Category Archives: joy

Don’t Worry

TODAY’S VERSE
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
Romans 12:12 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Jesus warned us, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” Life is, well life. It comes with all the ups and downs. But we must remember what Jesus said next. He said, “But take heart because I have overcome the world.” What comfort. This is why Paul could write to the church in Rome to rejoice in their hope. But not just a half-hearted hope. He said a hope that is confident in its outcome. With this confidence, he wrote that we could also be “patient in trouble.” This kind of patience comes out of the awareness that God is there and that He cares. That is why Paul finishes his instructions with, “Keep on praying.” God is greater than our worries. Today, when troubles come, be confident in your hope. Be patient and talk to God about your problems. He will guide you. He will comfort, He will give you strength.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You that when troubles come, I can come near to You. I can be confident in my hope that You care, and will guide me and help me. Help me today to be patient and bring every worry to You. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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God’s Love

TODAY’S VERSE
But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
Psalms 86:15 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
David is worshiping God and thanking Him for His compassion and mercy. He praises God for being filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. David knew this; he believed it; he felt it deep in his heart. What about you? Do you understand how much God loves you? The God we believe in is the same God that David is referring to, but is it possible that your heart cannot seem to grasp the reality of His love? Does the thought of His unconditional love seem foreign to you? You know it in your mind but not in your heart. Do you find yourself feeling that you must please God to earn His love? Deep inside, do you fear that if God really knew you, He would never love you? Listen, here is the truth. God does know you, and He fully loves you. He doesn’t see you as an abandoning father does. He doesn’t put demands on you like an evil stepmother. From the time you were thought of by God, He has loved you. You don’t have to earn it, and you can’t lose it. Today, you can say deep in your heart the same prayer that David prayed, “God is full of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me understand the depths of your love for me. Help me grasp your compassion, embrace your mercy, and begin to see that your love and faithfulness are unfailing. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Love

TODAY’S VERSE
So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
Matthew 7:11 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Sometimes I get it all backward. I come to God with a need asking Him for help. Then for whatever reason, the thought comes to me that I am unworthy of God’s graciousness. This shame causes me to doubt whether God would want to do anything good for me. It takes all my faith away. However, when I read this passage, I realize it’s not about me! It’s about God. God is love, and it is His love for me, not my worthiness, that needs to be my focus. And why not? Even fathers, as imperfect as we are, know how to give gifts to our children. Jesus used this as His illustration pointing out that if we, in all of our limitations and sinfulness, know how to do good to our children, how much more will our heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him? God loves you. He loves you and desires to provide you with what you need. All He wants you to do is ask. Today, ask. Ask without shame or doubt. Your heavenly Father adores you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I thank You for Your love. Forgive me when I let insecurities and lies lead me to a place of unbelief. Help me focus on Your love and rest in the fact that I am intrinsically lovable. Thank You, dear Father, for making me that way and giving me so many wonderful gifts.
AMEN

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What Do You See?

TODAY’S VERSE
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
What do you see? A lot of it depends on what you are looking through. Each of us comes to the Scriptures with different lenses. We see through our experiences, beliefs, senses, and personality. So although scripture is true, we may have a skewed view of it. For example, in today’s verse, what do you believe? When you close your eyes, do you see God as a mighty one who will save you? Or do you have some doubts as to His ability or desire? Do you see God as rejoicing over you with gladness? Is He exulting over you with loud singing? Is He ecstatic in His love for you? Or do you have a hard time feeling like a recipient of that kind of attention from God? Finally, can you picture God quieting you with His love? Does the very thought of God bring peace to your heart? God’s word is true, but unless you read it and challenge your emotional thinking, you will not align your real beliefs with God’s. Today, ask God to help make His word clear to you and start to see what He has for you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, as I read Your word, help me to see what You really want me to see and to believe it with all of my heart. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Never Abandoned

TODAY’S VERSE
The LORD will not abandon his people – for it has pleased the LORD to make you his very own people.
I Samuel 12:22 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I don’t know how it could be any clearer, yet if you struggle, as I have, with issues of shame and abandonment, this verse will seem like some vague concept you can’t quite get your thoughts around. However, I have come to believe that even in the most fearful of us, the Lord can meet us, open our eyes to the truth, and give us hope and peace. “The Lord will not abandon His people.” Don’t just read these words, feel them. Drop your guard, relax your shoulders, take a deep breath, and as you exhale slowly, let the emotion of this tremendous promise sink deep into your chest: “God, our Father, will not abandon you.” And if that is not enough, hear the author say, “It has pleased the Lord to make you His very own people.” And that you are! Today, know deep in your heart, “You are God’s child, and He will never, never, never abandon you.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, forgive me for my fear that you will abandon me and a lack of trust in Your love. I renounce this, Lord. Today, I accept the fact that it pleased You to make me Your child and that you will never leave me. I praise You, Lord, for this.
AMEN

