We Live By Faith

TODAY’S VERSE
“For we live by believing and not by seeing.”
II Corinthians 5:7 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We live by faith. I sometimes wonder what was wrong with the disciples? They were with Jesus. They saw Him everyday, they saw the miracles, they heard the teachings, and yet, how many times did Jesus have to say, “Oh, you of little faith!” Thomas wouldn’t believe in the resurrection until he saw Jesus and the nail prints in His hands. And Jesus told him, “Thomas, you believe because you have seen with your own eyes. How blessed are they who believe and yet have not seen?” And that is our calling. We see without seeing. We live by faith. Paul writes, “Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.” We live in what John Wimber called the “here and not yet”. It means that the Kingdom of God has come to earth but we are not in Heaven yet. However, for this world God has assured us that faith is enough. The truth is Thomas did see Jesus everyday, yet he doubted  that Jesus rose from the dead. And so with us, it is not seeing that makes the difference in our life, it is faith. The author of Hebrews writes, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” With faith we can have hope and certainty. Finally, Paul wrote, “We live by believing, not by seeing.” Today, trust God. Put your faith in Him. Look at life with your spiritual eyes and you will see that faith has a sight of its own.
 
TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me live by faith. Help me see with Your eyes. Help me use hope and belief as my instruments to navigate through this life. I trust You. I believe in You. Guide me by faith, I pray.
AMEN

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Never Abandoned

TODAY’S VERSE
“The LORD will not abandon his people – for it has pleased the LORD to make you his very own people.”
I Samuel 12:22 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I don’t know how it could be any clearer, yet if you struggle, as I have, with issues of shame and abandonment, this verse will seem like some vague concept you can’t quite get your thoughts around. However, I have come to believe that even in the most fearful of us, the Lord can meet us, open our eyes to the truth and give us hope and peace. “The Lord will not abandon His people.” Don’t just read these words, feel them. Drop your guard, relax your shoulders, exhale and let the emotion of this tremendous promise sink deep into your chest: “God, our Father, will not abandon you.” And if that is not enough, hear the author say, “It has pleased the Lord to make you His very own people.” And that you are. Today, know deep in your heart, “You are God’s child and He will never, never, never abandon you.”  

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, forgive me for my fears of your abandonment and a lack of trust in Your love. I renounce this, Lord. Today, I accept the fact that it pleased You to make me Your child and that you will never abandon me. I praise You, Lord, for this.
AMEN

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Rest For The Weary

TODAY’S VERSE
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is easy to get weary. There are so many demands on your life. You live at such a fast pace, burning the candle at both ends. The result is that you end up tired much of the time. Where do you turn? Where do you turn for relief, comfort, and escape from all the pressure? If not careful, you can find yourself victim to addictions, unhealthy relationships or negative emotions. But Jesus has a better way. He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” More than that, Jesus invites you to learn from Him. His teaching is easy, and His burden is light. So today, turn to Jesus. Bring your weary soul to Him. Give Him your circumstances and your emotions. Surrender yourself to His care. He promises that you will find rest for your soul. 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You know my condition. I am weary and in need of renewal. I am so glad that You have invited me to come to You for rest. I know that You are gentle and humble in heart and will give me rest for my soul. So I come to You even now, Jesus. I put my soul into Your capable hands. Help me and heal me even now. I pray this in Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Praise Him

TODAY’S VERSE
“With all my heart I praise the LORD, and with all that I am I praise his holy name! With all my heart I praise the LORD! I will never forget how kind he has been. The LORD forgives our sins, heals us when we are sick, and protects us from death.”
Psalms 103:1-4 (CEV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to get wrapped up in our everyday situations that we take all that God is doing for granted. Our hearts start to shrivel at the lack of praise in our life and then we read a passage like today’s. You can sense how David’s heart was full of praise toward God for all His love and kindness. When I read, “With all my heart I praise the LORD, and with all that I am I praise his holy name! With all my heart I praise the LORD!” it was like air to the lungs of a suffocating person. I could feel my soul gasp for the spiritual air just like a person does when they are resuscitated. My heart longs to worship Him, to sit in His presence and remember how kind He has been. To muse on all the forgiveness He has showered me with. To praise Him for healing and protecting me. It is not too late. Today, I can remember. Today, I can praise Him with all my heart. And so can you. Today, let us praise Him together.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, how I praise You for all Your kindness. How I praise You for forgiving me. How I praise You for Your protection. You are worthy of all my praise. I praise Your Holy name.
AMEN

