His Name Is Hope

TODAY’S VERSE
Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally, he will cause justice to be victorious. And his name will be the hope of all the world.”
Matthew 12:18-21 (NLT)

TODAY’S MESSAGE
You can tell a religion by the God it follows. We follow Jehovah who manifested Himself a man in the person of Christ Jesus. He could have chosen to come as a ruler, a dictator, a mighty military leader or a tyrant. Instead, He came to earth as a humble savior. Isaiah says that Jesus came to proclaim justice. He came to be our hope. He did not come to crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering flame. What a picture Isaiah is painting. Here we are – many times messy, needy and weak. We get beat up, confused, tempted and tired. What does Jesus do? Does He step all over us? Does He crush the reeds? No, not even a faint brush to disturb them. Does He rant and rave? Does He blow out the littlest bit of a flame that we have left? No, He does nothing that would cause the flame to go out. His name is Hope! Hope is what our soul thirsts for. Today, hope in His unconditional love for you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, what a picture of Your love for me! I need Your love. I need Your understanding, Your mercy, and Your total forgiveness. I fully receive them right now. I praise You for Your kindness. I shout with joy even now for Your unconditional love for me. Thank you, Jesus. My hope is in you! In Your Holy name, I pray.
AMEN

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Don’t Be Afraid

TODAY’S VERSE
The LORD is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
Psalms 27:1 (NLT)

TODAY’S MESSAGE
Sometimes we just need to answer the question. The Psalmist asks, “Who should I fear?” It could be phrased, “Why should I be afraid?” It would seem that the question is rhetorical. Why with God, we should not fear anything and yet many times fear blinds our eyes to the truth around us. I remember seeing a little boy who thought he was lost. He was in a crowd and start screaming. I was only a few feet away. He cried hysterically. I was going to help but I knew that his father was standing right next to him. The little child was so overcome with fear of abandonment that he cried so hard, he could not see his father right in front of him. It wasn’t until the dad picked him up and hugged him for a few moments that the boy took comfort in his father’s arms. Fear is like that. When we fear, it blocks out all other reality. Here is God, our light and salvation, and yet we act as if we are lost in utter darkness. We are in the stronghold of God’s love and yet fear blinds us from the reality of our salvation. Is this your reality? What is it that you fear? Rebuke it right now. Look into the eyes of Jesus. Let His light penetrate your mind and heart. Let Him be your stronghold. Hear Him say, “Arise and walk in peace.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, I admit that I let my emotions overwhelm me. I do not allow myself to fully understand what it means that You are my light, salvation, and stronghold. Forgive me, Lord. I want Your peace. I want Your joy. I want to know You more fully. Even today let me experience Your presence in my life. I ask You to make me fully aware of Your love and power. Help me not be afraid.

AMEN

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The One Thing

TODAY’S VERSE
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
Psalms 27:4 (NIV)

TODAY’S MESSAGE
Have you ever gone somewhere and hated to leave? Have you ever enjoyed something so much that you did not want it to stop? Is there anything in your life that has become that “one thing”? This is what David felt about his relationship with God. If we had to choose a word to describe David, it would be “worshipper.” David really loved God. He was sold out to Jehovah. So much so that if he had to choose just “one thing,” it would be to worship God all the time. What about you? What role does the worship of God play in your life? Is it just an hour of church on Sunday? That wasn’t enough for David. If he could, he would have stayed in the Temple of God worshipping all the time! The good news is that we don’t have to go to a Temple to worship God. We are the temple. Our body is His temple and our heart is an altar for worship. We can stop anytime, anywhere and gaze upon His beauty in the quietness of our own soul. Bring your praise and adoration to Him in your own temple throughout the day and night. Let loving God and living for Him become your “one thing.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, I admit I have been preoccupied with so many things that worshipping You have taken a back seat in my life. I am so sorry. I do love You. I really do want to get my priorities right. Help me know and love You more and more until worshipping You becomes the “one thing” in my life. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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A Sense of Blessing and Well Being

TODAY’S VERSE
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.
Psalm 27:10 (NLT)

