Category Archives: Christian Living

No Deal

TODAY’S VERSE
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6

TODAY’S THOUGHT
When it comes to seeking God’s will, we often fall into the role of Monty Hall on the old TV game show, “Let’s Make a Deal.” Larry Crabb in his book The Pressures Off shares how we try to negotiate the Lord’s will. He writes, “You negotiate; you do not worship. You analyze and interpret to gain control over what happens; you do not depend. You seek the “better life” of God’s blessing over the “better hope” of God’s presence.” His advice was, “Seek only the blessing of His presence, and you’ll know what to do.” David says that the secret to God’s will is to trust in Him with all our heart and to seek His will in all we do. When we do, David says that God will show us what to do. Larry Crabb in his book The PAPA Prayer writes, “Know God so well that the deepest desire of His heart actually becomes the deepest desire of ours. That frees us to ask God for what we really want with the confidence that He’ll move heaven and earth to grant our requests because what we want now matches what He wants.” We don’t need to make a deal with God. We don’t need to try to balance a scale to get our way. We need to know Him. We need to spend time in His presence. As we do, He will direct us, He will guide our path.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I confess, I have sought Your blessings more than I have sought You. I have spent time seeking Your blessing more than Your presence. Lord, I want to know You. I want to seek You with all my heart. Please show me how. Please draw me to Yourself through the power and love of Your Holy Spirit. Dear God, take my life, take my mind, take my will. I want only You. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Does It Get Any Better Than This?

TODAY’S VERSE

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
Psalms 143:8,10

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is something about an isolated sandy beach along the ocean. Sitting on the sand listening to the ocean waves hit the shore. Sun caressing your face. A gentle breeze awakening your skin. Birds chirping in the background. Does it get any better than this? Well, yes! David talks about a place that is much more satisfying. A place where the warmth of the sun pales in comparison. Where the sound of the ocean is replaced with the whisper of God. Where the gentle breeze is overshadowed by the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit. This place David is talking about is the very presence of God. He is sharing about his time with God in the morning. “Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,” he writes. He shares about hearing God’s voice, sensing His love, learning His will, trusting His word and being led in which way to go. It really doesn’t get any better than this! This can be your experience today. You don’t need to drive anywhere, apply any sunscreen or walk barefoot on a hot sandy beach. You just need to be available. Call on God even now. Pray David’s prayer and might you come back to this peaceful place again and again.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, “let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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The Greatest Commandment

TODAY’S VERSE
‘“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”’
Matthew 22:36-38

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to stay busy. With all there is to do with family, work and church we are loaded with responsibilities, duties, and ministry. Everyday pressures mount, and we find ourselves running from one activity to another. Like a giant hamster wheel we go and go, and yet we don’t get anywhere. Jesus knew this but not the Pharisees. All they knew was the law and all the activity that it required. So they asked Jesus which commandment He thought was the greatest. They weren’t ready for how profound His answer would be. Jesus didn’t say that the greatest commandment involved ministry, family or career. He didn’t suggest tremendous feats or a myriad of activities. Instead, Jesus said, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” In her book Listening Prayer Leanne Payne writes, “Centering on the work of the Lord and the helping of others, can cloud our first duty of loving, glorifying and enjoying God always. As Oswald Chambers says, ‘The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him.’ It is never ‘Do, do’ with the Lord, but ‘Be, be” and He will ‘do’ through you.” So today, let us be conscious of Him. Let us worship Him, love Him and spend time with Him. If we do, we will find that everything else will fall into place.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, help me love You today with my whole heart, soul, and mind. Take my life; I give You complete control. I want to spend time with You, share my thoughts with You and hear from You today. Help me take charge of my schedule and all my busyness so that I can carve out the time I need to worship You better. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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The Real Deal

TODAY’S VERSE
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Job 42:5

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to walk in our Christian experience and really believe that we know God. We are like a baseball fanatic. You know the kind. He can tell you everything about a certain player. He can quote their batting average, the number of homers, lifetime RBI’s. He knows where they played college ball, the names of his wife and children. He even has an autographed baseball. Yet, he has never met the player. Never went to his house, never sat with him at dinner or even had a discussion. Everything he knows is from reading or listening to commentators. Now don’t get me wrong, there is passion! Chances are he will fight you if you say something derogatory about the player. There is a passion but it is based on admiration, not friendship. Job came to a place where everything he thought he knew about God seemed empty and vain. And then He met God. Job knew all about God, He “worshipped” God, He even lived the way he thought God wanted him to; but when he saw God, it all changed. Knowing God in a personal and intimate way changes everything. And the beauty is that God created each of us with the ability to know Him. He has equipped us with the Holy Spirit who is to teach us all things and bring us into intimate fellowship with God. But the choice is yours. You can choose to spend time with God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you or you can continue to “know” about Him. Cry out to God today and ask Him to open your eyes like He did Job’s and you will be able to say, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, sometimes I feel so phony inside. I talk about You, I read about You, I pray to You, but I don’t seem to really know You. Today, Lord, help me be conscious of Your presence. Father, speak to me. Help the eyes of my heart to see You. I want to know You in a deep and personal way. Help me Lord I pray. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Be Like Elijah

