Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Great Cure

I’ve thought a lot about the words expressed by my college friend in the midst of his pain. When interviewed by a television reporter at Harding University’s memorial for his son, Ty Osman shared, “He didn’t cure cancer or do anything great or huge, he was just kind.” The kindness of young Ty Osman II seemed to reach more people in his brief span on this earth than many do in an extended lifetime. The tributes from Ty’s friends began pouring onto social media sites immediately after the news of his tragic death. There was a common thread – Ty made people feel special. He was proud to be a part of his family and loved spending time with them. He was loyal and uplifting to his closest friends, encouraging them to be the best they could be. He was inclusive and friendly to those who felt lonely, rejected and excluded – he shared smiles and remembered their names. Ty seemed to be an unintended teacher as both young and old expressed learning from him. By his desire to develop a more intimate relationship with Jesus, Ty inspired others to follow his example of daily, intimate time with Jesus. His family continued that legacy by donating hundreds of copies of Ty’s favorite devotional book, Jesus Calling.

I doubt young Ty ever thought his life was incredibly impactful, but we have witnessed the ripple effects. Whether you knew Ty or not, follow his lead. He was stepping in the path of Godly parents who walk behind their Savior Jesus Christ. He had grown to choose that path on his own instead of being instructed to stay on course. The Osman’s learned from Jesus how to value people, no matter what their station in life may be, or what people could do for them in return.

Most of us will never cure cancer or do things great or huge, but we can all bring a cure to a disease that plagues our society, rejection and loneliness. Take some time today to make someone feel special. Don’t worry if you get a positive response or expression of gratitude. Forgive someone who has hurt you and show them what undeserved, unconditional love looks like. As small as acts of kindness may seem, the ripple effects bring cures, they are great – huge!

Daily Dose 3-31-12

Psalm 72:12-14 He will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.
There are times when the most robust and healthy are afflicted; the strong and independent are pitiful and dying inside; the tough and mighty are oppressed and persecuted. We all need deliverance, some more often than others. Always remember when you are being oppressed by someone, there is probably something they need deliverance from. Cry out to the LORD on their behalf and ask Him to provide their deliverance through you!
Father, help me remember that those who break hearts are often heartbroken. Heal my heart so that I may be Your agent to deliver others from their pain. I love You…and them. Amen

Friday, March 30, 2012

Daily Dose 3-30-12

Psalm 71:19-21 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God? 
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more.
Our God does great things. He has the power to relieve every hardship and stop every struggle. But sometimes, He allows us to endure them. We certainly do not understand why at the time. Maybe it is for a person years down the road who will experience the same challenge and needs counsel from someone who has been there. Maybe it is a key factor in building our character. Maybe it is a physical hardship we endure for a spiritual blessing. God does allow suffering, but He will recover and restore. Endure your struggles in faith that God has not forgotten you. Know that He will be with you through the challenges life brings. Lean on Him. He will lift you up!
Father, I want an easier life. But, in comparison to so many, my life is a breeze. More importantly, I want the life You want for me. Open my eyes to Your plan. Lift me up, restore my honor and comfort me with Your love. Amen

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Daily Dose 3-29-12

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.
We like to think of God as all love and comfort. He IS that but He is also just and demands obedience. Rewards follow obedience and discipline follows disobedience. The commands He set before His children were not instituted to control, but for our best interest. Just as a parent punishes a child for trying to touch a hot stove, God will allow us to endure the consequences of our disobedience…not because He wants hardships for us, but because He want the best heart for us! He longs for us to live in blessings from obedience and sometimes it takes living in His discipline from disobedience to get our attention. The root of obedience is loving God. The root of disobedience is loving selfish desires. We look at this scripture and may of us feel safe because we would never bow down and worship a stone or golden idol. Our problem today is that our idols are not so obvious. We place gods on the throne everyday when we choose to prioritize our time with them over time with the one, true God. What are your idols – work, sports teams, family, friendships, church? Yes, even good things can become idols if we place them above God. Focus your love and obedience on Him and enjoy the good things in life under His blessings.
Father, Teach me to love You more so that obedience becomes my first response. Forgive my disobedient, selfish heart and cleanse it with Your love. Amen

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Daily Dose 3-28-12

Luke 8:16-17 No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.
The smallest of lights can overpower utter darkness. A simple match struck in a dark cave can illuminate the way to escape. How much more powerful is the light of Jesus? He came to this dark earth to show us the way to the secure passage for eternal life. He wants our lives to be His light for others as we show them the way. When the light of Jesus is allowed to shine into a situation, things change. Are you willing to expose Him to others through your life? It may take being vulnerable and sharing some dark sins or struggles in your past that the saving power of Christ has brought you through to stand in His light. With some people, your testimony may be the only light of Jesus they are willing to see…let Him shine through you!

