Press On

TODAY’S VERSE
I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to live in the past. Remorse, grief, disappointment, bitterness, so many painful emotions can keep us in a state of limbo. Paul had regrets; he had persecuted Christians. Paul had disappointments and hardships, but he knew the secret to living with all of life’s ups and downs. He pressed on. He knew when the appropriate time came; it was time to forget. It was time to quit looking behind and trust God for the future. God doesn’t remain in the past, and neither should we. Today, what is keeping you in the past? What has you locked in painful emotions? Give it to God. Forget the past and look forward to what God has ahead. He is not finished with you yet!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I have hung on to my past. Today, I surrender to You. I quit looking back with regret, sorrow, remorse, and bitterness and will look forward with anticipation, joy, and excitement toward what lies ahead. Today, I choose to trust You. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Strength and Song

TODAY’S VERSE
The LORD is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things!
Psalms 118:14-15 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I love the two words, “strength” and “song” together. They go hand in hand; His strength, our song. Here is the Psalmist. He had seen God’s strength move on his behalf resulting in a great victory, and his heart bursts out in singing. That’s because sometimes words alone are not enough. Our soul must express itself in melody. And yet, how many times do we fail to respond to all that God has done for us? Remember the ten lepers that Jesus healed? Only one came back to give thanks. Can you imagine? Forget a victory in battle. Their body, full of putrefying skin, had just been miraculously healed! Yet nine out of the ten that were healed did not even say, “Thanks.” And sadly, Jesus noticed. He asked the one who returned, “Where are the other nine?” Unfortunately, we do the same today. Where are our praising hearts? Where are the songs of our souls that lift to the heavens in adoration for all that He has done for us? We have no excuse. We have been so blessed. Today let’s raise our voices in praise for all His strength on our behalf.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, my heart sings in praise and adoration for all You have done for me. You are the Almighty and all-loving God who has saved me for all eternity. I thank You and praise Your Holy name.
AMEN

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An Open Door

TODAY’S VERSE
Open for me the gates where the righteous enter and I will go in and thank the Lord. These gates lead to the presence of the Lord, and the godly enter there.
Psalms 118:19-20 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
An open door can make all the difference in the world. How many times have you sought solutions, answers, or any form of direction, and nothing seems to appear? If only something would open up. And all the while, God is there bidding us come to Him and find the truth. But it’s not good enough to just have an invitation or an open door. You must go in. The Psalmist understood this. He cried out to God to open the gates into His presence, and when God did, he entered. He entered into the presence of God and fellowshipped with Him. For us, every day is an opportunity to enter into the sweet presence of God. But it’s our choice. We can walk by or enter the door. Today choose to stop and spend time with God.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I thank You for opening the door for me to fellowship with You. Lead me into Your presence, so I might know You more.
AMEN

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God’s Word

TODAY’S VERSE
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalms 119:11 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Insight, inspiration, hope, wisdom, confidence, direction, correction all this and more is found in God’s word. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to take the scriptures and make them relevant to our life. The Psalmist experienced this living word and knew if He would learn it, meditate on it and let it affect who he was, that it would result in the kind of behavior that was pleasing to God. Today, we can have the same experience. Spend time in God’s word. Meditate on it. Listen to what God has to say and let His word sink deep into your heart. If you do, you will be able to say with the Psalmist, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, as I read Your word, help it sink deep into my heart. Help me hear You and understand how You want me to live. Inspire me, guide me, and empower me by Your word I pray.
AMEN

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Comfort Me

TODAY’S VERSE
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
II Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Comfort. How often we long for it. It is one of our greatest needs. Every day has its challenges. We find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster constantly in need to regulate our emotions. We try all types of solutions but to no avail. Only real comfort soothes us, consoles our breaking heart, reassuring us that all will be okay. Only comfort supports and encourages us in the face of conflict. Only comfort gives us relief in affliction and lasting consolation to our weary soul. But comfort is only as good as the comforter. It is no comfort when a dying man says, “Try my medicine.” A person who is lost is no comfort to someone else seeking directions. In today’s verse, we find that it is God who is our “merciful Father and source of all comfort.” It is God that comforts us in all our troubles. It is God and His love for us that returns us to joy. It is knowing Him, in all His majesty, that gives us hope and assurance. It is knowing that we are the objects of His unfailing love that makes Him the source of all our comfort. And with this comfort, we, in turn, can comfort others. Today, come to God. Bring all your burdens to Him. Give Him your emotions and let Him comfort you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I am in great need of Your comfort. Only You can satisfy. Only Your love can bring what my soul needs. Comfort me, I pray. In Jesus name.
AMEN

