Monday, October 31, 2011

Daily Dose 10-31-11

Hebrews 2:17-18 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

It’s great to have someone in your life who really “gets” you. A best friend or a spouse who sees your absolute best, experiences you at your absolute worst and loves you anyway is a cherished gift. If you have a relationship like that, you have a glimpse of what a relationship with Christ is like. If you have not been blessed with that relationship yet on earth, it is available to you through a relationship with Christ. He left the splendor of heaven to come to earth as a baby in a poor home under less than ideal circumstances. He grew as a boy, knowing the struggles of youth. Throughout His time on earth, He saw people at their best, experienced their worst and was willing to die for them anyway. Why? Because He really “gets” us! He lived the hardships of life in flesh. He understands our struggles and was willing to be the One to give us victory over all things. Get to know the One who understands you more than you understand yourself. A relationship with Him will help you navigate successfully in this life and live in the glory of heaven for eternity!

Father, I am so thankful for Jesus! He endured this life so I can know His love and have victory in my life. Thank You for allowing Him to make the ultimate sacrifice for me. I love You! Amen

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Daily Dose 10-30-11

Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

This beautiful scripture is a message from God telling believers to, “Hold on to Me.” Life is tough. We WILL go through hard times. There will be hardships that, on the surface, look like they may be more than we can take. In our flesh, we are tempted to throw up our hands and surrender. Surrender is how believers survive! We never surrender to the worries or the issues that cause pain in our lives. We surrender our struggles to the God of the Universe, the most Holy One, our Rock, our compassionate loving Father. He renews our strength each day. He is faithful to sustain us, walk with us, and get us through the hard times. Are you feeling consumed by the worries of life? Surrender! Turn them over to the ONE who can conquer for you!

Father, You have always been faithful. You have a track record of protecting, strengthening and proving me exactly what I need to get through. I thank You for Your past victories over what could have consumed me. I surrender my current struggles to You. I am grateful for Your presence, Your Holy Spirit that sustains me. I surrender – and wait! I love You! Amen

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Daily Dose 10-29-11

Proverbs 26:20 Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.

There’s no doubt we will have conflicts in life. Disagreements and quarrels, while expected, are not pleasing to God and should not be given a life of their own. Throughout scripture, we are called to resolve disputes with humility and move on in love. One of the greatest examples of a dispute among Christians is between Paul and John Mark. We don’t know why John Mark deserted Paul in his ministry, but reading between the lines, it was not pretty. However, their relationship was reconciled with the help of Barnabas. He encouraged both men in their separate ministries. He did not “choose a camp” and further the conflict. What was the result? As Paul was nearing the end of his ministry, he wrote to Timothy and asked him to bring John Mark with him, “because he is useful in my ministry.” God can redeem broken relationships if we allow Him. Be careful to remain neutral when you are between those in dispute. Make a choice to avoid fanning the flames of discord. Encourage both parties. It could eventually lead to restored relationships that serve the kingdom. Be a Barnabas!

Father, I know discord breaks Your heart. Make me an instrument of Your peace. Prick my heart when I am tempted to say things that shoud not be said. Allow me to be a Barnabas for You! I love You! Amen

Friday, October 28, 2011

Daily Dose 10-28-11

Titus 3:3-7 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Life should be different for those who have been redeemed and follow Christ. Will it be perfect? Far from it, we will never be perfect people. However, the basis of our motivations and the way we deal with one another, should be built upon kindness and grace. How does your congregation deal with conflicts among its people? With kindness, we should approach those causing conflict. With grace, we should forgive as we were forgiven. Those are easy to say, not always easy to do. If you are the source of conflict accept your rebuke with humility and move forward in the grace extended. Humility is the key to conflict resolution, but does not always come easily. Pray for wisdom to be the agent of peace when there is conflict among God’s people.

