Overflow With Joy

TODAY’S VERSE
I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
John 15:11-12 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We were meant for joy. Instead, we settle for comfort. We look everywhere for it. It is at the root of addictions, greed, and many of our emotional issues. We look for comfort because we do not have joy. True, we need to be comforted, but comfort is just the beginning. After comfort, God wants us to return to joy from our negative emotions. Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” Then Jesus says, “Love each other.” Why? Because love gives us joy, and remaining in this love returns us to joy even after negative emotions. Today, remember, our joy comes through loving relationships, both with God and those He brings into our life.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, fill me with Your joy. The joy that comes through the deep and loving relationships I can have with You and those that You bring into my life. Help my joy overflow. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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He Knows My Name

TODAY’S VERSE
I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
Isaiah 49:15-16 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I am deeply moved every time I sing the worship song, “He Knows My Name.” It makes me think of today’s verse. The Israelites doubted the love of God, so Isaiah reminded them that even if a mother forgets her child, God will never forget them. Isaiah writes that our Lord has written our name on the palms of His hands. God knows my name? I am overwhelmed by the thought. How personal, how loving, how intimate. And yet I can’t help but wonder, “What else does God know about me?” He knows my situation. He knows my struggles. He knows my limitations. My fear and anxiety are no surprise to Him. He knows my anger and frustrations. He knows my weaknesses. He knows and loves me, but do I know Him? Do I? Do I know His name? Do I know Him as the God Most High, the God who sees, the all-sufficient One, the provider, and the Lord who heals? Do I know Him as my banner and my peace? Do I know Him as my creator, shepherd, and my righteousness? Today, take joy in knowing that the God above all other names knows yours.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for knowing and loving me. Thank You for knowing my name and caring so deeply for me. Help me know and love You more.
AMEN

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Remain In Him

TODAY’S VERSE
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Christianity is a way of life. It is so much more than church on Sunday and a few “quiet times.” God cares about our every moment. Our emotions, our thoughts, our actions. In his book, “Walking With God,” John Eldredge writes that our heart is central to the Christian life and that we are invited into a conversational intimacy with God. This is what Jesus was talking about. We remain in Him with our heart, not just our head. He remains in us as we are involved with Him in intimate conversation. It is a deep relationship, one that demands that we focus on Him. He is there. And as we remain in Him and He remains in us, we will produce the spiritual fruit we were born to produce. Today remember what Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Jesus, I realize that apart from You, I can do nothing. Forgive me for cutting myself off from the deep intimacy that You desire. Revive my heart, I pray. Bring life back to my soul and help me remain in You. In Your matchless name, I pray.
AMEN

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Christ’s Love

TODAY’S VERSE
Christ’s love controls us.
II Corinthians 5:14 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We can let a lot of things control us. Fear, anger, lust, greed, pride are just a few emotions vying for the control of our heart. Painful emotions are powerful motivators. Regulating them is a full-time job. But Paul knew the secret to returning to joy from agonizing emotions. He let the love of God fill his thoughts. He called upon the love of Christ for mercy and grace. Surrendering to Christ brought him peace and hope. This love of Christ can do the same for you. Today, you have a choice. You can choose what will control you. Choose Christ’s love.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Christ, pour out Your love upon me. Fill me, guide me, direct me. Make me so conscious of Your love that I am under its control. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Really Love Others

TODAY’S VERSE
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.
Romans 12:9 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Paul starts in the twelfth chapter of Romans, pleading with us to serve God with all our hearts. He encourages us to present our lives as a “living” sacrifice. And then he writes, “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” He lists different abilities that God gives and asks us to act out on these gifts with everything we have. Whether it is prophesying, serving others, teaching, encouraging others, giving, leadership, or being kind, we are to exercise these gifts with abandonment. And then he comes to the most precious gift of all. One that each of us can do. One that each of us is called to. We cannot say we know God and ignore what Paul says next. He writes, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” Love is the most supernatural gift of all. Supernatural because we cannot love the way God wants us to without His help. All our efforts are pretending. It takes God’s supernatural presence to give us the strength, tenacity, and willpower to love as He does. We are His instruments of love, and as we “present our bodies a living sacrifice,” He will help us really love. Today, let’s stop pretending and start loving those God brings into our life.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I am such a poser. I pretend to love others and fall so short of the kind of love You want me to have. Please forgive me. Help me, Lord. Give me the strength I need to love others the way You do. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so I can let Your love, love through me. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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True Transformation

