Saturday, June 30, 2012

Daily Dose 6-30-12

Acts 20:22-24 And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Paul faced as many hardships for the cause of Christ as others endured at his hand as he tried to prevent the spread of Christ’s message. He persevered despite shipwrecks, beatings and imprisonment. He was close enough to God to discern what seemed to be conflicting messages from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit compelled him to go to Jerusalem, yet warned him that he would face many hardships including the possible loss of his life. Have you felt compelled by the Spirit to do something for the cause of Christ that was later dismissed because of the risk? Think of Paul, pray for the same discernment he had, and be bold! Paul faced beating, imprisonment and death. Often, the biggest obstacle we face is tripping over our pride as we face rejection or ridicule.
Father, I want to do what You intend for me to do to further Your Kingdom. Give me discernment to know how to be most effective and back it up by giving me the courage to follow through. I love you! Amen

Friday, June 29, 2012

Daily Dose 6-29-12

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
There are times when the battles of life leave us beaten, scarred and brokenhearted. If we take our pain to His throne, our Father takes us in His lap and lovingly begins to dress our wounds. He calms our whimpering spirits with His gentle touch and sings over us to comfort. He slowly and methodically addresses each hurt until it is only a battle scar to remind us of His love; and how to help another who may experience the same injury. We often want to run away from Him when we need Him most. We are angry that He did not answer our prayer the way we wanted, or that He allowed us to endure the hardship to begin with. That is when we run the danger of infection of our souls. Without the healing touch of the Father, our wounds fester and harden our hearts. Instead of our scars being used to bring healing to others, we inflict further pain. Take your hurt to the throne. Jesus has opened the way for you to enter and receive the care of the Father.
Great Physician, There are many brokenhearted souls around me now. I beg for You to draw them close and begin Your process to mend their broken heart and dress their wounds with Your love. Use me as Your assistant however I may join You. I love You! Amen

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Daily Dose 6-28-12

Psalm 146:6-9 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. 
The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, 
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
It is refreshing to read through the Psalms and be reminded of what unbridled praise and complete faith sounds like. Once we acknowledge who God is and the power He has at His disposal, we can begin to harness that power through faith. We so often limit what God can do and is willing to do by limiting who we think He is and how much He loves and cares for us. Take God out of the convenient box you have Him packaged in. Renew your faith in His power and call upon Him to intercede for you and those you love who are suffering. The sacrifice of Jesus gives us an unlimited, all-access pass to the throne. How often do you REALLY use it? Get on Your knees, and let God work!
Father, I am overwhelmed with so many prayer needs for those I love who are in the midst of trials and suffering. I refocus my prayers to praise You and completely acknowledge Your power and control over every situation, Show Yourself mighty among Your people! I love You! Amen

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daily Dose 6-27-12

Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
It’s hard for us to fully comprehend the attributes of God. It is not easy for us to imitate His reactions. Instead of following His example of extending grace and drawing near to those who disregard or betray; we are more likely to harbor resentment and avoid them. Instead of showing great compassion for those struggling and suffering; we are often quick to judge them for their actions that may have led to their circumstances. Instead of holding our emotions at bay when times are contentious; we fan the flame of anger inside and we lash out causing even more harm. Where He is rich in love; we are often content living below the poverty level, showing love only to those who love us. God doesn’t expect perfection from us in these matters, but He does intend for us to continuously improve along the way. How are you doing? Will you be more gracious today than yesterday? Can you look for peace today instead of fanning the flames of anger? Can you invest in loving the unlovely or those who reject or disregard your love? The pay-offs will reap great returns!
Father, It’s easy for me to say I want to be more like You and Your son, but it’s much harder to execute than articulate. Use Your Holy Spirit within me to quickly convict me to stay on Your track instead of my own! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Daily Dose 6-26-12