Father, Give me Your wisdom. Humble me to accept difficult things for me to hear. Humble me to extend kindness and grace to those who need forgiveness. Make me an agent of your peace. I love You! Amen

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daily Dose 10-27-11

Titus 2:11-14 (MSG) God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available for everyone! We're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.

This life is simply an appetizer to whet our appetite for an eternity with God. The problem many of us experience is we are too busy to sit down to the table to taste what He has to offer. He wants us to order the sampler platter and savor the delightful flavor combinations a relationship with Him can bring to this life. Instead, we often want to live our lives like a cocktail party of served hors d'oeuvres. We want God to come to us with what He has to offer and have the ability to say, “No, thank you,” if we don’t like the looks of it. Begin tasting God’s bounty! Get into His Word and learn more of Him…taste and see that He is good!

Father, I’ve tasted enough of what You have to offer to know that I want more! I long for more of You in this life and eagerly anticipate an eternity with You! MARANATHA! I love You! Amen!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Daily Dose 10-26-11

Psalm 97:10-12 Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.

It’s easy to claim we love the LORD, but how well do we proclaim that we hate evil? We are programmed to be tolerant and full of political correctness. Speaking against evil is not too acceptable. We have become so immersed in our society that we are desensitized to what is truly evil. Satan is wise in his disguise of evil. He slips it in slowly, letting us become comfortable with it, until we eventually embrace it. If you are looking for the pleasing guidance and light of God, with the joy He brings, tune your heart to be more sensitive to evil. Learn to hate evil and fight for righteousness.

Father, I have become desensitized to some degree to the evil that permeates our society. While I can’t rid the world of evil, show me a little more each day how to rid myself of the evil I allow. Prick my heart to the things that are detestable to You. Help me rid them from my life! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Daily Dose 10-25-11

2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Paul was a valiant warrior for the cause of Christ. That is somewhat ironic since, as Saul, he had been a destructive persecutor of those who followed Christ. As destructive as he had been to the early church, Paul did everything he could to grow the church for the future. You see, he was running a race. Runners don’t stop their race and look back. However, some Christians want to live in the glory days of old, looking back at the past with longing. Others are so ashamed of their past, they are paralyzed to run for their future. Paul kept running, whether he was in prison chains for the Gospel, or sharing encouragement with the survivors of his destruction. What is your race? Have you taken a rest along the way to figure out where to go, ruminate on the past, or stare blindly into the future? Just keep running! Trust God to direct your steps! Know that He has a place and a purpose for you – and it does not include wasting time! Run your race, no matter how far away the finish line may be. Don’t pace yourself for this one…live each day as if you are finishing strong!

Father, I trust You to guide my steps. I’m certainly unsure of their direction right now. Show me my course. Empower Your Spirit to spur me on. I want to finish strong every day! My race is for You! Amen

Monday, October 24, 2011

Daily Dose 10-24-11

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (MSG) Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

The Message translation of this verse shows the Bible for more of what it actually is – an Instruction Manual for Life! Through the God-breathed Words of scripture, we learn the ultimate story we need – the salvation message of Christ. We learn the attitudes and conduct we should embrace that are not only about pleasing God – the adoption of these characteristics help us live better lives. When we begin to search scripture for our answers of life, we begin to truly live as God intended. So, are you consulting your Instruction Manual? Or, are you trying to put your life together like a jigsaw puzzle with no picture for reference?

Father, Thank You for providing all the answers I need in Your Word. Help me to live what I read and believe! I love You! Amen

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Daily Dose 10-23-11

2 Timothy 2:20-21 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Do you have a favorite bowl or platter in your kitchen that has become so closely associated with a particular recipe that your family gets excited when they see the dish come off the shelf? God has created each of us to be so designed for His purpose that when people see us, they are excited to receive a taste of God’s bounty. What recipe of God’s do you present to others? Are you a platter of salvation that presents the Gospel to evangelize those who do not know Him? Are you a bowl of encouragement that supports those who evangelize and grow the Kingdom? Are you a side dish of mercy that shows the Spirit of Jesus to those who are hurting or without hope? The Message version of this scripture also talks about vessels that take out the trash. Could you be the one who cleans up the messes of the congregation by serving as a mediator or peacemaker? Whatever vessel you symbolize, remember your purpose. God created you for service. He designed you to present a taste of His goodness to the world. Ask God to take you off the shelf, wash you off and cook up the recipe He intends to serve through you!

