Category Archives: Encouragement

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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Don’t Be An Imposter

TODAY’S VERSE
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:328-42 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to be busy with “God’s work” that we forget who we are working for. Question. What do you think God is more interested in, us or the work we do for Him? You must be careful. It is not wrong to be busy when you need to be. There are seasons of hard work. But why are you doing it? To earn God’s love? To keep up appearances? Because of what others might think if you don’t work at the church all the time? Brennan Manning calls this being an imposter. He writes about it in his book, “Abba’s Child”. “Imposters are preoccupied with acceptance and approval. Because of their suffocating need to please others, they cannot say no with the same confidence with which they say yes. And so they overextend themselves in people, projects, and causes, motivated not by personal commitment but by the fear of not living up to other’s expectations. – Living out of the false self creates a compulsive desire to present a perfect image to the public so that everybody will admire us and nobody will know us. The impostor’s life becomes a perpetual roller-coaster ride of elation and depression.” Mary chose to worship Christ. And though Martha’s hard work and devotion are commendable, this time she was filled with worries and cares. Jesus had to remind Martha that what Mary had chosen, that is to focus on the love that Christ has for us, is really the only thing Martha had to really do. If she did that, everything else would fall in place. Today, might we understand that we don’t have to earn the Lord’s love. Instead, we need to live as if we already have it. We do!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me serve You with a sincere heart. Forgive me for the many times I have been an imposter, just acting a part so I could win approval. Help me understand Your love for me in such a way that I would be a Martha with Mary’s insight.
AMEN

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Love Your Neighbor, Love yourself

TODAY’S VERSE
And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 22:39 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The first part of this passage is about loving God with our whole heart, soul, and strength. The second part was to love others in the way we love ourselves. I understand the “love God” part. I know we are commanded to “love others”, but isn’t “loving ourselves” prideful and selfish? Some would teach so, but in truth, it is in loving ourselves the way God loves us that frees us to love others. Dr. Benner in “Sacred Companions” says it this way, “I meditate on His love, allowing my focus to be on Him and His love for me – and slowly things begin to change. My heart slowly begins to warm and soften. I begin to experience new levels of love for God. And slowly, almost imperceptibly, I begin to see others through God’s eyes of love. I begin to experience God’s love for others.” God’s love for others includes His love for you. Today, consider how much God loves you. Agree with Him and love yourself too. Today, love God, love yourself, love others.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your great love for me. Help me love myself and with that love, help me love others.
AMEN

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Wisdom

TODAY’S VERSE
If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.- But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
James 3:13, 17 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We usually think of wisdom in terms of knowledge or the ability to solve a mystery. However, James describes something much more comprehensive. It is “relational” wisdom. The wisdom that God desires includes morality, prudence, humility, gentleness, love, mercy, and good deeds. It seems that God is more interested in how we apply what we know, especially in the way that we relate to others. You can be intellectually right, yet morally wrong in the way you use your knowledge. To be right, yet arrogant, unloving and proud is not real wisdom. Might God grant us the understanding that real wisdom is, “peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I ask for your wisdom in all that I do. With that wisdom, please help me be gentle, humble, loving and merciful.
AMEN

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Bring God Great Joy

TODAY’S VERSE
The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalms 147:11 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Have you ever wondered what God delights in? We know all about our own wants and desires. But God has desires too. The truth is that God delights in you and me. The Psalmist declares that the Lord delights in two things. First God delights when we deeply respect and revere Him. He is the creator of the universe. All power belongs to Him. Who are we that He would even care about us? Why would He ever consider us worthy to even utter His name? However, what I love about this verse is although God is delighted when we respect His majesty, He also delights when we put our hope in His unfailing love. This very God that deserves all our fear and respect delights in us putting all of our hope in His never-failing love. Do you want to make God happy today? It’s simple. Put your hope in the unfailing love He has for you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You deserve all my respect. You are the almighty, all-powerful, all-wise God and I stand in awe of You. I also hope in You because of the great unfailing love You have for me. Thank you, Father, for Your love. Might my hope in Your never-failing love bring You all the delight that You deserve.
AMEN

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True Happiness

TODAY’S VERSE
Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
Psalms 1:1-3 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We spend so much of our time looking for happiness. We are searching for that one thing that will solve all our problems and bring us into a constant state of contentment. How many times have we thought, “If I just win the Lotto?”; “If I had a certain job”; “If I just looked different”. Fill in your own blank. We seem to look everywhere for lasting joy and yet it is right in front of us. In the very first chapter of Psalms, David writes about the secret to joy. He says it’s not found in the counsel of the ungodly, but rather real joy comes when we delight in God’s word and meditate on what He says. David Benner, in his book, “The Gift Of Being Yourself” writes, “Everything that is false about us arises from our belief that our deepest happiness will come from living life our way, not God’s way. Although we may say we want to trust God and surrender to his will, deep down we doubt that God is really capable of securing our happiness.” Is that how you feel? What is your reaction when you read, “But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do?” Do you believe God will bless you and give you deep joy by living according to His word or do you doubt that God is really capable of securing your happiness? You can’t believe both. Today, choose to follow God’s word and begin to meditate on it and apply it to your life. As you do, you will find joy.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your word. I ask that you teach me and guide me through reading and meditating on what Your Holy Word has to say. Help me find happiness, joy and true meaning in You.
AMEN

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God’s Presence

TODAY’S VERSE
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
Psalms 27:4 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is easy to get in a rut and seek second best. It can be that way in our Christian experience. We get trapped seeking the “results” of knowing “about” God instead of joy and peace of “knowing” God. We turn our Christian walk into ritual, behaviors, and experiences that bring us some sort of security that all is well, instead of knowing Him and the peace that He can give. Larry Crabb in his book “The Pressure’s Off” writes, “You, therefore, live with uncertainty and pressure, and you demand to know the way to live that will make your life work as you want. You maneuver; you do not trust. 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 blessings over the better hope of God’s presence.” Today might we seek to know and enjoy God’s presence over anything else.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I have sought Your blessings more than Your presence. I have sought what I can gain from knowing about You instead of knowing You. Help me, Father, Your presence is the blessing I seek.
AMEN

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