Friday, November 30, 2012

Daily Dose 11-30-12

1 John 1:5-7 God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 

What does walking in darkness look like? Walking in scripture refers to the attitudes and actions by which we conduct our daily lives. If we are suddenly placed in the physical darkness of a room with no light, we usually have feelings of fear, paranoia and confusion. In a dark room, we are afraid of tripping. We grope around looking for something to hold on to. Walking in spiritual darkness, we are afraid of failure. We try to cling to work, possessions or relationships to validate our worth. In a dark room, we are afraid of who or what will pop out to get us – we have a sense of paranoia. In spiritual darkness, we constantly worry about the things that could go wrong in life instead of enjoying the blessings we have. We often destroy or impede relationships that could be blessings by putting up walls to protect us from being hurt by others. In physical darkness we are trapped, trying desperately to find an open door. In spiritual darkness, we allow satan to convince us our sins are too egregious to confess and find freedom. Walking in spiritual light, we cling to God to guide us through the rooms of our work, provide our needs, solidify our relationships, and we find our worth in Him. Walking in spiritual light, we have gratitude for our blessings and use them to glorify God. We break down walls in relationships so we can build one another up. We encourage instead of worry. Walking in spiritual light doesn’t mean we will never sin. It means we do not allow our sins to imprison us. We confess, accept the grace that the sacrifice of Jesus provides and we move forward. Darkness or light? Choose to walk in the light!

Father, I cling to You and long to walk in Your complete light. I am confident I will never walk in complete darkness. Just help me avoid the dimmer switches that satan wants to use to dim my faith. I love You! Amen

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Daily Dose 11-29-12

Daniel 6:16-21 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

The story of Daniel is one of the most inspiring scriptures to encourage us to stand strong in our faith no matter how the world views us. The interesting part of Daniel’s story is those who were jealous of him and wanted him destroyed knew the only wrong that could be found in him would be to force his faith in God to be illegal. Can that be said of us? Do people we are in contact with everyday even know that we are people of faith? If they did seek ways to bring us down, would they have many more options than making it illegal to pray?

Father, Help me to live so that the only fault accusers could find in me is my dedication to and faith in You. I am weary of mediocrity. Empower You spirit within me to help me live a life of boldness in every aspect! I love You! Amen

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Daily Dose 11-28-12

Psalm 119:114-117 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. 
Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God! 
Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. 
Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees. 

No matter how tough life may be at times, God is with us through it all. His Word is a refuge when you feel life is waging war upon you. His Word brings inspiration to plant hopes and dreams to bloom within you. The same Word that inspires dreams gives you the tools and courage to fulfill dreams. God’s Word is not just a list of dos and don’ts; it is God’s love story for us to know Him and to know how to navigate the waters of this life that often bring crashing waves. 

Father, There are storms raging around me, but I trust You to guide and protect me through it all. Thank You for Your Word and its power to guide me. I love You! Amen

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daily Dose 11-27-12

2 Peter 1:3-8 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This life is a process. For Christians, everything we do should begin in faith and be culminated with love. In between, we grow in goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness and affection. Each trial we face and apply these attributes, we go a step further in becoming the people God designed us to be. Are you in a life struggle? Step up! Look for ways to implement these Godly principles. The outcome will lead you to a new spiritual level.

Father, Keep me focused on You and in Your Word. Don’t let me miss a step in the process You have intended for my growth. Lead me to new heights, topped off with more love! Amen

Monday, November 26, 2012

Daily Dose 11-26-12

Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Faith is courage to face the fiery furnaces of life, believing full well God can rescue you, but still loving and serving Him if He does not. These three young men must have been terrified. They watched the servants preparing them for the furnace perish from the heat. They knew it would be painful and they could surely meet their death. However, they also knew the alternative was to turn their backs on the God they loved and worship an idol created by an ungodly king. The choice to them was obvious – meet God through their death in the flames, or meet God in the flames through His rescue. The king witnessed the three bound men go into the furnace. What he saw within the flames was four men walking around, unbound and free from the flames surrounding them. When he called them out, they were not singed by the flames, nor did they even smell of smoke. As a result, the King worshipped God. How do you face the furnaces of your life? Are you willing to go down in the flames proclaiming faith in God? Jesus is willing to stand in the furnace with you. How do you emerge from the furnaces of life? Do you let the heat anf the flames from life's struggle singe your faith and leave you with a scent of bitterness?  How we endure the heat of life’s furnaces, and how we emerge, will lead others to worship our God, or ridicule His name – the choice is ours.

