Monday, December 31, 2012

Daily Dose 12-31-12

Malachi 3:9-12 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.
If you are looking for blessings in the new year, why not try being a blessing first. Generosity brings blessings to the giver. People who get nervous when money is brought up are those who have allowed money to become their curse by withholding it from God’s work. People who get nervous when volunteering and service are brought up are those who have allowed schedules to become their curse by allowing busyness to supersede service in the Kingdom. Our offerings are not just financial. Those who have plenty often like to write a check to cover a problem instead of getting their hands dirty. Those who have little withhold any financial investment in the kingdom and try to serve their way to glory. Funding service is a good thing and providing service is a good thing. If there is a problem with either it is a heart issue. Check your heart as you plan for the new year. Make sure there is nothing you would withhold from God. Generosity of time, talents and treasures bring a wealth of blessings upon the giver. Don’t cheat yourself out of a blessing tomorrow by a selfish or small faith attitude today.
Father, I want Your blessings! Show me what stands in my way of receiving by prompting me to give where You need me to give. I love You! Amen

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Daily Dose 12-30-12

Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

There will be a great day coming for those who know the LORD! The pain and suffering we know on this earth will all be forgotten. Stress and anxiety will be words we no longer comprehend. There will be peace, joy and contentment. Most importantly, we will see the face of God and dwell in His physical presence every day. What a day that will be!

Father, I long for that day! I am ready to walk the streets of gold with You! In the meantime, God, there are many more who will not know that reward. Prick hearts and help me do my part to bring more with me. Maranatha! Amen

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Daily Dose 12-23-12

Psalm 142:3 When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way.

There are times in life when we are just plain weary. Plans don’t always go according to schedule. There is death, destruction and turmoil around. Our hearts are broken from loss, betrayal or loneliness. In the midst of all that’s bad, is the incredible security of the faithfulness of God. He is with us and sustains us beyond what we think we can bear. When God is added to the equation of all the bad in life, the answer is always peace. Faith in Him, and walking closely with Him also changes the equation. Those without God continue adding the negatives. When we walk with God, our equation inevitably adds the blessings, provision and protection He provides in the midst of hard times. The sum is not only peace, but joy as well!

Father, Thank You seems inadequate to express my gratitude for all You have done, are doing and will continue to do for me. You are my peace and deep joy! I love you! Amen

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Daily Dose 12-22-12

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

The words we speak hold power. With every utterance we make a choice to build up, tear down or waste. You may not ever utter a word of foul language, but what you say, or sometimes how you say it, can be like verbalizing curses to someone. Subject your mouth to God in all you say. Ask Him to give you words to show His love, encouragement and support to build up those around you. Make your language so that others are drawn to you and to God, rather than avoiding both! Life is short and times are tough, everyone you come in contact with today could use a bit of the love of God spoken through you. Ask God to guide you and don’t waste an opportunity!

Father, I know you gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason. I submit my thoughts and words to You. Let me be an instrument of Your encouragement as opposed to a tool for satan used to bring others down. I love You! Amen

Friday, December 21, 2012

Daily Dose 12-21-12

Zachariah 1:3 Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty.

If you feel like God has deserted you, look around to see who moved. God is eager to embrace us into His protection, but He will not force us to be in relationship with Him. Like us, He wants to be wanted. Some feel God has deserted them when they are enduring tough trials. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He never promised we would not go through trials, but He did promise to go through them with us – if we allow Him. Hardships are often a litmus test for our faith. We will either cling to God with every fiber of our being, or lose heart and turn away. When we walk closely with God through the good times and the mundane, He is the safe place we run to when times are tough. Most hardships are a result of sin entering the world and bad things can happen to good people – even God’s people.Other hardships can be God allowing them as a call to repentance. You are the only one who can examine your heart to know if your run to God is one of clinging closer, or repentance. Either way, He is eager to grasp You in His arms – just run!

