Category Archives: Carnality

Rescue Me

TODAY’S VERSE
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.– What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:15, 24-25 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
How many times have we found ourselves in this dilemma? We sit in the aftermath of some mess we have just created and wonder, “How in the world did I get here?” Paul knew what it felt like to utterly fail at trying to change his behavior. Who can’t relate to this passage? At the end of the day, we have all felt like the “wretched man” that Paul is writing about. Dr. William Backus, in his book, “Learning To Tell Myself The Truth” explains it this way, “The sinfulness of human nature, man’s deepest spiritual disorder, involves a quarrel with God. Springing from this rift are underlying false beliefs about God and His attitude toward us (Spiritual misbeliefs), which in turn lead to untruthful thoughts, thoughts that affect our feelings and behavior and created difficulties in our relationship with others.” Out of these core misbeliefs, come all sorts of evil. But Paul doesn’t stop there. He asks, “Who will rescue me?” Then he gives a resounding answer, “Jesus Christ our Lord.” Backus says it this way, “The reality of sin and its effects in our daily lives is not the final word. As Christians, we have the ultimate good news, the key to a healthier spiritual core.” Today, come to Christ for cleansing. Accept His total forgiveness. Ask Him to point out any Spiritual lies that are dragging you down. Throw off “wretched man” thinking and accept His grace, love, and forgiveness.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, You know my temptations, struggles, and failures. I confess I have believed lies about You that I need to get rid of. Help me know what they are and begin my inner cleansing. Thank You that Jesus Christ has rescued me.
AMEN

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Temptation

TODAY’S VERSE
And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
James 1:13-15 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Temptation. Who has not felt its sting? Who has not been knocked in the gut and brought to their knees by this cancer of our soul? What keeps us in such bondage is the mistaken belief that temptations are “out there”. We see them as external enemies sneaking around waiting to ambush us. Now it is true that we have an enemy of our very soul, the devil, and he does seek to devour us. However, James shares that the root of our temptations come from within us. James says that “temptations come from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions.” We can blame the magazine publisher or the movie producer but it is our own lust, our own unmet needs or misguided thinking that has caused us to dwell on pornography. It is our own misbeliefs and internal dialog that keeps us coming back to drugs so we can self medicate. That is why Paul makes it clear that God is the one that must help us. He writes, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” What God’s grace does not prevent, because of our own humanness, God’s grace forgives. The Apostle John wrote, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Today, let Jesus untie the ropes that bind you. Like Peter, get up from the cell you are in. You are free! You have been liberated. Hear the words of Jesus, “Arise and sin no more.” “My son, my daughter, go, your sins have been forgiven you!”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear liberator of my soul, I bring you my shackles. Take them. I bring you the key to my heart, unlock it. Heal me from the inside. Defeat my misguided thoughts, cast down the enemy of my soul. I look to you, who knows me better than I know myself. By your power, in your grace, because of your mercy, free me, forgive me. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
AMEN

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Live What You Know

TODAY’S VERSE
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
James 1:22

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Have you ever tried to lose weight? There is no fast way to lose the pounds that you acquired over a long time. Now certainly, some ways are faster than others, but there is no way you will lose twenty pounds overnight. Knowing “how” to lose weight isn’t enough. Instead, you need to apply what you know, one day at a time, each and every day. Knowledge of the weight loss principles combined with the discipline needed to support your knowledge equals weight loss. James felt the same way with spirituality. There were all kinds of “spiritual” people in Jerusalem where James was head of the church. There were plenty of people learning about Christianity. But James wrote that you need to do more than just listen to the word of God. If learning doesn’t affect the way we live, then what good is it? It is like a weight loss program that you won’t follow. So what was James’ advice? It was simple, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” So today let’s take the word of God, that we already know in our hearts and apply it to everything we do.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, my mind is full of “knowledge” about Your word. Today, help me apply all that knowledge to everything I do. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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I Am Slipping

TODAY’S VERSE
I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O LORD, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
Psalms 94:18-19 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Have you ever slipped? I have. It is a helpless feeling. Your legs fly up and your body comes down without warning. Once I slipped off a tree limb and landed many feet below on the ground. There were scratches down the side of my body from the many branches that I hit on my descent. Slipping out of control can be a terrifying experience. But there can be more fearful slips. Ever have the fear of abandonment or rejection that leads to anxiety so bad that you felt your heart would beat out of your chest? You feel like you’re going down a long winding chute picking up speed leading directly to annihilation. It is a fear of non-being, leaving you in terror, trying anything to bring relief. The Psalmist knew what it felt like. He cried, “I am slipping!” The good news is God can help you down from those mental and emotional cliffs that you are hanging on to by a thread. As difficult as it may seem, as terrifying you may think the outcome could be, God is with you to help and comfort. He will help you find a way. The Psalmist was in a dilemma. It was sheer horror that made him cry out to God, “My foot is slipping!” But when he did, God’s unfailing, better said, His never-failing love, supported him. When his anxiety was so high, when doubts filled his mind so much that he could not stand it, God consoled him, bringing real joy deep to his soul. God will do the same for you. Bring Him your fear, your anxiety, your terror. Bring Him to the spot where you are slipping. Reach up your hand and He will grab you. He will hold you with His strong arm. He will put your feet in a safe place.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I am slipping. Please come to my aid. Catch me, hold me, help me find better footing. I need Your consolation. I need Your never-failing love. I need Your help. Guide me, comfort me, rescue me, in the name of Jesus I pray.
AMEN