Psalm 144:1 Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
As a warrior king, David fought many physical battles. He knew his source of strength and readiness came from the LORD, not from his own wisdom and preparation. Most of us today do not fight on physical battlefields, but every day we are on the front lines as war in the heavenly realms is waged for the prize of our hearts and the devotion of our thoughts. Satan does all he can to tempt and distract us away from God’s work. The sad part is, he doesn’t always have to work too hard. We allow ourselves to become engulfed in the busyness of this life that we forget that we are here for a greater purpose than accomplishing what’s on our “to do” list. Are you in God’s Word, which is His battle plan to help us fight this war for our hearts? Are your fingers quick and agile to fold in prayer and extend in praise as a warrior ready to release his bow on the enemy? You are a weapon in God’s battle for winning the hearts of His people. Put on your spiritual armor and fight the good fight! Don’t allow satan a victory over your heart and actions today!
Father, I confess I am not always prepared for this battle. I am sorry for the times I have handed satan the victory without him having to put up a fight. Prick my heart today to be a valiant warrior today. Let me see my assignments and rush to the front lines. I have my armor on! I love You! Amen

Monday, June 25, 2012

Daily Dose 6-25-12

Acts 16:25-30 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Do the worries and hardships of life have you shackled in a prison of misery? PRAISE! Paul and Silas had every reason to be fearful, miserable and angry at God and those who imprisoned them. Instead, they chose to praise. As a result, prisoners were comforted, they were released from their shackles and prison, and entire household received salvation. What would happen to you and those around you if you began praising in your prison?
Freeing Father, Prick my heart to praise instead of pout when life doesn’t go my way. Let my praises free me from my self-imposed shackles and lead others to the joy of Your salvation. I love You! Amen

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Daily Dose 6-24-12

2 Kings 6:15-17 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
We hear a lot about the spiritual warfare satan wages against us. But, how often do we think about the spiritual warfare waged on our behalf? Just as God sent an army of spiritual warriors to assist Elisha, we too have access to assistance in the heavenly realms. Our prayer and time spent in the Word is the battle cry that rallies them to our frontlines! Do you feel attacked by satan’s warfare? Call in the troops! They are waiting for your orders to execute God's battle plan!
Holy One, I confess I have limited Your forces for me by not spending enough time with You. I want access to every warrior You have to fight for me, my family and friends, and my church as we each come against satan’s schemes. Open the eyes of my heart so I may know You are at work! Never let me underestimate what You are willing to do on my behalf and for those I love. I love You! Amen

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Daily Dose 6-23-12

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.
What a powerful instrument of God our words can be! They can bring encouragement and healing to struggling and broken hearts. Our words can minister to lost souls by sharing the words of Christ. We have the capacity to show love, bring laughter, and impart wisdom from this seemingly simple portion of the complex human anatomy. On the other hand, our words can be instruments of satan’s spiritual warfare. With a spoken judgment, we can condemn the lost by turning them away from the message of Christ. With expressions of opinion that leads to discord of God’s people, the tongue can be satan’s powerful sword. Harsh words spoken to one struggling with issues in life can further crush an already fragile spirit. What about words never spoken? There are lonely souls who long to share conversation and be included in the lives of others. There are struggling souls who are weary from life who need encouragement. Ask God to allow your words to be His instrument today. Think about what you say and how you say it. Use your words to encourage and lift up the broken, and share the hope of salvation with the lost. Ask the Holy Spirit to hold your tongue when your words would be divisive, hurtful or just plain useless. Think of someone who is longing to speak with another today and take the time to let them share their words with you. The choice is yours…how will you use your powerful instrument today?
Father, Please take control of my tongue! May I speak Your words of comfort, encouragement and healing today. Protect me from words I may want to speak, but could bring harm or have no usefulness for Your Kingdom. I love You! Amen