Father, The furnace is hot and I am fearful. However, I trust You to protect me and I know Jesus will meet in the flames. Perish or rescue, I am Yours! I love You! Amen!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Daily Dose 11-25-12

Psalm 119:73-77 (MSG) With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you. When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad. I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what's true and right. Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight! just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to. 

God’s one desire is to bring us closer to Him. He does that in many ways, but one way is by allowing hardships. He knows there are some trials we face where He is our only refuge – and He desperately wants to be our refuge. So, He allows those trials to come so that we cling to Him and show others what faith in trials looks like. If you are feeling the pressures of life, look up in prayer and down in the Word. His arms are open to give you the comfort, joy, peace and security only He can provide.

Father, You know me better than I know myself. Help me to understand what You need for me to know through the trials I face. I am waiting and eager to know more of You. I long for You understanding to be revealed to me. Until that time, I rest in Your embrace and dance to the tune of Your Word. I love You! Amen

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Daily Dose 11-24-12

1 Peter 2:13-17 (MSG) Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God's emissaries for keeping order. It is God's will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you're a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.

We are so blessed to live in the United States. We have freedoms and privileges citizens of other countries envy. We have a nation founded on Christian principles. There is a great deal of debate on how far we have strayed from those principles. It’s true. However, divisive rhetoric and disrespectful attitudes to those holding offices is not the answer. The Christian citizens of our nation should stand together, united; not to tear others down, but to elevate Godly leaders to take our nation back to its foundational principles and move it forward as a beacon of living under God’s blessings. Pray for those in office and those who will come to be under the influence of our Almighty.

Father, I lift up our nation and its leaders. I pray that You use Your Spirit to prick their hearts to make decisions that would bring Your blessings. I pray that You also move Godly servants who will stand for what’s right and just to run for offices. May we be citizens living Godly lives that will impact our nation for You! Thank You for those who sacrificed so much for our nation’s freedoms and those who sacrifice now to preserve them. Amen

Friday, November 23, 2012

Daily Dose 11-23-12

1 Peter 1:22-24 (MSG) Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God's living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself!

The Message translation of this scripture is pretty blunt. The prior verses talked about the sacrifice Christ made for us and how our lives should be lived differently because of it. At the base of this different living is love. Love motivated Jesus to give His life because our relationship with God depended on it. In return, He has asked us to love one another. It sounds simple. It’s easy to claim that you love, but is that love walked out by the way you treat people? Loving like Christ means you love, pray for and bless those who reject you, despise you or, could care less if you lived or died. With each relationship where we learn to love like Christ, we reflect Him more.

Father, Bring Your thoughts to my mind again and prick my heart to love. To love the unlovely and those who reject or disregard my love for them is the ultimate test of how Christ is reflected in me. Help me mirror my Savior. I love You! Amen

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Daily Dose 11-22-12

1 Peter 1:6-8 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

A common thread woven throughout the letters to churches in the New Testament is to rejoice in trials. It goes against every fiber of our fleshly desire. Our instincts are to cry foul, pout, hide in shame or run in fear. Because we have the Holy Spirit within us, we should be willing to endure the stitches to the fabric that makes up our lives. The trials and hardships the people of this time were enduring persecution for believing in Christ. Most of us can’t imagine that, thank You LORD. However, it doesn’t lessen the pain or stress of the hardships we suffer. God doesn’t use a measuring stick to assess who suffers more and count them most worthy. What He does measure is how we react in trials. When we endure trials and hardships in expectant thanksgiving and joy for His provision and outcome, the painful stitches of life create a beautiful garment for our presentation to the LORD, while presenting His faithfulness to those who do not know Him.

