanted what his father could provide. The truth is that the son knew that the hired servants lived better than he was living at the time so he went home to be provided for. It is interesting to note that in the speech the Prodigal Son gave to his father, that he never once told his father that he loved him. What about us? Do we love God or do we really love what He provides? As long as things are great or at least status quo, God is deserving of our love. But what happens when things turn sour, or there is conflict in our life? Today, love God. Just love Him. Tell Him so. Love Him because He is! Love Him not to get but just because you want to.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, today, I just want to love You. I want to love You for who You are. Help me to examine my heart and repent of a consumer mentality that comes to You for what I can get. Forgive me for attaching strings to my love. Holy Spirit, guide me into a deeper love for the Triune God today. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Unimaginable Reality

TODAY’S VERSE
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!
Ephesians 3:20-21

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I love my imagination. At night I would sit and make up stories for my boys. We would go away to far away places, do things we could never do in this life and be with characters from another world. Every night was an adventure. But at the end of the day, it was just imagination. There was no reality. But what if? I have always been a dreamer. I see what others would consider impossibilities and start to wonder what it would be like if it came to pass? But all my dreams, visions and imaginations pale in comparison to what God has in store for you and I. In today’s passage Paul is giving glory to God. But not the God we normally think of. No, he is giving glory to a God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” What? More than I can imagine? No. Immeasurably more than I can imagine! I don’t know where to begin. What could Paul be thinking of? I can’t put my arms around it, but I know this. If you and I would start to believe that God could, and more importantly, wants to do a fraction of what we could imagine, let alone what we can’t imagine, it would change our lives. Why not start today? Ask God for something “unimaginable” to pray for. Ask Him to give you a dream, a vision, and an unimaginable prayer for your life. He will fulfill it according to His power that is at work within you!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I don’t know where to begin. You said You can do more than I can imagine according to Your power that is within me. So, Father, I ask You to show me what to pray. What unimaginable prayer do You want me to believe You for? Speak to my heart, I pray. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Scriptural Inspiration For Your Daily Journey