TODAY’S VERSE
Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Romans 12:1 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Our Christian life is a renewal process. We should be constantly growing in our relationship with Christ. This life of transformation happens as we continuously renew our thinking through the power of the Holy Spirit. He has given us the Scriptures so we can grow in Him and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. But we must seek more than intellectual knowledge. We must let Him penetrate our mind and heart. Paul explains that true transformation also comes through experiential knowledge. He writes, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” We are made complete with the fullness of life and power as we experience His love. Today, let God renew your mind, thoughts, and attitudes through His word and His love.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, renew me, transform me, change me more into the image of Your Son.
AMEN

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The God Of All Hope

TODAY’S VERSE
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is hope, and then there is HOPE. At first, it would seem that the difference would be the degree of our trust in Him. Little trust, little hope. Large trust, large hope. But as we read today’s verse, we see it is not trusting that makes the difference as much as what we have our trust in. Hope comes from the fact that we trust in the magnificence of God. Paul says that God is the source of our hope and that it is God that fills us with joy and peace. God gives us His Holy Spirit, whose power causes us to overflow with confident hope. So today, put your trust in Almighty God, the God of all power, the God of all love, and let Him fill you with joy, peace, and hope.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, I pray that You would fill me completely with joy, peace, and hope through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Help me overflow with a confident hope in You and Your love for me. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Imitate God

TODAY’S VERSE
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us.
Ephesians 5:1,2 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We tend to complicate things. We can take a simple message and make it complex. Isn’t that what we do with Christianity? We add our rules, traditions, and cultural nuances, and soon we have nothing that represents what Jesus had in mind. We end up worshipping in Country Clubs and live our self-centered lives as if Christ never existed. But that is not what Paul taught. He shared a simple message. One that cuts to the core of the way we should live. His straightforward message is that we should imitate God like a child does their parent. To make it more straightforward, Paul then writes, “We are to live a life that is full of love just like Christ did.” And why? Why should we live a life full of love? Because Christ loves us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us. It doesn’t get clearer than that. He loves you. He sacrificed Himself for you. Go and do likewise.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, help me imitate You in all I do. Help me to love others as You did and follow Your example of sacrifice for others.
AMEN

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Lord, I Am Coming

TODAY’S VERSE
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”
Psalms 27:8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There are a lot of voices calling out for the attention of our hearts. Depending on how deep you are thinking, you can have a new thought every two to ten seconds. That’s anywhere from ten thousand to fifty thousand thoughts a day. How many of these are cries of the heart? How many come from emotional pain? How many are the result of unsolved spiritual issues? How we ruminate over and over again, struggling to find peace and joy. And yet, if we listen, if we stop, quiet ourselves, we will hear it. We will hear the voice of God crying out to us. David heard it. He wrote, “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’” How God wants your heart. He desires to fellowship with you. And yet, we resist. We have so many important things to tend to. But God is still calling, “Come and talk with me.” David’s heart heard the voice of God, and David said, “Lord, I am coming.” What does your heart say? Today, come to God. Come and talk with Him. Come and listen. Come and fellowship. God is calling you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, I come and quiet myself before You. I need You so badly, and yet I don’t know where to start. Teach me. Show me how to know You. Help me talk to You. Lord, hear the silent cries of my heart. Hear my inner thoughts. I come to You now, in Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Emotions

TODAY’S VERSE
But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.
Psalms 42:8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
If nothing else, we are full of emotions. You can’t get away from them. But the goal is not to avoid emotions; instead, we need to regulate them. That is letting God, in all His power, grace, and love, return us to deep joy and peace. Psalms 42 exemplifies this. Throughout the Psalm, the author shares deep emotional angst. But each time, the Psalmist ends up turning to God. “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?” the author asks. But then the author writes, “I will put my hope in God!” Again, “Now I am deeply discouraged,” followed with a resounding, “but I will remember you.” Every day seemed to bring its emotional test, but the author is quick to note, “Each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.” Today, life will have its emotional challenges but don’t stop there. You have a choice. Give your heart to God. Talk to Him, share your story with Him and let His love for you, His concern, His opinion of you return you to joy.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You know my emotions. You know my ups and downs. You know my hurts, my frailty, my insecurities. So I come to You. I come and ask You to speak to me, comfort me, share with me the truth of Your deep love and care. And then, in Your tender mercy, return me to joy. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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