Dear Savior, Make me aware of opportunities You put in front of me to be Your light. Shine Your light into the dark places of my heart so they may be forgiven, strengthened and serve as a light to guide others from their own darkness. Thank You for lighting my way. Amen

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Daily Dose 3-27-2012

Psalm 69:5,13-14 You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you. But I pray to you, LORD, in the time of your favor; 
in your great love, O God, 
answer me with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, 
do not let me sink; 
deliver me from those who hate me, 
from the deep waters.
God knows us like no other. He knows every motivation and nuance of the workings of our hearts. He knows why we get stuck in mire and why people would turn against us. He knows why we are often in over our heads. He knows all this…yet He loves. David was not known as a man without sin. He was known as a man after God’s own heart. Start pursuing God and His favor by first acknowledging that He knows our junk and loves You anyway. Pursue His heart with passion and that pursuit will begin to cleanse away the junk. Pursue Him with honesty and strokes of obedience and you will begin swimming through waters that once engulfed you. Pursue Him in love and others will be drawn to you in love.
Loving Abba, You know my heart and know that I am unworthy of your love or the pure love of others…yet You love me anyway. Tune my heart to sing Your praises and pursue You instead of pursuing the love and affection of others. Help me know in faith You provide all I need. I love You. Amen

Monday, March 26, 2012

Daily Dose 3-26-12

Psalm 68:19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

Life is supposed to be easy for Christians, right? We have the Almighty God of the universe watching over us with countless examples in scripture of rescue and victory for those who believe and trust in Him. We recount passages like “I can do all things…If He is for us… If you have faith of a mustard seed…” Through these scriptures we lay hold to the fact that God is God and He can move mountains out of our way. He is still the miracle business. He adores His children and hates to see them suffer. All of that is true, but in the midst of faith life happens. How we react to pain, hurt and disappointment says as much, if not more, about our faith than when we claim scriptures for victory. God doesn’t promise life will always be easy, but He does promise to see us through each little bump in the road, mountain before us, or unspeakable grief. What burden are you bearing today? Know that whatever grieves your heart, breaks the heart of God. He is with you through each trial and carries you through each day. If God is so loving and compassionate, why does He allow His children to suffer? That’s tough to answer. We can’t see the full picture here, but one day all mysteries will be revealed. Believing God is trusting Him to carry your burdens instead of rebelling against Him because burdens come your way. Loving God is turning to Him as your comfort in pain. Honoring God is standing in faith when the storms of life hit hard. What is your burden? Look to Him to help carry your load!

Father, My heart is heavy for those I love who I know trust You, but have unspeakable loss and hardships to endure. I don’t understand why these things happen, but I trust You. In the midst of pain, bring healing. In the midst of sorrow, bring joy. In the midst of struggles, bring relief. While I grieve with and for Your children who are burdened, I realize their pain is not as great as those who do not know You. Therefore, in the midst of lost hearts, bring salvation! I love You…no matter what. Amen

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Are You Building or Imploding?

The implosion of the Amway Arena in Orlando this morning is a great reminder of how long it takes to build, but how quickly we can destroy. Intimate friendships can become estranged acquaintances, strong reputations can become scandals and dreams can become regrets. Are you building today, or planting dynamite for the implosion?