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Your Deepest Cares

TODAY’S VERSE
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
I Peter 5:7 (AMP)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Why is it we feel we need to minimize our pain? Where did we get the idea that we would become a burden to God? How did we come to believe that it is unspiritual to admit that we have been a victim of something awful? Abuse, violence, the death of a loved one, divorce, an unfortunate accident, incarceration, war. God cares when we have suffered as a result of something being done to us. And God cares when we have suffered from trauma as the result of something not happening. When love, safety, and security from those we trust are missing, we get trauma in the form of abandonment, unfaithfulness, embezzlement, betrayal, gossip, or neglect. And to pretend that we are not affected, and everything is okay is to only add to the damage that is already left in trauma’s wake. It is not spiritual to “tough it out.” It is spiritual to be healed. Peter is pleading with us to cast all of our cares onto Jesus. His whole book speaks about the suffering of Jesus and how He understands our suffering. And here, Peter assures us that Jesus “cares for you.” He cares for you with deep affection. Today, bring your pain to Jesus. Tell Him about your trauma. Ask Him to give you strength, forgiveness, peace, and a deep understanding of love. Ask Him to heal your broken heart; heal your deep wounds of grief and anger. Bring all of your cares. Cast them on Him and leave them there.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I come to You. I come to You with all my burden, all my cares. You know my pain. You know my suffering. I bring it all to You. Heal my hurts. Heal my heart. Return me to joy, I pray.
AMEN

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Joy

TODAY’S VERSE
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
Psalms 34:5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is an epidemic of shame. Why is it that we who have been called by Christ, we who have had our sins forgiven, we who have been lavished with the love of God Himself, still struggle with shame? What happened? Who lied to us? What has led to this pervasive feeling of worthlessness? Guilt, I understand. I have sinned and in need of forgiveness. But how do we find forgiveness for shame? How do we correct that insidious feeling of something so utterly broken? Shame, it is a lie from Hell itself. It takes what God has created and defames it. But today it can stop! Today you can choose joy. Today you can look into the face of our loving Savior and believe what He believes about you. You can replace the lie of shame with the truth of His love. You are His joy. You are His creation, and He looks at you with unconditional love. Today, let the truth of God’s love change you. Don’t go any farther until you believe. Gaze upon God and His love for you until your face becomes radiant with joy. So radiant that no shadow of shame dares to ever darken your face again. May it be so.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father. I need Your grace. I need the transforming power of Your love to fill me. Help me gaze upon Your face and see Your love for me. I surrender my feelings of shame and ask You to replace them with joy.
AMEN

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But God

TODAY’S VERSE
We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside. But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us.
II Corinthians 7:5-6 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Two words. Two words that can turn everything around. Two words that make all the difference in the world. Two words, that are available to us at any time. Paul is beside himself so he writes, “We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside.” He paints a bleak picture, with seemingly no hope, and then he writes two words, “but God.” All would have been lost, “but God.” There would have been no hope, “but God.” There is nothing that could be done, “but God.” It was God. The God who encourages those who are discouraged encouraged him. And He will do the same for us. Today, let God be the difference. Let God give you all the encouragement you need. Let God be God in your life.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, you know all about me. You are the one that makes all the difference in my life. Thank You for being the God of all encouragement. Encourage my heart today.
AMEN

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Hope and Comfort

TODAY’S VERSE
LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
Psalms 10:17 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There are times when we feel helpless. But it doesn’t mean we are hopeless. David shared that God can give us hope no matter how helpless we feel. He hears our cries and will bring us comfort. That is why Abraham kept hoping even when there was no reason for hope. When circumstances did not make any sense, it was the comfort from hope that allowed Abraham’s faith not to weaken. Paul shared that “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. His faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.” Why did his faith grow stronger? Because He knew God, and “he was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” How my heart yearns for that kind of faith, that kind of trust, that kind of hope. Today, may we know God like David. May we believe God like Abraham. May our faith grow stronger. Today, let us keep hoping.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me know You better. Increase my faith. Help me to trust in You and be comforted and full of hope. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Protect My Heart

TODAY’S VERSE
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily.
Hebrews 3:12-13 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy for our hearts to wander. Temptation, disappointment, deferred hope, loss, heartache, lust, greed, anger, jealousy, Spiritual apathy, and isolation are just some of the ways that our hearts can become sinful and unbelieving. We must do all we can in order not to be deceived and lose heart. Paul shares three ways to protect our hearts. He writes, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus.” Fixing our thoughts on Jesus will keep us from “heart” failure. He will help keep our hearts at peace and joy. In Philippians, Paul writes, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Here we see that the protection of our heart starts with our head. We need to fix our thoughts on Jesus and those things that build us up. In today’s verse, Paul gives another way to protect our hearts. He writes, “Encourage one another daily.” Isolation can be a “kiss of death” to our hearts. We get alone in our pity party, and soon we find ourselves self-feeling hopeless, alone, and unbelieving. Instead, we need to fellowship with others. Today, find a friend and share your thoughts. Let them encourage you, pray for you, and help you with your burden. You can then do the same for someone else. Whatever else you do today, protect your heart!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for the times I allow my heart to become sinful and unbelieving. Help me to fix my thoughts on Jesus and those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Help me to seek the fellowship of others that can, in turn, help me and encourage me. Lord, protect my heart, I pray. In Jesus Name.
AMEN

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