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TODAY’S VERSE
“You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:4-5 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Every since Adam and Eve, mankind has been tempted to think that they could become a “god”. However, David Benner in his book, “The Gift Of Being Yourself” makes a very interesting observation. He points out that in the Garden of Eden, it was not the act of trying to be like God that was a sin. It was the act of thinking they could be like God, without God. Truth is we are commanded to be like Christ. We are to emulate the characteristics of God such as love, mercy and justice. But we are never told that we can do that without the help of God and His Holy Spirit. David Benner writes, “Adam and Eve wanted to be God without God, likeness that was based on independence rather than surrender. – What we get when we choose a way of being that is separate from God is the life of the false self. – The false self is the tragic result of trying to steal something from God that we did not have to steal. Had we dared to trust God’s goodness, we would have discovered that everything we could ever most deeply long for would be ours in God. Trying to gain more than the everything God offers, we end up with less than nothing. Rejecting God, we end up with a nest of lies and illusions. Displacing God, we become a god unto our self. We become a false self.” I am so glad Jesus came. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He came so we could know God. It is His truth, His life that enables us to be more like Him. Today, examine yourself. Are you following Christ and letting Him influence who you are, or are you busy creating your own life apart from God?

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for all the times I have tried to set myself up as my own God. Today, I ask You to speak to my heart and help me get back on track with You. Guide me in everything I do so I will become the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’”
Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Faith can move mountains. But how much faith? In today’s passage we are reminded that even the smallest amount of faith counts. It comforts me to see that Jesus was talking to people with very little faith and He wasn’t chiding them. Instead He loves them. He says, “Because you have just a little faith let me encourage you!” And then he uses the “mustard” seed as an illustration of how even a “little” faith can be used. He chose the mustard seed because it was one of the smallest seeds he could find. In another passage He said, “but when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree.” The seed was like a speck of dirt and yet Jesus insisted that even a little speck of faith can be used by God. He concludes, “Nothing will be impossible for you!” We need faith. When all seems hopeless we reach out in faith. When our back is up against the wall, we cry out in faith. When we are not sure what to do, we step out in faith. As we do, God will be there. Don’t be discouraged with little faith. Simply plant it in today’s soil like a mustard seed and let God do the rest.

