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 so when people see us they should see Him. 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 any false allegations by his pure lifestyle. This allowed him to have moral authority. His understanding of God, the scriptures, his ministry, and the culture permitted him to be above reproach. Paul was patient in his suffering. Paul was also kind and this kindness caused many to consider believing in the God he believed in. Paul believed deeply in the Holy Spirit and it was the Holy Spirit that filled Paul and equipped him for ministry. 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 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 aspire. 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 still 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 happens as we grow in Him. 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 dealt 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

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 me to be free from the tyranny of sin with all its 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 deeply 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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Not Enough

TODAY’S VERSE
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
What do you think of when you first get up in the morning? For many people it a subtle type of fear. Brené Brown suggests that the number one meditation of many people is, “Not enough!” Steven Furtick preached on this and he suggested that we worry that we don’t have enough money, time, or talent. He shared that we live with the mentality of scarcity and shame. But here is the truth, it is found in today’s verse. God is enough! God has provided all that we need. When we listen to our inner chatter there is never enough. There is always someone richer, smarter, stronger, better looking, more popular and so we feel that we are not enough. The lack of self-love and acceptance keeps us in bondage. Today, stop the negativity. Stop the scarcity and shame attitude. God has created you enough. He certainly is enough. What are your true needs? He will provide them. Put your trust in Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for my scarcity and shame mentality. You have created me in love and will help me be all that I need to be. Thank You that You will provide all my needs in Christ Jesus.
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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