Joy and Compassion

TODAY’S VERSE
How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands. – They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly.
Psalms 112:1, 4-5 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God intended us for joy. And the Psalmist shows how to be that way. In his example of a joyful person, the author attributes joy to certain behavioral characteristics. He writes, “They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly.” This is similar to what Jesus told us. He was asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus answered saying, “The most important one, is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Tim Hughes, in his song, “God of Justice” writes it this way, “God of Justice, Savior to all – Came to rescue the weak and the poor, Chose to serve and not be served – Jesus, You have called us, Freely we’ve received, Now freely we will give – We must go, Live to feed the hungry, Stand beside the broken, We must go, Stepping forward keep us from just singing, Move us into action, We must go – To act justly everyday, Loving mercy in every way, Walking humbly before You God – You have shown us, what You require, Freely we’ve received, Now freely we will give – Fill us up and send us out.” And He does, He sends us out with joy!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me to see others the way You do. Help me to see the joy in loving You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and in loving others in the way I want to be loved. Lord, fill me up with Your love and Your joy and send me out.
AMEN

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Walk In the Light

TODAY’S VERSE 

Jesus replied, ‘My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.'” – “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. John 12:35-36, (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Hiking in the darkness is vastly different than hiking in the daytime. Once on a primitive hiking trip, I had to walk an injured person out of the woods to a hospital to get stitched up. It took most of the day. In order to catch up with the rest of the group, we hiked back on the trail during the night. Unfortunately, with so much use, my flashlight became very dim. What a hike! Winding up the mountain, roots form the large trees crossing in the trail, cliffs, animals, ravines, what would be difficult to navigate in daylight became unbearable in the dark. Slowly, using what light we had, we eventually made it back to base camp. How? By focusing on the light! You see, even with dim light, we could see the four or five feet ahead of me. It didn’t matter that thousands of acres were in darkness, I only needed to see the five feet in front of me. Even though our flashlight was dim, no matter how hard it tried, the darkness could not penetrate the light I had. In today’s passage, Jesus told us to, “Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you.” The darkness of sin, doubt, despair, and confusion are always trying to trip us up so we have a choice to make. We can focus on the darkness or we can turn the light on! Might we decide to turn the light of faith, His word and prayer on, living in the joy of knowing Jesus.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You know how dark my world can become. Help me to remember to turn on the light of faith, prayer, and Your Word so I can navigate the trail You have in front of me today. In Jesus’ name.
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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Faith

TODAY’S VERSE
According to your faith will it be done to you.
Matthew 9:29 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Sometimes we get the picture that faith is some lame ridiculous kind of thinking. You know, sort of believing that getting the longer part of a wishbone will grant you a wish. That is not faith. That is superstition. The key to faith is not the faith itself but what the faith is in. We believe in the God of the universe. We have put our faith in Him and His love, wisdom, and power. What better place to put it? Besides His attributes, we put our faith in His promises. God’s promises are true, and we can place our trust in what He says. So, what is troubling you today? What are you in need of? What situation has you stressed? Bring it to God. Talk to Him about your needs and desires. Apply God’s promises to your situation and then commit yourself to Him. Step out in faith and trust Him. Hear the words of Jesus for your life today, “According to your faith will it be done to you.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for Your love. Guide and direct me this day. Help me today to put my complete faith and trust in You. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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His Grace Is Sufficient

TODAY’S VERSE
But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you.”
II Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I never get used to God’s grace! Grace is God’s “unmerited favor” toward us who believe. In other words, He lavishes His love on you and me for no other reason than He “wants to”. His love is perfect love. God’s grace is His purposeful manifestation of perfect love toward us. Paul came upon a tremendous burden in his life and he sought relief from God but instead of getting his request, God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you!” He asked for relief from a situation but he ended up getting so much more. He received grace from God that was sufficient to meet his every need. Gerald May, in his classic book, “Addiction and Grace” writes, “Grace is the invincible advocate of freedom and the absolute expression of perfect love. – For Christians, grace is the dynamic outpouring of God’s loving nature that flows into and through creation in an endless self-offering of healing, love, illumination, and reconciliation. It is a gift that is often given in spite of our intentions and errors. At such times, when grace is so clearly given unrequested, uninvited, even undeserved, there can be no authentic response but gratitude and awe.” Today may you be conscious of His grace toward you. May you sense it in His attention, mercy, peace, strength, and love He directs toward you. Today, might you truly hope in this, His grace will indeed be sufficient for whatever will come your way.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, how amazing is Your grace! Thank You that no matter what comes my way today, You promised that Your grace toward me will be sufficient enough to see me through. I praise You for your grace of love, of forgiveness, of mercy, of peace, of joy, of strength and of provision. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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The Real Me

TODAY’S VERSE
But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the Lord.
Deuteronomy 11:16 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Self-deception is at the root of many of our problems. Not only do we lie to all those around us, but more often we lie to ourselves. How often do we ask what is really bothering us? We pretend to love when we are bitter and wounded. We act brave when we are afraid. Dr. David Benner, in his book, “The Gift of Being Yourself” writes,
“At some point in childhood, we all make the powerful discovery that we can manipulate the truth about ourselves. Initially, it often takes the form of a simple lie – frequently a denial of having done something. But of more importance to the development of the false self is the discovery that our ability to hide isn’t limited to what we say or don’t say. We learn to pretend. We discover the art of packaging our self. – Our masks have become our reality, and we have become our lies. In short, we have lost authenticity and adopted an identity based on illusion.” You see God loves the real you! He knows your fears, your rage, your brokenness and He is waiting for you to give it to Him. There is nothing about the real you that He cannot redeem! It is only when you let your heart be deceived and create a false self that you turn away from the Lord. Today, come to God as you are. Let Him touch the real you. Tell Him what you feel, what you think, what you have hidden from everyone else. When you do, you will find Him accepting, loving and able to set you free from all your fears of self-exposure. Come to Him, the truth will set you free.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I have hidden my true self from You and everyone else. Fear, shame, anger, guilt, disgust – so many emotions keep me from living the truth. I have tried so hard to be what everyone else has wanted and somewhere I have lost my way. Please, in Your love, gently peel back my veneer and bring me into Your light. Help me take off my masks and see myself as You see me. Help me embrace all of me as You lovingly embrace me even now. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Supernatural Love

TODAY’S VERSE
He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.
Colossians 1:8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We get so used to hearing that we are supposed to love others that we think we need to do it by ourselves. But in today’s verse, we get a glimpse of where the real power comes from. God’s Spirit in us strives to guide us, teach us and create a love for others in our hearts. Why should that be so surprising? After all the Apostle John reminds us that God is not only the source of love, He is love. It is God Himself manifested in His Spirit in us that moves us to love. Jesus modeled this God-driven kind of love. John writes, “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” So today, love others. But don’t do it in your own power. Ask God to give you a Spirit-led love for those around you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Holy Spirit of God, reach deep into my heart and birth in me a love for others that only You can produce. I want to love as Jesus did. Fill me with a Supernatural love I pray.
AMEN

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Scriptural Inspiration For Your Daily Journey