Tag Archives: Mercy

Best Church FOR The Community

TODAY’S VERSE
“Then he turned to his critics and asked, ‘Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?’ But they wouldn’t answer him.”
Mark 3:4 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
The Pharisees just didn’t get it. Jesus came to seek and to save those in need. He came to call the undeserving to repentance. He came to love those outside of the synagogues as much as those inside it. And in many ways, neither do we get it. We too put our priorities in the wrong order. This became painfully apparent to me in reading a new book, “The Externally Focused Quest.” Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw wrote, “Most churches, blatantly or subtly, have an unspoken objective – ‘How can I be the best church IN our community.’ – and they staff, budget, and plan accordingly. – The externally focused church asks, ‘How can we be the best church FOR the community?’ and that one little preposition changes everything.” We can aspire to be the biggest church, best worship, largest children’s program, all good things but if we are not reaching those whom Jesus loves, are we really doing His will? If we are not loving the least in our community, are we really living for Him? The authors asked another crucial question. They asked, “If you had to close the doors of your church today, would your community care? Would they miss you?” Today, what would happen if we all decided to be the best church FOR our community? 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me to love like You love. Help me to set my own priorities in the order You would have them. Help me work in my church to be the best we can for our community. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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True Significance

TODAY’S VERSE
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”
Psalms 139:17-18 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Significance. How do you find it? The story goes that a man travels all around the world looking for treasure and at the end of his life comes back to his home village to die. After he dies, the next person buys his house and finds diamonds in the back yard. He had a diamond mine in his back yard all the time. We look all around our own world to find love, acceptance and significance. The truth is right in front of us. We are significant because God created us and loves us, period. David really believed that God thought about him. You can, too. How? By believing today’s passage with your heart, not just your mind.  Read the words again and this time picture God feeling this way about you. “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You have created all things, and yet, out of all that You have created from before time, You think about me. More than that, You love me. I am significant to You. Thank You Lord! Help these thoughts fill my heart and shape my behavior today so I might return to You all my love and adoration. I praise You! In Jesus’ name. AMEN

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Does It Get Any Better Than This?

TODAY’S VERSE

“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.”
Psalms 143:8,10

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There is something about an isolated sandy beach along the ocean. Sitting on the sand listening to the ocean waves hit the shore. Sun caressing your face. A gentle breeze awakening your skin. Birds chirping in the background. Does it get any better than this?  Well, yes! David talks about a place that is much more satisfying. A place where the warmth of the sun pales in comparison. Where the sound of the ocean is replaced with the whisper of God. Where the gentle breeze is overshadowed by the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit. This place David is talking about is the very presence of God. He is sharing about his time with God in the morning. “Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning” he writes. He shares about hearing God’s voice, sensing His love, learning His will, trusting His word and being led in which way to go. It really doesn’t get any better than this! This can be your experience today. You don’t need to drive anywhere, apply any sunscreen or walk barefoot on a hot sandy beach. You just need to be available. Call on God even now. Pray David’s prayer and might you come back to this peaceful place again and again.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, “let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” In Jesus’ name. AMEN

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Amazing Grace

TODAY’S VERSE
“I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.”
Psalms 73:22-24 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
How true is the first part of this passage? And yet, as true as the fact that we behave foolishly and ignorant before God, like senseless animals, so is the fact that nothing can separate us from His love. We are still His. Even in our vilest condition we belong to Him and He extends His hand toward us. This is love. This is God’s love. It is so vast, so great that we could never fully comprehend it. It would be easier to explain when the end of eternity is than to fully understand the love God has for us. Yet Paul asks God to, “give us the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.” So, even though we are reminded over and over again how foolish we have been, don’t stop there. Also remember that you will always belong to Him and He will continue to love you and guide you with His counsel. Praise be to God for His marvelous grace!  

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, how foolish and ignorant I have been before You. I have sinned over and over again. And yet, Your love for me and utter forgiveness has been unbelievable. Thank You for accepting me and continuing to guide and direct my paths. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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A Word Of Encouragement

TODAY’S VERSE
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Sometimes we are tempted to forget. Perhaps it is the darkness; life’s circumstances with its mystery that causes our lapse of memory. Could it be our haste, all the interruptions, deadlines and pressures of everyday life that crowds out our remembrance? Whatever the reason, today cast your eyes upon this treasure. Feast your senses on this thought, “The Lord, YOUR God, is with you!” Not only that, comfort yourself with the fact that “He is mighty to save you.” But what should radiate joy deep in your heart is the fact that “He takes great delight in you!” Finally, if you still aren’t moved, meditate on this truth, “He will quiet you with His love.” What peace He offers you this moment. And if you quiet yourself and use your imagination, you can picture the magnificent conclusion that Zephaniah offers, “God, our own Heavenly Father, is right this moment singing and rejoicing over you.” Believe it, it is true.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Oh, my dear Lord and Father. Who am I that You would rejoice over me with singing? That you take delight in me is so much to comprehend. But You have said it and now I choose to believe it. Thank You, dear Father. Thank You for Your love for me. Help me live today in the reality of this truth. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

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Do We Live Like We Are Forgiven?

