Category Archives: Backslidden

Coming To Our Senses

TODAY’S VERSE
When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, “At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father.”
Luke 15:17-18 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It has only recently that we have understood why so many hidden emotions drive us. With the rise of the neurosciences, we have come to know more about intrinsic memory. What has been hidden can now become integrated into who we are. We can take all the negative beliefs, lies, and wounds that we have from our past and bring them to God. He, in turn, can reveal to us the truth of who we really are in these memories and help us change the way we believe about life and our self. This has been life-changing for me and the hundreds that I have taught. Insight also changed the prodigal son. For whatever reason, he too was driven and decided to leave home and spend his life doing whatever he wanted to. No pleasure was out of the question. But like so many others, there was a price to pay. Soon he found himself in desperate straits. It was at that point that Jesus said, “He finally came to His senses.” And I love what the son did next. Jesus said that he went home to his father. My friend, it is our Heavenly Father that can correct all our negative thinking. It is His love that can tell our hurting child inside us that all is well; we are loved. Our Father is waiting. He is happy to be with us; He longs to tell us the truth of who we are. Today, come to your senses. It is God who wants to forgive, to love, to heal, to set free. His grace is sufficient.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I come to You with so many needs. So many emotions drive me. I need You to correct my thinking, heal my memories, and help me re-envision who I am. Father, I have come to my senses. I am coming to you. Help me see myself through Your eyes.
AMEN

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Grumbling

TODAY’S VERSE
And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.
I Corinthians 10:10 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Life can be hard. Not everything works out the way we plan. That is why God created us with the capacity for resilience. By faith, we can return to joy from negative emotions. But returning to joy is a choice. Sadly, instead of joy, many times, we choose to grumble. Grumbling is different than simple negative emotions. Sadness, disappointment, even anger can be natural reactions to stressful situations, and with time spent in reflection, we can find our way back to joy. But grumbling is different. Grumbling, unchecked, becomes a bitter root that destroys faith, hope, and joy. It grows and festers, blaming, attacking, and rebelling against any and everything that would be cause for its pain. Grumbling eventually attacks the very sovereignty of God Himself. Be warned; grumbling is an offense to God. So today, check yourself. Are you letting anger and frustration get the best of you? Are you blaming and complaining? Are you spending more and more time grumbling? If so, heed the warning of Paul and stop. Repent, seek God’s forgiveness, recognize His profound love for you, and return to joy.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for my critical spirit. I repent of grumbling and complaining. Today, I will trust You and return to joy.
AMEN

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Renew My Heart

TODAY’S VERSE
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting
away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Have you ever been at the bedside of someone dying from a dreadful disease? It is tragic to watch someone’s body shut down. Over time they begin to waste away. But there is another form of wasting away that is just as tragic. It is the wasting away of our soul. If not careful, we can find our inward person end up in despair, confusion, and helplessness. Our body is but a container for who we are. Paul reminds us that even if we waste away physically, it is crucial that we don’t lose heart. How? By renewing ourselves inwardly day by day. Today, don’t spiritually waste away! Spend time with God, meditate on His word, let His promises soak deep into your soul, and replenish your heart.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I need You to renew my heart. Replenish my soul with Your word and Your love. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, I pray.
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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Unforgiveness

TODAY’S VERSE
People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is a price to pay for concealing our sins. A guilty conscious can lead to a downward spiral of fear, anger, or shame. Unforgiveness can result in a bitter and hardened heart toward God. Soon we find ourselves ignoring the tug of the Holy Spirit calling us to repentance. But for many of us, the thought of our sins is terrifying. Fear of abandonment; the need to please others; a deep sense of shame keeps us in denial. We rationalize our behavior; we minimize its significance; we blame others. We call it everything we can but sin. So we slowly die, day by day, our sins are hidden. At least from ourselves. Is the person that is in denial about their behavior fooling anyone? Is the one that is acting out in anger in danger of being mistaken for a saint? There is a way out. We need to lean on the love of God. We need to know that He will never leave us or turn His back on us. When we really know the love of God, then we trust Him and can ask Him to point out our sins. He will bring about a conviction. His Spirit will lead us to confess our sins to God and turn from them. Why, because we will know we will receive His mercy. Today, talk to God. Ask Him to point out any sin in Your life. When He does, confess it to God and receive His mercy.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, show me my sins. I give You my fear and shame. I trust in Your love for me and do not want to be in any more denial. Show me my hidden sins so I can confess them in Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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What’s The Use?

TODAY’S VERSE
What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the LORD of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins?
Malachi 3:14 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Have you ever been disappointed? Has it ever seemed like everything was going wrong, and God seemed nowhere in sight? Sure it has. We all go through these “dark nights of the soul.” The question arises, “What’s the use of serving God?” “What good is living the life He wants me to?” It is in these times that we reflect and pray for perspective. We come to God and ask for wisdom and mercy as we work through our faith. The Israelites didn’t. Instead, the questions they were asking were rhetorical. They were really saying, “It is no use in following God. We haven’t gained anything from serving Him.” They were bitter and cynical about life. And that is where we will be if we don’t remember all that we have gained from knowing Christ. What have we gained? We have gained forgiveness, unconditional love, freedom from our sins, forgiveness, direction, provision, meaning, purpose, a relationship with Him, the filling of the Holy Spirit, everything good in our life. What have we gained? How about a second, third, and hundredth chance, a do-over, a new life, a new Father, a new eternal home? Today, don’t let cynicism get the best of you. Answer the question, “What’s the use of serving God” by considering all the ways you have been blessed.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, how I praise You for Your love and mercy. How I thank You for your provision. Help me today to remember all You have done for me.
AMEN

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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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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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