Daily Dose 3-25-12

Deuteronomy 4:29-31 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.
We all know the panic we feel when we need to leave and can’t find the car keys. All other thoughts vanish and the focus is on finding the keys. Not to downplay the importance of finding keys, but why are we able to pursue something so inanimate with such passion? It’s because we have a need. We need our car to get to our appointment…we need to GO! Sometimes, when we are afraid or in desperate need, we pursue God with similar passion. We pray promises of obedience, claim promises of provision, and focus on the end result of what God can provide instead of focusing on God for who He is. To seek God with ALL of our heart and ALL of our soul isn’t an occasional task we perform. It is a way of life. We look for Him in each circumstance everyday. We seek His input. We share our joys and sorrows first with Him. He is the first to know our heart when it is truly seeking Him.
Father, You know the distractions in my heart and soul. Teach me to set aside those things and seek YOU – not just what You can do for me – with ALL of my heart and ALL of my soul. I love You. Amen

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Daily Dose 3-24-12

Luke 6:37-38 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

How do we measure when we give as opposed to how we measure when we get? Our culture has programmed us to want and expect more than we really need. By global standards, most of us are the richest people on earth, even if we are at the lowest socio-economic scale in the country. How do we handle our riches? It’s been said that you can tell a lot about a person’s priority by looking at their checkbook register. That’s probably true. God expects His people to be generous; to give beyond our means. Do we even know what that looks like? Have we ever REALLY sacrificed to help others? Many have…but the majority would have to say no. Some give financially, but are very protective with time. We are taught to be safe in our relationships and establish “boundaries” so that no one takes advantage of us. What boundaries did Jesus establish? Do not judge. Do not condemn. Forgive and give. Look today for opportunities to live within the boundaries Jesus called us to live, and enjoy the freedom and rewards it brings!

Dear Savior, I think, on the whole, I am a giver. But, when I look deeper I know I fall woefully short of what You have intended for me. Open my eyes to see with Your heart. Show me how to give like You! Amen

Friday, March 23, 2012

Daily Dose 3-23-12

Proverbs 11:24-25 One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
It’s easy to list our needs and wants before the LORD. He has the capability to fulfill desires, calm fears, and heal hurts. He can do it all. But, maybe sometimes He would rather see His children doing it for one another. A mother can accomplish tasks for her children all day long, but what gives her most joy? When she sees one of her own willingly protect or serve the other – without being asked or told. Full of motherly pride, she rushes to praise and reward the child who thought of His sibling first. The same is true with our heavenly Father. When He sees unselfish, thoughtful actions, He rewards. When our hearts begin to beat to the tune of His and we see with His eyes, we will meet needs for others instead of focusing on our own issues. It is during that time, God meets the needs of the giver. Look with His eyes for work you may do today. Instead of fretting over your own distress, put it in God’s Hands and look to relieve the distress of another. It may surprise you how quickly your issues find resolution when your own worries aren’t providing fuel to add to their flames.
Father, Like everyone, I have a list of concerns, worries, and desires. Give me the faith to completely put that list in Your capable hands and exchange it for a list of another whose needs I can meet. Show me where You want me to work for You today! Amen

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Daily Dose 3-22-12

Luke 5:18-20 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
Faith is personal and ultimately each individual is responsible for his/her own acceptance or rejection of the Savior. However, in this scripture we see a group of men who knew who their paralyzed friend needed. We don’t have record of what the man thought about coming to Jesus initially, but we know it ended with him leaping and praising God. When Jesus saw the man, he did not comment on his faith, but the faith of his friends. We are sometimes called to be agents of faith in the lives of others. There are times God puts us in lives to be the ones who figure out how to get someone to Jesus. The men took an extra effort to get their friend to the Savior. Is there someone in your life you need to try another way to reach? Continue lifting lost and hurting souls up in prayer. But remember, it may take a bold move on you part to finally get them there.
Father, I know there are lost ones in my life who need You. I know there are hurting brothers and sisters in Christ who need their faith in You strengthened. Open my eyes to what You would have me do to be their agent of faith. Give me courage and insight to find another entrance for them. Amen

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Daily Dose 3-21-12

Luke 5:4-6 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
Jesus changes circumstances. How many ideas for the Kingdom have been squelched because someone says, “We tried that before.” ?Peter, James and John had trolled the waters all night and didn’t catch a thing, but when Jesus said so, their nets were full to the point of sinking the boat. There are times when the Spirit may be ready for a new work in an old plan. Be careful not to quickly say no to an opportunity that may have its timing ordained. In the same vein, we must be careful not to stop something just because it is new. When leaders stay in the Word and in tune with the Spirit through prayer, they’re suggestions may not always make sense. Be in prayer for your spiritual leaders. Ask God to give them discernment to know when Jesus says to try again, or try something new. Ask God to lead their hearts to His fishing spot and join them by casting down your nets!
Guiding Father, Please be with the leaders of your Church. Give them Your discernment and confirmation. Show me where You want me to cast nets with them to work for You. Amen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Daily Dose 3-20-12

