Peace To You

TODAY’S VERSE
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.”
Psalms 4:8 (NLT)
 
TODAY’S MESSAGE
The Bible is full of the message of peace. It is God’s will that we live in peace. Now peace can be a relative term. Some would limit it to a “peaceful situation”. Yet many people live in a safe and friendly environment, yet live in desperation. The kind of peace that the Bible emphasizes most is a state of mind. It is the inward peace that comes from knowing God is sovereign and that we can trust Him. It is the ability to delay gratification, solutions, answers or understanding and substitute it with hope, trust and faith in God’s ultimate goodness and love for us. So today, choose peace. May peace fill your day and take you through the night.  
 
TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I ask for You to flood my heart and my soul with Your peace. Today, may I sense You love and presence and rest myself in You.
AMEN

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Love Others

TODAY’S VERSE
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”
Matthew 7:12 (NLT)
 
TODAY’S MESSAGE
Can it get any clearer? Love is the essence of Christianity. It is God’s message to mankind. He loves us! And it is our calling to follow His example. We must love each other. Jesus takes all of the law in the Old Testament and boils it down to its essence and what does He get? He gets love. What does God require of us? He wants us to treat others in the very same way that we want to be treated. We are to love others in very real and practical ways. When we do, God is glorified. He is honored and people are drawn to Him, the One who loves us so much that we can’t help but love others in return.
 
TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for loving me so much. Thank You for Your grace and mercy in my life. Help me love others in the same way that You love me. The same way I would want them to treat me. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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My Own Eye

 TODAY’S VERSE
“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 7:3-5 (NLT)
 
TODAY’S MESSAGE
I don’t agree with everything Freud wrote. There is, however, one of his observations that I think has some truth to it. Freud wrote about “projection,” the action of pointing out faults in others that we have our self.” Have you ever caught yourself criticizing someone and suddenly realize that you exhibit the same behavior? Jesus warned us about pointing out other people’s faults and ignoring our own. He said not to point out the little failings in other people while we have huge issues to deal with. He mastered the use of hyperbole with the comparison of a speck in another person’s eye while we have this huge beam in our own. How funny this must have sounded to His audience, yet how true! We so often take offense at other’s shortcomings when we have glaring inconsistencies in our own life. Today, let us examine our self. Let us come before God and ask Him to point out our own “sins” and deal with them before we worry about someone else’s behavior.  
 
TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for judging others. Help me to bring myself to you and allow Your Holy Spirit to work on my behavior. Lord, make me more like You.
AMEN

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What Do You Want?

TODAY’S VERSE
“What do you want me to do for you?”
Mark 10:51 (NLT)
 
TODAY’S MESSAGE
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 forty years later. It is the sincerity of Jesus and the invitation of His question to tell Him what it is that we want. 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 hear You say, “What do you want me to do?” I come silently before You and whisper my request. – Thank You, Lord, for hearing the desire of my heart.
AMEN

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Treasure

TODAY’S VERSE
“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Matthew 6:21 (NLT)
 
TODAY’S MESSAGE
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 really 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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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 MESSAGE

It’s easy to forget. Circumstances have a way of grabbing our attention. Add to that, the fact that God created us in such a way that we are a predicting machine. Always observing, calculating and predicting. 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. 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 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 sail boat, 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, help me keep my eyes on You. When I begin to worry, help me re-correct my thoughts and meditate on Your love and power. Help me fix my thoughts on You and put my trust in You. Thank You, Lord, that the result will be Your peace.

AMEN

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Self Awareness

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 MESSAGE
In his book “Practicing Greatness” Reggie McNeal gives seven disciplines to improve our spirituality. The first one is the discipline of self awareness. This is critical if we are going to live the way Christ asks us to. Why? Because 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 early church. In Revelation John wrote what God told him to write about the churches. When it came to the church in Laodicea, John pointed out that they lacked self awareness. Because they were rich and had many things, they felt they didn’t lack anything. However, God pointed out to them that they were deceived. In reality they were spiritually wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. The good news is that we don’t have to be this way; but unless we are aware of our spiritual condition, we will never take the steps to correct ourselves. So how do we know? How can we find out where we are spiritually? Insight comes when we spend time with God. When we open ourselves to hear His voice, read His word and spend time in introspection. As we humble ourselves before God, spend time with Him and listen to His leading, He will guide us. He will correct us. He will help us discern what we need to change. Today, talk to God. Ask Him to make you aware of your spiritual condition. Might we pray with David when he wrote, “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 become more self aware of my true spiritual attitudes. Help me to 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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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 MESSAGE
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 message. 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 we treat Jesus?” No, we don’t spit on Him, but do we follow His commands? We haven’t hit Him with a stick, but do we confess our sin and keep a clean conscience with Him? We don’t put a crown of thorns on His head, but do we worship Him in daily prayer? We don’t mockingly call Him, “King of the Jews” but do we make Him king of our lives? 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. Worship 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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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 MESSAGE
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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Blessing

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 MESSAGE
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 an 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 his churches that he loved he would write wonderful blessing 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 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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