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Thoughts

TODAY’S VERSE
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
II Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The battle is in our minds. Truth versus lies. False assumptions verses God’s promises. Negative predictions versus faith. Roots of bitterness, jealously, fear, and shame versus the mind of Christ. And though all these strongholds can be overcome by God’s power, how much better if we never let negative thinking get that far. We can if we follow Paul’s advice. He asks us to “demolish arguments and every pretense that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” A stronghold begins with a simple negative thought. Then, instead of renouncing it, we make a subtle agreement with it. “God doesn’t care.” “I can’t do it.” We start to generalize using words like “never, always, and every.” Oh, not a stronghold yet, but if we don’t disagree with the thought, what are we really doing? Soon we begin to ruminate and start to build on the negativity. Before you know it, we have created a full-blown story. We have “set ourselves up against the knowledge of God.” God wants us to renounce and correct negative unbiblical thinking. Today, commit your mind to God. Let His Holy Spirit work with your thinking and bring it into alignment with His word.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your presence in my life. I commit my thinking to you. Holy Spirit rule in my mind. Help me know and believe Your truth so I can make all my thoughts obedient to Christ.
AMEN

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God’s Grace

TODAY’S VERSE
I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.”
II Corinthians 2:5-8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God’s grace. It’s what I love about Christianity. When I have so much to be forgiven, God in His mercy forgives me. When I am so far from what God expects, He still guides me, corrects me, and restores my soul. Grace is the free gift of God. So why is it, when I receive so much grace from God, I find it hard to give to others? The church in Corinth expelled a person from their fellowship because of a grievous sin. But instead of banishing him forever, Paul encourages the church to extend him grace by forgiving and comforting him. But the truth is I find it hard to forgive those that have offended me. It is difficult to give grace to someone I think doesn’t deserve it. But isn’t that what grace is all about? You see, my grace isn’t much, but God’s grace is. Sometimes it comes down to the question, “Whose grace am I going to give, mine or Christ’s?” Today, let’s give the same grace to others that God has given us.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, Your sweet grace, totally undeserved, has been given freely to me. Help me offer that same grace to others. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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No Shame

TODAY’S VERSE
But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
Psalms 3:3 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Shame. You know the drill. You drop your head and roll it down and away. As your shoulders slump, you let out a deep sigh. You talk, but it is without eye contact, constantly fighting looking down and away again. It is worse than a feeling of guilt. With guilt, you can confess your wrongdoing. Shame is deeper. It isn’t about “doing,” it’s about “being.” How do you repent of being something you are so ashamed of? How can you renew something so broken, so damaged, so worthless? Shame, more than an emotion, is a deeply worn brain map, a trait, a feeling that you are totally unworthy. But then there is God. God, who comes and lifts your head and whispers deep into your soul, “Don’t call what I have created, worthless.” God, whose love for you can soften the calloused skin around your heart and begin to birth new life. God who bestows glory on you. Our Lord God is the shame slayer. Today, let Him lift your head. And when He does, gaze into His face. Feel the glory He has given you. Let it radiate deep into your soul and believe. Believe you are loved. Believe that you were created for His glory and that your shame is a lie, a false belief, a shame given to you by others. Let Him tenderly lift your head and take away your shame.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, I have felt such a deep sense of shame. I bring it to you today and ask You to banish it. Lift my head and let me see Your face. Let Your deep love penetrate my heart and set me free. Today, let me see myself the way You do. In Jesus’ Name.
AMEN

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Follow Him

TODAY’S VERSE
Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?
John 6:67 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God created us for a relationship. Yet, how many times do we get this concept all wrong? Instead, we act as if we created God. Rather than a deep relationship with Him, we act as if it is God’s role to make us happy, to serve us, and to answer our every need. We live as if God was more of a personal concierge than our Lord and Savior. Jesus felt some of this same attitude from His followers. Many were following Jesus because of all they were receiving. One particular day Jesus decided to challenge everyone on this issue by calling the crowd to a higher life of discipleship, and many of the people decided to stop following Him. Jesus came back to His twelve disciples and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” A simple question, but the answer makes all the difference in the world. How would you say to Jesus? What do your actions say? Today, commit yourself to Christ. Tell Him how much you love Him and decide to follow Him in all you do.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord Jesus. I know I have taken Your love for granted. Forgive me. I come today to serve and love you. Receive my worship and humble gratitude I pray.
AMEN

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Are You Free?

TODAY’S VERSE
And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you.
Romans 8:2 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Some phrases have the power to change everything about the way we live. Today’s verse has that ability. Paul is saying that when we came to Christ, we became a child of God and were indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Not just any Spirit but our Almighty God’s Spirit. And when that happened, the power of this life-giving Holy Spirit freed us. The Holy Spirit frees us from eternal death, condemnation, and the power of sin in our life. We are free from our selfishness and the bondages and strongholds we find ourselves in. God’s mighty Spirit frees us from temptation, emotional distress and the pain of our past. The loving and compassionate Spirit intercedes for us, freeing us from shame and guilt. The indwelling Holy Spirit frees from the limitations others have put on us, frees us to rise above our circumstances and become all that He created us to be. Through the filling of the Holy Spirit, we are free to live the life He has called us to. So today, acknowledge your new birthright. Invite the power of the life-giving Holy Spirit to control your life. He will, and when He does, you will be free.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear God, how I praise You for Your indwelling Holy Spirit in my life. I ask to be filled and controlled by the Spirit. Fill me, free me, guide me, and direct me, I pray. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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