Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Daily Dose 2-29-12

2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
The Read Through the Bible in a Year Reading Guide does not post scripture for Leap Day. There’s a lesson there! On this leap day, maybe we should focus on the day that will come when we never count days again! What do you need to do to get ready for that trumpet sound? Have you been waiting for a better day to start a commitment to the LORD? Have you been a Christian for years, but never established a real relationship with the LORD? Are you practicing your faith like checking off a to do list? Are there people you love who will be lost for eternity because you haven’t had the courage to be bold with them on the truth about Jesus? Today could be the day…are you ready?
Father of All Time, I come to You today and thank You for another day to serve You. I long for the day of Your Son’s return…sometime’s I focus on it too much and loose site of what You have in store for today. Help me be more purposeful with the time You give me here on earth. May each day I live glorify you! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Daily Dose 2-28-12

Psalm 44:6-8 I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever.

Our battles are a bit different than the fields of war today. But, the source of our victories is the same. We are quick to call on God for help in crisis, but not always as quick to credit Him for the victory. Take some time to list your past battles. Whether they be financial struggles, health crisis, divorce, rejection, loneliness, or a host of other issues – look for God’s Hand of protection or provision in those battles. Record them and praise Him. Share your list with others and give God the glory for your victories. Then, the next time you are faced with a battle, take out the list again. Praise Him for His faithfulness and give Him your sword and bow!

Holy God, Even though I don’t deserve it, You continually fight my battles. Even when I don’t know I am at war, Your protective shield covers me. I give You glory, honor and praise for my past victories; and thank You in advance for future conquests! I love You, Amen
(Repost from 2-28-11)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Daily Dose 2-27-12

Mark 9:2-6 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
Spiritual mountaintops are the best! Those in pursuit of God are promised to find Him. In those times when we find a new level of intimacy, we want to stay put. It is tempting to retreat from the world and enjoy basking in the glow of a transfigured relationship. We may be enjoying time on the mountaintop with strong spiritual mentors – enjoying new blessings for our life or ministry. Use these times to soak in all that God has in store, but realize the real work of a Christ follower is in the valley. When Jesus and His three closest disciples descended from the transfiguration, they were faced with challenges. Those empowered to minister had been rendered ineffective – some believe the other disciples may have been dealing with envy since they weren’t invited to the mountain. There were followers in need of healing. Take advantage of your mountaintops. Let them energize and empower you for the real work you will face as you descend.
God, Thank You for the spiritual mountaintops. I respectfully ask for more soon! While I want the intimacy with You, I also want that time to make me more effective for Your kingdom. Transfigure me! Amen
(Repost from 2-27-11)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Daily Dose 2-26-12

Psalm 42:6-8 (MSG) When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar. Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God's prayer.

If life seems to be crushing you down, praising is a better solution than pouting. Taking the time to pause from self-pity to God-praise accomplishes a great deal. First of all, God is honored. He is worthy of the praise, so give it. Second, we begin to see the size of God vs. the size of our problems. He is big enough to conquer any challenge before us, or support us to get through it all. Third, we find love and comfort. God will never disregard the unbridled praise of His children focused on Him. When we empty our heart and mind of everything but Him, He WILL fill us up!

Father, I love our praise time together! Thank you for loving me back and lifting me up! I’m in awe of You! Amen 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Daily Dose 2-25-12

Psalm 41:1 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.
If you are looking for blessings from the LORD, try blessing someone else. God works in a cyclical manner with His people. He gives to us - we pass to others - they turn to Him - He gives to them…and the cycle goes on. What cycle of God are you impeding? Has He blessed you with shelter and provision, but you fail to meet the needs of the less fortunate? Has He blessed you by giving you close family and friends, yet you never take notice of the lonely and brokenhearted? Has He showered you with forgiveness, yet you hold on to grudges against others? Has He reconciled you to Himself, yet you allow pride of fear stand in the way of reconciling your broken relationships? Has He patiently tolerated your shortcomings, yet you throw up hands of frustration with others? Whatever you are asking of the LORD – stop! Try giving to others what you request of Him. It may surprise you how your needs are met!
Father, I seek Your Hand of blessing. However, instead of asking for Your blessing, I ask You to show me where I need to be a blessing to others. I love You!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Daily Dose 2-24-12