Father, I submit fully to Your will in my trials I want to learn what You want me to know and see Your glory revealed. Empower Your Spirit to direct me and prick my heart to rejoice and dispel doubt and fear. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Daily Dose 11-21-12

Psalm 119:10-11 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 

The time we spend hiding the Word of God in our hearts empowers the Holy Spirit to be more active in our lives. Learning scripture is vital in the battles we face in spiritual warfare. The Holy Spirit will guide us, however, learning scripture before the battles is like preparing soldiers for war. You would never send a soldier into battle without a weapon to defend himself. Scripture is a powerful weapon in the heart of a Christian. Let God’s Word soak in your heart so you stand prepared for our enemy, satan, and the schemes he devises to lead you down a dangerous path.

Father, Arm me for battles with the weapon of Your Word. May I be able to follow the example Jesus gave when He was tempted. Let, “It is written…” always begin my defense against satan’s schemes. Thank You for preserving Your Word to empower me. I love You! Amen

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Daily Dose 11-20-12

James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Our culture doesn’t encourage many attitudes of submission. We are taught concepts such as: look out for number one; look within your inner self; you are in control; it’s all about you; you deserve it. That is not God’s way of thinking. He wants us to change all that; and change is not easy for most of us. He wants us to learn and live by concepts such as look out for others; look to God; God IS in control, it’s all about glorifying God; God’s grace is my only hope. This is what submission looks like. When we learn to live submitted to God, He can lift our lives to the next level – living in peace, inner joy and contentment.

Father, My heart and spirit desires full submission to You, but my flesh gets in the way. Empower Your Spirit to help me submit so You can lift me up! I love You! Amen

Monday, November 19, 2012

Daily Dose 11-19-12

James 3:3-9 (MSG) When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Oh, the power of our words! The analogies James uses of a bit in the mouth of a horse and a ship’s rudder are perfect examples of the power of our tongue. Just like a bit has a bridle and a rudder has the throttle of engine power, we have the Holy Spirit to control our tongues. The extent to which we allow the Spirit control is up to us. We strengthen the strap of the bridle and give more fuel to the engine when we spend tie in the Word and in prayer. Choose your words today to encourage and uplift others!

Father, I know full well my tongue is the greatest source of my spiritual struggles. I’m not tempted to steal or murder or give in to other sins that would dishonor You. But we both know my words either bring a smile to Your face, or tears to Your eyes. Empower Your spirit to control my tongue and direct it to encourage others and bring a smile to Your face! I love You! Amen

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Daily Dose 11-18-12

James 1:22-25 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Nike has made a lot of money with its “Just do it” campaign. It was not an original idea; James said the same thing to Christians more than two-thousand years earlier and continues saying it to us today. You know scripture. You are guided by the Spirit. God wants more for you and will bless you for your obedience. So, what are you waiting for? Get off your spiritual couch and start working out! God’s calling to you to rise above the muck of life! Start living scriptures instead of quoting them!

Father, You know I know better than I live at times. I feel Your Word tugging at me to rise above and work out my faith. Prick my heart. Give me the inspiration, courage and strength to live what I believe! I love You! Amen

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Daily Dose 11-17-12

James 1:2-7 (MSG) Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. 

Trials and hardships, a gift? Some versions even say, pure joy? We often want to question whether or not James really meant to write it that boldly. Did he hesitate when the Spirit empowered him to pen those words? The book of James is probably one of the most practical and direct life-manuals in the Bible. For James to open it this way is no coincidence. It’s easy to profess your faith and tell others how great your God is when everything goes your way: good health, a job you love that pays the bills, people in your life who love you unconditionally, etc. However, what does it say about your faith when you profess your love and acknowledgement for God and his provision when life is tough? How do you face a health crisis or one in your family? What do you do if you lose your job or don't know what you want to do with your life? How do you embrace the companionship of God in the lonely days when there seems to be nobody with skin on who really cares? These are the days when God’s light can truly shine through us! Trials and hardships are an opportunity to show God and those who need to know Him that our faith is real. The yuckiness in life can be an exciting mission if you choose to live by faith!