Psalm 63:3-5 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. 
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
In our society, do we know what it is like to be fully satisfied? We are programmed to want more…marketers are actually convincing us we NEED or DESERVE more. Accumulation of power, stuff and pleasures is a high priority. When David wrote this Psalm, he was in the desert of Judah, probably on the run from King Saul who was trying to kill him. His prayer was not in fear begging for protection. His prayer was full of praise and professing that he loved God more than his life. All he needed for complete satisfaction was the love of God. Do we love God more than life? Or, do we love the life God can provide?Look to Him for your satisfaction today. He will never leave, He will never disappoint, God’s love truly does satisfy!
Loving Abba, Your love is my greatest possession and gift. Remind me when I come to You with requests and plans, that I have all I need. Let me never long for the love of others more than reveling in the love I have found in You. Amen

Monday, March 19, 2012

Daily Dose 3-19-12

Psalm 62:5-8 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 
My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
The Webster Dictionary offers three definitions for the word hope. All three can describe our walk of faith down the different paths of life. The first is to cherish a desire with anticipation. When our true hope comes from God, it is our desire to look for the ways we can deepen and strengthen our relationship with Him. We cherish our time with Him and anticipate how we may work with Him each day. We hope for an assignment from God that glorifies Him and gives us fulfillment. The second is to desire with expectation of obtainment. This is the hope we have that God is our sustainer, provider, rescuer and constant companion. We expect Him to be our rock when the world around us feels so shaky. We look to Him to receive our honor instead of looking to those around us to find our worth. The third is to expect with confidence, trust. This is where we walk through life with an eternal perspective. We see the big picture of salvation and KNOW it is a sure thing. We find joy in small things and peace in the midst of heartache and trials. Live in hope! Look forward to time with God and building your love relationship with Him. Have no fear of day-to-day worries. And finally, live in peaceful confidence that this life is fleeting and your real home awaits!
Father, You are my hope. I thank You that I can live in the hope and knowledge of Your salvation. Remind me each day that no matter what, You are the One who determines my worth. Thank You for valuing me when I feel so unworthy at times. I love You. Amen

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Daily Dose 3-18-12

Luke 3:7-9 (MSG) When crowds of people came out for baptism because it was the popular thing to do, John exploded: "Brood of snakes! What do you think you're doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to deflect God's judgment? It's your life that must change, not your skin. And don't think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as 'father.' Being a child of Abraham is neither here nor there—children of Abraham are a dime a dozen. God can make children from stones if he wants. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it's deadwood, it goes on the fire."
John was a pretty straight shooter, especially when you read The Message version of this passage. He did not sugar-coat what must happen with repentance – lives must change. True repentance is not just an, “I’m sorry,” statement with a return to the same actions. True repentance is the pivotal moment of change that points us in a new direction. Are you constantly confessing the same sins? Maybe you have not truly repented. God knows there are issues with which we struggle as individuals. A deep-seeded struggle for one is a temptation that would never cross the mind of another. He is patient with us and eager to forgive. The sacrifice of His son was too great to not have the grace from it flow freely. We just need to ensure that we aren’t taking grace for granted. Practice true repentance. Each time old temptations come your way, imagine the cross…choose grace and continue the path you were charted to take when true repentance changed your direction.
Father, Satan knows my weaknesses and constantly pushes those buttons. You know my strengths. Empower me to overcome struggles and live the life of true repentance. The sacrifice of Jesus deserves nothing less from me. I love You! Amen

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Daily Dose 3-17-12

Luke 2:49-52 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
As parents today, we constantly wonder if we are doing the right things when raising the children God has entrusted to our care. Can you imagine the pressure of being parents to the Son of God, the Messiah? Imagine the fear and anxiety Mary and Joseph felt as they thought they had lost Him? What were their conversations like as they discussed His care and instruction? Through it all, Mary treasured each moment. That is a valuable perspective to achieve. Many of the “tasks” God has entrusted to our care cause stress and anxiety. Whether it is parenting, caring for older parents, serving in Church ministries, starting a new ministry, or living a spirit-filled life in a work setting, we need to stop and treasure the eternal benefits of our assignments. We may not be parenting the Messiah, but God always puts opportunities before us to have a kingdom impact….treasure each one.
Father, There is no greater joy I find than knowing You allowed me to participate in one of Your assignments. Don’t let me miss any! Help me to see Your plan in assignments that may seem small or like they don’t come from You. I treasure working for You…assign more! Amen