TODAY’S MESSAGE
At first glimpse, this verse may not seem like it has much depth. But if we really understand its meaning, it can change our lives. In his book Experiencing Healing Prayer Rick Richardson shares, “From our mother, we get our sense of being and well being. From our father, we get a sense of blessing.” The trouble is that none of us go through our childhood unscathed. No parent can completely meet all our needs. If our mother or father is controlling, absent, abusive, distant or exhibits any number of other negative traits, it can result in a struggle with affirmation and self-esteem. But what can we do? Do we have to be a victim of a fallen world? Today’s verse gives us the answer. “Even if our father and mother abandon us, the Lord will hold us close.” When we understand our true relationship with God, we will be able to receive our sense of being and well being from Him. When we really comprehend how much He loves and approves of us, we will live our life from a deep sense of blessing that He has for us. Celebrating who we are in Christ can help us rise above our circumstances and go beyond the limits of our childhood.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I thank You for Your deep, deep love for me. I thank You that You created me for a purpose. I thank You that I am not a mistake. Because of Your love for me, I can really feel good about myself. I receive a sense of well being from knowing that I am a blessing to You. Thank You, Lord, no matter what my past, I can come to You with my needs. When I do, You will hold me close. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Wait On The Lord

TODAY’S VERSE
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Psalms 27:14

TODAY’S MESSAGE
Sometimes you just have to wait. But it is so hard. I had planted a whole new batch of elephant ears and caladiums in a shady path I made in the woods behind my house. I watered them faithfully and after a couple weeks, I started to walk around to see if they were beginning to sprout. I couldn’t find any sign of life. Day after day, I looked and nothing. I was starting to become angry. I kept asking myself, “Why haven’t they broken ground yet?” Then anger turned to fear. “What if they were dead?” Finally, one day, when I was walking the path to see if any of the plants had sprouted up, a thought occurred to me. “None of my looking was going to make the plant sprout one second sooner than God had planned.” I laughed and thought how much that was just like life. We don’t like to wait. We want what we want, and we want it now! But we refuse to realize that waiting is more than waiting. So often waiting is also becoming more understanding. Waiting is learning to be empathic. Waiting is gaining knowledge or building character. Waiting can often lead to situations where God gets all the Glory. The plants did come up, each in their own time. They were beautiful. Likewise, so will our lives, as we are strong, take heart and wait on the Lord.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, I find it so hard to wait. I really want to trust You, but I need Your help. Help me today, Father, to be strong, to take heart and to wait on You. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Your Real Purpose

TODAY’S VERSE
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

TODAY’S MESSAGE
Some people search a lifetime for a purpose. Why am I here? Where can I find meaning? We look for this bigger than life significance and we can’t find it. We search for something that will fill this hollow feeling inside. There is a craving in our soul that we can’t satisfy, a thirst that we cannot quench. It’s like the song says, “we are looking for love (purpose) in all the wrong places.” All the while the Bible gives a very fundamental answer to the secret of life satisfaction. Paul sums up our purpose in one simple verse. You and I will never be happy, never feel fulfilled until we figure out what Paul is saying. He says that you and I are the workmanship of God, His masterpiece! A specific, personally made, creation by Almighty God Himself. More than that, we were created for this one simple thing, to do good works! That’s it. Our meaning, purpose, life satisfaction comes from living for God, from loving in His name, from doing good because He created us specifically to do good. What joy, what purpose, what meaning to know that we are hand-picked agents of God’s good in this world. Do you believe this? Are you living this? If not, you can start today!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear God, help me to fully understand what it means to be Your workmanship, created for good works. Help me to comprehend that You really know me, love me deeply and have specifically called me to be Your representative in this world. Thank You for such a glorious calling. Help me today to do Your good works which You prepared me to do before I was even born. You are my creator, I am Your servant. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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How Do We Behave?

TODAY’S VERSE
Lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:1-3; 31-32

TODAY’S MESSAGE
How can it get any clearer than this? Paul is commanding us to live like Christians should. This is not a “once for all” choice but rather a daily decision to live the way Christ would have us live. We are to be humble, gentle, forgiving, loving and patient. We are to get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander. Throw it off! Stop. Instead, we are to be tenderhearted, forgiving and kind. How will we live for the next 24 hours? What are we going to choose to do today? We will have opportunities all day to choose. But our choices need to be grounded in the Holy Spirit. Paul writes in Galatians that the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is the by-product of living under the direction of the Holy Spirit in our life, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We need to make living this way our goal. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit in our lives today. He will.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Oh, Holy Spirit. I need to get rid of all the negative emotions and behaviors in my life. But I can’t without You! I need You to produce Godly behavior in my life. I want love, joy, peace, patient, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to be my normal experience. I want to be a witness to others of Your love through my behavior. Come Holy Spirit, convict me, correct me, forgive me, inspire me, teach me, guide me and fill me. Might I live completely under Your control. Might my life bear the fruit that only You can produce. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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