Category Archives: Deceived

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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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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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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Two Sins

TODAY’S VERSE
My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Jeremiah 2:13 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Separation from God usually comes in two phases. First, we start to stray. Little by little, we start to forsake fellowship, fail to meditate in His word and spend less and less time in prayer. Good things take us from the more important. Urgent begins to replace the best. How subtle the path is. We end up farther and farther away from the spiritual milieu that once fed our soul. Second, we not only stray we actually find a new home. Jeremiah says not only do we forsake the spring of living water; we actually go out and dig our own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold any water. They look great on the outside but are empty on the inside. Where are you today? Are you straying farther and farther from God? Have you actually moved away and found other interests that take top priority in your life? Stop! Go no farther. Turn back. Come to your Heavenly Father today and ask Him to cleanse your heart and put a new thirst in your soul leading you back to His spring of living water.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for straying from You. I have forsaken Your living waters and have attempted to quench my own thirst. I admit that I am still thirsty. I know that only You can satisfy, and I ask Lord that You would fill my cup today with Your life-giving presence.
AMEN

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Help Me Know The Truth

TODAY’S VERSE
Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
Psalms 119:29

TODAY’S THOUGHT
As humans, we are separated from other creatures in the fact that we are cognitive. We have thoughts. Therein lays our problem. Just because we have a thought, doesn’t mean it is true. Our thoughts can be influenced, manipulated or misled. We can be sincere in our thoughts but be sincerely wrong. David prays that God would keep him from lying to himself. We need the same prayer. Jesus said that Satan is a deceiver and a liar. It is his purpose to trip us up through a web of deceit. I am sorry to say, but I often don’t need any help from Satan. I do fine with deceiving my own self. So many negative and pessimistic thoughts. Negative things I believe about myself, about others, about life and even God! Instead, I need to ask God for discernment and wisdom in knowing and living the truth. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” As we seek the truth of every situation we are in, God will lead us. How about you? Are you living in the truth or have you set yourself up with a web of deceit? Confess it to God. Repent and choose to live in the truth. When you do, He will set you free.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, you know how easy it is for me to be deceived. You know how easily I deceive myself. Please help me today. Help me discern the truth and then live it out in my life.
AMEN

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True Thoughts

TODAY’S VERSE
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
What we think can dictate the way we feel. Then our feelings affect our thinking and so the spiral goes. So much of what we think at a rudiment level is false. Often what we worry about, the self-talks we have, how we view ourselves, our core beliefs about life, are based on lies, half-truths or erroneous assumptions. They enter our minds in stealth mode and before we know it, we are feeling down. These lies go unchallenged and cause all sorts of havoc in our lives. Not only do we think of them, but we also make agreements with them. Soon the stories we share over and over again about ourself and life are based on these false beliefs. Paul says that there is a better way. He says we should bring these rogue thoughts to God. We must expose them to the light of the Holy Spirit and the word of God which is able to guard our hearts and minds. William Backus in his book, “Learning To Tell Myself The Truth” shares “Feelings follow your thoughts. Untruthful, negative thoughts lead to unpleasant feelings of anxiety, depression or frustration, while truthful, positive thoughts create corresponding pleasant and upbeat feelings.—Your feelings can serve as an alarm to remind you to question your thoughts and beliefs. Are they negative or positive? Are they true or false? Once you’ve begun to identify the underlying thoughts and beliefs, you are on your way to healing, wholeness, and happiness.” Today begin to follow Paul’s advice. When negative feelings come, “fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You know my inner person. You hear my self talk better than I do. By the power of the Holy Spirit please alert me to my negative thinking and help me fix my thoughts on what is true. Help me think with my faith in Your love and power, not negative lies. In Jesus’ name.
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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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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