Friday, March 16, 2012

Daily Dose 3-16-12

Luke 2:33-35 (MSG) Jesus' father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother, “This child marks both the failure and the recovery of many in Israel, A figure misunderstood and contradicted—the pain of a sword-thrust through you—But the rejection will force honesty, as God reveals who they really are.”

Simeon was an old man who had received the promise that he would not die before seeing the Messiah. He followed the leading of the Spirit to the temple and knew this baby would be the One to bring salvation and be a “God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations, and of glory for your people Israel.” This blessing brought great joy to the young parents, but did they truly hear his caution of the pain that would come upon them because of His mission? To witness parents who lose a child is heart-wrenching. The description of a sword thrust through them seems to be fitting. We know the sacrifice Jesus made for our salvation was incomprehensible. However, imaging the pain of Mary and Joseph should also bring us pause. The baby they accepted as a great mission from God was also their precious boy. To watch the rejection, pain and horrific death He endured must have made them question why. Often, the path God has for some is painful. In many cases, it’s as difficult for those who love the one on the mission to witness the pain. Be sensitive to those who are enduring great hardships for the cause of Christ – and also remember those who love them. The biggest question we must ask today is are we doing anything that is really sacrificial for Christ today? If the answer is no, maybe we need to spend some time seeking guidance from the Spirit. Jesus never promised His followers an easy life-quite the contrary. Examine your mission plan and ask God to use you, despite how challenging it may be. The end result will surely be worth the pain!

Father, I know You must have more in mind for me to do for Your Kingdom than I am currently doing. Reveal Your plan, but not without the courage and strength I need to execute. Without You, I would be a miserable failure. I love You! Amen

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Daily Dose 3-15-12

Proverbs 11:12-13 (NLT) It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; 
a sensible person keeps quiet. A gossip goes around telling secrets, 
but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
God’s Word is full of common sense instruction and wisdom to help us live more abundant lives. This scripture in Proverbs is a small section of some of those gems of advice. How we treat people says a lot about who we are. When we are quick to criticize and belittle others, we show that our hearts are full of pride and self-righteous judgment. When we “stir the pot” of controversy through gossip or by betraying a confidence, we show that our hearts beat to the pace of discord. As Christ followers, we need to learn to step back from situations when we are drawn into controversy. We should never shirk from defending Truth, but be very careful satan isn’t luring you into a trap. Many Christians have been baited by satan under the pretense of doing good, only to be handed a spoon to stir a boiling pot that should never have been allowed to simmer. Be careful and remember the one stirring the pot is most likely to get burned!
Father, Forgive me for times I have been baited into controversy that broke Your heart. Give me Your wisdom to be silent when it is not of You, and the courage to speak only what You desire when it is Your timing. Guard my heart and my mouth that spews its contents. Amen

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Daily Dose 3-14-12

Luke 1:37-38 “…For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Have you had a word from the LORD? Has He asked you to do something that seems impossible? We often get caught up in the logistics and realities when trying to fulfill a task from God. We view situations through human eyes and our limited experiences. Faith asks us to put on God glasses and begin to view things from His perspective. Our human insecurities and frailties look and a situation and see all of the challenges. We are somewhat programmed to take a risk management approach, analyze the circumstances and halt the experience. We have a lot to learn from a teenaged girl who had every reason to say no. She faced ridicule and humiliation, yet she rejoiced in her opportunity. Has God invited you to do what seems impossible? Then press on! For nothing is impossible with God!

Faithful God, You are always true to Your Word. I get impatient waiting. I begin to wonder if I was wrong in interpreting Your promise. Give me Your eyes today. Let me see Your possibilities instead of what I see as impossible. Amen

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Daily Dose 3-13-12

Psalm 56:8-11 (NASB) You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle Are they not in Your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, In the LORD, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

God does not intend for us to live in fear. We may not have the physical fears David faced with enemies in hot pursuit, but we are often paralyzed by anxiety and apprehension of life’s struggles. Health issues, financial hardships, relationship struggles and concern for those we love can consume us in fear. God intends for us to turn our fear over to Him and stand strong. He knows when we endure hard times and remains close enough to capture our tears in a bottle and records each one. Please know the God we serve is the same God who gave David victory and comfort in times of great distress. Turn your fear over to Him and let Him work!

