Do You Love Him?

TODAY’S VERSE
“I love you, LORD.”
Psalm 18:1 (NLT)

“A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, ‘Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.’”
John 21:17(NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Has your faith in God developed to the point where it has gone past a religion to a relationship? Has your belief gone past your head and entered your heart? Has your worship matured beyond the praise songs you sing to where you have told God what David did? The Lord rescued David from Saul and his enemies so David sat down and sang a song to the Lord. The first words out of his mouth were, “I love you Lord.” Have you ever told God that? “I love you Lord.” It isn’t Christianity until you can tell Him that. Ask Peter. Peter spent three years with Jesus. He knew Him. He served Him. He pledged his allegiance to Him. But he also denied Him. When Jesus rose again from the dead He only had one question for Peter. Three times He asked, “Do you love me?” When Peter answered Jesus for the third time there was something earnest in his voice. He was moved and said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Both David and Peter used the word “Lord” when addressing God and then they both used the word love. Why? Because, He can’t be your Lord without your love. Today, hear Him ask, “Do you love me?” What is your answer?

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I come to You right now and tell You from the bottom of my heart, I love You.  I commit my life to You. I truly do love You Lord.
AMEN

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Unconditional Love

TODAY’S VERSE
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. — For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:1, 38-39 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so hard for me to accept the love that God has for me. I want to believe that He loves me with an unconditional love and then I slip up. I fail to do something right, make a mistake, get someone mad at me and my life starts to unravel. The lies begin to fill my head and I find myself hopelessly loss in a system of “works” gone awry. A tyrannical voice banishes me to annihilation. After all I have fallen from perfection. Does this sound extreme? For so many it is not. We strive for perfection, saying God loves us but in reality we do everything we can to make sure He will love us. We fear that He will reject us if we commit the “unforgivable sin”. The sad truth is, in our perfectionist mindset, every sin is unforgivable. We need to see this for what it is–a lie straight from the pit of Hell itself. The truth is, there is nothing we can do to have Jesus love us one ounce more. At the same time, there is nothing we can do to have Jesus love us one ounce less! Paul’s declaration cuts through our chains, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” Let the truth of today’s passage set us free—nothing, not even our own mistakes, can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Today, settle it once and for all. Accept the unconditional love that God has for you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Thank You, dear Jesus, for Your death and resurrection. Thank You for becoming the sacrifice for my sin. Thank You for Your salvation and Your unconditional love for me.
AMEN

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Grow In The Lord

TODAY’S VERSE
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
I Peter 2:2-3 (NIV)

“Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.”
I Corinthians 3:1-2 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Both Peter and Paul compare our spiritual growth to our physical growth. Peter says that when we are new in Christ we should desire the basic foods in order to grow. A baby needs milk, likewise a new believer needs to get grounded in the faith learning the basic truths and practicing the basic spiritual disciplines. However, as time goes by, like a newborn child grows and needs a more comprehensive meal, so Christians should desire a deeper walk with God. Paul observed that the Corinth church was immature in their Christian walk. Their spiritual growth was stunted. Instead of feasting on solid spiritual food, Paul has to give them spiritual milk. It wasn’t that they weren’t maturing. They were growing intellectually and emotionally. They no doubt had acquired many skills and knowledge. But this is what Paul referred to as “worldly” wisdom. When it came to the things of Christ, they were still a newbie. How about you? How is your spiritual maturity? Can you look over the last year and say, “I know I have grown in Christ this year?” Have you read the Bible, spent time in prayer, participated in small group Bible studies? There is so much to know and so many areas in which to grow. Pray today that God will help you begin on a healthy spiritual diet so you will grow as a Christian.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I need to grow in You. Help me today fulfill this desire to become more spiritual. Help me study Your word and talk to You in prayer. I desire more of You and Your word. Feed me I pray. In Jesus’name.
AMEN

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Love Each Other

TODAY’S VERSE
“So now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.”
I Peter 1:22

