Category Archives: Deceived

Our One True God

TODAY’S VERSE
Israel is full of silver and gold; there is no end to its treasures. Their land is full of warhorses; there is no end to its chariots. Their land is full of idols.
Isaiah 2:7-8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
This is one of the saddest passages in the Scriptures. Think about it. Here is a picture of God’s people. They were blessed beyond belief. They had gold, silver, and more treasures than they could ever use. They had mighty armies. They had everything they could possibly want. And yet the passage says, “Their land is full of idols.” What was that about? How could they be so blessed by God and yet wander so far from Him? They wandered from God in the same way we do, one idol at a time. It comes in the form of small compromises in their spirituality. They didn’t give up their religion; instead, they added to it. At least, that is how they saw it. As they mingled with other nations, they began to let other influences creep in. Many, who were nominal in their allegiance to God, were easily swayed. Who said that a medium couldn’t speak for God? Who were they to say that the other prophets were wrong? Surely all roads led to universal enlightenment and eventually to God Himself. Sound familiar? Today we have just as many influences. Our land is full of idols. Look around us. People are hungry for spirituality, and there are all kinds of religions, mediums, magic, witches, spirit guides, mysticism, meditations, and practices that try to fill that void. Examine your own heart. Are you dependent on the Holy Spirit and the word of God for your spiritual nourishment? Or have you let other influences creep into your spiritual life? Today, let us repent of any “idols” and live for and worship the one true God.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for allowing other influences to come between You and me. You are the true and living God, and there are no others. I pledge my worship and allegiance to You.
AMEN

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A Hard Heart

TODAY’S VERSE
He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts.
Mark 3:5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The Pharisees, who thought they were so close to God because of their ability to follow the letter of the law, failed to acknowledge and teach about God’s grace, and it angered Jesus. It angered Him that the Pharisees thought God cared more about the law than love, mercy, and grace. But what grieves me is that we see that Christ’s anger soon turns to sadness. Sadness over how far we can stray from His love. Sadness that we can become blinded to the truth of His grace and allow our hearts to become hardened by traditions and religion. How hard is your heart? Do you know that God loves you, deeply cares for you? Are you rejoicing in the grace He has for you? Do you enjoy a deep fellowship with Him? Or has your heart been hardened? Today, come to God and let His love and grace soften your heart.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I have let so many things come between You and me. I have allowed my heart to harden toward You. Forgive me. I come now and ask You to soften my heart again. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Unbelief

TODAY’S VERSE
Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.
Mark 6:51-52 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Why is it so hard to believe? What is it about the supernatural that makes us so skeptical? Why is it we can experience a miracle one minute and doubt if God will help us in the next? The disciples had seen Jesus heal countless numbers of people. He just finished feeding thousands of people from a few loafs of bread and fish. And yet, when they were in a battle for their life on the sea, they are shocked that Jesus could (or perhaps would) stop the raging sea. When explaining this mystery Mark simply says that “Their hearts were too hard to take it in.” And therein lays the problem – their hearts, their felt beliefs, their deep-down gut-level feeling that things will be okay were not softened by a relational belief system. Their hearts didn’t know Jesus. They may have seen His power, but they did not see His heart! They weren’t convinced of His love for them. And neither are we. If we were, we would react differently to the storms we encounter. Instead, we too doubt, cower in fear or lash out in anger, all reactions to our confusion over who He is and what He wants to do. The good news is that today we can change that. We can begin to know Jesus better by spending time with Him. As we get to know His heart better, we will find ours start to soften.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord Jesus, help me to know You better. I want to know Your heart, motives, and wisdom. Help me trust You in everything that comes my way.
AMEN

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Hard hearts

TODAY’S VERSE
For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.
Matthew 13:15 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God wants His word to penetrate our very being. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and this includes the way we comprehend truth. Jesus took the writing of Isaiah and applied it to the people of His day. He warned them that their “eyes” were not seeing the truth, their “ears” were not comprehending the truth, and their “hearts” were not sensing the implications of the truth. It was a result of hardening themselves toward God. Turning away from Him, they ended up ignoring God’s truth. How often have we done the same thing? But it is not too late. It is through self-reflection, repentance, and being purposeful in believing in God’s word, that we can turn this around. Today, might God help you, and I read the word, hear the word and most of all, believe the word with our whole heart.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for the times I have hardened my heart toward You. Help me today to see Your word, hear Your word, and most of all apply Your word to my life. In Jesus’ name I pray.
AMEN

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Slave To My Beliefs

TODAY’S VERSE
For you are a slave to whatever controls you.
II Peter 2:19 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We like to think that we are so independent. What could ever have control over us? But it is not usually one significant controlling factor we need to worry about. Rarely would just one influence control our whole life. No, the author of Proverbs said it wisely, “It is the little foxes that spoil the vine.” It is the many controlling issues that either set us free or enslave us. Beliefs are that way. It is not one large belief that controls our life. It is a whole series of beliefs that shape who we are. What we believe affects our desires, emotions, aspirations, faith, hopes, predictions, limitations, and behavior. Beliefs can enslave us, or they can set us free. Jesus came to help shape our ideas. Beliefs about life and beliefs about ourselves. So, what do you believe? What limiting thoughts do you have? When you think of yourself, what do you accept as true? When you think of opportunity, what thoughts hold you back? Beliefs can control the way you live. Paul wrote, “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” Today, if you are going to be a slave, be a slave of Christ. Bring your thoughts and beliefs to Christ and let Him shape them, hone them and when necessary, change them.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, I confess that so many of my beliefs are negative, painful, limiting, carnal, angry, lustful, and ungodly. I need Your forgiveness and Your help. Holy Spirit, purify my mind. Sanctify my thoughts and help me bring everyone into captivity and under Your influence. Today I give You my mind. Influence my beliefs, I pray.
AMEN