Father, I am running into Your arms! Thank You for Jesus who’s sacrifice gives me complete access to You! I come to You with a heart broken by my own sin and overcome with struggles that are just a part of doing life. I know You are with me and I am comforted by Your embrace. I love You! Amen

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Daily Dose 12-20-12

Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Living in a society so focused on physical “perfection,” it’s easy to forget that God created us to be perfect in His eyes. Because sin entered this world bringing death and disease, we do have to endure limitations and physical hardships that sometimes don’t seem fair. However, don’t think for one minute God is not aware of what may come upon us. He has a plan to redeem and make Holy anything set up to be destroyed or limited by the presence of sin in this world. We have a choice. We can pout in disagreement with the lot we’ve been given; or, we can choose to live out that lot in God’s direction for His glory!

Father, I want to live up to the potential You intend for me. I know You are aware of my physical and emotional limitations. And, I know what I see as limitations, You see as opportunities. Use me to show others Your strength in my weaknessI love You! Amen

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Daily Dose 12-19-12

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. 
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

The imagery of this scripture is beautiful. Take it in personally. Stop trying to do religion and work on Your relationship with God. He adores you and longs for more than pew checks and acts of service. He knows every fiber of your being, every shortcoming, every failure. He knows the beauty He created within you, and sees the potential for so much more than you are living. The first step in building a solid relationship is honesty. Take Your sins before Him in humility and repentance. He is eager to forgive and get it out of the way to for you to live the fulfillment of His intentions for you. Listen for His singing over you and wake up to His embrace!

Father, I’m not sure what You see when You are singing over me. Open my heart to Your calling. Open my eyes to Your plans! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Daily Dose 12-18--12

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, 
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, 
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.

How we praise when life doesn’t seem so praiseworthy says a lot about our faith. It’s easy to rejoice and praise when we are on top. But, how do we treat God when He seems to be silent or His blessings seem to have ceased? If our joy in the LORD is contingent on blessings by the LORD, then He is not our LORD. A servant fully submitted learns to praise, love and find joy in good times and in bad. We are strengthened and renewed by our love for Him when we praise Him. If you are feeling a little down and out, instead of singing the blues, sing out the praise! He WILL lift you up!

Father, No matter how dark things may appear, You are my light! No matter how tired I may be, You are my rest! No matter how weary I become, You are my encourager! No matter how lost I was, Jesus is my Savior! By His wounds I am healed! Thank You LORD! Amen

Monday, December 17, 2012

Daily Dose 12-17-12

Nahum 1:7 (MSG) God is good, a hiding place in tough times. He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help,
no matter how desperate the trouble.
Some days are so tough we would like to revert to fetal position and hide. God says, “That’s OK, crawl in my lap a bit and hide!” He wants us to come to Him in our darkest days and in our worst moments. However, He loves us too much to let us stay that way. While He may enjoy the time of holding His children close for comfort, He loves His lost children too much to leave us there. He will allow some time for recovery, but His job is to get us back in action. If you are experiencing tough times, crawl up in God’s lap through His Word for some refreshing comfort. Be energized by His love and inspired to continue the fight, knowing He’s got your back!

Father, There are times when only You can bring the comfort I need. Thank You for loving me through Your Word. I love You! Amen

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Daily Dose 12-16-12

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? 
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

We often complicate or over-think what walking a Christian life looks like. Even during the day of ritualistic sacrifices under the Old Law, God basically said it boils down to a matter of attitude. The three-point guide God gave Micah to share centuries ago is still applicable today. To act justly: Be fair with people. Be a good employee/employer and work hard for your boss/company. Don’t be a pot-stirrer. Love Mercy: Don’t hold grudges or constantly remind those who have wronged you what they did – forgive and love on (notice it’s not forgive and move on!). Believe the best in others. Don’t assume you know their thoughts and live in a belief they have wronged you in some way. Forgive others as eagerly as you seek the forgiveness Christ brings you. Walk humbly with God: When we focus on who God is and that He CHOOSES to walk with us, it’s a change of attitude. We move from, “What about me?” to “What about we?” spirit that sees what God sees in people who are not easy for us to love. When we accept God assignments, they are not always grandiose campaigns. Walking humbly with God is making a choice to act justly and love mercy in every day-to-day situation. Take a moment to pause today before you speak or react. Run what you are about to do or say through Micah’s test: is this the right reaction, am I loving and believing the best, and would God approve?