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Don’t Condemn Yourself

TODAY’S VERSE
Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I.”
John 8:10-11 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I love the account of Jesus listening to the men who wanted to stone a woman to death for committing adultery. Jesus instructed them, “the one without any sin should throw the first stone.” One by one each man left until only the woman and Jesus remained. Jesus asked, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” The woman stood there, no doubt astonished and said, “No Lord.” Then Jesus said those words of extreme freedom, “Neither do I.” Paul brings the point home after explaining our human condition of doing things that we don’t want to and not doing those that we should. He shouts this victory cry, “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Hallelujah! That should be enough to set anyone free. Or at least you would think so. However, it is not always, others that accuse us. It is our inner voice that has picked up the stone. It is the internal dialog of guilt, shame, remorse, worthlessness that is pelting us, leaving us bloody and beaten. You see, we can be free from the condemnation of those around us. We can believe, in our mind, that Jesus has forgiven us, but if we do not deal with the inner conflict, the lifelong attitudes of low self-worth, we are not free from the pain of condemnation. We must take an inventory, exercise self-compassion and one by one watch all our internal accusers leave. Each one, unqualified to condemn us, until there are none left and then Jesus can say to us, “Where are your accusers?” And we can lift our heart in deep gratitude and say, “There are none!”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, I thank You that You have forgiven me for my sins. However, there are attitudes inside my heart that constantly condemn me. They are full of shame, guilt, and legalism, tying me up and keeping me from experiencing the freedom You have given me. Today, help me renounce these inner condemnations and celebrate your forgiveness. Help me live in the reality of Your love.
AMEN

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Denial

TODAY’S VERSE
Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.
Matthew 26:74-75 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
How hard it must have been for Peter to face the fact that he had denied Christ. It was obvious that he did not want to. He was sincere when he assured Jesus that he would not desert Him in His time of need. He loved Christ, but like so many of us, good intentions were not good enough. He ended up denying he knew Christ. But I must be honest, I too have denied. I have denied Christ in my selfishness. I have denied Him in my lack of faith. I have denied Him in my lack of witness. I have denied Him in my lack of giving. This is why Paul encourages us to grow in Christ. We need to participate in a process of growth so we learn from the past. This is what Christ allowed Peter to do. He did not chide Peter for his denial. He did not excommunicate him or shun him. Rather, He made it a goal to see Peter after His resurrection and specifically re-engage him into ministry. He cooked breakfast and took Peter aside. He did not say, “Why not tell us all, Peter, how you claimed you would never deny me and then three times in one night you told people you did not even know me.” Instead, Jesus asked Peter three times, perhaps once for each time he denied, “Peter do you love me?” When Peter answered and was lovingly re-engaged with the Lord, Jesus sent him out to “feed my sheep.” Today, don’t let the guilt of past denials stop you from re-engaging with Jesus. Confess your sin and accept His forgiveness. He loves you and is waiting for you to serve Him again.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I confess that I often deny You. I deny You in my talk, in my behavior, in my thought life. I ask Your forgiveness. Cleanse me and help me to live for You in a way that is pleasing to You.
AMEN

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The War Is Over

TODAY’S VERSE
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.
Romans 6:6-7 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Out in the remote posts of the Pacific where the word had not reached the soldiers that World War II was over, battles still went on. How many lost their lives after the war had already been won? It is this way in our battle with sin. Paul comes along and writes that our sinful selves have been put to death with Christ. Yet, we act as if it applies to everyone else but us. The battle is over but the news hasn’t reached our heart yet. When we became a Christian, we were emancipated from being a slave to sin. We were set free from the power of sin. Do we sin? Yes. But do we have to be under its control? No. We have been set free. Yet we act like a prisoner of war still living in our cell, oblivious to the good news. So, what is stopping us from living free from the sin that is holding us down? Today hear the good news, “Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.” Arise, the battle is won, you are free!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me to really understand the freedom You have given me in Christ. Help me understand what it really means to be free from the power of sin. Help me today live in this new awareness, that my old sinful self is crucified with Christ.
AMEN

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