Friday, June 22, 2012

Daily Dose 6-22-12

Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
There are times in life when we feel like or spirits are crushed. Loss, disappointments, rejection, hardships, and suffering lead us to feel as though there is no point. This scripture points us to the way to heal our crushed spirits. Often, the hard times become harder when we dwell on their negatives. We need to learn to look at the positives in the difficult times. Be thankful and offer praise for what is good. Learn to find joy in the midst of adversity. It’s not easy at first, but the more it is practiced, the more you realize it works! You have a choice. You can live with a focus on the negatives of your hardships; or focus on the positives despite your hardships. Which will you choose today?
Father, Life can be tough at times. Yet, when I am closest to You is when I can see the positives that lie in and amidst the negatives. Keep my mind and my heart focused on what is good, and use that perspective to overcome the bad. Thank You for the fresh start every morning to try again! I love You! Amen

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Daily Dose 6-21-12

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Prior to these verses in this Psalm, David acknowledged that God knew everything about him, inside and out. He eloquently stated how God formed him in his mother’s womb and there was nowhere he could go that God would not be there, see him and know his heart. So why would he end this Psalm by asking God to search his heart? There is a difference in knowing God is omnipotent - even with your most secret thoughts - and giving Him authority to search your heart and reveal His findings to you. So often, we live in a paralyzing fear of what God knows about us. David’s words encourage us to operate productively in the healthy fear of God that can free us from our own shackles of rebellion, anxiety and grief. Acknowledge God knows your heart better than you do and loves you immensely despite what He may see! Give Him the authority and permission to take corrective measures in the matters of your heart…look at what He is trying to form in you now and sit as clay on the Great Potter’s wheel!
Father, You know the areas of my heart that need Your work. I give You permission and authority to create a new heart in me! Mold and shape me to what You desire and need to be able to use me for your Kingdom. Open my eyes to see what You are doing so I can know it is of You and work with You instead of trying to jump out of Your loving hands! I love You! Amen

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daily Dose 6-20-12

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
What is a true friend? We amass a list of hundreds of facebook friends. We have friends from childhood, friends from college, friends from church, friends from work, colleagues we call friends and people we’ve just met that we are eager to call friend. But how many of those friends know us well enough to love us at all times? The ones you can truly count as friends are the ones who know you well enough to know your strengths, shortcomings, and hurts. They sense your needs before asking. They think of you and make time to see or talk to you in the busyness of life. They find time to laugh with you. They don’t have to be told when you are in crisis – they know because they are doing life with you. The really special friends are the ones who know the worst about you, have endured conflict with you – and still love at all times. Those friends are rare and a gift from the hand of God. Pray over them and protect those relationships!
Abba, Thank You for always being my Father, but also my truest friend. Thank You for providing people in my life through the years who have been and remain true friends. I pray for protection and strengthening of those relationships. Thank You for healing my heart when I have realized those I thought were true friends, actually were not. I pray for restoration of those relationships if it is Your will, and the ability to love them how You want me to if not. You are my best friend and I adore You! Amen

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Daily Dose 6-19-12

Proverbs 17:14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
Sometimes, it’s OK not to prove your point. Arguments usually only bring conflict and pain instead of promoting peace. We are called to speak up and defend the truth. But too often, we use the pretense of being bold for truth to prove a point for our own pride. Before you step up to speak out about something that could lead to conflict, spend time in prayer, fasting and in the Word. Check your motives and your heart. Ask God to intervene in a way that would bring resolution and peace instead of an argument.
Father, You know I like to be right in points of contention. Soften my heart to desire only to be right with You. I love You. Amen

Monday, June 18, 2012

Daily Dose 6-18-12

Acts 12:11-16 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.
Peter’s friends had all gathered praying intensely for his rescue. God heard those prayers and sent an angel to release Peter from prison. However, when Peter knocked, they hesitated to open the door, not believing their prayers were answered. God always answers our prayers! It may not be how we think it will look, or even the answer we desired. What answers to prayers are knocking at your door that you refuse to believe?
Loving Father, Thank You for always listening attentively to my prayers. I confess that sometimes I do wonder if you hear or if you are answering. Open my eyes to see what You are doing. Open my heart to accept your answers – even if they are not what I want them to be. Help me to know that You always have my best interest in mind. I love You! Amen

