Think Right

TODAY’S VERSE
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
You have heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” I think in reality, “We are what we think.” Thoughts, whether conscious or on a more hidden level, affect the way we feel, perceive reality, act or react. Thoughts help create our moods, attitudes and beliefs. Anger, jealously, pride, envy, sadness, rebellion – these and many other negative emotions or behaviors have their root in the way we think. That is why it is so important to be aware and take responsibility for our thinking. Paul instructs us to consider that our mind is in a spiritual war. Because of that we are to demolish any rouge thoughts that set itself up against Godly thinking. We are to take our thoughts captive and put it through a Godly filter so it becomes the way He would have us think. Paul admonishes us to dwell on thoughts that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Today you have a choice; you can rule your thoughts or you can let them rule you. Let Jesus be the Lord of your thought life. Let Him help you with the way you think.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I bring you my mind and my sub-conscious mind. Help me bring all my thoughts into the light of Your Holy Spirit. Today, dear Lord, help me dwell on thoughts that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Forgetting The Past

TODAY’S VERSE
“I have not achieved it (perfection), but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Philippians 3:13-14

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Paul started the whole “No perfect people allowed” movement! He knew the pressure that Christians were getting from the religious people. Get circumcised, follow the commandments, obey the law. Paul knew that this was a trap. He knew that there were two kinds of people that miss God’s standard of perfection. Those that say they do and those that pretend they don’t. Paul did not have to pretend to be perfect; he had a better way! He let go of his shortcomings and moved forward. Paul knew his struggle. He knew his shortcomings but instead of putting on the pretence of perfection, he focused on one thing: “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” How about you? There comes a time when you have to make a choice. Are you going to let the past dictate your life or your future? Are you going to let it define you? Follow Paul’s example, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, you know my past better than I do and you forgive me. Help me to do the same. Help me to forgive and forget the past and focus on what’s ahead. Help me live in the present reality of Your love and forgiveness and then press on toward living my life for You. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Help My Unbelief

TODAY’S VERSE
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed. – Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.”
Romans 4:18, 20-21

TODAY’S MESSAGE
Everyday you get a choice. Circumstances may change but your choice never does. Will you choose to live with faith and hope today or not? You don’t get much time to make up your mind. Fear comes knocking on your heart’s door. He brings worry and doubt with him. Self pity, anger and apathy are right behind. Before you know it, you have wandered down the road with all those familiar companions that you have walked with so many times before. Faith and hope were never invited to come along. It would be like inviting light to join darkness. They can’t coexist. Abraham was no different than you or I. He was human. He had emotions. He had struggles and disappointment. But he knew God and he chose, against all hope, to hope. He decided not to waiver in believing God and the result was that his faith grew. As his faith grew he became convinced the God was able to do whatever He promised. God can grow this same faith in you. You can respond today the same way the father who wanted his boy healed by Jesus did. When Jesus told him, “Anything is possible if a person believes.” the father said, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!’”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I want to believe with all my heart. I want to experience Your supernatural presence in my life. So, today, I choose hope. Today, I choose to put my faith in You. I cry out from the depth of my being, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” Thank You that You will indeed help my faith get stronger. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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I Am To Blame

TODAY’S VERSE
“Who is to blame for Israel’s rebellion? Samaria, its capital city! Where is the center of idolatry in Judah? In Jerusalem, its capital!”
Micah 1:5

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God’s chosen people, the Jews, had divided into two nations. Most of the twelve tribes went north and called themselves Israel. Their capital was the city of Samaria. Those left were in the south called themselves Judah. Their capital was Jerusalem. God was trying to call the people back to Himself through His prophets. Micah comes and says, “The Sovereign LORD is making accusations against you.” Next, he explains all the bad things that God is going to do to them. He then asks, “Who is to blame for the rebellion that Israel is doing?” and “Where is the center of idolatry?” What makes this passage so significant is not the questions. Rather, it is the answers. It was the people living in the capital cities that were responsible for the spiritual bankruptcy of the nation. Those that should be the closest to the Lord were the ones rebelling against the Lord and practicing idolatry. This should serve us notice lest we think we are any better. It is only through reading God’s word, keeping close to Him in prayer, and surrendering to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, can we have any chance of living the life that He wants us to. Today commit yourself to God. Repent of any rebellion toward Him. Put away your “idols,” anything in your life that you put above your allegiance to God.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I confess that I have been the one that has stumbled. I am to blame for rebelling against You. I have ignored my relationship with You. I have made other things in my life more of a God to me than You. Forgive me. Today, I choose to follow You. Today I put away those things that cause me to stray and commit myself to following You. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Joy