Father, Forgive me for the times I worship anxiety and fear instead of turning them over to You, the One who can bring me victory over all! I trust that You are there to protect and comfort me through all struggles. I love You. Amen

Monday, March 12, 2012

Daily Dose 3-12-12

Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

We often want to cast our cares upon the LORD for Him to remove them. We all want an easier life. We can justify that desire by assuring God of how much more effective we could be for the Kingdom if we weren’t distracted by our troubles. It certainly sounds reasonable and convincing! He does have the power to take away every hurt, pain and struggle. It may seem cruel to think that a loving, compassionate God could allow the children who love Him to suffer. However, we are never able to approach such assumptions with the wisdom and omnipotence of God. We are not able to see the BIG picture. God’s promise to sustain us may be the one thing that would bring a lost soul to Him. The lost are sometimes more intrigued by lives who endure hardships with dignity, grace and deep faith, than they are by those who seem to have a “Magic Genie God” who grants all their desires. Other believers who suffer need those they can go to with understanding of an issue from a personal perspective instead of just empathy. Instead of helping us understand why situations occur in or lives, He wants us to show the world the hows… How to live in faith when things seem unfair...How to have compassion for others who are also struggling...How to trust when fear and anxiety want to creep in...How it's OK to tell Him we get angry sometimes...How to smile when all we want to do is cry...How He can be glorified in our weakness and struggles...How the issues we deal with can and will be used in His perfect plan...How one day we will see the front of the tapestry where the beauty of strands woven together form a masterpiece, when all we see now are knots and broken threads on the back.

Oh Wise and Holy Father, I want life to be easier for me, and those I love. But I want more for my heart to be formed to Your plan, no matter what that means to my desires. Mold me, use me. Amen

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Daily Dose 3-11-12

Numbers 15:37-41 The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.’”

Do you use a physical reminder to focus your mind and life to the ways of God? It’s interesting how our society has the plastic bracelets that are used to show support for a cause. The craze was started by Lance Armstrong to raise money for his cancer research foundation. That first yellow bracelet had two simple words – LIVE STRONG. It was a mantra Armstrong used to battle cancer. That same phrase could be utilized by Christians seeking to follow God’s Word. If we constantly remember God’s commands, His past provision and how He desires to work through us, we too could LIVE STRONG! God’s commands are intended for our own good as well as His glory. Remind yourself daily to be obedient and live strong for Him.

Father, There are so many distractions in life. Help me to always remember to filter each situation in my life – no matter how ordinary or mundane – through you expected response. Help me to live obediently in your loving grace. Amen

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Daily Dose 3-10-12

Numbers 14:20-24 The LORD replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

Never underestimate God’s reward and patience for obedience and faithfulness; but also never underestimate His justice that we may be called to endure the consequences for or disobedience and lack of faith. The Israelites had been delivered from 400 years of bondage by the Mighty Hand of God in a powerful way. They witnessed the plagues on Egypt, the parting of the Red sea, the drowning of Pharaoh’s army in that sea and miraculous provision of food from the sky. Yet, when they faced the final challenge to take the land the LORD promised, they were full of fear, complaints and stood ready to stone those who professed God’s ability to give them victory. What “Promised Land” has God set before you? Are you willing to be obedient and faithful to receive it; or, will you remain full of fear and grumbling? Press on! Follow God’s command, stand faithful and take your promised land!

Powerful LORD, Forgive my lack of faith. I never underestimate what You CAN do; but I often underestimate what You WILL do for ME. Give me courage and strength to remain faithful. Amen

Daily Dose 3-9-12

Mark 14:31 & 50 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same….Then everyone deserted him and fled.