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daily Dose 6-17-12

Psalm 135:3 Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.
In a world full of suffering, dissention and overall ungodly behavior, we could all use a little more pleasant in our days! Intimate time of praise where you are alone with the LORD and giving Him the unbridled offering of your adoration accomplishes many things. It unleashes power for the battle fought in the heavenlies on your behalf. It puts satan on guard that your heart is spoken for. It touches the heart of Almighty God! There are many gifts you receive in praise; but isn’t it nice to think that if nothing else came of it – all was pleasant for a time?
Holy One, All glory, honor and power are Yours! With Your hands You powerfully formed the mountains and seas as well as the intricate blooms of flowers. With Your heart You loved me enough to send Your son so that I may be home with You in eternity. Even though I will never be worthy, my heart longs to please You. You are my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. I love You more than words can express…Amen

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Daily Dose 6-16-12

Proverbs 17:9 Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
The love God wants us to have for one another is contrary to most of our basic human tendencies. In our flesh, we want to tell others when someone has hurt or offended us, or those we care about. We want to rally the troops against the offender. In doing so, we cause division and break relationships. God mourns. If we live by the Spirit and the love God desires, we go to the offender and work the issue out together. They make the offense right, we love, forgive, and move on. If they do not want to make the offense right, we are still obligated love, forgive and move on. In our human thought process, moving on means avoiding that person. God mourns. If we live in the Spirit of love God desires, we allow Christ’s loving forgiveness for us to cover the offense and love the offender, remaining in relationship with them. God rejoices! Who are you? Are you the offender who refuses to make things right to easily restore relationships? Or, are you the offended one who harbors the hurt, and continues to keep the offense in your heart and stirred up among mutual friends? If you are the latter, know that God mourns over your actions. Repent – whether they do or not – and begin to look at your offender with Jesus glasses. Know the sacrificial blood that covers all your offenses covers them as well. Restore relationships, moving on in love. God will rejoice!
Forgiving Father, It’s easy to say I can forgive and move on; but You call me to forgive and move on in love. Show me how You want me to restore relationships with those who don’t seem to care if the relationship is restored or not. Show me how You intend for me to respond; and soften my heart to be obedient to Your call for love. I want my actions to cause You to rejoice! I love You. Amen

Friday, June 15, 2012

Daily Dose 6-15-12

Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
God’s commandments all have consequences. We often discuss the consequences we may endure for disobedience; but, what about the consequences that result from obedience? This scripture shares a description of what life is like when Christians heed the command of unity – good and pleasant. This description sounds like peace…no drama! Is your church constantly battling “issues” that draw energy away from the mission of reaching the lost and serving the broken? Then maybe there is a unity problem. Good and pleasant may not sound exciting, but it is the peaceful foundation God expects His people to use to build upon for His Kingdom. If you church seems disjointed and un-unified, prayerfully consider your role. Be part of the solution to restoring unity among His people!
Father, Give me Your Spirit and insight to guide me to play whatever role You intend to repair broken relationships that will restore unity among Your people. May I never be a source of division, but an agent of Your healing love. I love You! Amen

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Daily Dose 6-14-12

Acts 9:26-31 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
The apostles had every right to be afraid of Saul. They witnessed his cruel persecution of Christians. Gripped by fear, they could not trust his conversion. But Barnabas was bold. He saw the change in Saul’s heart and knew it was of God…he knew Saul had seen Jesus. Who do you most relate to in this story? Are you Saul? Have you been completely changed by an encounter with Jesus? Are you struggling to get people to see you differently? Are you like the apostles, looking skeptically at a brother or sister who claims salvation you may think they don’t deserve? Or, are you like Barnabas, one who boldly defends and encourages those who have made life changes because of Christ? As a result of Barnabas’ support of Saul, the apostles believed him and helped him begin his ministry. As a result of Saul’s new ministry for Christ, the church knew peace and grew throughout new lands. If people were talking about your life since meeting Christ, what testimony about you would come after the words as a result…?
Dear Father, I must confess there is not enough that can be said about me as a result of what You have done for me. Help me to see the role You intended for me to play as a result of my salvation. Give me the awareness and courage to accept that role and bring Your goals to fruition. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daily Dose 6-13-12