TODAY’S VERSE
Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
James 5:17-18

TODAY’S COMMENT
I love the way James starts his example of Elijah and his miraculous prayer life. He says, “Elijah was a man just like us.” No wonder we feel pressure to be a super saint. You know, go to church with the halo just right and “S” on our chest. But that was not the point James was trying to make. James was really saying, “There are no perfect people needed to get God’s work done!” I am sure that the image of Elijah that James had in his mind wasn’t just the praying for rain to stop and start again; not just the fire coming from heaven to consume the altar; not just the flour and oil continuing to be supplied to the widow and her son; nor was it just the image of Elijah asking God to raise the widow’s son from the dead. I am sure that James also remembered the fact that Elijah was afraid of Jezebel’s threat to kill him and he ran, fleeing for his life. He knew that Elijah became exhausted and sat down under a tree and prayed that he would die. James knew that Elijah was a person just like you and I. Elijah had emotions that could lead to despair. He had depression, doubt, and fear. Like us, Elijah exercised doubt and faith; fear and courage, advance and defeat. But James also saw God work through Elijah’s life and prayers. God used Elijah even with his imperfections. God can do the same for you and I. We do not have to be perfect. We do not have to pretend to be something we are not. We can be like Elijah, real with God about our deepest feelings and fears. God will meet us where we are and give us the strength to live for Him. Be real with God today.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank you for the example of Elijah. What a wonderful testimony of Your grace. How You took this person who could be so courageous one moment and so afraid the next and used him for Your glory. Father, use my life. I give it to You in all its complexity and contradictions. Thank You that I do not have to be perfect, just available. Use me for Your glory, I pray. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Teach Me To Pray

TODAY’S VERSE
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.”
Luke 11:1-2 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is much to learn about praying. It seems so easy, “we just talk to God.” But if it was that simple then why don’t we do it? Instead, we act as if we are calling in a take-out order at a restaurant. Nothing really personal just putting in our request. Or we leave messages on the heavenly answering machine because we don’t expect God to “pick-up”. Where is the relationship? Can you imagine what that was like for the disciples to watch Jesus interact with His Heavenly Father? It was enough that one of His disciples asked Jesus to show him how to pray, how to interact with God. And what was the first thing Jesus said? It was, “Our Father.” Prayer for Jesus was about His relationship with His loving father. God wants the same relationship with you! He created you for fellowship. Prayer is more than just a shopping list, more than simple confession, more than a one-way conversation. It is a dialog, a relationship. It is you getting to know God and fellowshipping “with” Him, not conversing “at” Him. So today, talk to God, share your thoughts with Him and ask Him to share His thoughts with you. Ask God to make you conscious of His presence. Then He will do with you what He did with the disciples. He will teach you to pray!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I come to You now and ask You to teach me to pray. I want a real relationship with You. I want to know Your thoughts, Your desires, Your direction for my life. Help me relate to You throughout the day so prayer becomes second nature to me. In Jesus’ Name.
AMEN

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Love God

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 and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”
Luke 15:17-19 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to “love” what we can get from God more than God. It is easier to “love” God when things are going according to our preconceived idea of a “happy life” than it is when things go crazy. In his book The Papa Prayer, Larry Crabb points out that in the story of the Prodigal Son, the son decides to return home, not because of his love for his father but because he wanted what his father could provide. The truth is that the son knew that the hired servants lived better than he was living at the time so he went home to be provided for. It is interesting to note that in the speech the Prodigal Son gave to his father, that he never once told his father that he loved him. What about us? Do we love God or do we really love what He provides? As long as things are great or at least status quo, God is deserving of our love. But what happens when things turn sour, or there is conflict in our life? Today, love God. Just love Him. Tell Him so. Love Him because He is! Love Him not to get but just because you want to.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, today, I just want to love You. I want to love You for who You are. Help me to examine my heart and repent of a consumer mentality that comes to You for what I can get. Forgive me for attaching strings to my love. Holy Spirit, guide me into a deeper love for the Triune God today. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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