In the Upper Room it’s easy to proclaim loyalty and devotion. It’s when the armies of life’s struggles appear that we want to flee. Those of us who have faith in Jesus whom we have never seen in the flesh wonder how his closest companions – those who stood beside Him as He made the lame walk and the dead rise - could desert Him in His hour of need. However, what would those companions say if they saw how easily we turn away from the Savior? Would they question how we could be so distracted by work, busy schedules, entertainment, and even church programming that we forget to spend time with Him in the Word and in prayer? Would they be shocked at what we allow in our presence and even in our homes that goes against His teachings? Would they ask us why we couldn’t stand up for Him when our greatest risk is to be considered politically incorrect? Find your Upper Room time with Jesus. Build your relationship with Him and let Him strengthen you for the fears and temptations that approach you outside your Garden of Gethsemane.

Precious Savior, It’s so easy for me to say how I would have stood by You that night. What You need to see is for me to stand up for You every day. Forgive me for allowing life’s distractions to interfere with my relationship with You. Instead of being distracted by life, help me bring Your life into my daily interactions. Help me make you visible to those whose hearts have never felt Your saving love. Amen

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Daily Dose 3-8-12

Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51 is such a beautiful picture of confession. David had been caught in sin that was extreme. His anguish was not over being caught or the shame it brought to him. His anguish was over the fact that he had sinned against God. He knew His actions broke the heart of the God he passionately pursued. Often, when we confess, we do so in a prideful manner. We look at our sins as our failures or mistakes instead of looking at the results it brings upon the heart of God. True confession comes when we make it about Him and admit before God that what we did crucifies His Son all over again. God wants us to acknowledge and confess our sins; but He doesn’t expect s to live in guilt. Like David, we need to confess – REPENT – and seek restoration. The sacrifice of Jesus is cheapened when we don’t move on from confession and repentance in victory. God is eager to hear or confession when we sin; but He is more excited about the end result of our restoration to Him, learning from or sins, and moving on to get back to His work.

Father, I know my sins break You heart. I come before You and offer sincere confession. Look at the blood of Your Son over me and cleansing my soul to be pure in Your sight. Help me to move on in the restoration and victory that the resurrection of Jesus brings to me new and fresh every day! Amen

(Repost from 3-8-11)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Daily Dose 3-7-12

Numbers 8:22-23 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the LORD’s command they encamped, and at the LORD’s command they set out. They obeyed the LORD’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.

God’s timing is impeccable. It does not always fit in with our fast-food, hurried pace. Sometimes, God says, “Wait.” Oh, to have a cloud above or before us to undoubtedly confirm the difference between His Words of, “Wait or never.” We like definitive answers and confirmed plans. Even though we don’t want to go back to the day of offering animal sacrifices, some of us long for the visible confirmation of God’s commands. It may not be as easy today to interpret, but God still issues commands and calls for obedience. He supplies us with a manual through His Word. Any decisions we make need to be measured up through scripture. If you feel called to a direction that is contrary to God’s commands or examples provided through scripture, it’s safe to assume, that is not the cloud of God calling you. The hard part comes when You have a great desire for a work or a passion for God, that does line up with scripture. You feel His confirmation through the Holy Spirit in prayer. You have confirmation from those praying for you. Yet, the opportunity is not yet available…God is saying, “Wait.” Often, it’s how we respond in the waiting that determines how rich the reward will be in the end. God wants us to be fully equipped and fully prepared for His best opportunity. To launch before Him, give up in impatience, or lag behind when He says go will never meet the true fulfillment of His work in you, with you and through you. Stay close in His Word and in the Holy Spirit through prayer. Practice listening! The more you learn to interpret the nudges of God in the little things, the easier it will be to interpret His answers in the BIG decisions of life.

Maker of all Time, Help me to be obedient in waiting. Open my eyes to the lessons and preparations You have for me during the wait…don’t let me miss a thing! I love You and want desperately to follow Your timing. Tune my heart to live to the beat of Yours. Amen

(Repost from 3-7-11)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Daily Dose 3-6-12

Mark 12:41-44 (MSG) Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, "The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford—she gave her all."

Generosity is a natural trait for a Christ Follower. The path He showed us is one of sacrifice that comes from love. Sacrifice born from a sense of duty or guilt is futile. However, some have learned the blessings of giving when they attempt a faith offering for the first time. God has a way of multiplying what we give when we trust Him enough to let go. The sacrifice Jesus expects of us is not just monetary contributions. Some write checks freely, but struggle with investing their time to serve people. When we take the time to really look at others, the Holy Spirit will reveal their needs to us. We then have a choice. Do we walk away? Or, do we follow Christ to be a comfort for the grieving, a champion for the broken, or a friend to the lonely. What sacrifice is Jesus waiting for you to make today?