Acts 9:13-15 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.
God does not always choose the most predictable ones to do specific work for His Kingdom. Saul had killed and persecuted those who believed in Jesus as the Messiah – especially Jews who believed in Jesus. But God knew that a heart that was so passionately wired to destroy in His name could also be changed to build up the name of His son. Can you imagine how scary God’s command to go to Saul was to Ananias? He was probably in hiding knowing Saul was coming to town. Sometimes God calls upon us to look at His potential in people rather than what we see with our own eyes. Are you afraid of the rejection or ridicule? Have you judged some unworthy of the saving message of the love of Christ? Have you automatically assumed they won’t listen? When you are afraid to share, think of Ananias. No one had more to loose in sharing the Gospel – but look at the souls won for Christ as a result! Ask God to open your eyes to a game-changer for the Kingdom who doesn’t look like a “Good Christian” should look. Take courage and share – they could be your Saul!
Heart Changer, Remove judgment and first impressions from my heart. Let me see Your potential in people and guide me to be obedient to You. I want to see a Saul become a Paul for Your Kingdom! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Daily Dose 6-12-12

Psalm 130:3-4 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
There is a difference in God forgetting our sins and not holding a record of them. God is omnipotent, knowing all means He is fully aware of our sins, past and present. He simply chooses not to hold them against us. The sacrifice of His son covers it all! God’s grace is rich toward His children. In His justice, we may still endure consequences from our sin, but we never face those consequences alone. Our actions from the realization of this generous forgiveness should lead us to unbridled worship of God and diligent service to further His kingdom. How are you responding to the lavish grace of God?
Forgiving Father, There is no way I could ever come out from under the weight of my sin without the sacrifice of Jesus and the generosity of Your grace. May I never take it for granted. Prick my heart to serve You with the same loving Spirit by which You forgive my sins. I love You! Amen

Monday, June 11, 2012

Daily Dose 6-11-12

Acts 7:51 You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!
Stephen’s sermon that day was bold – so bold it led to his death when the crowd stoned him. What would you do with Stephen’s message had you been there? It’s so easy to stand in judgment of those who persecuted Jesus and His followers. But, their message still rings clear to us today. When the Holy Spirit nudges us toward obedience, do we resist and rebel? When the Holy Spirit nudges us to be convicted of sin, do we dig our heels in with justification? When the Holy Spirit nudges us to forgive, do we insist on wallowing in our hurt and resentment? If so, STOP! Listen to the Holy Spirit and obey!
Father, Please use Your Holy Spirit to nudge me to Your will. Tune the ears of my spirit to hear and soften my heart to respond in obedience. I love You! Amen

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Daily Dose 6-10-12

Proverbs 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.
How is it we go from this scripture to the current society philosophy that stress and difficulties bring gray hair? Why is it we view gray hair as something to be colored over instead of proudly displayed as a crown? Does this scripture mean those who experience premature gray are more righteous than others? Is this Proverb of King Solomon to be interpreted so literally? While that answer may not be clear, it demonstrates how differently our society views life in contrast to scripture at times. In Solomon’s day, age and the wisdom that it brings, was respected and revered. In our generation, age is something that produces billion-dollar industries as we try to avoid the appearance of aging. One thing that is abundantly clear in scripture is God intends for us to make the most of each day and each moment we have on earth. We are to learn from each experience that brings a gray hair – whether it is a trial or a spiritual mountaintop. We are to use our experiences to uplift and encourage others to persevere in righteousness. Don’t waste time fretting over whether or not this scripture implies coloring your hair is wrong – look at the heart of the message! Know that as we age walking righteously with the LORD, we gain experience and wisdom along the way – THAT is something that should never be colored over – embrace it and use it to glorify Him!
Father, I’m not crazy about the physical changes that aging brings, but Oh how I cherish the spiritual perspective! It is so much easier to face difficulties as I look back –through many hair colors – and know You were by my side through it all. May I never waste an experience You intended to be used for Your glory! Amen