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Love is the direct result of knowing Christ. He loves us so much that loving others is a by product of His example. He paid a terrible price that we could have our sins forgiven. And what does God ask for in return? Does he ask us to swim the ocean? Walk across the longest desert? Climb the highest mountain? No, He asks that we love one another. Why would this be so important? Because our love for each other is a testimony that He is real. Our love for others proves His life changing power is real. In John 13:35 Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” The power of the Holy Spirit alive in our heart is never more noticeable then when we are loving another brother or sister in the Lord. Do you know Christ as your personal Savior? Is He the Lord of your life? If so, prove it to the world by sincerely loving those other Christians you know. Love them deeply with all your heart.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your love for me. Thank You for Your grace and mercy in my life. Help me love those others that you have around me. Might my sincere love for my Christian brothers and sisters permeate my life so that others might recognize that You are alive. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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His Love For Me

TODAY’S VERSE
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.”
Psalms 103:11-13 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Our belief in the love that God has for us is foundational to our Christian Faith. It has everything to do with our Christian walk. David Benner in his book “The Gift of Being Yourself” writes, “Neither knowing God nor knowing self can progress very far unless it begins with the knowledge of how deeply we are loved by God. Until we dare to believe that nothing can separate us from God’s love – nothing that we could do or fail to do, nor anything that could be done by anyone else to us – we remain in the elementary grades of the school of Christian transformation.—In order for our knowing of God’s love to be truly transformational, it must become the basis of our identity. Our identity is who we experience ourselves to be—the I each of us carries within. An identity grounded in God would mean that when we think of who we are, the first thing that would come to mind is our status as someone who is deeply loved by God.” It is this kind of assurance that changes a person. It is this “Aha” awareness that changes the course of a life. David knew this. You can hear the joy in his voice, the child like exuberance, as he writes, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” This is the kind of love, grace and forgiveness that ignites a fire deep in our soul. Today, meditate on His love for you. Think about the grace He has given you over and over again. Let the image of a loving compassionate father coming to you with open arms permeate your minds eye. Might this day begin a new awareness of how precious you are to God.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your love for me. Thank You for Your amazing forgiveness. Help me not to this for granted but instead help me find my true identity in the fact that I am someone who is deeply loved by You.
AMEN

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Quench My Thirst

TODAY’S VERSE
As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
Psalms 42:1-2

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is a deep thirst in our heart for God. David used the analogy of a deer that has been walking in rough terrain, foraging for food only to build an incredible need for water. Driven by thirst, the deer longs to drink from a stream. In the same way David says that he had a thirst for God. Brennan Manning writes in his book, “Abba’s Child”, “The deepest desire of our hearts is for union with God. From the first moment of our existence our most powerful yearning is to fulfill the original purpose of our lives – We are made for God, and nothing less will really satisfy us.” You see, the meadows, though lush with grass could not give the deer what it needed. The deer longed for water. Likewise, we can try everything imaginable to satisfy various needs but only God can fill the void in our heart. Have you come to that realization yet? Have you satisfied your soul with the love of Jesus? If not, why not turn to Him today. He will hear you. He will quench your soul’s deepest thirst.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I thirst. I thirst deep, deep in my soul. I ask You to come and fill me with Your living waters. Satisfy the longing in my heart and make me whole. I know that You Father, only You, can meet my deepest need. In Jesus’ Name.
AMEN

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Run The Race

TODAY’S VERSE
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Paul uses the analogy of running a race to describe the Christian life. He paints a picture of a poor runner who has come to the starting blocks with a large heavy weight tied to him and chains wrapped around his legs. There is no way this runner is going to finish the race, let alone win. Instead Paul suggests that we first throw off everything that hinders us. Now that could be a lot of things. In addictions they call these “trigger points.” Things that “trigger” in us the desire to self medicate. In our Christian experience it would be things, events, habits, environments, attitudes that “trigger” in us the desire to do things that Christ would not want us do, or prevent us from doing what we should. We need to throw off these “triggers” that lead us toward Spiritual apathy or complacency. Second, Paul says that we need to throw off the “sin” that entangles us. In their book, “True Faced” the authors point out that in reality there are two kinds of sins. These are sins that we commit resulting in guilt and sins that are committed against us resulting in hurt. Both of these “sins” can trip us up. If we allow guilt to grow it will spread like a cancer in our Spirit. If we allow hurt to go unchecked it can fester into sadness, anger, fear, malice, bitterness and many other negative attitudes. We need to deal with the sin in our life. Both those that we commit and those committed against us, then we can run the race. Today let us check ourself. Are we running the race that God has called us to? If not what is weighing us down? What is entangling us? Pray today that God would help you throw it off.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You know that I need to run in this race of life. I confess that I have let burdens weigh me down. I have let sins, both that I have committed and those committed against me, to trip me us. Help me Lord throw off these things. Help me run today, free from all these things that hinder me. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Seek Him With All Your Heart

