Who Have You Been With?

TODAY’S VERSE
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
Acts 4:13

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Have you ever noticed how deeply influenced we can be by those that we spend time with? Reading books by the same author will deeply influence you to their way of thinking. People who have been married for a long time become more and more alike. A student becomes much like their favorite teacher and a disciple of martial arts much like their sensei. Today’s passage tells us that those that were arresting Peter and John were astonished at how much influence Jesus had on these men. How about you? Can your family tell who you have been spending time with? Who do those at your work believe you are inspired by? Today, start to build a deeper relationship with Christ. Spend time with Jesus and let Him influence your mind and behavior. Let Christ teach you, guide you and direct your path. When you do, other’s will be astonished and be able to tell you have been with Jesus. 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, I want to spend time with You. I want my life to be permeated with You so that others may recognize it and desire the same thing for their life. Teach me, guide me, mold me I pray. In Jesus name.
AMEN

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God’s Glorious Grace

TODAY’S VERSE
“So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”
Ephesians 2:7.8

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Have you awoken to the fact yet that you are special to God? Has your soul been stirred by the realization that God has decided to love you no matter what you have done? Does it matter to you that God has chosen you to be His child? If not, perhaps you do not really understand the concept of “grace”. Grace is the word that Paul chose to elevate to a whole new meaning. We find it throughout his writings. In today’s passage, Paul is saying that God has lavished on you an incredible wealth of grace and kindness. The word “grace” Paul is referring to means “unmerited divine favor, approval, mercy, pardon and forgiveness.” The grace you receive from God is unmerited because nothing you have done, or ever could do, would merit the kind of love and forgiveness God has for you. This grace is also divine. It is divine because it is from God Himself. God Himself has chosen to extend His mercy, forgiveness, pardon and approval to you. Finally, God’s grace to you is a gift. There is nothing you could ever do that would allow you to take the credit for the amazing love and forgiveness God has for you. It is a gift from God Himself. Have you ever accepted His gift of grace? If not you can accept His gift of forgiveness and eternal life today. Confess your need to God and then simply thank Him for His death on the cross for the payment of your sins. Thank Him for the amazing love He has for you. Thank Him for your total forgiveness and the promise of an eternal home with Him forever. Thank Him for His amazing grace.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I thank you for the grace you have extended to me. I accept the mercy, forgiveness and love Your grace has provided for me today.  I praise You with all my heart. In Jesus Name.
AMEN

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Give What You Have

TODAY’S VERSE
“Peter said, ‘I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!’”
Acts 3:6

TODAY’S THOUGHT
A man was crippled sitting in the Temple Gate and was asking for money. When the Apostles Peter and John came by the man asked them for money. Instead of giving the man money, Peter was moved by God to pronounce a healing for the man. He said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” I believe that God has called you and I to respond to those in need in a similar way. We are to give to those in need what we have. What was it that Peter had? First we see that Peter had obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. It was God that orchestrated the healing. He nudged Peter to do this act of kindness and Peter obeyed. Second we see that Peter had faith. Pronouncing the command of “get up and walk” was an act of faith. Peter trusted God to do what He had told him to do. Third we see that Peter had authority. Peter commanded the man to be healed because Christ gave him the authority to act on His behalf. Today you may be challenged to help others. If you are like Peter and your pockets are empty, do not despair. Give them what you do have. Give them love, hope, kindness, mercy, grace and life. Command a blessing upon them in the name of Jesus. You are an ambassador of Christ, go forward in obedience, faith and authority.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I want to be used by You to help others. Please guide me by Your Holy Spirit. Show me what You want me to do and then help me be obedient and have the faith to act in the authority. In Jesus Name.
AMEN

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Boast About This

TODAY’S VERSE
“This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.”
Jeremiah 9:23-24.

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We are taught as a child not to be proud. But what about an earnest, heartfelt joy, welling up inside ourself that has to express its appreciation for what we have? What of expressing our sincere appreciation and wonder at something so extraordinary, so surreal that it defies us to keep our silence? There is such a boasting. It is a deep, holy appreciation for what God has done for us. The Lord told Jeremiah to tell the people not to boast in human strength or in materialism. These are nothing to boast about; they pale in comparison to what God has for us. If we are going to boast in anything, then here is what God says we should boast about: “Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness.” How can we hold such a truth inside? How can we stop from sharing with others such a tremendous privilege it is to know the Lord God of the Universe? That this same God has given us the privilege to call Him, “Lord of our life”? It is the same God who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness that calls us His children. It is He that we affectionately call Father. Today, rejoice in the fact that our Almighty God loves you. Go boast in this and when you tell others, tell them that He loves them too!  

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank you that I can boast about the fact that You love me and that I know You. Thank you so much. Help me really understand the unbelievable privilege that is mine, so that I boast about Your amazing love to others and they will desire the same for themselves.
AMEN 

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In His Timing

TODAY’S VERSE
“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.”
Daniel 10: 12-13

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I love this passage because of the hope it gives. There are two great truths to learn from this passage. The first is that God hears the cry of our heart. The angel assures Daniel, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” What a precious reality is painted by the angel. Since the very first time Daniel set his mind in the direction of God, the Lord was aware and heard his prayers. He does the same with us. The second truth is that God works on our behalf even if we don’t understand His timing. The angel saw it as a delay. He was detained for twenty-one days by other duties. Daniel was fasting and praying that God would rescue him quickly. He no doubt was wondering what God was doing. However, from God’s perspective the angel arrived right in time. God was in control and all worked for good. Perhaps, my brother Rodney Ovitt says it best in his commentary on this passage. He writes, “To me, this doesn’t diminish my faith or cause me to doubt God’s power and might. It just broadens the mystery! There is so much that we don’t understand and so much going on in the cosmos that we must simply trust God and know that He will see us through to the end.” God will see you through to the end. Do not weary, do not give up. Hope yet in God, He is aware of your prayers.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, it is so hard to wait. I cry out to You and it seems that there is no answer. My heart despairs and is tempted to grow bitter. Forgive me Lord. Help me to understand what You showed Daniel. You are conscious of my situation and Your solutions are always on time. Thank You Father that You do hear my prayers and that I can trust You with the timing of Your answer.
AMEN

