Follow Him

TODAY’S VERSE

“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?” A simple question but the answer makes 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 serve and 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 worse 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 your head and whispers deep into your soul, “Don’t call what I have created “worthless.’” God, whose love for you can soften the calloused skin around your heart and begin to birth new life. God who bestows glory on you. 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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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 that you have given me, to those in my life. 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 so moved by the whole visitation of God that she treasured all that happened in her heart, thinking of 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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Thoughts

TODAY’S VERSE

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
II Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The battle is in our mind. Truth verses lies. False assumptions verses God’s promises. Negative predictions verses faith. Roots of bitterness, jealously, fear and shame verses the mind of Christ. And though all these strongholds can be overcome by God’s power, how much better if we never let negative thinking get that far. We can, if we follow Paul’s advice and “demolish arguments and every pretence that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Every stronghold begins with a simple thought. We get a negative thought and instead of renouncing it, we make a subtle agreement with it. “God doesn’t care.” “I can’t do it.” We use words like “never, always and every” and instead of renouncing it, we agree. Oh, not a stronghold yet, but if we don’t disagree with the thought, what are we really doing? A thought left unchecked and soon we begin to ruminate on it. We start to build on the thought and soon before you know it we have a stronghold and our mind is the battle field. God wants us to renounce and correct negative unbiblical thinking. Today, commit your mind to God. Let His Holy Spirit work with your thinking and bring it into alignment with His word.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your presence in my life. I commit my thinking to you. Holy Spirit rule in my mind. Help me know and believe Your truth so I can make all my thoughts obedient to Christ.
AMEN

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Comfort Me

TODAY’S VERSE

“God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
II Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Comfort. How often we long for it. It is one of our greatest needs. Everyday has its challenges. We find our self on an emotional roller coaster constantly in need to regulate our emotions. We try all types of solutions but to no avail. Only real comfort soothes us, consoles our breaking heart, reassuring us that all will be okay. Only comfort supports and encourages us in the face of conflict. Only comfort gives us relief in affliction and lasting consolation to our weary soul. But comfort is only as good as the comforter. It is no comfort when a dying man says, “Try my medicine.” A person who is lost is no comfort to someone else seeking directions. In today’s verse we find that it is God who is our “merciful Father and source of all comfort.” It is God that comforts us in all our troubles. It is God and His love for us that returns us to joy. It is knowing Him, in all His majesty, that gives us hope and assurance. It is knowing that we are the objects of His unfailing love that makes Him the source of all our comfort. And with this comfort we in turn can comfort others. Today, come to God. Bring all your burdens to Him. Give Him your emotions and let Him comfort you. He is the source of all comfort.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I am in great need of Your comfort. Only You can satisfy. Only Your love can bring what my soul needs. Comfort me I pray. In Jesus name.
AMEN

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God’s Word

TODAY’S VERSE

“I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
Psalms 119:11 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Insight, inspiration, hope, wisdom, confidence, direction, correction all this and more is found in God’s word. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to take the scriptures and make it relevant to our life. The Psalmist experienced this living word and knew if He would learn it, meditate on it and let it effect who he really was, that it would result in the kind of behavior that was pleasing to God. Today, we can have the same experience. Spend time in God’s word. Meditate on it. Listen to what God has to say and let His word sink deep into your heart. If you do, you will be able to say with the Psalmist, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, as I read Your word, help it sink deep into my heart. Help me hear You and really understand how You want me to live. Inspire me, guide me and empower me by Your word I pray.
AMEN

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An Open Door

TODAY’S VERSE

“Open for me the gates where the righteous enter and I will go in and thank the LORD. These gates lead to the presence of the LORD, and the godly enter there.”
Psalms 118:19-20 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
An open door can make all the difference in the world. How many times have you sought solutions, answers or any form of direction and nothing seems to appear? If only something would open up. And all the while God is there bidding us come to Him and find truth. But it’s not good enough to just have an invitation or an open door. You must go in. The Psalmist understood this. He cried out to God to open the gates into His presence and when God did, he entered. He entered into the presence of God and fellowshipped with Him. For us every day is an opportunity to enter into the sweet presence of God. But it’s our choice. We can walk by or enter the door. Today choose to stop and spend time with God.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I thank You for opening the door for me to fellowship with You. Lead me into Your presence so I might know You more.
AMEN

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Strength And Song

TODAY’S VERSE

“The LORD is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things!”
Psalms 118:14-15 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I love the two words, “strength” and “song” together. They go hand in hand; His strength, our song. Here is the Psalmist. He had seen God’s strength move on his behalf resulting in a great victory and his heart bursts out in singing. That’s because sometimes words alone are not enough. Our soul must express itself in melody. And yet, how many times do we fail to respond to God’s strength on our behalf? Remember the ten lepers that Jesus healed? Only one came back to even give thanks. Can you imagine? Forget a victory in battle. Their body, full of putrefying skin, had just been miraculously healed, and yet nine out of the ten that were healed did not even say, “Thanks.” And sadly, Jesus noticed. He asked the one who returned, “Where are the other nine?” Unfortunately, we do the same today. Where are our praising hearts? Where are the songs of our souls that lift to the heavens in adoration for all that He has done for us? We have no excuse. We have been so blessed. Today let’s lift our voices in praise for all His strength on our behalf.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, my heart sings in praise and adoration for all You have done for me. You are the Almighty and all loving God who has saved my soul. I thank You and praise Your Holy name.
AMEN

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Love The Lord

TODAY’S VERSE

“And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
According to Jesus, today’s verse is the greatest commandment given to us from God. All other commandments can be summed up in this request. But how do you love God with all your heart, soul and strength? In “The Climate of Monastic Prayer”, Thomas Merton, writes that we should have an “attitude or outlook of faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, supplication, trust and joy.” Faith, that ability to trust God for everything we need. Openness, being transparent with God, sharing all our thoughts with Him. Attention, to focus on and attune ourself to God and His presence in our life. Reverence, living with the deep respect that God deserves. Expectation, living with that childlike confidence that He is our loving Father and will provide all we need. Supplication, sincerely and humbly asking God to act on our behalf. Trust, a deep assurance that sends peace throughout our being, knowing that what God says, He will do. Joy, what we keep returning to every time we bring our negative emotions to Him. Today, love God with all your heart, soul and strength through your faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, supplication, trust and joy.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, how I love You. How I worship You. How I desire to know you with all my heart, soul and strength. Help me, Holy Spirit, to this end I pray.
AMEN

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