Your Love

TODAY’S VERSE
“Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.”
Psalms 73:21-24 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Fear of abandonment is a real issue for many people. Those of us who are people pleasers suffer with this feeling all the time. So how comforting is it when God assures us that He will never leave us? Here is the Psalmist. He was bitter, foolish and ignorant to God. But when He came to his senses he saw how bad he was before God. The amazing truth is that God did not give up on him or leave Him. Instead He forgave him, comforted him, counseled him and continued to guide him. God’s love caused him to write one of the most beautiful verses ever written about God. “Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Today, might we believe this for our own self.
 
TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I know I don’t always live the way I should. I know many days my attitude is all wrong. But today I know You forgive me. I know that You will never abandon me. I know that You are committed to my maturity. Help me remember this as I live out this day.
AMEN

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Living For Jesus

TODAY’S VERSE
“The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
II Peter 1:8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Peter shared how we are to live. He writes, “Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness.” Then he writes that the more we grow in these qualities the more productive and useful we will be in our knowledge of Christ. Have you ever thought of that before? We know that God wants us to serve Him but have you ever considered that He wants you to be productive and useful in your knowledge of Him? He does. God wants you to serve Him and the best way to do that is to know Him better and better. As you do, your personality, behavior and desires will be more like His. His power, knowledge and most of all, His love will be exhibited in your life. Today, choose to know Him more.
 
TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me be more productive and useful in my knowledge of You. Help me to supplement my faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness. I ask this in Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Comfort

TODAY’S VERSE
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles.”
II Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Comfort is only as good as the source the comfort. What comfort is it for someone who is in the same situation you are, powerless themselves, to tell you, “It will be okay.”? The only way you would be comforted is if they point to a greater source than themselves and encourage you to take comfort in that source. The word comfort actually means to “come next to.” It wasn’t a mental comfort; it was an actual comfort coming from someone who had the power to comfort you. Like the police officer who says, “You are safe now.” The Doctor who says, “Your test came back negative, you will be okay.” Paul is encouraging the early church to be comforted by God Himself. He writes, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles.” Are you troubled today? Come next to God, let Him comfort you. Are you weary and don’t know what to do? Move toward God, lean upon Him, let Him wrap you in His arms. He will comfort you. Are you at the end of yourself, too frozen to move? Turn your head in His direction, whisper with your thoughts, He will hear you. He is the merciful Father and the source of all comfort. Today, come next to Him and be comforted.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I am coming next to You. I need Your arms, I need Your face, I need Your voice. Comfort me, dear merciful Father of all comfort. Strengthen my arms, give courage to my legs, help my head lift up toward the light.  Here I am, comfort me I pray.
AMEN

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Father

TODAY’S VERSE
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
Romans 8:15-16 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
When we became a Christian, we were born-again. We received the Holy Spirit, becoming a child of God with the right to call God our Father. I don’t know which is more exciting, the fact that I am a child of God or that I have a Heavenly Father that really loves me. The beautiful fact is that both are true. Do you believe this? Do you really understand that God is your father? Do you understand that you are a child of God that is loved and cherished? If it hasn’t already, this truth can totally change your life. Why not let it? Today, breathe in the fact that you are a beloved child of God. Not just the Holy Almighty God, but your Heavenly Father. Know Him, love Him, talk to Him. The Spirit will testify to you, that indeed you are His child. 
 
TODAY’S PRAYER
Oh my loving Father, thank You for making me Your child. Help me to know You, love You and live for You. I need You to guide my life.
AMEN

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Temptation

TODAY’S VERSE
“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
Matthew 26:41 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
If ever we needed Jesus’ admonition, we need it today. Television, internet, media – all around us are temptations ready to take us out spiritually. Peter said it this way, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” So what do we do? Jesus said that we must live “in” the world, but we are not to be “of” the world. That is why He told us to watch and pray; He didn’t want us to fall into temptations. When He said “watch and pray,” He wasn’t suggesting a casual Christianity. He was biding us to follow Him in a life of vigilant spiritual discipline. Like Jesus, this life must involve devotion, prayer and consecration. It is Jesus’ kind of spirituality that will “deliver us from evil.” But John knew that we would sin, so he gave us another way to overcome temptation. It is through living with a clear conscience. John wrote “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” Today we will fall into temptation. Perhaps to slander, anger, lies, lust, or any number of other behaviors. Let us be alert, keeping our eyes and heart on Jesus. Let us pray, spend time with God and confess when we need to. Praise God, He is faithful, He is forgiving. He will give us all we need to live for Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You know my needs. You know how I want to live for You, but I can’t do it by myself. I need You and the Holy Spirit to guide me. I need the power of the living Christ to forgive me, cleanse me and empower me to live for You.
AMEN

