No Condemnation

TODAY’S VERSE
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It seems that we all have an “inner critic.” If we would slow down our thoughts, we would hear a constant flow of negative chatter berating us, feeding our low self-esteem, causing us to fear and doubt the unconditional love of God. Where does this cynical, ruthless and disrespectful voice come from? It comes from a variety of places. It could be a strict and legalistic upbringing. It could result from an inner belief that we are no good, someone who should constantly live in shame. Perhaps it is the result of a false guilt that cannot accept the fact that we are forgiven, or it could come from the demonic forces that constantly accuse and challenge our spirituality. No one knew more about the inner critic than the Apostle Paul. Having just written, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Paul knew what it was to feel condemnation. He knew the depravity of his own situation and yet he could say unequivocally that it would be “Jesus Christ our Lord!” that would free him from his sense of sin and shame. Paul would then finish this chapter with this affirmation, “Indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Today, don’t believe something about yourself that God doesn’t. Don’t wallow in the negative ranting of an inner critic. Instead, renounce the lie that you are no good and condemned and pronounce the truth, “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, how I thank You for Jesus Christ my Lord for being totally forgiven and accepted by You. Help me to know deep in my heart that there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
AMEN

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Wait On Him

TODAY’S VERSE
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
Psalms 62:5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Why is it so hard to wait on God? It is much easier to fret and worry. Or to take matters into our own hands and do things our own way.
Perhaps it is because we have an intellectual assent toward God instead of a heartfelt surrender to Him. We “know about” God, but barely know Him. I love the fact that the Psalmist says, “Let all that I am wait quietly before the Lord.” There is a soulful sound to that phrase. A surrender of the heart, a heart that is expectant of those things that the Prophet Isaiah talked about when he wrote, “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” And so today let us wait. Stop and commit yourself to Him. Trust Him. Surrender to Him and let Him renew your strength. Today, put your hope in Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, I come to You today with all that I am. I come and wait before You. I put my trust in You, I put all my hope in You. Renew my strength I pray. Speak to my heart and make me whole. In Jesus’ name I pray.
AMEN

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Lord, Bend Down And Hear Me

TODAY’S VERSE
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
Psalms 86:5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The scriptures are full of comfort. How often I come to God with great need and don’t know where to turn. David was the same way. In just a few verses in today’s text he makes his plea before God. He starts out writing, “Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help.” How incredible, the Lord so tenderly bends down to hear him. So, he cries out to God to protect him, be merciful to him and give him happiness. Those are solemn requests from a heart that is in desperate need. Why does he turn to God? Why in all his depair does he feel God could or would even help him? Because he knows this about God, God is good, ready to forgive and full of unfailing love to all who ask for His help. What do you believe today? What is your God like? Today come to the God of David, let Him bend down to you and hear your prayer and answer your need for help.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need You.
In Jesus name.
AMEN

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Best Church For Your Comunnity

TODAY’S VERSE
Then he turned to his critics and asked, ‘Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?’ But they wouldn’t answer him.
Mark 3:4 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The Pharisees just didn’t get it. Jesus came to seek and to save those in need. He came to call the undeserving to repentance. He came to love those outside of the synagogue as much as those inside it. And in many ways, we don’t get it either. We too put our priorities in the wrong order. This became painfully apparent to me in reading the book, “The Externally Focused Quest.” Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw wrote, “Most churches, blatantly or subtly, have an unspoken objective – ‘How can I be the best church IN our community.’ – and they staff, budget, and plan accordingly. – The externally focused church asks, ‘How can we be the best church FOR the community?’ and that one little preposition changes everything.” We can aspire to be the biggest church, best worship, largest children’s program, all good things but if we are not reaching those outside the church as well, are we really doing His will? If we are not loving the least in our community, are we really living for Him? The authors asked another crucial question. They asked, “If you had to close the doors of your church today, would your community care? Would they miss you?” Today, what would happen if we all decided to be the best church FOR our community?

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me to love like You love. Help me to set my own priorities in the order You would have them. Help me work in my church to be the best we can for our community. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Unbelief

Unbelief

TODAY’S VERSE
Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.
Mark 6:51-52 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Why is it so hard to believe? What is it about the supernatural that makes us so skeptical? Why is it we can experience a miracle one minute and doubt if God will help us in the next? The disciples had seen Jesus heal countless numbers of people. He just finished feeding thousands of people from a few loafs of bread and fish. And yet when they were in a battle for their life on the sea, they are shocked that Jesus could (or perhaps would) stop the raging sea. When explaining this mystery Mark simply says that “Their hearts were too hard to take it in.” And therein lays the problem – their hearts, their felt beliefs, their deep-down gut level feeling that things will be okay, were not softened by a relational belief system. Their hearts didn’t really know Jesus. They may have seen His power, but they did not see His heart! They weren’t convinced of His love for them. And neither are we. If we were, we would react differently to the storms we encounter. Instead we too doubt, cower in fear, or lash out in anger, all reactions to our confusion over who He is and what He wants to do. The good news is that today we can change that. We can begin to know Jesus better by spending time with Him. As we get to know His heart better, we will find ours begin to soften.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord Jesus, help me to know You better. I want to know Your heart, motives and wisdom. Help me trust You in everything that comes my way.
AMEN