TODAY’S VERSE
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!”
Philippians 4:4 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I remember years ago reading a book that deeply touched me. It was called Happiness is a Choice! Often we are tempted to think that joy is the result of our circumstances. However, the premise of Happiness Is A Choice is that we don’t have to be subject to all the variables around us. We can choose to be happy. We can choose joy. Webster defines joy as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” As a Christian, we can agree with the first part. Our joy does come from a deep sense of well being. However, unlike the rest of the definition, our joy is not dependent on success, good fortune or prospect of possessions. Rather, our joy is an emotion that is evoked by a faith in a God that loves us. Nehemiah tells us that joy that comes from God is a great source of strength. Paul takes our joy to a new level and says, “no matter what happens, we should be joyful.” In fact, he says we should “Always be full of joy in the Lord.” He meant it so much that he repeated it for emphasis when he wrote, “I say it again – rejoice.” What are you facing today? What circumstances do you find yourself in? It doesn’t matter; you can choose joy! If you are struggling and not sure how you can be joyful, ask God to supernaturally open your eyes to who He is and to give you a joyful heart. He will.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, today I choose joy. Fill me from the top of my head to the depth of my soul with joy. Help me rejoice today in my well being in You. Help me rejoice today, dear God, in who You are, and that I am Your child. Help me rejoice that all my sins are forgiven, that You know me personally and love me unconditionally. This is a fantastic reality and today, Lord, I choose joy! In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Prayer and Thanksgiving

TODAY’S VERSE
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Prayer changes things. Karl Barth, a twentieth-century theologian wrote, “He is not deaf, He listens; more than that, He acts. He does not act in the same way whether we pray or not. Prayer exerts an influence upon God’s action, even upon His existence. That is what the word ‘answer’ means. The fact that God yields to man’s petitions, changing His intentions in response to man’s prayer, is not a sign of weakness. He Himself in the glory of His majesty and power, has willed it.” Paul knew this. That is why he tells us to stop being anxious. Instead, we are to pray, petitioning God, with thanksgiving in our heart. Why? Because we are coming to our Heavenly Father, who loves us, cares for us, is all powerful and will work everything according to His will. We can trust God with the ultimate outcome and in exchange He gives us something greater than any answer we could ever ask for. He gives us a promise. A promise to guard our heart and mind with His own peace. Not just any peace, but a peace that transcends anything that we can imagine. What is bothering you? What is it you need? What is breaking your heart? Talk to God about it. Today, right now, bring your requests to God and let His peace guard your heart and mind.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You know my needs. You know my anxious thoughts. I bring my circumstances to You and ask for Your help with all my requests. Thank You, Lord, for hearing me. Thank You for caring. Thank You most of all for the peace that You bring to my heart and my mind. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

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The Real Deal

TODAY’S VERSE
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”
Job 42:5

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to walk in our Christian experience and really believe that we know God. We are like a baseball fanatic. You know the kind. He can tell you everything about a certain player. He can quote their batting average, number of homers, lifetime RBI’s. He knows where they played college ball, the names of his wife and children. He even has an autographed baseball. Yet, he has never met the player. Never went to his house, never sat with him at dinner or even had a discussion. Everything he knows is from reading or listening to commentators. Now don’t get me wrong, there is passion! Chances are he will fight you if you say something derogatory about the player. There is passion but it is based on admiration not friendship. Job came to a place where everything he thought he knew about God seemed empty and vain. And then He met God. Job knew all about God, He “worshipped” God, He even lived the way he thought God wanted him to; but when he saw God, it all changed. Knowing God in a personal and intimate way changes everything. And the beauty is that God created each of us with the ability to know Him. He has equipped us with the Holy Spirit who is to teach us all things and bring us into intimate fellowship with God. But the choice is yours. You can choose to spend time with God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you or you can continue to “know” about Him. Cry out to God today and ask Him to open your eyes like He did Job’s and you will be able to say, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, sometimes I feel so phony inside. I talk about You, I read about You, I pray to You, but I don’t seem to really know You. Today, Lord, help me be conscious of Your presence. Father, speak to me. Help the eyes of my heart to see You. I want to know You in a deep and personal way. Help me Lord I pray. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Be Like Elijah