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Doing God’s Will

TODAY’S VERSE
“Do the will of God with all your heart.”
Ephesians 6:6 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
You can do something half-heartedly, or you can really give yourself to it. You can do it out of sheer obedience or because of a loving heart. Paul was asking the church members to do God’s will, but not just do it, do it with all their heart. In his book, “Knowing God’s Will” David Benner writes, “Only love was capable of empowering Jesus to choose God’s will over his own when faced with the agony of death. – Spiritual disciplines that emerge simply as acts of the will are likely to be self-serving and legalistic. What God desires is external actions that spring from inner longings for relationship and intimacy, for this is His desire for us. This was what the Father found in the heart of Jesus. And it is the motive for spiritual willing that we can find in our life in Jesus as we follow Him and live in His Spirit.” Today, ask God to birth in you a fresh desire to follow Him, a deep love and intimacy with Him that directs the way you live. Today, “do the will of God with all your heart.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me know You more and more so that I develop a deeper love for You. Then help all my actions come from the love that you birth in my heart.
AMEN

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Give Praise

TODAY’S VERSE
“But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.”
Nehemiah 9:17 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The story of Nehemiah in the Old Testament is about the redemption of God’s people. The people were scattered. They had disobeyed God and he allowed calamity to come upon them. But in God’s timing, He called Nehemiah to rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem so the people could come back together as a nation. When they were done rebuilding the walls they had a great celebration. Nehemiah writes, “Standing on the stairs were the Levites—who called with loud voices to the LORD their God and said: “Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. – Our God, the great, mighty and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love.” They celebrated God who is forgiving, gracious and compassionate. What do you celebrate about God? What is it about God that brings a smile to your face and a joy in your heart? If you can’t think of anything then think on this. God has never given up on you, He will never desert you, He is always slow to anger and will always keep His covenant of love with you. Today, take pause and give praise. 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your gracious love toward me. Thank You for Your forgiveness and compassion. Thank You that You will never desert me but will keep your promise to always love me.
AMEN

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Grace

TODAY’S VERSE
“This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. – May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.”
II Peter 1:1-2 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I love Peter’s faith in Christ. He went from a follower of Christ to a slave and apostle. And in his eyes, Jesus went from an itinerant Rabbi to Messiah to his Savior and Lord. What was his secret? How did he grow in his knowledge and experience of Christ? It was God’s grace. The very favor of God was given to him so he could grow in the Lord. The same is given to you. God has poured His knowledge into your mind and heart through the person of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because He has chosen to be gracious toward you. Grace is a gift of God to you. It is His unmerited divine assistance. Today, accept His assistance. Invite God to “give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I need Your grace. I need Your Holy Spirit to help me grow in my knowledge of You. Help me, guide me, instruct me, I pray. May Your grace be alive in my heart.
AMEN

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No Burden

TODAY’S VERSE
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I love this passage. The Lord bids us to come and rest. How different is that? It is the complete opposite of striving. You know striving to “earn” God’s love, or worst “keep it” as if God is some fickle tyrant. Nothing could be farther from the heart of God. Jesus knew we would be weary and carry heavy burdens. It is part of living in this world. But He never meant that living for God would be the cause of the burden. No, He said if we would take His teachings and live them, we would find rest for our soul. In “Desiring God’s Will” Dr. David Benner writes, “Hearing the invitation, everything within me wants to draw near and receive the gift of love that Jesus represents – not out of obligation but out of a soul-aching desire. And each time I do, my heart is slowly but progressively more aligned with the heart of God – God’s desires becoming my desires and God’s will becoming my will.” So today, quit trying to earn His love. You already have it. Don’t strive to please Him so He won’t abandon You, He will never leave you. Today, rest in His love for you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for all the times I strive under rules and regulations trying to earn Your love. Forgive me for making a mockery out of Your unconditional love for me. Thank You that your love is not a burden. Thank You that Your teaching shows me how to get rest for my soul. Give me that rest today I pray.
AMEN

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A Friend Of God

TODAY’S VERSE
“You were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has brought  you back as His friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”
Colossians 1:21-22 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
What you believe about yourself is key to the way you live. What you believe God thinks about you can make all the difference in the world. That is why Paul wrote his letter to the Colossian church. He wanted them to know who they were. He starts out reminding them that they were the very enemies of God, separated by their evil thoughts and actions. But just as quick, he shares that God, through the death of Christ on the cross, has now accepted them as friends. This gives them the right to come into His very presence as a holy and blameless individual. In their book “TrueFaced” the authors say it this way, “As a maturing Christian, I no longer define myself by my sin or the sin committed against me, but by who God declared me to be.” And what has God declared about you? He has declared, because of Christ and your personal faith in Him, that you are His friend. Today, let this reality sink deep into your heart. Let it fill you with joy and peace as you live for Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for declaring me as Your friend. Thank You that through the death and resurrection of Christ, Your son, I am Your child, completely loved and forgiven of all my sins. Help me to live in this reality.
AMEN

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