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Less disbelief

TODAY’S VERSE
Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder.
Luke 24:11 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There were reports that Jesus had risen from the dead, and the disciples found it very disturbing. It was one thing to see Jesus raise Lazarus from a tomb, but Jesus from the crucifixion? His death was so brutal, so hateful, and now they feared for their own lives. Perhaps the most disturbing was the “How?” questions echoing in their heads. “How could someone who loved so much die so despised? How could someone so supernatural die so naturally? And so, they had a hard time believing. Even when Jesus “showed up” in the Upper Room, they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Aren’t we the same way? We hear of a miracle or witness one, and don’t we react with disbelief and wonder at the same time? Where did this unbelief come from? We need to be more like the man to whom Jesus said, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” The man turned to Jesus and said, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Today, choose to have less disbelief and more joy and wonder.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for my unbelief. Help me be filled with more joy and wonder at all You are and do. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Truth

TODAY’S VERSE
Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.
Proverbs 23:23 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
You would think that “truth” would be a priority in our life. But not so. If we examined our lives, we would be shocked at how many lies we believe. Dr. Chris Thurman, in his book “The Lies We Believe,” exposes many of the lies that we take for granted. Lies like, “I must have everyone’s love and approval.” “I can’t be happy unless things go my way.” “Life should be easy.” How about this one, “Because I am a Christian, God will protect me from pain and suffering.” There are so many more that we believe. Jesus told us that truth would set us free. Why? Because He knew that lies keep us in bondage. What can you do? Challenge the lies you believe by asking God for the truth. Lies usually come at the expense of ignorance, so Solomon suggests that you also ask God for wisdom and the discipline needed to act on it. Finally, Solomon suggests we exercise good judgment. Sound judgment and discernment will keep us living according to the truth we decide to believe. Today, ask God for His truth, wisdom, and discipline and let the truth set you free.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, it is so easy to believe a lie. Worst, too often, I am tempted to live a lie. I need Your help. I want to live in truth. Give me the wisdom, discipline, and good judgment I need to know and live the truth today.
AMEN

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Thinking

TODAY’S VERSE
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.
Romans 8:5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
“What were you thinking?” Have you ever had anyone ask you that? Usually, it’s after something goes wrong. There was a misjudgment, and your thinking has been brought into question. But Paul is suggesting something different. He says we should be purposeful before we think and watch what we let dominate our minds. Paul indicates that it is either the Spirit of God or our sinful nature. What a world of difference the two mindsets have on our life. The mind dominated by the sinful nature leads to sinful thinking and behavior. The mind controlled by the Spirit of God leads us to do things that please the Spirit. Today, say “No” to the sinful nature with its temptation and lust. Instead, be controlled by the Holy Spirit
.
TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I want to live my life for You. Let Your Holy Spirit control my thinking. I give You my mind; guide me, direct me, lead me into Your will.
AMEN

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Temptation

TODAY’S VERSE
Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!
Matthew 26:41 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
If ever we needed Jesus’ admonition, we need it today. Television, internet, media – all around us are temptations ready to take us out spiritually. Peter said it this way, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” So what do we do? Jesus said that we must live “in” the world, but we are not to be “of” the world. That is why He told us to watch and pray; He didn’t want us to fall into temptations. When Jesus said, “watch and pray,” He wasn’t suggesting a casual Christianity. He was biding us to follow Him in a life of vigilant spiritual discipline involving devotion, prayer, and consecration. Today, keep alert toward the many temptations surrounding you. Keep your eyes and heart on Jesus. Pray, spend time with God, and confess your sin when needed. Praise God; He is faithful, He is forgiving. He will give you all you need to live for Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You know how I want to live for You, but I can’t do it by myself. Because of the precious blood of You son, my Lord Jesus, forgive me, cleanse me, and empower me to live for You.
AMEN

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Revive Your Heart

Revive Your Heart

TODAY’S VERSE
He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored!
Mark 3:5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It must have been something horrible to cause God to be angry and sad at the same time. God had a divine plan, a holy purpose. He would send Himself, in the person of His Son Jesus, to earth and redeem man, bringing them into a loving relationship with Himself. Ironically, it was mankind that got in the way. Jesus was bringing the good news to man and confirming it with “signs and wonders” all the while the religious zealots were opposing Him at every turn. Isn’t that like us? Those of us who know so much about God end up knowing so little. And so Jesus found Himself angry and deeply saddened. Why? Because their hearts were hard. The metaphor is poignant. A heart that is hard like a stone has no life in it. It is not able to fulfill the purpose for which it was created. You can lose a leg, an arm, an eye, and still live a meaningful life, but without a heart, there is no life. So what do you have? Is your heart pumping faith, hope, love, and grace into every fiber of your being, or has the beating stopped? Today, come to our Holy Heart Surgeon. Let Him revive your heart and restore you to the life you were meant to have.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, take my heart and mold it into a heart that is used for you. Keep me alive in my faith, hope, and love. Might You be praised and glorified in all I do and say.
AMEN

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