Father, My greatest struggle is thinking before I speaking or letting what I think others think guide my emotions. Guard my heart. Empower me to walk humbly with You! I love You! Amen

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Daily Dose 12-15-12

Micah 4:3 (MSG) He'll establish justice in the rabble of nations and settle disputes in faraway places. They'll trade in their swords for shovels, their spears for rakes and hoes. Nations will quit fighting each other, quit learning how to kill one another.
         Each man will sit under his own shade tree, each woman in safety will tend her own garden. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so, and he means what he says.

When will these last days Micah prophesied about come to pass? There is such a longing for peace on earth. There is such despair among nations and distrust among our own. Jesus came to help us find His peace. Is this prophecy saying what the world could be like if all came to know Him? Like the stereotypical beauty contestant calling for world peace, the concept is too large to grasp. However, if we seek each day to bring the peace of Jesus to our circle of influence, there is hope. Don’t look at the condition of the whole world and feel despair; look to those around you and let them know Jesus cares.

Father, I have no great power or influence in the world. I ask that you empower me and other believers to begin being the influencers you intended us to be in our part of the world. Be with Your missionaries who are facing trials to spread Your Good News! Amen

Friday, December 14, 2012

Daily Dose 12-14-12

Jonah 4:1-5 (MSG) Jonah was furious. He lost his temper. He yelled at God, "God! I knew it—when I was back home, I knew this was going to happen! That's why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness! God said, "What do you have to be angry about?" But Jonah just left. He went out of the city to the east and sat down in a sulk. He put together a makeshift shelter of leafy branches and sat there in the shade to see what would happen to the city.

Jonah’s story epitomizes what so many Christians feel but rarely verbalize. Jonah judged the people of Ninevah for himself. He deemed them not worthy of God’s grace, so he avoided sharing God’s message with them. After three days in the belly of a fish, he agreed to obey. We don’t have a lot of detail on Jonah’s sermon, only one sentence. The picture is a reluctant servant doing it because he had to. Yet, despite Jonah’s lack of enthusiasm, the people of Ninevah repented and were saved from destruction. Instead of a time of grateful worship, Jonah pouted. He wanted God’s grace, mercy, love and forgiveness for himself and those he thought worthy. None of us could dream of putting ourselves in Jonah’s shoes. We would never run away from a God assignment! Really? God may not be aking you to preach to a distant land of evil people, but what about your friend or co-worker who doesn’t know the LORD, and possibly ridicules your faith? It’s so easy excuse those God-story-sharing conversations as politically incorrect and assume they wouldn’t listen anyway. What about the homeless on the streets? It’s easy to say they have made their poor decisions and are too far-gone to change. Bottom line? God uses even reluctant servants to change the hearts of lost souls to know salvation. Whether the servant rejoices or pouts when they do is up to him. When making that choice just think about how much more fun could Jonah have had if he had stayed to further minister to the people of Ninevah than pouting alone on a hill!

Father, Help me to see people through Your eyes. Change my heart to desire Your full mercy for everyone and give me the courage to be a willing servant. I love You! Amen

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Daily Dose 12-13-12

Proverbs 29:25 (MSG) The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.