Father, I am never more fulfilled than when I am being used by You. Blow the dust off, wash me of whatever prevents Your best from being served through me. I love You! Amen

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Daily Dose 10-22-11

Psalm 91:14-16 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 
He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

We all want rescue when we are in trouble especially when it is coupled with blessings and honor. Yet, we are not always as eager to truly love the LORD and acknowledge His name. We may say we love Him. We may even go to church on a regular basis and live a decent and moral life; but is that a relationship with Him? Is that acknowledging His name? To merely attend church and call that love for Him is like a husband who only sees his wife when it’s time to eat. Is that a marriage? To love God and acknowledge His name is to be in constant conversation with Him. It is making decisions based upon His desires, not your own. Are you asking for rescue and honor from someone you barely know? Get to know God through time with Him in prayer and His Word. Don’t merely strive to know the Word of God. Get to know the God of the Word!'

Father, I DO love You. I have witnessed Your rescue many times. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and full of anticipation to see how You will rescue again. I believe the promises of Your Word; I believe You! Amen

Friday, October 21, 2011

Daily Dose 10-21-11

1 Timothy 6:6-12 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Contentment seems to be an elusive commodity in our society. We are programmed to want to the point of seeing wants as needs. Even the poorest of our society are wealthy in comparison to the world. Then, is it wrong to pursue wealth? As with all matters in a Christ-centered life, it is a matter of motives of the heart. If your desire to achieve more wealth is motivated by lavish wants, you could be in jeopardy of the traps brought by those wants. If you pursue wealth to meet true needs and live generously toward those in need, you will enjoy your wealth with contentment and doing good for others and the Kingdom.

Father, Show me the difference between wants and needs. Not by the world’s standards, but by Your standards. Teach me to live in generosity and contentment. I love You! Amen

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Daily Dose 10-20-11

1 Timothy 5:24-25 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

What we do shows who we are and who we serve. Nothing done in secret stays secret…whether it is bad or good. Live your life so that when your actions are revealed – and they will be – you will be blameless before God and men.

Father, I love You and want to make You proud. Please guide my actions. Keep me walking in Your light. Tune my heart to be attentive to the leading of your Holy Spirit. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Daily Dose 10-19-11

1 Timothy 4:11-16 (MSG) Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don't be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.

Paul’s charge to Timothy as a young minister in the faith is a charge to us today. Even if we are not in pulpits, each one of us has a gift of ministry. The bottom line of all ministry is to teach believers with your life. It does no good to share great insight from God’s word if your life does not live out what you teach. Use the gifts God has given you to share His story of love and redemption for all of us.

Father, Help me to see my little life in Your big picture. Don’t let me miss the work You planned for me to do to join You. I want to be an instrument in Your hands. I love You! Amen

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Daily Dose 10-18-11

Proverbs 25:21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.

This Proverb could be where the expression “Kill them with kindness” originated. However, it is not intended to be a sarcastic form of revenge - this is sound doctrine. The context of the time at which this was written is critical to fully understand its meaning. To be able to heat your home or have coals for cooking hot meals was an extravagance during that time. People would walk to the markets to purchase hot coals, which they carried in baskets upon their heads. To heap burning coals upon their head was to provide something for them you would want for yourself. It was a sign of the ultimate generosity – a sign of love. Are you willing to give such love and generosity to one who has hurt or rejected you? Or, do you prefer to avoid, ignore and pretend you are “at peace?” Try heaping some burning coals upon the head of someone you would rather avoid. Bless them in a way you would like to be blessed. The LORD will notice!