TODAY’S VERSE
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Have you ever lost something of great importance to you? This is different than looking for something that you don’t care much about. When it is important to us, it is amazing to see how focused we can get. This is how it is with God. He spoke to His people through the Prophet Jeremiah, admonishing them that the only way they would really find God was when they involved their heart. Notice, Jeremiah did not say, “when you seek him with your whole intellect.” It is not  knowing “about” God; it is about “knowing God” in a deep and intimate way. God is saying that if you would get passionate about Him, then you will begin to find Him. How intent are you on knowing God? Begin today by seeking Him with your whole heart.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I come to You today. I really do want to know You. I want to have a deep intimate relationship with You. Help me discipline myself to take the time to know You. Take the time to hear You. Take the time to tell You my thoughts, hopes and dreams. To share with You my fears, apprehensions and doubts. As I seek You this way, that is with all my heart, I pray that You would reveal more and more of Yourself to me.
AMEN

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Real Wisdom

TODAY’S VERSE
“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.- But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.”
James 3:13, 17 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We usually think of wisdom in terms of knowledge or the ability to solve a mystery. However James describes something much more comprehensive. It is “relational” knowledge. The wisdom that God desires includes morality, prudence, humility, gentleness, love, mercy and good deeds. It seems that God is more interested in how we apply what we know in the way we relate to others. You can be right, yet wrong in the way you use your knowledge. To be right, yet arrogant, unloving and proud is not real wisdom. Which is more wise, to know how to solve someone’s problem or to help them solve their problem? Solomon, was King David’s son. God asked Solomon what would he want if he could have anything? Solomon told God that he would want wisdom. God gave it to him. It was Solomon, certainly the wisest man in his day, who challenges us in Proverbs three different times, that when we get wisdom to make sure we also get understanding. Might God grant us real relational wisdom today as we live for Him.
AMEN

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I thank You, that when I ask for wisdom, You give me so much more. With wisdom you also give me understanding. Help me use your wisdom to help others. With the knowledge You give me, help me to be gentle, humble, loving and merciful.
AMEN

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Don’t Judge

TODAY’S VERSE
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.  And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
Matthew 7:1-5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to judge someone else isn’t it? If I am not careful, I will become judge and jury over someone else’s behavior and not even notice that I have committed the greater sin. Jesus had a lot to say about this behavior. He says to get rid of the log in our own eye first, then go after someone else’s speck! David Powlison has written, “We judge others–criticize, nit-pick, nag, attack, condemn–because we literally play God. This is heinous. The Bible says, ‘There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you to judge your neighbor?’ Who are you when you judge? None other than a God wannabe. In this we become like the Devil himself. We act exactly like the adversary who seeks to usurp God’s throne and who acts as the accuser of the brethren.” How often have we become a “God wannabe”? Instead, today let us judge ourselves. Let us look at our own heart and behavior. Let’s repent of any judging we may be doing. When things irritate us or when we are tempted to judge someone else, let’s pray for them. Let’s ask God for discernment so we will know what we can do instead of judging. Let’s love the person. We need to see the person through the eyes of Jesus. After all, isn’t that what we would want people to do for us?

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear God, I am so guilty of judging others. I, who have been forgiven so much by You, confess that I so quickly forget Your mercy and show no grace to someone else. I judge with my thoughts. I judge with my mouth. I judge with my actions. Please forgive me. Help me today, not to judge, but to choose the better way, the way of love and forgiveness.
AMEN

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