Praise God

TODAY’S VERSE
Praise the LORD! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us celebrate, let us rejoice, let us give him the glory!
Revelation 19:6-7 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
How excited are you about knowing God? You would think we would be ecstatic, but instead our joy is minimal. I have seen sports fan get more excited about their teams wining a championship than most churches do during worship. This is because in reality most of us only know about God. Sure, we have asked Him to be our Savior, but we haven’t taken the time to really know Him. We know nothing of His power, wisdom or glory. How then can we say with John, “The Lord our God, the Almighty reigns”? If we are going to celebrate God, if we are going to rejoice because of Him, then we need to know God in a deep and personal way. This will only happen if we spend time in His presence. In His presence He will reveal Himself to us. In His presence we will learn of His power, wisdom and His glory. In His presence we will learn to praise, celebrate and rejoice in Him. So today stop everything. Stop and for one moment become conscious of His presence and consider who He is. Sense that He is the Almighty one. Feel how worthy He is of all our praise. For just a moment consider how great He is and then know this; He loves you! The Almighty One loves you, so go ahead, celebrate, rejoice and give Him the glory!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for not appreciating You enough. You are the Almighty One and You reign on high. I rejoice that I know You and come to You with joy and celebration. You are worthy of all my praise and I give You all the glory.
AMEN

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Keep On Keeping On

TODAY’S VERSE
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I have probably fought with this passage more than any other portion of scripture. How many times have I had to pray over situations that seemed impossible without God’s intervention? Overcoming mental anguish, living in poverty wondering how the bills were going to be paid, facing a near fatal illness of a loved one, rebuilding a failing relationship, seeking direction when I didn’t have a clue what to do. I am sure you can add your own experiences to this list. And so you find your self before God praying. Nothing happens so you pray again and again. After a while you begin to wonder, “God are You there?” That soon turns to, “God do You care?” There is a saying that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. And that is how you feel. You start to doubt and then God brings you back to this passage. You read with tears in your eyes, “Keep on asking”, “Keep on seeking”, “Keep in knocking”. You have to make a choice. Is this insanity or is it faith? There is a huge difference. The difference is God. God is in the picture so every time we pray we know that the God, who is able to do all that we ask, is there. He cares and He hears our prayers. He knows our situation and has not abandoned us. Because we have prayed He is moved. And so we keep on keeping on. We live by faith, we ask by faith and many times we have to wait by faith. But it is faith in the God who is there. The God who knows. The God who cares. Today, let us again hang on to His promise, “Everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I come to You in faith. I come asking, seeking and knocking. I come in faith believing that everyone who asks, receives, everyone who seeks, finds and to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
AMEN

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Love Others

TODAY’S VERSE
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and ‘sinners’ came and ate with him and his disciples.
Matthew 9:10 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
So often we forget that God loves all of mankind. Jesus came and exemplified this. We get so caught up in our Churches, small groups and Bible studies that we can’t remember how to relate to everyday normal people. Jesus expects us to be good neighbors. He desires that we share His love with those that don’t know what it is like. The Pharisees did not get it. They were offended that He ate with “sinners.” In response to their distain Jesus said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” There are people all around us in need. Broken hearts, addictions, depressed, lonely, angry, poor, hungry. Wonderful people needing someone to stop and show mercy and love. Someone to invite them in and eat with them. Someone to be their friend. God has called you and I to be that someone. Today let Jesus love someone through you. Look around and ask God who He wants you to befriend.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your love and mercy in my life. Help me go and give the same to others. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Live The Gospel

TODAY’S VERSE
We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. – We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.
II Corinthians 6:3, 6 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Christ has commanded us to be His servants in this world. We are representing Him. When people see us they should see Him. Paul knew this. In today’s passage we see that Paul was trying to live in such a way that nobody would be able to discredit the Lord because of his ministry. But how did he do this? He did it by the way he lived. He was able to overcome allegations by his pure lifestyle. This allowed him to have moral authority. His understanding of God, the scriptures, his ministry and the culture also allowed him to be above reproach. Paul was also patient in his suffering. Paul was kind and this kindness caused many to consider believing in the God he believed in. Paul also believed deeply in the Holy Spirit and allowed Him to move in the hearts of those that would oppose Him. It was the Holy Spirit that filled Paul with love, joy, peace, patience and all the other attributes that he needed to be effective in his testimony of Christ’s love. Finally, it was Paul’s sincere love that enabled him to live among so many different people groups and win people to Christ. Today, let us go into the world that God has called us to minister in. Let’s live the same way Paul did and help others to come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me live like Paul. Help me live in a way that those around me every day would see something in me that would lead them to You.
AMEN

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Maturity

TODAY’S VERSE
Until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
Ephesians 4:13 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Maturity is something to be aspired. It is not an automatic by-product of salvation. Jesus brings us salvation and with that He brings deliverance and healing. Thank God that this changes our identity, our nature, who we are. But even still, we can become a Christian and be immature. Maturity is a process. This is why Paul says that God has given us, “apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.” He writes, “Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” As we subject ourselves to the teaching and authority to those that Christ has given to us, we will mature in the Lord. Christ has come to give us life and give it more abundantly. This means He has come to help us mature. Where are you in your spiritual maturity? Today, examine your own life. Ask God to show you where you need to mature. Ask Him to guide you and help you be all that He intends you to be.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, point out my immaturities. I want to grow in You. I want to be all that You want me to be. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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The Father’s Love