Father, Show me what the “burning coals” are for those I need to bless. Show me the opportunities I have to demonstrate Your love to them, because of the love you have shown to me. I love You! Amen

Monday, October 17, 2011

Daily Dose 10-17-11

Jeremiah 31:13b I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

Jeremiah was known as the Weeping Prophet. He was used by God to speak boldly to the people and bring them to repentance. He was ridiculed and beaten for his prophecies. In this particular dream, God gave Jeremiah a glimpse of what it would be like when He rescued Israel from captivity. We have been rescued from the captivity of our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus. We have the rest of the story and know a freedom like people in Jeremiah’s day could not comprehend. We have access to God’s Holy Spirit to bring our gladness, comfort and joy. Tap into the blessings Jeremiah dreamed about…they are your reality!

Father, When times are tough, I have Your strength and I am glad. When my heart aches, You bring me comfort. When I am sad, You bring me joy. Thank You! I love You! Amen

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Daily Dose 10-16-11

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Things looked pretty bleak for the Israelites when Jeremiah gave them this word from the LORD. They were driven out of their beloved Jerusalem and exiled to Babylon. They wanted to put life on hold...but God had a plan. What Babylon are you living in right now? Do you feel like God has forgotten you or is not fully aware of your situation? Never doubt that the same God who spoke the universe into being knows the number of hairs on your head. He is fully aware…and He has a plan! ? Remain faithful and seek Him; You will find His direction.

Father, I am not always confidant living in my Babylon. Help me to remember that You have a plan. Keep me close to You and help me to strengthen, not quench the power of Your Spirit directing me. I love You! Amen

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Daily Dose 10-15-11

Psalm 85:8-13 I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly. Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.

We often want to cling to the promises of God without looking at the condition of those promises. If we really want the Glory of God to dwell in our communities and nation, we must begin living life according to God’s expectations. Love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace are characteristic of God’s Holy people and pave the way for His blessings. If you don’t seem to have blessings in your life right now, look at the road you have built for God to transport His blessings. He will not send His best blessings down a path littered with hate, pride, bitterness, strife and doubt. Clean up your highway and get ready for the arrival of His best blessings!

Father, You have sent so many undeserved blessings to me. I am grateful beyond expression. But, I want more of You. I want to live my best to receive Your best. I love You! Amen

Friday, October 14, 2011

Daily Dose 10-14-11

Psalm 84:5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

There are times we get so distracted by the busyness and trappings of life we forget this is not our end destination. We have strength to persevere on this journey given from God through His Holy Spirit. Our strength to withstand trials and enjoy blessings comes when we realize this world is not our permanent home. We are just passing through, learning to love and bring as many as we can with us to our eternal home. Set your spiritual GPS to heaven. Know you are traveling through life on God’s path to reach as many as you can for Him. Listen carefully when the Holy Spirit recalculates your direction!

Father, I am grateful this world is not my permanent home; but I want to make my journey beneficial for You and Your Kingdom. I am open to Your leading. Direct my path! I love You! Amen

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Daily Dose 10-13-11

2 Thessalonians 1:11b-12 (MSG) …we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what he's called you to be, pray that he'll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.

A valuable part to fulfilling your Godly calling is having others pray for you to measure up to God’s plan. Begin today praying for the ministry of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Let them know you are praying for them, and ask them to pray for you. Living up to our potential is not done in a vacuum. We need the added strength and support of others cheering us on. Take a moment today to encourage someone you know who is devoutly following His calling. Let them know they have your prayerful support.