Mark 7:20-23 (MSG) He went on: "It's what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution."
These words of Jesus were pretty blunt. The Pharisees were very concerned about the letter of the Law. However, they had elevated the letter of the Law above the Spirit of the law. Just as Moses came to free the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt, Jesus came to free all people from the bondage – and eventual failure – of Law keeping. Reading through Leviticus you will find detailed instructions on all kinds of ceremonial purifications, sacrifices and feasts. Through generations of teaching and enforcement, the people became pretty good at ritualistic processes. The problem is, they forgot the purpose behind the process. Jesus turned everything they knew upside down by declaring all foods clean. Without this huge section of the Law to consider, they were forced to consider their hearts… a much tougher exercise. Are you more comfortable with law keeping than heart checking? Is it easier for you to check off church attendance and throwing a donation in the collection plate than checking your motives behind your actions? Are you willing to serve in outreach ministry, but tend to judge those you serve? To truly follow Jesus means to love with a pure heart. Your service is worthless if your heart is not engaged. Listen carefully to the thoughts that come to your mind and the words that come out of your mouth. Even though you may not commit “horrible” sins, would Jesus declare you unclean? He came to purify you … let Him - give your whole heart, not just your checked off list!
Purifying Jesus, Clean my heart to know and spew forth Your perfect love. Prick my heart to set aside the unseen sins that lead to judgement of others and bitterness. Thank You for considering me worthy of Your sacrifice. Today is a new day. I give You my whole heart. Amen

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Daily Dose 2-23-12

Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; 
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. 
Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.
What is your slimy pit, mud and mire? When David was writing this Psalm, he had endured many needs for physical rescue. Whether it was defending his sheep from wild animals as a young shepherd boy, or on the run from an angry king, David trusted God. However, someone who goes down in Biblical history as a man after God’s own heart, he was not most concerned with physical rescue. David pursed God with such passion, he was eager to be rescued from spiritual dangers. What is satan using to keep you trapped in muck and mire? Is it unforgiveness, debt, resentment, selfishness, or pride? One of the most effective mud pits satan throws us into is complacency - an apathetic, lackadaisical attitude about the things that break the heart of God. Are you there? Look at your pit, whatever it may be, and cry out to God for rescue!
Father, Too often I get comfortable rolling around in a pit of attitudes that break Your heart. Lift me up and place me on the rock of Your perspective. Give me Your eyes to see where You are working in my world – and the courage to join You!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Daily Dose 2-22-12

Proverbs 10:10 (MSG) An evasive eye is a sign of trouble ahead, but an open, face-to-face meeting results in peace.

The Message version of this nugget of wisdom in Proverbs shows us a starting point for healing conflict in relationships. When we are hurt by others - whether they intended it or not - our behavior toward them changes. We get the evasive eye. We avoid interaction with them. We turn away instead of embrace. We talk to others about our hurt without confronting the source of hurt. We operate under the anthem of, “some things are better left unsaid,” to avoid the tough conversations. We try to sweep emotions under the rug to move on in peace. The problem with that is that emotions and hurts have a way of mushrooming under the rug, causing us to trip on our walk. When we fail to work issues out at the time of conflict, they perpetuate an unending cycle of hurt. The one who unintentionally caused the hurt becomes hurt in the aftermath. Over time, a small misunderstanding leads to a broken relationship. At some point, the divide is so wide it seems impossible to cross. Resolve conflicts quickly, especially among believers. Instead of saying or writing an apology, live it face-to-face. People believe actions of love, not words of intention.  