Father, I do thank You for the challenges that bring me closer to You. Help me in the midst of tough times to see Your hand of help – don’t let me miss a thing! Let my struggles be a testimony to Your strength! I love You! Amen

Friday, November 16, 2012

Daily Dose 11-16-12

Hebrews 13:17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

The job of ministry and church leadership is not easy. Ministers, elders, and deacons have accountability for their work that the most high-pressure bosses in highly regulated industries would not begin to expect. You would think the job would be full of encouragement, love and peace – after all, they are working with Christians, right? That may be the case if the Garden of Eden remained, but we live in a fallen world. Unfortunately, satan sees churches as prime targets with great opportunities to do his work. Church leaders are responsible for prayerfully guarding and faithfully leading their people to rise above satan’s schemes. Pray over your leaders. Bless them with encouragement. Pray for their wisdom and protection. Be gracious to them when they make mistakes, and verbally express appreciation to them often. Be willing to serve with them, and make their job easier by loving and living in peace.

Father, I lift up the leaders of my church and churches where I have served. I ask for Your wisdom, protection and blessing upon them and their families. Send Your Spirit to heal relationships in my church and churches across the country that the lost may be drawn to Your Son for salvation. Amen

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Daily Dose 11-15-12

Hebrews 12:14-17 (MSG) Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you'll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God's generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God's lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God's blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.

This warning from the writer of Hebrews is packed full of wisdom for Christians trying to find the best in life now and longing for the rewards of eternity. Every parent knows how disturbing it is to see siblings quarreling and mistreating one another. How much more disturbing is it for God to see His children – who received grace because of the sacrifice of His Son – acting as though they are no different than those who do not know Him? As the Christian family, we are called to a higher standard of behavior. We should learn to humble ourselves and worry less about “me” and more about “we” – this will help us know peace. We should be generous to those in our midst who need our physical or emotional support. Part of that is not just in responding when asked; it’s about being in relationship enough with people to know the needs before they ask. Let’s face it, as long as there are people, there will be disputes. Christians heading these warnings from Hebrews resolve disputes quickly and move on. They don’t ignore them, sweep them under the rug and then paste a happy face on when they see the other party in the dispute. When enough dirt is swept under the rug through the years, a crop of weeds can infiltrate a Church! The siblings in God’s family are willing to do the hard things that take time and effort, knowing their blessings will be great in eternity. Oh, what Esau would have done to relive that moment when he sold his birthright for a bowl of soup! What soup are you buying instead of holding out for God’s best for you and your church? Be kind to others. Show God’s grace and mercy to others; promote peace, not discord. Live each day as someone who knows the bowl of regret is not a tasty soup! 

Father, I am so sorry for the times I have let You down by the way I have behaved. Guard my heart, mind, and mouth today so I have no regrets for tomorrow. I love You and Your other children! Amen

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Daily Dose 11-14-12

Hebrews 12:7-11 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

It can get tricky when we look at our hardships and question why we must endure them. “Did God inflict this on me? How can a loving God do that?”
“What did I ever do to deserve this?”
“Look at how they have rejected and ridiculed God, and their life is so easy!”
The source of hardships is as varied as the people who endure them; but ultimately, the source goes back to the sin of Adam and Eve. God did have a perfect world of ease established for His children – sin changed all that. Some of the hardships we endure today can be traced to the consequences of our own poor decisions. Some, God may allow us to endure to play a role in painting a picture to others of living through hard times in His loving grace. Whatever the source of your hardship may be, how you endure it will teach you more about your relationship with God. If you rebel, blaming Him for inflicting or allowing Your pain, you will miss the comfort of His embrace carrying you through. If you throw a pity party, whining constantly about your struggle, you loose the power of your ability to boldly proclaim faith in Him. The Message translation interprets these hardships as training. Face each life struggle as a teachable moment for God to show more of Himself to you, or to others through you!