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Daily Dose 6-9-12

Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. 
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
God has bestowed some pretty amazing gifts among His people. So much so, that sometimes we forget that those gifts were given with a Kingdom purpose in mind. Are you using your gifts and abilities to further God’s purposes or your own? If it’s just about you and for you, chances are you will never find contentment. Look at what you do today through the heart of God’s Kingdom filter. Find ways to impact the Kingdom in what you do. Look at co-workers as God may see them and meet their needs. Look at those who challenge your capacity for love and patience as if they were the only ones Christ died for. This life is too short to invest only in self. Think of the dividends that will be paid in eternity and be sure your portfolio is diverse and well funded!
Giving Father, Please help me remember my gifts are all about You – none for me. Show me how to approach each moment the way You intended. I’m tired of wasting Your talents and Your time. I love You! Amen

Friday, June 8, 2012

Daily Dose 6-8-12

Psalm 126:5 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
The soil of God’s heart is fertile ground for a harvest of joy. He is full of compassion and loves to have His children come to Him when life’s burdens are too much to bear. Take your weary, broken heart before the LORD. Sow the seeds of your tears with Him. He will gently cover them with His love and water them with the sweat and blood of His Son’s sacrifice for you. Waiting obediently on Him, you will begin to see sprouts of peace. The situation causing your heartbreak may never change, but the Great Gardener will produce a crop of peace, joy, and victory from the anguish.
Loving Father, I can’t fully comprehend Your love for me, but I know I am hopeless without the ability to come to You when my heart is broken. Thank You for growing my tears into joy. I love You. Amen

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Daily Dose 6-7-12

Acts 5:40-42 They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
We have become so accustomed to the freedoms we have to worship God that we are horrified to think about persecution for proclaiming Christ. After being flogged, the apostles left rejoicing. Rejoicing? Is that how we would respond? Most of us cannot comprehend it. Amidst all our freedoms, we excuse our timidity to proclaim Christ under the guise of being politically correct. Did the apostles conform to be politically correct? What do we risk for the Name? Do our actions make us worthy of suffering, or is that joy we choose to do without?
Father, I confess that I do not rejoice at the thought of suffering for the Name of Christ. Thank You for the freedoms I have to proclaim Christ without fear. Show me how to use that freedom for the Kingdom instead of hiding behind its comforts. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Daily Dose 6-6-12

Acts 4:32-35 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
The last prayer of Jesus while on earth was for unity. The early Church got it…at least for a while. What would it look like if Churches across this great nation were of one heart and mind? Ok, that may be too big of a dream. Break it down to your community. What would it look like if all believers operated with one heart and mind? Still too big? What if your individual Church began operating as one heart and mind? The results could be astounding. Our congregations should be the personification of love, mutual support and unity that draws unbelievers to the cross. Far too often, that is not the case. Pride, exclusivity, busyness and a lack of genuine love infiltrate the Church, diminishing its kingdom effectiveness. What role do you play toward unity in your church? Are you part of the answer to Christ’s prayer, or are your actions bringing discord He prayed against?
Father, Show me how to love to become a part of the solution You long to see. I love You! Amen

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Daily Dose 6-5-12

2 Samuel 24:24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
What kind of offerings do we make to the LORD today? Do we throw a few dollars in the plate out of habit or to relieve some guilt, or do we truly sacrifice in order to please Him? There are times God asks us to sacrifice time; that is when we become financially generous. We would rather throw money at a problem than get our hands dirty in service. There are times when God asks us to sacrifice our pride and concede on an argument of preference; it’s then that we become vigilant for the cause. When God asks for our vigilance, to take a stand; we claim peace and humility, becoming politically correct. When will we rise above giving God what we want Him to have versus what He requires of us?
Father, I know my sacrifices often fall into convenient giving. Give me Your eyes to see what You require of me beyond what I currently give. Prick my heart to know what is Your desire versus what I am comfortable giving. I love You Amen