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Quietness and Confidence

Quietness and Confidence

TODAY’S VERSE
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.”
Isaiah 30:15 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It seems like the last thing we want to do is slow down. We say we believe in God and want His direction in our life but we never stop to listen to Him. We go from event to event like unguided drones, on a mission but flying without direction. Isaiah wanted to make a point. He refers to God as the “Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel” hoping that we would listen. And what is it that God says? He says that it is only in returning and resting in Him that we have any chance of making it in this life. He assures us that it is in quietness and the confidence from time spent with God that we get the strength we need for our journey. Don Postema in his book “Space For God” shares that a person needs “silence, if their words are to mean anything; reflection, if their actions are to have any significance; contemplation, if they are to see the world as it really is; prayer, if they are going to be conscious of God, if they are to ‘know God and enjoy God forever.’” Today, seek silence, reflection, contemplation and prayer. Seek God and you will find that in quietness with Him you will find strength.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear God, I come to You and quiet my heart. I need You. I need to hear Your voice. Help me find the strength I need as I seek to spend time with You in contemplation and prayer.
AMEN

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God’s Desire

TODAY’S VERSE
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I am convinced, if we would believe today’s verse with our whole heart, there would be no depression, no anxiety, no lasting emotional dysfunction. But it is hard to believe with a wounded heart. It is hard to stop and consider God’s love when we are in emotional pain. And so we go through life, like a person dying of poison, who has the antidote right in front of them, but is too disoriented to take it. But please hear me, there is hope. I have found, with every person I have ever worked with, that there is a moment of clarity, where, if they listen, if they stop, if they consider the truth, it will set them free. And today, this is the truth about you – even before God made the world He loved you! He chose you to be His own child. He decided long ago to make you His very own. Why? Because He wanted to! And even more, you bring God great pleasure! So today, rejoice. Embrace the truth; let it stir deep into your heart. You are God’s beloved. He has chosen to love you. And you, just as you are, bring Him great pleasure.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Oh, dear Jesus. Open my eyes. Help me see. Help me believe; help me know deep in my heart how much You love me. You love me and loving me brings You great pleasure. Thank You for this wonderful truth. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Today’s Mission

Today’s Mission

TODAY’S VERSE
Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear? Don’t you remember anything at all?
Mark 8: 17-18 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
In today’s passage it seems that Jesus is rebuking His disciples for lacking faith in His provision. But as I thought more about Jesus’ reaction I think Jesus’ frustration goes much deeper than that. Sure, the disciples were worrying about food, and Jesus found it appalling, especially after He had just fed the masses that came to hear His teaching. But I don’t think it was worrying about food that frustrated Jesus. I think it was the lack of passion in the disciples that perplexed Him. They were talking about bread. Think about it, all around them people were being healed, demons cast out, repentance preached. And yet it seemed that the disciples were oblivious to the mission Jesus had. Their hearts were hard. They had eyes but did not see. They had ears but did not hear. If they really did see and hear I think they would have been begging Jesus to go to more towns! There were more people to reach. More people that needed the message of love. More that needed healing. Nothing would be able to stop them. But, like us, a new day was pressing in. Their needs, their plans, their concerns overshadowed Jesus’ agenda. What about you and I? What consumes us? What have we seen? What have we heard? What have we forgotten? Today, might we see with the eyes of Christ and move with His heart planted deep in our chest.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Oh Jesus, I confess I have had a front row seat and somehow turn around and forget all the miracles You have done. I let Your power and goodness escape my mind and make decisions as if You did not exist. Forgive me. Today revive my heart. Fill me with Your Spirit that I might live for You.
AMEN

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Inner Strength

TODAY’S VERSE
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”
Ephesians 3:16-17 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Our inward journey greatly affects our outward one. How we live is dependent on how we think and feel. If we live in the truth, if we know that we are loved, if we have the resilience to bounce back from painful emotions we will find our outward journey one of peace and joy, the abundant life Christ talked about. However, if we allow life with its trauma, to sicken our inner life, we will find ourself living with festering emotional wounds, lies and dysfunctional behavior. Paul had the cure to an unhealthy inner life. He believed that God, with everything He is, wants to influence everything we are. Therefore, he prayed that we would allow the Holy Spirit’s unlimited resources to empower us and give us inner strength. He prayed that we would trust Christ and let Him live at home in our heart. He prayed that we would let our roots grow deep down into God’s love. If we do these things through prayer, meditation and reflection, Paul promises that God Himself will keep us Spiritually strong.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, please empower me with inner strength through Your Holy Spirit. Please make Your home in my heart and help my roots grow deep down into Your love. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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The Counselor

TODAY’S VERSE
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:26

TODAY’S THOUGHT
One of the great roles of the Holy Spirit in our life is that of a counselor. Some translations us the word comforter. The Holy Spirit is able to give us insight, wisdom and peace by directly communing with our inner being. He is able to speak truth to us. The Holy Spirit is the inward expression of God and is able to encourage and give us assurance and hope. But how do we become comfortable with the comforter? How do we avail ourself of this wonderful part of God? It is like any other relationship; it takes time. We need to take the time to attune ourself to God and ask Him to speak to us through the Holy Spirit. As we read the Bible, spend time in prayer, begin to ask questions and converse with God in us, we will find ourself drawn to Him and listening to His sweet voice through the power of His Holy Spirit.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, I pray that You will speak to me through Your Holy Spirit. Guide me, direct my path, counsel me in all that I need and do. In Jesus’ name I pray.
AMEN

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