Father, Forgive me for my part in rug sweeping. Give me Your wisdom to stop talking about healing relationships, and move forward to act in the love of Your Son. I long for Your perfect love. Amen

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Daily Dose 2-21-12

Mark 5:30-34 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Can Jesus feel your faith? The woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years was desperate for healing. She knew her only hope was Jesus. Despite the crowds and her “unclean” status, she pushed through in faith. She knew that even brief contact with Him would be worth the effort. How hard do you work to pursue Christ? We take our accessibility to Christ – and His power – for granted. We don’t need to push through crowds to get to Jesus. More than likely, it is our own busyness that stands in the way. Push through the crowded schedule of your life and reach out to Him in faithful prayer.
Powerful Savior, I desperately need You and the power faith in You can bring. I pray my outstretched faith will be strong enough for You to feel. Amen

(Repost from 2-21-11)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Daily Dose 2-20-12

Mark 5:16-17 (MSG) Those who had seen it told the others what had happened to the demon-possessed man and the pigs. At first they were in awe—and then they were upset, upset over the drowned pigs. They demanded that Jesus leave and not come back.
The Message version of this passage gives us a bit more insight into the hearts of the Gerasenes people. They had endured the destructive and frightening behavior of the demon-possessed man for years. When Jesus healed him by sending the demons into a herd of pigs, the pigs were crazed and ran off a cliff to their death. In front of them now was a man healed and whole, talking calmly with Jesus. At first, the people were amazed and drawn to Jesus. Then, they saw the pig farmer’s loss. A destroyed herd of pigs obviously had a devastating financial impact. What would being near Jesus cost them? Can we relate to their fears? Have we seen the sacrifices others have endured because of their faith – or the faith of others close to them – and we aren’t sure we want to go that far? Do we want Jesus to take care of the bad stuff as long as there is no impact on our current status of life? What’s your herd of pigs? What are you afraid to lose if you truly follow Jesus? Are you so bold as to ask Him to leave; or do you just quietly resist until you no longer hear His call? As Christians, we must stop fearing the cost of following Jesus and look to what is gained when people accept His healing grace of salvation. It’s worth so much more than whatever our herd of pigs may be!
Father, I quickly judge these people in scripture and wonder how they could choose to ask Jesus to leave. Yet, you ask me to takes a step further and discover what my fears are that keep me from following Jesus completely. Open my eyes and show me; give me the courage to make whatever changes I need to make to be closer to Your son. I love You! Amen

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Daily Dose 2-19-12

Mark 4:24-25 (MSG) "Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes."
Following Christ does not always make sense by the world’s standards. The world teaches us to look out for number one to get ahead. We learn phrases like, “It’s not personal. It’s business.” Jesus teaches us that everything in life is personal. How we treat others – especially those underprivileged or under our influence – is a direct reflection of how others see Jesus in us. As followers, we are intended to live generous lives. We are to be consumed with giving, not receiving. So, what does that look like? In our relationships, we love more and are less concerned with how we are loved in return. We worry more about collecting memories instead of creating monetary stuff. We confidently give when we are not sure if we can afford it. We open our eyes to the needs of others as opposed to focusing in on fulfilling our wants. We trust in God’s provision for us as we provide for others. Does it make a lot of sense? Not really. The equation to out-give our bottom line does not balance on the scales of the world; but Jesus came to tip those scales with generosity, grace, mercy and love. As His followers, we should measure up accordingly!
Father, Help me live out what I know in my heart. Get me out of the way in my life so Jesus can be seen in me! I love You! Amen

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Daily Dose 2-18-12

 Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

This is a popular scripture. We love to think of God granting every desire, want, and wish. While God does want to grant our desires, like any good parent, He will only grant what is best for us. The first part of this scripture determines the fulfillment of the last. If we truly take our delights in the LORD, our desires will be easier for our loving Father to fulfill. Delighting in the LORD is characterized by someone who is eager to be with the LORD through His Word, prayer and worship. Someone who delights in the LORD seeks ways to make Him proud. Delighting in the LORD leads to a love relationship with Him. That love relationship leads to a natural desire to want what He wants for you.