Insecurity is a huge issue in our society. We are bombarded by media messages telling us how we should look and what we “need” to be successful and accomplished. We long for acceptance and look to the opinion of others to validate our worth. That’s understandable for those who don’t know God and do not have a relationship with Jesus. However, for a Christian, insecurity should be a foreign concept. We were chosen and known by name before God laid the foundations of earth. He gently knit us together in the womb – perfect in His eyes – the way He intended us to be. He sacrificed His Son from the splendor of heaven just so we could have a relationship with Him. His Son was willing to endure suffering, humiliation and the agony of the cross as the price for us to be in relationship with the Father and spend eternity with Him. With all that love lavished upon us, how can we feel unloved and inferior? How can planting insecurity in our hearts be a weapon in satan’s arsenal on Christians? We should be dealing with the sin of arrogance because of how loved we are! However, insecurity forces Christians to make poor decisions that impact the rest of their lives. Insecurity causes Christians to pull back from Godly relationships, feeling unworthy. Insecurity brings division in our churches as some feel rejected by those who mask insecurity by lording their superiority. Yes, it’s easy to see why satan so often pulls out this tool to disempower the believer. Insecurity is a complete focus on self. We find security when we focus on God. Don’t let satan cripple your impact for the kingdom by placing the rocks of insecurity along the path of your life! Walk tall with confidence! You are the chosen child of the Most High God, a fellow-heir of Jesus Christ! 

Father, It is so easy to forget who I really am when I look to find my identity anything other than the reflection of You. When I look in the mirror, train my eyes to see what You see. When I look at my life, help me to seek Your path and will without the fears satan can whisper in my ear. Help me to remember that I can never outlove Your love for me and that is the only acceptance I should seek! Amen

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Daily Dose 12-12-12

Revelation 3:15-16 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

We want our coffee hot and sweet iced tea cold. Jesus understands that. He wants the same from us spiritually. Our churches are full of people like those in Laodecia – they are not hot, on fire for the Lord, yet they have not turned their back on Him either. It’s dangerous territory. The sacrifice Jesus made was not for us to be pew-sitters who look the part on the Sunday, but have no true walk with Him during the week. While it may soothe their conscious to get a check mark, it is not the kind of faith that will soothe their spirits in times of despair. They may live “good” lives, but they will not know heavenly rewards. Lukewarm Christianity was represented at the cross. The thousands who followed Jesus as he was feeding, healing and ministering dwindled down to a very small number when the darkness of the crucifixion came. Where are you on your faith journey? Are you a Christian out of habit? A habit is not a relationship. Jesus calls us to follow Him, to know Him, and to be one with Him. Shake off the habit of Christianity and step into a bold new relationship with Jesus. He paid top dollar for you, stop acting like your salvation was a thrift store bargain!

Dear Jesus, I don’t want to cheapen the cost of Your sacrifice by treating it lightly. Help me to live my life in a close relationship with You. I Love You! Amen

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Daily Dose 12-11-12

Revelation 3:1b-3 (MSG)  "I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you're dead, stone-dead. Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there's life in you yet. But I wouldn't know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God's work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears—grasp it again and turn back to God.

There are times when our walk of faith looks strong on the outside. We are busy doing good deeds, serving in ministries and working hard for the cause of Christ. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the busyness of doing Christianity, we forget about the being of Christianity. It’s similar to the commercialization of Christmas. What started as a Holy time to reverently reflect on Christ leaving the splendor of heaven to be born in the humble setting of a manger has turned into a hustle-bustle, stress-induced frenzy. Don’t let the world’s view of corporate church get in the way of the church inside you. Serve in programs and ministries, but remember who you are serving and why. Just like there is a call to put Christ back in Christmas, we should live everyday focused on the Christ of our title as Christian.

Father, I take a deep breath to pause and ask You to breath Your will into my Spirit. Renew my faith and focus my work for Your glory! I love You! Amen

Monday, December 10, 2012

Daily Dose 12-10-12

Proverbs 29:20 (MSG) Observe the people who always talk before they think—even simpletons are better off than they are.

Oh the wisdom of Proverbs! It is so easy for us to spot those who speak before they think. They can often bring pain or stir turmoil with their thoughtless words. The Message version of this scripture asks us to observe these people. More often than not, the word observe is used in the pursuit of training. An apprentice will observe the master’s techniques before trying for himself. Solomon cautions us to do the opposite in this case. Observe those who speak before thinking to learn what NOT to do. The old adage, “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason” is founded in Biblical wisdom. Not every thought you have is intended to be spoken – or tweeted, blogged or posted for that matter! Our words are powerful and should be harnessed by the Hoy Spirit. Spend time in prayer – before you even get out of bed – and ask the Spirit to harness your words, not only to halt anything that would be hurtful or divisive, but also to drive you to speak words of encouragement to lift others up from despair!