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Free

TODAY’S VERSE
“And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you.”
Romans 8:2 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Some phrases have the power to change everything about the way we live. Today’s verse has that ability. Paul is saying that when we came to Christ, we became a child of God and were indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Not just any Spirit but our Almighty God’s Spirit. And when that happened, the power of this life-giving Holy Spirit freed us. The Holy Spirit frees us from eternal death, condemnation and the power of sin in our life. We are free from our own selfishness and the bondages and strongholds we find ourselves in. God’s mighty Spirit frees us from temptation, emotional distress and the pain of our past. The loving and compassionate Spirit intercedes for us, freeing us from shame and guilt. The indwelling Holy Spirit frees from the limitations others have put on us, frees us to rise above our circumstances and become all that He created us to be. Through the filling of the Holy Spirit, we are free to live the life He has called us to. So today, acknowledge your new birth right. Invite the power of the life-giving Holy Spirit to control your life. He will, and when He does, you will be free.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear God, how I praise You for Your indwelling Holy Spirit in my life. I ask to be filled and controlled by the Spirit. Fill me, free me, guide me and direct me I pray. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Follow Him

TODAY’S VERSE
“Simon son of John, do you love me?”
John 21:17 (NLT)

“Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
John 6:67 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God created us for a relationship. Yet, how many times do we get this concept all wrong? Instead we act as if we created God. Rather than a deep relationship with Him, we act as if it is God’s role to make us happy, to serve us, and to answer our every need. We live as if God was more of a personal concierge than our Lord and Savior. Jesus felt some of this same attitude from His own followers. Many were following Jesus because of all they were receiving. One particular day Jesus decided to challenge everyone on this issue by calling the crowd to a higher life of discipleship and many of the people decided to stop following Jesus. Jesus came back to His twelve disciples and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” After Jesus rose from the dead and was ready to return to Heaven, he met His disciples by the seashore. It was there he asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Simple questions but the answers make all the difference in the world. How would you answer Jesus? What would you say? What do your actions say? Today, commit yourself to Christ. Tell Him how much you love Him and decide to follow Him in all you do.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord Jesus. I know I have often followed You for selfish reasons. Forgive me. I come today to follow You. To serve you. To love You. Receive my worship and humble gratitude I pray.
AMEN

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No Shame

TODAY’S VERSE
“But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.”
Psalms 3:3 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Shame. You know the drill. You drop your head and roll it down and away, as your shoulders slump and you let out a deep sigh. You talk, but it is without eye contact, constantly fighting looking down and away again. It is worst than a feeling of guilt. With guilt you can confess your wrong doing. Shame is deeper. It isn’t about “doing”, it’s about “being”. How do you repent of being something you are so ashamed of? How can you renew something that is so broken, so damaged, so worthless? Shame, more than an emotion, is a deeply worn brain map, a trait, a feeling that you are totally unworthy. But then there is God. God who comes and lifts up our head and whispers deep into our soul, “Don’t call what I have created worthless.” God, whose love for us can soften the calloused skin around our heart and begin to birth new life. God who bestows glory on us. He is the shame slayer. Today, let Him lift your head. And when He does, gaze into His face. Feel the glory He has given you. Let it radiate deep into your soul and believe. Believe you are loved. Believe that you were created for His glory and that your shame is a lie, a false belief, a shame given to you by others. Let Him tenderly lift your head and take away your shame.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, I have felt such a deep sense of shame. I bring it to you today and ask You to banish it. Lift up my head and let me see Your face. Let Your deep love penetrate my heart and set me free. Today, let me see myself the way You do. In Jesus’ Name.
AMEN