Loving Father, You know what’s best for me and how You can best use me for Your glory. Change my heart to seek the desires of Your heart. I adore You! Amen
(Repost from 2-18-12) 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Daily Dose 2-17-12

Mark 3:5-6 He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man, "Hold out your hand." He held it out—it was as good as new! The Pharisees got out as fast as they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod's followers and ruin him.
We don’t often see paintings that reflect the anger of Jesus. We all like to think of Him as only love, joy, peace and compassion. However, you can see in scriptures several instances where His anger was evident. There was always one common source of His anger – those who put religion before relationship. The Pharisees were powerful religious leaders of the day. They dispersed the teachings of the Law, along with a few additional laws to be sure the people didn’t get close to breaking the laws. They had put the enforcement and accountability of how religion should be done ahead of the relationship with God who gave the Law for their benefit, not their burden. Jesus was not popular with religious leaders; nor were they favorites on His list. Jesus came to turn religion on its ear so the people could hear the sound of loving grace and be drawn to that for salvation, and most importantly a personal relationship with Him and His heavenly Father. If Jesus were back on earth in the flesh today, where would you find Him? What would be the source of His anger?
Dear Jesus, My love for You makes me want to elicit the look of joy and compassion in Your eyes. Too often, I fear my actions may be a source of disappointment, or possibly anger. Give me Your eyes to see my world with Your heart. Change my perspective; deepen my relationship, not my religion. I love You Amen 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Daily Dose 2-16-12

Mark 1:40-41 (MSG) A leper came to him, begging on his knees, "If you want to, you can cleanse me." Deeply moved, Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, "I want to. Be clean." Then and there the leprosy was gone, his skin smooth and healthy.
Many of us who have known the LORD a long time have little trouble believing His ability to great things for His people. We know in our hearts and minds the power and strength that raised Jesus from the dead is not dead – it is alive and active today. Often, our faith struggle comes from believing God would use His power on us. Can you relate to the man with leprosy? Do you approach Jesus with, “If You want to?” We know that Jesus knows us too well. We know He is aware of our shortcomings and sins. If you can relate to this man, take a lesson from his boldness. What we see in these verses is his humility and doubt – not in Jesus, but whether or not Jesus would consider him worthy. However, the fact that he was there at all speaks volumes. Leprosy was an alienating disease. Not only was there physical pain and discomfort, but also because of the fear of spread, lepers were banished from society. There were supposed to remain a safe distance from people a yell, “Unclean!” if anyone approached them. Imagine the loneliness this man had endured. He was as starved for an emotional touch as he was for physical healing. Can you relate even more? Have you been abandoned or discounted in relationships? Have you allowed the value – or lack of – others place on you determine your value before Him? If you can relate to this man, gather his courage and boldly go to Jesus with all your hurts, disappointments and rejection. Imagine His hand extending to you saying, “I want to.”  He is ready to do big things in your life whether it’s removing your burdens or helping you carry them. Instead of approaching Him with, “If You will,” try, “I am here because I know You can!”
Dear Jesus, I am lonely at times, but because of you, I am never alone. Thank you for the value You place on me – as unworthy as I may be. Strengthen my faith to be bold and believing in Your best for ME! I love You! Amen

