His Mercy

TODAY’S VERSE
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:3-7 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Although Paul was talking about life before knowing Christ, I have found even as I live my life as a Christian, that there are many times I experience my foolishness and disobedience. I have been deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. Malice and envy have consumed me to where I have hated and been hated. And yet, with Paul, I can say the kindness and love of God has appeared to me over and over again. You see, I strive to live under the Lordship of Christ. As I walk with Him, He continually convicts me and draws me back to Himself. Like Paul, the joy I experience in the fresh forgiveness of sins and renewed fellowship with Christ is, “not because of righteous things I have done but because of His mercy.” Like Paul, I am dependent on the renewal of the Holy Spirit to live my life. How about you? Do you experience the joy that comes from a daily walk with the living Christ? You were not made to receive Christ and then stop your Christian experience. Receiving Christ is only the beginning. You are meant to grow in Christ into a fully mature believer. Today, walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the blessed realization of your sins forgiven, fellowshipping with Christ as the Lord of your life.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, thank you for forgiving me of my sins. Thank you for the grace, mercy, peace, and joy that you pour into my life. Help me to live for you each and every day with the realization of all you have done for me.
AMEN

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A Way Of Escape

TODAY’S VERSE
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
I Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
How subtle sin can be. We begin to wander from the things of God, and soon our life starts to take a different course. Most people that end in some sort of addiction or negative situation never intended to get there. They didn’t wake up one day and say, “I think I will go down a road that will ruin my life.” No, it was small little navigations that got them to the foreign shore. Likewise, in the life of a Christian, we don’t wake up one day and say, “I will be far from God.” It starts with missed opportunities of fellowship, lack of discipline in prayer, Bible study and mediation, weekdays between church services without Christian influence. Little by little, we become more and more like the world around us and trade our Christian experience for a mask we wear on Sunday. What can we do? Thank God for the reality of what Paul shares in today’s passage. Paul reminds us that the temptations that you and I face every day are the same as everyone else’s, but God is faithful and will show us a way out. On every descent away from God, there is a window of sanity. There is an opportunity to repent, to turn around, to come back to God. The prodigal son found it. Peter found it. God enables us to “come to our self,” to come to our senses, and He does provide a way out. Today, if you find yourself far from where God wants you, ask yourself, “Who moved?” God didn’t. He loves you; turn around, there is a way of escape.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, it is so easy to wander from You. Forgive me. Help me to escape today from all that entraps me. Help me break away from all that has taken my heart from You. I come to You now, dear Lord. I want to follow You.
AMEN

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God Is in The Waiting

TODAY’S VERSE
I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. – O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalms 62:1-2,8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
How do you wait? I have to admit that I do not always wait with patience. I do not always wait with faith. Often, when I have to wait, anger, worry, and fear are my companions. Not far behind are murmuring and complaining, waiting to have their say. Why is that? Why is waiting so hard? It is because I forget that it is God I am waiting on. Worse, I behave as if He doesn’t exist. David was different. He said that he waited quietly before God. Why? Because, if David was going to be victorious, he knew it would be because of God. God was his rock, salvation, fortress, and refuge. David knew the peace that came from trusting God, and he implores us to do the same. He says, “Trust in God at all times. Pour out our heart to Him.” What a difference this will make. As we pour out our concerns, worries, fears, doubts, all that is on our heart to God, He will reassure us. He will guide us. He will give us the peace we need. Today when the pressure is on, when you are under the gun, and you have to wait, try waiting quietly on God. He will be your rock. He will give you the victory.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for my impatience. Forgive me for leaving You out of my life. Help me to remember that You love me and care about the details of my life. Today help me, as I wait patiently on You.
AMEN

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Doing Good

TODAY’S VERSE
This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. – Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then, they will not be unproductive.
Titus 3:8,14 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Doing good to others is very important to God. Paul uses strong language to communicate this point. He uses the words “insist,” “devote” and “must” when talking about meeting the urgent needs of others. He writes that helping others will keep us from living an unproductive life. There are people all around us with urgent needs. Are we responding? Are we exemplifying the love of Christ to them? God wants us to learn to do good by meeting the pressing needs of others. Why not start today. Ask God to lead you to someone you can help.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me to see the needs around me. Help me to view others through Your eyes of compassion. Lead me today to someone who needs my help. Give me the wisdom and strength to do all I can to meet their urgent need.
AMEN

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Humble Before God

TODAY’S VERSE
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor?
Isaiah 40:12-13 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We can get so haughty before God. We complain, second guess, doubt, question, and offer God suggestions on how to rule our little part of the world. We are so finite, and yet we come against the infinite and throw our intellect in His face. Who are we that we think we can advise God? This is the question Isaiah is forced to ask the children of God. Children of God? You would think that they would know better. Who better to know the mighty power of God? Who better to know God’s infinite wisdom? Who better to know the unfathomable love of the Father’s love? But, who better to take God for granted? And that is what they did. Sadly, that is what we do too. Are we not His children? How often have we raised our fist to God? How often have we doubted His word? Who are we that we think God needs to check in with us before He does something? Who are we that we think He needs us to tell Him what to do? And yet, though we get proud and rebellious, God still loves us. God still calls us His children longing to fellowship with us. He is waiting to have us humbly love Him in return.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for my pride and arrogance. I have so often raised my fist to You. Forgive me, Lord. I cannot begin to fathom You in all Your majesty. I cannot understand all Your wisdom or power. Who Am I that You would allow me to be Your child? And yet I am! How I praise You. Please help me live for You today. In Jesus Name.
AMEN

