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Archive for March, 2013

TODAY’S VERSE

“Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.”
Psalms 34:5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is an epidemic of shame. Why is it that we who have been called by Christ, we who have had our sins forgiven, we who have been lavished with the love of God Himself, still struggle with shame? What happened? Who lied to us? What has led to this pervasive feeling of worthlessness? Guilt I understand. I have sinned and in need of forgiveness. But how do we find forgiveness for shame? How do we correct that insidious feeling of something so utterly broken? Shame, it is a lie from Hell itself. It takes what God has created and defames it. But today it can stop! Today we can choose joy. Today we can look into the face of our loving Savior and believe what He believes about us. We can replace the lie of shame with the truth of His love. We are His beloved. We are His joy. We are His creation and He looks at us with love. Today, let the truth change you. Stop. Don’t go any farther until you believe. Look at Him. Gaze upon God and His love for you until your face becomes radiant with joy. So radiant that no shadow of shame dares to ever darken your face again. May it be so.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father. I need Your grace. I need the transforming power of Your love to fill me. Help me gaze upon Your face and see Your love for me. I surrender my feelings of shame and ask You to replace them with joy.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
I Peter 5:7 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Why is it we feel we need to minimize our pain? Where did we get the idea that we would become a burden to God? How did we come to believe that it is unspiritual to admit that we have been a victim of something awful? Abuse, violence, the death of a loved one, divorce, a bad accident, incarceration, war. God cares when we have suffered as the result of something being done to us. And God cares when we have suffered from trauma as the result of something not happening. When love, safety and security from those we trust is missing, we get trauma in the form of abandonment, unfaithfulness, embezzlement, betrayal, gossip or neglect. And to pretend that we are not affected and everything is fine is to only add to the damage that is already left in trauma’s wake. It is not spiritual to “tough it out.” It is spiritual to be healed. Peter is pleading with us to cast all of our cares onto Jesus. His whole book speaks about the suffering of Jesus and how He understands our suffering. And here Peter assures us that Jesus “cares for you.” He cares for you with deep affection. Today, bring your pain to Jesus. Tell Him about your trauma. Ask Him to give you strength, forgiveness, peace and a deep understanding of love. Ask Him to heal your broken heart; heal your deep wounds of grief and anger. Bring the whole of your cares. Cast them on Him and leave them there.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I come to You. I come to You with all my burden, all my cares. You know my pain. You know my suffering. I bring it all to You. Heal my hurts. Heal my heart. Return me to joy, I pray.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalms 103:8-12

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The Bible is clear that it is our sins that have separated us from God. But the remedy is found in Christ’s death and resurrection. The Psalmist assures us that God will not deal with us according to our sins. In fact, he insists that our sins aren’t even remembered by God! However, long after God has forgiven us, many of still feel separated from Him. Why is that? Is it false guilt, a fear of rejection, a disbelief that we are unconditionally loved that keeps us at bay? It is sad but these and many other thoughts keep us from basking in the love of God. The Apostle John writes, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” John’s attitude was firm! He was absolutely sure and so should we be. Today we can rise up and declare our position in Christ. Because of what Christ has done, you and I can look our inner critic in the eye and say, “No more! You cannot accuse me, abuse me, call me names, belittle me, and shame me anymore! I have confessed and have been forgiven and I REFUSE to believe the lie that I am no good, shameful, unlovable, unforgiven, damaged goods or rejected because of my past experiences. Today, I PRONOUNCE the fact that I am forgiven and unconditionally loved by God. I am not broken or forsaken because of my past. Today, I accept my identity as a beloved child of God!” Today, let us agree with our Savior and Lord Jesus and say with Him, “It is finished!”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, I know I have sinned and confess my participation. I am sorry and repent from ever doing them. And today I thank You that You have forgiven them all! I accept the fact that I am totally forgiven and loved by You! I agree with Your Son Jesus and declare, “It is finished!”
AMEN

 