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Daily Dose 2-15-12

Exodus 40: 36-38 In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.
Many of us seeking direction read this passage with a bit of jealousy. What would it be like to look out the window when you wake, to see the cloud moving to tell you it’s time to make a change? We long for physical, tangible signs that show us God’s will and His best direction for our lives. While the Israelites had this powerful sign for direction, they still wandered in the wilderness for forty years with the original generation never seeing the Promised Land. Even with this incredible presence, they were still stubborn and disobedient. Our cloud and pillar of fire is contained in God’s Word. We are blessed to have it within our reach, even at our fingertips on the computer or our phones. Yet, how often do we reference it? Just as the cloud and fire was mysterious, God’s indwelling of His Holy Spirit in us sometimes seems cryptic. Learning to truly hear from God takes practice. When you spend time in the Word and prayer, God is able to be your cloud by day and pillar by night. From experience, we can see when we felt convicted and acted on that conviction, we found peace. When we act in obedience, we see His blessing. When we rebel in defiance, we know His discipline. When we look back at God’s past provisions and directions, we see His direction for the present and promise for the future. Are you looking for direction? Pick up the Word and see the cloud; kneel before Him in submitted prayer and the pillar of fire will be your light. The God that guided the Israelites out of bondage isn’t hiding His direction from you – He’s waiting for you to seek Him!
Father, I look back on my life and see the times I so boldly knew Your direction. Give me Your insight fresh and new. Help me to be still before You so I know where to move with You! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Daily Dose 2-14-12

Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
On this day where love and affection are celebrated as a holiday, remember to share the greatest love story of all. Jesus, God’s son who was with Him in the glory and splendor of heaven, left His side to be born as the humble baby to a carpenter’s family. He grew as a boy and ministered to the needs of the lonely, outcast and forsaken as a man. He endured ridicule and shame as those who followed Him, turned against Him to be crucified as the sacrificial lamb for all of us. He buried out sins with Him in the grave, and arose victoriously, bringing victory to us all for eternity. His request for those of us who have received His gift of salvation? Share His love story with others. Just like teachers for our grade school Valentine parties required each student to bring a valentine for every member of the class, we are to share His heart with a lost world. Give the ultimate valentine today…share the love of Jesus with someone who doesn’t know Him!
Dear Jesus, Thank You for loving me that day and every day. Give me the opportunity and courage to give your message of love with someone else today. I love You! Amen 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Daily Dose 2-13-12

Psalm 34:4-5 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
God knows how crippling fear can be in the lives of His children. He gets it and wants to deliver us from fear. He may not always remove what we are fearful of; but He will walk with us to see us through. When we are facing fear, it’s OK to acknowledge that we are afraid. However, it is when we acknowledge the One in whom we place our trust that bears witness to the power of God’s presence in our lives. David’s mention of a radiant face goes back to the days when Moses would be with God on the mountain. When He came back, His face had to be veiled because He was literally glowing with the presence of God. Oh to be that filled with Him! It is power to change the perspective of our fears. A rule for confrontation with animals is to show no fear. We may be shaking on the inside, but it is dangerous to retreat or tremble. The same holds true for our fearful circumstances in life. Satan uses them to trap us in fear and diminish what God may have in store for us, or others, through facing that trial. Pray up and look up! Approach your greatest challenges with the radiant face of faith, not the crippling face of fear!
Father, You know my greatest struggles and fears. I do have fear; but I choose to look to You for rescue instead of allowing satan to trap me in the fear. I love You! Amen

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Daily Dose 2-12-12

Exodus 34:14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
It’s strange to think of God as jealous. He is the Almighty creator of the Universe; what could we have to offer that He would want us so badly? Have you ever pursued a relationship – either a romantic interest or a desired friendship? You find yourself thinking of the object of your affection in small ways throughout the day. You let them know either through gestures or words you are interested in them.  You find ways to be where you know they will be. If you see them with another where you are not invited, your heart breaks a bit.  If they approach you, you are wiling to drop whatever you are doing to make time for them. God created us in His own image. We learned the relationship pursuit from Him. He thinks of us all the time. He blesses us in amazing ways we often miss each day. He made the grandest gesture of all by giving His Son as a sacrifice so we could come to Him. Despite holding the world in His Hand, His ear is turned to hear our cries for help and shouts of joy. He hovers close to be near us, waiting for our call…how do you respond to His pursuit? Do you compartmentalize areas of your life where He is allowed here, you want Him there, but He is not invited to certain areas? Just like with the Israelites, God is jealous for you. Say yes to His relationship pursuit!
Father, I am overwhelmed to think of You pursuing me – especially since you really know me. I can’t imagine how it must sadden and frustrate you when I spend so much energy trying to validate my worth through the affections of others, when You lavish Your love on me. Forgive me. I invite You to have my whole heart. Amen