Father, I pray Your Words to guard mine: Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, Oh LORD my strength and redeemer. I love You! Amen!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Daily Dose 12-9-12

Joel 1:12-13 (MSG) But there's also this, it's not too late—God's personal Message!—"Come back to me and really mean it! Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!" Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God.
 And here's why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot. This most patient God, extravagant in love, is always ready to cancel catastrophe.

There are some who think their lives are too far-gone to change. They are the way are they, plain and simple, so why try? God’s Word says it’s never too late! As the prophet Joel shares in this beautiful scripture, God is patient, kind and compassionate. He is eagerly waiting for you to give your heart back to Him…no matter how far you have strayed, no matter how forcefully you turned your back! He is waiting with open arms to welcome you home to the shelter of His embrace! There are also those who may not have great sin to repent of, they are just living lukewarm, pew-sitting lives. That’s a dangerous place to be! God puts up with a lot, but this may be one of the toughest to tolerate – those who look good, religious and holy on the outside, but have never truly been in relationship with Him. This must be a reminder of those Pharisees who rejected His Son, subjected Him to ridicule and eventually His cruel death. No matter what your state, today is a new day! Run to Him!

Father, I’ve loved You my whole life, but my life has not always shown it. I come to You in true repentance ready to let go of old junk and start this day fresh! Empower Your Spirit to keep me on track! I love You! Amen

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Daily Dose 12-8-12

Hosea 14:9 (MSG) If you want to live well, make sure you understand all of this.
 If you know what's good for you, you'll learn this inside and out.
 God's paths get you where you want to go. Right-living people walk them easily; wrong-living people are always tripping and stumbling.

The Word of God is not just a mundanee historical document or list of oppressive rules to follow. It is a living and active GPS for life. Does the Garmin of your life continually say, “Recalculating?” We are blessed with technology. One of the greatest advancements is GPS – Global Positioning System. The popular Garmin GPS in automobiles will allow you to input your current location and desired destination. The pleasant (or sometimes irritating) voice will guide you through each turn on your intended route, giving you advanced notice. It’s great! However, if you miss a turn, make a wrong turn, or make a stop along the way, it immediately sends messages to the satellites to find a new course. While it’s plotting your new direction, it repeats, “Recalculating.” God sent the Holy Spirit to be our spiritual Garmins! How often do you put the Holy Spirit to work by willfully making wrong turns, making stops in your spiritual journey, or refusing to make turns God intended for your desired destination? Just like a Garmin, the Holy Spirit will continually “recalculate” our direction if we listen. Ironically, the Garmins have an option. You can turn the voice off. Many times people have technology at their disposal and still get lost because they can’t hear the directions and forget to look! Have you turned off the voice of the Holy Spirit directing your life? Are you charting your own course without the direction from God - the ultimate satellite above? 

Father, Please help me to use Your Word to direct my path. Empower Your Holy Spirit to direct me in Your ways. I love You! Amen

Friday, December 7, 2012

Daily Dose 12-7-12

Psalm 126:5-6 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. 
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, 
will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

As a Song of Ascents, this scripture may have been discussing physical blessings from a planted harvest. But God never intends for analogies to have only a physical interpretation. He wants us to dig deeper to find spiritual meaning. When times are tough, it seems tears are our only release. Whether it’s mourning a great loss, anxiety over an anticipated struggle, or the hurt of rejection or loneliness, God understands each tear. Any farmer will tell you the greatest battle for achieving a great crop is the quality of the soil. Whenever we sow our tears (heartaches and concerns) into the rich soil of God’s Word, seeds will sprout to bring plants of peace. As we endure the tough times, through prayer and trust in God, He will bring us through. The result will be a crop of faith. The stalks will be so high others can’t help but see! The produce from the plants will feed your family to feast on the goodness of God. The abundance will be shared with others sowing tears so they will know God is willing to carry them through. A testimony of seeds of faith sown through trials produces a valuable crop for generations to taste the sweetness of God’s loving provision.