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TODAY’S VERSE

“Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.”
Luke 4:14 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
When I read today’s passage I can’t help but think, “If Jesus needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t I be?” Paul writes about this very thing. He writes, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” What does this mean? The key is in the reference to being drunk on wine. There is only one way to get drunk. You get drunk by being “filled” with alcohol until the amount that you consume has you under its influence. This is not a casual drink that is in moderation. This is in excess to where you become drunk. So what is he saying about our life in the Spirit? Paul says that instead of getting drunk with wine, let us have the same insatiable appetite for the guidance and fellowship of the Holy Spirit. When we meditate, read, pray and commune with the Holy Spirit enough, which is more than a casual occurrence of reading a few verses of scriptures, we will begin to be “filled” or under the influence of the Holy Spirit’s leading in our daily living. It is interesting, the tense is not a “one time” filling, but actually means “be filled and keep on being filled.” You do not get drunk on wine once for the rest of your life. The effect of the wine soon dissipates. To continually be drunk you have to continually drink the wine. In order to stay “filled” or influenced by the Holy Spirit, we need to continually stay in communication and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Today, recognize the work of the Holy Spirit and ask Him to fill you and guide you throughout this day.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Holy Spirit, I recognize that it is Your desire to fill me and completely guide my life. I give You control. Come Holy Spirit, fill me I pray.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.”
Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is a price to pay for concealing our sin. A guilty conscious can lead to a downward spiral of fear, anger or shame. Unforgiveness can result in a bitter and hardened heart toward God. Soon we find ourselves ignoring the tug of the Holy Spirit calling us to repentance. But for many of us, the thought of others knowing about our sins is terrifying. We don’t even want to go to a counselor or Pastor. Fear of abandonment; the need to please others; a deep sense of shame, can keep us from dealing with our sin. Oh, we know it is there, but the thought of others knowing is too much to bear. So we slowly die, day by day our sins hidden from others, or so we think. Is the person that is in denial about their behavior really fooling anyone? Is the one that is acting out in anger in danger of being mistaken for a saint? No, but if we think no one knows, that is good enough. There is a way out. We need to lean on the love of God. We need to see that His love is greater than all our sins. That His love and power can free us from the fears that plague us. That He will never leave us or turn His back on us. When we really know the love of God, then we can confess our sins to Him and turn from them. And we will receive mercy. Mercy for our tired soul — tired from the entire masquerade. Mercy for our hardened heart. And where there is mercy, there is grace. Today, confess your sin. Turn from it and give it to God. He is waiting with open arms.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I confess I have deep rooted sins. Sins I have been ashamed to admit. Sins I have been hiding from You and others. Today, I come and confess them. Be merciful and forgive me, I pray. Thank You for Your grace. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, ‘Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.’ For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him.”
Luke 5:8-9 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Shocked, amazed, astonished, terrified, stunned, awestruck. When is the last time we reacted to God like that? Certainly He is worthy. It was fishing that brought Peter to this place. He was tired and frustrated because they tried all day and did not catch any fish. Yet Jesus asked Peter to go cast his nets out one more time. Peter was obedient and to his utter surprise God performed a miracle. The nets were completely full and Peter was completely undone. He could do nothing but drop to his knees and cry out before God, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” It’s that way we see the majesty of God. When we see a glimpse of His power, His love, His creativity and His holiness we can’t help but be overwhelmed. But we need to be present to see it. Peter had to be in the boat. Had he not gone, he would have missed it. We need to be with Jesus if we are going to be awestruck. He invites us to come and fellowship with Him. We need to spend time talking to Him and listening for His instruction. When we focus on His constant presence throughout the day, He will guide us, He will direct our path. Today, be with Jesus. Worship Him. Listen to Him. And don’t be surprised if He asks you to obey Him by faith. When He does, you just need to obey like Peter and you, too, will end up awestruck at what He does.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your love for me. Thank you for Your power and majesty. Thank You for Your guidance. Help me live for You today and obey all that You ask me to. I want to be awestruck by You.
AMEN

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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. So 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 lot. We believe 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. The good news is for this world God has assured us that faith is enough. True, Thomas saw Jesus everyday, yet he ended up doubting that Jesus rose from the dead. And so with us, it is not always “seeing” that makes the difference in our life, it is faith. The author of Hebrews affirms that, “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. So Paul concludes in today’s verse, “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, forgive me for my lack of faith. Today I choose to put all my trust in You. I believe in You. Guide me by faith, I pray.
AMEN

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