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Daily Dose 2-11-12

Exodus 32:2-4 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
There are several lessons we can learn from this story of God’s people. First, we are not patient with God. Instead of waiting on His timing we like to take matters into our own hands…and sometimes worship the result. Is there anything you have taken control of in your life that you now worship the result? Second, we are created to worship. When we take our eyes off of worship to the only One worthy of praise, we worship others – work, possessions, relationships, sports teams…what do you worship? Third, we all have gifts given to us by God for His work – how do we use them? As God was giving Moses instructions on how to build the ark and the tabernacle, He repeatedly said to Moses there were people He had given skills to use for these purposes. In this scripture, we read some of those skills were used to “fashion” this calf to worship. How do you use the gifts and talents God has given you?
Holy One, You are the only One worthy of my worship. Forgive me for the golden calves I have fashioned and tend to bow down to. Help me keep my eyes focused on You and for You. May I use the gifts You have bestowed for Your glory. Amen
(Repost from 2-11-11)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Daily Dose 2-10-12

Psalm 32:9-10 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding 
but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
Are you feeling convicted about an action the LORD wants you to take? Do you feel nudges either through scriptures you read, in your prayer time, reminders throughout the day in circumstances, or through encouragement of other believers? Each time we submit to those nudges or callings from the LORD and step out in faith, we learn to recognize His voice and the guiding of the Spirit in our lives. Each time we discount or disregard what we feel called to do, we quench the Spirit’s ability to convict us. Just like God loves a cheerful giver, He adores one who eagerly steps out in faith! Learn to listen, trust and obey. Your love relationship with the LORD grows a little deeper each time you take a step of faith!
Father, I know Your voice and the Spirit’s direction. Help me to respond with gentle nudges and not have to be forced to act for Your kingdom work. I want to nurture the Spirit’s power to guide my life; not quench it with disobedience or fear. I love You! Amen

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Daily Dose 2-9-12

Matthew 26:36-39 Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, "Stay here while I go over there and pray." Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, "This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me." Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, "My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?"
We read scriptures about praying with faith. We cling to the words Jesus shared about the mustard seed faith that can move mountains. Then, we see this – God’s own son begging and pleading in prayer for God to make another way. He did not want to endure the agony and humiliation of the cross – and certainly not the separation from God that would have to occur. He was facing a mountain and He wanted it moved! Many have called the Lord’s Prayer His model to teach us how to pray. However, no lesson is more significant than this.  Jesus made His will known to God; but His heart was willing to submit to God’s will. Are you praying in faith for something, only to remain disappointed? Instead of pushing Your will before the Father, make your will known, but submit to His plan. Then, ask for His wisdom and strength to help you accept it. You may not ever understand this side of heaven why God said no to your request. Disappointments are tough; but fortunately, we have a Savior who really understands what it’s like for God to say no to a request. Take your disappointments to the cross and ask Jesus to help you move on in the will of God. Count your disappointments as another way to bring you closer to Jesus – He completely gets it!
Father, I hate disappointment, especially when my prayers are for good things and ways I can see to bring You glory. Help me to see that it’s not my place to determine how You will be glorified. It’s my place to glorify You in the disappointments as much, if not more, than in the victories. Help me approach each prayer I lay before You as Jesus did – finding a way to want what You want to be what I want most of all. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Daily Dose 2-8-12