Father, Show me how to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world. Multiply my sacrifice to serve You. I love You! Amen

Monday, March 5, 2012

Daily Dose 3-5-12

Mark 12:28-31 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The way we love is a litmus test for our status as Christ followers as opposed to people committed to religion. It’s easy to say we love God. However, the ultimate demonstration of our love for Him is seen by how we love others. Jesus laid these two laws as the foundations for following Him because if we truly love God and love others, everything else we need to do will fall in line. It’s a domino reaction. Our love for God helps us to attain a healthy love of ourselves. We see ourselves through His heart and it tints our view of how we see others. When we begin to perfect our love, we see possibilities instead of shortcomings; we emphasize strengths instead focusing on weaknesses; we have compassion instead of criticism; we include instead of isolate. How are you loving others? It will speak volumes about how much you truly love God…and yourself.
Loving Father, Help me to get it right. Always remind me that You and Your son choose to love me even when I am most unlovable. Let my heart be softened to love You more everyday – so much so that it overflows to ALL those around me – not just those I find it easy to love. Amen

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Daily Dose 3-4-12

 John 11:35 Jesus Wept.

This, the shortest verse in the Bible, speaks volumes about our Savior. Our hurts break His heart. Some may wonder why He wept when He knew He was going to bring Lazarus back to life. Why didn’t He rush in and say, “Don’t be sad. Don’t worry…I got this under control”? Maybe it’s because Jesus is with us in life’s moments. He saw their grief and He grieved for and with them. He didn’t offer solutions, quote scriptures, or search for eloquent words. He simply wept with them. Jesus teaches us the importance of just being present with people who are hurting. In tragedies so great, there is truly nothing you can say or do to remove the pain or take away the grief. The best words you can speak are those uttered in prayer to the only One who can provide true comfort. Be present and be prayerful.

Father, My heart is broken for those I love who are suffering unspeakable loss. I know You love them more than I can imagine. Be close to them. Lift them up. Fill the cracks of their broken hearts with precious memories and new joys You will bring to their lives. I love You. Amen

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Daily Dose 3-2-12

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Fear and anxiety should have no place in the heart of a Christian. When we live in pursuit of God’s heart, we know the powerful creator of the universe is the gentle Father who adores us. Just as a little child runs to the arms of her father for security, calming and comfort, we too have a Father eager to scoop us up in His arms and protect, soothe and love us through whatever challenges we face. When we are riddled with fear and anxiety in or hearts, we cannot freely run to our Father God with our whole heart, mind and spirit. What is it that keeps your heart in the bondage of fear and anxiety? Is it financial struggles, health issues, family concerns, work stress, rejection, loneliness, or grief? Know that your loving Father is eager to wrap you in His arms. He will strengthen, sustain and protect you. Break the shackles or fear and anxiety and freely run to your Daddy!
My Dear Abba, There are times I say I have no other place to go but to You. Forgive me! You should be the FIRST place I go. Unlock the chains of fear and anxiety so I may freely pursue you. Amen

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Daily Dose 3-1-12

Mark 10:17-22 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Most of us call this man the rich young ruler. We often dismiss the personal application of this parable if we don’t consider ourselves wealthy. The personal application really has nothing to do with wealth. Jesus just knew that was this man’s issue. He loved his “things” and probably the convenience, luxury and power that came with them. If you saw Jesus face-to-face and asked Him this question, He may do as He did with this man and list a few of the things you have under control and in perspective. Just as you begin to feel pretty good, what would He ask you to sacrifice to be a true follower? What is it that you really put in front of following Him? Do you accomplish all the visible signs of religion, yet miss the relationship with Him? Do you place relationships with family and friends above Him? You may not consider yourself wealthy, but in the worldwide perspective, you probably are. Do you focus so much on work to live at a standard of living that could be reduced and give you more time and attention to truly follow Him in Kingdom work? Do you allow judgment and unforgiveness to skew your “Jesus view” of others? What is it that stands between you and being a true follower of Jesus?

Dear Jesus, Help me to see what’s in my way and give me the courage to move it aside. I love You! Amen