Father, I thank You for special people I know personally, and those I know of, who are doing great work for You. I pray You will strengthen and sustain them for Your Kingdom. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Daily Dose 10-12-11

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Always – continually – all…These words do not leave room for, except – whenever – some. We like to compartmentalize our lives into what’s good and bad. We tend to look at situations as challenges or blessings. However, when following Christ, there should be a consistent attitude of joy and thanksgiving – despite the circumstances. If you, like most of us, have a hard time rejoicing during a trial, change your perspective. There will always be an angle for joy and thanksgiving…it takes a trained eye! The great masterwork artists often created paintings within the main view of the work. When you look close up, you see the painting of detail. When you step back, you realize the big picture tells a very different story. In the details of our trials, it’s very easy to live in worry and fear. Living in faith, is standing back from the painting of our lives, knowing the greatest Master of all times is creating a work of art that will tell His story in a way others will view in amazement. Take your eyes off your details and look at the big picture. You are a work of His art!

Father, Thank You for refreshing my view when life’s challenges come. May I allow the Holy Spirit to be the docent in Your museum, training my eye to always see things from Your perspective. I love You! Amen

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Daily Dose 10-11-11

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. 
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. 
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Trust is a word that is used loosely in our society today. It’s so much more than believing someone will return what they borrowed from you, or keep your secret. The trust we should have in the LORD is not a reaction to one circumstance or situation; it is a way of life. Trust in the LORD does not expect to have a perfect life free from worries or concerns; it is confidence knowing we can withstand the trials life brings. The analogy in this scripture of the tree sending out its roots to the stream paints a beautiful word picture of how we find strength and confidence in the LORD. When we spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word, we are nourished. That stream is our picture of God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They strengthen and sustain us. They give us confidence for the days we feel weary and insecure. But to access that strength, we must trust and turn our lives to them. Believe God and His promises. Accept Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Avoid sin and disobedience that quench the Holy Spirit’s ability to guide you. Send your roots to the stream and be nourished to stand strong!

Father, You are my confidence. Without You, Your Son, and Your Spirit, I am a mess! Prick my heart to send my roots to You instead of wasting my energy with worry or frivolous concerns. Because of You, I stand tall and can bear Your fruit! I love You Amen

Monday, October 10, 2011

Daily Dose 10-10-11

Psalm 80:17-19 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself. Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. Restore us, LORD God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.

Jesus was at the right hand of God in the beginning, creating and forming all the wonders of the universe. He humbled Himself to come into the world He created in the lowest stature of all, a babe born in poverty and shame. Yet, because of the perfect life He lived, He was able to be our perpetual sacrifice. God raised Him up and He is seated at our Father’s right hand – again. Instead of assisting God in creation, He is there for us, standing in as our intercessor. When we believe in and accept Jesus for who He is and what He did for us, we have an advocate, One with authority vouches for us and brings us salvation. Along with freeing us from our sins and presenting us as pure before God, Jesus shows us off as lovely before God that brings a smile to His face and blessings from His hand. No matter how unlovely You may feel, Jesus is willing to give you the ultimate make-over. The image He shows God of you will have a bit of His reflection, a site impossible for God to resist!

Father, On my own I am so unappealing. The only good there is in me are the areas where I have allowed Jesus to clean up. Empower Your Holy Spirit to prick my heart to make all of me irresistible to You. When You look at me, may You see the reflection of Your Son and smile! Help me reflect His image to others so they may know You as well. I love You! Amen

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Daily Dose 10-9-11

Psalm 79:8-10 Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; 
deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake. Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”

We have been very blessed as a nation. Our Founding Fathers placed faith in God beneath the structure of what became a greatly admired, prosperous and feared nation. Many believe the financial collapse and following recession have been a wake-up call for our country. When the Stock Market Closing Bell rang to end the September 30, 2008 trading day, the losses were 777 points. Coincidence, or God incidence? That fateful day also happened to be the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. In Jewish tradition, the sofar would blow at end of the day to begin fasting prior to the Jewish new year. For the next ten days, God’s chosen people were called to ten days of atonement – serious repentance. The day America’s Closing Bell rang out the loss of 777 points, the sophar was being blown. This has been paralleled to God’s sophar blowing to America, calling our nation to repentance. Have we listened? Will you listen to His call?

Father, I pray for our nation. I pray we will return to our foundations and place You as the One in whom we place our ultimate trust. Lead me to the complete repentance You desire. I love You! Amen

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Daily Dose 10-8-11

Proverbs 24:29 Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.”