TODAY’S VERSE
His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!”
Luke 15: 31-32 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Someone thought they would help Jesus and called this story, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.” Now true, it is about a son leaving home, but it would be more appropriate to call it, “The Parable of the Loving Father.” The story is about a father who had two sons, one irresponsible and one responsible when it came to the matters of the farm. It would have been easy to disown the son who left and enjoy the pleasure of the son who stayed behind. But that isn’t how love works. Dr. David Benner in his book, “Surrender To Love,” gives great insight into the Father’s love. He writes, “The Father’s love reflects the Father’s character, not the children’s behavior. My behavior – whether responsible or irresponsible – is beside the point. Responsible behavior does not increase the Father’s love, nor does irresponsible behavior decrease it.” The prodigal son returns home and the father is beside himself with pure unadulterated joy. This wasn’t a time for rebuke. It was not the time to test the son’s sincerity. The son’s behavior and consequences could be dwelt with later. It was time to lavish love on his lost son. But the other brother did not understand. The saddest part of the story is that the son who stayed home had every opportunity to bask in his father’s love. But he took the Father’s love for granted. Both boys missed their father’s love. One returned home to receive it. The other had it all the while and ignored it. Which are you? Are you far from God’s love today? Return to him. Or, have you taken His love for granted? If so, draw close to the love that God the Father has for you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I thank You for Your love for me. Forgive me for the times I take Your love for granted. Forgive me for the times I have taken advantage of Your love and rebelled. Help me today live in the knowledge that You love me unconditionally.
AMEN

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Freedom

Freedom

TODAY’S VERSE
And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Romans 8:2 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
David knew what it was to struggle with moral choices. Doing the right thing is not always easy. We struggle with all kinds of conflicting thoughts, attitudes and emotions. Paul struggled this way. In the book of Romans he wrote, “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.” The good news is Paul knew where to look for help. Paul asks the question, “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” Both David and Paul knew the answer. It is God that can set you and I free if we let Him. David cries out to God, “Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me.” Paul writes, “The power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin.” What a glorious thought. God, through the power of His Holy Spirit, enables you and I to be free from the tyranny of sin with all it’s guilt and shame. Through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the instruction from the word of God and the encouragement of other believers we can live the life God desires us to. Will we sin? Yes, but it doesn’t have to be our master. Our allegiance is to Christ and He has set us free!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for forgiving me. Thank You for the power of the life-giving Holy Spirit that has freed me from the power of sin, guilt and shame.
AMEN

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His Presence

TODAY’S VERSE
You have endowed him with eternal blessings and given him the joy of your presence.
Psalms 21:6 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Here we see King David writing a psalm about God’s blessing in his life. David felt blessed because God gave him the joy of being in His presence. Joy comes from deep bonded relationships, especially with God. That is why we were created. God desires our fellowship. He has endowed each of us with eternal blessings that come from the joy of His presence. But do we even pay attention to God? Much like a marriage, you can choose to enjoy each other’s company or you can keep busy ignoring each other’s companionship and wonder years later why the love is gone. Today, choose to be conscious of the presence of God. Choose to stop and meditate on who He is and the infinite love He has for you. When you do, you will find true joy.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, make me conscious of Your presence. Help me to experience today the deep joy of knowing You. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and fill my heart with Your love.
AMEN

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The Journey

TODAY’S VERSE
Peter asked Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus replied, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.’
John 21:21-22 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Life is a journey with many twists and turns. And it is different for each of us. None of us travel the same road. If we are going to live the way He desires, we have to be willing to follow Him. In his book “Sacred Companions”, David Benner writes, “It is impossible to specify precisely the route that has to be followed in a soul’s journey of transformation. This is because rather than following a map, in this journey we follow a person – Jesus. Jesus does not tell us where to go; He simply asks us to follow Him.” Jesus compared us to sheep. He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
When worried whether John’s journey was going to be similar to His, Jesus rebuked Peter and said, “What is that to you? As for you, follow me.” It is the same for us today. We don’t need to be concerned with others and what God has for them. All we have to do is get to know God, try to understand the purposes He has for us and begin to follow Him. Today, obey His command to “follow me” and seek God’s direction for your journey.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me follow You. Give me the wisdom, courage and understanding I need to participate in the journey You have for me.
AMEN

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Overcoming Fear

TODAY’S VERSE
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We often think of fear as the reaction to scary events, like the screams in a horror movie. But some of our most fearful behavior is often hid from us. Many people who are living daily in fear aren’t even aware of it. In “Surrender To Love” Dr. Benner writes, “One of the things that block us from gaining freedom from fear is that most fearful people don’t think of themselves as afraid. Unless their fears are focused on something external (such as snakes, heights or crowds), most people in bondage to fear fail to recognize the true nature of their inner distress. – Although the object of one’s fears may seem to be external, the real source of the fear is internal. The danger is within. The enemy is one’s own self, or at least some aspect of their self.” This is what Paul was trying to get across. We are so focused on our behavior we don’t see the motivation behind it. Paul called it a “spirit of fear”. It is this internal pervasive fear that controls what we do. It is spiritual and emotional. Satan is a liar and accuser so he fills our head with fear. Our own experience and belief systems do the rest. If we take most of the fear we have, we will see that it is a fear of what others will think or do. But today’s passage says that we do not have to live in that kind of fear. Why? Because God has given us something else. He has given us power, love and a sound mind. What an alternative to anything we would dread. Anything we fear can be defeated either by God’s power, love or the sound mind He has given us. So today, when you are tempted to act out of fear, remember, there are other options. Give the power, love and the sound mind that God has given you a chance.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I thank You for not giving me a spirit of fear. Today, I want to live in Your power, love and sound mind that You have given me.
AMEN

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