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Archive for February, 2013

TODAY’S VERSE

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.”
Luke 6:35 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Sometimes I forget how radical the teachings of Jesus really are. When I am tempted to be benevolent to someone that doesn’t seem deserving, when I am considering forgiving someone who has offended me, when I am accepting someone into my inner community whose background is troubled, I begin to get second doubts. Others start to question what I am doing and my anxiety begins to rise. And then I come to Jesus. I read a passage like todays and I begin to understand that I don’t even begin to understand. I see the depth of God’s love and I am so far removed. I am so short of what He demanded. Love my enemies? More than that, do good to them? What radical living is this? Being kind to those who are unthankful and wicked? This is what He has done for me, but He is God. How can I love the way He does? It starts by believing what He said to do. To commit myself to be like He was, and with the help of His Holy Spirit, He will begin to love others through me. His ways will become my ways. Today, decide to love the unlovely. Be kind to those who are unkind. Be patient with those that invade your space. Christ is our example. We are called by His name and empowered by His Spirit.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your high standards when it comes to love. Where would I be without it? Surely You have loved me with abandonment. Help me to go and radically love others.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“I love the Lord because”
Psalms 116:1 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I love the Lord because? Go ahead and fill in the blank. The Psalmist includes reasons like, “Saved me from death.” “Listens to me.” “Saves me.” “Is kind and good.” and “Gives help to those in need.” The Apostle John writes, “We love Him because He first loved us.” How about you? Why do you love the Lord? What is it that you could praise God for? Worship is the expression of praise and gratitude for all that God is and all that He does. Today let worship be a part of your day. Thank God for the many reasons you love Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear God, I love You. I come now with a heart full of gratitude for all You are and do. Thank You for Your love, mercy and grace in my life.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God is so much more than we believe He is. We barely begin to know anything about His infinite power, wisdom and love. It’s like looking at a pebble and saying we comprehend what Mt. Everest must look like. God’s provisions are so vast that if we were to exhaust all the resources of a multi-billionaire, we would barely be starting with God. So why is it we don’t dream big dreams for God? He has promised that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine and yet we live a life without the miraculous. The secret is in knowing Him. And even that is a gift. A gift we need to pray for. We need to ask God to help us comprehend who He is and to allow us to dream for Him. He created us to be His ambassador of dreams. He lives through our visions, our hopes and aspirations. He longs for us to challenge Him, to create with Him and to partner in being change agents in this world. Paul put it this way, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Today, let us ask God to strengthen us with His power and to fill us with His fullness so we will ask Him for the immeasurable, and trust Him to do more that we can ever imagine.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, what immeasurable mighty dreams do You have for my life? What is it that You want me to trust You for? Strengthen me, Lord, with Your power. Fill me with Your fullness. Help me believe You for great things.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
II Thessalonians 2:15-17 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Shame and grace are perhaps the two of the most powerful words in molding and shaping our beliefs about ourself. Shame keeps us from accepting all the love God has for us. We simply cannot believe. Lewis Smedes in his book, “Shame and Grace” writes, “The feeling of shame is about our very selves – not about something we did or said but about what we are. It tells us that we are unworthy. Totally. It is not a few seams in the garment of our selves need stitching; the whole fabric is frayed. We feel we are unacceptable.” How do we overcome such devastating feelings? How can we ever shake such a deep emotion? Only through God’s grace. Paul says that it is God who loves us and by His grace gives us encouragement and hope. His grace encourages our hearts and strengthens us. Smedes writes, “Grace overcomes shame by simply accepting us, the whole of us, with no regard to our beauty or our ugliness, our virtue or our vices. We are accepted wholesale. Accepted with no possibility of being rejected. Accepted once and forever. Accepted at the ultimate depth of our being. We are given what we have longed for in every nook and nuance of every relationship.” Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Are you listening? Today, read this devotional again and believe. It is by grace that you are saved. You are loved.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Oh Father, melt my heart. Open me and pour your grace deep into my soul. I believe, but today help my unbelief. Your grace loves me. Your grace saves me. Lord, I renounce my shame and accept your unconditional love. Flood my being with the joy of Your grace I pray. Because of Jesus.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Now here is a list to live by. We like to think of love as a noun. Some pretty valentine card or song we remember from our high school days. But love is a verb, it is love “in action”. Paul gives us a list that is unmistakable. Paul writes that love is patient, kind, not jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way and does not get irritable or keep a record of wrong. Love is not happy with injustice but rejoices in the truth. Finally, love has staying power. It never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and has endurance. Can you imagine what the world would be like if all of us would live by Paul’s definition of love? Today, let’s change our little part of the world. Let’s practice this kind of “love in action” wherever we go.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You are love and by the power of Your Holy Spirit You can help me love. Give me the courage, strength and desire to love the way You do. Today, help me exemplify love in action.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“With God’s help we will do mighty things.”
Psalms 108:13 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Hope can go a long way in helping us through this life. But this was more than hope. This was a belief. David, though he was a humble shepherd boy, knew that with God’s help he could do mighty things. It was this belief that helped him overcome Goliath. It was this belief that made him a mighty King. David’s belief in God doing mighty things caused him to start the Psalm by writing, “My heart is confident in you, O God.” It was this confidence that got him up in the morning and got him through the day. It was his confidence in the power and love of God that got him through the tough parts of life that he faced. He knew that God would help him do mighty things. What mighty things do you trust God for? How does knowing God change your expectations? Are you expecting the mighty? Today, put your hope in God. He loves you and desires to do mighty things in your life. With God’s help all things are possible.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me believe You for mighty things today. I pray that Your Holy Spirit will give me a vision worthy of Your power. Truly, with Your help dear Lord, I will do mighty things.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
What do you see? A lot of it depends on what you are looking through. Each of us come to the Scriptures with different lenses. We see through our experiences, beliefs, senses and personality. So although scripture is true, we may have a skewed view of it. For example, in today’s verse what do you believe? When you close your eyes, do you see God as a mighty one who will save you? Or do you have some doubts as to His ability or desire? Do you see God as rejoicing over you with gladness? Is He exulting over you with loud singing? Is He ecstatic in His love toward you? Or do you have a hard time feeling like a recipient of that kind of attention from God? Finally, can you picture God quieting you with His love? Does the very thought of God bring peace to your heart? God’s word is true, but unless we read it and challenge our emotional thinking, we will not align our real beliefs with God’s. Today, ask God to help make His word clear to you and start to see what He wants you to.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me read Your word. Holy Spirit, help me to see what You really want me to see and to believe it with all of my heart. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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