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Lead Me

TODAY’S VERSE
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
Proverb 3:5-6

TODAY’S THOUGHT
When I was trained in wilderness school the goal was to teach us to be a good guide. They took us on courses and training where our lives were literally in the hand of the person leading us. The training guide knew where we were and how to get us where we were going. They knew the terrain and how to survive any and every condition. A wilderness is a wild and unpredictable environment and a good guide will get you through it. We need a guide to get us through the mountains and valleys of this life. We need a guide to lead us through the difficult times, when we seem lost and all is hopeless. Solomon says to, “Trust in the Lord with all our heart” and He will direct our path. More specifically, Jesus promised that He will give us the Holy Spirit to be our guide. God, through the Holy Spirit, will lead us into all truth. And in the wilderness, truth is King! There is no room for error; you need the truth to guide you every step of the way. So, where are you today? Where are you going? How will you get there? You need the Holy Spirit to be your guide. Proverbs warns us not to lean on our own understanding but to acknowledge our need for God. Come to God today and ask Him to lead you. Surrender to His guidance and let Him direct your paths. Might the verse of an old Sunday School song be your prayer today, “My God knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, You know how I need You to direct my path today. I can’t do it by myself. I surrender to you and ask that you would lead me through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Guide me, direct me, lead me this day. AMEN

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God’s Grace

TODAY’S VERSE
“I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.”
II Corinthians 2:5-8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It’s what I love about Christianity. God’s grace. When I have so much to be forgiven, God in His grace forgives me. When I am so far from what God expects, He still guides me, corrects me and restores my soul. Grace is the free gift of God. And yet, why is it, we who receive so much grace find it so hard to give it to others? Jesus told many parables about people being forgiven much and the expectation that they in turn should forgive others. The church in Corinth had someone who was expelled from their fellowship. But instead of banishing him forever, Paul encourages the church to forgive him and comfort him. More than that Paul wrote, “So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.” How hard it is to forgive those that have offended us. How difficult to give grace to someone we think doesn’t deserve it. But isn’t that what grace is all about? My grace isn’t much, but God’s grace is. Sometimes it comes down to the question, “Whose grace are we going to give, ours or Christ’s? Today, let the remembrance of God’s grace in our life motivate us to extend grace to others.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for all the grace You have extended to me. Your sweet grace, totally undeserved, has been given freely to me. Forgive me for the times I do not extend the same kind of grace to others. Help me love the way You do. Help me offer the same grace to those in my life that You have given to me. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Treasure

TODAY’S VERSE
“All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”
Luke 2:18-20 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is something about the intervention of God in our lives that moves us. That God, the Ruler of the Universe, Master of Everything, Supreme, almighty, majestic Jehovah would become Immanuel, God with us, is beyond our comprehension. It was that way at Christ’s birth. When Jesus was born, everyone that heard the shepherd’s story was astonished. Mary was moved deeply by the whole visitation of God, in the person of Christ, that she treasured all that happened in her heart and thought about it often. The shepherds, who witnessed all that happened, returned to their fields glorifying and praising God. How then are we moved? When we are visited by Jesus, when the Holy Spirit communes with our heart, when we meditate in the presence of God, how is our heart stirred? It is so easy to let wonder slip by. We are so overloaded with busyness and media stimulation that we can let moments with God go right by our awareness. We need to be like Mary. She did not let the urgency of the moment steal her amazement. She did not let all that was going on overshadow what she knew to be true about God. Today, be like Mary and treasure all that God has done and is doing in your heart and think about them often.  

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I praise You for what You have done in my life. I glorify You for Your love toward me. Thank You for loving me. Help me treasure all this in my heart.
AMEN

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