Increased Faith and Love

TODAY’S VERSE
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.
II Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Paul is writing about two marks of a healthy Christian, faith, and love. But it is not just faith and love, it is a faith that is growing more and more and a love that is increasing. But what is a growing faith and love? A growing faith is one that increases in its awareness and trust of God. It is one that believes God for great and mighty things. It is a faith that trusts even when circumstances scare us to the core. It is a faith that knows God and spends time understanding His love and power. It is a faith that is exercised in prayer and patience trusting God with every circumstance. And growing love, what of that? It is a love that is steeped in action. A love that reaches out to those in need. A love that drops superficiality and replaces it with genuine concern. A growing love is sacrificial and selfless. It is a love that forgives and then forgives again. It is a love prefers others above itself. Today, ask God to help you increase your faith and love.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, help me exercise more faith. Help me increase my love. Help my faith and love grow as I serve You. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Lord, Do It Again

TODAY’S VERSE
LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known.
Habakkuk 3:2 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
What if we read what God did in Acts and prayed the prayer that Habakkuk prayed? What do you think would happen to the church today? We read in the book of Acts where God did mighty miracles. People were moved by God to share all they have with others. God was speaking through His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit, resulting in people all around the world being saved. Oh, when we read Acts and all that God did in the early church might our hearts react like Habakkuk’s did in his day. Might we join him in saying, “LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day; in our time make them known.” Might this be the prayer of our heart until the day God brings revival.

TODAY’S PRAYER
LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of all you have done in the past. I pray, O LORD, please do the same in our day; in our time make your mighty power known. Along with Your power, use me and use Your church to bring Your love to a lost and dying world.
AMEN

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Help Me Rejoice

TODAY’S VERSE
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
What qualifications do you put on happiness? So many times it seems as if we put conditions on whether or not we are going to rejoice. We must be liked. We must be successful. We have to have the right kind of car, house, clothes or social status before we can really find happiness. But what happens if those things that we feel are so important to “who we are” is taken away from us? What if we lose our job or a friendship tanks or we face bankruptcy? What if we are falsely accused of something or our friends turn on us? Then what happens to our peace, joy or happiness? Somehow Habakkuk found the secret. It was in his relationship with God. He was able to rejoice in Him no matter what. He had committed himself to God and when troubles began to brew, he was able to trade his commitment in for trust. Finally, when times were at its worst, his trust allowed him to return to joy from painful situations. This joy came from a deeply trusting relationship with God. Listen to what he said, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” This didn’t happen by accident. Habakkuk had a relationship with God that he could return to over and over again. Today begin with trust. Trust Him with everything you have and everything you need. Trust Him with today, tomorrow and the future. Then, when you need it, just like Habakkuk, your trust will help you return to joy.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me to trust You in all things. Help me to put my hope in You. Help me to rejoice in You no matter what happens. I pray this in Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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It’s What Is Inside That Counts

TODAY’S VERSE
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self.
I Peter 3:4 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Has there ever been a more materialistic society on the face of the earth than the United States? Fashion and body image permeates our media. You cannot find a magazine, newspaper or television show that does not have advertisements that force judgment on a person’s image. Our image could come from personal appearance or the appearance of the person’s belongings. This includes the car you drive, the house you live in, the clothes you wear or the gadgets you carry with you. Why have we let these things define us in the eyes of others? Why are we not more concerned about who we are on the inside than what others judge about our outside? It is time to stop this insanity! We need to stand up and say enough is enough! Peter did. He wrote, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self.” Although this part of the passage was written to women, I believe when Peter refers to the inner self he is talking to the men today just as much as the women. The principle applies to both. So today, let’s begin an image revolution. Let’s focus on our inner self and make that our priority. Let’s stop giving in to the world’s standard putting an over-emphasis on all the outward trappings with their false standards. Instead, let us focus on the inner self. Here we will find joy and peace that we never experienced by outward appearance alone.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for putting worldly standards ahead of Your Godly ones. Help me to work on my heart and all that I am inside instead of worrying about my outward image. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Shine The Light

TODAY’S VERSE
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
As Christ-followers we have a Holy purpose! We are part of a Holy Mission. Evil forces have invaded the earth’s domain leaving mankind in darkness. Yet God, in His mercy, has called you and me to bring the light to the world. Each of us to the part of the world He has put us in. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. – Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Perhaps all this sounds over the top. Something you would see in a “Lord of the Rings” type epic. But the reality in this world is that most people are in a spiritual battle, struggling with sin or its effects, spending their time in spiritual darkness. Imagine being in utter darkness when all of a sudden someone comes by offering you eternal light. Being in blindness now you can see. That is the mission of the light bearer. People are searching for a light to illuminate their soul and God has asked us simply to shine the light. Live out our inward reality where other people can see it. Love others the way Christ loves us. Lay out our platter of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, so others can partake. Jobs are great, careers wonderful. If you have a vocation you are blessed, but you will never find a higher calling than bearing the light. Today, might God allow you to shine His light in every area of darkness you come in contact with.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for shining Your light into my dark world. Help me not forget. Today, help me carry Your light and shine it on all those in the darkness around me.
AMEN

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Love Others

TODAY’S VERSE
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.
I Peter 3:8-9 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Isn’t funny how we can spend so much time trying to figure out the “will of God” is for our life when so much of it is right in front of us? Peter wrote to the church, “Here is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it!” And what is it that God wants us to do? He wants His church to be of one mind. He wants us to sympathize with each other and to love each other as brothers and sisters. If we are to do His will we must be tenderhearted toward others and be humble. We cannot repay evil for evil and feel we are following Him. Neither can we retaliate with insults when people insult us. If we are going to do His will we need to pay those that hurt us back with a blessing. Simply said, if we are going to live out the will of God we must love. We must love! John wrote it this way, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Today ask God to help you live out His will for your life. Ask Him to help you love others.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for showing me Your will for my life. Help me to love others, really love them the way You do. Help me behave toward others the way You would have me to. Empower me Lord through Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Believe The Truth

TODAY’S VERSE
Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me.
Psalms 40:11 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Oh, the lies that we believe. Those insidious thoughts that drive us crazy. Our internal dialog so often leads us into unnecessary grief and pain. William Backus in his book, “Learning to Tell Myself The Truth” writes, “You can know the truth somewhere in your brain’s storage cells, but not know the truth in your internal monologue. All too often we make ourselves miserable and keep ourselves miserable by listening to a nonstop stream of inner nonsense – even when we know very well that the nonsense runs counter to divine truth.” In today’s passage, the Psalmist is crying out to the Lord for His mercy. He is asking God to protect him with His love and truth. It is knowing the truth that keeps us from all the madness. Martin Luther wrote, “We pray, ‘Lead us not into temptation’ so that God would guard and keep us lest the world, our flesh, and the devil lead us into misbelief, despair, and other great shame and vice.” Today might we let truth guide us. Might we challenge our negative thinking and any lies that would temp us from believing in the love and mercy that God has for us. May His love and truth protect us.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, do not withhold Your mercy from me. Please help me to trust in Your love and believe the truth you have given me in Your word.
AMEN

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