Alive

TODAY’S VERSE
“The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
Genesis 2:7 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
When asked, a group of people who suffered with addictions, gave the answer to what they “felt” just before they gave into the craving of their addiction. What was the trigger, what was the deep painful impulse that was driving them? Some of the answers were, “worthlessness, lost, disconnection, lack of existence, invisible, bad, evil, void, abandoned, alone, powerless, wrong, not breathing, non being, humiliated, ashamed and unloved.” Then the same group was asked to visualize taking the drug and verbalize what the drug did for them. What was the promise, what was the relief? They wrote:
“self discovery, focus for my life, meaning, surrender, will, acceptance by group, feeling of being alive, freedom, acceptance of desire, living in the moment.” Now here is the catch. Although the desire for positive meaning is real, the lie is that drugs do not give them the solution. It only mocks it. It is like the song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” It is God that gives the “breath of life.” Jesus provides real meaning. The healing power of God and Christian fellowship is the answer to our deepest pain! God has created us for life. We are not supposed to go around feeling like a non-being. Instead Paul prays that we would have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Christ’s love for us is. It is in experiencing God’s love for us that we are made complete with all the “fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Today, let the love of Christ breathe life deep into your soul and make you alive.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I want to live, really live. Help me find true meaning and purpose in Your love for me. Fill me with Your life-giving breath. Fill me with Your Spirit and make me more alive today than I have ever been.
AMEN

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Praising God

TODAY’S VERSE
“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
Luke 2:20 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Does our worship produce more worship? The shepherds came to the manger and worshiped Jesus born as a baby. And then they returned home filled with even more worship and praise. Jesus was the Messiah, the hope of the world, and they were deeply moved by their time with Him. Today, we come week after week worshipping the same Jesus. They knew Him as a baby but we know Him as the Savior. We know the joy of sins forgiven. We know the power of a personal relationship with Jesus. Yet how do we return home week after week after spending time in corporate worship? How does our experience on Sunday extend into how we live and worship on Monday? What kind of Christian experience do we really have, or is our faith just a ritual, a religious practice? The shepherds experienced Jesus, and even as a baby, it changed their lives. They were never the same. Let Jesus do the same for you. Might your whole life be filled with the joy and wonder of His love for you. Today, glorify and praise God for all He has done.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, thank You for all You have done for me. Thank You for Your birth, death and resurrection. Today, fill my heart with praise. Give me a joy deep in my heart. Help me to know You in a profoundly personal way so I, too, return home glorifying and praising You for all the things I have seen and heard.
AMEN

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Help Others

TODAY’S VERSE
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”
Galatians 6:1-2 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
So much of the sin in our life is due to our emotions. We get upset, worried, stressed and the emotional pain starts to build up. Instead of regulating our emotion and return to a more joyful or peaceful state of  mind, we let our anger, rage, depression, or sadness take over our behavior. This leads us to sin. The solution is found in our relationship with God and other close friends. It is the love, support and comfort that is able to tame our sinful behavior. It is in these deep relationships that we learn how to return to joy. Paul says that we should gently and humbly help a person return to sanity and stop their negative behavior. How? By sharing their burdens and pain. In using a kind word, a listening ear and a prayerful heart, your sincere help will keep a person from acting out on their negative emotions. Your empathy and love will help keep them from committing deep relational sins. Today ask God to help you share in someone else’s burden and restore them to a place of peace and joy.
 
TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me be there for other people. Help me share their burdens and gently bring them back to You. Thank You for Your grace and mercy extended to me. Help me do the same to others. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Walk The Talk

TODAY’S VERSE
“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”
I John 3:17-18

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:34

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is harder to “walk our talk” than to “talk our walk.” We can say all we want about how loving we are, but the real proof is in our actions. If God’s love is a motivating force in our life, then helping others is going to be a natural by-product. Christians have lost much of their witness because we have not helped the poor and needy to the best of our ability. Sure our budgets are tight, but then look at what we spend our money on. Expensive cars, homes, furnishings, hobbies, entertainment and food all take their toll on our annual budget. Downsizing will allow us to have discretionary income that we can help others with. We are God’s ambassadors. If we are going to represent Him in this world, then we need to be able to be compassionate toward those that He brings across our path. John says it best, “let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” Ask God to bring someone across your path today that you can help.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, you have blessed me with so much. Help me to be wise with the resources you have given me so I can be compassionate to those that you bring across my path. Even today Lord, show me someone that I can be compassionate toward. Might there be no doubt that your love dwells in me.
AMEN

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I Will Be With You

TODAY’S VERSE
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Isaiah 43:2

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The difference between Christianity the religion and Christianity the lifestyle is the personal application of Biblical truth. We take His word personally. When God says, “I will be with you,” it is not a religious phrase, it is a reality that brings us comfort, strength and hope. When there was a famine in the land, God told Isaac to stay in the land for “I will be with you”. When Jacob was in danger, God told him to return to his home land and said, “I will be with you”. When God commissioned Moses to lead His people out of Egypt, Moses shared how he felt that he was incompetent. God said to do it anyway because, “I will be with you”. When God asked Joshua to take over for Moses and lead the people into the Promised Land, He told Joshua, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” God asked Gideon to lead His people into battle and Gideon was afraid and asked God, “How can I rescue Israel?” God said, “I will be with you” When Jesus was leaving earth to return to God’s right hand and commissioned the Church to make disciples, He promised, “I will be with you always.”
Life has its trials. God has commissioned you and I to serve Him. The tasks may be difficult. We may face trials, temptations and struggles but take comfort in this, even today, God is with you. He will never, never, never leave you or forsake you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank you for your ever abiding presence. Thank you for the comfort I find in the fact that You are with me. Today, make me keenly aware that nothing can separate me from You. Help my heart be filled with faith in the reality that You will never leave me or forsake me. In Jesus Name.
AMEN

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His Love

TODAY’S VERSE
“Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. – How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. – Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you.”
Psalms 35:5, 7, 10 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
What was it that David knew about God? If nothing else, David knew this, “God loved him.” Three times in this very short chapter David praises God for His magnificent love. It was a vast and unfailing love. It was a precious love, a place of refuge and shelter. It was a love that God would generously pour out upon all those that loved Him. And this same God that David writes about loves you. And how did David know about this love? He experienced it. He spent time with God, he worshipped God and trusted in Him for everything. And God invites you to do the same. Today, sit in the presence of His love. Bask in it. Soak it in. Breathe deeply and sense His love filling your very being. His love is unfailing, it is vast and today it is yours to behold.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your love for me. It is unfailing and precious. Fill me with your love today and help me know Your love in all it fullness.
AMEN

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Tithe Your Love

TODAY’S VERSE
“What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”
Luke 11:42 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Protestant Work Ethic. Remember it? It was a social concept that helped build capitalism. It is the idea that we should work hard for the money we receive and use it wisely. It was credited to Christianity because so many Christians had a strong moral ethic when it came to money and work. This same spirit has advocated tithing, the giving a ten percent portion of your income to church. But the Protestant Work Ethic could not hold a candle to the Pharisees! Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees were so obsessive that they even tithed their tiniest income from their herb gardens! But here was the point. The Pharisees were zealous about giving their money to God, but neglected what God really wanted. He wanted us to tithe our interests and focus. He wants us to love Him and those all around us that are in need. In fact, when we love those in need we are really loving God. God cares about people. Broken, hurting and poor people. And if we want to tithe anything then we should give of our time, talent and treasures to helping those in need. Jesus said it best. He said, “You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.” Today, give of yourself to help those in need. This is what God desires.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me to have your priorities. Help me to have a heart that beats like Yours. One full of grace and mercy for those in need. Help me love You by loving justice and those in need around me.
AMEN

