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Archive for October, 2013

TODAY’S VERSE

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Galatians 6:1-2 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There are many sins that we can fall into. Many habits, addictions, and sins that are hard to break. That is why we need each other. There is so much talk about accountability. But we need something more than a watchdog. We need someone who knows our struggles and loves us, even when we fall. Someone who is there for you. There is no judgment for they understand about “slips” and are there to lift you up when you fall. Their goal is to restore, not scold or shun. God has called us to carry each other’s burden. He has asked that we “restore” someone gently, not reprimand or ostracize them. Today, let’s follow Christ and help carry someone else’s burden.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for judging others. Instead, help me gently restore those in need and bear their burdens. Help me to remember my own sins and how You have forgiven me. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“For you are a slave to whatever controls you.”
II Peter 2:19 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We like to think that we are so independent. What could ever have control over us? But in actuality it is not usually one big controlling factor we need to worry about. Rarely would just one influence control our whole life. No, the author of Proverbs said it wisely, “It is the little foxes that spoil the vine.” It is the many controlling issues that either set us free or enslave us. Beliefs are that way. It is not one large belief that controls our life. It is a whole series of beliefs that shape who we are. What we believe affects our desires, emotions, aspirations, faith, hopes, predictions, limitations and behavior. Beliefs can enslave us or they can set us free. Jesus came to help shape our beliefs. Beliefs about life and beliefs about ourselves. So, what do you believe? What limiting thoughts do you have? When you think of yourself, what do you accept as true? When you think of opportunity, what thoughts hold you back? Beliefs can control the way you live. Paul wrote, “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” Today, if you are going to be a slave, be a slave of Christ. Bring your thoughts and beliefs to Christ and let Him shape them, hone them and when necessary, change them.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, I am so enslaved by my beliefs. I confess that so many are negative, painful, limiting, carnal, angry, lustful and ungodly. I need Your forgiveness and Your help. Oh, Holy Spirit, purify my mind. Sanctify my thoughts and help me bring every one into captivity and under Your influence. Today I give You my mind. Influence my beliefs, I pray.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE
“And Peter followed at a distance.”
Luke 22:54 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Is that how your spiritual life seems? Jesus was taken away by an angry mob. Most of the disciples scattered in fear. Peter too was fearful but at least he decided to follow Jesus. However, he kept his distance. Fear does that. We become consumed with it. We think of the past and our failures and we look at the future with more pessimism and we miss the closeness of the Lord in the presence. We don’t give up on our faith, but its relevance to influence the immediate is lost in worry and fear. Today decide to move in closer. God has not abandoned you. He has not turned His back. Peter failed to remember what Jesus had told him only hours earlier. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail.” Likewise, Jesus intercedes for you. There is no reason to keep at a distance. Instead, we can do what the author of Hebrews tells us to do. He writes, “Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, I confess I have been following You at a distance. I have let fear, doubt and worry take place of my faith. I come today in obedience, boldly to Your throne and ask for Your mercy and Your grace. Thank You for interceding for me. Thank You that You have promised to help me when I need it the most.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.”
Matthew 13:15 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God wants His word to penetrate our very being. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and this includes the way we comprehend truth. Jesus took the writing of Isaiah and applied it to the people of His day. He warned them that their “eyes” were not seeing the truth, their “ears” were not comprehending the truth and their “hearts” were not sensing the implications of the truth. It was a result of hardening themselves toward God. Turning away from Him they ended up ignoring God’s truth. How often have we done the same thing? But it is not too late. It is through self-reflection, repentance and being purposeful in really believing in God’s word that we can turn this around. Today, might God help you and I read the word, hear the word and most of all, believe the word with our whole heart.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for the times I have hardened my heart toward You. Help me today to see Your word, hear Your word and most of all apply Your word to my life. In Jesus’ name I pray.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple.”
Psalms 48:9 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There are many things that vie for our attention. Multiple situations face us at any given moment. Our minds move from issue to issue at blinding speeds. Feeling, observing, assessing and predicting is often done in seconds as we multitask our way through the day. This is why it is so important to renew our mind every day. We need to make a conscious effort to slow down and meditate on God’s unfailing love. Paul knew this. He writes, “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.” But how? How did Paul renew his mind? He continues, “We don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.” This “gaze” is a deliberate focus. It is what the Psalmist refers to in today’s verse as meditating. It is putting deliberate focused attention on a particular issue. It is this personal consideration of what the thoughts mean and their personal application to our life that makes meditating so enriching. Today, don’t just read God’s word; stop and meditate on it and let it effect you in deep and meaningful ways.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I am so thankful for Your love. You are so real, so relevant to my life. Help me to stop all the madness and slow down long enough to mediate on who You are and what Your word says. Today, as I spend time with You, renew my mind. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.”
Luke 18:1 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Jesus was a master story teller. His parables had deep meaning and were full of spiritual truth. He was on a mission and teaching certain truths was a very important part of His visit on earth. “Love one another.” “Love God with all your heart, mind and soul.” “Do to others as you would have them to do to you.” These are a few of His major themes. But in today’s passage, Luke shares one of the most important life principles Jesus came to tell us. The message was, “Always pray and never give up!” It’s simplicity, yet profound spirituality leaves me overwhelmed. Pray? That’s it? Could it be this simple? And yet anyone who has had strife in their life knows how hard it is to keep praying. Complain, no problem. Fret, have it covered. Avoid any action at all? Been there. Pray a little? I can do that. But Jesus was specific. And He said it out of love and complete understanding of how this life works. He knew the balance between Heaven and this world. He said it clearly, “Always pray and never give up!” So today, what will it be? Christ bids us to follow Him. He knows our situation and commands us to “Always pray and never give up.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, You never ask me to do anything that You won’t enable me to do. You have asked me to bring everything to You in prayer and to keep bringing it, never giving up. Lord, I desire to do this. Help me, empower me, increase my faith, encourage my heart. Today, I put my faith in You and will not give up.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE

“There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy.”
Psalms 43:4 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Joy is the great equalizer. It is what our soul strives for, that spiritual homeostasis that keeps life in balance. But joy isn’t something we can conjure up by ourself. Deep, rich joy comes from a loving relationship with God. When we find ourself out of sorts, when our emotions seem to be at the edge, it is our relationship with God and the deep affirmations that He gives to us, that bring us back. The Psalmist knew where his joy came from. That is why he wrote that he went to the altar of God and through praise, worship and prayers, he found the source of all his joy. Jesus knew this too. When people came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” He replied, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Jesus said that because it was the right moral choice; but I believe He also knew that it was the best solution to all that bothers us as human beings. He knew that our heart, mind and soul is the true altar of God. Indeed, knowing God with our heart, mind and soul is our true source of joy.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, how I long to know You in deep and personal ways. Help me worship You at the altar of my heart, mind and soul, so I can know You as the true source of all my joy.
AMEN

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