TODAY’S VERSE
“Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
James 5:17-18

TODAY’S COMMENT
I love the way James starts his example of Elijah and his miraculous prayer life. He says, “Elijah was a man just like us.” No wonder we feel pressure to be a super saint. You know, go to church with the halo just right and “S” on our chest. But that was not the point James was trying to make. James was really saying, “There are no perfect people needed to get God’s work done!” I am sure that the image of Elijah that James had in his mind wasn’t just the praying for rain to stop and start again; not just the fire coming from heaven to consume the altar; not just the flour and oil continuing to be supplied to the widow and her son; nor was it just the image of Elijah asking God to raise the widow’s son from the dead. I am sure that James also remembered the fact that Elijah was afraid of Jezebel’s threat to kill him and he ran, fleeing for his life. He knew that Elijah became exhausted and sat down under a tree and prayed that he would die. James knew that Elijah was a person just like you and I. Elijah had emotions that could lead to despair. He had depression, doubt, and fear. Like us Elijah exercised doubt and faith; fear and courage, advance and defeat. But James also saw God work through Elijah’s life and prayers. God used Elijah even with his imperfections. God can do the same for you and I. We do not have to be perfect. We do not have to pretend to be something we are not. We can be like Elijah, real with God about our deepest feelings and fears. God will meet us where we are and give us strength to live for Him. Be real with God today.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank you for the example of Elijah. What a wonderful testimony of Your grace. How You took this person who could be so courageous one moment and so afraid the next and used him for Your glory. Father, use my life. I give it to You in all its complexity and contradictions. Thank You that I do not have to be perfect, just available. Use me for Your glory, I pray. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Do Something

TODAY’S VERSE
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
James 2:15-16

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own life that we forget about those all around us who are in need. We can’t save the whole world, so we don’t try to save just one. “Someone else will help”, we think as we walk away. But James says that we have to do more than just “care” about the poor, we need to help. In his book Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne shares about a survey he took of American Christians. He found that 80% believed that Jesus spent time with the poor. When asked if they spent any time with the poor, only 20% of the same group said “yes.” Shane concluded, “We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what He did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours.” James talks about our apathy toward the poor in this way, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” It is not good enough to care about the poor. If we follow Christ, we need to do something.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, there are so many people hurting and in desperate need. It is overwhelming. My heart aches but I don’t know what to do. Please forgive me for my inactivity and help me today find something that I can do. Help me make a difference in someone’s life, even if it is just a small difference. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Where Will You Spend Eternity?

TODAY’S VERSE
‘“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.’ ‘No, we don’t know, Lord,’ Thomas said. ‘We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’”
John 14:1-7

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It was a beautiful sunny day in San Diego, California. People were going to the ocean in droves as thirty-five of us made our way to a little chapel near the beach. I was called to officiate a funeral for Judy. She loved California. The flowers, sun, beaches and mountains all brought Judy much joy. But the real passion of her heart was her relationship with Jesus Christ. We started with a praise song and then I was able to share from today’s passage. We drew much comfort from knowing that the words that Jesus said were absolutely true. We were able to stop our hearts from being troubled. We knew that Jesus had gone ahead and prepared a place for Judy and before she departed, she knew it too. Judy came to a place where she understood what Jesus meant when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Today, you can too. If you are not sure what will happen when you die, if you are not sure that your eternal home will be with Jesus in Heaven for all eternity, then settle it today. Receive Christ as your Lord and Savior. Receive His death on the cross as the payment for your sins and become a new person in Him. Your heart doesn’t have to be troubled over your eternal destiny. He has prepared a place for you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, You said not to let my heart be troubled, but instead to believe in You. You said that You have gone ahead and have prepared a place for me. You said that You are the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through You. I come today, confessing that my attitudes and behavior have separated me from You. I ask Your forgiveness. Thank you that You died on the cross for my wrong doing and I now receive Your gift of eternal life. Be the ruler of my life. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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