Loving Father, I know You will not allow more in my life than You and I together can handle. Open my eyes to what You want to show me through each struggle. Use Your Spirit to prick my heart to respond the way that will bring a proud parent smile on Your face! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Daily Dose 11-13-12

Hebrews 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

“By faith,” these two words are repeated throughout Hebrews as the scriptures show us examples of those whose faith in God lead them to do extraordinary things. How could Abraham tie his one and only son to an altar to offer him as a sacrifice? One aspect of that event that’s not recorded in scripture is the response of Isaac through the process. Was he willing to lie on the altar and be killed by the hand of his father? Reason tells us Abraham was old and probably a bit slow, Isaac was young and strong – couldn’t he have run for safety from this apparent craziness? Or, was Isaac as willing to be the sacrifice as his father was to offer him? The last part of this verse shows us a glimpse of what faith looks like combined with human reason. It made no sense for Isaac to be killed after God’s promise to Abraham. However, the strong faith of Abraham allowed his reasoning to go a step farther to reason that if he offered Isaac, God could raise Him from the dead. Did he discuss this possibility with His son? We don’t have that much detail in scripture. All we know is that Abraham and Isaac firmly believed, “the LORD will provide.” What is God asking you to sacrifice? Do you have hopes and dreams that you want, not only for your own desire, but to honor God through that dream? Think of the dreams Abraham had for Isaac yet. He was willing to sacrifice it all knowing God would make another way. When we are willing to say, “Whatever, LORD,” God will reveal the ram in the thicket!

Providing LORD, By faith I pause with a tinge of excitement. Things look bleak in many areas, but I know You will provide. I thank You in advance for Your ram…guide me to the thicket! I love You! Amen

Monday, November 12, 2012

Daily Dose 11-12-12

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The faith referred to in this scripture is not talking about faith in the fact that God exists. The prior scriptures of this chapter recounted what living, active faith looks like as demonstrated by heros of faith in scripture. The actions of our faith speak much louder than the words of faith we profess. If we boldly quote scripture of God’s care and provision, yet live in constant worry, doubt or fear – where is our faith? If there are Godly blessings we long for, yet have not seen glimpses of them coming to fruition - how do we act? Do we whine, complain and speak negatively about them never coming to pass? If so, we expose ourselves to a very easy battle plan for the enemy. He WILL reek havoc in our lives if we profess to have faith, but refuse to live as though we believe God will provide. Faith is also praying fervently and believing God can bring the desired outcome, but being willing to remain faithful if our desire is not God’s plan. The three young men facing the fiery furnace showed us this. They boldly professed that God was able to deliver them from the furnace, yet if He didn’t, they still would not bow down to a king as their god. What are you willing to bow down to if God’s plan is not fulfilling your desire? Will you worship negativity and sarcasm to cover up the pain of your disappointment? Live your life with a faith that manifests itself with boldness! Proclaim your faith that God IS able to provide your desires; and, if God’s plans are not your desires, you will boldly live God’s plan!

Father, There are doubts that creep in my mind when I want to dream big, or just try to get by. Give me the strength to dispel doubts and fears and live each day with bold faith! Give me the focus to do the things I need to do to pursue avenues You provide. Give me the wisdom to discern Your will and the peace to accept a no, or not yet from You. I love You! Amen

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Daily Dose 11-11-12

Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

This life is not intended to be lived as an individual sport. As Christians, we are a team. This country is flooded with sports fans who are dedicated to their teams. They proudly wear the colors of their team. Some never miss a game of play whether in the stands or watching from their televisions. They cheer the players on with great zeal. They learn the stats of the team and individual players. They recall with detail memorable plays and games. This rallying for the team is how God expects a church to be. We are united with the colors of the sacrifice of Christ. We should never miss an opportunity for worship and fellowship with our congregational team; it’s the training field for life. We should know the stats of life our teammates are living and be there to cheer them on, lending support through the tough times and rejoicing with them in victories. We should learn the stories shared in scripture and through the Hall of Faith of our churches of great teammates who have gone before. We should let those examples encourage us to stand firm in our faith and pursue great work for the Kingdom. Get out of the stands! The great scout Jesus Christ has recruited you for His team! Put on His jersey and get in the game! We are promised the victory – how great the score will be can be determined by how well we work together. You don’t want to miss the celebration at the end of the season of this life!