Revenge is a natural instinct of our flesh. If we have been hurt, we want to hurt back. If we have been cheated, we want justice. By worldly standards, we are completed justified to seek retribution for any offenses, small or grievous. As Christians, we follow a different standard. We follow the model of a man who had every reason to reject people who rejected Him, yet He loved them to the highest degree of compassion. He had every reason, and authority, to call destruction upon them, yet He gave them life. He was completely justified to have His Father, the God of the universe condemn them, yet in His agony from their wounds, He pleaded for their forgiveness. How has someone offended you in comparison? Put their offenses in the perspective of the cross. Look at then through His eyes, knowing He forgives them just as He forgives you. Try restoration instead of retribution. Go to the one who has wronged you and share your forgiveness -whether they ask for it or not. How they respond is between them and God. The fact that you forgive gives you freedom in Christ.

Father, I thank You so much for what Jesus was willing to endure for me. Help me model His willingness to forgive and live in the freedom His sacrifice brings! I love You! Amen

Friday, October 7, 2011

Daily Dose 10-7-11

Colossians 3:12-17 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

With the entire Bible serving as an instruction manual for the church, this scripture would be highlighted in the chapter of How to BE a church. All the virtues we should exhibit are held together by three actions – forgiveness, love and thankfulness. If you are not happy with your congregation right now, look to your virtues. Are you exhibiting these virtues to bring peace, or are your actions inhibiting peace among your congregation?

Father, I want to be a part of the peace Christ brings to the church. May I allow the Holy Spirit to prick my heart to choose virtue over self-centeredness, and peace over pride. Help me to fully forgive and be fully forgiven by others. Bring Your peace! I love You! Amen

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Daily Dose 10-6-11

Colossians 2:11-15 (MSG) Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It's not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you're already in—insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it's an initiation ritual you're after, you've already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ's cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.

Living in the fullness of Christ is freedom! So many avoid Christianity thinking they could not be obedient – some may not like giving up sins. Freedom comes to Christians when they begin to worry less about what they do or don’t do, but rather what was done for them. We can never measure up, do enough or be good enough to be Godly people. But, because of the sacrifice Jesus made, we don’t have to be! He paid off every debt of sins we have committed or will commit. Living a life in His complete fullness comes when we lose desire for sins because we know how much they cost.

Father, My debt was steep and Your Son paid it off! The accuser had strong arguments for my condemnation, but You looked at Jesus and He vouched for me, now I live, “Not Guilty!” Help me seek more of the fullness of Christ. Give me the strength to overcome the desire for sin or traps satan sets so I may enjoy the freedom of living this redeemed life. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Daily Dose 10-5-11

Jeremiah 6:14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 
‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.

God is serious about sin. He sees sin among His people, the church, as a wound that needs to be cleaned. His intention is for us to acknowledge our sin as we would a physical wound that is covered in filth. How silly it would be to stick a band-aid over a dirty wound! The debris works its way through the area, infecting tissues all around. From the outside, it looks as though healing is occurring. Yet underneath, the infection grows, spreading to other areas eventually leading to the blood stream. We need to get serious about sin in our lives! We look at severed relationships and put the band-aid of, “Some things are better left unsaid,” instead of sterilizing the wound and reconciling the conflict. We look at indiscretions or unethical behavior and put the band–aid of, “At least I’m not as bad as so-and-so,” instead of dealing with our own sin. Rise up, people of God! We must get the dirt out of our wounds before the infection spreads!

