Blessings To you

TODAY’S VERSE
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.
II Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Usually, after the worship service, a Pastor will give a benediction. It is a blessing pronounced upon the congregation. A blessing meant to help people have faith and hope in their Christian experience until they meet again. Of course, a benediction itself has no magical powers. It is not meant to be a magic chant. Rather, it is a pronouncement of God’s strength, provision, and ability to guide and protect us during our mission in this world. Paul wrote many wonderful benedictions. Being so far from the churches that he loved, he would write wonderful blessings in order to bring joy and hope in the Lord for all those he loved. In today’s passage, Paul is pronouncing a blessing of comfort and strength upon the church. Power and strength from God in every good thing that they will do and say. Does this sound like something you would want? Today, let God minister to your heart as you read and apply this benediction to your life. “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your love, grace, comfort, and hope. I pray that today You would comfort and strengthen me in every good thing I do and say.
AMEN

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God’s Power

TODAY’S VERSE
I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.
I Corinthians 2:4-5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We like to move toward balance. Homeostasis, a relatively stable state of equilibrium, seems to work in many systems. But sometimes that is not the best move. Balance is good if you want to have normalcy. But many times, if you want to reach worthwhile goals, you have to unbalance a few things. Does the professional athlete balance his or her practice time to other activities? No, they are consumed with their sport and devote many hours to that single pursuit. Soon or later, if you are going to excel at something, you must become a little unbalanced. Paul was trying to share Jesus with people groups that never heard of Christ before. He was starting churches from scratch and he learned that the spiritual life must not be balanced with worldly wisdom. There needs to be a radical dependence on God to do mighty things if you are going to see His Kingdom come. Sure you need to ask for wisdom, but it is spiritual discernment that you should seek. You need to move in faith and hope in the spiritual realm, not logic and theory in the earthly. Today, what are you depending on God’s power for? What big hairy audacious goal are you trusting the Holy Spirit to accomplish in and through you? Paul trusted in the power of God, today do the same.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I must confess that many times conventional wisdom tells me to move in one direction when I know I should trust You for greater things. Lord, I want my life to make a difference. I want to see Your kingdom come as a result of Your Holy Spirit’s guidance in my life. Lead me, use me, I pray.
AMEN

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Mockery

TODAY’S VERSE
They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
Matthew 27:28-31 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Who were these guys? Were they regular working guys with families to support? Were they patriotic servants of Rome? Were they just some guys trying to do their job? Whoever they were, they acted according to their beliefs. They weren’t followers of Jesus. They did not ascribe to His teachings. Instead, they mocked His claims to be King of the Jews. They beat Him, spit on Him and led Him away to be crucified. But we are believers. And yet I can’t help but ask, “How do I treat Jesus?” No, I don’t spit on Him, but do I follow His commands? I haven’t hit Him with a stick, but do I confess my sin and keep a clean conscience with Him? I don’t put a crown of thorns on His head, but do I worship Him in daily prayer? I don’t mockingly call Him, “King of the Jews” but do I make Him king of my life today? The question is, “Who hurts Jesus more, the soldiers who beat Him, spit on Him and led Him away to be crucified, or the believer who ignores Him and lives as if Christ never existed at all? Today, remember He died for you, He gladly took all the pain and mocking so you could know Him in a deep and personal way. Today, worship and serve Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord Jesus, forgive me for the times I have mocked You with my life. Forgive me for the times I have spit upon You with my indifference. I confess my apathy and today ask for You to rekindle a fire in my heart. I want to follow You. I want to live for You.
AMEN

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Don’t Be Deceived

TODAY’S VERSE
You say, “I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!” And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
Revelation 3:17 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to deceive ourselves. Look at the Pharisees. They thought they were doing everything God required of them to be holy and yet Jesus constantly pointed out how far they missed the target of true Holiness. It was that way with the church in Laodicea. In Revelations, it says they were rich and had many things and felt they didn’t need a thing. However, God pointed out to them that they were deceived. In reality, they were spiritually wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. What about us? How can avoid becoming deceived? We must spend time with God. We open ourselves to hear His voice, read His word and spend time in introspection. We humble ourselves before God, spend time with Him and listen to His leading. When we do, He will guide us. He will correct us. He will help us discern what we need to change. Today, ask God to make you aware of your spiritual condition. Might we pray what David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me be honest with myself and with You. Help me see if there is any offensive way in me and then lead me in a more spiritual path. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Perfect Peace

TODAY’S VERSE
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It’s easy to fret. We are a predicting machine. Always observing, calculating and predicting the future. Trouble is much of the time our predictions of doom and gloom are wrong. All the worry, fret, precautions are for naught. Most of what we worry about doesn’t happen. But look at all the time wasted. Look at the lost opportunities for joy and peace. Our depression looks at the past. Our anxiety looks at the future. We forget to live in the now. That is why Isaiah said that we should fix our thoughts on God. If we want to experience God’s perfect peace, we need to trust in God. The way we trust in Him is to focus on His love, His strength, His ability. When we focus on His love and power, our worries will pale in comparison. He will keep us in His peace. Like a person sailing a sailboat, when the winds come up and the waves toss us back and forth, keep your eyes on the shore and constantly re-correct your course. You will reach your destination.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, when I begin to worry, help me re-correct my thoughts and meditate on Your love and power. Help me fix my eyes on You and put my trust in You. Thank You, Lord, that the result will be Your peace.
AMEN

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Treasures

TODAY’S VERSE
Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Matthew 6:21

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Where are our priorities? What is really important to us? We can pretend that we believe certain spiritual truths but what we really treasure usually gives us away. Jesus is warning us that it is easy to get caught up in this life and not really look at the whole picture. We are not just part of this physical world. We are part of a much larger system. We are part of the Spiritual realm. We are connected with eternity and therefore need to integrate what we believe in this life with a Heavenly perspective. The questions that we need to ask our self is, “What do we really care for?” “What is really important to us?” “What do we treasure?” When we answer these questions, we will find our heart. Then we need to ask ourselves a really hard question. “Does our heart reflect Christ’s values or the worlds?” If we are going to follow Christ, if we are going to be His representative in this world, then our heart needs to reflect what is important to Him. Today, might we check our heart’s priority and realign what’s important to us to be more in tune with Christ.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father help me love what You love. Help me live with Your priorities foremost in my thinking. Help live for You today.
AMEN

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What Do You Want?

TODAY’S VERSE
What do you want me to do for you?
Mark 10:49-51 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
This was one of the first passages I ever preached on. I was a teenager giving a gospel message. I remember still to this day the impact this simple passage had on me. Here was this blind man sitting by the road and he hears that Jesus was coming by. Nothing could shut him up. He started shouting out to Jesus. The disciples tried to make him quiet down, but Jesus tells them to bring the man to Him. I love what happens next. Jesus looks at him and says to the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man simply answers, “I want to see.” What appealed to me then as a teenager still appeals to me decades later. It was the sincerity of Jesus and the invitation to tell Him what the blind man wanted. This is the same Jesus that we pray to. It is the same heart of Christ that bids us come to Him. It is the same power available that asks such an open-ended question. Today, see Him passing your way. Take the time to sit before Him and answer His question, “What do you want me to do for you?”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Jesus, I thank You for coming my way today. I thank You that You care so much for me that You would ask me what I need from You. I come silently before You and share my request. – Thank You, Lord, for hearing the desire of my heart.
AMEN

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Scriptural Inspiration For Your Daily Journey