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the encouragement I have received throughout my life by teammates in the faith. I see Your fingerprints on their hands of encouragement for me. Help me to know who on my team needs Your encouragement through me. Thank You for the reassurance of victory, no matter how rough the game of life may be at times. I love You! Amen

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Daily Dose 11--10-12

Proverbs 27:12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

God gives us natural instincts to know when danger is near. Animals have a sense of impending danger that is often more acute than ours. However, for Christians, God has sent His Holy Spirit to heighten our sensitivity to spiritual danger. He tugs on our hearts to warn us that certain activities may not be pleasing to God. He sends red flags to warn us against perils that could cause calamity in our lives or bring division to our Church. Because God also gives us free will, we also have an “override” button. We have a choice when we stand at a spiritual crossroad of sin. We can choose to listen to the Spirit and steer away from the danger; or, we can override the Spirit’s warning and put ourselves in spiritual danger. The latter choice will always have consequences. The more we override the Spirit’s warning, the less we recognize it in the future. Pay attention to the warnings of the Sprit. Take refuge in the Word of God and prayer to protect yourself and others from satan’s snares!

Father, Thank You for Your Spirit to guide and protect me from the dangers of sin. Keep me alert to the Holy Spirit’s caution. Give me the courage and fortitude to choose Your will that will bring blessings and peace instead of conflict and strife. I love You! Amen

Friday, November 9, 2012

Daily Dose 11-9-12

Hebrews 9:27-28 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Under the old law, the priests were in charge of making the sacrifices for the sins of the people. They were the only ones allowed to enter the Most Holy Place of the temple. Because Jesus was perfect, the Son of God, His sacrifice was enough to cover all the sins forever. His blood flowed back in time to cover those under old law, and flows forward to cover my sin and the sins of generations to follow…that’s a powerful sacrifice! Because His sacrifice was so great, we were given incredible power. The Holy Spirit is no longer confined to the Most Holy Place of the temple; He resides within the hearts of those who have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus! Because of His sacrifice, we no longer depend on priests to intercede for us; we have access to the throne of God through prayer to bring our confessions of sin and requests before Him. We can boldly approach God and have a close, intimate relationship with Him, because Jesus purified us and made us blameless in His site! What a gift! The ultimate and final unwrapping of our precious gift will come when He returns to take us HOME! Maranatha!

Father, There are no words to express my gratitude for the precious sacrifice of Jesus! I am unworthy and humbled, but oh so excited to accept this gift and revel in my relationship with You! Thank You, Jesus!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Daily Dose 11-8-12

Psalm 106:42-46 Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power. Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. He caused all who held them captive to show them mercy.

No matter how far away from Him the Israelites strayed, God remembered His covenant and rescued them. It’s easy to read scripture with a judgmental eye of these people. It’s so easy for us to say, “How could they worship idols when God parted the Red Sea for them?” Yes, it’s easy to read the book on the history or actions of others and question their faith. What about you? If people decades after you have departed this life are reading your history, what would they say? Would they see God showering you with blessings, yet read about you living in discontent? Would they see God’s constant provision, yet when a new challenge arises, your instinct is to panic and worry? Just as God’s chosen people should have reacted differently in situations, we too must learn to live as covenant people. Live in an attitude of gratitude. Approach new challenges with boldness, recounting to God how He rescued you in the past. Share the faith you have with others to show that you know God will provide. Live each day the way you want your history to be recorded!