Matthew 26:8-13 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Does Jesus contradict Himself? Just before the woman anointed Him with expensive perfume, He had taught the disciples the importance of giving to the poor and those imprisoned and disadvantaged. How confusing for them to see this very costly action – and see Jesus happy about it! In teaching them to care for the poor, He said they had done it for Him. They were appalled thinking they missed some opportunity. They were looking for ways to check off their “get in good with Jesus” list. What the woman saw was Jesus in front of her and she was overcome by love and adoration for Him. How should this apply to us? We don’t have Jesus, whom we love and adore, sitting physically in our midst. Therefore, to show our love for Him, we care for those He loves. Jesus is the champion for the disadvantaged, poor and brokenhearted. Are you eager to bless them in His name, or do you see it as a waste of valuable resources? We must begin looking at others – even those we deem unworthy – as if they were Jesus Himself in the flesh. What are you willing to sacrifice to bless them/Him?
Father, Open my eyes to how I should serve You by serving others. Help me see suffering through Your eyes and adjust my life accordingly. I love You…help me show it! Amen

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Daily Dose 2-7-12

Matthew 25:24-30 (MSG) 'Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.' "The master was furious. 'That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this "play-it-safe" who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.'
The Message version of this parable of Jesus makes His point rather bluntly. What ways are you “Playing it safe” where He wants you to be bold? So often, we are bold in matters of the world with work and pursuing hobbies or interests – we go all out! The servant used a phrase that many of us may not verbalize, but often feel – “I was afraid I might disappoint you.” Satan uses our insecurities to imprison our talents for Kingdom work. What should you be using boldly for the LORD that you have hidden in fear?
Father, I know there are more ways You intend to use me than I am currently doing. Stop my excuses, point me in Your direction and give me the courage to be bold! I love You! Amen

Monday, February 6, 2012

Daily Dose 2-6-12

Matthew 24:42-44 (MSG) You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up.
It’s easy to be prepared when a date is set. We make our To Do lists and check tasks off in a timely manner that will coincide with the deadline date. If you are a procrastinator, it’s not quite that easy, but even many procrastinators will still make the final deadline. They may not enjoy the process as much, but the deadline is accomplished. The difference with the deadline for Christ’s return is nobody knows when it will be. Those who have made and are checking off items from an Eternity To Do list will have great advantages. First of all, they will enjoy the process of living life on earth much more. They will abide in peace, loving God’s people and working to reach the lost. They will be decorating their eternal home with great treasures. Instead of focusing on the Problem of the Day, they will focus on the Provider of the Day. More importantly, they will be ensuring the lives of many more will be joining them for eternity. So how is your Eternity To Do list? Don’t let the distractions of life steal your joy for Kingdom work. God’s assignments are so much more than items checked off a list…the impact of whether or not you play your part lasts an eternity. Get busy! Today could be HIS day!
Father, Forgive me for getting caught up in the problems of daily life when you want my focus to be living life daily with an eternal perspective. No matter how desperately I long for Your return, remind me Your timing is perfect and I have work You need me to do before that day comes. Help me to love more, serve more and live my life so others want to know You before it’s too late. I love You! Amen

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Daily Dose 2-5-12

Psalm 29:11 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.
This praise promise is one of David’s most beautiful of the Pslams. Life’s burdens and stresses can weigh heavy on us at times. We deal with insecurity, sickness and disease, and mourn over the loss of loved ones and broken relationships. In our materialistic society, we are constantly trying to accumulate more stuff; or, in this economy, hold on to the stuff we have. More importantly, we grieve for those we love whom we fear will never accept salvation. The LORD is aware of the struggles each of us face. What is your struggle today? Take it to the LORD. Ask Him to replace your weakness and worries with strength and peace. He may not take the struggle away, but He WILL help you through it…with Him victory is near!
Father, You are well aware of my struggles. Help me to remember to stop reminding You and live in the peace You want to provide. I pray for Your strength and wisdom to be my guide so I will always find Your peace. I can’t make it without You! I love You! Amen