Monday, June 4, 2012

Daily Dose 6-4-12

2 Samuel 21:37 You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.
Sometimes life can be like hiking along a narrow, rocky path. No matter where you step there are stones that can trip you up along the way. God longs for us to walk confidently with Him. This word picture from King David shows God making our path wide enough to be able to maneuver around the obstacles and not stumble. The Word of God, combined with faith in and obedience to Him, broadens our path. There will still be rocks along the way, but the Hand of God can lift us up to keep us from twisting our ankles and skinning our knees. It’s when we face the path alone that we will not clearly see His way. Don’t take this path of life without His Word as your map and the hand of His Holy Spirit as your guide!
Father, Thank You for never making me walk alone. Through the steep inclines and stony paths, You have always been there with me. Help me stay in Your Word and never let go of Your hand, so I may walk the path of this life with my head up and eyes focused on You! I love You. Amen

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Daily Dose 6-3-12

Psalm 120:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
There are times when life can seem desperate. Daily struggles and major crises can strike fear and anxiety in the heart of the most “together” person. However, when you are a Christian, you have been granted access to the throne of the LORD God Almighty! He knows your struggles before you feel their sting. He has evaluated your crisis before a tear falls from your cheek. What you are going through may seem impossible. But know that the One who made the tiniest of creatures to the most majestic mountains is on your side! He will not always remove struggles and hardships, but He will always help you through them. When life beats you down, look up and know His Hand is outstretched to lift you up to fight the next round with you!
Creator God, How many times have You helped me through difficulties? They are too numerous to list here. In hindsight, I can see why some trials were allowed by You, and I can see some that were consequences of my own disobedience. Help me, God to learn from my mistakes and look to You in all things and live my life according to Your will. I love You! Amen

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Daily Dose 6-2-12

John 21:6-7 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
Peter had every right to still be uncomfortable at the thought of seeing Jesus face-to-face. He had vehemently denied Christ three times during the horrific torture before the crucifixion. Jesus had appeared to them in the upper room since then. We don’t know a lot about what He may have said to Peter then. Whatever the case, Peter could not constrain himself at the sight of Jesus. Even though the boat was close to shore, Peter jumped out and swam to shore. What must that embrace have been like? Peter had experienced the lowest point of his life - looking into the eyes of Jesus after denying he knew Him. That betrayal was culminated as Peter watched his Lord die on the cross. Now, to be able to see Him once again! Peter was not sheepish about approaching the Lord. Whenever you feel unworthy and overcome with your sin, remember Peter. Run to your knees in prayer to embrace the One who is eager to forgive – the One who made forgiveness possible.
Jesus, I know none of Your bones were broken on the cross that day, but Your heart was crushed over my sin. Protect me from my own guilt and satan’s whispers of, “Unworthy!” May I jump out of the boat to You with joy knowing You are eager to forgive and teach me how to get back on God’s path for my life. I love You! Amen

Friday, June 1, 2012

Daily Dose 6-1-12

2 Samuel 18:32-33 The king asked the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man.” The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”
We see a glimpse of the heart of God through the man who constantly pursued it. David loved his son Absalom just as God loves us. Absalom was prideful and rebellious just as we can be. Even though King David ordered thousands to bring Absalom in safely, his son was killed in an accident pursuing David’s men. Ironically, his hair – the source of his good looks that formed his great pride – caught in the low hanging branches of an oak tree. Does your pride put you in conflict against the One who loves you most? Is it a snare for you? Do you find yourself in conflict with the people (fellow Christians) He sends to bring you back? Just as King David was just, he knew his son must be held accountable and brought in, yet he still loved. Just as God is just, by the grace of Christ’s blood, He forgives, but knows there will still be consequences for our sin. Absalom wanted to be king of the kingdom and push his father from the throne. Are you trying to be the LORD of your life and push your Father from the throne of your soul? If so, God’s heart is breaking just like David’s did.
Father, Forgive my prideful heart and mold it to pursue Yours as David did. Protect me from consequences and restore fractured relationships. I love You. Amen