Father, The list of my prayer requests gets longer every day. I have needs – You know each one. My heart is heavy for many I love who are enduring tough times. You are intimately involved with the details – use Your Spirit to guide us to live with that knowledge. Help me to live my faith boldly and not crumble under pressures. Thank You for Your past provisions and blessings! I am living in faith with peace and the expectation of Your next rescue! I love You! Amen

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Daily Dose 11-7-12

Hebrews 8:10b-12 (MSG) This time I'm writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts. I'll be their God, they'll be my people. They won't go to school to learn about me, or buy a book called God in Five Easy Lessons. They'll all get to know me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great. They'll get to know me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.

What has God written on your heart for you to know Him? On the surface, you may think it sounds as though there should be a major, earth shattering revelation if it’s from God. Not always true! God is a God of details, the smallest things are important to Him. He made the bumblee bee an engineering feat that by all formulas and design characteristics leave it grounded; yet, the bumblbee flies with precision to extract what is needed from plants to take back to its comb to make a very sweet, and uniquely-colored honey. What is it about you that is special? The best characteristics of you are God’s signature on your heart. If you think you are nothing special, look again. Ask God to show Himself through you – and pay attention! The best parts of you are not just you – it’s God introducing Himself to you and through you! 

Father, I know my design seems quite imperfect at first blush. However, there are elements that make me – me, that are so much about You. Show me how to make more of you and less of me in my life. Place me in the situations where You designed me for You purpose – don’t let me miss it! Thank You so much for Jesus whose sacrifice cleans up the messiness of my heart so You signature can be seen! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Daily Dose 11-6-12

Proverbs 27:5 (MSG) A spoken reprimand is better than approval that's never expressed. 

Never underestimate the power of words of encouragement – even if they must be administered with some admonition. People need to know they matter. There is a craving we have to be connected to other people. To be ignored or disregarded is often worse than hearing correction, especially when it's correction administered from a place of love. Engage in dialogue with others – especially the lonely ones among you. Take the time to encourage – it may end up encouraging you just as much!

Father, Show me today who You know needs some encouragement. Give me the right words to say at the right time. Let me be Your instrument of blessing to at least one person who needs it each day! I love You! Amen

Monday, November 5, 2012

Daily Dose 11-5-12

Colossians 3:1-2 (MSG) So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.

This scripture was presented as “something to chew on” by Jonathan Scott, a parent who was in the fight for his son’s life against cancer at the time. What a testimony to the way God can use scripture to show us how we should live life from His perspective! There will constantly be distractions. We will face burdens and hardships that seem insurmountable. But with God, all things are possible! We do not walk this life alone – we have our Savior, Jesus Christ, who walked before us to show the way! We have the inner joy, comfort, peace and strengthening from the Holy Spirit to help us endure hard times. Look beyond your current stress of the day – no matter how challenging. Find where Jesus is working around you and focus on that. Jump in to be His instrument in a world that so desperately needs the hope and salvation He brings!

Father, Forgive me for allowing distractions and struggles to get in the way of how You want me to live. Help me see circumstances through Your eyes! Change my perspective! I love You! Amen!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Daily Dose 11-4-12

Proverbs 27:2 Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.

In the world of public relations and marketing word of mouth is the most powerful tool when trying to promote a product or service. People believe their friends, associates or, for that matter, complete strangers over someone trying to sell them something. Testimonial ads, celebrity endorsements and independent reports are strong, persuasive techniques. However, there can be great peril for the product or organization if the wrong person is doing the pitch. A testimonial ad has no meaning if people learn the person was simply paid and never used the product. Celebrity endorsements can backfire if the public figure falls from his/her pedestal. A story about a product or service delivered on a news outlet that appears to have a bias can have negative connotations. As you live this life as a testimony for the powerful message of Christ, what is said about you? Are people turned off to your product of salvation through Jesus because they don’t see you living the life He teaches? Have you allowed sin and satan’s traps to discredit your witness to His life changing results? Do you present the Gospel in a close-minded, my-way-or-the-highway approach that leaves your audience suspicious as to the truth of what Jesus can bring? Our lives send a powerful message when it comes to winning souls and strengthening believers for Christ. Remember, it’s not what you say to people that determines what they think of you and your savior, it’s often what’s said about you that tells the full story.