TODAY’S PRAYER
God, You know how feeble my faith can be. I am so glad that You can take it and use it. As You do, please help my faith to grow that I may believe You for even greater things. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God has a vested interest in our maturity. He has saved us from the penalty of our sins and has set us apart for His service. He in involved in our life, protecting, encouraging, teaching and guiding us. He has given us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to prepare us for His service with the ultimate goal of becoming “mature, attaining the fullness of Christ”. But will we follow? Will we listen? Will we do what it takes to mature in Christ? In his book, “Living From The Heart Jesus Gave You”, Dr. James Wilder suggests that we have a role to play in our maturity in Christ. He writes, “Now the job of maturity is quite another matter. While God is certainly instrumental in guiding and blessing our maturation, it is our job, bestowed upon us way back in the garden, to mature. Maturity is not a spiritual gift nor is it a by-product of salvation. It is something we as Christians must work on our entire lives.” So what are you doing to mature in Christ? Are you feeding your soul on the word of God? Are you learning from teachers and preachers? Are you in fellowship with other Christians who hold you accountable for your growth in Christ? Are you spending time with God in prayer and meditation? Today, take some steps to mature in your spiritual life with Christ.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me mature in You. Help me seek You more, know You more and love You more. Help me today, and everyday, to do something that will help me mature in You.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE
Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” – “Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy.
Psalms 69: 1-3, 32-33 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We all go through struggles and hard times. Life is not fair. There are times of sadness, despair and regret. The Psalmist paints a picture of someone trapped in an emotional downward spiral. Everything seems overwhelming and yet in the end they were able to say that there is encouragement in seeking God’s help. Why? Because God hears us. In the book, “Living From The Heart Jesus Gave You” the authors talk of two types of trauma that brings the kind of despair that we read in today’s passage. There is the trauma of “not getting what we need” and then there is the trauma of “getting something that we should have never received.” The first is the result of neglect and abandonment, the second from abuse. But the good news is that God hears us in our despair and He can help us. The authors write, “Life brings each of us inescapable traumas that block maturity. God’s redemptive activity comes to us in two ways: He brings healing to our traumas, and adopts us into His family. Both ways boost us through our blocks to maturity, along the way to wholeness. With these boosts, we will be able to live from the hearts He gave us, our true identities will emerge, and our relationships with family and community will be characterized by joy.” Today, praise God for His grace and power that is able to heal your emotions. It is there for you as you bring your pain to Him. Be encouraged the LORD hears your cries.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for hearing my cries. Thank You for Your desire to heal me from my traumas. Thank You for making me part of Your family where I can experience the love and fellowship that will bring me into maturity. I commit myself to You for my complete healing. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE
I come to your altar, O LORD, singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders. I love your sanctuary, LORD, the place where your glorious presence dwells.
Psalms 26:6-8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
David knew what it was to worship God. Even as royalty, as busy as he was, as complicated as his life was, he did not forget to spend personal time with God. He remembered what it was to be a shepherd out in the fields worshipping God with songs and praise. Years later David would write today’s passage sharing about the same worship. He writes, “I come to your altar, O LORD, singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders. I love your sanctuary, LORD, the place where your glorious presence dwells.” It is easy to get in a rut learning all about God but never spending time knowing Him. It is great to love Bible study. Who doesn’t love an inspiring sermon. It challenges us to live for God. But in all the learning, in all the doing, we also need to love Him. We need to love spending time worshipping and praising Him. Today, spend time in His presence. Come to His altar and spend time in praise and communion with Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I love Your word. I love serving You. But in all my haste, I must confess, I often forget to love You. I haven’t spent the time in Your presence. I haven’t taken enough time to worship You. Forgive me Lord. Today may I begin to worship You and love spending time in Your presence.
AMEN

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TODAY’S VERSE
I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.
Psalms 17:6-8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Some things only God can do. That is why we need to come to Him. When we do, we need to put our faith in His ability to answer our prayer. In his book, “Living From The Heart”, Dr. James Wilder elaborates, “God is the only one who can ultimately save us, sanctify us and deliver us from evil. – When we let God do His work, things happen rather perfectly. But when we presumptuously take over His territory, things tend to crumble all so quickly.” Today, like David, may we pray to God because we know He will answer. If we do, He will show us “His unfailing love in wonderful ways.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your unfailing love. You have shown me it is so many ways. Today, I bring you my needs and all my cares. I come to You because I know You will answer. You grace is amazing, Your love never ending, Your power all sufficient.
AMEN

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Receive Him

TODAY’S VERSE
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.”
Romans 3:22-25 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
How can we be made right with a Holy and perfect God? How could we ever begin to think that we could have a relationship with God Almighty? Paul wrestled with these very issues and then wrote down some very good news. Based on his knowledge of Scriptures and his personal experience, he was led by God to write down a clear explanation of how be right with God. He writes, “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” All of us have missed the mark of God’s standard of perfection so God came up with a plan of substitution. He would offer His own Son, Jesus, the perfect one as our sacrifice. Again Paul writes, “Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.” God offers us the free gift of salvation, but we must take it. It isn’t good enough to know about it, or have parents who believe it, we must make a cognitive choice to realize our own need and see Jesus as the solution. Paul elaborates, “People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” Personally accepting Jesus as the sacrifice for your sins is your only hope of forgiveness and personal relationship with God. Today, if you haven’t already, come to God on His terms. Enter a relationship with Him by thanking Him for the gift of eternal life and the forgiveness of your sins because of what Jesus did on the cross for you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I know that I have done wrong and am in desperate need for forgiveness. I want to know You personally and become Your child. Thank You for the death of Your son Jesus on the cross for me. Come into my heart and be my ruler. I accept Jesus as the sacrifice for my sins. Thank You for forgiving me and making me Your child. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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