Our Deepest Longings

TODAY’S VERSE
“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.”
Acts 17:27-28 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God’s purpose has always been that we fellowship with Him. He has built us with what Anne Halley calls our “Core longings for love, security, understanding, purpose, significance and belonging.” We all need to have these fulfilled and we were made to have them fulfilled in fellowship with God. The people of Athens were searching for truth. They had a temple filled with a multitude of gods and yet they asked Paul to come and share about Jesus. Paul’s message cut to the heart and exposed their deepest longings. He shared that these longings could only be met in God for in God, “we live and move and exist.” It is coming to God, fellowshipping in His presence, feeling safe enough to be vulnerable and expose our lack of fulfillment and let Him fill the deep core longings of our heart. We must come to a place where we believe the TRUTH- that when we cry out to God and move toward Him, He hears and responds and meets us and fulfills our need for love, security, understanding, purpose, significance and belonging. Today, come to Him, fellowship with Him. As Paul said, “He is not far from any one of us.” Bring Him the deep longings of your heart and find your place in Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, I come today and lay before You my deepest longings for love, security, understanding, purpose, significance and belonging. Thank You that in Jesus Christ all my longings are met. Come fill my heart and help me live, move and exist in You. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Renew Your Strength

TODAY’S VERSE
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  –  we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
II Corinthians 4:8-9, 15-16 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Do you know that you have a divine purpose? You do. God has chosen you to live for Him. He wants to live His love and passion through you. You are His ambassador. No one knew this better than the Apostle Paul. He knew he was a messenger of God to bring God’s love to those that did not know Him. And in doing this Paul suffered many physical and mental trials. But one thing was sure, he did not give up. How was Paul able to press on against insurmountable odds? Where did he get the strength to persevere?  He received his strength from God. He wrote, “Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are renewed every day.” We can experience the same thing. We can come to the same God who gave Paul strength and cry out, “Lord, help me. Renew my spirit. Come and give me the strength I need to get through this time.” And He will. So today, don’t give up. Come to God and be renewed. Get your strength from Him and be about the purpose that God has called you to.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, I thank You that I will never be abandoned by You. You will never let me be completely crushed or destroyed. Instead, I come today to be renewed. Renew my spirit I pray and give me strength to live for You.
AMEN

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True Light

TODAY’S VERSE
“If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God. But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment.”
Isaiah 50:10-11 (NLT)

“Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
II Corinthians 11:14 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
When we are in the dark, we tend to think that any light will do. But that is not true. I started one night on a four hour hike into a deep forest along a mountain trail. I had no choice, I had to go. But to my dismay, all I had was a flashlight with poor batteries. As the light failed, the walk ended up more like eight hours. You can’t tell me that the kind of light you have doesn’t make a difference. It was the hardest trek of my life because the light I had was no good.  The prophet Isaiah is warning us that when it gets dark, we need trust in God, not our own light. How often can we become deceived by good sounding logic? Paul warns us that Satan comes to us masquerading as an angel of light! Today there are all kinds of self-help messages. While a lot of what is said is good, nothing can replace the light of God, His word and His presence. Spend time with Him. Use His light. Nothing else will light up your path like the light of Jesus and his word. 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Jesus, You said that You are the light of the world.  Please come today and direct my path. Show me the way. Keep me from falling prey to a deceiving light and false direction. I commit myself and my journey to You.
AMEN

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Search My Heart

TODAY’S VERSE
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
Psalms 139:23-24 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The Bible says that David “was a man after God’s heart.” What a tribute. Contrary to what we might think, this was not because David was perfect. He knew how easy he could fall into sin. He remembered how God had to wake him up from an immoral stupor through the rebuke of Nathan the Prophet. If anyone could have created the slogan “No perfect people allowed,” it was David. David had to give up the “perception of perfection” in order to renew a close relationship with God. When God convicted David of wrong doing, David repented, asking God to have mercy on him. In order to stay in a close relationship with God, David decided to allow God to speak to him about his behavior. He prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” How about you? Do you feel far from God? Who moved? What is stopping you from coming back? Is it pride? Is it anger? Is it the false notion that you don’t need to? Let us join David in becoming a man after God’s heart, not through the false ambition of perfection, but through the daily, honest and open relationship with God that allows Him to search us, point out what we are doing wrong and then lead us along the path of following Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I come to you today and pray what David prayed so long ago, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
AMEN

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Peace, Love and Grace

TODAY’S VERSE
Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 6:23-24 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Paul knew how to end a letter. I can imagine him thinking, “What three things would my dear brothers and sisters in Christ need the most in the world? What would help them with any situation? What would give them the strength to carry on? What would be worth dying for? What would make life worth living?” This was more than the granting of three wishes. Paul prayed with the full knowledge that what he prayed could be our reality. He prayed that God would give you peace. He prayed that the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ would give you love. And finally, that God’s own grace would be on you for all eternity. Peace, love and grace. What could you do with that today? How much would you keep for yourself? How much would you give away? And what do you do when someone offers you a gift? You take it. So today, might you take and be conscious of all the peace, love and grace God has for you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your peace, love and grace that You have for me. I pray that today I might really begin to experience the effects of Your peace, love and grace in all that I do. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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True Significance