Father, I want my life to bring glory to You and help others see Your Son. I am not a worthy spokesperson. I fall short so much of the time. Help me to live my life as an imperfect person being made perfect through Christ. Show me how to live so others want to know Him more. I love You! Amen

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Daily Dose 11-3-12

Hebrews 5:7-9 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Have you ever poured out your heart in prayer to God for a situation that left you disappointed? Did you believe with all the faith you could muster and still saw the outcome you feared come to fruition? When we feel as though God let us down, we must remember how fervently Jesus prayed to not endure the cross. Have you ever prayed so hard your sweat turned to blood? Probably not, but Jesus did. He pleaded for another way for our salvation – God said no. In our faith walk, we must understand there will be times God says no. If He can say no to His son Jesus who was fully God and fully man, perfect in all ways, why should I expect any different? Does that mean prayer is pointless? God is sovereign and will do what He wants anyway? Never! Prayer is the link to the relationship with God that we need to celebrate the yeses in this life and endure the nos. There is always a much bigger picture behind the nos of God. For Jesus, it was the salvation of humanity. What is your bigger picture? It could be a protection for you or someone you love. What you want may not be best. It could be a call to a ministry to show others faithful submission to God despite circumstances. Pray for your yeses with all faith, knowing God is the Great Provider and can do all things. Pray through your nos with great faith, knowing you can do all things through Him who gives you strength.

Holy God, I submit to Your will. I know You see the big picture and I know You love me. It’s hard to hear no when I’m praying for good things, not just a selfish wish list. Open my eyes to Your will. Help me to see the big picture in the midst of disappointment, No matter what, I love You! Amen

Friday, November 2, 2012

Daily Dose 11-2-12

Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

In our society, we are programmed to constantly want. We want everything from success and power to the latest gadgets that promise to simplify our lives. Yet, what people really want is to be understood. We have a hard-wired component inside of us that craves relationship. Some are fortunate to find fulfilling relationships in life, yet the closest of earthly relationships cannot compare to an intimate relationship with Jesus. He will never disappoint, annoy, frustrate or belittle. He knows our weaknesses and compensates with His strength. He knows our insecurities and gives confidence. He knows our fears and protects. He knows our sins and provides redemption. No relationship on earth can give you what Jesus so freely offers. 

Father, Thank You so much for Jesus. Thank You for being willing to let Him be my savior. I am so grateful He was willing to endure this life on earth so He can relate to my needs. I need more of Him shown in my life. Decrease me, increase Him through me. I love You! Amen

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Daily Dose 11-1-12

Hebrews 3:12-14 (MSG) So watch your step, friends. Make sure there's no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it's still God's Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn't slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we're in this with Christ for the long haul.

Faith is an action lived out day by day. Each day, satan attempts to distract us by throwing things in our life path that could trip up our belief in God. What in your life is satan using to divert your course? Are you or someone you love struggling with a health crisis that seems unfair? Remember, God IS the healer and He IS in control. We may not understand in this life why some receive physical healing and others don’t. If you allow a physical illness to diminish your faith, you lose in a double sense. Sometimes, God allows physical struggle to heal or strengthen a spiritual need. Hold on tight to Him. Believe Him in all things! Encourage others on your walk. Help them to live their faith each day. Every morning is a new opportunity to know God more and see Him at work in our lives. Don’t miss a minute!

Father, I am fully aware that You don’t always say, "Yes!” I have learned from experience that Your, “Nos” have often been for my protection. Some “Nos” I still don’t understand, but I trust You. Let me live day-by-day walking with You, holding tight when satan hurls things in my path to trip my faith. Navigate me through to live in Your will, walking on the path You choose! I love You! Amen