Father, My wounds, or sins, run deep. There are some areas I have cleaned and applied the stinging antiseptic of Your Word to keep me from inflicting more wounds. However, God, You know there are other areas I keep putting a fresh band-aid over. Help me to clean all areas with the blood Jesus shed to purify me. Prick my heart to stop me from repeating the same sins. Provide the opportunity to tend to past wounds or issues that need to be resolved. Please keep Your Hand of love and protection over me through it all. I love You! Amen

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Daily Dose 10-4-11

Colossians 1:15-17 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

We seem to be living in a time where things we once depended on as stable are falling apart. The struggles in our local as well as global economy have brought many to feelings of despair and hopelessness. We see our traditional family units becoming more rare than common. Relationships seem so fragile and so easily broken. When we feel hopeless, recklessness abounds. Decisions made in times of desperation often lead to future tribulation. Those who abide in Christ have a hope like none other. A Christian is not sheltered from struggles or hard times, but they have strength and peace to withstand the storms of life – being held together in Christ. Do you feel your corner of the world falling apart? Turn it completely over to Christ - in Him - you can hold it together!

Dear Jesus, When I look at my community, my state, this nation and the world, I see a certain recklessness afoot. We need the glue of Your Spirit to hold us together. Lord, we are unworthy. I pray for our leaders. I pray for Godly authority in places of power. Hold us together with Your peace and guidance. I love You! Amen

Monday, October 3, 2011

Daily Dose 10-3-11

Philippians 4:12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

The fact that American Christians love this scripture when so few know contentment is the perfect example of our spirit conflicting with our flesh. We want to be content in all things; yet, we live in a society where we are constantly persuaded to get the next thing, strive for the next level and always look for something better. We need to remember the setting in which these words were written. Paul wrote this from hands chained in a prison cell because of his work for the cause of Christ. That is so difficult for most of us to comprehend. Paul’s contentment with his circumstances in the flesh was manifested by his discontent for the number of people who knew about Jesus. It didn’t matter if he was imprisoned, going without food or freedom, as long as others were coming to know Christ. Are you in a challenging situation right now? If so, think of Paul. Use the chains of your burden to introduce Christ to others by the way they see Christ in you. Let your witness be an encouragement to other Christians to press on through their challenges, sharing the Good News through it all.

Father, Change my perspective. Keep me content in matters where the world likes me to want. Make me discontent with the lack of salvation or spiritual depth of those around me. Give me Your wisdom and Your eyes to see true needs, and give me the strength to fulfill them by Your power! I love You! Amen

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Daily Dose 10-2-11

Philippians 3:10-14 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Even as close as Paul was in His relationship with Christ, he admitted he still didn’t completely comprehend it all. He understood that this life race is a cross-country marathon, not a level track sprint. We will have uphill treks that are tough to endure. We will have obstacles in our path. Other runners may trip us up or encourage us to stray off the path. It is so important to maintain focus and keep looking forward. Whatever is in the past should be left in the past. Carrying past hurts and failures around is like a runner trying to endure a race with backpacks dragging him down. We must accept Christ’s victory over things of the past, focus on Him and run our race with perseverance.

Father, Take away the backpacks that drag me down on this life race. Help me to overcome and run with focused freedom! I am not a prize worthy of the price You and Your Son paid, but You paid it anyway. Help me to remember that cost everyday and be motivated to love more because of Your love for me; forgive more because You forgive me; trust more because You are always faithful; and, encourage more because You are my strength. I love You! Amen

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Daily Dose 10-1-11

Psalm 73:24-26 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Each new season is a reminder that life on this earth is always changing. We experience seasons of celebration and contentment, as well as those where things do not always go according to our plan or on our timetable. Joyous times can change to heartache in the blink of an eye. No matter what season you are in life, whether it is a time of celebration or struggle, God is with you for the journey. His presence deepens the pleasure in the good times, and provides strength and comfort for the difficult times. The constant in the inconsistency of life is the unchanging, unwavering Hand of God protecting and loving His children through their walk – so walk on!

Father, I look back on my season of life and know that, without fail, You were always there. You have been and will always be my first One I go to for celebration of good. You have been and always will be my first One I go to for guidance, strength and encouragement. I am so grateful for Your past provisions. It gives me comfort for today and confidence for the future. You are my strength and I love You! Amen