Father, I sow the tears of my concerns in the soil of Your Word. I stand before You in faith that You are my sustainer, comforter and loving giver of peace. I love You. Amen

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Daily Dose 12-6-12

2 John 1:4-6 (MSG) I can't tell you how happy I am to learn that many members of your congregation are diligent in living out the Truth, exactly as commanded by the Father. But permit me a reminder, friends, and this is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love each other. Love means following his commandments, and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love. This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed.

The more you read scripture, the more the common thread is revealed. It’s all about love! We talk about the Old Law as simply one of rules, regulations and sacrifices. However, throughout the Old Testament, God begged His people to return their hearts to Him. Their offerings of burnt sacrifices meant nothing to Him when their hearts weren’t seared with a deep love for Him. The sacrifice of Jesus was meant to do two things: be the ultimate sacrifice, one time, for all mankind to be reconciled to God, and, to demonstrate God’s immense love for us so we can show that love to one another. We have brains and interpret scripture to conduct our lives as closely as we can to what we read. However, God intends for us to use our hearts to put that knowledge into action. It begins by loving our fellow-believers first and genuinely. The idea is that when non-believers see the love we have for one another, they will want to have it as well. How are we doing? Does the love we demonstrate make others long for the love of Christ? Or, does it set Him and His church up for ridicule? 

Father, Let me not profess my love for You without acting in love toward others as You would have me do. Amen

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Daily Dose 12-5-12

1 John 5:19 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

The passages in 1 John 5 discuss the diety of Christ and the power that exists in believing in Him. Because of the sacrifice of Christ, we have every right to approach the throne of God with boldness. Does that mean that God is supposed to serve us by answering any request at our whim? Certainly not! The scriptures prior to this discussed the way our love for God is shown by following His commands. It’s a simple equation: Sacrifice of Christ + Our belief in that sacrifice + Living in obedience = Love for God. Living in obedience does not mean we must be perfect; God knows we cannot attain perfection. Living in obedience is searching scriptures for guidance, and living according to what we learn. When we live in obedience, we will naturally seek God’s will. Those prayers are easy for Him to answer. Where we are often tripped up by satan’s schemes is when we pray for God to answer requests that would seem to be in line with His will and the answer is no. Why is God’s will to answer prayers of healing for some and not others? Why do some answers for provision come quickly for some while others struggle? Why? Why? Why? We can go on and on. The easiest answer is to know if He said no to His own son who begged and pleaded not to go to the cross, there will certainly be times we will experience no as an answer to our prayer. The no Christ received was a yes for the salvation of humanity. We won’t completely understand all of God’s will this side of heaven. But, in time, He will reveal all. Our walk in this life is to work on our equation each day. Live in constant gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ; search the Word to learn more about the will of God and live in obedience to His will. The result will be our love for God and His love shown for us by answering yes to our requests; or, carrying us through the times His answer is no. He always hears and responds.

Father, Help me to be so in tune with Your will that all my requests would be according to Your will. Help me to resist disobedience and show my love for You boldly! Amen

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Daily Dose 12-4-12

1 John 4:20-21 (MSG) If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both.

If we say we are Christians, we must act like it! Acting like a Christian is not about spouting religious rhetoric or sending e-mail and facebook chain messages with, “If you love Jesus, send this…” Acting like a Christian is acting out of love. It is sharing salvation, not to get a notch on our mission belt, but because we truly love others and want them to know God’s loving peace here and an eternity with Him in heaven. Acting like a Christian is loving those we don’t particularly like. When we love enough, liking becomes easier. Generally, we dislike people out of distrust or fear. Prior to this verse, John said, Perfect love drives out fear.” With love, all things are possible, because when we love, we are living God’s plan. Who do you need to show love to today?