TODAY’S VERSE
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”
Psalms 139:17-18 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Significance. How do you find it? The story goes that a man travels all around the world looking for treasure and at the end of his life comes back to his home village to die. After he dies, the next person buys his house and finds diamonds in the back yard. He had a diamond mine in his back yard all the time. We look all around our own world to find love, acceptance and significance. The truth is right in front of us. We are significant because God created us and loves us, period. David really believed that God thought about him. You can, too. How? By believing today’s passage with your heart, not just your mind.  Read the words again and this time picture God feeling this way about you. “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You have created all things, and yet, out of all that You have created from before time, You think about me. More than that, You love me. I am significant to You. Thank You Lord! Help these thoughts fill my heart and shape my behavior today so I might return to You all my love and adoration. I praise You! In Jesus’ name. AMEN

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Roots

TODAY’S VERSE
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”
Ephesians 3:17-18 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Roots are crucial to the health of a plant. It is the way that plants get water and nourishment. Jesus used plants and roots as a metaphor on our spiritual life. He pointed out that “where” you put your roots can make all the difference in the world. Jesus shared about the futility of sowing seed on a path where the roots can’t grow. This represents the evil one stealing away the truth from our heart. He says some seed falls on a rocky area where the roots can’t grow deep. This represents a lack of commitment where spiritual fervor doesn’t last long. Finally, Jesus shared about seed that falls in the weeds where the competition for the roots steals away nourishment. This represents the cares of this world or lure of wealth taking us away from our walk with Christ. Instead, Jesus said that we need to plant the seed on good ground. In Ephesians  Paul is praying for the church, that we would let our roots grow deep into the love that Christ has for us. How do we do this? By opening our heart to Christ’s influence and trusting in Him. If we want to mature in Christ, then we must spend time in good soil. We need to pray, read His word and meditate in His presence. Where are your roots? Are emotional issues leaving your faith malnourished? Are the cares of this world choking you out? Come to Jesus –let your roots go down deep into His love.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, too many of my roots have been shallow. I have not let my roots go down deep into Your love. My commitment has wavered. I’ve let the cares of this world choke me out. Help me today begin to go deeper with You. Feed me, nourish my soul, I pray. Help me know You more, hear You more, love You more. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Walk The Talk

TODAY’S VERSE
“But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues.”
Psalms 78:36 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to give “lip service”. How often do we do it in our relationships? We say, “I love you” and then treat the object of that love horribly. James writes, “Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” Likewise, it is easy to praise God with our lips but dishonor Him with our lives. It is so easy to say, “We love you, Lord” and not do what He says. Praise God for our ability to repent and His grace to forgive. His mercies are new every morning and we can come to Him with a clean slate and live this new day in harmony between our lips and our heart. May it be so. 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I know that there are so many times that I give you lip service only. I talk the talk but neglect to walk the walk. Forgive me for my hypocrisy. Oh Holy Spirit, help me live as Jesus lived, in Spirit and in truth.
AMEN

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Believe

 TODAY’S VERSE
“For they did not believe God or trust him to care for them.”
Psalms 78:22 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is a fine line between trust and faith. The Children of Israel were in the wilderness, a hard and barren land. It was a difficult and cruel existence. Even though God had promised to take care of them, they did not believe it. It was hard for them to trust God to provide for them. It is hard to trust with your mind when your feet are in a precarious place. That is when trust needs to turn into faith. They would need faith that He would take care of them. This is where the Israelites failed. Like us, instead of faith, they chose murmuring and complaining. They looked around and saw nothing but rocks and a hot and barren land. They did not see God. Today, might we open our eyes to the reality of God in our own situation. Might we trust God for a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. Might we taste the Manna and drink of the water from the rock. Today, let us rejoice, for He is Jehovah-jireh, the Lord our provider.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for my complaining. Forgive me when I forget that You love me and are my provider. I lay my needs at Your feet and give You all my trust and faith.
AMEN

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Encouragement

TODAY’S VERSE
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God made us for fellowship. It is wired into our brain. We need God and other people. Relationships play a pivotal role in our Christianity. We must attune ourselves to God and to each other. If we don’t, then we isolate. And when we isolate, we start to ruminate on our inner thoughts with no checks or balance. What starts out as a hurt can fester into a deep wound if there is no one there to encourage us. Anger becomes revenge, sadness becomes despair, temptation become sins, all because we had no one to listen, to correct, to pray for us. Fellowship with our Lord and each other is crucial to our everyday life and it begins with us. We must choose not to isolate. We must choose to be someone else’s encourager. Today, find someone to encourage you and then go and encourage others.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I confess I have fallen to the deceitfulness of sin because I have forsaken the encouragement of others. Help me not to isolate. Help me truly fellowship with other believers so I can be encouraged and then, help me encourage others.
AMEN

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