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That People Would Know God

TODAY’S VERSE
“O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
I Kings 18:36-37

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Elijah challenged 450 Baal worshippers to a contest. Elijah and the Priests of Baal would put up two altars complete with offerings and whichever, Baal or Jehovah, would call down fire from Heaven onto the sacrifice was the real God. Elijah was confident that it would be Jehovah because he was doing what Jehovah commanded him to do. Today our faith in God is on trial more than ever before. God has given us commands too. Not a command to call fire down from Heaven but to live our Christian life out in front of the world. Why should we love others? Why should we care? Why should we live a life exhibiting the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Because, like Elijah, we are servants of the Most High and we are to do what He has commanded us to. God’s great compassion is exhibited through our lives. As we love others, in the name of Christ, they see the love He has for them. How can we do anything else? We who were snatched from our sinfulness, brokenness and alienation from God, how could we not love others and pray for them to know God in the same way we do? Elijah cries out to God in a broken voice and says, “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Do our hearts weep over those that do not know Him? Do we live our life so that others would see our life and recognize the Savior’s influence? Oh that God’s holy fire would fall from the sky today through our acts of love and kindness. Might He receive the Glory and might people turn to Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, like Elijah, I come to the altar of sacrifice. Might You use me today to love, to sacrifice, and care for those in need. Might others see my life today and come to know You, the true and living God.
AMEN

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Speak Lord

TODAY’S VERSE
‘“So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.”’
I Samuel 3:9

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Have you ever put yourself in the Samuel’s position? Have you been at a place where you really desire to hear a word from God? God loves you and wants to communicate with you. He speaks through His word, the Bible. He also speaks to your heart through the Holy Spirit. Dallas Willard in his book, Hearing God, concludes, “Direction will always be made available to the mature disciple if without it serious harm would befall people concerned in the matter or the cause of Christ. If I am right, the obedient, listening heart, mature in the things of God, will in such a case find the voice plain and the message clear, as with the experiences of the friends of God recorded in the Bible. This is a claim that must be tested by experience, and anyone willing to meet the conditions and learn from failures as well as successes can put it to the test.” Today, open your heart to hearing from God. Commit yourself to spend time with God in Bible reading, meditation and prayer. Build a deep and trusting relationship with Him and ask Him share His heart with you. Say with Samuel, “’Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” When you come to God in this way, you will hear from Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, I give my heart to You and desire to know you better. I desire to hear from You. I long to discern Your direction in my life. I come and say with Samuel, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” AMEN

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His 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

TODAY’S THOUGHT
What do you think about? Where do you fix your thoughts? God expects us to consider what we think and judge it according to His word. Trouble comes into our life and we begin to fear. When it does we have a choice to make. Will we remain in fear? Will we let it escalate into panic? Or will we obey today’s passage and trust in God, fixing our thoughts on Him? When we do, He promises us peace. Not just any peace, His perfect peace. It is the same way with anger, jealously, doubt and a hundred other thoughts that come into our life everyday. Today, when negative thoughts come to your mind begin a new habit. Trade them in for peace. How? By giving the thoughts to God and then choose to trust in Him by fixing your thoughts on His love for you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me trade my negative thinking for your perfect peace. Today, help me to fix all my thoughts on you.
AMEN

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Consider The Poor

TODAY’S VERSE
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”
I Timothy 6:18

“Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!”
Psalms 41:1

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God created you for a great purpose. He created you to be His ambassador of love! All around us are people in need. No one is immune from heartache, illness or crisis. But there is a group of people close to the heart of God that He keeps reminding us of. It is poor. It is so easy to forget, yet He doesn’t forget. And if we are going to be His disciples and do His business, then we must take serious God’s cry for us to help the poor and needy. Paul tells Timothy to command those with the means to do good. He wants us to be “rich” in good deeds and to be generous. God has called His children to be kind and compassionate to those in need and when we are, David reminds us that there is great joy to those who are kind to the poor! And it is true, there is great joy. Today ask God to help you find ways to help those that are less fortunate.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I confess I get so wrapped up in my own life that I haven’t taken the time I should to consider the poor and needy. I worry about my own needs and do not feel the compassion I should for those in need. Please forgive me. Help me today to find something I can do. Guide me to someone who I can help. I want to be generous and willing to share with others in the way you have been so generous and loving to me.
AMEN

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The Lord Almighty

TODAY’S VERSE
“The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is amazing to see the difference one sentence can make. Especially when it carries such an important message. But if this passage is such a revelation, why do most of walk around discouraged, overwhelmed and stressed out with life issues? What does it take to make a sentence go from the head to the heart? How can focusing on the reality of Almighty God in our life make a difference? How would waking tomorrow morning, conscious of what David is expressing in this verse, change our plans or behavior? What would you do different knowing that the Lord Almighty is right there with you? The reality is that God is with us. He is our fortress, He is Almighty. Might this truth sink in and cause us to live accordingly. 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, make me aware of Your presence. Help me to see You in all Your power and glory. Help me trust You for everything I do this day. In Jesus name.
AMEN

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