Loving Father, No matter how much I profess love for You, it is futile if I don’t show Your love to others. Help me love perfectly. Prick my heart to set aside distrust, prior rejection, my own hurt and simple annoyances. Nourish the seed within me that is planted by Your love. Let it flourish so much in me that I can’t help but love others. When I am consumed with the foliage of Your love, love for others will be my bloom. I love You! Amen

Monday, December 3, 2012

Daily Dose 12-3-12

1 John 3:18-22 (MSG) My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. And friends, once that's taken care of and we're no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we're bold and free before God! We're able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we're doing what he said, doing what pleases him. 

It is hard to truly love others when you can’t love yourself. This Message translation calls this debilitating self-criticism. Older translations refer to it as our hearts condemning us. Our culture has engrained in us the need to strive for self-perfection – perfect body, perfect spouse, perfect job, perfect house, perfect stuff. We begin to see our lack of ability to measure up to that perfection and begin down a slippery slope of despising ourselves. Self-loathing is a cancer that eats away joy and replaces it with bitterness. It consumes our compassion for others and makes us focus on our own hurts and struggles. It nibbles away relationships by bringing strife, jealousy and conflict. When we begin to really love ourselves in a holy, reverent appreciation for the way God intended us to be, God can do great things to us and through us. Loving self the way God intended is not a prideful, it’s all about me, look to my inner self, kind of love. It is a freeing love that allows us to see what God sees as beautiful in the way He created us. Look at yourself through His mirror. Soon you will begin seeing others through His eyes. That is when our lives can be free to be full of joy, compassion, and where fulfilling relationships can flourish. That is when we can reflect the love of Christ.

Father, Help me love myself fully and see me as You created me to be. Help me remember the words You gave me: to love the unlovely and those who reject or disregard my love for them is the ultimate test of how Christ’s love is reflected in me. I love You! Amen

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Daily Dose 12-2-12

1 John 3:4-6 (MSG) All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God's order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They've got him all backward.

When those of us who claim to be Christians read the words “indulging in a sinful life – dangerously lawless” it doesn’t seem applicable. We all know we sin, but we often see our sins as mistakes or slip-ups. What does it look like for a Christian to “indulge” in sin? Look in our churches and you will see it – behaviors and a lack of love that lead to broken and unreconciled relationships, spiritual arrogance, and the disobedience of unbelief. When God says, “Trust Me!” He means it. What does trusting Him look like? We treat one another with love and bear their burdens instead of causing more heartache. We minister and teach with the humility of Christ. We trust God in our trials without fear, grumbling or accusing Him of disregarding us. We live our lives in peace. Read through the Old Testament, especially the scriptures dealing with the exodus from Egypt. The journey from Egypt to the Promised Land was 11 days. However, the hardened hearts, grumbling, discord and unbelief of the Israelites turned 11 days into 40 years of wandering in the desert. Only two of the original travelers saw the Promised Land. What is it that has you wandering in the desert? Do you need to be the one to step forward to restore broken relationships – even if it was not your fault? Do you need to humbly confess to anyone? What negative thoughts and worries have you imprisoned in the disobedience of unbelief? Stop the negative thinking and talking and trust God to deliver you and deliver for you!

Powerful Father, I trust You! Use Your Spirit to prick my heart in areas of sin and unbelief. Give me the courage to follow Your map and stop my desert wanderings! I love You! Amen

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Daily Dose 12-1-12

Psalm 120:1 I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.

There are times in life we see crying out to God as a last resort. That’s fine. He should be our final source of refuge. However, the book of Psalms is about crying out to the LORD in ALL areas of our lives, not just our most desperate times. We need to cry out in praise for no other reason than He is worthy of it. Cry out to Him in thanksgiving for blessings He has given. Cry out for wisdom and courage to do more for His kingdom. Cry out to Him for others who need His protection and love. Just as a mother’s ears are attuned to interpret her child’s cries, our Father turns His ear toward His children and listens. Find some alone time today to cry out to the LORD in a new way…He’s waiting for your call!

Father, You know my desperate cry too well. Today, I will cry out to You in praise. I trust You enough to forgo my request calls today. You know my needs and the needs of those I love. Today, is a day of Praise! I love You! Amen