TODAY’S VERSE
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven’”.
Matthew 18:21-22

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is interesting that Peter was the one that came to Jesus and asked, “How many times should we forgive another person?” Peter thought he was generous and asked, “Seven times?” But the answer that Jesus gave Peter was based on grace and mercy, not on merit or our puny benevolence. Jesus said, “Seventy times seven.” Peter learned to identify himself with Christ’s answer. When the crowd came to crucify Jesus, Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times. When he realized the wrong he committed, he went and “wept bitterly” over his sin. How awful Peter must have felt. When Jesus rose again, he went and found Peter. Jesus forgave Peter and told him three times to go and serve Him. And that’s what Peter did. He did not go and become self righteous. He did not go and think of himself as some sinless leader of the church. He did not set up a Country Club Church for members in good standing. No, Peter never lost sight of the fact he was just a forgiven fisherman, saved by the grace of God. And other people recognized it too. The book of Acts says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Peter and his followers carried a sign saying, “No perfect people allowed! We are just ordinary people forgiven of our sins.” Shouldn’t we do the same?

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, thank You for all that You have forgiven in my life. Might I live filled with your Holy Spirit and in the fresh awareness that I am loved by You. Help me in turn to love and forgive others, so when they see me, they too will take note that I have been with You. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN
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Forgive Me

TODAY’S VERSE
“Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all.”
Psalms 65:3 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Sin happens. Especially sin that is the result of your emotions. Your senses pick up something is wrong and a chemical reaction sparks a primary emotion in the limbic region of your brain. Before you can think about it, your secondary emotions begin to flood your mind. Worry turns to fear, fear to anger, anger to depression and on and on. Then to make it worse, your thinking comes on line and you try to alleviate all this pain by taking the easy way out. And the easy way out usually involves sin. Some use addictions, others avoidance, some lash out in anger, and some hide behind pride. Whenever our emotions start flooding our brains, we will do whatever it takes to make the pain go away. David knew what it was like. He had emotions. He became overwhelmed by his situations and like us, he reacted in ways that were not Godly. So much so, that his sins began to overwhelm him. He was on a downward spiral, spinning out of control. But David found out the answer. He turned to God. Not just for a temporary fix, but for the cure. He turned to God, confessed his wrongdoing and God forgave him for everything. God wants to do the same for you. Today, come to God. Turn over your emotions to Him. Confess your sin and be forgiven and you can shout like David, “Though I was overwhelmed by my sins, God forgave them all.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I get so overwhelmed with all my sin. The pressures, the pain, the negative critical thinking that constantly drags me down; I bring it all to You. Forgive me for all my sins. Heal me. Take away my guilt and set me free. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Forget The Past

TODAY’S VERSE
“I have not achieved it (perfection), but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Philippians 3:13-14

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Paul started the whole “No perfect people allowed” movement! He knew the pressure that Christians were getting from the religious people. Get circumcised, follow the commandments, obey the law. Paul knew that this was a trap. He knew that there were two kinds of people that miss God’s standard of perfection. Those that say they do and those that pretend they don’t. Paul did not have to pretend to be perfect; he had a better way! He forgot his sin. Paul knew his struggle. He knew his shortcomings but instead of putting on the pretence of perfection, he focused on one thing: “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” How about you? There comes a time when you have to make a choice. Are you going to let the past dictate your life or your future? Follow Paul’s example, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, you know my past better than I do and yet You are willing to forgive. Help me to do the same. Help me to forgive and forget the past and focus on what’s ahead. Help me live in the present reality of Your love and forgiveness and then press on toward living my life for You. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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The Love Of God

TODAY’S VERSE
“You love them as much as you love me.”
John 17:23 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Jesus is praying to His Father. And He shares something simply astounding about you and I. He said. “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you.” He continues by saying, “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” I know I should probably write about the unity that Jesus wants us to live in. He makes it really clear that people will judge Him by the way we live with each other. But I just can’t get past the phrase, “You love them as much as you love me.” Jesus said this! I have a hard time grasping all the meaning of the Trinity, but I do know that God the Father has an unbelievable, almighty, everlasting, incredible love for God the Son. And Jesus said that this same love is what the Godhead has for you and I. I pray that today God will grant us the grace to really fathom what that means. Might knowing that He loves us that much fill our day with peace and joy.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, thank You for Your infinite, inconceivable love for me. Help me today to live in its awareness and rejoice in its meaning.
AMEN

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Mercy

TODAY’S VERSE
“Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.”
Psalms 51:1 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
David didn’t try to impress God. He knew he had sinned. He knew he had wandered far from what God wanted him to be or do. And so he came. He came to God with a repentant heart and cried out to God. He knew that God would not refuse a broken and contrite spirit of humility; so he came to God and said the only thing he could say, “Have mercy on me.” Mercy. What a word. Mercy. God’s divine favor. God’s forbearance.  God’s compassion. But it was more than mercy. In actuality he was crying out for God to act with His unfailing love. It is God’s unfailing love for David that allowed Him to have mercy. It was God’s unfailing love for David that restored him and brought him back from the brink of despair. This is the same love He has for you. Today, God’s unfailing love is focused on you. This is your moment. This is your destiny. This is your opportunity to have all the mercy you will ever need. Come with a contrite heart to God . . . His unfailing love is waiting.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father God, thank You that in all Your magnificence You have ordained to have an unfailing love for me. I cannot fathom it, but today I accept it. I open my heart to receive it. Have mercy on me, dear Lord, and fill me with Your unfailing love. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

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