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Making Sense

TODAY’S VERSE
When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
Luke 15:17-20 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
“When he came to his senses.” It’s that quick. You can be struggling for years, and then there is a moment of clarity, an “aha” moment, a spiritual awakening. Like the tumblers of a lock falling in place, your mind is clear, and the truth is opened right before your eyes. It is a God moment. A combination of awareness, conviction, holy discontent, and a sensation that “now is the time.” The scales have tipped. There is more to gain from changing than staying the same. The prodigal son saw that there was more to gain from going home than staying in the pigpen. How about us? When is it going to make more sense to fellowship with God than the world? When will we understand that there is much more satisfaction in following Christ’s plan for our life than our own? When will we believe that He does love us unconditionally and that there is nothing we can do to make Him love us less? These are the realizations that change a life. Have you made them yet?

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, today I have come to my senses and realize the love You have for me. I choose to live for You and surrender all that I have for Your use. You are the Lord God Almighty, and I have come to realize that living for You makes all the sense in the world. In Jesus Name.
AMEN

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Protect My Heart

TODAY’S VERSE
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily.
Hebrews 3:12-13 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy for our hearts to wander. Temptation, disappointment, deferred hope, loss, heartache, lust, greed, anger, jealousy, Spiritual apathy, and isolation are just some of the ways that our hearts can become sinful and unbelieving. We must do all we can in order not to be deceived and lose heart. Paul shares three ways to protect our hearts. He writes, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus.” Fixing our thoughts on Jesus will keep us from “heart” failure. He will help keep our hearts at peace and joy. In Philippians, Paul writes, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Here we see that the protection of our heart starts with our head. We need to fix our thoughts on Jesus and those things that build us up. In today’s verse, Paul gives another way to protect our hearts. He writes, “Encourage one another daily.” Isolation can be a “kiss of death” to our hearts. We get alone in our pity party, and soon we find ourselves self-feeling hopeless, alone, and unbelieving. Instead, we need to fellowship with others. Today, find a friend and share your thoughts. Let them encourage you, pray for you, and help you with your burden. You can then do the same for someone else. Whatever else you do today, protect your heart!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for the times I allow my heart to become sinful and unbelieving. Help me to fix my thoughts on Jesus and those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Help me to seek the fellowship of others that can, in turn, help me and encourage me. Lord, protect my heart, I pray. In Jesus Name.
AMEN

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Jesus Prays For You

TODAY’S VERSE
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.
Luke 22:31-32 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is true. We do have a spiritual enemy. He does desire to destroy us. And yes, we do sin. We do fall short of how God desires us to behave. But praise God, that is not where today’s passage ends. In one of the sincerest verses in the Bible, Jesus turns to Simon Peter and says, “but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.” What an epic moment. God, manifested in the very flesh of Jesus, calls Simon by name, looks him in the eye, and tells him that He is praying for him so that his faith may not fail. And the great truth is that He does the same for us! The Apostle John tells us that when we sin, when we are under spiritual attack, Jesus is our Advocate; that is, He speaks to God the Father in our defense. Now, we have a choice to make. We can ignore what Jesus says, or we can believe Him. Think about it. If we really believe that Jesus is praying for us, that He is interceding for us, it would change the way we live. Ours would be a life full of gratitude for what God has done. Peace, because of His presence. Courage, because of the confidence we have in Him. And what does He ask for in return? Listen to what He said to Peter. “Strengthen your brothers.” Today, live conscious of God’s love and protection. Hear Jesus praying for you by name, and don’t let your faith fail. Instead, walk in victory! And with renewed strength and faith, go strengthen others.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, I am so glad that You are greater than the enemy of my soul. You are all-powerful, all-loving, and all-wise. Thank You for interceding for me with Your prayers of grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Help me today, go strengthen others, with the same love You have for me.
AMEN

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Recipe For Life

TODAY’S VERSE
Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
II Peter 1:5-7 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Salsa is only as good as its ingredients. Avocado, diced tomatoes, onion, the list of ingredients goes on. Mixing everything together, gathering chips, it was time to taste this masterpiece. As I took my first bite, I was dumbfounded as to how bland the taste was. Knowing the person who prepared the dish, I knew it had to be an error. Sure enough, upon reviewing the recipe, salt and lime juice were missing from the experience. What a difference two ingredients can make. By adding the two missing elements, the taste that the chef had initially been intended, was brought forth. Likewise, God has given us a recipe for life, and Peter encourages us to make every effort to include all the ingredients needed. We are to start with faith and add goodness. Next, add knowledge, self-control, and perseverance. Finally, we add the zest: Godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. These eight ingredients combine to give us the kind of life God desires for us. Peter ends his thoughts this way. “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Today, ask God to take these ingredients and help you add them, little by little, to your own life’s recipe.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me have the faith I need to live for You. With this faith in place, help me add, day by day, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, Godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. I pray this in Jesus’ Name.
AMEN

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