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Show Me the Right Path

TODAY’S VERSE
“Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Remember, O LORD, your compassion and unfailing love.”
Psalms 25:4-6

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Life is a journey. We are not settlers in this world. Heaven is our final destination. Instead we are called to go through life as an ambassador of heaven, a soldier in God’s army, a sojourner commanded to give away God’s peace and love. And the journey can get messy. That is why it is so important to learn to navigate, to solve problems and to discern what to do next. David is crying out that God would direct his path. But notice that it is a special kind of leading. He said, “Lead me by your truth and teach me.” Jesus said that truth would set us free. So much of our hardships, misdirection and hurts in this life are due to deception and denial. We need to pray that God would show us the truth and then teach us through each experience. This is how we derive our faith and hope in Him. They are learned behaviors that God imparts as we are led by His Spirit in each situation we find ourselves in. Life is a process. We succeed and make progress by learning. David learned to put his hope in God and trusted that God’s compassion and love would not fail. That is what we need to do. May God lead you by His truth today and point out the road for you to follow. May He teach you more about the depths of His compassion and unfailing love.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I need Your guidance today. Show me what road to follow. Guide me by Your truth and teach me to trust You. I put my hope in You and your compassionate unfailing love.
AMEN

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Wait On The Lord

TODAY’S VERSE
“Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”
Psalms 27:14

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Is it no surprise that “wait” is only four letters. Doesn’t it often seem like a curse word? We would rather hear God say, “Yes, that is a great idea!” or “Certainly, anything else I can get you?” We want instant gratification. We want what we want, with little consideration for any other variables and become impatient if we do not get it. Or what about the times when we have waited and waited. We pray, seek God’s face and still there is no answer. The last thing we want to be told at a time like that is to, “wait”. Yet David and Isaiah both insist that part of our Spiritual journey is learning to wait. David knew first hand how hard it was to wait on God. He was named King by God but had to run and sleep in caves, running from the armies of Saul. David was brave and courageous over and over again and waited on God to work things out. He encourages us to do the same. Isaiah inspires us to wait on God. He shares how, in time, we will renew our strength, we will eventually run and not be weary, we will walk and not faint. What a picture. Life is hard; we have struggles on all sides. It may seem like God doesn’t care, perhaps not even there, but be encouraged today. You are not alone. God knows your situation. Pray, trust, hope and wait. God will renew your strength.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, waiting is so hard sometimes. I confess I get so impatient. Forgive me and help me to focus on your love and to put my trust in you. Help me to wait patiently and not to worry. Lord, I claim the promise that you will renew my strength as I wait on you.
AMEN

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You Are His Masterpiece

TODAY’S VERSE
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10

TODAY’S THOUGHT
For every truth there is a lie waiting to deceive us. Why is it so much easier to believe a lie? Why can doubt have so much impact on belief? A million people can believe the truth and yet one dissenter will get the nation’s attention. It is that way in the spiritual realm. Paul writes that we are significant. Specifically, “we are God’s masterpiece created to do the good things he planned for us to do” and what do we believe? Be honest, don’t we often believe we are no good, inferior, damaged goods and even hopeless? Where did that come from? It didn’t come from God! If we want to change what we believe, we must renounce the lies. Do it today. Lift up your heart and say it out loud, “I renounce the lie that I am no good, inferior, damaged goods or hopeless.” My friend, it is time to believe the truth about yourself. You are significant. You are a masterpiece made by God Himself. He absolutely loves you and desires you to accept the love He has for you. Renounce the lies; today choose to believe the truth.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, my Father. I confess I have believed lies about myself. I renounce these negative thoughts and feelings and command their power over me to be broken in the precious name of Jesus Christ! I choose to accept the truth, that you personally created me as a masterpiece to do the good things you have sent me here for. Thank you, dear Father, for giving me significance.
AMEN

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